I made the promise a while back, when featuring Labelled With Love as an example of a song being a great short story, that I’d offer up some thoughts on its parent album, East Side Story.

As an adolescent teenage lad, I enjoyed listening to Squeeze as there really was something mischievous about them, with many of their lyrics dealing with various aspects of sex, especially on the sophomore album, Cool For Cats, released in 1979 which happened to be the first of theirs that I bought.

Slap and Tickle, Touching Me Touching You, It’s So Dirty, and Cool for Cats are packed with lyrics that are a mixture of being right there in your face, hidden with double-entendres or disguised with local slang. It’s an album that I never really could totally fathom as some of the music left me a tad cold – I knew the band had its roots in pub rock in the south-east of London and some of the songs certainly displayed that particular lineage which jarred with my love for faster, edgier new wave/post-punk songs.

Having said all that, the album also contained Up The Junction, the very reason I had gone out and made the purchase. It was, and remains, one of my favourite 45s of all-time, a tale of working-class bliss gone awry set to an ear-worm of a tune. This was the side of Squeeze that I was desperate for.

The band’s third album, Argybargy, released in 1980 delivered more of what I was after. There was still the occasional take on sex, with the imperious Pulling Mussels (From A Shell) being the best example, but with songs such as Another Nail In My Heart, I Think I’m Go Go, Here Comes That Feeling, and If I Didn’t Love You made this a more satisfying listen, albeit there were still a couple of pub-type tunes that had me reaching for the needle and moving it swiftly over.

I was quite pleased to learn that piano player Jools Holland had decided to leave the band after Argybargy as I had the view that it was his musical tastes, and style of playing that most jarred with me. I really did just want the pure pop of the singers/writers, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.

Having said that, I was a bit concerned that they had drafted in Paul Carrack as the replacement – someone I only knew as the singer with Ace who had enjoyed a massive hit with How Long, an MOR-ballad that I hated, back in 1975.

The first of the new songs came in the shape of a lead-off single, one that didn’t actually do all that well, stalling at #35 in early may 1981:-

mp3: Squeeze – Is That Love?

A fast-paced guitar-focused pop song that sounded like Squeeze but with some something added to the sound. A lot of critics at the time mentioned Beatles comparisons in terms of the tune and the use of the harmonies, but I thought there was more than a touch of Elvis Costello in the mix, which is no surprise given he was co-producer and occasional contributor of backing vocals.

It was two weeks later that the album arrived in the shops.  I was working as the Saturday Boy in Woolworths at the time and I used my staff discount to pick up a copy of the album when I got to work a few days after it had come out.  Robert, the store manager and an ancient bloke in his mid-20s from Belfast, told me that he had been listening to the album at least once a day and that in his view it was a really strange offering, packed with all sorts of different tunes, few of which sounded like the earlier hit singles.  I asked him if he liked it and he said he wasn’t sure.  Now, given that this bloke had fairly decent taste in music (he owned loads of punk and new wave records and was a huge fan of Joy Division), this was a bit of a concern.

I took the record home that night.  I don’t think I would have played it that night as I would have been round at the house of the new-found girlfriend and then the next day would have been devoted to playing football.  Sunday evenings was time set aside to listen to the new singles chart rundown, and so it would have been a couple more days before I’d have played the album in full – I wasn’t at school much at this point in time, only going in for exams but secure in the knowledge that I already had enough from the previous year’s diet to have secured a place at uni. Isn’t it funny how some long-forgotten memories from almost 40 years ago are dredged up when you look at the sleeve of an album and give it another listen?

I’ll be honest.  The first listen to East Side Story confused me.  I probably had given too much credence to Robert’s opinion and was failing to listen without prejudice.  There was an absence of hit singles as far as I was concerned, and horror of horrors, there was a straight-up country and western song. There were songs that sounded like the sort of stuff some my mates’ big brothers listened to (psychedelia); there were a couple of songs that still sounded as if Jools Holland was involved in the studio; there was at least one when Chris Difford sounded as if he was deliberately singing out of key above a tune that bordered on the painful to listen to;  and then there was this piece of white-soul, Doobie Brothers-style, on which Paul Carrack had taken lead vocal – it was too close a cousin to What A Fool Believes for my tastes.

And then, the summer arrived.  School’s Out for ever….and loads of time on my hands as most of my mates have gone into a job or an apprenticeship, failing which some sort of slave-wage scheme that the Thatcher government had insisted young folk signed up to or there would be no welfare benefits.  East Side Story found itself on heavy rotation  – I had this feeling at the back of my mind that if I could begin to get my head around it then it would be a sign of my tastes maturing, which I probably had to do if I was going to meet and get friendly with all sorts of new and clever folk at uni….

Slowly but surely, the tunes on the album began to resonate with me.  This was the sort of album that ‘grown-ups’ listened to.  Fourteen songs that covered all sorts of musical genres, never settling into any obvious pattern.

The great trick was to open with In Quintessence, the one track that could easily have passed for a Squeeze 45 as it reminded me of Another Nail…but after that it veered all over the place packed with amazing tunes, packed with  lyrics that were at times humorous, at times clever, at times poignant, at times moving and at times thought-provoking.  It was an album that was proving to be increasingly rewarding with each listen…..and I even found myself almost warming to the Paul Carrack vocal (on a song written by Difford/Tilbrook) on the basis that there wasn’t a second helping on the LP.

It’s an album that I can still happily listen to these days, more so than any of the other Squeeze records that I had purchased prior to this.  This was the album that Up The Junction had long-promised and was a million miles away from Touching Me, Touching You, which now sounded incredibly juvenile in my new found world where wandering through the students union into different bars and areas (including a Games Hall in which a group of hippies hogged the jukebox and provided, over a nine-month period, my long-overdue introduction to Neil Young).

East Side Story.   It’s the album in which I did my most growing up.

mp3: Squeeze – In Quintessence
mp3: Squeeze – Someone Else’s Heart
mp3: Squeeze – Woman’s World
mp3: Squeeze – F-Hole

It should be noted that F-Hole goes straight into Labelled With Love, a sequencing of tracks which always makes me smile.



This one is a sad short story.  The country-style tune propelled the single all the way to #4 in 1981.   It was the third, and thus far last, time the last time Squeeze would enjoy a Top 10 hit in the UK.  The parent album, East Side Story, is one of my all-time favourites from any era.  I’ll get round to praising its merits sometime in the future.

She unscrews the top of her new whisky bottle
And shuffles around in her candle-lit hovel
Like some kind of witch with blue fingers in mittens
She smells like the cat and the neighbours she sickens
The black and white T.V. has long seen a picture
The cross on the wall is a permanent fixture
The postman delivers the final reminders
She sells off her silver and poodles in China

Drinks to remember I, me and myself
And winds up the clock and knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
So the past has been bottled and labelled with love

During the wartime, an American pilot
Made every air raid a time of excitement
She moved to his prairie and married the Texan
She learnt from a distance how love was a lesson
He became drinker and she became mother
She knew that one day she’d be one or the other
He ate himself older, drunk himself dizzy
Proud of her features, she kept herself pretty

Drinks to remember I, me and myself
And winds up the clock and knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
So the past has been bottled and labelled with love

He, like a cowboy, died drunk in a slumber
Out on the porch in the middle of summer
She crossed the ocean back home to her family
But they had retired to roads that were sandy
She moved home alone without friends or relations
Lived in a world full of age reservations
On moth-eaten armchairs, she’d say that she’d sod all
The friends who had left her to drink from the bottle

Drinks to remember I, me and myself
And winds up the clock and knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
So the past has been bottled and labelled with love

Drinks to remember I, me and myself
Winds up the clock and knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
So the past has been bottled and labelled with love
The past has been bottled and labelled with love
The past has been bottled and labelled with love

mp3: Squeeze – Labelled With Love

The b-side saw the band offer their own take on the then-popular Stars on 45 things that had been flooding the charts that year.

mp3: Squeeze – Squabs on 45

And yes, I know I featured both these songs back in 2017, but in my defence, I wasn’t offering up the lyric as an example of a short story.




There is a possibility, based on trying to respond positively to requests/suggestions from readers, that I will turn my attention to the singles released over the years by Squeeze. It’s not on the immediate horizon but then again, given that I’m increasingly finding it difficult to come up with fresh ideas, it might well be that the blog ends up with more than the current one singles series in a given week before too long.

Squeeze had come together as early as 1974 when a then 17-year old Chris Difford put an advert in the window of a local newsagent shop in Deptford in the working class and highly unfashionable south-east of London that was responded to by a local 20-year old named Glen Tilbrook. They bonded quickly, writing songs together, and soon they were seeking other musicians to in the hope and expectation of forming a performing and recording combo. Some musicians did initially come and go, but the line-up was eventually completed by Julian Holland (keyboards), Harry Kakoulli (bass) and Gilson Lavis (drums).

Like many other bands of that pre-punk era, Squeeze made their name and living via the pub circuit that dominated much of the music scene across the UK, particularly in the major cities. They were picked up by Miles Copeland III, a 30-year old American who had relocated to London with a determination to somehow to break into the music industry. Copeland had established an agency and label called BTM (British Talent Management) but it went bust in 1976 after a series of loss-making shows and festivals, leaving many of their acts, including Squeeze, high and dry but freely available.

The band cobbled together money to record an EP and release it in May 1977 on the Deptford City Label. It was produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground whom Copeland had introduced to them. It’s fair to say that the outcome was quite basic, almost elementary in nature; it’s nowhere near good enough to include it as part of the ‘cracking debut’ regular feature on this blog:-

mp3 : Squeeze – Cat On A Wall
mp3 : Squeeze – Night Ride
mp3 : Squeeze – Back Track

Having said that, the Packet of Three EP, from July 1977, did pique enough interest in the group to generate some A&R follow-up, particularly in the live setting with the band seemingly an ever-present in the many small, noisy and smoky pubs of their local community and further afield across London, and they were still being championed by Copeland. In due course, Squeeze would be signed by A&M Records in 1978 for whom they would deliver a string of successful singles and albums over the next decade.





Hi Jim,

For long times I didn’t gave you a guest contribution and now there are two in row. For me, I always liked songs that told me a story and so your new series pleases me. There are a lot of songs that explaine in a few words what is life about. One of them I love most is by Squeeze – Up The Junction. Nothing more or less a short story about a simple love affair and what could happen. It doesn’t end in an happy end. For me it is a story many people could understand and probably feel about what happened to the main charactor in this song. It is not a depressive song but one of the best stories about what can happen at the kitchen sink. All in all a simple and true song about life.

I never thought it would happen
With me and the girl from Clapham
Out on the windy common
That night I ain’t forgotten
When she dealt out the rations
With some or other passions
I said “you are a lady”
“Perhaps” she said. “I may be”

We moved in to a basement
With thoughts of our engagement
We stayed in by the telly
Although the room was smelly
We spent our time just kissing
The Railway Arms we’re missing
But love had got us hooked up
And all our time it took up

I got a job with Stanley
He said I’d come in handy
And started me on Monday
So I had a bath on Sunday
I worked eleven hours
And bought the girl some flowers
She said she’d seen a doctor
And nothing now could stop her

I worked all through the winter
The weather brass and bitter
I put away a tenner
Each week to make her better
And when the time was ready
We had to sell the telly
Late evenings by the fire
With little kicks inside her

This morning at four fifty
I took her rather nifty
Down to an incubator
Where thirty minutes later
She gave birth to a daughter
Within a year a walker
She looked just like her mother
If there could be another

And now she’s two years older
Her mother’s with a soldier
She left me when my drinking
Became a proper stinging
The devil came and took me
From bar to street to bookie
No more nights by the telly
No more nights nappies smelling

Alone here in the kitchen
I feel there’s something missing
I’d beg for some forgiveness
But begging’s not my business
And she won’t write a letter
Although I always tell her
And so it’s my assumption
I’m really up the junction

mp3 : Squeeze – Up The Junction



The day is drawing ever closer when our dear friend Jonny the Friendly Lawyer (JTFL) aka Johnny Bottoms, the country bassist, will cross the Atlantic with his fellow Ponderosa Aces to begin the tour of English cities and towns. I’m delighted to say that I’ve made arrangements to get myself down to the gig in Manchester on Sunday 23 April, and all being well I might get to hook up with another dear friend of this parish, the mighty Swiss Adam of Bagging Area fame.

If anyone cares to join us, then feel free to come along for the ride. To paraphrase one Adam Ant, country music is nothing to be scared of.

As evidenced by this #4 hit from October 1981:-

mp3 : Squeeze – Labelled With Love

A sad and melancholy single lifted from the excellent East Side Story LP, on which Elvis Costello did a sterling job in the producer’s chair, it was the band’s final ever entry into the Top 10. It’s a very fine example of a talented band, fronted by incredibly gifted songwriters, demonstrating that they can turn their hand to any genre.

The b-side was a bit of throwaway fun:-

mp3 : Squeeze – Squabs on 45

It’s a medley of earlier singles akin to what was a fad at the time in the UK where excerpts of hit songs, sometimes from one act but more often than not from a variety of artists, were spliced together as a 45. Very scarily, an act called Stars on 45 enjoyed four Top 20 hits in the UK in 1981/82 by employing such a technique. And yes, Squeeze were making a point about how awful these medley efforts were – everything reduced to one simple beat and rhythm.

Orange Juice also did something similar as a piss take for a Peel Session:-

mp3 : Orange Juice – Blokes on 45




I once went on a chalet holiday with my mum, dad and brothers. It was in fact in 1979, just before my 16th birthday. A mate from school came along as well to keep me company as I was no doubt a really stroppy teenager.

I can tell you that I wasn’t able to go behind any chalet to make my holiday complete. I was just too shy. But I know my mate got lucky……

mp3 : Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

This tribute to the joys of holiday sex only reached #44 in the UK Charts back in May 1980. For some reason or other this was one of the singles that didn’t get left behind when I did a moonlight flit in the mid 80s, so my limited edition red vinyl 7″ has a place in the cupboard. Here’s yer b-side:-

mp3 : Squeeze – What The Butler Saw

It wasn’t long after this that Squeeze suffered the departure of keyboardist Jools Holland as he went off to pursue a solo career, and although he rejoined the band in 1985, he again left to do other things in 1990. Whatever happened to him I wonder?

Incidentally, not long after said chalet holiday I lost touch with said mate as I went back to school into a 5th year while he decided to go and find a job.  I’m almost certain that his decision not to return to school was all down to the fact that he had now become a fully-developed man of the world….



Many thanks for your recent “Red Guitars” post; I´ve been looking for this for ages.

I also see you are into some “Squeeze” stuff. I got most of their compilation and best of CD´s
However none of them include the complete 12 inch version of
“Last Time Forever” (6:23) I wonder if you have it and if you could possible post it
someday or send it to my address. I´d really apprecate it.
Best regards
It isn’t the (in)famous singer who has asked for this 1985 ‘comeback’ single.  Squeeze had broken up in 1982 although main singer/songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook had collaborated on an LP released in 1984.   The other most famous member of the band had been keyboardist Jools Holland but he had left back in 1980 for a career as a solo musician and as TV presenter.
In 1985, following a one-off reunion of the classic Squeeze line-up (Difford, Tilbrook, Holland plus Gilson Lavis on drums and John Bentley on bass), for a charity gig, the band decided to reform. However, Bentley decided not to be part of it and was replaced by Keith Wilkinson.  The first fruits of their collective labour was the single Last Time Forever which, disappointingly for all concerned, stalled at #45. It was, trivia lovers, first aired on Jools Holland’s farewell appearance as a presenter on Channel 4’s The Tube/first official reappearance with the band (with his kid brother Christopher alongside him on additional keys)
The 12″ version of the song, like the album version, contains dialogue sampled from the film The Shining while the very strange b-side  consists of five separate songs, each approximately one minute in length, and each written, performed and produced by one of the band’s five members. In order, the songs are listed on the record sleeve and label as follows:A: Jools Holland – Rock ‘N Roll (That’s)
B: Gilson Lavis – Proxy Rock
C: Chris Difford – The Practising Clarinet
D: Glenn Tilbrook – Spideey Goes To Tobago
E: Keith Wilkinson – Who Wants To Be A Legionnaire?mp3 : Squeeze – Last Time Forever (12″ version)
mp3 : Squeeze – Suites From Five Strangers




A soap opera story in just over three minutes.

The boy about town gets caught out with his trousers down. He can’t cope with the fact that he has to grow up and take responsibility. The woman of his dreams soon moves on and all he has left are bittersweet memories.

mp3 : Squeeze – Up The Junction

1979. A massive hit and one of my favourite songs of all time, albeit as a 16-year old I didn’t quite understand the full nuances. But now I’m 51 and I’ve seen it this story play out in real life far too often over the years.

Tears and saying sorry are just not enough.

But the male side of the species just never learn.



Today’s Friend Electric is Uncle E. His blog is a real labour of love. It’s called 500 Reasons Why The 80s Didn’t Suck. He set out on this expedition back in September 2012:-

“Let’s for a moment forget about the poofy hair, Reagan and Thatcher and the threat of nuclear annihilation, parachute pants and Eddie Murphy movies. This blog will concern itself with the music of the decade, much of which was wonderful and groundbreaking, as opposed to popular thought which has skewed opinion to remember the 80’s as the worst decade EVER of popular music.

This blog will focus on dispelling that notion by highlighting 500 musical reasons why the ‘80’s categorically did not suck. I lived through the ‘80’s so I should know, and although I made some pretty terrible choices a good majority of the bands and albums remain relevant and enjoyable even today. I didn’t listen to top 40 radio then and I don’t now, so a lot of the stuff that was played back then on that medium won’t be a focus here. No, I’d like to attempt to point you in the direction left of the dial; those albums and bands that were played at underground clubs, the forgotten gems that took research and word of mouth to discover. Trial and error baby, trial and error. These were the days before the internet, kiddies, and when you found a cool band or an album back then you owned it and shared it with your peers. You poured over the latest issues of the NME and Melody Maker (imports for me, of course) and more often that not went by the style of the LP cover or gut impulse, or sometimes both.

The music I focused on back then was new wave, post punk and punk, genres that are really now just considered ‘alternative’. I remember making wildly weird and off-kilter mix tapes up the yin-yang, an art form that has sadly died out with the advent of file sharing and MP3’s. Gang Of Four sat comfortably next to New Order and The Cure, which segued into the Dead Kennedys, NOMEANSNO and Black Flag, followed by OMD, the Psychedelic Furs and early Simple Minds. The bands back then, the early ‘80’s, were trying everything out as there was no template. The Pistols and the Ramones and The Clash blew the old blueprint up a few years prior and these new upstarts, inspired by the DIY ethics of the former, created something totally fresh, totally weird and totally cool in the wake.


I reckon there are at least 500 reasons I can give here why the music of the 1980’s didn’t suck, and I’ll be counting down from that number with the next post. It’s time to dispel the horribly misguided notion that the music from the 1980’s was the worst ever. I’m not quite sure it was the best, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I hope you all chime in from time to time and give me your feedback. And while I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on the music of the ‘80’s I am certainly not arrogant enough to think I know it all. If there is a band or an album that you think I should know about, let me know in the comments section. If I can turn a few of you on to something then all the better.

Thanks for reading. We’re gonna have some fun! Also, as a side note: any of you who want to contribute via a guest post, I’d welcome it in a heartbeat. Just email me or leave a comment you’d like to do so and we’ll make it happen.”

The above words will, I’m sure, chime with many TVV readers – especially those sentences about mix tapes. Happy memories of spending at least 10 hours at a time trying to out the perfect 90 minutes together to help me get through the sheer awfulness and tedium of the daily Glasgow – Edinburgh commute.

Uncle E has counted down to reason 353. Most of his reasons are very sound although there will be a few which raise eyebrows with, for example, reason 421 featuring an LP by Queen. What is especially enjoyable is the succinct style on offer – just a few short sharp sentences to define what he believes makes a great record. Another bonus is the layout and indexing system so that if, for example, you click on New Order you will find they are responsible for reasons 492, 398, 394 and 371

Alongside the various reasons you will also enjoy some very well argued posts offering his thoughts, views and opinions on various aspects of music and musicians. Those of you who aren’t fond of U2 might enjoy his critique of the band. Just click here.

I agree with a lot but not all of the reasons outlined so far by Uncle E. I was looking for an excuse to feature this lot….so here’s reason #461 Why the 80s didn’t suck:-


“Holy crap, was there a better pure pop band in the 1980′s than Squeeze? Me thinks not. I love everything they did up to East Side Story. Even the debut had it’s moments, and everything after fell apart. In the middle you have this little masterpiece, Squeeze’s strongest and most catchiest songs conveniently compiled on one little piece of plastic. Pulling Mussels, Another Nail In My Heart, If I Didn’t Love You, Vicky Verky, the list just goes on, man! If you track it down the ‘deluxe edition’ is really quite worth it for the concert alone, and the b-sides and other stuff is pretty essential as well. If all you have is the single disk “Singles” (which is fantastic, by the way), you’re cheating yourself out of some terrific tunes. Overall, the best album by Squeeze, no contest.”

mp3 : Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)
mp3 : Squeeze – Another Nail In My Heart
mp3 : Squeeze – If I Didn’t Love You
mp3 : Squeeze – Vicky Verky




mp3 :  The Nubiles : Tatjiana (all over me)

The Nubiles for those of you who have never heard of them or, like me, forgot they ever existed, were formed in 1993 in Oxford, when Tara Milton, former bass player with Five Thirty (nope, me neither) joined forces with some other faces from Oxford bands. Their sound can best be described as indie with a slightly punk edge, in that their songs sneer a little bit. Their website stated that they displayed the kind of primal energy not seen since The Who. To be honest, that’s pushing it a bit. These Animal Men, perhaps, but certainly not The Who.

They split, (combusted if I remember rightly) in 1998 after releasing, one relatively well received album Mindblender on which this song features.  Tatjiana is their best song by a country mile (that country being, the size of Brazil). They reformed briefly in 2007, but quickly realised that they all hated each other still and that the tunes sounded even less like The Who than they did in 1995. They are apparently on ‘a hiatus’ at the minute. Oxford is slowly weeping into its Pringle sweaters I would imagine.

Now Tatjiana is a great two and a half minutes-ish of music, listen to it, you will hum for the rest of the day I guarantee it. It’s a sneering ode to the five knuckle shuffle (sorry). It contains the immortal lyric,“Just a Dream and a Tissue and you are all over me”. I mean what’s not to love about that.

BUT (it is a big one) the problem is, that as everyone knows, the only timeless song about er, bashing the bishop, is Orgasm Addict by Buzzcocks (come on name another one – JC – here’s another series for you – “songs about wanking” and no I Touch Myself by The Divinyls doesn’t count). In this case, The Nubiles are trying really hard to be The Buzzcocks, and if they tried that instead of the nonsense about The Who people might have got it a bit better.

Note From JC

Two songs from the New Wave era immediately sprung to mind:-

mp3 : The Vapors – Turning Japanese

mp3 : Squeeze – Touching Me, Touching You

Then there’s a song from 1990:-

mp3 : The Beautiful South – Tonight I Fancy Myself

Billy Bragg has also referenced the act:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – St Swithin’s Day

I’m sure there’s a few others out there….I once heard it argued that Pump It Up by Elvis Costello & The Attractions was about wanking but I’m not convinced.

All yours dear readers…..