NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Part 40 of 48)

R-871769-1270932233.jpeg
Most of those featured on CD86 were relatively new acts but today’s lot were an exception.

mp3 : The Television Personalities – Paradise Estate

It was as far back as 1979 when The Television Personalities released their debut single and by 1986 they were veterans of the indie music scene with eight singles and four albums to their name.  By that time every original member of the band with the exception of singer/songwriter Dan Treacy had come and gone with the band (as such) really just being a vehicle for Treacy’s fairly unique outpourings which offered observations on culture and society over music that was influenced by new wave, psychedelia and pure pop among others.

It would actually take a book to explain the history of this lot in any meaningful detail so I’m not going to even try. Instead, I will offer this fan site as being as good a place as any to spend time reading and learning.

Paradise Estate, the song featured on CD86 was, the b-side of A Sense of Belonging, a single released on Rough Trade back in early 1983.  Lyrically, noth tracks were far from cheery numbers housed in a sleeve that had a photograph of the face of a young child who had been beaten and battered.

The reverse of the sleeve indicated that the songs were from an LP called The Painted Word….

R-871769-1270932240.jpeg

…..but such was the unease at the label over the way the single had been marketed that the band was dropped.  It would take another eighteen months before the album came out on Illuminated Records….which folded soon after.

That whole period sort of summed up Dan Treacy’s relationship with the music industry. He was determined to do things his way and compromise wasn’t a word ever associated with him, By 1985 he was so frustrated that he set up Dreamworld Records to take as much control of the whole process as possible for his own band but also to sign up those bands and singers he felt were worthy.  In the end, running the label proved to be so time-consuming that there was next to no new material from him over the next three years and it was only after Dreamworld Records folded that The Television Personalities became active again. The 90s proved to be very productive in terms of output up until 1996 when things just suddenly and unexpectedly ground to a halt.  It seemed as if the addiction issues had finally caught up with Dan Treacy….

In truth, the next ten years were a very dark time.  He was jailed a number of times for shoplifting to feed his drug habit and in-between jail time he lived rough or in hostels.  It was during his fourth and final prison stretch that he got a wake-up call after reading internet rumours that he was dead and he resolved to try to pick his life back up again which he did by getting involved in music again, initially through DJing and then performing and recording after receiving an offer from Lawrence Bell, the MD of Domino Records.  It helped that the new hot band of the day – Arctic Monkeys – were dropping Dan’s name in interviews as an influence.

The comeback began in earnest in 2006 and new material appeared at regular intervals up to September 2011.

The following month Dan Treacy needed emergency treatment to deal with a blood clot to his brain; he was saved by the neurosurgeons but he was left with long-term damage.  There has never been any official announcement but I think it is fair to say we are very unlikely to hear any new material again.

His is a story waiting on a film adaptation……………………

Here’s the A- side of the single. It is utterly brilliant.

mp3 : The Television Personalities – A Sense Of Belonging

I’d be grateful if any fan of the band was willing to take some time and put together an imaginary compilation for the on-going series…….

 

 

CULT CLASSICS : PART TIME PUNKS by THE TELEVISION PERSONALITIES

R-1104620-1280860863

I’ve recently finished reading Alan McGee’s autobiography Creation Stories, a book that recounts the story of his involvement with bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub and inevitably Oasis but which also manages to devote some time to less widely known acts such as The Television Personalities, who McGee first saw live in 1982 in London, a show where Joe Foster ‘sawed Dan Treacy’s Rickenbacker in half! It was maybe a grand’s worth of guitar. They were only getting paid about £50 for the gig!’

From that moment on, McGee was hooked and he soon started heaping praise on them in his Communication Blur fanzine as well as booking them to perform at his Communication Club on a bill that also included the Nightingales and Vinyl Villain favourites the Go-Betweens.

Significantly, the TVP’s pop art label Whaam! in part inspired McGee to set up Creation Records and one of the first ever releases to carry the name Creation (as Creation Artifact) was a flexidisc distributed with the second issue of his fanzine that featured two tracks by the TVPs.

Alan McGee wouldn’t the last high profile fan the band would attract. At Kurt Cobain’s insistence they were invited in 1991 to support Nirvana and more recently Pete Doherty and MGMT have declared themselves admirers, the latter titling one track Song for Dan Treacy on their critically acclaimed Congratulations album.

Despite the high profile recommendations though, mainstream success has never materialised for the TVPs and this is likely down to the fact that Dan Treacy, the sole consistent member of the band since its inception, is one of those mercurial talents who are completely ill-suited to fame – even many of his devoted coterie of fans might find it difficult to disagree with the theory that he has repeatedly and deliberately sabotaged his own career over the years.

Despite this, Treacy has continued to make fascinating and innovative music over a period of decades that have also seen him suffer periodic breakdowns and homelessness. He’s also been imprisoned four times; battled long term drug and alcohol problems and, in 2011, he ended up in a critical condition in hospital that required an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain, the singer having to be induced into a coma for some time afterwards.

His band, who can claim to be massively influential on what has become known as ‘indie’, first surfaced in 1978 with a ramshackle DIY debut single 14th Floor, which they put out themselves on GLC Records.

John Peel was highly encouraging, he played the track and read out a letter that Treacy had sent him that listed the band members as Hughie Green, Bob Monkhouse and Bruce Forsyth; Peel also mentioned them in his weekly column in Sounds, where he connected them to another pivotal independent act, the Swell Maps whose Read About Seymour was another big Peel favourite of the time.

The next TVPs release, the Where’s Bill Grundy Now? E.P would again be on their own label, this time named King’s Rd Records – Treacy being largely brought up on the 7th (rather than the 14th floor) of a King’s Road high-rise. The only other release on this label would be another E.P, We Love Malcolm by ‘O’ Level.

Here’s Part Time Punks from the E.P, a satirical dig at the tabloid inspired new wave masses who would descend on Chelsea at weekends to pose, and if you had never understood the following references in the song’s lyrics before, you do now: ‘They’d like to buy the ‘O’ Level single, or Read about Seymour, but they’re not pressed in red, so they buy The Lurkers instead.’

mp3 : Television Personalities: Part Time Punks

And here’s Shadow, a 1977 single by the Lurkers, that was the first ever track released on the independent imprint Beggars Banquet and which was pressed in black, white, blue and, of course, red vinyl.

mp3 : The Lurkers: Shadow

(as submitted by Jamie H)

Fancy adding your own contribution the series?  All I need are a few words and an mp3 copy of the tune, fired over to thevinylvillain@hotmail.co.uk

Go on, draw attention to an underground classic that’s close to your heart…..