Lifting the band bio from the allmusic site:-

Led by vocalist/guitarist Dave Fenton, the Vapors were a short-lived new wave guitar group that is best known for the spiky pop single “Turning Japanese.” Fenton formed the first version of the Vapors in 1978, yet he was the only member to survive that lineup; in 1979, former Ellery Bops members Ed Bazalgette (lead guitar) and Howard Smith (drums) joined the band, and bassist Steve Smith came aboard shortly afterward. One of the band’s first concerts was seen by the Jam’s Bruce Foxton, who asked them to perform on his group’s Setting Sons tour. Before long, the Vapors were managed by Foxton and John Weller, the manager of the Jam, as well as the father of the group’s leader, Paul Weller.

The Vapors signed to United Artists, releasing their first single, “Prisoners,” at the end of 1979; it failed to chart. “Turning Japanese,” the band’s second single, became a major hit, reaching number three on the U.K. charts in March of 1980. New Clear Days, the band’s debut album, was released two months later, which didn’t sell as well as the single. In 1981, the Vapors released the more ambitious Magnets, yet it received lukewarm reviews and poor sales; the group disbanded shortly after its release.

A couple of further facts on Turning Japanese. It hit the heights of #3 at a time when Going Underground was #1, meaning producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven had two of the top three in the charts in the week of 29 March 1980 (the song sandwiched in-between was the saccharine Together We Are Beautiful by Fern Kenney). Also, and this was something I didn’t know, the single reached the the top 40 in the US, something The Jam never ever managed to achieve. Not bad for a song that is clearly about wanking oneself into a crazed frenzy….

mp3 : The Vapors – Turning Japanese

I quite liked the follow-up single News At Ten, a more ambitious effort that was musically and subject matter in debt to The Jam with the song’s protagonist having left school for a dead end job and finding life at home with the folks to be somewhat stifling. It stalled at #44 in the charts.

mp3 : The Vapors – News At Ten

I thought I’d round off today’s burst of nostalgia with two further offerings – the debut single:-

mp3 : The Vapors – Prisoners

….and their sixth and final single in 1981 that also stalled at #44 in the charts

mp3 : The Vapors – Jimmie Jones

A little postscript lifted from wiki:-

After 34 years of inactivity, on 30 April 2016, Dave Fenton, Ed Bazelgette and Steve Smith took to the stage at the Half Moon in Putney. With a guest drummer standing in for Howard Smith they played Turning Japanese and then left the stage. Rumours of a reunion were rife and on 10 June a short four-date tour in October and November was announced on the band’s new Facebook page. With Howard Smith unable to tour, Michael Bowes stepped in on drums.

Following the success of the shows in Dublin, London, Liverpool and Wolverhampton further dates were announced for 2017, including an appearance at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. During the 2016 dates, the band alluded to a forthcoming album, potentially to be released in 2017.




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…..