FROM OUR HUNGARIAN CORRESPONDENT….SIX YEARS AGO TODAY

Greetings to everyone, my name is Laslo Friop and I live in Budapest in the suburb of Erzsebetarvos and I would like to thank Mr JC for allowing me to compile todays piece for the Vinyl Villain.

I met JC on a trip to Glasgow a few years ago and he taught me all about its quality food and music. I have tried with limited success to get fish battered and chocolate that has been fried in Hungary it does not happen. Also the radio stations refuse to play Arab Strap or Mogwai, I did manage to get some Orange Juice though but it did not go down that well, it was too commercial and there was no gypsy punks. After just one hour with the JC I can now say that Glasgow is my sixth favourite city in Scotland after Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Cardiff, Dumbarton, and Stranraer. Since that afternoon at the train station I have followed this blog space with passion. I love to read about early 80s bands that for years were banned from Hungary for not being communist enough. Particularly Billy Bragg and The Redskins. They would have been very happy behind the Iron Curtain.

Anyway today I would like to talk you about revolution and the inspiration of a generation through music, in fact the inspiring of a generation by one band. For years in Hungary, music was terrible, under the Russians it was largely frowned upon to listen to anything Western, I think that the Beatles were not encouraged, and anyone caught listening to progressive rock from the 1970s usually disappeared to the Saltmines of Debrecen. They did this so that you could not grow your hair and say ‘Woah Man’ a lot.

Then as the West became more acceptable the Iron Grip loosened and the free republic commenced. It wasn’t all good but in one strange day back 1999 one band changed our lives for ever. It is a well known fact that David Hasslehoff singlehandedly brought the Berlin Wall to it knees.

Yet in Hungary on that day in 1999, a lesser known musical phenomenon occurred.

In September in what is now known as ‘Victory Square’ in Budapest the crowds had started to form to chant anti-government slogans and chants, the police had been heavy handed and we screamed at them ‘Ez mind össze képtelenség’ which roughly translated into Hungarian means ‘We will be free, we will win’. At that point the skies opened and the clouds burst and it rained. Those of you who have been to Budapest will know that this happens a lot, but at that moment we felt defeated, ruined by unemployment and now the weather. All we wanted was to have the same choices as our neighbours in Austria had, and not go the same way as other neighbours Romania had gone.

Now Western Radio and music has started to become relatively popular in Hungary around this time. We were massive fans of the reggae star Pato Banton and for many the arrival of Eminem was a crucial point in our history. Or ‘Nem ez nem volt’ as we like say when we discuss Eminem. So it was not unusual to hear Western songs on the radio or being churned out from the many cafes and shops. Now as the rain pelted down on our tear stained cheeks, one song, ‘Why Does It Always Rain on Me’ by the Scottish Band Travis came on. On hearing this Hungarians found solidarity and together we rose and defied the weather, we defied the police and we defied the government. After that day, Travis became the Number One band in all of Hungary, they were so popular they even had a brand of goulash named after them, people would go into restaurants and say ‘ez a teljes lószart’ and the workers would know that you were one of them. Their songs became synonymous with the protest movement in Hungary, ‘All I want to do is rock’ became the theme to our campaign to become more western, ‘Tied to the 90s’ became an ironic song about not returning to the days of communism with its cheeky ‘Remember the 80s…’ lyric and ‘Turn’ and ‘Sing’ remain anthems for the working parties in Hungary even today.

Travis are heroes in Hungary, their concerts here are sold out mega gigs and their singer Fran Healy has recently been awarded the highest ever accolade possible for a Non Hungarian the prestigious ‘Hatalmas Hazugság’. Very few people have been awarded this in Hungary.

I hope you enjoyed reading this piece, I hope my English has not been too crazy, I used Google Translate and hope that if you translate the Hungarian bits back to English you will get some idea what this band means to us. I would post their tracks but I think you will already own most of them. So instead I post tracks by two of my favourite bands, the Jesus and Mary Chain and The Stone Roses. Bands that I was lucky enough to see live in Austria at festivals. They have never played Hungary to the best of my knowledge.

mp3 : April Skies
mp3 : Fools Gold

I bid you farewell I will leave you with a good luck phrase in Hungarian

‘Mindez igaz, hogy minden szemetet. Kérlek, bocsáss meg, a normál szolgáltatás folytatódik a jövő héten’

Laslo

THE END OF AN ERA?? WELL, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN!

This one is a tad self-indulgent.

I graduated from university on Friday 5 July 1985.   I started work on Monday 8 July 1985 – it was a time in history when, without the help of the old-school tie, it was difficult to land a job that was compatible with your degree and so when I was asked, following what I recall being my fourth job interview, to join a local council in Edinburgh at the earliest opportunity, any plans for a few weeks of down time were put to the side.  It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

Today, Friday 27 March 2020, I will enjoy my last day of paid employment, after my application for early retirement through voluntary redundancy was accepted.

It’s been an incredibly strange and frustrating end to my career as I’ve mostly been working from home these past two weeks, taking part in regular conference calls with my fellow managers, doing our best to keep things ticking over and trying to keep staff morale as high as is possible in such challenging and uncertain times.

From a selfish point of view, the planned night out has, of course, been cancelled but I’ve undertaken to go back in for one last time when this all eventually calms down and to do my very best to have a leaving do that will be legendary.

I have no intention to work for a living in the future, and the plan, eventually,  is to devote as much time as possible to travel, music, Raith Rovers and golf. Oh, and I have good intentions about trying to pass my driving test!

EXCEPT………..in such challenging times everyone had to be less selfish and so I’ve offered to stay on, free of charge on a voluntary basis, to continue to help and support my colleagues as we implement business contingency plans, including, eventually, preparing for how best to get going when there is some sort of return to normality.

I did think about changing the intended piece of music that has long been scheduled for today, but will stick with the latest one-hour mix tape, with most of the song titles having some sort of link to the past 35 years.  The opener is one that myself and Jacques once danced to at the Xmas Party that we organised jointly on behalf of our colleagues – the one piece of music we decided should clear the floor for a couple of minutes.

I’m happy to say that I have had many more good than bad days during my career and have made a number of lifelong friends along the way.  I’ve been lucky that way.

mp3 : Various – The End of an Era

Tracklist

Pixies – Debaser
The Wedding Present – What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?
The Rakes – Work Work Work (Pub Club Sleep)
The Clash – Career Opportunities
Idlewild – You Held The World In Your Arms
Fun Boy Three – It Ain’t What You Do
R.E.M. – Finest Worksong
Buzzcocks – Everybody’s Happy Nowadays
The Jam – Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero?
Le Tigre – Deceptacon
Magazine – Model Worker
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Patio Song
Electronic – Getting Away With It
The Fall – Fantastic Life
International Teachers of Pop – The Age of The Train
Stereolab – Ping Pong
Lloyd Cole – Don’t Look Back (original mix)
Otoboke Beaver – 6 Days Working Week Is a Pain
PJ Harvey – Big Exit (edit)
Young Marble Giants – Final Day

A new life beckons.  Eventually.

JC

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (3)

 

The third month of the new feature. The charts of March 1990 had Beats International at the top for a while, but from the aspect of singles making their entry during the month, one act kind of stands out….and they are actually up first.

Elephant Stone – Stone Roses

Three months after Fool’s Gold had given Stone Roses a first major hit, a re-issued Elephant Stone matched the achievement with a #8 placing on the week of entry, 3 March 1990.  Rather surprisingly, it dropped down two places immediately after, eventually slipping out of the Top 75 altogether after six weeks.

A Lover Spurned – Marc Almond

In at #32 on 3 March and managed to crawl its up three more places the following week. A very rare instance of a Marc Almond-penned single cracking the top end of the charts. This was his 14th such single and only his third to reach the Top 40, with his other hits all being covers.

Love Shack – B52s

A band that had enjoyed minimal success prior to this over the previous 12 years, with just a 1986 re-release of a double-A single consisting of Rock Lobster/ Planet Clare selling in any sort of numbers. Tailor-made for radio with its catchy and shout-along chorus, it was no surprise that after entering the charts on 3 March at #33 it hung around for almost three months, peaking at #2 for three weeks, kept off the top spot initially by Beats International and then by German dance-act Snap, whose song The Power would first enter the charts later in the month and enjoy two weeks at the very top in late March/early April.

Loaded – Primal Scream (single version)

A band that had been regarded as something of a joke throughout the late 80s. This was something completely different. It’s an example of a song that actually didn’t do all that much sales-wise but whose influence would prove to be so much greater. It came in at #47 on 3 March and just over a month later it reached its peak of #16. It was out of the charts by the time the summer arrived, but it proved to be a massive hit in the clubs all year long, setting the tone for the huge sales of the album Screamadelica when it hit the shops some seven months later.

De-Luxe – Lush (from the Mad Love EP)

I didn’t think I was going to be able to salvage any new entries from the chaert of 10 March until my eyes got all the way down to #55. The debut EP disappeared as quickly as it had come in as would be the case throughout Lush’s career. Eight times they made the Top 75, not once did any of the singles stay longer than three weeks – even the big hits from the mid-90s which developed the habit of coming in high on the week of release (Single Girl : #21, Ladykillers : #22, 500 (Shake Baby Shake): #21) before crashing and burning.

Strawberry Fields Forever – Candy Flip

One–hit wonders with this debut effort, with the follow-up stalling at #60 and two further efforts not cracking the Top 75. In at #18 on 17 March and it eventually got as high as #3. The duo of by Danny Spencer (vocals, keyboards) and Ric Peet (keyboards) named themselves after candyflipping, the name given to the taking of ecstasy and LSD at the same time. It’s no surprise that they turned their attention to a rave/acid house take on the Beatles song

Made of Stone – The Stone Roses

The cash-in continues. At least Elephant Stone hadn’t been on the debut album so there perhaps were legitimate reasons for its re-issue so that folk could own and enjoy it.  Made of Stone had bombed exactly 12 months later with a placement of #90. This time around, it came in on 17 March at #20, which proved to be its peak as it dropped down immediately.  Silvertone Records weren’t quite finished mind you…..

This Is How It Feels – Inspiral Carpets

Having been linked into the Manchester/baggy movement, it was no real surprise that Inspiral Carpets were next to come off the conveyer belt as far as the charts were concerned. This Is How It Feels is an almighty piece of music, one that I featured just yesterday on the songs as short stories series. It’s a disgrace that the sentiments from the song are just as applicable today as they were 30 years ago. Entered the charts at #22, got up to #14 a couple of weeks later and was only ever bettered, performance-wise, by Dragging Me Down two years later.

Chime – Orbital

Further evidence that dance music from the clubs and the fields where the raves were happening was crossing over into the mainstream. Orbital, consisting of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, took their name from the M25, the orbital motorway that circles Greater London and which was central to the rave scene and party network in the South East of England during the early days of acid house. Chime was the debut single and its appearance in the charts, initially at #28 on 24 March led to an invite to appear on Top of The Pops during which the brothers wore t-shirts making a protest about the impending introduction of the Poll Tax in England, a measure that had, on its earlier introduction in Scotland, created civil unrest, as it would also do in England later that very same week of the TOTP appearance (the director avoided any close-up shots of the brothers, concentrating instead on the audience….the single climbed to #17 the following week)

Orbital would prove to be one of the biggest, most important and influential dance acts to emerge out of the UK at any point in history – but that’s really for friends of this blog to highlight rather than me.

Your Love Takes Me Higher – The Beloved

The success of Hello, as covered in the first entry of this series, led to the label opting for a re-release of a single that had flopped in February 1990. An absolute belter of a track, one that found favour with the ravers and the indie-kids alike in terms of dancing, it didn’t transfer to sales as it came in at #40 on 24 March, going up one place the next week and then disappearing.

Pictures Of You – The Cure

The 18th successive single to go Top 50; there would be a further eight such successes before the release of Gone, which stalled at #60 just before Xmas 1996. It’s actually quite astonishing that Pictures Of You charted as well as it did, coming in at #28 on 31 March and inching its way up to #24 a couple of weeks later as it had been around for the best part of 12 months as a track on the Disintegration LP. Fans of The Cure again demonstrating brand loyalty, and even today the second hand market for many of their singles is a healthy one in terms of the price they fetch.

She Bangs The Drums – The Stone Roses

First released in July 89 when it made #36, a fairly decent showing for an underground band with no track record of success, Silvertone decided to re-issue She Bangs The Drums just two weeks after the re-release of Made of Stone. It meant that the chart of the final week of March 1990 had two Stone Roses 45s inside the Top 50. World domination beckoned, didn’t it?

Cobra Bora (Call The Cops Mix) – 808 State (from The Extended Pleasure of Dance EP)

Between November 1989 and March 1991, 808 State would release six singles/EPs, all of which, with the exception of The Extended Pleasure of Dance EP, went Top 10. I’d love to have been able to give you a reason but I can, in all honesty, say that I didn’t even know this EP existed until typing these words out. When I later go and track down a copy, it’ll be the first time I’ll have ever heard it.

Hope some of these bring back good memories.

JC
(aged 56 years and 9 months)

 

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (2)

The second month of the new feature. Many thanks to those of you who commented last time out and for joining in with the fun by revealing your own ages.

As I mentioned previously, 30 years no longer feels like a long time ago, although back in 1990 it was impossible to not think of 1960 as being anything other than ancient history. The top of the singles chart in February 1990 was dominated by Sinead O’Connor and it was heart-warming to read there remains a great deal of affection for Nothing Compares 2 U, notwithstanding it becoming one of those songs that suffered from over-exposure at the time, and as FFF deftly pointed out, has subsequently been lost to revisionist wankery by nonentity talking-heads.

Of the hits that first entered the charts in February 1990, none have proven to quite have any similar longevity, although there is a more than decent track that later went all the way to the #1 slot and is still wheeled out for consideration by the sorts of talking-heads whom FFF called out previously, but this time in terms of ‘guess what he did next’ sort of way. I’ll get to that in due course……let’s start things off with an indie classic:-

Shine On – House of Love

Three years after it had been released on Creation Records to critical acclaim and commercial failure, a new version of Shine On was recorded and released on Fontana Records. It was A-listed on Radio 1 and crashed into the charts at #22 on 3 February 1990, providing The House of Love with, by far, their biggest hit. It climbed two places and thus ensured the label, could boast of having a Top 20 band on its rota. Still sounds great all these years later doesn’t it?

Sleep With Me – Birdland

A high number of music-paper championed bands enjoyed a modicum of success in 1990. A lot of this could be linked back to 1989 when the likes of Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and James burst onto the mainstream after years of being restricted to small, often derogatory coverage in NME/Melody Maker/Sounds/Record Mirror and nobody wanted to be accused of missing the boat this time around.

Birdland were very much a music papers band to begin with and a couple of singles in early ’89 had brushed the outer edges of the charts. Out of nowhere, Sleep With Me was played on daytime Radio 1 as well as being championed on the early evening shows, leading to it selling enough copies to enter the chart at #32 on 3 February, only to drop out of the Top 40 the following week. It remains the only time the band got mentioned in the weekly rundown on Top of The Pops.

Probably A Robbery – Renegade Soundwave

Another of the bands that had been championed by the music papers. The difference between this and the Birdland 45 was that Probably A Robbery entered the charts on 3 February at #48 and actually climbed a few places and hung around for a bit, eventually reaching a peak of #38 three weeks later. There’ll be a few of you out there who danced a lot to Renegade Soundwave, but I have to admit to knowing next to nothing beyond this hit, which itself was mentioned on the old blog back in 2008 and repeated in 2016, thanks to my old friend ctel (aka acidted).

No Blue Skies – Lloyd Cole

Lloyd Cole had pulled the plug on The Commotions with ambitions to make it big as a solo artist. His record label, Polydor, believed in him too, making a fairly decent sized recording budget available for the debut album which was recorded in New York. The sound was a huge departure from the indie-pop of his old band, offering a harder more rock-orientated edge to go with the all-knowing lyrics to which we had become accustomed, but it didn’t go down well with the record buying public. No Blue Skies limped in at #64 on 3 February and thanks to a bit of intensive marketing and some airplay, climbed to #42 the following week before it began a rapid descent. A huge disappointment for all concerned, and it would take until 1995 before any solo LC songs bothered the Top 40….and even that proved to be a one-off.

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

This entered the chart at #15 on 10 February 1990. It went to #3 the following week, then up to #2 and finally to #1 at the beginning of March, taking over from Sinead O’Connor. It spent four weeks at the top and didn’t drop out of the Top 40 until the month of May.

The samples include Just Be Good To Me by the SOS Band, The Guns of Brixton by The Clash, Once Upon a Time in The West by Ennio Morricone, and Jam Hot by Johnny Dynell. Lead singer Lindy Layton would enjoy a solo chart hit later in the year with a cover of the lovers-rock classic Silly Games. Composer and mixer Norman Cook became very rich and very famous in subsequent years.

Bikini Girls With Machine Guns – The Cramps

I had to shut my eyes and open them again as I thought I was seeing things. And I still can’t believe that The Cramps had a single which went Top 40 in the UK. A full eleven years after they had become the second live act I’d ever seen in my life, they could have appeared on Top of The Pops after Bikini Girls entered the charts on 10 February at #35. If only……………………………..

This soon dropped down the charts and disappeared altogether after three weeks. The Cramps hadn’t cracked the Top 75 previously and wouldn’t do so again.

Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode have been hugely popular and successful for decades, but for the most part I’ve struggled to see the attraction. I enjoyed the disposable electro-pop of some of the early singles and a few of the later 45s have been passable, but I don’t have any vinyl or CDs in what is an extensive collection in Villain Towers. I don’t think that makes me a bad person but some of you may violently disagree.

Enjoy The Silence entered the charts at #17 on 17 February and was the band’s 17th single to make the Top 40. I was hoping that I could add they would have a further 17 singles do the same to create a perfect bit of symmetry, but the fact is they would enjoy 18 more Top 20 hits, the last being Martyr in November 2006.

Brassneck – The Wedding Present

In at #24 on 17 February and featured extensively just a couple of weeks ago on the blog including the legendary Top of the Pops appearance that saw the song plummet out of the charts the following week.

96 Tears – The Stranglers

Got to be honest and say that I couldn’t recall this one which came into the charts at #31 on 17 February and in climbing to #17 the following week would give The Stranglers their 12th Top 20 hit. Yes, it’s a cover of the 60s cult classic of by ? and the Mysterians and it would prove to be the final time The Stranglers enjoyed such mainstream success….coinciding with the departure of Hugh Cornwell.

Talking With Myself – Electribe 101

In at #33 on 24 February. It climbed to #23 the following week. I know next to nothing about house music, so please feel free to fill in the gaps via the comments section. All I do know is that this, like The House of Love song which opened up this posting, was the re-release of an earlier flop single from the late 80s. Oh, and there’s a connection with Depeche Mode as Electribe 101 provided support on a 38-date European tour from September – November 1990….an experience that proved to be less than a stellar one.

Tune in next month for a look back at March 1990.

JC
(aged 56 years and 8 months)

PS : Posted today to enable SC from Florida to drop in and say he is 54 years exactly.  Happy birthday bro.

THE BEST OF SWEDISH MUSIC IN 2019

A GUEST POSTING by MARTIN ELLIOT

Happy New Year! I have again tried to summarize the best of Swedish music from last year, though I have to admit 2019 won’t go down in history as the best vintage but I put together something like a 5 track sampler 12″. My personal favourite is the closing track by Honungsvägen (Honey Road) from their eponymous debut album – by far the best Swedish album from 2019, unfortunately for most of the TVV crew in Swedish.

A. Electronic side:

A1. Red Mecca – Centrum

Red Mecca is the keyboard player from 80’s post-punk outfit Brända Barn (Burned Children) with a female voice having turned electronic in his “old” days. Maybe not revolutionary considering he played keyboard already back then, but with Red Mecca he’s gone fully electronic. At a gig last year they were joined on stage by the former singer of Brända Barn and together they made a version of their own classic “Centrum”. With the great response they decided to record it properly in the studio. Originally released in 1983, this version provides a darkwave update to a lyric sadly still valid on murky right-wing nationalism.

A2. ionnalee – Some Body

ionnalee was represented also last year and in a productive flow she released another album in 2019. Remember The Future has trademark sound, great track here – however her creative rush combined with a world tour took its toll and she now suffers from exhaustion.

AA. Alternative side:

AA1. The Polaroids – Getting By

They have Velvet Underground high on their list of influences, which is probably more predominant live than in the studio but speaks of high aspirations. The album sounds maybe more like Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand or something in that vein. Their debut “Whatever Makes A Profit” is 30 minutes energy and well worth checking out.

AA2. Delagoon – Shimmering (feat. Groovy Rickz)

True indie/punk style they flew high on several music blogs around the world (or at least around europe), recorded a great album and disbanded all in a matter of a year having played around small clubs in Stockholm way below any attention for a couple of years before. Being the pop-iest track on the album this has hit potential and is a good door opener.

AA3. Honungsvägen – Kroppen Din Och Hjärtat Mitt

A bit of a northern Sweden indie super group, especially when you consider the people around the group itself contributing with song writing, playing on a track, mixing – you get the picture. The back cover printing is almost a “who is who” in (northern) Swedish indie – and with the very distinct brittle (in search for a better word) sound of groups like The Wannadies, Hello Saferide and the likes. A beautiful song of a lover lost. This suffers a bit for non-Swedish speakers, hopefully you can enjoy anyway.

Bonus track: Brända Barn – Centrum (1983)

All the best!
Martin

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON

A new feature. It may prove temporary, but I’ve a feeling I’ll get 12 postings out of it.

It’s partly inspired by reading somewhere that anyone who was born back in 1990 is now just as close to the year 2050 as they are to the year of their birth.

Back in the late 70s and 80s when I was beginning to immerse myself in music, the sounds and songs of three decades earlier seemed totally alien and of no interest to me. But these days, thirty years doesn’t feel all that long a time period with many songs from three decades ago still very much an essential part of listening lists, often inspiring memories of happenings, events and gigs that were life-changing (it’s no coincidence that 1990 was the year that myself and Rachel moved in together).

Each month, I’m going to have a casual look back at the songs that hit the UK charts 30 years ago; it’s not going to about sneering at some of the awful pap that reached the top end of the charts, nor is it going to highlight a singer or band scraping into the lower echelons of the Top 75 for a week and then doing nothing else during their career, but it will make mention of minor hits by major bands.

The introduction to the series will be something of a slow burner as record companies have always tended not to push out too much in the way of new singles in the month of January, preferring to let the Xmas market fade away slowly. There were some great singles kicking around in the charts in January 1990, but almost all of them had been released the previous year. Here’s some, however, that did break through during the month in question:-

Welcome To The Terrordome – Public Enemy

Entered the charts on 20 January at #26, reaching its peak of #18 just a week later.

Public Enemy were very much at their peak in terms of awareness, including here in the UK, on the back of two hit albums, sell-out tours and supplying music for Do The Right Thing, a critically acclaimed and commercially popular film by Spike Lee. Some of the wider awareness, however, was to what had happened in mid-1989 when the band had seemingly broken-up and then re-formed, all related to them having to respond to Professor Griff making inflammatory anti-Semitic comments during an interview with the Washington Post.

Welcome to The Terrordome was the band’s first new piece of music since the row. It was a response to the turmoil that had engulfed them, with Chuck D hitting out hard, reminding the world just how often the black community had been victimised throughout history. I don’t recall this 45 getting played much on radio at the time, and it is quite remarkable to realise it went Top 20.

Boing.

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Entered the charts on 20 January at #30. Climbed to #3 the following week and then spent four weeks at #1, before finally dropping out of the Top 40 in April.

One of the best known cover versions of all time, and one of the best examples of a promotional video boosting sales. A song in which sadness and anger are conveyed in equal measures, it propelled Sinead O’Conner from cult to mainstream status, something which subsequent events proved she was not fully prepared for. It is reckoned that  3.5 million copies of the single were sold in 1990 and it reached #1 in more than 20 countries. See that thing I mentioned earlier about inspiring life-changing memories? This was hanging around the charts as myself and Rachel braved up to deal with the domestic fall-outs from both of us leaving someone else for one another…….

Hello – The Beloved

Entered the charts on 27 January at #44; it would enjoy a seven-week stay, peaking at #19 in mid-February.

A superb and mellow dance-track in which a shout-out is given to some friends of The Beloved, as well as a number of famous people, some of who were fictional. Jeffrey Archer (politician and novelist), Fred Astaire (actor and dancer), Bobby Ball (comedian), Charlie Brown (cartoon character), Tommy Cannon (comedian), Billy Corkhill (soap opera character), Leslie Crowther (TV presenter), “Freddie” Flintstone (cartoon character), Paris Grey (singer), Brian Hayes (broadcaster), Vince Hilaire (footballer), Barry Humphries (comedian), The LSO (orchestra), Kym Mazelle (singer), Mork and Mindy (TV characters), Little Nell (character in a novel) Friedrich Nietzsche (philosopher), Charlie Parker (musician), André Previn (musical conductor), Little Richard (musician), Salman Rushdie (author) Jean-Paul Sartre (philosopher), Mary Wilson, Di and Flo (The Supremes), William Tell (Swiss folk hero), Sir Bufton Tufton (fictional character in a satirical magazine), Desmond Tutu (religious leader), Willy Wonka (character in a novel), Zippy and Bungle (TV characters).

The references to Peter and Paul are in respect of apostles and gospel writers; Chris and Do are friends of the band while Steve and Claire was a reference to guitarist Steve Waddington and his then girlfriend.

Hello was also given countless remix versions, some of which still sound great while others have date badly.

Telephone Thing – The Fall

Entered the charts on 27 January at #58. Dropped out of sight the following week

The first non-cover version to get into the Top 75. The previous year had been a horrific one for Mark E Smith – Brix had left him, his dad had passed away and he’d been dropped by Beggars Banquet, the label that had seemingly been the one to finally understand how to get the best out of him in terms of commercial success. It was a huge surprise that 1990 got off to a bang with a single recorded with Coldcut, a duo of English electronica producers who had enjoyed chart success previously with the likes of Yazz and Lisa Stansfield. The lyrics were written on the back of MES believing he had evidence his phone was being tapped.

Ride – Chelsea Girl (from Ride EP)

Entered the charts on 27 January at #72. Went up one place the following week and then fell back down again

Their first official release by Ride, issued by Creation Records. I’ll admit to it totally passing me at the time. Indeed, I’ll go further by admitting that I never bought anything by Ride at the time they emerged. Shoegaze was never quite my scene.

I’m thinking that reading all of this today might make a few of you feel quite old.

JC
(aged 56 years and 7 months)

ROCKAWAY BEACH : A BOUTIQUE INDOOR MUSIC FESTIVAL

A GUEST POSTING by STEVE McLEAN

Righttttt! So let’s say this upfront! This wasn’t a Butlin’s ‘themed weekend’ populated with tributes acts, Sonja and one member of Five Star pretending to be Five Star. This was a bona fide curated music festival, we know that because there was loads of posters saying so.

Piss taking aside, it WAS FUCKING BOSS! I’m not kidding, I had a better time there than I’ve had at any music festival since my teens. If I have one complaint, there wasn’t enough ‘Butlinsy’ type stuff. A lot was closed down for the winter. Shame!

We (myself and my pal Tom) got there after kick off, meaning we missed Bellatrix and a few others but it’s not all bad as we were given a chalet bigger than we were expected. You know you’ve hit your 40s when you get excited about having a spare room that no one will sleep in.

So the first thing we took in was John Cale chatting about his life. I say chatting about his life, he tells stories like Grandpa Simpson, there was one where he caught the bus to Shelbyville with an onion on his belt (which was the style at the time). It was kinda endearing. John Robb did a good job of livening things up a tad. Look man, when John Cale speaks, you listen, even if he’s doing his best Stanley Unwin.

The first music act we saw was also John Cale. We didn’t really have our shit together, so we had a double Cale first day. It’s cool though, I’ve seen Cale around half a dozen times and Paris 1919 shows aside, I’ve never heard so many Cale classics in one sitting. It’s a pity not one of them sounded like they did on the records. That’s the beauty of Cale, not one fuck was given by him. He must have seen Bob Dylan and thought ‘I’ll have some of that’. It was fucking fab in places though and a bit patience testing wank in others. We didn’t need a spoken word / ambient version of Half Past France, but it was great to hear Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night back in the setlist.

Someone shouted out for Hallelujah and then someone else shouted out ‘wanker’, I think it was a response to the first shout out, rather than an attack on JC. (editor’s note…..it wasn’t an attack on me either!!)

He opened with Helen of Troy which is in my top 10 Cale tunes and while a roaring version of Waiting For The Man predictably got the biggest cheer. Villa Albani was the only song I’d not heard him do live before, so that to me was a special treat.

mp3 : John Cale – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
mp3 : John Cale – Villa Albani

After Cale we headed off to the chalet as we were pretty knackered after the traveling and such. We stopped by Burger King, which was open until 3am, for fuck sake. THREE AYE EMM!

Saturday kick off, all you can eat breakfast. That’s where we made our money back. I’ll be surprised if they do a buffet again next year as I think we took them to the cleaners in hashbrowns alone. After about an hour we went to the swimming pool. The pool was only open for about 4 hours on one day. That fucking sucks man, plus we didn’t find out until afterwards…. basically we’d have gone earlier and stayed later if we’d known. Those flumes are the balls.

Music wise, we kept our powder dry until Peter Perrett. We’d seen a bit of his talk and if I’m honest it was like watching a model made by the Jim Henson creature shot. Wanna feel old? Peter Perrett is what the robot Lou Reed from No Money Down looks like now

But Jesus, he fucking nailed it. His band were tight AF and cool AF and rocking AF and just AF. Peter is still the teller of stories rather than the singer of songs. I didn’t recognise much of the material as most of it was culled from his solo albums that I’ve heard but not digested. Surely the sign of a great act and great songs is when you’re hooked without knowing a note? He rewarded the non-fans with Another Girl, Another Planet and a rollicking cover of the Velvets What Goes On, but he didn’t need to. He had the songs to leave without the fan service. Baby Don’t Talk from his 1990s outing The One was a nice opener while War Plan Red and An Epic Story are up there with his classics.

mp3 : Peter Perret & The One – Baby Don’t Talk
mp3 : Peter Perret – An Epic Story

We went off to watch some footy on the big screen and play some pool. The pool got quite contentious but the final score was 3 to Steve and 2 to Tom. It’s not my fault he loves potting the black. I tried my best to lose to him, I really did. Then more food. I mean fucking loads. We went to the American style diner. I had a cheeseburger, topped with a chicken burger and some bacon. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking ‘Steve you earned that burger topped burger after all your swimming’ Damn straight.

We got back in time for the The Nova Twins, they had come highly recommended so we were eager. They were okay I guess, but I didn’t click with them. That said, the crowd fucking loved them and I was in a food coma. so I might not the best person to ask. They looked lively. The tune Vortex is a banger.

After that it was the Jesus and Mary Chain. One of the main reasons I’d come was for JAMC. I love my bands when they have dry ice and strobes so you can’t see how badly they’ve aged. Nice one lads, you should have seen the rest of us, not a proper hair line among the crowd although many of us were convinced that our skinny jeans still fit (imagine the buzzer noise from Family Fortunes here)

A crowd pleasing set followed, April Skies, Just Like Honey, Candy Talking, Head On etc etc.. they also played a couple of newer songs – Amputation stands out as a clear winner although they didn’t play my favourite song, Snakedriver, so in their own vernacular they can get tae fuk.

mp3 : The Jesus and Marcy Chain – Amputation

After that we opted again for Burger King and back to the chalet. The other option was listening to Steve Lamacq playing some records and I’d spent hours in the 1990s doing that. I can’t imagine he’s improved.

Sunday! Bloody Sunday! More breakfast! The good thing about a buffet at breakfast is the amount of melon I eat. I never eat melon after a fry up in real life. It was practically a health spa weekend. Seriously, melon for breakfast, like I’m Meghan Markel or something!

After breakfast we went for a walk along the beach. We saw a seagull the size of a fucking bouncer. Hard bastard he was, instead of stealing chips, he was nicking B&H out of ten year old’s mouths.

There was more pool after the beach, some would say that Tom won because a 5 – nil drubbing meant he was ahead 7-3 but those people would be wrong as it was clearly a two legged affair where goal difference doesn’t count. The ‘final’ was decided Tom potted the black. Sorry man, I *don’t* make the ”rules”.

Music wise, Sunday had a lot to offer. True to form we dicked around too long so the first band we saw was Brix and Extricated. It was curio for me as I was only ever ‘okay’ with The Fall . The best songs they played were Fall songs. The stand out was Glam Racket , from 1992 which was co-written by guitarist Steve Hanley. You have the feeling that this band consider themselves a sequel to The Fall.

Brix was followed by The Wedding Present. The Weddoes were another reason for me being here. I have loved them in most of the forms they have taken. I am more of a Bizarro fan than Seamonsters or George Best and I was well served with Brassneck, Kennedy and What Have I Said Now. There was enough classics and enough ‘new stuff’ to keep everyone happy. For new stuff read post 2004 reunion. My fave WP song is Montreal which they didn’t play. I am more forgiving than I am of JAMC because of all the Bizarro stuff. Gedge introduced the band as an Indie supergroup as they have the drummer from My Life Story and the guitarist from Sleeper. To paraphrase Ross’s girlfriend from Friends; Playing it fast and loose with the word super, there.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Kennedy

Closing band of the weekend were Fontaines DC. or The Fontaines as everyone seemed to be calling them. I’d not encountered them before, but alarm bells rang when my friend Ian mentioned that they were like Oasis crossed with the Pogues. If only it was the other way around, Ian.. If only.

Look, I know I’m a contrarian. My favourite Byrds album is Byrdmaniax, I think Squeeze is a legitimate part of the VU discography and Greedo shot first (that last one is bollocks, but my back is up). Seriously, I’m not on board with these guys. Tom (who has more of an open mind than me when it comes to not pre-judging) looked at me with a face that said MEH and I thought he was being generous. It was like every student uni band that you ever saw. I can only assume that people are enjoying them because new bands are so insipid that anyone offering a slight element of danger seems like The Stooges. Sorry guys. BUT! Look on the bright side, I’m in my 40s, you don’t fucking want me in your fan base… all of those people who were there getting into you who were also in their 40s were taking some real cool points off you though. Soz.  (editor’s note……I disagree with the our reviewer’s take on Fontaines DC…Santa was kind enough to bring me the debut album….and they will be getting a further mention on this blog in a couple of days time)

And that was that. We skipped Burger King (I’m lying here, for effect.. we had double Burger King because we knew it’d be our last… Take that colon!) Then breakfast again and then nothing. Fuck. Well not completely nothing, we got back to the chalet and the radio was playing Five Star! Proper Five Star with all the members intact. WOO HOO!

To sum up – It’s fucking rubbish not living in Butlins, they have a little shop that charges three quid for a diet coke. That’s an amazing mark up. A few years ago I was offered a job with Pontins and I’ve sent them an email to see if it’s still going. Oh and I’ve booked Rockaway Beach for next year. Bands, burger king, amusements, swimming, pool, grabby machines and rambling old men.

Rockaway Bi-atches!

STEVE

JC adds……

I’ve known Steve a good number of years, initailly through our collective love for Butcher Boy.  He was kind enough to allow me to use his FB thoughts on a Sgt Pepper tribute album for a posting last year and I was delighted when he said yes when I asked if he fancied penning a review of Rockaway Beach 2020.  Here’s hoping he feels like contributing more stuff over the coming months.