THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (9)

Sunday 2 September 1990.  It’s a day when the music sitting atof the top of the charts, along with the various new entries into the Top 75, exemplifies the weirdness of that particular year. It’s worth listing the Top 20 in full, especially as none of the songs were new entries

1. ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY YELLOW POLKA DOT BIKINI – BOMBALURINA
2. FOUR BACHARACH AND DAVID SONGS (EP) – DEACON BLUE
3. WHERE ARE YOU BABY? – BETTY BOO
4. GROOVE IS IN THE HEART – DEEE-LITE
5. TONIGHT – NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
6. THE JOKER – THE STEVE MILLER BAND
7. WHAT TIME IS LOVE? – KLF
8. NAKED IN THE RAIN – BLUE PEARL
9. RHYTHM OF THE RAIN – JASON DONOVAN
10. PRAYING FOR TIME – GEORGE MICHAEL
11. CAN CAN YOU PARTY – JIVE BUNNY AND THE MASTERMIXERS
12. SILHOUETTES – CLIFF RICHARD
13. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART – ROXETTE
14. VISION OF LOVE – MARIAH CAREY
15. TOM’S DINER – DNA FEATURING SUZANNE VEGA
16. TURTLE POWER – PARTNERS IN KRYME
17. I’M FREE – SOUP DRAGONS FEATURING JUNIOR REID
18. U CAN’T TOUCH THIS – MC HAMMER
19. END OF THE WORLD – SONIA
20. KING OF WISHFUL THINKING – GO WEST

It would have made for fairly depressing listening as the DJ in question revealed the latest rundown on BBC Radio 1 from 5pm onwards, with the Top 20 played in its entirety, prior to which any new entries into the Top 40 and significant movers would also be aired, all of which would have meant a very rare peak time radio play for one of the UK’s biggest cult acts, for coming in at #34 was this:-

Get Me Out – New Model Army

NMA had been around for ten years, and with them constantly switching the type of music they were recording and performing, they had been impossible for the critics to pin down into a particular genre. They are still on the go some thirty years on and causing the same grief! From the outset, they had attracted a highly dedicated fan following which having eventually morphed into ‘The Family’ whose numbers ensured the band would be guaranteed the live shows would always be successful, albeit this didn’t always transfer into huge sales on vinyl/CD. Get Me Out was their tenth successive single to make the Top 75, and like the others, it would come into the charts somewhere in the region of 31-50 before immediately dropping out, all down to ‘The Family’ making the initial purposes.

And that, unless there is a guest posting, will likely be the only mention of New Model Army on the blog (albeit they will get a further mention in this series in a couple of months time).

There were some other interesting entries in the chart this week, from acts that are no strangers to the pages of TVV.

Iceblink Luck – Cocteau Twins (#39)
Rollercoaster – The Jesus and Mary Chain (#46)
White Lightning – The Fall (#56)

Cocteau Twins would hang around that position in the charts for another couple of weeks but the other two dropped out almost immediately. I don’t think either song would have given mainstream exposure. Worth mentioning in passing the next again JAMC single, released in February 1992, would be Reverance. And in reaching #10 would give the band its biggest ever success in terms of a single. Oh, and yet again it’s a cover that brings a bit of chart success the way of The Fall.

The other new entries came courtesy of Adamski (The Space Jungle – #23), Caron Wheeler (Livin’ In The Light – #29), Janet Jackson (Black Cat – #32), Faith No More (Epic (1990 re-release) – #35), Quireboys (There She Goes Again – #51), Dan Reed Network (Lover – #52), Grand Plaz (Wow Wow, Na Na – #58) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Higher Ground (1990 re-release) – #59).

Down at the lower end of the new entries were a couple of bangers, included here as I know at least a couple of regular readers will remember them

Hard Up – Awesome 3 (#64)
Dance Dance – Deskee (#74)

In acknowledgment of the fact you’ve been asked to spend a lot of time getting this far, I’m going to have a race through each of the remaining four charts in September 1990. There’s also the fact that the latter part of the month has a lot of singles of great interest…….

September 9: New Entries

Suicide Blonde – Inxs (#16)
Show Me Heaven – Maria McKee (#26)
Nothing To Lose – S’Express (#40)
Empty World- Dogs D’Amour (#63)
Way Down Now – World Party (#66)
Summer In Siam – The Pogues (#67)
You Don’t Love Me – Jagged Edge (#71)
Greenbank Drive – The Christians (#72)
Pain Killer – Judas Priest (#74)

I’ll mention in passing that those of us who had seen or listened to Lone Justice in previous years quite stunned but secretly pleased that Maria McKee was finally coming to the attention of a wider public. Just a pity it proved to be a one-off with a song whose video was packed with scenes from the latest Tom Cruise blockbuster.

Many of the other new entries this week reflect what I had been mentioning a few months back in that the music of the clubs and fields was moving into the mainstream

Tunes Splits The Atom – MC Tunes vs 808 State (#44)
Burundi Blues – Beats International (#56)
Sunrise – Movement 98 (#62)

The first of these would eventually go Top 20.

The Stone Roses also made a re-appearance in the charts at #32 with Fool’s Gold, just seven months after it had previously dropped out of the charts, albeit the radio stations were now spinning the other side of the single, What The World Is Waiting For.

The final mention for 9 September goes to this:-

Timeless Melody – The La’s

It had been two years since There She Goes had been released, and it was a period when The La’s were being talked up as the next great British indie-guitar bands. It would transpire that the intervening period had seen singer/songwriter Lee Mavers recording and re-recording their intended debut album, with a constantly changing band line-up and all sorts of would-be producers coming and going. Timeless Melody was the first of the new material and rather worryingly for all concerned, #57 was as high as it got. Things would, however, improve, before the year was out.

September 16: New Entries

Holy Smoke – Iron Maiden (#3)
Thunderstruck – AC/DC (#16)

Yup, the heavy metal brigade were out in force this week with the two highest new entries. Further down the charts, there was a smattering of pop hits from Monie Love (It’s A Shame – #35), River City People (What’s Wrong With Dreaming – #40), Bell Biv Devoe (Do Me! – #56) and Sinitta (Love and Affection – #62)

For the most part, however, a mix of indie and dance was showing the way:-

Then – The Charlatans (#19)
Cult of Snap! – Snap! (#21)
I Can’t Stand It – Twenty4Seven feat. Captain Hollywood (#28)
Make It Mine – The Shamen (#42)
Rock and Roll Nigger – Birdland (#47)
Omen – Orbital (#52)
You’re Walking – Electribe 101 (#54)

I’m guessing the Birdland cover would get into a spot of bother these days……but then again, Patti Smith does seem to get a free pass over such things.

September 23: New Entries

This was the week that Maria McKee began a four-week stay at the top of the charts, by which time Lone Justice fans were hiding away copies of the old albums….

The power of the gogglebox can be demonstrated by the fact that a new entry this week, at #16 (but it would eventually reach #2!!!) was Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton.  I had assumed it had something to do with it soundtracking the David Lynch film of the same name, but that was a 1986 release.  Instead, it had been used as the music for an advert for face cream and there had been enough public demand for it to be re-released and become a hit, a full 37 years on.  Its things like this that make me wish we had the American approach to singles in that they really don’t matter (but then again, my cupboard full of vinyl would be quite sparse).

The metal boys were still having a field day with Megadeath (Holy Wars….The Punishment Due – #24), Thunder – She’s So Fine (#38) and Slaughter (Coming Back For More #62).  There were also a fair number of new pop hits, far too many to mention even in passing, so it’s straight to the indie/dance/established alternative efforts

Never Enough – The Cure (#15)
World In My Eyes – Depeche Mode (#28)
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – The Wedding Present (#29)
Dreams Burn Down – Ride (#34)
Heaven (1990 version) – The Chimes (#36)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Neneh Cherry (#45)

The Wedding Present and Ride tracks were songs from the Three EP and the Fall EP respectively. It also led to a rare appearance on Top of The Pops for Gedge & co. Neneh Cherry‘s excellent single was the taster for the album Red Hot + Blue, a compilation album on which a wide range of contemporary singers and bands offered up their take on songs written by Cole Porter. The album would go on to sell more than a million copies worldwide and raise substantial sums for the Red Hot Organisation, a charity that had been established to fight AIDS.

September 30: New Entries

Yup…. a five week month (but look on the bright side, each of October and November will have just four weeks). It was also a quieter week for new entries, helped by the fact that none of the metal bands chose to release any singles!

The highest new entry belonged to a duo whose impending new album was their first new material in two years, having dominated the UK charts in the second half of the 80s

So Hard – Pet Shop Boys (#4)

Elsewhere, chart regulars such as Technotronic (Megamix – #12), MC Hammer (Have You Seen Her – #15), Mica Paris (Contribution – #43), Phil Collins (Hang In Long Enough – #47), Paul Simon (The Obvious Child – #61) and Paul Young (Heaven Can Wait – #72) were polluting the atmosphere.

A few others to mention.

A Little Time – The Beautiful South (#30)

Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway had caught a few folk by surprise with the change of direction after the break-up of The Housemartins, enjoying three hit singles and a #1 debut album in 1989. The first of the new material quietly entered the charts at #30 and two weeks later it was at #1.

Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones (#37)
Good Morning Britain – Aztec Camera feat Mick Jones (#52)

Two songs that would become staples of the ‘indie’ compilations that would flood the shops as the decade wore on.

And that concludes a bumper edition of this series, with 27 songs on offer, most of which had to be sought from outside the collection.  It took a fair bit of time and I’m glad this particular project is nearing an end.

JC
(aged 57 years and 3 months)

 

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (8)

I’m still battered and bruised from the kicking I got last month when I dismissed the merits of a number of songs, and in particular Hardcore Uproar by Together, which came into the charts at #24 in the last week of July 1990.  As Drew so succinctly put it,

“HU has stood the test of time…(and it is) a signpost in the direction that music was taking; fuck your guitars – 808s and 303s are where the fun lies”

Now, to be fair, I did indicate that the UK singles charts would begin to increasingly reflect what was going on out there in the fields but given that I never once set foot in one, nor for that matter in any clubs where the dance music explosion was happening, then this nostalgic look back will still concentrate on the areas where the fun didn’t lie, for the simple reason that I won’t be familiar with many of the new entry singles.  But I’ll refrain from ever suggesting that they should be passed over.  And, now that we’ve got that pathetic attempt at an apology and excuse out of the way, here’s a look at some of the singles which entered the charts in August 1990.

I always have a look at what held down the #1 spot in any given month as it offers up an indication of the overall tastes of the great British public.  July and ended with a tune called Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme sitting at the top of the pile where it would remain for the first two charts of August.  But just in case you thought this was the nadir of the year…..it would be replaced by Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Bombalurina, continuing the historical trend of the summer months providing the most horrific of novelty #1s.  This one, however, was particularly horrific…….

The new entries for the chart of 5 August were quite low key….some stinkers from the likes of Roxette, Sting, Wet Wet Wet, and Tina Turner were all that could be found in the new Top 50 along with these two:-

What Time Is Love? – KLF (#34)
Where Are You Baby? – Betty Boo (#35)

KLF had, under the guise of The Timelords, enjoyed a #1 with Doctorin’ The Tardis in 1988, and indeed the follow-up to that track had been the original trance version of What Time Is Love?. The new version was subtitled “Live at Trancentral”, the first of what would become a trilogy of upbeat house songs that would make superstars of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, before the trail of destruction that would accompany their demise after the Brit Awards acknowledged their success. This particular single would spend more than three months in the chart, peaking at #5.

Where Are You Baby? was the second big hit of the year for 20-year old Alison Clarkson, aka Betty Boo, following on from Doing The Do which was mentioned in the May 2020 edition of this feature. This one went all the way to #3 in due course and remains the most successful single that she would release.

Only one other song from the new entries this week is worth highlighting in that it provided a very minor hit for one the co-vocalists in Propaganda, who had enjoyed some hits a few years previous when they were on ZTT Records alongside Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Absolut(e) – Clauia Brucken

It came in at #71 and dropped back out again. And it shouldn’t be confused with the song of a similar name by Scritti Politti as recently featured.

August is traditionally a quietish month for new releases as most folk in England go off on holiday at that time and sales do tend to drop off. Creation Records, however, weren’t for holding back, especially when they had something on their hands that would provide both the perfect follow-up to Loaded and the song that would capture much of the mood of what was happening out in the fields

Come Together – Primal Scream

Of course, the extended versions are far superior, but this is the version that got daytime radio play and helped generate the sales that saw it come into charts at #26 on 12 August.

Slightly further down, a new hip-hop act from America was enjoying the first taste of chart success in the UK

Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest

Over the years, there has been more critical acclaim than sales for Tribe, with this #47 entry (which proved to be its highest position) just one of five hit singles during the decade, the biggest of which would be Can I Kick It?, in 1991.

Perhaps the most interesting of the new entries this week sneaked it at #60, from where it would go on to enjoy a 13-week stay, including two successive weeks at #2:-

Groove Is In The Heart – Dee-Lite

A close cousin to Betty Boo, this was the sort of dance music with a pop touch that was proving to be popular with much of the record-buying public. It still, thirty years on, sounds fresh enough to get young folk on the dancefloors these days.

George Michael had the highest new entry in the chart of 19 August with Praying For Time coming in at #8. Just behind him at #11 was one that I hadn’t appreciated had been such a massive hit with Deacon Blue’s new four-song EP of Bacharach and David songs entering at #11 and eventually reaching #2. It was one of just three singles that went Top 10 for the band albeit there were sixteen top 40 hits between 1988 and 1994.

I think I’m on safe ground by dissing and not featuring most of the remainder of the new entries of the 19 August chart:-

Can Can You Party – Jive Bunny and The Mastermixer (#14)
Silhouttes – Cliff Richard (#17)
End of The World – Sonia (#37)
Now You’re Gone – Whitesnake (#39)
Dive! Dive! Dive! – Bruce Dickinson (#45)
Don’t Be A Fool – Loose Ends (#48)
Heartbroke and Busted – Magnum (#53)
In The Back Of My Mind – Fleetwood Mac (#66)

Down at #67 there was a little bit of indie, from a band riding the coattails of Madchester (Stone Roses version) via a release on London Records

Up and Down – The High

while a little bit higher, at #54, there was a minor hit for Prefab Sprout with the single that had been issued in advance of the much anticipated new album, Jordan: The Comeback which was creating a real buzz among critics who had been privy to an advanced listen

Looking For Atlantis – Prefab Sprout

That always seemed to be the thing with Prefab Sprout. This was the band’s fourteenth single (including re-issues) of which all but two hadn’t reached the Top 40, with the huge exception being the #7 hit enjoyed by The King Of Rock’n’Roll in 1988.

And with that, we reach the chart of 26 August.

Betty Boo is up there at #4 surrounded by Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis, Bacharach & David covers, New Kids on The Block, Jive Bunny, Roxette and Cliff Richard, The edition of Top of The Pops aired that week must have been a true horror show.

There was further evidence of Madchester’s impact with a new entry at #40:-

Groovy Train – The Farm

As was mentioned in the May edition of this feature, nobody took much notice of The Farm and they were seen as something of a joke band. But they then recorded and released Groovy Train, a song that would bring them fame and a little bit of fortune, going on to eventually reach #6 and lay the foundation for an even bigger hit come Christmas-time.

Nothing else is worth featuring other than that. I’ll wake you all up again in September.

JC
(aged 57 years and 2 months)

 

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES…..VIA VINYL (Side 2)

From an article in The Quietus, back in 2011, penned by Jim Keoghan:-

“As soon as a jingly-jangly indie band appears today, the C86 tag isn’t far behind. And yet, this wasn’t always the case. Over time we seem to have diminished a scene that was far more musically and culturally complex that is often assumed. For all its janglyness, C86 was about much more than just that.

Looking back 25 years to the original C86 era, the Britain of then might be unrecognisable to us today. Unemployment into the millions, rising inflation, an unrepentant Tory Government; it’s difficult to comprehend, but that’s what life really was like. Musically, Live Aid (which had taken place a year earlier) perfectly exemplified the landscape of the time with a rosta of bands so irredeemably anodyne they managed to make Queen look interesting.

Against this background, a musical rebellion was fermenting. At first it began in isolated pockets around the country, in places like Bristol and Glasgow but would soon coalesce to produce one of the most eclectic scenes in the short history of independent music.

One of the earliest people to really pick up on this change was Roy Carr, then a journalist with the NME.

“During the mid 80s, a few of us at the paper were starting to hear and see a load of bands coming through with a different sound to that which had dominated the independent scene for much of the earlier part of the decade. You got the feeling that something was happening, like the ground was shifting slightly.”

At the time, the NME was fond of putting together and releasing mix-tapes covering any number of different genres. It might sound quaint today in an age of unfettered access to anything ever recorded, but in those far off days a simple mix-tape could be one of the best chances for its readers to get hold of something new.

“We thought we’d do one of these for what was happening in indie music at the time. I’d done it for the paper before in 1981 – the imaginatively titled C81 – and that had been quite popular. So a few of us got together and started picking the bands we wanted to go on the tape.”

The tape did well, selling thousands of copies via mail order and eventually being released as an LP a year later by Rough Trade. According to Sean Dickson, former lead singer with The Soup Dragons, this success acted as something of a catalyst – not just on the 22 bands featured, but on the scene as a whole.

“The tape was the key to the whole C86 thing taking off,” he says. Aside from its impact on our profile, which was big, its release threw a spotlight on everything. I think what you can say is that it made what was underground suddenly over-ground. It took all these little scenes from around the country and pushed them together into the limelight – scenes like mine in Glasgow, where bands like us and Primal Scream had been knocking around for a few years; going to the same gigs, enjoying the same taste in music and sharing a similar attitude in the way that we made music.”

What’s striking about the bands both on the tape and those associated with the scene is the lack of a defining sound. If you listen to it today, the NME tape alone sounds like a load of bands with very little in common.

“We sounded nothing like a lot of the groups,” says Kev Hopper, bassist at the time with Stump. “Our song, ‘Buffalo’, is totally different to something like ‘Breaking Lines’ by The Pastels. When people today think of C86 it’s the bands with the fey melodies and jangly guitars that come to mind. But there were many other groups that were loud and energetic, such as Big Flame and The Wedding Present, and then people like us and Bogshed who were quite experimental. Listen to the tape today and it’s clear that the scene was about much more than just indie-pop.”

It is possible to pick your way through C86 and find several bands whose music did share bits in common. Many of those from Glasgow, such as The Pastels and Primal Scream, indulged in the more classically fey sound normally associated with C86, whereas on the Ron Johnson label, acts like The Shrubs, Big Flame and A Witness released songs that were fast and furious. But these connections were limited, and overall there is little to unite all the groups together, beyond a certain under-produced quality that characterised much of what was released during this period.

“The thing about music round then is that the people making it were drawing their influences from so many different places,” says John Robb, whose book Death to Trad Rock catalogues many of the bands around at the time. “Yes, there were bands that were heavily into the Velvet Underground and producing jangly pop, but there were others who were taking ideas from punk, blues, jazz, funk, rock & roll, ska, dub and anything else they could get their hands on and then twisting it all into something new.”

And yet to say that these groups had nothing at all to unite them would be wrong. One of the strongest shared characteristics evident in the scene was the rediscovery of punk’s DIY ethic. “This was all about bands doing it for themselves,” says John Robb. “This aspect of the scene isn’t always appreciated. There was no grovelling to major labels. Bands pressed their own records, put on their own gigs, designed their own record sleeves and published their own fanzines. It could often come across as quite amateurish but most of the time that was because those involved didn’t care about being slick. This wasn’t corporate rock; these bands didn’t have to sell millions. They were making music their own way. This was independent music in the truest sense of the word. Anti-establishment and everything that trad-rock wasn’t.”

Yet despite its obvious musical and cultural complexity, over time C86 has been reduced to just one thing: journalistic short-hand for indie-pop. Its role in the creation of this genre is certainly an important one; the jingly-jangly sound we all know so well was formed during the mid-to-late 80s. C86 bands played a huge part in this, building on the foundations laid by Postcard Records at the beginning of the decade. Indie pop, in all its various forms since, owes a debt to bands such as The Pastels, The Shop Assistants and The Bodines.

But this shouldn’t be the only recognised legacy of C86. Some of its more abrasive groups have been quoted as influences by bands as diverse as the Manic Street Preachers, Lambchop and Franz Ferdinand. What’s more, its success stories included groups like The Wedding Present, who reflected the energetic side of the scene. And a few years after C86 had fizzled out, its cultural dimension was also a clear spiritual influence on Riot Grrrl – something acknowledged by bands who possessed the same DIY ethic, such as Bikini Kill and Bratmobile.

C86 as a scene and a tag is a more complex beast than we give it credit for. In the spirit of the DIY ethic this is my attempt to get off my arse and do something to right the wrong that has been done to C86 over the last thirty years. Spread the word dear reader; C86 was jangly, C86 was fey but C86 was also about much more than that too.”

——————–

Here, as promised yesterday, is Side 2.

  1. The Shop Assistants – It’s Up to You
  2. The Close Lobsters – Firestation Towers
  3. Miaow – Sport Most Royal
  4. Half Man Half Biscuit – I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)
  5. The Servants – Transparent
  6. Mackenzies – Big Jim (There’s No Pubs In Heaven)
  7. Big Flame – New Way (Quick Wash And Brush Up With Liberation Theology)
  8. We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It – Console Me
  9. McCarthy – Celestial City
  10. The Shrubs – Bullfighter’s Bones
  11. The Wedding Present – This Boy Can Wait (A Bit Longer!)

Once again, individual tracks are available from clicking each of the above links. Here’s everything as one continuous listen if that’s your preference:-

mp3: Various – C86 NME/Rough Trade 100 (Side Two – vinyl version)

JC

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES…..VIA VINYL (Side 1)

From wiki:-

C86 is a cassette compilation released by the British music magazine NME in 1986, featuring new bands licensed from British independent record labels of the time.As a term, C86 quickly evolved into shorthand for a guitar-based musical genre characterized by jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures, although other musical styles were represented on the tape. In its time, it became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called “shambling” (a John Peel-coined description celebrating the self-conscious primitive approach of some of the music and underachievement. The C86 scene is now recognized as a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK.

The C86 name was a play on the labelling and length of blank compact cassette, commonly C60, C90 and C120, combined with 1986. The tape was a belated follow-up to C81, a more eclectic collection of new bands, released by the NME in 1981 in conjunction with Rough Trade. C86 was similarly designed to reflect the new music scene of the time. It was the twenty-third NME tape, although its catalogue number was NME022 (C81 had been dubbed COPY001).

It was about a year later that Rough Trade issued a vinyl copy of C86, with the catalogue number of Rough 100 and on sale at a pre-determined price of £4.49.

My copy is at least second-hand, possibly more. I found it in a charity shop in Glasgow some five years ago, and paid £2 for it. It has the £4.49 sticker but also a second sticker for the same price from the independent chain in which it was first purchased – Andy’s Recordsthis wiki page explains the story behind its rise and fall.

I’ve now made copies of all the tracks from the original vinyl, which is in surprisingly good condition given its age and that the sleeve is rather tattered and tired-looking. Side 1 today. Side 2 tomorrow. Along with a lengthy critique that I’ve ripped from elsewhere.

  1. Primal Scream – Velocity Girl
  2. The Mighty Lemon Drops – Happy Head
  3. The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised
  4. The Wolfhounds – Feeling So Strange Again
  5. The Bodines – Therese
  6. Mighty Mighty – Law
  7. Stump – Buffalo
  8. Bogshed – Run To The Temple
  9. A Witness – Sharpened Sticks
  10. The Pastels – Breaking Lines
  11. The Age of Chance – From Now On, This Will Be Your God

Individual songs are available from clicking each of the above links. Here’s everything as one continuous listen if that’s your preference:-

mp3: Various – C86 NME/Rough Trade 100 (Side One – vinyl version)

JC

EVERYONE’S YOUR FRIEND IN NEW YORK CITY (4b)

Looking back at the Bacchanalian nights of my early 20’s living in NYC, most of the fun I had was in The Limelight Night Club on 20th Street and 6th Avenue in Chelsea. Less than a year after opening, my friends and I had found our way to become regulars in the club’s third floor VIP room know as The Library.

The Library had a front entrance at the top of a staircase with de rigueur velvet rope and a VERY sarcastic, almost urchin-like attendant named Leo. The thing was, if you could match his wit you could easily gain entrance, permanent entrance in our case…It didn’t hurt that my friends Christine, Mimi and Sandi – The Girls, as I had dubbed them, were all great looking and very outgoing. They were like three-dimensional calling cards…

The Library was managed by one of downtown NYC’s denizens, Fred Rothbell-Mista. He knew everybody and how to show them a great time. There was a cash bar in The Library, something that would be a feature of all of club impresario Peter Gatien’s clubs, but you couldn’t buy a drink from the bartender, you had to go though a short, amphetamine driven, “Mockney” by the name of Neville Wells. Neville was a miniature Bob Hoskins mixed with a bit of Michael Caine in Alfie, but man he was a lot of fun. Thing was, for every drink patrons in The Library attempted to purchase, they would likely be fed 3 or 4 more for free, once things in the room got going. Neville worked for the tips and the club just wanted happy beautiful people.

On any given night of the week, you could find Johnny Ramone or Billy Idol mingling with Herbie Hancock, or Tom Hanks, or some popular soap opera diva. Grace Jones, a long time friend of Peter Gatien held court there whenever in town and even snagged her longtime partner, Dolph Lundgren from among the club’s bouncers in those early years of the club. But most importantly to the club, and especially it’s Head Publicist, Claire O’Connor, was that it was a safe place for visiting Rock, Pop or Hip Hop artists to go out in NYC. Many bands playing in NYC would skip the after-show party and show up at Limelight to just relax and have a good and relatively quiet after-show night in NYC.

So that’s your setup….

One night in the late Fall of 1984, The Girls and I met up to go to Limelight. We were on a mission. The previous night, we were having a ball in The Library with Perri Lister, Billy Idol’s long time partner and a few of the guys from The Uptown Horns.

In came Simon Le Bon, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes. Much as we tried that night, we couldn’t really get the Brummies to join in our frivolity. It’s not that they weren’t friendly, they just seemed to not be used to the democracy of The Library. Any engagement was short and didn’t seem to hold their interest for long. So we left them to their own devices and didn’t really notice when they left.

mp3: Duran Duran – Notorious

Later in the night I was talking to the room manager Fred and related how they seemed a bit like fish out of water, but Fred told me they had a great time and planned on being back the next night after doing some publicity events. I related this to The Girls who agreed we had to be back the next night and get them to let down their hair a bit. I’m sure I made a smart comment about hairspray and how difficult that might literally be to pull off…

So back to the next night’s mission. I got a call from Sandi to tell me that she and Mimi had been out after work and stopped by a 99¢ Store and purchased a bunch of plastic water pistols that we would be bringing with us to the club. They were dead set on getting the Brummie Boys to get into the spirit whether they liked it or not. I thought, oh yeah this should be fun!

Later that night we arrived at Limelight, sometime close to Midnight. The Library was buzzy, but not crowded, as it was a Thursday night. We spotted Perri Lister and Billy Idol and sat with them, letting only Perri in on our plan. She was certainly game and excited to see how things unfolded.

Not much more than a half-hour after we had arrived, Simon and John arrived and Nick came with his wife Julianne. Nick and Julianne sat a bit separate from Simon and John, but still within chatting distance and they were all on sofas on the opposite side of the room from us.

Perri Lister started to pester us about when the fun was going to begin. I wanted to it to go off right and not seem like an unwelcome ambush. To this end I asked Christine and Perri to go fill the bag of water pistols in the ladies room and the rest of us would take the opportunity to chat with Simon and John. You could tell Nick and Julianne were a bit more preoccupied so it made sense to leave them be. After a few pleasantries, I could tell the guys were in a much looser and friendly mood and this would play right into our hand. Mimi met up with Christine and Perri coming back from filling the pistols with “ammo” and as they came back over to where Sandi and I were with Simon and John, Perri shout “alright, this is a stick up!” and threw a water pistol each to Sandi and I and we all just stood there pointing our pistols at Simon and John.

Simon began cracking up and John actually raised his hands up in the air. Mimi then pulled out another two water pistols and threw them at the boys. Well that was all that they needed to break out of their shells! Before any of us to squeeze our triggers, Simon started shooting a steady stream of water at Sandi and I.

Next thing you know we all scattered around The Library using the sofas as barricades and taking shots at each other. After a couple of minutes I realized that Nick and Julianne were hysterically laughing and so I offered my pistol to Nick so he could join in. He was all about it! Rather than go after one of The Girls, he went straight for John! I found refuge with Billy Idol who at this point was laughing hysterically and slapped me so hard on my back that I flew off the sofa on to the floor.

mp3: Duran Duran – Wild Boys

Thing really got going once Neville persuaded Mimi to give him a pistol and he started running around quoting lines from spaghetti westerns (he was of course a would-be actor). Neville would gather up any empty pistols and recharge them with water from behind the bar and the next thing you knew everyone in The Library was calling for a pistol to have a go. Having recovered from my moment on the floor and a few Jack and Cokes in me, I grabbed two of the pistols and challenged Billy Idol to a duel.

Fred heard my challenge and at the top of his lungs yelled out “Hold Your Fire! We have a duel!” Fred proceeded to choose each of us seconds and cleared the center of the floor. He put Billy and myself back to back and had us walk 5 paces (they were water guns after all) and turn before firing. Well I did have revenge on my mind and as soon as I turned I began firing right at Billy’s face. He just broke up in laughter and never got a shot off! In fact, it seemed like everyone in the room with a water pistol began firing in his direction!

mp3: Billy Idol – Don’t Need A Gun

This water pistol melee continued for about an hour and at some point many of the pistols seemed to have either Vodka or Whiskey in them. So by the end, most people were just shooting those pistols directly in their own mouths. Simon, John and Nick were all as drenched as any of us and had great fun. I remember that Julianne had managed to stay relatively unscathed in all the fracas.

Around 2:30am, Claire O’Connor arrived in The Library and Fred Rothbell-Mista told him of the goings-on she had missed. She ran over to me and I thought, right I’m done for. First words out of her mouth was “DID ANYONE TAKE PICTURES?” to which I replied in the negative. She just slumped on the sofa next to me. Then she sprang back to life and asked me if I thought Page Six would run the item even without a picture? Now I was a regular source of nightlife gossip to Page Six of The New York Post (sorry did I forget to mention that in the setup?), so I told her I could only offer the story and see if they ran with it.

I went with her to her office and called the night editor at The Post and found that I had missed the deadline for the second edition of the next day’s paper, but he liked the story and would see if he could get it in the following Monday’s edition. Claire was disappointed, but I told her that they ran a lot of my blind items.

Come the Monday, I bought a copy of The Post on the way into the subway heading to a morning of classes on Music Theory and Political Science and opened to Page Six as I sat down on the #7 Train. There it was, second item down titled “Water Pistols At Dawn!” As much as I would love to embellish and say I was listening to Duran Duran on my Walkman on the trip into Manhattan from Queens, I can guarantee it was more likely The Bunnymen, Simple Minds or Talking Heads.

On the way up from classes, and before heading to work in midtown that afternoon, I stopped by The Limelight and headed up to Claire O’Connor’s office to be greeted by a big hug and kiss and her famous loud laughter. I looked over, after being released from her bear hug, to see Peter Gatien sitting on the couch in her office and he looked up at me and said thanks for the story in the Post.

mp3: Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know

In the new year, I would find myself with the role of junior publicist at The Limelight, thanks to that night of wet and wild with Duran Duran. I worked with The Limelight on the club’s Rock and Roll Church nights where we booked acts like Johnny Thunders and a secret gig by Guns And Roses, a 4th of July show with Batcave veterans Specimen and later Communion at Limelight where Goth and Industrial bands would play to a packed house.

But my favorite job was joining in and instigating the fun in The Library at Limelight.

Echorich

EVERYONE’S YOUR FRIEND IN NEW YORK CITY (4a)

JC writes……..

A few years back, my friends Echorich and Jonny the Friendly Lawyer collaborated on a short series of posts celebrating life and growing up in New York City.  I’ve kept the link to all three parts over on the right-hand side of the blog (if on a laptop) or underneath (if you’re scrolling down on some other device) under the heading of Everyone’s Your Friend In New York.

Almost four years after the third installment, the dynamic duo have returned with part 4, which I’ve split into two sections over today and tomorrow.  Jonny sets the scene rather well today while Echorich’s tale, if my reaction to reading it is anything to go by, should generate a great deal of amusement and awe in equal measures.

My thanks, again to the two of them for sharing such amazing and precious memories.  It’s another reminder that the guest contributions, whether through postings or comments, are really what makes this little corner of t’internet seem that bit more special.

Over now to Jonny………………….

The Limelight was a huge, 19th century Gothic deconsecrated church on the corner of 20th Street and 6th Avenue. It opened as a nightclub around 1982. A fair number of famous bands played there but the place was really more known as a dance club. Actually, in its day it was THE dance club in NYC—ground zero for 80’s scenesters and a farm league for star DJ’s. This 2-part episode of Everyone’s Your Friend in New York City focuses on your humble authors’ personal experiences with this hallowed venue which, by the way, is still standing on the same Chelsea corner in all its grim-faced stone glory. You can read all about the venerable edifice (and the crimes and films and legends that grew out of it) here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limelight#New_York_City_location

I passed by the Limelight all the time because I lived nearby on 23rd St. It was a massive, byzantine structure that was always jam-packed, with a line around the block to get in. I went there a few times, as did everyone in the city in the 80’s, but not too often. I wasn’t what you’d call a club boy or much of a dancer back in the day. But when the chance arose for my band, Chronic Citizens, to play there you can bet we jumped at it.

It was impossible to get gigs in the city (it still is). There are only so many venues and there are 10,000 bands trying to get a look in. There was no way to get your name out apart from wheat-pasting flyers to walls and phone poles in the dead of night. No local radio station would play your music, even if you could afford to record and press any. You could hang around CB’s and bug Hilly until he put you on the bill, but only because he had a kind heart. The major indie venues—The Ritz, Peppermint Lounge, Knitting Factory, Danceteria—were booked solid with famous international acts. So, it was a very big deal to get the nod to play the Limelight, even if it wasn’t the main stage.

Unlike other dives the Citizens played, the Limelight was a proper venue with a major-league green room. The five of us and assorted girlfriends and comrades piled in, where we met our opening act, a group of scrawny kids from New Jersey called, if I remember correctly, the Orphans. They were a four-piece but their bassist hadn’t arrived yet. We were all shocked when the door opened and bus trays were delivered filled with beer on ice! Unknown bands were treated like shit as a matter of policy in the city, and here we were having beer delivered to our dressing room! Not only that but a quart of milk and a pot of coffee for the road crew we didn’t have. We descended on the beer like locusts and, in short order, an impromptu jam began. I can’t recall what else we did but I distinctly remember one song in particular: We plugged in our amps and played a 20-minute version of Sweet Jane, with about 12-15 of us slamming in on the chorus.

mp3: The Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane

We sort of got carried away with our rock star fantasy because someone from the venue politely entered and advised that we were supposed to be performing in the club, not getting plastered in the green room. This proved to be a bit of a problem for the Orphans, whose bass player was still on the wrong side of the Hudson. So we decided to open for ourselves. We broke down the drum kit and amps and set them back up in one of the antechambers or side chapels or whatever you call the ancillary rooms in churches adjacent to the main cathedral. There was always a good crowd in the Limelight and it was just fun playing a set with the knowledge that, when it was over, we could say we’d done it.

I don’t remember too many of the details of the show as we were decently uninhibited by the largesse of the management. I was also distracted by the presence in the audience of the sister of an old school friend. We’d recently met up at a party and she’d hinted it might be fun to get together without her brother around, an idea I was very much in favor of. The performance was a bit of a blur, if I’m honest, me pretending to be a rock star who played famous venues where the management showered us with booze and young ladies turned up so we could leave together. That wasn’t true, but it was true for a night anyway. I know we would have played our theme song.

mp3: Chronic Citizens – Chronic Citizens

We finished up and piled back into the green room to see if the Orphans had left any of the complimentary libations. They were looking pretty forlorn as their bassist still hadn’t shown up. The singer approached me and asked if I’d sit in for their missing mate. I declined—I didn’t know their songs and had a rendezvous I was eager to keep. The rest of them pleaded with me; they were going to miss their chance to play the Limelight!

So I agreed to play the only song from their set I knew: ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ by Johnny Thunders. As they were setting up the singer sheepishly admitted that he didn’t actually know the words. Right. I found a pen and looked for something to write on, the minutes passing uncomfortably. The only thing I could find was the carton of milk sent by the Limelight angels, so that’s what I used. And so it came to pass that I played the Thunders classic at the Limelight, trying not to laugh and screw up the bass part while the singer squinted at my scrawled lyrics on the side of a milk carton he was holding aloft in the dim light of the stage.

mp3: Johnny Thunders – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory

That was more than enough for me. I packed up my gear and headed toward home three blocks west, still jazzed by the whole experience. I only played a few more shows with the Citizens before the band split and I put my fledgling music career on hold for thirty years. But I could always say I played the Limelight! The image of the hapless Orphans’ frontman holding a mic in one hand and the milk carton in the other still makes me smile. And it was unforgettable being treated like rock royalty.

It would be decades, and only through the good offices of our host JC, before I learned that the beer trays had been sent to the Limelight green room by…Echorich.

Jonny the Friendly Lawyer

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (7)

July 1990.  The beginning of the second summer of love.  I know that a few of you out there were heavily involved in all that was happening in clubs and fields;  I am, in some ways quite jealous, but at the same time I don’t think I’m prepared to any accept offer from a time machine operator to experience the late 80s/early 90s and in doing so lose everything I’d gone through ten years previous.

In due course, the UK singles charts would begin to increasingly reflect what was going on out there in the fields, but for the most part they remain this month packed with the sort of dross, pap and utter shite that clogged up the airwaves of most radio stations.

The month began with Elton John in the middle of what would prove to be a five-week run at the top with Sacrifice, managing against the odds to fend off Luciano Pavarotti whose Nessun Dorma had gained huge exposure on a daily basis as the theme of the BBC coverage of the 1990 World Cup.  The fact that Elton would be displaced eventually at the top with a tune called Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme (and yes, like the rest of you I can’t recall this one at all), gives you an indication that the area around top of the charts wasn’t vintage this month. Further down, there were some gems waiting to be unearthed amidst a ginormous pile of horse manure.

Come Home – James

The band’s hard work over the previous years was beginning to bear fruit.  How Was It For You? had earlier in the year provided a Top 40 hit while new album Gold Mother had gone int at #16, albeit it fell down the placings the following week.  Fontana Records were aware that some of the back catalogue stood a great chance of success, in the same way as had been enjoyed by contemporaries such as Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, and so the 1989 single that had flopped when issued by Rough Trade was handed to uber-producer Flood.  It came in on 1 July at #32 but that was as high as it managed.  James‘s commercial ascendancy lay further down the road.

The Crying Scene – Aztec Camera

Roddy Frame had delivered a new album to WEA that they were a bit flummoxed by.  The previous album, Love (1987) has been slick and glossy. providing in due course a huge hit in Somewhere In My Heart.  The new album, Stray, was more slow-paced, introvert and had just one real candidate for a single, if you chose to ignore the potential of a  collaboration with a former member of the Clash.   Not surprisingly, the label issued the song most likely to get airplay, even though it wasn’t that great, memorable or distinct a number.  Despite being issued on 7″, 10″ and CD format, The Crying Scene limped in at #73 in the first week of July before going up to #70 the following week and then disappearing into the bargain bins.  The b-side offered up a cover of a Cyndi Lauper hit single which is so lovely that I have to include it here.

True Colours – Aztec Camera

And that, was as good as it got for new entries in the first week of July 1990.  The second week saw this come in at #4

One Love – Stone Roses

Up until now, all the chart hits for Stone Roses had been re-releases of old material. One Love was different and it entering the charts at #4, offered an indication that mainstream success for what was previously underground was a distinct possibility.  The single didn’t go Top 3 but it did hang around the lower and middle reaches for a further six weeks.

I’m Free – Soup Dragons (feat. Junior Reid)

Those of us up here in the Glasgow area who had watched Soup Dragons be part of the twee, occasionally shambolic but always guitar-based Bellshill scene (along with the likes of BMX Bandits and Teenage Fanclub) were stunned, bemused and delighted to see the band take the singles charts by storm by hitching their wagon to the Madchester sound.

To be fair, lead singer Sean Dickson was now pursuing his real love in terms of music, and the dance-floor is where he has remained over the past 30 years, never remotely interested in going back to the style his band had previously been best known for.  I’m Free was a cover of a relatively little-known album track recorded in 1965 by the Rolling Stones.  This version came in at #28 and eventually went to #5.  Junior Reid, the lead vocalist for UK reggae band Black Uhuru, provided the distinctive toast verse in the middle of the song.

Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

The crusties and the grebos were also beginning to enjoy some commercial success, thanks in many ways to the old fashioned method of the bands going out on the road, gigging constantly and earning a fanbase who loved the energy of the shows.  Ned’s Atomic Dustbin cracked the lower end of the charts with their sophomore single – it also went to #1 in the Indie Singles Chart.  It’s a barnstormer of a tune, and while they would have bigger hits in later times, this has proven to be their signature tune.

Beef – Gary Clail On-U Sound System (12″ version)

An ode to vegetarianism from the Bristol-based singer/producer.  On-U Sound had been around for much of the decade, founded by Adrian Sherwood and specialising in dub/reggae music, although this minor hit leans more towards Italian house. The main lyric is a rework of Bring The Noize with “Bass! How low can you go? Death row, what a brother knows” becoming “Beef! How low can you go? Hear the cattle cry, death row.”

Despite not getting much in the way of airplay, Beef did reach #64, while Gary Clail would enjoy a top 10 hit in 1991 with Human Nature.

There’s not a huge amount to write home about in the charts of 15 and 22 July, albeit twenty-eight singles first entered the charts over those two weeks. These have some merit….

Return To Brixton – The Clash

Long after the band had broken up, CBS continued to shove out material for cash-in purposes. Beats International had used The Guns of Brixton as the basis for Dub Be Good To Me (as featured in a previous edition of this series) and just to prove that very point, and to promote a newly remastered edition of London Calling some 10 years after the original, a slight remix of the original was issued as Return to Brixton.  It entered at #57 on 15 July but got no higher.

Tom’s Diner – DNA featuring Suzanne Vega

The American songstress had enjoyed a very minor hit in 1987 with a song celebrating a New York restaurant that she often frequented.  Three years later, the vocal was taken by two British record producers who went by the name of DNA and mixed with the tune from Keep on Movin’ by Soul II Soul.  It was initially pressed up as a club track only but as soon as the bosses at A&M Records heard it, they turned the screw on the producers and took ownership of the track, releasing it as a bona fide single which came in at #13 on 22 July and eventually went to #2 where it spent three weeks (which I’ll return to next month).

Incidentally, and I only learned this while researching for this piece, Tom’s Diner was the song the electrical engineer and mathematician, Karlheinz Brandenburg, used for the testing process as he developed and refined the audio compression scheme that we know as mp3.

Velouria – Pixies

The profile of the Boston-based band had rocketed from the adoration heaped on them by the critics, many of whom had named Doolittle as the best album of 1989.  Velouria was the first new song since then and it smashed into the charts at #28 on 22 July.

It’s On – Flowered Up

Another band whose reputation was down to live shows, critical acclaim and making the sort of music that fitted in perfectly with all that was happening around them.  The debut single made the charts at a time when many other bands usually needed two or three goes to get it right, entering at #64 on 22 July , eventually peaking two weeks later some ten places higher; not bad given it wasn’t played much on daytime radio.

The chart of 29 July 1990 had plenty of new entries – 14 in all – but once again (as was illustrated last month) they should, in the interests of good taste, mainly be skipped over:-

Visions of Love – Mariah Carey (#74)
Saxulaity – Candy Dulfer (#63)
Hey There Lonely Girl – Big Fun (#62)
Pure – GTO (#57)
Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz (#55)
For Her Light – Fields of The Nephilm (#54)
Nobody – Tongue’n’Cheek (#45)
Blaze of Glory – Jon Bon Jovi (#42)
Amanada – Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (#36)
Hardcore Uproar – Together (#24)
Violence of Summer (Love’s Talking Over) – Duran Duran (#23)
She’s A Little Angel – Little Angels (#21)
Tonight – New Kids on the Block (#17)

The highest new entry, is worth a passing mention, albeit it wasn’t one of his most memorable.

Thieves In the Temple – Prince

Thieves In The Temple would rise into the Top 10 the following week, becoming the ninth Prince single to achieve such lofty heights. He would go onto have six further such successes during the first half of the 90s, including his only #1 hit, The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, which hit the top in April 1994, although it was released by Symbol rather than Prince……….

I’ll be back in around four weeks time with another look back at the 45s which were being bought by the great British public.

Velouria…..30 years old now.  Can’t quite get my head round that one.

JC
(aged 57 years and 1 month)

 

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES : THE FACTORY TAPE

Given away with the April 1991 edition of Select Magazine, one that came with Boy George on the cover. The 40-pages of reviews contained some decent stuff such as Out of Time by R.E.M., Peggy Suicide by Julian Cope, Blue Lines by Massive (as they were temporarily called), Recurring by Spaceman 3 and Kill Uncle by a racist twat.

Oh, and there’s a scathing review of Outland by Gary Numan, penned by Graham Linehan who was still a few years away from becoming famous as the co-creater and co-writer of Father Ted (before later turning into a twat with his opinions on transgender).

Nine songs all told, including what, at the time, was some rare material in terms of remixes and unreleased tracks.  And, unusually for a giveaway tape, two tracks by the same artist – Cath Carroll – with one being from a still to be released album and the other from a recent EP.

It was also given an official catalogue number by the label – FAC305-C

A1: Northside – Moody Places (Instrumental)
A2: New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle (Stephen Hague Mix)
A3: Cath Carroll – Moves Like You
A4: Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro (Euromix 12-Inch Version)

B1: The Wendys – Suckling
B2: Revenge – The Trouble With Girls
B3: Electronic – Lucky Bag (Miami Edit)
B4: Cath Carroll – Next Time (Edit)
B5: Vini Reilly & Durutti Column – Megamix

Copies can be found on Discogs for £1.99 (plus P&P) mostly from UK-based sellers.

JC

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JAZF ’93 (Part 2)

Yesterday’s introduction should have given you all the background you need to know.  I’ll just cut straight to the chase.

B1: That Summer Feelin’ – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

You don’t have to be American to get all the references in this lovely tribute to the warmest of our four seasons, albeit it’s only in the USA that you’ll end up doing many of things the lyrics refer to.    There’s a six minute-plus version that can be found on the 1992 solo album I, Jonathan, but it was the original take, as released on the 1983 band album Jonathan Sings! that JAZF included on one of his tapes.  Looking things up, the 83 album was given a CD reissue in 1993 so I’m guessing that was how it was sourced.

B2: Invisible Man – The Breeders

A second appearance for Kim & co on the tape.  I’m sure I included this as a bit of an in-joke as JAZF hadn’t actually meant to include it on the initial tape it had first appeared, but he’d got so wrapped up in listening to Cannonball that he forgot to press either of the pause or stop buttons and it ran into the next song.  A very happy accident as far as I’m concerned.

B3: Like A Hurricane – Neil Young

I’d avoided the old hippy until now.  Neil Young was associated with the jukebox that was in the corner of the games room in the student union, over which stood permanently the long-haired, combat-jacket wearing crowd who seemed to have it rigged up to churn out early 70s rock classics as if we were stuck on a loop of Bob Harris-fronted editions of The Old Grey Whistle Test.  JAZF told me that a new live album by Neil Young, recorded as part of an MTV Unplugged show, was one of the best albums of 1993 and he kept putting a track from it on each monthly tape.  Turned out, he was right.  He usually is.

B4: Going Out With God – Kinky Machine

London-based indie band of the early 90s, this was the debut single from 1992, released on an indie label, and as with so many throughout history, they signed soon after to a major, MCA; but two albums and a handful of singles in 93/94 sold in minuscule numbers.  I had a soft spot for this track back in the day but it hasn’t aged well and sounds more than a tad indie-by-numbers.

B5: Bizarre Love Triangle – Devine and Statton

In 1990, the singer with Young Marble Giants had teamed up with the guitarist from Ludus, an art-rock band of the late 70s from Manchester.  Their material was released on the Belgian-based Les Disques Du Crépuscule, and this beautifully understated cover version ‎of the New Order song had been issued as a single in 1989. No idea why it took JAZF four years to bring it to my attention….

B6: Lucky Like St Sebastian – Momus

I mentioned Momus a few weeks back on the Scottish songs rundown. This is the opening track on his 1986 album Circus Maximus, a work that focusses on biblical themes and the folklore of Ancient Rome. This would have been included on a tape after a pub conversation in which I would have admitted to knowing very little about Momus. JAZF has often been ahead of the curve, musically speaking.

B7: Hear No Bullshit (On Fire Mix)/Enough Is Enough – Chumawamba/Credit To The Nation

My recollection of this is that JAZF put all three tracks from Enough Is Enough, the June 1993 single recorded by Chumawamba/Credit To The Nation on a tape on the very evening he bought the single and he handed it to me the next morning. I then went out and bought my own copy the next again day. The anti-fascist message of the songs resonated enough that I ended up putting two of them on the end of year compilation.

B8: How – The Cranberries

Everyone in the UK would go nuts for The Cranberries in 1994 on the back of the re-release of the singles Linger and Dreams that brought them the initial chart success. JAZF was already onto them, having picked up debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? that had been released in March 1993, from which he picked out this outstanding piece of music for my entertainment and enjoyment. RIP Dolores.

B9: Fuzzy – Grant Lee Buffalo

The title track from the band’s 1993 debut album, one that slipped under the radar of most folk until Michael Stipe, in an end-of-the-year round-up said it has been his record of the year, The curve etc…..

B10: Birthday (Tommy D Mix) – Sugarcubes

Despite loving Sugarcubes, I didn’t have all that much free money that I could go out and splash out recklessly on the 1992 remix album, It’s It. Besides, I loved the original versions so much that I didn’t really care that some underground DJs had tweaked them, most likely beyond recognition. Got that wrong, didn’t I??

B11: Children of the Revolution – Baby Ford

Another one dating from 1989, its inclusion would have JAZF continuing my education from my ‘lost years’. From recollection, I put it on at the end of the tape as it fitted nicely in terms of the time available and it followed on well from Bjork & co. It’s a very good and interesting dance/electro take on the glam rock smash by T.Rex some 20+ years previous.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this small diversion and some recollections from a by-gone era.

In the meantime, here, just like yesterday, are all the tracks as a single mix (which goes a little bit beyond 45 mins as I could only source an extended version of the final song)

mp3: Various – Now That’s What I Call JAZF ’93 (side B)

JC

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JAZF ’93 (Part 1)

I’ve mentioned on quite a number of occasions that my commuting journeys from Glasgow to Edinburgh between 1990 and 1995 were made bearable from constantly listening to tapes on a Sony Walkman, many of which had been specially curated by Jacques the Kipper.  I was rifling through some old things the other day, for a future feature on t’blog, when I came across a C90 tape in which I had then curated his material, taking all of the stuff he handed over in 1993 and making a ‘best of’ with the title Now That’s What I Call JAZF ’93.

The first part of the title, as you would rightly guess, came from the long-running series of various artists compilation albums which had begun in 1983. The JAZF came from the initials he used as the opening part of any reference he was creating in office correspondence – the Z is superfluous in his full name but you’ve got to admit that it looks cool.

Here’s the first of the two sides of the story. Part 2 comes tomorrow.

It’s just occurred to me that many of my slightly younger blogging colleagues will have, at this point in time, be out in fields having a lot of fun dancing etc. I was drowning out the cackle of fellow train passengers with loud guitars, for the most part.

A1: Eject (Over Zealous Mix) – Senser

A ‘politically charged UK rap rock band’ (in the words of wiki), who burst onto the scene in 1993 with two singles,, of which this was the debut. The following year would see the debut album and the group is still active nowadays.

A2: Supermodel/Superficial – The Voodoo Queens

An Asian-fronted, London-based, riot grrrl act formed by Anjali Bhatia who had recently left Mambo Taxi. The group would release five singles and one album between 1993 and 1995, and this was the debut.

A3: Nirvana – Juliana Hatfield

At the age of 25, she was already a veteran of the music scene having been part of the Blake Babies and The Lemonheads. This tribute to the grunge rockers was lifted the 1992 debut solo album, Hey Babe. The following year, with the formation of the Juliana Hatfield Three, she would gain some minor commercial success in the UK and USA. Still very active as a solo performer in 2020.

A4: Dollar Bill – Screaming Trees

Formed in a small town around 100 miles from Seattle, this rock band, fronted by Mark Lanegan, released seven albums between 1986 and 1996. This is lifted from Sweet Oblivion (1992) which was their best-selling record. It’s fair to say that the stellar rise of Nirvana helped shine a light on Screaming Trees. The frontman, post-break-up of the band, has continued to use his magnificent baritone voice to great effect, collaborating with all sorts of singers and bands, not least a 7-year partnership with Isobel Campbell, formerly of Belle & Sebastian.

A5: Cannonball – The Breeders

Kim Deal stepping out of the shadows of Pixies to great effect. The previous album, Pod (1990), was decent, but Last Splash, from which this was the lead single, was an excellent listen from start to finish.

A6: Everything’s Ruined – Faith No More

Keeping the loud guitars going for a bit, this had been the third successive Top 30 hit in the UK for the long-running San Francisco-formed combo, all taken from immensely successful 1992 album, Angel Dust. I think it was the only track by Faith No More that JAZF actually liked and I found out later that he’d picked it up from its inclusion on a free CD given away with a magazine.

A7: American Guitars – The Auteurs

Well, it just had to fit onto the tape at this point didn’t it?

A8: Highway 61 Revisited – PJ Harvey

In which our Pol covered Bobby Z on her 1993 album, Rid Of Me.

A9: Low Self Opinion – Rollins Band

My, oh my, I’d forgotten just how shouty and angry this is in places. Henry Rollins is a god in the eyes of the hardcore punk cognoscenti and he is, to be fair, a very entertaining and engaging individual, known as much these days for spoken word material as he is for songs such as this single from 1992.

A10: Don’t Worry Babe You’re Not The Only One Awake – The Nectarine No.9

This was my introduction to this relatively new band from Edinburgh, formed and fronted by Davy Henderson whose past groups had been Fire Engines and Win. The band stayed together from 1992-2004, releasing six albums of varying quality, although all of them had at least three or four songs of quality and distinction. This has always been one of my favourites, initially released in 1992 on the album A Sea With Three Stars and later re-recorded for the 1994 album, Guitar Thieves, which was issued by the resurrected Postcard Records.

A11: Don’t Shoot My Dog – Terrorvision

At this point in time, Terrorvision weren’t sure of the market they were chasing. They weren’t pure rock enough for the purists and they weren’t pop enough for the radio stations to pick up on. All that would change in future years with a dozen hit singles between 1994 and 2001. This was from debut album, Formaldehyde, released in the summer of 93. Again, I’m sure it originated from a magazine CD to begin with.

Side B of this tape will be posted tomorrow. I promise that it’s substantially different in substance and style with barely an electric guitar to be heard (as can be evidenced from the photo of the tape and the track listings above!!).

In the meantime, here’s everything from today as a single mix

mp3: Various – Now That’s What I Call JAZF ’93 (side A)

JC

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES : CREATION TAPE

Given away with the April 1992 edition of Select Magazine, one that came with Kurt Cobain on the cover. Otherwise, it was an issue packed with t-shirt bands such as James, Carter USM and Senseless Things.

 

Eleven songs all told, and , as normal with Select, there were a couple of pages devoted to providing some more details about each of them, with a band member or solo performer quoted in a short interview style.

The wider selling point was was that three of the tracks were ‘exclusive unreleased’, three were demos, one was a remix and the other four were edits.  It was also given an official catalogue number by the label – C-RE 128.

NB : Tape and songs were previously featured on this blog back in February 2014.

A1: Boo Radleys – Lazy Day (version)
A2: Swervedriver – Son of Mustang Ford (demo version)
A3: Teenage Fanclub – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us (unreleased – recorded live at a soundcheck)
A4: Silverfish – Vitriola (demo version)
A5: Love Corporation – Gimme Some Love (remix)

B1: Ride – Time Of Her Time (live version)
B2: mk – Play The World (edit)
B3: The Telescopes – You Set My Soul (unreleased)
B4: Slowdive – Shine (edit)
B5: Sheer Taft – Atlantis (edit)
B6: Bill Drummond – The Manager’s Speech (edit)

Copies can be found on Discogs for £1.99 (plus P&P) mostly from European-based sellers.  It would likely all add up to not far short a fiver all told.

Regular readers will know that Bill Drummond is a hero of mine and someone I have long reckoned is a bonafide genius.

Here are the words from the magazine which accompanied The Manager’s Speech:-

It is 1986 and Bill Drummond, former manager of Echo & The Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and Strawberry Switchblade, has just quit his post as Head of A&R at Korova. The label’s last signing is Brilliant, soon to be produced by SAW and featuring Jimmy Cauty.

Drummond signs to Creation for an album, modestly titled ‘Bill Drummond – The Man’, awash with anarchic Country & Western and infamous for the track ‘Julian Cope Is Dead’. He releases a 12-inch single, ‘King Of Joy’ and Creation want a video and B-side. He elects to make a ten-minute promotional clip of himself pushing a street-cleaner’s dustcart through a park, a gold disc stuck on the front, a guitar in the bin, “spontaneously pontificating” on the subject of pop stardom.  The opening section appears on the Select tape.

BILL DRUMMOND: “I did it cos it was cheap and we needed a B-side. It’s a sort of layman’s eye-view of the pop business. The view of some guy you meet in a pub, or a cab driver, and you make the terrible mistake of letting him know you’re in the music business and he starts giving you his theory about it – ‘Fuckin’ Duran Duran, eh?…..’ It was kind of cynical but I really felt I had a future as an artist rather than someone behind the scenes”.

A year later Drummond and Cauty release their first single as The JAMMS. Shortly after they mutate into The KLF.

I’ve tracked down said clip.

 

JC

 

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (6)

June 1990.  My first birthday spent with Rachel.  She tried to book a last-minute trip to Italia 90 to take in Scotland v Brazil but there was just no room at the inn.  We ended up heading to Albufeira in Portugal where we watched a number of matches in various pubs that were packed with tourists from all parts of Europe – lots of great memories.

We weren’t the type to go clubbing as we felt ancient, but thinking on it now, we weren’t….it was just that the pure dance music of the era wasn’t our scene.  We were, however, enjoying some of the stuff that had a bit of an indie-bent to it, and many of the tracks that have been featured in previous editions of this feature, soundtracked that first happy summer together. As you’ll find out, June 1990 itself was a far from vintage month for new singles.

It began with EnglandNewOrder at the top of the pile.  It ended with Luciana Pavarotti battling for the #1 spot as folks rushed to buy his version of Nessun Dorma that had soundtracked the BBC coverage of the World Cup.  Football and music were now interlinked in a way that I hadn’t ever really experienced – interesting to note that the other #1 in the month of June 1990 was Sacrifice by Elton John who was one of the few pop superstars to have previously linked his fame with a love of the great game, having invested in his local and unfashionable club at Watford in the mid 70s and become its chair.

But’s that’s enough of the all-our-yesterdays stuff from me. Here’s the music.

Touched By The Hand of Cicciolina – Pop Will Eat Itself

See….I wasn’t bullshitting about the omnipresence of football and music in the month of June 1990.  PWEI had released eight singles prior to this, with only Can U Dig It ever scraping into the Top 40.  But they came to greater prominence with this magnificent celebration of Italia 90, combining a house tune, sampled football commentary and a lyric that paid homage to Italy’s best-known hardcore porn star.  The single came complete with a cheeky sticker on the sleeve that declared it the “unofficial World Cup Theme”.  Entered the charts on 3 June at #28, stayed in that position the following week and then dropped out quickly as soon as the tournament was over.

It’s still an incredible sounding piece of music.

Lazyitis – One Armed Boxer – Happy Mondays with Karl Denver

A single that had bummed on its initial release in May 1989 now re-entered the chart at #46 in June 1990, illustrating the huge interest in everything that was coming out of Madchester. Composed by a stellar and unusual cast – credits are rightly given to Lennon/McCartney, David Essex and Sly & The Family Stone as well as those who performed on the song.

Shall We Take A Trip – Northside

A third entry for Factory Records in the singles chart this week – possibly for the first and only time.  The debut single from Manchester band Northside hung about the lower end of the charts for a month or so, entering at #53 on 3June and rising to #50 the following week.  It’s a fairly impressive effort given that the single was banned by the BBC thanks to the drugs references.

I’ll mention in passing the appearance of an initial slow burner that eventually seemed to take over the nation.  Unknown American rapper MC Hammer sneaked into the charts at #66 on 3 June 1990.  Nobody was really paying too much attention – there was football to be watched.  Three weeks later, his infectiously catchy (i.e., annoying) U Can’t Touch This, propelled by a promo video dominated by a crazy dance and crazy trousers, went Top 20 where it stayed for a further 12 weeks.  There was barely a singles chart over the next year and a bit that didn’t have an MC Hammer song in the Top 75.

The chart of 10 June 1990 had plenty of new entries, but for the most part they should, mainly in the interests of good taste, also be skipped over:-

Step By Step – New Kids On The Block(#2)
Oops Up -Snap! (#13)
Nessun Dorma – Luciana Pavarotti (#22)
Whose Law (Is It Anyway) – Guru Josh (#32)
Thinking Of You – Maureen (#38)
Mona – Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 (#44)
Move Away Jimmy Blue – Del Amitri (#54)
Love Is – Alannah Myles (#61)
Jack’s Heroes – The Pogues and The Dubliners (#64)
Ways Of Love – Claytown Troupe (#70)
Time – Kim Wilde (#73)
Chapel of Love – London Boys (#75)

Just typing out that list illustrates just how much money was spent by record labels on stuff that had no chance of ever recouping its cost. Utter madness.

There was one other new entry in the chart. Which sort of illustrated the point.

Won’t Stop Loving You – A Certain Ratio

ACR, had left Factory Records to sign with A&M in 1987. The major label obviously felt they had a success story on their hands but the Good Together album and the three singles lifted from it in 1989, had sold dismally.

They did, however, get their name into the singles chart in June 1990 with a new single, which benefitted from the fact that it had been remixed by a bloke whose band were at #1 in the charts. Yup, the friendship with Barney Sumner sort of paid off, and after entering at #69, the single climbed to the dizzy heights of #55. ACR were dropped soon afterwards by the label.

The chart of 17 June was similar to that of the previous week. The new entrants included Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bruce Dickinson, and Magnum (an indication that some sort of hard rock festival was in the offing). It also saw Bob Geldof‘s appropriately titled Great Song of Indifference enter at #43 only to fall out of the charts altogether the following week.*

 

* CORRECTION :  I hadn’t spotted that Bob Geldof’s single in fact climbed the charts in the filling weeks and went on to be a Top 20 hit.  Happy to put the record straight…in my defence, I’ll just say that I can’t recall the song at all…

 

Two songs worth mentioning. The first of which saw a third chart single (#46) in 1990 for the biggest rap act on the planet, while the second saw a song enter at #67, a full 34 years after it had been a #1 hit:-

Brothers Gonna Work It Out -Public Enemy
Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

The Stones single had been re-issued on the back of it being the title tune to the hit TV series Tour Of Duty.

The new chart of 24 June was just as depressing in terms of the majority of new singles. Indeed, the whole thing was pretty stagnant with only the aforementioned MC Hammer being a new song inside the top 20, with the others all hovering around the previous week’s positions.

These four, however, are rare rays of light, entering respectively at #40, #48 #49, and #75

She Comes In The Fall – Inspiral Carpets
Put The Message In The Box – World Party
Dangerous Sex – Tack Head
Anyway That You Want Me – Spiritualized

This was Tack Head‘s only ever brush with the singles chart.

The cover of a Troggs song was the debut single from Jason Pierce‘s new band following the break-up of Spaceman 3.  And one of SWC’s favourite songs of all time.

I bet these facts are making a few of you shake your heads and wondering where the time has gone.

JC
(aged exactly 57 years)

 

FROM THE BIG BOX OF CASSETTE TAPES : RADIO DAZE

This one is for my good pal Jonny the Friendly Lawyer.

Today should have seen myself and Rachel boarding a plane to head over to Los Angeles to be the guests of him and his wife, Goldie.  There were all sorts of plans in place, including a Flaming Lips gig and dinner in a restaurant highly recommended by SWC.  Oh, and I would have celebrated my 57th birthday over there.

But for now, it’s all very much on hold.

A recent posting highlighted some Peel Session versions of songs by PJ Harvey, and in it I recalled that I had first heard Water courtesy of a cassette giveaway with a music magazine.

I also mentioned all the other acts that had been included on the cassette and it was that fact which prompted Jonny to say ‘sounds like a hell of a cassette’.

Radio Daze was given away with the May 1992 edition of Vox Magazine.  I was never really one for keeping old music papers or mags, so it has long been part of a landfill just outside of Glasgow. The cover looked like this:-

Given there was an ‘exclusive’ story on The Jam and a feature on The Cure, I’d likely have bought it notwithstanding the tape offered up these:-

A1: The Cure – 10:15 Saturday Night (broadcast 11 December 1978)
A2: Madness – The Prince (broadcast 27 August 1979)
A3: Happy Mondays – Mad Cyril (broadcast 27 February 1989)
A4: Babes In Toyland – Catatonic (broadcast 29 September 1990)
A5: Buzzcocks – What Do I Get? (broadcast 19 September 1977)
A6: Chicken Shack – I’d Rather Go Blind (broadcast 22 June 1969)
A7: The Undertones – Love Parade (broadcast 7 December 1982)
A8: Billy Bragg – A13 (broadcast 3 August 1983)

B1: Syd Barrett – Gigolo Aunt (broadcast 14 March 1970)
B2: The Only Ones – The Beast (broadcast 14 April 1978)
B3: The Fall – Return (broadcast 15 February 1992)
B4: PJ Harvey – Water (broadcast 3 November 1991)
B5: Inspiral Carpets – Beast Inside (broadcast 5 June 1990)
B6: The Birthday Party – Big Jesus Trash Can (broadcast 10 December 1981)
B7: The Damned – Neat Neat Neat (broadcast 10 December 1976)

Copies of the tape can be found on Discogs from as little as 99p each, although someone in the USA is asking for $30 to part with his copy.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #253 : ‘GREEN’

An anti-ICA, of a sort, for Earth Day, sorta

A Guest Posting by Hybrid Soc Prof

Your ‘Struggling to get the boys out of bed’ Michigan Correspondent

JC writes…..

This arrived in my Inbox on 21 April. If I had been able to get my shit together at that time, it would have been posted on Wednesday 22 April. It’s still a great read, even if the late appearance takes away from some of the impact of HSP’s excellent words. Over, without further delay, to our man in Michigan.

HSP

In honor of the politically ambiguous event that is Earth Day, an anti-ICA where the anti-part is like the anti- in the anti-folk of early-80s New York… sure as heck sounded like folk, it’s just that it wasn’t done by folksters.

Basically, I searched my hard drive for the word Green. Then I tossed out all the album titles with the word, all the band names with the word, all the songs where the word was a root rather than stand-alone (all those versions of Greensleeves, POOF!)… and I still had too many. So-o-o, I reduced the list to songs that started with the word Green and got a manageable number.

I then played with different combinations, permutations, sonic themes and trajectories and ended up with these. It ends with my favorite of the bunch.

About Earth Day, my area of expertise is political ecology/critical environmental sociology. I was raised hiking, camping, canoeing, rafting, recycling, worried about extinction, population, consumption, resource inefficiency, pollution, acid rain, nuclear energy/war/winter, solid waste, litter, and – after we moved out of low income neighborhoods in smog-filled cities – with an organic garden and massive compost pile in the backyard. We were pretty active in Earth Day 1970 – I was 8.

By the time I wrote my undergraduate thesis on acid rain and freshwater fish, however, I’d studied pesticides, deforestation, desertification, the ecological devastation of war from Southeast Asia to Central America, and the anti-toxics campaigns soon to combine with struggles against environmental racism as what we now call the environmental justice movement. Of course, at that point, Reagan was dismantling the environmental state in all its legislative, administrative and bureaucratic manifestations. I’d thought environmentalism was about sublime nature – as America wrote in the song, Horse with No Name, “plants and birds and rocks and things”… I’d thought it was about ecological science and rational, expert-led, science-based policy. I’d though that no reasonable person could oppose what some European scholars later named ecological modernization.

By my second year of grad school, however, I’d read enough histories of the idea of nature, enough environmental history, enough research into the history of environmentalism to understand why elite “environmental” concerns with population, landscape preservation, resource efficiencies, environmental health and consumption were seen by some folks on the left and right as bourgeois concerns the implementation of which would hurt and disenfranchise working people, small businesses and small farms… much less the people of the global south, particularly land-poor low income women. Legitimate critiques of technocratic blindness to social justice and refusal of democratic participation in program implementation abound.

Like a lot of environmentalists, I find wilderness, mountains, plains, oceans and wildlife sublime. I marvel at and am in awe of them. Put I’m privileged to do so. Similarly, I’m physically and spiritually rejuvenated when I spend time in such places, where such beings still reside. Moreover, I think resource efficiency – extractive and in consumption – is inordinately important for all manner of reasons, including not despoiling landscapes, polluting neighborhoods and eliminating species. On top of that, who in their right mind wants to live in a polluted, litter-strewn, toxic terrain watching people of all ages die young? And who is affronted by the fact that all negative environmental consequences disproportionately effect lower income – especially lower income historically oppressed minority – populations?

But the thing is once you’ve made it to the last paragraph – and I know this is less of an insight for our European readers than it is for Romantic Americans who tend to think North and South America were pristine and Edenic, barely populated much less modified by “natural” peoples living lightly on the land – it should be clear that environmentalism is far less about Nature and Science – defined by gov’t and universities – and far more about health and justice – broadly defined.

Environmentalism, then, isn’t about pierced and tattooed, patchouli-drenched, long-haired, unshaven, bicycle-riding, vegan, recycling-obsessed, squatters younger than 28 fighting to save the planet – as most of my students, and pretty much all of their parents – think, it is and has always been about quality of life. The question is, of course, quality of life for whom and how many, and that’s not a technical question, it’s a social one… connected to the pandemic.

Thanks to all here for improving my quality of my life.

Side A
Green Jeans – The Fabulous Fleerekkers
Green Sea – Blue Stingrays
Green Onions – Booker T and the MGs
Green on Red – The Serfers
Green Fuz – Green Fuz

Side B
Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Green Manalishi – Arthur Brown
Green Machine – Hawkwind
Green Light – Sonic Youth
Green Shirt – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

HSP

45 45s @ 45: SWC STYLE (Part 38) + AN ISOLATION ICA FOR SEVEN-YEAR OLDS

A GUEST SERIES….WITH A VERY SPECIAL GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Last week my daughter received her next set of home school work. Each fortnight the children in her class get given a Project. Two weeks ago we designed a rocket out of cardboard boxes and plastics bottle tops. The time before that the children had a competition to build the strongest bridge out of Lego. The school give prizes for the ones with the most imagination and innovation. This time the Project is to write your own review of your favourite book or TV Programmes or Piece of Music. The blurb states that it needs to look like one of the reviews you will read in a magazine or a website and points will be again be given for imagination.

So, my daughter has compiled her own ICA featuring her favourite ten songs in the world (well sort of). Please bear in mind she is seven and a half and she wants to read all the comments that are left, so if you do comment please be kind. What follows are genuinely her own words (apart from the bits on italics, that was me and doesn’t appear in the school bit), she wrote this in her book and I have typed it and JC has published it (for which we are very grateful indeed). She has promised to draw him a picture to say thank you.

Oh one last thing, we will be sharing this with her school teachers and class mates so please if you decide to comment, be nice or kind. Thank You.

————-

My Ten Favourite Songs by Mini SWC

Last Christmas my daddy bought Alexa for a present to himself. Alexa is great she tells you jokes like “Whats Green and goes up and down?” A sprout in a lift. She sets alarms and tells me when my dinner is ready. She will also play music if you ask her, whatever music you want, it has all the songs in the world on it. My daddy plays lots of music and most of it is boring and a word that mummy uses to describe it that I can’t remember (the word used is ‘morose’ – swc). So he has let me have my own playlist – which I have called Rainbow Magic after the stories (Sorry, me again, Rainbow Magic are a bunch of stories by an author called Daisy Meadows which are fundamentally the same story rewritten 187 times each one with a slight tweak on the last one, a bit like the ongoing adventures of SWC and OPG you might say – swc) and I play music from it every day. It is a brilliant playlist much better than what Daddy listens to.

Side One

My favourite track in all the world is ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift. I want to be like Taylor Swift when I grow up. I want to dance around like she does and I dance like her in the lounge when I am supposed to be doing Joe Wicks PE, because Taylor Swift is better. All Joe Wicks does is talk about himself whilst jumping up and down. It is a very happy song and one that has handclaps and I always feel happy when I dance to it. Daddy also has this CD in his car (bought from Dr Barnados in Torquay for 50p shut up, it’s a great record – swc) and we listen to it on the way to school. I was really sad when Glastonbury was cancelled this year because Taylor Swift was playing last and that means she is the best popstar in the world. She is certainly better than all the boy popstars. Taylor Swift says that music is stronger than the coronavirus and that we should all stick together, boys don’t think that they just want to play football and be smelly. I give this song 185 out of 10.
(Shake It Off – Taylor Swift)

Another song I really like is in French and I don’t know who it is by. I like it because it is all about sausages which the man singing says in the first few words of it. This song is groovy and cool. Daddy says it is quite old and that the man singing it is really famous in France. I have never been to France but I would like to go because I want to go up the Eiffel Tower and eat a croissant by the river. I have been learning French and can ask for a drink of water if I need one. This is one of my mummy’s favourite songs as well. It’s also the best song to play musical statutes too.(the song is Le Responsable by Jacques Dutronc and she is right about the sausages – swc)

I like another song that is French and that I can’t remember the name of. But this one is the best song in the world for jumping about on Space Hoppers too. Space Hoppers are like big balloons that you can sit on and have races in the garden on. I have a blue Space Hopper and Mummy and Daddy have an orange one, but mine is the fastest and bounciest.
(She means Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertranda song that was played at my wedding and did indeed involve Space Hoppers – swc)

My daddy keeps putting music on my playlist to try and catch me out but I can always tell what songs he has put on there, because they are mostly rubbish and I delete them. I just tell Alexa to delete it and she does. One that I have kept is Bird Is the Word (This one is Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen and its another bonafide classic – swc). I really like the bit near the end of this where the singer sounds like he has a fish in his mouth and he doesn’t like it.
(Surfin’ Bird – The Trashmen)

Another one that daddy put on my playlist that I like is the song about Monsters coming over the hill. I like it a lot. I like to hide behind the sofa in the lounge and sing “Whats that hiding behind the sofa – is it a monster” and then jump out on mummy and daddy and scare them. This song is really fun and makes me think of cartoons like Scooby Doo.
(Monster – The Automatic)

Side Two

My favourite TV programme is Horrible Histories (ditto – swc) and at Christmas Daddy took me to the cinema to see the movie of it (which I totally recommend – swc). It was all about the Romans and the Celts. The Celts used to build houses out of their poo and the Romans made the roads all straight and stole lots of money from people. In the film the Romans and the Celts have a big battle in somewhere called Watling Street. Daddy says he grew up near Watling Street, although I’m not sure it was in the time of the Romans, like he says. I like going to the cinema because I get to eat Maltesers and popcorn.
(The Battle of Watling Street – Kate Nash)

At school a few months ago before the lockdown came and I couldn’t see my friends anymore we had to do a play. In the play I was a sheep and I had to do a dance with my friends. The song we danced to was ‘I like to Move It Move It’. I like to listen to this song because it reminds me of my friends especially M (name removed – swc) and it reminds me that one day there won’t be a virus and we can do plays at school again.
(I like to Move It – Reel 2 Reel)

My mummys favourite song in all the world is all about dreams – I don’t know who sings it but it is a very happy song and it has no boring guitars on it and no shouting. We played this song really loud on Christmas morning this year as we unwrapped presents. I was allowed to jump off the sofa as it was Christmas it was fun I also had chocolate for breakfast (which is why she jumped off the sofa – swc). Mummy has better taste in music than daddy.
(Dreamer – Livin Joy)

One of my favourite foods is jam sandwiches. I had jam sandwiches for lunch today. I don’t like orange jam though like Paddington (she means marmalade – swc). After lunch I helped to make some scones with mummy while daddy painted the bench on the patio. Mummy got cross with him because he spilt brown paint on the bricks. This song mentions jam and that makes me like it.
(Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic)

I love to read books I have a lot of books, apart from Daisy Meadows my favourite writer is Roald Dahl his books are really funny and have really funny characters in them. I like Mr Twit because he reminds me of my daddy when he doesn’t shave for a week. I also love Mr Wonka and if I also think about finding a Golden Ticket inside one of my chocolate bars. I like chocolate almost as much as jam sandwiches and pasta. There is a song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that my daddy used to play to me when I was really little, like four or something, that I like to listen to when I am feeling sad because it makes me smile.
(Pure Imagination – Gene Wilder )

———-

I think I am slightly biased, but I think that might just be the greatest ICA ever written. Thank you for reading. Take care out there. Stay Safe.

SWC (aided and abetted by mini SWC)