Monday, 8 October 2007

Teenage Fanclub - Star Sign

Thankfully, this brings me up to date with the four blog entries that I owe you. I blame my busy weekend. I could have lied and falsified the dates of the entries, but as I maintain, this blog will be all about telling the truth. So this is how it has to be.

Star Sign came out in about the middle of that classic run of Teenage Fanclub singles. My memory tells me that it was their first release after they left Fire Records (well, Paperhouse Records but this won't work unless I use the parent company...) and signed to Creation *desperately thrashes around trying to think up an 'out of the Fire and into the something Creation and heat-based pun'* . . . *fails*. My memory also tells me that this single was the one directly before Radio. Let's double check my facts on the internet, which is after all the modern day and lazy equivalent of those memory-improving books they used to advertise in the Sunday newspaper supplement magazines. No, I'm completely wrong, there's loads of stuff released between the two of them. Shows what I know.

The B-side of this single was their cover version of Madonna's Like a Virgin, which should have sounded much more exciting than it actually does. I remember being disappointed by it even then. But I've forgiven them for that now.

Here's the video, which I've honestly never seen before. So I'm going to post this and then watch it for the first time myself. It'll be like being one of you for a few minutes.

Adam and the Ants - Stand and Deliver

I was bought this by an ex-girlfriend of mine on the offchance that I didn't have it combined with the fact that the plain white sleeve has '50p' written on it biro.

Ants fact - when this record was released in 1981 it was the first single to go straight into the charts at number one since The Beatles had managed it last. The charts were somewhat more competitive twenty-six years ago. It was amazing, records could climb the charts, drop down a few places, go out of the charts, get back into the charts, climb back up further than they got before and THEN go to number one. It was not at all unusual for a record to get to number two or three, drop down over a couple of weeks to number fifteen or so, then go back up the charts and finally get to number one. As a kid you would memorise the top ten back then cos it was important. By 'you' I mean 'I', of course.

It makes me amazingly pleased to be able to embed the Stand and Deliver video here cos it was great then and it is still great now. Remember - when Adam jumps from that tree at the start he breaks his leg as he lands. That's suffering for your pop art.

Inspiral Carpets - Find Out Why

Oh my, I hope we're not hitting too lengthy a cluster of baggy singles. Here we have an early hit (though it's telling that in my head I consider it one of their later songs, as like the Happy Mondays I didn't bother with much of their output once Madchester had died it's drugs-and-guns death).

This 7" has no picture sleeve. Just a plain black sleeve with the holes in so you can actually see what it is on the labels on the vinyl itself. Though it does have a little circular sticker saying 'inspiral carpets. 99p. ltd edition' on the sleeve. So that answers the question of price. There's no year of release anywhere on it. So before checking Wikipedia I'm guessing 1990. Let's see... ooh - it was their last single of 1989. So close.

To our younger readers this song might be better remembered as the theme tune to kids Saturday morning TV Show '8:15 to Manchester', though they'd changed the "Something's gonna make her mine" lyric and crowbarred in the line "8:15 to Manchester" and ruined it. There's a YouTube video of them recording the theme tune version that I'm not going to embed here, purist that I am.

I always used to think that this single had entirely ripped off the organ intro to 96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians (that's no mistake - it's pronounced "Question Mark and the Mysterians), a song that the Inspirals covered on one of their very early recordings. Though watching the video to the original (again, it's up on YouTube) it's not quite the same. Though maybe the Inspirals used the same riff on this single and their cover version, who knows? What I do know is that I'm not going through my old cassettes to find out.

Happy Mondays - Kinky Afro

This is the last Happy Mondays record I bought. For a lot of people, I think that their time with the Mondays ended around about the time of Judge Fudge or worse still, all of Yes Please! the album. For me it was probably the height of their fame. I was never convinced by the Thrills, Pills and Bellyaches album, but bought this single a fair while later as I was of the opinion that it was the one good thing from it. I seem to recall I just picked it up at a 7" single clearout at Way Ahead Records in Derby.

I really wouldn't be the first to point out the lyrical couplet that kicks this song off so I won't. Though I will point out that it's apparently something that Derek Ryder (Shaun and Paul Ryder's dad) said to him when he was a kid. I suspect that sort of parenting contributed in no small part to the two Ryder offspring's lifetimes of drug dependency later on, eh?

After this single came Loose Fit, which is noteworthy only for Mark 'Cow' Day's typically inspired guitar parts. He's not in the reformed Mondays line-up which is about all you need to know about them. That said, many, many people will argue that they were absolutely at their best in that brief spell when Bez started playing guitar for them. How many of you had forgotten about that?

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Mobiles - Drowning in Berlin

Could you get away with calling your band The Mobiles nowadays? It all sounds a bit nu-rave to me, but maybe that is strictly just me. I'm sure it doesn't matter too much to Eastbourne and Hastings' The Mobiles, cos they did it in 1981 and we'd not even had the carphone yet. Apart from in spy movies. Speaking of which - and I'm sure I'm hardly the first person to notice this but exactly how many carphones do Carphone Warehouse sell these days?

I really do still love this record and it's only just occurred to me that I know nothing whatsoever about the band. I only know where they're from cos I just looked at the start of their entry on Wikipedia. Before I read the rest of it, I'm willing to bet that some of the band members ended up in other bands who went on to bigger things and it's going to surprise me. Let's have a look.

No, I'm wrong. One of them moved to Madrid and another is a health professional. The single got to number 9 in the charts though so it was a proper pop record and everything. It also states that 'they claimed to have been sacked from their day jobs because they took a day off to appear on Top of the Pops.'

In my quick hunt around the internet I learn that the line in the song that starts out in German but ends with "in Berlin" is in fact "Sind Sie allein in Berlin", which loose internet translation tells me could possibly mean "you are alone in Berlin". I've not known that for 26 years now. Depending on who you ask. The internet claims this was a hit in 1982. The label on my 7 incher states 1981. I'm also surprised to learn that I've never really studied the sleeve properly, else I'd have known that The Mobiles drummer's name was Eddie Fragile and the keyboard player suffered a mix-up at the registry office and ended up being called Jhon.

I've always thought of this single as a bit of a lost Goth classic, and assumed that cos it got into the top ten and was all over the radio that Sisters of Mercy fans had erased it from history. The YouTube footage I've found would suggest that The Mobiles were a much more New Romantic affair. However, an Amazon review of their re-released material on CD has this to say 'The Mobiles released their debut single `Drowning in Berlin' in late 1981. It became a surprise hit in early 1982, and was just a taste of the talent and quality this young band possessed. It was a bizarre combination of New Romantic and Gothic, giving it a very unique sound and feel'. So I'm right. As of this moment I'm bestowing the title of Noir Romantic PIONEERS on them. That same review adds, most importantly of all, 'The bizarre fairground section adds a chilling element that sends this brilliant song to perfection. It should have gone to #1'. Yep, the merry-go-round bit was always a great odd touch. Still is.

So here's the video footage of them on Top of the Pops, introduced by Pee-dah Powell. Recorded merely hours before they found themselves out of work. I had much more fun with this one than Daisy Ruddy Chainsaw.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Daisy Chainsaw - Love Your Money

I knew this was a bad idea. This is the band that became Queen Adreena. They got into the proper pop charts with this offering way back in 1991. It's a shouty-punk effort and really not much kop. The B-side is called Get Real Pleasure and I could not tell you if I've ever even listened to it.

I didn't buy this record, I borrowed it off a drummer I was in a band with. At some point in the future I'll get to some Pop Will Eat Itself singles that are his as well. I presume I had it to DJ with during the fortnight when it was all the rage in the indie clubs. Anyway, Richard - if you're reading this do you want your Daisy Chainsaw single back? I'm done with it now. Also - do you still have to count when you drum? I always found that really puzzling.

I once met the bass player from Daisy Chainsaw. He was a nice bloke. I don't wonder what he's doing now.


In the corner of my room sits my 7" vinyl collection. I've no idea what order they're in, though I'm certain that at some point they will have been alphabeticised. They'll be pretty jumbled up by now, however.

One day at a time I shall take the record at the very front and write my review of it and where possible I'll explain how it came to be in my collection, irrespective of how embarrassing the thing in question is. Until I've done them all or I get bored of having to do a blog entry everyday.

If you're looking for a reason why I plan to do this, you won't find it written here.