So there I was, trying to decide what song I would post this week, on our visit to that perfect Indie Disco where songs which don’t normally get played “out” get a spin.
I had alighted on one and was mulling over what to write about it, when the phrase “…a keyboard that would make Clint Boon swoon…” came to mind to describe it. Which made me think that perhaps there was a more appropriate band I should focus on this week instead.
Yes that’s right, none other than
The Clint Boon Experience the Inspiral Carpets.
Very much a “singles band”, I think, and much played back in the day (by which I mean, when I started DJ’ing at college, circa 1989), the Inspirals, along with bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and The Charlatans, very much saved my bacon. When I first started DJ’ing (I wrote about that here, in case you care to catch up), for the first few months my co-DJ Danny and I realised that perhaps the appetite for an Indie Night just wasn’t there amongst our fellow students.
See, this was a time when post-Smiths “indie music” wasn’t the bankable commodity it became after Britpop followed Grunge followed Shoegaze followed Madchester, and that time just happened to coincide with when we took over the fortnightly indie night. For the first couple of months, to say we struggled to break even most weeks was an understatement. The venue we played in had a capacity of 400, and often we would struggle to get anywhere near the treble-figure mark attending. There was talk of the night being axed altogether, and Danny and I scratched our heads as to what we could do to save it. We certainly didn’t want to go down in Students Union history as being the guys who killed the only alternative music night.
And then we got lucky. Suddenly this new sound, this distinctive baggy, Madchester groove, started getting more airplay on the radio, and before we knew it, the “kids” were suddenly asking us for us to play all these new bands predominantly from the North West, sometimes bringing us records to play, all turning up to our night wearing flared trousers and hooded tops, keen to look cool and show off their Bez dance, if those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
Danny and I seized the moment with both hands, which is four hands if you think about it, seeking out and playing more and more of this stuff: Northside, New Fast Automatic Daffodils, The Mock Turtles…and then the existing indie bands, your Primal Screams, your Soup Dragons, started releasing their own brand of indie/dance crossover and having…bloody hell, what’s this..?…hits! Suddenly, our little indie night was the place to be seen every other Tuesday night, and before we knew it Danny and I achieved a very low level of fame, hosts of “that night where they play the cool stuff” before the more commercial Saturday Night DJ’s had sunk their teeth into them.
Inspiral Carpets were very much a “must-play” band for us back then; but if you hear them played out these days, I guarantee you it will probably be either “Dragging Me Down” or “Saturn 5” which has the dust blown off its grooves; fine singles both, but it’s in the direction of an earlier, less polished, single that I want to lovingly prod you.
Actually, no, make that two singles: for when I decided it would be the Inspirals that would feature here this week, I couldn’t make up my mind which of two to post. So here you go, have them both, because they are both absolute corkers.
Firstly, a song which, when Hel and I used to share a flat, we would sing whenever watching ‘Match of the Day’ and a certain ex-Man City and Everton forward would get a mention:
…and secondly, the follow-up single, 2:03 of pure upbeat, swirly-organed pop joy, guaranteed to leave you with a ridiculous grin on your face:
Hopefully you’ll understand why I couldn’t decide on just one of those to post.