I may have told this story before; forgive me if I have, and feel free to skip to the bit where I post a tune.
I’ve definitely posted this song before, in a different series, back in 2017, so it’s long overdue a second appearance, especially when you consider it’s by a band that I love who (assuming I tagged things properly, which isn’t neccesarily a given) have only featured on these pages once before, when I posted this song. I’ll be redressing that shortly.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote about the album this appears on back in 2017:
“Released in 1986, “Purveyors of Taste” was a Creation compilation, seven tracks by bands from the label’s roster, and each one quite magnificent.
Tracks from this album featured regularly on the tapes I used to prepare for the sixth-form common room, which I used to record on my Dad’s stereo, situated in the dining room of the family home. Often, the vinyl I had used would remain there for a few days, and I used to ensure that I left this one at the front of the pile I had brought, because I knew it really annoyed my Mum. Can’t think why.”
And my story relates to that sleeve, and I figure if I didn’t tell it when I wrote about Pureveyors of Taste, then I can’t conceive of when I would have written about it.
Enough with the disclaimers.
Here’s the album sleeve in question:
I had a party for my 18th birthday, held in the upstairs function room of The Country Club, a glorified bar in the small village I lived in. It was invite only, but as the night progressed many locals seeking some late night drinking tried to join us; I knew most of them, figured the more the merrier, so said they could come in.
What I didn’t know was that my 6th form friends – most of whom did not live locally – had clubbed together and bought me an 18th birthday present I’d never forget: an inflatable lady shaped sex doll. Apparently this was meant as a comment on my peceived unattractiveness to women, and my ongoing unwanted clinging to virginity. Hilarious, right?
I’m told that a bunch of my so-called buddies met in the pub across the road, inflated my present and then were thrown out after they tossed her around the bar.
The first i knew about her was when the DJ killed all the music, cleared the dancefloor and then invited me onto the empty space, at which point my new inflatable friend was presented to me, and I had to waltz around the room with her.
I’m game, so I went with it (mostly because I figured it would be more embarassing to refuse to play along).
Shortly afterwards, I was handed a somewhat deflated present, and was told that someone had jumped on her and caused her to puncture. Fortuitously, someone was there to capture the moment the news of her passing was broken to me:
In case you’re confused, that’s 18 year old me on the left.
And no, I do not look anything like either subject these days. Except maybe for the moobs.
But that’s not the end of the story, for a few months later, Mrs Rubber Dolly had a most wonderful renaissance.
Having spent several months in a plastic bag in my parents’ garage, I set about repairing her with my trusty bicycle puncture repair kit. Not for any sordid reasons, but because there was news that an election for the position of 6th Form Head Boy/Girl was forthcoming, and I wanted to be unruly and satirical.
And so it was that, like a phoenix from the flames, restored to her former glory, she was inflated and pinned to a wall in the 6th Form Common Room, a sign sellotaped to her chest which simply read (not Simply Red): “Vote Mrs R Dolly”.
I wish this story ended differently, but I have to tell you that Mrs R Dolly won the election. However, she was subsequently disqualified on the grounds that she was “not an actual student”. Pah! There was nothing in the election rules which stipulated this. Pure nit-picking, in my book.
Were it to happen now, then I’m sure the outcome would be different, for if there’s one thing we’ve all learned since then, it’s that you should give The People what they want, even if it is ridiculous, possibly harmful, and almost certainly not in their best interest.
All of which, apart from the album cover, has no bearing on tonight’s tune. I just thought, for a change, you might want to hear something about inflation which didn’t make you accidentally soil yourself.