A History of Dubious Taste – 1987

Ok, well, there’s no point in me pretending that I’m able to keep to my mission statement of posting all of the records I bought in the order I bought them.

I’ve realised I’ve missed loads out – often with good reason: I very much doubt (m)any of you would be the slightest bit interested in the glut of Status Quo records I bought as a teenager – so from hereon in, we’ll jump about a bit in this series.

Ok, that’s the admin done.

So. Regular readers will know how much I hate adverts, particularly ones which appropriate songs I love in an effort to try and draw those of us ‘of a certain age’ towards the product advertised. If you’re new here, go to the Categories drop down on the left and click S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs) and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, this means that I’m really happy that the weather has been so terrible here in the UK for the last week. Because I can laugh at the supermarkets trying to flog their wares by way of referencing barbeques we won’t be having, or the cosmetic companies banging on about whether we’re beach ready or not (I’m not, haven’t been for years and I suspect I never will be again).

And when I think this, I have to rein myself in, for I have a record lurking in my collection which shows that I too have fallen foul of the curse that is the British summer.

Now, I know that one of my tag-lines here is that “there’s no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure”, and I firmly believe this. But I also believe that there’s also such a thing as a record which you own from which you derive no pleasure whatsoever.

And this is one of those.

Yes, I own it (I dare not check my box of 7″ singles, for I fear it might still be there).

I hate it.

Because it’s awful.

Bruce Willis – Under The Boardwalk

No, wait! Don’t you look at me like that! I can explain!!!

In 1987, every other night was spent fervently compiling mix-tapes to be played the following day in the sixth form common room. Homework? Schmomework!

Now, I knew that my own musical preference – jingly-jangly indie-schmindie – was not to everyone else’s taste and that my fellow students would indulge me, but only as long as they knew they would hear something they recognised every now and again. Something – I shudder as I write it – from “The Charts”.

And so to avoid the utter ignominy of having a mixtape ejected mid-flow, I bought some chart-bothering crowd pleasers.

Which is why I own(ed) this.

Please don’t judge me.

More (better, I promise) soon.

When The Scales Fell From My Eyes

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a clip of the opening moments of an interview which has been doing the rounds on social media this week, featuring The Cure’s Robert Smith, as the band were about to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:

I was reminded of a conversation I had with my friends Gary and Meg when I stayed over at theirs the other weekend.

We were talking about encounters with famous people; I was saying that I generally wouldn’t approach them, as I figure they must get hassled by people enough without me adding to it. I prefer to catch their eye and give them an appreciative nod, maybe tweet them later so they understood I had been respecting their right to public privacy.

Gary’s view was that on such occasions it was perfectly okay to speak to them as you would probably never have the chance again – provided you were going to say something nice rather than confrontational.

Meg’s position was that in her line of work, she had encountered many celebrities and coming over all fangirl was definitely frowned upon.

We all had various examples of our actions to support our position; me: Al Murray (who clocked me as I waited for Gary and Meg outside a Teenage Fanclub gig, and who gave me a “Don’t you fucking dare” glare – not that I was going to – I tweeted him about it later and he was perfectly lovely), future Dr Whos Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi (independently of each other, and both just before they were announced as the next Dr Who, to the point where I wondered if any actor I encountered would be unveiled as the next TARDIS incumbant shortly afterwards): Smith caught my nod and gave me an appreciative smile in return, Capaldi sat opposite me on the tube, steadfastly refusing to make eye-contact with anyone, like most people do on public transport); Gary: George Martin, who he accosted in a theatre (at a Rolf Harris gig, of all places….this was some years ago, I should add) and got his autograph for his troubles; Meg: Jonathan Ross, Caitlin Moran, one of The Magic Numbers (I forget which one), and Robert Smith, amongst others.

And it was as she related her tale of not bothering Smith that she came out with a phrase which I thought was so brilliant, I asked her to repeat, and then clarify:

Meg: I passed Robert Smith in a corridor at the BBC once, and he was dressed as Robert Smith….

Me: Sorry, what?

Meg: I passed Robert Smith in a corridor at the BBC once, and he was dressed as Robert Smith…

Me: Sorry, what do you mean, ‘dressed as Robert Smith’?

Meg: You know, his hair was all over the place, loads of mascara, slightly wonky lipstick…

Me: But you’re describing Robert Smith to me. Are you saying he doesn’t always look like that?

Meg: Well, yes. He can’t look like that all the time, or he’d always be getting stopped. He must dress like Robert Smith out of The Cure only when he’s being Robert Smith out of The Cure, surely?

It was something which had never occured to me before, but the more I think about it, the more I think Meg’s probably right. Much as I’d like to imagine Robert Smith popping to the shops to buy some toilet roll dressed as Robert Smith out of The Cure, he probably doesn’t. He probably just wears the eyeliner and passes on the lipstick.

Me: That’s brilliant. You know I’m going to use that on my blog, right? Credit will be given, of course.

Meg: (utterly nonchalant about the epiphany I’d just had) Course you can.

I’m a man of my word.

Here’s a bloody great song by The Cure, featuring Robert Smith dressed as Robert Smith out of The Cure, one which I bought on 7″ back in 1987, and which still gets a spin every now and then:


The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You?

More soon.

Friday Freedom Song

The repeats of Top of the Pops on BBC4 have reached October 1986, and as such are straying into the point when my record buying reached it’s absolute peak.

So, as many episodes are no longer able to be broadcast (as they were hosted by what we now know to be various unsavoury types, or by Mike Smith, who declined to approve any episodes he hosted be re-aired), I thought I’d better get in quick with this single, which dates back to February 1987.

This spent twelve weeks on the UK charts, but only managed to reach the giddy heights of #18 in all that time. The band were never heard from again.

Unless you’ve ever lived with me, in which case it will undoubtedly have found it’s way onto a playlist, mix-tape or CD somewhere along the line.

Because I still think this is an absolute belter, which should have been a much bigger hit than it was. Maybe it was the hat that did it for them:


The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go

More soon.