A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

I confess. I bought this, but with the benefit of hindsight I don’t think I bought it because i particularly liked the song.

No. For in 1986, I was a great big randy wannabe-Romeo, a smouldering volcano of hormones, likely to erupt at the merest female attention, who was utterly taken in by that video.

My logic was simple: buy a copy of the single, and I will have done my bit to ensure the video will be shown on Top of the Pops and/or The Chart Show that week.

Sad, really.

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Robert Palmer – Addicted To Love

Just in case you have no idea which video I’m talking about (he says, by way of a rather pathetic justification for posting it), here it is:

Hard to believe that was practically the 80s equivalent of the Blurred Lines video, isn’t it?

Still, at least I can say that by the time Palmer tried exactly the same trick for his follow-up single I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On I wasn’t so easily taken in. I didn’t buy it. Mostly because, as I wrote here (links re-upped), I always felt it was a bit too sleazy old man in a nightclub for my liking.

That, and I’d had several cold showers by then.

More soon.

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A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

When I first started writing this blog, the intention was to list every record I had ever bought in the order that I had bought them, to emulate this in some small way:

Nothing would be omitted, no matter how embarrassing the purchase may be (there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure!) – although this rule quickly fell by the wayside as it would have meant me talking about every Quo record I ever bought in my early to mid-teens – and trust me, I bought A LOT – which would have been tedious in the extreme for y’all.

But still, I figured, every song had a story, and whenever I hear them I’m transported back to a time in my life where there’d be something in the vicinity, some foolish venture or terribly amusing bon mot which might be worth imparting.

Turns out that’s not the case, which is why I haven’t written one of these since December last year.

In other words, there’s not much of a story to impart here either, to be honest.

Also, truth be told, I can’t remember what order I bought things in. Where I bought them, who I was with and what it reminds me of, yes – but when? Not a hope. Just because something came out in May 1986 – as today’s choice did – doesn’t necessarily mean that’s when I bought it.

In 1984, my older brother had bought today’s artist’s second album, The Drum is Everything, and I’d quite liked a couple of songs on it, enough to lead me to buy the first single from the follow-up album.

Neither album nor single were hits (the single peaked at #60 in the UK, the album The Falling got to #88) and it proved to be the last time that Carmel bothered the charts in the UK.

#60 is way to low for this to have got to, in my book.

See what you think:

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Carmel – Sally

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

I honestly can’t recall what caused me to buy this album back in 1986.

It may have been that I heard something by this band on the John Peel show.

It may be that I’d heard the song of there’s which featured on the legendary C86 compilation album, which my brother owned.

Either way, it’s an album which I love to this day, by a band that I know invokes much love via the Comments section whenever I mention them.

Their sound may have become ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly, more polished over the years, but they’ve remained instantly recognisable. You know when you’ve heard a song by Half Man Half Biscuit.

So here’s a selection of songs from the album in question, along with pictures to help younger readers get some idea of who the many celebrities name checked in them are.:

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Fuckin’ ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus

 

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As featured:

Fred Titmus, England cricketer who lost four toes in a boating accident, and is still better than the absolute shower we’ve got playing in The Ashes at the moment.

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd

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As featured:

Bob Todd, comedic actor, straight man to Spike Milligan and, more famously, Benny Hill.

 

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Lesley Judd, co-presenter of BBC flagship childrens show Blue Peter, from the classic line-up of Judd, Singleton, Noakes & Purves

 

 

 

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – Time Flies By (When You’re The Driver Of A Train)

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As featured: Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub, stars of animated TV show Trumpton. After the series ended, McGrew, Dibble and one of the Pugh boys made ends meet by stripping. (Are you sure about this? – Ed)

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – The Len Ganley Stance

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As featured: Len Ganley, bequiffed snooker referee and style icon.

 

 

 

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)

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As featured: Jim Reeves, American country singer known as Gentleman Jim

 

 

 

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Peggy Mount: English actor, probably best known for starring in sit-com “George & the Dragon” with Sid James. You can probably work out a) the basic plotline of every show, and b) which part she played.

 

 

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Arctic Roll, popular pudding in the 1970s. This post would have appeared a lot sooner had I not decided to go and buy one the moment I saw this picture.

 

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Shake n’ Vac, popular carpet freshener from the 1970s, when this advert set hearts a-racing:

 

 

and as covered by Snuff, here:

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Snuff – Shake n’ Vac

And finally:

Half Man Half Biscuit – Reflections In A Flat

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As featured:

Echo & the Bunnymen: Liverpudlian trench coat salesmen

 

 

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Ali Bongo: children’s entertainer, good at contortionism

 

 

 

 

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David Nixon: not as good as Ali Bongo

 

 

And I’m mightily relieved to have got through all of those, and realised I don’t appear to have pinched a single description from those presented on the back cover of the album, just about legible here:

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More soon.

I Can’t Help Myself

Time for some more gut reactions, songs which spring to mind whenever I hear a word, phrase or a person’s name.

As discussed at way too much length last time out, many of these seem to stem from footballer’s names, and the first one this week is no exception.

Although I can’t really take credit (if that’s the right phrase…) for this one. I believe I heard it mentioned on an old TV show hosted by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel called “Fantasy Football League”.

One of them (Frank, I think) announved that whenever he heard the surname of German midfielder Torsten Frings, he always thought of this song. And since then, I have too:

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Nancy Sinatra & Dean Martin – Things…

They spent a lot of time, money and effort on that sleeve, didn’t they? I mean, they haven’t even bothered to fully crop Lee Hazlewood out of the photo of Nancy. Look:

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Anyway, next up, a record that I actually bought on 7″ single back in 1986, for the sole purpose of putting it on a mix-tape to play in the sixth form common room (chucking a chart record on every now and then was my way of making sure any of the kids less cool than me (sense the ironic tone, by the way) wouldn’t complain that they didn’t know any of the songs being played. See how I suffered for my art?).

As with “Things…”, I may be misappropriating the source, but I have not actually heard the title of this next song since the day that Radio 1 (at the time) DJ Simon Mayo (I think) substituted it for the words “Womens’ Underwear”. I

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Bon Jovi – Womens’ Underwear Livin’ On a Prayer

Which leads us nicely into, if not identical, then very similar territory. Last time out, I opened up the floor to any suggestions which you might have, and Charity Chic (of Charity Chic Music fame) proffered this:

“My surname is Boyd and my brother and I have been known to sing “The Boyds are Back in Town” on occasions (usually when alcohol has been consumed).”

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Thin Lizzy – The Boyds Boys Are Back In Town

I’ve got one of those too. In fact, I have two of them. These aren’t sung by my family and I, but at least once a year (on my birthday) this will spring to mind for one particular line contains a word which bears more than a passing resemblance to my surname (in fact, I’ve lost count of how many times people have thought it is my actual surname):

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The Beautiful South – Let Love Speak Up Itself

Now, I’m not about to reveal my surname here, I’d like to retain some degree of anonymity (although any of you that don’t know me personally but do follow me on Twitter will already know it), but this should give you a bit more of a clue:

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Fred Wedlock – Oldest Swinger in Town

Feel free to send any suggestions you might have (for songs to feature in this series, not for what my surname is) via the Comments section below.

More soon.

Four (Two)

So, following on from last night’s post…

…it’s the weekend before payday, and I’m broke. So, a weekend, in the flat, watching TV and adding to the usual slew of posts that I generally write over these two days.

You may have noticed, despite my best efforts to disguise my ineptitude behind a veneer of seemingly planned series’, that often what I write here is pretty much made up of whatever I think of when the laptop grinds into life.

Even more often, usually just as I’ve clicked the button marked “Publish”, I think of something I wish I’d written instead.

Such was the case with last night’s post.

How can I let a fourth anniversary pass without mention of this:

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Which is of course, a reference to this timeless comedy sketch:

This seems appropriate:

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Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown

As do these four versions of the same song, the first of which I picked up on 7″ single back in 1986 from a Record Fayre (I never understood why they insisted on spelling Fayre like that, as if they thought it would add some rustic credibility to the event) at The Wirrina in Peterborough (demolished back in 2010, it’s only as I come to write this that I find Northern Soul All Nighters were held there in the 1970s):

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Elvis Costello – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Although perhaps the most famous version is this:

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The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Then there’s the obligatory Disco(ish) version:

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Santa Esmeralda starring Leroy Gomez – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

And of course, the Queen of all versions:

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Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

And, on a similar subject, another 7″ single I bought, also in 1986 (I was, arguably, starting to get the hang of buying decent singles by this point….):

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The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong

…as can be evidenced by the fact that I did not buy this one on 7″ single at all, but I am strangely filled with an overwhelming urge to hear it now:

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Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

But I digress. Where was I?

Ah yes. Candles.

Then to round things off, I can’t let the chance to post this go by:

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Ian McCulloch – Candleland

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Take the Subway to Your Suburb”, a compilation of tracks released on The Subway Organization label.

Here, from May 1986, is another release on the same label, a three track 12″ that both my brother and I both bought copies of. On the same day.

In a loft conversion in our parents house was a communal room (it was meant for my brother and I and our friends had a room to hang out in without getting in our parents’ way), in which was housed a TV, a sofa, a couple of guitars and a stereo.

The stereo was my brother’s, one of those affairs that are designed to look like a piece of furniture, housed in a wooden frame with a tinted glass door over the tape decks, volume control and record rack, with another tinted glass lid covering the turntable.

As I always did upon purchasing a new record, I bolted up the stairs two or three at a time, bounded into the room, only to find my brother already in there, listening to exactly the same record as I’d just bought, which confused me somewhat since my copy was still in the bag I was carrying.

This one, probably one of the shortest three track 12″ singles ever released, with a total running time of under six minutes, each track a perfect example of short but sweet Buzzcocks-inspired indie greatness:

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The Soup Dragons – Whole Wide World

The Soup Dragons – I Know Everything

The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised

I’ve not listened to those three tracks in quick succession for a few years, and blimey did I just enjoy doing it then.

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

Slowly but surely, we edge through a review of my record collection in chronological order…

…and here we are in April 1986, where, as far as I can glean, this was the only single I purchased.

One of only two records I own by Big Country – the other being their debut album “The Crossing” – this turned out to be their biggest hit in the UK, reaching the giddy heights of #7.

Whoever was the band’s stylist at the time was clearly at loggerheads with the person responsible for the photo-shoot for the single sleeve:

Photographer: Let’s put them in a bleak, wind-swept, wintry scene. It captures their innate Scottishness, plus it’ll look like Big Country are part of the big countryside!

Stylist: But I’ve told the lads to turn up dressed as if they’re appearing on Miami Vice….

Photographer: Ah, it’ll be fine, people love a good juxtaposition.

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Big Country – Look Away

It was also around this time that I picked up an album originally released in 1981 and which, by July 2016, had gone platinum twenty times, sold 6,120,000 copies in the UK alone, and had become the biggest selling album in the UK. Ever. So before any of you decide to take the piss, chances are you’ve owned a copy of it at some time or other too.

But, in my book, it shouldn’t count as the Biggest Selling Album Ever, because it’s a Greatest Hits album. Compilation albums were excluded from the normal UK Album Charts in January 1989, and what is a Greatest Hits album if not a compilation of the biggest selling singles released by one artist?

Anyway, whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely an album, and one that I bought in April 1986, and I know that I bought it then because I was swotting up ready to go to my first ever gig later that year, a gig which featured both acts on the line-up. But more about that another time.

Until then, here’s a song which, in the wee small hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, when we’d both had a few too many, Hel and I would belt out together in our old flat:

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Queen – Somebody to Love

Now, if you don’t want to read something a bit soppy, I suggest that you…er…”look away” now: Hel and her long-term partner Neil recently announced they’re getting married next year. So it seems to me that if you sing a song often enough, it can come true. Congratulations, both.

More soon.