Late Night Stargazing

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.

The Weather Prophets – Like Frankie Lymon

More soon.

A Mix-Tape Maker’s Best Friend #2: “Purveyors of Taste – A Creation Compilation”

So, after last week’s post on compilation albums, Swiss Adam from Bagging Area got in touch to say he had no issues with me writing a few more, since he gets tired of doing series posts very quickly.

I know exactly what he means: every now and then I’ll think of a song I want to write about, think of another song, and then I’m off!…only for it to peter out a couple of weeks later when I can’t think of a third.

In evidence, I give you my “You Couldn’t Get Away With This Nowadays” series. Seemed a great idea at the time. First Post in Series: December 4th 2016. Last Post in Series: January 8th 2017. Total series posts: 3.

Anyway, Swiss’s magnanimous gesture means I can squeeze a few posts out of this, so here’s another one which I bought – yes, bought, not peeled off the front of a magazine like last week’s featured cassette.

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:

Various - Purveyors Of Taste

The Bodines – Therese

One of two songs to feature here as well as on the seminal NME “C86”compilation, this is an absolute stone cold classic, a phrase which I will undoubtedly be repeating before this post is done.

Felt – I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You

The first record I ever heard or owned by Felt. In fact, until I bought this album, I don’t think I’d even heard of Lawrence (from Felt); now I own records not just by Felt, but by Lawrence in later guises Denim and Go-Kart Mozart. Knowing Lawrence, there’s doubtless numerous other projects he has been involved in that I’m not aware of. He also looms large in Song Man, a novel by Will Hodgkinson, about, as the cover blurb puts it: “One Man’s Mission to Write the Perfect Pop Song”. Chapter One is called, simply: “Lawrence”, and if you’re going to start trying to write the Perfect Pop Song, then I can think of worse places to start than with Lawrence. (I’m looking at you, Cowell.) You can get the book here if you fancy it (although I’d much rather you bought it from a company that doesn’t avoid paying it’s taxes).

For a good chunk of their history, Felt also featured a keyboard player, called Martin Duffy, who many of you will recognise as being a stalwart of this next lot:

Primal Scream – Velocity Girl

What is left to say about this, the opening track on “C86”, that hasn’t already been said? This is the reason I bought this album (this and The Bodines track); my brother owned “C86” on vinyl, and I wanted to own those two songs all for myself too. Quite simply, it’s perhaps the most perfect 1:22 ever committed to vinyl. A…wait for it…stone cold classic.

The Jasmine Minks – Cold Heart

Although in 1984, the NME named them as one of the eighteen most hopeful bands in Britain (is hopeful the same as promising….?), The Jasmine Minks are one of those bands that, although they released some great stuff, never quite made it. There’s some lovely stuff in their back catalogue, “Cold Heart” being a particular high-point.

Biff Bang Pow! – Love’s Going Out of Fashion

Named after a song by one of Creation boss Alan McGee’s favourite bands, The Creation, and featuring McGee himself on vocals and guitar (and, at one point, Andrew Innes, albeit on a part-time basis, and also of Primal Scream fame), Biff Bang Pow! are another band who, for reasons I’ve never fully understood, especially when you consider McGee’s involvement, never quite made it.

The Weather Prophets – Like Frankie Lymon

As with Felt, my first encounter of a band who I came to love very much. I was completely oblivious that the band had risen from the ashes of The Loft, who of course had made waves in the world of indie records a few years earlier with “Up The Hill and Down The Slope”. Lead singer Pete Astor is still doing the rounds, and I can heartily recommend his 2016 album “Spilt Milk”.

Meat Whiplash – Don’t Slip Up

It’s a shame that this has to be the song to end the album; it’s the only one I’m not overly fond of, and the only band I’ve never really made any effort to get hold of any of their other stuff, which may be great, but since here they seem to me to a band trying their darnedest to sound like Psychocandy-era Jesus & Mary Chain (and not coming anywhere close), I’ve always thought: Why bother when I can just listen to it done properly? At which point Psychocandy gets the dust blown off it one more time.

A couple of bonuses for you, since I’ve mentioned them:

the-creation-biff-bang-pow-planet-2

The Creation – Biff, Bang, Pow

THE_LOFT_UP+THE+HILL+AND+DOWN+THE+SLOPE-121021

The Loft – Up The Hill and Down The Slope

And, finally, I’ll try to leave you on a cheery note: just in case you don’t know who poor Frankie ‘dead-on-his-grandmother’s-bathroom-floor-from-a-heroin-overdose-at-the-age- of-25’ Lymon was, here he is:

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Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Why Do Fools Fall in Love

More soon.