Vinyl at the library

DECADES AGO, when libraries first added music to books, borrowers would take out vinyl records. When CDs came into being, the records found their way into thrift and charity shops.

Now, in tandem with vinyl’s revival, 33s have found their way back onto the shelves of council-funded libraries. Well, one at least, but I am sure others will soon follow. That library is Wellington Central, which has always been attuned to the boutique tastes to its trend-seeking clientele.

Today, as I previewed in a recent post, vinyl is back on the shelf …


An interesting selection I am sure you will agree. At the moment there’s only about 300 records to choose from, but more will likely be added.

They have also felt the need to include a helpful stickered request for users. Alas, given the multitude of oafs who return CDs with an array of scratches, I fear this may be a tad too ambitious …




THINK LOCAL, ACT GLOBAL is the mantra of single-issue activists. And it should be the slogan Richard Stone writes on his hands every day as he sets about to make his name more meaningful than a natural-made object.a-blue-flame

Stone hails from Leicester and his debut album gained a lot of airplay on BBC Leicester and in other city and county-wide outlets.

Now he has an umbrella to work under: A Blue Flame. And a second album What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains. The rest of the UK and Europe beckon.

It has lush 60s melodies that remind me of Bill Pritchard, another doyen of English sensibilities, who may not be a name that immediately springs to mind, but he is relatively well-known in Belgium. Which is more impressive than you might think because there’s two of them.

A Blue Flame are adept at stringing together tales of everyday mundanity and pleasures, with a dashing, neo-orchestral strumming of guitars and gentle clang of drums. The Girl Inside of You is the perfect example of this modus operandi, evoking days of watching “The Great Escape on the TV screen” as it builds to a crushing crescendo.

From God On Down sees the band dip into reggae, and it sounds like one of the few UB40 tracks they wrote themselves after 1989. But Out There Somewhere is the kind of grinding full-on indie rock Porky can lap up all day. Mindless chanting and brief verses, what more do you need?

Marlborough Park Avenue is a daydream into a perfect, ice cream kind of day, of which there isn’t many in England’s East Midlands. I uttered a hearty laugh at the line “I found An A-Z missing the index”, but Stone was clearly so stunned by his own cleverness that he mistakenly repeated it a few more times.

I won’t pretend that What We’ve Become … is in any way a trendsetting work, but it works in such magnificent influences, deft lyrics and the sound of small town, housing estate England that makes it irresistible.

PORKY HAS BEEN instrumental in the creation of the latest, 45-page, issue of the above, many years after No.7 was issued.

This is part of the introduction by Shabbir:

“This issue contains an article on ‘Legends of Indie’ and Live Reviews from 2016. We also include album reviews, looking at ‘Days Run Away’ and ‘She Paints Words in Red’. We assess Terry Bickers work with Peter Fij. Also included is a detailed, updated Discography of the band and Guy Chadwick’s solo work, plus more.”

HoL 2013

To see more of this please go to
To obtain the zine in a pdf format email Shabbir at






I AM TERRIBLY excited to tell you all that the Wellington Central Library is to stock vinyl again from next month. Yes, it fucking is!!!

I saw the music chaps a couple of months ago sizing up the area and couldn’t quite believe my eyes: vinyl being loaned out at libraries once again? After 15 years away?!

This truly shows that vinyl is now THE main form of listening to music.

I do harbour some doubts though: given the condition some oafsome oiks leave a CD in after hiring it, I’m feaful of what condition the records will be when they are returned. I am confident that most people who take the records out are considerate and will treat them as they would their own. But it only takes a few selfish eejits to spoil it for the majority.

Wellington Libraries’ music man, Monty Masseurs (stop it, he is not a porn star) has gone out to Slow Boat records to carefully chose a good few hundred items for sensible folk to borrow.

See some of them in this promo clip the library has done itself:

ALONG WITH Primal Scream, the Happy Mondays were the last gang in town. You could argue that The Libertines should be included but internal issues voids their claim. The Glaswegians and the Mancunians were bands that worked, and perhaps more importantly, partied very hard together. It was an example set by The Clash and The Damned: a tightly-formed unit that fought against the world.

It was with such thoughts that I listened to the Happy Mondays’ second album for the first time in a few years, and I have to admit, it was with high anticipation that it would sound horrendously outdated.


An album recorded as Manchester hadn’t adopted the mad yet, at a time of the burgeoning rave-indie scene, surely would have been superseded fiftyfold by the immense technological wizardry available since 1988.

But it hasn’t, and that’s testament to Shaun Ryder’s jack-the-lad tales of larrikins, layabouts, lager louts and other assorted detritus that permeated his life around Manchester, to a backdrop of wah-wah effects, the new dance culture as well as traditional drums’n’guitars’n’bass.

Prior to Bummed, the Happy Mondays had been a jobbing band largely around the north-west of England. Even in 1987, they could be caught third on the bill behind the little-known Head and madcaps extraordinaire, Stump, at student gigs. They’d been around for about five years with a few ill-produced EPs and a middling debut album behind them.

For the recording session, the band was moved to a humdrum town in East Yorkshire, Driffield, partly in a bid to keep them away from unsavoury sorts that hung around the act and their resulting distractions. It didn’t work, as parcels of treats kept arriving, and the band partied like it was 1988. There would be days when nothing happened, and the producer Martin Hannett was said to be perpetually drunk. Nevertheless, somehow, the band completed the album, and, unlike later releases, appears unaffected by the wanton debauchery and irresponsibility.

Ecstasy was working its way into the systems (literally) and the music of the time. This may well have given Ryder new insights as he scribbled out the lyrics, with songs such as Moving In With sounding like a stream of (un)consciousness as he gets carried away.

“You got four muddy pigs in the flat downstairs below/ Stomping at the door he says “Why you so slow?”/ Got a schizophrenic acquaintance patient no place to go/ Stuck with his dick through my Afghani window.”

The subtly-titled Brain Dead was about an odious oaf, a waster of the highest order, loathed by everyone, except for his mother, a “Grass sliding, slasher Brain dead fuckup.” You get the picture.

I have to say that this is my favourite track of the ten. Kicking off with a curious shout of “You’re rendering that scaffolding dangerous” it mutates and mangles its way through a sad story of an utter half-wit, a screw-up with awareness issues to a gloriously driven backbeat of delicious whoops and bleeps.

And yes, that does mean it tops Wrote For Luck, but only by the musical equivalent of a hundredth of a second in a 100 metre race. The longest track at 6:02 it ticks along perfectly, building to a crescendo midway. There isn’t a great deal to WFF as it was dubbed and called in its reissued, remixed form a year later, but its simplicity is its success. It was a trailblazer for bands like the Primals, Flowered Up ad nauseum.

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The full set of images that awaited the purchasers of the vinyl edition.

Then there’s Fat Lady Wrestlers, a title that would find itself subject to a barrage of abuse on social media if written in 2016. It’s a more restrained track, but excellent nevertheless, reminiscent of something from the third album, Pills’n’Thrills’n’Bellyaches.

Why the humdrum Lazyitis was ever included is a mystery as it sounds out of place, but you can’t have the icing with the cake. Bummed is an album that remains a proud part of the elite group of collections I possess; it wouldn’t ever be surpassed, even if Pills’n”Thrills was the radio-friendly unit shifter. But then we kinda know why such albums sell so much.






THIS IS A SITE that tends to stick to music, but today I digress given the momentous events over the past week.

As the entire world now knows the vote was 52-48 percent in favour of leaving the European Union, with working class areas most virulent in voting to get out. It’s being regarded by some as a swing to the right, as a victory for the right-wing UK Independence Party, for Little Englanders and racists and fascists. To an extent it is a victory for the odious likes of Nigel Farage, the right-wing elements of the Conservative Party, and those who want to live in a land called 1957.

But that only tells part of the story. People voted to leave for all sorts of reasons: immigration, to hurt the establishment, disgust in the way the EU imposed horrendous austerity measures on Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, and decades of being let down by neoliberal politics.Brexit

This was England and Wales’s chance to hold two-fingers up to the establishment in the way the Scots had enjoyed doing in the 2014 independence referendum. When you have no money how on earth can you support a system that rewards the rich and the middle class and punishes those cruelly sidelined by unemployment or forced to work two jobs just to pay the electricity bill?

Neoliberalism is the system that wants rid of unions, church-based communities, laws that stand in the way of ‘competition’, human rights, privacy, and that pesky thing called the environment. They are all obstacles to growth and individual wealth.

It’s a battle being fought around the world: from Cuba which is gainfully trying to maintain its socialist system in a sea of capitalism, to New Zealand, where the “quarter acre dream” – home ownership – is rooted in the entire fabric of a once near-egalitarian society, but is now a distant pipedream for many.Brexit 2

Multinationals are in every suburban shopping parade, and tinned tuna is but an aisle away.

But neoliberalism is creaking at the seams. It isn’t in any way sustainable as the resources are not never-ending. The rising temperatures will mean the mass loss of land and farmland. Ad nauseum ad nauseum. A system that benefits the few at the detriment of the many is clearly limited in its ambition, and lifespan.

The village idiots rise up

And so back to the island group that stretches from the Shetlands to the Scilly Isles. The referendum campaign descended into propaganda and lies, and the Labour MP, Jo Cox, was murdered in the street.

When the result was revealed all hell broke loose. Xenophobic and racist attacks multiplied, a second Scottish independence referendum is a strong possibility, David Cameron resigned, Nigel Farage looked smug, the markets dived and there was even ruminations about a unified Ireland.

The resignation of Dodgy Dave was no shock: he who lives by the sword etc etc. But the turmoil that enveloped within the Labour Party has been. Here was a chance to hold the divided Tories to account; instead it turned on itself.

The venom from self-important Labour MPs who are clearly detached from the ambitions of their membership towards the democratically-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn (on a bigger mandate than Tony Blair achieved) was overboard and vindictive.

The bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party comprises people parachuted into safe or marginal seats by Blair and his ilk, and they generally lean to the right. They have never viewed Margaret Thatcher as the destroyer of communities, rather as someone who did what she needed to at the time.

They know nothing of poverty, injustice or working so hard you can’t spend time with the kids and are worried shitless about the loan repayment. Blair’s governments did little to reverse the destructive laws introduced by Thatcher or to create a more equal and just society.

Corbyn, and his loyal lieutenant John McDonnell, are cut from a different cloth: they attend rallies and demonstrations while their fellow MPs talk to property management companies about renting out the second house. No wonder they are hated in the Westminster Labour bubble: they actually stand for something. And goodness, it’s called things like justice, peace, unionism and a decent living standard. Gosh, Tarquin, isn’t that a bit like … socialism. Oh, I don’t think I like the sound of that, it lets children have fruit for free.

In his brief time in charge Corbyn has:

  • Fought back against vicious Tory policies and forced them into significant reverses, such as converting schools into academies and cuts to tax credits.
  • Boosted the party membership by tens of thousands.
  • Won four by-elections, three of them with increased majorities.
  • Won the May council, mayoral and assembly elections.
  • Proved that being honest and upfront can win people over.

A coup d’etat

As I write Corbyn is “holding on” apparently. 172 MPs voting in a no-confidence vote against him, with 40 in favour, isn’t, it has to be said, massively encouraging. The largely unknown Angela Eagle is expected to face off against him in a leadership spill her wing of the party hopes to institute. Another nonentity Owen Smith is also intending to do so.

And all because they say Corbyn didn’t push the case for Remain hard enough. Unlike another anti-Corbynite, Gisela Stuart, a hardline Brexiter who devised the misguided slogan about diverting 350 million dollars per week from going to Brussels into the National Health Service, and who shared a battle bus with Leave leader Boris Johnson and UKIP’s Douglas Carswell. She even appeared on a national television debate stating her case. That’s what I call party loyalty.


Gisela Stuart, Douglas Carswell and Boris Johnson on the campaign trail


But the European battleground is merely a ruse: This is a coup planned well in advance. They wanted Corbyn out, and have waited for their opportunity; and thankfully for them it came days before the Chilcott Report into Blair’s unnecessary war in Iraq is finally released.

Ah, so here we are again, the spectre of Mr Blair hovering over the party like a father in prison for murder. This is a contest for the soul of the party, and of neoliberalism itself. Lose the leadership election and the Blairites will claim Labour is consigned to “electoral liability” for decades.

The reality is the legacy of the 1997-2005 Labour governments will be eternally tainted by the Iraq war, and those MPs who supported the war and were involved in the government of the time have some explaining to do when the report is out.

But it’s also a little more. Those 172 MPs want a party with limited membership, a party controlled by MPs, a party ruled by a clique of those at Westminster, a party where the union backers are largely silent and a party that’s pro-business and for “the aspirational classes”.

A leadership contest won’t settle this ideological warfare; this is going to keep on going for years, if not decades. Someone needs to bang some heads together.



















A FLURRY OF Associates reissues keeps the Porky sty happy.

The remastered releases include the first three albums, The Affectionate Punch, Fourth Drawer Down and Sulk, all with an extra disk of splendiferous outtakes and B-sides and the now-obligatory booklets.Associates 1.png

However, and somewhat insanely, I will bypass these three (I have previously reviewed the classic Sulk), at least for now, and focus on what would appear to be a tiresome cash-in with a title that keeps to the tradition of simplicity for such anthologies, The Very Best Of. This may seem contradictory given the cover art is of an old photograph, the liner notes are sparse and it omits a big chunk of the act’s history. But it has its merits.

Naturally, it includes the three hits which propelled them to playful and glamorous appearances on Top of the Pops – Party Fears Two, Club Country and 18 Carat Love Affair, along with the former’s AA-sided partner, Love Hangover. These complete the singles disk; the compiler has opted to ignore everything after Billy MacKenzie and Alan Rankine went their separate ways promptly following the final hit, with MacKenzie thereafter keeping the banner with moderate success (two excellent singles, Those First Impressions and Waiting For The Love Boat).

The hit parade includes their very first effort, a now very obscure but very ropey cover of Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging – frankly there’s no getting around criticising this under-produced barely listenable take, but it did get them noticed, which was its purpose.

Associates 2.jpg

Michael Dempsey, John Murphy, Alan Rankine, Billy MacKenzie


It’s followed by a string of tracks released in 1980 and 1981, some relentlessly grinding as they attempted to develop their electro-art cabaret style. But there is the supremely garish pop of A where Oor Billy rattles off all 26 letters with dazzling aplomb and the haunting mystique of White Car In Germany with its encephalonuous lyrics: “Anonymous as bathrooms/ Androgynous as Dachshunds” and keeping faith with his north-east Scotland roots by noting that “Aberdeen’s an old place”.

The carrot to this anthology is an entire disk of hitherto largely unheard tracks, all but three of them having appeared some years ago on Double Hipness, a lavish array of demo-stage recordings, including the paen, as it were, to Morrissey, Stephen, You’re Really Something. This album is only in the homes of true diehards.

The trio of songs that haven’t featured anywhere before are a surprisingly engaging version of the 1960’s standard Eloise, Jukebox Bucharest, which was recorded around 1978 or 79, and a fuller version of Double Hipness.

As I furrowed through this collection I came to realise it was less of a thrill than I first anticipated, other than the discovery of the noted unreleased tracks. I didn’t especially need to again hear International Loner nor a live version of Gloomy Sunday. I can only assume its compiler, the former band member during this period, Michael Dempsey, had trawled the vaults for what was available.

It’s clear that, with MacKenzie’s star still high and interest in the act failing to fade, a box set is required, capturing everything that was recorded up to and beyond the point at which the two main protagonists split. With all the bells and whistles.