Following on from his misty-eyed reminiscing on the gems of his collection lying somewhere in the farm, Porky continues his detour into Thing-ism, the art of buying stuff that wasn’t entirely tatty.
The copy I have is a tin box which had the same cover as the one sold in the high street and this was repeated on the CD itself. As a promo this is a pretty amazing item. I won a copy in a competition organised by the Sheffield Star newspaper. Of course, the idea of housing your product in a metal box wasn’t new by 1997: PiL’s metal box album came just in that, 18 years earlier. I was shocked to see the starting price alone for the Mansun item on eBay.
Easterhouse – Contenders.
As a teenager and into my early 20s I would sometimes swap stuff with mates and in this instance I was enticed by Gav’s copy of Contenders by this Mancunian band who Morrissey had hailed. I didn’t know much about them apart from their left-wing viewpoint (they were aligned to the tiny Revolutionary Communist Party). My mate liked my Lloyd Cole and the Commotions’ second album, and I really liked it too. But I thought I could get that back at a later date. I never did but I do have a copy on cassette, which ain’t the same. Thankfully, Contenders is a classic political album.
Anaemic Boyfriends: Guys Are Not Proud
MacKenzie sings Orbidoig: Ice Cream Factory.
On a trip to north-west England, Porky took a clutch of seven-inch singles that had recently arrived at the sty. These came from a package of new wave singles from a different trader to the one that sent the Neon single (see below). The Anaemic Boyfriends single came without a picture sleeve but the A side, Guys Are Not Proud, is a tantalising song about how lusty men are, but not in an admiring way: “Guys are disgusting, they’re always lusting, Guys are obscene, vile and unclean, Guys are such creeps, they’ll even do it with sheep”. The last line was the killer and got me, Scouse Neil and Da Judge laughing like crazy. Scouse Neil was practically pleading with me to give it to him, but he would have had to anal rape me to get it.
The tables were turned on a future visit to Liverpool when he unveiled an absolute gem by Billy MacKenzie, the lead singer of The Associates, a band I’ve adored since I heard them as a teenager. Under the banner, MacKenzie sings Orbidoig, this 12-inch had the playful Ice Cream Factory which was full of innuendo over a bouncy pop sound. Unlike The Associates’ big hits of that year – 1982, beginning with Party Fears Two – this didn’t intrude into the nation’s consciousness. I heard this and tried in vain to get Neil to give, or sell to me. But I did find a copy later on.
Neon – Bottles 7″
Who are they? To be honest I have no idea and neither Dr Google nor Prof Wikipedia can help me, other than to confuse me by informing me of an Australian band of the mid-90s. This lot were from the late 70s. My friend at sixth form college, Gordon, who wasn’t a moron, put this on the end of a tape for me and I thought I was wonderfully bizarre and overdone. Later, I actually found the single in a bunch of new wave singles sold by a company that sold bulk singles for cheap. You had no idea what was enclosed, but with new wave you could be certain of some good ones. I guess some of these things sell quite well nowadays given the interest in anything from 1977 to about 1983.
Fan club stuff
Before MySpace and online websites, fans would rely on fan clubs, which the record labels would sometimes organise themselves. Some offered very little for the money but some were worth the effort. I was only ever a member of two, The Levellers and House of Love, and both were well catered for as they were run by people who actually liked and were close to the band. Like most fan clubs, these two offered freebies, such as a compilation of offcuts by the Brighton band, which suitably had a cover of various bits of offal, and in the House of Love’s case a cassette that had two rare tracks. The Levellers sent a fabulous A4 magazine, the HoL people would issue lyric sheets and all sorts of bits and pieces.
Funniest film ever. No argument. Two years ago the original soundtrack was re-released with extra tracks and a DVD, which was groovy enough but there was also the addition of a unique pop-up diorama package that unveiled three 12-inch action figures of the band along with a proportionally-sized Stonehenge. It’s good to see that some record labels still make some effort with a package.
Flying Nun 25 Years boxset
An iconic label in New Zealand, and a cult beyond Aotearoa, Flying Nun is defined by Dunedin and the individual style of the city in the 1980s. The Clean, The Gordons, The Chills, Straitjacket Fits, The Verlaines, The Bats, D4 and the Mint Chicks all released material on Flying Nun. And all of those acts are on here, as well as a glut of largely-forgotten heroes and heroines of the Dunedin and Otago scene … people like Rik Starr, King Loser, Chug, Sombretones, The Victor Dimisch Band, Marie and the Atom and Naked Spots Dance. Much of it groovy, some of it woeful, but this is a fantastic reminder of the influence and charm of the label. This boxset also includes a booklet of artists’ photographs, artwork and scribblings.
The The – Soul Mining tape
In the 80s, a professional footballer would tell a glossy magazine they liked to listen to Wham! or Whitney Houston in between games. One who would have been mocked in the changing rooms for his eclectic tastes was the Scotland and Chelsea winger Pat Nevin, who once listed the Cocteau Twins and Pink Industry among his top 10 in one of the weekly music rags. He also included The The’s Uncertain Smile and I can think of no greater accolade for a band than the thumbs-up from that rarely-spotted species: the footballer with a couple of braincells. In 1986 I was buying a lot of tapes – they were compact and a little cheaper than vinyl. Soul Mining is an absolute classic but at seven tracks was deemed to be too short for American tastes even though most of them stretched to more than five minutes and Giant clocked in at 9:34. So a version of Perfect was added to some versions and the UK cassette version had another five goodies, some of which could well have been on the original line-up. It’s likely that at least one of these tracks was from the discarded Pornography of Despair album.