Just two guys messing around (part 7)
An Imaginary Compilation (of Sorts) by SWC and Tim Badger

carter_USM

“Do you know” said Badgerman as we sat at his computer and waited for the computer program to load. “It would be quicker, to just pick a name out of a hat”. Obviously, he is right, although personally I enjoy typing the names of 168 different football clubs into a spreadsheet, then watching him type a massively long and vastly complicated formula into it and then gawp in delight as half a second later the machine brings back a number. Seriously if the FA Cup draw was half as exciting as this it would get 50 million viewers. I might write to Gary Lineker.

We’ve decided to do another little trip – this time we have included the Scottish teams – and have a vague plan to meet up with JC and half of Glasgow should we get a Scottish club. Saying that I was looking at the location of some of Scottish clubs and secretly am now praying that we don’t end up in Forfar or Stranraer.

The results are in….It’s Rochdale.

I’m not sure I can quite describe how underwhelming this is. We have literally the whole of England, Scotland and two places in Wales to choose from and the stupid computer chooses, Rochdale. One of the dullest places on Earth. It is a well known fact that Rochdale has been voted the Britains most boring town 715 years in a row. It’s so boring that its twinned with the small Scottish village of Dull.

There is usually a get out jail card with these things – the team we pick has to be at home on the day we are going (November 7th).  Sadly for us, Rochdale are at home, it’s also the cup. I start researching Rochdale and what there is to do there in case we are massively early– the polite answer is not much. There is a museum, but not only is it closed its also dedicated to Nigel Mansell.

Rochdale are playing Swindon. As a Gillingham fan, I am supposed to hate Swindon, I have no idea why this rivalry exists, Swindon is nowhere near Gillingham – I would imagine that in 1974 the teams played out a close 0-0 thriller and the Swindon fans cruelly mocked the Gillingham fans for living in caravans or something. I therefore immediately start to warm towards Rochdale, and besides it can’t be as much of a dump as Crewe.

Later that day I tell JC that we are going to be in Rochdale – it turns out that JC is actually president of the Scottish Rochdale Supporters Club (president by the fact that he is actually the only known Scottish Rochdale Fan) and that his good friend Jacques the Kipper is a Swindon fan (I make a mental note to mock Jacques should we ever meet). Sadly they are going to watch Auchernauldy Utd vs Fort William Reserves in the Irn Bru Challenge Cup (or something) so he and Jacques can’t make it.

The day of the trip arrives, and again Badger and I decide to do a compilation on the 11th track that comes on the iPod. As its Badger’s birthday on the Monday I let him use his iPod and I drive. I also offer to go first. I’ll point out here that Badger secretly loaded up his iPod with Radio 2 friendly pop music the other day on the off chance that one of them would come up as my 11th track. “The risk of me getting one of them is worth it for the look on your face” he said. The sixth track on the way up is by Savage Garden and the ninth (now that is close) is by M People. I so hope this is going to backfire on him on the way home.

We drive past Bridgewater Services this time, deciding that despite the fact we are hungry, desperate for a piss and a cuppa, we’d rather eat the crumbs off of my daughter car seat, piss our trousers, and then wring them out and drink that than ever set foot in that place ever again. The 11th track comes on somewhere near Highbridge, delayed slightly by the 12 minute Underworld track that came on as track 8. We both grin – its Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. A band universally loved – I have never ever met a single person who didn’t love them. This is a band that I have thought about doing an ICA on before and one that JC reveals to me later in the week that he too has one planned for them.

For the next hour Badger and I discuss our favourite Carter tracks and gigs – he mentions at length one he went to in London at a tiny place called The Venue in New Cross it was a secret gig – which celebrated the release of Rubbish. I chose a gig at Shepherds Bush Empire in 1996. Weirdly we were both at the same Carter gig on the ‘Post Historic Monsters’ Tour in Tonbridge – we didn’t know each other at the time. Of course our favourite moment was the time that Fruitbat twatted Phillip Schofield live on telly.

I was wrong about Rochdale – it is worse than Crewe;  Crewe looks like Beverley Hills compared to Rochdale. We find the only pub in the area which doesn’t have blood stains on the pavement outside, a place called ‘The Albion’ and try to compile our Carter Imaginary Compilation. After two pints, a couple of lukewarm burgers and some rubbery lettuce, we have decided on four tracks (the first three and the last one). We spend most of the time debating whether or not we should do a Carter covers compilation or a B Side compilation or a mixture of the lot. We could actually do all three but decide on a mixture. We also decide to limit it to four singles and try to include tracks from at least four different albums.

Side One

Surfin USM (from 30 Something) – This one took us about eight seconds to decide upon. In 1992 I went to see Carter with my friend Rob –it was his first ever gig.  To this day I have never seen someone grin as much as he did when that Red Dwarf sample starts up, then the crowd start chanting ‘You Fat Bastard’ at the (starry eyed?) bollock naked guy on stage and then the guitars fire up. This was why we all loved Carter. The amazing lives shows and the sense of belonging you got at one of them.

Sheriff Fatman (from 101 Damnations) – Another obvious one, and for many, still their best song, and easily their most recognisable. The first Carter song I actually owned, having got it on Happy Daze Vol 1 (I think) – which was a Christmas present from my brother in 1990.  At Reading 1991, I bought a Sheriff Fatman TShirt which had the words ‘ YOU FAT BASTARD’ on the back of it. I wore it to sixth form college about two months later and promptly got marched back home by Kent’s finest officers about seven minutes after leaving the house. I still have it – it doesn’t fit anymore – but I just can bear to part with what is my last remaining item of teenage rebellion

Shoppers Paradise (from 30 Something) – My favourite Carter track. Essentially a pop song with wonderful lyrics which make you realise why Jim Bob had to become an author….Here’s a snippet…

“Ground floor Shoppers’ Paradise; habit-dashery, needles, spoons and knives; knuckle-dusters, glass jaws and wooden hearts. Spend your money girls on sprays and lipsticks; tested on bunnies, girls, strays and misfits; ozone friendly rape alarms for those blinding dates – another summer of hate”

I genuinely could listen to the lyrics of this for hours on end.

Skywest and Crooked (from 1992 the Love Album) The Love Album is in my opinion the weakest of all the Carter albums, yet this is the standout track from it. I love the range on this – it almost slightly operatic in its style and the inclusion of the late great Ian Dury on it is just magical.

Ceasefire (from Worry Bomb) – Clocking in at nearly nine minutes long I think this is the longest track Carter ever recorded. Its also one of the most emotional and poignant. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in 1996 I saw Carter start a gig with this – 5000 people were so up for it and Jim Bob came on alone and did the first three minutes acapella. 5000 people stood there fixated on the stage – but nothing happened, no fireworks, no explosions, no lights, just Jim and that voice shouting ‘Bang Bang’ – it was brilliant.

Side Two

Sheltered Life (Single) – Chris, my former friend (he of the Dubstar argument – and just in case, it’s Halifax you donkey brained knobjockey) bought this for me ‘as a present’ in 1991. He then three hours after he gave it to me charged me a fiver for it, claiming he’d never said present at all. I got revenge though as I once spilt tea all over his copy.

Bedsitter (B Side to Bloodsport For All) – When Bloodsport for All was originally released it was at height of the war in the Gulf – and radio stations started to get very twitchy over playing songs about war, the army etc. Radio One in all its wisdom played this track instead, until they realised that at the end, you can hear Jim Bob shouting ‘Fucking Arsehole Bastard’. Between us Badger and I have 17 Carter cover versions, we only have room for one – so we listed them with the best at the top. On both our lists, this came top. Its brilliant and in my opinion miles better than the original. Badger also put their version of Trouble by Shampoo in second place.

Re Educating Rita (B Side to Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere) As well as the obligatory B Side cover version, there were some B Sides that were just as memorable and incredible as the singles. For me ‘Re Educating Rita’ is the archetypal Carter song – the clever pun in the title, the relentlessly sing a long nature of the chorus. It really should have been a single, particularly as its miles better than the track that it was stuck away on the B Side of.

Bloodsport For All (From 30 Something) – When I was 15 I nicked a fiver out of my dad’s wallet, I then walked four miles to Chatham and bought this on 12”. It was my first ever 12”. Ironically I bought it from Our Price – the same shop that I would later meet Our Price Girl in. I told my dad two days later about the fiver – he grounded me for a week. It was worth it – every second.

G.I. Blues (from 101 Damnations) – The perfect end perhaps – one thing that Carter always did when they ended a show with this was changed the words to this the ‘I wish I was in….’ bit usually became whichever town you were standing in at that moment – it seems clichéd now, but when you were there, it made you feel like you were in the most important place in the world. Apart from if you were in Croydon. When you felt like shouting back, ‘No, no you don’t’.

mp3 : Carter USM – Surfin USM
mp3 : Carter USM – Sheriff Fatman
mp3 : Carter USM – Shoppers Paradise
mp3 : Carter USM – Skywest and Crooked
mp3 : Carter USM – Ceasefire
mp3 : Carter USM – Sheltered Life
mp3 : Carter USM – Bedsitter
mp3 : Carter USM – Re-educating Rita
mp3 : Carter USM – Bloodsport For All
mp3 : Carter USM – G.I. Blues

So there you go – Carter. Essential listening.

Rochdale won the football – 3 goals to 1 and this was largely thanks to a hat trick from one of their guys, the obvious class act on the pitch. We are aiming to do this again – in early January for Round 3 of the FA Cup. Please let us know if anyone else wants to meet up, we’ll do the science, and let you all know where we will be.

S-WC and the guitarist out of The Badgers

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