R-756968-1185972154

This should have appeared last week…..but I forgot to transfer the text over from a word doc.  Apologies.

I’ve reached the stage of this incredibly long-running alphabetical series where it is time to feature Primal Scream. So many great things to choose from but I thought I’d go with something a bit different and one probably not so well-known to readers from overseas.

The summer of 1996 was to feature a major football tournament.  It was the European Nations Championship, conveniently shortened to Euro 96, and the host nation was England.  Being just over the border, there was huge interest in whether Scotland could also make it through the qualifying stages which we did reasonably comfortably, although it has to be said we did have an easy group (Russia, Greece, Finland, Faroe Islands and San Marino) as well as some half-decent players at the time.

It was inevitable however, that having qualified with a bit of ease that the footballing gods would deal us a cruel hand in the actual tournament which is why we ended up drawn against Holland, Switzerland and the hosts.

The fact we were playing such an important match against our oldest and deadliest rivals created all sorts of interest and in the tournament not to mention weird spin-offs. One of these was the release of a very unofficial single by Primal Scream.

It was a collaboration with the Scottish author Irvine Welsh who just three years earlier had shot to fame and infamy with the publication of his debut novel Trainspotting, as well as the team at the English-based On-U Sound, a record label best-known for dance and dub releases.  The end result is everything as crazy, imaginative and offensive as you’d imagine.

Is it any good though?

Well….as a huge fan of much of what Irvine Welsh has written over the years, I’m prepared to say that this is a tremendous release.  As with any bit of writing by Welsh, it is OTT and then some.  There’s a fair bit of black humour mixed in with some excellent social observation and commentary although it will not be to everyone’s taste. And again, as  with any bit of writing by Welsh, there’s loads of gratuitous swearing, so be warned when you click on the mp3s.

The full title of the release was Primal Scream, Irvine Welsh and On-U Sound present….The Big Man and the Scream Team meet the Barmy Army Uptown.  There were two musical versions made available along with a spoken word track featuring Welsh alone.

mp3 : Primal Scream et al – Full Strength Fortified Dub
mp3 : Primal Scream et al – Electric Soup dub
mp3 : Irvine Welsh – A Jake Supreme

Released by Creation Records on 3 June 1996 on the eve of the tournament, this reached #17 in the UK charts despite, to the best of my knowledge, never receiving a single airing on radio….such was the pulling power of the Scream and Welsh.

As to the tournament itself…….Scotland didn’t disappoint by doing what we always do and that is being eliminated in the most ridiculous of ways. We drew with Holland and then lost that important game to England – a match in which the decisive and brilliant second goal by Paul Gascoigne came a few seconds after we had contrived to miss a penalty.

In the final matches, played on the date of my 33rd birthday,  Scotland beat Switzerland 1-0 but had to rely on England pulling off the most unlikely result of a four-goal win over Holland. Unbelievably, they were within 12 minutes of pulling off that very feat when Holland scored to make it 4-1 meaning Scotland were eliminated on the rule of having scored less goals over the three matches than the Dutch.

It was very cruel way to bow out – and our hope of a re-match in the final against England was cruelly dashed!

But such is the way of being a fan of Scotland. At least we don’t have the torture of the upcoming World Cup to distract us.

Enjoy