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IT PROVED NOT TO BE MY THEME SONG

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I once went on a chalet holiday with my mum, dad and brothers. It was in fact in 1979, just before my 16th birthday. A mate from school came along as well to keep me company as I was no doubt a really stroppy teenager.

I can tell you that I wasn’t able to go behind any chalet to make my holiday complete. I was just too shy. But I know my mate got lucky……

mp3 : Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

This tribute to the joys of holiday sex only reached #44 in the UK Charts back in May 1980. For some reason or other this was one of the singles that didn’t get left behind when I did a moonlight flit in the mid 80s, so my limited edition red vinyl 7″ has a place in the cupboard. Here’s yer b-side:-

mp3 : Squeeze – What The Butler Saw

It wasn’t long after this that Squeeze suffered the departure of keyboardist Jools Holland as he went off to pursue a solo career, and although he rejoined the band in 1985, he again left to do other things in 1990. Whatever happened to him I wonder?

Incidentally, not long after said chalet holiday I lost touch with said mate as I went back to school into a 5th year while he decided to go and find a job.  I’m almost certain that his decision not to return to school was all down to the fact that he had now become a fully-developed man of the world….

A READER WRITES………

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Many thanks for your recent “Red Guitars” post; I´ve been looking for this for ages.

I also see you are into some “Squeeze” stuff. I got most of their compilation and best of CD´s
However none of them include the complete 12 inch version of
“Last Time Forever” (6:23) I wonder if you have it and if you could possible post it
someday or send it to my address. I´d really apprecate it.
Best regards
 
Ozzy
It isn’t the (in)famous singer who has asked for this 1985 ‘comeback’ single.  Squeeze had broken up in 1982 although main singer/songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook had collaborated on an LP released in 1984.   The other most famous member of the band had been keyboardist Jools Holland but he had left back in 1980 for a career as a solo musician and as TV presenter.
In 1985, following a one-off reunion of the classic Squeeze line-up (Difford, Tilbrook, Holland plus Gilson Lavis on drums and John Bentley on bass), for a charity gig, the band decided to reform. However, Bentley decided not to be part of it and was replaced by Keith Wilkinson.  The first fruits of their collective labour was the single Last Time Forever which, disappointingly for all concerned, stalled at #45. It was, trivia lovers, first aired on Jools Holland’s farewell appearance as a presenter on Channel 4’s The Tube/first official reappearance with the band (with his kid brother Christopher alongside him on additional keys)
The 12″ version of the song, like the album version, contains dialogue sampled from the film The Shining while the very strange b-side  consists of five separate songs, each approximately one minute in length, and each written, performed and produced by one of the band’s five members. In order, the songs are listed on the record sleeve and label as follows:A: Jools Holland – Rock ‘N Roll (That’s)
B: Gilson Lavis – Proxy Rock
C: Chris Difford – The Practising Clarinet
D: Glenn Tilbrook – Spideey Goes To Tobago
E: Keith Wilkinson – Who Wants To Be A Legionnaire?mp3 : Squeeze – Last Time Forever (12″ version)
mp3 : Squeeze – Suites From Five Strangers

Enjoy

HOW MEN ARE?

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A soap opera story in just over three minutes.

The boy about town gets caught out with his trousers down. He can’t cope with the fact that he has to grow up and take responsibility. The woman of his dreams soon moves on and all he has left are bittersweet memories.

mp3 : Squeeze – Up The Junction

1979. A massive hit and one of my favourite songs of all time, albeit as a 16-year old I didn’t quite understand the full nuances. But now I’m 51 and I’ve seen it this story play out in real life far too often over the years.

Tears and saying sorry are just not enough.

But the male side of the species just never learn.

MY FRIENDS ELECTRIC (19)

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Today’s Friend Electric is Uncle E. His blog is a real labour of love. It’s called 500 Reasons Why The 80s Didn’t Suck. He set out on this expedition back in September 2012:-

“Let’s for a moment forget about the poofy hair, Reagan and Thatcher and the threat of nuclear annihilation, parachute pants and Eddie Murphy movies. This blog will concern itself with the music of the decade, much of which was wonderful and groundbreaking, as opposed to popular thought which has skewed opinion to remember the 80’s as the worst decade EVER of popular music.

This blog will focus on dispelling that notion by highlighting 500 musical reasons why the ‘80’s categorically did not suck. I lived through the ‘80’s so I should know, and although I made some pretty terrible choices a good majority of the bands and albums remain relevant and enjoyable even today. I didn’t listen to top 40 radio then and I don’t now, so a lot of the stuff that was played back then on that medium won’t be a focus here. No, I’d like to attempt to point you in the direction left of the dial; those albums and bands that were played at underground clubs, the forgotten gems that took research and word of mouth to discover. Trial and error baby, trial and error. These were the days before the internet, kiddies, and when you found a cool band or an album back then you owned it and shared it with your peers. You poured over the latest issues of the NME and Melody Maker (imports for me, of course) and more often that not went by the style of the LP cover or gut impulse, or sometimes both.

The music I focused on back then was new wave, post punk and punk, genres that are really now just considered ‘alternative’. I remember making wildly weird and off-kilter mix tapes up the yin-yang, an art form that has sadly died out with the advent of file sharing and MP3’s. Gang Of Four sat comfortably next to New Order and The Cure, which segued into the Dead Kennedys, NOMEANSNO and Black Flag, followed by OMD, the Psychedelic Furs and early Simple Minds. The bands back then, the early ‘80’s, were trying everything out as there was no template. The Pistols and the Ramones and The Clash blew the old blueprint up a few years prior and these new upstarts, inspired by the DIY ethics of the former, created something totally fresh, totally weird and totally cool in the wake.

So.

I reckon there are at least 500 reasons I can give here why the music of the 1980’s didn’t suck, and I’ll be counting down from that number with the next post. It’s time to dispel the horribly misguided notion that the music from the 1980’s was the worst ever. I’m not quite sure it was the best, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I hope you all chime in from time to time and give me your feedback. And while I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on the music of the ‘80’s I am certainly not arrogant enough to think I know it all. If there is a band or an album that you think I should know about, let me know in the comments section. If I can turn a few of you on to something then all the better.

Thanks for reading. We’re gonna have some fun! Also, as a side note: any of you who want to contribute via a guest post, I’d welcome it in a heartbeat. Just email me or leave a comment you’d like to do so and we’ll make it happen.”

The above words will, I’m sure, chime with many TVV readers – especially those sentences about mix tapes. Happy memories of spending at least 10 hours at a time trying to out the perfect 90 minutes together to help me get through the sheer awfulness and tedium of the daily Glasgow – Edinburgh commute.

Uncle E has counted down to reason 353. Most of his reasons are very sound although there will be a few which raise eyebrows with, for example, reason 421 featuring an LP by Queen. What is especially enjoyable is the succinct style on offer – just a few short sharp sentences to define what he believes makes a great record. Another bonus is the layout and indexing system so that if, for example, you click on New Order you will find they are responsible for reasons 492, 398, 394 and 371

Alongside the various reasons you will also enjoy some very well argued posts offering his thoughts, views and opinions on various aspects of music and musicians. Those of you who aren’t fond of U2 might enjoy his critique of the band. Just click here.

I agree with a lot but not all of the reasons outlined so far by Uncle E. I was looking for an excuse to feature this lot….so here’s reason #461 Why the 80s didn’t suck:-

argy

“Holy crap, was there a better pure pop band in the 1980′s than Squeeze? Me thinks not. I love everything they did up to East Side Story. Even the debut had it’s moments, and everything after fell apart. In the middle you have this little masterpiece, Squeeze’s strongest and most catchiest songs conveniently compiled on one little piece of plastic. Pulling Mussels, Another Nail In My Heart, If I Didn’t Love You, Vicky Verky, the list just goes on, man! If you track it down the ‘deluxe edition’ is really quite worth it for the concert alone, and the b-sides and other stuff is pretty essential as well. If all you have is the single disk “Singles” (which is fantastic, by the way), you’re cheating yourself out of some terrific tunes. Overall, the best album by Squeeze, no contest.”

mp3 : Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)
mp3 : Squeeze – Another Nail In My Heart
mp3 : Squeeze – If I Didn’t Love You
mp3 : Squeeze – Vicky Verky

Enjoy.

FROM THE SOUTH WEST CORRESPONDENT….WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX (4)

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mp3 :  The Nubiles : Tatjiana (all over me)

The Nubiles for those of you who have never heard of them or, like me, forgot they ever existed, were formed in 1993 in Oxford, when Tara Milton, former bass player with Five Thirty (nope, me neither) joined forces with some other faces from Oxford bands. Their sound can best be described as indie with a slightly punk edge, in that their songs sneer a little bit. Their website stated that they displayed the kind of primal energy not seen since The Who. To be honest, that’s pushing it a bit. These Animal Men, perhaps, but certainly not The Who.

They split, (combusted if I remember rightly) in 1998 after releasing, one relatively well received album Mindblender on which this song features.  Tatjiana is their best song by a country mile (that country being, the size of Brazil). They reformed briefly in 2007, but quickly realised that they all hated each other still and that the tunes sounded even less like The Who than they did in 1995. They are apparently on ‘a hiatus’ at the minute. Oxford is slowly weeping into its Pringle sweaters I would imagine.

Now Tatjiana is a great two and a half minutes-ish of music, listen to it, you will hum for the rest of the day I guarantee it. It’s a sneering ode to the five knuckle shuffle (sorry). It contains the immortal lyric,“Just a Dream and a Tissue and you are all over me”. I mean what’s not to love about that.

BUT (it is a big one) the problem is, that as everyone knows, the only timeless song about er, bashing the bishop, is Orgasm Addict by Buzzcocks (come on name another one – JC – here’s another series for you – “songs about wanking” and no I Touch Myself by The Divinyls doesn’t count). In this case, The Nubiles are trying really hard to be The Buzzcocks, and if they tried that instead of the nonsense about The Who people might have got it a bit better.

Note From JC

Two songs from the New Wave era immediately sprung to mind:-

mp3 : The Vapors – Turning Japanese

mp3 : Squeeze – Touching Me, Touching You

Then there’s a song from 1990:-

mp3 : The Beautiful South – Tonight I Fancy Myself

Billy Bragg has also referenced the act:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – St Swithin’s Day

I’m sure there’s a few others out there….I once heard it argued that Pump It Up by Elvis Costello & The Attractions was about wanking but I’m not convinced.

All yours dear readers…..