Category Archives: british music

Post Apocalypse XXVI – Toyah and Post Apocalyptic Skater Chic in ‘Rebel Run’ and ‘Love is the Law’ (1983)

Looking for all the world like she had rocked up in some Italian Post Apocalypse ‘epic’ (The New Barbarians, 2019 After the Fall of New York, Exterminators of the Year 3000 etc), this is Toyah, in 1983, promoting her single ‘Rebel Run’ and the accompanying album ‘Love is the Law’. The lyrics to ‘Rebel Run’ voicing typical preoccupations of the time, being so close to 1984, which in popular culture was indelibly linked with the titular George Orwell book of Totalitarian rule. Here is a sample of the lyrics;

Praying to the silent man A new day dawns Behind acetylene tanks A dog’s lament Wakes the new age But falls in splintered fragments Around his cage Like everyone said there’d be So much more to nineteen eighty-four Rebel run Don’t shoot your gun Rebel run Run run run Now get down And stay down You’ve gotta learn To kiss the ground 

and here is the video in all its Chromkey glory. I have no idea why she is a post apocalyptic Skater Warrior, the video sheds no further light on the matter.

The Inspiral Carpets feat. Mark E Smith ‘I Want You’ (1994)

There was oceans of dross, lots of great performances, and sometimes Top of the Pops produced something else, something to treasure. This, Mark E Smith’s one and only appearance on the UK primetime pop vessel, is a great garage rock performance from The Inspiral’s (who did some other great garage rock in their early years – check out ‘Seeds of Doubt’). But what takes this performance to stellar heights is the presence of Smith, who is a) (probably) pissed, b) clearly reading the lyrics from a piece of paper and c) (if memory servers correct)  is completely out of sync with the song The Inspiral Carpets are thrashing out.

And there’s even a bonus bit of Michael Bolton in the desert at the start of this clip, proving that those charged with sequencing the music at TOTP had a truly great sense of humour as well.

And Simon Mayo can only be described as ‘bemused’ after ‘I Want You’ collapses into itself, the air vibrating with the raw visceral performance (maybe).

On the subject of TOTP, please allow me to point you in the direction of a fantastic single purpose blog I chanced upon today. It’s all about TOTP, primarily TOTP in the 70s. It is enormous fun and written with warmth and humour and I like it very much;

http://yesitsnumberone.blogspot.fr/

Flexipop!

Flexipop was a unique contributor to the 80’s glossy music press. A magazine competitor to Smash Hits, it had interviews, photo stories, full page pictures etc – but they also had a cover mounted flexidisc for each issue. Issue 1 came with The Selector on the disc, issue 2 had The Jam and issue 3 had The Boomtown Rats. As you can see, they aimed high, and the fact they managed to attract so much talent to record special one-off tracks ensures it has a special place in British Pop History. By issue 4, they had Adam & The Ants,  approaching the peak of their massive commercial success, recording a special version of Village People’s ‘Y.M.C.A’, entitled ‘A.N.T.S’.

Here is a selection of covers – and for complete scans of issues of flexipop, try here;

http://musicmags70s80s.blogspot.com/2008/10/flexipop-no1-to-no.html

(all following images courtesy of http://musicmags70s80s.blogspot.com/)




Links!!!


http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/feb/04/flexipop-tim-lott

http://www.stylusmagazine.com/articles/weekly_article/disposable-pop-a-history-of-the-flexi-disc.htm

POWERPOP! Selection 4 – Elvis Costello ‘Accidents Will Happen’ (1979)

This is not only a truly great song, a standout of any artists career – and in amongst the rich and varied Elvis Costello song catalogue, that is high praise – but this track also boasts a classic and distinctive video. Created by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, who also produced the video for ‘Genius of Love’ for Tom Tom Club, and gave the world Max Headroom, the video for ‘Accidents will Happen’ is a fascinating piece of animation, a period piece, but entertaining and full of charm. Here it is;

The song itself came off the ‘Armed Forces‘ album, that Elvis Costello and The Attractions released in January of 1979. The single, their follow up to the UK number 1 ‘Oliver’s Army’, was released in the Spring of that year and got into the UK top 30, getting to number 28 in May. In a cool reference to the title of the song, the vinyl singles cover was printed inside out, with the artwork (see top of the post) on the inside, and plain cardboard on display. Pure powerpop – short, punchy, killer chorus – this song has always been a favourite of mine. Enjoy.

Credit to NotoriousHEB
for uploading this video on youtube – the quality is excellent.

POWERPOP! Selection 3 – Squeeze ‘Another Nail In My Heart’ (1980)

A classic piece of Powerpop from this acclaimed London group. A heartbreak tune propelled by (the soon-to-depart) Jools Holland’s keyboard. This reached number 17 in the UK Top 40 during March 1980. You can cry into your beer with this one, just like Gifford and Tilbrook.

Taken from their third album, Argybargy, (released in February 1980, highest position being no.32 in the Album chart) which also includes the single ‘Pulling Mussels From The Shell’ (which only made it to no.44 in the charts later on in 1980).

Best Ever Spring Singles No.4 – JC-001 ‘Never Again’ (1993)

This track, a glorious hybrid of Hip-Hop and Ragga, was initially released in the spring of 1993 on Anxious records (Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics’ record label). It, along with other tracks in 1993 such as ‘Informer‘ by Canadian rapper Snow, were part of this brief ‘hip-hop/ragga’ sub-genre of hip hop.

A sublime piece of british hip hop that never got the mass appeal it deserved, but is now surely a cult item and uk hip hop ‘nugget’, this ferocious rap (by the one-time ‘worlds fastest rapper’ (1992 Guiness Book of Records) – though he isn’t anymore) is both a scorching attack on racism (see a sample of the lyrics below) and a celebration of mixed race and inter-racial respect. On top of that, JC-001 manages to include in the production a brilliant sample of The Specials ‘Ghost Town’, the speeded up horn refrain sitting on top of a chugging beat.

Sick of the moans tell us to stick to our own,
when I’m already a genetic mixture and tone,
a cultural collage,
a mixed race in charge against the one-colour montage,
I’m built to barge against a protected mentality, to protect my family when?
Will the fear disappear, never again!

(JC-0001 ‘Never Again’)

One of the best, most underrated uk hip hop singles ever. Considering how many fantastic UK hip hop singles were overlooked in terms of chart success, (Blak Twang’s ‘So Rotton’, 1159’s ‘Free Man’) this is in very good company. Still, it is a great pity this monumental track did not reach a wider audience – it got just 2 weeks in the UK singles chart, its highest position no higher than 67.

A classic piece of UK hip hop;