Sunday, 30 September 2012

500 singles and a bag of KP Skips

In the halcyon days of the mid 1980s, just like the visitors to The Hacienda, a small, dedicated group held their own 24 Hour Party. Ours was in a small church hall in Southwick, Sunderland and was fuelled by industrial amounts of pop, crisps and fish ‘n’ chips.
Now I’ve just finished reading Peter Hook’s enlightening ‘The Hacienda – How not to run a club’ and I don’t recall Irn Bru or KP Skips (at 13p a pack as you can see from this 1985 advert) featuring predominantly at Manchester's finest.

Anyway, as you should know by now if you’ve been paying attention, we played (‘back-to-back’ as DJs say) 500 singles. When we last spoke I left you clinging, precipice fashion, to single number 296 at the bottom of page 9, which I’m sure you will recall was New Edition’s ‘Candy Girl’. I bet you expected that after that, page 10 would begin with a scorcher – well that depends on your point of view, but if you love Anthony Newley you won’t be disappointed.
You’ll no doubt notice my 1980s twin obsessions (in the N to R range at least) of OMD and The Police, the former still treasured and let loose on my turntable from time to time, the latter languishing, in all their coloured vinyl glory, in the loft with spiders, Subbuteo, Scalextric and the famous ‘six pack’ limited edition of blue vinyl singles by The Police. Unfortunately this hasn’t appreciated in value with anything like the speed that I’d hoped and I won’t be retiring on the strength of it anytime soon. So it goes. (With apologies to Kurt!)
Page 10, then, skips merrily from
Anthony Newley - Lifetime of happiness - (sounding for all the world like a young David Bowie……or is it the other way around?, to
New Order  - Temptation - (here’s that Hacienda reference again – I do have more than one New Order single by the way, but all of the others are on 12”
Nick Nicely – The classic ‘Hilly Fields 1892’ much loved by Mark Radcliffe and for a while thought to have a ‘connection’ to Paul McCartney
Klaus Nomi – Lightning strikes - looking a bit like Emcee from Cabaret, but sounding like a man with his knackers in a vice
Gary Numan – ‘On Broadway’ which I think came free with an album
Des O’Connor – I Pretend - at the time (but not now) I owned as many Des O’Connor singles as I did Prefab Sprout singles.
Hazel O’Connor – (no relation) with the ‘classic’ D-Days in which we were convinced Hazel sang all about her time in Dagenham
Odyssey – If you’re looking for a way out (and by single No. 304 many people were!)
The Officeboy – With a woman like you – I knew nothing about The Officeboy then and it’s fair to say that I know even less about them/him now
Mike Oldfield – Guilty (both the title of the single and a general comment on my ownership of it)
Oliver – Good morning starshine – from ‘Hair’ or some similar late 1960s musical remembered more for cast nudity than anything else
One the Juggler – Passion Killer – I think it’s high time we had a ‘One the Juggler’ revival, but I accept that I may be in the minority
Orange Juice – L.O.V.E love, Rip it up, Simply Thrilled Honey – I found my way to Al Green through Orange Juice, so for that, and many other things, thanks guys!
OMD – Seven (count them!) in total – Introducing radios (which was included with the LP Organisation I think), Electricity, Maid of Orleans, Messages, Red frame white light, Souvenir (still in my all-time top 10) and Talking loud and clear.
Ottawan – Hands up – a great Disco ‘crowd pleaser’
Ottway & Barrett – DK 50/80 – a fantastic single, but can’t hear it without thinking of WD40
The Paper Dolls – Something here in my heart – classic and cheesy
Graham Parker - Temporary beauty – I’m listening to the LP from which this comes as I type
Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters (what else!)
Tom Petty – Don’t do me like that (from the days before he wore that strange hat)
Piranhas – Zambezi (another crowd pleaser)
Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi (also hovering around my top 10!)
The Polecats – Rockabilly Guy (as you’ll see when we reach page 13 we have Polecats but no Stray Cats on the list – I can’t explain it either)
The Police – two of them on this page – Bring on the night (black vinyl), Can’t stand losing you (light blue)

And so to page 11
The Police – five on this page – Don’t stand so close to me (black vinyl), Message in a bottle (green), Nothing Achieving (black), Roxanne (red, I think), Walking on the moon (back to black)
Popular History of signs – Justice not vengeance – a great single, but otherwise, in the words of Manuel, ‘I know nothing’
Postman Pat – Postman Pat – in which Pat and his black and white cat, Jess, deliver the mail in Greendale
Prefab Sprout – Lions in my own garden (exit someone) – I love music and I love brackets, so tracks with brackets are some of my most favourite
The Pretenders – Kid – I know many don’t agree but The Pretenders get on my nerves a bit
Judas Priest – Take on the world – in which a man with more than a passing resemblance to Tim Brooke-Taylor dons studded leather and belts out a big tune.
Prince – Little Red Corvette – a diminutive genius
Private lives – Memory of your name – I refer you to my previous comment re. Manuel
The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty in Pink – a 500 list high point I think
Public Image Ltd – Public Image – in which a former hero of punk music generally makes a lot of noise, but somehow ends up making a classic single
Q-tips – Tracks of my tears – in which a future major star (Paul Young) renders a half passable version of a classic, but only half passable
Queen – Bicycle race – of all the Queen singles, still I suppose it could have been worse!
Racey – Some girls – under-rated geniuses (the handwriting changes here you'll notice, with Susan taking over the duty for a while)
Gerry Rafferty – Get it right next time – not his best but still pretty great
The Ramones – Rock n Roll High School – One of the 10 best punk singles? Discuss.
Ray, Goodman and Brown – Special Lady – you may or may not know this one, but believe me Des O’Connor (No 302) is better
Chris Rea – Tennis – I’m sure even Chris would agree that this isn’t one of his best
Reluctant Stereotypes – She has changed (not you) – a rare and beautiful thing (with ‘Ben Shirtman’ on the b-side if I remember rightly)
Rezillos – Top of the pops – Please remember that this ism on the list when you see BA Robertson in 5 singles time
Cliff Richard – two from his good period (i.e. about 50 years ago) – Move it and Please don’t tease
Jonathan Richman – New England and Morning of our lives – my views on Jonathan (he’s the greatest living American) are well known
BA Robertson – Bang bang – it’s no ‘Kool in the Kaftan’ but you can’t have everything
Tom Robinson – 2 4 6 8 Motorway – or should that be TRB? In which a BBC 6 Music DJ sings (with gusto) about a motorway
Rocker’s revenge – Walking on sunshine – fantastically dubby (regardless of my spell-checkers’ protestations this should be a real word)
The Ronettes – Frosty the Snowman – The best Christmas single? The Darkness may not agree
Roxy Music – Jealous Guy and Trash – in which Bryan (with a Y) whistles and embraces the punk spirit respectively.

And that’s it for pages 10 and 11 – Join us soon for 12 and 13 featuring The Rubinoos, Neil Sedaka, The Skids, Slik, Soft Cell, Sparks and the incomparable Swans Way.
While typing today I listened to ‘Another Grey Area’ by Graham Parker and ‘Indiscreet’ by Sparks, both on lovely vinyl.