THE RANT SECTION [skip if you’re just here for the bloody downloads like most of my visitors]: If you’ve been wondering about the conspicuous lack of posts this week, blame fucking Microsoft and their stupid fucking programmes. Only a company as bloated, capitalistic and greedy as them would bring out an update for their OS (I’m talking about Windows XP Service Pack 2) and then make it physically impossible to install it. In my best Points Of View voice, why oh why does it repeatedy hang at the last minute, then balls up your system if you cancel installation? And why does every bloody programme insist that your computer has it? (By the way, all the suggestions I’ve read on the Internet, like killing running processes, renaming fixccs.exe etc etc…I’ve been there. The last named finished the instalation all right…then made it impossible to start Windows by telling me that something was missing and getting me to press ctl-alt-del over and over again until I gave up and reinstalled….for the third time.)
Yes, I’m covertly asking for help here, and a lot of tea and sympathy. It seemed only appropriate that I post this:
[RANT ENDS HERE]
So, we’re back to Hull, home of the Housemartins and the Luddites. This band were formed there in 1979 from the remnants of the easy listening, Neil Sedaka cover band Carnage In Poland, by Jerry Kidd (vocals) and Hallam Lewis (guitar). They were resolutely left-wing before Billy Bragg took up the cause, and also strongly opposed to corporate ideology. Enter the keening, memorable single Good Technology (FF 1983 #11) [any song that is critical of computers gets my vote-SIG], which sold 60,000 copies on the band’s own Self Drive label. It was, unfortunately, this very self-reliance that was to scupper their chances of success, and they gradually fell apart due to ‘internal pressures’ (meaning they ended up hating each other’s guts), foundering entirely in 1986.
They are remembered chiefly for ripping off Sibelius in that summery pop anthem Since Yesterday: but there’s more to Scottish lasses Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall than meets the eye. Their band, Strawberry Switchblade (named after an abortive fanzine) foundered in indie label hell until they met Bill Drummond (when KLF was just a glint in its father’s eye). Presumably with his help and encouragement, Trees And Flowers (FF 1983 #47) sold encouragingly: the subject matter (agoraphobia) was a nod to Jill’s suffering from the illness. Musically, it presages twee pop by many years (and puts me in mind of Belle And Sebastian). Alas, one album later and it was all over: the goth black-and-white image failed to ensure a lifelong career, and they ended up having to record two singles solely for the Japanese market in order to pay their tax bills.
If you really like them, you could do worse than go to this site which has a shedload of downloads, including Peel session tracks: but you won’t find this track there, as it was only on a Japanese 12 inch compilation.