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The attic continues to yield further treasures…

Rock’n’roll all nite! Or not. Note addressed to Mr J. Whimble, aka Jane Wimble. I can’t believe we played ’til 1230 – with a 32 minute set we would have to play it around 9 times.

 

Onstage at the NCFT, Weybridge 4/11/77. Notice rare sighting of roadie Geoff Horne stage right.

 

The review that Nick Duckett managed to get into the NME by pretending his garage was a nightclub called The Garage. Such underhand deception meant that Nick was obviously destined for a career in the music industry, and so it has proved.

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Simon Was A Beever

“Heh Heh We’re The Beevers”

Nick Duckett’s parties at his club The Garage in Caversham Heights were legendary for excess and all round Bad Behaviour. The Garage was actually the garage in Nick’s shared house, later to find national fame when Trash played there and Nick blagged a review of the gig into NME. However on this occasion The Beevers were the featured attraction, featuring a very young Simon Wright on sub-Moe Tucker drums. “Yes I’m Miming” was nicked off the Bonzos  and my drums were festooned with rice, which fountained attractively into the air when hit. The guitar on the left has a £5 note tucked into its strings. Photo courtesy of Rich Linton

Fifty Years Later: Justin Hopper’s 50th Birthday Bash

Vaseline + DJ, Saturday 17th February

The Balham Bowls Club doesn’t seem to have much bowling going on tonight. It is however a splendid venue for an old-school bash, fairy lights barely illuminating a proper dance floor and a mound of chocolate brownies from Salt and Pepper.

The occasion is Justin’s 50th, and people have come from as far away as Germany, Sweden and Southfields to demand that he makes a Knight of it.

First up are Vaseline, a 4 piece band who might be from Birmingham and who play meaty covers of punk and ska songs.

After some initial hesitation amongst us ageing hipsters in the audience they go down really well. The undisputed set highlight is Justin’s appearance in chain mail to front a version of Swords Of A Thousand Men.

Vaseline are very slick.

My DJ set then follows, including a dub version of John I’m Only Dancing (sorry Wendy). Justin had pre-selected a number of tracks, thus guaranteeing me an enthusiastic audience of at least one. Sadly I am unable to respond to further audience requests for either James Brown or Guns ‘n’ Roses on the grounds that I do not own any of their records (other DJs with wider musical tastes are available). My playlist is here.

A midnight curfew encourages the last few stray punters into the bar downstairs which is full of large dogs having their pictures taken. Carriages at One, ours has a radio aerial that glows  neon blue for no discernible reason.

What a swell party this is. Thank you Justin and Jill for all your hard work in making it happen and I hope you had fun.

 

DJ Playlist – Balham Bowls Club, Saturday 17th February

Supporting Vaseline

 

Changes – David Bowie

Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon

How Soon Is Now? – Smiths

Loaded – Primal Scream

(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais – Clash

I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass – Nick Lowe

Girls & Boys – Blur

1999 – Prince

Heart Of Glass – Blondie

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Ian Dury

Too Much Too Young – Specials

John I’m Only Dancing – David Bowie

School’s Out  – Alice Cooper

Start Me Up – Rolling Stones

Lola – Kinks

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Handbags & Gladrags – Rod Stewart

Kiss – Prince

Brass In Pocket – Pretenders

Rock The Casbah – Clash

I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – Elvis Costello

The Sound Of The Suburbs – Members

Roadrunner Once – Jonathan Richman

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – REM

Sound Of The Suburbs

Featuring The 49ers and me

February 3rd, 2018, The Portico Gallery, West Norwood

Onstage The 49ers look like they are really concentrating on playing well and putting on a good show for a hall full of fans. Or at least the female 3/5 of the band does. Suzi exhibits Tina Weymouth-style “my bass is bigger than me so I must really focus” cool. Lead singer Emma comes over as bit stern but delivers some good strong vocals and less than intelligible stage announcements, although her request for two more gin and tonics came through loud and clear. Cleo – introduced as “our Ginger Spice” – generates some impressive keyboard sounds during Walk Like An Egyptian, which also featured some carefully shared vocals. The male 2/5 is a bit more extrovert with Dave doing a bit of Les Paul posing and cool titfer wearing and Steve The Drummer gurning in a way that would definitely put me off my vegan curry.

The 49ers play songs their audience will know and they play them well it’s a good mix of material and nothing jars or feels out of place. I loved Pyscho Killer and their version of the evenings theme song. The audience responded by bopping feverishly, with the more youthful members playing some sort of chase game which lasted for most of the evening and did for the monitors at one point. Feverish calls for an encore brought two, finishing with an augmented version of Too Much Too Young.  After the 49ers finished DJ Zero took over, playing some funky sounds for serious dancing.

The Portico is a well-used space in the heart of West Norwood where all manner of community-based stuff happens.  Tonight is a benefit for West Norwood Wonder, a cause I still don’t understand even though it was explained to me twice. Before the 49ers I had fun playing a punky 76-77 DJ set (see playlist here). I also dressed in the clothes I wore during those two fine years – bumper boots, Levis, plain T shirt, denim jacket. In other words what I wear now, though these days we say Converse rather than bumper boot.  And I had so many badges on my jacket because that was A Thing back then, when slogans included “How Dare You Presume I Am Not A Lesbian?” and “Wearing Badges Is Not Enough”. My current fave is “Is There Life After Youth?”, found at the V&A when we went for the Bowie exhibition.

I had a great time and I think if you went to see the 49ers you would have a great time too. They are a bit like the film Paddington 2 – it is impossible to envisage any sane person not enjoying them.

My thanks to Steve The Drummer for inviting me and Zero for the loan of his decks.

Sound Of The Suburbs DJ Playlist

The Portico Gallery, West Norwood on February 3rd 2018,

Supporting The 49ers

 

Public Image – Public Image

Keys To Your Heart – 101’ers

Top Of The Pops – Rezillos

Remote Control- Clash

Smash It Up – Damned

Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric

So It Goes – Nick Lowe

Rockaway Beach – Ramones

Shake Some Action – Flamin’ Groovies

Do Anything You Wanna Do – Rods

Gloria – Patti Smith Group

One Chord Wonders – Adverts

(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

Love > Building On Fire – Talking Heads

You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – Johnny Thunders

Another Girl Another Planet – Only Ones

Mannequin – Wire

Where Were You? – Mekons

Police On My Back – Clash

Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols

Pump It Up – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Jilted John – Jilted John

I Wanna Be Your Man – Rezillos

What Do I Get? – Buzzcocks

I’m Stranded – Saints

Roadrunner Twice – Jonathan Richman

New Rose – Damned

London Calling – Clash

Slim Dunlap – My New Old Records

New West Records NW5 102 (double Vinyl LP)

This re-release marks the first appearance on vinyl of Slim Dunlap’s brace of solo LPs from the mid-90s. Slim was recruited by the Replacements to take over from original lead guitarist Bob Stinson – his real name is Bob Dunlap, but they couldn’t handle going from one Bob to another Bob so they reverted to the childhood nickname of Slim. Before that he was a journeyman Minneapolis musician who was known and liked by everyone.

Solo albums. Usually disappointing and rarely a patch on the albums made as a band. For some reasons guitarists seem to make better solo LPs than lead singers. So Keith Richards yes, Mick Jagger no. Ron Wood yes, Rod Stewart no. Phil Manzanera yes, Bryan Ferry no. Why this should be I have absolutely no idea. Anyway these records work better than 90% of Paul Westerberg’s solo stuff. Slim is now very ill and his label manager – the estimable Peter Jesperson – has arranged for them to be released to raise money for Slim’s medical bills.  The results are a labour of love –  thick vinyl, a poster, a 7” spider, guitar pick, affectionate sleeve notes from Slim’s drummer Brien Lilja. More about this and related releases at songsforslim.com

The Old New Me (1993) represented Slim’s debut recordings. The sound is glorious, barely produced, the sound of a band playing live (even if they weren’t) and in perfect balance. Slim underplays throughout with consummate taste – even when he lets rip on James Burton’s Love Lost it is all done with care and precision. The songs have great hooks which don’t need a “big” production to register whilst the lyrics manage to be rueful without being cynical, especially on The Ballad Of The Opening Band which has to be autobiographical. The opening double header of Rocking Here Tonight and Just For The Hell Of It form a swaggering statement of intent which rolls as much as it rocks.  If you enjoyed Keith Richards Talk Is Cheap, give this a try.

The second LP “Times Like These” came out in 1996. Slim experiments a bit more musically and lyrically on Chrome Lipstick and Jungle Out There but his commitment to catchy melodies and lyrical grace remains unwavering. Radio Hook Word Hit explains why such a thing is so difficult to achieve but the country-tinged title track brings it all back home. Paul Westerberg guests inaudibly (as he did on The Old New Me). Production is credited to “anyone handy”

Bob Mehr’s book ‘Trouble Boys’ made it clear that Slim had to really practice to sound this good. These records ooze love and commitment. They never sold much the first time around, it would be a fitting tribute to a lovely guy if they sold a few more copies now. Just as I was writing this review I noticed that in the poster of Slim onstage his Marshall amp has been clumsily modified to read Mats. Somehow that sums him up – committed, unpretentious and someone to whom music was a calling rather than a career.