Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hot Brown Honey

The week before Christmas I had a particularly full on and hectic run of late nights, to the extent that I took a day off from my day job to recover. There's only so many meetings you can yawn through and I knew that my increasingly bog eyed state was likely to become increasingly apparent to colleagues as the week went on.

The first of those late nights was the show Hot Brown Honey at HOME in Manchester, a theatre show like no other.

Other shows have discussed racial stereotypes, colonialism and feminism, but not like this... It is at times hilarious, at other times moving and ultimately always thought provoking. A provocative and exciting piece of contemporary theatre that transcends genres as easily as it crosses boundaries.

My review of the show went up on The F-Word last week, and I was pleased by how well it came out.

The show had a fairly short run at HOME but I very much doubt that this is the last you will hear of the Honey's and, if you do get the chance to see the show, do. It is brilliant.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Flying Lizards - Her Story

One of a number of collaborations with writer/musician Vivien Goldman. Years ahead of it's time, this song features on Goldman's best of compilation Resolutionary.

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Fates - Sheila (She Beats In My Heart)

This one is David Wilkinson's fault.

The Fates were a sort of post punk supergroup involving Una Baines who used to be in The Fall and (bit later) the Blue Orchids.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Chefs - 24 Hours

I have a confession to make.

I hadn't heard The Chefs prior to interviewing Helen McCookerybook in 2009.

But I like to think I've made up for it since.

Get well soon Helen, hope the wrist is healing well X

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

ESG - Erase You

I read about ESG long before I ever heard them.

There was a really good retrospective of them in (I think) Electra fanzine in the late 1990s, which I devoured enthusiastically but never really followed up on.

Then, one night at the Cornerhouse in about 2011, I heard a slow but insistent, stripped back drum sound and slow but plaintive vocals coming over the PA system, and I turned to my friend David Wilkinson and asked "What's that?"

"That" he replied "Is the slinky sound of ESG"

Spotify did the rest basically, and I was downloading by then, so I bought the song ('You're No Good') as a download, then spent a few years streaming Dance To The Best of ESG, which my sister got me on CD for my birthday this year.

'Erase You' is stroppier than 'You're No Good', but both of them capture that post punk/funk moment in the early 80s in New York, parallel to early hip hop.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Waitresses - No Guilt (Live TV 1982)

My Waitresses moment had a long gestation period.

It began in 1999 when I was (appropriately) a Catering Assistant working at Stockport Co-Op. In the run up to Christmas, the department store CD, which used to go around in a sonic loop about eight times a day, was changed for a festive CD, which not only had less songs on it (meaning they came round more often and I was being slowly tortured by the Westlife version of 'Last Christmas') but which also only included one song that I actually liked. That song was the Waitresses 'Christmas Wrapping'.

I'd just dropped out of my degree at Bolton Institute and, as if that wasn't enough, started a new job the week before Christmas in Macclesfield, which required a horrible and extortionate commute by bus and train every morning. I remember coming home knackered after the commute from hell one night, not long afterwards collapsing into bed while the John Peel show was on, and then frantically throwing the bedcovers off and running across the bedroom to the tape deck, hitting record and play as the twinkly opening chords to that most realistic of festive songs rang out.

It was as I was running out of material to fuel my Martha and the Muffins obsession that I returned to the Waitresses and, still not downloading, even in 2008, I bought the Waitresses best of CD. And discovered what a bloody great post punk band they were.

People tend to know them mainly for either 'Christmas Wrapping' or 'I know what boys like', and if that's the case for you, 'No Guilt' should prove a pleasant surprise. It's a very arch, very funny tale of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl discovers the joys of independence, girl has a great time and gets on with her life. No apologies.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Martha and the Muffins Women around the world at work

You can blame 'Echo Beach' (naturally) for kickstarting my Martha and the Muffins period. Possibly because they are a Canadian post punk band, and because the post punk revival didn't kick off until about 1998 (and then it was mostly UK post punk), I didn't hear 'Echo Beach' until 2005. On Radio 2 on a Bank Holiday Monday afternoon of all places/moments.

I wasn't downloading at that point, so the best way to buy 'Echo Beach' seemed to be to buy a 'Best of' CD of the band, and I'm really glad I did. Especially as it contained songs from LP's which have yet to be re-issued, specifically This Is The Ice Age, which is very expensive to buy second hand.

'Women Around The World At Work', which I featured during the F-Word's Song of the Day series in 2012, feels very timely today in a world of Equal Pay disputes, #MeToo and what feel like constant daily outrages and transgressions. Despite being concerned with gender inequality, it's a really upbeat, inspiring song with a long historical narrative sweep. Well worth hearing.