Friday, February 1, 2008


1 Trout : Sunrise Highway
2 Irregulars : Against The Grain Of My Life
3 Rumblefish : Mexico
4 Aston Hall : My Daily Sun
5 Almost Charlotte : Sleep
6 Coral : Jacqueline
7 Hardy Boys : Wonderful Lie
8 Ebony Bones : We Know All About You
9 Poems : I Am A Believer
10 Sarah Goes Shopping : Summer Blues
11 Boy Friends : Boyfriend
12 Rasca Cocous : Vanity
13 Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring : A Question Of Trust
14 No Flags Etc. : Don't Bring Me Back
15 Features : She Makes Me Blue
16 Innocents : One Way Love
17 Joy Division : Warsaw
18 Screen Gemz : I Don't Like Cars
19 Gags : Sex Ist Schau
20 Los Campesinos ! : International Tweexcore Underground

The green numbers indicate new entries.


Cancer Research always has a sizeable stock of LP's and singles. Rarely anything startling turns up. Finding a Zoomiz single last year was greeted with moderate glee. I had it already but I bought it for launching into the ebay arena. Today I uncover a 12" by the Clay People. It's from 1987, is on Hectic records and mentions a chap called Ray Davis on the dull sleeve. Interest tweaked I part with 75p. This Ray Davis helped mix and produce it. I play it and it ponderously crawls from the speakers. An unobtrusive little morsel, not suitable for the gourmet palate. Wreaths And Seashells is the best track but that title promised so much more. Hectic Babble is neither hectic nor cannon-spat chatter. Mark E. Smith could have worked wonders with a title like that.



It was 1981. Britain was ablaze. Uprisings were afoot. The country was in the grip of a twisted Cromwellian vortex. Disaffected black youth took to the streets. Certain newspapers declared Enoch Powell a modern prophet and demanded his vindication. Thuggish police bullied communities. This of course didn't happen in East Sheen where I was reaching out from puberty to embrace the sophisticated adult world. I was itching to man the barricades, a Molotov cocktail in one hand and a copy of this single in the other. I remember the video, a car racing through dark streets, the Specials inside, cosying up to one another in a defensive paranoiac huddle. Jerry Dammers and co. zoomed into the zeitgeist and became, for a few weeks in July, the spokesmen for an eruptive generation.
I was working in a record shop in Clapham at the time and I remember this well dressed business woman walking in and asking for Ghost Town. She looked like she spent her evenings musing on the merits of Mahler whilst sipping wine and flicking through old opera programmes. She seemed a little affronted to have to purchase a record that span at a dizzying 45 rpm. Brazenly, in defiance of all her middle class reserve, she declared how remarkable Ghost Town was. I, a lowly scallywag who had recently touched a Dire Straits LP and forgot to wash my hands, nodded in agreement. I like to think that she lived in Brixton and was struck down by a flying bin.
This amazing record, this beautiful lament for a dying Britain, remained atop the chart rubble for a revolutionary three weeks. Why for those three glorious weeks was the British public suddenly struck down with such good taste? Hazardous audacity it may be but I think this is, and always will be, the greatest no.1 ever. World order was restored when MI5 installed Green Door by Shakin' Stevens at no.1 at Ghost Town's expense.