Johnny Britton

johnny britton
Johnny Britton’s career has beaten a strident path as an innovator through the cutting-edge first wave of punk, the sophistication of post punk, as a solo artiste protégé, a catalyst for new acts, as an in-demand singer/musician in the prominent musical groups Subway Sect and Orange Juice and the DJ of Soho’s Club Left and the WOMAD festivals
Singer/guitarist with Subway Sect, Orange Juice and solo artist protégé of Clash/Specials/Dexys/Subway Sect/Joboxers manager Bernard Rhodes.
This album is a ‘best of’ encompassing the wide range of musical styles in the world of Johnny Britton, from his singles ‘The One That Got Away’ and ‘Perpetual Emotion’, to rare acoustic Latin, Cool Bop and Swing, Punk and Classic Rock. Many of these tracks are now heard for the very first time.

credits

released November 23, 2018

MUSICIANS
Johnny Britton: vocals, guitars
Chris Bostock: spanish guitar, bass
Sean McLusky: drums, percussion
Rob Marche: electric guitar
DC Collard: keyboards, bass, trumpet
Alfonso: Bass
Charlie Llewellin: drums

Fiction: Evel Knievel and the Fat Elvis Diner By Richard Wall


evel-knievel-and-the-fat-elvis-diner-rw-spillwords

The man stared through glass at the immense, dark thunderhead that filled the horizon.

            Cumulonimbus.

            Impressive.

            Towering like a huge anvil in the vast Oklahoma sky.

            Even at this distance he could see the grey curtain of rain beneath it; see threads of lightning poking at the earth like the antagonistic fingers of a spiteful child.

            Cumulonimbus.

            Majestic.

            His phone beeped, he knew by the tone that he’d received an email, but he kept staring at the cloud.

            Proper Okie storm on the way.

            He looked down and touched the screen of the phone to open the mail inbox.

            One new message.

            He didn’t recognise the sender and the subject line was empty, in the content pane were the words:

            “This guy w…”

            The man frowned, peered closer.

            “This guy w…”

            He tapped the message, watched as it began to load then looked up.           

            He stared at the weather for a while then looked down again at the phone. The screen showed a rotating hour-glass and the words “loading content.”

            “This guy w…”

            Wasn’t there a song called “This Guy”?

            Who sang that? Was it Burt Bacharach?

            No, don’t think so. Sounds like something he might have written, though.

            Who was it?

            He snapped his fingers. Herb Alpert.

            Good God.

            Herb Alpert.

            Flashback.

            Nearly forty years.

            Herb Alpert didn’t sing very often but he got to Number One with this.

            So dad said.

            The man scowled.

            Herb Alpert’s singing now alright, an earworm cavorting round and round inside his head.

            Fantastic.

            It all came back, a slow, lazy trumpet riff.

            Pah-Pah-Pa-Pahhhh, Pa-PAH-Pah-Pa-Pa-Pahhh.

            Music you’d hear in a lift, or a shopping centre, or an old folk’s home.

            What the hell are those dad?

            Leave it, son. Please.

            Music you’d hear when a call centre puts you on hold.

            Pa-PAH-Pah-Pa-Pa-Pahhh.

            For God’s sake.

            The man rubbed his eyes, tried to get the song out of his head. He looked down at the phone.

            Rotating hour-glass.

            Loading content.

            Probably a bunch of photos, or a movie.

            “This guy w…”

            Tijuana Brass.

            Yellow album cover. Dog-eared cardboard. Pictures of trumpets.

            England, 1970’s.

            Childhood.

            Dad’s record collection; Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, George Formby, Glenn Miller, Jim Reeves, Ray Conniff.

            Dear God.

            Ray Conniff.

            The man shook his head. How many times did we have to listen to Ray flaming Conniff and his singers blasting through the house?

            Each to their own, of course, but for a small boy it was easy listening hell.

            God save the Sex Pistols.

            1970’s.

            K-Tel Records.

            K-Tel adverts on the black and white tv.

            What was that thing? Oh yeah, the Buttoneer. Fixed buttons just like magic. Imagine that on Dragon’s Den; I’ll tell you where I am, I’m out.

            The Buttoneer.

            Was that K-Tel, or was it Ronco?

            Why do I care?

            Pa-PAH-Pah-Pa-Pa-Pahhh.

            AHHHHHH.

            Screaming helped a little. But not much.

            The man sighed and looked at his watch. Another hour yet.

            Tijuana Brass.

            Childhood.

            What’s Tijuana, Dad?

            Somewhere ruddy foreign.

            Ruddy. Dad’s favourite word.

            Any place further than twenty miles away was “ruddy foreign.”

            Thanks, Dad.  

            So, he’d looked it up for himself. Went to the library, found a Readers Digest World Atlas and discovered that Tijuana is a town in Mexico, on the Pacific coast just over the border from San Diego, California. To a small-town kid on a council estate in the sticks, these places sounded exotic.

            The man grunted.

            Exotic.

            He went to San Diego with the navy. Took the tram to San Ysidro and walked across the bridge into Tijuana to see for himself. Ended up in the Zona Norte, the North Zone, where the only thing remotely exotic was the medical condition that he contracted from the Mexican hooker he picked up in a shabby, down at heel bar. After drinking his body weight in tequila, he waved her over and they went upstairs, while a mariachi band played in the street.

            Got into trouble for that alright. Self-inflicted injury, the navy called it.

            Seemed like a good idea the time.

            When in Rome and all that.

            Mind, she was fit.

            Exotic.

He looked down at the phone.

            “This guy w…

            Rotating hour-glass.

            Loading content.

            This is taking a while, must be the weather. Better be good, whatever it is.

            He reached for the packet of Lucky Strikes, took one out, lit it, took a long drag then blew bored smoke rings.

            Staring through glass. Thinking.

            Growing up in the 1970’s.

            Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special. Patch Pockets. Champion the Wonder Horse. The Sweeney. The hot summer of ’76. The Austin Allegro. Clackers. Action Man.

            You ain’t havin’ an Action Man.

            Please, dad.

            Not a chance.

            Corgi Toys.

            Receiving, as a birthday gift, a die-cast model of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, the one from the movie ‘Vanishing Point’.

            Capturing his imagination like nothing else. A glimpse into another world that ignited a life-long obsession.

            For a small boy, the closest thing to falling on love.

            American muscle cars.

            Proof that God exists, engines have souls and heaven is in Motor City.

            Dodge Challenger.

            Standing still it looked like it was doing a hundred miles an hour.

            Then one day, reading the Daily Mirror and seeing that ‘Vanishing Point’ was being shown on TV. Begging his dad to let him stay up and watch it. Drinking in every second of the movie. Entranced at the sight of the beautiful car bellowing across the American landscape to the soundtrack of Delanie and Bonnie and Friends.

            Typical Yanks. Ruddy far-fetched.

            Yeah, but look at the car, dad. That’s a Dodge Challenger.

            Ruddy Yank tank. I’d rather have the Jag.

            Didn’t even own a car, back then.

            Why can’t we have a car, dad?

            There ain’t no point. If I bought one I’d only have to ruddy drive it.           

            Can’t argue with that logic.

            Had to make do with a Raleigh Chopper.

            Every penny from the paper round went to paying for that. A pound a week to the neighbour who ran a Kay’s catalogue. Probably dead now. What was her name?

            Hilda something.

            The man smiled, then laughed out loud.

            Pretending to be Evel Knievel. Imagination transformed the Raleigh Chopper into the Skycycle X-2, chalk lines on the road marked the Snake River Canyon and two breeze blocks and a plank made the launch ramp.

            Whilst undoubtedly a creative and imaginative student, he fails to apply these qualities to his schoolwork and this is reflected in his poor academic results. He has trouble concentrating and is easily distracted.

            Riding the Chopper 100 yards down the road, locking the back wheel to skid round in a perfect one-eighty, like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, and then taking a second to savour the atmosphere. The council estate became southern Idaho, kids from the estate became fans, imaginary cheers filling the air whilst overhead a lone eagle calls a lonesome “screeee” as it circles lazily on thermals above the canyon. A deep breath and a brief nod to the crowd then setting off and pedaling fast, notching the T-shaped lever from first to second and then up to third gear, kids becoming a blur but seeing dad in the front garden, the Chopper hitting the ramp, flying through the air, bouncing hard on the huge back tyre, losing control and demolishing Hilda-something’s wooden fence. Thought dad was going to have a stroke, he laughed so hard.

            That hurt, dad.

            That’ll learn ya.

            The man smiled again. Every accident, mishap or minor injury was met with the same response:

            Watcha cryin’ for now?

            Fell out of a tree, dad.

            That’ll learn ya’.        

            Pa-PAH-Pah-Pa-Pa-Pahhhh

            The ear worm was still alive.

            Give me strength.

            The 1970’s.

            The music.

            Melody Maker. New Musical Express. Record Mirror.

            September 1976.

            Skiving off school and catching the train to London with a mate whose uncle worked at the 100 Club.

            What the ruddy hell were you thinking of? Your mum was ruddy demented.

            International Punk Festival.

            Subway Sect. Whatever happened to them? Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Clash.

            The Sex Pistols.

            Ever get the feeling you’ve been had?

            Other concerts. Mohicans, spitting, safety-pins, pogo dancing, stage-diving. A fat kid, airborne; captured by the strobe lights and held in the air for a split second, the crowd parting like the Red Sea, the expression on his face.

            The cheer when he hit the floor.

            ‘White Riot’ at maximum volume, dad storming into the bedroom.

            Why do you have to play it so ruddy loud?

            It’s The Clash, dad.

            Ruddy noise if you ask me, ruddy turn it down will ya’?

            Other bands, other gigs. The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Clash again, still got the ticket from that one. What a night.

            It’s up to you not to heed the call-up.

            Good times.

            The storm cloud was moving closer. Lightning flashes becoming more dramatic. Curtain of rain almost filling the sky.

            Proper Okie storm.

            Oklahoma.

            Dad’s reaction.

            What the ruddy hell do you want to go there for? Full of ruddy Yanks.

            Thanks, dad.

            No inclination to travel. Not interested in foreign food.

            Want some curry, dad?

            Wouldn’t give ya’ a thank ya for it. Ruddy mixed-up tack. 

            Got his news from the Daily Mirror and his social life playing crib at the local on a Wednesday night.

            Same routine.

            Week after week after week.

            As a kid, it was a mystery. There were places called Denver, Colorado; San Diego, Tijuana and Detroit, where they built muscle cars. A whole world of exotic places. Why would anyone want to stay in such a miserable, grey, insular, rural existence in the back end of nowhere?

            He’d never understood.

            Until he’d left home and been through a war of his own. Seen at first hand the things that humans could do to each other.

            Two bombs dropped on a ship in the South Atlantic. Watching helplessly as your best mate burned to death in front of you.        

            His screams in your nightmares.

            Your screams when you wake.

            Detachments to Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan.

            After that he understood.       

            Understood that if you’re a twenty year old kid and you get your call-up papers and for the first time in your life you’ve got to leave the small country town where you were born and raised, put on a uniform and then spend the next five years fighting halfway across the planet before they’ll let you go back home – in one piece if you were lucky – and during those five years all you saw was suffering, death, bloodshed and destruction, if you made it home, why would you ever leave again?

            Who could blame you for staying put?

            Proper infantry fighting, too. Back then.

            Like it is now.

            Seventy years ago. Today.

            Never mind your, over-the-horizon, fire-and-forget technology.

            Never mind your precision air-strikes.

            None of that for the blokes on the ground.

            No siree, Bob.

            What did dad used to say?

            Poor ruddy infantry.

            Just you, a Lee Enfield .303, a bayonet and your pals behind you.

            House to house. Hand to hand. Look the other bloke in the eye and hope you can kill him before he kills you. Day after day after day.

            Twenty years old.

            Kill him before he kills you.

            Like it is now.

            Poor ruddy infantry.

            Never understood.

            Until that day in the old folks home.

            Never seen dad undressed. Never even saw him without a shirt.

            Until that day.

            The day he’d walked in while the care assistant was giving his dad a wash. Eastern European, she was, smiling and stroking his head. Making time for him. Compassion on a weekly wage that no British person would get out of bed for.

            The day he’d walked in and saw the scars for the first time, the puckered circle just below his left shoulder, two more on his back, the slice marks across the stomach.

            His dad crossing his thin, bony arms, trying to cover his wasted body like a bashful virgin. Ashamed.

            Jesus Christ! What the hell are those dad?

            Nothin’

            Dad?

            I don’t want to talk about it.

            But dad?

            Leave it, son. Please.

            Dad getting agitated.

            The care assistant putting her arms around him. Genuine affection in her eyes as she whispered soothing words in her native language, calming him down.

            I never hugged him.   

            And then, clearing the house after dad died. Finding the medal and the letter from the King. The conversation with his uncle at the funeral, the story no one else knew.

            Poor ruddy infantry.

            My dad, the hero. And he never said a word.

            I never hugged him.

            Cried his eyes out the day I joined the navy.

            So mum said.

            You ain’t getting an Action Man.

            The storm cloud grew closer.

            A single, fat raindrop hit the glass. Then another.

            Oklahoma storm.

            Oklahoma City? What the ruddy hell do you want to go there for?

            Cos Chuck Berry says it’s pretty.

            Do what?

            Chuck Berry, dad. Sang a song about Route 66.

            Ruddy noise if you ask me.

            Not like Ray Conniff, eh dad?

            Oklahoma.

            Had enough with the navy.

            Fancied something different.

            Came to America, no plans.

            Bought a muscle car, a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. 440 cubic inches, just like in the movie.

            The real deal. It’ll pass anything except a gas station.

            What else? If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly.

            Stamp on the loud pedal and it howls like a banshee and leaps forward like an attack-dog. Awesome in a straight line. On a corner, forget it.

            A barely-tamed monster of a car.

            Caned it across America, just like Kowalski in Vanishing Point. Arrived in Yukon, Oklahoma and met a waitress in The Fat Elvis diner.

            Beautiful smile.

            Beautiful lady.

            Apple pie and cream. 

            Ah love yo’ accent, honey.

            And I love yours.

            Aw hell, I don’t have no acc-ey-ent.

            What time do you get off, beautiful lady?

            The nightmares stopped that night.

            Married a week later, imagine that?

            Three years and two kids ago and still together. Still got the car, too.

            Thinking about her made him smile.

            He looked down at the phone.

            Photographs began appearing.

            About time.

            He reached across to the ashtray, stubbed out the cigarette and looked closely at the screen.

            A bunch of people standing at the side of a road.

            A cop standing next to his patrol-car.

            To Protect and Serve.

            He scrolled down to the next photo.

            Grim-faced emergency workers looking down at something out of camera view.

            Next photo.

            Like a still from a Tarantino movie.

            A blood-soaked corpse lying on a plastic sheet next to a pile of twisted metal.

            The man looked closer.

            Correction, half a blood-soaked corpse. The victim, a young man, had been torn in half at the waist, ripped flesh and entrails  fanning out from his stomach cavity. Shocked expression on his face.

            Not surprised.

            Next photo.

            Emergency workers wearing blood-stained vinyl gloves, gripping the victim’s ankles as they dragged the lower half of his body from the wreckage. Gore trailing from the waist.

            Next photo.

            Both halves of the victim dumped on the plastic sheet, like a broken, shop-window mannequin.

            Like a broken Action Man.

            Next photo.

            Two vehicles. Head-on collision.

            The back end of an SUV sticking out from the radiator grill of a huge Kenworth truck.

            Blimey, must have been going some.

            Looked like the truck was eating the car.

            The Fat Elvis Diner.

            Apple pie and cream.

            I don’t have no acc-ey-ent.

            Beautiful smile.

            Beautiful lady.

            “This guy’s in love with you.

            The man scrolled back to the previous photos. Looked in fascination at the carnage laid out on black plastic.

            That’ll learn ya.

            Scrolled to the top of the message.

            Read the first line.

            “This guy was reading an email whilst driving.

            The man heard the blast of the horn.

            Looked up through the rain-covered windshield of the 1970 Dodge Challenger.

            Saw the radiator grill of the huge Kenworth truck.

RICHARD WALL IS HERE

 

Singing A Song In Prison – Various Artists sing the songs of Vic Godard

vic godard

Lee McFadden writes –

I was just that little bit young for punk and so missed the raw excitement, energy and unpredictability that punk gigs offered during the well documented “Year Zero”.
In the mid eighties The Jesus and Mary Chain were trying to recreate that essence of punk to the teenage generation that just missed out – my lot.

 

One thing I loved was when my favourite bands displayed their influences and introduced me to whole new worlds. The Mary Chain did just that – I played the B-Side of the 12” of “Never Understand” and the last track was “Ambition” – the credit on the label read – “Written by Vic Godard”. Sorry Jim and William but this was better than their own compositions on this record for me. An irresistible introductory chord sequence and the killer of an opening line – “You Can Take It Or Leave It As Far As We’re Concerned Because We’re Not Concerned With You”. I was captivated.
A short while later the NME cassette compilation “Pogo A Go Go” was released – I heard the Subway Sect original for the first time. It sounded like a unique kind of disembodied punk pop – with a voice that owed something to Bolan but whose lyrics interested and intrigued me far more than the Cosmic Dancer ever could.

There is a school of thought that the most accomplished writing should be capped with “The Arresting Opening”. Vic has this ingrained – it’s part of his DNA. Many’s the song where right from the off the lyric takes you into three minutes of literary wonder – and sometimes leaves one dashing to the dictionary on the discovery of a new word in the English language. Couple this with an uncanny ear for catchy melodies and the ability to write solidly along a myriad of genres – jazz, soul, punk, pop – you realise it’s no wonder that Orange Juice covered “Holiday Hymn” after hearing a bootleg tape – that it’s self explanatory that the Mary Chain put “Ambition” on their second single – that in the present – Martin Bramah’s Blue Orchids have covered one of Vic’s most recent songs – “Music Of A Werewolf” – and why Vic’s compositions have proved to be the benchmark for so many writers to aspire to – only for them to acknowledge that the master is always one step ahead.

Every one of these artistes is a fan of intelligently crafted accessible songwriting. Every one of these performers tips their hat to Vic Godard. This is their tribute – and well deserved. ‘
Lee McFadden – January 2018

Vic Godard writes –

‘In the summer of ’76 Subway Sect were auditioned by Malcolm McLaren at Manos Rehearsal Studios in the Fulham Road. We only had four songs to play, one of which was Nobody’s Scared. I’d written the words in the library at Ealing Tech where I was avoiding work for as long as I could. I was plundering the words from a book about the French New Wave Cinema. There was a chapter called ‘Focus on Godard’ and I took the ideas for the song from it. It was a very simple song set to three chords, a fourth was added for the chorus and the solo was the same as the verse but played more abrasively.
It was later recorded as part of a Peel Session and the following year appeared as a single on a new record label called Braik owned by Bernard Rhodes who became our manager after the first gig. The record was highly unusual and we all hated it then, although I’ve grown to love it with the advance of time. The rhythm guitar ‘solo’ sounded like radio interference and although I overdubbed a lead guitar solo it was played over the top of the second verse. The last note of my solo was deemed controversial by the BBC Boffins but Mickey Foote (our sound man) was there and sided with me, so it made it on to the record.

The other song written for the audition was Out of Touch which was based on a Modern Lovers song. I was learning the guitar after trading in my bass and playing along to the Velvet Underground, Jimmy Reed and the Pretty Things. I got the tune from listening to the harmonics coming off the electric guitar on the open chords. Our guitarist Rob had a trebly sound and resonances made themselves clear to me.

Ambition was one of a batch of songs written after our second gig –a total debacle-at the I.C.A. Unfortunately we all had different set-lists and I was left unsure who to sing along with. We decided to call it a day, but were calmed down by Shane MacGowan and Joe Strummer. We decided to give it another go at the R.C.A on fireworks night 1976. We had a few new songs and two stood out, Can This Be True? and River Nile.
River Nile was the first version of Ambition and when I said River Nile the group went into the chorus .This was a chorus that ended up in another song called Idea–Pull.
We only played it a few times but Ambition was being worked on throughout the ‘White Riot Tour’ and finally became recognizable on our ‘Great Unknowns Tour ‘ with French group, The Lou’s. The song we recorded at Gooseberry Studios in Gerrard Street was messed about with by Bernie Rhodes, Mickey Foote and James Dutton while I was on the ‘Love Bites Tour’ with the Buzzcocks and released without my knowledge or permission. As it turned out I wasn’t keen on the original so was happy with the outcome, especially as it sold so well.

After our first London gigs as Clash support act we were asked to go on tour with them and told to get a set list ready lasting thirty minutes. This meant me writing more songs so I started with a batch including Chain-Smoking. A paean to the Richard Hell song Love Comes in Spurts, it featured me on lead guitar for the first time using an old semi-acoustic painted grey and stuffed full of foam. The lyrics came from my old school lessons about Sartre and Camus.

The song Empty Shell was influenced musically by listening to the David Bowie Low LP which blew a lot of our ideas aside when it came out. Again the version we played live as a group in early ’78 bore scant resemblance to the one that finally appeared on the What’s The Matter Boy LP. It was much rougher and had a mad descending guitar figure in between each alternate verse. There was also a weird chord I liked before the bridge –a D with a C shape. Lyrics were again taken from a story we studied at Shene School-this time it was Colomba by Prosper Merimee.

Make me Sad was written at the same time. I was influenced by a batch of Northern Soul records I had. They were on loan to Paul Myers the Sect bassist whose friend Jacko was a regular coach tripper to all points north. He used to bring back singles and being either an evangelist for the sound (or plain idiot!) he’d lend them to Myers who’d lend them to me. I started to write in that style and Make me Sad was one of the early attempts.
The group having been sacked by Bernie, I was directed to become the label songsmith and my first task was to write enough songs for the Black Arabs to play a support slot on the forthcoming Dexy’s Midnight Runners tour. I’d already been working with their singer Henry on the song Stop That Girl and we went on to record it, as well as the LP What’s the Matter Boy, with the rest of the Black Arabs. Stop that Girl was written under the spell of Theophile Gautier’s masterpiece Mademoiselle de Maupin. The first time my inspiration hadn’t come from school!

Two of the others written for the tour were Happy Go lucky Girl and Holiday Hymn. Then in 1980 the Subway Sect did a gig supporting Siouxsie & The Banshees at the Music Machine and played both songs. The gig was taped by Alan Horne and soon Orange Juice had done a great version-changing the verse timing and improving on the original even though they got the chords wrong!
Johnny Britton the Sect guitarist from ’78 was doing well as a model but found the time to record a single with Happy-Go-Lucky Girls on the b-side. It was the only single released by Braik Records except Nobody’s Scared.

My reading was still seeping into the writing and Nerval’s ‘Sylvie’ is the story I was into at the time I wrote Holiday Hymn. Both songs were heavily indebted to Boney M who had ‘Nightflight to Venus’ out at that time. It was constantly played in my room for the rest of the year.


Some time during 1979 I had started listening to and trying to write old fashioned songs.
I was gifted a group by Johnny Britton: his rockabilly group from Bristol were without a singer as he was too busy and I was a song writer with no group. I started playing songs with them in a fairly M.O.R style at first but Dave Collard the pianist was into Miles Davis and could play the trumpet like him while playing piano with the other hand. He was also adept at arranging along with Chris Bostock the bass player who also played a mean acoustic and had a sweet voice to boot. Their incredible work ethic was like nothing I’d ever experienced and was a shock to the system but during that period I really got my head down and worked on the music and lyrics albeit aided by narcotics. We did more gigs than I’d done before and regularly needed new songs as we did a regular club on a weekly basis (Club Left).
When Club Left outgrew the Whiskey-A-Go-Go we moved it briefly to Ronnie Scott’s and it was here that we played T.R.O.U.B.L.E for the first time. It was written for a female singer-no one in particular but someone who you’d see on stage in an Ida Lupino film. I was thrilled to be able to sing it on the record with a real live swing band.
In the early nineties I was introduced to Matthew Ashman and collaborated with him on some 4 Track demos of my current songs, one of which was Outrageous Things, although he used to call it ‘Thanks’. Sadly he died soon after but I included the song plus London Blues on the Long Term Side Effect LP recorded with Edwyn Collins at West Heath Yard, as was The Place We Used to Live which was released years later as a single by Creeping Bent.

Music of a Werewolf was originally a 4 Track demo of me trying to play the Munsters theme and failing miserably, but it had a great swing to it – the intro Redact and Pour part was its chorus, but it was played on the organ rather than sung. It attempted to describe the wasteful nature of my songwriting experience as well as the mystical side with a bit of the mechanics thrown in for good measure. It’s a favourite for me to play live without a guitar as it has a lurching danceable beat. I especially enjoyed singing it live at the Lexington recently with the Blue Orchids.

Towards the end of the nineties, while I was working on the Sansend LP I was asked to contribute tunes to a musical Irvine Welsh was working on. The title track was Blackpool. I’d been playing live for a while with The Bitter Springs so we started trying out the songs live then recorded several in a small Teddington studio. Out of that came the Blackpool EP with Hand Jobs, The Sewer Song (with Jock Scot ) and The Working Class Song ( with lead vocal from Simon Rivers ) added to the title track. One of the best collaborations I’ve been involved in I think it came at the right time: Sansend took two years to record so writing the Blackpool songs was a good diversion, particularly as the vibe was so old fashioned. ‘

Vic Godard – January 2018
  more.

Buy Singing A Song In Prison

Various Artists sing the songs of Vic Godard

Dedicated to Vic’s wife and partner George (The Gnu), innovator, facilitator, artist, dreamer and egalitarian.Cover art by Andrew Shaw
Vic Godard photo by Alan Horne
Executive Producer – Joe Mckechnie

100% of profits from sales will be donated to the Amnesty International United Kingdom Section. www.amnesty.org.uk

Fiction: Trouble by Ian Copestick

Photo0042It was my partly own fault, if I hadn’t been so drunk I , at least, might have noticed the gang of teenage lads that were slowly surrounding me.

I saw about four of them walk quickly past me, but I was too busy trying to remember all of the words to ” City of the Dead ” by The Clash and sing them to myself.
It was when they turned around and blocked my path. That’s when I realised I may have been in trouble. When I heard the footsteps and sneering voices behind me, that’s when I KNEW I was in trouble. Serious trouble.

There’s something about being surrounded by a group of lads that want to seriously hurt you.

It clears the mind like nothing else.

I wouldn’t say that I suddenly felt sober, it’s stranger than that. Things suddenly felt hyper- real, that’s the only way I can describe it. In that split second before it all kicked off, I could see, feel and hear everything.

I could see the shadows on the road. The black silhouette with a diffuse orange aura.
I could feel the cold air on my cheeks, I could taste the air as it went in and out of my lungs, my cigarette burning in my hand, the overpowering smell of deodorant spray coming from the lads. What is it with teenage lads and deodorant ? They must use half a tin each time they leave the house.

Here’s the part of the story where I utilise my martial arts training and batter all seven of them in a matter of seconds.

I wish.

Here’s the part of the story where I get battered, unfortunately I never did any martial arts. I was lucky that someone in a nearby house heard some scuffling  and shouting, came out and threatened to call the police. So I did get a kicking, but not a life threatening one.

I did learn one thing though, no matter how pissed you are, make sure you remember the lyrics to all of the songs of The Clash.