Saturday, December 31, 2005

Protect And Survive...

Siouxsie And The Banshees - The Staircase (Mystery)

The Beat - Stand Down Margaret

When was The Beat's "Stand Down Margaret" released? Must have been about 1980 or so... anyway, I remember being in a record shop in Preston and seeing a poster advertising it - I think it was a mushroom cloud with Thatcher's head superimposed on top, her hair looking disturbingly like the explosion.

I used to bus it up on a Saturday and go through the racks, mainly just to look at the sleeves and soak it all up. So what was it I was soaking up, exactly? This was a time of dread, and I don't mean the natty variety. Protect and Survive. CND badges. It felt like it was going to happen. Punk, that expression of nihilistic youth or whatever the hell it was supposed to be, well, it was dead. The Swindle album was as good as its title. Bands eating from the same nose bag had by that time the resonance of a sock. Even this little country boy up in town for the afternoon could see that.

I had been oblivious to the whole 1977 thing, waving a Union Jack with the rest of my Primary School as the big black car drove by. But three years later, I'd read and heard enough to fathom that there had been a bang somewhere, it wasn't nuclear, and it had ended with a wimper. Still the safety pins and tartan bum flaps persisted, all stuck behind the counter next to The Police picture discs.

But all this other stuff was going on. I’d never heard a bass and rim shot deal like I heard from The Beat. It was locked in and locked on. And then they played "Staircase Mystery" in the shop, all dark twistiness.

Did I buy it? Nope. I'm contrary to a fault. And anyway, I would have had to ask what it was and I should have known already.

I went for Van Der Graaf Generator's "Godbluff" instead, but that's also full of dark twistiness. I wasn't to know that, or the fact that Lydon was a fan. I bought it because it looked... dark... and twisty... and I was right.

So which side were you on, Mikey? Post Punk or nasty Prog? Blah blah blah. I didn't care, still don't. Just as long as there's a nice bannister for me to slide down.

Buy - Siouxsie And The Banshees - The Scream [Deluxe Edition]
Buy - The Beat - Beat This, The Best of the Beat
Visit - Siouxsie And The Banshees
Visit - Twist And Crawl The Beat's official site
Visit - The Beat Fan site
Visit - Protect And Survive - The Original Booklet


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