I first heard The Housemartins in a friend’s place way back in the 80’s. He had the lp London 0 Hull 4 which he had picked up in London well before it was released in North America. I made a an lp to cassette copy of it. The band has a sweet Beatles vibe I enjoyed. Not that they were retro but they were ‘uncomplicated.’
Nice textured harmonies with solid rock music. No electronic effects, no trippy studio gimmicks, with a sense of humour. The same holds true their second lp The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death. The writing is emotional without being melodramatic. Lead singer has a very appealing voice as well. I enjoyed them & eventually replaced my cassette with mp3s of both albums. But before I did that I did pick the cd: Now That’s What I Call Quite Good – a compilation of some tracks from the lps with some out-takes, b-sides & live performances. All fine stuff & well worth tracking down.
The band split up before they really made it big. A couple of them formed Beautiful South. I’ve heard some tracks by South – an extension of House but they didn’t grab me enough to add them to my collection.
Even more of a surprise is that, Norman Cook, one of that original band went on to become FatBoy Slim! The antithesis of Housemartins. Nothing homey or laidback about Slim. I have stand-alones: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby; Halfway Between the Gutter & The Stars; Palookaville. I heard a couple of tracks on a compilation of techo-dance music & came across a 2nd copy of Long Way, Baby & really loved him.
All the cd’s are sample heavy in the best way but as he progressed more ‘original’ electronica developed. His ‘funky’ stuff is great for writing to, his original stuff tends to Moby like soundscapes. Halfway’s Sunset [Bird of Prey] features a tasty Jim Morrison sample. Give it a listen on youtube 🙂
‘Put that down.’
‘What?’ I pulled my hand away from the shopping bag I was about to pick up. ‘I mean, why?’
‘Just step away from the bag, ma’am.’
‘I don’t understand.’ I glared at the police woman, levelling a gun at me.
‘I said just step away from the bag.’
‘That’s good. Keep stepping back.’
Two officers rushed between me and the shopping bag.
‘I was just … ’
‘We know what you were just going to do, ma’am.’ The female officer yanked my arms behind my back and handcuffed me. ‘It happens all the time. Can’t leave well enough alone can you.’
‘Cut.’ Stan Johnson called out.
‘Did I hurt you?’ Jean, the actress playing the female officer, asked me.
‘No. That went well, don’t you think?’ Stan clapped. ‘Very well.’
‘Yeah. But …’
‘But what?’ The prop grip came over and removed the handcuffs.
Jean nodded for me to step off the set with her.
‘Don’t go far girls.’ Stan, our beloved director, said.
‘There.’ Jean winced. ‘Calling us girls, again. I’m sick of it.’
‘But it’s just a word. He’s not even thinking.’
‘Yeah, well, even this commercial makes me want to scream.’
‘I think it’s funny.’
‘Yeah. The wife so curious she can’t wait to see what her husband has bought so she can switch it with what she really wants while his back is turned.’
‘Well, it makes me sick. All women aren’t that curious, aren’t all snoops. Plays on stereotypes.’
‘Makes fun of stereotypes.’
‘Still not fair, you know. And where’s the husband? Why not have him arrested as he buys the crappy gift – now that makes me laugh. No, arrest the wife for trying to look after her own needs.’
‘Okay, back on set.’ Stan motioned to Jean. ‘Why don’t you just do your job, sweetheart, and leave the rest of it to us. Market research knows what sells. We aren’t selling to women but to men.’
‘And women don’t know what men want.’
‘Of course they do, but we can’t show that on television. At least not at family hour.’ Stan laughed at his joke.
‘Places everyone.’ his assistant made sure each of us was on our marks.
I reached for the shopping bag. I didn’t even know what was actually in it. It could be some styrofoam blob. It didn’t matter. It was a script, an action, not a reality.
November 1 -30
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org