Choose now. Too late!
My childhood best chum Nicky Clarke has a lot to answer for – he’s the one that put me off Bowie, if you recall – the worst incident being him giving me laxative in my Coke just before a violin exam. I don’t know if it actually was laxative, but it was an academic point, given the psychosomatic effect it was going to have anyway. Maybe I should thank him for making me take up guitar instead.
Anyway, one of the things I do have to thank him for is turning me on to the Stranglers. One of the great punk bands, but of all their stuff, this one still resonates most with me.
September, 1977: I must have just turned 15 when this song was released. Crikey – that makes it 40 years old! Did I have heroes then? Probably mainly sporting: the great Hibs team of the early 70s that I can still recite: McArthur, Brownlie, Schaedler, Stanton, Black, Blackley, Edwards, Cropley, Gordon, O’Rourke and Duncan (and yes, that really is etched in my memory – no Wikipedia cheating!)
Bob Willis, the great England fast bowler, or to give him his full name after deed poll alteration Robert George Dylan Willis (yep, another fan of His Bobness, who I was just about to discover). Mahatma Ghandi, although I didn’t know that much about him, to be honest. And the local heroes, of course: Bruce, Wallace, all those bloodthirsty types.
Then punk came along and said, fuck all of that deference shit, we really don’t care. The Stranglers did it with a bit more musicality than some of the other bands, that’s all. That whole Silver Jubilee thing that year, the culture clash between the counterculture and the Establishment, has been probably overdocumented, but it was a real thing.
Do I still have heroes? Yes, but you wouldn’t have heard of them. Incidentally, I quite like this Gilliam-esque video with the song, and as a bonus you get a wee horror movie tagged on at the end for some reason.
Tomorrow’s post will be a bit later than usual. While you’re waiting, go on, be a hero and support the Myanmar refugees.
Advertising down here. Huh! Bet the Stranglers wouldn’t put up with it.