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Lugubrious Barry and the World of Twist

I am as spoiled as rancid butter. I was going to try not to read about the new X-Files movie but who was I kidding? I was the kind of kid who read the end of the book first, I'm the kind of adult who reads spoilers.

Yesterday I took the Not!Godchildren to see Kung Fu Panda, which was cute and just funny and beautiful enough to hold all our attentions. Then we went to Clissold Park and hung out in the sunshine while spotting EastEnders actors by the padding pool. Today was really, really hot so I spent most of the day out in the garden, listening to the Doctor Who prom (which was lovely and made me wish I'd bought tickets to take the Not!Godchildren) and Radio 4. My wireless also works in the garden. Yay for reading online stories and noodling about while listening to music, eating Twister lollies and getting a tan.

A while ago, me and lilydale did this thing where we talked about songs we loved, and I let it slip badly. I am going to try to get started again. I know I talk about some music that I am certain a lot of you think is wanky, if you think about it at all. You know, Tuvan throat singing and German electronic music and Girls Aloud FFS, but I do sincerely love it to pieces. I don't expect everyone to like it.

However, if you didn't like this song, I would seriously, seriously question whether you love music at all. I would question whether you had ears. This song is the *absolute* dog's bollocks. It is five minutes of propulsive, adrenalin-fuelled joy. If you don't want to dance to it, why? Is your arse asleep? Have your cognitive abilities deserted you? Are you perhaps dead?

World of Twist - Sons of the Stage

This is the album version. It begins with a sort of tense, coiled wispy intro with swathes of Hammond organ, and weirdly Dire Straits-Money for Nothing-style guitar very low in the mix, but then at 0:35 the riff kicks in like something Keith Richards *dreams* he wrote.

The best moment comes from about 2:00 onwards when the song is stripped back to beat and organ, with some small noodly guitar decorations, then at 2:34, there's this glorious explosion of drumming and one repeating high note with a synthesiser shimmer straight out of an early 90s dance record, and whoooosh! off you go, like someone just took off the brakes again. Magnificent.

The lyrics are the best evocation I have ever heard of what it was like to dance at a rave.
The floor's an ocean and this wave is breaking
Your head is gone and your body's shaking
There is nothing you can do because there is no solution
You gotta get down to the noise and confusion

World of Twist were the Manchester band everyone expected to be the next big thing, then grunge happened and the band were disintegrating anyway and all they left was this one album, Quality Street, (good but not entirely living up to its name), and a handful of utterly fantastic singles. I've posted one of those singles before, their cover of the Jagger/Richards song She's A Rainbow, but I had completely forgotten about Sons of the Stage, mostly because I only ever had it on cassette and the album sold so few copies that second-hand copies started going for thirty quid a pop.

Sadly, Tony Ogden, the prime force behind the band, died in 2006 but this is an indelibly magnificent artefact to leave behind.

In the six or so years I lived in Manchester you couldn't go to an indie club without hearing this record but my strongest memory of it is going to the chippie/pizza place near the International II with a mate and this was playing. We'd been drinking on and off all afternoon and were pleasingly uninhibited without being actually pissed. This came on the radio and we started dancing, and even the bloke behind the counter was looking pleased and nodding his head.

Such is the power of Sons of the Stage. It will make you dance in chippies.

Actually WoT are one of those lost bands whose names are dropped in interviews. Oasis used to use it in their pre-show music, and used to talk in hushed tones about the album it came from.

I used to have Quality Street on a cassette made for me by Lugubrious Barry. Lugubrious Barry came from Chorley. He had a fantastic record collection and posters of fractals on his walls which he could actually explain in scientific terms. He had the world's coolest haircut at the time, a kind of total hair that made him look like a particularly troubled mushroom. He was studying astrophysics and had a perpetual air of wistful gloom. Hence "Lugubrious Barry". (We would give everyone had descriptive nicknames at the time. It was a thing)

He was actually a very, very sweet boy but my friend at the time had a crush on him and would not tolerate other girls speaking to him. Including his girlfriend, and of course, me. She would disappear off to his room for hours on end to talk to him, listen to records and be ostentatiously unhappy that she could not be his.

Why, yes, she was crazy. (And she's now a teacher. Joy!) Lugubrious Barry, however, was not crazy. He wrote a really sweet, short letter to me a couple of years after I'd left university because he saw my byline in the paper and I really wish I had tracked him down. Now, of course, I can't even remember his surname, and I don't think plugging "Lugubrious Barry" into Facebook is going to help much.

Anyway, back to WoT: I found their album on iTunes today. I've searched before so it must be a relatively new addition. It's a tenner instead of the usual but that's because you get a second disc of remixes. However it's worth your cash.


* * *

At some point I will talk about politics again. I just did the political compass test and came out even more leftwing and libertarian than before. To be honest my inclinations are pretty much authoritarian but it's not something I like about myself so I tend to overcompensate in surveys. The leftwing thing though, that's all me. I like paying taxes if it means I get my NHS and my BBC.

It's quite something to be some way further to the left of the major political party in the country though.

When I woke up on Friday morning and read the news, it had a HSQ* of eleventy, given that it took a 22% swing away from Labour to hand the election to the Scottish Nationalists. I don't think people were voting *for* the SNP so much as they were voting against Gordon Brown to punish him -- mostly for things that aren't his fault. The Blairites are being nauseating as usual, barely containing their glee. I want to shake them until their teeth rattle because at this rate we'll get David Cameron for Prime Minister and the Labour Party will spend another 10 years tearing itself to bits as the Tories make hay by dismantling everything that makes this country wonderful. God, can you imagine the gloating?

I think Brown can expect a shiv in the back in short order. The trouble is that all the would-be replacements for Brown are intellectual pygmies, too fatally compromised or too young.

The general consensus at work is that Gordon Brown has entered the IDS stage of public consciousness, wherein no matter what he says it will be met with derision. Also when asked "how stupid do you think Middle England is?" the answer is "stupid enough to vote for the fucking Tories."

[*Holy Shit Quotient, ( TM the Buffistas)


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 28th, 2008 06:20 am (UTC)
I don't think people were voting *for* the SNP so much as they were voting against Gordon Brown to punish him -- mostly for things that aren't his fault. The Blairites are being nauseating as usual, barely containing their glee.

The fuck? Are the Blairites actually delusional enough to believe New Labour WOULDN'T be getting creamed right now if dear Tony was still PM? I mean, I don't recall him being any more popular than Brown, and if New Labour goes down in flames soon, it'll be largely due to Blair's careful groundwork.
Jul. 28th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
I think they are, yes. They think it wouldn't be so bad, or rather that they would have a chance of hanging on to power via an extremely slim majority. The two sides hate each other so much that they can't see straight.
Jul. 28th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)
I am also the sort of person who usually reads the last chapter of books as soon as I've read the first one, and read all the spoilers I find - I am pleased to not be alone in this!

As for your political inclinations - you just said what I think. I actually feel really sorry for Gordon Brown, and am horrified at the idea of David Cameron in charge. Something that really horrifies me is that my student daughter and her friends, who should want to make things better, improve the lot of the common man, save the world etc. as my generation of students did, and I am pretty sure yours too, are toying with voting Tory because 'it's time they had a go'! They are too young to remember time before things were privatised, put out to tender, became part of a market economy, etc. etc. etc.

Oddly enough, considering that we have a reputation for being Stuffy Right Wingers, here on the Isle-of-Man we still have a totally comprehensive education system (you go to the school whose catchment area you live in - no ifs or buts), and a totally un-privatised NHS, where the hospital is clean and doesn't have to make a profit to pay back the private developers.

Both work better than the mucked-around versions in England.

I can't see the Tories maing the English system work any better than it does - at all. Aaargh!
Jul. 28th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
I know. If I were 18 or so, I think I might have voted for Boris Johnson because he was "a laugh" or for the Tories because they had to get a chance. I'd like to think I wouldn't but I don't know... part of me being so strongly Labour as a teen was to be a contrarian in my heavily Tory school, so they must be the same.

Did you read a lot of that musing in the papers last year about how choice was actually a bad thing in public services because it diffused the services available and confused the consumer? I think it coincided with a book that had just come out but -- usefully -- I can't actually remember what it was.
Jul. 28th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
about how choice was actually a bad thing in public services because it diffused the services available and confused the consumer?

It would be my gut feeling that this is absolutely true. For instance is it better to wait for the gynaecologist who has a longer waiting list, because actually most local doctors, and women, would recommend him, or go to one with a shorter waiting list? Or go to one with a shorter waiting list at a hospital forty miles away because you don't want either of the previous two options, but then no-one can visit you?

If you have multiple problems you might actually be better off going to a hospital with poorer survival rates - because the others are only taking the easy cases to keep their figures good - the one with the poorer rate might actually have more skilled surgeons...

The same could well be true of schools too.

Whereas if everyone had faith in their local school/hospital/clinic and simply went there life would be much simpler.

Left-wing? Moi? Well, yes, perhaps you could say that! When it comes to health and education anyway!
Jul. 28th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
"Lugubrious Barry and the World of Twist" is my new band name
The 31 song project! I remember that. I am glad that you started it up again. Perhaps I'll be inspired now by you.

As soon as I saw "World of Twist" I wondered if you had found more of their songs because I recall pestering you about that at least once because I liked "She's A Rainbow" and wanted more. Good thing I kept reading before I commented asking whether you found the album. Kudos on the obsessive iTunes checking. *g*

That song is quite fun. I like the idea of it making you dance in chippies. The song can hardly be summed up any other way. Except probably as you did by questioning someone's state of life if they don't like it.

I would love a Twister lollie. I swear, I need to visit England every few months if only just to get the sweets so I can stop thinking about wanting them.
Jul. 29th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Re: "Lugubrious Barry and the World of Twist" is my new band name
Well, obviously I wasn't here and you didn't hear this from me, but if you google "World of Twist" and "Quality Street" someone who was narked that everyone had to pay thirty quid for a copy put his online on his blog for easy downloadery. I bought mine because I have guilt.

I would send you a Twister, but well... meltiness.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )