Use a Kleenex, Solve World Problems

OK, so, I admit to liking Billy Idol’s first band, Generation X. They were fun and “punky” and all about the hair, and generally they were not to be taken seriously and there’s a place for that. Their first record (the only one worth a mention) came out in 1979, as the band cheerfully rode that wave of second-rate commercialism that came through after the fist wave of English punk bands had either given up or gone arty. And personally I do not blame them at all. Someone else would have done it, and probably done it much worse. At least Idol can actually sing, his lyrics were kind of funny and cynical and took the piss out of commercialism while also embodying it, and, the band wrote decent power pop tunes to back it up.

They got semi-popular in the UK but never made it in the US or Europe, and although they always feature on those interminable ‘Spirit of Punk’ singles compilations, they are otherwise not referenced that often in the history of the times, probably because they were so utterly inconsequential.

That is, until Green Day started covering their ballad “Kiss Me Deadly” in concerts, and that same song got put on the end of a major summer movie, SLC PUNK.

Now, the U.S. is full of geeky teenagers learning to play that riff on acoustic guitars, and talking about the original Gen X version as “the SLC version”, and getting paid out by “real punks” who still have the thing on vinyl, and can remember when Billy Idol’s sneer hadn’t set and become permanent.

How funny, to think of this cheesy commercial pop-punk band being held up as “old school”, and potential new fans of the band being called poseurs. I wonder if anyone has actually said “I was into Generation X before they were cool!” yet.

Dudes, they were never cool. Just look at them for godsake.

Anyway, I chose not to put Kiss Me Deadly on here, but two other tracks from that record, both in player and mp3. Enjoy.

GENERATION X -From the Heart

GENERATION X –

GENERATION X – Kleenex

What you gonna do next
What you gonna do now
Use a Kleenex!!!

Wipe out sex – Kleenex
Better than love – Kleenex
John Paul George – Kleenex
Governments use Kleenex!!!

Use a Kleenex, solve world problems
Better blow your nose right now!!!

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Glenville Reel

Now that all my own musical aspirations are focused on various live / jamming projects this blog here can return to our regular “mp3 of bands what I like bulk good” type of blog.

First one up isn’t a band per se but a singer song-writer by the name of Loudon Wainwright III who I was introduced to back in 1992. My housemate Hickey produced this battered old 2 dollar LP from 1971, with a funny looking geezer on the cover, and we listened to it about once a day for about six months. I think I was particularly entranced by the guy’s voice. Back then he sang in this high-pitched anxious, slightly pathetic wail, that makes him sound not feminine but definitely not masculine and almost like he belongs to some separate third gender of angsty singer-songwriter. I late found out he was married to a McGarrigle and Rufus Wainwright is his son, so maybe this is why.

I got a hold of it recently and realized I had forgotten all but three tunes – Baby in the House (which is good but formulaic), Motel Room Blues (which I used to cover), and, the 3-part medley ending in Glenville Reel. I had forgotten the other two parts of this but always remembered the end of Glenville Reel:

Take off her clothes and throw ’em in the river

Wash her body and stick it in the sun

Give that gal everything that you can give her

You can give her the bullets if you can give her the gun

Great song. I don’t know why it’s called Glenville Reel, though. Glenville is in West Virginia and Loudon isn’t from there, and it sure isn’t a traditional song so I got no clue. Maybe he just wrote it while he was there.

Anyway I have lately been working on my own version, Glenside Reel, which takes its name from an Adelaide mental hospital. I’ll post a demo on the L and S site sometime in the next few months, maybe, and those who listen to both will be able to hear the resemblance.

MOTEL ROOM BLUES

MEDLEY – UNHAPPY / SUICIDE / GLENVILLE REEL

I’m trying out the audio player, just for this post.

SOYE – Love, Drugs and Supermarkets

SOME of YER ENGLISH:A PODCAST

TRACK LIST:

  • X-Ray Spex – Warrior in Woolworths
  • The Raincoats – Fairytale in the Supermarket
  • The Au Pairs – Love Song
  • The Stupids – It’s Gotta Be Love
  • The Slits – Newtown
  • The Pop Group – We are all Prostitutes
  • Crass – Smother Love
  • Adam and the Ants – Kick
  • The Damned – Drinking about my Baby
  • The Lurkers – Love Story
  • Ultravox – WrokWrok
  • Generation X – Day by Day
  • Orange Juice – Blue Boy
  • Gary Numan – Bombers Way to Zero
  • The Jam – DreamTime
  • The Clash – Lost in the Supermarket

Total running time 47:12


“I saw the lights and the pretty girls
And I thought to myself what a pretty world,
But there’s something else here that puts me off.
And I’m so scared dear, my love comes in frozen packs,
Bought in a supermarket.” (The Jam – Dreamtime).

Still, The Kill, and other words that rhyme with Fill(er)

J0y Division: The Kill, Walked in Line (1978), Walked in Line (Still), Ice Age, (1978), Ice Age (Still)

No-one really likes Joy Division’s third album Still, do they? It’s never listed as a favourite, and often panned as a botch-job which probably shouldn’t have been released, as though somehow it’s very existence sullies the purity of the other two records.

I returned to it recently to see if there was anything there worth including on a Joy Division / New Order compilation I’m making for a friend, and while I was there, I tried to put my finger on exactly what the problems are. And there are three pretty big problems.

  • Curtis sounds bored. Don’t argue, he does.
  • Hannett’s production. What was beautiful on Unknown Pleasures and challenging in Closer is downright annoying on Still. It’s almost as though Hannett was bored by the songs and tried to use trickery to turn them into something they’re not.
  • The song selection. And this is really they key thing. Most of those songs on Still are old ones. I do not believe Curtis had written anything new.

To be specific:

– They Walked in Line and Ice Age are both on the unreleased Warsaw album  from 1978 and probably date from 1977 or earlier.

– Exercise One and The Sound of Music are both on the 1979 Peel Sessions.

– Glass, Dead Souls, The Only Mistake and Something Must Break all exist on studio recordings from earlier in 1979 made during demo sessions in various places (and recently released as disc 3 of Heart and Soul).

Basically, this leaves most of Still looking a lot like a bunch of filler tracks that weren’t good enough to make it onto the first two records, and which the band only recorded because they didn’t have any good new songs.

‘The Kill’ is the main exception. It’s a good song, and it’s going on my compilation. I do wish I could go back in time and turn up the vocals up while Hannett wasn’t looking, though.

Also: just for the sake of comparison, listen to the different versions of Ice age and They Walked in Line from Warsaw and Still . The earlier versions are just much better.

Mp3: J0y Division: The Kill, Walked in Line (1978), Walked in Line (Still), Ice Age, (1978), Ice Age (Still)

(This was made using a program called mp3 merge which I kinda like…)

STILL (1981)

Side one
  1. “Exercise One” – 3:06
  2. “Ice Age” – 2:24
  3. “The Sound of Music” – 3:55
  4. “Glass” – 3:56
  5. “The Only Mistake” – 4:17
Side two
  1. “Walked in Line” – 2:47
  2. “The Kill” – 2:15
  3. “Something Must Break” – 2:48
  4. “Dead Souls” – 4:53
  5. “Sister Ray (7.36)

Uh, this is, uh, Radio 2XX, uh, yeah…

The Particles: Truth About You

The Particles: Bits of Wood

Canberra circa 1985. I am a dorky teenager who likes punk rock and goofing off. The local university / public radio station is called 2xx, a place now indelibly etched on my musical psyche.

Me and sundry dork mates hang around there in the afternoons waiting for a studio slot to open up (often because the presenter didn’t bother turning up), so we could sneak in and record our bullshit songs on the 8-tracks. One time we actually get on air doing this.

Also, much time is spent ringing up the afternoon presenters requesting songs so we can record them on to tape, and putting on funny voices so they don’t work out it it’s just us over and over again. Looking back I think they knew anyway, they were all older than us(like, 18!) and half of them were friends with my sister.

The 2xx presentation style was incredibly lackadaisical. I still listen to public radio now, and I can’t believe now how slack the 2xx presenters used to be in comparison.

“Oh wait…uh…it’s the wrong side…no, wait…it’s actually the wrong record…uh..hang on…uh…”

This would go on for minutes. Then they’d put five songs on in a row so they wouldn’t have to talk and could just sit there stoned.

But the music was good and the music was loud… well, actually it wasn’t loud, the signal was rubbish, but it was kinda bassy and muffled and comforting. I revisited a tape I had made off that station about ten years ago and the sound of it nearly made me cry.

A sample playlist (I just made this up from memory) for a 2xx afternoon or nightime presenter went like this:

  • Simple Minds: The American
  • The Cure: A Forest
  • Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart
  • Psychedelic Furs: India
  • The Clash: Straight to Hell
  • Devo – Mongoloid
  • The Buzzcocks: Fast Cars
  • XTC: Generals and Majors
  • X-Ray Spex: Germ Free Adolescent
  • The Jam: That’s Entertainment
  • New Order: Blue Monday
  • The Fall: Totally Wired
  • The Cramps: Goo Goo Muck
  • B52s – 52 Girls
  • The Saints – Know Your Product

etc, etc, etc. All the good shit.

Some fun local bands were around, too, getting airplay because they were darlings of the scene. These mp3s are from a Sydney-ish band called The Particles (members of whom went on to become the Lighthouse Keepers / Widdershins / whatever else they ended up being called).

This shit used to get played on that station all the time.  Listening to it now brings back incredibly strong memories of that sound. I probably would never have heard of them otherwise. And I don’t even like it that much but it is so nostalgic to me now, I just wanted to put it on here…

The Particles: Truth About You

The Particles: Bits of Wood