Monday’s Long Song

In 1992 the party was looking like it was over- bad drugs, too much partying, gangs, darker scenes, burnout. For Flowered Up, a group who were powered by chemicals and boisterous bad behaviour, a chance to rescue themselves by writing some songs presented itself just as tensions were boiling up. Instead of writing a bunch of songs though they came up with just one, one very long song- Weekender, a thirteen minute journey through the early 90s, a criticism of those who only go for it on Friday and Saturday nights, a celebration of highs and a depiction of lows, and a tribute to Jimmy from Quadrophenia. London Records refused to give it a full release so the band returned to Heavenly and it subsequently reached number 20 in the charts. The film that was made by Wiz to accompany it, starring Eastender Lee Whitlock and Bocca Junior’s singer Anna Haigh, stretched it out further to 18 minutes.

Weekender

‘Whatever you’re doing, make sure what you’re doing makes you happy’ said Liam Maher in Weekender. Flowered up broke up within two years, fractured by drugs, bad communication and personnel changes, people losing interest, the money running out, some issues at gigs (including arriving on stage at the original Madstock in 1992 45 minutes late). It is still, all these years later, a startling, original and essential piece of music.

The 12″ release was partnered with a second single, Weatherall’s Weekender, not one but two remixes by Andrew (keyboard player Tim had joined FU due to his connections with Weatherall from Windsor in the late 80s). Both remixes stretch the original track further, the A-side remix to a quarter of an hour and the B-side to seventeen minutes plus. Both bend the song into newer shapes with the female backing vox pushed up front, wobbly basslines, time and pitch shifting synths and keyboards and dub FX, the second one especially aimed at the floor with pounding percussion and drums under a descending piano riff.

Weekender (Audrey is A Little Bit Partial)

Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial)

Out Of Our Brains On The 5.15

Passing one of Sale’s many charity shops on Saturday I wandered in to peruse the box of vinyl. I left a few minutes later having rescued Secret Knowledge’s Sugar Daddy 12″ for the princely sum of £1.99. Yes, I’ve already got the original release but this one was in a different sleeve and had a different version (the Sugar Caned Mix) and another remix on it too (by Paul van Dyke, trancey). Secret Knowledge were Kris Needs (journalist, friend of The Clash and Primal Scream, legendary caner and crow’s nest hairdo owner) and Wonder (vocals, big voice). Sugar Daddy came out in 1993 on Sabres Of Paradise and is a long, thumping house track, a big club tune of the time. Also on this charity shop classic is an equally good remix by The Disco Evangelists (David Holmes and Ashley Beedle), with a nod of the head to Quadrophenia. It is a banger.

Sugar Daddy (Out Of Our Brains On the 5.15 Mix)

You’re Barmy You Are Staying Out All Hours

I’ve finally managed to catch up on the Quadrophenia stuff from BBC4 last weekend. Mrs Swiss and I watched the film last night- or most of it: the blank dvd we’d recorded it onto ran out five minutes before the end. I knew what happens obviously, but for Mrs Swiss Jimmy is permanently stuck mid-existential crisis outside the hotel where he sees Sting (that is not a mod haircut Sting) working, screaming ‘Bellboy!’. Quadrophenia was a rites of passage film when I was growing up and watching it now it’s retained a lot of its power.

I can’t quite believe that in two and a half years of Bagging Area I’ve never posted anything by The Who. Their run of singles in the 60s from I Can’t Explain through to Magic Bus is peerless- the pop-art noise of Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, the boom-boom-boom of My Generation, the mod anthem The Kids Are Alright, the trebly attack of Substitute, Pictures of Lily, I Can See For Miles… perfect all. Their blend of melody and noise, ugliness and beauty. They looked so good as well, for a while.

Substitute (US Single version)