Sally Space

This song was left off St Etienne’s debut Foxbase Alpha and is one of the bonus tracks on an upcoming twenty five year anniversary edition (triple vinyl, double cd, booklet, cigarette cards etc). It’s a wonder it didn’t make the cut first time around with its lazy house drums, reverb and echo, and Sarah’s sunny day vox.

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Seven Ways

Seeing as the sun has decided to make an early September appearance and┬áthat this is a song that was also released in 1991 like yesterday’s 808 State/Bjork record and just to show that sometimes the simple things really are the best here’s a sunny little tune that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Cola Boy were a duo of Andrew Ridgley (not the Wham! one) and Janey Lee Grace (who had sung backing vocals for Wham!). St Etinenne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs wrote 7 Ways To Love and recorded it with Sarah Cracknell singing and because it was 1991 stuck it out as a white label (partly because they feared it destroy St Etienne’s carefully built up credibility). It sold out and was a big hit in the clubs. Sarah Cracknell was contractually not allowed to sing on non-St Etienne so it was re-recorded with Janey singing it. meanwhile the Cracknell version was bootlegged left, right and centre. Despite the lost sales it sailed into the top ten. It sounds like the summer of 1991- carefree vocals, cheesy keys, wobbly bass and a fantastic rhythm. Two versions, ‘cos I love you.

7 Ways To Love (original mix)

7 Ways To Love

Remain

The author Robert Harris tweeted last week ‘How foul this referendum is. The most depressing, divisive, duplicitous political event in my lifetime. may there never be another’. Which just about covers it. Nigel Farage has forced a ‘discussion’ into public, a discussion which has unleashed all kinds of racist and xenophobic forces which have at least partly contributed to the murder of MP Jo Cox last week. Farage is a political charlatan, a fraud, a man who basks in a man-in-the-street image despite a wealthy, privileged background. A demagogue who hates the EU yet is paid by it, who represents constituents at the European parliament but rarely goes. A man who poses in front of Nazi inspired posters and complains that the murder of Jo Cox has ‘taken the momentum out of the Leave campaign’. On every and any level, he is a disgrace.

David Cameron has to take the blame here too- despite being the leader of the Remain campaign, he is the one who called this referendum, a cynical response to the rise of Ukip and the defection of Tory votes, a piece of political opportunism that has blown up in his face, shown the cracks in his party and that he’ll pay for politically at some point, win or lose.

Let’s Kiss And Make Up

This is original The Field Mice version covered by St Etienne with their Eurocentric cover art.

A vote to Leave is a backwards step, a vote for a past that doesn’t exist. I can’t see any positives in leaving. Taking back control, taking back sovereignty is a smokescreen- how is leaving the ‘undemocratic’ E.U. increasing democracy in a country which has an unelected second chamber and is a constitutional monarchy? My vote today is to Remain. Let’s stay together.

Enough preaching.

Stay

Stay is off Bowie’s Station To Station, sometimes my favourite Bowie album. The choppy guitar part, Carlos Alomar I assume, is wonderful.

And finally Portishead have released this cover of ABA’s SOS, a tribute to Jo Cox.

Speedwell

Speedwell was the b-side to St Etienne’s Nothing Can Stop Us 12″. A second 12″ single was released with this remix by Dean Thatcher and Jagz Kooner of The Aloof, one of those deep, dub-house remixes from 1991 that are rather popular round here. For that moment just after the sun has gone down (probably best in a summer context that, given that it goes dark at around 4pm currently).

Speedwell (The Flying Mix)

I Could Never Hate You

Heavenly Records is twenty five years old this year, founded and run by the seemingly all round good guy Jeff Barratt, and they’re running a series of celebrations. Saint Etienne’s second single, released in September 1990, is one of the label and group’s absolute high points, a cover of a Field Mice song and in the original version with vocals by Donna Savage (this being before Sarah Cracknell joined them). The single was followed by a second 12″ with some remixes by Pete Heller, which are just perfect.

Kiss And Make Up (Midsummer Madness Mix)

Dotty

I’d forgotten I even owned this- a remix of St Etienne’s How We Used To Live by Dot Allison. Stretched and abstract, some drones, static and whirring noises, and some distance from from Bob, Sarah and Pete’s usual sound. Nice though.

How We Used To Live (Dot Allison Mix)

How We Used To Live

Pete Wiggs (of St Etienne) put together the soundtrack to a film celebrating a lost London (from the 1950s through to the 1980s). If it was a London that ever really existed at all. It was screened at the Barbican last year and Pete’s soundtrack came out in December. The Youtube clip below shows a London of coffee shops, Routemasters, the Festival of Britain, jazzy instrumentals, raincoats and twin sets. A long-vanished world from before when most of our pop culture existed, well over half a century ago.

This is the trailer for the film. Whimsical and nostalgic. Whimsey and nostlagia, coupled with hyper-modernity and instantness (instantanaiety?), seem to be the flavour of our current times. Anyway, regardless, I like this.