It was whilst driving to IKEA last Sunday in the obligatory Volvo estate that I stumbled upon a truism regarding the debut album by go-go goths Cat’s Eyes. Side 1, track 4, “Face In The Crowd” is quite possibly the snottiest song in rock’n’roll history.
Snot is to rock’n’roll as corruption is to American presidential elections and mediocrity is to all but one memorable season at Leicester City. The intrinsically distasteful element by which we define our experience. From the moment that Bo Diddley (yes, it’s always Bo Diddley) spat “you’re that thing I throw peanuts at” in “Say Man”, rock’s landscape has been littered with hormonal outpourings of resentment, disaffection and bile.
Iconoclasts within music are often credited with breaking away from pop’s moon-in-June norm; yes Zimmerman, I’m talking to you. But it is the level of sarcasm that Bob himself achieved in “It Ain’t Me Babe” that grants entry to the lyrical VIP lounge. Jagger, Ray Davies, Lydon may well be top of the guest list but even they would whither and cringe as Rachel Zeffira and the splendiidly named Faris Badwan trade insults like a couple of carousing toms. On a hot tin roof! “You’re not anyone at all” snarls Rachel, like a leary 14 year old suffering her first alcho-pop high. Only to have the smirk wiped off her face by the worst put down in pop, “I’ve never had trouble getting girls I don’t need”. Ouch. I’ll say that again. Ouch. There’s a sentence that smothers all concerned in shame, to the point where I actually wince every time I hear it. But in a good way. Because like a biblical scapegoat Faris says it so that we don’t have to, leaving us free to bask in this wonderful slice of water retention Shangri-Las whilst dancing the mashed potato that the song demands.
Snot, bile, phlegm and a stomping beat. Do we need anything else from music?
One would expect that 12 years of the zen suffering that goes with life at Leicester City would have taken a Dorian Grey like toll on Andy King. Not a bit of it. His unmarked boyish features suggest he would have no problem getting served in the students’ union.
No surprise then to discover his scholarly attitude towards classic indie. “Their brand of fey innocence has become such a cliché within indie that it’s easy to forget how revolutionary Orange Juice were” he asserts. “No one had taken such a defiantly non-macho stance before. A lot of people were genuinely affronted by it. It’s okay to wander down Gallowtree Gate with a floppy fringe these days, but to stand up in front of an aggressive Glasgow crowd in the late 70s with that attitude took genuine commitment. We can laugh at taunts like ‘you’re all homosexual, apart from Steven’ but back then they were taking big risk. Apart, obviously, from Steven”.
So come the Champions League victory parade can we expect to see you in sandals and safari suit Andy? “Ye Gads!” he exclaims, not inappropriately.
Simply thrilled as ever, our kid.
We’re all going on a European tour! Kid Slender resumes his factually doubtful series of interviews with the Leicester City squad and discovers what they’re playing on the tour bus. Can I kick it? Of course you can!
Dilly-ding, dilly-dong. During a season of shocks and surprises, few came close to raising as many eyebrows and launching as many t-shirts as Claudio Ranieri’s astonishing pronouncement dilly-ding, dilly-dong. But after being written off and misunderestimated so often, it should come as no surprise to learn he has once again been misquoted. Clearly what Claudio was trying to say was doodle lang doodle lang in a direct reference to talcum powder floor filler “Needle In A Haystack” by the Velvelettes.
“I say to my chaps, listen to these girls, always they are striving for the impossible. A good man? He is like a needle in a haystack. But still they believe he can be found” he says in the Stoke-on-Trent accent with which he likes to surprise new aquaintances. “My boys, they may be sly, slick and shy but never do I allow them to become starry eyed. To dream is good, yes? But it is hard work and fearlessness which makes these dreams come true. I learn this at the Twisted Wheel in ’69”. Hold up a second, you went to the Twisted Wheel? “But of course. Keep the faith. Always you must be keeping the faith”.
We will Claudio, we will.