The Singles Box


I used to work with a bloke who was such a big Theatre of Hate fan he got their name tattooed on his arm. Unfortunately for him they broke up about a year later which should be a lesson to all you kids out there: Think twice before you get that tat.

I didn’t mind Theatre of Hate, but Kirk Brandon‘s wobbly, operatic voice was an acquired taste, and I think I was more inspired by his Punkabilly style than his records. But I did like the first single he released with his new band Spear of Destiny in 1983 which is more poppy than anything he’d done before. The chorus is massive, soaring stuff and the track has a Celtic feel like they were trying to do a Big Country. His voice is still a bit Marmite though.

Download: Flying Scotsman – Spear of Destiny (mp3)

I Have Twelve Inches


Looking around my iTunes library for a suitable track to go with the previous post I found this which I recorded off my 12″ vinyl copy a long time ago but never posted for some reason.

Remixed in 1982 from an earlier b-side, this a sleek Euro-disco groover that glides along on Mick Karn’s rubbery bass playing and some honking sax. I was never a huge Japan fan but this does make me want to suck in my cheekbones and go pose outside a Berlin nightclub. Hopefully I’d be allowed back in England after.

Download: European Son (Extended Remix) – Japan (mp3)

The Bright Side of Life


The world is such a depressing place at the moment. Terrorism, mass shootings, beloved music icons dying, and politics on both sides of the Atlantic becoming a fucked-up mix of circus clown show and Nuremberg rally.

Being English I’m normally a gloomy, glass-half-empty pessimist but I find that having kids is the antidote to that. Sorry if this is a naff greetings card sentiment, but having them in your life (when they’re not complaining anyway) makes the world seem not entirely shitty. Booze helps too.

And music of course. Think I may have posted it before years ago but, what the hell, it’s one of the best extended mixes I have.

Download: I Could Be Happy (12″ mix) – Altered Images (mp3)

Coals To Newcastle


It took a while for us Brits to make soul and dance music as good as the Americans. Our efforts were decent but, from Dusty Springfield’s Motown-esque pop to early Britfunk like Hi-Tension and Linx, often suffered from thin production and lacked the warmth and oomph of our Yankee cousins.

As a consequence British soul music didn’t cut the mustard across the Atlantic and the acts which did make it were white and made their records over there. It wasn’t until 1982 that Londoner Junior Giscombe’s debut single “Mama Used To Say” became the first record by a black British soul artist to be a major success on the American R&B charts. In addition to that barrier-breaking he was also the first black Brit to appear on “Soul Train” which is a real badge of honor. 

We hadn’t completely cracked the code though. To become an R&B smash in the States the single still needed the help of a punchier American remix which beefed up the original. But we must have learned something because after that America opened its hearts and charts to other Brit soul acts Loose Ends, Sade, and Soul II Soul.

My copy of the single is a 12″ white label promo, bought in a record store I used to frequent which had a lot of review and promo copies of records probably offloaded by music journalists for booze and drug money. It has a sticker on it that says “Special New Mix” which is different to the others I’ve heard so I’ve no idea if it was ever a commercial release.

Download: Mama Used To Say (Special New Mix) – Junior (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



I assumed the “DJ” in this clip wasn’t the same guy talking on the record, but after some internet detective work I discovered that it actually is him — a fellow called Mike Cleveland who formed the group. Would never have put that voice with that face.

Classic tune this of course, so proud that my kids know the words to it. Parenting job done.

B-Side Beauty


This was the b-side of Roxy Music’s 1980 single “Same Old Scene” and was the first time they put out a 45 with a totally new, non-album track on the flip that wasn’t an instrumental. I think they only did it twice so it’s a rare entry in their discography.

Much as I like it when bands have original b-sides on their singles — especially ones as good as this — I wish Roxy had put this on Flesh+Blood instead, in place of the ropey cover of “In The Midnight Hour” which really blemishes an otherwise terrific album.

Download: Lover – Roxy Music (mp3)

Photo: Anjelica Huston and Manolo Blahnik by David Bailey for Vogue UK January 1974

The Singles Box


This 1981 single is the last one Post-Punk squawkers Essential Logic released. A year later Laura Logic quit the music biz to join the Hare Krishnas with old buddy and former X-Ray Spex bandmate Poly Styrene.

They could be quite atonal at times but this is a sweet, bouncy record that’s about as pop as they ever got. Probably why I bought it and still have it.

Download: Fanfare In The Garden – Essential Logic (mp3)

Apparently they reformed — as everyone does these days — in 2001 but I haven’t heard any fruits of that.

Something for The Weekend



This is the first record Ultravox made with Midge Ure. I quite liked the Vienna album at the time but wasn’t all that keen on them after that. Not sure what their critical rep is these days but I’ve a feeling even Gary Numan is cooler than they are now.

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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