Thursday, May 28, 2009

Don't Let It Fade Away

It's 1977, and we're standing around at school apalled at the antics of the Sex Pistols. The filfth! The fury! But still intrigued to know what God Save The Queen actually sounded like. You couldn't buy it in any record shop near us, though when it was first released I did see it in Acorns, the local one. A man, thumbing through the singles, said: "I see you've got this". "Well," said the woman. "We had to."

Anyhoo, no one had ever heard it. Someone said it went (to the tune of Remember You're A Womble - younger readers, ask YouTube): "The Queen's a fucking bastard!". Well, no wonder it's been banned, everyone agreed.

However I'd seen the lyrics in Disco 45 magazine, a small papery thin monthly magazine that printed, shall we say, approximations of song lyrics. It was a godsend for someone like me who had terrible trouble making the words out. But once seen, never forgotten - I could stand before you know and reel off Uptown Top Ranking word perfectly. So I reeled them off: made you a moron, potential H bomb, etc.

People were amazed. For weeks, months, afterwards, I'd be approached regularly by schoolchildren asking me how the song went. For a brief moment there, I was cool. But I hid a shocking secret. I wasn't interested in the Pistols. I liked the Darts.

Well, when you're 12, it's only natural. Everyone liked them. Their blend of Fifties-inspired pop saw them have quite a lengthy and successful career. They were a bunch of misfits really: a balding man with an earring as lead singer. A huge monster-like man in shiny suits with big gray hair and a very deep voice. A black woman with a shaved head. What kind of band was this? But they were popular.

Now of course, there's room for the Pistols and the Darts in my life. And I know the words to both.

Here they are with the gorgeous It's Raining.


Wil said...

Ok, here's the power of the internet (as in letting you do something neat yet totally useless). A pic of Darts playing at our local town park back in the day - . I secretly liked 'em too.

Five-Centres said...

Wow, you saw them. I'm very jealous.

Planet Mondo said...

I was terrified of Punks and Punk in 77, but fell under it's spell a couple of years later, after a blast of mate's olders brothers copy of NMTB played into easter egg sized headphones. After hearing it my world turned dayglo, and nothing was the same again. I got to see them last year, and was totally, totally blown away.

If you haven't read it, I can't recommend Jon Savage's England's Dreaming enough FC.

PS I think Darts appeared on a great K tel Comp Disco Stars the sleeve photo used had a dodgy angle and looked like one of them had a dog's body with a man's head.

And doesn't the chord sequence in Boy From New York City sound like Tainted Love

PPS you can see my Pistols/Frankenstein artwork here

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

Remember You're A Womble is never going to be the same for me now. I'm still giggling over it. Maybe someone should record that version? Mike Batt could probably do with the royalties.

Dan W said...

As Kitten in A Brandy Glass said - I just sang those lyrics to that tune and now can't stop laughing. Amazing.

Bright Ambassador said...

I've had a terrible cloud of sadness hanging over me today, but "The Queen's a fucking bastard!" has just cheered me up no end and made me laugh out loud. Cheers, FC.

By the way, I heard the other week that Darts are on the comeback trail.

Five-Centres said...

Woo hoo! If that's true, BA, I'm already there.

Glad I've cheered you all up.

Love your pics, Mondo. You're so talented.

Valentine Suicide said...

I'm with you. I preferred The Darts, as I was probably too young. Like Mondo I became a punk a year late. I can't bear The Pistols anymore, but was playing The Darts on Friday. See you at the reunion gig.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I was fond of Darts on the quiet, but at my school you had to nail your colours pretty quickly to either the 'Soul' or 'Punkleton' mast, and punk won for me (although I was too young to be one properly). I was sort of a punk chrysalis, emerging as a New Romantic butterfly a couple of years later....

Matthew Rudd said...

I was too young to recall the Pistols, but Duke of Earl by the Darts is one of the first records I remember. I still find Come Back My Love one of the most joyous recordings ever.