Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wrapped in bits of silver


Chocolate Girl by Deacon Blue came on this morning.

I've not heard it for ages, but I really used to love that song. Not quite sure what it's all meant to be about. Some old perv? Someone with OCD? A girl who's actually made of chocolate?

When I heard it I was instantly transported back to 1988, a carefree year in which I had a job in a large London shop and loved every minute of it. Everyone was about the same age, fresh out of university and not knowing what to do with their lives so just up for fun. It was endless parties and nights out drinking. That sounds like a nightmare to me now, but at the time it was fantastic. We had very little money but we was 'appy.

I'd lived in London a year before this, doing various jobs and having periods of unemployment, moving flat several times and it had all been rather grim. I'd made up my mind to leave if things didn't get better. But in the spring they did when I got this shop job. As the year went on I finally settled and began to enjoy it for what it was.

It was a very different place to what it is today, of course. Soho was still largely ungentrified. Buildings were still covered in black soot. There were actual record shops. The gastropub was yet to be invented and most pubs were scuzzy and old mannish with great jukeboxes. Carnaby Street still had that psychedelic lino paving! Oh, those salad days.

Anyhoo, there are certain songs that remind me of that year: The King Of Rock & Roll by Prefab Sprout, Somewhere In My Heart by Aztec Camera, Need You Tonight by INXS and Chocolate Girl. Deacon Blue have never really been rehabilited and remain the Eighties band we love to hate. Shame really, but the lead singer was a grade A knob and they veered towards pretention and taking themselves too seriously, so I can see the point. But they did do some great singles.

Here's my other favourite, Twist & Shout, which reminds me of a barge holiday in 1991, but I won't bore you with that one.

17 comments:

Matthew Rudd said...

I have spells where I can't abide Deacon Blue, then I hear Wages Day or Your Swaying Arms or Fergus Sings The Blues (which has a superb intro) and am prepared to forgive them anything.

Chocolate Girl is about the old perv option, I reckon. Dignity is, however, abominable - and always has been.

Matthew Rudd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Five-Centres said...

When they started out I seem to remember they were lauded for their social commentary in songs like Dignity. That didn't last long.

Matthew Rudd said...

I remember once Right Said Fred reviewed the singles in some pop magazine, and with the new Deacon Blue release (RSF's presence suggests it was something from Fellow Hoodlums, but can't recall which), they simply said: "They should sack that woman."

Still makes me laugh.

Helen said...

I can't bare them! That woman used to drive me mad and Ricky whateverhisnamewas was equally annoying. They remind me of a very annoying girl I met when I went to work in France in 1988 who really liked them so maybe that has something to do with my hatred of them.

Helen said...

just realised that should have read 'bear' instead of 'bare'. It's because I was off on a rant!

Five-Centres said...

That woman's now an actress, last seen in that dreadful Sunday night women on the lam thing Hope Springs.

Ishouldbeworking said...

It was 'that woman' for me, too, I'm afraid. A prime candidate for a custard pie in the kisser. I can't remember any of their music, just HER.

When you mentioned 'I Need You Tonight', though, I was catapulted in time back to a nightclub in Falmer called Shades, where I danced with an Algerian bloke who kept shouting 'why you like this singer? He have terrible spots.' A Proustian rush....

Ishouldbeworking said...

PS. Make that Falmouth, not Falmer. Der.

Five-Centres said...

Shades. It sums up the Eighties' provincial nightclub scene in its entirety in just that one word.

See also: Barbarellas, Cinderellas, Boogies, Raffles, Floaters, Fridays, Rockys, etc. Floaters was real, and really not a very nice name at all.

Anything worth its salt ended in an S though.

Mondo said...

She always had the fidgety look of someone with nervous meldown in waiting. I was a roaring metal-head at the time, so Deacon Blue, Hothouse Flowers, Prefabs didn't do it for me.

Soho memories - do you remember Fans T -shirt shop, The Great Frog jewellery in Carnaby St or Shades record shop in St Anne's Court.

Mondo said...

80s nightclubs I've visited - Crocs, Chesters, zhivagos, Raquels (in Basildon -*shudders*)

Five-Centres said...

See Mondo, all end in S.

I do remember some of those vaguely. That's when Soho was interesting.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Raquels was legendary, in the worst possible way. And if you've been there, I can't believe you've not thrown in a trip to Flicks (in Dartford, though - other side of the river), TOTS in Sarfend, or the lyingly-named 'Goldmine' in oil-encrusted Canvey Island?

Shades in Falmouth was full of Merchant Seamen looking for women and fights, in that order. I bet they placed Deacon Blue there. Probably still do.

TimT said...

Decon Blue were a great live band - I saw them a couple of times in their pomp. The records were good, but live they really rocked. They used to insert bits of Bruce Springsteen songs into the middle of their own, which I loved.

Personally, I never had a problem with either Ricky Ross or Lorraine Mackintosh, but I can see how people might have found them irritating. I suppose they came towards the end of that whole Celtic rock trend where over-emoting was compulsory - The Waterboys, Hothouse Flowers, etc.

Bright Ambassador said...

I saw Deacon Blue support Simple Minds just over a year ago. I'm proud to say that I was the only person sitting down playing a game on their mobile during DB's set.

Sky Clearbrook said...

My wee sister was a big fan, but I used to detest everything about them... and still do.

Drummer, Dougie Vipond, has been a sports presenter on BBC Scotland for best part of a decade or so now.

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