For those of you who follow me on Facebook can’t have failed to notice that Rob, one of my 3 readers, has been begging me to do a review of a song. Any song. It sounded like a simple challenge, which the more I thought of it, the harder it got. Songs which I’d never heard for years came flooding back. “oooh, Maybe I should review Sinead Lohan’s ‘What Ever it Takes’… again”. Ohhh, how about “Wash Your Face In My Sink” by The Dream Warriors? Nope, nobody’s ever heard of it, and it’s garbage anyway.
With every facebook post, Rob would add another comment asking me to do it, , and each time, another slew of ideas would come flashing through my mind, blocking everything else out, meaning I’d be running through “Susanna” by The Art Company, and I’d suddenly forget how to breathe. Or something.
I gave up. I wasn’t going to be able to choose a song. It was never going to happen. Therefore, after a couple of comments on Facebook, it was time to let Rob choose a song or two…
Rob: Love it. But PLEASE do a record review!
Me: You know, I can’t decide which one to review. Here’s my music collection, choose a few.
A few moments went by…
Rob: It’s HUGE!
I switched off the webcam, and gave him the correct link to my music collection. Within a few moments, we had choices…
Ok Zig & Zag Them Girls Them Girls
Paul Gascoigne Fog On The Tyne
Bill & Ben Flobbadance
Judging by the title of this entry, I hope you can guess which one I went with.
And so, last night, I went to do a video A walk home from the offy last night filled my head full of ideas. Unfortunately my microphone is knacked, the one in the camera is guff, and I’m sure I can just as well communicate what I was going to say in the video, in a more textual format. Plus, I’m a shitty-arse when it comes to copyright infringement, so a blog entry means I don’t have to rip the song off. Woohoo, and all that. So, with the formalities out of the way, let’s get down to it.
In 1972, Geordie folk-rock group Lindisfarne released a tribute to their home town in the form of a song, the aptly named “Fog on the Tyne”. Despite lyrics about signing on the dole, it pretty much became the band’s anthem, alongside “Meet Me On the Corner”. They would continue to have other hits through the 70s and 80s.
Fast forward to 1990. the world was gripped by Italia 90. The world cup, in other words. Gazza would be forever remembered for getting a yellow card, then bursting into tears during the match against West Germany, which meant he’d miss the final if England made it that far. Suddenly, the country had a hero. A footballer with emotion. His lacrimations were all in vain anyway, as we didn’t reach the final, and finished 4th. Oh well.
Now, I don’t know the reasons WHY this record got comissioned, I’m sure, that if it wasn’t for that yellow card, I wouldn’t be holding this single right now. Gazza was a Geordie, Lindisfarne were Geordies , and what way to combine the two than to have them “sing” together on a record. Well.
I’ve actually owned a copy of this song since Xmas 1991. Back then, supermarkets weren’t commonplace. Certainly not as commonplace as they were now. After visiting my cousin Julie, who was living in Stockton at the time, we went to the “Somerville Hypermarket” (the greatest store for the way you live today… I’m so sad I still remember the radio jingle for it). This place was massive, and it was the first time I’d been to somewhere that sold everything you could think of. I remember being in the record section with my aunt Rose, and her picking up a tape for my uncle Jimmy, thinking he would like it. It was “The Hit Pack“. I couldn’t fault the logic at the time. There were a couple of 60s/70s songs on there, either re-released or covered by another band. “Fog On The Tyne” being one of those. There were other songs that wouldn’t have been up Uncle Jimmy’s alleyway… Deee-Lite? the Charlatans? My word, even the slightest mention of “Cubik” by 808 State would have sent his hearing aid into a frenzied panic of whistling.
Xmas time came, and I received a copy of this album. Hurrah! Maybe it was that actual same tape? I don’t know. I’m not bothered. I was happy to have a good copy of “Good Morning Britain” by Aztec Camera. The Gazza song is also on the tape version, but it rarely got played, and the song, for me, disappeared into obscurity.
Whilst in a charity shop in Stockton earlier this year, I picked up a copy. TEN WHOLE PENNIES. I got it home, only to find it had a crack right through the centre. TEN WHOLE PENNIES IN THE BIN. Luckily, during another charity shop dive, I picked up a copy for 40p, and that’s how I ended up with a vinyl copy of this staggering turd.
The cover features a shell-suited Gazza, with a pair of headphones apparently screaming into a microphone. the back of the cover features Gazza again, in a different shell suit, surrounded by the band, with the Tyne bridge as a backdrop. The record label is “Best Records”. I’ve not seen anything else by that record label, so whether it was set up just for that particular record, I do not know.
It says a lot when the people who mixed it wish to remain anonymous. The cover states “Mixed by BB and M”. Clearly, two people didn’t want this record on their CV.
So, the tune itself. Take a classic local song, slap a synthesized drumbeat / bassline over it and get a famous footballer to rap (or rather, speak) over the top of it, and you’ve pretty much got the song. Naturally, some words were replaced, the section about signing on the dole was replaced with Gazza “setting his sights on go-go-go-goals. The entire verse about urination was omitted from the new version.
the B-side is an uninteresting instrumental. the only thing missing is Gazza’s “Vocals”.
So, in conclusion, this song is like having a rock-hard shit. 3 minutes, 42 seconds of sheer, unbearable pain, followed by insurmountable relief when it’s all over.
Judge for yourselves…