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Credit (note) where credit is due

February 20th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

We are always quick to complain when we are unhappy with a shop or service. Social media makes it even easier, and bloggers are probably the worst. Never have there been so many ways to vent your consumer frustration, but when you get good service its nice to use the same channels to share that as weel.

Today we had some superb service from J&S Accessories in Uckfield. [Read more →]

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1984 – I Feel For You

February 18th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

A year of change for me. I moved from West London to South-East London and found that it was where I really belonged. I also changed up from a bedsit to a proper flat and not only that I was co-habiting. This was all new territory for me and there was a knock-on effect on my music-buying as I was not only induging my own tastes but buying records for ‘us’. [Read more →]

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1983 – Let’s Dance

February 18th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Not a brilliant year musically, but a big improvement on 1982. Metal continued to get more attention, synthesizers were getting everywhere, over-production was becoming the norm, and British jazz/funk/pop was getting ready to take over the decade. Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes all brought out new albums so us 70’s survivors had something to cling on to. [Read more →]

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Walls old and new

February 18th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Politics

While Donald Trump continues to try building his pointless wall, later this year it will thirty years since the Berlin Wall came down. Thirty years – where did it all go?

It was an exciting time. One girl from our office went straight out and booked a flight to Berlin so she could see the events unfolding and try to grab herself a bit of masonry while she was at it.

The next summer Roger Waters staged a performance of The Wall on the site of the wall and it was broadcst live on TV. I was at a house party in Shepherds Bush that night, but one room was reserved for people who wanted to catch this one-off event. Even after 6 or 7 months this ws still a big deal, as the consequences of it were still continuing.

When thinking about that time I am always reminded of the experience of my old lodger. She had lived in East Berlin and escaped to the West. She spent about three months going overland on foot and by train through Czechoslovakia and Austria to West Germany. She finally arrived in West Berlin in November 1989 just as the wall came down and walked straight back to her old apartment to pick up the belongings she had not been able to carry on her journey. How strange must that have been?

Historically there have always been celebrations about walls coming down, but walls going up are usually full of negative connotations, but Im sure Trump won’t let that stop him ploughing ahead with his white elephant vanity project.

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1982 – Situation

February 18th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

It has to be said that 1982 was a pretty poor year for music. Yes it had highlights like The Number of the BeastTown Called Malice and The Message but they stand out even more for being rare diamonds in a pile of poo.

Most years you can look at a list of debut albums and see loads by acts that will go on to be huge. What is there is 1982? Culture Club, Fun Boy Three, Flock of Seagulls, Yazoo, Janet Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Donald Fagen, Asia and Kenny bloody G. The first four of them did not last long so what hugeness they had was short-lived. The debut of Kenny G is reason enough to mark 1982 as a bad year.

Even establishes acts were not putting out too much, or were putting out stuff that disappointed the fans and/or critics. The B-52’s released Mesopotamia which I personally liked but got written off. Bowie released the Baal EP, again I liked it but it didn’t set the world on fire. Supertramp followed up the brilliant Breakfast in America with the forgettable …Famous Last Words. Led Zeppelin released Coda – a compilation of old unreleased tracks. Does anybody even remember Fleetwood Mac’s album Mirage?

The few standout albums of the year were:

  • The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden. the first one with Dickinson as lead singer and the only Iron Maiden album you really need.
  • Pornography by the Cure. At the point where the band could have imploded they instead took off.
  • Combat Rock by the Clash. Their last good album.
  • A Broken Frame by Depeche Mode, proving that they could still survive after the songwriter left.
  • Upstairs at Eric’s by Yazoo. Keeping Basildon on the map.
  • The Nightfly by Donald Fagen. Soudning just like a Steely Dan record, which is fine.
  • Thriller by Michael Jackson. While it was no Off The Wall it seemed to do OK.

The Yazoo thing was interesting for me. At the time my neighbour in the flat upstairs (I had moved out of Dad’s spare room by now) worked for Mute records. She came down one day with a bit of gossip. Vince Clarke had found a new musical partner after leaving Depeche Mode through an advert in the music press and it turned out to be someone he knew anyway from the local music scene in Basildon. “Is is Alf?” I asked.

This made me appear to be very clued up, but actually Alf was the only person from the Basildon music scene I could name. I had seen her band The Screaming Ab-dabs a couple of times locally and was really impressed with her as a singer. She used to hang around our college and I knew her name, or at least her nickname Alf, because she used to wear a donkey jacket with ALF in chains on the back.

The few highlights for me amongst the singles of the year are Bananarama and the Funboy Three, Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa, Africa by Toto, 1999 by Prince, Golden Brown by the Stranglers, The Boiler by Rhoda/The Special AKA, and Annie I’m Not Your Daddie by Kid Creole & the Coconuts. The best single of the year was The Model by Kraftwerk and that was a re-release from 1978 so doesn’t really count and shows how poor 1982 was.

Slim pickings indeed, but Situation by Yazoo has to be the track of the year for me. At this time I was going out of my way to snap up everything that Depeche Mode and Yazoo put out. I had the albums, the singles from the albums in both 7″ and 12″ format, and anything else that cropped up. Situation was the B side of Only You, but released as a single in the US. The 12″ single version of Don’t Go is a close second, but Situation is 1982 for me.

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Redefining local

February 18th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I was just looking at the website of the Crawley and Horley Observer, the only remaining local newspaper in Crawley. It gives a lot of hints as to why local papers have been in such a decline. [Read more →]

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All Killer – Original Pirate Material (2002)

February 17th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Well this is a bit recent for me. When it came out I was nearly 40 and so I should be too old for it, but I picked it up at the market in Lower Marsh one lunchtime and when I put it on the stereo that evening I could not do anything until it finished, at which point I immediately ripped to to the computer and loaded it on my iRiver for the next day’s commute. [Read more →]

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1981 – Spellbound

February 17th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Although I enjoyed the 80’s at the time, I don’t enjoy looking back on them as much as the 70’s. Maybe I should make more of an effort. As far as music was concerned, there was a lot of good stuff, even if a lot of it was quite superficial and 1981 was no exception.

I said that most of the 80’s stales appeared in 1980 and all that was missing was Depeche Mode, but I should have added Phil Collins as a solo artist. Both put out albums in 1981, and Duran Duran appeared on the scene, along with the Thomson Twins, Kim Wilde, Level 42, Tom Tom Club, Heaven 17, and Soft Cell. [Read more →]

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1980 – Turn It On Again

February 16th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

The 70’s are out of the way now, we’ll never see their like again. The 80’s started with a bang, only the first year of the decade and there were already all the elements that would define the musical decade. And 1980 had the one thing that 1979 was missing – a new Genesis album, Duke,  which demonstrated their own transition from a 70’s sound to an 80’s sound. This is one of the few albums that I bought on the day it was released, despite the mild ridicule from my ery indie mates at college. [Read more →]

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1979 – Street Life

February 16th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I’ll try to make this short, but be warned: 1979 is my year. For me it is the best year for music ever, for many reasons but principally because the best album (in my opinion) was released in this year, and that is almost reason enough.

This was a transitional time. The 70’s were ready to turn into the 80’s, the country was just entering a long period of Tory government, punk was fizzling out but new wave was getting into the mainstream, as was electronic music, and this new thing called rap appeared. On a more domestic level, this was my transition from school to college. The first half of the year was spent in the bubble of boarding school, the second half in a new place with new people and going home every day. [Read more →]

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