Friday, 23 February 2018


The story of How I Came To Hear 'White Mice' By The Mo-dettes probably says far more about pre-internet underground music communities and forms of musical communication in the 1990s than it does about punk.

I first heard this song (the only song I heard by the Mo-dettes for a very long time) when it was put on a mixtape for me by Daniel, a fanzine writer from Knutsford who I briefly ran a record label with, in 1996. He had discovered it because it was on a mixtape he'd had from Vanessa, the singer in nineties twee pop band The Melons, who was old enough to have been into C86 I think, and whose music owed a lot to bands like the Mo-dettes and Girls At Our Best!

This taping of tapes from tapes received was quite common at the time. Sometimes I'd even get a mixtape off someone which contained a fourth or fifth generation bootleg of something I'd taped off Peel, which had done the rounds of four or five other people's tapes before coming back to me. I could always tell because, aside from the deterioration in sound quality, there would be the same bit of dialogue abruptly cut off at the end of the track.

'Home taping is killing music?' not at the primitive sound quality levels we were operating at it wasn't , if anything, it introduced us to bands we would  never have heard and kept us going until those bands were rediscovered by tastemakers and their back catalogues reissued for us to buy. In 1996, the chances of legitimately finding a 7" of 'White Mice' were unlikely at best.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Dolly Mixture - Been Teen

This was the first Dolly Mixture song I ever heard, and it was courtesy of Mark Radcliffe and Mark Riley in their Mark'n'Lard period doing the graveyard shift on Radio 1.

For a long time, Dolly Mixture haven't really featured in punk or post punk histories, but are now being written back in thanks to people like Helen McCookerybook.

At the time I wonder if people thought they were a bit pop and a bit twee, and not to be taken seriously? They were very, very young at the time and they came from Cambridge I think which probably didn't have a particularly large punk scene, so all of those factors might have made it more difficult.

Two of Dolly Mixture feature in Gina Birch and Helen McCookerybook's She Punks film, and they provide some very funny moments in what is, at times, a very funny film.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

X-Ray Spex - Artificial

This performance of 'Artificial' from the Old Grey Whistle Test was used as part of the UK punk episode in the BBC2 series Sounds of The Seventies in about 1993.

We watched Sounds Of The Seventies as a family on a Saturday night, much as we had with Sounds Of The Sixties a few years previously. When it came to the punk episode though, mum and dad quietly left the room and got on with other things. They returned about 25 minutes later to find us cross legged on the floor in front of the TV, singing along to Joy Division's 'Transmission', a song we'd never heard before but had got the gist of as it went along.

Unfortunately, when the series was repeated, they had to lose about five minutes from every episode, meaning a song got cut each week. It became a kind of game to try and remember each week which one we'd lost. When it came to the repeat of the punk episode, it was this clip that found itself on the cutting room floor.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Penetration - Don't Dictate

This performance of 'Don't Dictate' takes place at the Electric Circus in Manchester's Collyhurst district, and probably dates from 1976. It is the clip referred to by Liz Naylor during the punk women panel at Stoke Newington Literary Festival in 2016, in that it's definitely the right venue and Pauline Murray is clearly performing amidst a "tsuinami of gob" and, ooh, it looks grim.

Gobbing issues aside, this a great early punk live clip.

I first heard 'Don't Dictate' on one of those punk compilations that were released in the early 1990s' to cash in on the punk revival. A lot of the tracks on said compilations were dreadful, or not really punk, or the arse end of punk. So, not always that useful for those of us just discovering punk and trying to learn more about it. Sometimes though, if you persevered,  you could find some real gems amidst the crap. This was one of them.

Monday, 19 February 2018

KLEENEX ü 1979

This was the very first Kleenex song I ever heard (Peel again) and it remains my favourite of their songs.

Much revered by Greil Marcus, Swiss band Kleenex later changed their name to LiliPUT and have, over the years, become something of a cult band.

I have to confess, the time I purchased the Kleenex/LiliPUT best of CD is the only time I've ever impressed one of the staff at Piccadilly Records with my musical taste. I was a bit too stunned at the time to take full advantage of this, and it's never happened since.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Raincoats "No One's Little Girl"

This was the second Raincoats song I ever heard, again, on the Peel show. He played it following Kurt Cobain's OD in Rome in 1994, in a sort of 'get well soon Kurt' kind of way. It does seem a very odd choice in that context but, given Cobain's avowed appreciation of the Raincoats, perhaps not as odd as you might think.

This is probably my favourite Raincoats song.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Raincoats // The Void

This was the first Raincoats song I ever heard and, again, it was thanks to John Peel. He got Hole in for a Peel Session in 1993, and one of their tracks was a cover version of 'The Void' so, a few days ahead of the Hole session going out, he dug out the Raincoats original version, which appears on their debut self titled album from 1979.

I liked it because it sounded so strange and discordant, and slightly mournful, and I liked the slightly skittery nature of it as well. I don't think any of those qualities translated with the Hole version but then, that might have been the point.