Sunday, 28 March 2010

Attempting To Decypher The Heiroglyphs (Part 1)

I mentioned the first demo a while ago. Snips has now scanned in the cover in full, and as you can see, we took an ideosyncratic approach to sleevenotes too (click on the image to see it without breaking your eyes). This was also the era where people put cryptic messages in the run-out grooves of their vinyl releases. Morrissey was a devil for it, and being big Smiths/Moz fans, we wanted to get in on that secretive, fans-only action, and so did the next best thing - writing sleevenotes that even we no longer understand.

Here's as far as we've got in cracking the code.

"thanks and love to all our Robert"
Snips: I'd completely forgotten we'd tried to name RTF fans, "Robert". Can't remember why.

Paul: I have got absolutely no idea why we thanked all of our Robert.

Steve: I seem to remember we had a discussion about what our fans should be known as – I’m sure James, you suggested ‘Robert’. Somehow it seemed a fitting name at the time.

Fraser: The thing that bugs me about the Robert issue is I can't remember how the joke works. I'm sure there was a band or a situation at the time where all of the fans had a collective name, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was, or how that would point us towards calling the people who were good enough to come and see us 'Robert'. I know we were fairly random (as the young people say) but usually these things have a springboard, something to react against.

James A: We probably just had one fan called Robert.

"Thanks to Davans for leading the way in caravanning for 50 years"
Fraser: That's where we rehearsed, of course, but we could never explain that properly like rational people.

"Censored, Sultry, Showbiz, Cheeky and Sweary"  - our middle names
Snips: the five dwarfs, well, at least four of those are still right.

Fraser: We clearly decided to come up with five different words for singing in the credits bit, because we were probably a bit embarrassed of our own voices. This all came from the bickering, where we would mock each other's vocal ideosyncrasies.

James A - bellowing, Paul - mumbling, me - shouting, Snips - whining and lucky Steve got agonised screams.

James A later took a shine to double-tracking his "bellowing" voice, which, being all strident and madly-optimistic, left him sounding at times like a very small - and very strange - demonstration march:

"What do we want? Bright shiny buttons, on the coat of a dog I know!"
"When do we want it? Floppy watch!"

"Very small bits of the lyrics to How I Love You Now taken from a poem of the same name...but he's not getting any money."
Snips: I remember a friend of mine giving me a poem he'd written for a departed friend, I don't remember how much of it I used probably quite a lot, he was into the Smiths so I reckon "oh Mother" was lifted from, 'I Know It's Over'. I do recall arguing like hell with James about how much of the lyrics he'd written at Fraser's place with Fraser acting as the peace maker. Oh happy days

Fraser: I also remember the 'How I Love You Now' row, because it left me with the idea that the song had very special resonance for James A, and that it was his/your friend who had died. Which made it all the more surprising to discover that he/you can't remember it.

James A: It was James P's friend that died. Can't remember the argument, just a guess, but I probably thought we should write all the lyrics ourselves.

"Thanks to Nikki for the moolah"
Snips: Did Nikki (James A's girlfriend) put up some of the money for this demo?

Fraser: I'm fairly sure Nikki didn't put up the money for the demo. There again, I can't remember how we did fund the recording, unless it was T-shirt sales and gig money. James A, was this a more specific thanks from you, to do with her having a job and us not?

James A: Ask Nicola. But remember she works in music accounts, we might get an invoice.

Paul: I think the recordings were paid for by the 'Roger's Trout Fund' which was a load of cash stored in a biscuit jar at my mum and dad's house. We used to get the £50 and any money from demo sales from countless gigs at The Prince of Wales and put it in that jar, writing down the accounts on a piece of paper.

James A: I'm begining to feel like the subject of a time team.

And we're only just getting started...

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