Sunday, February 21, 2010


Sorry for posting delay - been a nightmare getting my passport back from Dubai.

SHY FX / GUNSMOKE - "Gangsta Kid"

In 1994, the dance music factions were divided and warring. Handbag House fans didn't like Techno cos it was hard, cold machine music for fascists; Spiral Tribe fans hated Handbag House cos it was made for apathetic, apolitical snobs called Victoria, and the Ministry of Sound bouncers were capitalist clothes nazis who'd co-opted and pissed all over the spirit of the Free Rave; the Garage fans only came out at night, to man the pirates and go clubbing in YSL jumpers; and everyone thought Jungle was murder music for crackheads.

This was partly due to the violent spoken-word 'sketch' which opens the Shy FX/Gunsmoke collab Gangsta Kid - which, 16 years on, sounds...well naff, to be honest. Gunsmoke's aimlessly driving around when his passenger, Shy FX, informs him that some local badman's called his girlfriend a "bitch" and threatened to rape his mother. Rather than actually checking out his DJ mate's story, or writing off the taunt as the fanciful bragging of an insecure adolescent, Gunsmoke decides, there and then, to go ballistic and kill the bloke who's *allegedly* bad-mouthed the only two women in his life.

Suddenly - what a coincidence! - Shy FX spots aforementioned Mr Gobby on the street. Gunsmoke pulls over, ordering his passenger to pass him his gun from the glove compartment. At this point, shit-stirring Shy FX starts freaking out, shrieking, "Don't kill him man, don't kill him!" Er, Gunsmoke's a gangsta - what did you think he was going to do when you told him, you interfering prat? What's your encore, telling a Millwall hooligan you saw his girlfriend flirting with the student barman in the New Cross Inn?

Anyway, Gunsmoke swears at the rival bad man, shoots him seven times, then drives away as Shy FX burbles, "Are you crazy??" Gunsmoke tells him to shut up, which he really should have done two minutes previously. FINALLY...oh sweet Jesus...FINALLY, we get to the tune. The Goodfellas samples sound fairly stale in 2010, but what the hell, we all danced to it at the time.

Oh, if you're interested, the duo also knocked out Gangsta Kid II, in which Gunsmoke goes bananas, turning on Shy FX for questioning his badness. "HAVE YOU GOT MY BACK?" he snaps at Shy FX. But when Shy FX demonstrates he has by warning Gunsmoke that two badmen have just crossed the road and are stomping towards them, the gangsta, bizarrely, tells him to shut up and ignore them. Not the wisest move - the two newcomers plug the pair with a machine gun.

More than anything, these intros remind me: gangstas were really thick in the 1990s. Still, an Express hack or two got a few paragraphs of 'Yardie music menace' mileage out of the whole sordid affair.

SHAM 69 - "Borstal Breakout"

What the fuck's the demented laughter at the beginning of this single meant to signify? A 'trainee' (seriously, that's what they used to call borstal inmates - later co-opted by the YTS) having a nervous breakdown in solitary? A sadistic screw, cackling as he slams the cell door behind him, honing in on his juvenile prey?

No - try a fucking Punch & Judy show*. Terrible intro to one of the best UK punk 45s of all time - though, to their credit, Sham 69 salvage proceedings by having a raucous window-smashing / throwing-their-keys-around-and-hitting-milk-bottles-with-pencils-in-the-studio RIOT moment, half-way through the track.

Mind you, my favourite version's the one they recorded for John Peel in '77, where they omit the 7" intro, but throw in some fake dog barks during the 'trash the gaffe' scene.

(*EDIT- sorry, Steve Ignorant was the one into archaic puppet shows, not Chairman Jimmy. Duhh...)


I have absolutely no problem with 99.5% of this track, which sees PTV getting all FUNKED UP and, miraculously, not blowing it. Shit, it was good enough for The Rapture to tea-leave the bassline for House of Jealous Lovers.

I do have a considerable problem with hearing Genesis P.Orridge put on a ridiculous, high-pitched, cod-Oriental accent at the beginning, wheezing I'm a little Chinese girl, I'm going to put my pussy on you, waaahhh! Hey, Mr Psychic - shame your cut-up experiments didn't inform you that, come the 2000s, Mary Whitehouse would be toast, and sexual references on records ten a penny. So all that Enjoy yer own fookin' body! stuff and the endless references to masturbation sound really trite now too.

And what if I'd ever wanted to tape this tune to impress a Chinese girl? Did PTV factor THAT possibility into the equation, before recording their borderline racist, infantile skit for eternal posterity? I'd have had more luck taping her some Skrewdriver. Even those boneheads never ripped the piss out of the most heavily populated commie country on Earth.

Oh, and 4-Hero: what if I ever make a CD-R mix for someone whose surname's 'Kirk', who never came to terms with the tragic loss of their only son? Yeah, your poxy 'old skool' anthem's not so CLASSIC now, is it, you inconsiderate scumbags?

THE CLASH - "Capital Radio 2"

Bang to rights on both intro AND outro! Allah smoking Silk Cuts, there's some things even a tone-deaf, musically inept gibbon like me knows you should never do in a studio. Rap acts should NEVER put 'skits' on an album, on pain of death. Speedcore thrash bands shouldn't attempt that 'difficult, jazz-fusion-oriented 5th album'. Ragga MCs should steer well clear of Autotune and orchestral strings. None of this requires a PhD.

Similarly, punk bands shouldn't even dream of slagging off other musical styles by recording parodies of said loathed style. That's the kind of bumfoolery Frank Zappa used to get up to, and who honestly wants to listen to his old platters anymore? Anyway, here's everyone's favourite weekend SWP-ers, The Clash, having a pop at Capital Radio for being bland, conformist and MOR. He picks all the hits to play / To keep you in your place all day! Fair enough.

But was the wanky acoustic guitar intro really necessary? The original Capital Radio was about 90 seconds long and did exactly what it said on the tin. For some lunatic reason, Strummer and Co. decided to string out this re-recording with a completely unfunny, ONE MINUTE-PLUS outro, where they parody a greedy pop group, getting into a 'funky groove', and announcing their intention to sell out to the highest record company bidder...

Oh hang on - The Clash actually did that in 1977, when they signed to CBS. OK, so the genuine beef seems to be: Capital sucked cos they never played any Clash, being too busy brainwashing London's workforce with commercial pap by Diana Ross and Free. It was a dire situation...especially if you were incapable of twisting the dial to Radio 1, where you could hear Kid Jensen rasping, And coming up now, it's the new single by The Clash..."Tommy Gun"!

Actually, to hell with this - I'm throwing this track off the list. Because, even if you chop the offending extremities off this tune, it's still rubbish. It's probably the worst thing The Clash ever churned out. At least Cut The Crap was amusing and had This Is England on it. END OF POST.
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