Tuesday, November 1, 2011
1982: Men wearing lipstick
Blue Rondo A La Turk.
Was there ever a more pretentious name for a band. It's SO 1982, isn't it? One of those bands you read endlessly about because they were so cutting edge and cool, never heard their music at all, but eventually caved in and bought the single on a whim, perhaps while it was full-price chartbound or probably more likely when it got discounted into the Woolies record bin.
I did this a lot. Gave in, that is, and bought at full price. I was no stranger to the bargain bin though, and always made time to flip through the ex-jukebox singles on the counter at the newsagent once a week. Some gems to be had there. But at that impressionable age, if I was told something was brilliant again and again I'd believe it and eventually have to have it. This what happened with Blue Rondo A La Turk.
They were held up by countless magazine as the epitome of the new. With their retro look adapted for the New Romantic sensibility of the time that could be found in parts by regular trips to War On Want, and their latin-infused jazz funk pop they were yet another in a long line of Next Big Things. They never were of course, though it must be said this song is a corker, despite the dreadful production. With Blue Rondo, it was a case of fur coat and no knickers, style over substance and we saw through that. Though not immediately; I bought their next two singles as well.
Another of this ilk was Weekend. The amount of times I stood staring at their album cover in the record shop. I never heard their 'hit' The View From Her Room but thought that perhaps I should just buy the album instead, and I wasn't a big album buyer at all in those days. But I did resist and forgot all about them until I came across TVFHR in a junk shop about seven years ago. I couldn't wait to hear it. It was lilty and forgettable with sub-Marine Girls vocals and laden with whimsy. No great shakes then, as I should have known. I'm glad I saved my money. If only I'd done more of that at the time.
That said, if I hadn't been that way inclined, I'd never have discovered what was to become my favourite single of all time, Uncertain Smile by The The (the non-album, non-Jools Holland version). That song was written about my life. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. But that's another story.