Hip Replacement: Pink Flag by Wire (Harvest)

ONCE a week, I was banished to Record Village’s other shop, a bus ride away in a nearby small market town called Brigg which was if anything, even bleaker than Scunthorpe, but much more countrified.

The manager got a day off midweek, so I minded the shop and had to deal with one, maybe even two customers a day. The heating always seemed to be turned off. It was pretty grim.

It would have been very boring but for the fact that, y’know, I was hanging around in a record shop – even if it was a bit of a shite one – and I ended up working my way through the shop’s entire stock, more or less. For someone like me, it was nerdvana.

We weren’t really supposed to play interesting stuff in the main shop and generally had to stick to a rigid playlist of whatever major label crap we happened to be pushing that week. There wasn’t quite as wide a range of stock in the Brigg shop but there was enough to go at and I began to look forward to my weekly excursions to mid-Eighties medieval Lincolnshire.

One miserable, God-forsaken, never-ending, quiet-as-the-grave Wednesday in Brigg I heard some new Factory record which turned out to be the raw, wobbly and utterly magnificent Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) by the Happy Mondays. You can imagine how pleased I was.

Wire were another one of my Brigg discoveries. My uncle Rich was into them, I think, but I only had ears for reggae when I was a kid, a lot of the time, and they didn’t make much of an impression. Later on, Doug probably played them, but I’d have thought they were just another of his dull trad-dad pub rock new wave bands, like Television, Chelsea or the Stranglers.

How wrong can one man be?

Read the rest of this piece at the new home of Expletive Undeleted here.

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