Wednesday, November 26, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAID: Record Mirror, April 18th 1987

The devastatling handsome Mark Shaw graced the cover - we suspect he still has the picture framed hanging on a wall somewhere in his house. We'd forgotten how awful the layout of RM (as it had become by this time) actually was - the first of the inkies to turn into a glossy magazine, a format it never quite mastered but managed to work for the best part of a decade; things always seemed to have been dumped on the page rather than placed.

It's straight in with Index, a kind of poor man's Thrills - this week giving away an Adrian Mole computer game (Commodore 64) and an extended Maxi Priest single. The formation of Crowded House is afforded a short blurb, and editor Betty Page chooses their Don't Dream Its Over as one of her 'earbenders' (along with Alison Moyet and, um, Go West.) Even more surprisingly, full page ads for Level 42 and Mel and Kim are scattered across the magazine - there's something of a stench of confusion over who, exactly, they're trying to appeal to - many of the writers were very indie purist, there was the whole dance element which would eventually win out and take the magazine into oblivion, but there's also a lot of hints that advertisers saw the magazine as the one for people who'd grown out of Smash Hits, and were drifting away from music but not quite ready to admit they were retuning to Radio 2 yet.

Reviews next (see? what's with this layout?)
Mel & Kim - FLM - "It's easy to take the piss out of Mel & Kim [but] Stock Aitken & waterman have created an album strong on Melody with no boring or embarrassing ballads" (Are you listening, twenty-first century R&B producers?), 5
David Bowie - never Let me Down - "featuring Hollywood brute Mickey Rourke in a dire mid-song rap" - 2 and a half

"just being able to take a low, harsh emotion and turn it into something beautiful makes me happy" says Kristin Hersh, offering a rare mental image of any of the Throwing Muses smiling. "Most people would like me to pick up and carry their pain. I don't even carry mine around with me." How they fib during the early press, eh?

Lip, Nancy Culp's gossip column, comes on like a proto-heat - Genesis P Orridge detained at customs for "bringing two guitars into the country" (we're meant to be shocked, but I'm guessing the Customs guys had just heard his records and were trying to do the right thing); meanwhile, Debbie Harry was also having trouble in the green channel, smirking "You're five years too late" at the guys searching every last corner of her suitcases. Honey, they weren't seeking drugs, they were stealing panties...

Carole Linfield did the singles - pick of the pops were The James Taylor Quartet - Blow Up ("has no place in today's chart and very, very welcome") and The Smiths - Sheila Take A bow ("Morrissey's passion here seems to be the ambiguous, sexually disorientating love of the transvestite")

also under consideration:
the close lobsters - never seen before - "a lloyd cole who's gargled with sulphuric acid"
toyah - echo beach - "weren't there more verses in the original?"

then comes InFact, the charts and dance segment (we know they don't really go together, we know). James Hamilton reports that "Les Adams has given Jaki Graham a 0-79 and a quarter - 83 and one seventh - 73 and one quarter bpm megamix" and reports on a meeting with someone called Phyllis Hyman, a name we think he was trying to break.

Alan Jones, meanwhile, was noting that Five Star's The Slightest Touch was, because the sixth track from Silk and Steel, equalling the hits-from-one-album record established by Michael Jackson. Ferry Aid was number one. Dark days indeed.

In regular "what would take into a nuclear bunker" feature Bunking Up, Ian McNabb chose to spend his time while the world outside was being terrorised by giant cockroaches talking about Indians with Marlon Brando and using Baby Bio as a sex aid on Lt. Uhura.

Martin from Swing Out Sister muses that "a staggering 1000 people went out and bought [debut single] Blue Mood" - even more staggering is that nowadays, that'd be top 20, surely?

It was hard for Martin Shaw to attract Sly (of Sly and Robbie)'s attention because he was too busy playing with a new toy - "a computerused Filofax called the Psion Organiser."

"No matter how I dress it down, as a band we're better looking than most and I'd be a fool if I wasn't aware of that. That's why I said we want to be takenm seriously as a rock band, and that's why it's taken time. I still get asked why we don't get U2 fans at our gigs, but it's happening now... I'm paranoid about alienating the rock fans, because they're the hard audience who will ultimately stay with us." Clearly, judging by the venues U2 and Then Jerico play now, Mark Shaw must have said something to piss off the rock audience mightily.

AIDS day, Brixton Academy - Pete Burns turned up on stage to help out Bronski Beat

Kirk Brandon, between fucking Boy George and losing a court case to try and prove it never happened, got interviewed. Would his angry young man persona ever fade? "You can become really boring, being angry all the time" he warns.

A Glasgow band musical family tree manages to mention The Bluebells and Lloyd Cole but, presumably to free up space for Bourgie Bourgie, doesn't make any link between Altered Images and The Bluebells. Research, eh?

And finally: personals: "Boy george - thanks for a brilliant time at Wembley, you were the star of the show (Fleet Street got it wrong AGAIN!) Good luck with everything you do in the future! All my love, always! Elaine xx

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