Thursday, June 04, 2015

Guilty pleasures, Wally Disco and the Great Universal catalogue (Pages 180-213)

Stop it. Stop it now.
We've all got guilty pleasures. Mine is early 80s New Romantic bands, and to prove it, I've just bought A Flock of Seagulls' first album on CD. Again. As guilty pleasures go, owning a copy of A Flock of Seagulls' first album on CD isn't particularly guilty in the grand scheme of things, because there are far worse things to be pleasured by in a guilty manner. At least I'm not a grown-up One Direction fan, for example, or a teenage One Direction fan.

My old friend John, now he really did have a guilty pleasure to brag about. John lived four doors down from us, and was sufficiently energetic to be dismissed as "that lout" by my father, probably because his dad habitually brought back exciting gifts from business trips to America, which were flaunted – noisily – up and down our road at all hours. We built go-karts together, skateboarded-down people's drives, had spectacular punch-ups and played football in the street, anathema to anybody interested in quiet cul-de-sac suburban living.

John's guilty pleasure was truly guilty, for he loved wally disco music. Wally Disco is a musical genre that starts with Popcorn, Agadoo and the Birdie Song, and comes home with you from a holiday in the Spanish islands, complete with all the unique dances that go with it. And John knew all the dances. It's a distinct branch of Euro-Pop that only gets played in seaside discotheques and during the breaks in play at ice hockey matches, and is characterised by some mid-European with an accordion, a tiddly-pomp beat, badly-translated shouty lyrics and a chorus that finds a corner of your brain and can only be removed by surgery. One listen while under the influence of full-fat Coca-Cola is enough to wreck your life forever, eventually resulting in a unique playlist at your funeral.

John owned them all, usually on lurid pink and green plastic picture discs, often secured on mail order as they had somehow managed to avoid the attention of British radio stations and record shops, one of the music industry's rare moments of sanity. "This one's from Ibiza," he'd say, before he and his girlfriend would launch into the stomping-on-the-spot, arms-waving dance routine as some Austrian doofus yodelled over a cheesy disco beat. The rest of us did not join in. It was John's guilty pleasure, and we took no part in it. Then he played the B-side, which was exactly the same, only worse.

As a fifteen-year-old at the time, my guilty pleasure was the Great Universal catalogue, pages 180-213. But, unlike wally disco, it's not the kind of thing you can show off in front of your friends. Other pals enjoyed fishing down at the mill pond, and at least I was above that.

The celebrated Yasmin Le Bon edition, featuring a superb selection of photographic equipment, all with easy weekly payments and doorstep delivery.


Anonymous said...

Oops upside your head.....

I said oops upside your head!

Happy days.

Mr Larrington said...

It would have been a while after Wally Disco when "Q" magazine attempted to edumacate its readers in the subtleties of contemporary dance music; they invented a category yclept "Euro-Cheese" with the Q&A tag:
Q: Who listens to it?
A: Your kids, basically. And the Pet Shop Boys when they're being ironic.

They lost my subscription after doing a nine page article on Cheryl Cole, whom I have only today discovered to be the same person as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

Flaxen Saxon said...

The eighties were an aberration. 1982 was my last hangover. The end of student days was cathartic. Sorry, but no good music came out of that era. 'flock of Seagull', big hair, no fucking talent. Although, as always, I'm open to debate and cogent persuasion....