Saturday, October 23, 2010


What was 'The Event'?

The Event, known by various other ominous names, occurred towards the end of the 20th century, setting in motion a chain of events that effectively saw the human race return to the stone age.

According to our best research, The Event happened some time between 1992 and 1994, when, after three excellent albums, The Beautiful South suddenly became absolutely and irredeemably shit.

The Beautiful South, just in case you were in a cave or a coma, were a musical phoenix arisen from the ashes of the Housemartins. They were my first proper favourite band and, for most of the early 90s, my CD of Choke spent more time in the stereo than it did in its box.

1989 Welcome to the Beautiful South

The Beautiful South's first album: massively popular, melodic tunes. Dark lyrics.

Although the album was a huge hit, the cover, with the girl sticking the gun in her mouth, was rather less so, particularly with the censors.

An alternative version was released with the suicidal wench and the smoking bloke replaced by a cuddly teddy bear and an adorable toy rabbit respectively.

Standout tunes:

Song for whoever - first single, satirising the music industry and paint-by-numbers love songs

Woman in the wall - song about a bloke doing his missus in

1990 Choke

Built on the success of the first album and yielded the band's only UK #1 ('A little time').

A truly tremendous album which filled the void in my soul left by not being old enough for self-abuse or alcohol. (Notice how I set those two apart, even after all these years - there's nothing as healthy as denial.)

Standout tracks:

Let love speak up itself - would bring a tear to a glass eye

Should've kept my eyes shut - another song about doing your missus in

1992 0898

Standout tracks:

Old Red Eyes is back - strangely uplifting song about alcoholism

You play glockenspiel, I'll play drums - killer synth riff

0898 was a bit of a departure from the previous two albums, with more of a rock feel and some downright disturbing album artwork. The title refers to the old prefix for premium phone rate numbers.

Of course, everyone has a mobile phone these days so every number's a premium rate number. Even my mother. (Your mother always was.)

1994 Miaow

Utter, utter cack. The group had lost Briana Corrigan as female vocalist, but that still didn't explain how dreary all the tunes were.

The signs were all there with the uninspiring first single release 'Good as gold'. The second single was 'Everybody's talkin'', a cover of someone else's song, which had been middle of the road way back in the day.

In an ironic little echo of the band's golden era, they had to withdraw the album sleeve for this too - because of a copyright infringement against HMV, Tesco's for music.

The South went onto to vomit out a greatest hits collection, a couple more albums and a couple more greatest hits collections, becoming in the process a persuasive argument for the 'die before you get old' school of thinking.

In a parallel universe, opinionated drunks are typing similar stuff about Kurt Cobain.


Here comes Pockets
His trousers hold a thousand deadly sins
The maddest things we ever found in bins
He clutches them and looks at you and grins

Brill stuff
That's from after 'the Event' - be off with you, you heretic!
The perfect love song it has no words
it only has death threats
And you can tell a classic ballad
by how threatening it gets

So if you walk into your house
and she's cutting up your mother
She's only trying to tell you that
she loves you like no other
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