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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

"A loathesome spotted reptile..."

Ah, Liberals, eh? You've gotta love 'em - although not in the biblical sense, obviously...unless of course you can stretch to a pretty decent lawyer. For those of you who thought their complete absence of any sense of morality began with the devil's pact they've just entered into with the Tories, think again.

Where better - or wierder? - to start another trawl through the Swipe Towers vinyl archives than this superb piece of satire from the much-missed Peter Cook. I can't remember where I picked this one up from - I have a feeling it may have been passed on to me by my Great Uncle Gweekington. I certainly remember seeing its memorable Gerald Scarfe illustrated sleeve at my grandmother's old pad in Hackney.

Regardless, this little piece of history dates from 1979, the year of the Jeremy Thorpe trial (if you're not aware of or can't remember it, the details are eloquently laid out here). Looking back, you can see why Cook's cultural currency would have been pretty high at that time - high enough to earn a release on a renowned 'punk' label, at any rate. Derek and Clive were an established illicit and foul-mouthed oral tradition spreading through most school playgrounds around this time. Cook had also recently hosted a marvellous pop programme called Revolver which featured many up and coming punk acts, including the Sex Pistols, and this release bears a suitably time-warped, cred-worthy 'pay-no-more-than' sticker. It's always been a pet theory of mine that Cook was a formative influence on Mr. Lydon - just check out his vocal on the theme tune of Pete & Dud's 'Bedazzled' movie; a wonderful and ahead of its time study in complete and utter anomie. And they have a similar look to them, don't they? Indeed, I can almost forgive him for supporting Spurs.

1979 was a joyous time for me - beginning to discover myself a bit more and journeying up to the West End for brilliant, sunshiney weekends. I seem constantly to be drawn back to that time in my mind but I probably wouldn't have really valued Cook's cynicism so much back then. His barbs still hit home today, over thirty years on - check out the riff on MPs expenses, for instance. But listen to the laughter - that sounds different too. Freer, pre-Thatcherite perhaps? Or is that just 'la nostalgie?' Anyway, enjoy...

"Entirely a matter for you" (320 mbps MP3)
- from the mini LP, 'Here comes the judge'.

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