Cuckoo no 1 – Turn on, tune in & slop out!
Cuckoo was one of my many short-lived fanzines from the late 80s/early 90s. Just re-discovered in me ma’s loft, along with Hang Loose nos, 1 & 2, (yet another fanzine concept that went no further than Widnes Market), I’ve decided to put a few bits n’ bobs from both titles up on here, just to remind myself of what a whopper I was/am!
Are You Really Balearic?
(note: this was done at the time of Spice, Ophelia, Venus etc when the ‘balearic network’ was in full swing and ‘dressing up’ as opposed to dressing like a ‘scally’ had once again become the door policy for many of these supposedly progressive clubs)
Much has been written about Balearic and most of it has been Ballorocks. Is Balearic a musical genre or an attitude? How do you say Balearic? Is it Bal-ear-ic, Bal-yerrick, Bally-eric or Can-aries? What do Balearic people look like? Loads of hair and a Radion logo t-shirt? No hair at all and a Telecom de Garcons sackcloth shirt? A bit of hair on their toes and a Colman’s Mustard New Age toga? The whole point of Balearic is not to take things too seriously, so here’s my complete guide to being utterly Bal-hee-herikk (proper Minorcan pronunciation). First of all watch all the quiz shows, adverts and soaps and develop your own wacky repertoire of tacky catchphrases such as ;
“Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs. Worthington!”
“And remember…the clues are there!”
“Oats! Pull the other one!”
“Pooh what a smelly horse!”
“Points mean prizes.”
“Hot pot please Bet!”
“Ragu, Ragu, brings out the Italian in you!”
This stage complete, you should go about concealing your public school background by adopting an orfenic Sarf Landan accent and brill rhyming slang ie. “Me Richard’s a stylist at Victor Baboons!” Ask your parents to ‘loan’ (give) you five grand to set up your own fanzine (called ‘Smash!’), record label (Corking Platters) and promotion company (Blooming Fabbo Events). Tell all and sundry that you used to be a Dorking Town hooligan and served time with Reg Kray, Ian Brady and Al Capone. If it all goes well and you’re accepted into the Balearic mafia then memorise the following list of Balearic Essentials:
Balearic Authors :
Bret Easton Ellis
Balearic Artists :
Balearic Films :
2001 A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange
Un Chien Andalou
Balearic Musicians :
Windsor Davis and Don Estelle
Balearic TV :
The Price Is Right
Through The Keyhole
The Time, The Place
The 8.15 From Manchester
Wheel Of Fortune
Pebble Mill At One
The Harry Worth Show
There you go then! Balearic Mafiosi types always counter the accusation of elitism with the retort that they’re only taking the piss. So the next time you get refused entry into a Milky/Slammy/Spicy/Ducky event, simply tell the door-person that you’re the lovechild of Reg Holdsworth and Nancy Noise and you’ll have no hassle….and I mean that most sincerely folks!
Cuckoo’s Nest – top platters of yesteryear
Burning Down The House – Talking Heads
Feel The Chant – Spandau Ballet
Heart & Soul (Reprise) – Great Leap Forward
Wire (Dub) – U2
Wordyrappinghood – Tom Tom Club
Kissing With Confidence – Will Powers
Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
Strut Your Funky Stuff – Frantique
Bourgie Bourgie – Gladys Knight
Upside Down – Diana Ross
Undercover – Rolling Stones
Landscape – The Mohawks
Funk 49 – The James Gang
Make Me Smile – Chicago
The Crunch – Rah Band
Magic Fly – Space
Hard Times – Human League
Lifetime Love – Joyce Sims
Cold Getting Dumb – Just Ice
Follow Me Follow You – Genesis
Greavsie’s A to Z of Culture
(note Jimmy Greaves was the ‘outspoken’ ie bigoted, former alcoholic pundit on ITV’s Saint & Greavsie football show and prone to loony anti-lefty diatribes on TV and via his Sun column)
A is for Art – paintings and stuff
B is for Ballet – a load of puffs dancing
C is for Cinema – Patrick Swayze films and that
D is for Dada – Experimental German art school of the 1920s
E is for Existentialism – err!!!
F is for Freud – shagging and stuff
G is for Greek Civilisation – I like a few weeks in Rhodes
H is for Hamlet – I prefer Castella myself
I is for Impressionists – Bobby Davro and that lot
J is for Journalism – I write for The Sun
K is for Kafka – brilliant Czech novelist author of Metamorphosis
L is for Lagerfeld – I don’t touch the stuff any more
M is for Mondrian – my grandson could paint better than that twat
N is for Nobby Stiles – toothless hero of England’s 66 World Cup squad
O is for Opera – fat Italian bastards singing
P is for Pianists – like Chas and Dave
Q is for Queen Elizabeth – God bless yer maam!
R is for Roland Barthes – I new his brother, Municipal
S is for Shelley – workshy sit-com star played by Hywell Bennett
T is for Tennyson – I hate that Boris Becker!
U is for Umberto Eco – Italian metaphysical novelist, author of The Name Of The Rose
V is for Verdi – as in lasagne
W is for Wordsworth – he wandered lonely as a cloud. Prick!
X is for Xylophonists – Patrick Moore for example
Y is for Yeats – Liverpool defender of the 60s
Z is for Zen Buddhism – Oh fuck off and put Russ Abbott on!
10 Unusual Destinations For Your Foreign Rave Trip
Oumel-Bouaghi – Algeria
Cochabamba – Bolivia
Plzen – Czechoslovakia
Olafsfjoerdur – Iceland
Balik Papan – Indonesia
Antananarivo – Madagascar
Janakpur – Nepal
Pingtung – Taiwan
Chililabombwe – Zambia
Yap – The Federated States Of Micronesia
10 Wacky Venues For Your Invites Only Party
In your nan’s attic
Half way up Ben Nevis
Inside the belly of a whale
Underneath a particularly large cow
At a Boy’s Brigade bring n’ buy sale
On a Manchester Ship Canal dredger
In a chippy
3000 feet down a disused Cornish tin mine
In the bonnet of a Hillman Imp
At your mum and dad’s 25th wedding anniversary
10 strange things to wave above your head whilst dancing
A set of encyclopaedias
An inflatable dinghy
A life-size replica of the Elephant Man
A Black & Decker hedge-trimmer
A No Left Turn sign
Jim Bowen’s scalp
A 30 piece stainless steel cutlery set
The entire Tottenham Hotspur football team
The remains of a half eaten hippopotamus
10 names pop stars give their kids
Zachariah Moonboot Junior
Mozart Amplifier Reverb Monitor
Candlewax Bunty Flip-Flop
Organa Celery Herbivore
A Man For All Schemings (A Nightmare On Whitworth Street)
(note ; this was written just after the Hacienda had re-opened for business after the whole gangster closure fiasco – it was sent to Wilson himself who returned it with comments such as ‘bullshit’ scribbled on in red ink.)
Call him Tony! Call him Anthony! Call him Mr Wilson! Call him wanker! Call him whatever you like, the World’s Greatest Living Mancunian doesn’t give a flying fish. A man of many guises, this supremely self-confident – arrogant if you like – man plays different roles depending on his audience. Put him on Yoof TV and he’s the street smart patron of the dance scene, put him on a business programme and he’s the hard-nosed corporate supremo, put him on something arty and he’s the dialectical scholar. Stick this man anywhere and he’ll adapt, a smug chameleon in a 700 quid suit.
As boss of Factory Communications, Wilson has built up one of Britain’s largest independent music and media empires and, so he maintains, invested in his hometown’s economy, increased it’s cultural importance and cocked a snook at self-important, lethargic old London Town. Tony makes grand claims on behalf of his company but are they really worthy of the appreciative slap on the back that he so evidently feels they deserve?
In 1989, ‘Madchester’ that ill-defined, misunderstood movement made front covers not only in the British music press but also in foreign current affairs publications. But who had most to gain from this new freaky youth phenomenon? Mr A. H. Wilson of course. The scene’s leading band, The Happy Mondays were signed to his label and its spiritual home, The Hacienda, was his club. No wonder then that he engineered a farcical incident at the 1990 New Music Seminar by provoking black US techno-crats in the infamous ‘Wake Up America, You’re Dead’ debate. Madchester needed US exposure and Tony Wilson, the arch media manipulator, was determined to get it. He got it alright but the gap between his wayward champions of urban UK rock, the Mondays and suburban US rock was too great a gap to span and the kids of Kasey Kasem stuck with bands who had curly perms and wore leather pants.
At home meanwhile, Madchester was fast becoming an embarrassment. National tabloids were publishing their own cut out and keep guides to the scene, getting the parlance, fashion and music all hilariously wrong. Like Swinging London before it, Madchester had become a mythical creature, unrecognisable to those who had created it. Bands began to distance themselves from the whole thing, fearing the inevitable backlash and places The Hacienda and Affleck’s Palace became tourist attractions for those in search of the legendary Manchester vibe.
In this respect, Wilson’s hype backfired on him as disenchanted Manchester clubbers felt the Hacienda had lost its credibility and deserted in droves. This wasn’t the only reason why they went elsewhere though. Many regulars had become disillusioned by the Draconian door policy adopted by the club during its battle with the Greater Manchester Constabulary to keep its licence. Ostensibly this policy was implemented to prevent drug taking and selling inside the club and the bouncers were under orders to refuse entry to so-called ‘undesirables.’ This resulted in arbitrary refusals for both first time punters and hardcore regulars alike, so Manchester clubbers voted with their feet and moved onto other clubs instead,
Potentially the threat of becoming unfashionable was worse than the club’s licence being revoked. Enforced closure meant certain martyrdom whereas voluntary closure could prove an opportunity to make headlines and re-think strategy. And so, after fighting off James Anderton and his Puritan Yeomanry, Tony Wilson closed the Hacienda of his own accord in a blaze of publicity. The official reason for this unexpected event was that the lives of the club’s employees had been threatened by local gangsters. There was no denying the fact that Manchester did have a serious gang problem and that they already controlled the doors of other city nightclubs. However cynics felt that the Hacienda’s problems had been blown out of all proportion by the club’s management to smokescreen dwindling attendances. The skilfully handled press conference given by Wilson made it clear that we were witnessing the end of an era; the Cavern of the 80s was shutting up shop…but not for long.
The Hacienda dramatically reopened several months after closing. Apparently the gang warfare which only weeks ago had forced the club’s closure no longer posed a problem. This was a surprise to those people who were bombarded with ever worsening tales of Manchester’s internecine gang war, which was at its height at the time of the re-opening. Konspiracy, the club which had taken most of the Hacienda’s clientele had itself been closed due to an overbearing gang influence. This left a gap in the market and, whether it was coincidental or not, the all-new-metal-detector-no-drugs Hacienda filled a void.
That’s business, and whatever else he is, Tony Wilson is a businessman first and foremost. Factory isn’t a philanthropic enterprise run on behalf of your average-bloke-on-the-street, it’s a profit making venture. So they’re still based in Manchester when they could be in London or New York. Big deal! So they’ve opened a club and a bar in over a decade of business. Thanks a bunch! Why do they feel that they’re doing everyone a big favour by simply existing? Let’s face it, the unemployment figures wouldn’t exactly hit the roof if they uprooted.
Recognition where recognition’s due though. The Hacienda’s place in popular youth mythology is not only assured but deserved and I’ve spent many memorable nights there myself. Self-importance however, breeds a smug sense of superiority, which eventually leads to complacency and decline. No-one can take things for granted these days and the world is music is a notoriously fickle one in which to do business, as Factory, I’m sure, are only too aware.
Love him or loathe him, you can’t help admiring him. Call him Granada’s smirking granddad, call him rave culture’s Rupert Murdoch, call him the most hated man in England. Call him anything you like, the World’s Greatest Living Mancunian can rest easy in the knowledge that he’s Anthony Wilson and you’re not.
Special Hard-Up Factory Bargain Box Set Only £45 featuring all your faves…..again!!
Love Will Tear Us Apart; The L.S. Lowry Doom & Gloom 90s Remix
Blue Monday : One more time with a toss video mix remix
Wrote For Luck : The off it’s box everyone on stage dead live mix.