[12] Ian Dury & The Blockheads, ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’

It’s a song to be enjoyed on many levels, from enjoyment of high-falutin’ place names and cockney-sparrered franglais/deutschglish via a hard-nailed groove right down to – if you’re a three-year-old – a rasped exhortation to “hit me!” Hang on, Junior’s eyes gleamed, is this cast-iron permission to hit something without being told off? Nirvana!

So funky is this tune, played as it is by a band as tight as this month’s budget, you can get your freak on to it at seven in the morning. Back in ’79, as a Stanmore cub scout, Kilburn seemed like it was just down the road. Dury was our urban counterpart and we adopted his edge, even if he was the sort of chap we’d stop and stare at it in the street in our primary school gaucheness. Struck by polio, swarthy and impish, he made a lasting impression on Top Of The Pops, but he wasn’t a poor unfortunate to be laughed at in our playground huddle. This was grown-up rock, slightly intimidating and so out of its time that it’s as fresh now as it ever was.

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