[9] Rhythim Is Rhythim, ‘Strings Of Life’

Derrick May

Now, this wasn’t strictly originally released in 1989, but then techno stuff took so bally long to get from Detroit to London that it’s a moot point. Not to mention the final leg up the A41 to some Hemel Hempstead garage. That’s a garage with tools and half-used pots of paint, not a genre-forming hotbed of soul-infused house music.

It says 1989 on the label of the 12” slapped down on the right-hand wheel of steel this morning, for Junior’s listening pleasure and hardnosed assessment. The vinyl’s a bit worn now, so she hardly noticed the subtle piano washes before the beat made her jump. Then she sat and chewed the kangaroo that looks worryingly like one of those soluble bath soaps. Ah well. She wouldn’t be the first person to foam at the mouth while dancing to impeccable acid-tinged techno.

This record’s a sacred cow, Derrick May a revered pioneer. Which is why it’s so obvious that a bunch of troglodytes called Soul Central should decide a year or so back that what the song needed was to be beaten to death with bland, and then desecrated with a pointless vocal track. Cool.

Today’s digression: Virgin Radio just played Bowie’s ‘China Girl’ for at least the second time this week. It was one of the first couple of dozen singles I bought, so I’m warm towards it, but it’s hardly some canonical classic that deserves frequent airplay 23 years later, is it? I’ve noticed this trend on stations like Heart and Magic. They’ve decided, say, that Atlantic Starr’s ‘Secret Lovers’ is one of the all-time greats – kind of an alternative to the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is the Greatest Single Of All Time universe. Dunno who’s right; I suspect it’s neither, but at least ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has some kind of sales/polling pedigree, usually lacking in the Heart and Magic faves.

Jukebox Junior FM coming soon, playing wall-to-wall Prefab Sprout. It’s What The Public Wants.

[4] Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ‘Relax’

Junior passed the time walking up and down her mum’s belly. Just checking for siblings.

My claim to credibility is that I bought this before Radio 1 banned it, back when even my mum liked it. She claimed that she didn’t when it was dogged by notoriety, but children don’t forget these things. I’d bought my first record player for £10 from a guy in Hemel Hempstead – actually, my dad paid and it was only £9.50 but, inexplicably, he let the seller keep the change. I was aghast. 50p was a fortune. To get to the point, it was one of those record players on which you could flick a switch and it would keep playing the record on the turntable over and over again until you took the arm off.

The day I bought ‘Relax’, I played it 11 times in a row.

Junior probably won’t want her dad to go out and buy a rickety turntable with a free 7” single (Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis, ‘You’re Gonna Get Next To Me’) thrown in. She’ll just want that chip in her right earlobe upgraded.