[20] Squeeze, ‘Cool For Cats’

Ah, 1979. I started paying attention to Top Of The Pops, Arsenal, all life’s sweetest joys. Moved to Hertfordshire in January and stayed there for 17 years (minus a dozen terms in Bristol). Pop baffled me, but that may have been down to assuming that everything Terry Wogan played was current. In that world, the Supremes were going strong and Cliff Richard was still a chart-topper. Hmmm.

Marrying new wave and pub rock, Squeeze had a boisterous appeal that worked well in the playground; to seven-year-olds a band to file alongside The Specials, The Jam and the rising Madness – stuff it was ok to like and bowl along to as if you were something else, something a stretch more streetwise than a kid with a fringe and grey shorts. If it was cool for cats, we wanted a bit of it. In essence, the single isn’t typical Squeeze, more a part within a part for Chris Difford to play, but he sounds smart and the band bounce in broad-shouldered style. The drifting middle eight’s useless though.

For all I know, Junior’s already at the age when she wants to impress her peers, and she’s got all the moves to do so. A jerky dance matched the sproinging bass and she gave an airing to this week’s trick – humming along to the tune. At the end she asked whether Junior 2 (Juniest? Minima?) liked the song now there’s scope for a blog within a blog – and then requested the next track on the Best Of. Give it a week or so, missy.

[13] Public Enemy, ‘Fight The Power’

Public Enemy

Deliriously exciting intro, punchy message, the first of many* appearances on this chart for the ‘Funky Drummer’ backbeat, that “ELVIS was a hero to most…” line: this ROCKED DA HOUSE, man. Junior pivoted the highchair on its front legs and flipped out like a b-girl.

Back in ’87, I nearly bought a Public Enemy jacket in Watford Market, but left with nothing except regrets and that sawdusty aroma of pet cages. I could’ve been the flyest hip hopper in the Herts commuter belt. Instead, by 1989, my shirts were flowery and my fringe was long.

Junior won’t miss any trends, I promise. I’ll have her in a Gnarls Barkley sleepsuit by the end of the week.

*Well, three. I think.