[4] Happy Mondays, ‘W.F.L. (The Vince Clarke Mix)’

Happy Mondays, WFL

Look at the video for this, the Vince Clarke mix. With his floppy hair, tatty hoody and pissholes-in-the-snow eyes, Shaun Ryder set a template for a generation of teenagers who wanted to achieve that blissed-out E’d-up look. Trouble was, we were buzzing off our nuts on a combination of Woodpecker cider and Fisherman’s Friends. We had breath that could cut dry ice, and our love for our fellow man bordered on the surly.

You had to get the correct hoodies too. Hanes had the best texture and weight, but they cost 20 quid and the cider was soaking up most of the cash. Top Man did some thin versions with self-consciously trippy patterns. These would ride up to make you look like a bellydancing Bez. Who’d defected to Candy Flip.

So we were never quite right, but the music was. Until this point, I’d always felt as if I was catching up, picking up on bands and movements as their time was passing. Whatever you want to call it – baggy, Madchester, indie dance – we were watching it unfold this time. Strands of house, techno, Balearic, acid, rock and pop mixed into a heady potion that could even make white schoolboys dance.

As a girl, Junior’s not afraid to dance, and this had her rocking. She threw in a maniacal cackle at the start. Maybe she’s seen pictures of that purple Aztec-design hooded top.

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[8] The Sundays, ‘Can’t Be Sure’

The Sundays

The Sundays take the coveted award for Highest Placed Indie Single (that’s neither Madchester-related, nor on Mute). I would say it’s been closely fought, but you could never imagine this gossamer band in a scrap.

Not to say there isn’t an iron fist here somewhere. The song’s pretty, and the vocal childlike, but the lyric is wry. What’s wrong with wanting something? Harriet Wheeler will chase her desires, even if she’s not quite sure what she’s after. It doesn’t amount to much, but there’s wit and bite, and her voice swoops and soars around guitar that’s both jangly and choppy. It’s a beautiful keepsake of a debut single.

The album came out the following year, to eventually tedious Smiths comparisons. You can see it, but the music’s brighter and sweeter. It’s one hell of a record. One of those pithy, 10-track gems we’ve been looking for.

Junior listened carefully, lying on the new rug, teasing us with crawling poses. She showed off with a fierce Wheeler impression – a bit harsh almost – and slapped the floor as the drums burst into the middle eight. She’s not settled on an instrument yet. It’ll come to her later.

[18] James, ‘Come Home’

Come Home

Funny band, James. They flapped around in Morrissey-championed indie semi-obscurity for years before accidentally getting swept along by the Madchester wave, but they didn’t even seem to have that crucial dance element to their music. Instead, they introduced sloganeering and merchandise and student-friendly ditties, and snuck in through the back door. ‘Sit Down’ was the most obvious example – released earlier in 1989* yet requiring years and re-releases to hit the Top 10 – but ‘Come Home’ was the vital breakthrough.

A propulsive rhythm and Doppler-effect keyboards get Junior rocking, but she thinks the song drags on a touch too long. Grandad’s visiting and he’s more interesting than the final minute’s cacophony. I still have warm feelings towards the record. It was oddly fashionable at the time (again, a year before it charted) and it had just enough of a groove for me to stick it on the party tapes I’d make as self-appointed teenage DJ.

Within a year I’d be wearing an outsized, long-sleeved ‘Come’ t-shirt. It was quite the conversation piece on my first day at university.

*How much am I bid for my original 7″ single? It’s got a bad drawing on the cover.

[11] World Of Twist, ‘Sons Of The Stage’

World Of Twist

World Of Twist were the choice of the cognoscenti during the 90/91 Association Psychedelic Dance-Pop season. A bit of 60s beat group, mixed with Northern Soul and Roxy Music and all manner of swirly things, they were just what the country needed as the Madchester scene began to pall. Of course, the country never realised this.

‘Sons Of The Stage’ was the second single, after 1990’s highly-touted ‘The Storm’. It doesn’t really date, with influences covering 30 years of pop, and still has me bouncing. Junior too. She’d have loved to have seen them live, the stage adorned with bacofoil and various shiny objects, a spinning wheel with a suitable legend daubed upon it and the lightshow a riot of kaleidoscopic colour. It looked really cheap.

As a group of lads near me regaled the singer Tony Ogden with a lusty chorus of “Ogden is a wanker”, I knew they’d made it. For a night, at least.

[All my vinyl rips seem to have corrupted; Top 11 mp3s to follow… later]