[9] Planningtorock, ‘Living It Out’

Planningtorock

One of my favourite things when I was Junior’s age was my Batman outfit. A top and cloak, and a full mask that used to get all moist with the dribble and sweat that would accumulate from tearing around fighting crime on the enclosed RAF married quarters patch at Cranwell. It was like The Wire. Or indeed Batman.

Janine Rostron still wears a mask.

I guess she doesn’t believe in projecting an image of herself, that it’s all subsumed by the music and – really – we shouldn’t be making value judgements based on appearance anyway. Or she just knows it’s cool.

‘Living It Out’ is the banger on W, Rostron/Planningtorock’s ace album from earlier this year. It’s buffered by enormous doom-synth tracks on all sides which makes it come as a bit of a relief, even if it’s at least as Berlinish as the rest. Standing alone it draws at once funky, at once robotic dancing from Junior and later sees her brandishing a sword.

A plastic one. For fighting crime.

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[18] Wham!, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’

A sunny blast of springtime euphoria or annoying drivel from a couple of over-coiffed chancers in Choose Life t-shirts? It’s a quandary that has vexed musicologists for decades. Wham!’s first No.1 reminds me of the days when my parents’ old RAF colleagues used to visit with their children, and my big sister would choreograph a routine for the kids to perform.

I wonder whether Junior will be the winningly bossy older sister. She could do worse. God knows I needed a kick up the backside from time to time, even if it meant doing cringing George Michael impressions. I’ll be forever in big sis’s debt for giving me the opportunity to mime as Simon Le Bon while my younger sister danced on the sand.

From the first “jitterbug”, Junior was firmly on the side of springtime euphoria. She bounced up and down and whacked the sides of the inflatable, and grinned like a life chooser. The record’s an insubstantial piece of fluff but it has a kinetic drive that will never allow you to stay still, with or without your sister’s coercion.