[13] The Housemartins, ‘Happy Hour’

The Housemartins

Sure, I was born on the Yorks/Lincs border, but The Housemartins were a little too northern for me. By five I was in Berks, six Herts, and that’s where I stayed ‘til university. I’ve been lucky too to avoid the forced bonhomie of the rubbish post-work drink, “celebrated” here, what with my feckless career only carrying me to fun working environments where a cheeky half is with good company.

So what’s it doing here? I only bought it on impulse as part of a four-single box set at the end of 1986 (with ‘Caravan Of Love’ – a bit too Flying Pickets for me – ‘Flag Day’ and ‘Sheep’) and promptly gave the whole package to a girl I fancied, as a Christmas present. It didn’t work. Anyway, I had it on Now 7 too, so no great loss, and always liked its skittish bop and brevity. I grew to like the band more as they morphed into the yards better Beautiful South, though. Oh, it also had Furniture’s ‘Brilliant Mind’. Now 7, that is.

Junior listened, cogitated, ruminated and revealed, “It makes my shoulders go funky.” Which is a refreshingly compact way to describe a refreshingly compact record.

Don’t believe it:

[13] Fatboy Slim, ‘Praise You’

Fatboy Slim

This record is painfully 1999. It would get laughed out of town if it showed its big beaty face these days, wacky Spike Jonze video or not. Norman Cook had a way with a pop tune, admittedly – this, ‘Rockafeller Skank’ and ‘Gangster Trippin’ all grabbed you first time – but they were guaranteed to annoy your teeth out within a few plays.

It’s getting harder to measure Junior’s reactions, now that she’s a baby scud forever homing in on the living room’s most vulnerable points. This was the first time she’d made a beeline towards the stereo, however, desperate paw reaching out for the amplifier. Norm, mate, I think she was trying to put you out of your misery.

I remember reading interviews with The Housemartins back in the day. The others used to take the rise out of Quentin, ribbing him for his love of soul, funk, hip hop and dance when he was in this itchy pop band. You have to say he had the last laugh: the drummer went down for trying to brain some chap with an axe, Stan Cullimore ended up in Basic Instinct 2, obviously, and Paul Heaton was last seen releasing a compilation of his favourite soul, funk, hip hop and dance tunes. Pah.