I was listening to my Melanie C record whilst driving to work this morning and I got to thinking about the old Checkout Girls (as we affectionately knew them). I’m sure I’ve mentioned Their Legacy before but I haven’t done the full thesis – until now…
I won’t be the first pistorian (pub + historian) to note that The Twatson Five did little or nothing for the women’s movement, indeed one would have to question whether they were even aware of it. But in their defence, I am always the first to say that politics should be kept out of music. Take United Abominations, by Megadeth. A much anticipated disc, featuring much of the speed-gymnastic guitar craft we require from a Dave Mustaine release, but the political overtures aren’t just overtures anymore. This is a blatant anti American government diatribe. I think we are crossing the fine line between Artist and Raving Lunatic, well maybe not Raving Lunatic but Party Bore at the very minimum. Believe me, it gives me no pleasure to speak of The Dave in these tones.
And yes there is a fine line between Artist and Party Bore, imagine Constable coming to one of your Christmas Parties “another fucking landscape? can’t you at least put a horse in it or something?”, “have a look at this one”, “brilliant, that’s just fantastic, somebody get me drink for pete’s sake”. It’s not easy to convey sarcasm in print but I feel it’s worth the effort and if I was being paid for this I might make an effort.
But coming back to The Legacy, no one ever accused the Alcypop Girls of over-politicising their art. That debate went more along the lines of “Is this art?”, “god knows, sounds like shit to me”, “maybe they are the Damien Hirst of music”, “you’re an idiot, I don’t know why I even talk to you”. That was when Carling was a pound a pint on Thursday's at our local and that South African fella proclaimed Wet Wet Wet to be the best band of the last thirty years, he was serious. He never really recovered after the land mine blew up his tank in the Angolan war. On the other hand maybe he was always like that. I could believe it of a South African, he could come out with some outrageous garbage but that’s another story altogether.
Yeeh, no. When I was youngster we’d spend bloody ages trying to convince the ladies to have a drink with us and then try to keep their focus while running back and forth to the bar for more supplies to lower the resistance. It was a hard and gruelling ritual (especially in Yorkshire) and the results were rather sobering on some remorseful mornings, if not downright scary. Today, all that has changed, thanks to the Libatious Girls and their answer to politics – Girl Power.
Girl Power was a godsend. Suddenly groups of girls were invading bars up and down the land and getting hopelessly drunk with no “encouragement” (or expense) required from our types, suddenly life got a hell of a lot easier. There was still the danger of waking up next to Shrek but we’d been living with that hazard for some time already. The problem was then what to do in the hours between finishing work on a Friday and stumbling into a cab. Conversation was not on the male agenda in those days so we all started playing arcade machines in the pubs, eventually leading to the explosion in games machine sales for home use. Sony have a lot to thank The Tripe Girls for, as do we all.
There is the nagging feeling that somewhere there was a connection between excess alcohol and fake Burberry but it’s not for me to open that particular wound, not today anyway. Knowing when to quit is all part of the skill of being a slightly respected Pistorian.