Song of the day – 336: Subway Sect
I’ve been asked by my friend Vincent Vanoli, the very talented French illustrator (formerly of Careless Talk Costs Lives and Plan B Magazine), to write a series of vignettes to accompany some drawings he’s doing for a new book. As always, I’m a little tardy.
So I thought perhaps I could include them here, and then send them on.
First up, Vic Godard & Subway Sect – ‘Nobody’s Scared’
“Everyone is a prostitute/Singing a song in prison” … or, as Vincent more literally has it, “There is a prostitute in all of us…”
Buzzcocks were the first band I ever saw – Chelmsford Odeon ’78. I was so naive, I thought that the support band Subway Sect were the main band and couldn’t figure out a) why I didn’t recognise any of their songs (I explained that away to myself by surmising that bands live must sound different to bands recorded) and b) why everyone didn’t leave after they’d finished. I was in the front row, smoking a crafty fag: and yes, I did go out and buy a Subway Sect single the following day (‘Nobody’s Scared’). It wasn’t as tuneful as I wanted, but immediately I was loving the lyrics and thunderous drums. Plus, it was half-price.
It wasn’t until around 25 years later that I got round to seeing Subway Sect again. It was a strange, excitable night in Cardiff, Wales. I was there in my capacity as DJ, being the editor of awkward underground magazine Careless Talk Costs Lives: I also performed on stage with Simon from the Loves making Velvet-esque strokes on the guitar. Most of the night I was huddled in a corner, drinking, in awe that Subway Sect singer (and postman) Vic Godard was standing a few feet away from me. I had all the records, of course. The swinging Songs For Sale. The literate and brutally melodic first album. The rash of singles, all as full-on pop as anything Orange Juice or The Cribs had produced, but with way more Jean-Luc Godard attached. Vic was charming, a true gentleman. It helped I knew his backing band, the bittersweet and sardonic Bitter Springs. No one felt used.
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