Paul over at Never Trust A Hippy Blog is taking a tube trip down memory lane with his recollections of seeing The Jam play live. Spawny get. I'm jealous as hell, and matters aren't helped when Will Rubbish gets in on the 'spawny get' payroll by mentioning that he's also got to see The Jam play live. I'm sure he told me one time that he didn't even like Paul Weller.
As much as I love The Jam now, I have to admit that I was never into them when they were still a going concern. Too young I guess, too pop inclined when they were at their peak, and I didn't have that older brother or older sister pushing their records my way, telling me why it was important that I listened to them (as I've mentioned before on the blog, my older sister was force feeding me Steve Wonder and The Bee Gees at this point. We've since reconciled.)
If anything I was a bit sniffy about them. Bands seem to be like football teams in those days, and for some reason I couldn't bring myself to like both The Jam and Culture Club at the same time (hangs head in shame). My loss, as I seem to remember feigning indifference to their last live performance on the first episode of The Tube, as if it wasn't a big deal. (takes that head that's hanging in shame and whacks it with a two by four).
Timing's everything in life, and four or five months after 'Beat Surrender' was the final Jam number one in the British charts, I was ranting and raving about 'Speak Like A Child', and poring over the album sleeve of 'Introducing The Style Council' as if it was the Communist Manifesto. It's that scene from 'Stardust Memories' all over again and I had to work my way backwards through Paul Weller's discography via the Snap compilation and then all the original albums around about the same time I thought Style Council's 'Our Favourite Shop' was the best thing since 'Cafe Bleu'.
That's enough rambling from me. To get back to Paul's original post; he makes the outlandish claim that 'Happy Together' is The jam's most underrated track. I beg to differ. Though it was a single, I still think that 'Absolute Beginners' was The Jam's most underrated track and the one that pointed to Weller's future with Style Council.
It also lays claim to having one of the funniest music videos I've ever seen. Funny in an unintentional sense. Look at Weller try to run in the video. Therein lies the mystery of why he had to pick up a guitar at such a young age. Jan Molby could have out sprinted him. Also explains the gulf between him and the other two. Looks like Rick and Bruce were the types that were picked first to play footie in the school playgrounds. Paul looks like he was stuck in goal a la Billy Caspar in Kes. Weller should have joined the SPGB when he was stil political in the 80s. He would have found a natural kinship in the old Islington Btanch.
What's that line from 'Funeral Pyre'?
"I could see the faces of those led pissing theirselves laughing . . ."
That would have been Rick, Bruce and the whole video crew for that day. Weller: Out of step, out of time and out of breath.
Hat tip to Will.