Friday, July 30, 2010
Judy Nylon, now sixty-two years old, arrived in London sometime in 1970.
Between the death rattle of the swinging 60s and the arrival of glam rock, most of the British Isles - the media would have had one believe - was deep in the grip of a very public mourning over the demise of The Beatles.
Beards predominated, as Nick Kent - and assorted terrified children - observed.
Dense thickets of facial hair deep enough to hide a monkey in.
Divorce and therapy became the order of the day. A primal scream or two, if one could gather together enough coin. While up and down the country everybody's mum and dad was stroking their chin and brooding over Alex Comfort's "The Joy of Sex", I was still getting off on "Meet the Monkees"; glueing my fingertips together in the struggle to get an Airfix B-52 off the ground.
Look ma, no prints.
Patti Palladin took a little longer to scrape together the airfare. Connecting briefly with Nylon via a transatlantic telephone conversation; leaving New York City three years after John & Yoko moved in, nailed the windows shut.
By 1974, of course, the complexion on and around the Thames was a good deal more refreshed. The popular charts were once more ablaze with spots. Teenage acne. Jimi Hendrix was dead, and his closest living relation was a diminutive imposter who had not long since traded his white swan for a metal guru.
Jim Morrison's beard floated south in a bath tub in Paris back in '71, and by 1974 even Marc Bolan no longer seemed quite so elfin. Of course, by then he'd been on the game for close to ten years.
Suzi Quatro from Detroit was in vogue. Paper Lace. Mud. The Rubettes.
A predatory paedophile called Gadd.
In hindsight, there was really very little fairy dust being flung around. Snorted. Despite all the glitter. Nothing remotely glamorous. The London which propelled Snatch out of obscurity into more of the same was a soot bricked Dickensian warren of shysters; apprentice Fagins peddling smack on the side; swarthy entrepreneurs from the Midlands resembling Fred West.
In fact. The beards might have been shorn but, underneath the undrneath, it was all still business as usual.
Look a little closer and one is hard pressed to unearth a single genuine teenager lurking near the top slot. Just a bunch of corseted paunches masquerading as puppy fat. Propping the stage door open to usher in an endless procession of wan underage meat.
Between 1974 and the emergence of punk commercially, any blushing roué on stacked heels was virtually guaranteed an audience. Just chauffeuring the Glitter Band radiated enough of a spark to leave an adolescent open to persuasion.
Well. It might not have been Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Butt. A steel capped size nine in the seat of the pants was nevertheless just what the doctor ordered.
"I.R.T.", back to back with with "Stanley" on Lightning Records and Bomp in 1977, may have basked a little in the receding spectacle of a sweet jane disappearing into the dark maw of the subway painted on "Loaded", but really it had more to do with those fluoroscent tunnels trailing under Piccadilly Circus; a blinking strip light in Finchley Central.
Rumour continues to circulate that The Damned's Captain Sensible makes his presence felt on "Stanley", but so far as I'm aware it has never been corroborated. Exactly who plays on it subject to speculation. Judy and Patti have never openly dispelled the myth, but The Heartbreakers play a later documented role in their fabric of conspiracy.
In 1978, Snatch very nearly scraped the bottom of the UK Top 40 with a double A-Side - "All I Want" b/w "When I'm Bored" - featuring ex New York Doll and one time Heartbreaker, Jerry Nolan on drums. It got to No. 54 and promptly sank without a trace. Nylon and Palladin appeared unperturbed.
There followed a collaboration with Brian Eno. Another single: "R.A.F.". By then I only had time for Hurricane fighter planes.
In 1983, Pandemonium Records compiled a string of demos and those all too few 45 releases titled, simply, "Snatch". Irritatingly, although it includes versions of the tracks which appeared on the 1980 Fetish issued EP, "Shopping For Clothes" - their final release, produced by John Cale - those versions differ markedly from the (uncompiled) original Fetish product.
The Pandemonium curated mixes are a good deal crisper, more commercial than the Fetish issue. Interesting, but only by way of contrast.
Now. I did not buy into this snatch of vinyl first time around. "Shopping For Clothes" passed me by. The following vinyl rip(s), then - so far as I can gather now completely out of print - were cribbed from the now defunct Direct Waves.
▼ SNATCH: JOEY from "Shopping For Clothes b/w Joey / Red Army" 12" (Fetish Records) 1980 (UK)
▼ SNATCH: RED ARMY from "Shopping For Clothes b/w Joey / Red Army" 12" (Fetish Records) 1980 (UK)