THE SHOP ASSISTANTS tend to get lumped in with all the jingly-jangly stuff that made up most of the NME’s C86 cassette, but they just sound very punk rock to me. All of my Shop Assistants records went west a long time ago but we do have this short Q&A from 1986. Singer Alex answered the questions.
Tag Archives: C86
THOUGH it’s now routinely derided by the latest crop of fat, bitter and aged pop historians – that’s my gig, thank you very much – the NME’s C86 cassette was an essential purchase for those of us not in thrall to the emerging sound of hip hop.
A ragged and patchy but essential overview of some of the best bands working the UK’s vibrant DIY live circuit at the time, C86 featured contributions from the likes of Primal Scream, Stump, the Pastels, the Shop Assistants, Big Flame, A Witness and Miaow. As well as being musically diverse, it also featured a number of women among all the little white boys with guitars. Radical.
Of course, I’d been into a lot of the bands on C86 for ages before it came out. Cool huh? Well, I thought so at the time – but I’ve been wrong about this kind of stuff before and no doubt I will be again.
I was writing odd live reviews for the NME and was fully immersed in fanzine culture, as well as still being an avid listener to the venerable Peel, so I was hearing a lot of new music one way or another.
I bought Let Them Eat Bogshed on John Robb’s Vinyl Drip label and absolutely loved the weird, jerky guitar pop of the Hebden Bridge funsters, so I decided to put them on in town.
Taking my cue from my fanzine, Airstrip, I renamed the Henry’s function room the Hangar and booked the Membranes for the first gig and Bogshed for the second. Both gigs were big successes, although they were probably a bit unusual for the bands themselves.
Rather than the happy-go-lucky indie Last Of The Summer Winos I’d expected, Bogshed were actually Scousers (apart from drummer Tris King) who just happened to live in Hebden Bridge, and they were as miserable as fuck to boot. I was quite taken aback. True, it was a pretty shit venue, most of the crowd had never even heard of Bogshed before and were too busy skinning up to really get excited by the band’s performance, but apart from the Membranes, the last band who’d played here were Theatre of Hate four or five years before.
People knew how to react to their mates doing a load of well-worn cover versions but proper bands like Bogshed were another matter entirely. I actually thought they got a pretty decent reaction given that hardly anyone knew their stuff. They were probably used to going to shit-hole towns and finding people were so grateful that anyone had made the effort to visit that they just went bananas. And while that sometimes happened in Scunthorpe, it didn’t tonight.
Anyway, after the gig I paid them the full whack and somehow cajoled them into doing an interview for the fanzine.
They weren’t happy.
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