THE first time I ever got an inkling of the glamour surrounding Swing Out Sister was during a stint working behind the counter at a record shop in a dour northern steel town. One morning about 25 girls came in and asked for a record called Breakout by Swing Out Sister. None of us had ever heard of them but I liked the band already ..
I liked them even more when I saw the beautifully designed sleeve for Breakout, featuring the group’s singer Corinne Drewery, with a look inspired by equal parts Kibuki theatre, Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box and Tiger from The Double Deckers.
By the time I heard the exuberant brass-heavy electro-funk of the record itself, I was sold. The whole package – the look, the music, even the name – exuded a certain elan, an effortless glamour, easy sophistication, sheer class. All qualities in short supply in Scunthorpe at that time.
AGES ago, years in fact, Mr John Eden who does Uncarved suggested I try writing about ten records at the back of my collection that no man should own. I’ve only just got it together.
Without being too much of a ponce about it, there aren’t really many records in my collection that don’t belong there. A lot of the supposedly embarrassing stuff I’ve bought or been given over the years – ELO, Bananarama, Dexy’s, Spyro Gyra and what have you – got lost along the way and was never replaced (unlike the stuff in the Hip Replacement bit of this blog).
And are those bands mentioned above even that embarrassing? I’m not sure they are. I’m probably not the best person to ask. If I ever really knew what ‘cool’ was, you can rest assured that I absolutely do not know now. But I know what I like.
Everything that’s still in my collection is there for a reason, even if it’s just because it has nice cover art. It’s a finely-honed machine. I stand by every single record. Even the ones on K-Tel and Positiva.
Especially the ones on K-Tel and Positiva.