1980’s: Soho Stories

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Somewhere I have a Sound of New York record that’s called simply “Punk 1980’s”. The 1980’s conjures up a different picture for me for though: Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Matinique T-shirts, walking down Dean Street, eating at the original Pizza Express in Soho Square, Bacardi adverts, cocktails at Fred’s and Golf GTIs playing music you might hear on the way to The Wag rather than at it – poppier sounds like Grace Jones and Trevor Horn productions as opposed to Hip Hop and rare groove – and coffee shops full of pretentious music video producers like Keith Allen’s character in The Yob.

Much of the music in this imaginary soundtrack (reality of course was much drearier) is from 12″ singles. Although these first appeared in the 70’s, they came into their own in the 80’s with regular punters becoming interested in extended versions and remixes, not just DJs after louder pressings and dubs. As skint teenagers, Raj, Wayne and I had a system: buy a 12″ at Our Price, record it onto a TDK SA-90 cassette (‘high-position chrome’), take the record back to a different store claiming it was an unwanted gift, exchange for another 12″, then repeat (the Sledgehammer 12″ here was the culmination of one such chain). You tend not to hear these long versions much on iTunes/streaming playlists so I thought I’d base a mix around some of them.

The mix features a lot of Grace Jones. Her Sly & Robbie period really defined the best of the 80’s sound for me, and the Libertango rework featured in that great 80’s movie Frantic. Working Week, meanwhile, is classic 80’s jazz-pop. Guitarist Simon Booth would go on to be part of the Acid Jazz Alliance. He also did the soundtrack to another Comic Strip film, Supergrass, which coincidentally features a couple of tunes in this mix, most memorably Two Tribes accompanying Robbie Coltrane’s march down the pier.  The Sade track is one I used to infuriate Pearly with by putting on every time I walked into his room. After that Malcolm McLaren reinvents himself for the 80’s with a New Jersey DJ crew. But it was his producer, Trevor Horn, who was really “the man who invented the 80’s” and Horn’s behind the next three tracks.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 8.44.23 AMThe single release of Paranoimia featured another 80’s icon, Max Headroom, but I never liked it as much as the LP version, so that’s used here. 1984’s 1984 provides a track that reminds me more of Nicky Horne on Channel 4 than O’Brien for some reason. Then the mix ends with long versions of Bowie and Prince tracks. U Got The Look was on permanent rotation in that basement flat in Westbourne Park – I can’t be sure but it was probably playing that night Wyn, Chloe, Jiva and I finished off the ‘lizard drink’ and Kamal ate the lizard…

  1. Private Life (dub mix) – Grace Jones
  2. I’ve Seen That Face Before (long version) – Grace Jones
  3. Venceremos – Working Week
  4. Slave To The Rhythm (blooded mix) – Grace Jones
  5. Paradise (extended remix) – Sade
  6. Buffalo Gals (special stereo scratch mix) – Malcolm McLaren & The World’s Famous Supreme Team
  7. Paranoimia (LP version) – The Art of Noise
  8. Two Tribes (carnage mix) – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  9. Doubleplusgood – Eurythmics
  10. Let’s Dance (long version) – David Bowie
  11. U Got The Look (long look version) – Prince

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~ by ricardosevere on 10/07/2018.

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