Your Call 5 live Breakfast, Weekdays, 9am, BBC 5 live
Still crazy after all these years
The unwelcome news of the death of Pete Shelley from Buzzcocks was unwelcome, but it opened a sluice gate this morning for a tremendous outpouring of Campbell’s gloop.
Top of the morning stuff from Nicky, a man previously identifying frequently with the Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys, but now abruptly self-rebadged as a veteran of the punk wars who passed his teenage years pogoing, listening to the Pistols and for all you know huffing glue under the fire escape. Well, probably not the last one.
Yes! Nicky played Anarchy In The UK on Your Call. I think he might have been singing along. He certainly recited the words to God Save The Queen afterwards, rolling his rs in Rotten style. He is an anitchrrrist-ah!
Trigger for this was the transformation of Your Call from Brexit plate-balancing to a showcase for ex-ravers to recall the soundtracks of their adolescences and Nicky’s newly revealed heyday.
What Do I Get? by the Buzzcocks. Takes him right back there – when he was 16, 17 years old. Or 15. Potent times. That nostalgic aural power, it trrransports you, he said, rolling some random rs to limber up.
Then he played Teenage Dirtbag, Movin’ On Up (Primal Scream, not M People) and Everybody Wants To Rule The World. It was Absolute Classic Rock on the BBC. In more gentlemanly times past, there would have been middle-aged outrage over the papers and fuming calls to the legendarily jammed switchboard.
But now, as stagnating generations fuse into a homogenous glob of Queen fans who like a bit of Wheatus with their Weetabix, it’s the opposite: outrageous middle-agers grooving through the toast racks, while the actual teenage dirtbags roll their eyes and not their rs.
What a playlist! said Nicky, apparently clapping his hands. A mere aperitif, though. The first listener to take the air was – oh, happy coincidence – Rowetta! That’s Rowetta from the Happy Mondays. Awww, rrright! said Nicky, channelling Neil Kinnock at that Sheffield rally. How you doin’?
And – oh, happy coincidence – she picked one of Nicky’s favourite records. Mind you, before that Nicky needed to compare Shelley’s work to ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. Had to happen. But they sped on to his pogoing era, when he wriggled around in stale beer and fag butts.
He even labelled themselves a couple of old farts. Him and Rowetta. Liking Anarchy In The UK. He remembered the good times. Should they just go for it? Awww, no! What?!? Deee-strrroy! Sing it Johnny! I Iove you, Rowetta, I love you. Awww … God!
You got the impression Nicky was heading for a Bill Grundy moment, but with him swearing, as he talked about Never Mind The Bollocks and said it was great that we can say that word on the radio now. Bollocks! Bollocks! Bollocks!
Actually, he didn’t say that last bit. But he should have. He was Cartman in the Petit Tourette episode of South Park, a crazed minor with a licence to ill. And all thanks to Pete Shelley. He could’ve really used it.
He did get excited and say, loudly, God save the Queen, the fascist rrrr-egime, made you a morrr-on, potential hhh-aitch bomb! Didn’t we love records that were banned? Frankie? Relax?
Could this get any better? Well, he played Sweet Gene Vincent by Ian Dury and they both swooned, as something special happened. Something amazing, that just makes you feel … alive. Oh God, Rowetta! Oh, oh, oh! I’m tingling all over! Whoof!
Could this get any better? Well, Sally in Bournemouth came on to bat for I Feel For You by Chaka Khan. She’d just discovered Prince back then, and then this track came out.
I think, said Nicky, soberly, he is underrated – skipping Chaka Khan and getting straight on to Prince. Who, when you think about it, is an ideal addition to his Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys repertoire. Classic cuisine, but with a dash of sauce.
Could this get any better? Not really. A lot of waffle about how Buzzcocks songs would sound equally good on classical piano, and Judge Jules ushering the love-in towards the house revolution. Seminal – an incredible time, said Nicky, but his heart wasn’t in it.
Still, give it 20 years. He’ll be spinning drill tunes and reminiscing about the LBC opps.
Bollocks to the lot of you!