In recent weeks I made the bold, possibly foolhardy, decision to set up a Patreon page for the Mild Mannered Army.
It is a difficult thing to ask people you don’t know to support you financially for your “creative” endeavours.
I did it because I wanted to be able to continue to give the time and energy to the content I produce, to help fund the costs involved in attending gigs and travelling to them, to invest in better equipment for the podcast and to make me incredibly wealthy.
I am joking.
I know I won’t become wealthy.
A few kindly souls have already committed themselves to supporting me and, frankly, that has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion.
The kindness of strangers.
To “reward” them for their support I decided to send off a little goody bag.
That included a bit of chocolate to nibble on, a handwritten letter of thanks (it’s nice, I think, to receive a handwritten letter) and a CD of Britpop curiosities.
Those first pouches of loveliness have now reached their intended recipients and I thought I would explain to them why I chose each of the songs…new supporters will receive a different set of songs this week, so I am not spoiling the surprise.
Teenage Emergency by The Flamingoes
James Cook has been an incredibly supportive figure in the Mild Mannered Army story; he agreed to be interviewed, he has sent several messages of support and has encouraged me to keep going when I have questioned whether or not there was any worth in what I was doing.
Including this single from his band is my way of thanking him and spreading the sound of The Flamingoes to as many souls as I can.
Also, it’s a banger…all “Smells Like Teen Spirit” chords and angst but filtered through the arch sensibilities of an English writer.
You can (and should) buy James’ book “Memory Songs” here.
You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For by Catatonia
The first top forty hit of Catatonia’s career and lifted from their debut album “Way Beyond Blue” this introduces the voice of Cerys Matthews and the pop ‘n’ roll wonders of the band in a wonderful way.
I think, sadly, that Catatonia are remembered for the likes of “Mulder and Scully” and “Road Rage” over songs like this. While “Mulder and Scully” and “Road Rage” are both fine pop songs in their own right they overshadow the better moments in the back catalogue of an under-rated band from the era.
Filmstar (demo) by Suede
Instantly recognisable as the glam rock, stomper that eventually crashed into the charts and smashed in the doors of every indie disco in the land there is something thrilling about hearing this song in its embryonic stages…less polished, scuzzier, it is the sound of a band working, crafting, creating and refining.
Lenny by Supergrass
This is the sound of youth.
No matter what These Animal Men might tell you.
From the flawless debut album “I Should Coco” I could have lifted any single moment but “Lenny” seems to capture the essence of who Supergrass were…and thus who we all were at that moment in time.
What The Ramones would have sounded like if they had come from Oxford and not been junkies.
Cleaner, sharper and…better.
***don’t bother commenting, I don’t care***
Ain’t No Longer Asking by Dodgy
The “lost riff” version.
For what that is worth.
Really it is here because Dodgy are another band with a back catalogue that is overshadowed by those songs.
A band who knew that music could soothe, heal and bring the light of joy to the darkest corners of your life.
Millionaire Sweeper by Kenickie
I love Kenickie.
I get the feeling that at least one former member doesn’t share that feeling.
This is here because one of my supporters would have driven from their home to berate me (if they were feeling kindly) or murder me (if they were feeling less kindly) had I not included something by them on any mix that arrived on their doorstep.
You are welcome darling heart.
Faces in a Dream by Hurricane#1
You’ve got ears right?
It should be obvious then.
A stone cold classic.
One of the best singles of the era.
A Fool to Follow by The Gyres
The best Scottish band of the era?
Depends on the day.
What isn’t up for discussion is that the rambling, rollicking, rock and rolling shuffle of The Gyres deserves to be appreciated by a wider audience.
So here they are.
Fireboy by Lick
Lick are one of the great lost bands of the nineties…bona fide contenders at one point before things just seemed to turn to dust. A favourite of Seymour Stein and with a front-man who deserved his place in the spotlight simply by virtue of his being the glammiest, poppiest, starriest, star who never was of the entire era.
Fireboy is, as my good friend @BritpopMemories stated, “…a lost Britpop classic”.
From a Window by Northern Uproar
A highlight of last year’s Star Shaped Festival Northern Uproar were the runts of the Britpop litter but despite their tender years they produced one of the great singles of the era with this power pop belter.
Forgotten by many…loved by the few who really get it.
Vegas by Sleeper
Soon to return with a brand new album (which I am confidently predicting will be the best of their career) it isn’t possible for anyone who cares about the music of the Britpop era to compile any sort of compilation and not include something from them.
Sleeper are about as close to perfection as it is possible for a group to get.
It could have been any song…it just happened to be this one.
No One Speaks by Geneva
Andrew Montgomery gave a set that broke my heart then mended it again at last year’s Star Shaped festival.
This week the band are back together and playing live again…I hinted at exactly this in my review of that Star Shaped appearance.
I didn’t know anything.
You could just feel the sense that Montgomery knew there was more to come…he could feel the love in the room.
London Girls by (Stephen) Duffy
“You’re the latest hot-shot, Britpop, poet, laureate.”
What else do you want?
Hero of my Day by Thurman
Debate rages across the world about what the ultimate Britpop album is.
I’ll save you all a lot of time…it is “LUX” by Thurman.
This is a b-side to one of their perfect singles.
Because everything they ever recorded was brilliant.
I Don’t Think So by The Supernaturals
Another that I reckon might be about to surprise us all with new music.
That, right there, is a reason to be cheerful in the midst of all this mixed up, muddled up, gubbins that is raging all around us.
Violent Men by Marion
A song from the corner of the Britpop room.
A brooding, brutal and blisteringly honest song that reached out to the grotesque and lonely, the grotesquely lonely and helped them accept that things were going to be alright because somebody else did understand.
Know Where to Find You by Mantaray
I am currently working my way through two hours of recorded conversation with Dave and Chris from Mantaray in order that I might try and tell their tale.
Not Mod revivalists but a band with the Mod attitude, the Mod look and the Mod sound coursing through everything they did.
If you don’t own their debut album “Some Pop” you should rectify that situation tonight.
Joyriders (acoustic) by Pulp
There is a well known Face who would have had me expelled from the Britpop community had I failed to include something by Pulp here…so I chose this b-side to “Common People” because, well just because it’s the b-side to the biggest song of the entire era and I like to be contrary.
And that was that.
Delivered to even better people.
Thanks to all of you who have pledged your support over on Patreon.
You haven’t done it yet?
Well…why not do it just now and then I’ll curate a lovely little mix like this just for you and, if you are really good, I’ll send you some chocolate too.
Then you can look forward to other occasional treats dropping through your letterbox too.
I don’t do personal appearances though.
I did it once and it all went a bit Partridge.