Friday, 11 June 2010
Got no money, got no friends
Punk chucked up a lot of chancers, incompetent musicians with nothing to say who jumped on the bandwagon and started spitting and flicking v signs at passers by.
Raped were one of the most pathetic of these groups: pretty awful musically, they made up for their mediocrity by courting controversy at every turn.
Whereas a record like ‘God Save The Queen’ becomes a cause celebre because its subject matter goes against the societal grain, an EP called ‘Pretty Paedophiles’ (Raped’s first record, released in 1977) is simply about shock: it cannot create a debate because there are no opposing opinions – paedophiles are not pretty, just deeply abhorrent.
Not surprisingly, the larger department stores refused to stock the record on title alone, which gave Raped an opportunity to gleefully proclaim on the sleeve that the record is 'not available WH Smiths, Boots or Woolies' giving their crappy stuff the cachet of being 'banned' and raising their profile above and beyond what they could ever have earned on musical merit alone.
Their second single ‘Cheap Night Out’ came with a free comic that parodied teen publications like ‘My Guy’ and ‘Jackie’, complete with agony column, profiles of the band members and a competition where ‘you can win a free concert from Raped at your school – with or without the Head’s permission!’. Phew, smash the system.
I don’t know if anyone ever won the competition, or if Raped hit a career peak and played an unauthorised gig in a school playground, but I know they split up shortly after the release of this record, only to return very quickly as proto-Goth Bowie freaks The Cuddly Toys.
So, after all the posturing and the minor outrage, what we’re left with is the music and, actually, flip me, you know what, it doesn’t sound half bad in 2010 - rather like something you’d play a visiting Alien who wanted an overview of what punk mostly sounded like, or a track from a budget Top of The Pops LP where session musicians are trying to emulate the sound of The Stranglers after a heavy liquid lunch.
So, here's the 'Pretty Paedophiles' EP in full, all ten minutes of it.
‘Moving Target' has a melody that could have been quite sharp in other hands but is let down by poor time keeping, yobbish vocals and by being nearly four minutes long. 'Raped' is not as you might expect their manifesto but rather a song about wanting to be raped (which seems a contradiction in terms). ‘Escalator Hater’ sounds like it could have been a Ballardian tale of alienation in a featureless shopping centre but it isn’t, the narrator just doesn’t like escalators: in fact, he hates them. Finally, 'Normal' is the song most obviously in thrall to The Sex Pistols and has an awful guitar solo and a memorable refrain, 'normal you're not normal, normal, so informal...'
Those were the days, my friends...