Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Scritti Politti - "Skank Bloc Bologna" (St. Pancras Records ‎– SCRIT 1) 1978

As i mentioned before the best thing to come out of Wales is the M4, and a young Green Gartside used that portal to escape to London with his university(Leeds) pop group.
Never in the field of human conflict has a band fallen from grace more spectacularly than Scritti Politti.
The third single of the three big catalysers of the DIY vinyl boom of 78-80,after 'Spiral Scratch(Buzzcocks),and The Desperate Bicycles; this exercise in marxist anti-capitalism was intended to encourage others to follow the same DIY philosophy. Like The Desperate Bicycles they included instructions and the costings on how to record and release your own single. 
Egalitarian and anti-corporate as it was, the music was also inspiringly non-rock, verging on the anti-music.Classically loose and falling apart,there was a notably improvisational slant to Scritti's music;well,It's not disco music.
There is also a certain 'right-on-ness' about it all that makes one feel slightly nauseous however.
There was mention of a meeting in Scritti's Pub/office,of the London Musicians Collective,(as recounted fully in Bendle's excellent DIY biog "Permanent Transience",buy it here)  where Bendle (of The Door and the Window)is berated by a self-righteous Green Gartside for using the word 'Cunt' to refer to someone he didn't care for very much.

"During the course of our conversation when I derogatorily referred to someone as “a cunt”, Green stopped me and pointed out the sexist nature of my language. Prick – he said, why not use that epithet, and explained why." (Bendle)*

Yes, please explain it to us Green.

Prick, was an apt word to describe our favourite right-on marxist pop singer who would soon embrace capitalism to show us how good a socialist he really was.
All this correct behaviour was soon to be flushed down the nearest ladies toilet, when Gartside discovered something called 'Black Music' and went 'Pop'! Starting with the shockingly conventional "The 'Sweetest' Girl" single, and the terrible "Songs To Remember" album.Then it got far worse, with some sickly sweet blue-eyed soul crap.
What was that oft-used phrase again?...ah yes...'Like Punk Never Happened'.

*Bendle (2015-02-21). Permanent Transience (Kindle Locations 1085-1086).  . Kindle Edition.

A Skank Bloc Bologna
B1 Is And Ought The Western World
B2 28 / 8 / 78


zeroid said...

Well I have to say I prefer them when he went pop, this EP is way overated, just cos it's one of the first DIY don't mean it's one of the best IMO

Philip Johnson said...

I remember an interview in Sounds where he said "What's the point of doing your own record and selling 250 copies." Talking about kicking over the ladder you've climbed.

Jonny Zchivago said...

I'm always suspicious about white people who have dreads,and/or wear their shirt collars erect....he was doing something that he seemed to totally miss the point of....or was it just a pose?
ps...philip, i did a radio show where i mentioned your name as a legend and played some Doof....there's a link in the margins of the blog.

aging punk said...

We all do things we regret but WTF I love early Scritti. as for the word cunt, it's one of my favourites

Jonny Zchivago said...

Shhh! Green won't be happy!

Anton said...

...or was it just a pose?

All pose, JZ. All pose.

He also loved Jacques Derrida so much that he couldn't even pronounce his name correctly.

jaypee said...

I am not particularly efficient with my comments but thank you so much for this record and all the great music on your blog. No, really.

johndb said...

Absolute classic, my favourite Scritti was bibliotek and doubt beat, still played to this day