"Who d'you fink you are?.....Lol Coxhill?" once did say Johnny Moped as Xerxes whipped out a saxophone. One of the many great quotes from the as yet unwritten Bible of Rock'n'roll.
"Who do you think you are?....Lol Coxhill??" (note the better spoken style text).....once did Mark Astronaut sayeth,not!
"Er...Yes",spake Lol Coxhill,who actually did appear on the first half of an Astronauts album.
The 21st century version of his name, a contraction of Lawrence, now translates as "Laugh Out Loud',but nobodies laughing anymore. What this versatile master of the UK improvisation scene,and erstwhile member of the London Musicians Collective is doing on an album by semi-legendary anarcho hippy folk punk UK DIY band from Welwyn Garden City, otherwise known as The Astronauts, is anybodies guess;but check the record,check the guys track record;he put himself about a bit.....he is most definitely NOT appreciated.(Note the clever Fall references).....as is not Mark Astronaut himself.
Personally, i'd remove most of the sax wailing from the mix if I had the chance.
This is one of those records that you'd like to remix.....this'll be fun.......such as......I'd turn up the phasing on "Strictly Personal",remove the string sections from Bryter Layter, re-record the drums on "Loveless" and replace those sampler tone wheel guitar things with the real thing. I'd also erase "Bat Out Of Hell completely,and that sodding Gun'n'Roses LP too,no lips shall speak its name.....not so much a remix in those cases, more like retribution for past evil unleashed....not yer proper Evil either,a special shit kind of Evil.Erase them from history please Satan for devaluing your kind legacy,or give us the power O lord and master,and we shall skip joyfully into the flames.
In fact, if ever there were two albums that Lol Coxhill could have guested on it should have been those two atrocities.
Only when something's gone does one truly appreciate it's previous existence. And i'm not talking about Bat Out of Hell and that other one...oh yeah Bat Out Of Hell 2 ...I'm talking about The Astronauts ain't I? Since the noble DIY hippy-punk himself Mark Astronaut bought a one way ticket into infinity a couple of weeks ago.
So forgive me if you wanted more Rock In Opposition obscurities ,this is a much delayed tribute to the Bard of Welwyn garden City.
I do have the enviable quality of being a fickle and shallow hypocrite,son't you wish you were like me?
Said with no pretense of pride,I admit to being a bit hard on The Astronauts in the past,in fact most of the Anarcho-Punk scene.Over the past 13 years of this blog,I have slowly shifted my attitude to that trustafarian army......it's all grown on me hasn't it!? The Mob and Rudimentary Peni,were always a subject of my fickle admiration. Don't misunderstand me, the soapboxey nature of the sickening self-righteousness still makes me wanna vomit,but I have projected it all in a pissy yellowlight of charm for oneself. I now find myself thinking "Awww bless 'em" whenever Flux Of Pink Indians tells me of the horrors of a nuclear death....again!Even Crass...."AWWWWW Bless their little black cotton socks".
The Astronauts have been elevated over the years into the Mob/Rudimentary Peni division,having won on penalties in the play-offs......The Subhumans lost again,joining Zounds pressing for promotion from the 2nd tier again next year.
Now I listen joyfully to The Astronauts as a great lost Pop Band,in the same way as i was slowly converted to thoroughly enjoy REM.(!Guilt wot Guilt?) Funnily enough both groups have a certain Folky quality that i find rather appealing.
The Astronauts have gigs booked until October I notice.....sadly these will have to be fulfilled on the Astral Plain,as Mark succumbed to his own debated mortality......yet Bono lives!
NB:This album consisted of some new material (A1-B1) and re-release of old tracks (B2-B5) taken from the original singles (literally, as the masters had gone missing).
New material recorded Dec. '85.
Old tracks 1979 - 1980.
A1 Friends 5:53
A2 Books 3:12
A3 Blues For A Sceptic 7:13
A4 The Birds 9:04
B1 Following Orders 5:05
B2 Survivors 5:45
B3 All Night Party 2:40
B4 Young Man's World 4:19
B5 We Were Talking 4:28