Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral cover

Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral

Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral back cover

Four Lads sculpture Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral takes its title from a sculpture outside what used to be Eric's (seminal Punk era venue) in Liverpool called Four Lads Who Shook The World (very near what was once The Cavern) representing The Beatles. It's by Arthur Dooley (picture left, click to enlarge).

Three Pictures The cover itself is very much like The Residents' Meet The Residents LP cover, with different (non-shrimp) heads. The three pictures on the inside of the CD booklet and on the back of the LP (shown right) are taken from Yesterday's Wirral No. 7. The top one is Upton Station, the bottom one is Bidston Junction, and the one marked 'Where's Sainsbury's?' is a 1903 view of Woodchurch Road in Prenton, where a Sainsbury's store (and Graham Pluck's mum's house) is now situated (got it right in the end, Russ).

The Four Lads The Four Lads (shown left) are Lance Drysdale, Frank Lazarus, Hywel Hughes and John Eastwood. I know there was an FL who wrote film music, and there's another who's recently appeared as a radio actor in an adaptation of Stephen Baxter's rather good novel Voyage...but why he/they would have shook the Wirral God alone knows. Hywel Hughes has been mentioned by Nigel at gigs before when people shout out for I Hate Nerys Hughes. But I don't know who the picture on the sleeve is actually of...

Children of Apocalyptic Techstep

The Children of the Apocalypse are a religious cult, who believe the end of the world is nigh, sometime in November (1998), I think.

Four Skinny Indie Kids

Another 'list song', a bit like ITMA with choruses.
Chapterhouse were a shoe-gazing bunch from the early '90's. If this is what Nigel's referring to.
Camden The trendy bit of musical London. Allegedly.
Sanskrit Crispin Kula Shaker's favourite language.
Dunstable is next door to Luton, between Milton Keynes and London.
Saltergate is Chesterfield FC's home ground, but may also refer to a "village" on the Yorkshire Moors between Whitby and Pickering, infamous for one thing - the local former coaching Inn, the sole building for miles around, which had a permenant fire burning in it since it was first built and was forbidden to be allowed to go out, the story going because it was built over the grave of an executed witch & they were worried she'd wreck the place if the fire ever went out. Apparantly whilst being able to walk through solid walls, etc. ghosts nevertheless can be burned. Has recently been bought out by a couple of Llewellyn Bowen types intending to convert it into flats. The fact it is in the middle of nowhere (& so who the hell will buy them?) has no more deterred them than the fate of the man that took over the infamously haunted Sudbury Mill in Suffolk with similar plans in mind, and met a gruesome death by electrocution within a month (the "mysterious fallen beam just missing his head" a week earlier apparantly not a subtle enough hint)...expect "mystery death of couple found at haunted Inn" headlines in a tabloid paper near you soon...Further evidence that this may be the Saltergate Nigel's referring to is the local hillwalking group that does organised walking tours of the area is called...Footprints. Hmmm...(ta to Mark Boyle for this).
Belsize as in Park, in London.
Boy's Brigade The military wing of the Scouting movement.
Krooklok One of those clunky metal horrors that you secure to your steering wheel to deter casual car theft. Very difficult to remove or cut through. Compared to steering wheels, which are (I'm told) dead easy to saw holes in and remove the Krooklok from.
Website Probably not a reference to this place.
"We've got lo-fi....what ain't we got, we ain't got mates!" This bit is 'borrowed' from There Is Nothing Like A Dame from South Pacific, also featured rather brilliantly on a Morecambe and Wise Xmas special, using newsreaders as the sailors, with Eddie Waring, Kenneth Kendall, Michael Parkinson and many others (ta to Andy Sandall for remembering!).
lo-fi Guided by Voices, Will Oldham and the rest.
tie dye Is this still popular?
Steve Lamacq presents the Evening Session on Radio 1.
celibate lead singers probably referring to Mozzer.
Sebadoh Lou Barlow's (ex-Dinosaur Jr) bunch, somewhat lo-fi at times.
docs Doc Marten's boots. Oh come on, you all knew that.
majors The major labels, who HMHB weren't a million miles away from signing for a year or two ago...
This whole bit uses some tune from an advert, which I believe is the Do-It-All one.

You're Hard

Henry Rollins U.S. vocalist/songwriter/actor/stand-up comendian. Mr Angry in Black Flag, Mr Tattoos in the Rollins Band, but a nice chap really.
Jimmy Nail Geordie actor, now attempting to do Country & Western.
Sainsbury's Supermarkets. Loads of 'em.
Lenny Henry Black comedian, started off on Tiswas and then Three of a Kind, married Dawn French, now appears in crap sitcoms like Chef.
Jenny Eclair a supposed comedienne, who hasn't ever been funny in my book. Was in the fairly terrible Packet of Three on C4 a few years back, and also the play Steaming, but still won the Perrier Award in 1995.
Deayton, Baddiel, Anderson, Brand Angus, David, Clive and Jo, the currently acceptable face of 'alternative' comedy.
Mariella Frostrup Sexy voice of the first water. Presented Video View on C4, which became The Little Picture Show, but little else apart from the voiceovers. Married to Richard Jobson, ex- of the Skids and The Armoury Show (not their back catalogue again...) and now to be found being patronising on VH-1. The tune to this bit is from The Oompah Song in Oliver ('There's a little ditty, they're singing in the city' - sad but true).
New Labour, Mr Blair You can't have missed them, even if you live on the moon.

On Reaching The Wensum

Or 'Tales of Norfolk pt 2'.
Wensum River in Norfolk, runs pretty much alongside Nigel's favourite road, the A47, towards Norwich.
Swaffham is on the A47 in Norfolk, about 30 miles west of Norwich, and has an RAF base.
Rustics Country folk.
Red Dwarf Sci-fi prog on BBC with Craig Charles and Chris Barrie.
Cemaes Bay is on the north coast of Anglesey, North Wales.
(Kris) Akabusi UKs top 400m hurdler of a few years ago, now occasional TV presenter with religious overtones, but most famous for being incredibly enthusiastic about absolutely anything, and finding even David Coleman funny on A Question Of Sport.
Restart interview One of those many things dreamt up by various governments over the years to "help people back to work". Some worthwhile jobs just might work better.
New Deal New Labour's New Policy, i.e. let's try and convince all the Tories that we're just like them, really.

Moody Chops

Wonder who this is about, then...'chopping' also being a style of playing; an interview with Leonard Cohen mentions 'moody chops' - these being when a musician gets a spark of inspiration from above and then writes some brilliant stuff...
Muddy Water(s) OK, a bit tenuous...legendary Chicago blues man and chief inspiration of the Rolling Stones. The line actually comes from Jimmy Rodgers' T for Texas.
Zuider See The inlet of water from the North Sea in the Netherlands, which is actually called something else these days. The Dutch are quite keen to reclaim the land back from the sea.
Jools Jools Holland, ex-ivory tinkler with Squeeze, now music TV presenter, mainly with Later..., where newly-serious bands try to look cool and sophisticated by being as miserable as sin...
The jam sketch That bit on "Later..." when everyone gets dead muso and they all play the same song (well, couple of chords) while he spins round the studio introducing the bands and giving the audience motion sickness.

Turn A Blind Eye

A re-write of the famous speech by Pastor Niemller of the Anti-Nazi Resistance Movement (Berlin, 1939) (thanks KD for this):

       First they came for the Jews,
       But I did not speak out,
       Because I was not a Jew.

       Then they came for the Communists,
       And I did not speak out,
       Because I was not a Communist.

       Then they came for the trade-unionists,
       And I did not speak out,
       Because I was not a trade-unionist.

       Then they came for the Catholics,
       And I did not speak out,
       Because I was not a Catholic.

       Then they came for me,
       And there was no one left to speak out for me.
which appears on (happy lounge) labelmates Calvin Party's LP Lies Lies & Government - title track, in fact. The new people who they 'come for' have often featured previously in live versions of God Gave Us Life.
Camp TV chefs Stand up Ainsley Harriett.
Romos The New Romantic revivalists, who looked daft and achieved nothing. Dex Dexter, Orlando, that sort of thing.
Eamonn Holmes is chief bloke on GMTV (that's ITV's breakfast telly show, for the non-Brits). He also pops up on appalling fill-in sports shows like Oddballs and tries to get all excited whilst showing that clip of Pele shooting from the halfway line which we've all seen twenty times before but Eamonn reckons is the world's best kept secret. Arse, I say.
Dani Behr presented The Word on C4 and hasn't been seen since. Apart from her 'sterling performance' (© S.McHugh) in Ice Warriors, of course.

Split Single With Happy Lounge Labelmates

Barbour expensive jacket, often of the tweed variety but other greener varieties prevail.
Twickenham Home of English Rugby Union.
Varsity university related, usually sporting, often Oxbridge.
Donald Sinden Upper-crust English actor who somehow went from starring in "Mogambo" with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, to "Rentadick" and "Never The Twain" in the same lifetime.
Chomsky Noam, U.S. linguist big on the study of language structure, but likes to define himself as a libertarian socialist (see below!)
Waterstones a book store chain, obviously.
Umberto Eco Professor of Semiotics at Bologna University, big on theories of what is real and what is original. Coincidentally also wrote "The Name Of The Rose"; Sean Connery was in the film.
Iranian Crepes probably taste very nice.
Gites French chalet-type holiday homes.
Kaleidoscope is a magazine programme on Radio 4.
Kinder Scout is a 'mountain' in the Peak District, quite near to...
Mam Tor, another hill in the region.
Giro the weekly pay cheque for the unemployed.
Cosi Fan Tutte Mozart opera, also the woman in Throbbing Gristle...
Uttoxeter Horse racing track in Staffs, sort of in the middle of the square created by Stoke, Stafford, Burton and Derby.

A Country Practice

This time round, Nigel 'borrows' from the chorus of Jimmy Rodgers' T for Texas...
County shows Where country types parade their cows and tractors and only farmers wear the correct footwear.
Wem is in Shropshire, not a million miles from Chirk airfield.
David Emmanuel designed ol' Princess Di's wedding dress.
Katherine Hamnett designer extraordinaire, and there's even a website where you can read all about her and see her collections.
Elton Welsby Aarghhh! Nightmare ITV Sports presenter/commentator, guaranteed to use the word "footy".
Fast falls the Eventide is from "Abide With Me".
Centre Court Wimbledon, tennis, of course.
Bitter ex-soap stars... Why does Chris Quinten (aka Brian Tilsley) spring to mind? And it's Quinten, not Quentin.
Proms Annual series of cocerts, mainly classical, ending in the biggest pile of nationalist pomp and circumstance imaginable. And did those feet, in ancient times...
Planet 24 TV production company, owned by Bob Geldof, and responsible the wild and wacky programmes that appear on Channel 4. Like The Word...
Time Warp the Rocky Horror Picture Show dance, of course.
Firkin Yep, them 'authentic Irish pubs' crop up again!
Joe Bloggs makes clothes, as sported by Nigel on occasions (see the live pics from Sheffield).
Steely Dan, synonymous with perfectionist studio hibernation, wry jazz hipsterism and chemically charged surreal imagery, spoke volumes about musical possibilities in the 1970's. According to this website, anyway.
Oompah music to drink yer German beer to.
"These are a few of my favourite things..." Nigel does Julie Andrews...from The Sound of Music, of course.
Millennium An excuse for scare stories about computers failing to work, the justification for building a massive dome no-one wants in London, and a TV series created by Chris (The X-Files) Carter with the main character called Frank Black who never made decent records with the Pixies.
Jehovah's Witnesses Michael Jackson's one...make up yer own mind.
Sons and Daughters, Home And Away Aussie soaps. Christ, who doesn't know that?
Sting is crap at finding the right accountant. Or just plain crap.
Barbican The largest multi-arts and conference venue in Europe, situated in the centre of London. Read all about it.
T for Toxteth(s) from Jimmy Rodgers' T for Texas.
Toxteth Liverpool suburb synonymous with the riots of the early 80's prevalent in Thatcher's Britain.
Thatcher God, do you really need reminding?

Secret Gig

Normally attended by the die-hard fans only, so no-one has the heart to tell the band that the new stuff is shite (ta Dougal).
The song itself borrows a bit (tune-wise) from a couple of previous hits...
Knock Three Times was a no.1 hit for Dawn in 1971. Wonder if they ever played any secret gigs?
The Clapping Song was a no.6 hit for Shirley Ellis in 1965. The Belle Stars covered it in the early '80s.
Also, there's...
Tredegar is in Gwent. South Wales, that is. But Nigel's no doubt referring to the prog-rock band of the same name.
Borderline is a venue in London.
MI5 + 1, CIA + 2 Yep, they're pretty big on secrecy. '+1' as standard on guest lists (even HMHB's).
MFI make furniture which can be assembled by applicating bracket A to panel B with appropriate screwing, and dis-assembled with a slight prod.
Sir Roger Casement served as British consul to several African countries in the late 19th century and eventually brought to light atrocities committed by white traders against native labourers in the Congo and Peru. This report brought him worldwide acclaim and a Knighthood. But when Casement retired from political service in 1912, he became involved with the growing nationalist movement in his native Ireland. His actions against Britain and an ill-advised attempt to involve Germany in the conflict during the Easter Rising of 1916 (he landed on Good Friday from a German submarine) led to his arrest for treason. Casement's reputation initially elicited strong support, but when word was spread (reportedly by official sources) that Casement was not only homosexual but had kept an explicit and graphic account of his sexual encounters, that support quickly faded. He was hanged for treason and buried in England; his remains were moved to Glasnevin cemetry in Eire in 1965. Hey, every song a potential history lesson...
Bob from the Basement Bob Dylan, recorded The Basement Tapes, the ultimate Secret Gig.
Evan Dando is the chief Lemonhead who never did anything inappropriate with either Courtney Love or Juliana Hatfield.
...and his sister Suzanne Suzanne Dando (no relation!), former British gymnast, now satellite TV presenter.
"...who live by the river" is from the original Mr Moody Chops, Leonard Cohen's Suzanne.

Soft Verges

Tales of an out-of-work actor. The title is from the signs by the side of motorways, but there is a poem by Adrian Henri, Song For A Beautiful Girl Petrol-Pump Attendant on the Motorway that contains the two lines

   I wanted your soft verges
   But you gave me the hard shoulder.
which may or may not have been some sort of inspiration for Nigel. The poem can be found in Henri's Collected Poems 1967-85, along with other anthologies, no doubt.
Verge is also an old-fashioned French term (which also appeared in old English, according to my OED) for the male member. Deuteronomy 23 is a good example; King James might have gone for, "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD"; the French version uses "verge". Gives a new meaning to the song title...(ta to Dr Larry Duffy for this).
The Swan Probably the pub on the Woodchurch Road, not far from Tranmere Rovers' ground (thanks John Bown).
Radio Times BBC-produced weekly TV & radio guide. The inside back page does indeed feature "My Kind Of Day". Usually the sort of thing where someone you haven't seen on telly for decades tells of how "the theatre is my first love" and getting the words right for that Weetabix commercial was "torture, lovey, just sheer torture".
Today News magazine programme on Radio 4, anchored by John Humphrys and famed for tough interviewing techniques.
Shepperton TV Studios on the south-east outskirts of London (on the M3).
Multi-Grain bar "Missed breakfast? Eat a Multi-Grain bar". Eat ten, more like.
South Downs are around Brighton.
Job Club supposedly helps the long-term unemployed find a job.
Signing on the ritual fortnightly humiliation to prove you're still out of work.
Free school meals If they're anything like when I was at school, this is surely a punishment rather than a benefit.
"Gary Doesn't Live Here Anymore" Cliff Richard song, if you change "Gary" to "Carrie".


Another of those religious-sounding songs, similar to He Who Would Valium Take but in a country styling.
Jordan River.
Keith is up in the Grampian region of Scotland.
Elgin, as in Marbles, is just up the road from Keith. 40 miles east of Inverness.
Nairn is 20-odd miles west of Elgin on the south shore of the Moray Firth in the Highland region, between Inverness and Forres.
Brora is further up the Highland east coast. I think Nigel's been using the Scottish non-league football results for inspiration...
Kiss Gene Simmons and his motley crew of rockers with the over-the-top make-up. Or for you younger listeners, this is who Robbie Williams is parodying in the Let Me Entertain You video.

Ready Steady Goa

Title obviously a concatenation of the 60's TV pop show Ready Steady Go! and the super-fashionable place to drop out in India. Anyone seen Richey? The tune is in the same vein as the happy-clappy Hare Krishna chant.
Mr Leary Dr Timothy, the now-deceased king of LSD previously alluded to in Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off.
Mr Lama The Dalai, top religious bloke in Tibet (although not according to the Chinese).
Dear Prudence Beatles song from the (so-called) White Album ('68), also covered by Siouxsie & the Banshees in '83.
Wavey Davey was (one of) the main men behind Woodstock, and also character in "Vic Reeves Big Night Out".
Congratulations, hallucinations a parody of Cliff Richard's No.1 from '68.
Helter Skelter Also on the White Album, a particular inspiration to Charles Manson.
Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones, opening song from Let It Bleed, '69.
Berghaus is a make of rucksack popular with inter-railers, hikers etc.
Fodor writes travel guides.
Rickshaw Tricycle taxi in India.
Maharishi Indian guru, obviously referring to George Harrison's mate Manesh Yogi.
Navratilova Ex-Czech ex-womens' tennis champion.
Scouser Liverpudlian.
Ravi Shankar Sitar man popularised by the Beatles and a few festivals.

Keeping Two Chevrons Apart

"Tiredness can kill - take a break."
Referring to motorway driving, of course, drivers are advised to keep two chevrons apart so that they don't run into the back of one another when the obligatory Sunday driver swerves in front of them. Apparently there's a sign saying "Keep two chevrons apart" just after Rothersthorpe Services...
Rothersthorpe is a village a few miles south of Northampton, far better known for being a service station at Junction 15a on the M1 where football coaches always seem to gather. The North & South bits allude to the direction of approach.
Amoco Cadiz is the name of the infamous oil tanker that ran aground in the '70s, resulting in usual ecological disaster (Amoco = AMerican Oil COrporation)
Abergele is between Colwyn Bay and Rhyl on the North Wales coast.
Biarritz posh resort on the Bay of Biscay, just off the Pyrenees.

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