High octane and plenty of lead

I guest posted at Ad Libbed again (I’m getting good at posting elsewhere) but I’ll repeat it here. Fiona who runs Ad Libbed is getting everyone’s favourite albums and has had lots of guest posts so far – why not email adlibbedblog@yahoo.co.uk and get your own on there?

Like everyone, I had a few moments of deliberation when choosing my favourite album. Sentiment would draw me to Kylie’s X or Roxette’s Look Sharp – but then I’d feel guilty for ignoring Kylie, Light Years and Tourism. Besides I’ve already indulged a bit of the Kylie/Roxette love over here. The thoughts of Catatonia’s International Velvet and The B52s’ Cosmic Thing also crossed my mind briefly. But really, there could only be one choice.

1989 has a lot to answer for in my life. So many of my music tastes were cemented that year – The Cure, Roxette and this little lot.

My favourite album ever is Fuzzbox’s Big Bang.

I don’t remember when I first heard International Rescue, the first single off Big Bang. I think I read about it in Smash Hits before I ever heard the song, but once I did, I was smitten. I remember buying the 7″ from Woolworths and by the time the album’s third single, Self, was out, I was onto limited edition picture disc buying. I bought the limited Japanese gatefold edition (with a badge!) of Walking on Thin Ice and then I waited forever for the single after that, Your Loss My Game, to arrive in therecord department of WHSmith in Grimsby, then on the top floor – it can’t have been long before that shop became a side mall in the new shopping centre, Freshney Place where it now houses Baskin Robbins and Tie Rack. Or at least it did last time I was there.

It’s not just about the songs for me (although what songs! Pink Sunshine! Fast Forward Futurama! Irish Bride!), it’s what those songs represent – a turning point in my love of music, a turning point in my growing up, a time when my pocket money became firmly directed in one direction only – music.

And for a time, I became a proper fan. When Smash Hits cruelly gave the album 6.5/10 I scribbled the score out and made it 9 (Even I have to knock a point off for Versatile for Discos and Parties). I collected every clipping of the band I could get my hands on. I sourced their rare first album, Bostin Steve Austin (which I have yet to find on CD) and their early 7″s from before the Big Bang era when they were all punky. I waited forever for a third album which never came. When I got on the internet in 1996 the first things I did were find pages about Fuzzbox. The very first homepage I ever set up was dedicated to them.

And in the years that followed, like someone haunted by their ex, I was always listening out for music that sounded a bit like Fuzzbox. The likes of Lush, Verucca Salt, Skunk Anansie and Catatonia found their way into my affections by accident – coming across some music on Radio One that sounded ‘a bit like Fuzzbox’ in 1994 – discovering the Evening Session and Mark Radcliffe on the back of that, and then Britpop and so on… I’ve found many loves since then, but no other female-fronted group (Roxette are a male/female duo, it’s not the same thing) have won my heart like We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Going to Use it did. They’ll always be the standard I measure music by.


4 thoughts on “High octane and plenty of lead

  1. I very, very vaguely remember them appearing on Timmy Mallet’s morning show. I must have only have been about 4. Whether that early influence affected my future music tastes I don’t know, but I went down a similar path and loved Skunk Anansie, Lush and Catatonia in the ’90s.

    Some of those appeared on my birthday playlist I did over a month ago. (I don’t know if you’d be interested, but I like your writing on other blogs, so as a newbie at blogging I’d be interested in any views you might have on some of the posts there). http://headphonedaydreams.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/birthday-playlist/

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