Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Too tenuous? Well, how else can you fly to the sun other than by rocket? Plus, I've been dying to post this song for aeons.

I first came across the Silicon Teens back in the very early 80s. Working in the outskirts of London, well, into Kent, actually, Sidcup, that there London was a brief train journey up the tracks. Given the future first Mrs Og was still working in London, I spent a fair length of time on that journey. A favourite meander was around Soho, on the cusp of the clean-up between seedy and boho. (Now, inevitably, it is all smart and squeaky clean, smartened up beyond belief.) A common feature of the street markets, omnipresent then on most streets, or so my rose-tinted suggest, would always be the record stall, usually selling promo only discs surplus to the requirements of the music biz centred thereabouts. A good stash of singles could could be bought for next to nothing, and one such was the 3rd single by the Silicon Teens, Just Like Eddie. This was a fabulously bonkers synth led version of the old r'n'r staple, as originally by ex-Tornado, Heinz. With a ludicrous middle eight of random noises, reprised at the end, I so loved the version, and still do.

However, the b-side contained the song I feature, and it swiftly took pride of place as the go-to side. A swirling concoction of early Pink Floyd, a dab of Hawkwind, and the same flat adenoidal vocal that   so beguiles the flip. Wonderful stuff. But who were they? I soon discovered they were really he, he, the voice and the instrumentation, the arrangements, the production, all being Daniel Miller. Miller was the main man and founder of Mute records. He still is. I guess their best known signing would be Depeche Mode, spotty oiks from Basildon, in Essex, a tad round the ring road from Sidcup, a quasi boy band with rudimentary synthesiser backing, who extraordinarily morphed into US stadium fillers, as they matured into songs about doom, death, drugs and, obliquely, religion. Although Miller no longer produces their records, they remain on, in the UK, his label. Other notable signings would include Nick Cave and Goldfrapp.
Anyway, Miller decided to invent a band to allow him the vanity of interpreting some old standards from his youth; he was born in 1951. Sole album, Music For Parties, was exactly as it said on the label, catchy and disposable covers of, amongst others, Memphis, Tennessee and Sweet Little Sixteen. Infectiously raw, they maintain a naive charm that never fails to make me smile. I didn't care that Darryl, Jacki, Paul and Diane didn't really exist, actors portraying them for any interview or video, for me they were real, and I was disappointed no new material was ever forthcoming, beyond the sole appearance of a re-recorded Red River Rock in the soundtrack of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Brief though their tenure on the charts prove to be, and that was scant, they only bothering the UK indie equivalent, relatively sparse ground at the time, and in no little part because they mainly recreate oldies, Silicon Teens are amongst the cream of my 80s synth bands. Or 80s bands altogether.

Little known fact, but the Silicon Teens actually had a song named after them, and about them. It's by the Pulsars.

Just Sunflight? Or more....

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