In 1981 I was a pretty shallow young person. I was also distracted much of the time and prone to impulsive decisions.
This led to all sorts of interesting situations that would develop very quickly if there was not a guiding a hand in place. When the firm guiding hand of mentorship and usually parental concern was removed all sorts of random things could happen. Suddenly I may be careering towards the motorway on a go-cart constructed from odds and ends found on the tip or seeing how far that reconstructed chopper bike would jump over broken glass. Much of my late teens seemed to be involved with putting various pieces of junk together that other people had left behind with my strange raggle taggle cohort of friends and neighbors.
I led a strange life riding three busses from my suburban home to the privileged school I had managed to test into. This was a two hour journey in the days before walkmans and other personal ways of hearing music. I was also one of the free places so was often treated with disdain by my more privileged class mates, actually I was just socially a little awkward and not the most gregarious your person so probably did not reach out. Also those kids at school had no real interest it seems in re-purposing junk.
One afternoon while watching the TV, probably some Saturday morning kids show I came across a music video, some sort of para-military band of musicians rolling around in somewhat military looking machines playing instruments in a militaristic way. Then the truth hit, shit that lead singer is wearing the best freaking jacket I have ever seen and I want it. In this way began my love for the Teardrop Explodes and Julian Cope. I still want that jacket, although I have never found one that a sane person could afford. However suddenly I was an instant fan which did not sit well with the Def Leppard and Scorpions loving contingent that I hung with at school.
This led to my early morning playing of the curiously named Kilimanjaro by the Teardrop Explodes and if you want to hear jaunty pop hooks overlaid by psychedelia then this is the perfect album to go to. Later on I learned Cope had attended the CF Mott college. This was the closest that my little village had managed to producing fame until Sporty Spice left. It was also a matter of crossing the dump and then sneaking over the golf course and avoiding the missiles to get to the college. It’s a business park now and the dump is a nature preserve but Kilimanjaro is still as it was in 1981 a near perfect pop album.
Here is the strange dump that filled so much of my childhood. It seems less interesting somehow, it is probably more acceptable to the community though.
Here they are those subversive para-militarists. Actually the band look like pleasant young men who were playing soccer five minutes before the picture. They seem to have bought along their maniacally grinning friend who was probably placed in defense in order to not interfere with the more talented players. In his head though were all sorts of subversive thoughts and ideas waiting to emerge.