Living the Godiva with…Blancmange

Godiva Festival

This Friday will be the 14th Godiva Festival in Coventry’s Memorial Park.  In recent years, Friday night has become 80′s night and this year’s lineup features one of my favourite electro bands of the period Blancmange.  In the tradition of no81bob’s Living with…I’m spending time with their best album.  Without question that is

Mange Tout (1984)

I’ve been sampling Mange Tout from the moment it came out in the mid 80s.  Along with OMD, Blancmange were the group that meant electro-pop for me.  The trio of songs that open the album Don’t Tell Me, Game Above My Head and Blind Vision are the best start to a ‘get-up and dance around the living room’ type of album that I know.  Blind Vision is the clear highlight for me – purely on its chugg chugging beat and sound – never really got the hang of what the lyrics meant:

In a dream when I’m reading pages full of words –
The harder you look – it’s getting hard – it’s getting harder – it’s not.

But then, it doesn’t matter does it really?  One alarming revelation this week was the discovery that somewhere in the song is hidden the Teletubbies theme tune.  I can’t put my finger on the exact moment but a sudden flash of the fab four while I was driving along on Tuesday was nothing if disturbing.

But then my other musical revelation this week was the use of the Home Alone theme when the contestants are leaving the house in The Apprentice.  Maybe that should be their task one week – to live on their own in the house for a week while keeping out a stream of incompetent burglars.  Or maybe they should be the incompetent burglars? Based on progress to date, either should prove a challenge enough…

Anyway, back to Blancmange.  Neil Arthur also has an incredible voice, often the downfall of many an electro group, and two further songs are worthy of mention – the strings ballad Time Became The Tide and for me the strange but wonderful highlight, an a capella number See The Train.  It’s semi-gospel and tragic and that’s my video highlight  – not that they’ll do it for live at the Godiva, just because it’s that little bit different.

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Reassurringly – Back to vinyl

Having downloaded the new extended album, I suddenly decided to track down my original battered copy of Mange Tout with Max the tortoise from that vast memory bank of the 80s and 90s – my old record collection – in the garage.  Reassurringly I eventually did find the album and took it for a spin.  And reassuringly I remembered a split second before it happened that there was a deep scratch part way through All Things are N…..

Happy days.

It’s stating the obvious but there is something lost now in the ease of getting music.  To buy Mange Tout first time around I had to get on my bike and cycle up to the big town (well, Burgess Hill) involving a not insubstantial hill.  Surf the different record shops to find the one that shaved the price by a few pennies.  Strap the record on to the back of my bike as securely as I could, and then head back home as fast as possible to enjoy the delights and play it in to the ground until my family begged for mercy.  A six mile round trip of anticipation.

Earlier this week, Mange Tout was delivered with one click…no prizes for working out which of those experiences was more satisfying, and probably healthier…

I am really looking forward to Blancmange on the main stage Friday.

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