Sunday, 28 February 2010


"Totnes...What A Mess...Totnes" to paraphrase the Prats "Inverness".
Or "I Love The Smell Of Incense Sticks In The Morning......It Reminds Me Of Totnes" to totally paraphrase or even misquote Robert Duvall as Lt. Col. Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now"

Now the Famalie Cammai have become travelling and/or nomadic we shall be visiting small towns and villages in Devon and Cornwall. Yesterday we embarked on a journey to Totnes. It's about 7 or 8 miles South East from where I live. Totnes is kind of alternative culture heaven. Not a place where all roads meet, but a place where all ley-lines meet. A small town occupied by ex-hippies, alternative therapists and a Conservative stronghold. Not an ideal place for me - but what it does have is excellent vegetarian restaurants and charity shops that still stock vinyl! I have been down here in the South-West for 7 years and this was my 4th time to Totnes. On my last visit I picked up a 7" by Sheffield funksters Workforce on the Rorschach Product label. (1986). Very happy I was too - Workforce being ex-Chakk members. This time I found a couple of records...Passage "Degenerates" LP that was going for a fiver, but was in such a cak condition that I decided against and John Cooper Clarke's "Snap, Crackle and Bop" LP on Epic Records. (It didn't have the lyric book in the top pocket but I have got a copy of his book "Ten Years In An Opened Neck Shirt", I found that in a charity shop in Bovey Tracy for a pound). There was also Wayne County + The Electric Chairs LP "Storm The Gates Of Heaven" which I could not force myself to buy again! And The Wolfgang Press 1st LP (I have this already - otherwise a change of underpants would have been needed).
Tamsin picked up some nice (but expensive) wool from one of the myriad, nay plethora of wool, beads, needlecraft type shops and Oscar got a carrier bag full of toy cars and monsters from the various charity shops and market stalls. Veggie meal at The Willow restaurant was £24 (for 4 - inc. overpriced organic lager) all in all, a good day out.
If travelling through the South West I do recommend stopping in Totnes - a walk up and down the high street'll take an hour or so...and it is where 23 Skidoo performed "The Culling Is Coming".

The Cooper Clarke LP took me back. It is a long while since I've heard any JCC.
He is a genius. Full stop. I do prefer his non-musical output though. "Innocence" EP withstanding. Back in the day that EP was the only JCC in my collection. The LP "Snap Crackle and Bop" came too late. Listening to it now, it's not that good. Lyrically it is outstanding. "Evidently Chickentown" had me and the kids dancing - simple rhythm machine and snare beat. other than that the music sounds like a cross between Sad Cafe and The Albertos (with a bit of The Smirks). Does not really work. The only track where the music does suit JCC lyrics is "Beasley Street", which still has me in tears. (I have lived there)!
John Cooper Clarke is a genius. In the days of punk poets he set the bar at a very high level. In fact - nobody touched that bar.....Attila The Stockbroker, Seething Wells etc. Not in a piss mark of John. I used to visit a squat in Salford (1983) and on the middle floor was punk-poet Dino The Frog. Whatever happened to Dino? Probably living in Totnes...


  1. Dino the Frog

  2. Sadly Dino the Frog, my fella's best mate, died around new year, a couple of weeks short of his 50th birthday. And in Sheffield, nowhere near Totnes!
    He was a popular man in his 'local' in the city centre. And the pub meant he had a good send-off with standing room only at the service. Atilla came. He'd given up the poetry business but still wrote for his own pleasure, and he hadn't been forgotten.
    Totnes? Fate worse than death :-)