Posts Tagged ‘the greengrocer’

The Greengrocer: Paul Vickers & The Leg

THE GREENGROCER

notthisbloody time

Paul Vickers first released an album with Edinburgh band The Leg in 2008, two years after his last album with Dawn of the Replicants. A second followed in 2010, then, in early 2012, third collaboration The Greengrocer was announced. A pre-launch gig took place way back that February, but the album soon disappeared from The Leg’s official website. We suspected the supergroup had gone their separate ways, which would have been a shame. But then a few shows took place in April 2014, with the news that the album was being manufactured for a release this year. It’s Vickers’ 2nd album in six months, The Leg’s second in a year, and it’s a beauty. We can’t complain.

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The first instance we can find of this LP being offered for sale was at a gig several weeks ago, giving a release date:  20th September 2014. A whopping 30 months after the first launch gig. Now, we’re not ones to start conspiracy theories, but here are the facts:

  • negotiations to hold a Scottish Referendum began just three weeks before the initial Greengrocer launch gig in Feb 2012
  • as negotiations gathered pace, The Greengrocer vanished from all release schedules
  • the album is a collaboration between English and Scottish artists
  • it’s utterly marvellous, proof positive that the Union works bloody wonders
  • it was finally pressed and ready for release by the summer of 2014
  • but stayed hidden, unheard and unavailable until…
  • …one single day after the Referendum result was announced.

One frickin day! The Daily Mail will back us up on the details. That’s the last time we’ll mention it. Honest.

And anyway, we are happy to say that not only has the material not dated in that time, it is quite possibly the most current album ever released! Just listen to track #3, which begins  ‘Watch out Wendy, they build them so bendy.’ This album came out 24 hours after the release of the new iPhone 6+ which, it turns out, bends like a motherfucker. Right there on the ‘bridge’ between the processor and the flash memory apparently. Later line ‘the devil runs the show‘ seems to be a reference to Mephistoles himself, Bono from U2, who shat his crappy new album onto the whole world’s iDevices to celebrate the release of said bendy phone. What makes this piece of super-quick social commentary so mind-boggling is the fact that they’d also played it live 6 months earlier! Vickers is the new Mother Shipton.

The album is a sonic revelation. The Leg are tight! And that’s not just the xenophobia talking. We mean musically here! But they aren’t afraid to chuck in some cheesy backing vocals when the tune requires it.

Vickers, as a lyricist, is a different beast on a record like this than he is with DotR or his Twonkey albums. The words are as dense and hardcore as the music they accompany. We’d have loved to see some printed lyrics, coz the truth is we don’t know what the hell he’s singing about the half the time. ‘You’re the window, I’m the plant,’ he sings on the opener. Can’t imagine Rod Stewart belting that out somehow, and it’s the most traditional lyric on the album.

The vocals are as strong as ever, although vary wildly depending on the song. Listen to that first track My Trifle telling yourself Vickers laid down his vocal in the middle of an anal probe. Honestly, you’ll believe it to be true. It’s a peculiar choice of opener, to be honest, given the tempo and the fragile vocals. Most records like to either come blasting out of the gate, or stripped right down, but this is neither. A great track all the same. Next, The Tulips of Delft, is nowhere near as cute as the title suggests. Pitchforks, knives, mutilations, plenty of real menace. Followed by the aforementioned Ode to them Bendy New iPhones, before Bound To The Sour & Horns And Anvils, the softest folk sounds on the album.

Then we’re at the midpoint and the beautiful pairing (if you’re not listening on vinyl and having to take an annoying time-out to climb over a hooker & change the fucking side) of Chaos Magic and title track The Greengrocer. These are, for us, the album highlights. Both, perhaps not coincidentally, are also the tracks that highlight the band’s sound when they take it down a notch. The Leg can rock the frickin’ house like nobody’s business, but sound beyond scarily good when they slow it down. The title track even injects some loud distortion between one of the rock-to-quiet transitions, just to accentuate the point.

‘Chaos Magic’ is actually practised by some folk with a straight face. Scottish comic book scribe Grant Morrison claims he used it to pull his wife. The fact that he’s rich, handsome, charismatic and that she left her council squat to live in his castle all apparently had nothing to do with it. Anyway, quite what’s being said about it in this song is unclear. It begins with some haunting background vocals asking for ‘Mercy’, but on the shouty chorus intro, Vickers seems to scream ‘Dumbledore, give me more!’

Seven Floors of Pleasure had previously been released as a single between albums. The version here sounds like a complete re-recording which we prefer to the original. Polynesian Snuff, a Twonkey Tale spoken to a beautiful backing, had also appeared earlier, in print, as part of the Collected Minatures in Itchy Grumble. And finishing the album is another track with a previous appearance, Straggler On The Run, familiar to anyone who caught Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra. We have to admit that our ears failed us on this show favourite, and we didn’t know it was a Leg collaboration until we got the record. Shameful.

Fortunately for all you (and us) who don’t own a record player, the LP comes with a download code. First time we’d used one, but they work just fine. 37 seconds to download the whole thing. So far, it’s only sold at gigs, but hopefully some kind of release schedule or mass availability will be announced soon. This record deserves to be heard!

We wish the album huge success, but maybe not so much that it reaches the ears of Islamic State and they get ideas from the line ‘a bomb in an aubergine.’ There’s even a picture of how to set the device up on the back cover! A bit irresponsible, that. Imagine having to call 999 and say ‘My fruit and veg’s gone off. No, not turned brown. Gone off! The in-laws have been blown to bits all over the kitchen. The dishwasher looks as good as knackered.’

We wouldn’t like to pick a favourite between these three Vickers / Leg albums so far. But if pushed, fuck it, we’d go for this one. It’s a grower. Probably the best album sonically of Vickers’ career to date. These guys sound so good they could dress haggis up as lamb. And with at least one new song performed recently that isn’t on this album (Vinegar Mask), here’s hoping there’ll be a fourth in the not too distant future.

Paul Vickers.

The Leg.

Better Together.

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Twonkey votes YES, our mailbag EXPLODES!

One of many advantages in having Hunchbacks HQ in Southern Britain, is that we have been able to see Kate Bush this last month as often as we got to see Twonkey’s Private Restaurant. We witnessed first hand that moment where she took to the stage for the first time in 35 years. The atmosphere was electric. But that was nothing compared to a few nights later when, between songs, she asked the audience ‘What’s going on with all them wankers up in Scotland?’ Well, the roof damn near came clean off! What, indeed, was going on up there?

Last Friday, on September 18th, Scotland had a wee vote. The Independence Camp, who wished to break up the United Kingdom, were staring defeat right in the jap’s eye. On that morning they had just two cards left to play. They hoped they were trumps. The previously silent Andrew Murray of Surrey, and Paul Winston Vickers of Middlesborough. They both declared themselves as YES men just as the population went to the Polls. Like a pair of twats.

hardefuckenhar

We only heard about Twonkey’s political intervention second hand, via a member of Team Playboys who sadly dressed to the Yes side. We wouldn’t have believed him if it wasn’t for the torrent of emails we came home to at Hunchbacks HQ. Honestly, our mailbag was as bustin’ as Michael Barrymore’s ballsack if he’d been trapped in the Playboy Mansion for a fortnight. The message was clear:  Twonkey’s fanbase was not amused at his political intervention. A selection of the less vicious correspondence is reprinted here just to show what an ungodly error of judgement was made by the previously saint-like Mr Vickers. Will next year’s Twonkey #6 have to be performed behind bullet proof glass? Just like next year’s Wimbledon? Mr. Twonkey’s description of the English as ‘cunts’ on the Gasp! album has come back to haunt him, it seems. Some of the comments we received…

Bing Thompson from Bridgeton writes:

What a cunt. He should be stripped naked, covered in full fat coke until he feels icky all over, then we should get some pliers and a Bowie knife, like that one from Rambo. Not ‘Rambo’ from a few years back, but the first one from the eighties that was also called Rambo. Full title was Rambo: First Blood Part II, but we all called it Rambo. Whereas the recent one was actually just called Rambo. I fucken love ’em both. Anyway, the knife and the pliers…

It continues in this vein for 17 pages…

…and then we’d make him swallow his own. See how he likes it.

At first we thought this was no way to treat the man who had given us Hot Beryl. But at the same time we didn’t make Britain ‘Great’ by not occasionally taking the hardline.

Steven (no surname given), from Edinburgh, writes:

I knew he’d pull something like this. That’s why I changed my professional name, so that I don’t get tarred with his big gay brush. What a cunt.

Fair play, fella. We hear ya. But not everyone thinks Mr. Twonkey’s ‘Yes’ declaration was legit…

Donald Singen Smythe from Falkirk writes:

So Twonkey declared himself as Yes? Hilarious. His funniest gag yet. Clearly not meant to be taken seriously. Think for a minute. This joke has been marinating in his head for a while. Remember he renamed Twonkey’s Creepy Restaurant as Twonkey’s Private Restaurant. That eatery was set in a Scottish future. Which would be a communist dystopia, run by a Tommy Sheridan more dipped in botox and formaldehyde than Joan Rivers. Fuck all would be private. It was a joke. You people need to lighten up. Private Restaurant, haha. A total jape in an Independent Totalitarian Scotland. Funny as the proverbial fuck.

Hmmm, we’re not 100% convinced. Surely even if there is a place for quasi-obscurist japesterism, Scotland isn’t it! And not on fucking Polling Day! Still, as Union Jack loving Twonkey fans, we cling to Donald’s thesis like Kate Winslet to a piece of driftwood in the icy Atlantic.

Lewis Schaffer, London, writes:

I had to leave America suddenly 14 years ago (the charges were bullshit. Bullshit!). I was an orphan and Mother England treated me like a son. In turn, I’ve treated Paul Vickers like a son, and what has he done but pissed all over my metaphorical mother’s face. And as a Jew, that makes my mother Jewish too. Which means Mr. Twonkey is not only anti-British, but an anti-Semite. He’s no better than Hitler.

Geez, when you think about it like that!

Malcolm Mayhew, Mayor of Middlesborough writes:

Turncoat. Don’t ever show your potato face in these parts again. Like, ever.

Terry Williamson fae Airdrie writes:

Andy Murray and Paul Vickers. What a pair of cunts. They should be locked in a room and made to turn on each other. Give ’em a weapon each. Andy with his tennis racquet, Paul with his Flying Tailor prop. Till the death! And then we go in and shoot the winner between the eyes.

Succinct. Watchable. And what the late great George Peppard may have once, in what Mike & The Mechanics referred to as ‘The Living Years’, seen fit to describe as ‘a plan’. Terry, get yersel doon tae Deed Poll and change yur name tae Common Sense.

Derek Bright, address withheld, writes:

What a cunt. We should have expected these lies from him. Do you know he once wrote a brainwashing book called How To Think Like a Programmer?

No, we did not know. But turns out he’s right. It’s sold right there on Amazon! No wonder he kept it quiet.

his guilty secret

And now he’s telling us how to vote! What you gonna tell us how to do next, Paul? How to talk like a newsreader? How to jog like a twat? I’m going to take a piss now. Any tips?

Jesus H. We’ve had a sneaky peak at Mr. Twonkey’s debut – which is his guilty secret – and all we can say is that he must have had some lessons between writing this baloney and the majestic Itchy Grumble. It’s unadulterated shit!

UPDATE: Andrew Murray, of Surrey, has now apologised for his behaviour, saying his endorsement of the Yes vote was ‘out of character’, but stopping short of saying ‘My mummy made me do it’. And the Middlesborough Maestro has come up with the grandmother of all forgiveness tactics… a new album! It has just this very hour popped through our letter box. Talk about bribery! All is forgiven here at Hunchbacks HQ. We only hope Mr. Twonkey’s friends, family, colleagues and Lewis Schaffer of Nunhead, London, will join us in this spirit of togetherness and reconciliation.
 
Coverage of The Greengrocer by Paul Vickers & The Leg is hopefully imminent. We’re off for a listen.
 
Peace and Love,
 
Team: Playboys with Hunchbacks
Great Britain

The return of Paul Vickers & The Leg!

They’re back! Paul Vickers and The Leg performed a support set at Edinburgh’s Citrus Club on Friday 25th April. After three years of blogging about Mr Vickers’ adventures, we had yet to see him in the environment which made him famous in the first place, making us a modern day David Attenborough who had never been further than a zoo. But no more! We have finally earned our stripes.

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In a bizarre co-incidence, on our travels to the gig – Essex to London to Edinburgh to Glasgow back to Edinburgh in about four hours – we passed a bar en route to The Citrus Club which was advertising a gig that very night by The Victor Pope Band!!! Sadly we couldn’t be in two places at once, so had to give it a miss. And no sooner were we inside Citrus, than our pint was spilled by the drummer from The Leg. Now, we’re not idiots and know that drummers have been known to balance an inferiority complex with acts of extreme violence. Even without his sticks he looked handy. We apologised for having placed a beverage within his path and he thankfully let it pass.

The gig itself was magnificent. 30 minutes, 8 tracks. Vickers was in fine voice and The Leg are a class outfit. And we got the great news that their third album, The Greengrocer, is currently being pressed. This album was reportedly complete and ready for release two years ago and had dropped off The Leg’s own website so we thought it had perhaps been scrapped. But it’s coming, and better yet, the snippets we got to hear were fabulous. The only downside – for us, as 21st Century pioneers – is that the album is coming out on Vinyl. We are, quite frankly, mystified at the resurgence of such an outdated format, which we hated even when there were no decent alternatives to be had. And coming after we witnessed the introduction of tram lines on the streets of Edinburgh… I mean what the fuck is going on up there?!? Albums coming out only on a pre WWII format, trams being reintroduced like it’s 1873, and an independence vote to take Scotland back to the glory days of 1295! That’s our rant for today. Thank you for listening.

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The setlist (new song titles obviously guesswork)

1. Bridge Song (from The Greengrocer)

2. When The Wand is Wild (from Tropical Favourites)

3. Horns on Anvils (from The Greengrocer)

4. Vinegar Mask (new track, possibly from Twonkey #5?)

5. Wild Geese (from Tropical Favourites)

6. Itchy Grumble (from Itchy Grumble)

7. My Trifle (from The Greengrocer?)

8. Car Horns of Rio (from Tropical Favourites)

The performance’s most amusing moment came in the outro to track 7, as Vickers sang ‘My trifle’ over and over. In between, an on-the-ball audience member shouted out ‘whose trifle?’ and Vickers had to fight the laughter to finish the song.

The following acts were comedian Ted Chippington and 80’s band The Nightingales. Chippington has the rather unfortunate label as the main influence on Stewart Lee. Which means he is to Lee what Richard Wagner is to the Nazis. But sadly Chippington is still alive (and working!) to witness this reputational freefall. Poor fella. I had never heard of The Nightingales but enjoyed their set, played as a continous melody from start to finish.

As the new Vickers / Leg album gears up for release, we will shortly give an overview of Paul Vickers & The Leg so far – which consists of 2 albums, a non-album two track single, and a brief live appearance on DVD.

But for now, the spotlight turns back to Twonkey’s Private Restaurant which makes its Brighton debut in just five days time! Woohoo!