The BOBS – Bargain Booze

“When booze was new its highs were true

But now the weekend is all you do 

And all the highs just lie to you”

It’s another Saturday night out in Alicante. As the alcohol flows our guard drops and we both take risks that sobriety would have warned against. 

We temporarily forget that there’s a global pandemic going on as we freely chat with cynical men from the North. They don’t believe they’re in danger and neither should we. 

Beers and shots are downed as we sympathise with the lad from Denmark who’s just had his laptop stolen from beside him. I buy a bongo, a cheap drum with garish decoration from a man selling all sorts of tat to impressionable tourists. 

Much drink is imbibed. It’s a night of high jinx, insane spirit and bargain booze. The bars are instructed to close at 1AM but by then we’ve had our fill. And we know about it in the morning when our heads throb.

I dare say that Bargain Booze, the cheap liquor store back in the UK, has been doing quite well  over the last months. Certainly, the tales in the media of the chain’s financial vulnerability seem to have abated since it was taken over a couple of years back. A model of business where location is everything, you’ll find these stores on the edge and in the heart of mass conurbations. With pub hours reduced, the Bargain Booze shops now become the social hubs for many.

The BOBS (Best of British Suicide) from Brighton have written an off-kilter ode to Bargain Booze. I’m not sure if this is directly about the store or more about the culture that we live in that both celebrates and demonises drinking depending upon your social class. 

Whatever, it’s a playful piece calling upon the frantic staccato of the Cardiacs before developing into a sort of punky Britpop four-pints-in chorus. Here we have a song that in the space of three minutes captures the highs and lows of drinking alcohol – joyful, spiky, wayward and carefree in a couple of shots. 

Even if the music is not entirely your thing (what are you, a teetotaller?), the video will surely make you smile with its stop-motion antics. Who knew that bottle openers and corkscrews had so much rhythm? 

Bargain Booze is a tune to lock-in to – and with this release, The BOBS declare themselves as ones to watch. 

 

The Dowling Poole – Rebecca Receiving

 Mark sent me a tweet. 

Mark likes his rock music though I was pretty sure that this tweet wouldn’t be recommending a band bursting with guitars. Mark knows that our musical tastes converge slightly but that the nearer he moves towards Download territory the more I move away.

The tweet recommended this new song and video from The Dowling Poole. I listened and watched whilst on a train journey. The signal wasn’t wonderful even though the single was. I had to press play again and again.

In truth I didn’t mind.

‘Rebecca Receiving’ is exactly the sort of tune that’s up my street. It’s got an undeniably quirky edge that reminds me of XTC or some of Blur’s better Brit Pop moments. 

The theme is undeniably sad. Rebecca appears to be clinging to her youthful dreams even though her years are advancing. Like many of us, growing old gracefully is not an option for Rebecca and so we fight the wrinkles with withering weariness. 

The theme might be sad – but it’s approached with fun and an upbeat humour. Like some of the very best writing of Ray Davies, it evokes a certain joy from its character based derision. 

Wikipedia tells me that “The Dowling Poole are a British psychedelic Power Pop duo made up of multi instrumentalists Willie Dowling (formerly of Jackdaw4 and Honeycrack) and Jon Poole (formerly of Cardiacs).” This is the first releases from their forthcoming second album, One Hyde Park. 

It was making more sense now. I’ve still got lots of vinyl in my back room from the late 1980’s when I bought every Cardiacs record going. I really ought to head back there. 

I’m glad that Mark sent me a tweet.