Everybody’s on drugs?
“The Egg” was Edinburgh’s answer to Blow Up!. Tucked away in a dark corner of the Edinburgh College of Art, Saturday nights from this time to some other time. We would make sure we arrived fashionably late, which meant just after the sort of people who arrive at a club when the doors open. Suited and booted, absolutely convinced that we were the sons and heirs of Steve Marriott, Sandie Shaw, and the kids in “Quadrophenia” who were not Sting. This was the nineties, everything seemed possible, nothing had been ruined by (anti)social media and, crucially, nobody had heard of Oasis.
My little gang of wannabes and nevergonnabes had all discovered d-r-u-g-s. Mainly speed, with occasional flashes of “I love you man” ecstasy. Not me, no sir. I was a good boy. I mean, I was a bad boy inside, but because I was also a devout Mormon I was having to squish that bad boy deep down inside of myself where he couldn’t do any harm to my chances of eternal salvation. And as we all know, bottling up our feelings and desires is a good thing and never does anyone any harm.
But I wanted to join in.
What do mean gonna be one of the faces?
I WAS one of the faces.
I couldn’t do the white lines, but I could look the part.
Carefully applied eyeliner to give my eyes that uppers POP.
Holding onto a Coca-Cola in a shot glass without ever actually drinking any of it. An unlit Cafe Creme cigar constantly in my hand, and never lit.
The idea, I think, was to show that I was so off my tits on drugs that I couldn’t focus long enough on my drink or the cigar.
I was an artificial work of art.
Gorgeous I was.
Or I was a pretentious prick.
I remember buying a copy of “Caught by the Fuzz” by Supergrass at this point in time, and being thrilled by it. A tale of youth and young manhood. Crazy, crazy, nights. Cheap thrills. Disappointing your parents. Shame. It was fucking marvellous. All made even more marvellous by the fact that the kids responsible for it really were kids. I wasn’t old, but Jesus, they were really young. I found myself sitting beside them outside of Ally Pally before their set in support of Blur at the “Showtime” gig. The sun was shining, all the hip young things from that there London was milling around, and Supergrass looked hipper than any of them. Cool for cats.
Now, almost thirty years after those events, Danny Goffey is here with “Brian Moone’s Discopunk”, his first album since 2018’s “Schtick”. What “Schtick” revealed was that Goffey was a terrific solo performer and presence. Catchy hooks, shimmering riffs, quirky observations and a neat lyricist. Most importantly it revealed that he wasn’t interested in producing a record for people who liked “Alright”, this was a Danny Goffey album, a 2018 album, and very definitely, no maybe, not a record looking to trade on former glories.
Goffey has always been an interesting character in British pop, part of one of the most creative bands of the nineties, willing to shift lanes with Lodger, and constantly appearing in unusual places with unusual faces…including campaigning to save a local post office with a certain former Prime Minister. But “Brian Moone’s Discopunk” feels like the arrival of Goffey as an independent artist. This feels more personal and intimate…despite the use of a character as the heart/star of the show. A bit like Bowie with Ziggy and Aladdin Sane?
There are moments here when Goffey reveals himself to be a lyricist of real humour, insights, and skill; “Empathy is a dirty word”, “Little Betty has had enough of this world, she’s locked herself up in her room”, “I’ll chase you ‘round the table, I’ll chase you up the stairs, me in my kimono, you in your underwear”. Even the song titles are the sort of thing that Morrissey in his pomp would have given his last Linda McCartney “sausage” for; “I Lost My Girl To A Fairground Worker” and “Flea Market Woman” being fine examples.
Musically there are whispers and shouts of Moroder (Discopunk and All Dressed Up for example), echoes of classic English pop like The Kinks (Pressure), Ian Dury (Dog Eats Dog) and, perhaps inevitably, the ghost of his former band (Flea Market Woman), but none of it sounds like anything other than “Brian Moone’s Discopunk”. It’s a masterclass in songwriting, musicianship, melody making and production.
I sometimes wonder if it might not be too late for me to dabble in drugs…Heaven knows we all need an escape from the modern world, right guys? Gals? But I’m not sure that anything would have the same uplifting, joy inducing, pulse quickening, impact of the sort of music that Danny Goffey has created here.
Everybody’s on drugs?
My preference is for discopunk. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Ma-an.
'Brian Moone’s Discopunk' is released this Friday, the 24th of February via Distiller.