Anything But 'Vanilla' - Paul Laird Visits COLOUR TV's New Release

Published on 28 May 2023 at 21:32

By Paul Laird

Author of "The Birth And Impact Of Britpop: Mis-Shapes, Scenesters And Insatiable Ones"


Dear God, please help me. 


I cannot begin to explain to you now, after all this time, how very unhappy I was then. The only  way to give you any real insight is to tell you that everything in my life is different now, and yet still  I feel the same terrible weight of unhappiness on my shoulders. 


It shouldn’t be this way. 

It probably shouldn’t be that way. 

I am, in every sense, unremarkable. 

A half life, half lived. 


I am one of Thoreau’s mass of men whose life has been led in quiet desperation. No minks or muskrats, brave as they are, to console me. 


I have neither good looks, nor looks so u.g.l.y to categorise me as striking. 

I have no discernible talent, no grade six piano, no first place in the egg and spoon race, no  “World’s best X” mug awarded to me by colleagues…not even ironically, or mockingly. 


What’s the word? 



I am present, yet forever unseen. 

When I enter a room, it isn’t even with the same force as the draft I cause by opening the door. Poor me. 

Poor me. 


To Hell with this toxic cult of sentimentality, and self-deprecation. 


Not for the first time I find solace in the music of a gaggle of young hearts, running free, running  wild, and running to the stars from the gutter where the rest of us must view them. 




Vanilla” starts with an Angelic Upstart yelp of “ONETWOTHREEFOUR” and then plunges us,  whether we are willing or not, into the sort of Anglicised grunge fury that was best captured a long  time ago by a band so few of us remember, and whom Colour TV have never heard mention of,  Flamingoes, and their single “Teenage Emergency”. Then, as now, to hear the howl of Nirvana  from an English band seemed dangerous and thrilling. 


What a thing to be dangerous and thrilling. 


This is the filthiest and the furiest that Colour TV have sounded thus far. The band turning  everything up to eleven, the vocals fuelled by a Lydon meets Anderson sneer and snarl. Ever get  the feeling you ain’t been cheated?  



Imagine a band who have the chutzpah to sing “…my face lays on your waist”. Farewell to the  deadening, deafening, lyrical anorexia of indie bangers, lad rock anthems, and Northern uproars.  Here comes the sort of erotic, pseudo-sexual, fuck it, it’s just plain sexual…”How am I to know  what you’re open to, tell me”. Jesus, if only I had been so blatant when I were young.


I like it when you hit me on holiday in Whitby” 


If you aren’t smiling, and feeling a bit peculiar, when you hear a line like that then you should  speak to a doctor, because you might be dead. 


Ordinary boys, now plagued by age, like what I am, can only look on with awe at Colour TV. And  quietly rage at a God who would bless them with so much talent, energy, hope and potential  glory… 


What’s the word? 


I’m not angry. 

I am simply thrilled for them. 

I can find joy in these songs. 

I feel less unremarkable as I twirl gaily around the room. 

I sense life is better lived with this soundtrack. 

I live to the full with these words littering my mind. 

Still desperate? 


But with more volume. 


Make of that what you will.


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