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 Actually, I wanted the other one...






The very sensibly named Stan Batcow is another of those fiercely independent undergrounders that I seem to have known forever. Above left is the two of us in Stanley Park in the early 90's, and right, at our current home more recently, us being near enough neighbours now. By the time we first came into contact, he was already an exalted name in the subterranean world, mainly courtesy of the couple of years he spent with The Membranes in the mid 80's, but also coz of his still active musical project, Howl In The Typewriter. I know what you're thinking - if HITT were any good, how come they never had an album on M&E. Well, there's a story; Stan was also running his own label, Pumf Records (though it was all tapes in those days, like ours), and he had this thing about price - they all had to be something very exact, like 1.37, I seem to recall. M&E, on the other hand, sold tapes about 2.99 (I think, it was a long time ago). But if we wanted a Howl tape, he insisted it could only be sold at 1.37. And that the catalogue number was divisible by 7, like all Pumf releases (you can check if you don't believe me). The latter wasn't a problem, but we did a lot of promotional work for our bands; zines, info publications etc, and simply couldn't have afforded to drop that low. Stan accepted all that, naturally, and happily respected what we were doing. But he has a serious dislike of advertising, not like a hitting the mute button when the commercial break comes along type of dislike, we're talking a real deep rooted philosophical dislike. Even to the point that he wouldn't actively advertise his own Pumf releases! E.g. no compromise possible. So he gave us a couple of Howl tracks for the first "Guilfin benefit Tape" (MMATT 36, Jul. 92) instead. And we've been friends ever since. And yes, of course, there was also quite a song and dance when it came to Pumf releasing a MMATT tape, which it did the same month. "Designer Brain Damage" (Pumf 182) it was called, just in case he never told anyone about it. And there's another story, but one we've already covered elsewhere on this website. And I even made sure that his bit appeared on page 7 of the "Flashbax" feature! I sincerely hope he appreciates all this effort. 34 years after its inception, Pumf remains an actively releasing label, and his co-operatively financed "Godspunk" compilations are well worth a look, seriously thinking about putting something of me own on one soon. And I'll make sure there's no 7 in the running time, just to annoy him.




ALSO AVAILABLE: The latest volume (19) in Pumf's ever popular complilation CD series. And isn't that a lovely cover? We took that picture for him specially in Menorca a couple of years back, knowing of his love of clown pictures for the series. But did he use it? Did he appreciate that we'd thought of him while relaxing on holiday? Did he worry about his inflexibility breaking the heart of a poor little Twizzle Magic who had been promised she would be on an album cover? Did he bollocks. Well, here's a look at what a great cover you could have had, you ungrateful bastard!


MANIFESTO (Pumf 777, CD)

It started with an e-mail from Stan on February 13th;

"I wonder if you'd be willing to record a vocal for me for inclusion on the long-planned-but-getting-nearer-reality next Howl in the Typewriter album? It has an anti-advertising theme, and its chorus is going to be the following lines (being returned to sporadically, but in a different form each time): "We don't fucking want, what you're trying to fucking sell, shove it up your fucking arse, then fuck off and go to hell." Could you record those words for me, however you want them to scan - spoken, sung, screamed, whatever? I'm asking quite a few people then hopefully each chorus will be very different whilst being the same. If you catch my drift."

Of course, I'm no great fan of commercialism myself, and who could turn down the opportunity to do some swearing on another band's album? The Man From Del Monte, he say "Yes!" Little bit of irony there. ;-) Well, the finished product turned up here a week or so ago (a few copies to boot, nice man, mostly), and very nice it is too. Presented in a gatefold card sleeve, even including a black cloth insert to stop the disc getting scratched, complete with libretto booklet (and trust me, "Alternate medicines from China, insert tampon into vagina" beats anything you'll see in Sammy Cahn's famous "Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary"!) so you can Singalonga-Max. Well, Rantalonga-Stan. It comes in with a bang on a kind of XTC meets Chumbawumba vibe, and doesn't let you off the hook for the whole of its 64 minutes. It's not tracks as such, there are no 5 minute bursts of creativity followed by 2 second silences, it is all one coherent work, a suite, if you like. OMG! IT'S A FUCKING CONCEPT ALBUM! That's wonderful, it isn't something you'd expect at this end of the musical spectrum, concept albums are normally the remit of funny looking dudes in wizard's capes (sorry, Rick) and daft buggers who think their Ford Escort can travel through time and space (um), but this is thoughtful post punk, complete with stranger elements and a serious message; heavy indie and psyche bits, Germanic elektroniksche (yes, I do make these words up), TV cuts (a word from our sponsor) and abstract experimentalism. This musical (and elsewhereical) warning about the evils of consumerism was a hugely ambitious idea that has been heroically realised and is well worth the fiver Stan is charging for it, though I still think he should have done it at 4.99 and really milked the irony! You'll find a couple of minute long teaser on the Pumf website, and a slightly longer extract on a special radioshow Lord Litter (a fellow contributor, as was Shaun Robert of factor X, another name that will probably be familiar to M&E fans) put together for Hal McGee's Electronic Cottage. Stan deserves an award if just for the epic mastering this must have entailed, highly recommended.

LINK: https://www.electroniccottage.org/lord-litter/lord-litters-electronic-cottage-radioshow-december-2018

PARENTAL ADVISORY: Do not play in front of 5 year old daughters unless you actually want them to tell Grandma to fuck off and go to hell...

Stan is a great fan of Magic Moments At Twilight Time and leapt at the chance to help advertise our "Creavolution Reborn" CD. Hypocrite...