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Friday, December 02, 2005

Mrs. Wilson's Children

I spent the morning tripping heavily down memory lane, reminiscing about the music scene in Hull in the late seventies. I was a member of Cool To Snog, a band who contributed a cut to Mrs Wilson’s Children, a compilation album of bands from Hull. Googling Mrs. Wilson's Children this morning led me here.

I moved to London in 1980 to go to Uni. I rehearsed and gigged with Cool To Snog and recorded the Mrs. Wilson's Children track on visits back to Hull. The first incarnation of Cool To Snog was Sharren (vox), Cari Brown (guitar), me on (fretless) bass, and Dave on drums. I could not tune my bass, let alone play it properly, but it didn't matter because no-one else could play their instruments either.

It seems that the highpoint of my musical career (so far) was becoming one of Mrs’s Wilson’s Children as Cool To Snog's *original* bassist. There have been many pretenders to that title since but I was indisputedly the first. The album was named after Mrs Wilson, who ran the Wellington Club on Beverley Road. The Welly had long since perfected the formula of live music, cheap booze, and a door policy that was lenient on age while still managing to stop any violence before it started. A good trick if you can pull it off. It's still going strong to this day.

The album came out in 1981 and as far as I can tell didn’t do shit for anyone’s careers. Cool To Snog’s track was called out for special attention as the second worst on the album. I always said we should have used the dub version of our cut for the album. It sucked as badly as the vocal version, but at least it sounded intentionally bad. I think I still have a copy of the album if anyone wants a tape.

My brother Chris also contributed a track to Mrs. Wilson's Children under the name of Psychologic. His track, in case you were wondering, was considered the first worst. Chris can still be found around town on open mic night. I backed him up on bass guitar for a version of Iggy Pop's Lust For Life a couple of weeks ago at the Tap and Spile on Spring Bank. My first public performance in many a year. Someone started a fight just as we started. It was great.

My other bands, and I'm only mentioning this to shame the guilty, were Mental Block, Section 60, Bad At It, and Straw Man Special.

Mental Block was me on vocals, Paul Trynka (guitar), Jas Ardis (Bass), and Grant Ardis (drums). I can't remember if we even did any gigs. Maybe the Hull Tech Bar Club. Definitely no proper gigs like the Welly. I was sniffing around Penny Lister (later the dominatrix of The Special Guests and The Defectors) at the time and I might have intimated to her that we had an opening for a backing singer, but she never officially joined the band and I never officially [deleted for reasons of good taste] her opening.

Mr. Trynka left Mental Block, Paul Moller appeared, and with Jas and Grant, we went on to form Section 60. As such we opened for The Mekons at Hull Tech in 197?? Bloody good show that. Blew ‘em off the stage. Heh.

The brothers Ardis kicked me out of the band (quite rightly too, I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket) and Moller split about the same time. He went on to form Blue Kitchen with Roland Gift. Roland played sax.

Straw Man Special was a one night in the Chelsea College Student Union bar band with Paul Greendale, a fellow Hullensian I met at Uni who played guitar and synthesizer, and an Indian student who was a wiz on the old tabla drums. Another great night. We brought the house down with a note-perfect rendering of Joy Division’s Transmission. Paul later released several singles as part of the two-piece Ionman.

Not exactly High Fidelity, but none the less it’s fun to chew over one’s late teens and early twenties once in a while.

Update 3/22/06: Check out the pre-release Mrs. Wilson's Children website!


Blogger Stray Photon said...

Hi Nick.

I too have been raking up the past recently, and have posted up some Cool to Snog stuff on Myspace:

I had some Defectors stuff up there previously for a month or so, but no-one was interested. The CTS stuff seems to have weathered the years much better

Hope you're well.


6:13 PM  

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