MICRODISNEY HISTORY
1984-1985

From the middle of 1984 Microdisney started gigging extensively to build on the relative interest of their first releases. This was not just to make the public aware of their existence but also to win over their record label in the process. 'Everybody is Fantastic' made a brief appearance in the indie charts in August but, with little publicity surrounding the band, both this and the first three singles were left to eke out an extended lifespan as it was only gradually that punters were stumbling across the records. Johnathan Fell (aka Ed Flesh, aka Steve Pregnant, aka Crazy Johnny Nancy) joined them on bass and Tom Fenner joined on drums (both had received credits for 'This Liberal Love' on the first LP). A while later Cathal Coughlan was relieved of keyboard duties by Nick Montgomery which gave him more space on stage to snarl.

With a further Peel session in October 1984 they were previewing some excellent new material. This view on new material was not entirely shared by Rough Trade who were shuffling their feet over the next release, seemingly reserving their efforts and resources for label mates The Smiths. Penniless and desperate for continuity the band considered re-releasing a compilation of their older material themselves. It came in the form of 'We hate you South African Bastards', simply the greatest record title in history. Happily Rough Trade took up the project and gave people the chance to own recordings of the increasingly rare first two singles as well as pick up some previously unheard songs. The LP comfortably made it into the indie top ten but still left them short of a big breakthrough.

'Bastards' was retrospective and not representative of what Microdisney were doing at the time. Impatient for the new material to see the light of day, their situation was fuelling some increasingly bitter lyrics and promoting a patronising train of thought in my mind that says great art can only come out of true suffering. Microdisney were broke and, according to the sleevenotes for the re-release 'Clock Comes Down the Stairs' CD, indulging in LSD binges to while away the time. The sleevenotes went on to describe their situation 'London, miserable weather, everything is fucked. 1985'.

Compounding their (not entirely unrelated) personal circumstances was the political situation in England. A country that was becoming increasingly polarised and where it felt (as it still does today) that the final battle was being waged between the traditional caring values of a welfare state and an unregulated free for all. On top of privatisation and cuts in public spending was the horror of a Miners' Strike that was going desperately wrong. Many a tension releasing evening was to be had drinking beer while watching Microdisney play in some London toilet venue, but everything was indeed fucked.

January 1985 finally saw signs of progress. A new LP and single were promised and a heavy nationwide tour was announced, even so it still took until April for the three song EP 'In The World' to appear. The EP pretty well disappeared without trace but we were treated to a memorable television appearance on the BBC's 'Old Grey Whistletest' and a chance for Microdisney to vent their anger on a wider public. A bad tempered performance saw Cathal Coughlan crossing himself in mockery of the Catholic Church and ending with a vehement rant at the people he believed were bugging his phone. ('Loftholdingswood' Realaudio video).

Then again things went quiet, even gigs were few and far between as we waited for the promised LP. It was October before we saw the release of another single 'Birthday Girl' - a true pop hit if ever there was one but still failing to make the impact it deserved. 'Birthday Girl', which had also been played on Whistletest (Realaudio Video) got an equally vicious performance on 'The Tube' (Realaudio video).

The LP, 'Clock Comes Down The Stairs', arrived in November with Rough Trade putting significantly more weight behind the release (including a full page ad in the music papers). They were in business and starting to pick up their first press of any consequence. The result was their first Indie number one record. Even though its release was scheduled at a quiet time when the big boys weren't in town it was still some feat when 4 or 5 artists could dominate the independent charts for months at a time. It put them in a different league and hopes were rising.


HISTORY CONTINUES
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