Another of my favourite and slightly neglected 12″s next; Flowered Up Weekender and the remix 12″ Weatherall’s Weekender (remixed by Andy Weatherall, naturally). I remember when I got this 12″ home, pretty much on the day it was released in 1992 feeling disappointed that there was no B-side, just a featureless expanse of flawless black. Foolish mortal. The fact is that with a track this perfect, this unique, pushing 13 minutes long anyway, you don’t need anything else, you can’t gild the lily. I didn’t understand this at 20, I do now.
Basically this really is a tune like no other in my collection. Flowered Up were always referred to as London’s answer to the Happy Mondays and there may be some truth in that, but to my mind they were more coherent, more focused, closer to Ian Dury and the Blockheads rather than the Mondays angular take on Sly Stone; better musicians too. How they ever got this track green-lighted is anyone’s guess, a mammoth, sprawling, wild, profane, happy/angry/sad, concept track about about a mammoth, sprawling, wild, profane, happy/angry/sad 72-hour binge. Swirling keyboard build-ups, snippets of dialogue from Quadraphrenia and other random sources, soaring guitars, sax and a baggy under-carriage, peaking, troughing, flowing and dropping out Weekender has it all.
I listen to this track a fair amount, however I was quite surprised when I looked at the lyrics properly at just how repetitive and banal they really are; form equalling content I guess. Basically its all ‘Go out, have a good, good time’ over and over, but Liam Maher’s brilliant delivery of the lyrics, alternating between snarling, crooning, pleading and exhorting, no two lines are delivered in the same manner – the sentiments behind the lyrics shifts just as rapidly as the music does. Listening to it again now, as I write this it is the vocals that make the biggest impact on me. 1537 bonus points are awarded here for some beautifully enunciated swearing half way through, ‘Weekender fuck off, fuck off and die’, which lead straight into another musical peak.
I like the way the sentiment of Weekender is hard to pin down, on the one hand it glorifies and revels in the wage slaves’ ‘two day flirt’ (the excellent video does particularly ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMAHtOuZtnc ), but there is also a tinge of superiority here from the 7-day partygoers of the band, telling them that they can only just reach the outer limits of their lifestyle. It’s that good, honest. If you haven’t got it already buy it. Now.
The Weatherall’s Weekender remixes are more of an acquired taste, not really being a dance music person I knew Weatherall primarily for his work with the Orb and Primal Scream and so I really wasn’t ready for what he did here, chopping out nearly all the instrumentation , leaving in ghostly snippets of the backing vocals and sax and boldly forging his own percussive way forward. I played this about twice and filed it under ‘stick with what you know in future’. Listening again now the 17-minute ‘Audrey is a Little Bit More Partial Mix’, is an excellent remix built on a great tight beat, ebbing and flowing like the original albeit on parallel, rather than converging, lines. The 15-minute ‘Audrey is a Little Bit Partial’ mix wanders around too much for me, too many arty dub drop-outs and not enough of a pulse to make it worthwhile.
I was sad to notice when I wrote this piece that both Liam Maher and Joe Maher had died in the last 3 years. Flowered Up’s partying nearly eclipsed their output when they were a going concern and so it was sad to read that in Liam’s case it was reportedly a heroin overdose that did for him. It gives the urgent hedonism on show in this great 12″ a sad tint to the final lines, ‘Weekender, whatever you do, just make sure that whatever you’re doing makes you happy’.