Do you have a say on what goes on? I don’t think so
One really good thing about the recent upswing in vinyl sales* is that lots of great hard-to-find older stuff has been re-released. Back To Black don’t seem to have quite got around to re-releasing Poison Idea Record Collector’s Are Pretentious Assholes, but I’m 98.5% sure it’s on their urgent to-do list.
This is the best, and probably most aptly, titled LP in my collection, it’s a joke at the expense of guitarist Pig Champion (he was still called plain old, ‘Tom Roberts’ at this point though) whose extensive, and at today’s prices, expensive vinyl collection is featured strewn all over the front cover. I’m pretty sure it was this title that sealed the deal for my mate Faz when he bought it and introduced me to it back in university; well that and the pic of Elvis on the back cover.
The version I’ve got is a 1989 German reissue of the original 1984 12″ with a bunch of extra tracks. Well that’s the technical definition at least. A more accurate one might be that Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes is a Molotov cocktail of snarling heaviness, more snarling heaviness and then a bit more snarling heaviness on the side. Poison Idea have had a good look at the world around them and it’s made them a little bit ticked off, I think it’s fair to say.
The lyrics are great, dealing intelligently with alcoholism (AA), suicide (Cold Comfort), political corruption and civil liberties (Legalize Freedom, Die On Your Knees) and, umm performing unspeakable acts with your own mother (Don’t Like It Here) and being sexually dominated by a dominatrix (Rubber Husband)** – All the usual universal themes then. It’s a joke they recycled again a bit later but for the song ‘Typical’ the lyric sheet just reads, ‘Words unknown, 100 marks to anyone who can work out what Jerry is saying!‘. There’s irreverence and humour here but this is serious music, played by a bunch of guys with serious chops.
The aural kicking administered during the likes of ‘Rich Get Richer’ and ‘Time To Go’ is a truly wonderful thing. This is bludgeoning hardcore at its very best, the point being that Poison Idea really could play well, the music doesn’t quite have the precision they gained later on when they cut the incredible metal crossover LP, Feel The Darkness – that seemed to come with recruiting a new rhythm section, not that there’s any fucking thing wrong with Dean Johnson and Chris Tense here. Their cover of The Stooges ‘I Got A Right’ was the first time I ever heard the song and is still possibly my fave version, even compared to the original.
This is music I throw on when I’m either very angry, or very happy, definitely the latter tonight. I’ve just been amusing myself with doing a serious amount of air-lead vocalist-ising and head banging. Once upon a time Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes would have been way too unruly, too heavy and too unkempt for me to bear – nowadays I just let myself be borne along by it, why fight the rapids? just let ’em carry you downstream and dump you into the shallows, exhilarated and spent.
PS – I’m cheating here, but here’s my fave track from their next LP, I just love this one.
PPS: Sammy Davis Jr and the Church of Satan? I never knew.
*in general, vinyl sales around me have always, sadly, been pretty healthy.
**see also Punish Me, a spine-cracking record!