So there I was mindlessly browsing my way through some stuff on Discogs this afternoon, when I happened across this:
Bum! Arse! Balls! Feck! Shite! etc etc. You see I’m just the sort of earnest, no fun type of guy that takes exaggerated care of all his musical goodies and gets slightly aroused by putting PVC protective sleeves on albums but Ramones End Of The Decade, was the one that got away from me – expensively, it would now seem. There I was, 18, doe-eyed and long of hair, a trembling innocent faun who’d just decided that Ramones was the best LP ever made by anyone ever in the whole history of music* and in the back of some magazine, or other I saw a Ramones box set advertised, featuring 6 12″ singles, a poster (possibly some postcards) and a T-shirt for about £25. Flush with cash from my job waiting on tables I bought it, mostly because I wanted the T-shirt**.
I wore the T-shirt loads, was very disappointed with the music and thought the poster was a bit pants and somehow treated the box so badly that it clearly just disintegrated at some point. Way to go fan boy!
So here I am 26 years later left with a slew of disappointing late-period Ramones 12″s and the ghost of an item that should be worth shitloads, okay so there a couple of high spots here and there, but this really was the Ramones in terminal decline^, strung out on gak and resentment, even the covers are shite – the label seemingly had long since bothered to spend any actual money on them. But for all our sins let us listen:
Something To Believe In / Somebody Put Something In My Drink:
Okay so I like this one, ‘… Drink’ is mean and grouchy and contains the lines ‘Tanqueray and tonic’s my favorite drink / I don’t like anything colored pink / That just stinks…it’s not for me’. Amen to that. The sub-‘Band Aid’ keyboards totally sink ‘… Believe In’ for me.
Makes me weep for what they were to me. Whereas ‘(And) I Don’t Wanna Live This Life’ is a great little tune and, sadly, you can tell Joey means every word of I too.
Real Cool Time
Makes me weep for what they were to me #2. Don’t get me started on the Slade-plagiarizing B-side.
I Wanna Live / Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
Another one I find I quite like, again Joey sounds like he means it and the vid makes me very glad for the times I saw them play. As for the Christmas one … it’s just very average.
Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
I love the genesis of this song, the fact that Joey wrote it solely to bait the staunchly Republican Ronnie-lovin’ Johnny Ramone, that’s more interesting than the music though. I’d advise you not to buy this 12″ for its B-sides ‘Go Home Ann’ and ‘Daytime Dilemma’.
Howling At The Moon (Sha-La-La)
Makes me weep for what they were to me #3. Their cover of ‘Street Fighting Man’ is respectful and Godawful too.
Okay so there were a couple more listenable ones than I remembered, but even so this is like watching a true champion boxer, stumbling around fighting bums in a seedy nightclub every Friday night for a buck. Okay so my sadness may be tinted and tainted by my financial loss here but I think I’ll charity shop this little lot. Damn.
I liked the T-shirt though.
PS: Have a great picture my son took of Katniss yesterday, to add a little more artistic merit into proceedings:
*an opinion I still hold true to this day.
**This was years before you could buy a Ramones logo T-shirt at any fashion shop you could find.
^actually they rallied around the time of Mondo Bizarro and Acid Eaters, but let’s not cloud my argument with truth.