Cute In A Stupid Ass Way

If you have the good fortune to be taught by an inspirational teacher you find, as you grow older, that they have left an indelible mark on you. You may not think of them for years on end and then something happens and suddenly you remember them with such clarity it’s as if they’ve always been with you.

I was out with my good friend Mr B and Mr F last night and after a few drinks we were reminiscing about our teachers from 30+ years ago. After working through the key players who helped us build up relevant, and irrelevant, knowledge that is forever stuck in our brains (“the Sierra Nevada a block of igneous rock sloping gently to the west” – why did I ever need to know that?) we came across a collective space in our memories. There was one teacher who had been so ineffectual that he’d left an indelible blank. Like trying to capture a dream on waking the more we thought about him the more his name slipped from our grasp until, fuelled by further drinkage, the name Mr Atwell revealed itself.

Trying to remember his name had caused us so much aggravation that I agreed to record it here for posterity and as insurance against future moments of brain fade. So here it is once more – Mr Atwell.

We then moved onto the TV series ‘The Tomorrow People’ – not the awful US version that is briefly blighting our screens but the original UK series from the 70s. Cue opening credits –

Then Mr F reminded us that they used travel by ‘jaunting’. That’s right, whilst shows like Star Trek would have phasers, space ships, use tractor beams and have instructions to “Beam me up, Scotty” – we had the very English Tomorrow People based in a disused London Underground station with their computer (TIM) using bracelets to jaunt from place to place.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really used the word jaunt, after all I don’t live in the 1950s (having said that I am going to the Isle of Wight tomorrow……….). The closest I would have come to using it is in referring to someone wearing a hat at a jaunty angle, probably someone like Handsome Jack.

Handsome Jack is one of the names used by Scott Walker during ‘Jackie’ the opening track on his 1968 album ‘Scott 2’. Did you see what I did there? You thought all this tripe was just thrown together? Well it is but sometimes the tenuous links will appear as if by magic…

Scott 2 is an undeniable masterpiece as Walker continued moving away from chart hits (with The Walker Brothers) as he followed the path of musical freedom. An album of covers and some original Walker compositions, the matching of voice and orchestration means that this is more a collection of aural vignettes than the traditional pop songs he had been known for.

All human life is here as the darker side of experience is mixed with the occasional promise of hope and the album is all the better for it, as it gives a chance to discover – Jackie who moves through life from gigolo to ‘procurer of young girls’ and beyond, Billy who floats away like a balloon, the soldier losing his virginity in a mobile brothel, the Amorous Humphrey Plugg, a paean to the girls from the streets and the hope that Scott’s beloved will still be waiting for him in Spring.

Everyone should listen to this album at least once………

Scott Walker – Scott 2 (1968) – Vinyl

  • Jackie
  • Best of Both Worlds
  • Black Sheep Boy
  • The Amorous Humphrey Plugg
  • Next
  • The Girls from the Streets
  • Plastic Palace People
  • Wait Until Dark
  • The Girls and the Dogs
  • Windows of the World
  • The Bridge
  • Come Next Spring

Rate – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 21, Vinyl Singles – 16, LPs – 14, Downloads – 5

Total Tracks: 492, Time: 36h 20m 20s