This month sees IBM celebrate its 100th anniversary. Here’s a little bit of IBMÂ UK history/trip down memory lane. Back in 1989 I was at North Harbour just outside Portsmouth and the boss wanted a pic taken. Here’s the result. The dashing executive on the left is me in a very new Pierre Cardin suit which my Dad bought at Debenhams in Palmerston Road a couple of years before. Fond memories of Jim & Geoff and not forgetting Nora, Claire and all the other lovely Irish lassies . . .
As you can see, the hair had just started to grow and about one year later this picture below was the result. Scraped back into a ponytail but there’s quite a lot down the back. A young Ray Reardon perhaps?
Note also the textual representation of the screen. My mate Jem had a running bet with me that a couldn’t get the word ‘JOBY’ into the internal magazine. With a bit of semantic chicanery I think I just about managed it. We had a lot to worry about in those days 😉
Long time fans will be relieved to know lead singer Naoko’s English accent remains unchanged: just the right side of comprehensible but occasionally straying into that weird place where the hard Japanese consonants fade into vowels already mushier than a heartbroken Michael Bolton whereupon it all becomes a glorious balm for the ears. My copy of the CD booklet even contains the word ‘lSuxury’ and I’m not so sure it’s a misprint.
Subject matter is as wacky as ever: jellyfish, stationery and a lost guitar all feature as does a gem of a song about South American rodent beastie the Capybara: “roly-poly body shape/swimming very well”. Shonen Knife don’t do depth but they do literal like no other.
Shonen Knife are often said to be a cure for the blues and this album is no exception but they can do angry too. “Economic Crisis” is as close to venting spleen you’ll ever get from the Japanese. “Where’s the missing money?” cries Naoko in vain. Many will concur with the sentiment.
Elvis Costello: Alison