Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moving

After numerous years of action, inaction, deletion and reactivation here on blogger I have decided to move my blogging over to Wordpress.

By way of song to play me out I thought that this tune by Supergrass would be appropriate.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Summer Music

I have had a busy summer in terms of checking out some new albums; I probably overdid it too, as I still have a few albums from my initial splurge at Amazon, HMV and Fopp, to get through. Teenage Fanclub, The Cribs and the Rolling Stones to name but three will all have to wait, it will probably take me into the autumn to get through the rest. Here are those that I did manage to check out.

The Coral - Butterfly House (Deltasonic)


This album should be the soundtrack to a long hot summer; instead it was released just as the clement weather turned into a prolonged period of rain.

The Coral’s fifth, and the first after their singles collection is an album that wears its influences on the sleeve; Uncut magazine described it as ‘sounding more than ever like the Bunnymen transported to Love-era LA.’ I can certainly see where there are going with that statement and if I was not a long-term fan of the band (and the ones mentioned by Uncut) this review would have probably had me scurrying for their new album.

Mid-to-late-60s music has certainly been the accompanying soundtrack to the recording sessions, given the harmonies that can be heard in a number of the songs. The harmonies on ‘Two Faces’ are the most noticeable and give-off that summer of love vibe.
‘More than a Lover’ the album opener is a bold and strong statement of intent, with its lyricism displaying mystical qualities that are on the right side of pretentious.

It is hard to pick out favourites, as it is probably the band’s most consistent collection of songs and this augers well for the future, after fears that the last album may have been a full stop, that said, ‘Butterfly House’ and ‘1000 Years’ are the standout tracks. Given the consistency of the music the only thing the album lacks are the real blockbusters that their first two albums provided.

There is a bonus disc on the extended version of the album that highlights the band’s capacity to experiment is still there, something that may be missing from the proper album.

Overall this is a great album and given the fact that band are still so young, there is more to come from the Heswall band in the future.

Cherry Ghost – Beneath this Burning Shoreline (Heavenly)


Beneath this Burning Shoreline is the second album from Simon Aldred’s outfit, on some levels, it is a more ambitious album than their eponymous debut, it doesn’t stray too far from that template.

Their sound is wonderfully epic, with a twist of the melancholic, and has certain similarities with other northern bands such as Doves, Elbow, and I am Kloot – which is no bad thing.

Tours with the Coral and Doves of late have seen these new songs performed live and have been well received. The more epic moments from the album have been effortlessly recreated live too.

‘We Sleep On Stones’ was the first single and the opener for the album, it is the standout track, but not by much. You are constantly surprised by the quality with each passing tune, the two interludes included, are a must, to enable you to catch breath before the next song comes along.

‘The Night They Buried Sadie Clay’ sounds like a 5-minute kitchen sink drama set to music. In fact most of the lyricism of the album is very character-led and in that northern tradition of songwriters that evoke their surroundings.

The album is strangely subdued in tone towards the end, with ‘Diamond in the Grind’ and ‘Strays on the Ice Pond’, bringing the mood to a more reflective tempo.
This is one of the great albums of the year and surprisingly overlooked for a Mercury nomination too. I look forward to seeing them live in October.

I Am Kloot – Sky at Night (Shepherd Moon)



This is a beautifully understated album and contains some of the greatest moments that the band has committed to record. For me their debut contains their greatest songs (‘86 TVs’ and ‘For You’) but ‘Sky at Night’ is probably their most consistent set.

Like their debut, Craig Potter & Guy Garvey from Elbow produced the album and their presence is all over this. The addition of strings and harmonies, a hallmark of their band, are on display throughout and only add to the usually solid songwriting.

The one thing that has stayed true to the formula are Johnny Bramwell’s lyrics, each song has a line that catches your ear and stops you in your tracks…‘you’re the guy on the bus/who’s not quite one of us’ is one diamond amongst the myriad killer lines.
‘To the Brink’, is typical I Am Kloot, with the earthiness of the lyrics to the fore, ably backed with a haunting string melody, I could see Richard Hawley kicking himself that he had not written this song earlier.

‘Proof’ is a welcome return for a song that was wasted as an earlier single’s b-side and is polished and presented as new here. ‘Radiation’ is the album’s epic song and slowly builds to a rousing finale.

Though the template has been adapted slightly the changes have not been to the detriment of all that is made I Am Kloot good in the past.

This is an album that will satisfy long-term fans and those that have decided to investigate for the first time. Sky at Night is deserving of the accolades that will come its way.

Sleeper – Greatest Hits (Indolent/Epic)



I picked up this compilation fairly cheap on Amazon, on the back of having read Louise Wener memoirs about her time as the songwriter and front person of Sleeper. On the back of that I realised that I only had the one Sleeper album, ‘Smart’, an album that contained all their recognisable hits. For some reason I had left it there and didn’t stick around to buy their subsequent albums.

There are a number of decent tunes on this collection, ‘Inbetweener’ ‘Nice Guy Eddie’ ‘What Do I Do Now?’ and ‘Delicious’ are the album’s stronger moments but on the whole the music has not fared too well over time and this compilation highlights what Wener says in her book that they shone brightly for a short time then faded away.

The Climbers – The Good Ship (Willkommen)


The Climbers is a Brighton-based collective and signed to one of the up and coming labels in the UK. I discovered them when I bought The Leisure Society’s album - which features one of the great songs of 2009. ‘Last of the Melting Snow’.

The Climbers include two members of that band and they are the vehicle for Nick Hemming’s songs. Christian Silva records the songs of Christian Hardy and the Climbers perform the songs of Tim West. The Climbers are ostensibly the afore mentioned three members but with an extended cast of members that augments the band’s sound and that is something that would explain the eclectic nature of ‘The Good Ship’.

‘Bookshop Folk’ is an up and at ‘em stomper that leads in to the more plaintive ‘Anything’. The title track ‘Good Ship’ has that barroom piano vibe. In fact the majority of the album invokes images of the sea, not just with the album cover but the jaunty sea-shantyesque tunes that complete the album.

‘Uncommon’ is another epic song, and probably the stand out track and has a touch of Campbell and Lanegan about it.

There is obviously a great deal of talent within the band and I look forward to future releases by the band and those on Wilkommen Records.

Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen (Kitchenware/Sony)


It was good to hear this album again; I had not picked it up in a few years, though I noticed that I did not have a CD of the album. That was remedied over the summer when I purchased the Deluxe Version (a remastered version that was released in 2007). I love Paddy McAloon as a songwriter, and this bunch of songs is deemed to be his finest.

‘Faron Young’ opens the album and it is still a great song and probably one of their finest moments. ‘When Love Breaks Down’ is still one of the saddest songs put to record and is not too far behind in the best song stakes.
The collection includes a bonus disc of acoustic versions of the album. In fact the only new version I didn’t like at first, was ‘When Love Breaks Down’, to me the new version sounded twee, but overtime I grew to like it. My initial reaction probably stemmed from the belief the original could not be bettered.

Songs that may have passed me by when I originally bought this album have become favourites in their new guises. ‘Appetite’ sounds great in its acoustic state. The new version of ‘Faron Young’ almost betters the original, with the deeper tones of McAloon’s voice today taking the song in a direction not envisaged when it was first written.

Speaking of the genius that is Paddy McAloon, best wishes to him after a period of bad health and here is hoping that he opens the vaults on the numerous albums that have been written and recorded, but not yet released.

The National – High Violet (4AD)



A band that has been around for a while but it is only with this release that I have checked out any of their material. The bands previous album The Boxer was the one that thrust them onto the conscious of the record buying public in the UK, High Violet is likely to be the one that will catapult them into the high-end of the numerous end-of-the-year polls.

It’s a subtle album that demands attention; it is certainly not one to be played in the background. Matt Berninger’s baritone is what catches the ear first and then the lyricism that dwells in darker places of the soul. Titles like ‘Sorrow’ and ‘Terrible Love’ gives the game away with regards to what to expect from the overall tone of the album

The opening songs contain lyrics of love gone wrong and complement the textured complex tone of the album. The highlight for me is ‘Afraid of Everyone’ a sad lament in keeping with sombre mood of the album
Another great album and one that has got me interested in checking out the band’s back catalogue.

The Villagers – Becoming a Jackal (Domino)



One of those bands that occasionally Later with Jools Holland brings to your attention. The Villagers is the vehicle for songwriter Conor O’Brien’s music and this album has been shortlisted for the 2010 Mercury Music Prize. The lyrical matter is quite dark at times, but it is also poetic as it deals with life’s twists and turns – it is melancholic, but not in a mournful way.

The arrangements are simple and the title track ‘Becoming a Jackal’ features a performance of voice and guitar highlighting the truest essence of the material. This is the highlight for me and made this album an essential purchase. On ‘Pieces’ sees O’Brien howling at the moon as the track reaches its climax, which on first listen was slightly disconcerting, but it certainly captures a mood.

This is a thoroughly engaging album and like the High Violet it is not an easy one to get in to, but it is worth persevering with though.

John Grant – Queen of Denmark (Bella Union)



I had seen a review and interview with Grant in Mojo and Uncut earlier in the year and this was put on the wish list for future reference. I noticed that he was playing the Static Gallery in August and decided to pop along. I went to that gig without hearing much of his stiff before that; the gig sent me scurrying to get a copy of this album. This is probably the best album that I have heard this year and truly amazing set from someone whose career had seemingly hid the skids.

The album has a sheen to it that on first listen you could think that it was in that AOR tradition, but on closer inspection the lyrics paint a different picture. The highlights of the album are many and its difficult to suggest favourites ‘TC and Honeybear’ is one that I would plump for, the opening track of this stunning collection is a slow building song but its climax is well worth the ride.

The great tunes keep on coming ‘Marz’ recalls a childhood sweetshop and a time when life was simpler. For Grant, times have been tough and it is pleasing to see that the accolades that are coming his way are coming as a result of this album.

The album veers between lush orchestrations to solo songs with just piano balladry to the fore - as an artist Grant is comfortable in either form. ‘Queen of Denmark’ is the perfect closer to the album.

I was lucky to pick up the two-disc version with four bonus tracks ‘Fireflies’ is the pick of these songs and one that was omitted from the main album after a breakdown in communications with the record label. He remarked at the gig I went to see that he thought the label were underwhelmed by it, when in fact they thought it was brilliant. Hence the need for a bonus disc.

This is a truly endearing, at times sad, but overall uplifting album and one that I’m glad that I finally got around to buying.

Human League – Dare (Virgin)



An album purchase, inspired by reading the Louise Wener’s book and this is an album that contains a number of their greatest hits. Dare is ‘the’ Human League with ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ and ‘Love Action (I Believe in Love)’. Love Action is probably the band’s greatest moment mainly because of the self-referencing lyric ‘Hey this is Phil talking’ a line that always cracks me up. Bizarrely there is also a cover version of Roy Budd’s ‘Get Carter’ theme tune on this album too.

This is one of the great albums of the 80s (if that’s not damning it with faint praise) and every time I hear the Human League it always reminds of one the greatest gigs I have ever seen.

Tunng - …And Then We Saw Land (Full Time Hobby)



They were a band I had been meaning to check out for a while and had downloaded a number of remix tracks from RCDLB which I liked and made me want to explore further
Tunng are an experimental folk band or folktronica as they have also been dubbed.

‘…And Then We Saw Land’ is their fourth album.‘ that has seen them grow steadily in size. ‘Don’t Look Down or Back’ was the lead out track and is probably one of the few tracks that can be construed as traditional. Over the course of the course of the album sees the folk palette mixed with a number of electronic shades.

‘Hustle’ is a jaunty opener and sets the scene for a folk and beats combination that follows.

They are folk at heart and the experimental edge never gets in the way of the songwriting and it is certainly an interesting album that has me interested in discovering the rest of their catalogue.

Broken Bells – Broken Bells (Sony)



Broken Bells is Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer from The Shins. I had been looking forward to hearing this album since I downloaded a free copy of lead single ‘The High Road’.

The results of this collaboration are that is sounds like a Shins album, no bad thing. The stand out track is without doubt the aforementioned track, but the ‘beats and Beach Boys’ influences throughout lend a very summer feel, non-more so on ‘Citizen’, which is probably the other stand out.

Overall a great summer album and was well worth more than the £3 I paid for it in a HMV sale.

Neville Skelly – Child of the Morning EP (Setanta)



I picked this up when I went to see the Coral, for whom Skelly was the opening act. Despite the help from the Coral producing this album and the sharing of a surname, he is in fact no relation to that band.

The album is delightfully understated with Skelly’s deep and mellifluous vocal to the fore. He was a quiet character in-between the songs, hiding behind his shades. When the first chords of the songs chimed he came alive. The simple vocal and guitar formula of the live setting is replicated to an extent on the album, with only the inclusion of drums and the occasional other instrument that differentiates from the live setting. The vibe is definitely stripped back and it works well.

Child of the Morning is the title track from this 5 track EP, a taster of hopefully a longer album in the near future, has that Sinatra vibe about it. Though thankfully, not in the way that Robbie Williams popularised. The first four songs all have that laid-back lounge lizard feel, with the closer Poet and the Dreamer the more upbeat of the collection.

It is certainly music for a late night ambient moods, he’s certainly worth checking out in the future.

Spokes – People Like You (Counter Records)


Electtronica/Dance is the listing on iTunes, but to me this is more in that post-rock vain. They do quite loud and quiet in equal measure, they are a more melodic Mogwai. It was ‘End Credits/Loveletter’ that caught my ear on a Clash Music Liverpool compilation. The album is generally instrumental and when lyrics appear they are used sparingly. Opener ‘Young People, All Together’ waits for 4 minutes before a vocal kicks in.

For an EP that is almost forty minutes in length you get value for money with 6 lengthy tracks. It has some weaker tunes but generally it is a good taster of their forthcoming album that is due for release in the autumn.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August

August for me is without doubt the best month of the year - as it is usually the one where I take the bulk of my holidays. This year was no different, though was very much a staycation, as I had a boiler and new sofa to purchase. The joys home ownership!

Another thing that was no different this year was the weather. For the five years I have been able to take August off, the weather has been dreadful. As I write this, the weather has taken a turn for the better…typical!

The weather has been good for writing, which I have been doing with regularity. The aim is to send more and more stuff out, instead of hording it in folders and on my computer. I have also been tinkering with a website, this will be a portfolio, which is something that I have been meaning to do for a while. That can be found here, I will eventually move this blog over there, all in good time.

I was also planning to set up another blog site but that idea (which I will keep on the backburner for now) was taken over by another idea I had for a football blog. I quite enjoy watching football and if I’m not at Everton then I like to find myself watching non-league football. This is known as Groundhopping, not something I have done that extensively but over the years I have visited a few weird and wonderful grounds.



Speaking of football, the new season is upon us and so far I have seen Everton twice, first for the unique friendly versus their Chilean namesakes, which was an interesting game and good to see Everton winning 2-0...well they could not lose. It was a significant game for me also had a first in nearly thirty years (gulp…thirty years) of going to the game that I had managed to catch one of the toffees thrown by the Toffee Lady. The second game was the first league clash against Wolves, which I haven’t put finger to keyboard to write about, given that it was typically a last-game-on-Match-of-the-Day-type-game. Roll on November, when Everton normally start getting their act together.



After months spent with my head in books researching for new modules and programmes that I will be involved in at work next term it is nice to spend my summer reading books that may not be work related. The range of books may not have been be too heavy or too frothy; I certainly did not envisage reading Joyce’s Ulysses this year, which I did not.

One omission from the reading list that I notice, is that I have not read much fiction of late, I’m not too sure why that is. I have read a few short collections of flash fiction, which I quite liked, one is produced by the University of Chester called Flash. I have bought subscribed to this for a while now and it gets better with each issue. The other publications I managed to check out were Square which I managed to get through a couple of back issues that I had been accumulating. Square is a Welsh based publication with a healthy Stone Roses obsession. As well as Square, I picked up another small-scale flash fiction publications Nutshell. I may not pick up some of these publications again, but its good to see different styles of writing are out there, without having to spend too much time reading them. What I like about Flash Fiction is the ability to dip in and out of publications.

The other books I read included Joe Moran’s On Roads, Luke Haines Bad Vibes and Louise Wener’s which I have blogged about elsewhere on this blog.

Music wise I went to see John Grant and my thoughts on that gig can be found here. Also I have listened to a few albums over the last few weeks, the pick of which is very much the John Grant album Queen of Denmark. My thoughts can be found on that and the others that I listened to can be found here.

In-between my car being on blocks (three trips to the garage of late) this summer has taught me that a new car is needed I tried to get away for a few trips Buxton and Morecombe were the height of my travels which is a might frustrating.



So its back to work and typically the next month will disappear in the blink of an eye…soon it will be a new term and then…I wont say it but you know what.

Friday, August 20, 2010

John Grant & The Big House

Thursday 19th August 2010, Live at the Static Gallery Liverpool

Set list: You Don't Have to (Pretend to Care), Drug, Sigourney Weaver, When Dreams Go to Die, Marz, It's Easier, Out of Space, Silver Platter Club, Queen of Denmark, Child I Never Was, Paint the Moon, TC and Honeybear, Caramel, Fireflies, Chickenbones.

On a night that only summer in England can offer, the Static Gallery offered refuge from the rain, with a night of music that drew its influences from across the pond and sunnier climes.

Liverpool’s The Big House featuring Candie Payne and Paul Molloy, the ex-Zutons guitarist were the opening act. Playing only their second gig, they seemed a little nervous and slightly unnerved by the subdued nature of the audience; though quiet, they were appreciative of their performance.

As a band they are very much work in progress but there is a potential in their tunes, the highlights so far are ‘Pebble Lane’ and ‘Counting Thunder’, songs that have an Americana feel to them. In fact there is something of Cash and Carter about the pair the way they interact on stage.

The one element that probably needs work is the vocal duties; at times Payne is slightly sidelined, It’s like having a Rolls Royce and only using it for trips to the shops. Though Molloy has a great voice, the band work best when Payne is using her vocal range as the set closer is testimony to.

The quiet audience was a different beast for headliner John Grant, back in Liverpool for a second gig in as many months; it was certainly not a case of familiarity breeding contempt.

Touring the brilliant ‘Queen of Denmark’ album that on tonight’s evidence has been taken to the hearts of all in attendance. He introduced each song to rapturous applause that suggested the audience were not just familiar with his latest offering but the older songs from his Czars days too.

Microphone trouble put paid to the slow building opening song ‘You Don't Have to (Pretend to Care)’. That was to be the only misstep of the night, throughout Grant delivered each song with passion and genuinely touched by the reaction that he received from the crowd. The end of tour fatigue he talked about was certainly not evident here.

There were many highlights ‘When Dreams Go to Die’ is a minor chord wonder about thinking a lover could make him happy. His between song banter was endearing after the aforementioned song he suggested the London Underground as that place 'where dreams go to die'.

The majority of his songs are of a similar reflective nature and written with a 70s American soft rock focus, that in the hands of other artists could come across as bland and anodyne. For Grant the subject matter and the lyrical content steers it safely away from that direction.

He avoided the ‘false encore’ and offered the audience the chance to select the closing numbers. Calls for ‘Chickenbones’ were turned down; saying his accompanying guitarist and him did not have an arrangement for that song. Undeterred the audience willed him to do it acapela, which he did, aided by the percussive handclaps of the audience. This almost raised the roof of the venue.

It would be greedy to expect him back in Liverpool as soon as he returned here tonight but when he does return he has set the bar high with this performance.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in its Downfall

Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in its Downfall (Windmill)by Luke Haines

As time creeps on, the period of the 1990s is increasingly being seen through sepia-tinted glasses - stand by for the 20th Anniversary celebrations in the next few years. For now, we have a number of books that encapsulate that period written by those at the heart of the madness. Bad Vibes is Luke Haines take on the period, and he is perfectly positioned to offer a viewpoint on the time, as the lead singer of The Auteurs, as a band who were feted along with Suede to be one of the bands of the 1990s.

This represents another retrospective account of the 1990s music scene - I have avoided the word Britpop for reasons that become apparent when you read this book, with all the characters that you would expect to see from this time are mentioned with varying degrees of venom.

Suede, the band that emerged at the same time as Haines’s band, occasionally get barbed comments, though deep down you can almost sense a begrudging admiration for the band. They even get an acknowledgement at the end of the book.

This cannot be said for a number of his other bands of the time Blur, Oasis, Elastica, Verve, Pulp Sleeper and Echobelly all get the sharp end of his pen in equal measure, and for the second successive book I have read about this period, there is a particularly vituperative attack on the Boo Radleys. The biggest band of the generation Oasis, he describes them as a ‘crap new comedy band…[who are] wowing them in the aisles, and they [the fans] swarm on them like flies on shit.’

Even Britpop flag bearer Chris Evans comes under attack having participated in the pilot of TFI Friday, Haines describes Evans as 'a shallow bullying man-child, a jumped-up kissogram-turned-light-entertainment-colossus.’ Even fans of the other bands get a dose of Haines’ venom; he describes Placebo’s fans as ‘screaming ingrates’.
It is not just his peers from the ‘Britpop’ generation provoke Haines’ ire. The The, the 80s band, led by Matt Johnson are portrayed as ‘humourless’. On one early support tour with the band, the Auteurs are demoted to opening at 7.30 just as the doors open, in favour of the ‘unfunny’ comedian Tommy Cockles. This provokes a stand up row and an attack on Johnson’s guitars, which sees the Auteurs subsequently kicked off the tour.

There are the usual tales of bad luck and poor record companies, as well as brushes with cults in Japan and fans who take his songs about terrorism as a call to arms. As is the case of many a rock journal there are tales of excess, the drug busts in Europe. The way that future bust were to be overcome was by posting the drugs onto venues and hotels while in France. This came with the realisation that they had now moved on from a potential possession rap to that of trafficking – albeit to themselves

The tone is angry throughout, but it is not a bitter account. In fact there are some real laugh out loud moments.Whether you have been a fan of the numerous bands that Haines has been associated with down the years, it doesn’t matter this is a brilliant evocation of that period and serves as a handy companion for those ‘wasn’t it great’ journals that have arrived recently and makes this book an indispensable account of the British 90s music scene.

Different for Girls: My True-life Adventures in Pop (Ebury Press)

Different for Girls: My True-life Adventures in Pop (Ebury Press)by Louise Wener

Different for Girls is a book in two parts; first we get the accounts of the awkward teenager growing up in a typically suburban setting that would be chronicled later in her songwriting. There are moments of poignancy through the early chapters, as she discusses the death of her father.

The second part will be recognisable to all who followed music in the 1990s and her days of relative success with Sleeper, which she likens to a ‘one night stand, albeit a great one’.

The reminiscences about music throughout her teenage years seem the more heartfelt, than her days in the public eye. The tales of taping of Top of the Pops on primitive recording devices and putting together tapes of favourite hits are things that most obsessive music fans can identify with.

Throughout the book Wener comes across as likeable figure and not the sassy loudmouthed front women caricature that the music press portrayed her as throughout the 1990s. The book recalls a time pre-Spice Girls and the laughable claims of Girl Power and the title alludes to her brushes with the music press, Wener was pilloried by the music press for acting up to a caricature, the passages though show her to be a likeable character and not one that press portrayed her as. She pours scorn that bands like the Manic Street Preachers that could wish AIDS on Michael Stipe and would not get the same vitriol that she faced from the press.

The book is lightweight in tone and is easily readable. Possibly the one criticism that could be levelled at the book is that it skirts over a number of points like dodgy deals and record company machinations. She also does not dwell too long on the relationships that she had with the guitarist and drummer of the band, who both had to cope wit there own issues of being dismissed as being ‘Sleeperblokes’ by the press.

Though it is worth reading for an insight from one of the leading players about the other leading bands at the time. The glamour of being serenaded by Michael Stipe in front 70,000 people, tucking into Blur’s cheese rider, having Elvis Costello covering one of their songs through to the not so glamorous days of touring Europe with the Boo Radleys.

There is not a sense of bitterness about her pop years and the general feeling that you get from reading the book is an acceptance of the band’s limitations and it was good while it lasted. There are no rock star clich├ęs of going of the rails at the end either, instead you see the seamless switch that she has made with her literary career, where her eye for the 3 minute kitchen drama can now be fully explored.
Overall it is an interesting account from someone at the heart of the action and would be of interest to anyone who had a passing interest in bands from that era.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Invacar

The first Match of the Day 2 of the day of the series recently ran a feature on, things that you don’t see at the match these days. One of the items that caught my eye was cars parked at the pitch-side, which used to be a feature but has died out over the years.

One club that highlights the changing face of football has been Chelsea and its ground Stamford Bridge. The 80s saw Chelsea ply its trade in the top two divisions with a ramshackle ground. Before the days of Chelsea Village and their Russian oligarch, the Shed and the disused greyhounds’ track that surrounded the pitch highlighted a club in decline and a throwback to a different era. With its relatively new incongruous 3 tiered stand, standing out alongside its terraced counterparts. The ground of the 80s was typical of many a top-flight ground of the time - it had potential, a euphemism that estate agents tend to overuse.

What set the Bridge aside from the rest of the topflight was the sandy track that separated supporters from the pitch. Another distinct aspect was that it doubled up as a car park, with the attendant cars giving their owners an advantage of a pitch-side seat to the action. One car was prominent on the touchline at the Bridge and other grounds around the country was the Thundersley Invcar.

Wigan Athletic’s old ground Springfield Park had something of Stamford Bridge about, but on a much smaller scale. The Latics fanzine Mudhutsmedia had a feature glowingly recalling the old Springfield Park and the Covington End where the cars would be parked on the half-circle behind the goal. They reminisced about their non-league days and players such as Billy Sutherland, a Scottish left-back and his habit of bringing the Invacars into play. His wayward shots would bring hoots of laughter and derision when on the many occasions that his shots would cannon off the pitch-side Invacars

One supporter remembers these wayward shots fondly: “It was better than a goal. I can honestly remember one day one of the cars shaking for what seemed like an eternity.”

Even at the tightly packed ground that is Goodison Park I’m sure I can remember seeing footage of an Everton game in the 70s with one being tucked away in the corner of the ground between the Bullens Road and Park End stands.

The name itself was something from a far-flung era – Invacar is a contraction of invalid and car that in these PC times would have been dismissed at the outset.

In March 2003, it became illegal to drive an Invacar on British roads, though they probably died out not so much to do with road safely more to do with the fact that the name of them.

The veteran vehicle could not stand up to modern day safety standards. During the 1960's and 70's the Invacar with its modern fibreglass shell, ice blue colouring and belt drive were produced in the tens of thousands. There were still around 200 Invacars in Britain prior to the 2003 recall and scrapping program.

So in an era of corporate facilites being the alternative to being sat on the terraces spare a though to the Invacar and their alternative views of the game.