29 August 2011

Second Hand Record Dip Part 74 - Mr Food - And That's Before Me Tea!

Who: Mr. Food
What: "...and that's before me tea!"
Label: Tangible
When: 1990
Where: Wood Street Market, Walthamstow, London
Cost: 50p

It's been over three months since the last "Second Hand Record Dip" entry, such a long gap in the service that I feel almost obliged to remind you all of what the hell the concept actually is. Essentially, it involves a dig into the remaindered section you find in the second hand record store, the unloved vinyl that gets tossed into the plastic crates on the floor near the back (or, in particularly uncared for cases, on the pavement outside) for the passing cheapskate to contemplate whilst on their bended knees praying for budget miracles. I've had some fantastic finds in the 50p box before now, but SHRD doesn't focus on the gems but the oddities - the flotsam and jetsam that may have stayed there forever had not somebody with a blog to write passed by.

Ex-BBC Radio One DJ Steve Wright has already cropped up in this section of the blog, and it's frankly no surprise to find him getting mentioned again. In the great musical box of fireworks, Wrighty has always been responsible for the fast-burning ones which do little more than make a few farting noises, mostly to the amusement of the assembled children and grandparents. Even his hit and near-hit singles remain largely forgotten by the General Public and are certainly no longer commercially available. Like slumber parties and roller discos, his melodic output does not appeal once you reach adulthood (One possible exception might be his effort under the name of Arnee and the Terminaters, whose single managed to prophesise the career of Scooter, so now is amusing for reasons entirely separate to the ones he originally intended).

So then, I'd stopped listening to Steve Wright's show by the time the jingle this single was based on begun to air on his show, having developed what I thought was a more grown-up interest in moodily listening to indie bands, and have no idea what the hell the context of it was - although context meant very little to our Steve, so it's safe to say this was probably played endlessly for the hell of it. It consists of a Geordie character known only as Mr Food delivering a Pam Ayers-esque series of lyrics about how much he enjoys eating over a basic, jaunty piano backdrop. And that really is it. The title of the single itself is the punchline to the joke, so that's out of the bag before the needle even hits the groove. It's the kind of thing you hear at open mic nights up and down the country when a musical comedy act takes the stage after being encouraged by their well-meaning friends, delivers a ditty to polite laughter, then promptly naffs off never to be seen again. With Wrighty's help, however, this managed a staggering number 62 position in the charts, hardly a life-changing triumph for anyone concerned, but certainly more than most indie-distributed discs of the era could hope for.

This record probably wouldn't be worthy of further mention were it not for the fact that the gentleman behind the mask of Mr Food, David Sanderson, went on to craft several pastoral neo-psychedelic pop songs under the name of Flowerbed, and his efforts can be found here. When he wasn't titting around with Steve Wright and The Afternoon Boys, clearly he was taking the time to study his Lilac Time and XTC albums closely. Sanderson is also a contemporary classical music composer who has had his work performed at several major concert halls in Britain and abroad, and if you honestly expected this entry to end in such a manner, you're far more wised up than I was when I began to research the man behind the disguise. Sometimes even these ridiculous chance finds can lead to interesting places.

For those of you wondering what was on the flip side to this, by the way - because I know at least one person will be - it appears to be exactly the same song all over again in the guise of a "remix". A mis-press or satire? You be the judge. And while you're sitting thinking about that, there's a low quality copy of the promo video to watch over on YouTube.

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