1 July 2020

Self Service - How Am I Spozed To/ Heavens Above!

Self-released swipe at New Wave success

Label: Racket
Year of Release: 1983

As I recently mentioned on Twitter, one of my money-draining habits is to take a punt on cheap self-released or vanity pressed records from eBay and Discogs users who offer "no extra postage for two additional records on any order". Usually, this results in me receiving some poorly pressed vinyl containing a tragic Totnes based singer-songwriter weeping into an electric piano about his many lost loves. Stick to playing background music in the nearest "high end" Indian restaurant, mate. Occasionally, though, the odd surprise gets netted.

While "How Am I Spozed To" is absolutely not a lost classic, it's a neatly phased bit of New Wave which chugs along propulsively, treading a well-worn hip disco groove but delivering a hook that remains in your brain for the rest of the day. It's definitely stylistically closer to the less credible end of things - think Boomtown Rats or BA Robertson rather than Blondie or Talking Heads - but manages to dodge the irritating attention-seeking of Robertson and the sub-Springsteen posturing of Geldof quite neatly. 

Please don't ask me who is responsible for this, though, because I haven't a clue. Clearly, we have to assume it's Peter David, as he's credited as the songwriter and producer on the label, but if he did anything besides this, I'm drawing a blank. There is an online estate agent in Halifax called Peter David who specialises in "Self Service" house sales, and while it would be hilarious and lovely if this turned out to be the same chap, it seems pretty damn unlikely he consistently used the "self service" moniker throughout the rest of his career. "Hey, I'm your estate agent, but you may remember me from a piece of vanity released vinyl I put out in 1983" doesn't seem like much of a selling point.

Like most self-released records, then, this one obviously fell completely under the radar and lingered in the mail rooms of radio stations and music magazines across the land, never to be referenced again.   It's a shit business.


Arthur Nibble said...

Interesting label design but, if you're one of those folk with a juke-box type turntable and you have to dink the middle, unless you keep the dinked bit you need to remember the act, song and which is the A-side. Ahem.

23 Daves said...

Precisely the kind of detail someone arranging a vanity pressed record would be likely to forget!

Tom said...

Hi there!

Thanks for sharing this rare 7". It seems the A-side isn't working properly, if you wouldn't mind reuploading that please.


23 Daves said...

Hi Tom - sorry, but works fine for me. Please try refreshing the page, or if all else fails, have a quick look at the FAQ.

Webbie - FootieAndMusic said...

I like that this Peter David left clues for us. The label, as well as the name, looks like a tennis racket. Grab your jacket, we are off to Wimbledon !

VanceMan said...

Maybe damning with faint praise but I've heard much worse from much bigger names. If it didn't have that identikit new wave look and spelling, I might have even been impressed.

23 Daves said...

That's what got me thinking that Peter David may have been somebody who worked as an engineer in a studio or similar - the record sounds very well produced and made. No trace of him on Discogs working elsewhere, though.

Arthur Nibble said...

What with the tennis connotations re the label name (sic) and design, I'm surprised the act weren't called First Service instead!