From The Lodgers
On my arrival I was greeted by four characters. Stephen White, who had just been proclaimed Master Of The Sticks by a pirate station in Cumbria run by a retired colonel. Miss Dee C. Lee who I espied on a clifftop alone with nothing but her sweet voice singing out into the clouds and a large parrott on her shoulder. Paul Weller, who sat naked in front of the sea on a deckchair shouting, “stop I say, hold thyselves, my parts freeze,” as the waves rushed past him, and Master Michael Talbot by a bonfire, splendidly clad in a lame blanket and hard at work on one of Stravinsky’s unfinished works he had come across in a disused priory.
Remember The Cappuccino Kid, that mysterious liner note writer for releases by The Style Council? Nobody knew who exactly The Cappuccino Kid was, but many speculated!
Not ringing a bell yet? Perhaps the following passage from Our Favourite Shop will jog your memory:
21 Responses to “Rock Crimes: Paul Weller’s Cappuccino Kid”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
I suppose at that point, even Bruce Foxton wouldn’t have sung “he is INNOCENT…That man”
The Espresso Infant
Also, I hate your poll, Hobson. If ever there was one where I needed to add my own ridiculous answer THAT would be one.
TOUGH CHOICES are the necessity today, Mockcarr. We can only imagine how entertaining your ridiculous answer might be, but it may not top either of the two answers to which you are limited.
See, this is why irony never really works in pop music. Way too many people never understand when something is, for the lack of a better term, A Giant Fucking Put-On.
The Cappuccino Kid — whose identity was never actually secret, and who was indeed Paolo Hewitt with stylistic direction from Weller himself — was A Giant Fucking Put-On. The clothes were A Giant Fucking Put-On. The deliberately homoerotic publicity photos and videos were, indeed, A Giant Fucking Put-On.
The idea behind the combination of all these extra-musical elements was that they put forth the idea that the Style Council was an entirely different philosophical and stylistic proposition than the Jam, despite the fact that — as I’ve said and no one has disputed — there is not a smidgen of musical difference between the final couple years of the Jam and the first couple years of the Style Council. It was all a deliberate provocation, and the fact that 25 years on, you’re STILL provoked only proves that it was a successful one.
Also: Stackridge meant to be funny.
Re: the poll — much less of a contest than it appears to be at first. Culture Club’s period of musical viability lasted about a year and a half, during which period they recorded two albums that included several tremendous singles and even for their time and place, a rather amazing amount of tat. (I dare anyone here to actually listen to the song “White Boy.”) The Style Council rarely approached the three minutes of pop perfection that was “Time (Clock of the Heart),” but they were mostly pretty good from the spring of ’83 to the spring of ’86, with as I said one final great (and even more than usually Curtis Mayfield-influenced) single a year later. That means that Paul Weller has only been dead from the neck up for 21 years, as opposed to 24 for Mr. O’Dowd, and also he somehow has been able to fool people into pretending he’s artistically viable for all this time — you assholes actually LIKE Weller’s solo records? — which happened for Boy George once for about 30 seconds when THE CRYING GAME came out.
Look at these UK chart positions for Style Council albums:
Café Bleu – (1984) #2
Our Favourite Shop – (1985) #1
The Cost of Loving – (1987) #2
Confessions of a Pop Group – (1988) #15
Maybe we simply can’t hear them for what they were, not being British. But they certainly struck a chord over there. Even their most revolting album went to number 15.
I’m glad you’re so tuned into Giant Fucking Put-Ons, Great One. That’s all well and good, but we’re talking about music here, mannnnnnnn.
Yes, we are talking about Music. AND THE MUSIC ISN’T ANY FUCKING DIFFERENT THAN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IF HE KEPT THE NAME THE JAM! The only thing that’s different is the packaging, and that’s what you have so much trouble with.
Like I said, G48, it’s the sweaters. No matter how often Mod claims that some of his best friends are cardigan sweaters, tied loosely around men’s necks, I sense he’s got issues.
The songwriting is similar but the rhythm section is completely different. Sure, the best of Style Council sounds a lot like the worst of The Jam, but that’s not like saying Style Council sounds like The Jam. The songwriting IS similar; the way the songs are put across is much different.
The choice is do I prefer Culture Club or Style Council??? Then I choose to be a eunuch in the court of the Han Dynasty because it’s the same thing. Rock Town No-Balls.
Mod, a serious question: is there a rough chronological cut-off past which you generally don’t like Jam stuff?
The Gift runs out of gas for me fast, Hrrundi. There are maybe 3 songs I like. Their move into funk is pathetic. Weller starts oversinging everything. The band’s farewell single, if memory serves, is pretty good. It sounds a lot like The Style Council.
My favorite album is always Setting Sons followed by Sound Affects. After that I like the ep with “Absolute Beginners” and “Liza Radley”. Then go back to the first album and the third. Although I love a couple of songs on the third album, which I know a lot of you love, my dislike for a few others makes me consider ranking it album a notch below the not-so-good second album. Think of it as a punishment.
So…wait, you’d like the Style Council more if they had a shit drummer, like the Jam did. Or something.
You’re right, “The Gift” is pretty lame. *That’s the reason he broke up The Jam*! I don’t always see eye-to-eye with G48, but he’s right here; TSC were the band that could actually perform the songs Paul wanted to write. I’ll say it again — you just prefer white rock to white soul. That’s okay, but I’m just (ahem) calling a spade a spade.
The Great 48 wrote:
I’m glad you ask that question, because I, of all Buckler-hating Townspeople, deserved it. Although Buckler’s drumming bugged me greatly and Foxton’s bass playing could have added more, I liked hearing the struggle of three guys trying to make something happen. There’s no struggle, no bad blood, no animality in the music of The Style Council. Didn’t someone else already refer to it as Eunuch Music? It’s like Weller popped a top on a can of Simply Red sound. To me, one of Weller’s greatest strengths has been his effort to swim upstream. In The Style Council, with all those slick ’80s surroundings, he’s merely a fish out of water. The guy can’t even sing in the right key to make that music as good as it might have been.
Hrrundi, by “white soul” I assume you’re not referring to “blue-eyed soul,” of which I like a good share, but “bad soul,” right?
Chicken throws it down:
Then I choose to be a eunuch in the court of the Han Dynasty because it’s the same thing. Rock Town No-Balls.
I’m with you there. Couldn’t you just have put GWAR on there or something, so those of us who’s lack of interest is more interesting to us than this whole Weller-watching-paint-dry thread could feel included, without skewing the votes of the 4 of you?
[GWAR = “animality” without scary racial theory a la RTH. (That’s so ontologically ambiguous, in the playground sense.)]
Hey Great 48,
What does R. Stevie Moore think about all this? He can’t be all that happy about you being in the middle of a mega intense love sandwich with Paolo Hewitt and Style Council Weller while the Boy rams his tongue between your toes.
Maybe it’s me but you appear to be a tad too excited about Paul and Paolo pulling the wool over our eyes. I for one, and most probably any sane human being who has even a slither of real taste, read the put on and correctly concluded that the LP was going to suck major dick. You’re right. It was indeed a put on, but it was paper thin and shallow as a baby pool. His new identity was in fact his real identity. Presley deep down wanted to be Dean Martin and Weller apparently wanted to be a full blown mod with leanings toward homo eroticism. And the timing was perfect because the whole mod thing was going through it’s 46th revival (I’m probably wrong about that. There’s usually a revival twice a week). I don’t have problems with any of that as long as one can continue to write and record decent music within the context of mod and homoerocticism. I don’t think he succeeded. You apparently thought he came pretty close and most certainly identify with what what he was trying to do. All that’s fine, just drop the put on thing. It certainly wasn’t a “We’re greater than Jesus Christ” moment in pop.
And just for the record, I can safely say that no one in the entire universe cares one whit that the Style Council actually began at the recording session of “Absolute Beginners”. I fail to understand the necessity of making this point OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. It might be true but it has as much import on all this as the actual date of Bobby Bland’s mother’s birthday.
Tell Chastity I said hi,
Did you get the password for the Private Rock Town Hall site? We may have to take up some of this discussion over there. That phone call we had last night was quite revealing – and volatile.
As for what you say here, I’m with you. Those of us who happen to not like Style Council knew what was up. We just don’t like the music the resulted from it. Culture Club and, as much as it pains me to admit this, because I get the willies merely thinking about the guy, Simply Red did it much better. It was brave of Weller to try this, but plenty of brave explorers never came back alive. The rock world should be happy he eventually returned, a woodcutter’s son.
I think a few of us have made strong arguments for why Style Council failed – failed in the US, that is, the leading market in rock ‘n roll, and failed aesthetically, because any young band that tries to reignite that movement will credit better bands who worked in that style. And boy did it fail. BigSteve’s reporting of the UK chart positions for that album was fascinating. How starved were Brits for decent takes on ’70s-style soul? I see the same pattern in their inflation of “Northern Soul” records. Sure, they’ve uncovered a couple of dozen overlooked gems, but do all those failed, fourth-rate Motown and Stax singles warrant eBay sellers’ ability to buy summer homes off Brits willing to pay $800 for a single that an American wouldn’t buy for 25 cents? More power for Weller for tapping into his nation’s psyche, but we produced actual soul classics. Not even the best Culture Club or Simply Red song matches even a second-rate US ’70s soul artist like Barry White, although that Lisa Stansfield tried her best and looked a lot better than the big man.
My point is, for all the nonsense that’s gone on in this extended Style Council bashing, it’s mostly been done in the service of defining what makes a good single. That’s how Hrrundi posed it, and that’s how I’ve tried to oppose it.
I know this topic is not for everyone. Feel free to launch new topics! We’ll all benefit.
Seems like this issue has been handled thoroughly enough. There’s only one loose end: I’ve found the discussion of sweaters here lacking. “I like sweaters, “I don’t like sweaters.” What a bunch of bullshit. The issue is, what kind of guy can make the grade wearing sweaters, and what kind of guy wears sweaters and dooms himself to a life of utter irrelevance? I’ve seen both types, I can tell you that much.