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Jul 12

MR BLOBBY – “Mr Blobby”

Popular216 comments • 10,503 views

#698, 11th December 1993

“Mr Blobby” is something of a first. We’ve met terrible records before – worse than this, in many cases – but their terribleness has been down to incompetence or cynicism (or in Jive Bunny’s case both). Blobby is doing something different: his single is best understood an extension of the Blobby M.O., the gag which made him a star on Saturday night TV. Celebrity is given to understand Blobby is a harmless kids’ TV character; Blobby then deliberately annoys the sleb, destroys the set, etc.

In other words the awfulness of “Mr Blobby” was a given. More, it was an aim. By Christmas 1993 Blobby was a national figure so his effectiveness as a prankster was long over, but there was enough time for one last great prank – get to number one with a record designed to infuriate, but that people would buy anyway because it would be funny to see it at the top of the charts, especially at Christmas. Hardly anyone had heard of “trolling” but here it was.

If you were being melodramatic – or keen on a bit of trolling yourself – you might say that this is the moment when the British public give up on the charts, turn their back on the one-shot dance hits, the first-week price-fixing, the return of boybands, et al. “Sod this,” the public cry, and vote for a deliberately stupid single by a pink jelly monster. Except I don’t think there was any malice in it – this isn’t a “Killing In The Name” type of incident, where one species of pop was pitched against another with plenty of sneering on each side. Nobody stood to win or lose. It was – like Blobby in general – just slapstick, corporate Dada, highly merchandised nonsense. It’s true that Blobby struck an awful lot of nerves – he was a lodestone for a wider debate about “dumbing down”, the BBC’s shift to an internal market under John Birt, a lurid, shambling “why we can’t have nice things” symbol for a vaguer sense of cultural decline.

But he was also a man in a rubber suit who fell over a lot. And this is his single, coming on like a megamix of previous novelties – the tinny Casio rush of Bombalurina, a chorus of kids a la St Winifreds, three-line-whip jollity (not quite as gritted-teeth as The Stonk), and plenty of parping and farting because, er, Britain. And what do you know – it improves on its sources.

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Comments

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  1. 181
    punctum on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Bow Wow Wow’s “Your Cassette Pet” – wasn’t that late 1980?

  2. 182
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Certainly says 1980 on the label on the cassette itself — but it’s more a “mini-LP:” than a “cassette-single”, isn’t it? Was there a single released off it? What form did that take (if any)?

    (There was a monthly “pop magazine” round this date released in the form of a cassette, also — with songs and interviews. Maybe it was called SFX? I had the first two issues — possibly I still do, but I couldn’t find them just now. It was pretty terrible, and didn’t last for many more than the third, I don’t think. Reasonably sure I remember the date on that as being 1981.)

  3. 183
    thefatgit on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Wiki is no help regarding “Your Cassette Pet”. It’s listed both as single and LP in Bow Wow Wow’s discography. What might be helpful is that Wiki states “C30 C60 C90 Go!” was released in July 1980 and YCP was released in December, taking into account the usual precautions using Wiki as a source.

  4. 184
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Google Image Search of “C30 C60 C90 Go!” only throws up 7″s, as far as I can see (as well as pictures of actual C30s, C60s and C90s). I feel that if it had existed as cassette someone would have posted a photo of their prized possession somewhere.

    I only looked a few pages in, mind you.

  5. 185
    punctum on 6 Sep 2012 #

    I bought YCP and it was definitely in the singles section (and listed in the singles chart). Still have my copy as well innit.

  6. 186
    thefatgit on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Discogs offers up Cat# TC-EMI 5088 cassingle version of “C30 C60 C90 Go!”.

    You get plenty of bang for yer buck on YCP. 8 songs!

  7. 187
    Mark G on 6 Sep 2012 #

    9 songs, in fact, there was an untitled instrumental.

    I can confirm there was a cassette version of C30-etc. (Did anybody bother with C30s? I guess it scanned better than C120 anyway).

    I guess the first 12″ single hit can be accepted as being “Substitute” the Who, right?

  8. 188
    punctum on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Not sure if that was the first 12″-only hit (“Lay All Your Love On Me”?).

  9. 189
    speedwell54 on 6 Sep 2012 #

    Bow Wow Wow and “Your Cassette Pet” was exclusively on cassette (unlike their other singles) and the 8 song/nine tracks, did make the singles chart. I’m not up on the rules -then or now- but I would have thought time wise it should have been an album. Hardtogethits -is that in your area of knowledge?

    Bob MacDonald wrote a short bio of BWW in ’84 saying Malcolm McLaren (their manager,producer and co-writer) was using his “adept publicity skills” in releasing them on this young persons format,(starting with “C30… “), and was also stirring it a bit with the record industry. This was at a time when you couldn’t so much as look at a cassette without been accused of murder; home taping is killing music and all that. Don’t know if he won the battle, EMI weren’t overly chuffed and “were reluctant to market or advertise it” No34 isn’t really a win.

    Re 182 “a tanned and rested etc” Louis Quartorze from YCP was released as a single in ’82, a follow up to “I Want Candy”. It, and they didn’t trouble the top 40 again.

  10. 190
    Mark G on 7 Sep 2012 #

    #188 Not ‘only’ no, there was definitely a seven-inch of Substitute with both b-side tracks

  11. 191
    wichita lineman on 7 Sep 2012 #

    Backtracking a bit… my initial question was which were the first and last cassette no.1s. Woman, for such an un-futuristic single, was really ahead of the game.

    I remember an issue of Sounds from summer 1980 which had a cassette on the cover and a line along the likes of “will Malcy get his fingers burnt again?”. I remember wondering whether you were meant meant to prononounce MM’s nickname “mal-see” or “mal-kee”.

    I remember SFX very well. Soft Cell, Madness, and a rare Dolly Mixture interview.

  12. 192
    Mark G on 7 Sep 2012 #

    Still got ’em all in the loft, the HolgerCzukay ‘presentation’ is a higlight

  13. 193
    hardtogethits on 8 Sep 2012 #

    #189. I’m not one to bluff, and I’m afraid I just don’t know why it was considered a single and not an album. I have a couple of ideas of possible explanations, but would want to check them out before sharing them.

    What I can say conclusively is that if the cassette-only release had been considered an album, it would not have qualified for the album charts!

  14. 194
    wichita lineman on 8 Sep 2012 #

    Was it single price? I seem to remember it being ‘value for money’.

  15. 195
    hardtogethits on 8 Sep 2012 #

    #194. Absolutely, dealer price would be my top guess – and it retailed at £1.99.

  16. 196
    hardtogethits on 8 Sep 2012 #

    Done a bit of research. Music Week in 1980 explained the presence of the BowWowWow single in the chart on the grounds that that the BPI considered it fell in line with the expectations of a 12 inch single. I am still not quite sure whether this means number of tracks, aggregate length, or purely price -but it really does look like the latter.

    There’s a definite sense that EMI were trying to give the BPI something to make a decision about, but it’s not altogether clear why (to me).

    FWIW, on its chart debut the eight track cassette was listed in Music Week as “Louis Quartorze” (sic).

  17. 197
    Jimmy the Swede on 9 Sep 2012 #

    PAGING WICHITA!!

    Erithian and the Swede will be at Welling United’s ground this coming Saturday (15th) for the uncontested match of the day, Erith and Belvedere v Whyteleaf. Will the Lineman also be on the line? It would be great to see you.

  18. 198
    wichita lineman on 9 Sep 2012 #

    Sounds good to me… though as Leafe lost at home to the mighty Cray Valley Paper Mills yesterday, I sense a home win is inevitable.

  19. 199
    speedwell54 on 9 Sep 2012 #

    ..back to music. re 196 hardtogethits. Price fits. I wonder if they listed as “Louise Quartorze” to try and bolster their decision to call it a single. I don’t know, but I’m guessing “Your Cassette Pet” wasn’t one of the 8/9 tracks and therefore it would be pretty unusual to refer to a single in that way.

    The extra “r” is in Music Master too, hence 189.

  20. 200
    Jimmy the Swede on 9 Sep 2012 #

    ..back to footy. That’s great, Lino. See you in the ground. You’ve already met Erithian, I think. I’ll be the fat drunken bloke with him in the Mucky Sue t-shirt. Later.

  21. 201
    Jimmy the Swede on 11 Sep 2012 #

    Blobby, Blobby, Blobby!!

    Murray, Murray, Murray!!

    And a big well done to Andy for finally lifting a Slam. It was the one he was always going to win first, predicted Popular’s self-appointed tennis correspondent, The Swede. And now the duck’s broken, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t bag another three or four. The guy has got no personality at all but he can ‘alf play tennis!!

  22. 202
    punctum on 11 Sep 2012 #

    Don’t know him personally so I don’t know whether he has any personality or not but hey if I wanted no personalities I’d watch Daybreak TV. GAUN YIR’SELF ANDY!

  23. 203
    Jimmy the Swede on 11 Sep 2012 #

    The Swede is thus assuming that yon punctum knows personally the folk on Daybreak TV! If he means Eamonn Holmes, he’s absoulutely right. As for young Mr Murray, he very nearly broke into a smile during one post-match interview but couldn’t quite do it. He’ll need to learn to stop mumbling, though, as he’ll be going round to Brenda’s gaff shortly to pick up a bun. And Brenda can’t be doing with mumblers!

  24. 204
    punctum on 11 Sep 2012 #

    prince charles to thread

  25. 205
    Jimmy the Swede on 11 Sep 2012 #

    and that nincompoop (Sir) Trevor Brooking!

  26. 206
    Erithian on 14 Sep 2012 #

    so Lino (and if anybody else wants to boost our attendance I won’t stop you) – Park View Road, Welling, 3pm tomorrow, be there or be square.

  27. 207
    wichita lineman on 14 Sep 2012 #

    Square! I’ve got a date in Hertford. Three points in the bag for the Deres I reckon. Look out for Paul Scott – Leafe’s Billy Ocean lookalike and ‘lone wolf’ who pops back every few years to score a hat trick, lose form, then disappear again.

  28. 208
    Erithian on 14 Sep 2012 #

    Billy Ocean circa ’77 or now?

  29. 209
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Sep 2012 #

    That’s a pity, Lino. Maybe we can do something when the Deres go to your place.

  30. 210
    Jimmy the Swede on 19 Sep 2012 #

    Lineman – You should have gone to the game. Leafe won 2-1. The return game is at the end of the season in April. Let’s be ‘aving you!

  31. 211
    Mark G on 19 Sep 2012 #

    Presumably they had 2 linemen already..

    (coat, I know..)

  32. 212
    Erithian on 25 Apr 2013 #

    PAGING WICHITA AGAIN! – The return match is tonight, Whyteleafe v Erith & Belvedere: see you there Lino? Squeaky bum time sees Deres two points ahead of VCD Athletic with three games to go, the abovementioned September result being one of only two league defeats so far this season. Leafe are a further 15 points behind in 4th but always dangerous. Also tonight VCD are visiting Bowie’s old haunts at Beckenham (though I’ll wager the Dame never took in a match at Eden Park Avenue).

  33. 213
    wichita lineman on 25 Apr 2013 #

    Sorry I’ll be in Yorkshire. But good luck to the ‘Deres. It would be great to see them back in the Isthmian.

  34. 214
    Erithian on 25 Apr 2013 #

    Thanks, appreciated. According to people who know way more than I do about feeder leagues, we and VCD are probably both going up, but you’re never quite sure.

  35. 215
    Erithian on 1 May 2013 #

    You’ll be pleased to know the Deres clinched the Kent League title last night. We only drew on Saturday, so went into the final pair of games behind on goal difference, needing either a better result than VCD or to beat Greenwich by five more goals than VCD beat Lordswood. And while we hammered Greenwich 7-1, VCD were being held to an unexpected goalless draw – cue the end of 31 years of hurt.

  36. 216
    Patrick Mexico on 24 Sep 2014 #

    Re 151: He was also just getting to MY era, so to speak! This is the first Popular entry I ever read, and my emotions quickly shifted from “This is MY kind of town” to “Oh shit! I completely derailed this through unintentional un-divine intervention!” But two months later, Tom came through a river of pink and yellow gunge made from the thickener in fruit pies (true story, ask Noel Edmonds) and came out smelling of roses on the other side.

    Which sadly isn’t the case with EveryNowSong (a Twitter page posting the video for every Now! That’s What I Call Music track) – does anyone know why the user pulled the plug on that? They got as far as NOW 11..

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