Oh, the irony! You’re old men and you have no fans.

Anyway, Teenage Fanclub shot to non-fame sounding like Big Star played by apes: the public’s tolerance of this carnivalesque novelty was short-lived indeed, though the dribble-chinned staffs of Mojo and Q stayed amused for longer, routinely hailing each treacly powerpop plodthrough as a songwriting triumph. To be fair, the Fannies, from that nickname down, never really tried to hide their meagerness. “The Concept”, after all, was a none-too-subtle hint to listeners that every record the band would make from then on would most likely work their formula closer to death.

By the time of Thirteen the band’s inertia was near-total: they called a track “The Cabbage” and the LP was named after the number of times “Norman 3″‘s chorus gets played, TFC not having been arsed to write more than one minute of song. Lyrically we find a similar idleness: the aforementioned chorus runs “Yeah / I’m in love with you / I’m in love with you / And I know that it’s you”. After 13 of those it’s safe to say she gets the message, Norm (and you get the injunction). “What You Do To Me” didn’t even get as far as a fucking verse, and still the NME called it classic pop songwriting.

But why? Why the continual good reviews? It’s fair to assume no NME journalists wanted to sleep with any of the Fannies, after all. But flick through some of those old music papers and understanding begins to dawn. Week after week, there they are – Down The Pub With Teenage Fanclub. In A Hot Air Balloon With Teenage Fanclub. Teenage Fanclub Go Karting. Teenage Fanclub Dress Up As Chickens And Do A Sponsored Fucking Bed Push. Here, my friends, we have a band with no talent or drive, who realised the quickest route to fame was to provide the NME with cheap and convivial feature fodder. “Anything for a one-pager after the Live Reviews”, that was their mission statement. And, as with the Darling Buds and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin before them and Symposium and Feeder after, it worked. Long live the British music industry!