STAR TURN ON 45 PINTS – “Pump Up The Bitter” (7″ single)
In England, the ‘answer record’ long since got elided into the ‘novelty record’ – our Top 40 is unparallelled in its adherence to these works of tat or genius, which are often unwittingly revealing, they being the only records large chunks of the population ever buy. Since the public perception of house music in ’88 was as an entire novelty genre, it was seen as particularly fair game, and a rash of puny parody-house tracks broke out on the pop charts that Summer. One of them was “Pump Up The Bitter”, which stands out for being genuinely very funny, or would do were it not for some highly uncomfortable gags about one “Mrs.Patel”, who replaces Ofra Haza on this relocation of M/A/R/R/S’ “Pump Up The Volume” from nightclub to Working Men’s Club. Even then, the discomfort’s as much to do with early house’s cut’n’pase exploitation of the ‘exotic’ as it is for the track’s transformation of same into overt bigotry. As for the rest, the sampled drums are replaced by a man playing the spoons, the sampled speech-snippets handed to a comedy MC, and metropolitan cool is effectively pricked.