Jan 06

THE SMALL FACES – “All Or Nothing”

Popular112 comments • 5,457 views

#223, 17th September 1966

You can still hear records that sound like this in the charts occasionally, because the big late-90s Britrock boom was built on this template and some of that generation of bands have lingered. It seems to be a model that guys like Richard Ashcroft, who take themselves and their music pretty seriously, reach for, and I can understand why.

The Small Faces have picked up an expressive vocabulary from soul, with lots of stock interjections and hints of call-and-response, even if there’s no actual response. It’s a music that values noise and technique (though not yet to the point where they become a priority) and I don’t know where that came from, maybe just from in-circuit cockfighting among the newer groups. And then you’ve got some vestiges of pop songwriting or reflex: those “ba-ba-ba-das”, for instance, and the dynamics – tantrum swings of aggression and volume – might be half-borrowings from the foghorn pop of Cilla, too. But it’s not as disciplined as pop has been – even if it’s only three minutes long it feels longer, feels like the band are giving themselves space and time to preen a bit.

This all combines into a sound I recognise as “rock” – whether it rocks or not – and react against, even though it’s interesting seeing it develop here. It’s deeply unfair to blame the Small Faces for the iniquities of their descendents, but I find “All Or Nothing” charmless anyway. I think the bullish interruptions – “Come on children!” “Mmm yeah” “You know what I mean!” and the familiar rest – strip out the vulnerability the song needs to be sympathetic, and leaves it red-faced, self-satisfied, even bullying.



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  1. 61
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Jul 2012 #

    Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium, I’ve just remembered. But then that would be rather like us claiming Bob Hope, even if his birth in Eltham did ruin any chance he might have had in winning the White House, which some people thought he would have accomplished with ease.

  2. 62
    lonepilgrim on 24 Jul 2012 #

    re 60/61 Let us not forget Rene Magritte and Plastic Bertrand

  3. 63
    enitharmon on 24 Jul 2012 #

    @62 Not to mention Georges Rémi.

  4. 64
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Jul 2012 #

    Ha Haa! And of course…Bradley Wiggins!!!

  5. 65
    Erithian on 24 Jul 2012 #

    And the footballer Leo Clijsters and his better-known daughter.

    Sportsmen from the Commonwealth being honoured – don’t forget Sir Richard Hadlee whose knighthood was announced while he was still playing Test cricket, although it wasn’t conferred until after he’d retired.

  6. 66
    thefatgit on 25 Jul 2012 #

    Maurice Engelen was Injected With A Poison
    Wouter de Backer is Protected By A Bunny

  7. 67
    enitharmon on 25 Jul 2012 #

    @66 which just goes to prove that “famous” is a relative term, as neither name means a thing to me (and yes, I’ve just looked both of them up on Wikipedia).

    Georges Simenon

  8. 68
    Erithian on 25 Jul 2012 #

    #67 Wiki works for both of these. Engelen is a/k/a Praga Khan, a Belgian techno musician whose biggest hit was Injected with a Poison in 1992. I’ve heard it but wouldn’t recommend it! Wouter de Backer (and I knew this without looking it up) is a/k/a Gotye, who’s had the biggest hit single of the year so far.

    Jacques Rogge (who might as well be king at the moment) was, like Wiggins, born in Gent.

  9. 69
    swanstep on 25 Jul 2012 #

    Praga Khan is most of Lords of Acid of I Sit on Acid semi-notoriety (vid image probably NSFW).

    At any rate, Justine Henin is the obvious famous Belgian unmentioned so far. (Conceptual artist Marcel Broodthaers was the other ‘famous’ Belgian I could think of, and he’s not exactly a household name!)

  10. 70
    DietMondrian on 25 Jul 2012 #

    Not forgetting footballer Philippe Albert, the moustachioed defender probably best remembered by English football fans for his outrageous chip over Peter Schmeichel in Newcastle’s 5-0 demolition of Manchester United in the mid-90s. (The match was released on video, I seem to recall, with the title “Howay 5-Oh”. I’ve not checked this as I don’t want it to be untrue.)

  11. 71
    thefatgit on 25 Jul 2012 #

    If we’re going to mention footballers, then Chelsea is the place to look for Belgians (or is it?). Eden Hazard and his little brother Thorgan (about to go out on loan), Kevin de Bruyne (was out on loan), Thiboult Courtois (still out on loan…some sort of pattern here!). On a less sporty note, no mention of JCVD yet!

  12. 72
    Mark M on 25 Jul 2012 #

    59/60: Spain’s football manager, Vicente del Bosque was, famously, made a marqués, which sounds a lot grander than anything given to British sporting heroes. It is, however, as common as knighthoods here (I didn’t know that) – but it is hereditary. I don’t think similar baubles from the king have been granted to Iker, Xavi, Andresito and chums, but they’re not short of shiny commentorative stuff.

  13. 73
    enitharmon on 25 Jul 2012 #

    I think it has long rankled on Merseyside that Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson got katies where Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley didn’t. But then Shankly, a true socialist to the last (contrast the Blairite Ferguson) might just be the sort of person to refuse one.

    Swerving back to the subject of popular music, a number of artists featured in Popular have accepted katies (Mick Jagger’s seems rather ironic given his assumed persona but of course under the façade Jagger is pure establishment Tory) but as far as I know only David Bowie has refused one.

  14. 74
    Erithian on 26 Jul 2012 #

    My theory, for what it’s worth, is that Busby and Ferguson’s crowning achievements came under populist Labour governments, whereas Shankly and Paisley (equally deserving, and I speak as a United supporter) reached theirs under Tory governments who weren’t at all keen on football. Could well be wrong.

  15. 75
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 Jul 2012 #

    Back to cycling and I have to say that my disappointment in Mark Cavendish’s failure to win the Olympic road race was only matched by his comments afterwards. Cavendish seemed to infer that he had been done down by a marauding gang of evil Australians whose sole purpose was to stop he, Cavendish, winning. I may be a bloomin’ thickie but I was under the impression that the guy who crossed the line first wins, in this instance a guy from Kazakhstan. If Mark wanted so badly to win, he should have bloody pedalled faster.

  16. 76
    Erithian on 29 Jul 2012 #

    Well nobody in the world pedals faster than Cav but to put him in a position to do so the rest of the team has to do the work to let him slipstream. And they just let too many riders get away – not so much a breakaway group as a whole other race. All or nothing and they ended up with the latter.

  17. 77
    enitharmon on 30 Jul 2012 #

    Well, frankly I think it was a bit daft the team setting Cavendish up for this one. He may pedal faster than anyone else on the flat but it’s well-known he can’t climb. The rest of the team had to keep the péloton down to his speed on the climbs which meant they were always vulnerable to a breakaway. And then good old Bradders was left to do all the work trying to catch up.

    Also hubris at work – Cav had been flagged as a certain winner for so long it was bound to go wrong.

  18. 78
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Aug 2012 #

    If we can agree to use “All Or Nothing” as Popular’s official Olympic soapbox, it’s hats off once again to Bradders, surely now a shoe-in for both Brenda’s flashing blade and SPOTY. He absolutely mullared that field to take the gold we all dared to expect from him in the time trial. And well done to Chris Froome too, who took Bronze.

    All this, of course, followed Helen Glover and Heather Stanning winning the coxless pairs to secure Team GBs first Gold. Helen’s from Cornwall and Heather’s from Scotland. Team GB indeed. We applaud them all!

  19. 79
    Erithian on 1 Aug 2012 #

    And if I have a better moment during the Games than being at Wembley when Steph Houghton scored in the second minute against Brazil, I’m looking forward to it. Surely the loudest noise ever heard at a women’s game in the UK!

  20. 80
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Aug 2012 #

    And now Michael Jamieson turns in the swim of his life to bag a silver in the 200M Breast as well as a British record. He is only beaten because the Hungarian winner in turn breaks the World record. Fabulous stuff!

  21. 81
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Aug 2012 #

    GOLD in the C2 Canoe Double for Tim Bailie and Etienne Scott.

    GOLD in the men’s Double Trap for Peter Wilson.

  22. 82
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Aug 2012 #

    The medals are coming in thick and fast with a GOLD for the men’s sprint cycling team with the Great Hoy scoring again. The Swede’s going to stop this “action news reporting” now and just let the gongs roll in. I’m hoping they won’t dry up now.

  23. 83
    swanstep on 5 Aug 2012 #

    And Murray wallops an out of sorts Federer! It’s raining Gold for Team GB. Yikes, I know that the Olympics have cost an arm and a leg, but y’all must be thrilled at how things are turning out.

  24. 84
    enitharmon on 5 Aug 2012 #

    I’m starting to feel rather queasy about it all, really. Kudos to all the successful athletes and all that but I do share the misgivings seen in the French and German press, wondering how the hell a country that didn’t signify in track cycling ten years ago came to dominate the sport to the point of shutting out everybody else, it seems.

  25. 85
    Erithian on 6 Aug 2012 #

    It’s not overnight though, it’s 20 years since Chris Boardman won gold in Barcelona. A young Bradley Wiggins got on his bike straight after that, and the rest is down to organisation, inspiration, funding, sports science… or what are the French and German press insinuating?

  26. 86
    Ed on 6 Aug 2012 #

    There’s a great blog post on the technology behind British cycling here: http://bicycling.com/blogs/boulderreport/2012/07/27/britains-mysterious-olympic-bikes/

    It is clearly a bit like Formula One, where the team effort and the engineering are as important as the driver. And in fact, Britain’s strength in motor racing helped the cyclists: Chris Boardman’s bike was designed and built by Lotus.

    One interesting point from that blog post is the importance of public sector funding, from the Lottery, which has meant the British team, unlike almost all of its rivals, does not need to rely on the products of its commercial sponsors.

  27. 87
    Mark M on 6 Aug 2012 #

    84/5/6: Obviously, considering the history of the past 20 years, there will always be wariness about any kind of cycling success. But there are other factors that explain some/all of it, starting with the massive, successful investment in sports that are both technical and technological and have lots of Olympic medals available. The fact that Britain didn’t have a big tradition in this area meant they could approve things from first principles, rather than conventional wisdom. And then recently, there’s been the highly unconventional (borderline weird) parallel running of the sports’ national governing body, British Cycling (which gets lottery cash) and a pro racing squad, Team Sky*, that uses non-British riders. And beyond all of that might just be that, just as Britain was lucky to have Coe, Ovett and Cram in short order, or the Australian cricket team to have Warne, McGrath, Ponting and Gilchrist or Spanish football Casillas, Xavi and Iniesta, then Britain are just lucky to have Wiggins and Cav and Pendleton and Hoy come along at the same time they have the organisation to let them do their best.

    *Ironically, that article seems to be leaning towards the same feeling that it’s downright unfair of publicly funded bodies to do a better job than profit-making firms that Sky has always had about the BBC.

  28. 88
    enitharmon on 6 Aug 2012 #

    Meanwhile the heart of my inner lesbian is aflame. Never mind Jess: if (when) the delightful Laura Trott wins the women’s Omnium tomorrow why should she not have a stronger claim to the title of Nation’s Sweetheart?

  29. 89
    Mark M on 7 Aug 2012 #

    The cash behind GB’s Olympic success:


  30. 90
    thefatgit on 7 Aug 2012 #

    #88 Rosie, you raise a very important point. Who does the media anoint to become “The Face Of The Games”, and what are their reasons (bearing in mind that the media become de-facto salespeople for the IOC and LOCOG)? They chose Jess Ennis because she was a fantastic all-round athlete, ticked the “multicultural” box, came from humble Working Class origins and was very easy on the eye. Does that make it right that the media’s focus fall on a handful of individuals to represent Team GB? Adlington? Pendleton? Ennis? Idowu (who had to hide away from the media glare in order to become fit enough to compete)? Why not choose Trott, also a multi-discipline athlete albeit on 2 wheels, or “local girl” Perri Shakes Drayton? What about Lawrence Okoye or Greg Rutherford, who before these games very few had heard of? The answer of course is obvious, and you don’t need to be a Don Draper-type human being to come to that conclusion. Is it right? Maybe not, but the Olympic Games are a product that needs to be sold, and who better to sell them than an attractive young athlete from Sheffield?

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