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Nov 14

THE VENGABOYS – “Boom Boom Boom Boom”

Popular48 comments • 5,449 views

#828, 26th June 1999

vengaboom The 90s in the British charts are topped and tailed by two mighty surges of Europop. The first was a club music – a polyglot of house, hip-hop and rave heralded by Snap! and epitomised by 2 Unlimited and Culture Beat. The second, led by Aqua, was also designed for dancing, but as much in school discos as tourist nightspots. It was a music built on gleeful gimmickry and seemed to sell mostly to the continent’s kids. And for a few months in the Summer of 1999 the Vengaboys were its hottest ticket.

The two waves of Europop have something in common: neither are remotely bothered about looking cool. There has been lots of impeccably high-fashion European music, of course, but when you’re pitching Esperanto pop at a market that’s a patchwork of cultures and languages, the nuances of style are sometimes the first casualty.

Not that the Vengaboys needed style. They had a bus.

Vengaworld, on first impression, is a world in which the Vengaboys get on the Vengabus and go party: it has a perfect cartoon simplicity that matches the cheerful inanity of “Boom Boom Boom Boom”. The most enjoyable touches on the single are its purely dumbest – the chorus, of course, but also the keyboard-preset “Woo! Woo Woo!” bits in the breakdown, and the robodude who pops up to announce “Ven-ga-boys-are-back-in-town” and “Let’s-have-some-fun”. In the video, he wears a sparkly red cowboy hat.

Ah, though, the video, one look at which causes me to hastily revise any generalisation I might have had about the Vengaboys and their audience. This is bubblegum music, no doubt, but hardly a kids’ cartoon. Instead it’s lap dances, topless burlesque, champagne foam spurting over bare thighs. What this Vengasmut makes me realise is that my perception of two Europops was an Anglocentric fiction. No matter who was buying them here, the Vengaboys are firmly in the same line as 2 Unlimited, Doop or “Mr Vain”. They’re trashy, trans-continental club pop, but with the sometimes wild invention of the early 90s switched for a need to keep things as simple and catchy as possible. The appeal to kids is a side-effect of this more ruthless approach. And it does its job, though the more you contemplate this feat of pop efficiency, the more it skirts the line between the childlike and the charmless.

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Comments

  1. 1
    punctum on 4 Nov 2014 #

    Giddily merry and gleefully semi-knowing, “Boom Boom Boom Boom” was essentially Hi-NRG for the post-2 Unlimited generation with its jolly romp of a beat and its “Barbie Girl”-derived formula of slightly pleading lead female vocal set against gruff male Vocoder responses. Like 2 Unlimited, they were Dutch; unlike 2 Unlimited they did not specialise in hardcore imperiousness – although its “oh-woh-oh, wo-oh-hoh” refrain and pleasingly mangled syntax (“I wanna double boom”) ensured its instant catchiness and derive directly from venerable Hi-NRG practices (as indeed was the video – “I want you in my room” indeed), there is something attractively indie about the song’s central pledge of devotion (“Let’s spend the night together/From now until forever”). Subsequently marred by its adaptation for a never-ending ad campaign for crappy leather sofa superstore chain DFS (“Dou-b-le sa-vings!”), it still has an air of friendliness about it from which most other Eurodance of the period seemed to shy away. Oh yes, and shyness too – that always helps.

  2. 2
    Mark G on 4 Nov 2014 #

    This always brought Boris Yelsin’s dance at that rally to my mind, even though it wasn’t this song he was dancing to.

  3. 3
    James BC on 4 Nov 2014 #

    Funny similarity to Alright by Jamiroquai in the chorus. When I think of one I always get the other.

  4. 4
    mapman132 on 4 Nov 2014 #

    “We Like to Party” was their main US hit. I have vague memories of Boom^4 too: Wiki says it reached #84 in the US. Not really my thing though: 4/10 seems fair.

  5. 5
    StringBeanJohn82 on 4 Nov 2014 #

    “Boom Boom Boom Boom, I want you in my room”

    Your appreciation of this song depends entirely on whether you think this is Ramones-style bubblegum genius or not.

    The Vengaboys, whoever or whatever they were, were probably the absolute nadir of pop music. The 90s ended on a very poor note and pop music picked up significantly with the Popjustice/Richard X inspired stuff in the early 2000s. It’s hard to imagine something as amateurish, cheap-sounding and naff ever being a hit now, except perhaps as a one off holiday song. The Vengaboys though had a string of hits, all of which were nearly identical. It was pretty much the natural destination of SAW-style Fordist earworm pop where the riff was genetically programmed to sit in your head for days and the lyrics a kind of globish gibberish designed for (a) idiots and (b) people for whom English is not their first language.

    The only upside this sort of thing has is that it’s not as bad as Black Eyed Peas’ (their only obvious comparison for me) later bunnies simply by the fact that this stuff doesn’t take itself too seriously or attempt to root itself in anything other than the culture from which it sprang. [2]

  6. 6
    katstevens on 4 Nov 2014 #

    The VengaBoom Twitter is still going strong!

    SOMEONE TO MAKE YOU FORGET YOUR PROBLEMS

  7. 7
    Andrew Farrell on 4 Nov 2014 #

    It’s a little known fact that one of them went on to be Felix da Housecat…

  8. 8
    AMZ1981 on 4 Nov 2014 #

    The Venga Boys first hit (Up And Down – largely instrumental) appeared to be a vaguely credible club hit and you got the impression that they wanted to do something with the brand while they could, hence a string of increasingly inane pop songs built around a set of dancing himbos and bimbos. The result was a second rate steps but, as Edmund Blackadder once said, `You can’t argue with the box office.` Not only did this get to number one but it beat Britney Spears’ second single which only made number three. I believe the parent album was available by that time but given the massive first week sales of Baby One More Time this was a massive comedown.

    On a personal note this had the distinction of being number one when I left school and I must confess I was hoping for something with a bit more gravitas to mark the era. Fifteen years on this hasn’t aged as horribly as it could have done but the fact that something so insulting to the intellect could top the charts was a sad indictment of the era.

    Finally has anybody else noted that there are three number one singles to consist of the word Boom (two with no other word in the title) and all came in the nineties?

  9. 9
    thefatgit on 4 Nov 2014 #

    Benny & Bjorn get a writing credit for the opening verse after it strip-mined “Lay All Your Love On Me”. After that it’s Vengafun all the way. Nothing at all original or surprising, but why should it be? “Boom” x 4 is a ramora fish of a hook, that’s almost impossible to shake off once you’ve heard it, as well as the robotic “Vengaboys are back in town”.

    Until yesterday, I hadn’t seen the video. Very much lad mag territory, stopping short of Benny Hill misogyny. “Boys Boys Boys” by Sabrina from more than a decade before, seems a much more uncomfortable watch by means of comparison.

    I had the honour of seeing a live “performance” (lip-synched, natch) by the Vengaboys, supporting Steps at one of those “Party In The Park” local radio efforts in Swindon (no Billie Piper homecoming, unfortunately). The kids lapped up the dance moves and fist pumps. For us oldies, we had Edwin Starr open proceedings with a very exuberant 20 minute set. Lovely day, all round. Subsequently, I have something of a soft spot for The Vengaboys. Their bunnyable follow-up, might put my positivity towards them to the test. (6)

  10. 10
    iconoclast on 4 Nov 2014 #

    George Orwell’s seminal novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” mentions the “versificator”, a device which composed songs without any human input at all. Vocals aside, such a device seems to have been responsible for this hyperactive but joyless and inane three minutes during which the listener’s will to live is slowly but inexorably drained away. THREE.

  11. 11
    Doctor Casino on 4 Nov 2014 #

    In the US, their biggest impact was in soundtracking a memorable series of amusement park commercials. “Boom Boom Boom Boom” was not unknown to me, thanks to outlets like “The Box,” a request-oriented video channel curiously open to Europop obscurities like this and Toybox. I thought, and still think, that the chorus is fun but that the mix is far, far too thin, rickety, and even in texture… especially when all this booming is being discussed. Even P.O.D. recognized the need for a sonic boom backing the lyrical one. So, this is another one, like “Say You’ll Be There” that now just sounds like filler music for a kids’ show or a rhythm video game – “insert something peppy here.” Fine and harmless for what it is though – I wouldn’t necessarily rate it down with the 2’s and 3’s, it just doesn’t have “number one” quality at all.

  12. 12
    Andrew Farrell on 4 Nov 2014 #

    #9 far from lads mag, I would have thought – ladies liking ladies without noticeable interest by men, and a very come-hither gay man on the robo-vocals and red stetson.

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 4 Nov 2014 #

    maybe this sounds fantastic in a club but over headphones via Youtube it sounds like it was recorded in a biscuit tin. Like the previous entry the beat is a relentless production line on which the performers are forced to keep pace. I loved 2 Unlimited but this is mediocre at best. 3

  14. 14
    Cumbrian on 4 Nov 2014 #

    Not as bad as Boom Boom Boom but nowhere near the class of Mr Boombastic nor Boom! Shake The Room. This is a bit too cheery I reckon – what 2 Unlimited have over this is that there’s a bit of edge to the instrumental track for their stuff. No Limit has a touch of menace that this entirely lacks, given it’s more of a good time, holiday party thing. Weirdly though, I’d rather listen to No Limit as my good time, holiday party anthem, whereas this calls to mind the main drag in the town where The Inbetweeners go on holiday for the first movie. Somewhere I know exists, and good luck to those that like it and want to go there, but not somewhere I would ever want to visit.

  15. 15
    JLucas on 4 Nov 2014 #

    Well I like it

    7

  16. 16
    Chelovek na lune on 4 Nov 2014 #

    #6 that is seriously disturbing….not least as Twitter only started its operations was it seven years after the single was out….

    Now, the Vengaboys (why did they call themselves that?) Their two singles prior to this one struck me as:the first, uninteresting, and; the second, irritating and charmless. (I remember, I guess a bit later, seeing a poster for their album vandalized so that the title of one of the featured singles had been amended to read “We Like To Fart”. Which would be about right.)

    So I was surprised by “Boom Boom Boom Boom” – turning up the tackiness, making the pop aspect a bit more aggressive, and making the lyrics and rhymes vaguely ludicrous – larger than life, bright colours, laser beams in your eyes. Maybe more reminiscent of the London Boys (who could also be atrocious) at their best than 2 Unlimited. So, yeah, I’d put this in the “bubblegum genius” category. A pity nothing else they did were terribly much cop (not least the Carry On titled attempted “comeback” “A Rocket To Uranus”). But this: yes, 8.

  17. 17
    katstevens on 4 Nov 2014 #

    I think the key to the Vengaboom Twitter’s success is the Vengaboys are actually BLACK LACE reincarnated.

  18. 18
    flahr on 4 Nov 2014 #

    My flatmate: “Vengaboys played Trinity [College, Cambridge] May Ball one of the years I was there. We turned up just as they reached the chorus of “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom”, listened, and then decided there was clearly no point remaining.”

  19. 19
    Rory on 4 Nov 2014 #

    The Vengaboys’ “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” (the punctuation is important!! Isn’t it??) is a milestone in my personal Popular journey, if not on its own merits then for the moment it represents.

    But for me, that moment wasn’t mid-1999. At that point I probably would have matched Tom’s score for this, purely on the basis of seeing the ads for The Party Album! (punctuationisimportant) on Australian TV, because I doubt I’d heard the entire song. I was still, in 1999, fairly skeptical about dance music, house music, electronic music, and their permutations, although examples of them were creeping into my listening.

    Fast-forward to mid-2000, though, and my life was in flux, at the tender age of 32. Our landlord had sold our house from under us, and my wife and I took that as the spur to “go thermonuclear”: I quit my job, we went travelling, and then I looked for work overseas while she brought in some more cash back home. It turned out to be the start of a year of uncertainty, and at the end of it we ended up here.

    At the beginning of that year, though, was the travel. A trip we had already been planning for mid-2000, and had been dreaming about for as long as we’d been together, now became heavily symbolic: a journey filled with possibility, with our stuff all in storage and who knew what ahead.

    We spent a month in Madagascar, travelling there from Canberra via Perth, Harare and Johannesburg. It was the kind of trip you write a book about; at least, I tried to, before getting bogged down in what came later. I was left with only a string of blog entries, a 90,000-word journal transcript, photographs and souvenirs that look like relics from another world, and a lingering sense of unfinished business. Unfinished because there were moments on that trip that hang in my memory as some of the best in my life, and I want to do more with them than just turn them over in my head.

    One of those blog entries was about that inescapable soundtrack of travel, the background music: the music you hear in a foreign place seems to play louder and longer in your head than so much else. Besides Abba, country and western, and a string of Gasy tracks that haunt me even today (the ones that got away, and a few that didn’t), the music of Madagascar in mid-2000 was The Party Album!

    Perhaps I’d been primed by Aqua, or perhaps by the Eurodance compilations I’d picked up in Germany in 1998, but whenever the Vengaboys went into a minibus tape deck I found I could listen and not hate it. Soon I was singing along on the long journeys between Malagasy towns, turning the taxi-brousse into a Vengabus. As I wrote in my diary on one of our last days in the country:

    “Somewhere halfway back, the Malagasy music was replaced with – in a flashback to the week before – the Vengaboys. … By the time we were out on the main road to Fianar, passing through busy Betsileo villages, the album was in its free-form techno second half – good music, actually, but so 1990s electronic that it made a surreal soundtrack to what we were staring at out the back of the truck: jam-packed streets at a market-day, with men in traditional garb walking along the road in the same direction as us, disappearing behind us into the mist. All to a techno soundtrack. Unforgettable.”

    I was right; it was.

    On our trip out through South Africa, spending a day in Pretoria, I picked up the album for 30 rand. We played it a lot that year, and it was The Party Album! more than any other that opened my ears to sounds that I would explore in much greater depth in the following decade.

    The second half of the album (track 6 of 17 onwards) is the better part of it, and much less easily dismissed than you might expect from this track. “Overwhelm Yourself” and “All Night Passion” are excellent album cuts, and not just because I’m pretty sure that the former is my misty Malagasy soundtrack.

    The singles are all in the first part of the album, and it’s fair to say that “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” isn’t my very favourite; I prefer “We Like to Party!” and “Up and Down”. But I can’t deny those beats, that essence of Dutch doof-doof; or the sense of fun that imbues every moment; or the happiness they evoke in me, by bringing back memories I hold so close.

    I would give it 10, but that would be silly. For me, though, it’s an 8.

  20. 20
    Rory on 4 Nov 2014 #

    #16 “the Vengaboys (why did they call themselves that?)”

    «Venga» es español para el «come on». Los Vengaboys encanta Ibiza y las Islas Baleares.

  21. 21
    swanstep on 4 Nov 2014 #

    @Kat, 6. I kind of like the idea of BBBB as a viral object twisting silently forever in twitter-space, like it’s been pushed though an airlock.

  22. 22
    Rory on 4 Nov 2014 #

    Of course, now that I’m prompted to look it up, I learn that my copy of The Party Album! is some odd South African version with a track listing that doesn’t match any of the versions on Wikipedia. It’s basically the Greatest Hits Part 1 1999 re-release, but with “Vengababes from Outer Space” as its last track.

  23. 23
    swanstep on 5 Nov 2014 #

    The slope-topped NYC building on which the Vengaboys are projected at the beginning of the BBBB video is the Citicorp tower. One of the tallest buildings in the city, it stands on a central elevator shaft and some precarious stilts *in the middle of its sides*, with one corner over the top of an old church. See more about it here if you don’t know it, including the amazing story of a young woman’s undergraduate thesis that proved that the building could be toppled by a once-every-fifty-year storm (and it soon emerged that with predicted power outages a once-every-16-years storm could bring it down)…. just a couple of weeks before a hurricane bore down on the city.

  24. 24
    lmm on 5 Nov 2014 #

    I came to Aqua later, but I remember this at the time. It was simple music with a simple purpose, but it did what it set out to do. That video puts a very different slant on it; the song felt like clean-ish fun – closer to B*witched than to what I thought of as dance music. I guess it’s all context.

  25. 25
    swanstep on 5 Nov 2014 #

    Benny & Bjorn get a writing credit for the opening verse after it strip-mined “Lay All Your Love On Me”.
    @thefatgit. I can’t hear anything LAYLOM-derived apart from maybe a vocal rhythm in BBBB’s first verse. That’s a lot of publishing to give up for so little!

  26. 26
    thefatgit on 5 Nov 2014 #

    Indeed, Swanstep. I guess there must have been rumblings of plagiarism behind the scenes, so Dennis van Den Driesschen and Wessel van Diepen had to concede half the credits to Andersson & Ulvaeus. The dadada-dada-dadada* bit shared by both songs are identical albeit in a slightly different key.

    *Any musicologists lurking might be able to explain this better than I.

  27. 27
    lockedintheattic on 5 Nov 2014 #

    #19 – Fantastic comment.

    I can quite see the appeal in those circumstances. I had a similar experience with a Black Eyed Peas bunny in rural Indonesia in 2010. That story will have to wait a while though.

  28. 28
    Ed on 5 Nov 2014 #

    No writing credit for John Lee Hooker, though?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSnQ0bdHW0s

  29. 29
    DanH on 5 Nov 2014 #

    As Mapman said before, “We Like to Party” was the only time the Vengabus made a stop to American shores. Reminds me of grade 9 dances more than anything else. I’ll hold off on another Euro song that gives me the same memories for now, because while the song itself isn’t bunnied, the group still is for another few months.

    This one is nowhere near is memorable…and I get it mixed up with “Boom Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back to My Room)” half the time ;-)

  30. 30
    daveworkman on 5 Nov 2014 #

    I spent some time in Romania in the mid 00’s where this sort of thing was still popular – and like Rory at #19, despite my better judgement I grew to love some tracks, because they soundtracked a really important part of my life…but I feel I should share this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0ehKEm8q0A) – the Romanian language version was a favourite of mine, then I heard the English language version…you have to wait until the end of the chorus for the payoff…

  31. 31
    weej on 6 Nov 2014 #

    How is it that I love Aqua, B*Witched, Daphne & Celeste (hell, even Lolly is acceptable) but the Vengaboys is a step too far? I guess from the former I get a sense of joy, little hidden countermelodies, fine-tuned production. In comparison the Vengaboys just always seemed hacked together, cheap sound effects, session singer, sexual innuendo, “that’ll do.” There’s a whiff of cynicism about the whole project that won’t shift, and no love in it, not that I can hear at least.

    By the way, if you think “you wanna go boom boom” could be in any way innocent then I guess you haven’t travelled around Southeast Asia, as this is what prostitutes say to passing farang to drum up business. Perhaps they got it from the song, but I’d guess it was the other way round.

  32. 32
    Rory on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Dave @30, entertaining stuff, not least to think that a West Australian Aboriginal word for a boomerang ended up on the dance-floors of Romania, via its late-’60s popularity as an Australian girls’ name, and one internationally famous owner of the name.

    Which prompts me to tell a Kylie story I’ve never told here, at least on the Kylie Minogue threads. In 1998 my wife and I were visiting San Francisco, and caught up with an old American school friend of mine (from four months in 1980, when my Dad was a visiting prof in Hawaii). He and his wife were expecting their first child, and over dinner one evening told us they still hadn’t decided on a name. They went through a few ideas, and then asked us if we knew any distinctive Australian girls’ names. We both looked at each other, and in the same breath answered: “…Kylie?”

    I met little Kylie a couple of years later when I was back in San Francisco. Lovely kid.

  33. 33
    Billy Hicks on 6 Nov 2014 #

    32 – Being born in late 1988 at the peak of Scott/Charlene (and Kylie/Jason) mania, my parents tell me that half of the baby girls being born at the time were all being named Kylie. Wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a lot of Britneys for around the time this track came out.

    Well… I like this song. I really like this, it’s got an insistent, head-burying melody which for the last 15 years has randomly re-appeared at the most awkward of moments (shopping, job interviews, funerals etc) and I try and concentrate on the matter at hand while a dididi-di-di-di-di-di bleeps away in my brain in the background. And, as already mentioned, part of that golden summer of childhood which elevates almost everything to at least a 6, this gets a shocking 9 from me.

    Bloody brilliant post by Rory at 19. I have a Coldplay bunny for a summer 2008 holiday in a heatwave Milan, Kelly Clarkson & Flo Rida for early 2009 New York and an inescapable Avicii bunny for September 2013 Scandinavia. Having been around Eastern Europe over the last couple of months, a bunnied track by Lily Wood – which has similarities with the next #1 on Popular – seems to be the one of choice over there.

  34. 34
    Shiny Dave on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Played this again for the first time in years.

    This is actually funnier than many of this decade’s intended comedy records. The treble-heavy arrangement for a song with that title might be the funniest of the lot.

    Nostalgia filter kicks in hard for 1999’s more gleeful output – this was the last calendar year in my life so far without a suicidal panic attack. I don’t think I can earnestly give this more than a 4 – it’s unbelievably tacky – but, my gosh, playing it tonight has given me far more pleasure than a 4 has any right to.

  35. 35
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Nov 2014 #

    I keep mistaking the one on the left for Mädchen Amick, especially as Shelly Johnson in Twin Peaks. I don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse about the world. Or last year’s New Zealand Bunny in a dystopian future of “Hey, hey, you, you, I wanna be your girlfriend!”

    At the height of my indie-snob teens, I found BBBB unspeakable, but like a lot of more well-liked late nineties pop, there’s an incessant, effortless, tick-tick-tick-tick desire to annoy the listener into guiltily liking it, so.. 5/10.

    Though this is as complimentary as I’ll get about a group who had future hits about doing anything for love (yes, THAT) with computers. I don’t mean Goldie Lookin’ Chain*.

    * Met Mystikal and Maggot in Manchester five years ago, for my student newspaper. Great bunch o’ lads. Probably the most relaxed, friendly and liberal pop interview ever – what’s not to like about a band who sample the original Grange Hill** theme in Charm School? Or rap about making meat sculptures of metal icons’ daughters and…. oh never mind.

    ** Bizarrely, I’m sure I once read there was some connection between this and I Feel Love… can anyone help?

  36. 36
    Rory on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Patrick @35, from a page on Giorgio Moroder, seems the connection was the Hawk:

    “Robotic yet syncopated, disengaged yet soulful, ‘I Feel Love’ was unlike anything else at the time. Of course, it afforded dance music’s critics the opportunity to unfurl the case for the prosecution: monotonous and empty, repetitive and banal; and as soulful as a Sheerness power sub-station. In fact much of the sound was made not by machines but musicians, including British stalwart sessioneers like Alan Hawkshaw (he of Grange Hill theme fame).”

    (Thanks for the kind words, Billy and lockedintheattic. Really must go back to all those words I wrote on Mad and do something more with them. They did have some wider exposure at the time; Madagascar’s only English-speaking newspaper asked if they could reprint some of my blog posts as columns, which I was very happy for them to do. )

  37. 37
    katstevens on 7 Nov 2014 #

    #35 can confirm that GLC are absolutely lovely chaps. I got chatting to Eggsy in the old TCR Virgin Megastore once and it turns out he lived round the corner from my uncle.

  38. 38
    Billy Hicks on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Kat: The old Virgin Megastore in Tottenham Court Road!! Thanks for the (recent) nostalgia, still impossible to believe that it’s gone, rebranded ‘Zavvi’ at the end of 2007 only to close for good to my horror in February 2009 and is now a Primark.

    Almost my entire teenage years can be summed up by that store, whether it be playing on the vintage 80s arcade games still in situ in 2002, or buying the latest Alphabeat/Sam Sparro/Scooter etc singles and albums in 2008. Would often bump into people I know there too…as recently as six years ago Central London was full of huge music shops, almost all of which are now gone. Sigh.

  39. 39
    Lazarus on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Yes, Tower Records in Piccadilly, which for many supplanted the Megastore I imagine, is also long gone. The Our Price chain is a distant memory. There are still HMVs to be found here and there though.

    In my first job in London I worked in the Strand, and taking a slightly extended lunch hour I was able to get to the Megastore by walking up Drury Lane. For one used to Our Price and Woolworths it was like Aladdin’s cave.

  40. 40
    punctum on 8 Nov 2014 #

    The Megastore actually supplanted Tower Piccadilly. It was a sad and progressively sadder sight. What stands there now? “Hey, it’s Saturday, how about we hop on the bus and go to The Sting Network Of Brands?” You’ll not hear that said.

  41. 41
    Billy Hicks on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Back in the mid noughties you had HMVs in Bond Street, Oxford Street and the Trocadero, a Virgin Megastore in Tottenham Court Road and the one that replaced Tower Records in Piccadilly. If I had hours to spare, I’d check out a CD in one and then check the price in *every other store* (all a short walk or bus/tube ride away) until I found the cheapest, sometimes saving a tenner or more in the process.

    Both Virgin Megastores, as mentioned, got renamed and went early 2009. HMV Bond Street closed in 2011, Trocadero in early 2013 and the massive Oxford Street one in January this year, which in its last few months before closure suddenly started randomly selling loads of early 90s live rave recordings presumably found in some old cupboard, meaning my last purchase there ended up being Fantazia Takes You Into 1992 feat. DJ Sy.

    Met Annie Lennox, the Pet Shop Boys and Reeves & Mortimer in there, bless them. Bob Mortimer was the nicest one out the lot.

  42. 42
    Mark G on 9 Nov 2014 #

    The ‘old’ record shops round the back of the Megastore are still there (well, two out of three).. Shane Magowan used to ‘work’ in one of them

  43. 43
    wichitalineman on 9 Nov 2014 #

    Are you sure Mark? On The Beat went earlier this year, Vinyl Experience went in the late nineties. But I think the Shane Magowan one might still be hanging on. On a happier note, Intoxica (late of Portobello Road) is about to re-open on Cecil Court, just off Charing Cross Road.

  44. 44
    Mark G on 9 Nov 2014 #

    I’m not certain which is which by name, but the one on the corner junction, furthest left on that street (the Shane one) was going last time I looked (a while ago, granted). The middle one was/is the one that had stretched elastics over the racks of 45s, used to have a resident shaggy dog, Muttley, and I think it was put up as a going concern not that long ago. It was exactly the same as ever (including the stock, it seemed). The third one was exactly next door but looked long gone, I think was selling expensive hifi/DJ rigs.

    Good news about Intoxica, last time I was there someone was installing very anonymous panneling for the next intended occupants.

  45. 45
    Erithian on 11 Nov 2014 #

    Appropriate (??) to note on this date that “Boom Boom Boom Boom” was the first line of Baldrick’s war poem. Which would have made a better number one than this.

  46. 46
    ciaran on 8 Dec 2014 #

    The decades Thompson Twins just by inappropriate name alone.

    The Vengaboys were just woeful lowest common denominator stuff. Any of the first 3 to 4 songs sound identical to the other and is like some below par Super Nintendo gametrack from 1993.At least 2 Unlimited you could enjoy at their best. A far cry from the likes of Ferry Corsten. 3

  47. 47
    Gareth Parker on 24 May 2021 #

    I think I’ll go with a 3/10 here. At least it’s not ‘We’re Going to Ibiza’!

  48. 48
    TheGerkuman on 19 Oct 2021 #

    The Vengaboys are a weird contrast. It seems that being fun-loving hedonists makes you popular with children! Even with liberal quoting from WWI poet Private S. Baldrick’s ‘The German Guns’

    More seriously though, it’s a fun enough song but too inane for me to enjoy. But it’s not like I was ever their intended audience at the time.

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