The Siddeleys

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crystalball
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The Siddeleys

Post by crystalball » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:09

I am going through another Siddeleys phase, so I thought I should start a thread. Anyone else here like them?

They were the favourites of the Greek indiepop fanzine scene at the end of the 1980s so when I started getting into indiepop they were probably one of the first bands I encountered. And yet I don't have any of their records apart from the Sha La La flexi (and I can't even find that!). Anyway, luckily, a few years ago Slum Clearance came out (a compilation of most of their oeuvre) and there was an accompanying website which is well worth a visit.

They were only around for a couple of years, until 1989. They were one of those C86-type bands that everyone used to compare to the Smiths but I never saw the resemblance, apart perhaps from the lyrics - a bit. To me The Siddeleys were special because they combined quite bleak lyrics with amazing optimistic, bright, madly danceable melodies and because they were fronted by an incredible girl called Johnny Johnson, who wrote all the songs as well. They were beautifully anti-blokey but not shouty so, Johnny didn't have a stunning voice but her deadpan singing style is completely perfect for her songs and even their weaker songs are interesting. Their best songs were just breathtaking and I could listen to them all day. Just as I think I've grown out of that kind of sound, they seem to crawl back and haunt me.

This has nothing to do with anything, but when I first came to London I used to see Johnny Johnson out all the time. I was so starstruck. She's still absolutely beautiful and cool.

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Post by Trev » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:30

They were a band I was more aware of than being a fan of at the time.

I only have a couple of songs on compilations, so can't really comment beyond that.

Nice website though.
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Post by JohaN » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:33

ha! i bet you were waiting for me to post, weren't you?

yes, the siddeleys are incredible - i have to say, i can see the smiths comparisons a little bit, but i like jonny's lyrics better :)

i only have "slum clearance"... which is a superb collection, at least on par with "r is for razorcuts", although more lo-fi than that, because most of the songs were (i think) self-recorded, or at least recorded on very small budgets - but that sound really works for them!

and slum clearance has one of the best liner-notes essays by a band (well, band leader) ever - it made me fall in love with her a little more, even

and you better believe i'll remember you promised to stalk her with me if i ever came to london again, marianthi! ;)

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Post by DimitraDaisy » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:39

I have to say, they totally reminded me of the Smiths on the day I fell in love with them -- a day when I was paying my OTE bill at Monastiraki (Marianthi will know what I mean) of all things and places! But that's how these things happen sometimes. You have a record lying around for months and then one day it clicks.

Anyway. I came up with this (that they reminded me of the Smiths) all on my own, I had no idea anyone had said it before, so... I have to say I can see where it comes from!

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Post by JohaN » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:45

i should also mention that - in the days i still used to dj - "sunshine thuggery" was one of my staple tunes (usually sandwiched in between either "still ill" or "bigmouth strikes again" on the one hand, and "wandering alone" by b&s on the other...

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Post by DimitraDaisy » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:52

Help! I am getting sucked into this forum! It is addictive!

On a different note, my favourite is 'Bedlam on the mezzanine' and I think I play it next to the Razorcuts a lot, because I fell in love with them at about the same time.

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Post by JohaN » Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:56

heh-heh-heh

jooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin us, dimitra!

*does zombie walk*

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Post by stolenwine » Mon Oct 29, 2007 21:05

oh! i absolutely love the siddeleys as well. it makes me so happy to listen to them. i love johnny's voice and vocals and THOSE GUITARS. oh my GOD.

marianthi, i can't beleive you used to see johnny johnson out all the time! i would be totally starstruck as well. hopefully she'll turn up at the next spiral scratch or something!
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Post by PCP » Mon Oct 29, 2007 22:19

oh yes the Siddeleys are amazing I love them soo

I wanted Sunshine Thuggery for years and then some one did the wondefull thing of putting out Slum Clearance CD before that I only had What Went Wrong This Time? 7" and the flexi
Slum clearance is fantastic but which versions of the songs are they ? and I still want Sunshine Thuggery

I got to see the live unfortunatley all I remember is getting a badge how I wish I had a memory where they any good

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Post by crystalball » Tue Oct 30, 2007 08:40

stolenwine wrote:marianthi, i can't beleive you used to see johnny johnson out all the time! i would be totally starstruck as well. hopefully she'll turn up at the next spiral scratch or something!
I know! She used to go to HDIF in the very early days when it was at the Buffalo Bar on Thursdays. I am sure I've seen a photo of her on the website somewhere.

Then a couple of years ago I went to a Jonathan Coe book signing thing and she was there with Harvey Williams. I didn't know where to look!

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Post by RITH » Wed Nov 07, 2007 21:58

I like the 'Falling off of my feet again' cover The Lucksmiths do on their new album. Actually, I like it even better than the original I think.

(Which is a bit special, because I like The Siddeleys better than the Lucksmiths, as a band)

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Post by JohaN » Thu Nov 08, 2007 07:07

yes, it is nice, isn't it?
although, there is one line of lyrics they change (the one about "the lycanthrope walks easily where angels fear to tread") which i like a lot in the original.

can't remember what they change it to now, but it's not as good as the original line.

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Post by crystalball » Thu Nov 08, 2007 09:40

They changed to it to 'misanthrope' which is annoying. But yeah, it's a nice cover. :)

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Post by JohaN » Thu Nov 08, 2007 09:55

well, it's probably all greek to them anyway! ;)

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Post by stolenwine » Sat Jan 12, 2008 18:25

i saw johnny johnson at the club 8 gig the other day! crystalball spotted her first and then told me and i went all giddy. she still looks about 25 and was wearing the cutest dress and just looked so damn cool.

i so want them to play a gig.

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Post by shaved head thrills » Sat Jan 12, 2008 19:50

i made a siddeleys tshirt the other night!

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Post by humblebee » Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:55

I was never mad keen on the Siddeleys. I think that Leamington Spa stuff has dated quite badly compared to a lot of other indiepop.

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Post by Mattias » Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:59

stolenwine wrote:i saw johnny johnson at the club 8 gig the other day! crystalball spotted her first and then told me and i went all giddy. she still looks about 25 and was wearing the cutest dress and just looked so damn cool.

i so want them to play a gig.
I don't want them to play a gig! :D
I do hope Johnny meant it when she said this in 2001:

The Siddeleys will never reform. If they did, it wouldn't be The Siddeleys anymore, it would be something else, so what would be the point?

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Post by Trev » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:16

humblebee wrote:I was never mad keen on the Siddeleys. I think that Leamington Spa stuff has dated quite badly compared to a lot of other indiepop.
ooooooh. oooooooh. ooooooh.

That's all I gotta say on the matter.
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Post by gofelt » Sun Jan 13, 2008 20:02

shaved head thrills wrote:i made a siddeleys tshirt the other night!

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Aw, one of the most BEAUTIFUL t-shirts I've ever seen!! I love handmade t-shirts and this one is just amazing (any hints?). Shaved head bits, you are Matt from Skatterbrain, aren't you? I check your blog very often- it's awesome, full of lovely posts about the finest indiepop music (that bit about the Cannanes and their video made me all nostalgic and nearly brought me to the brink of tears...).

Back to the Siddeleys! they are the very quintessence of C86 guitar pop, aren't they? with amazing hairdos and quifs :-)
The 12" Sunshine Thuggery is fantastic. Look at the track list,
Sunshine Thuggery
Are You Still Evil When You're Sleeping?
Falling Off Of My Feet Again…
Bribes And Bruises

You can't beat it -dreamy!!
I slice the surface here beside you/Lungs filled liquid yell I love you/Sound moves further underwater
Deep and dark my submarine bells groan in greens and grey/Mine would chime a thousand times/To make you feel okay..

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