Pleasure never hurt anyone… some Cocteau Twins pre-history and the way London rocked 30 years ago!

I’ve never been into the Cocteau Twins myself… just ain’t my thing. However, I recently got into an online discussion in which I mentioned that I’d known their second and main bass player Simone Raymonde in the old days when he’d been in a band called Disruptive Patterns, and that this group had morphed into The Drowning Craze. Or rather, I mentioned that the Drowning Craze had emerged from a band whose name I couldn’t remember off the top of my head! It took some serious thinking to retrieve the name…
In the late-seventies and early-eighties I belonged to various groups that played and rehearsed in and around London and its south-west suburbs – the furthest out of London I played was in places like Guildford and Stevenage (okay Stevenage is north of London, but mainly we played south-westish), usually in pubs or sometimes clubs like The Starlight in West Hampstead (the less prestigious upstairs venue twinned with the relatively small Moonlight Club). We practiced all over the shop too, but the best place I ever rehearsed (circa 1980-81) was in an 8 track recording studio located in the basement of Theatre Projects in Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden.
Dave King, who drummed for a band I was in called Basic Essentials, worked at Theatre Projects as a recording engineer and so we were allowed to use the place at the weekends for free, not just to rehearse but also to record. It was amazing, during breaks we’d rake through  old tapes and dig up demos by the likes of T. Rex and The Average White Band who’d used the Theatre Projects studio…. although during the week the bread and butter work there was recording stage effects for plays. At the start of the eighties, Covent Garden was still in the process of being transformed into the shopping mall from hell it has become today, so we’d have a laugh in the area and after rehearsals we’d usually go to a tiny caff on the north side of Leicester Square which we called The Basic Essentials Cafe (I can’t remember it’s actual name and – like Theatre Projects in Neal’s Yard – it isn’t there any more) for espresso.
Anyway, because I was playing in various small time groups, I got to know a lot of other bands, including Disruptive Patterns. I’d guess Disruptive Patterns were a going concern around 1979-80, I certainly saw them several times and one of their tunes is still lodged in my mind. It was probably called Pleasure Never Hurt Anyone, since that line was the main refrain of the chorus. Disruptive Patterns were a fairly straightforward new wave act with some backwards and forwards psychedelic nods (and more like The Psychedelic Furs than The Sex Pistols). The two members of the combo I recall being on friendly terms with were singer Andy McInnes and bass player Simon Raymonde, although I’d imagine I spoke to other members of the group as well. Both Andy and Simon struck me as nice guys, but given the way bands work it didn’t surprise me when Andy was kicked out and an American girl called Angela Jaeger was brought in to front the group, which simultaneously changed its name to The Drowning Craze (the line-up and name change may have been at the instigation of the indie label Situation 2, who the group signed a record deal with, but I’m not certain this was the case).
I went to see The Drowning Craze early on somewhere in central London (I don’t remember which venue, but some small club) and didn’t like the new singer or the new songs (the set was completely different to the one Disruptive Patterns had been performing). I lost sight of Andy McInnes pretty soon after this, but carried on running into Simon Raymonde by chance on the street or in clubs pretty much up to the time he joined The Cocteau Twins, I haven’t seen him since then. Since I didn’t like Angela Jaeger as a singer, I only ever saw The Drowning Craze once when she was in the group – but after she was replaced by Frank Nardiello, I have a very dim memory of giving them a second chance and liking what they did with him a little bit more (but whether this was a gig or a rehearsal I’d been invited to witness, I can’t recall).
There are a couple of photos of the Disruptive Patterns on Fred Pipes’s Flickr pages, and a comment in a Cocteau Twins discussion thread riffing off Fred’s photos. But it would be nice if someone could help me recall some other Disruptive Patterns tunes, the venues they played (mainly around Guildford as far as I recall – Wooden Bridge etc.), and possibly even upload any demos that might exist! Also am I right in thinking there is a link between Disruptive Patterns/Drowning Craze and a late-seventies punk band called The Rubber Flowers who were probably based in Farnham (which is further south-west than I ever ventured) and whose line-up included Alex Binnie?
It was interesting attempting to dredge this minor piece of music history from my memory, and thereby realise how much of it I must have forgotten. That said, there are a lot of tunes that probably never made it onto vinyl rattling around my head from that time. For example, I can remember two songs by a band called The Lasers, Living In A Television (‘livin’ in a television, ray tube for a home, livin’ a television on my own!’) and Show Us Your White Bits. I can’t recall where this band were from but I assume it was south-west or west London suburbs. Anyone know anything about them? I guess I’d better stop there or this is gonna get too seriously obscure!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by fred on 2009-12-01 11:58:43 +0000

I expect some of the answers are in back copies of Barbed Wire fanzine – I may also have one or two singles in my singles drawer! What was the comment in a Cocteau Twins discussion thread riffing off my photos?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-12-01 12:15:33 +0000

Hey Fred…. rechecking my searches I got Adam on 29 April 2009 posting the message ‘Cool picture of Simon’ and then reposting your photo and caption….
and then a link to what looks like a Cocteau Twins site in an Eastern European language…..
But yes, the answers might well lie in old copies of Barbed Wire or even old copies of Down In The Street, if I still had them…..

Comment by fi on 2009-12-01 12:33:38 +0000

would you time travel back to 30 years ago if you could?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-12-01 13:24:01 +0000

As a gambling man I’d rather go forward 30 years… I wouldn’t mind going back there for some entertainment, but I wouldn’t want to eat, the food was worse…. but a quick visit at most, I already lived through the eighties once, I don’t need to do it again….

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-01 13:38:06 +0000

Yes, the food was definitely MUCH worse — but oddly enough, people were generally skinnier then, even if they lived on a truly horrible diet of pork pies, wonder bread and cheap margarine, as many did, with regular visits to the local cafe to eat bacon, egg and chips……
Look at old photos of punk, and hard rock and hippy bands for evidence…

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-01 13:39:36 +0000

Good pic here —

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-01 13:44:50 +0000

PS Stewart, I also contributed to , or played in some of bands that were in the same circle as you at that time, but none of the ones you mention here.

Comment by keith “don’t put the camera on me” floyd on 2009-12-01 14:07:26 +0000

there was good food if you wanted it…all those Hari Krishna temples..tons of temples wasnt just Neil in The Young Ones who was making fact that lentils book was a huge bestseller at the time…
wasnt it Vivienne Westwood who tried to feed up the Pistols on macrobiotic vegetarian dishes? did it dilute the pie and mash sound? the real Finsbury park chips made with lard?

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-01 14:18:03 +0000

Yes, Keith, you are right — I do remember some people I knew being really into homemade veggie food, which was pretty good now I remember.
But the majority of people I knew in the late 70’s ate horendous food — the cheapest white bread,doughy ‘pizzas’, tinned meat,margarine,and sugary cakes — but they were coat hanger skinny as f***, with 26 inch waists.
People didn’t do boring stuff like weight training, gym sessions and running, as so many do now….Going for a swim at the local baths once a month , running for a bus ,( or running away from teds and skins after gigs) was the closest many mates of mine got to being fit.

Comment by jim seventies on 2009-12-01 17:56:29 +0000

it was because it was much colder back then for much longer and most of us didn’t have central heating – the weight just pours off

Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-12-01 17:57:58 +0000

Would you believe that some of us didn’t live in and around London in the late-seventies/early eighties and have never heard of the bands active there at that time who never made records???? Strange but true!!!! It is also probably true for most of those born after the 1960s anywhere in the world!!!!!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-12-01 18:35:01 +0000

Pleasure Never Hurt Anyone? Could it just possibly be as good as Doowutchyalike by Digital Underground?

Comment by Linton Kwesi Johnson on 2009-12-01 19:27:14 +0000

Inglan is a btich…..

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-01 21:22:08 +0000

The food was crap back then but the drugs were better.

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-02 01:49:55 +0000

“it was because it was much colder back then for much longer and most of us didn’t have central heating – the weight just pours off”
I remember that.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-12-02 02:25:24 +0000

I think we also ate less than kids today, mainly coz the food we ate might have been crap but it wasn’t as loaded with addictive chemicals as fast food is now… and also we simply didn’t get to drink as much coke or similar crap soft drinks… But I find it shocking looking at young supposedly hip guitar bands now, not only do they sound like tired retreads of what we grew up on, they’re a lot heavier in terms of body fat than the average band of 30 years ago….. which is of course why everything from electro and early house and go go through to techno and jungle and dubstep sounded sound much better than ‘rock’ music after the very early eighties…..

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-02 05:20:12 +0000

There has been a ‘culture of eating’ ( certainly since the early 90’s) that simply didn’t exist in the 70’s / early 80’s — I am not saying that as in some absurd “it was hard for us in the 70’s’ man” statement. Not at all. But people simply ate less, and eating, and selecting choice foods at the local store just wasn’t a central part of people’s lives, a central part of socialising or leisure actvities as it is really is now ; a temporary compensation ( perhaps ) for banal aspects of life. Many people I knew in the late 70’s/early 80’s didn’t seem to eat regularly for weeks ( months ) on end, and no, that wasn’t only in the circles I mixed in, but seemed the norm. Also, people often just ate a very simple main meal of say, beans and jacket potato, and that was it. Now, that would be a late afternoon snack for many before a full meal later in the evening.
And yes, Stewart, “rock n roll” was definitely not the game by the time the early 80’s arrrived.

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-02 06:30:47 +0000

In fact,by 1982, I had sold vast sections of my record collection, so convinced was I that ‘rock’ was finished.
I miss some of those pre 1982 records now though. Much as I love so much of my ‘post rock’ collection, some of it hasn’t stood the test of time either, and some sounds strangely characterless now. Some of it sounds plain rubbish — much of the early junglist I enjoyed sounds mechanical and soulless, some of the dub sounds overly orthodox and repetitive, and some of the avant garde jazz sounds pretentious.
It’s still far and away better than any of the ‘post punk’ and indie rock drivel of the early 80’s onwards, none of which I’d cross the road to hear, and I would certainly never buy. I can’t stand post 1982 ‘rock’ of any description. I find it almost impossible to understand why anyone would dig it.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-12-02 09:14:40 +0000

You’re right, in fact I didn’t eat regular meals… and if I bought lunch out that was a vegetable somoza from an Indian corner shop, you didn’t find them in supermarkets then – now a lot of people people would have two somoza’s as a starter and a bigger course after….But I was vegetarian from the end of the seventies….
And 1982 sounds right to me, in fact I thought about writing that rather early eighties…. but then thought it sounded too much like the strap -line to one of those semi-legitimate compilations like “Back To Front” which usually ran something along the lines of ‘rare punk rock 1978-82′. And “Back To Front’ volume 1 (limited to 1000 copies vinyl, 1000 copies CD) featured the following:
Side One
K9’s-idi Amin
Bastards(Kids)-Funky Bastards
Helmettes-Half Two
Chosen Few-Adolph You Beauty
Stimulators-Loud Fast Rules
Nasty Facts-Drive My Car
Letters-Don’t Want You Back
Electro Choc-Chaise Electrique
Razar-Stamp Out Disco
Side Two
X L Capris-My City of Sidney
Cracked Actor-Nazi School
Attentat-Opera Huset
Blitz Boys-Eddies New Shoes
Front Page-Kick Them
Quick & The Dead-Nothing For You
Predator-Paperboy Song
And as I have noted elsewhere, but it relates back to this blog: “However, while I’d never heard of a good many of the bands featured on the Back To Front series before their music was issued on these compilations, the very first track on the first side of volume one was not only by a band that were familiar to me, I’d also seen them play live. The sleeve notes for Idi Amin by the K9’s (1979, UK) are intended to reassure purchasers that this track is suitably obscure, thereby confirming their ‘esoteric’ tastes: ‘this band is from England. They released only one 3 track EP, which was limited to 1000 copies.’ I can imagine listeners who didn’t attend late seventies PUNK gigs in south-east England thinking the K9’s were seriously unknown, whereas I had a strange sense of deja vu. Not only had I seen the band supporting someone bigger, and possibly more than once, but at the time I hadn’t thought much of them. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by the song, which was much better than I remembered the band being live. Maybe it was just a bad gig or perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.”

Comment by A Purple Heart on 2009-12-02 09:55:02 +0000

Doesn’t the not eating go with the better drugs mentioned above?
Shouldn’t we all be groovin’ to like Here Comes The Nice by The Small Faces
or Motorhead by Motorhead (“I should be tired and all I am is wired, ain’t felt this good for an hour”)
or if we are really wired even Speed King by Deep Purple (from Deep Purple In Rock) or even IOD by The UK Subs? Couldn’t find that on YouTube, but this 4 year old live version of Down On The Farm has lyrics that fit too and also proves that rock has now officially joined the living dead:
And if anyone has any blues or black bombers, I’d love some!

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-02 11:36:43 +0000

I hardly ever ate back at theend of the 70s and early 80s. I was living on vodka, fresh orange or carrot juice and masses of amphetamines.
But so were most of my friends and people hanging around that sort of scene. They were all pretty wild people; unfortunately a lot of them are no longer with us.
The young bands nowadays look like a bunch of poodles. I doubt many of them have their hearts in it. They’re all lazy and seem to be playing music like it’s just some sort of cushy job.

Comment by msmarmitelover on 2009-12-02 12:33:57 +0000

My mum was an adventurous cook, I grew up with Italian food and her experimental ‘japanese’ soup.
Taramasalata was a new and groovy thing in the late 70s. I’d save up for it.

Comment by jim seventies on 2009-12-06 16:36:08 +0000

This diet thing is interesting. How come we had so much energy in the seventies/eighties? Much less food seems to be the answer – no fastidiousness about food, no constant diet advice from the newspapers

Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-07 07:55:23 +0000

Good point Jim — there is an entire ‘food culture’ that exists now that barely existed in the late 70’s/early 80’s. People seem to eat so much more now, and spend more time at costly restaurants etc as the norm.
As Stewart also mentioned, there is likely also an overload of sugars, chemicals and additives in food now that we didn’t have to absorb then.

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