Radioactive Sparrow – Fuck Off Heron (1983)

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Sparrow’s 8th album represents another transition, a non-event stepping stone between more definitive moments – indeed, it is a good illustration of how energy and execution remain unyielding without the unhinging spark of Kak elation. That said, Fuck Off Heron is certainly better than Bnaal Emon Pip: Brooce The Solo Years. In the grand scheme of Kak, it plays a shadowing role to the following record, Burpt Perhaps! – partly by means of accentuating the perspective, from utter shite to subliminally sharp. But there are points of intersection and dissection that are significant, too: Fuck Off Heron signals the end of the first period, its recasting of ‘Magnetic Cow’ as ‘Magnetic Can’ts’ marks the band’s final farewell to the Ozzy era; and Dai Cox’s inaugural lead-singer spot on ‘Coffee Was Foul’ (sort of the album’s stand-out track), introducing the super-awkward crapness of his one-dimensional rhymes driven by 75% belief trammels, something that would become a defining feature of the band over the next three years.

During this period (end of ’83/beguine ’84) Heaving and Brooce (with Dai in tow) started dressing Goth, wearing make-up and crimping hair that was increasingly dyed black or red or something, going out in Porthcawl rather than Bridgend because of the former’s general tolerance for counter-archetypal male posturing. Bargefoot wasn’t involved because of the manner in which he entertained his lady-beast. The other three would take amyl nitrate and enhance their nightlife with public, murky-corner self-harming bouts, carrying razor blades in their wallets so as to be able to score forearms daintily during the musics they weren’t dancing to. Which all serves to explain the lyric ‘Then she showed me/Her little puppy/That didn’t want to be cut…’ on ‘Laughing Gnomes’, Heaving and Brooce’s party-piece rendition of the Bowie song, which they devised as a tribute to the girls they hung out with in Porthcawl who went to Archbishop McGrath, Bridgend’s only Catholic comp.

Oh, and Fuck Off Heron also introduces the Moog (Micromoog) bought for £50 in what was at the time a disappointing, budget compromise because Moogs were then regarded as market dregs in a pop environment where Howard Jones and that were making the Roland Juno 6 (and such) the keyb to crave. The Moog would become a wily pointing agent over the years to come, finally getting flogged on ebay in 2006 to some woman in France.


Dai Cox/Brooce Boyes/Heaving Stews/Bill Bargefoot

Recorded in the Shed and at Merthyr Mawr Road, Autumn 1983



Written by Gustav Thomas

January 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm

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