Radioactive Sparrow (Hors Série) – Dusk At Barry Island (1989)

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In 1989 (which, as you’ll see later in the Radioactive Sparrow story being brought to you online by KAKUTOPIA, was their biggest year) on a hungover Sunday late afternoon, the core trio of the band went to Barry Island fun fair, a traditional jaunt to try and deal with the chemical after-effects of aimless self-abuse in Kildare’s, Radliffe’s, the Stage Door, Four Bars Inn, Sam’s Bar etc. See, on a weekday, the standard procedure would be a couple of bottles of Lucozade followed by Full English at Servini’s. But Servini’s never opened on a Sunday, so Barry Island became a regular last resort for some sea air, donuts (a 6-pack each) and chips.

There was another reason to go there, though. To play video games in the arcades. It was amazing, because they kept everything there, even old ones like Space Invaders I, Defender and Galaxion/Galaga. And Sparrow favourites Marble Madness and Paperboy. And that one with trucks racing round a dirt track. Obviously, being composers and improvisors, their favourite part of all these treats was the music and sounds. So, on this particular Sunday, they took the trusty Panasonic Radioacassette (on which everything was recorded until it shot out the back of the van in the notorious Alton lanes head-on collision returning from France in 1990) in order to record their favourite games. The idea was that each member would go off and record 10-15 minutes of games and whatever other sounds. Except Heaving Stews didn’t share this passion, so his track is a recording of him walking along the beach (eventually arriving in a different arcade), something he didn’t tell the other two, his non-cooperation only revealing itself on playback. The cover image features Tony Gage standing before Barry Island’s much-loved Log Flume ride, which was also to give the Eurydge singer/guitarist his name… Of which more in a later episode.

Also tacked on here are two acoustic tracks that Stews and Bargefoot recorded at Bill’s Cathays flat onto the same cassette; they don’t belong anywhere else, so they might as well get bundled into this post.

How many games can you name?


1.     Robocop “Drop-It” Intro
2.     Bill Bargefoot
3.     Heaving Stews
4.     Tony Gage
5.     All Three Random Finale
6.     Gate Open/Gate Shut Slut
7.     Untitled Heaving Stews Track

Heaving Stews
Bill Bargefoot
Tony Gage

Recorded Barry Island Fun Fair, one dusky Sunday late afternoon in Autumn 1989.


Written by Gustav Thomas

January 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm

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