Friday, 1 November 2013

REWIND: Mansun - 'Stripper Vicar'

Mansun were without a doubt one of the most interesting and unusual group to grow from the Britpop era of the mid 90's. While Oasis sang about being a rock n roll star, and Blur were observing British culture, this four piece from Chester were collaborating with Dr Who's Tom Baker, sampling 'Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy' and writing songs about cross dressing clergymen. Their lyrics were brilliantly surreal, sometimes fascinating, and their tunes were nothing short of awesome. 

This was the first Mansun song I ever set ears on. Back in 1997, my school friend Steve Bewley and I were having a chat about music one lunchtime. Liverpool combo Space were pretty popular at the time, and when I mentioned their name, Steve thought that I had said 'Wide Open Space', which led him to start talking about a band called Mansun. A few days later he brought into school a tape copy of their superb debut LP 'Attack Of The Grey Lantern', which we listened to in the music practice rooms, and hearing this song was memorably hilarious, enjoyable and hugely exciting. And "sipping holy water while he dresses like his daughter" was a fantastic line. It wasn't long before I rented a copy of the album from the local library (as I did with a lot of things back then) and recorded it to a C90, buying myself a proper copy on CD about a year later, just before the release of their second album (and masterpiece) 'Six'. By that point I was a massive fan. 


After various troubles (FAR too much to go into) the band split in 2004, and despite promising solo material a number of years ago, frontman Paul Draper hasn't been seen since. Following a live guest appearance with The Joy Formidable back in 2010, Draper made another very rare performance last night (October 31) playing with Leeds-based supergroup Menace Beach, who were doing a session for Marc Riley's excellent evening show on BBC 6Music. Having found a way to contact the reclusive Draper via the programme, fans sent emails declaring their love for his music and their hopes for his return. In a recent radio interview he suggested that he would release the post-Mansun material that he has worked on over the last decade if enough people expressed an interest in wanting to hear it. So taking his words quite literally, members of Facebook fan group Mansun's Only Love Song have set up a 'petition page', where they are hoping to attract as much support as possible to get this fantastic songwriter out of retirement. If you would like to hear more music from Paul Draper (and I know I certainly would), then HERE is the place to make yourselves useful... 





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