Forty-five as I keep telling myself is just a number, before yesterday it was always a pretty cool number but now I’m not so sure. Today I find it a tad depressing.
Earlier this year I thought about doing the 45 at forty-five countdown, JC’s excellent feature from a few years ago but to be honest I found it rather too difficult a task to choose between the singles in the red box and anyway my absolute favourite was released 6 years prior to my birth and therefore would be excluded as I couldn’t possibly have bought it at the time. So I have decided to post the single that I have owned the longest, thirty five years sometime this year.
I bought Alternative Ulster at the record stall at Wishaw Market. The stall had a lot of the punk singles of the time but mainly specialised in Heavy Metal and also had a large stock of badges and patches. I would become a regular customer over the next couple of years badgering my mum to take me to Wishaw on a Saturday so I could root through the singles and if none took my fancy I would always come back with at least a couple of badges. Luckily my aunt and uncle lived in the town so regular visits were not a problem.
The single was bought at the time as much for the cover as the music. I used to sit and look at it for ages wondering what it would be like to have soldiers on your street, a prospect which was not without it’s merits to a ten year old who wasn’t really aware of why the troops were on the streets in Northern Ireland.
Even now when I hear that simple guitar intro the hairs on my neck stand up and my pulse beats that little bit faster. Back in 1979 I could make out most of the lyrics but didn’t have a clue what they were on about but I knew that they were angry and felt that they meant it. The track was raw, fast and furious and more’s to the point when I got it home and played it on my parents Philips music centre my mum said that it was a horrible racket and to turn it off. What better recommendation was there than your parents hating a song.
Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster