Another £4 used find, and one I have very fond memories of, or at least of a couple of the tracks as I never actually owned the album when it came out. This one goes all the way back to 1980 when I was 13 years old and I was at the fair in Didcot, located on Didcot Town FC’s pitch. The album is ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ by ‘The Beat’. One of the rides was playing ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, the opening track from the album and I really, really liked it, though I shouldn’t have, well, based on others perceptions of where I was supposed to fit into musical genre choices and what I conveyed to them by my own word and actions. It really doesn’t matter, except when you are 13, then it really is extremely important. This is the period when we really shape our identities, when a swirling mass of liquid ideas begin to solidify and we start having valid opinions based less on outside influences and more on what we truly like. It was around then that I began to find merit in all manner of different genres as I was already listening to punk and post-punk alongside what we now consider Classic Rock, I was even listening to prog, and still thoroughly enjoying it.
The Beat, or The English Beat or The British Beat as I believe they are known in the colonies, were formed in 1978 in Birmingham and were just in time to catch the wave of Ska revival that included bands such as The Specials, The Selecter, Madness, and The Bodysnatchers in what I recall was labelled 2-Tone, although this was a record label and The Beat were signed to Go Feet. We had quite a few lads at my school who picked up on this, some superficially so and some went a bit deeper, exploring where the music first originated, and then there were some who tried to be Skinheads and didn’t really know what they were doing, the main attractions seemingly being the Doc Martins, turned up jeans and Fred Perry polo shirts.
I’ve said it before and I am about to say it again, there was a time when there was less filler on albums and this is no exception, containing, as it does, 4 hit singles (one of which was a double A side so, technically, 5). If you are interested in such things, the album is 64 on Rolling Stones Top 100 Debut Albums, which probably means something to somebody somewhere.
Here is the video for ‘Mirror In The Bathroom, not the official one, but from Top of the Pops, just because (But worth it forboth Tommy Vance and the stunning visual effects):
And there is the full album courtesy of Spotify