Sleaford Mods - Talk Bollocks/No Ones BotheredSalon Alter Hammer/In A Car. 7”
Sleaford Mods - A little Ditty/I’m Shit At It
Emotional Response. 7” [Inc DL code]
Jason Williamson - Grammar Wanker. Sleaford Mods 2007-2014
If you’ve ever had to work with a temp you will know the sinking feeling that accompanies the ‘Here’s Kevin, you’ll be working with him today’ feeling. At 6.30 in the morning with a long 12 hour stretch ahead of you and a numpty staring you in the face, ‘Here’s Kevin, you’ll be working with him today’ are the last words you want to hear.
I’ve had my share. The ones who like to do donuts on the fork truck, the ones who chuck good material in the skip and take the crap stuff to the warehouse, the ones who try to pick up 4 meter wide material with a sack cart, the ones who’ve been getting out of bed at 2.30 in the afternoon for the last six months and cant get their head around the fact that at 6.30 in the morning they have to be switched on, not off. I worked with one temp, a teenage stoner with lank hair and bad breadth, who liked to sit back and rest his feet on the work station until one day the MD walked round and asked him what exactly it was he was doing? ’Just chilling’ came the reply, which I think were the last words I ever heard him say. I worked with a temp who fell asleep in a drainage channel. The same temp took to skinning rabbits, whilst working, or not working as the case may be. There was the Phantom Shitter who liked the leave the toilet unflushed. The old guy who poked his tongue out like a budgie and coughed every two minutes. And then there's the temp who at 11.30 every morning shouted ‘COME ON DINNER!’ like he was cheering in a 50 to 1 winner. Some temps have walked out. Others gone to the chippie never to return. I’ve worked with South Africans, Ethiopians, Romanians, Hungarians, Australians, ballet dancers, circus strong men, banned from driving HGV drivers, blobbers, murderers, muggers, heroin addicts, alcoholics,t tea-totallers, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, born again Christians, manslaughter-ers, squaddies and those who like to spend at least three months of the off season in the less than salubrious bars of Manila. There was the guy who turned up for work on his daughters bike, a pink one with tassels on the end of the handlebars. Those who have knocked down walls or put holes through them with the pointy end of a pole truck are too numerous to mention here. There’s the spillers, the wreckers, the manglers, the fucker-uppers, the lazy, the dying, the smelly, the fat, the thin and the bent in half how the fuck is he going to manage? The ones having heart attacks, the ones who disappear for a crafty fag just when its getting busy, the ones who fall asleep in the canteen, the ones who turn up totally unprepared. The almost blind, the almost deaf, the farters, the burpers, the ones who take their boots off at break time and rub the soles of their feet like Laurel and Hardy did in Sons of the Desert.
I began to wonder if there were temping agencies who specialize in strange people. But then again I think, perhaps its just life. Best to get on with it. Not all of them are ding dongs of course, every now and again you find someone who you can actually have a conversation with, but then they’re usually just passing through, killing a few weeks before a proper job turns up.
Thanks to the Sleaford Mods I now have a song to sing to these people.
‘I’m shit at it!’
‘Can’t even work in a chippy’
‘Chips peas and gravy’
‘I’m shit at it!’
‘It ain’t fucking rocket science’,
‘Heston Fucking Blumen Cunt’,
‘I’m shit at it!’,
‘Can’t even answer the phone’.
‘I’m shit at it!’
'Can’t even butter a cob right’.
Which is the line that gets repeated as I sing along my singy song.
Can’t even butter a fucking cob right you fucking numpty. COME ON DINNER! Cant even butter a cob right you fucking cock end.
Its these little things that keep you going in a factory environment where the only fun to be had is laughing at each other. Taking the piss. Laughing at the fat lad and the lass in the office with the bent nose and the plastic tits. The gaffer with a head like a five pound onion who cant drive for shit and likes to show us his ski boots like we fucking care. Bell End.
Its songs like these that keep you going through long shitty days. Its something to cling to when you're looking at that sleepy eyed numpty with nothing but a chicken nugget between his ears.
Sleaford Mods have been lobbing small plastic bombs about in the run up to the release of their imminent new album ‘Key Markets’. Like all good bands these singles aren’t just filler or contractual obligation crap but proper teasers, Talk Bollocks being sold on a recent short German tour [and now fetching silly sums on eBay]. Talk Bollocks has a bit of cheesy working mens club keyboard as intro and a chorus that speaks for itself. Here we have Williamson bemoaning the shit that gets talked on tour and the mundanity of it all. No One’s Bothered [Slow Version] is a stream of consciousness observations ‘Victory for no one Hates as much as bleeds The dark through the go on Dead up from the knees An hip shake shake it I been round The grass in the dug out.’ all to an ultra slow Fearn inspired slave boat beat. The faster version that's doing the rounds rips up a storm and if that's the version that's on Key Markets I’m already down on one with head bowed.
A Little Ditty is the rapid and catchy two and half a minutes that begins with a burp and ends with Williamson saying off mic ‘that end bit's shit’. You know all about this one already so its to the b-side and the unapologetic existentialist ‘I’m Shit At It’ which is the bees knees, the motherlode, the track that shows Sleaford Mods at their very best. A track that comes from nowhere, has no precedent, has no mother or father, no smarmy right on DJ plugging it, or dollar backed label pushing it. This is where we all get to rub our tummys and laugh like drains.
Here we see the return of fellow Nottingham resident John Paul for a spot of verbal sparring with Williamson. It starts thus;
John Paul: I’m shit at it. Can’t work for no one telling me what to do.
Williamson: [off mic] I’m shit at it.
John Paul: Can’t work for mesen. I’m shit at it. Can’t even work in a chippie
Williamson: Chips peas and gravy
John Paul: I’m shit at it
(and then the sound of someone making rasping noises, close up to the mic, raspberry fashion]
And on it goes until Fearn’s solid beats kick in and Williamson walks up to the mic and just gives it to us. John Paul finishes things off solo style; ‘ … I’m like an hit man on 20 Marlboro menthol, like Diamond Lights with Hoddle and Waddle, you don’t need tattoos to be a footballer mate, just a shit hair cut and a page three model’ And then, after more than half a minute of silence he returns with a few rabid lines about ‘G Star dads, heads to toe in the stuff ...’ and the dross to be found in pubs. Perfecto.
I’ve been flicking through that book too. Not keeping it all pristine so I can sell it on when I’m skint. When John Harris reviewed Grammar Wanker for the paper version of the Guardian it appeared below a review of Tory posho William Waldegrave’s memoirs and opposite a review of Nigel Farage’s autobiography. The picture of Farage accompanying the piece was one taken from below, a deliberately unflattering photograph that made him look like a maniacal Punch. Waldegrave was pictured attempting to milk a goat, perhaps the one and only time in his life that he ever got his hands dirty. Williamson appears at mic, bottle of water to hand the very faintest outline of scribbled tats visible. I know which one I'd trust.
I have my favourites; ‘Rollatruc’, ‘Swarfega’, The Wage Don’t Fit’, Donkey ['Hold on hold on, bought rock ‘n’ roll what a con'], Trixie [who writes songs about prostitutes these days?]. Life on the factory floor, the shitty pub, the litter strewn streets, minimum wage, no job, shit job. Life as it is for a lot of people, everyday folk - not Ambridge. I used to have Bukowski but now I’ve got Williamson too. Life's raw and open wounds.