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Baker's Dozen

Composites For A Generation: James Fry's Baker's Dozen
John Quin , September 14th, 2022 08:10

From the hits of Hot Chocolate and the trashy joys of Sigue Sigue Sputnik to the 'death jazz' of Miles Davis and the angst of Portishead, James Fry takes us through his life in thirteen albums


Suicide – Suicide

I’d go to bed and listen to John Peel, recording it with a C90 tape. Peel played ‘Frankie Teardrop’ and at the time I must have been feeling a bit sensitive, a bit vulnerable. I wasn’t, like, the hard kid at school. So I remember hearing it and being troubled by it, so I turned it off but I couldn’t sleep and so I turned the radio on again and Frankie was still fucking on! But, of course it was intriguing. It was like been trapped in a room… and then the scream comes in! The most avant-garde, weird thing. I mean it’s no wonder we’re all a bit fucked up. We were growing up listening to stuff like this, I mean really. When you think about the kind of stuff we were being presented…

The album though, there’s all those great melodies. I love ‘Ghost Rider’ and ‘Rocket USA’. It was obviously a talisman for Sputnik. The thing about this period of music – Suicide were trying to break out of the norm. Back here you’re down the pub drinking Boddingtons or Robinsons in Stockport and everyone’s listening to Rory Gallagher or the Quo. And you’re trying to build up your walls even if you’re a bit of a prick. I was probably a bit of a prick really! And that’s what I liked about the Suicide – you could stick it on at a teenage party!

I wasn’t bullied and I wasn’t a bully. And I went to the biggest comprehensive in Britain I think. But I got laughed at openly for having all the What Do I Get Buzzcocks badges. But then a year later the same people were at the Buzzcocks gigs in Manchester. And then you’d go to parties drinking cider and popping granny’s heart pills, trying to cop off. And then you’d put Suicide on or Metal Machine Music. Just to piss people off. We were in our elite snobby little gang really.