Mondeo Pop Month on ILB: A brief introduction
I appreciate, and apologise for, the fact that ILB has been weak recently. We’ve not put out any banner content since “Joe Budden still sucks in 140 characters” a few weeks back. There’s been big patches in our posting history. Other ILB-affiliated blogs have been garnering their second Da Capo appearance in a row, or getting praise from roly-poly feminist opinions4u don dada Kate Harding over the Polanski debacle. We, on the other hand, have… yeah.
Real life interferes with any artistic endeavour, right? The act, and the art, of writing gets boyed when actual problems elsewhere crop in. Over the past month we’ve had holidays to plan, evictions to cope with, new houses to find, banks to phone looking for morning, loan companies to phone looking for money, friends who theoretically owe us a favour to phone looking for money, bosses putting us on blast at work, moves to organise helped only by a bald Polish dude that doesn’t speak English… when this shit is popping, you can’t be trawling Hype Machine to see if the world needs to be made aware of, idk, the dubstep stylings of “Schema”. Pro-tip: if your hometown had any black people in it, you shouldn’t be listening to dubstep.
You know what we’ve been listening to instead? The Beautiful South. Crowded House. Del Amitri. Tanita Tikaram. Terence Trent D’Arby. Warm, comforting, easy music that still has some artistry and bite to it, the aural equivalent of the roasted red pepper and tomato soup from Eat. We’ve hinted about this before. We’ve written about it elsewhere before. We need to dedicate time to it now. We need to talk about Mondeo Pop.
In its essence, Mondeo Pop can be roughly defined as the sort of music that got play on local radio (and, in the late 90s, Virgin Radio) during working hours. This was the kind of music that got people in offices and warehouses through their working day, through the grind. If you have 500 invoices to file before the day’s end, the last thing you needed was the be informed of the hot new genre acid house/baggie/Britpop. That wasn’t going to help anyone. What you needed was Kirsty MacColl, The Connells and the Gigolo Aunts.
It’s AOR without the grandiosity. Dire Straits or Queen were for the drive time, we’re talking about the music that makes sense when you’re packaging 10,000 Bart Simpson bubble bath bottles an hour. There’s part of me that feels like the automation of the office and the massed increase in labour from Eastern Europe may have killed Mondeo Pop: do Lithuanians and Slovenians really want to hear Black and World Party as they go about their business? Did The Blow Monkeys ever play Lodz?
What was the first Mondeo Pop song? I don’t know. Maybe it was by Squeeze though.
What was the last Mondeo Pop song? I don’t know. Possibly it was “Glorious” by Andreas Johnson, although I have no evidence for this.
This is the problem here. I’d love to be able to write the fucking “Rip It Up” of the Mondeo Pop world, put everything in its Thatcherite to New Labour context, Haircut 100 and Danny Wilson finally categorised as being part of something important rather than a punchline. But I can’t. I know as much as you do.
So over the next 30 days, ILB is going to be a repository of songs. Mondeo Pop tracks, written about by myself, and perhaps some special guest stars. By the end of it, hopefully we’ll have learnt about this finest of genres. To me, that’s important.