I will be updating the missing links in JUNE 2012. Look forward to it.
I'm also making plans to interview some of the artists on these compilations.
That will be a slow process but just bare with me..it takes me a while to hunt down people. I hope the blog has helped people find music they've been looking for in a long time and that if this is your first time, then I hope you enjoy the music and keep an open mind to the great creativity that was happening at the time.
And I hope you all pick up a Synthesizer someday!
You can contact me on Facebook (link on top)
Eden (May 5, 2012)
Let's go back to the year where this all began. In 1980, a magazine called Flexipop! was launched by ex-Record Mirror journalists Barry Cain and Tim Lott. The magazine, just like several other music magazines at the time, featured a Flexi-Disc. However, Flexipop! stood out because of the bands they featured. Although some of us have only experienced Flexipop! as a great set of compilations...to some people like, Huw Collingbourne, it has been a much greater experience!
"I started writing for Flexipop! magazine in early 1981. This was at the time when the New Romantic bands such as Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet were just emerging out of the clubs and into the charts. At the other extreme of the music scene, there were the New Wave and Old Wave punks, goths and bands with no category: The Stranglers, The Exploited, The Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, The Clash and others.
Flexipop!’s great idea was to get exclusive recordings from the top stars of the day and put them onto a free cover disc. These days those flimsy plastic discs and the magazines onto which they were stuck are collector’s items. Back in the '80s they were considered to be here-today-gone-tomorrow trash. Disposable pop for the throw-away generation.
Since the demise of Flexipop! itself (the magazine only lasted a few years and ceased publication in 1982), music fans have continued the tradition of finding and sharing rare and unusual recordings and the name ‘Flexipop!’ has come to describe a generic approach to music distribution. Most of the ‘Flexipop’ collections available these days have no connection (other than the name) with Flexipop! magazine.
It’s worth pointing out that while Flexipop! magazine certainly did distribute music by cutting edge bands, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the songs that appeared on the discs were wildly varied - everything from The Jam, The Cure and the Anti-Nowhere League to pure bubblegum pop such as Haircut 100, Buck’s Fizz and Altered Images. The most successful cover disc ever was Adam and The Ants’ version of the Village People’s hit, Y.M.C.A., for which they wrote new lyrics and renamed it ‘A.N.T.S’.
The magazine itself was anarchic. It was once seized and banned from shops thanks to a photo story which I wrote and co-directed with the magazine’s art editor, Mark Manning, who later reinvented himself as cult rock-star, Zodiac Mindwarp. A worried granny reported us to the police on the grounds that the story encouraged cannibalism among readers. It’s true that it did feature a fair bit of cannibalism as we persuaded rockabilly band, The Meteors, to tuck into a variety of severed limbs and internal organs obtained from a local butcher’s shop. The resulting photo story was a zombie version of Mad Max (which we called ‘Bad Bax II’). On other occasions, we persuaded Toyah to dress up as a rabbit, Buster Bloodvessel to dress up as Superman (with Classix Nouveaux singer, Sal Solo, playing the part of Lex Luther) - and I believe we were the first ever magazine to show a picture of Boy George kissing Culture Club drummer, Jon Moss.
Not all the musicians involved saw the funny side. I admit I didn’t get on at all well with Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers who walked out of my first interview and put the phone down on me when I tried to do a telephone interview. I similarly recall some very difficult moments with German heavy rocker, Michael Schenker, and Spear Of Destiny lead singer, Kirk Brandon. I don’t know, maybe I just met them on a bad day? Then again, I suspect that the problem was that Flexipop! in general wasn’t a very serious magazine and my interviews tended to be on the silly side. Some people - such as Toyah, Haircut 100, Kim Wilde and (amazingly!) Judas Priest - got the joke and were delighted to play along. But whenever I met anyone who was determined to spend half an hour telling me about their musical influences or the tedious details of their next tour, it was a pretty sure thing that we wouldn’t hit it off. The editors of Flexipop! used to joke that if ever I ran out of questions, I would always ask ‘OK, then, so tell me how big is your plonker?’ I have to confess that while this was not a question I used often, I did use it once or twice - I recall the lead singer of The Anti-Nowhere League providing me with a detailed answer illustrated by reference to the size of one of the metal rings on his leather jacket.
To be frank, the dafter the interview the better I liked it. When I interviewed Heaven 17 I asked them to imagine what Hell would be like (Martyn: Hell’s a bit like Blackpool - lots of donkeys. Glenn: The only trouble with hell is the music they play there - Gillan!). Robert Smith of The Cure told me that when he was alone at home, he dressed up as his mother and cooked curries. Kevin Roland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners told me he used to drink his own urine (as a child) and David Sylvian of Japan gave me the lowdown on his makeup tips.
This was the sort of trivia that Flexipop! specialised in. In fact, the magazine had two slogans which were often printed on the inside cover: ‘Cheap sleaze for retards’ and ‘Pure pulp for pinheads’. The readers might have been offended by that, I guess. Happily, it seems that most of them weren’t...
As I said, it was just disposable pop for the throw-away generation. Which makes it all the more amazing that it’s lasted so long..."
Flexipop! has left it's mark and nowadays it is loved by music collectors and in the mid 1990's, the Flexipop Tribute Compilations were born and distributed through file-share applications.
Firstly, it must be made clear that these Tribute compilations are not linked to the magazine in any way. People who shared similar interests compiled the tracklists in a way that reflects the spirit of Flexipop. The keyword here is, SHARE. These compilations are not meant to be sold.
The compilations are...
A Tribute To Flexipop (1-10)
The Return Of Flexipop (1-10)
None Night Of Flexipop (1-5)
A Tribute To Some Bizarre (1-11)
Now, fast forward to the present day.
Viva Flexipop has been created in order to make it easier for you to find all the compilations. Share the music! Use this blog as a tool to help you introduce the music to your friends!!!!
Thanks to Huw Collingbourne for contributing and Paul from Fantasmi Macchina for letting me use his artwork in Shockwaves and Some Bizarre!