Monday, January 28, 2008

It's Never Just You

Unless I am very much mistaken, you will not have a clue who this lot are - and neither did I until about 10:30 last night. And yet I have loved a song of theirs for more than 25 years.

Let me explain.

The song is on this....

...This is a tape I made from a John Peel show in October 1982 when I was 17 years old (do you like my Letrasetting?)

The song is a gently-bleeping electronica thingy with latin percussive bits and a woman repeating the words 'Achilles is an only child' over and over - a sort of Young Marble Giants goes to Rio via Paris St Germain. It's infuriatingly catchy, works its way into your brain, and for two and a half decades the identity of the artist has eluded me; I cut out Peelie saying who it was (I know, I know, but we did that); I assumed it was called 'Achile' (bad recording); I never succeeded in finding it.

Well, when the tape rose to the top of the pile in my rummage last week I determined to have another go at tracking the song and artist down. This time I Googled 'achilles is an only child song' which against all odds led me to this (thank you Jaime) which wonder upon wonders led me to this, which miracle upon miracles was a still live link. And halle-bloody-lujah, the EP it's from was recently re-released. How fab is all that?

"Oh yeah, Antena yeah, haven't you heard o' them? Way ahead of their time proto-Balearic French indie electronica mate; check out the Joakin remix..."

I'm only telling you because I knew you'd understand.

Antena - 'Achilles' (1982)

[Thank you Jon at Little Hits (now here), the interwebby in general - and dear old Peelie (natch)]


  1. You wouldn't happen to have "Ooh Look, There Goes Concorde Again" on an old comp' somewhere would you? It's one of those dusty nuggets I've never got round to tracking down.

  2. No, but LOOK!it's here!. (It's a WMA file but a man of your undoubted technical aplomb will have no difficulty converting it to MP3 I am sure.)

  3. I do like your Letrasetting.

    Not sure about the song though.....sorry.

    PS to Planet Mondo.... I picked up 'Concorde' when someone posted it a while back and have it as an mp3.

    If you e-mail me at I'll pass it on.

  4. It's maybe an acquired taste. Give it 25 years or so.

  5. That's too funny...I would Letraset the type onto my cassetts as well. My dad ran a tiny ad agency out of our home and Letraset was plentiful. What memories...

  6. A quite wonderful find. And Lettraset - bless. Reminds me of one of my old efforts. I too have on old unknown track from a John Peel tape. Like you I used to hit the pause button as soon as I heard him taking a breath. Used to get the occassional "Bu..!" if I timed it wrong. I will research my track and post it, er...soon.

    P.S. Is it my imagination or did you also use a typewriter for your tape inserts?

  7. don't get me started on letrasetting. i still drool over my letraset catalogue and have been known to photocopy pages and cut out individual letters and stick them on.
    i'm cheap like that.
    and god i wish i hadn't edited peel off everything - it took expert pause button control to do it all too

  8. Heh, me and my best friend taped everything from the radio; top 40, early evening vaguely alternative (Kid Jensen show? Gary Crowley), and of course Peel. And yep, trigger happy pause button action to avoid DJ chatter.

    Those rare times when you left some on - perhaps because you wanted the outro they always talked over, except Peelie - those little snippets burned themselves into the song. I can't hear Open Your Heart by the Human League without hearing Mike Read's voice announcing it as their new single.

    Ah, but Peelie; a friend of mine 'found' online a collection of Peel's festive fifties from about 1976 until he left us. We sat down to give it a listen, thinking it was a collection burned from various CDs by the artists concerned. But no, it was mp3s of old recordings from the radio. It was pretty moving to hear Peelie introduce each track.

  9. Ah, expert pause button control and Letrasetting labels: what fine human endeavour was there.

    Mick, I did acquire a typewriter later: it was advertised by an elderly gentleman in the local paper. Cost me a tenner, appeared to be made of cast iron, took a trained welterweight to thump the keys. Happy days.

    Simon, if you still have those recordings, meet me in the pub car park later.

  10. You may want to follow your nose down this route...

    I wouldn't normally advocate such things...but in this case it's a historical document. And a bit like a meeting with an old friend you haven't seen for years....


  11. aahh! congratulations, i'm glad i could help. that must've felt good!

    check this out:

  12. As you might have guessed, I'm more than aware of those torrents: sorry to disappoint, but not all of them are original radio recordings. Festive Fifties 76 to 79 and 82 are currently nowhere to be found (aside from a low quality savagely-edited top 10 of 79) and the 81 recording only has the top 20. The originals are known in the Yahoo Peel group as Holy Grails, and they are all searching for them frantically.
    Your song is lovely, Davy: another pleasant discovery.

  13. Now, that is a shame. Still enough there to send a little shiver down the spine.

  14. Oh yes. And, just to make me look foolish, 1982 has turned up. Apres moi le deluge, as Del Boy would say.


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