Prolapse – Deanshanger (90s – 75)

July 30, 2013

Craig Pilling presented the Late Show in the Student Radio Network. This was a UK commercial entity with created content for UK University Student Radio stations and made money from the advertising it sold to a targeted audience.

SRN was bloody good and Craig Pilling was brilliant and I believe it all died when they tried to to create a broadcast radio station in London.

But I’ve digressed.

Pilling created a brilliant show from 12-2 their time and just in time to get to work at my time. It was unconventional, underground, twisted. I won a prize one day when I gave him updated information on the Avalanches (who still haven’t released another album). Then one day he rang me to go on air with him. Apparently his producer was Australian and had brought back Australian sweets to try. Wanting independent verification to the safety of a Violent Crumble or Tim Tam, he rang me to talk him through it on air. I then stuffed up an intro to Seafood, a band I’d never heard of before witha song I never heard of before. And this was me, having been in radio for several years at this point. But it’s probably the biggest audience I’ve ever been heard by, with the possible exception of when I rang up an ABC quiz before I got into radio.

But I’ve digressed.

The other thing he sent me was a CD compilation from music in Leicester called Havock Junction. And the best things on the compilation were two tracks by Prolapse. With the possible exception of Vroon’s song Pilchards of Death. But it was Prolapse which got me excited. I’d never heard of them either but they were ranty and raw.

Go forth a year or so and heading to Splendour In The Grass, my mate and I stop into a pawnbrokers in Casino to look through the CDs. And there was Prolapse’s The Italian Flag. And I quickly found it one of my favourite albums of the decade.

Mick Derrick and Linda Steelyard are the focus – twin vocalists, he large, Scottish and angry; her small, waiflike and occasionally angrier. Some songs are quiet and brooding. Others loud and angry. Apparently onstage they were known to throw chairs and televisions at each other. It’s only been this year I’ve heard an earlier song where they acted out an argument leading to domestic violence. I’ve yet to read what their motivations were to write this track. This is perhaps the scariest song I’ve ever heard.

With The Italian Flag they signed with a major got a budget and created an epic rock albu,. There is raucousness but not the violence. The interplay between the vocalists is finely tuned, interleving lyrics, obtuse allusions.

Deanshanger is the second track. I would have chosen the first track – Slash/Oblique – but the video sound quality I could found is poor. Indeed I could have picked any number of it’s tracks but Deanshanger gives it to the eighties. Plus I love the homemade video someone made to this.

They released one other album after The Italian Flag, much quieter and brooding, and then they split. I believe Linda Steelyard is now a journalist in Leicester.

Oh, and I apologise to Seren – where ever you now are – who was assistant editor of a student paper I wrote for. I did an article on Prolapse and she put the term into an image search engine without putting in the word band after it. Years later I am still sorry. But if it wasn’t for Craig Pilling’s chocolates, it would never have happened.


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