Lay Off

At a Greenpeace Benefit gig in early 1989 we played an unrecorded Wedding Present number as an encore; which has a certain irony as they’re known for sticking to a set and not coming back on to play more tunes.

As a change from my usual fair I thought I’d knock out a video for something people might actually be interested in so ‘ere ’tis accompanying the rehearsal cassette from which we worked out how to play the song. Followed by some historical context of questionable authenticity.

The Wedding Present – Lay Off (Rehearsal Recording)

After their years of poptastic success it is now generally forgotten that The Wedding Present started out as an overtly political artists collective and that David Gedge was at one time the latest in a long line of song writers to be hailed as the next Bob Geldof.

For those of us who lived through the Thatcher years there is little novelty in the suggestion that the sound of young Leeds was ideologically driven but it is only the spearhead of the movement who are remembered today for their left wing affiliations; The Gang Of Four.

But even as late as ‘Lay Off’ it’s possible to hear the residual Marxist influence and a burgeoning existentialism, coital, in conflict and accord, as the ostensible railing against the inevitable human costs of capitalism comoglifies to the internal battles of the exo-conciousness.

‘Man must eat or be eaten’ Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora ad quem ad quod’ indeed!

But are the later popgasms that far removed from the earlier three minute manifestos? Are affairs of the heart any simpler than affairs of state? Buggered if I know, I haven’t thought about it.

A Chris Morris Organisation Recording.

All the film footage is from the Public Domain Prelinger Collection at the Internet Archive, particularly ‘Valley Town of 1940’ and the Soundie series. www.archive.org