C Is The Heavenly Option Heavenly Sarah Records Released: Jul 1992 Highest UK Chart Position: Album Track Available on: Le Jardin de Heavenly The word ‘twee’ sprang fully-formed into the world in 1905, possibly as a result of Einstein forming the Theory of Relativity. However, the new word decided that the world was far too big and scary, so it hid in the fields of Britain for eighty years, until a passing group of bands caught it in their hairgrips in those halcyon days of 1986. The first musical incarnation of the genre that would be known as ‘twee’ can be traced back to C86, a cassette given away by the NME as an example of the new fey and shambling direction of British music. The NME, true to form, spent the rest of the year taking the piss out of the contributors. The C86 generation did the only thing it could; they took their toys home. Some went off and learnt how to play their instruments, returning to embrace dance culture (e.g. Primal Scream), others like The Wedding Present carved out a successful niche for themselves, while some poor unfortunates remained The Soup Dragons. Well, someone had to. But the seeds were sown, and ten years later, twee would return with a vengeance (or at least a pout) with Belle & Sebastian, clutching a hand-printed fanzine and a Hello Kitty bag.
Before the Scots took over, twee lived on in Sarah Records. This record company was gloriously twee; cute record covers, strictly limited pressings, plus an apparent remit for signing jangly bands with confessional lyrics.
Wait! Come back! Because while Heavenly were on Sarah, and yes, their lyrics did sometimes border on "why does the world hate me so?", they were ace. Take this song; there's an overly-precious conceit behind the lyrics, based around the multiple-choice questionnaires often found in Cosmopolitan or Smash Hits. And it's just wonderful, beginning with this perfect opening between a female and male singer:
My boyfriends says he will leave meIt continues in this vein, swapping female and make vocals from questions to answers and back again. It has a catchy chorus, and yes! Even a beat that you can dance along with. Yes, it is as cute and sugary as it sounds, but with a pop sensibility; Heavenly have looked up to see that the sun is shining, so they're going to have some fun. This culminates in the breakdown at the end; "C/C/C/C is the Heavenly option" going back and forth (and yes, it may be a overly-knowing lyric, but as it feels so right, I can forgive them), harmonies going off into the distance, and, seemingly out of nowhere, a Casio keyboard comes in to create a Fisher-Price Wall of Sound. It ends, and you have a smile on your face. You've just heard one of the lost pop gems of the decade. You put the needle on the record, and listen again.
Should I a)
Get down on your knees
Should I b)
Tell him where to go
Or should I c)
Kiss him until it shows
Don’t just take my word for it. If you have an Amazon account, go to the this page and download an MP3 of the song for free. Then, decide if you’re an a), b), or c). This weblog endorses c) with all its heart.
(Well, that'll keep them interested. *YAWN* — Ed.)
Anyway, the big story of the week is Swift Veterans Against Kerry. This is a group of Vietnam veterans who have written a book, Unfit For Command, and released an advert calling John Kerry's war record into question. Specifically, they say that Kerry did not deserve the Bronze Star he was awarded for rescuing Jim Rassman, and that he lied when testifying about war crimes. If nothing else, this advert has seriously pissed off John McCain, who called upon the White House to denounce it (so far, they've only issued a non-committal "we have said that we won't talk about Kerry's military record" statement). The book is currently number one on Amazon, but the story is beginning to fall apart already.
Firstly, none of the men in the advert actually served on Kerry's boat. All of the men who served with Kerry are supporting him, bar one who is now dead. Secondly, one of the members of SVAK, Larry Thurlow, who has been on several news networks this week denouncing Kerry and insisting that the attack never took place, won a Bronze Star himself for the incident. So he's lying now, or he doesn't deserve his Star either. And finally, George Elliot, a member of the group in the advert, appeared in today's Boston Globe to retract the claims that he made, and to say that he regretted making them.
One question remains though: how did this new group manage to find enough funds to broadcast in the hotly contested swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin (at a cost of roughly $500,000)? It appears the key figures behind the campaign are a Texan Republican, Bob Perry, who donated $100,000 to the group, and John O'Neill, the co-writer of Unfit For Command, who was once hired by the Nixon Government to discredit Kerry and the Veterans Against The War group back in the 1970s. No direct involvement from the White House. Of course.
(I, Robot: Much better than you'd expect! And actually rather good!)
No link, but I'm amused by people who say that the suffragettes weren't hardcore feminists (I'm sure that some of the opponents back then would have begged to differ).