Some songs stand out for having changed your life. This once changed mine in one, classy Thursday afternoon radio moment of inspiration which I shall never forget. Dave Cash, Capital Radio, London 95.8FM. Ian Dury and the Blockheads – What a Waste.
I was astonished at the music, physically entranced to the extent that I grabbed the pretty powerful mono transister set and pushed my ear up against it so as not to lose a moment of the incredible hypnotism that was pouring out of speaker and into my lug hole. He was singing in English, in my accent, or close to it, using words which spoke to me about my life – over a beautiful lilting, funky reggae beat, with a screaming chorus of sexual intensity
I adopted this band and this man instantly. I have very few heroes, but Ian Dury is one. He blended funk with punk, poetry with blasphemy, vulnerability with defiance, sympathy with the anarchy of the day. Like many a true innovator, to this day he is less celebrated than he should be. It was truly a golden cross-over moment for both pop music – punk spawning really interesting hybrids as it became new wave – and for me.
I lost my virginity to the album, New Boots and Panties; and the songs of Ian Dury became entwined with my destiny. He set many good and bad examples, which is just the way it should be. I went to art school in part because of Ian Dury, and leaving art school, went on to make music professionally, just like he did. Mr Dury died tragically young of liver cancer just as his second career as actor was taking off, but still, he was brave to the end.
Ian, old fruit, I miss your honest and wry majesty, and I salute you.