(the return of) Lost Indie 45s – #11

Big Big City – Schtum (1996, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘Grow’)

If anyone asks me why I turned vegetarian 30 odd years I ago, I tell them it was a moral choice, and that I wanted to play no part in ruthless slaughter of animals for food because meat is murder, maaaaan.  For the record, the real reason is that I fancied a girl who was vegetarian and did it solely to impress her, which in case anyone is interested turned out to be as good a reason as the other one as I haven’t eaten meat since 1990 (apart from that time when drunk on my 22nd birthday, when I simply forgot I didn’t eat meat)

Anyway, in 1996, six years into my vegetarian status, I went to interview an up and coming band from Derry called Schtum (which is still one of the worst band names in the history of band names) in a smoky back room in a London pub.  When I arrived, the band were all tucking into bacon rolls.  I mean it was 2 o’ clock in the afternoon what else would they be doing.  Being polite young chaps, they immediately offered me one. 

Now unlike most vegetarians, I don’t miss bacon.  I can’t stand the stuff, hate the smell, detest the taste and I really can’t understand the utter fuss about it.  So instead of telling the band that I was a vegetarian, and I considered their mutual devouring of the best side of a pig, slightly offensive, I bit my tongue and told them that I didn’t like bacon. 

Which utterly bemused them, and the entire interview descended in a lengthy conversation about the wonders of bacon, the joy of Frazzles Crisps and how useless a fried breakfast must be without bacon (and occasionally when I managed to steer it back, a discussion about the band and their music).  I mean is that incredible that someone doesn’t like bacon?  Don’t answer that.

Six weeks later a parcel arrived for me at the student union paper office.  It contained a copy of ‘Big Big City’ on CD which was wrapped in a TShirt.  The Tshirt had on the front a picture of some bacon frying in a pan with the bands name stamped over it.  Hmmm.  Thanks.

Schtum revolved around the vocal talents of a chap called Christian O’Neill and they had a couple of minor hits in the mid 90s.  ‘Big Big City’ was the second of those but is easily their best song.  It is a warts and all ode to their hometown of Derry.  It’s angry, catchy, noisy and rocks like a bastard, which obviously makes it brilliant.

Here’s the first of the minor hits from the mid 90s

Skydiver – Schtum (1995, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘Grow’)

Of course, ‘Big Big City’ must never be confused with this.


1 Comment

  1. JC says:

    Totally new on me, 27 years after the fact.

    Tad too shouty for my sensitive soul. I can picture this one belting out from the stage…..the lights guy would have a field day changing things with each riff and chorus. Don’t get me started on the smoke machine from the side.


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