I think it’s time to cook a meal….
Bedsitter – Soft Cell (1981, Some Bizarre Records, Taken from ‘Non Stop Erotic Cabaret’)
Points 148 (Adjusted due to a tie)
The reason that ‘Bedsitter’ that is even included in this rundown is all down to Saddam Hussain.
Well sort of.
In 1991, Carter USM, released the single ‘Bloodsport for All’, a seething, ranting track about racism in the army. It looked set to be the breakthrough commercially that Carter needed. That is until Saddam invaded Kuwait and the first Gulf War occurred because everyone wanted to protect some oil fields (or they were murdering innocent people, I forget which reason is used these days) and the BBC stopped playing records about war and stuff. On the B side of ‘Bloodsport…’) was a cover version of ‘Bedsitter’ (well it was Bedsitter spliced with a section of ‘Torch’ if I remember rightly), and because of the ban the BBC played ‘Bedsitter’ instead (until they released that right at the end Jimbob can memorably be heard shouting “Fucking Arsehole Bastard”) and then stopped playing it altogether.
Bedsitter – Carter USM (1991, Rough Trade Records, Taken form ‘Bloodsport for All’ Single)
Torch – Soft Cell (1981, Some Bizarre Records, Taken from ‘Non Stop Erotic Cabaret’)
‘Torch’ was by the way the only other Soft Cell song that was considered for this rundown, although to be fair, it was always going to be ‘Bedsitter’.
It was Carter’s version that made me check out the original version and the subsequent album ‘Non Stop Erotic Cabaret’, which I dutifully borrowed off my friend Chris and gave back to him about a year later. 30 years later it is an album that I still play on a regular basis. I love ‘Bedsitter’, that tingly synth solo at the start, Marc Almond’s strained vocal, its evocative, and the lyrics that talk of isolation, loneliness, poverty. All of it is brilliant.
There is of course an extended version of ‘Bedsitter’ which I think first appeared on the twelve inch. It includes a section about five minutes in which Marc Almond sorts of half raps and half speaks his way through a kind of jazzy interlude. It’s an interesting departure from the album version.
Bedsitter (extended version) – Soft Cell (1981, Some Bizarre Records, Taken from ‘Non Stop Cabaret Deluxe version’)
‘Bedsitter’ was the second of three memorable singles released by Soft Cell in 1981 and 1982, the first being of course, ‘Tainted Love’ and the third was ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’, which when I finally get round to listing the greatest 12 inches of all should featuring very high indeed.
Say Hello Wave Goodbye (12” Version) – Soft Cell (1982, Some Bizarre Records, Taken from ‘Non Stop Erotic Cabaret Deluxe Version’)