The Loneliest Jukebox

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Digital Afterlife of the Marmite Sisters

From summer 1984 until the summer of 1989 I was knocking about in various punk and indie bands. The first of these was a Flux of Pink Indians-sounding outfit called the Fucking Pieces of Shit. For reasons you can work out for yourself, it didn't catch on.

From here I went into the Anonymouse, with some lads I'm still in touch with. After a major line-up change the band name also changed to the Marmite Sisters. I was out by the summer of 1988, although I came back on vocals for an Xmas/New Year gig in Nottingham. With me gone, guitarist Steve took over vocal duties and the band developed a far better sound in my absence. (The first writer to review the Anonymouse praised me as a 'white rapper' fronting the group, but the truth is I couldn't sing; Steve could do harmonies and hold a note.) The band soldiered on until 1994.

Steve's follow-up project, Artists Against Success, did less well than the Sisters, but better than his early keyboard/clarinet duo Dark Horizons. And without the internet, it all could be laid to rest there. Even with the internet, the band's legacy might be confined to the occasional query on a Sisters of Mercy bulletin board if I was Barney Stackhouse (I wasn't).

Today I noticed a drawn-out controversy over whether or not the band's page on Wikipedia should be deleted. (As a 'well-known academic' or 'pretty un-notable "famous academic" ex-singer', depending on your side in the controversy, there are times when my students' essays make me think Wikipedia should be deleted, but that's another story...) At least seven people were hard at it over the merits of the band, 12 years on from the final gig. A person known as TruthbringerToronto stuck up for us and the page stayed.

Normally I would say life's too short, folks. But with all this renewed interest, it's clear that an opportunity was wasted by not releasing an England World Cup song to pay off our credit card bills. South Africa 2010 here we come.
*Completists can buy the entire back catalogue off Steve Marmite himself; contact him here.


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