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Where’s Captain Kirk?

Its humour Jim, but not as we know it...

No. 1:   The Flatbackers, ‘Pumping Iron.’

Let’s face it- the musical landscape of the post-punk era could be a pretty bleak place. You only have to recall the heart-rending anguish of Joy Division or the sombre introspection of Cabaret Voltaire to see that. And yet even during the manic days of punk there was the odd moment of light relief: who in their right mind could forget the wonderfully bonkers Rezillos? And, as punk turned into new wave, this penchant for levity was maintained by an irreverent few, with Spizzenergi's Where's Captain Kirk? being probably the finest early example of the genre. I am fortunate to have, in my collection, a number of other excellent examples of post-punk humour, and I think it's high time they were unleashed on an unsuspecting world...

My first selection, Pumping Iron (1980) was the first single by London all-girl trio The Flatbackers. This cautionary tale of steroid (and ego) fuelled excess is perfectly summed up in the chorus:

Pumping iron!

He’s read all the books

Pumping iron!

He knows he has the looks

Pumping iron!

He’s a super stud!

He’s pump-ing iron!

The Flatbackers went on to release two more singles (one of which was the wonderfully upbeat Buzzz Going Round, a particular favourite of mine) before fading into the beautiful obscurity that was to be the destiny of so many of the finest post-punk groups.

The Flatbackers circa 1981

Click on the Dansette to listen

to Pumping Iron

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