Thursday, December 10, 2009

Party Party

Elvis Costello & The Attractions
(A&M Records, 1982)

At Jon Jolles' Hampden Christmas Parade party last Sunday, I noticed a bunch of Elvis Costello CDs and asked if he was as big a Costello completist as my girlfriend Amy, who is obsessed with owning everything Declan McManus writes, sings, scores, or acts in. Jon said he is, though he lacked one song from his collection, the 1982 single "Party Party." That is, he lacked it in digital format, though he had the original 45. Apparently the song appeared on the soundtrack of a British movie called Party Party, whose accompanying soundtrack was on a label Elvis was not affiliated with.

OK, here's the backstory, Elvis completists!

Elvis Costello released his 26th single, "Party Party" b/w "Imperial Bedroom," on A&M Records in November 1982; the single reached the #48 on the U.K. singles chart (it was also released in the US and the Netherlands). Neither track appeared on an Elvis Costello & The Attractions album (though Elvis and the boys had released an album called Imperial Bedroom). The B-side was later added as a bonus track to the "deluxe" CD release of Imperial Bedroom, but the A-side remains available only on A&M's 1982 Party Party: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album, which is now available as an import CD (expect to pay $20-30 for it).

Party Party Soundtrack LP

(Now Amy swears she has this song somewhere in her cornucopia of Elvis memorabilia, but still hasn't located it, so the jury's still out pending her search. I suspect she either has the vinyl single or is thinking of "Party Girl" on the 1989 compilation record Girls Girls Girls.)

I had never heard of the movie Party Party, but looking it up on the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDb) I learned that it's a teen-oriented piece of cineplex fluff whose "plot" is described as "a bunch of kids go nuts and have a party when their parents leave." In other words, the title explains everything you need to know about it! Looking at the cast, I was surprised to see the name of one of my favorite Brit actresses, Kim Thomson, the strawberry-blonde gamine beauty who starred in one of my favorite films, Clive Donner's Stealing Heaven (1988), before carving out a successful career as a British soap opera star.

Stealing My Heart: Kim Thomson

Based on the book by Marion Meade, Stealing Heaven told the real-life story of one of history's most famous romances, that of 12th-century French philosopher Pierre Abelard and his beloved Heloise (Thomson), who fought their uncontrollable urges by exchanging love letters after they shut themselves off from the world in a monastery and convent, respectively. God, I jones-ed for Kim Thomson's bod back in the day (needless to say there were some explicit sex scenes in the movie before the lovers left the secular world behind!). So Party Party is now on my list of Obscure Films (and/or Guilty Pleasures) to seek out!

OK, but back to the song "Party Party"...If anybody knows anywhere else to find the song that at least one Internet reviewer has called "simply dreadful...about as close to rubbish as Elvis Costello has ever got," please let me know!

Below are the lyrics. I'm fascinated by its reference to the UK's sweet-and-fruity red soft drink Tizer (aka "Tizer the appetizer"). Besides "Party Party," Tizer gets name-checked in Brian Eno's "Back in Judy's Jungle" (1974) and in Morrissey's "King Leer" (1991). In addition, Baccardi and Tizer are mentioned as the vomit-inducing ingredients in British comedian Billy Connelly's "Casual Vomit" sketch on The Best Comedy Album Ever. And Advocaat is a reference to a "Dutch Eggnog" drink - not Dutch football manager Dick Advocaat, who led Zenit St. Petersburg to victory in the 2008 UEFA Cup and who currently coaches clubside AZ Alkmaar, as well as the Belgian national team. (Hmmm, I wonder whether A&M released "Party Party" in the Netherlands because of the Advocaat reference?)

"Party Party" Lyrics:
We're gonna drink enough tonight to drown the average army
By New Year's Day the next door neighbour will be goin' barmy
The milkman arrives at midday with his usual wisecrack
Who knows a girl with Wednesday legs so when's they gonna snap?

Why does everybody have to be so hale and hearty
Can't they see we're tryin' to have a party party party party

The last thing I remember I was talkin' to some fellas
Then she said she'd have a word for me with her good-looking mate
And handed me a pint-pot filled with Advocaat and Tizer
And I woke up in the flower bed fearing fertilizer


So shift yourself and shake your bod
You got bullet proof insurance from fire, flood and Act of God
You got to learn from your mistakes
When you got a face like last week's Cornflakes

The doors and the window frames are by Pablo Picasso
The party decorations owned by Michelangelo
The fine music that you hear is by Stravinsky
with overall design by Leonardo daVinci


So shift yourself and shake your bod
You got bullet proof insurance from fire, flood and Act of God
You got to learn from your mistakes
When you got a face like last week's Cornflakes

Two boys are upstairs in your bed
Three girls are downstairs cryin'
The Alka Seltzer in the glass is roarin' like a lion
You think you've aged 10 years tonight and still never been kissed
So you overdose on aftershave and try to slash your wrist
Related Links:
The Kim Thomson Site

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