Well, I've got that bloody application in. As usual, it was a painful procedure. And as usual, Edinburgh University's jobs website is an utter pile of arse. Still, it's done now and all I have to do is wait for the rejection and find other things to optimistically put my name forward for.

One thing I was meaning to add earlier is how much it amazes me how little credit Justin Sullivan gets as a songwriter. Personally I think he's bloody brilliant. Admittedly it's easy to underestimate his range because of the sheer number of very angry songs he's written over the years, but if you set them aside it leaves a lot of very good songs with other tones.

When I was at the Sanger (yes, yes, Graham, when you were at the Sanger . . . shut up about it already, it was years ago . . .) I occasionally put some NMA on to listen to. Dave At The Next Desk had heard a few of their singles (they're his sort of thing in a general sense, but he'd never really concentrated on them), but hadn't listened to their albums before. He borrowed a couple, and when I got them back he said that in some ways it was like listening to someone like Billy Bragg playing with a really good band. So why is it that Billy is (rightly) recognised as an excellent songwriter and Justin isn't?

I guess it's just because NMA aren't very fashionable, but are very easy to pigeonhole. Depressing. On the other hand, it does mean that people like me can get down to the front at the garage rather than having to travel to the Manchester Enormodome to watch five flyspecks half a mile off. So I suppose it's not all bad.

At one point New Model Army took the Clash's record for having the largest number of singles having been in the UK top forty without getting one into the top ten. I don't suppose anyone knows if they still hold it?
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Thanks. I've a feeling I'll need it. I could do the job well, I think, but they'll probably get much better applications.
At one point New Model Army took the Clash's record for having the largest number of singles having been in the UK top forty without getting one into the top ten. I don't suppose anyone knows if they still hold it?

Wasn't that beaten by The Wedding Present, thanks to a cynical marketing ploy by their record company in which about a dozen singles were released one after the other, each of which were available for precisely a week, and which has so far failed to make Dave Gedge a multi-millionaire?
Sadly, the ploy was too successful - Come Play With Me reached number 10.
Something to do with the fact that NMA write deep, intelligent, full of references stuff? Less accessible?
I think you get the best measure of a great songwriter when someone else performs their songs. Perhaps NMA's songs only seem great when performed/brought to life by Justin - off the top of my head, I can't think of any NMA covers.

Thinking about Billy Bragg, Kirsty MacColl's version of New England, and Dubstar's version of St Swithin's day both illustrate how great those songs are no matter who performs them.
Yes. There are a few bands who've done NMA songs, but not many. Sepultura did one. And then there's the bit from the news the other week about John Lennon being a touch upset that people only covered Macca's Beatles songs.
I didn't see that about John Lennon - Bryan Ferry did Jealous Guy - that was a Lennon song, and of course there's Dear Prudence by the Banshees... mind you, they might both have been recorded after his death.

Jealous Guy was in the charts at the time of Lennon's death I think. He became the only writer to write 3 consecutibve number ones because when he died current single Woman went to no1, Imagine was reissued and followed it, and then came Ferry's Jealous Guy.
I hate those applications forms, good luck with the job though.

BTW, I think The Mission hold the record for the largest number of top 40 singles without reaching the top 10 - 12, New Model Army have 7.

However NMA could hold the record for largest amount of albums never to reach the top 10 with 8 in total.
When I was at the Sanger

Are you/were you a sequencing geek then?


Fraid so, yes. I was there from '97 until '03. It mostly made some kind of sense at the time. Hence half-a-percent.
Don't get the reference I'm afraid.

I'm a bioinformatics person, it's all just ascii text to us, the closest I've been to a sequencer is going "oooh..." at the freshly-read-nucleotides LED ticker above the Sanger entrance...

The half-percent's explained here. Probably not worth it, though.

I always thought the ticker was a nice touch. It got a bit scary when I realised I could sometimes tell something from the raw sequence as it went past.
I have colleagues who can do that with protein cartoons all too easily...

What did you mean by "I am reminded that the project aimed to sequence eukaryotic areas only" -- aren't we entirely eukaryotic?

I couldn't agree with you more about Justin's songwriting talent. More than that, perhaps, I'm always in a quandary how the man keeps up that level of intensity night after night after night. It tires me out just to look into his eyes sometimes – there's so much conviction in his words.

But you're right – they are the Anti-image, and therefore have little marketability in the top ratings. Doesn't seem that they're too bothered by it...
I think the fact that NMA started life as a "punk" band is what hurts their integrity with a lot of people.

It's weird that everyone thinks of them as an angry band. I think the ratio of angry:happy really evened out post-"Thunder and Consolation". It's also weird because in spite of the political rage in some of their songs, I can't think of anyone who writes happy, glad-to-be-alive songs as convincingly and powerfully as Justin Sullivan...
All the best with the job hunt.

NMA are great at what they do. Thankfully not everyone likes or appreciates good music. Loved your comment about the 'flyspecks half a mile off'!! So perfectly put. These days I prefer to go see an unknown perhaps mediocre singer/band in a small place, than something good in a huge place. I mean, do I bother to drive 3 hours to go see John Fogerty at vast expense (just cos I'm desperate for a gig - ANY gig), or just dwell in memories?
Could it be that Billy Bragg is from Essex, whilst Justin is from Yorkshire and thus cannot possibly be as cultured? Of course had he come from Manchest-ah he would be up their in the pantheon with the Gallaghers.
Yorkshire. Out in the sticks. It would figure.

Mind you, I can't really figure the Gallaghers' success either.
Sorry, Gallagher reference was facetious. Shaun Ryder on the other hand... genius! Just ask Tony Wilson.

Tony Wilson. Not a man short on enthusiasm. He's easy to take the piss out of, but an amazing amount of stuff wouldn't have happened without him.
What I like about Tony Wilson is the way he can unself-consciously drop Football, Rock Music, The Arts and so on into whatever he is discussing, and he can justify its relevance. His novelization of 24 Hour Party People is great fun because of that.
Yes. It doesn't always work, but it's an endearing habit.

I have a copy of the book, but I haven't read it yet. It's in the to-read bookcase.
Could you drop me an email if you wantthe cd we discussed last night. Cheers