By Euan McGuffie
This Friday Feud brings the battle of the tool-box massive. In one corner and teasing his opponent is the man who grips like a vice, Pliers (of Chaka Demus & Pliers). In the other corner the baggy-trousered ruthless rap assassin (MC) Hammer. Let’s get ready to rumble…
Round 1 – From the mean streets?
Contrary to self-perpetuated claims, Pliers did not hail from Kingston, Jamaica, but was actually born and raised in Jamaica Street, Liverpool, England. The family home was a stones-throw from Goodison Park, home of Everton FC who are nicknamed The Toffees on account of the Merseyside streets being ravaged by the abuse of toffees and Everton mints. This prompted him to study dentistry in a quest to eradicate Scouse tooth-decay. His enthusiasm for the cause saw him yank out many a black tooth with his pliers, while anaesthetising his patients with his silky smooth voice. ‘Wy gong ou ecung a hoheshional hinger?’ one patient asked with a mouthful of cotton. So he put down the pliers and picked up the mic.
Having such a distinctive surname, Hammer needed a distinctive profession however did not want to become a TV Detective like his father. Inspiration struck one day while testing parachutes in a wind-tunnel as part of his job for the US Air Force: the wind ruffling his pants (American people’s version of trousers) producing a billowing effect; the muffled clanging of the machinery; the motown music pumping through his walkman; that sketch on TV last night by Kenny Everret impersonating Rod Stewart singing ‘If you want my body’; all combining to form a vision of rap-pop stardom in his mind.
Round 1 to Pliers for a more plausible origin (1-0)
Round 2 – Ooh na na what’s my name?
Pliers’ father was an ardent Everton FC fan. His passion for the club was reflected in his son’s real name, Everton Bonner. This was much to the chagrin of his mother who had her heart set on the locally-prevalent John-Paul George Bonner. Where’s Ringo you ask? Well, Ringo isn’t a real name so that would just be silly. Either way, maybe you should’ve hauled your ass out of bed and went down the registrar’s office yourself love. Another popular belief was that the boy was named after the Everton Mint however that is frankly laughable as Bonner senior was more of a humbug-man. Later in life and in his career as a dentist Everton adopted the moniker ‘Pliers’ on account of the nickname his terrified patients pinned on him.
Believe it or not, MC was not actually his real name. Stanley Kirk Hammer was born to father Mike and mother Jacqueline (or ‘Jack’ as she preferred to be called) in Oatsosimple, California. Nobody is entirely sure where the ‘MC’ came from or what it means however the most likely explanation is that it is an acronym for Mega Cleric, given that Hammer became a preacher in the 1990s. Must’ve mastered some awesome ceremonies.
Round 2 to Pliers as to this day nobody really knows what MC stands for (2-0)
Round 3 – Here come the hotstepper
“Let’s see you daaance, sucka! You’ve got nothin’ on me!” sang the Orange County Crew in an attempt to ‘serve’ the boys from South Park. Pliers would have done well to learn from the humiliation dished out to the rhythmically-challenged Colorado kids. Choosing instead to subtly sway along to his silky blend of reggae-pop Pliers relied instead on his dance troupe of gyrating lovelies in their midriff tied shirts and hot pants. Good move fella. Bogle bogle bumblesquat!
Also prone to heavy saturation of girls in biker shorts in his music videos Hammer is the only person in history ever to successfully simultaneously combine every form of dance known to mankind. Except for Riverdance. Hammer makes the running man look like the walk of shame and techno-twat Scooter’s jumping all over the world look like the lamest thing ever. Oh hang on; it already was the lamest thing ever. Anyway, Hammer postures to Pliers in the middle of the playground, ‘you just got served!’
Round 3 to Hammer, Pliers just got ‘F’d in the A!’ (2-1)
Round 4 – I’m the lyrical gangsta
Pliers was the voice component of the duo Chaka Demus & Pliers. They penned the hit ‘Tease Me’ which was actually about Demus’ sister Chaka Khan and Pliers unrequited love for her. Pliers let the cat out the bag in an alcohol-fuelled outburst of emotion after one too many Glayvas with an undercover journalist in the back-garden at a Eurovision party at Demus’ villa. “Tease me, tease me, tease me, tease me baby, ’til I lose control, miaow, tease me with your love until I lose control, take all my body and soul”.
No-one can deny Hammer was dope on the floor and magic on the mic. With the kind of cutting-edge lyrics that would make Ice Cube put down that terrible movie script and turn up the boom box. He’s “toured around the world from London to the Bay, and its Hammer, go Hammer, MC Hammer, yo Hammer and the rest can go and play”.
Round 4 to Hammer. No slushy lyrics. Or cat noises (2-2)
Round 5 – What a tool
Pliers are useful for gripping things and then twisting them loose. Like screws and teeth. The word does kind of have that difficult or painful connotation though, as in “Chaka Demus felt that trying to get Pliers to tell him who Tease Me was about was like pulling teeth”.
A Hammer is very useful for forcing one object into another. Like a nail into a lopsided MFI cabinet. But you can also pull it back out again using the other side of the head if it goes in too far and stops that drawer from sliding cleanly. It’s also a powerful verb as in “Alloa Athletic will hammer Albion Rovers on Saturday” and an adjective as in “I wrote this article when I was hammered”.
Round 5 to Hammer’s versatility and utility belt ubiquity (3-2)
Aaaaaaand the winner is – Hammer. No toolbox is complete without one. You should really have a good screwdriver too; the tool and the drink. The word Hammer is synonymous with power, just look at the titles of his albums; “Feel My Power” and “Please Hammer don’t hurt ’em”. And of course you can’t forget the track “U Can’t touch this”; because it’s dangerous, I imagine.
You can follow Euan on Twitter @CptPopTrance as he discusses Alloa Athletic, Music and the pointlessness of humanity…..also Cider.