By Euan McGuffie
“Daddy was a bank robber but he never hurt nobody, he just loved to live that way and he loved to steal your money”, I sang in the kitchen yesterday, to the amusement of a bunch of youths gathered by the corner outside. Woah, I just stigmatized a group of young people by calling them ‘youths’ instead of youngsters. It’s always ‘youths’ on Crimewatch after all. They’re up to no good I bet, indulging in all sorts of criminal activities like wheeling and dealing, or ‘smoking a crack’. Who will stop these Fun Lovin’ Criminals from relieving me of my iphone when I go to put the bin out? Why, The Police of course. Let’s get ready to rumble…..
Round 1 – Stick ’em up punk:
“You’ve blackened our name, well you, you should be ashamed, if only your father could see you now…” Nice try Gaz but respect for authority is now a fanciful distant memory. Like sex. Or your hair. PC Murdoch aint gonna cut it no more;
Fat Boab is more likely to be found clambering through your window with your fucking big television than scrimping apples. And any of us could be the frumpy wumin packing heat that gets car-jacked by Mr. Blue and Mr. Orange. We need Dredd or Murphy to keep us innocent law-abiding citizens safe from harm.
Especially when Huey, Fast and Steve glamorize it all. Running around robbing banks, on their way to the gig. Never taking themselves too seriously. Their only weakness was a list of crimes. That and boasting about them on a platinum selling album. A big ‘mon then!’ to dibble.
The Police however could never be accused of not walking the line or taking themselves seriously. Hence the volatile songwriting relationship between Sting and Andy Summers. Bad-tempered studio skirmishes, recording delays and the fact that Stewart Copeland hated Sting made for some spoilt diva type moments. I get the impression that Sting chose his own moniker; surely if he turned up in the studio in a waspish jumper Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland would be more likely to come up with ‘Bumble’ or something like that.
Choosing your own nickname and making it stick. Way to boss a situation. Respect my authoritay! Songs like Invisible Sun and Roxanne spoke about empathy for those less fortunate. The Fun Lovin’ Criminals were more likely to pimp-out Roxanne rather than switch off her red light. Nowadays Sting is always on about trees and rain-forests and shit like that. A caring soul. He may be an alien, but he’s a legal alien, he’s an Englishman in New York.
Round 1 to The Police 1: fine, no-nonsense upstanding members of the community
Round 2 – De do do do, de da da da:
Some songs by The police were lost in translation though. Sting says he wrote ‘De do do, de da da da’ about the masses lapping-up meaningless pop and shunning insightful social and political commentary. Ironically nobody actually listened to the verse and ‘De do do, de da da da’ was dismissed as, well, do-do. Which must have irked somewhat. ‘Every breath you take’ was even more misunderstood. It’s widely believed to be a romantic love song, as Andy Summer’s guitar part would suggest, or an affectionate ode to a homee whose ass has been smoked. The lyrics are actually pretty creepy, all about obsession, jealousy and control over a lost love. Hardly first dance at a wedding material. Actually, going by personal experience its ideal first dance at a wedding material. Start as you mean to go on. Also Sting’s accent is often even more difficult, likesay, to understand than me, eh. Hoots mon, for years most of the general public thought ‘So Lonely’ was about current affairs peddler Sue Lawley. I’m more of a Kirsty Young man myself. Any port in a storm, mind you.
The Fun Lovin’ Criminals pack more into their lyrics than Norville Rogers packs into a sandwich. It’s easy to make out the words but there’s way too many to remember so FLC helpfully insert some Tarantino film sound bites in-between catchy choruses. It’s strange though that Fast (aka Brian Leiser) drew bass duty while Huey hogged the mic, if we’re to believe his nickname comes from his motor mouth way of talking. Maybe it’s not so much a case of choosing your own nickname a la Mr. Sumner as choosing its meaning. Just ask Fast’s ex-girlfriend…… Incidentally I hear Fast used to have a thing with Saffron from Republica. If you’re gonna get it on with anyone in a female fronted 90s indie band I’d recommend Louise from Sleeper. After Kirsty Young and Sue Lawley of course.
Round 2 to Fun Lovin’ Criminals – coming across clear as a bell.
Round 3 – Message in a bottle:
I remember watching this on TOTP when I was 4 or 5 and really liking it. When I were a lad my dad seemed to own only 2 tapes to play in the car, the best of The Police and the best of Abba. So you can see how I came to like The Police, given the alternative. Before all the fields of gold and trees of green stuff Sting flung a bunch of mixed messages into his songs. Loneliness and isolation (Message in a bottle, Sue Lawley), love-drunk (Walking on the moon), bunny-boiling (Every breath…) and inappropriate unrequited feelings of infatuation (Don’t stand so close to me). The topic of a schoolgirl’s crush on a teacher seems out-of-place with the other fairly serious themes and it had nothing whatever to do with anything that happened to Mr. Sumner in his previous career as an English teacher (in New York). Absolutely nothing at all. No sir, no sir-ee bob.
The Fun Lovin’ Criminals live it like they love it, exactly as it says on the tin. The theme is consistent: ‘I rob banks’ (well, probably not); ‘I pull pranks’ (now that I can believe you cheeky scamps); ‘I eat franks and knishes’ (steady on pal…); ‘I’ll hit you with an egg on a hot summer night’ (why I oughta…..). Good stuff, all about being a bit of a geezer. Witty, adventurous, passionate, loving, loyal. A little bit crazy, a little bit bad. But hey – don’t girls just love that? Along with a romantic candle-lit meal of franks and knishes.
Round 3 to Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Consistently living it large.
Round 4 – Scooby Snacks:
‘Running around robbing banks all whacked off of scooby snacks’. Fair play to you Huey, I’d struggle to perform any form of physical activity after a scooby snack. In my neck of the woods this is either a multi-layered piece constructed by Shaggy and Scooby to relieve the unbearable tension while being given the runaround by some weird old light-house keeper in an unconvincing sea-monster mask.
Alternatively a scooby snack was a culinary marvel that could be procured by many a heavily-refreshed punter from The Maggie snack van just outside the botanic gardens in Glasgow’s west end. This was a roll sandwiching a burger, cheese, onion, square sausage, bacon, tatty scone and fried egg. Consumption was a messy affair, often leaving the victim short of breath, and utterly incapable of running around robbing banks. Maybe a scooby snack means something different to The Fun Lovin’ Criminals, or maybe their Korean bodega does a less artery-clogging version.
‘I don’t drink coffee I drink tea my friend, I like my toast done on one side’. Sting, just admit it – the toaster is broken. It won’t make you any less of a man in the eyes of Mrs. Sting if you finally concede she was right and you were wrong. She already thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread on account of you making the bedsprings sing all night with all that tantric stuff. You can get a good deal in Argos, oh wait…Wallmart for you I guess. You can probably even get a fancy chrome one like all the pop stars have. Well done finding decent tea though; usually it’s that awful ‘English breakfast tea’ or ‘Earl Grey’ for our unfortunate ex-patriots. You can probably get Typhoo online.
Round 4 – The Police – you are what you eat and obesity is no laughing matter. Unless you’re watching popular 90s US sitcom Roseanne. Note to self – I wonder what became of the original Becky?
Round 5 – Love Unlimited:
‘Barry White saved my life, and if Barry White saved your life or got you back with your ex-wife, sing Barry White, Barry White it’s alright’, erm, no Barry that would be about as far from alright as you could get. By all means save my life but getting back with….her….I’d rather welcome death, as a friend.
The Fun Lovin’ Criminals remind me of a girl I once shared a student flat with. She’d often interrupt my degree in ‘lying-on-my-bed-listening-to-Ride’ with FLC tunes emanating from her room. Alone in the flat one day I heard a commotion coming from her room. Arming myself with another flat mate’s hockey stick I went to investigate, assuming we were once again being burgled senseless. Turns out our student cat Leishman (he was black and white and the manager of Dunfermline at the time was Jim Leishman; logical)
had merely caught a bird and had brought his still alive prey in through the window to subdue under her bed. I don’t think I’ll ever forget having to clean up the scene of the slaughter, which involved having to pluck a flurry of feathers from, ahem, a battery-powered love-aid. Which in itself was an example of love unlimited.
It’s probably safe to say that Mrs. Sting is never in need of such mechanical manipulation, what with having her own real life Duracell bunny. Why does the world know that Sting is into tantric sex? I can only imagine gossip mags needed front-page fodder in the days before Kerry Catona. But know we do. Yeah, seems Sting shook her all night long, with massage, funny breathing and lord knows what else in an attempt to gain higher enlightenment and achieve full-body orgasm. Yeah, yeah, I Googled that. Look – if I knew about that kind of stuff do you think I’d be sat here writing this shit and getting 2 days worth out of M&S’s dinner for 2? Listen, Sting, full body orgasm can be achieved by watching a rerun of Archie Gemmill’s goal against Holland or James McFadden’s goal against France. Though your face will probably look more like Archie’s during the vinegar strokes.
Round 5 to Fun Lovin’ Criminals – if only for a truly unforgettable experience.
Fun loving Criminals
Whoever said crime doesn’t pay? The world is full of ne’er-do-wells who’d steal the sugar oot yer tea given half a chance. The Police, although once able to fill baseball stadiums in the US, are now thin on the beat. Gone are the days of leaving your front door unlocked, just check local papers for authentic accounts of lunacy on your doorstep. Too many psycopaths and not enough cycle-paths. Don’t answer the door – it might be burglars!