No Fun [Not That One]. An EP by Mark Wynn
CDR + Poster Book [Zine].
Mrs. Fisher recounts the tale of being sat crossed legged in front of the telly watching Top of the Pops one Thursday evening when on comes Jilted John singing his immortal 1978 hit ‘Gordon is a Moron’. Mrs’ Fisher’s father, a WWII serving, Chartered Accountant peered over the top of his Daily Telegraph his knuckles growing ever whiter and in an angry voice said, ‘This really is the bitter end’.
But it wasn’t of course. Jilted John, nee Graham Fellows, nee John Shuttleworth was but the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg containing the likes of The Desperate Bicycles, Patrick Fitzgerald, Wreckless Eric, TV Personalities and perhaps at a squeeze but much later on the Popticians. Blokes and bands that sang songs on cheap guitars about unrequited love and brown paper bags and lemonade and Mrs. Thatcher and Bill Grundy, songs that were written behind bike sheds on pages ripped from A4 lined schoolbooks with fingers browned from too many Embassy Regals, songs that were about love, loss and life on £5 a week dole money and crying all the way to the fish shop cos yer bird had chucked yer.
In 2014 I never thought I’d hear anything like that lot ever again until Mark Wynn appeared in my inbox. Shortly afterwards a shiny disc appeared wrapped in a A5 zine with hand written muses and cut and paste figures of fun.
In 2014 I never thought I’d hear music that put such a ridiculously sloppy grin on my face but Wynn has managed to achieve the impossible. Along with the Sleaford’s he’s making the most life affirming music I’ve heard in about thirty years.
‘She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern’ begins with Wynn singing ‘This one is called ‘She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern’ its about how she fancies me that one in Age Concern, she fancies me that one in Age Concern ...’ over a two chord fuzz guitar thats twinned with another guitar as Wynn sings/talks the lyrics like he’s not singing them to you but to himself as if in reassurance over handclaps and a spazzy electric guitar solo. The drums are perfunctory things in the background, the bass is non-existence. Everything is over in a flash of ranting vocals and screams and everyday observations. On ‘Day Trip To Wakefield’ an acoustic guitar is strummed, ‘Can I cadge a cigarette she asked last night no sorry pet we’ve got a train to catch thats what he replies as we walked round the Queens Hotel in Leeds to get the delayed train to your [...] they wouldn’t let us through the barrier until ten minutes before because of something and I was a little bit drunk I didn’t mean to be but I was I think I should have had more to eat before I went out cos I was drunk’ and the guitars are fast and the tune is catchy and and lets pretend its 1978 again and that everything is fun once more and that Simon Cowell hasn’t been invented yet.
The first track BTYC [Blah] is 34 seconds long. The longest track [Knee Socks] is three minutes and 26 seconds long. Most of them chip around the two minute mark. My favourite is ‘Ray Davies Nicked All My Songs’ with the break where Wynn plays the chords from You Really Got Me [I think, its hard to tell its that raw] and has imaginary conversations with himself. But can he talk. Most of his songs, no make that all of his songs, are rattled off at a fair pace, words spat out like a demented fish wife with nobody to talk to.
‘No Fun [Not That One]’ contains all the ingredients that have been missing from popular music for a long, long time; those words are fun and spontaneity. Having just spent an evening catching up with Wynn via the wonders of Youtube I now feel the same warmth that I felt in 1978 when I too first saw Jilted John on Top of the Pops.
Wynn has more depth than that of course. These are not novelty songs but they aint half fun. They’re songs sung about the minutiae of everyday life, its ups and downs, the conversations with strangers in pubs, the crap job in Aldi, the late train, the bland band he supported, some of the things that many people experience but few seem to use as influence.
Along with the Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson, Wynn is one of the few people I know who’s writing and singing about the human condition as it stands here and now at the beginning of 2014. But whereas the Sleaford’s come at you all snarling and swearing and swinging the severed head of David Cameron, Wynn arrives with a smile and an acoustic guitar. Take him to your concave chests my black hearted friends. He deserves much more than his fifteen minutes.