Town Called Crappy



Got to get out of that city called Crappy
Now, I don't like Maggie
All the money I made out of mods has made me feel guilty
Town called Crappy!

Now here's a good story... (2)


1. This is a half-assed parody (if it can even be called that) of the Jam's "Town called Malice" (a hit at the time) that was twice, in 1982, employed as an introduction to "Solicitor in Studio"; it consists of MES tunelessly warbling a few lines over a basic drumbeat. The version on the bonus material for the Room To Live cd (Hammersmith Palais, London, 3/25/82) runs as follows: after either Scanlon or Riley strums a chord with a cadence that slightly suggests "Town Called Malice," either Hanley or Burns strikes up a beat that doesn't resemble the one from the Jam song. Smith delivers the lyrics and the band goes into "Solicitor in Studio." The lyrics MES sings do not resemble Weller's any more than the drumbeat resembles the original, and if it weren't for the title and the reference to money made off "mods," there would be nothing left to tie this song to the Jam. It is very hard to see what the point of this was; is the message "The Jam suck?" "The Jam are sell-outs?" "The Jam are uncool?" Some version of these claims seems probable, but we are not given much to work with. 

The lyrics to "A Town Called Malice":

Better stop dreaming of the quiet life - 
Cos it's the one we'll never know 
And quit running for that runaway bus - 
Cos those rosey days are few 
And - stop apologising for the things you've never done, 
Cos time is short and life is cruel - 
But it's up to us to change 
This town called malice. 
Rows and rows of disused milk floats 
Stand dying in the dairy yard 
And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk 
Bottles to their hearts 
Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry 
It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come 
Fast and furious 
In a town called malice. 

Struggle after struggle - year after year 
The atmosphere's a fine blend of ice - 
I'm almost stone cold dead 
In a town called malice. 

A whole street's belief in Sunday's roast beef 
Gets dashed against the Co-op 
To either cut down on beer or the kids new gear 
It's a big decision in a town called malice. 

The ghost of a steam train - echoes down my track 
It's at the moment bound for nowhere - 
Just going round and round 
Playground kids and creaking swings - 
Lost laughter in the breeze 
I could go on for hours and I probably will - 
But I'd sooner put some joy back 
In this town called malice.

I have to say these lyrics are pretty good. However, I am not a disgruntled Jam fan (I'd never heard this song before I researched these notes), I just cannot see the point of "A Town Called Crappy." The best thing about it is its brevity. 

It may have been called "A Town Called Crikey," according to some reports from the time (see the comments below).


2. This line introduces "Solicitor in Studio."


Comments (6)

  • 1. dannyno | 15/07/2014
The last line is actually, "Now here's a good story" not "a little story".

But really it's just the intro to Solicitor in Studio and I wouldn't think it should count as lyrics.
  • 2. dannyno | 15/07/2014
MES is certainly on thin ice attacking Weller's political stance, I would have thought. Weller talks a bit about his early politics here:

"Weller has long been associated with Labour, even playing gigs for them as part of the Red Wedge initiative in the 80s. But when I met up with him recently, I discovered that this was not the whole story. He sighed when I reminded him that, when the Jam first emerged in 1977, they had been draped in Union Jacks and claimed to vote Conservative. “That’s well off the target,” Weller insisted. “It was all dreamt up by a press officer, saying, ‘well, The Clash are left wing, The Pistols are for anarchy, why don’t you back the Tories or the Queen, just for an angle?’ And with us being naïve little ****ers, we just went along with it. I’ve got very definite feelings for the Tories, from the way they acted and behaved under Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties, it was disgraceful really. I find it hard to forgive them, as a working class person, for really decimating the trade unions. I have a problem with it.”
  • 3. dannyno | 15/07/2014
MES comments on Weller in this May 82 interview:

"And Paul Weller's such a condescending bastard too, isn't he?"
  • 4. Sumsiadad | 24/02/2017
Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, when I saw the Fall in 1982, they played a song called "Town Called Crikey", which was obviously a pisstake of the Jam's "Town Called Malice", I even think MES might have sung it in a Cockney accent. Crikey seems more plausible than Crappy, because it's an outdated gorblimey-style maybe-it's-because-I'm-a-Londoner expression such as Dick Van Dyke might have come out with in Mary Poppins
  • 5. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
That is better than "Crappy." I wish it were corroborated somewhere, I cannot find a mention on all the internet, unfortunately, and it's naturally possible that your memory is playing tricks after all this time. Not that I disbelieve it, but it would need some sort of corroboration to be made "official"--even one other person remembering it (solidly, or else without having it suggested) would do the trick.
  • 6. dannyno | 17/11/2018
Comments 4 & 5:


9820401 - Nightmoves, Glasgow, Scotland

Second and last (?) version of "Town called Crappy" although on this version I think Mark says "Cranky" or "Crikey".... Mark laughs and says to the crowd "you don't even recognise our impersonations...."

Not definitive.

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