THE CRAVATS launch the latest in their series of classic single reissues with this rare archive clip premiered exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
The footage of the classic ‘I Hate The Universe’ was shot live at the legendary Zig Zag Club in London and had previously been lost for more than three decades.
Following the band’s recent resurgence with last year’s critically acclaimed LP Dustbin of Sound they are re-releasing limited editions of their classic Small Wonder singles on vinyl, as many missed them first time around and apart from paying silly money on eBay or Discogs it is a way of filling that ‘C’ section in your record collections with finery.
Limited to 500 copies, the band’s debut 1978 release ‘Gordon’ b/w ‘Situations Vacant’ was reissued last year and very few remain. It’s still available now from Overground Records or from any Cravats Live show.
Now, originally issued in June ’79, here comes ‘Burning Bridges’ b/w ‘The End’ and ‘I Hate The Universe’.
Produced by Bob Sargeant (a week after he produced The Fall’s Live At The Witch Trials in the same studio), it has been digitally remastered and, like ‘Gordon’, is encased in the same glorious sleeve artwork.
Attempting to make these re-releases look as close to the originals as possible has been a labour of love. Back then artwork was all: bits of cardboard, Letraset, scissors and a tube of glue, but thanks to modern, space-age technology you’ll get a near identical sleeve and spot-on label – in this instance Pete Stennett has kindly allowed the band to reproduce his legendary Small Wonder Record label. Each copy also comes with a handy insert featuring ‘Cravfacts’.
Remember, only 500 of these exist and then they’ve gone forever. It’s available now here or any Cravats gig.
The next release in the series, ‘Precinct’ will follow in a few months, so collect the set and drink plenty of water.
Below, Cravats frontman The Shend tells the story of the film clip…
As you can imagine The Cravats were somewhat thrilled to be asked to support The Birthday Party and UT at The Zigzag Club in London on 8 May 1982.
In the days before iPhones and even camcorders (first available to the general public in 1983), getting anything filmed involved good old celluloid and luckily that day, Simon Towle was on the guestlist clutching his trusty Super 8 cine camera which incredibly had sound.
He filmed all of ‘I Hate The Universe’ which, seeing as the reels of film only lasted a few minutes, was a feat in itself, and recorded the audio with the camera’s built in microphone.
A couple of months later we all gathered at Gordon’s flat (Gordon Winter was the lead singer of Small Wonder stablemates The English Subtitles and also the marvellously manic chair-wielding Mr H on stage with us in this film) in Rupert Court, Soho and watched the unedited masterpiece projected on a wall. That was the last time anyone saw it . . . for decades!
We sadly lost touch with Simon and the film became a dim memory but it was the only known footage of The Cravats and every now and then I’d try to track down Simon and this Holy Grail of Cravatian artefacts. I searched social media and googled Simon but the trail was always cold. Not knowing how to correctly spell his surname didn’t help.
Then in 2017 I befriended English Subtitles’ guitarist Louis who now lived in Hamburg on Farcebook and asked him if he knew of Simon’s whereabouts. It turned out Simon had moved to New Zealand many years ago and thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s networking behemoth I got in touch, but although he remembered making the film he was unsure whether it still existed.
Bah, Inspector Morse never had this much trouble detectiving.
Then, a message from Simon in early 2018 finally cracked the case. While clearing the loft he’d found the film in, er, a case.
Hoorah! I exclaimed, and using Google Street View, Simon found a suitable celluloid conversion emporium in a town some miles from his home.
Once converted to digital it was sent through the howling ether of outer space to Shend Towers and passed to lovely chum and Emperor of digital imagery, the mighty Mark Richards for editing into the gem you see here.
Okay, it hasn’t the audio clarity or visual splendour of a cinematic classic such as say, Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, but it’s really, really flipping old, was recorded on equipment with less pixels than a badger and has travelled the globe stuffed in a suitcase with some net curtains and 52 vintage copies of Practical Wireless Magazine.
Thirty-six years in the making and with massive thanks to Simon Towle, Mark Richards and all who helped along the way, we can finally present the legendary celluloid extravaganza that is, ‘I Hate The Universe’.