Post Punk Power Station Pop

Who the hell thought that this was a good idea?

Battersea were a group formed specifically to highlight up-and-coming singer songwriter Charles Ridgway Coxill, a.k.a. Charlie Fawn – just one of the many faces on the London punk scene who never quite made it. They recorded an album’s worth of material, but only the one single saw the light of day.

Call me an old cynic if you must, but it cannot have taken the PR department at Anchor more than a couple of seconds to come up with this rubbish. ‘Oh, the Stranglers have just done Walk on By, and it worked for them… let’s take another Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic and give it the punk treatment. I know: we'll call them 'Battersea' - it's like Chelsea... very London, very punk. It’s bound to be a hit’. Sadly, it wasn’t. Always Something There To Remind Me throws every New wave tool in the box in to the mix but falls short. It’s weedy, and the vocals are simply irritating. B-side (Fawn’s own composition) is better, but suffers from the same poor production and idiotic affected ‘punk’ accent. It was never going to compete with Sandie Shaw’s definitive version. the disc's chances were further stymied by Anchor Records going down the toilet that same year.

As the 70s turned in to the 80s Charlie played a number of gigs, released several singles, an album and also recorded a number of sessions for projects that were later abandoned by record companies. Looking not unlike the scrubbed-up kid brother of Sid Vicious there was an air of expectation about him, but he simply wasn’t different enough (or didn’t get the breaks) to stand above the crowd of post-pub rockers now clambering on to the New Wave bandwagon. Blue Skies is a melodic, power-pop tune that could have been a hit, but the affected vocals are a bit annoying, and it’s all a bit too ‘clean’. There’s no grit. Had he worked with Nick Lowe at Radar or Stiff rather than Tom McGuinness (Manfred Mann, McGuinness Flint) it might have charted; as it was, but 1979 he already sounded dated.

Still hoping for a hit, Charlie recorded Always Something There To Remind Me a second time in 1980, this time with a tip of the hat to the latest bandwagon, the two tone/ska hybrid that had worked so successfully for The Specials, Madness, The Beat and so on. Again the disc – this time issued by WEA/Atco – failed to ignite the charts. With no hits and no gigs, he moved in to modelling and acting. Charlie is still about today, and still occasionally making music. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, very self-aware and spiritual. It’s not his fault that Battersea have ended up here: if someone offered you a contract for what, on paper, must have sounded like a sure-fire hit wouldn’t you take it?


UPDATE: Charlie has been in touch, and left this rather sweet message: 'How delightful to receive some recognition at last, as an affected ex-public schoolboy at the mercy of the twats in the record business, and I gratefully accept this audio 'Razzie' for 'Always'..quite agree it was awful! I didn't just fall off the stool on the front cover of 'Blue Skies', I fell between it and several genres...should've been a glam star indeed...born too late and too musical to be a punk?! haha!! Much love and peace, Sir Charles Fawn Esq.' Cheers Charlie! I'm glad you didn't find this too offensive!

Download Always HERE

 Download Split HERE

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