Ah, The KLF – everyone’s favourite money-burning art pop pranksters. Here is a typically bonkers but altogether listenable track from 1991.
It’s Grim Up North was originally slated for The Black Room, the darker unreleased companion to The White Room album.
The JAMS’ industrial techno materialises amid the traffic, in the rain, and at night – with an overcoated Bill Drummond presenting a geographical gazetteer for the rave era.
After reciting a catalogue of 71 English towns and cities – ‘Northwich, Nantwich, Knutsford, Hull’ – the list concludes with the undeniably accurate claim that these ‘…are all in The North’.
Apparently (i.e. I just read on Wikipedia), the release of the track was coincident with some ‘It’s Grim Up North’ graffiti that appeared at the M1/M25 junction. This in turn prompted Nottinghamshire MP Joe Ashton to table a motion in the House of Commons on uneven regional development. And if that isn’t a worthy parable for an undergraduate geography lecture, I don’t know what is.
I have the original 7 inch of this! Just put it on. There’s a nice bit of geography writing on the back of the sleeve, an account of pennine grimness as witnessed from the hard shoulder of the M62. “Three bedraggled sheep huddle for shelter in a ditch. The drizzle toughens – then climbs to a solid rain. Heavy goods vehicles plough by, tacographs on overload. A leaded grime smears the verges. Sodden slik cut packets wonder whether they are biodegrading. A crow flies north.” etc. Also, trivia: Bill Drummond’s sister is a lecturer in GIS in at Glasgow. http://www.ges.gla.ac.uk:443/staff/jdrummond