Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Live | 8 March 1986

University of East Anglia, Norwich

There's a lesson here. And it's not simply that an EMI A&R man's projected ambition for an interesting hairstyle is worth a lot of zeros. Sigue Sigue Sputnik are flying high. Whether due to problems with the spacecraft or something more down to earth – such as running out of extra-hold laquer – they take a long time to show themselves tonight. If the suspense doesn't kill you, the boredom will.

For the record, every SSS song is a version of "Love Missile F1-11". Imagine Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Variations" for the streetwise, the beautiful and the damned. At least there is now a tangible point of reference. Fast, flamboyant and flash in the pan, this is special.

The backbone is a series of vibrating rhythms, almost exactly the same as those churned out by Suicide all those years ago. Spread on top are wah-wah guitars and twin battering-ram drums, together with effects and echoing vocals, again reminiscent of Suicide. Hell, they've even stolen the red star. But assisted by the expertise of execution, SSS seduce and reduce regardless.

The jumpers and the watchers, the punks and the plain, boys wearing new trainers and girls aspiring to the ranks of the Ultra Vixens, all got what they wanted and deserved. Some might have booed and shouted insults, but they didn't walk away. The common curiosity pushed their noses through the lace curtains to look straight at Martin Degville. "Excitement enhances my beauty," he snarls. "You're making me feel fucking ugly."

It's the ultimate deterrent, except for one misguided soul who gets onstage and tries to attack Degville and Tony James. Doesn't he know the score? This is unsociable security, a Tonton Macoute wrapped in germ-free silver paper and delivered into your homes. In tomorrow's world of the Sputniks, nobody gets hurt. Fantasies can be explored through an entertainment in which you are invited to play a small part. They are the soldiers of industry in a video war game. You shoot them, they shoot you. But everyone has an infinite number of lives – so long as you keep pushing coins into the slot.

Win or lose, at the moment Sigue Sigue Sputnik are a glittering enema to stuff up a musical backside blocked through not enough roughage. It's a messy business. This is the age of the drain. Flush it out, clean it up, and start again. There's a lesson here.

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