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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wit amid the desolation

This is the second half of the lovely piece on Nobody's Perfect at the THENEWPERFECTCOLLECTION, which also plugs the Parabolically Yours PledgeMusic campaign:


Driven to Distraction was Mike Finney as he sang of heads ransacked by Cupid, in a voice which told of Saturday nights at the Wigan Casino spent trying to forget Friday nights on Deansgate. By this time there’d have been plenty of those – drummer Alec Sidebottom had late ’60s form with the Purple Gang, who gave us the recklessly twee Granny Takes A Trip, while another highlight of Nobody’s Perfect is their version of Eden Kane’s Boys Cry, where the “someone who says goodbye” in the knock-kneed period piece of the 1964 original is transformed from a soon-forgotten tryst into something bordering on bereavement.
Yet there’s real wit amid the desolation, on each side’s closer. Paracetamol Paralysis is pell-mell cautionary punk with sound medical advice on drinking while trying to fend off the flu – and it really is as innocent as that; when they say paracetamol, they mean paracetamol. That pair from Burnage might have managed to come up with this if only they’d kept trying after 1996. Then it’s all rounded off not with the desperate comfort of the penultimate Looking For A Ghost but the sub-two minute sprint of Valerie, where a palm court piano is caddishly shoved aside by a marauding tune fleeing from Pete Shelley as he tries to grab back the greatest song he never wrote. Even here there’s defeat as Finney faces up to the most pulverising blow a heart can take – “I love Valerie but Valerie loves YOU!!”
They ended up as the band that Manchester forgot and were blighted by lousy luck, signing for Factory at almost exactly the same time as Joy Division and Island at almost exactly the same time as U2. Adulation and legendary status would never be theirs but they’re back, having issued a beguiling album (End Of The Pier) and with a compilation (Parabolically Yours) poised to emerge. Maybe it’ll include their final EP, And Then There’s… which I also saw at Realistic but rashly decided to forego until I’d pounced  on Time Goes By So Slow. By then it had vanished  never to return, and it remains a stranger to YouTube to this day. Maybe  the thrill of the chase isn’t gone after all.



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