October 18, 2007


In punk mythology, Virgin Records are often described as clueless hippies who could only get the Sex Pistols after all the other labels pulled out. Well, they sure were hippies, but clueless? Apart from big names like X Ray Spex and Magazine, some of the most out-there punk singles of 1977-78 were released by Richard Branson's bunch; the brilliantly named Avant Gardener come to mind (that one's been blogged here and there), and of course The Table! Formerly called Can I Have This Table, Virgin asked them to saw off a piece of their name and released the classic "Do The Standing Still" single in early '77, making it one of the first eight or ten punk singles ever (months before Virgin became involved with the Pistols). It's a great piece of jittery pre-rulebook punk, and you've probably heard it/ own it. But the second leg of the Table saga, "Sex Cells", is not as well-known. Chiswick released it after Virgin dumped them (clueless hippies!), and it didn't do much; in fact, the Table kinda fizzled out after that. Too bad, because "Sex Cells" is even more frantic than their first one, a catchy pop-punk tune hidden behind weird dissonants, irregular rhythms and super-fast Rat Scabies-style drumming. Kinda reminds me of the Suicide Commandos a little. Maybe those two A-sides were really the pick of the bunch; both B-sides don't do much for me; "Standing Still"'s flip "The Magical Melon of the Tropics" goes on for too long, and second B-side "The Road of Lyfe" even starts off with a snippet of "Magical Melon"'s intro, as if to say they knew it was no great shakes either...? Still, I hope someone can prove me wrong and point me to some great lost Table cuts!

Do The Standing Still (Classics Illustrated) (1977)
Sex Cells (1978)