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Monday 20 August 2007

The Popinjays

Just for the sake of it, open this mp3 (The Popinjays - Monster Mouth) and take a guess at who produced it? Which influential indie legend was heavily involved in the career of the Popinjays?

Anyone who didn't answer "Why, Ian Broudie off of the Lightning Seeds" should probably leave now.

The problem now of course is that I remember nothing about the band other than they were a twee little band on the semi-mythical One Little Indians label. Oh, and if the sticker is anything to go by, my 7" version of the attached single apparently cost me 99p.

The entire wikipedia entry is:

Popinjays were a pop band from the late 1980s and early 1990s on One Little Indian Records. Members included Wendy Robinson and Polly Hancock.
Anyone able to help?

In the meantime, enjoy the top notch jingly jangly pop of the Popinjays; it's rather lovely and catchy. It makes me remember just how much fun being young and stupid in the early 1990s was.


  1. The Popinjays were an all female three-piece combo. There's a great album on One Little Indian (good use of a Dastardly and Muttley sample). Saw them supporting someone (possibly St. Etienne) at the Hacienda in 1989-ish (music history has forgotten how many indie bands played there). My sister got into an argument with a one legged man because he said that they "weren't bad for a girl band".

  2. warning! anorak alert!!

    isn't that the cover of the 12"? ;)

    looks very similar to the one in my box of early 90s nonsense is all (also the catalogue number gives it away ;))...

    sorry, i don't know anything else about the popinjays. am loving the blog in general though :)

  3. it is the cover of the 12", if there was a prize, you would win it ;)

  4. I love this blog!

    I have the first album, with the Dastardly and Muttley sample, and it has a Kinks cover, and a Velvets cover, and it's great.

    I seem to recall I fancied the guitarist, but that may be a mistake.

  5. I can tell you that there was an album in 1994 called Tales from the Urban Prarie (on One Little Indian), which names the band as Wendy Robinson (vocals, lyrics), Polly E. Hancock (guitar, tunes) and Ben Kesteven (Bass, backing vocals). The drumming alternates between Sam Kesteven and Dan Goodwin.

    I can't recall ever listening to it, and I may have bought it for 99p on the strength of a vague recollection that I liked Monster Mouth.

  6. Circa 1991 I fell so deeply in love with the girls in The Popinjays after seeing them play live (somewhere?) that I wrote to their mailing address to tell them so. That was in the days of paper and pen, none of your e-mail nonsense. I received a hand written reply from, I think, Polly. They were lovely.

    I think the album is rolling around somewhere too, but of course it's on C90 tape.

    I think the Kinks cover mentioned by muteboy was Mr. Spaceman, complete with sampled sliding doors from Star Trek.

  7. They did a cracking cover of the Monkees "I'm a believer", oh yes they did.

  8. I used to work with the Popinjays at the Bull and Gate pub in Kentish Town. The club was called Hype, and was run by Jon Fat Beast who later went on tour as compère and lighting person for Carter USM (to cries of 'You fat bastard').
    Anyway, Polly smoked Old Holborn tobacco, and I went to the shop next door to buy her some once, but accidentally bought Golden Virginia. She didn't like it and gave it to me. I didn't like it either.
    I thought she was pretty cute, but my mate Jason wished she would shave her armpits (I thought this was a bit old-fashioned of him).
    I was shocked after working at the Hype for some time that Wendy didn't know my name. On the other hand we didn't have that much contact as she always worked the door and I would be inside the club.
    Once Polly lay on a barstool, on her tummy, and pretended to swim.
    Anyway, they were originally a 2 piece, with tape-deck as rhythm section. Later they got some more people but I didn't know them.
    They were from Windsor, I think.
    Jon Beast really fancied Polly. They seemed briefly to have some sort of thing, which quickly went pear-shaped. I recall seeing Polly in Jon's flat, wearing no socks.
    Later, Jon allegedly vanished in a cloud of rent-arrears, and the Popinjays ran a club-night for a time in the Bull and Gate themselves, called the Pop-club.

  9. Wendy Robinson was originally from Huddersfield,and a lovely lass.

  10. Inexplicably, I have both of their albums plus the CD single of Too Jung. The 2nd album is much more 'adult' than the bubblegum indie of the first.

  11. Flying down to Mono Valley was ace. I bought this recently (about a year ago) for 25p on CD single. Wanted to hear more. Great band, wish i'd seen them live.

  12. There was only one cover version on the first album: The Beatles' 'Rain'. 'Mr Spacecase' borrowed the chorus of The Byrds' 'Mr Spaceman'.

    Saw them a few times in 91-92; Mono Valley was a fine album (Snowblind is a superb song; I never knew why they released 'I'm a believer' instead); even Radio 1 recognised it, as 'Monster Mouth' was played regularly on daytime. Have to say that the final album was a bit of a disappointment, though.

    They have their own Myspace page, now.

  13. I was a big fan of the Popinjays back when I was at Uni and they first came out touring. A good friend on mine and myself used to head to the 'Princess Charlotte' in Leicester every time we heard they were in the area and had some good times. We even blagged the opportunity to go back stage and share some drinks and get some autographs one time around - I can still remember missing Uni for a few days after that one as I got so drunk on the Tequilla Shots they were handing out! Good Times! Happy Memories of them, was so gutted when I heard they weren't around any more!

    rich M

  14. Just listening to their first album 'Bang Up To Date With The Popinjays', which has lingered among my long-neglected vinyl for far too long. Never a band likely to set the world on fire, but good solid late 80s/early 90s indie! I do remember seeing them supporting someone around 1990 in Nottingham (probably), but the exact details are lost in the mists of beer and time. I do know that Wendy now lives in Whitstable, working as some kind of consultant, but that's about it!