TrackAlbum / Single
Ex Lion TamerPink Flag
French Film BlurredChairs Missing
MaroonedChairs Missing
Outdoor MinerChairs Missing
Dot DashDot Dash / Options R
On Returning154
Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW154
Kidney BingosA Bell Is A Cup ... Until It Is Struck
AheadThe Ideal Copy
A Question Of DegreeA Question Of Degree / Former Airline



Contributor: Nairn Davidson

Wire are responsible for my favourite song, Outdoor Miner. It’s a song about a Serpentine Miner on the second album, Chairs Missing (1978), an insect that lives in leaves and eats chlorophyll. The singer imagines what would happen in the event of a roof fall in the leaf. The album version is finished before two minutes have passed. Perfect pop, but it never happened for Wire. The single was pulled from the pop chart after allegations of hyping, through the standard practice of bulk-buying in record shops. EMI got the hump and dumped the band after a run of three exquisite albums: the Ramones-influenced Pink Flag; the satisfactorily angular Chairs Missing;’ and the dissonant and reflective 154.

After a hiatus, the group reformed in the mid-80s with the original line-up – Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert, Robert Gotobed – and got back to making great art pop, continuing right up to this year with Change Becomes Us, their thirteenth album, a reimagining of lost songs from circa 1980.

I love Wire. Literate, abrasive, but always in complete control of their methodology of songwriting. If you want to get a sense of their raw power as a live band, hunt down the Wire On The Box DVD, a live concert recorded for German television in 1979.

I haven’t stopped wondering whether the insect escaped.

The official Wire site

Wire biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #154

1 Comment

  1. Keith Shackleton
    Jan 8, 2014

    Great tracks, all of ’em. I’d try and squeeze in The 15th somewhere but how?

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