Tuesday, 21 July 2009

1986 Nick Berry: Every Loser Wins

For those not in the know, Nick Berry was a jobbing actor who played Simon 'Wicksy' Wicks in long running soap opera EastEnders. A popular storyline of the time involved some of the young guns within the cast forming a band (called 'The Banned', which always made me wonder why 'The Banned' of Little Girl fame never sued) and recording a bunch of tracks with the aim of making it big.

Such was the popularity of the show that the third wall was inevitably breached and an awful single 'Something Outta Nothing' was duly released (number 12 in 1986 in case you're interested). However, for a number of weeks while this excitement was playing out, Simon 'Wicksy' Wicks could be seen moping around on screen, sat at a piano playing 'Every Loser Wins'.

All this of course is lost to the mists of time, nobody remembers Simon 'Wicksy' Wicks anymore and all that's left behind is this song. So what of it? Well first off, it's difficult to know who is singing this - is it a Nick Berry track, a Simon 'Wicksy' Wicks track or a Nick 'Simon "Wicksy" Wicks' Berry conglomerate? The philosophical conundra are legion, but when you're considering something as terrible as 'Every Loser Wins' as the base matter, then all such issues fall away like dust in the wind.

'Every Loser Wins' was written by TV stalwart Simon Park, who dutifully 'borrowed' the basic melody from his own 'Always There'. It's a piano led ballad that builds to a 'climax' of booming electronic drums that aspire to Wagnerian drama, but end up sounding like the sort of cheap, rubbish fireworks of no discernable origin that are sold from the backs of cars at boot sales. I don't think he burned too much midnight oil over the lyrics either:

"Every loser wins, once the dream begins

In time we'll see, fate holds the key"

What on earth does that mean? Every loser wins? Does that mean that every winner loses too? And how can anybody truly be said to 'win' or 'lose' anything if it's a matter of fate rather than freewill? Is Nick/Simon making some post-modern statement on the concept of value? Or is it just a bunch of vagaries that try to instil a sense of lofty intellectualism through their very vagueness?

"Suddenly we seemed to stop and lose our way

But did it really matter anyway?
For that was yesterday
And we must live for now"

I know which side of the coin my money's on.

To get the full impact of the sheer audacity of all this, you need to have a listen while watching the promo video that has Nick 'Simon "Wicksy" Wicks' Berry, floppy of fringe and beady of eye, intoning these lyrics full frontal into the camera in the manner of someone reciting one of Dante's love poems in the original Italian, but with a voice that, if the word 'simpering' didn't already exist, it would have to be invented specifically to describe it.

'Every Loser Wins' was the second best selling single of 1986, it even won an Ivor Novello award, but in truth it's a song for people who don't really like music but who think they do. And while I'm here, do the E and S of the sleeve being in different colours have any significance? Is it a code of such complexity so as to make Da Vinci's look like the crossword in The Sun, or am I spending far too much time over all this nonsense? For once, I have my answer.......

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