Wednesday, 16 September 2009



The Male Nurse were this amazing Fall-esqe spiky lo-fi band that hit the DIY scene around the same time as Bis, The Delgados, Urusei Yatsura and Mogwai et al. Sharing a guitarist with The Country Teasers they sported one of the scariest and most awkward looking frontmen around.

They put out a few singles but when they recorded a session for John Peel in June 1997 it revealed them at their most demented as the stand out track “My Own Private Patrick Swayze” describing a scenario that could only be derived from the most disturbed recesses of the human mind. The whole season was great but it really was this song that stood out and astounded and set The Male Nurse several pegs higher than the latest crop of The Fall wannabes.

Proceedings begin with the singer Keith Farquhar declaring that he has his “own two feet high Patrick Swayze living under his bed at night.” Through the ensuing verses what happens to this little man gets described in great depth, not least the reality that the two foot high Patrick Swayze would get regularly measured and if he grew he would be in trouble. Next the narrator describes how his favourite item of clothing for the two foot high Patrick Swayze is the “Elvis gear.” Finally at night Swayze would apparently be found serving cocktails “wearing men’s but women’s stockings and suspenders” but eventually being wrapped up in gaffa tape and being the prize in some demented game of pass the parcel. Fantasy in indie never got so explicit or spectacular. You can bet neither Pete Doherty or Kasabian ever wrote songs like this.

Tapes of this session/performance rapidly circulated and in my own experience occasionally served as car singalong music in a decrepit Wayne’s World style.

Sadly the band missed the boat on this momentum and by the time the song was finally released as a single it was long after the enthusiasm for the Peel session had died down and even then it felt as if this version of song (unsurprisingly inferior to the session version) was laboured and rushed out. The band never even released an album.

Elsewhere on the record “Deep/Fried” is a real departure from the band away from their original scratchy guitar roots moving onto tinny drum machine beats and keyboard hopscotch pierced by nonsensical repetitive lyrics. In many ways this would prove to be their song most in the spirit of The Fall.

Today as the news of Patrick Swayze’s passing on the same day as Keith Floyd filters through here is my backwards tribute to a very bad actor.

Thesaurus moment: inspired.

The Male Nurse
Guided Missile

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