Released on: Hopelessly Devoted and Goldmining split with The Laurens, March 1990
In March 1990, the fanzines Hopelessly Devoted and Goldmining each included a free flexi disc including two songs – ‘I Wonder What the Trouble Is’ by long-forgotten North West England indie band The Laurens and the Manics’ own ‘UK Channel Boredom’. The track was the first released following Richey Edwards’ joining the band, a fact which is a great deal more notable than the musical significance of the song itself.
Driven by a rather lumbering, repetitive riff, the track feels like much more of a slight offering than its predecessors on the Suicide Alley single. Arguably, the fact that it was released on a giveaway flexi disc at all – a non-chart eligible format – betrays the fact that the band themselves saw this as a less than essential statement of their ideas. One aspect of significance is that the track begins with an audio quote, apparently from a radio show dial-in; this idea would be revisited again a number of times, most notably on the later albums The Holy Bible (1994) and Journal for Plague Lovers (2009). The song was also the first released by the band following their first London gigs at the Horse & Groom towards the end of 1989.
The song’s title also appears in the Manics’ first press release, written by Edwards, which betrayed the distance his political rhetoric still had to travel: “…We are the only young kids in UK Channel Boredom to realise the future is in tight trousers, dyed hair and NOT the baggy loose attitude of scum fuck retard zerodom of Madchester”. In a classic example of the Manics tendency towards contradiction, the band covered a song by Madchester heroes Happy Mondays in 1993 – ‘Wrote For Luck’ (B55c). Additionally, Wire and Bradfield contributed lyrics and vocals respectively to ‘Lopez’, a 1997 song by another Madchester-affiliated band, 808 State.
‘UK Channel Boredom’ was re-recorded with superior production, the removal of the opening quote, and slightly adapted lyrics to be a B-side for the Columbia Records single release of ‘You Love Us’ (A20) in 1992. The re-recorded version’s title is ‘Vision of Dead Desire’ (B21). Ultimately, in its original form ‘UK Channel Boredom’ is too hamstrung by its poor production and weak lyrics to be memorable in its own right.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“Sell your culture and tolerate another / annihilation in the pursuit of self-love corruption”