The DHSS#2 : 1980

The D.H.S.S.#2 with Martin France (second left)It's 1980. The 70's are over, you can buy bondage trousers in your Mum's Littlewoods catalogue and Thatcher is now in power.

Just after New Year, the Armchair, Rikk Quay and Vince Watts met in Hamlets Wine Bar, Lower Gungate, Tamworth. Nothing had happened since the multiple sclerosis gig just after Christmas but it was time to decide what to do next. When asked in what direction he wanted the band to go Rikk said, "I want to do stuff like Lena Lovich." She'd just had a hit with, 'Lucky Number'. When Vince and the Armchair responded to the same question their taste was for "music like The Fall". There was no debate. Eddie and Vince went off together and Rikk went back to The Tavern and on to create Those Attractive Magnets.

Back to Barry Douce's cellar, the Armchair and Vince were joined by Barry on bass and John Higgins again on drums, and The D.H.S.S. number 2 was formed. The music and lyrics were changing quite dramatically. With the first D.H.S.S., Armchair had been heavily influenced by reading Brave New World, 1984 and We by Yevgeny Zamyatin and lyrically was up his own arse. With version #2 of the band it was a chance to get back to basics. Musically, influence of The Fall could be detected. Amrchair and Watts had seen the band several times since 1977, including as support to The Buzzcocks and The Damned. Also at this time, the influence of chemicals of varying levels of legality was beginning to tell. Watts and Douce mainly went down the herbal route whilst Armchair had his own personal medicine cabinet and was prescribed pills of assorted hues. Songs such as Shadows in the Sheets and poems like The Armchair Guide to Insanity give some hint as to the influence of these substances. Aahhh! what a splendid time we had.

A very small set of songs was assembled and the band were on the lookout for a gig. At this time The Jam were enormous, Quadrophenia had recently been released and there was a Mod revival taking place nationally. All around Tamworth boys wore fishtail parkas with targets on the back and little girlies wore black and white dresses. There were no local Mod bands but one such band, RPM, existed in Lichfield, and the drummer, Brian Cropper was at college in Tamworth. The Armchair was friendly with Cropper and found out that his band were to play at The Friary School in Lichfield. They had a brief conversation where the possibility of The D.H.S.S. supporting had been mentioned. The night of the gig arrives, The D.H.S.S. travel there on the bus, guitars and drum sticks in hand, they're joined by Martin France, a young chap from Glascote.

Problems occured as another band had turned up to play (The Sucks) and there's no space on the bill for Tamworth's finest. Being extremely miffed Armchair and Vince start threatening another Mod band The Relays (in a drug induced stupor) and are allowed to perform three songs. The D.H.S.S. take to the stage and perform Dear Image, Walls and Glass and Shadows in the Sheets, they go down a storm. With the reaction being so positive they try and do another song only to find everything has been unplugged. Storming off the stage, Armchair and Watts are mobbed by a gaggle of fawning school kids and sign autographs aplenty.

A couple of weeks later the band play again. As mentioned in The Ornaments, The Stable at The Tavern in the Town was quickly becoming the venue in Tamworth. Supporting Rikk's Those Attractive Magnets in their first gig, the reaction was excellent with songs such as Dear Image and Nothing New Can Avoid Abuse going down particularly well.

It should be mentioned that at this time, the group of Tamworth punks had one by one been up to various misdemeanours and had been caught. The only one to escape was the Armchair. This was to change in mid-1980 and the ensuing mental trauma saw him retreat into his shell. This isolation was to manifest itself as the solo, performance poet, Edward ian Armchair.

Read the lyrics, hear the songs of The D.H.S.S.#2 here >