Contributors to the legendary 1978 Aylesbury Goes Flaccid vinyl compilation now re-issued as a CD

the Anal Surgeons reveal their embarrassment

 
     
     
     
 

the anal surgeons

and aylesbury goes flaccid

 
     
     
     
  One of the many curious facets of the Anal Surgeons is that their brief career embraced both the play-for-free ethos of Here & Now and Fuck Off Records, and the mad-for-money proto-Thatcherism of Christopher Mead France, the local promoter who encouraged them to form and who, at the Anal Surgeons first gig, had to return 30p to every angry customer. It was France, too, who devised a financially foolproof method by which he could release a compilation album, Aylesbury Goes Flaccid, featuring the bands who had appeared at his various pub venues without risking a penny of his own.

France insisted that would-be contributors each guarantee to sell thirty copies which, put another way, meant each band buying thirty copies of their own record for £3 each. Thereby France recouped his costs before the record even hit the shops. On subsequent sales, the bands, who did at least acquire three hours of recording time, were due a royalty but because of, according to France, a dreadful warehouse fire that destroyed all remaining copies, no royalties were ever paid.

As far as the Anal Surgeons were concerned, even this financial ignominy would be bearable if the contributors, who had after all funded the compilation, were actually featured in some modest way on the cover. Instead, the name of each band appeared only on the tiny track listing label pasted onto the back cover while the rest of the sleeve bore not one, not two, but three photos of Chris France himself.

 
 

front cover of Aylesbury Goes Flaccid

back cover of Aylesbury Goes Flaccid
 
 
 

Strangely enough, this theme continued with the 2007 re-issue of Aylesbury Goes Flaccid on CD; its attendant publicity release noting that the original was the work of ‘young entrepreneur Chris France’, twice mentioning a band – Marillion – who do not appear on the record and did not even form until the year following its release, and making the mildly amusing but quite false claim that one Anal Surgeon later became a doctor.

At least the refreshingly truthful CD sleeve notes restore some sense of order, and quote Mick Sinclair’s memory of the three-hour recording session that produced Wide Boy:

‘Wide Boy had only recently been written, rehearsed just a few times and was committed to posterity with nothing more elaborate than a nervy second take topped with beat-the-clock vocal and sax overdubs. Most of our allocated three hours was spent trying to squeeze into studio and barely no sooner than we finished tuning up it was time to go home. Later, considerably more time was spent explaining that we were from Hemel Hempstead, not Aylesbury, and apologising for our dirge-like contribution and a sleeve that, aside from being hideous, was too small for the record.’

There are those who think 'Wide Boy', with its subject matter of duplicitous dealings and general spivery, was inspired by Chris France himself. While others might think that, the band couldn't possibly comment.

Listen to the Anal Surgeons at Last FM

Anal Surgeons pictured in rehearsal mode:

the anal surgeons

   
     
     
     
 

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