Monday, July 20, 2009

The Table

If you are one of those types who buy punk anthologies then you’ll be familiar with Do the Standing Still by The Table, which is now regarded as something of a classic of the genre. The above photograph shows them in early 1977 when their debut single was released.

The Table hailed from Cardiff. The driving force behind the band were Russell Young and Tony Barnes who’d met at Cathays High School where they’d messed around making demos. Later, recruiting Len Lewis and Irishman Mick O’Connor, they formed what they termed: “an avant garde pop band”.

When Do the Standing Still was released in 1977 it was championed by John Peel and given rave reviews in the music press. It was Single of the Week in the NME. Although they were on Virgin Records the band didn’t actually own any equipment. “We hope the single will earn us enough so we can buy gear,” explained Barnes.

At the time Barnes was a freelance film animator doing graphics and cartoons for BBC Wales. He’d also worked on a film which was shown on the Pink Floyd tour (which is not very punk rock, is it?). Young was at Cardiff Art College doing a foundation course. On the rare occasions when the band did play live they incorporated cartoon graphics into their stage set.

After splitting from Richard Branson’s Virgin label The Table signed to Chiswick and released a single called Sex Cells (1978). With a jaunty refrain that went: “I’m obsessed with a mad desire for sex with schoolgirls,” the record was guaranteed zero airplay. To make matters worse the band were slaughtered in an article in Sounds. The single sank without trace. After numerous line-up changes the band followed suit.