Behind the Music #03 - the British IBM

Written by Aidy.

Arguably the most important song on the album since everything that we’ve done over the past year has stemmed from this one.The album name, band name and general aesthetic all have their roots in this song. The phrase ‘the British IBM’ comes from a line of dialogue from the BBC drama Micro Men. It's a dramatisation of the rivalry between Acorn and Sinclair in the eighties and how the founders; Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry were friends in the early days and worked together but fell out. The whole thing's based on a true story and in one particular scene they end up in a fight in a Cambridge pub, which resulted in Chris Curry saying "We could have been the British IBM". That single line sums up a whole world of what could have been and the human side of the rise and fall the British computer industry.

So, whilst dwelling on this fact I ended up writing this song and recording a rough, acoustic demo on my iPhone. I then took this to Paul and Dave and we began playing it during one of our rehearsals in 2011. It’s a relatively simple song but we wanted it to have a massive layered sound to try emphasise the enormity of the subject matter. We were quite lucky that Kerry Devine happened to be in the studio one evening working on her own stuff and agreed to put down some backing vocals on it, which really add to the whole when combined with the strings and layered guitars.

The music video features comedian/presenter/retro enthusiast Iain Lee who kindly agreed to be in it. The video tells the story of the creation of the BBC Micro and how Acorn worked around the clock to get the machine built under an extremely tight deadline only to have the prototype complete seconds before the BBC arrived to inspect it.

Guest Musicians
Kerry Devine on backing vocals.

Anna Scott came into the studio to play some cello for us on this one. No synthetic strings for the British IBM!

Fender Jagstang
Fender Telecaster
Fender Deville Amp
Fender Jazz Bass
Peavey 115 Combo Bass Amp
Tama Starclassic Drum Kit
Midi Keyboard