Twelve Cubic Feet – Namedrop Records – 1982

Blob / Evercare / The Almhouse

Mary’s Got The Bug / Escaping Again / Hello Howard / Tuesday Afternoon

Indebted to the adorable Stewart for sending me this 10″  mini LP release by Twelve Cubic Feet for keepsies. I did not own this record before, and after a bit of a clean and a spin, I enjoyed it very much. 

Stewart should be safe in the knowledge that this record will be looked after as well as all my other records have been, since starting off a collection in the late 1970’s! Here at Penguin Towers nowadays, there are around 6000 of the little (and not so little) spinning discs in the collection to care for…

Thanks again to Stewart…

After Exhibit A and a handful of interim projects Paul Platypus, Andrew and Matthew joined Fred, Sally and Glenna to form Twelve Cubic Feet, who recorded the bands second 10″ LP ‘Straight Out The Fridge’ on Namedrop Records. Included on this mini LP was the popular track ‘Evercare’, also credited on the sleeve artwork is Mark Flunder, an ex TV Personalities member who has been mentioned on this site quite a few times on posts regarding The McTells, Hertford punk band Onslaught, as well as the Marine Girls and of course the TVPs. 

Namedrop Records was a small struggling indie label who had managed, against all the odds, to release some pretty good material into the post punk public’s grasp in the very early 1980’s.

NR1 DOOF ‘Exist’ A 10″ mini-LP which, in its anarchic composition, displays the talents of Paul Platypus and Philip Johnson.

NR2 TWELVE CUBIC FEET ‘Straight Out Of The Fridge’ – Another 10″ mini-LP and again pretty anarchic, but the beauty of Twelve Cubic Feet is their ability to write good pop songs.

NR3 PHILIP JOHNSON ‘Youth In Morning’ The first LP from Philip who, over the last few years, has released a selection of cassettes. Carrying on his highly individual reading of music it’s an experimental high done on limited resources and the most challenging Namedrop release.

NR4 COLD WAR ‘The Machinist’ The first and only 7″ record by Cold War, a Hornchurch band that included various ‘soon to be’ Hager The Womb members, who then evolved in We Are Going To Eat You, and even later started the Stay Up Forever Record label to release tracks by Paul and Chris under the guise of Liberator Sound System. The Cold War release is already uploaded onto this site. HERE

After this Twelve Cubic Feet 10″ and a cassette release they fell in with Alan McGee’s Creation / Communication Club crowd, and met Dave Evans (Biff Bang Pow) who replaced Matthew on bass. The late Duncan Jack (What is Oil?) replaced Glenna on guitar, Dave Morgan (Take It, The Loft) came in on drums… shortly Twelve Cubic Feet cut a final Joe Foster-produced demo. Plans for a new band foundered, and Paul checked into a commune (temporarily); Fred went to university, Dave Morgan got famous, Dave Evans became a roadie for Jesus & Mary Chain, Shop Assistants and later, Belly; Sally sang in Khmer Rouge, and Matthew and Dan formed Solid Space…

  1. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    April 13, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    How can any article refering to the career of Chris ‘Elephant Face’ Liberator fail to mention The Boiled Eggs???

  2. jon (ex-from bromley)
    jon (ex-from bromley)
    April 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Good point well made Graham… a legend in their own 3 minute cooking time, at least to us Hornchurch boys!

  3. Eric Jarvis
    Eric Jarvis
    April 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Glad you liked it, though it was before my time in the band. The history isn’t quite correct though. There was a line up change before the Joe Foster demo (if anyone has that I’d love to hear it again). Dave Evans moved to guitar to replace Duncan. I came in on bass guitar. Frankie Williams replaced Sally as vocalist, also playing some clarinet. That line up lasted around a year, doing quite a few gigs. Stiff Records offered a contract to the band, which we wisely turned down on Frankie’s advice (she was training to be a solicitor).

    Then the band split. I took Frankie and, briefly, Dave Morgan, to form The Chaperones. Dave Evans became a Creation Records thoroughly useful bloke. Both Fred and Paul headed off to academia by differing routes.

    Fun times.

  4. Adam Sanderson
    Adam Sanderson
    May 20, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for posting these MP3s. I used to have this 10″, and saw Twelve Cubic Feet many times at the Living Room, Pindar of Wakefield, etc.
    They were very good live and deserved a better break. This brings back the memories, but it still sounds great. I mind the keyboard player used to use an ironing board as a keyboard stand.

  5. Eric Jarvis
    Eric Jarvis
    May 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Thing is we had the break, in that Stiff offered a contract. We just couldn’t hold together as a band to follow up on it. Which is a shame.

    Fred used an ironing board as a stand for her casiotone. We also used to get a certain amount of laughter and comment when we went to gigs by bus with all the drums and amps etc, followed by blank incomprehension as people tried to work out what the hell the ironing board was for.

  6. Dave Morgan
    Dave Morgan
    June 2, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I also remember us playing with The Lemon Kittens at The Africa Centre in London, and also the Edinburgh Festival show that Eric organised that was just one show but had a good time hanging out.
    Thanks for posting this up as I don’t have my copy anymore, but must try and hook up with Paul again.
    The ironing board was cool.

  7. Nic
    June 3, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Dave – could I ask a few questions?

    Can you give a little information about the “wildly memorable gig in Birmingham” by the Casual Labourers which you mention on your website…

    Which tour did you do with Spacemen 3?
    I went to see the Spacemen quite a few times so I’m just curious…

    ‘Massive props’ (as they say) for Twelve Cubic Feet, for being on ‘Fishcotheque’ and for recording with Sun Dial ( a great psychedelic group that seem to be receiving greater recognition now after the fact)…

  8. Andus
    June 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Bloody hell, ‘Escaping Again’ is another track Andy Martin has covered. only Unit it do it better. Its on the Untied and United cd.

  9. Paul Platypus
    Paul Platypus
    June 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Hello all …. I have all the tapes etc and ambitions of turning them into MP3s, but work and sprogs seem to prevent it ever happening. One day, when I’m less knackered or more disciplined. I have at least set up a Myspace page. I found most of the 10″ songs posted on a file-sharing site so have put them there – another file sharing site had a godawful set of rehearsal tapes with the wrong titles – where do people get hold of these things?!

    Just to correct Eric, we had both Stiff and Fiction come to several gigs, but unless I have a serious memory lapse neither quite brought themselves to offer a deal. They each wanted us to change in some way, and they disagreed over how we should change, so we just made our own minds up and nothing further came of it. I expect my staunch independent-mindedness would have stopped me agreeing to sign with either, in the end, but who knows.

  10. Fred
    August 20, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    What a lot of interest in my ironing board! Hi Eric, Dave and Plat. Shall we have a reunion?

  11. Eric Jarvis
    Eric Jarvis
    August 26, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I’m sitting around in Brixton not doing very much, so I’d be up for a London/SE reunion I guess.

  12. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    August 26, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    From an outsiders point of view…DO IT!

  13. platypus
    August 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    When’s your flight due in, Fred?! Don’t think I’ll be in London for a very long time, even though my family all expect me to make it down some time. Not sure I could remember how to play any of our songs, for that matter.

  14. Andy Martin
    Andy Martin
    December 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Since I made myself a bloody pain to everyone who knew me during the 1980s by single handedly acting as an unpaid promoter and advertiser for Twelve Cubic Feet (and my enthusiasm was fully justified – they were a damn sight more interesting and accessible than the band I was in, for example), I feel obliged – compelled even – to add my comments here, something I don’t usually do (for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who reads the comments given in response to a nice essay Luc Tran wrote about Alien Kulture but that’s another story).

    Thank you, Andus, for your relentless loyalty – but I don’t believe UNIT covered Escaping Again ‘better’ – just ‘different’. We plan to record our own arrangements of 8 or 9 later 12ft3 pieces for our next album primarily because Luc (our keyboard player) discovered the group earlier this year (yes, via KYPP again) after he encountered a grotty quality cassette of a 1982 studio session with Jaywalking, Second Ending, Fireside and Straight Out Of The Fridge among others. Since to our knowledge none of these were ever issued on vinyl, he thought it’d be nice for them to appear on CD – well, I was initially opposed to the idea – UNIT ought not to be a ‘covers’ band – but both he and Richard (our drummer) were so enthusiastic about the project that I relented and agreed to the concept.

    The Africa Centre concert was superb – I attended that primarily to see 12ft3 but I was profoundly impressed by The Lemon Kittens and that motivated me to purchase their complete recorded repertoire soon afterwards. The Casual Labourers also played – in particular was a memorable song called Rugby.

    I contacted Matthew Vosburgh in 2009 when he was living in America but I haven’t tried to contact any of the other ex-members since I assumed they’d all be university lecturers, successful business people etc and probably not wish to be reminded of what they did when they were teenagers! Anyway, if any ex-Cubic Footies object to UNIT dragging 12ft3 songs into the 21st century – or wish to know why we intend to embark on such a slightly bizarre course – then please feel free to contact us.

    I would like a decent quality recording of the 1982 studio mentioned above, for example. Should Professor Paul or anyone else from the group decide to issue the studio tracks remastered as a CD I can vouch for the amount of interest in 1980s post-punk / indie pop (particularly in America, oddly) that would probably justify the expense. These tracks deserve to heard by a wider audience if only to prove that the 1980s weren’t just Crass, The Exploited or Wham!

    ‘Wake me up before you go-go, I don’t -‘ oh, sorry, wrong website.

  15. Mat from Texas
    Mat from Texas
    October 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I love this 10″. All four of the Namedrop releases are truly fantastic. No one seems to have mentioned this, but ‘Straight Out Of The Fridge’ has one of the coolest covers ever. Could someone tell me who rendered the cover art?

    That said, I would absolutely KILL to have a copy of this, and would ergo pay a pretty penny for one. I sincerely want this record to be a part of my collection more than any other. Please, please let me know if any of you would be willing to sell me one.

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