Stopping The Unstoppable
By Nicci Rae-Jones
The year was 1992 and I was working for a little known label that produced hit compilation albums – and pretty good ones too. The job brought with it a terrible salary, long hours and a fair to middling amount of stress – but it wasn’t all bad. Daily contact with some of the country’s biggest labels offered unlimited blagging opportunities including free records and gig tickets. And so it was that on a murky summer’s evening, I found myself – along with my partner – trudging my way to the Brixton Academy to see Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.
So I asked myself, self ?
A transplanted Cumbrian music nerd, it’s hard to pinpoint what grabbed me about Carter USM but there was something about their razor-sharp lyrics and penchant for taking the piss out of themselves that delighted my 22 year old self. I’d been listening to 1992 The Love Album incessantly – The Impossible Dream, While You Were Out and Is Wrestling Fixed? So I was primed and ready by the time Jim Bob and Fruitbat glided down to the stage to the sound of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. By the time we got to the end of the gig (and my lukewarm lager), I was convinced that this was the band that everyone, inside and outside of the hallowed grounds of Music Week, would be talking about for the considerable future but, that’s not quite what happened.
After a couple of good years, the band went the way of many early 90s rebels and the inevitable split came in 1998 (although there would be a couple of ill fated reunions to follow). While both Jim Bob and Fruitbat would attempt solo careers, these failed to set the world alight and, now, in 2023, there’s talk of another reunion. If it happens, will I go see them? No. For me, Carter USM is a band which is cryogenically frozen in a certain time and there they shall stay – apart from my MP3 player where The Impossible Dream still lurks both physically and metaphysically.