Wednesday 9 March 2011

Lost in the supermarket

Yesterday morning I bit the bullet and made the short expedition to my local soul sapping Sainsbury's (other supermarkets are available). Within minutes of arrival I'd already taken a wrong turning and soon found myself in uncharted waters - namely the soft drink aisle.
All the usual suspects were there: Coke & Pepsi (in fat ba**ard and diet formats), own brand Cola (just like Coke or Pepsi but with added sh*te), Dr. Pepper (?), Lucozade (now re-branded as an 'energy drink' - its hospital bedside ubiquity long gone) and, of course, good old dandelion and burdock (just what is a burdock exactly?) And then I saw it: 'Good God', I must have mumbled under my breath, 'do they still make this stuff?' I refer to Shandy Bass - a beverage I'd not seen since the scorching Summer of 1975 (or was it '76?). They said at school that even if you drank twenty cans in one sitting you'd never get drunk; not that that stopped us from trying. Maybe somebody should have explained that to the boys in blue at Leicestershire Police.

And while I'm on the subject, can you remember Shandy Bass' main rival? I'll give you a clue: Kurt Cobain (allegedly) demanded three cans as a rider when Nirvana came over to Blighty and performed on The Word; if I was a conspiracy theorist I'd think it was a hell of a coincidence that Top Deck was withdrawn shortly thereafter.

The Martin Kitcher Band: Shandy Bass (Westcliff on Sea)


  1. Incredible - if I only I'd known, could have nipped this chunk of perfect powerpop in to the Local Heroes poddy

    I'll swap you that for this: Dave Woodcock - Southend's sharpest songstrel. He pressed his album (Homemade) into my palm a couple of weeks ago, which has been on perma-play since...this tune's packed with local references..( to clarify a couple, Simply Blues is local American restaurant - generally fun/family/hen night themed. Sanctos is a fancy dress and practical joke shop)

    The Adventures of You and Me . Gets going at 30 secs in - Watch for more Woody in a couple of weeks over at my place..

    I would have got Top Deck by the way - didn't it in come in two flavours - lager and lime also

  2. Top Deck ruled the roost north of the border, I can't remember seeing Shandy Bass. Perhaps Tennent Caledonian and Scottish & Newcastle stopped it being distributed on their patch. Reading that back, that last sentence sounds ridiculous, but you know, I wouldn't be that surprised.

    Mondo's right, there were two flavours: lemonade and lime, yellow and green cans respectively if i remember correctly. I preferred the lime.

  3. Lemonade for boys and Lime for girls? Re-watching the video (Top Deck link in main post) it certainly looks as if it should hit the spot on a Summer's day. Check out the bowler: Big Al from The Beiderbecke Affair and PC Snow from Softly Softly.

  4. You calling me a girl, Medd, eh? Eh?

    *puts up dukes*

  5. Top Deck also did a Cider Shandy for the pre-pubescent crusties.

  6. T - You wouldn't hit a man wearing glasses (quickly puts on pair of bins), would you? Oh, you would. Doh!

    S - What colour was the tin? Is it gender specific?

  7. Peardrax anyone? Purple can, with a pear pic' on the side obv,.

    Word Veri - zoomeddi

  8. I think it was kind of bronze, but I'm going back a long time in the memory banks here!

  9. Re: the Shandy Bass find...did you imbibe then?

  10. Hi;
    I`m dead chuffed you found me old tune there!Thanks very much and regards to you

    Martin Kitcher


  11. Martin - Ditto that! Your bio makes for interesting reading - if you're up for a Q&A sometime I'm sure our readers would like to know more about you; not least Mondo (who actually resides in W-o-S).

  12. Wow, that's provoked a real Proustian rush. The Head Nun nabbed my can of Top Deck from my packed lunch one miserable day in 1978, and gave me a detention despite all my protestations that it was alcohol-free (or near as dammit.). "It's alcoholic in principle", I remember her braying. The old witch.

  13. Anytime John, that sounds fun. Why I actually wrote about Southend is a story in itself really!
    There are some good articles on this site, I stumbled here completely by accident and am really impressed by the way it`s layed out and indexed and of course written.

    Re; Shandy as a product,the last one I drank was in a huge bottle from one of those large and much feared Tesco things, their own brand,so I guess it was a mere "tribute-shandy"and we probably should be very afraid )



  14. A boy was excluded from the school my wife works at for having a can of that recently! It's like the 70s all over again :-)

  15. Wasn't the idea that the lime Top Deck was LAGER and lime (so yeah, for girls) while the more standard version was bitter?