Profile – Lost in the Supermarket

Mark Badgeman and his accomplice The Wolf (otherwise known as Andrew) take over Brum Radio every Sunday at 9pm (UK) with Lost in the Supermarket, a show full of well and not so well known alternative/underground tunes from the 80s and 90s to see out your weekend.

The dynamic duo talk about the show, their personal history and musical tastes below.

Tell us something about yourselves and your interests in music.

Mark – I used to promote gigs in the early 90s, famously at the Market Tavern in Kidderminster but also in Brum at places like Edwards or the Barrel Organ. I’m still managing to make a living by hanging out with bands. I like any song that falls somewhere between Sigue Sigue Sputnik and the New York Dolls!

Andrew – I have never successfully managed to make any kind of living from hanging out with bands despite a glittering career as a high-kicking, chart-topping (in Slovakia) singer, a sensational, news-making music journalist (twice sacked by the NME) and a stand-up (now largely sit-down) comedian.

Why the title, ‘Lost in the Supermarket’?

Mark – We started the show as one of those dreaded ‘lockdown projects’ that men of an age insisted on doing. It could have been worse, it could have been a Zoom based acoustic covers band (I was going to call it ‘Busker Du’) or a video of us miming to ‘Imagine’ with all our celebrity friends (actually, that would be pretty funny).  The point being, who among us hasn’t felt isolated, confused and just generally a bit Lost in the Supermarket for the last couple of years?

Andrew – That’s part of it. Also, there is just so much music in existence now and it’s all so available, that it’s easy to just stand there slack-jawed at the choice, dazzled by the ‘NEW!’ and comforted by the same old family favourites you’ve always bought. We want the show to be, if not a guiding hand through the madness, then a couple of friendly faces on the customer service desk. “Have you tried this?”

You say you play not much after Wonderwall. Is there something about the 80s and 90s in particular you prefer?

Mark – There was the right amount of music in the 80s and 90s. Record companies still acted as gatekeepers, so whilst there were a lot more bands than there were in the 60s and 70s, it wasn’t as saturated as it is today. That meant that pretty much all your mates were into roughly the same bands and it was a given that you’d all be at the gig when they came to town.

Andrew – The music you hear when you’re young and your brain, heart and hormones are turning on for the first time will always be scratched into your soul more than anything afterwards. It’s the unmistakable soundtrack to your own personal teen movie, and that’s why I think Mark gravitates to the eighties and nineties stuff. I, obviously, am much MUCH younger than him, and as such will always try to sneak something a bit more modern past him.

And what after Wonderwall do you like? What’s new that’s caught your ear?

Mark – I like Surfing Magazines, Ashe (although we wouldn’t play that on the show), the Wildflowers and the latest albums by Jazz Butcher and Sparks.

Andrew – I love that Mark thinks Sparks counts as new music. He also thinks Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Stephen Duffy are the biggest bands the world has ever seen.

The last three records I bought were Laurel Hell by Mitski (I love a bit of classy pop – and Self Esteem is the best pop star of the last five years) Rescue and Research Part 4 by Icelandic clonk-meisters ‘Pang’ which sounds directly beamed in from the future and erm… something unreadable by Norwegian grim-Lords Obliteration. I’m making a mid-life attempt at trying to ‘get’ death metal (and also Paul McCartney and Wings) and the chap in the metal shop said it was good. (Band on the Run is definitely good).

I remember  Wonderwall coming out very vividly. It felt like a step-change from indie being ‘independent’ and ‘underground’ to being everywhere and all pervasive. Musically retrograde but, you know, the start of a new phase of popular culture, where all the bullies at your school pretended to like the same things as the weirdos, and that’s the real reason why we flag it in the trailer! (I don’t think any of us ever actually need to hear the song again).

As an aside, I found some chili powder in the cupboard the other month that had an expiry date the week before Wonderwall came out. I looked nostalgically at it as though it were from a simpler time, and figured, ah… it’ll probably be alright.

With your backgrounds in live music, how does that side of things get back to where it was pre-Pandemic? Is it heading in the right direction again?

Mark – It’s a goldrush right now. Everyone is out on the road, there’s no tour buses left, no trucks, no PA, no lights and many supply companies are booked up until next year. We also lost a lot of crew to ‘proper jobs’ so there’s a big shortage there too. Hopefully it’s not spreading the audience too thin.

Andrew – As long as there are (a) young people who want to be heard, be seen, make a racket and get off with each other and (b) older folk trying to get back the thrill of doing all that by spending a fortune on merch, live music will be just fine.

You describe the show as hits and misses from the underground, so – give us a notable miss each that you’d recommend people to seek out.

Mark – I think 80% of what we play counts as misses! But I don’t view them as such and so it’s hard to know what constitutes a miss for others. One of my favourites would be Blyth Power’s 80’s output. Plus everyone needs to know The Burning were the best band in Brum in the mid 80s.

Andrew – I am contractually obligated to tell everybody to listen to Fretblanket and to read the book all about them by Mark Badgeman and me.