12-Chinned Janet

We would like to apologise to Fatboy Slim, Christopher Walken, 12-Chinned Janet, the entire population of Hull, and funk soul brothers everywhere

Illustration: Fat Roland

This year marks a quarter of a century since Fatboy Slim’s breakthrough hit ‘The Rockafeller Skank’. I know this because I’ve written it on my calendar in crayon. You might not recall ‘Ro-Skank’, but you will recognise its lyrics: “Right about now, the funk soul brother / Check it out now, the funk soul brother”. I would print more lyrics, but I pay Electronic Sound by the word to print this column and I’m a little hard-up this month.

The record worked well. People checked out funk soul brothers for weeks afterwards. I invented a special dance routine for the song. It involved clogs, a crotchless boiler suit, knee bells, several Pot Noodles and a contortionist called 12-Chinned Janet. You should have seen me move. I was like a dump truck on butter. How I loved Fatboy Slim. He’s one of the Top 10 best people beginning with “Fat”. The others are Fatman Scoop, Fatima Whitbread, Father Ted, and, er… no, I can’t think of anybody else beginning with “Fat”.

Fatboy Slim had other hits. In the video for ‘Right Here, Right Now’, a human goes through the stages of evolution. He starts as a jellyfish in a primordial soup, then turns into a cold-blooded lizard, then morphs into a frisky ape, and finally becomes a subscriber to Electronic Sound. In the video for ‘Weapon Of Choice’, the actor Christopher Walken dances for a bit, then the actor Christopher Walken flies for a bit. He doesn’t do much walkin’, despite being called Walken. Then again, I’ve never seen Ed Sheeran sheering, or Billy Bragg brag, or Eddie Van Halen flag down a vehicle.

Fatboy Slim has an identical twin brother who is the same person. He’s called Norman Cook. In the 1980s, Norman was a House Martin, which is a type of bird that people keep inside a caravan of love. He made music with Paul Heaton, who came from The Beautiful South although he lived up north. These House Martins were from a place called Hull, which is quite difficult to describe. But let me try. Imagine the most gorgeous skyline, with flowing hills and sparkling streetlights. Perfectly coiffured people glide around, happy and laughing. Angel dust hangs lightly in the air and the buildings have smiley faces. Now smother this scene with flaming turds. There. Hull.

OK, so ‘The Rockafeller Skank’ isn’t necessarily the best thing from 25 years ago. Look what else happened in 1998. Dana International won Eurovision. David Beckham got engaged to Posh Spice. B*Witched got to Number One three times. Three times! All these things feel like ancient history, though, like dinosaurs or Greek philosophers or that flapjack I dropped down the back of the fridge which I’ll one day eat. Yes, you mark my words, that cobwebbed flapjack will get eaten.

It’s now 2023 and not 1998, which is how time works. As I type, 2023 Fatboy Slim is advertising a documentary about 1998 Fatboy Slim called ‘Right Here, Right Now’. All this nostalgia is depressing… but don’t worry, reader. Next month’s column will be 100 per cent futuristic. I’m not going to use words from the past. The only content will be robot sounds and me going “fleeurp” and “bahoodle”. I will even write with my blue crayon instead of my usual yellow. It’s going to be the greatest column ever. “Check it out now,” everyone will say.

“The funk soul brother,” they’ll chant.

Anyway, back to this month. I lost your respect when I slagged off Hull, didn’t I? Despite that city being lovely, like Postman Pat’s village or a Disney castle. This whole page belongs in the past, like the word “skank” and big beat music and terrible Van Halen jok… dammit, I snapped my crayon.

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