This is a song about sex. When you look at the lyrics that’s not exactly a revelation. It’s a very British take on the reproductive act, a slightly embarrassed, school-boy snigger-behind-the-bike-sheds, seaside postcard, Carry-on-ish view. But maybe it’s a more authentic, down-to-earth version than the in-yer-face, sex-obsessed pop of today. Or maybe I’m just getting old.
I first came across The Monochrome Set via. the Cherry Red compilation album “Pillows and Prayers“, a pay-n-more-than-99p release from 1982 that sold over 100,000 copies and introduced me to the likes of Tracey Thorn, Everything But The Girl, Felt and a host of other obscurities (including poetry from Quentin Crisp and Attila the Stockbroker). Their track on that album, the somewhat bizarrely titled “Eine Symphonie Des Grauens” (a reference, I find now, to the 1922 German Expressionist horror film “Nosferatu“) was not the best on the album, but piqued my interest enough to search out a couple of their albums.
Originally formed from the ashes of a prototype Adam and the Ants (their eponymous song “The Monochrome Set (I Presume)” echoes the tribal drum sound the Ants would later adopt), The Monochrome Set were a classic post-punk art-school band. “The Mating Game” is taken from the bands (tricky?, not really!) third album “Eligible Bachelors“, a wonderful collection that showcased the witty, sophisticated, slightly-off-beam pop that was The Monochrome Set’s offering to the world. In a parallel universe they would be legendary, up there with The Smiths in terms of recognition and reputation (a band whose wit and 60s-influenced sound The Monochrome Set shared). But unfortunately that never happened. The mainstream really couldn’t work out how to handle something like this, and so they languish in relative obscurity.
So here’s the songsheet (chords sourced from here). It’s a simple song, with simple chords, so shouldn’t present too many problems. The recording is in E, but the songsheet is transposed down to D because I found it easier to sing (if you want a version in E it’s here). Best sung (in my experience) with very deliberate pronunciation of the lyrics in the verse, this is just a bit of fun. Enjoy!