"It's Grim Up North"
To help launch the revamped Northern Allstars for the 1990-91 University Sunday League season, manager Sid arranged for the delivery of a new kit from One Stop Promotions on Derby Road at Canning Circus. Revolutionary at the time, the black kits were emblazoned with the statement - It's Grim Up North - in bold white lettering. Playfully acknowledging the team's full name, this statement came to national prominance through the antics of the 'pop group' KLF.
The KLF, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, one of the top dance acts of the time with their driving, energetic anthems, centred on the enigmatic locations of "Trancentral" and "Mu Mu Land", had debuted (as the KLF) with "What Time Is Love? (Live At Trancentral)" in the summer of 1990, which was a no.5 hit.
It was on the video to this single that the KLF can be seen wearing the infamous black shirts with the "It's Grim Up North" white-lettered logo. Sid was impressed and inspired.
KLF followed that up with "3AM Eternal", which spent two weeks at no.1 in Spring 1991. It was not their first no.1 record, however, as three years previously they called themselves the Timelords and had the unforgettable no.1 "Doctorin' The Tardis". They then wrote a book about "How To Make a No.1 hit" basing it on how they made the Timelords' hit, offering money back to people who didn't achieve a no 1! The KLF did some other wacky things, like bringing a dead sheep into the Brits awards, making crop circles to publicise "What Time Is Love", and getting Tammy Wynette to sing on their hit "Justified and Ancient".
The KLF eventually actually made a record called "It's Grim Up North" (under the name of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) which featured various Northern towns spoken in a Northern accent one after the other! The original single was released in December 1990, but appears to have been re-released in Autumn 1991. The following report appeared in the NME:
JAMs, whose new single "It's Grim up North" bolted into the
Top 40 on Sunday, are at the centre of unusual political interest.
Nottinghamshire Labour MP Joe Ashton tabled a motion to the Minister Of Transport in the House Of Commons last week, expressing concern over graffiti on the M1/M25 motorway junction, which reads "It's Grim up North". Ashton requested the minister either ensured the slogan was painted over, or replaced in the interess of "restoring regional balance". Ashton suggested: "It's Gruesome In The Midlands" or "There's Nowt But Folk Living In Cardboard Boxes In London" as viable alternatives.
The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu's Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty catergorically deny that they are responsible for the graffiti, which was removed late last week.
Drummond and Cauty were arrested in February this year for defacing an advertising hoarding in South London. The two were detained for four hours by police after being caught tampering with the lettering of a Sunday Times newspaper advertisement, but they were not formally charged."
To return to Allstars 1991, click here.
To read a fuller history of 'The KLF', click here.