Monday, 14 May 2012

From the Top Drawer XXXVIII - The History Of Gardening

Right, I have no knowledge of this band at all other than what I've found posted underneath a video on YouTube. I have no recollection of ever buying this tape either, though I suspect I may have ordered it as a random 'lucky dip' tape from Better Days Distribution when sending off for something else. I thought for years that the name of the band might actually be 'Duck' 'cos that's what it said on the artwork, but it turns out that they were called 'The History Of Gardening' and produced more than one tape during their existence (I only have this one, their third). All I can add is that THOG have a particularly idiosyncratic sound, if U know wot I mean...
'The History of Gardening was a strange little band from East London. They had a revolving and revolting, constantly changing line up of oiks, spotty Herbert's, vagabonds, itinerants, Zeppelin pilots, visionary seers, reefer mystics and the odd person who could play an instrument. A total lack of any ability didn't hold them back from under achieving in the dark underbelly that was the underground, alternative music scene under the bleak, miserable existence that was Thatchers Britain. From 1984 till the early 90's they inflicted upon culture their strange unholy ditties and bizarre tunes. They played regularly all over London mainly for free and benefits for worthy causes. They were more or less the house band for the Bikers pub The Greyhound in Lea Bridge Rd ( why the bikers put up with them we shall never know ) and played dozens of times at the Ruskin Arms, The Plough and Harrow and The Royal Standard in Walthamstow amongst other dives where the landlords didn't have a strict dress code and no sense of smell. They played often with the old Anarcho Punk band The Assassins of Hope, and later Swine and also members of THOG were also key elements in the unique band Bunty Chunks...but since the only people who will read this are the band themselves this is all rather pointless as you know all that, don't you? By the mid 90's the band retreated to a commune in Papua New Guinea to raise Llamas and soon after all contact with them was lost... Culture, common decency and good taste all breathed a sigh of relief with their departure from the music world.'
 from the YouTube page for the track 'Shake Me And I Giggle' which is on the 'Duck' tape.

OK, now you've had a taster, and if you want to dip your organs further into the Duck soup, here we go...

Ripped @320kbps as two side-long tracks (no info or track names given on the artwork)
please take a look at the comments posted below as Tony has supplied much new info there

Download HERE


  1. Great! I searched for years for this and tracked it down via someone on the Ozrics board, maybe Kirk. Struggled even to remember anything other than the word Duck - but got there in the end.

    Have you by any chance got a download of Hiraethog?

  2. Blimey, very unusual to find anything about THOG online even nowadays, aside from those videos on YouTube! I used to play in History of Gardening from mid-1985 (first played on the tape 'Jelly') up until about early 1992 (in fact it was a mate of the band's, and in effect our roadie back in the day, who put those clips up). The line-up was always changing one way or another but I was one of the band's three bass players and one of two keyboard players, and sole Mellotron player once I found my first 'tron out of the back of Melody Maker in 1986.

    I remember Duck very fondly, we all threw in anything we could find on those recordings, anything that could be shaken for a giggle on that one. We did about 7 tape 'albums' during that period:
    1) Pork (1984)
    2) Jelly (1985)
    3) Duck (recorded 1986 / '87, released summer '87)
    4) Crumble (recorded 1987 (including tracks which didn't make it on to Duck basically 'cos they didn't fit onto a C90) and '88, released late summer '88)
    5) Tung Depressoooq Five ('89)
    6) Fack Orf ('89/'90)
    7) Ookme Hlu ('91/'92)

    Hope that sheds a bit more light on stuff! Feel free to get in touch if you like, there are various ways of contacting me through the Frobisher Neck website (contact form, Facebook links etc).



    P.S. There were also other variations on that cover for Duck - mine is like the main pic you've got here, only yellow. And I'm pretty sure there was at least one other one with a duck playing cricket or something.

  3. Matthew, thanks for your comment, and no sorry I don't have 'Hiraethog'. However, as you can see Tony has left some invaluable info on his comment here, if you're chasing more THOG...

  4. Tony, thank you so much for your comment and the info you've supplied - it really fills in the gaps in my education re: THOG (a gaping void up until now!).

    Really glad to be able to connect folks together who have fond memories of the music and gigs from the time period I'm covering here. Cheers for the contact info as well - much appreciated.

  5. My pleasure, glad to have helped! It's good to hear of someone else taking an interest in what we did even now, who wasn't either in the band or one of our mates who came to see us at gigs! ;)

  6. Very insightful stuff Tony. I spent the best part of 5 years trying find anything about the fabled Duck cassette. Now, any ideas about tracking down copies/recordings from the other releases...?

  7. Hi Gobbledygook,

    I just spotted your mention of not having a track listing for your Duck tape - in fact most of our THOG tapes tended not to have the track lists actually supplied in the tape cases themselves, except for maybe the last one...what we usually did was included an A4 or A5 photocopied foldout or booklet with various drawings, collages, random thoughts, who played what where, and in among all that somewhere would be the track titles. (Still got a few of them here, I must scan them sometime.) Also (if I remember rightly) very occasionally, maybe once or twice, all of that would appear as part of / at the same time as the also-occasional magazine our singer Paul used to publish, with contributions from us all, called Clomphdorf (full name was Clomphdorf F'tang Arang). But I digress slightly - anyway, here you go, the Duck track listing! :

    SIDE 1
    1. God's Mum
    2. Shake Me And I Giggle
    3. Oh Sharon
    4. Reg
    5. Waxing Bimbo
    6. Solid Fruitbat As It Gnaws The Floor
    7. Bouncing Up And Down
    8. Happy Horse
    9. Almond Plating
    10. Shape Up And Dance With Our Boys In 'Nam

    SIDE 2
    1. Captain Scarlet
    2. Hallelujah
    3. God's Amazing Body
    4. My Favourite Pigeon
    5. Lowena
    (including "What a Lot of Mr Men there are")
    6. Jelly Aid A Go Go

  8. Thank you Tony - info always welcome.

  9. Hi Tony, Ade here from Floating Temple (mate of Paul T.). Is great to finally find some THOGage on the internet. All I have is a comp Paul D did for me but I have always hankered after Duck,Jelly and Crumble. Rastapastabate is still fresh in my time gnarled brain!!

  10. Hello Ade - ah yes, Rasta Pasta (-Bait/-Bate - I think the bait got added on later when Paul D was typing out the track list for Crumble, actually quite a few of those tracks we knew under (to varying degrees) different names up until that point when he made up a few new names here and there, I remember after he did the tracklist I'd look at the titles and think "what's that one then? Raining Men? OH, you mean Lap of the Goddess!" and so on)...I have (one I prepared earlier) a zip file with all 7 tapes as mp3s (including tracks split accordingly, and avec track lists for all). If you like, drop us an email and I'll propel that over the interwebulator in your direction, if you get in touch via my Frobisher Neck website (link to that will be somewhere under this message)....
    Hmm, Floating Temple, that really rings bells, I think I might know you from waaaaaay back - did you go to Leyton Senior High school perchance, and know Nick D from Armitage Shanx back in the day?

  11. Hi Tony

    This is truly amazing finding Duck after all these years , so many happy memories I have of this time .

    Would it be possible to email the 7 tapes in mp3 ? I would truly love to relive the happy days


    1. I'm not too sure how often Tony visits this blog Lawrence, so best to pursue him directly.
      eg. 'Feel free to get in touch if you like, there are various ways of contacting me through the Frobisher Neck website (contact form, Facebook links etc).'
      (groovy-looking website BTW)

  12. Hi folks. Utterly astounded to get a full download of 'Duck' after all these years...just thought I'd try my luck Googling THOG and see where I got with it !

    I've still got the tape upstairs in a drawer with about two hundred other various from back in the day. What a pleasure it'll be to hear that groovy Captain Scarlett cover, never mind all the rest of the top class tracks(side one especially).

    I remember getting the tape from a good friend I made at college, Woody. Just left the link on his facebook page, so I hope he gets it eventually.

    I'll have to track down a wee bag of home-grown and re-live the good old days !

    All the best to THOG fans... ; )

    1. Thanks for visiting Paolo, I really had no idea that this posting would be so popular - just shows what I know!

  13. Kent Scaffolding (Mrs)26 April 2013 at 09:04

    Such excitement! I was a non-voting member of THOG during the Jelly period - initially filling in on guitar after Tim left, but also playing sax in the larger THOG incarnation. But I digress... I have Pork and Jelly on cassette, not to mention Steve's solo Mouth Action project, but no way of transforming them into MP3 - similarly I have a couple of LPs with the Assasins of Hope and Many Happy Returns - if someone has the technology and patience to digitise these for posterity, I might be prepared to lend them out. Let me know.


  15. Wow! I Googled THOG for years without finding anything much so it's great to discover (via some vids on YouTube) a download of the tape that has stuck in my mind since 1992! Many thanks to those involved. - Dave

    1. Hi Dave, it's amazing what reaction this post has provoked - I can't remember seeing the band or even where I got the tape from, but others seem to have fond memories of THOG including your good self.

  16. Finally !! I have been trying to track down The History Of Gardening band for years !! I used to have their 3 cassette tape albums. Jelly / Pork / Duck. Lost them years ago...I got them aged 13 or 14 from a school friend called Carole, whose older brother was in the band i think. They may have even rehearsed at her house in North Chingford. Went to just one of their gigs, at The Greyhound Pub on Lea Bridge Road.
    Anybody still in touch with any of the band members or know what they are up to now...??
    Any way of getting hold of any of their material from those cassette releases ?? PLEASE !!

    1. Mark, this is the only tape I have from THOG.
      If you comb through the comments above, there is info that might help you out finding the others eg Tony @Frobisher Neck etc- good luck.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. I've never seen THOG, but have loads of similar stuff including a cassette box with loads of Better Days releases may of which are already posted on here.

    I'm not sure if Matthew will read this, but I do have a copy of Nail it to the ceiling and let it vout also from better days. Unfortunately my computer is in need of repair (using borrowed one now) but once I get the funds to get it fixed, if you drop me a line I will make a digital copy of the tape and a send copy to Gobbledygook to post on here along with scans of the paper insert.

    Gobbledygook, thanks for putting this excellent website together. I will look forward to any new additions.

    Kind regards