Many of you will know Steve ‘Dollar’ Dalton as the guitar-slinger from Mark Jackson’s Criminal Waste Talent. However, over the last year, Dollar has been having a dabble in poetry and stand-up, performing at open mics around town. Most recently, he’s released an EP under the moniker, Dollar Is Clinically Insane. And whether he is clinically insane or not, we can only guess, but it would take some level of insanity to broadcast publicly tales of your own sexual inadequacies.
For Dollar’s live performances, it is just him and his gob. However, on record, the listener’s attention is clinched and the running time is fleshed out with guitar and ambient electronic tinkering – a trick favoured by the master himself, John Cooper Clarke. In fact, the EP in general is a bit of a homage to Cooper-Clarke.
The EP opens with Good Things Come To Those Who Wait, a tale of an obsessive celebrity crush, which ends in tragedy. The crackle of the needle on vinyl and the single note klink-klanks of the reverb soddened guitar, while Dollar rants ‘I constantly loitered outside her house. I rummaged through her bins. I created a Kiera doll using toenail clippings and discarded hair, topped off with the holiest of holies, when I stoke Kiera’s underwear.’
On ‘I Couldn’t Get Laid If I Tried’, Dollar mutters ‘she thought I was less than vile’, in a number about turning forty and thinking you’re past it, set against the sound of a Stock Aitken Watermen hit that never was, even coming complete with Bananarama-esque chorus.
Porn Vortex is an dark 80s club hit, a spoken-word mucky Soft Cell maybe, brought right up to date with a deadpan description of the affects porn has on you while nearing middle-age. And on Talk Does Not Cook Rice, the mellow and clean guitar intro wouldn’t sound out of place on an early 90’s rock ballad. It’s reminiscent of his other band’s track, There’s Always A Queue At Greggs. It’s a vocal rundown of all of those folk (‘the fence-sitters shitting splinters, the neysayers and deflaters’) that sit on their arses and do nothing but complain, yet want everybloodything on a plate. The track closes with a sudden change of pace and a Gary Moore-like wank on the fretboard, complete with percussive handclaps. Angry, overthetop fun.
This runs into Coda, the closing relaxation tape instrumental; calming, seaguls, reverb and the sea washing upon the shore. Dollar’s comedy might come across like it’s his escape from mundanity, especially if you’re aware of any detail of his year in recovery and kicking the shit out of a ill health, but it’s this closing track that might just be the get-out he’d really like. It’s serene, almost definitely out-of-place, yet strangely very welcome. A lingering full-stop at the end of a sentence.
There is often an element of nostalgic cheese when it comes to comedy records, whether it be in the production values or in the choice of musical styles. Here Dollar covers both areas, and if it wasn’t for the talk of Kiera and the internet, this EP would sound like it could have ripped right out of the heart of the eighties. Get a copy of An Ill Favoured Thing while you can, because it’s an aural treat. Also, if what he says is anything to go by, it’ll be the only aural treat you get from him. And unless Dollar invests in a tape-machine or a hire out synth player, you’ll not hear these rants on stage sounding like this. In the meantime, go search out Dollar Is Clinically Insane at a local open-mic and let him take the piss out of himself, as he’s bloody genius with it.
Keep up with Dollar via facebook.com/pages/Dollar-Is-Clinically-Insane/522980231139728