The Infinite Jukebox: Edwina Biglet and The Miglets’ ‘Thing’


You’ll have to be of my generation to even believe that a record like this from a band with a name like that ever existed, because who in their right minds under the age of thirty would fall for the idea that this wasn’t a complete spoof. But it’s not. I even had a copy of it once.
The thing about ‘Thing’ is that it’s not meant to be taken seriously (ya don’t say?). It was the creation of writer and producer Jonathan Hodge, though the first time I heard it on Radio 1, they were suggesting it wasn’t him behind the record but Jonathan King (King was in a phase of recording one-off singles under different pseudonyms, most of which charted, sometimes quite highly, one of which was The Piglets, so the suspicion seemed justified).
For what’s absolutely a novelty song, based in sound, there’s a surprisingly strict song structure based on a three verse pattern repeated three times throughout the song, with the coda being a final repetition of the first pattern verse leading directly into an outro that fades.
Firstly, Edwina (real name Vanessa) sings about having a Thing that goes (electronic noise) and asks if you wouldn’t like one as well? In the same artificially naive voice she promotes its value: it’s smaller than most, it can come through the post, that sort of thing.
Then, to a slower tempo, a silly male voice putting on an accent describes the merits of his, e.g. he keeps it clean in the washing machine, and hangs them up to dry in the bathroom.
Then a male-led chorus gives us yet more details of this polymorphous object, he’s got one that’s red, but his friend’s got a green one instead, the one he’s got is round and cuddly and sits there on the end of his bed…
You’re getting the picture.
Of course, not everyone is as enthusiastic as Edwina and her pals. Daddy doesn’t understand, Mommy says that they should be banned, she says they’re no good, there really should be laws against them, stop them getting out of hand. But what can you expect from the Out-of-Touch Generation?
Between the second and third verse sets, a voice hurriedly counts down 5-4-3-2-1 into an instrumental break, and as I said, ‘Edwina’ sings a final four lines before we shoot off into the coda.
Apparently, there are people who suspect the ‘Thing’ to involve some sexual connotation but come on, get real! The whole thing is nonsense, the pure, uncut thing. It’s electronic foolery, the synthesizer as whoopee cushion or joy buzzer noise and as such it’s a weird little gem, but to pretend it means anything but a collection of silly qualities that have no objective meaning is to miss the point by the orbit of Jupiter.
It was fluff and fun and I love it still. Jonathan King could never have come up with anything remotely so inventive or so sweet and we could have done with many such oddities to keep us from having to take so much of the Seventies so seriously.

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