Those Unfortunates are a four piece band from all across of London. They formed in January 2013, almost taking their name from B S Johnson’s 1969 ‘book in a box.’
Those Unfortunates wear herringbone coats and oxblood shoes without ever really managing to look rakish. Their songs aim for the wit and warmth of bands like The Kinks and Television Personalities. They are self-deprecating, for the most part, and self-contained. They sound harder than they sound.
Those Unfortunates could have been renaissance men, but they never had the French. For the purposes of this biography, however, they have rather narrow tastes, and enjoy the authors Alexander Baron, Patrick Hamilton and Colin MacInnes.
Those Unfortunates have released three cassette-only EPs and two singles on their own label, Midnight Bell Records.
Their last single “I Wish That I Could Smile Like Malcolm” was played by BBC 6Music DJs Gideon Coe, Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq. Described by The Sunday Experience as having “the impish punkoid shoe shuffling mod tripped vibe that oozed from the psych eyed sonic lens of Dan Treacy and Co… crookedly fried by a tasting of the Cardiacs,” it was released in June 2015, in celebration of the actor Malcolm McDowell’s birthday.
An earlier track, ‘Raymond’s Perfect World’ had been described by Tom Robinson as “daft and irresistible…[with] the lightness of touch and complete assurance found among all Great British Eccentrics”.
In 2014, Those Unfortunates hosted a free one-day festival, Unlondon, in an old church in Stoke Newington. Conceived as a showcase of all of the things that they love, it featured films about forgotten and neglected London, talks from writers including Bernard Kops, Travis Elborough, Jude Rogers and Matt Haynes, and from the band. They also publish a fanzine, Like London Buses.
In early 2015 they also played the last ever gig at the (squatted) 12Bar on Denmark Street.
Their third single, Those Unfortunates, We Are (a theme) will be released in the autumn. Another Unlondon will follow in the new year, along with an album.