Written in 1985, it was first recorded on New Year's Eve 1987 as part of the demo album Dung 4, which was released in May 1989. The original version was written by Stephen Holt, but when Tom Hingley joined the band in 1988, it was modified. The modified version, issued on the "Joe" 12" in 1989 became the standard, and it was still played even after Holt rejoined the band.
A music video for the song was filmed by an unknown avantgardist in 1990. It was inspired by The Fly II and features shots of a homeless man and footage of a British city, probably Manchester, mixed with shots of many-coloured lines running up and down the screen, filmed with a blue filter to evoke a communist/1984 feel. In 1995, to promote the release of The Singles, another video was released, based on footage from 21790 and set to a shortened version of the song.
When played live as Hingley's modified version, the intro blast beat was repeated for exactly one minute. This can be heard on the 21790 live video. The Inspirals stopped extending the blast beat around 1991. Around the Revenge of the Goldfish era, the song, instead of abruptly ending, would instead have a final guitar strum and a final measure of Clint Boon's keyboards. Recent performances (both with Hingley and Holt) have returned to the studio-style ending.