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Origin Cork, Ireland
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1980-1988, 2012
Associated acts The Fatima Mansions, The High Llamas, Stump
Past members Cathal Coughlan
Sean O'Hagan
Nick Montgomery
Jon Fell
Dave Galvin
Chris McCarthy
Aisling Hayden
Rob McKahey
Ed Flesh
Tom Fenner
Steve Pregnant
James Compton

Microdisney was an Irish musical duo, formed in 1980 by Cathal Coughlan (keyboards, vocals) and Sean O'Hagan (guitar).

Original line-up[edit]

  • Vocals: Cathal Coughlan
  • Guitar: Sean O'Hagan
  • Bass: Jon Fell
  • Drums: Tom Fenner


During their career, Microdisney recorded for Kabuki, Rough Trade and Virgin record labels. Albums also included the early compilation We Hate You South African Bastards! (later renamed Love Your Enemies), Everybody Is Fantastic and The Clock Comes Down The Stairs. After signing to Virgin Records, they released two more albums Crooked Mile and 39 Minutes. In 1988, Microdisney disbanded.

Microdisney began recording in their native town of Cork, Ireland. Their first few singles, including the excellent[citation needed] "Pink Skinned Man", were released on indie label Kabuki records (the label which was also home to Irish artists such as Roger Doyle, Kissed Air and Five Go Down To The Sea). One of their earliest and rarest[citation needed] recordings from this period is a live performance of 'National Anthem' released on Reekus records (featured on "Kaught at the Kampus EP"). The group moved to Cricklewood London, and formally signed to Rough Trade, utilising John Porter (producer of The Smiths) to produce some tracks on their debut album, Everybody is Fantastic. This album featured most of their earlier session work from 1983 and some timeless[citation needed] songwriting ("Dolly", "Escalator in the Rain", "Sun") but perhaps was not produced with the band's distinctively flowing minimalist style[citation needed] in mind (critics have often cited an over usage of drum machine sounds and sloppy track layering[citation needed]). It was also during this time that the band became fully acquainted[citation needed] with John Peel, who championed their music, and gave them the first of several celebrated[citation needed] Peel Sessions (they recorded a total of three Peel sessions during 1984 alone).

Soon after bassist Jon Fell and drummer Tom Fenner were added as a permanent rhythm section. Microdisney's sound developed more commercially[citation needed] between 1984 and 1986 particularly and became chart oriented[citation needed]. Their last recording for Rough Trade is perhaps the group's tour de force[citation needed], the 1985 release, The Clock Comes Down the Stairs, reached No.1 on the UK Indie Chart and featured some strong and biographic compositions reflective of the political history of Ireland[citation needed] and the new 80's driven formation of Eastern Europe. The album featured the powerful "Goodbye It's 1987". The 'Clock' was followed by the Lenny Kaye produced 'Crooked Mile' which itself includes various song writing highlights. "Town to Town" (1987) is a rock song about powerless but morally null individuals attempting to live normal lives under threat of nuclear holocaust. It is singled out in Irish Rock literature[citation needed], while 1985's The Clock Comes Down the Stairs was voted no. 1 album of the 1980s in the 1989 end-of-year edition of the now-defunct Irish newspaper The Sunday Tribune.[citation needed]. "Town to Town" was the group's only song to reach the top 40 in Ireland. It was a minor hit on both the Irish singles chart and UK charts, reaching #30 in Ireland, and #55 in the UK. Their 1987 single "Singer's Hampstead Home" was described by Cathal as being inspired by a newspaper article showing a huge house bought by Boy George[citation needed].

Following their demise, Coughlan went on to record 1989's "Against Nature" on Kitchenware with The Fatima Mansions and O'Hagan founded The High Llamas, which Jon Fell soon joined, having been part of The Fatima Mansions up until the release of their first album. O'Hagan also worked with Stereolab. Three further compilations were issued of previously released material - Big Sleeping House, Peel Sessions (which has most of their collected BBC John Peel sessions, apart from Session One of 1984 and the last session of 1986), and Daunt Square to Elsewhere, a two-disc compilation. Perhaps not always recognised during their time as a group, Microdisney are held by many with equal regard to bands such as the Smiths[citation needed].

Between 2013 and 2014, The Clock Comes Down The Stairs, Love Your Enemies and "Everybody is Fantastic" were reissued by Cherry Red Records, all CD versions only including a complete Peel Session and b sides from the corresponding singles. Due to licensing, the first session of 1984 was deleted from the track listing of "Everybody is Fantastic". Coughlan co-wrote The North Sea Scrolls with Luke Haines and Andrew Mueller, which was performed live in 2011, and released as an album in 2012.



  • Kaught At Kampus (vinyl 1980) Reekus (reissued on CD 2013)
  • Everybody Is Fantastic (1984) Rough Trade (UK Indie #6)(reissued (1996) Rev-Ola, with bonus track and again in 2013 with additional Peel session and b side)
  • We Hate You South African Bastards! (1984) Rough Trade (UK Indie #7 reissue 2013 ibid)
  • The Clock Comes Down The Stairs (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #1 reissue 20@3 ibid)
  • Crooked Mile (1987) Virgin
  • 39 Minutes (1988) Virgin
  • The Peel Sessions Album (1989) Strange Fruit
  • Big Sleeping House (1995) Virgin Vault
  • Love Your Enemies (1996) Rev-Ola
  • Daunt Square to Elsewhere: 1982-1988 (2007) Castle


  • "Hello Rascals" (1982) Kabuki
  • "Pink Skinned Man" (1983) Kabuki
  • "Dolly" (1984) Rough Trade
  • In the World EP (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #7)
  • "Birthday Girl" (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #6)
  • "Town to Town" (1987) Virgin (UK #55, IRE #30)[1]
  • "Singer's Hampstead Home" (1987) Virgin
  • "Gale Force Wind" (1988) Virgin (UK #98)[1]


Songs of Note[edit]

  • "Pink Skinned Man" (1983) Kabuki
  • "Dolly" (1984) Peel Session version
  • Goodbye It's 1987 The Clock comes down the Stairs LP (1985) Rough Trade (UK Indie #1)
  • "Rack" (1986) Crooked Mile Virgin LP & CD
  • "Soul Boy" (1987) Virgin LP & CD


  1. ^ a b Microdisney, ChartStats
  2. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4


Mark. J. Prendergast "Irish Rock: Roots, Personalities, Directions" [Paperback]

Cork Rock: From Rory Gallagher To The Sultans Of Ping by Mark McAvoy. Published by Mercier Press (2009) ISBN 9781856356558

External links[edit]