It was 36 years ago today: I asked Virgin to Stand & Deliver!

April 27, 1981: 36 years ago today the first vinyl single I ever bought was released and smashed records by going straight to the top of the UK charts for five weeks. Back in the 1980s singles rarely entered the charts in pole position.

Stand & Deliver was Adam And The Ants’ first chart-topper. The incomparable image above is the limited edition poster sleeve I bought on the day – my very own First Day Cover, if you like (though the records soon replaced stamp collecting in my affections) – for 99p from Virgin Megastore in Central Milton Keynes.

A regular 7-incher wasn’t going to satisfy this schoolboy

Having saved up two whole weeks’ pocket money, that wet Monday I skipped off from Springfield School to buy S&D. The following week my best classmate, Andy Goldberg, had heard the chart preview BBC Radio 1 used to air on a Tuesday lunchtime, and came into the TV room and blurted out, “Steve, Stand & Deliver’s gone straight in at No.1!”.

As the Jam had been the only act to manage such a feat in the previous eight years, you could have knocked me down with a (silk or leather, or a) feather. Even Sean Smith ripping the piss out of me when I did my own funny little dance at the school disco, with a black cape and some white paint I’d bought from the art shop next door to Melson Wingate opticians that started to crack after an hour couldn’t rain on my poptastic parade.

Two days later, Thursday May 7th, Top Of The Pops premiered the breathtaking, swashbuckling video for the first time, and an insect nation of school boys and girls squealed. Even my mum was impressed, commenting on how much she liked Amanda Donohoe’s monochromatic Victorian attire.

What a song! What a video! The Mike Mansfield mini-epic even features Mark Wardel of Bowie masks fame… and he brought his Kitty along for a ride. Stand & Deliver is the only vinyl single I still own, AND it’s got the S&M-tastic Beat My Guest on the flip side. Viva Da diddly qua qua! Since I became a journalist I’ve been lucky enough to interview Adam twice, first by telephone in 2000 for Mojo magazine, and then six years ago in person at his charming mews house in Kensington.

The fine old dandy was kind enough to deface the inner poster of said 7″ with the inscription: 14/03/2011 For Steve, nice lurking with ya! Best wishes x Adam and then underneath the daggered ‘heart on his arm’ symbol with the PS (‘it says Pure Sex!’ finishing at the bottom with the anarchy symbol. He’s a one!