Skip to content

Pop music

Disc Security Systems, Glasgow: real CD

Disc Security Systems "Disc Security Systems" burglar alarm, Glasgow • Scotland seems to sprout even more musical alarms than Norwich. I've already featured Disc, but this is a much better photo. How I love these sounders - I mean, each one has computer-readable lettering and an actual, real CD on it! How cool is that? If each one played a different Scottish musical "legend" - eg the Bay City Rollers, The Proclaimers, The Krankies - that would be the icing on the cake. • Spotted: George Street, Glasgow, G1, Scotland, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Glasgow Central
Disc Security Systems, Glasgow: real CD

“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

Smiths Security Est 1850 "Smiths Security Est 1850" burglar alarm, Oxford • In the US this wouldn't be considered a monogram, as it's only one letter – even though the origin of the word monogram is "monogrammos", Greek for "consisting of a single letter". And generally, I am focusing on two or more letters for my monogram theme. However this triangular letter "S", which takes up as much space as humanly possible on the sounder, is so superb it has to feature. Not only does it resemble a stripey Edwardian blazer, and look like the kind of burglar alarm you'd find Patrick McGoohan tampering with in The Prisoner's creepy Village - it says "Est. 1850"! Can't argue with than. Sadly, Smiths Security now have a far less idiosyncratic design. • Spotted: High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East
“Smiths Security”, Oxford: stripey blazer

“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

"SOS Security Group" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Although I have a category called "1970s disco", that's for 1970s-looking typography. Whereas this old sounder shares a name with an actual 1970s disco group, The SOS Band – famed mainly for the classic "Just Be good to Me" (which is actually from the early 1980s). • Spotted: Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall SOS Band. That's an SOS for the hair police.
“SOS Security Group”, Lambeth: 1970s disco

“Smiths Security Services”, Oxford: miserablist

"Smiths Security Services" burglar alarm, Oxford • I love the idea of The Smiths running a security firm – it's pure Stella Street. Imagine calling up the engineer about a faulty alarm, only to find floppy-haired poetry-spouting miserablist Morrissey turning up on your doorstep, clad in a giant blouse and waving a bunch of droopy gladioli. Well, it amuses me, anyway. • Spotted: Mansfield Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Oxford East Miserablist burglar alarm engineers The Smiths
“Smiths Security Services”, Oxford: miserablist

“Slade Protection”, Westminster: glam rock

"Slade Protection" burglar alarm, City of WestminsterSlade! The mighty Slade! Every one of whom would make a thoroughly convincing glam rock burglar alarm engineer, with Noddy Holder as the affable Victorian-style gaffer. And their sounders would play "Cum on Feel the Noize". • Spotted: Great Portland Street, City of Westminster, London, W1, England, 2012 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Cities of London and Westminster The mighty Slade
“Slade Protection”, Westminster: glam rock

“Scaffold Security Systems”, Chelsea: comedic

"Scaffold Security Systems" burglar alarm, Kensington and Chelsea • Clearly meant to be giving off menacing anti-burglar vibes with its bouquet of barbed wire, this logo is somewhat undermined by also recalling 1960s Scouse art-rock trio The Scaffold , famed for their comedy hits "Lily the Pink" and "Thank You Very much for the Aintree Iron", not to mention being helmed by Paul McCartney's younger brother Mike McGear. • Spotted: Beauchamp Place, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Conservative constituency of Kensington Scaffold, The
“Scaffold Security Systems”, Chelsea: comedic

“Mono”, Manchester: lo-fi electronica

"Mono" burglar alarm, Manchester • Mono: not just a type of lo-fi single-channel sound associated with the quintessential early 45rpm pop records, but a little-known British electronica duo who had a 1990s hit with the James Bondy-sounding "Life in Mono" (apparently – I certainly don't remember it, so maybe it was just in the US). • Spotted: Deansgate area, Manchester, Lancashire, M1, England, 2009 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central The unmemorable and not-very-good (in my opinion) band Mono
“Mono”, Manchester: lo-fi electronica

“MOD Alarms”, Sheffield: subculture

"MOD Alarms" burglar alarm, Sheffield • Perhaps named to suggest the suitably militaristic Ministry of Defence, this sounder also recalls the 1960s Mod subculture, a bunch of youths noted for smart suits, flashy Italian motor scooters, and love of fighting greasy rockers on the beaches of southern England. So, not a pop group exactly, but represented by many 1960s bands such as the sharply-dressed Who and Small Faces – and, in 1980s revivalist form, The Jam. • Spotted: Alma Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield Central Some mods. Who are also The Who.
“MOD Alarms”, Sheffield: subculture

“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

"Metropolitan Alarms" burglar alarm, Islington • OK, a slight cheat – the firm's called Metropolitan, but their logo's a giant M, synonymous with groovy new wave synth-popsters M, whose "Pop Muzic" was a massive cross-pond hit in 1979. By dint of its full name, the sounder gets filed under "Religion" too, as a Metropolitan is a type of bishop, especially important in Slavic and Greek Orthodox churches. • Spotted: Whitecross Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2008 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury M of Pop Muzik fame
“Metropolitan Alarms”, Islington: synth-pop

“Black Box Security”, York: Italian house

"Black Box Security" burglar alarm, YorkBlack Box were a model-fronted Italian house music group famous for "Ride on Time", the UK's best-selling single of 1989. There was also a weird 90s group called Black Box Recorder, run by Luke Haines of cult indie band The Auteurs, but I prefer Italian House myself. • Spotted: Gillygate, York, Yorkshire, YO3, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of York Central Black Box non-security
“Black Box Security”, York: Italian house

“Ace Security”, Islington: 1970s non-disco

"Ace Security" burglar alarm, Islington • A 1970s disco logo for a 1970s non-disco group: Ace, a bunch of hairy be-flared musos notable mainly for the very successful single "How Long", which was top 20 in both the UK and the USA in 1974-5. • Spotted: Aylesbury Street, Islington, London, EC1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Islington South and Finsbury Ace the one-hit-wonder group
“Ace Security”, Islington: 1970s non-disco

“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco

"Abba" burglar alarm, Lambeth • Oh yes, an ancient Abba alarm with soundwaves in the background. Named after a Swedish group formed in Stockholm in 1972, or possibly a north London electrical shop I ran across recently, also called Abba. • Spotted: Brayburne Avenue, Lambeth, London SW4, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall The other Abba
“Abba”, Lambeth: Swedish disco