Late Night Stargazing

In my efforts to get back on the horse with writing here, an easy one, a soul classic, which deserves to have it’s moment in the Late Night Stargazing canon.

Here’s Billy Paul telling the story of his canoodling with Mrs Jones.

I mean just look at him in that picture, cool as feck. I mean, I would, if he left his hat on.

Wait, have we inadvertently stumbled upon the greatest bit of pop gossip ever?

Mr Jones is apparently in the dark about the affair – or is he? Surely when Tom Jones sang “You Can Leave Your Hat On” he was referring to a desire to be physically involved with a fedora wearing Mr Paul and/or his missus. No….?

Billy Paul – Me and Mrs Jones

More soon.

Saturday Night at The Movies

Creation Stories is a Sky Original film which attempts to dramatise the life of Creation record label founder, Alan McGee.

A quick glance at the promotional material fills you with hope:

Missing from that is that this was co-written by Irvine Welsh. But there’s Danny Boyle’s name given prominance. And although you may not recognise him from the picture, that’s Ewen Bremner in the main role.

And what a soundtrack that promises to be!

Here’s the trailer:

Looks good, right?

*Scrolls through the rest of the imdb entry*

Look, there’s actual proper acting royalty in the form of Steven Berkoff and Saskia Reeves. Actual comic acting royalty supplied by Paul Kaye, Rufus Jones and Danny John-Jules. There’s Richard Jobson, making a pretty good fist of doing something useful for the first time since The Skids split up. There’s comedians Ed Byrne as…er…Alistair Campbell (I wish I could say: “Now that’s ironic!” here, but it isn’t) and Alistair McGowan as Jimmy Savile (are you sure about this? – Ed). Blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos by Bez, Carl Barat and Brix Smith-Start. And practically the entire cast of This Is England is involved (well, the ones who haven’t gone on to super-stardom since, anyway) and that can’t be a bad thing.

Oh wait.

Danny Boyle is just the Executive Producer. Along with fourteen others (not including Co-Executive Producers). Which means he’s put some cash into the project and that’s about the end of his involvement.

Oh wait.

I don’t know if you saw it flash up in the trailer, but this is directed by Nick Moran, who also plays Malcolm McLaren. Hmm, this is starting to look less promising by the second.

And so it proves to be.

There’s an awful lot that’s wrong with Creation Stories.

The first thing is that given the vast amount of Class A drugs ingested by McGee in the film, and given he is played by Ewen Bremner – a fine actor, and no mistake – it becomes almost impossible to shake off the memory of the other drug-guzzling character he has played in a Boyle/Welsh collaboration: Spud in Trainspotting.

There’s nothing here but reminders of Spud’s most iconic moments, the interview:

and the…er…morning after scene:

(The fact that in a review of one film, I’m posting clips from an entirely different film speaks volumes.)

To be clear, I’ve seen Bremner in many other productions, and after the initial recognition has passed, not once did I have Spud on my mind. It’s not Bremner’s fault that Creation Stories is such a dud, he does the very best he can with what he’s been given. I just think they could have cast somebody who didn’t invoke all these memories and comparisons, which have an undesirable effect on his performance and the film. Although I am struggling to think of who that might be.

And what of the crowd-pleasing creatives, namely Boyle and Welsh? To be honest, I can’t see Boyle’s influence at all here, and I reckon the most that Welsh had to do with writing it was ensuring the Scottish vernacular remained honest and true. “I’ve finished the screenplay now Irvine, can you chuck some swear words in, and make sure they’re not snorting when they should be smoking?”

To drive the plot, the film uses perhaps the laziest premise for a biopic: a journalist is interviewing McGee for a retrospective article in an American paper, or magazine, or TV show, it’s not made terribly clear. His story is told via a series of anecdotes, transposed to flashbacks. This method is employed so that the narrative can jump from one momentous moment to the next without really having to explain how we got from point A to point B.

(I wasn’t taking notes, but I also suspect there were several errors in the chronology.)

And I wouldn’t get too excited about that soundtrack, for the moments when you’re swept away by the music are few and far between.

I appreciate, of course, that Creation Records were responsible for a lot of amazing output during it’s all-to-brief tenure as the self-proclaimed “Coolest Record Label on Earth”, and there’s a lot to try and cram into one movie, but there are some acts who are conspicuous by their absence: there’s no mention at all of Super Furry Animals, and they once hired a tank and drove it through London to promote one of their records, which surely would have been visual gold.

Similarly, Teenage Fanclub barely get a mention, overlooking how integral to the label’s success their Bandwagonesque album was. I think I heard a snatch of this in the background in one scene, mind:

Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me

McGee is presented as an egotistical chancer, who repeatedly got lucky by being at events where unsigned bands just happened to be playing, and I’m not sure that’s entirely true.

But it’s here that I found the one true highlight of them film, when McGee’s own band are playing in a dingy backstreet London boozer, the Television Personalities invade the stage and take over, perform one song, announce “Here’s our second song. It’s the same as the first one, BUT LOUDER!” once it’s finished, before launching into exactly the same song, which they do indeed played louder than they had the first time.

This song:

Television Personalities – Part-Time Punks

If you’re at entry level, know nothing about Creation Records or Alan McGee, then I’d recommend Creation Stories as a stepping-on point and nothing more.

Otherwise, I’d say avoid at all costs. Stick with the 2010 Upside Down: The Creation Records Story documentary instead.

More soon.

The Prince Is Dead

TV was a bit crap in the UK yesterday, wasn’t it?

Bruce Springsteen – 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)

In the past, when a momentous occasion took place, a standard question as to where you were when you heard the news would circulate.

“Where were you when you heard that Kennedy had been assassinated?” they would ask of Vox-Poppers, or “Where were you when the moon landings happened?”. Folks would trip over themselves to try and outdo each other as to what flamboyant act they were engaged in when they heard the news, a bit like the competing Yorkshiremen in that old Monty Python sketch:

(And yes, before any of you get in touch, I’m perfectly aware that the sketch actually pre-dates Monty Python, having first been performed on At Last The 1948 Show.)

This is a question which I think we will see being asked less and less as time goes on, for the answer will almost always be: I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last XX years.

For the record, I was at home, same place as I’ve been for the last 12 months, when I heard the news. I’d been in what we still feel obliged to refer to as a “virtual meeting” all morning which had, as is the norm, over-ran by an hour or so, and so I was already in a bit of a bad mood as this meant I had missed the TV show which has become my lunchtime staple viewing – Bargain Hunt – and I was pretty sure that meant that it would have inevitably been hosted on this occasion by my favourite presenter (and I suspect also the favourite of many other housebound gentlemen), the lovely posh-but-twinkly Christina Trevillian (*sighs*), as it almost always is when I manage to miss most/all of it (as opposed to the occasions when I catch it from the start and it’s hosted – always – by Anita bloody Manning, who, as with Julia Roberts and Keifer Sutherland, I simply cannot stand to watch. She reminds me of a particularly annoying Little Britain character:)

Anyway. My lunch break was at such a late hour that I realised it would actually correlate with my favourite afternoon TV quiz show, Impossible, which – and you read it here first – I’m pretty sure will one day replace Pointless in the prime, just before the news slot.

But no. There it was: all channels showing what appeared to be the longest news broadcast since Wills and Kate (but not Harry and Meghan, oh no) last dropped a sprog, with everything else for the rest of the day cancelled, unless you wanted to venture onto some of the more unpleasant reality/fly-on-the-wall TV shows, like Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!, which you can tell just from the name is a Channel 5 show. It follows bailiffs High Court Enforcement Officers as they go about their jolly day, catching up with people who haven’t been able to pay a debt, or evicting people from rented properties because the landlord has decided to put the rent up and they can no longer afford to live there.

I was stopped once by a shop assistant in my local supermarket and asked if I was one of said Court Enforcement Officers from the show; I said I wasn’t and had never seen the programme, but caught a bit of it one Sunday afternoon when there was nothing else on. Let’s just say I was not flattered.

But anyway, I digress. Prince Phillip, the Duke Of Edinburgh died yesterday, and we’re all supposed to be in mourning.

Although, the Prince’s favourite show, Babestation, aired as usual, only with the models wearing black armbands as a tribute, I noted when I checked for…er…research purposes.

And of course, whilst it’s very sad that a family has lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, it’s news which I think many of us had been expecting for a goodly while now. He was 99 years old, he’d just had an extended stay in hospital after some kind of heart surgery, and, let’s face it, he didn’t look well when he was taken home. This was not exactly a surprise.

Not that I think that knowing someone is likely to pass makes it any easier to deal with their actual passing. I know from my own recent, brutal, experience that no matter how prepared, how steeled you might think you are, when the news comes through it still hits you like a juggernaut and you’re still shattered. There is no escape from grief.

Now, I’m no Royalist, but were we to get a day off work for the funeral then I will happily dress in black and weep into a hanky for as long as it takes. But I imagine they’ll do what they did when Diana was murdered died: pop the funeral on a weekend so the national economy isn’t affected, but the Union Jack and florist industries flourish.

I was living in Cardiff back in 1997, when Diana died, still working in Boots The Chemist selling tights, tampons and panty-liners to the capital’s finest. The funeral was on a Saturday, and we were given the morning off to watch the ceremony and pay our respects. I didn’t watch it, I enjoyed a couple of extra hours in bed.

I actually had the opportunity to meet Diana several years earlier. At the time I was at college, and serving on the Student Union Executive, in my utterly non-political role as Social Secretary. Because my role was non-political, I gained a reputation for fence-sitting or abstaining when it came to votes of a political nature. As far as I saw it, I had not been elected on the basis of any political views I may or may not have held, I was elected on the basis of my ability to organise a good night out for the students. So, I didn’t think it right that my political views should have any bearing on matters.

And then one day the news came in: Diana was going to be visiting the college, to open the recently completed Princess of Wales Sports Centre. Truly the famous quote from Field of Dreams applies here: If you build it, they will come. The Executive were all invited and expected to attend and meet the Princess. And, much to my mother’s horror when I told her many years later, I declined. And I was the only one from the entire, predominantly left-wing, anti-monarchy Student Union Executive to do so. I gained more political traction from that act, as a man who stood by his principles, than I ever wanted, expected, or indeed anything else I did again. Suddenly, I was a hero. For the rest of their time in position, my Executive colleagues had to answer awkward questions about why they went when I didn’t, were they really in their jobs to work for the students, or to promote themselves and further their own careers? It was quite delicious for a while.

Anyway: on the day of Diana’s funeral, my route to work took me through the Roath and Cathays areas of Cardiff where I lived, traditionally quite a studenty area, and as this was late August/early September, there weren’t too many of those youngsters around. In fact, I remember thinking how quiet it was as I walked to work, and I assumed this was because everyone was at home, watching the TV coverage.

My route took me across the usually busy City Road, and then down an alleyway adjacent to a working men’s club. And I swear, no word of a lie, as I walked down that alleyway, I heard this record booming from an open window of the club:

Kool & The Gang – Celebration

A nation in mourning, my arse.

There will, of course, be a funeral. It will, of course, be paid for by you and I, the British taxpayer. It’s not a two-way deal, of course. Don’t expect Her Maj to break open the massive whiskey bottle containing one and two pence shrapnel so she can chip in for your funeral, because that simply won’t happen.

But who should organise it? Well, I think the Royal Family should take a leaf out of the British Government’s Covid-19 Handbook, and see if there are any posh toffs who could do it for them. A cursory look over Dido Harding’s CV shows she has absolutely no experience whatsoever of arranging funerals, so she seems ideally placed to do it, for just several billion pounds over the amount one could realistically expect to be spent on such a showcase event.

Needless to say, there is never a good time for any family to go through the pain and suffering that a bereavement inevitably brings. But it occurred to me that this one could have come at a worse time for the Windsors. For a start, Prince Andrew must be feeling strangely conflicted right now, sad that his father has died, but at the same time relieved there will be an extended period now where nobody accuses him of being a paedophile. I wonder if, since he was withdrawn from public appearances after his disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis, he’ll be allowed to attend the funeral?

But also, you’ll recall the recent Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan, where there was an allegation that a member of the royal family made racist comments about the likely skin colour of the couple’s offspring. From a PR point of view, Philip’s death presents an opportunity to the very least put some more distance between those allegations and any response – today’s newspapers are, after all, tomorrow’s fish’n’chips wrapping. But it also affords the Royals the chance to, for want of a better term, throw somebody under the bus, for many people felt the racist comment could probably be attributed to Philip, solely on the basis that, well, he had form for saying things which could be described as inappropriate at best.

As I mentioned when I wrote about the interview in a previous post, I don’t buy that it was Philip; sure he has a history of gaffes but – and I say this not to condone any of his comments, but to offer an explanation of them – generally when he said something wrong it was intended in jest, or as an “ice-breaker” intended to put a member of the public at rest. That doesn’t make it right, that makes it an old man getting it wrong and saying something inappropriate, and I think we all know someone like that.

The comment mentioned in the Oprah interview came from a much more savage, hurtful place, and my money remains where it did when I wrote that last piece.

*Pops tongue back in cheek*

But there is something racist, something with a whiff of cancel culture about the timing of Prince Philip’s death which will inevitably lead some of the more gullible to seek some kind of conspiracy. And it is this: forever more, when you type “Prince died April” into Google (other search engines are available), you will be faced with a screen or three full of references to Philip. You will need to scroll down quite some way to find any mention of The Greatest Prince, who also died in April – April 21st 2016, to be precise.

This Prince:

Prince & The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U

Equilibrium restored.

*****

Since I drew a comparison with the death of Diana earlier, I can’t resist posting this bit of comedy genius from Stewart Lee:

*****

To sum up: of course I feel empathy for the Royal Family as they mourn the loss of a beloved family member. But do you know who I empathise with more? The South Pacific tribe on the tiny island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago, who saw Prince Philip as a living god. Who should they follow now?

I have a suggestion:

Faithless – God Is a DJ

In completely unrelated news, my latest Friday Night Music Club mix remains available to stream and download over at Soundcloud.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

I was beginning to think this mix was jinxed.

I’ll explain, with some back story.

Firstly, I wanted to do a mix unlike the Not Christmas one, which I thought strayed a bit too far into the territories of cheese or chart music. Whilst it served a purpose, it wasn’t really indicative of the sort of tunes which usually feature here.

This one, though is a corker, even if I do say so myself.

Regular readers may recall that way back in the late 1980s, I started DJ’ing at college because I was fed up with being able to guess what song the indie DJs would play next. So imagine my annoyance when my own brother told me that on a previous mix he’d been able to predict my next choice a couple of times. Grrr.

But this mix has proved to be such a pain to complete; when I came to do it today, it tells me that some of the tunes have been played 22 times, which gives you an idea of how many times I’ve tried to get this one right. Pretty much once a week, since Christmas.

What’s gone wrong all those times? Well, on more than one occasion professional pride kicked in: I’ve messed up a mix between tunes, so have elected to start again.

On more than one occasion, preoccupied with playing Solitaire or Candy Crush just to have something to do whilst recording the mix, there’s a sudden, irretrievable silence where the next record should be. Oops!

Once I forgot to stop recording until an hour later, and, triumphant at how the mixes had worked out, I couldn’t understand why the mix lasted over 5 hours, until I listened to it.

The other problem is booze. More than once, I’ve taken drink to such an extent that I’ve forgotten I was doing a mix until the silence after one record has finished hits home and startled me awake.

Last weekend, I got to the third record from the end, and suddenly woke up to silence and realised I’d messed up again. That’s not an indictment of the standard of the mix, by the way, more an example of how drunk I’d gotten.

Even last night, when I finally nailed it, it was my second attempt of the night, having got through most of the mix when I had a drink-spillage event, which I thought I’d sorted, until, four records from the end, suddenly the sound cut out whilst the tunes kept playing and I had no idea if it was still recording the sound or the sound of silence.

Anyway, we’ve got here, and this has been a real pain, so if you could take a listen, that would be great.

I will confess that I have broken the golden rule of not featuring the same act more than once in this mix; this wasn’t intentional, but as the various run-throughs progressed, I simply forgot said acts already appeared as “featuring” acts. One is deliberate. Sue me (Please don’t).

Time for the usual disclaimer: any glitches, skips or jumps are down to the software or the uploading/downloading process, and nothing to do with my limited mixing skills.

Oh, and the usual “effing and jeffing” warning applies; it seems I’m incapable of doing a mix which doesn’t include more than the occasional swear.

I’m not posting a link to download here, other than the one to Soundcloud, where you can either download or stream it.

I couldn’t be bothered with the last ones, but I’ve done it this time: you’ll see a list of all the acts featured in this mix at the bottom of the page, so you can check whether this one’s likely to be your cup of tea before going to the hassle of actually listening to it. If you’re particularly short of things to do, you can try to guess which song I’ve picked by which artist. There’s fun.

But by way of a description: pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.

Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.

Available for a limited time (i.e. until I do the next one), you can download or stream this on Soundcloud here:

Friday Night Music Club (Volume 4)

I hope you have as much fun listening to this as much as I had putting it together. And I found it utterly frustrating, so you’d better.

Oh, and it ain’t over ’til the fat bloke sings.

More soon.

(Not) A Traditional Easter

It seems almost incredible that just over a year ago, I was writing about the new sensation that was working from home.

It feels incredible not in a “hasn’t time flies?” kind of way, but more in a “was that only a year ago??” kind of way.

And now it’s Easter weekend, and for the second year running I won’t be travelling to spend it with my parents, although there are pencilled-in plans to visit them for my Dad’s birthday towards the end of the month, provided restrictions have been lifted sufficiently to allow such adventurous activity to happen, and also, of course, assuming he hasn’t gone and got himself a hospital bed like he did last year.

Anyway, there’s on tradition which lives on here at Dubious Towers, and that’s to post this blasphemous slice of camp glory:

Army of Lovers – Crucified

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I watched Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me the other day. I should have known better, having read the synopsis:

As he struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, country-music legend Glen Campbell embarks on his farewell tour in the U.S., Australia, and Europe.

It’s a fly-on-the-wall, warts and all portrayal of how the disease utterly debilitates the sufferer, the strain it puts on all those around them. It’s utterly compelling, but absolutely heart-breaking.

Between shows, you see him veer from being totally lucid, to suddenly having no idea where he is or who he’s talking to, even if it his wife and kids. He gets frustrated, angry, paranoid.

That changes when he performs. His muscle memory, if you like, his instinctive ability to recall songs wins through, and those moments are a joy to behold.

But as the tour progresses, you see him unravelling more and more frequently on stage. The footage from the final show of the tour is really quite upsetting; you see Campbell go off on rambling monologues to the audience in between songs, complaining that his “hair itches”, before launching into, ironically, the classic Gentle On My Mind. And for a few moments, all is well again.

Until…

Until Campbell goes into the guitar break, which just goes on and on and on and on and is out of time with the band, who he begins to berate and…it’s just so, so sad.

I’d recommend your watching it, but, my, you really have to be in the right frame of mind.

*****

In 2017, Campbell released Adiós, a collection of re-recorded or remastered versions of all his most loved songs, and many others, presumably as a way to enhance those moments when his instincts kicked in and took him back to when he first played them.

Here’s the updated version of Gentle On My Mind from said album:

Glen Campbell – Gentle On My Mind

More soon.

The Chain #51

“Just one week off, please, one week where nothing happens to get my goat, one week where I can post something nice and positive of a Saturday morning. That’s all I ask,” I wrote last week.

A tap on the shoulder from my alter ego.

“There’s always The Chain, which you moved to a Saturday morning…”

Ohhhh yes. Totally forgot about that!

And so I revisited the last post I did in The Chain, and find it was so long ago – December 2020 – that I had the audacity to mention Spurs winning a game of kickball, which hasn’t aged at all well.

So, let’s pick up where we left off all those months ago, with the next record in The Chain that I invited suggestions for. This record:

The Coasters – Charlie Brown

OK, so you can probably guess where most of the suggestions stem from, but we’ll start off with a suggestion by George (not of ASDA).

“Two members of The Coasters used to be in The Robins, who’s best song, and this will undoubtedly be the best song on the next Chain, was Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Which was written by Leiber and Stoller.”

Undoubtedly (we’ll see….):

The Robins – Smokey Joe’s Cafe

So, slightly obscure link dispensed with, let’s address the elephant in the room. There are at least two Charlie Browns, the one in the Coasters song of the same name, and the one that we’re probably all more familiar with, from the Peanuts cartoon.

So let’s kick off properly with songs which reference Charlie Brown, and I’ll hand over to Hal, who explains and suggests thusly: Thirty years ago (30 years FFS…) Jim Bob & Fruit Bat released 101 Damnations which featured…:

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Good Grief Charlie Brown

Hal’s “FFS” is of course Young People Speak for “For Flip’s Sake” [Are you sure about this?- Ed], and is often used when one encounters an anniversary of an event considered to have occurred relatively recently, but which transpires to have actually been much earlier, thereby adding to our feelings of old age and past-it-ness. Don’t be fooled by Hal’s use of Young People Speak, for he is as old as we are, which is why he can conjure up such selections from hitherto forgotten bands such as Carter USM (as I believe the “kids” on “the” “street” refer to them these days, if they do at all).

Hal is to be celebrated for refusing to accept that thirty years have passed since that monumental occasion, oft referred to in history books, as the year of Our Lord 19 Hundred and Ninety, the year Carter USM released their debut album.

And he’s right to refuse to accept this, because as the album came out in January 1990, it’s actually 31 years now. Sorry, Hal!

Staying on the Charlie Brown link, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who not only suggests a song linked to our favourite wibble-mouthed cartoon character, he also introduces a much needed touch of class:

Echo and the Bunnymen’s Bring On The Dancing Horses covers Charlie Brown in its first 2 lines via Jimmy Brown and Charlie Clown…

Jimmy Brown Made Of Stone

Charlie Clown No Way Home

Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses

But here’s Rigid Digit, dragging us back into Carter USM territory:

Carter USM’s Falling On A Bruise includes the line: “You win some and you lose some, you save nothing, nothing for a rainy day, You need your nutra-sweet daddy or some Peppermint Patty”

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Falling on a Bruise

Perhaps I should explain. Charlie Brown, as well as being the hapless character in The Coasters records, shares his name with a character in a cartoon written by Shultz called Peanuts.

Cue the next suggestion from Rigid Digit:

Ok, maybe not that Peanuts…

…or this one, suggested by Phonic Pat:

Warmduscher – Disco Peanuts

…but within the cartoon strip known as Peanuts, there are many characters who do have their names crop up in songs. Peppermint Patty is one of them, and here she is again, courtesy of TheRobster:

And then there’s Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow & Run The Jewels which includes the line “I walk Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Lucy / Put coke in the doobie roll moodies to smoke with Snoopy'”

DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak

Who else? Well, The Robster doesn’t stop there, trotting out a litany of characters:

Joni Mitchell – Woodstock

Lou Reed – Sally Can’t Dance

Incredibly, since they only made (if you’re feeling generous) two decent records ever, this lot appear for the second edition on the trot:

Hole – Violet

The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Thank you and good luck with your auditions, indeed.

The Royal Guardsmen – Snoopy vs. The Red Baron

There was also a band called Linus, continues TheRobster, but I don’t know much about them. Me neither, and I’m not going to do your research for you.

Another Peanuts character, picks up the Devonian, is Lucy Van Pelt, whose name was taken for a Japanese indiepop band, and then they had a trademark issue with whoever owned Peanuts after Charles Schultz died, so they changed it to Advantage Lucy instead. But from their days as Lucy Van Pelt, I’ll suggest:

Lucy Van Pelt – Hammock Waltz

Now when somebody describes a band as being “Japanese indiepop“, I had a pre-conceived idea of what they might sound like, but it was nothing like that. And that’s a good thing – my favourite “never heard of this lot before, must explore” record of the month.

And then there’s the eponymous Charlie Brown himself, or, as Phonic Pat deliberately mis-spells it to get it fit his next suggestion, Charly:

The Prodigy – Charly

Along with his already aired suggestion Rigid Digit also laid claim to some other records being linked, which weren’t (unless I were to allow pun-related tunes, which I might be minded to if we were a little short on the ground of suggestions, which we’re not), so I’m afraid Hang on Snoopy (because it’s Sloopy, not Snoopy) and Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger (because he admits to making up that the line “And so Sally can wait” was written after Noel Gallagher had been watching an episode of Charlie Brown), are both disqualified.

However, nothing wrong with his two Brown suggestions, even if he does claim that they are both related to Charlie’s non-existent siblings:

Jim Croce – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

and…

Frank Zappa – Bobby Brown Goes Down

Maybe Whitney would still be alive if that were true.

And here’s another Brown suggestion, courtesy of Phonic Pat:

The Pogues – A Pair Of Brown Eyes

Devonian is back, with this suggestion: As nobody’s said it yet, “Charlie Brown” is not the only hit song to make use of the hookline “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?”. There’s also

Bloodhound Gang – Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ on Me?

I imagine nobody else had suggested that because of the “impression” of a disabled person at the start of it.

Fortuitously, here’s The Great Gog to save us: The phrase “Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me?” that features in Charlie Brown also appears in this:

The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go

I bloody love that record.

Finally, says Phonic Pat, somewhat presumptuously, but I like this suggestion a lot, so I’ll let it slide, linking the trombone sound the adults make in the Peanuts films, how about a trombone take on the Pixies?

Alice Donut – Where Is My Mind

Over to Stevie from Charity Chic now, who has two suggestions for us:

Best Coast – Boyfriend

and:

Coast to Coast – (Do) The Hucklebuck

Although I get the impression he’s not proud of the second choice, as he signs off with the words “I’ll get my coat.” No need, Stevie, really: all of those rock’n’roll and doo-wop records of the late 70s and early 80s were my introduction to pop music, and I have a soft spot for them all, from Shakin’ Stevens to The Stray Cats, from Coast to Coast to Rocky Sharpe and The Replays.

What Stevie has inadvertently done there is lead us seamlessly into those suggestions which consider the Coast aspect of the source record, and here’s The Great Gog with another couple:

I also wonder what type of Coaster the band were named after. A mat on which one places a drink, a person that lives by the sea or a fairground ride? Assuming the latter, we could have:

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Rollercoaster

I personally wouldn’t, GG continues, but you may want to include:

Ronan Keating – Life Is A Rollercoaster

God, that’s nauseating. Let’s cleanse the palate, sharpish:

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Love Rollercoaster

and

Belle & Sebastian – The Rollercoaster Ride

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Crikey, he’s been a bit quiet with his own suggestions this time. And you’d be right. Those last two were mine, and so are all of the rest left to go, all of which are Coast-related. To say I picked up on that and ran with it would be an understatement. So strap yourselves in, here we go:

Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (Shoreline)

Laura Cantrell – Queen of the Coast

Maximo Park – The Coast Is Always Changing

Midfield General – Coastnoise (Dave Clarke remix)

Blood Orange – Champagne Coast

If I was still giving out points, I’d have to consider giving myself one for that double coast link as a double pointer.

Now, some parts of the coast have a beach, some have other geographical characteristics. Where there’s a beach, they tend to fall into two general categories: ones made up of pebbles:

Pebbles – Girlfriend

or stones, if you prefer:

The Rolling Stones – The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

Seriously, if I was still giving out points, I’d have to consider giving myself one for that Stones/coast link as a double pointer.

And the second type of beach, after pebbles/stones? Why, a sandy shore, of course!

Sandie Shaw – Long Live Love

And close to some coast lines, you’ll find the occasional Cliff:

Cliff Richard and The Young Ones – Living Doll

Now, earlier this week it would have been the comic genius Rik Mayall’s birthday, so indulge me for a minute will you?

Thank you.

Here’s the moment from the final episode of The Young Ones where it all goes utterly utterly wrong:

Here’s the video for the song:

And here’s the gang performing it live for Comic Relief:

And best of all, here’s the speech Rik gave when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. If you’ve never seen this before, I’d heartily recommend you take ten minutes to watch it:

All that leaves me to do is to announce the source record for next time’s edition, and to express some sympathy to The Robster, who picked the wrong version of the right song:

Matthews Southern Comfort – Woodstock

Suggestions via the Comments section below please!

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

I’ve not written one of these for a few weeks, chiefly because I’ve been in such an apathetic fug it seemed hypocritical to post tunes of a Monday morning specifically selected to raise one out of the pit of despair that is the working week unrolling out in front of us.

But maybe this is what’s needed: a strutting 1970s era Rolling Stones-esque version of an old Otis Redding classic, chosen for you this morning to shake ya bootie to:

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Tonight, a song which remind me of two of my besties: Dum-Dum and, of course, Llŷr.

Firtsly, Dum-Dum, because I remember we’d gone to see Pete Tong play at Cardiff’s much missed Emporium nightclub; it was, if I recall correctly, an anniversary of local club night Time Flies. Also if I recall correctly, Tong’s set was really rather dull until he dropped this tune.

Dum-Dum and I spent many nights dancing alongside each other, and I’m sure he won’t mind me describing our dancing style as conservative (with a small c); we both belonged firmly in the shuffle-from-one-foot-to-the-other school of dancing, with the occasional wagged-finger in time with a tune, sometimes the whirling index as we attempted to count in the crash-back after the breakdown. Perfunctory without doing anything which especially caught the eye.

But on this occasion, Dum-Dum went for it, proper moves on display, and I’ve never seen a man so lost in the moment, so deliriously happy as he was then.

The song in question went on to be an absolute smash hit, but when Tong dropped it that night it was months before that; we knew it of course, but that was because we were so goddamn supercool.

This tune:

And although he was with us that night, it reminds me of Llŷr for a very different reason.

Months later, we were at home mid-week watching some football, when the ITV commentator suddenly compared the half-hearted actions of one particular footballer (sadly, I don’t recall which) to being “like the man in the Lazy video!”

Llŷr and I found this hilarious, sounding as it did like when a politician pretends to like a cool band because they think it might earn them a few votes (it won’t, it never will), or when your Geography teacher implores you “Hey! Don’t call me Mr Sullivan, I don’t call you by your surname. Call me Dan” (subtext: please like me, please like me, please like me).

This phrase – “like the man in the Lazy video” – soon became our stock phrase for when someone wasn’t trying hard enough in our books, and although it really doesn’t seem like much now, it was one of our little jokes that nobody else got, which would have us both in side-hugging fits of giggles when it got mentioned.

Here’s the man in the Lazy video, being exactly like the man in the Lazy video:

More soon.