They Want Your Soul

I’ve not had a really good rant on here for ages, have I?

You shouldn’t take that as a sign that I’m mellowing with age. Far from it. It’s just that things seem to happen so fast these days, by the time I’ve crystallised my thoughts, formulated the argument I want to put forward¬†and, more importantly, thought of a decent song which sort of links to the topic under scrutiny, the news has moved on to the next thing that we’re supposed to feel outrage about.

For example, a little over two weeks ago, a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury. By the time I’d had chance to read up on it, identify some reliable sources to quote and choose a couple of absolute doozies of tunes to play, I looked up and found that the debate was no longer about whether or not the Russians were responsible, but had moved on to the much more important topic about whether or not the BBC had made Jeremy Corbyn’s hat¬†look “a bit Russian” in a backdrop on Newsnight.¬†And I have no decent records about hats, or rather none that I’d care to sully the already sullied name of this blog by posting.

So that one sits on the back-burner for now; apparently the police investigation into it is likely to last until summer so, y’know, it can wait.

I did have a pretty good tune ready for whenever I saw that the next round of Brexit negotiations starting again, but really the whole Brexit debacle seems to be one long blur of never-ending lies and mind-blowing incompetent twattery…I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time to return to this too. Well, there definitely will be, for we now know that the terms of the Brexit Transition Period have now been agreed. And just how many points was¬†the guy in our corner, David “Double D” Davies, able to get¬†the EU to concede to in order that a transition period could be agreed? None. And what about the other way round – how many of the EU negotiator’s points did Davies agree to? All of them.

Oh go on then, you can have that tune now:


Grace Jones – Send in the Clowns

And then over the past few days, the whole matter of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica hit the fan. Just in case you’re not fully up to speed on this: following a whistle-blower interview and confession,¬†Cambridge Analytica have sort of¬†admitted to helping UKIP’s Brexit efforts to win the referendum by harvesting information based on the sort of stuff people post on Facebook, then identifying people who seemed likely to vote Leave, or seemed undecided, or just seemed to be an idiot, and targeted them with false information designed to gently nudge them towards voting the way their paymasters wanted them to. It’s¬†like when you were younger, and didn’t want to go out with your partner anymore, but didn’t want to be seen to be the one to finish things: you behave in a way so subtly appalling as to make them end things and think it was their idea all along.

Cambridge Analytica, of course, denied any wrong-doing, and in fact they had never helped the¬†Leave campaign and if they did, which they definitely didn’t, but if they did, then it was only for¬†a bit, and they definitely weren’t paid for it, they did it as a freebie, not that they did anything at all.

Meanwhile, central figures in the Leave campaign, namely Aaron Banks Рco-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, and one of the largest donors to UKIP has posted this on Twitter:


Bit awkward.

Just in case you don’t recognise Banks, here’s a picture which you definitely will recognise, which some kind soul captioned so that we can identify all of the lovely people posing:


And this turns out to be quite a handy way for me link to¬†the fact that Cambridge Analytica is¬†not just accused of meddling in the EU Referendum,¬†they’re also implicated – along with them pesky Russians, of course – in some distinctly underhand¬†shenanigans on Facebook in the US Elections back in 2016. Perhaps come back to this another time.

But make no bones about it, whilst the focus is, for the moment, on Cambridge Analytica, Facebook are just as culpable in my eyes for allowing them to do what they’ve done. Moreover, they’ve¬†known about this for at least two years and have taken no action¬†until the current crisis hit.

Personally, ever since I learned about updated Terms & Conditions that Facebook had implemented which basically said that any content that you uploaded onto there was, essentially, theirs to do with as they please, I’ve practically stopped using Facebook. I rarely post anything there, but I have a few friends who are on there and who I see rarely, so it’s a handy way of staying in touch with them. However, the consequence of me not posting anything on Facebook pre-Brexit to indicate my political inclinations meant that I didn’t have to wade through any of that guff on the occasions when I decided to flick through my time-line to see what they had been up to.

The thing is, many people did not realise how the data that they innocently posted on Facebook was going to be used, and may still be used. Facebook followed the iTunes model of knowing full well that when they send customers a 12+ page updated Terms & Conditions, with the possibility of clicking “Accept” rather than actually having to read them all, 99% of them will take that option. Which means that Facebook, iTunes et al,¬†can put whatever they like in those T&C’s and You and I will have no idea what’s in them.

And then, when we complain, they can say “You clicked ‘Accept’. Sorry.”

Which all sounds a bit mad conspiratorial 1984 Big Brother, I guess. And normally I’d agree, if this wasn’t all getting played out right now.

A tune, then, which I’ve not been able to get out of my head since the story started to emerge:


Freeland – We Want Your Soul

More soon.


I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays


A couple of week’s ago, I posted Oasis’ Whatever and said it was one of only a handful of songs by them that I liked, post Definitely Maybe.

Here’s one of the others:


Oasis – Acquiesce

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Sometimes I surprise myself by realising that I’ve somehow managed not to post a particular song before.

I love this record. I love the original too, even though (or perhaps because)¬†it’s not especially fashionable to admit to liking The Travelling Wilburys.

But I love this version even more:

Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Fur Coat

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins – Handle With Care

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

When I went to Adam Buxton’s Bug show last year, I was delighted that Grimes got an airing, and I’ve been meaning to post more by¬†her (her being Claire Elise Boucher)¬†ever since.

It’s about time I actually got round to doing just than then.

This is from the utterly wonderful Art Angels album, which if you don’t already own, I can heartily recommend:


Grimes – Easily

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Let’s get this out of the way straightaway: this series is not meant to be a challenge to Drew’s mighty It’s Friday….Let’s Dance series over at Across The Kitchen Table, which has been running for years, is brilliant, and has reminded me of many an old school bangers and introduced me to tunes I missed in equal measures.

No, I’d much rather you see this as a companion piece, a continuation of the theme, if you will, only featuring worse tunes and less good writings than what you get over at Drew’s place.

Were it not for the possibility that it might invoke hideous memories of Pat and Mick, I would have called the series I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet.

See, I came to the world of club/dance music ridiculously late. This is something that I have mentioned before, and always rued: I was at college, and DJ’ing, in the late 1980s when the whole dance/rave scene exploded, but, bar playing the occasional tune when I did the Chart Night, I utterly ignored the whole scene. S’not proper music, there’s no guitars, I would sniffily say.

This viewpoint was eroded considerably by the time I had my first proper club night experience, almost ten years after I had (finally) graduated. I’d been to clubs before, sure, most notably I still have my membership card for Cardiff’s legendary Tom Tom Club which I went to (once)¬†circa 1990, and hated.

Now: I have many times said that I don’t see the point of music that you have to take drugs to appreciate, but I can fully see now that this was a view coloured by not having taken them. Once I did, I realised that they enhanced the enjoyment, unlocked the box, rather than being the foundation blocks upon which any love of a genre was based.

Let me make it very clear now though, as I have done when I’ve mentioned this topic before: I write this in no way condoning the use of illegal recreational drugs. I would hate to think that someone started taking drugs as a result of something I had written, and I would never advise anyone to do it.

But the truth remains, I had a bloody good time because I went clubbing and took drugs. I don’t regret doing it, but that doesn’t mean I think others should follow suit. Don’t do it, kids: just say no.

The first night I tried Ecstasy, I wasn’t planning on taking it. I had met some friends (who had probably best¬†remain anonymous) at a bar in Cardiff for what I thought was a harmless enough couple of beers. We sat in the beer garden drinking, and at some point it was mentioned that there was going to be a DJ playing later, and there were pills available if I wanted some. Initially, I declined; the alcohol was enough for me, and, whilst I had no objection to them indulging, I didn’t really want to be in the company of friends who were all off their faces, so I intended to head home once they had dropped.

Oh, but booze, a legal drug, is a cruel inhibition reducer, and I soon found my stance had softened from a firm “No thanks” to a curious¬†“Is that offer still open….?”

It was, and a ‘cheeky half’ was swallowed, and that, as they say, was that.

All I remember about the rest of the night are the following things:

  1. there were a couple of girls I knew from work there, who I tried to avoid, for fear of being found out
  2. In my efforts to avoid them, I spent a lot of my time not dancing, but instead standing on the peripherals of the dancefloor, rubbing the top of my head and taking deep breaths, which was not a good look and not in the least bit conspicuous, I’m sure
  3. Two tunes getting played, which I must’ve danced to, and this is one of them:


Darude – Sandstorm

More soon, probably the other tune that set me down the road to ruin.



I managed to miss posting something on St David’s Day at the start of the month. As an adopted Welshman – I lived there for 20 years (and would move back in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose), so that surely bestows some sort of honorary status upon me, right? – I can only hang my head in shame.

But today is St Patrick’s Day, which I spent many a happy night celebrating when I lived in Cardiff, even though I have absolutely no Irish connections whatsoever, unless you count my parents retiring there (and subsequently moving back).

That’s the thing about St Patrick’s day: nobody cares if you’re Irish or not, as long as you have a drink in your hand, as was proven by the copious amounts of drunks I encountered on this day when I used to live near Holloway Road.


Here’s a bloody great, if ever so slightly obvious tune, to mark the occasion:


The Pogues – The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Regular readers will know this series is intended to showcase records that put a spring in your step and a smile on your face on a Monday morning.

Sometimes those records will be great. Sometimes those records will be dumb.

No prizes for guessing which category today’s choice sits in.

Brace yourself.


Bomfunk MCs – Freestyler

Because nothing says “Freestyler” more than a white man with dreads leaning on an escalator rail.

More soon.