Totally Themed: Friday Night Music Club #2

p02p278q

I’m beginning to wonder if this blog is in fact chronicling some kind of nervous meltdown. First I set myself an impossible task to conduct in the most public arena possible (were anyone actually reading this). Then my attention flutters away, embarking an on a string of utterly pointless posts, mixing pop and politics among other briefly flirted-with topics; then I spend time dissecting the General Election with ever growing depression and resignation, before attempting to lighten the mood by writing a post which started off about about a 7″ single I bought back in 1982 and which descended into a rant against press bias and paedophilia.

Still, could be worse. Could’ve been a rant in favour of press bias and paedophilia, I suppose. Which  would have made me the sort of person to be a whole lot happier about the election result.

So, a further attempt to inject some levity into proceedings, and a return to a post theme I touched on briefly once before: the Friday Night Music Club. And my apologies that absolutely none of you will get to read this on a Friday Night, unless you abstain for a further 7 days. I decided to rewrite my last entry a little (well, quite a lot, as it turned out) before I did this, which took a fair bit longer than intended.

Anyway, you’ll recall I mentioned that when doing these mix cd’s/playlists/call them what you will, I often strung a sequence of songs together with a bit of a theme to link them. Well, I’ve gone a little further this time – an entire play list based around one theme.

Now, I love a bit of comedy. I appreciate this may not exactly have been terribly evident around these parts recently, but trust me. I like to think I’m quite a funny chap, but blimey-O-Reilly, sitting here and writing the stuff is an entirely different bag of bollocks. So I have nothing but respect for those who do comedy and do comedy well.

I was raised listening to radio repeats of Hancock’s Half Hour (if you only know The Blood Donor, I urge you to dig around a little, there’s much better, if less iconic episodes out there, specifically any of the ones featuring Kenneth Williams); of Round the Horne (specifically any of the sketches featuring Kenneth Williams (can you spot a trend emerging…?) as Rambling Syd Rumpole or with Hugh Paddick as Julian and Sandy – all characters whose whole raison d’etre were to be as innuendo-laden and utterly filthy as their polare would allow.) The influences of the latter in particular can easily be seen here: Betty Swallocks

Then there was the two original radio series’ of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (which my brother recorded onto cassettes and for which he made his own inlay sleeves), followed by the TV series (for which he didn’t), then the five books in the trilogy, followed, eventually, several years later, by the film. And Fawlty Towers. And The Young Ones. And Blackadder. And The Fast Show. And Father Ted. And Black Books. And The League of Gentlemen. And The Office. And Nathan Barley. And Phoenix Nights. And Peep Show. And The Inbetweeners. All of these box-sets line the dank, unblemished by daylight, walls of my blog-cave. Well, they would if I didn’t keep lending them to people. (Yes, I’m looking at you!)

I could go on. And I probably will, knowing me.

But in my opinion there hasn’t been a really great, new sitcom for a good few years now. “Pulling” was maybe the last one, I thought, which truly had legs. So of course it got pulled after just two series. So I was delighted when “Catastrophe” hit our small screens earlier this year, co-penned and co-starring the wonderful Sharon Horgan, who had co-penned and co-starred in “Pulling”. Basic premise: Irish woman meets American man in the UK; have a one-night stand (actually, spread over two or three nights), she gets pregnant, they decide to try and make things work. Apart from the whole having unprotected sex aspect, that’s quite a positive message to put out there, and joy of joy it’s done with such verve, wit, style and humanity that the six episodes were over in a blink. More please, Channel 4!

No sooner was Catastrophe off air, and I had sunk back into the fat-arse shaped furrow I have ploughed into my couch, then bugger me rigid Channel 4 only went and did it again with “Raised By Wolves”. Now if you’re reading this then then you already know about one of the writers, for it was The Queen of Twitter, and frankly as far as I’m concerned, Queen of Everything She Deigns to Touch, Caitlin Moran. If you haven’t ever read her utterly magnificent “How To Be A Woman” then I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist you go here and buy it before we can continue, even if that does mean giving those tax evading vultures at Amazon some of your hard-earneds. And buy a new copy, not a second-hand one, you cheapskate.

Bought it? Really? Show me. Hmm. Okay, good. Then we can carry on.

“Raised by Wolves” was co-written by Caitlin and her sister Caroline and tells the wonderfully odd-ball story of the Garry family, who were apparently based on their own childhood in Wolverhampton. I say apparently: it is perfectly clear which of the daughters of the family is based on Caitlin. The show’s an utter charm throughout, there’s never a dull moment, blink or laugh too long at one and you’ll miss the next in the machine gun rat-tat-tat of bullet-sharp lines. More please, Channel 4!

I imagine this might only be applicable to those of you in the UK, but you can catch both of these shows in their entirety on the All 4 website, here: Catastrophe and here: Raised by Wolves

So there we were, mid April 2015, and we were already blessed with two utterly brilliant new sitcoms. That’d be our lot for the year, surely?

Well, since I haven’t mentioned the sitcom in the picture at the top of the post, you can safely guess that there’s at least one more for me to wax lyrical about.

Peter Kay’s Car Share is a joy from start to finish. Essentially that rarest of things – a two-hander (stop it, innuendo fans…), it simply relays six days when John (Peter Kay) and Kayleigh (co-writer Sian Gibson) travel to and from work at a supermarket in Lancashire, showing how they learn about each other, learn to communicate with and understand each other, learn to like each other and attempt to provide support to each other. It’s like a Chorley-based buddy cop movie, where the two main characters are thrown together in a mess of dislike and distrust at the start, before slowly earning each others respect, trust and compassion, only without one of them getting shot twenty minutes before the end. It’s six perfect slices of normal life, and it’s to the writers’ eternal credit that (SPOILER ALERT!!) the two main characters don’t end the series coupling up.

But while it’s largely a two-hander, it’s not just the two of them throughout: there are cameo appearances from the likes of Reece Shearsmith who puts in a staggering display as Stink Ray, the fishmonger who makes up his own nonsensical words to “Here Comes The Hotstepper” (Once seen, you’ll never be able to hear that again without singing “I’m a lyrical dance-flap”), and 70s Comedian (uh-oh….) Mick Miller (phew!), flashing screensavers of his topless Thai bride (if only his actual wife would take the hint…)

And there are references to Kay’s previous masterpiece: Archie Kelly ( “Phoenix Nights” Kenny Senior) pops up in one memorably hilarious scene, Gibson herself appears in three episodes of the earlier show, and of course there is an extra, unseen character: the whole thing is sound-tracked not by Chorley “Coming In Your Ears” FM but rather by the innuendo heavy adverts (“A Bamber sausage is a sausage the whole family can enjoy. Made with all our own natural ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Give your mouth a treat – try Ken’s Meat. Ken Bamber’s Old English Sausage”), the terrible DJ links (“It Could Be You: that’s what the National Lottery told us in this year, and I’ve only got one ball”…”It was the year that Freddie Mercury tragically died of AIDS while Julia Roberts was “Sleeping with the Enemy”, so I guess Freddie must’ve been too”) and, of course, mostly and most importantly, the cheesy pop songs of Forever FM.

Kay has of course got a bit of form in picking out songs previously considered a bit naff, featuring them in either one of his shows, or as one of his Comic Relief Campaigns, or both. (Interesting disclaimer at the start of that one, eh? It shows the level of idiocy of some people that it was thought it needed to be clarified that Kay didn’t cast Jimmy Savile AFTER all of the revelations)

And that, pop pickers, is where we came in. The tunes from Car Share form tonight’s Music Club. All 64 songs are in the folders below, all in the order they appeared in the show (well, they’re numbered as such), with a couple which are featured according to Wikipedia but which I’m buggered if I could spot – and including a couple that Wikipedia missed. I say that last bit with an immense amount of nerdy pride. Oh, and one special extra one, which was sung but not played in the final episode. I’m sure you’ll already know what I’m talking about. (Clue: it’s not “Orinoco Flow”. Or “Dizzy”)

Split into two folders due to size restrictions, I give you:

Peter Kay’s Car Share (Episodes 1 – 3)

Peter Kay’s Car Share (Episodes 4 – 6)

I’ll leave you to work out how many of the songs featured here I owned prior to making this mix. I think only one has featured previously; there’s two or three which would have done eventually, and around fifty or so that definitely wouldn’t have. But don’t let that put you off. In fact, judging by some of the things I did buy, you might want to take that as a good sign.

Enjoy!

And of course, if you like any of the songs, go buy a copy.

Advertisements

I Don’t Speak French, So I’ll Let the Funky Music Do The Talking. (As if!)

It occurred to me the other day that I had slightly wandered off track from my original mission with this blog.

For those newcomers, a) hello, nice of you to drop by. Make yourself at home, there’s vol au vents on the side, help yourself (I’m a sucker for puff pastry finger food), and b) inspired by watching High Fidelity, the idea of this blog was to talk about every record I had bought in the order that I bought them. No matter how embarrassing the purchase was, I’d spill the beans. To my mind, there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure: when you bought a record it was because it gave you pleasure, we don’t need to add middle-aged guilt into the equation.

I have to admit, as you’ll probably have gathered from the lack of posts on this theme for…ooooh, quite some time now….I’ve kind of given up on making that the over-riding theme here, and was quite happy going off at tangents as I have done for a while now.

But the other day, something made me decide to focus back on this again, albeit it fleetingly. Not sure what prompted it. But I suddenly found myself going through all my mp3s, making little folders entitled “1983” and such like, and dragging and dropping all the stuff I bought hard copies off back in the day into their respective folders. I now have an often very short playlist on my iTunes for every year from 1982 onwards. The exercise proved interesting, as I could certainly see certain trends emerge, and also the point where my craving to own more and more records started to snowball. 1986 is a particular belter, and it seems I was on a roll for a good few years after that. So, you know, bear with me, almost there.

But then, deeply unsatisfied as I often am with digital, I decided to get my vinyl out. Now: I have quite a lot of vinyl, and I’m also “looking after” my ex-flatmate’s vinyl (with her permission, you understand) as she had no longer had the room for it when she moved in with her bloke, nor a turn-table to play it all on for that matter.

In particular, out came the singles. Now, as you may have noticed, I bloody love a single, me. The point of a single, so those braces wearing marketing tools will tell you, is to encourage you to part with more of your hard earned cash by buying the single, maybe a second single, and then the album they’re both on. Ok, well hands up I’ve fallen for that hook, line and sinker on many an occasion. But I’ve also used singles as an “in” to certain bands that have been around for a while that I’ve been curious about.

So, in the early days, I’d follow the marketing execs wet dream: I’d buy the lead single. Then the follow-up. And then the album. And then probably the third single too, as it probably had an exclusive B-side, never to be released on an album. Anywhere. Ever. Honest.

But then I realised I could save money by going for the Best Ofs for certain established acts.This is how it went: buy greatest hits album. Decide which singles I like best. Play these incessantly. Go and buy the album they’re on. Decide I don’t like anything else on the album as much as the singles. Listen to the singles from said album on the said album as opposed to on the greatest hits album. Put on shelf to gather dust while I buy a new greatest hits album. Repeat ad infinitum. In other words, look out: there’s a veritable glut of Greatest Hits albums on the horizon.

So there I was, sifting through my singles, when a song popped into my head which I remember buying, but for some reason no longer own. No idea what happened to it. Probably got left in a DJ booth somewhere, not that I could ever imagine playing this record “out”. Not even at the incredibly cheesy 80s night I used to do at college (I started doing said retro 80s night in 1990. I think I really was impressively quick out of the nostalgia-block there).

And then, completely coincidentally, my bestest buddy happened to post the song on Facebook. This, I decided, was a sign.

So, this post takes us back a little. I think the last post I did in this strand was a) before my numbskull fellow English citizens decided to give old shiny-ham face the mandate to fuck us over for another 5 years and b) some records I bought back in 1984. Well, it turns out I missed some from 1982 and 1983. (Quo records aside, of course. There were fricking hundreds of those 3 chord chuggers bought around this time). Hard luck, you’re going to have to listen to me waffle on about them.

So. Imagine it’s 1982. Picture me, watching Top of the Pops, with, of all people, my father. This record comes on. I rather like it. I am aware that the singer is someone who is more commonly associated with being in another band. A band, the singer of which my father, on a Saturday night, when he’d had a few, was quite adept at doing an impression of (though he fervently denies this now). Keen to impress, I tell my father I rather like this record.

“Father”, I say, ” I rather like this record”.

Father looks up from his paper and G&T, doubtless disappointed I’m not dragging his attention to Legs & Co, and says: “Ah yeh. Him. Got a face like a horse”.

There you have it, everyone. Bill Wyman has a face like a horse. I’m sure that’s what attracted Mandy Smith to him. Face like a horse, and sadly that’s where the similarities end. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

bill-wyman-si-si-je-suis-un-rock-star-1981-6

Bill Wyman – (Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star

Now: listen to those lyrics. “They’ll think I’m your Dad, and you’re my daughter.” Errrrrrmmmm…I know this blog is called A History of Dubious Taste but…purrleeaaase…..! (Smash Hits reference there, 80s pop fans)

For those who are uninitiated in celeb gossip, Bill Wyman was 47 when he began a relationship with 13 year old Mandy Smith. By the time she was 14, they had started a “sexual” (imagine Simon Bates saying that at the start of an 18 rated video. Ewwwwww.) relationship with Mandy Smith.

Yup, you read that right. 14. They subsequently married (and divorced) but I think that’s rather by the by.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen plenty of our 1970s celebrities and light entertainers, and in particular Radio 1 DJs, come under much deserved scrutiny and prosecution for not entirely dissimilar behaviour. On the rare occasion I have heard anyone attempt to explain away those awful acts, it’s usually with the paper-thin defence that “Times were different back then”. Well, yes they were. And thank God things have changed.

But the curious thing is that it seems it is that the British media has perpetuated the widely accepted, it seems, idea that all of that kind of stuff ended with the 1970s, that after that point attitudes changed almost over night. It’s as if this problem can solely be blamed on the social mores and values of the 1970s; that on January 1st 1980 we all woke up and realised that the sexual molestation of minors was no longer cool but that, y’know, we’d best not talk about it or anything.

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but that ain’t quite how it played out.

Bill Wyman and Mandy Smith began their relationship in 1983.

I remember the general pubic being pretty appalled about this at the time. But how did our media react? How about the press – what did they do?

You’ll all remember how the red tops howled for the BBC to be burned to the ground when it was found that Savile, Harris et al had been plying their perverted trade whilst employed by the TV Licence payer, right? Well they behaved in the same way back then, surely?

Did they fuck as like. Their portrayal of the Wyman/Smith affair was to caricature Wyman as an incorrigable old rogue with a bit of a penchant for the younger lady. Headines tended to lean more towards painting Wyman as just a harmless cheeky old chappie, more in the “Aww, bless ya Bill, good on ya!” vein than any sense of moral outrage or indignity.

So when you next see an article in a tabloid screaming blue murder at the latest celebrity crashing from the ceiling, applaud them for finally catching up with public sentiment in at least one way. And then ask yourself what the fuck they were doing twenty or thirty years ago.

Hurrah the Blackshirts, indeed. (Google it if that makes no sense. I’ve ranted quite enough for now)

But I digress. You remember how I said right at the top that there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure? Well this comes bloody close. But guilty in terms of what it represents rather than the record itself, which on face value is a fairly innocuous pop song until you listen a little closer.

Having revisited it, I’m now off to self flagellate with a particularly bumpy pumice stone.

More soon.

The Election Section #10

Okay, so my analysis.

Firstly, let me say I’m not an ungracious loser. The Tories won, fair and square. I can accept it, but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

Here’s why, I think:

1. Miliband’s handling of the SNP question. I think he got this wrong. I understand why he felt the need to say he had “fundamental differences” with the SNP which prevented him from going into coalition with them; he wanted to seem firm and decisive in the face of the Tory assertion that a Lab/SNP would be bad for the UK.

But why rule it out entirely? We all knew the only way Ed was going to get in was in coalition with someone. So to say he had fundamental differences with the SNP as opposed to with anyone else, makes no sense. Surely, you have fundamental differences with all of the other parties, Ed? Tackle the Tory position rather than the SNP, Ed.

Ed – your reluctance to hold out an olive branch to Scotland cost you dearly (coupled with Point 2). Link that with Scotland’s general contempt for Labour’s association with the Better Together campaign, and you can see why you lost so much support North of the Border. And once you lost that….well, you were screwed. In the same way you would have been if they had gone independent. Natch.

2. Cameron’s handling of the SNP question. Fair play, he played this pretty well, deflecting everything to a negative portrayal of a Labour/SNP pact. I’m not convinced such a pact would have been such a bad thing, but the public bought that it would have been, hook line and sinker. Twats.

3. The Russell Brand effect. I genuinely think the chat with RB was a good thing. It would’ve engaged a lot of disenfranchised younger voters, and RB’s endorsement would’ve done him bucket loads of good. Now, I don’t think all of RB’s followers would have blindly refused to register to vote. But some of them will have. So if you’re aiming for those people not going to vote (as you must have been, just to do the interview), then do it BEFORE the cut off date to register to vote had passed. By the time they actually did the interview, those who has listened to RB’s call to abstain were too late to register – so the whole exercise was pointless. 3 weeks earlier and it could have made a difference.

4. The TV Debates. Generally, Ed did ok. He came across as firm and determined – but he also did so at the wrong point. I’ve already discussed the SNP situation, but it didn’t end there, His refusal to admit Labour had over-spent cost him dearly. We all know they did. And he’s admitted as much before: mistakes were made. But his answer to that bloke who he was “not going to convince” didn’t convince anyone.

5. Ed Balls. No one likes him. No one is sorry he lost his seat.

6. The Tablet of Stone. Jesus wept, who thought of this? Fire them, now. This has Perfect Curve written all over it. They have spoiled their own ballot paper, never let them near a political party again.

7. The Barbie Bus. Oh for fuck sake. Insult the intelligence of 50% the electorate, why don’t you?

8. The crushing of the Lib Dems and UKIP. Nobody wanted to be seen to supporting either of these, for vastly different reasons. The Lib Dems because of the whole tuition fees thing, from which they have never recovered; UKIP just because they’re UKIP.

8. And the fucking Press. Scare-mongered into voting for one of the main parties by the mostly right-wing press, our beautiful populace panicked and voted Blue. And I don’t just mean the Murdoch-owned monopoly: the Evening Standard’s front page on Wednesday was frankly disgusting right-wing penis swinging machismo, which I’m proud to note most of us Londoners paid no attention to. But this was just a reflection of how the rest of the press was going.

7. Failure to monopolise. Frankly, if Dermot Murnaghan can make Cameron look like the lying tit we all know he is when he forgets which football team he claims to have supported since he was a kid and you can’t, you don’t deserve to win. Much like West Ham/Aston Villa (delete as applicable)

8. Just….Ed. I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t think anyone ever really bought into Ed Miliband being a credible leader. The bacon sandwich. The falling off the stage on the TV broadcast. The “Hell Yeh”s. None of this speaks of leadership qualities. Not that many people think Cameron is any more credible, he’s just a shiny faced posh boy, but him having been in position for 5 years means he didn’t have to out-credential Ed. Oh Ed. I’m sure you and your two kitchens are lovely, but, Milibrands apart nobody was going to buy you as a leader. Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure his heart was in the right place, that he truly wanted to lead a red revolution. Just….sorry, Ed, but you were too Ed.

So some songs to sum this up.

This springs to mind:

R_E_M__-_It's_the_End_of_the_World_as_We_Know_It_(And_I_Feel_Fine)_(United_States)

though I don’t feel fine.

This is me being gracious in defeat.

114761016

Kind of.

And I bloody hate this lot:

noah-and-the-whale-2-trk-maxi-12-5-five-years-time-fc-kahuna-mixes-collyer-2009--2_4123870

but an FC Kahuna remix is always a thing of beauty, and the title is apt, if nothing else (lap it up, I’ll never post anything by these stripy-topped, turn-up wearing, moustache waxing Shoreditch-ites again)

And, since we’re in this fucking situation, the least you can do is go here and try to save the NHS. Don’t swallow Cameron’s “my son was really ill and I owe the NHS everything” shit, the NHS is in real danger. He left his other kid in a pub garden, such is his love and care for his reptilian offspring.

Ahem. Deep breaths.

Normality will be restored soon here, if not in the real world.

The Election Section #9

the-jam-going-underground-polydor

I hadn’t really planned on carrying this thread on past Thursday. But then I hadn’t really planned on what happened on Thursday happening.

I have my opinions as to what went wrong, as to how the wheels came off the cart so spectacularly. I’m not going to voice them here. Not just yet, anyway. Let me calm down first.

For now, this sums it up. Or rather, it would if it included the lyric “The public get what the public deserve.”

The Jam – Going Underground

More soon (once I have recovered from last night’s Super Furries gig)

The Election Section #8

newtownfront

As I write this, there are just under four hours to go until the polling stations across the UK close. If you are able to vote, and haven’t yet, go do it. If you already have, nice one, I hope you made the right (that’s right with no capital R) choice.

To round off this series of themed posts. I’ll keep it short; as you’ll probably guess from the sleeve of the 7″ single, today’s song is a simple yet beautiful thing of wonder, a song so lustrous in its production values and subtle in its message, it needs no additional words from me to be appreciated.

Newtown Neurotics – Kick Out The Tories!

The Election Section #7

SFA-Slow-Life

I’m off to see Super Furry Animals on Friday. I think they’re the band I’ve seen the most over the years. If you’ve never caught them, or, heaven forbid, have heard their records and “don’t get them”, I urge you to go.

Slow Life is taken from their wonderful “Phantom Power” album (hint: they’re all wonderful), the album closer, an absolute belter and crowd pleaser whenever they play it live, and a sneaky peek at the set list for the gigs they’ve done so far on this short current tour tells me I’m in for an absolute treat come Friday.

Now, at the risk of repeating myself,  I don’t want to turn into one of those sites that just posts lyrics for you to chew over, but go on then, just this once.

“Move you
Buy and sell you
Terrorise you
Mass destruct you
Flaunt you
Disconnect you
Cluster fuck you
We will crush you
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life

I see television
Pretty pictures
Of starvation
Icy cold fractures
I see fragments

Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life
Rocks are slow life”

I bloody love the phrase “Cluster fuck you”.

Polling cards at the ready for tomorrow folks! We meet at 9.30 to 10!

The Election Section #6

61zdE6DSwHL

This was a glaring omission from my recent post where I posted songs relevant (debatably) to the smaller parties. I’m doing them a dis-service by referring to them thusly, for which I apologise.

Anyway, time for a sing-song. Altogether now……

No? Ok, some help. I don’t want to turn into one of those sites that just posts lyrics for you to chew over, but go on then, just this once:

“Deffrwch Cymry cysgld gwlad y gan
Dwfn yw’r gwendid
Bychan yw y fflam
Creulon yw’r cynhaeaf
Ond per yw’r don
‘Da’ alaw’r alarch unig
yn fy mron

Everyday when I wake up
I thank the Lord I’m Welsh

Gwledd o fedd gynhyrfodd Gymraes swil
Darganfyddais gwir baradwys Rhyl

Everyday when I wake up
I thank the Lord I’m Welsh”

Now. I am not Welsh. I do not speak Welsh. All I know is that my spell-checker has just had a hissy fit.

But I do think the Welsh accent and language are things of beauty. And I also think that the survival of the Welsh language is key to Wales retaining it’s national identity.

And here’s someone else who it would seem agrees with me: The Wedding Present – 1000 Fahrenheit (Welsh Version)