Late Night Stargazing

Bands names are a minefield.

Some claim their name means nothing, just a couple of words thrown together. Such was the defence of The Soup Dragons. (Oh yeh? And you just happened to throw together two words which just happened to be a character from 1970s animated and shown just before the news series “The Clangers” did you…?)

Some name themselves after literary works. Generally, this seems to be either “A Clockwork Orange” (Heaven 17, Moloko) or “The Hitch-Hiker’s¬†Guide To The Galaxy” (Level 42…er…and I’m sure lots of others that I can’t think of right now. Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. There is, I kid you not,¬†an estate agent in¬†North London¬†called Hotblack Desiato. I hate estate agents, but props for the name).

Then there’s the bands who place some intellectual worth on their name. Prime amongst these must be The Smiths, apparently chosen as a reaction against all bands who chose complicated named to emphasise their music¬†(are you watching, Orchestral Maneouvres In The Dark?¬†That’s you, that is)

And then there’s¬†TV On The Radio.

Think about those words for a moment.

TV.

On.

The.

Radio.

That’s a hell of a mission statement.

Our music, they are saying, is so good, when you hear our songs on the radio (i.e. rarely), it’ll be like you have pictures¬†shown in front of you.

A hell of a claim, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Last night, I went to see TV On The Radio at The Roundhouse in London. Their claim is not at all misplaced.

But first,¬†a lil back story here that you won’t get in any of the other posts in this section.

Until about 18 months ago, I knew the name TV On The Radio, but knew nothing of them. Then one night round at my friend Neil’s flat, he played this: Wolf Like Me. My ears pricked up. What the fuck was this, and how have I managed to avoid hearing it until now??

This became a recurring joke. Whenever I was at Neil’s, we would drink some and listen to tunes, and he would pop that record on, and at first¬†I would¬†have forgotten who it was, and then ultimately I’d remember who it was, but would¬†play along and ask the same question anyway.

“Who’s this?”

But then, around the turn of the year, there was a tragic loss¬†in Neil’s family: his niece Jasmine died suddenly,¬†inexplicably, unfairly. She was just six years old.

Now¬†Neil is one of the bubbliest, happiest blokes I know, and for a while, as you would expect, that wasn’t the case. The wind was understandably knocked from his sails.

But.

Shortly after that, I saw him being utterly inspirational by picking himself up and doing what he could to raise funds for this charity.

I am genuinely in awe of the man. He makes me proud that I can call him my friend.

And I can count the number of my friends that I feel that way about on one finger.

I would urge you to make me feel a little less insignificant by donating whatever you can afford via that link.

Around the same time, I saw that TV on The Radio were coming to town, and I wanted to do something to make him happy again. So I bought me and Neil tickets.

That gig got cancelled, and rearranged for last night.

In the intervening 8 months, I could quite easily have cribbed up on their back catalogue, but I chose not to. I had a suspicion that seeing them live would be all the more incredible if I knew none of the songs.

This proved to be a well founded suspicion.

Last night I spent 90 minutes pinned to my chair, held in by how fucking brilliant TV On The Radio were. I wish I could be more articulate than that, but fucking brilliant is what they were, so let’s just call it what it was. Fucking Brilliant.

Neil, it seemed and I hope, loved it.

Here’s the song they opened with. This very much sums up what this thread Is about: music you can close your eyes to and just be transported away.

Mission accomplished.

TVOR_Young_Liars TV On The Radio РYoung Liars

The Sample Life

Although their popularity and useage seems to be on the wane somewhat (I have nothing to back this up, as¬†I don’t seem to listen to current music as much as I should)¬†I¬†thought it might be interesting to play you some songs which feature a sample or two, and let you hear the song from whence the sample was ripped. Rippingly good fun, no?

(This might be one of the shortest lived themes ever. I’ve only thought of two so far…..)

Here’s the first:

Goldie-Lookin-Chain-Your-Missus-Is-A-334175¬†Goldie Lookin’ Chain – Your Missus is a Nutter

This is the song which they played at the Millenium Stadium before the Wales v England World Cup/Euros/Whatever qualifier. They dedicated it to David Beckham, whose wife, Skeletor, was in attendance, if memory serves me right.

No surprises to learn the sample is from this:

Serge_Gainsbourg_Cannabis Serge Gainsbourg РCannabis

Makes perfect sense, no…?

Late Night Stargazing

I’m not stalling for time, honest. 1985 will be here soon, I promise.

But for now, something new(ish.)

A few years ago I was living in a now ex-friend’s house whilst they went off travelling. I was house-sitting, if you like.

Anyway, before my now ex-friend returned from travelling and gave me precisely two days to get out of her house, effectively rendering me homeless, I was a smoker who was strictly forbidden from sparking up indoors. So I would often find myself standing outside, puffing away, nothing to do but look upwards, and eventually I decided I needed some appropriate tuneage to accompany my late night lung cancer encouragement.

What I ended up with was a playlist on my ipod which gave me cause to stop and think, whilst marvelling in the glory of the night sky.

Okay, I haven’t described that particularly well.

What I mean is, the tunes in this section will be obviously late night songs, as opposed to the more up-beat strum-a-long Sunday Morning posts.

Fuck it. I’ll just say it. Have a spliff and enjoy the tunes I post in this section.

This should make all of that make sense:

hqdefault Saint Etienne РOnly Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves)

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I think I’ve spoiled you recently, with my five songs to a post on here. Austerity rules, I’m afraid, Back to one per post (subtext: or I’ll run out of stuff to play you pretty quickly).

The keen observer will have noticed that I’m a big fan of R.E.M. When¬†I say I’m a big fan, like most other big fans I accept that they had their day in the spotlight, and that their last few albums really aren’t much cop.

Usually with great bands, it’s a bit tricky, trying to work out where it went wrong. Not R.E.M. Oh no. With them, there are two things that happened around the same time, and after they did, nothing was ever the same, or as good.

Firstly, the signed a multi-million dollar deal with Warner Brothers. Nowt wrong with that. They’d paid their dues. They was owed.

Secondly, BIll Berry, the drummer, quit the band.¬†The guy did collapse with an¬†aneurysm mid-concert, so you can’t blame him for getting out before he became a Spinal Tap/Pretenders dead drummer statistic.

The last record he appeared on was “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”, an album mostly recorded on the road whist they promoted the “Monster” album. It’s a great record, even if a friend of mine insists on pronouncing it he-fe. (Not sure that translates…)

And then, after that…well, it just wasn’t the same. Poor pronunciation or not.

However, whilst they soldiered on for another few albums, they must have known¬†their days were numbered, finally giving in and quitting in 2011. (As I type that, I honestly can’t believe it’s been 4 years since that happened.)

Anyway, they released a Greatest Hits album as they died, and of course it featured, as is the vogue these days, a few unreleased tracks. And there, hidden amongst them, was today’s post, a song which was exactly the sort of song their fans had been hoping they would make again:

REM-Part-Lies-Part-Heart-Part-Truth-Part-Garbage

R.E.M. – We All Go Back To Where We Belong

I can’t help but think that had those final years had a few more songs like this, then they might still be with us. Ho hum.

More soon.

From Leeds With Love

Onwards, to 1989. (I hope you’re not expecting posts in this series¬†to be in any kind of order. Or maybe they are, time being all timey-wimey and all that)

By the way, this has nothing to do with the Leeds/Reading Festival this weekend, although a quick hello to my Glasto-family who are at the Leeds site for the weekend, and have probably been there since about Wednesday.

And so, to Brassneck. Or rather to one of the tracks on the b-side (remember them…??) of the 12″ (remember them….???)

the-wedding-present-brassneck-rca The Wedding Present РBox Elder

Now. I have a confession to make. When I bought this record, I had no idea this was a cover version. In fact, I remained oblivious to this fact until 1992. And then, in December, I ventured down to the metropolis from sunny Peterborough and went to my first ever gig at what used to be called (and still is by right-minded people) The Brixton Academy.

On the bill: headliners – Sonic Youth, promoting their “Dirty” album. Gig opened by Riot Grrrrl troupe – Huggy Bear. And sandwiched in the middle – Pavement, promoting their “Westing (by Musket and Sextent” album.

I knew nothing of Pavement at the time, at least so I thought. Then, as their set approached the end, they played a song that I realised I knew, and the penny dropped.

pavement_westing Pavement РBox Elder

And that was it. A band nobody else (that I knew) knew, that Gedge had endorsed via a cover version on a b-side of a 12″ single. How could I resist..??

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Sometimes, when I’m feeling the need to be organised, I write a few of these posts at the same time, and such was the case with today’s offering of Sunday morning loveliness (I didn’t have much else to do, since I was using my bro’s post¬†yesterday).

Imagine my surprise, then,¬†when having completed today’s selection of Sunday songs and settling back to watch Match of the Day last night,¬†to promote Match of the Day 2 they played the first song I had lined up today. Now, all I can think of when I hear this is Shearer looking smug, which I’m pretty sure was not the desired effect:

t10631962-i704510800_s400

Dinah Washington – A Sunday Kind of Love

Quite a few years ago, I worked in a video store in Cardiff, a job I loved, but ultimately was crappily-paid so I had to find something else to do to earn my corn. The legacy of those couple of years, of which you will learn much more later, is that I love any films which are based in and around such establishments. Clerks, for example, is one of my favourite films (but not Clerks 2). A couple of years ago, I watched “Be Kind, Rewind”, and was delighted to find it heavily referenced Fats Waller, a jazz pianist and singer I had a bit of a soft spot for, mainly thanks to my Dad playing me this when I was a kid. So, to keep things¬†on a jazzy tip this morning¬†, here’s some more Fats:

MI0002058088

Fats Waller- I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

And now, as they say, for something completely different.

81hoyHo7ufL__SL1300_

The Dandy Warhols – Godless

Nothing like remembering what Sundays are all about, eh? Speaking of which:

Sunday_Sunday_7_cover

Blur – Sunday Sunday

And finally,¬†a few months ago I posted on Facebook that I had just discovered the next artiste, probably a long time after everyone else, and was informed that the video for this song was filmed in Grangetown, a less than glamorous suburb of Cardiff. I honestly figured the person telling me was winding me up until he posted the link to the video¬†and I can confirm he was right, that’s Grangetown alright. Makes yer heart fair swell with pride.

220px-Johngrant

John Grant – Chicken Bones

More soon.

A Goth Steps From The Dry-Ice…

Something different this week. A while ago, my older brother, who kindly follows the inane toss I splurge onto these pages, emailed me something he had written which he thought would be good to include here. I agreed, but told him it needed polishing. (There has to be some semblance of quality control, otherwise what I do would become devalued, reduced to the drunken ramblings of a man trying to justify his own self-being in the world of almost-modern pop culture. Which it obviously is.)

In other words, for one week only, I get to live out my Smash Hits fantasy and be “The Ed”.

What follows is the result.

If nothing else, you will note that being a facetious bastard runs in the family.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post, a Freephone number will appear at the end. (No it won’t – The Ed)

So first: an apology. This is not being written by Jezbionic himself.

It has been hinted in the mainstream press that due to an overdose of artificial colourings mixed with imported vodka he was stuck in a Glastonbury based ‚ÄúGroundhog Day‚ÄĚ and is currently sat explaining to Betty Ford why Super Furries really aren‚Äôt a figment of his drug fuelled imagination. Whether that‚Äôs true or not I can‚Äôt possibly comment, but I can tell you he has asked me, his older brother, to stand in for one blog only.

As such I need to make a very clear opening statement: this edition only contains one reference to Status Quo (the one you just read, which is required to get past the editorial censoring committee) (Tick! You’re in – Ed). If you only normally read this blog for three chord wonderment save yourself the time and stop reading now. Not to be judgemental or anything, but maybe the time saved would be well spent looking at some of your life choices? Just a thought.

The other point I need to make before I start is that I am in total agreement with Russell Brand, that although it would be very simple to use Google to check the facts as I write them, that would break my concentration and lead to me becoming a simple minded fool looking at cute videos of kittens and what not, so accept this as a stream of consciousness article and save any of your bile for when my ickle bruvva’s back next week.

My own musical beginnings were nothing out of the ordinary. I grew up in rural Cambridgeshire, with the normal early eighties hormonally challenged male obsessions with heavy metal: Purple, Zep and a little Sabbath. Your standard occultism stuff, nothing unusual, to that point.

A post ‘O’ levels summer spent picking blueberries in Michigan broadened my musical horizons somewhat, leading me to discover the Go-Gos (I only found out years later they scored cool points as mates with the Fun Boy Three, trading songs and what not), Rick Springfield (again, unknown to me at the time, as uncool as the Go-Gos were cool, a General Hospital soap actor turned manufactured pop star, but I still think Red Hot and Blue Love rocks) and Def Leppard (I make no excuses: when God cuts your drummers arm off to shut you up maybe you should just accept that you‚Äôre shite?)

But still, no real indication that music was in any way an important part of my life. Aged sixteen I joined Her Majesty’s esteemed Royal Air Force and began my ritual brainwashing, during which it was made abundantly clear to us that music was just something to keep time while you’re marching, and that white heterosexuality was the only acceptable human state. The fact that we all believed this without question, whilst moonwalking to Michael Jackson and PWAH!ing to Frankie Goes to Hollywood while we polished our shirts and ironed our socks at two in the morning ready for a dawn kit inspection is sign of just how good a job the brain washing did.

Within a year though, things had started to change. Come the end of the working week I would carefully remove my well formed beret, take off the boots (you could see your own reflection in the toecaps), and hang my immaculately ironed number two uniform in my solitary locker.

Once they were all removed I would start the rebirthing process: a little eyeliner here, maybe a dab of black nail polish there. Definitely hairspray, up to a can at a time.

ST-ST-ST-STUDIO LINE FROM L’OREAL, FIXING GEL:STRONG HOLD! *

Weekend uniform no less strict than the weekday one:

  • trousers, very black, very tight
  • blouse, old woman‚Äôs (Evans loyalty card monopolised): large, white, flouncy as possible
  • winkle pickers, black (obviously) pointy (obviously), as many buckles as possible (er…helloo…??)
  • wide brimmed black hat (optional, but hell yeah)

Like Clark Kent slipping into something more comfortable in a New York phone box, I had changed from a crab** to a Goth……

What, you may ask yourselves, could cause such a once in a lifetime change in such a short time?

Sometimes the smallest thing can change a life, the one snowball thrown at a mountain that starts a (Rose of) avalanche.***

My butterfly flapping its wings in the rainforest moment was a simple mix tape. Nothing more, nothing less, but it changed my life, for better or worse, forever.

You see, just because I took the Queen‚Äôs shilling at sixteen, not all my friends did. My mate Rob stayed in Cambridgeshire, seeking out all the great wonders of the world to be found at the sixth form in Stanground. (I am reliably informed by a pretty reliable source (i.e. Rob himself) that Rob didn’t go to Stanground, he went to 6th form at Orton Longueville, where all the cool kids went – Ed) That meant that through him I was only three steps removed form the PleasureHeads, of whom my only other recollection is an NME article which described the fact that the lead singer was seen removing a pair of leather trousers to change into his stage gear (more of them later – Ed). At the time I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I still struggle to think of anything cooler now, to be honest.

So Rob got a copy of a mix tape from a PleasureHead, and I got a copy from Rob. Simple as.

On that one C60 were the songs that I still hear in my head every day now:

birthday

 The Birthday Party РRelease the Bats

The_Jesus_And_Mary_Chain_-_Upside_Down_(Single)

 The Jesus & Mary Chain РUpside Down

300px-Bodyelectric

The Sisters of Mercy – Adrenochrome

Bauhaus_ziggy_stardust Bauhaus РZiggy Stardust

(far better than the Bowie original, sorry David), and

P1010755_edited

¬†You Weren‚Äôt Born, You Were Created –¬†by someone (The Playn Jayn – Ed) I don‚Äôt remember (You’re welcome – Ed)

and who never did anything else again, because basically, once you reach the heady heights of the mixtape, what else is there to aim for?

From that one mixtape can be traced all the important things that happened to me for years to come: accidentally reverse crowdsurfing onto stage with the Soup Dragons (pre-“I’m Free”, when they were good and sounded like the Buzzcocks – Ed); having breakfast on more than one occasion with the drummer from Pop will Eat Itself (he was ‚Äúfriends‚ÄĚ with my then girlfriend‚Äôs sister whenever they played in Aylesbury) (CLANG! – Ed); singing Republican anti-English songs at multiple Pogues gigs whenever Shane proved that the drunken Irishman act really wasn‚Äôt an act; right through to being one of only twelve people in the mosh pit at an early Oasis gig in Zeebrugge, while several thousand Belgian and Dutch had a nice schmoke and waited for Schimple Mindsch to come on, which led Liam to turn off all the amps half way through “I Am the Walrus” and stomp off stage in a huff (taking Helena Christiansen with him, which I can‚Äôt help thinking may have counted as an ulterior motive for not playing an encore)

Epilogue: I’m writing this whilst sat on a beach in Goa. I tell you this not to boast that I’m in Goa (I live in Bangalore, and to Bengalurians and Mumbaisters, Goa is just a short low cost flight away: think Marbella in the sub-continent. If you think Marbella is cool ask the Quo fans to scoot up, you need to spend some time considering your life choices). I say this merely because Goa is probably one of the least Goth influenced places on the planet, so you may think that Goth is something I once was, something I grew out of. Not so. There’s not a day that goes past without the voices in my head singing some eighties Leeds-influenced goth classic. Occasionally when it rains (and it’s currently mid-monsoon season, so it rains a lot, and I’m happy when it rains) I think of:

220px-Rain_cult

 The Cult РRain

or possibly

220px-Happy_When_It_Rains_(EP)

¬†The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Happy When It Rains”

But on at least six days a week my internal soundtrack is of the rain, the rain, the LA rain, the sky is black and the sun don‚Äôt shine. There are 13 million people living in Bangalore, and I don‚Äôt think it‚Äôs unreasonable to believe I‚Äôm the only one with that particular soundtrack to the city. I have the Rose of Avalanche, and Rob’s mix tape to thank for all of that.

And may you all live for a thousand years with the blessings of the Buddha upon you.

Footnote

*If you recognise this as one of the adverts placed between the tracks on the first (and thankfully only) album by Sigue Sigue Sputnik, then well done, you win a place in the darkened room with the Quo fans to have a good long think about what you‚Äôve achieved with your life. (That’s three pops now. I’m not inviting you round again – Ed)

**A Crab is a derogatory term in the UK Armed Forces for a member of the RAF, as supposedly we all marched sideways. My first draft of this had me changing from a caterpillar to a goth, which made less sense but pleased me in an “I am an egg man” kind of way. Feel free to self edit as you see fit, I don‚Äôt have any preciousness about this writing, once it‚Äôs on the page I don‚Äôt want it to feel trapped, I want it to continue to grow, like a semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower

***Originally this was the more Praustian explanation of throwing pebbles at a mountain to start a landslide, his Jezship the editor thought the Rose of Avalanche gag was worth including. I‚Äôll let you, dear readers, make up your own simple minds, like elementary penguins, singing Hare Krishna. (Seriously, you should’ve read the first draft. Praustian my arse – Ed)

The-Rose-Of-Avalanche-Velveteen-378341

The Rose of Avalanche – Velveteen

Helena, call us a cab, dear…..

(Pssst: You have to say “More soon” at the end of the post)

Oh yeh. More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Okay, okay, so I jinxed the weather last week by posting summery songs. I’m sorry. Here’s a more accurate reflection of a British summer:

The_Sun_And_The_Rain

Madness – The Sun and The Rain

Madness are one of those bands that I have a soft spot for, but who I managed to never buy any records by at the time. I do remember me and some friends ribbing a lad¬†at school (who shall remain anonymous. Let’s call him Phil. Ah no, that’s his actual name…bugger) back in 1982 because he thought “House of Fun”¬†was actually about a funfair, rather than…y’know…*looks shifty and embarrased*…what it’s actually about…is there a male member of staff I can talk to please, Miss?

Mind you, he also thought that Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” was about her desire to get fat blokes thin, so maybe he deserved everything he got.

Anyway, I digress. The Sun and The Rain finds the Nutty Boys in sombre, non-Nutty mode, and I’d probably say it’s my favourite record they ever did.

MorrisseyEverydayIsLikeSunday

Morrissey – Everyday is Like Sunday

2nd solo single from the Mozster. Not sure how I’ve managed to get to here in my Sunday Morning selections without picking it, to be honest.¬†I will always remember, as the Moz finished miming on Top of the Pops,¬†Simon Mayo¬†announcing “Okay, I’ll go out on a limb. That’s a Number One.”

“Everyday is Like Sunday” peaked at Number 9 in the UK charts. But what does Mayo know? ¬†I mean, did you see that shirt??

It has just occured to me that perhaps Mayo was offering more of a critique than a prediction.

m_shocked-_ark_trav

Michelle Shocked – Come a Long Way

There’s a lot to love about Michelle Shocked’s recorded output, and she will feature on these pages again soon. But there’s a lot less to love about her since she became a born-again Christian. Nuff said.

MotorcycleEmptiness1992_zps0fef230a

Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness

I love the Manics, and they will be subject to a CLANG! name-drop moment at some point in these pages. But for now, this, a song which I don’t think they’ve ever bettered. Maybe they should have given up after their first album, as threatened.

I’ve just realised I seem to be on a bit of an ‘M’ trip this morning. Maybe it’s because I saw the trailer for the new Bond film yesterday. In which case, there’s only one song I can end today’s post with, right?

At the risk of sounding all Alan Partridge (whoever did that, is a fricking genius, by the way): the greatest Bond theme ever:

carly-simon-nobody-does-it-better-elektra-3

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better

Shame she isn’t called Marly Mimon just to make this totally M, but hey we can’t have everything, can we?

NB – Shit. McCartney. I forgot McCartney.

More soon.

Rue Britannia

Ok. So. Here we go. 1984. The year I have to try and wax lyrical about. And as you will have guessed from my intro to the last post, a year I’ve been struggling with.

Let me add some context.

1984.¬†The year that Thatcher won her second General Election, I think it’s fair¬†to say (though it sticks in my throat) trouncing Labour’s Michael Foot. Foot¬†did not look like your common-or-garden politician, and was¬†a true left-winger (and I don’t mean in the Ryan Giggs kind of way. And when. I¬†make a reference to Ryan Giggs, I don’t mean in that kind of way, either. Well not on this occasion, anyway). Foot is¬†as relevant today as he ever was, for he is the¬†current yard-stick for those who want to keep the Labour Party in the centre ground – which they so shamefully currently occupy – rather than on the left, where they should be, by making comparisons between his annihalation in this General Election and that which, they say,¬†awaits the Labour Party if Jeremy Corbyn wins (they’re wrong). And whilst I’m at it: Tony Blair, keep your fecking nose out. You led us¬†into an illegal war and now milk the after-dinner speech circuit for all its worth. You are a Tory in everything but name. Your opinion means nothing.

Ahem. Off my chest now. Where were we? Oh yes..:

1984. The year the Miners Strike started. I’m going to assume you know at least something about this. If you don’t, well a) you’re annoyingly young, and b) may I suggest a bloody tidy jumping on point¬†is to watch the excellent “Pride”¬†(It has Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy and Dominic West¬†in it, the latter with a fabulous 80s haircut. What more can you want from a film??) Just watching those two clips makes me want to watch it again. Hope it does you too.

1984. The year of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I wish I could put my hand on my heart and say I bought any of their records at the time – particularly “Relax” and “Two Tribes“, but I didn’t. However, I did stand back, watch and admire the way they capitalised on the whole Mike Read situation (he was playing “Relax” one morning, and took it off, mid-record, branding it “obscene”). And if there’s one thing we now know, it’s that Mike Read is the very epitome of rational thought. (I give you two words: UKIP Calypso) (For Gawd’s sake, sense my tone…)

1984. The year of Band Aid, when a group of “current” (has Jody Watley ever been current???)¬†pop stars (has Jody Watley ever been a pop star?????) were pulled together by ex-Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof and current-if-knackered (see, this is where I start to doubt my own sanity. In the video for “Love’s Great Adventure”, there was definitely a bit where Midge asks the film crew to stop while he has¬†a breather. Right? Right????) Ultravox frontman Midge Ure to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in an effort to help starving millions in Ethiopia, after seeing Michael Buerk‘s report on the news, a record which everybody in the UK seemed to buy, and which you know, so I won’t bother posting a link to it here.

Which seems a convenient jumping off point for not the first record I bought in 1984, but the record which somehow got attached to the whole Band Aid campaign, seemingly solely because of the lines “You can’t go on, thinking nothing’s wrong”.

The_Cars_-_Drive¬†The Cars – “Drive”

I’m sure they were delighted, or at least pretended to be, when “Drive” got re-released with “all proceeds” going to the Band Aid charity. And was a bigger hit than it was the first time around (I think…)

Me? I cannot hear this song without thinking of one thing, and sadly that one¬†thing I can find no reference to anywhere on t’internet, other than one other person insisting it happened: Kevin Webster, drunk, singing an a capella version of it on Coronation Street. Seriously, you have no idea how much I wish I could post a link to it right here. Feel free to tell me you remember it too.

Ok, here’s a confessional Guilty Pleasure (No, there is no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure!!) record. Please bear in mind that in 1984 I was just 15 and didn’t know any better, and if I did, I thought it involved Status Quo, so you can choose which is worse:

philip-bailey-easy-lover-duet-with-phil-collins-1985¬†Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – “Easy Lover”

In my defence, in 1984 we knew very little about Phil Collins. All we had to go on was that he used to be/still was¬†in Genesis, popped up with alarming regularity on Swap Shop or Saturday Superstore or whatever incarnation of Saturday morning TV¬†on the BBC was on (regularly enough to make you think he was the new BA Robertson)¬†and had a fairly succesful solo career doing Diana Ross covers. We did not know that “Sussudio” – the song with the most 80s bassline in the world. Ever…! – would earn extra brownie points for being mentioned (ironically, I think/hope) in American Psycho. We had no idea he was such a douchebag he would fax his wife to thrash out details of their divorce. But props for the use of a very 80s mode of communication. Nor did we know that¬†that gorilla would¬†boff the heck out of some drums on that Cadbury’s advert. It was just Phil Collins. He seemed harmless enough.

I cannot hear this song without thinking of the (slightly amended) “He’s a greasy lover…” introduction Mark Lamarr used to get on Shooting Stars, and which again, I can find no evidence of. So to make up for that, here’s him – at the end of the clip, and sadly cut short – doing “Mr Boombastic” on said kind-of-game show.

The other thing I remember most about owning this single is that shortly after purchase, a blob of what appeared to be raspberry¬†jam appeared on the front cover, which I have never been able to explain (I’m more of a blackcurrant man, myself), and which frankly made storing my 7″ singles a bit of a nightmare from hereon in. Unable to remove the saccahrine splodge, I had to proceed to select which single I liked least and¬†place that next to this in my ever growing singles box.

This is what you come here for, right? Anecdotes¬†about singles I’ve absent-mindedly spilled preservatives on….? No….?

OK, well how about I give you the top two candidates to be the bread around the Phil Collins jam sandwich? Yeh, see? Now you’re interested, right? (Although the idea of a “Phil Collins sandwich” is kind of ewwwwwwwwwwww-y….)

Well, it must have been in 1984 that I abandoned any pretence of just buying records that I liked, and, in a fairly obvious attempt to ingratiate myself to members of the opposite sex, I started buying records that they liked, and which I hoped they would like me for also buying. What a dasterdly master-plan. That is the only explanation I have for the inclusion of the next two records:

Nik_Kershaw_The_Riddle_12__Cover Nik Kershaw РThe Riddle

I Know, I know. There’s no excuse is there? It’s not as if this is a single from his famous, but still not actually very good, “Human Racing” album. I have always found this to be an utterly ludicrous record, with clunky 6th form, Tolkien-esque nerdo lyrics like this (trust me, I’m doing this so you don’t have to click that last link) :

“Near a tree by a river
There’s a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There’s a wrong and a right
But he’ll never, never fight over you”

What a load of old horseshit.

And speaking of old horseshit, there was this:

123_the_wild_boys_song_spain_006_20_0381_7_duranduran_com_duran_duran_discography_discogs_wikipedia Duran Duran РThe Wild Boys

Yes. I bought this. Actually, I think I stole it from a reputable vendor of 7″ singles no longer with us. but either way, I possessed a copy, and the only justification I can think of, other than trying to impress girls (it didn’t work, by the way; they all just assumed I was gay, I was later told) was that I hoped that with enough plays on Top of the Pops, Simon Le Bon might actually fucking drown whilst tied to a windmill¬†in that video.

Which leads me on to the other two significant episodes in my pop history which just so happened to occur in 1984.

Firstly, Britannia Music.

Anyone of a certain age will remember Britannia Music: firstly, because The Brits are named after them (like that’s a recommendation….) and secondly because in the 1980s you could not open a magazine without a “3 for ¬£10” introductory offer falling out into your lap. And I fell for it.

Here was the deal: you could pick 3 albums and have them for ¬£10; then you stayed as a member for as long as you liked, but had to purchase at least one album a month. And to help you keep your end of the contractual bargain,¬†they would send you a little brochure each month, telling of their wares, and featuring an “Album of the Month”. If you didn’t want the “Album of the Month”, you had to tick a box on a form and send it back to them, pronto. Otherwise you got lumbered with whatever their Album of the Month was and had to pay for the privilege. I was¬†often a¬†little tardy, and consequently ended up with a lot of records I really didn’t want, more of which later. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, what this did do was allow me to indulge in my love of Greatest Hits albums, which led me to buy the next three:

Dusty-Springfield-Greatest-Hits-229304¬†Dusty Springfield – “I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten”

I can’t pretend this song is the reason why I bought this album – that distinction¬†has to go to either “I Only Want To Be With You”¬†or “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”¬†But if I absolutely had to name my favourite 10 songs ever,¬†“I Close My Eyes…” would be right in there,¬†an absolute gem, all slow building breathiness followed by more glorious camp strings than a cub scout jamboree.

Speaking of camp…..

little_richard-greatest_hits_recorded_live¬†Little Richard – “Tutti Frutti”

(Suddenly realises why the girls may have thought I was gay at school………)

buddy-lives¬†Buddy Holly – “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

A song I was aware of through my father’s record collection, for he owned the Linda Rondstadt version. (That Don Kirschner chap is just the dictionary definition of charisma, isn’t he?)

Anyway, that’s the records I intentionally bought via Britannia, and here’s another, an actual record from your actual 1984:

Alison_Moyet_-_Alf¬†Alison Moyet – “Invisible”

See, “electronic” music had at least crossed my radar, not that I would describe this as falling in that genre. But, as I’m sure you know, chicken-rearing Alison (a remembered Smash Hits fact, that) had been one half of Yazoo with Vince Clarke, ex-of Depeche Mode, soon-to-be of Erasure, and in-between jointly responsible for this. So, y’know, it wasn’t all about the guitars with me, even back then. Just mostly.

Invisible was the third single from the album, and I could have just as¬†easily¬†posted “All Cried Out”, but Invisible deftly sums up my appeal to the opposite sex at this point in my life. And for much of it afterwards, if I’m being honest. Which I am, of course.

As I write this now, I’m suddenly struck with how I much I love songs about either failed or unrequited love. It’s an empathy thing, I think. It would also explain why, two years earlier, in an example of what can only be described as the most optimistic thinking ever, I had told my best friend that when the situation arose that I had to finish with a girlfriend, I would simply quote the lyrics to this song to her: Chas. Dave.

Anyway, the second significant episode was my brother going to stay with relatives in America, and coming back tooled up with loads of records popular in The States but which had no impact on this side of the pond. Records which I listened to with growing interest:

One-On-One521X¬†Cheap Trick – “If You Want My Love”

Rick-Springfield-Working-Class-Dog-446049¬†Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl”

MI0003737936 The Call РThe Walls Came Down

51zBNqv3MRL The Fixx РOne Thing Needs to Another

He also bought me this, a band I assumed were American, but turned out to be from Sheffield. A band who had a drummer with one arm. (Actually, he still had two arms when this album was recorded; it was when their next album, “Hysteria”, post arm-loss, came out¬†in 1987 that they went truly stratospheric). But I was there first, UK rock fans. Although I’m not so sure this is something to be proud of..

d57644845a691f8807578e551b473654ae4281f9 Def Leppard РPhotograph

But of all the records my brother brought back from the U S of A with him, there was one band that I totally fell for: The Go-Go’s. Featuring Belinda Carlisle and Jan Wiedlin, they became my pop star crushes to supercede Debbie Harry, five girls who so Google tells me, were the recipents of the 2,444th star on the LA Walk of Fame. Should have got there earlier, ladies. If only you didn’t take so long getting ready, eh lads?

vacationcover2¬†The Go-Go’s – Vacation

And then there’s this, another contender for my Top Ten of Greatest Records Ever……!

go_gos¬†The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed

And if I’m going to post that link, then, since it was co-written by Terry Hall, ex-Special and (at the time) current one of the Fun Boy¬†Three,¬†I have to post this too:

the-fun-boy-three-our-lips-are-sealed-chrysalis Fun Boy Three РOur Lips Are Sealed

And finally on a Go-Go’s theme, allow me to nudge you in the direction of¬†“Freedom of Choice”, an album of punk and new wave covers including Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth and this, by Redd Kross, a band whose own¬†output I’m not a fan of, but by God they know how to knock out a cover version:

R-839350-1273804434_jpeg Redd Kross РHow Much More

Considering I could think of nothing to say, I don’t half go on, don’t I…..?

Like anything I’ve posted today? Then go buy it here: the internet.