2016, I Hate You

There was so much love on the internet when Victoria Wood died, I didn’t feel the need to comment.

But last week, we lost another Northern funny female voice when Caroline Aherne died, and I have to say something,

If I really wanted to, I could now post a whole host of links to brilliant, hilarious, funny stuff that Caroline was responsible for, from Mrs Merton, to The Fast Show, to The Royle Family.

You don’t need me to do that. You already know what a sad loss this was. And anyway, long term friend Terry Christian nails it in this interview:

Oh, go on then. Here’s my favourite comic creation of hers, Renee, of Roy and Renee fame:

From what I have read since her passing, Caroline battled with illness for most of her life. We should be thankful that what little time she had with us, she dedicated to making us laugh.

So: a song that will forever be synonymous with her name, the theme tune to her masterpiece, a song that when released was tucked away as the B-side to my favourite song by the band in question.

It’s obvious, I’m not the only person to post it, but it’s right:


Oasis – Half The World Away

More soon. I just hope not in this thread.

There’s No Such Thing as a Guilty Pleasure

I’m a big fan of streamed comedy content, particularly that provided by the BBC on their iPlayer Radio app, and that’s my go-to place for easily digestible 30 minute chunks of funnies.

But when I want to hear something more substantial, which is a little more intellectually stimulating, but still fun to listen to at the same time, then its off the land of podcasts I journey. I listen to the big hitters, UK sides anyway, to Scroobius Pip and to Richard Herring. But my first port of call, always, is a chap I could listen to until the proverbial cows come home, tether themselves to an archaic milking machine, and do what the Good Lord intended, albeit in a falsely induced scenario.

I’m talking about Adam Buxton’s simply wonderful podcast, modestly called The Adam Buxton Podcast.

You know Adam Buxton. He was one half of Adam & Joe, the Channel 4 Star Wars cuddly toy recreators from the 1990s. (That does both Adam and Joe a massive disservice by the way, they did way more and were way funnier than just that).

You younger folk might recognise him as that funny bloke with a beard who pops up every now and again on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, doing his “Commentar     Y Corner” (Not Welsh) about comments left by odd people on that there internet (which really is a game-changer, by the way).

No, not Alex Horne, the other one, the one with the better beard (I do have beard envy) and a laptop as opposed to a band and an egg. (I’ve linked to one of Adam’s appearances before. Do try and keep up, old chap. Here it is again. When Ó Briain, Lock, Carr, Richardson and Horgan, some of the finest comedic brains going, are laughing at what you’re doing, then you know you’re doing just fine. I could happily watch that forever.)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Adam released a podcast where he was ramble-chatting – interviewing is not the right phrase for what happens on Adam’s podcasts; ramble-chat is perfect, and comes equipped with a great theme tune – to Marc Riley.

You know Marc Riley. Used to be in The Fall. Then was in Marc Riley & The Creepers (the clue was in the name with that one). Then was the Lard in the Mark and Lard Show on Radio 1. And now is the host of his own show on 6Music.

Anyway, about 20 minutes into the podcast, the following exchange occurs:

MR: Every now and then I will play “Toxic” by Britney Spears, not out of any kind of perversity, I just think it’s a great record, and I’ll maintain that if Diana Ross had made that record, or The Shangri-La’s in 1966, people would go “What a great pop record!”

AB: Plus, that’s the great thing about music and the art of the DJ, if I can refer to it that way, is that when you play a piece of music, it changes according to what’s around it – the record you play before, and the record you play afterwards – y’know, and it’s totally different. If you hear ‘Wichita Lineman’ on a mainstream radio show that only plays accessible country-sounding songs it sounds very different to ‘Wichita Lineman’ sandwiched in between a Pixies record and something by Polly Harvey, or whatever.

MR: Yeh, that’s dead true. I played “I Feel For You” Chaka Khan a couple of weeks ago, and the only violence I got was from a mate who sent me a text with a fist. But people are probably just thinking “Oh, I know what he’s doing, I’ll go and make a brew…”

AB: That’s a stone cold classic, come on…

MR: Yeh. For me it is. There’s no perversity at all, in the same way there’s no perversity in me playing “Yoo Doo Right” by Can which lasts 20 minutes, or “Supper’s Ready” which is 23 minutes by Genesis

AB: I think the nice thing about 6Music is that it’s got people used to the idea that you can hear all sorts of music and there isn’t that sort of silly snobbery anymore. Y’know, I mean it was Sean Rowley that used to do “All Back to Mine” and the “Guilty Pleasures” thing but that whole notion – I mean, I really like Sean and what he was doing – but I didn’t like that notion of “Guilty Pleasures”…

MR: No, nor me…

AB: There’s no such thing as a “Guilty Pleasure”, there’s a song that you like

MR: You either like it or you don’t like it…

AB: You don’t wander around going “Urrrgh I shouldn’t like this….”

MR: It’s basically all born out of the fact that some people want to just seem to be cool, and not admit to liking something that isn’t – in inverted commas – “cool”, it’s just rubbish. It’s not a guilty pleasure, y’know if you like “Waterloo” by ABBA you like it cos it’s a great pop record, there’s nothing shameful in that.

You can listen to the whole ramble-chatty thing (and realise why I keep referring to it thusly) right here

But before you do that, may I direct your attention to the tag line to this little blog of mine, which has been there since day one, and which I feel a weird sense of pride to hear both Adam and Marc echo: There’s no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure. I feel vindicated.

It’s no coincidence that I’ve posted “Toxic”, “Witchita Lineman”, and “I Feel For You” here already – long before that podcast came out, I hasten to add. May need to brush up on my Can and Genesis knowledge though.

Queen amongst them is Toxic. Seriously though: what a record. And partly written by Cathy Dennis, whose name will pop up here again sooner or later.

I don’t really like to post the same song twice, so here is one of the bonus tracks from the CD single of Toxic (what we used to call the B-side, many years ago), a remix by some chap called Armand Van Helden, whoever he is. (Don’t write in, I’m perfectly aware who he is. That there was irony, Alanis.)


Britney Spears – Toxic (Armand Van Helden Remix)

And you can listen to Adam’s podcasts – and I’d really recommend that you do – here.

More soon.