The Chain #18

Evening Chainies! Welcome aboard the latest instalment of interactive blogging, where I welcome your suggestions for songs to play next week.

For newcomers, here’s the deal: there’s a feature on 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie week-day afternoon show where they play a record, ask their listeners to suggest a record connected to it, they pick the best one, play that, and ask for suggestions for the next song to play.

Where we differ is this: we play the same record as they do, invite your suggestions, play all of them, awarding completely arbitrary bonus points here and there (usually for correctly guessing the next song in the official Chain, occasionally for the cleverest/most impressive explanation as to how the suggested record was reached (or “Comment Showboating”, as it’s become known round these parts), but most often for suggesting something by a band I bloody love), then play the next record in the 6Music list, point out it’s nowhere near as clever/good/witty as any that you have come up with, and ask that you repeat the trick, provide a suggestion that links to the official record, which we play the following week, and so on, and so forth, repeat ad infinitum.

Of course, we’ve only been doing this for three weeks, and they’ve been doing theirs, playing three tracks a day, five times a week, so we’re quite some way behind them, so when I say we play the same record as they do, we do, just about six years later.

Here’s the only three things I ask:

  1. When making your suggestion, provide an explanation as to how you got there. And try to be a little bit more creative than just saying “So and so did a cover of that, please play their version”;
  2. Whilst it’s great to have obscure, cool records suggested, try and mix it up a little. Don’t be embarrassed to suggest a cheesy or downright awful record. Lord knows I’ve suggested enough myself;
  3. If I don’t own, or am unable to track down a copy of the song in question, please make sure that you’re able to supply me with it if need be. (NB – this happens rarely. This may only be week 18, but we’re 130 suggestions in, and only three times have I been stumped so far.)

Before we get started, one more bit of admin to get through.

I have not yet introduced the “Two Suggestions per person” rule that I mentioned last week. Well, not yet, anyway. To be honest, I felt a bit like a stroppy kid, losing at a game of football in the park who threatens to take his ball home unless he wins. So, uncapped numbers of suggestions remain, for now. But please bear in mind that I don’t have an infinite amount of time go trawling for the oh-so-many tunes that I don’t already own.

Okay, so that’s the tedious stuff out of the way. Let’s get cracking.

Last week, I left you with Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and asked you to come up with any ideas as to what we could play this week. And true to form, you’ve come up with some absolute stonkers, and some utterly weird things too.

So, first up this week is Swiss Adam from bagging area who wrote:

“Hounds of Love? Does your pussy do the dog? (asked The Cramps)”

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:

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The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

Actually, I take that back. For before we can draw breath, Swiss is back with a second suggestion. Which is fine. We can still have a kick-a-round:

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The House of Love – Never

Yup, totally with you on that one Swiss. It’s a single which is often overlooked because of the majesty of the singles that had preceded it, but it’s still a corking little indie-pop record which deserves an airing.

Now for those of you who don’t peruse the Comments section, where the suggestions are left, these next two take a little extra explanation.

See, last week I was asked to post Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”, which I duly did, but added that they’re not a band I’m fond off, and that they generally just rub me up the wrong way. Regular contributor George left a message, in an effort to show some solidarity, letting me know that he feels much the same way about The Clash and Bruce Springsteen.

Cue Charity Chic, stepping effortlessly into shit-stirring mode:

“Kate Bush on her return to live performances sold out the Hammersmith Apollo for a 22 night residency between 26th August and 1st October 2014. There used to be another venue in Hammersmith called the Palais. So ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash, please…and dedicate it to George!”

Sorry George, but this is for you:

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The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

“Kate Bush had an album called The Dreaming. Bruce Springsteen had an album called Working on the Dream. The title track please…and dedicate it to George!”

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Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

I have visions of Charity Chic posting the second of those two, saying “Boom!”, dropping his microphone and strutting off stage.

Next up, here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Well there is a track by Death Grips called ‘World of Dogs’ but I wouldn’t put up a picture of the album cover.”

Not sure I see what the fuss is about, Badger:

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Death Grips – World of Dogs

I should, of course, point out that isn’t the actual cover Badger refers to. If you want to Google it, I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do it at work.

“As a serious suggestion ‘Hounds of Love’ was covered memorably by The Futureheads which takes us nicely to ‘Decent Days and Nights’ by that lot.”

Badger almost became the first person to have points deducted for providing too obvious a link there, just dodging the bullet by suggesting a record by The Futureheads other than their cover of Madam Bush:

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The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

Here’s George, who clearly is not going to rise to Charity Chic’s bait:

“From Hounds to Dogs and Tropical Hot Dog Night by Captain Beefheart (from the Shiny Beast Bat Chain Puller album)”

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

I have to confess, Beefheart are one of those bands I know I’m supposed to like, but I’ve given Trout Mask Replica many opportunities to win me over, and every time I’ve just come away scratching my head (in befuddlement, I don’t have nits).

That said, though, I really like the track George has suggested, so maybe it’s about time I gave it another go.

Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow with another suggestion I didn’t know, or rather didn’t know this version of it. I’ll let him explain:

“On the b-side of the ‘Hounds of Love’ 7″ single, Kate Bush covered a traditional seafaring ballad, ‘The Handsome Cabin Boy’. The great Martin Carthy sang an acapella version of the same song on his self-titled debut LP in 1965.”

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Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

Here’s When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s co-writer, S-WC:

“Kate Bush allowed ITV to use her surname for a section of the show I’m a Celebrity… called The Bushtucker Trial [not sure that’s entirely true, but I’ll let it slide – Ed]. Johnny Rotten appeared in one of those and ate a kangaroos anus. So we’d best have Anarchy in the UK.”

And that’s why I’ll let it slide. Still sounding as fresh and as angry today as it did back in 1976 (I imagine, I was a little too young got punk), here’s them Grundy-baiting Sex Pistols:

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Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

And there’s a good reason why I’ll let that slide, for if I didn’t, I’d have to disqualify a third suggestion from Swiss Adam at bagging area:

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:

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Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Sadly, as long as I waited, not one of you suggested we continue that particular theme by playing something by Peter Andre. Not even “Insania” which he wrote on the show. An opportunity missed, I’m sure you’ll agree. Or, hopefully not.

Coincidentally, those last two suggestions feature bands who are commonly referred to incorrectly as “The Sex Pistols” or “The Happy Mondays”. There is no prefix on either. The next suggestion – by Swiss again with his fourth – yes, fourth – go, features a band with nothing but the word The in their name:

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The The – Dogs Of Lust

Now, right at the top of this post, I mentioned that so far I’ve only needed to be bailed out three times when hosting this thread, and two of them were suggestions made by George. So when he popped up again with this, I felt myself break out into a cold sweat:

“From Kate Bush to The Very Things’ song The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes.”

The other time I couldn’t find a postable copy of a song, it had been suggested by Dirk over at Sexyloser, so when he chipped in by saying: “George, the recommendation of that particular Very Things – tune almost makes me forgive you disliking The Clash so much: excellent choice!”, well, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, we’ve just had a Bank Holiday Weekend here, so I had a little extra time to track it down. It’s not the finest quality, and there is a moment or two’ silence at the start that I haven’t had time to trim off, but here in all their glory, are The Very Things:

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The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

Have to say the jury’s still out on that one here at Dubious Taste Towers. I’d fully expected to award the Oddest Record of the Week gong to the Captain Beefheart track, but I think The Very Things takes that honour. It certainly wins Best Title of the Week. (I need some jingles for these, don’t I?)

Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad with an idea for a bit of pre-fame (they were not famous for a lot longer than they were famous, after all) Pulp:

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Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

Finally this week, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Another female singer with similarly “bushy” dark hair had their biggest chart hit in 1978 and it was Patti Smith with Because The Night so going for that one please.” Which, as Charity Chic gleefully pointed out, was written by one Bruce Springsteen:

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Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

And so we come to the end of your suggestions, and we come onto mine.

Ahem.

There are many types of Hound, other than the ones of Love. There are Basset Hounds, which I couldn’t think of anything for. There’s the Greyhound, but The Swede suggested the only song I know by them back in The Chain #7. There’s the Whippet, a sighthound breed descended from greyhounds, but there’s nothing there…

…wait a minute. Whippet. Whippit. Whip It.

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Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

Now, if any one you had suggested that, I would have been awarding bonus points. But I can’t really award them to myself, so I won’t. (*looks pleadingly at you all*)

And so, to the official song in The Chain, where this was the reasoning:

“Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial featured the track ‘King of the Mountain’, which referred to Elvis Presley”

..and this was the song:

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18. Elvis Presley – (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame

As usual, not a patch on any of your suggestions, but there you have it.

And so that’s my bit done for another week. Please send me your suggestions of records we can play next week, that link to “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” by Elvis Presley – there should be plenty for you to work with there – along with a brief description as to how you got there, via the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

See you next time!

(More soon).

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Bank Holiday

Some of us blogger folks are creatures of habit.

For example: Drew, over at Across The Kitchen Table religiously posts “That Summer Feeling” by Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers every year at some point over the summer. And he’s right to, it’s a brilliant, brilliant record.

Me? Other than trying to crowbar a tune by The Wedding Present/Super Furry Animals/Status Quo in at every possible opportunity, and ending every post with the words “More soon”, I’ve not been doing this long enough to have established such a tradition, but this is where it starts. I posted this song on the same day last year, and, just so you know, I intend to post it on this day for every year that I’m still able to type.

It’s August Bank Holiday, and that means it’s time for some Blur:

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Blur – Bank Holiday

More soon.

Sunday Evening Coming Up

Back in my clubbing days, which seem oh-so-long ago now (but not as long ago as they should be for a man of my age), Sunday night on the August Bank Holiday weekend meant that me and some of my chums would venture to one of the “shiny” clubs in Cardiff.

Let me explain.

We used to frequent a long-since closed club called The Emporium, a dark, dingy club, safe in the knowledge that it was the most accepting crowd in Cardiff. Nobody cared what you looked like, how old you were (as long as you were old enough to be in there, of course), as long as you were happy to dance in one of the three rooms and not bother anyone. It wasn’t a club where you went to pull (although that doubtless happened there), it was  a club where you went to – if it’s not too corny a thing to say – feel the vibe.

All the rest of the clubs in Cardiff seemed to be the opposite, all lights and mirrors, the sort of place that attracted blokes in button-down collar shorts, who wanted to carry on drinking bottled lager once the pubs had closed, and either have a fight or pull a girl. They had the glossy, plastic people in them, all handsome, gorgeous, made up to the nines, and me and my band of merry men definitely did not fit in.

But come Bank Holiday weekend, if you wanted to go clubbing, you had to bite the bullet and just go to one of them.

One such weekend, Roger Sanchez was playing one of the shiny clubs. That was the sort of calibre DJs these nights would pull in: Roger fucking Sanchez. I had wanted to go, but none of my mates were up for it. I ended up going for a couple of pints in town with Colin instead.

Colin was the anti-clubber. He hated dance music in the same way that I had back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. We’d managed to drag him along to The Emporium one night, convinced that if he ever gave it a go, he’d love it; he had a kip on one of the long seats and was “asked” by security to leave. I’m not quite sure what kind of risk he posed to security, but then again, I suppose having a grown man snoozing by the entrance isn’t quite the impression you want to give to people who’ve just paid to get in.

Anyway, this particular Bank Holiday Sunday Night, I had resigned myself to not going clubbing, when a mate of mine, Byron, wandered into the bar we were drinking in, and asked me if I was going to see Sanchez. I told him I wasn’t bothered, but so unconvincing was my response – or possibly, so unentertaining my company – that Colin said if I wanted to go he wouldn’t be offended, as long as we didn’t expect him to come along too.

And that was that. Byron and I went, paid on the door together, then I never saw him again. He had a habit of doing this; many’s the time he had rocked up at The Emporium, bought some pills, then gone home again, and I suspect that’s what happened that night.

Luckily, I bumped into some people I knew from The Emporium, and I hung out with them for the rest of the night. There’s a couple of stories there, but we’ll leave them for another time…

What I’m trying to get round to saying is that Roger Sanchez was awesome. Ordinarily, I’m a little scathing of DJ’s who drop their own records or remixes, but on this occasion, Roger played this, by a band I don’t have much time for ordinarily, but this sent the dancefloor wild:

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No Doubt – Hella Good (Roger’s Release Yourself Mix)

More soon.

The Sample Life

Not done one of these for a while, and it occurred to me to revive it when I was thinking about what to post in this week’s “Late Night Stargazing” thread.

It was going to be one of these records. Can you guess which one?

It could’ve been oh-so different for The Beta Band. Following the critically-acclaimed “The 3 E.P.’s” – acclaimed both as individual releases and as the combined album they forged together – and an eponymous album that they freely admitted they hadn’t quite nailed it on, The Beta Band holed up in a studio to give it another crack.

I would imagine you all know the story by now, but just in case you don’t:

The Betas finished their “Hot Shots II” album and pencilled this in for the lead single from it:

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The Beta Band – Squares

Any concerns that they had failed to nail it again were dispersed: “Squares” is magnificent, prime trippy Beta Band gold, sampling as it does, this:

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The Günter Kallmann Choir – Daydream

But there was a problem. For just as they were ready to roll with the release of “Squares”, a previously unheard of act called I Monster released a single which featured exactly the same sample from exactly the same tune. What are the odds of that happening?

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I Monster – Daydream in Blue

The weird thing is, I feel like I’m being unfaithful to The Beta Band by posting that.

“Daydream in Blue” was a smash hit, or so my befuddled memory tells me. I had it in my head that it reached the top of the UK charts, but a little research tells me it only got to No. 20.

But the damage was done. The Beta Band elected to postpone the release of “Squares” for a couple of months, but by then, the British record buying public were all Gunther-ed out, and it failed to make the Top 40.

Still, if you asked me now which I’d rather hear, it’s The Beta Band every time.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Kris Kristofferson, particularly the records he released in his purple patch between 1970 and 1972.

Over the years, it’s become a bit of a mission of mine to introduce Kristofferson’s songs to friends of mine who I think would find their existence considerably enriched by having these records in their lives (by which I mean everybody), or at the very least to be aware that Kristofferson isn’t just the old bloke from the “Blade” film franchise.

 My go-to songs for such occasions are the one which shares a name with this thread, or “Me & Bobby McGee”. Some will know the latter because of Janis Joplin’s version.

But on more than one occasion, when playing the latter, and probably puzzled given Joplin’s version, I’ve been asked if Kristofferson was gay. I’ve had to point out that “Bobby” can be a nickname for a girl, being short for Roberta, and as an example have said “You know, like Bobbie Gentry”.

The problem with this, is that if the person I’m talking to doesn’t know who Kris Kristofferson is, they sure as hell don’t know who Bobbie Gentry is either, so I then have to explain who she is as well.

This morning’s post is going to save me a lot of time from now on.

This is Bobbie Gentry, not with her most famous song (that honour must surely go to genuinely unsettling “Ode To Billy Joe”), but instead with this Bacharach/David composition, perhaps more famously done by Dionne Warwick, despite Gentry’s version being a Number 1 hit in the UK before Warwick had even released her version, which failed to chart here.

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Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall in Love Again

Plus, just look at the sleeve. That Bobbie ain’t no dude.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

About ten years ago, I had the absolute pleasure of making the short trip from Cardiff to Bristol’s beautiful Colston Hall to watch Idlewild perform an acoustic set.

Tonight’s post is not, as far as I know, taken from that gig – I have no idea where it was recorded, if I’m honest – but nevertheless it is a live acoustic recording of one of my favourite songs by them.

Enjoy.

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Idlewild – Love Steals Us From Loneliness (Acoustic)

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste: The Formative Years

Disclaimer: This post contains four fucking terrible records. But stick with it. There’s four really great ones after that.

It’s funny how the most mundane of events can trigger long buried memories.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all gloomy and confess to years of abuse at the hands of a 1970s celebrity. Well, not unless you can count owning records by a certain band from the 60s & 70s as abuse.

And no, I don’t mean Status Quo.

Let me explain.

This week, for the first time in years, I went to the dentist.

I should stress at this point that I hadn’t avoided going through any lack of care for my oral hygiene – I’m no Shane Magowan, is what I’m saying. When I was a kid, my parents took me to the dentist regularly, and I had learned how to take care of my teeth to the extent that I’ve never had a filling, a crown or a tooth removed. I know you’re supposed to go to the dentist for regular check-ups, but I don’t go to my doctor for them for the rest of my body, and going to the doctor is free, whilst you have to pay to see a dentist. Why waste money just to have a bloke give my teeth a bit of a scrape every couple of months? Trips to the dentist firmly resided in the “If it ain’t broke, don’t mend it” category.

Well, this week, something broke, namely one of my teeth. I wish I could say it was punched out of me in a fight where I was defending someone’s honour, but what actually happened was I was eating a chocolate which suddenly developed a crunchy texture it hadn’t had when I first popped it in my mouth. At first I wondered if I was the latest victim of one of those “look at this disgusting thing that I found in my food” stories you read about every now and then, but it quickly transpired that the crunchiness was in fact a large chunk of tooth which had decided it no longer wanted to be in my mouth, and preferred my stomach instead. My stomach is considerably larger than my mouth, so I can’t really say I blame it for wanting to upgrade to somewhere roomier.

As it goes, the trip to the dentist was considerably less painful than I had expected: all he did was saw off part of the remaining tooth, prescribe me some antibiotics, and tell me I need to come back to have the rest either removed or a crown put in.

In fact, the most painful thing about the whole thing, is that as a result I’ve had this song, by a group whose schtick was performing “funny” parodies of popular hits of the time (on this occasion, “Rivers of Babylon“, “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” and “The Smurf Song“) lodged in my brain all week:

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The Barron Knights – A Taste Of Aggro

Unbelievable as it may seem, that got to Number 3 in the UK singles chart in 1978.

I, of course, did not contribute to its sales. Oh no, of course not. Instead, the nine-year old me belligerently badgered my parents until they finally gave in and bought me their “Night Gallery” album from which “…Aggro” came instead.

At the time, I thought this record was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. I would listen to it over and over again, learning the words, laughing out loud long after the “jokes” had actually ceased to be funny.

Not content with annoying my family by playing this album endlessly, I decided I wanted to share it with my peers at school, and to that end I asked my Junior School teacher at the time if I could bring it in for a “Show and Tell” lesson.

What I should stress at this point is that we had never had a “Show and Tell” lesson before, and as far as I can recall, we never had another one either. I think the second of those two facts can be directly attributed to me.

These are the three parodies from “Night Gallery” that I subjected my classmates and teacher to: one of Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights”, one of Althea and Donna’s “Uptown Top Ranking”, (both fairly recent hits at the time, being from 1976 and 1978 respectively), and Tommy Steele’s “Little White Bull” (from 1959, so slightly less current).

Oh no, you don’t get off so lightly as to just be told what the chosen songs were parodies of: here’s the actual songs, placed in ascending order of awfulness.

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The Barron Knights – Boozy Nights

The Barron Knights – Boy Scouts Out Camping

(I seem to have an horrific image of “comedians” Little & Large performing that on one of their shows, both dressed as Scouts. I’m not sure which is worse: that actually having happened, or my imagining it…)

The Barron Knights – Little White Bum

Yes, that last one really is about a young boy who liked, and was encouraged by his parents, to show off his bottom to the extent that he is entered into a Best Baby’s Arse Competition. Was that ever a thing??

When people say the 1970s were a different time, they really aren’t joking.

The only good thing I can say about these is that they introduced me to the original records, two of which I love (the Tommy Steele one, not so much). So, in the interest of balance, and moreover palate cleansing, here they are:

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Heatwave – Boogie Nights

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Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

Words cannot express how much I love Althea’s (or is it Donna? I have no clue which is which. Does that make them the 1970s Ant & Dec??) massive glasses and even more massive ‘fro combo.

If I lie back on the psychologist’s couch for a while, I guess this forced “Show and Tell” lesson was the first example of something which has characterised my life ever since – through all the mix-tapes I used to churn out at Sixth Form, the DJ’ing at college, the playlists I still happily compose at the drop of a hat, hell, even this place: a desire to share records with people. The notion that I owe all of those years of pleasure to The Barron sodding Knights is quite a startling one.

But I’m not done with embarrassing confessions from my Junior School days just yet.

Surprising as it may seem now, when I was at Junior School age I was considered to be a pretty bright kid, and was moved up a year as a result. This must have happened when I was about six or seven years old, and I, along with my year older than I classmates, had completely forgotten about it until it came to the time for them all to go to Secondary School and I was left behind.

That meant that I essentially had to repeat my final year of Junior School, a trend which continued when I went to college, but more of that some other time.

Anyway, that meant that I spent two years in Mr Land’s class. He was a nice enough chap, as I recall. He used to be in charge of putting on the annual school play and – and I only remembered this when the above came to mind – he encouraged his class in creative writing. One project he gave us was to write a children’s story for someone in the Infant School, placing them within the story, which now I think about is a quite brilliant way to engage kids in books and writing. He also used to hold a short-story writing competition for his class at the end of each term.

Now, all through my educational years, and when at Junior School in particular, it was considered that I had a great talent for writing. I was given blank exercise books and encouraged to just fill them with stories; I, of course attempted to write one long story. Ultimately, these just consisted of elaborate car chases, but the intention was there.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to write a novel. Many of my friends will vouch for the fact that every now and then throughout my life  I have announced I’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a book which I would start on right away.

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Father John Misty – I’m Writing a Novel

Inevitably, I would write the first chapter, if that, before being struck with either writer’s block or a crippling realisation that I just can’t write well enough to produce such a thing.

Which is pretty much why I do this. A few years ago, I decided I was going to write about all of the dumb things me and my friends had got up to, or had happened to us, on nights out, which I would then try to string together into some kind of narrative structure and build a plot around. Needless to say, I didn’t get far when I realised – again – that writing a book is bloody difficult, that I didn’t really have the patience, stamina, self-discipline, determination or drive required for the task in hand. Instead, I decided to write them in bite-size chunks and post them here. I still get distracted and find myself writing about cover versions, or preparing a playlist for you every Friday night, or any of the other threads I’ve started here and got bored with after a while. But be warned: I’m currently working on pieces about all of the records I bought in 1986, so the main thrust of this blog should be returning more regularly soon.

Speaking of getting distracted, I have digressed again. Mr Land’s short story competition is where I was heading.

Because of my perceived talents in the field, I had just assumed, as did many others, that I would walk away with first prize every time the competition came around. But I was reckoning without my nemesis, a lad called Richard Crisp.

Every term, Richard would write essentially the same story, and every term he would win. Every term, without fail, he would write a story about a football match between two semi-fictional teams, say for example “Mods versus Rockers” (the names had absolutely no bearing on the story, he didn’t recount a football match as if it were a pitched battle on Brighton beach), but he would make classmates and teachers members of the teams, giving him scope to make a few jokes at their expense, and refer to incidents which had happened during the previous term.

So when my classmates all went off to Secondary School, leaving me behind with a new class who had never been invited to enter the short story competition before and thus had never heard any of Richard’s prize-winning stories, I saw my opportunity to claim the crown I so desperately craved. I would do exactly the same as he did: write a story about a football match between two random groups, and, just as Richard had done so successfully, would incorporate teachers and classmates alike into the game, with much hilarity undoubtedly ensuing.

But which two random groups would I choose as the names for the teams? I pondered long and hard over this, before finally settling on two which I thought were entirely appropriate and suitable.

Before I go any further, may I just remind you at this point that this was 1980. Granted, no longer the 1970s, but pejorative terms did not die the moment the 70s ended. And the two names I chose were still in common usage at the time, often bandied about in newspapers, or in sit-coms, and so I didn’t really consider what they actually meant. They were just words, as far as I was concerned.

May I also make it very clear that, other than in the context of this post, these are not words I would ever consider using nowadays.

I think that’s enough disclaimers. Allegations that “The lady doth protest too much” would surely follow if I carried on digging any further.

So, on what I was confident would the first of many triumphant wins, I stood up in front of my class, and in front of Mr Land, and began my story:

“It was the annual football match between The Poofs and The Pansies….” I announced.

“Erm…can I have a look at that please?” interjected Mr Land. I handed him my exercise book. He thumbed through it, a concerned look on his brow, before handing it back. “Okay. Carry on.”

I can only surmise that he hadn’t spotted the next sentence.

“And leading The Poofs out onto the field is their Captain, Mr Land….”

“I think we’ve heard enough of that now, thank you. Please sit down. Immediately.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day: never use words that you don’t understand. Which is why you’ll never find me writing about Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis anytime soon.

As I hang my head in shame, this seems appropriate:

spandau-ballet-to-cut-a-long-story-short-chrysalis-reformation-2

Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

More cringers soon.