Friday Night Music Club

You’ll recall there was no Friday Night Music Club last week, on account of me being too preoccupied with my fruitless efforts to get my new phone to work.

You’ll all be delighted to learn that I’ve got it sorted now. Just one ultimately embarrassing contact with my tax-avoiding network provider later, where they pointed out my Sim card wasn’t working because I hadn’t requested that they activate it yet, and I was up and running.

You’ll all be slightly less delighted to hear that in the interim period, I started thinking about songs which involved telephones or telephone calls. It occurred to me that there weren’t very many happy songs involving telephones: they all seemed to involve hoping someone would call, or someone not answering/pretending not to be home, or leaving messages on answering machines (that’s voicemail to you youngsters).

Before I knew it, I’d compiled a little playlist involving such songs, which I’m going to foist upon you all tonight.

Before we go any further though, my normal file sharing service is apparently having “internal issues” which is preventing me from uploading any of today’s songs. Maybe it’s some kind of protest at my selection, I dunno. So for tonight, we’re off back to the service I first used when I started writing this, Box. Hopefully, none of you will have any issues with playing or downloading (for evaluation purposes only, of course), but if you do, let me know and I’ll try and sort out a different link.

** ALL LINKS NOW AMENDED (I hope) **

OK, so, admin out of the way, to kick things off, here’s that there ABBA lot, with what is as close to an upbeat sounding song about telephones as I came across, where Agnetha, or maybe Frida, or maybe both, are pondering why their other half has not called them. Quite why they don’t just ask them – one of them is playing the guitar, the other the keyboard on the song they’re singing, after all – is beyond me:

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367. ABBA – Ring, Ring

Similarly mystified as to why, having obtained their number, they would not immediately call it, here’s The Undertones:

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368. The Undertones – You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It?)

Feargal – perhaps the reason she hasn’t used it, is because judging by the sleeve of the single, you appear to have given her the record’s catalogue number, rather than your actual telephone number. A schoolboy error.

ABBA and The Undertones are not alone in bemoaning the lack of contact from a potential beau. Here’s Macy Gray (remember her??):

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369. Macy Gray – Why Didn`t You Call Me?

Macy – at the risk of this turning into one long Agony Aunt page, I suspect that the reason you didn’t get a second date here is because according to the above, you have also confessed to admitting murder. If I’m honest, I’d probably think twice about getting back in touch if I knew that.

Some people, rather than simply sitting around moping about the fact their phone hasn’t rung, take matters into their own hands, and start hassling those they consider accountable:

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370. Lapsley – Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)

Although, frankly, if a simple call to the operator makes you wonder whether they might be a more suitable life partner, I’d say that suggested you weren’t all that committed to idea of remaining with the person you were trying to call in the first place.

Now, I don’t wish to appear unsympathetic or unkind, but is it just me that thinks most of these people should be taking a hint?

Take Rialto, for example, who seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the absence of a reply:

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371. Rialto – Monday Morning 5.19 (Widescreen)

Dear Mr. Rialto (or whatever the lead singer’s name is).

I don’t know how to break the news to you gently, so instead I’m just going to come right out and say it.

You appear to be going out with Lady Gaga. And she’s busy:

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372. Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce – Telephone

All of this missed call, calls not being answered mullarkey could easily be avoided, and the hint taken a lot earlier, if some of these people moved off Pay As You Go and invested in a phone with a voicemail. Like Little Mix (and Missy Elliott), for example:

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373. Little Mix ft. Missy Elliott – How Ya Doin’?

The chorus of “How Ya Doin’?” is, of course, directly lifted from this:

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374. De La Soul – Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)

The chorus of “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” is, of course, directly lifted from…no, sorry. I can’t bring myself to post it.

Instead, consider this: sometimes there’s a perfectly good reason why someone might not answer the phone. Here’s Paul Evans with your obligatory “Blimey, I’d forgotten all about that” record of the week:

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375. Paul Evans – Hello, This Is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)

Now, I love a good bracket as much as the next man. Unless that man is in a dress and called Hinge. But surely the (The Telephone Answering Machine Song) is the most superfluous addition to a song title ever. Firstly, I don’t think anyone has ever referred to them as Telephone Answering Machines. Secondly, it implies that listeners are too stupid to understand that’s what’s going on in the song and need to be reminded. Thirdly, while the answering machine theme is predominant throughout the song, surely if you’re going to treat your average record buying public as idiots, you may as well call it “Hello, This is Joannie (The One About The Girl Who Doesn’t Answer The Phone Because She’s Dead)”.

Look: when George “Shadow” Morton, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack”, they didn’t feel the need to pop the words (The One Where She’s Going Out With A Wrong ‘Un Who Gets Killed While Riding His Motorcycle) on the end of the title, with good reason.

Plus: if we are to believe Paul Evans, he got drunk with Joannie, had an argument, let her drive home, and in between attempts to call her the next morning, wrote a glib ditty about how he couldn’t get through, finds out she’s dead, finishes the song off, and bemoans the fact that never again would he be able to kiss her “funny face”. Joannie sounds well off out of it, if you ask me.

And he looks like a grumpy Peter Powell.

Now then, question time. What’s worse than the following: not being called, being called too much, getting through to an answerphone, or your partner being killed before they can answer the phone?

Answer: being David Gedge, that’s what. Poor old lovelorn David is trying to call his girlfriend, and he gets through…to her sister, who, much to his humiliation, pretends she’s not home when she clearly is:

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376. The Wedding Present – Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm

Still, at least he can take a sodding hint.

More soon.

The Chain #16

Evening Link Fans!

You know how I said I had a lot to get through last week? Well this week, even more so.

But before we get cracking, and to kill off any semblance of suspense, I’ll tell you that none of you – including me – picked the official record in The Chain. In fact none of you – including me – went down the same route as the person who picked the official one, which when you read it, will have you slapping yourself in the face and saying “Of course!!! Why didn’t I think of that!!”

First out of the traps, so to speak, this week was Charity Chic, proving once and for all why the name of this blog is very appropriate indeed, for I must admit, it was a song which I owned, albeit on a 90s compilation CD I’d picked up for something else entirely, but which also contained his suggestion:

“Dundee Unite fans despairingly sing “You’ve only got one shoe” to the socially deprived fans of Glaswegian clubs. When Gordon Strachan was manager of Celtic he was known as Chesney after a small red headed boy on the soap opera Coronation Street.  So The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes please Jez.  It’s bound to be the winner.”

Yes, folks. This is really happening:

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Chesney Hawkes – The One and Only

It’s okay. It’s safe to come out now. The be-moled one has gone.

But hot on his heels, here’s S-WC from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who not content with giving us two suggestions in his first week, goes two better by giving us four this week. So, deep breath, here we go:

Shoes were made for walking which immediately gives you ‘Fools Gold’….”

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The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

(and yes, the full 09:53 version. Of course, the full 09:53 version. Why would anyone want to listen to the short version..??)

“…But it also gives you Nancy Sinatra as well…”

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Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

“…As you walk in shoes you may well gaze down at them. Which is called Shoegaze. So perhaps ‘Sight of You’ by the Pale Saints.

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Pale Saints – Sight of You

“…Although ultimately if you have Kirsty singing about one pair of shoes you really need another point of view so you have to go with Fucked Up and ‘The Other Shoe’. Argument over.”

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Fucked Up – The Other Shoe

Moving swiftly on before I make really bad joke about that, here’s bagging area with more multiple suggestion mullarky, the third of which is my favourite link of the week:

“The Charlatans walked with no shoes on ‘Tellin’ Stories’…”

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The Charlatans – With No Shoes

“…Run DMC’s shoes were their Adidas…”

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Run DMC – My Adidas

“…Keith Richards once said ‘I don’t remember much about making Exile On Main Street but I do remember I had this really cool pair of snakeskin shoes’. “Happy” off that album is a blast.”

Yes. Yes, it is:

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The Rolling Stones – Happy

Here’s George:

“I was thinking of suggesting this: the Kirsty MacColl track comes from the album Tropical Brainstorm, and Typically Tropical did that single Barbados in 1975.”

This one..?

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Typically Tropical – Barbados

But before George has chance to flood me with multiple suggestions, can we give a warm Chain welcome to The Badger, who co-authors the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog with S-WC, who…erm…floods me with multiple suggestions:

Whilst my esteemed colleague S-WC is probably right about Fucked Up, he should consider this: Kirsty MacColl famously covered ‘A New England’ by Sir Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg also sang about Shoeburyness in the classic A13. So you could go there…”

And we will, for I once got Janice Long to play that for me on her late night Radio 2 show, kicking off – and I know you’ll find it hard to believe I could be behind such a thing – an hour of themed songs about roads:

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Billy Bragg – A13, Trunk Road To The Sea

“…Kirsty also sang on The Wonder Stuff’s ‘Welcome to the Cheap Seats’ from the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ album….”

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The Wonder Stuff – Welcome To The Cheap Seats

“…Elvis also featured in the title of a Cud album ‘Elvis Belt’. Which contained the classic ‘Only a Prawn in Whitby’.”

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Cud – Only (A Prawn in Whitby)

Moving on…no, wait…George hadn’t finished it seems…

“Then I thought of this: one of the other tracks from the Tropical Brainstorm album is “Não Esperando” which is Portuguese for No Waiting (and I didn’t have to look that up!), and the “waiting” bit leads to, yes, one of the 5 best songs ever recorded, Jesus Is Waiting by Al Green, the last track on the Call Me album, and 5-and-a-half-minutes of absolute genius.”

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Al Green – Jesus Is Waiting

Next up is Alex G, author of the rather fantastic We Will Have Salad who is kind enough to give my Copy and Paste skills a bit of a break by just suggesting the one song:

“What would you find “In These Shoes?”. If you were a shoemaker, probably a last. And Bob Last was the man behind the legendary late-70s indie label Fast Product, which in its brief existence gave us the debut singles by The Human League (the only reason I know the word “sericulture”), The Mekons, Dead Kennedys and Gang Of Four. Nice one, Bob. My pick: the original Fast Product version of “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four, which Mr Last also produced. And which is great.”

Yes.Yes, it is:

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Gang of Four – Damaged Goods

And here’s Marie, who rather wonderfully adds an element of creative writing into her suggestion:

“I imagined the title of Kirsty’s “In These Shoes?” as a response to an invite to a Northern Soul All-Nighter. When asked, “What’s wrong with them?”, she might have answered, “Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes) (by Major Lance.)”

One of the things I love about running this post (I can’t really claim to write it), is that often I’ll be introduced to a record I’ve never heard before, and which I instantly love. There’s a couple of tunes up there I was unfamiliar with, but my favourite of those this week goes to:

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Major Lance – Ain’t No Soul (In These Old Shoes)

Next, the return of another who I think we can now safely call a regular contributor round these parts. Here’s What’s It All About Alfie?

“This Chain could grow arms and legs, but it’s feet we’re interested in this week as feet live in shoes. A pair of shoes has two soles and following Marie’s thinking, how about Soul ll Soul with Keep On Movin’ (in these shoes) – a bit of a “lady” choice but gives The Chain balance perhaps?”

When this came out in 1989, my girlfriend at the time bloody loved it (in fact, we met because of it; she asked me to play it when I was DJ’ing one night, which I did, despite not being all that fond of it myself (No guitars, see..) The following week, I kept an eye out for her arrival, waited for her to get herself a drink and take up a spot kind of near the dancefloor, and then proceeded to play it for her again. Bingo! The oldest trick in the DJ’s Handbook.) but it wasn’t until a good few years later that the penny finally dropped with me about Soul II Soul and what an amazing record Club Classics Vol. One is:

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Soul II Soul (feat. Caron Wheeler) – Keep On Movin’

Three more to go, and here’s The Great Gog:

“I shall ignore all this talk of shoes and go with the fact that there is a chain of newsagents called McColl’s (yes, I know the spelling is ever so slightly different). Therefore I think that a song about a newsagent would be appropriate. I can think of no better such ditty (indeed I can think of no other, either) than In The Middle Of The Night from the debut album from Madness.” (Nope, me neither. The Jam’s “Man in a Corner Shop” is about the best I can come up with).

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Madness – In the Middle of the Night

Here’s The Swede, who picks up where George left off, linking to the title of the album from which “In These Shoes?” is taken:

“…‘Tropical Brainstorm’, which was co-produced by Dave Ruffy, drummer with The Ruts, one of the few groups of their time with the potential to rival The Clash in terms of passion and musical versatility. Certainly they were the only ‘punk’ band who got anywhere near The Clash when it came to reggae. ‘Give Youth a Chance’ is a good case in point.”

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The Ruts – Give Youth a Chance

Which brings us to the last of the suggestions from you guys and girls, and, since we started with a slice of cheese from Chesney, ending with another slice of cheese seems appropriate. I’ll let Kay explain:

“My suggestion is Footloose by Kenny Loggins. Just the thought of Kevin Bacon dancing angrily in a warehouse brings a smile to my face. Can’t remember if he’s dancing to footloose or some other gem in the warehouse – but what a scene!”

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Kenny Loggins – Footloose

Ok, cheese is a little unkind. I went to see that in the cinema when it came out in 1984, bloody loved it then, and bloody loved hearing it again now.

And, so to my choice. And mine is nowhere near as clever as all of yours (give yourselves a hearty pat on the back for another excellent week of suggestions, by the way). I’m giving you some breathy camp electro-clash-iness:

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Tiga – Shoes

All that’s left for me to do then is spark off a load of face-palms with the big reveal as to the identity of the official link:

“The late Kirsty MacColl’s former husband Steve Lillywhite produced Peter Gabriel’s third eponymous album…”

Grrr. How did none of us think of that??

Anyway, here’s the record they chose from said album:

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16. Peter Gabriel – I Don’t Remember

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments box below, for songs that link to Peter Gabriel’s “I Don’t Remember”, along with an explanation as to how you got there too please!

See y’all same time next week.

By which I mean: more soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

If you visit here regularly, it can’t have escaped your attention that one of my favourite bands is R.E.M.

Other than their signature jangly college rock sound, they would often drop an absolute pearler of an alt-country tune, and it’s to one of those that we’re heading this morning.

If I absolutely had to pick my favourite R.E.M. song, it’d probably be this one:

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R.E.M. – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville

Years ago, when the band I was in at college met for rehearsals (and yes, anyone who was lucky enough to see us, unbelievable as it may seem, that was rehearsed) every so often we’d break for a few minutes, the rest of the band would sit and roll cigarettes and chat, and I would *ahem* “treat” them to a rendition of this. In the midst of writing this post, I have unleashed the old acoustic guitar and am pretty chuffed I still remember the chords to it.

With apologies to my neighbours for me singing it at 7:00 am, though. If it’s any consolation, I’d rather not have been awake at that time on a Sunday either.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

A break from the Summer songs now, and here’s a tune from a band who are perhaps best known for two songs: the one from that film with Leonardo DiCaprio in it, and the one with the video of the lead singer driving a convertible through the desert.

This is neither of those.

In my book, this is one The Cardigans finest tunes from one of their finest albums, and one which certainly deserved better than only reaching Number 74 in the UK charts. No, I couldn’t believe that either. A travesty that it isn’t better known or more widely appreciated.

For this is just, well, the words “magnificent” and “gorgeous” spring to mind:

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The Cardigans – You’re The Storm

Nuff said.

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #30

For fear of overkill, apart from marking their passing, I’ve shied away from posting much Bowie or Prince since their sad, sudden demises earlier this year. For example, the other week, when writing the post about my brother’s birthday and his musical inclinations as we grew up, I completely omitted, deliberately, to mention he was the only person I knew (at the time) who bought the “Purple Rain” soundtrack. It was too soon, I thought.

Time to redress that. Here from his genre-busting “Sign O’ The Times” album is an absolute doozy:

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Prince – Play in the Sunshine

As I was listening to that, it occurred to me there’s a whole instrumental break in it that sounds like it’s lifted from a soundtrack. Now, Prince loved making movies to go with his albums, but I wasn’t aware of him doing one for “Sign O’ The Times” so I did a little research, and boy oh boy I’m glad I did, for I stumbled across possibly the best review of an album I’ve ever read.

This, from “The Village Voice”:

‘Sign O’ The Times…[is the sound of]…the most gifted pop musician of his generation proving what a motherfucker he is for two discs start to finish.’ The author, Robert Christgau, goes on to praise Prince’s ‘one-man band tricks…[which] make Stevie Wonder sound like a struggling ventriloquist’ along with his ability to express real emotions: ‘The objects of his desire are also objects of interest, affection, and respect. Some of them he may not even fuck.’

Sheena Easton was not available for comment.

Moe soon.

That Summer Feeling #29

Of course, if I’m going to describe a song as sounding like The Stranglers (and now I think about it, I’m not sure how much water that comparison holds), it would be remiss of me not to post their own stab at a summer record.

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The Stranglers – Peaches

I think, in fact no, I’m sure, that’s the only record to be a hit in the UK that had the word “clitoris” in it.

In case any male readers are struggling to find it, it’s towards the end of the song.

More soon.

How To (and How Not To) Do A Cover Version (That Summer Feeling #28)

Pretty straight-forward, today’s lesson:

  1. Dispense with the whole “boy-part/girl-part” structure of the original vocal;
  2. Make it sound like a trippy, nice’n’sleazy Stranglers cover

Lifted from the 1990 Anti-Poll Tax compilation album “Alvin Lives (in Leeds)”, here’s 14 Iced Bears:

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14 Iced Bears – Summer Nights

Of course, the original, lifted from the smash hit movie “Grease”, was a huge beast back in 1978, when it spent 7 weeks at Number 1 in the UK.

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John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Summer Nights

As an indication as to just how massive “Grease”-mania was, “Summer Nights” was the second single to be released from the soundtrack, and the second to hit the top spot in the singles chart. The first single was “You’re The One That I Want”, and if you were to combine the two, Travolta & Newton-John spent 16 weeks at Number One in 1978.

So, since the film essentially describes a holiday romance that continues unexpectedly, it’d be wrong of me not to include that song here too, right?

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John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – You’re the One That I Want

Sadly, I don’t have any cover versions of that by 1970s comedy actors to play now.

Oh  wait. Sorry. What I meant to say was: Sadly, I do have a cover version of that by 1970s comedy actors to play now.

Brace yourself:

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Hylda Baker & Arthur Mullard – You’re The One That I Want

And if that wasn’t bad enough, here they are, “singing” live, on what has to be the most excruciating appearance on Top of the Pops this side of All About Eve’s backing track malfunction:

Learnt most of my best dance moves off old Arthur, as it goes.

Bet you wish I wasn’t having phone issues now, eh?

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #27

Second appearance from Belle and Sebastian here, and it was a toss up whether to post this or the equally lovely “Ease Your Feet In The Sea”, but this one wins because it compliments the recent post about “Unemployed in Summertime” rather neatly:

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Belle & Sebastian – A Summer Wasting

Without wishing to tread over old ground (and by the way, thank you for the lovely comments, texts, emails and calls that my post about “Unemployed in Summertime” prompted; more than any others that I’ve ever received they meant a great deal to me), it seems to me the title of this song could be taken in one of two ways: a mournful, reflection on wasted time, or a bright and breezy recollection of a summer from our youth where the summer holidays seemed to stretch out to infinity in front of us, where time wasn’t an issue and where you could just ride your Chopper around the new build estates or simply laze around on playing fields, doing nothing, to your heart’s content.

It’s Saturday. Let’s plump for the latter, shall we?

More soon.

The Premier’s In

Meanwhile, in that there football world, it’s the opening day of the Premiership today. And as if by magic, as I queued up to buy my lunch yesterday, my iPod gave me this to listen to, a song which to these ears is synonymous with football highlights (that, and a truly awful performance at Glastonbury 2010, when Ian Broudie seemed determined to prove every song he had ever written he had done so in the wrong key for his singing voice):

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The Lightning Seeds – The Life of Riley

Since I have a “never knowingly give any money to Murdoch” philosophy, I have no idea what tune Sky have chosen to accompany their Football coverage this year. I imagine it’s something by Kasabian. Which is another reason not to watch Sky, of course.

But I was mightily heartened today to note that BBC’s Saturday lunchtime football show, “Football Focus” was continuing to use this masterpiece as the theme tune:

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Ride – OX4

No matter how many times I post that, it gets no less majestic.

There you go: that’s your ball entertainment covered, which is about as much as can be said for Gary Lineker when he hosts tonight’s Match of the Day, it seems.

More soon.