Sunday Morning Coming Down

This week’s tune is, in my befuddled brain, almost a companion piece to last week’s. But  where Bobbie Gentry was vowing she’d never fall in love again, today’s singer is simply saying she’s not that fussed on one chap in particular.

Written by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees – more of them next week – this is an absolute classic, with cover versions performed by artistes as diverse as The Lemonheads, Pete Burns (yes, that Pete Burns), The Pastels, Carrie Underwood, Skeeter Davis, P. P. Arnold and Paul Westerberg.

Probably one of my favourite records ever, I speak of course of “Different Drum” by Linda Ronstadt:


Linda Ronstadt – Different Drum

I have a busy week ahead of me, so expect posts to be even less frequent, and responses to comments even slower than usual. I’m off to see Teenage Fanclub on Monday night, Graham Linehan’s adaptation of The Ladykillers on Wednesday (don’t fret, The Chain is practically ready and will still happen as usual), and – here’s the one that will invoke the most howls of disapproval and derision – Status Quo doing a one-off acoustic gig in Union Chapel in Islington (my favourite venue in London) on Friday. I’m dusting down my double denim as we speak.

Anyway, you know what I’m trying to say. (More soon)

Late Night Stargazing

My apologies that Friday Night Music Club didn’t appear as usual this week. My family was rocked this week with some pretty awful news, which I don’t really want to go into in any specific detail about – partly because as I write this I’m not in full possession of the facts, but mostly because it involves a family member who I care a great deal for, and I’m not sure this is quite the right forum for discussing someone else’s health issues.

Here’s all I will say: one of my cousins is quite seriously ill, and we are all very concerned for her.

The cousin in question – forgive me, I don’t think it appropriate to tell you her name – is a year younger than me, is an only child and we spent a lot of time together when we were growing up. Although we’ve seen each other less frequently as we’ve got older, when we do meet up, that spark is still there, and we spend most of the time giggling and laughing at things like we’re still 10 years old.

Similarly, and although I will attribute the source of my love of and devotion to The Smiths elsewhere later in this blog, it was her that first switched me on to them. We were at her house, and she popped a VHS cassette into the machine and played me the video for “Panic”. I remember thinking how awesome it was. When I look back now, I see this moment as her further eroding my inexplicable defences against them. I’ll explain that some other time.

As I say, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I do want to share a tune which, every time I hear it, I am reminded of her.

And here’s why.

I’m not sure if it happened when I was at home during a break from college, or whether it was in the year I spent back living with my parents after I graduated, but one evening there was a phone call to our family phone from my cousin.

My mother trotted out into the hall to answer the phone, but quickly called for me to come and take it from her. It was my cousin: she was with some friends, they were listening to The Smiths debut album and they had realised what a drop-dead gorgeous song tonight’s choice is. She knew I was a fan, so had rung me, as they wanted to know all the words to it. I ran and grabbed my vinyl copy which had the words on the inner sleeve. I spent the next twenty minutes dictating the lyrics to her.

This is the song, and it feels strangely appropriate for where we are now:


The Smiths – The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

More soon, but also get well soon. Please.