All Part of the Service

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t done a Friday Night Music Club post for a few weeks now. There’s a few reasons for that.

Firstly, I felt that I’d kind of painted myself into a corner with that thread in its present format. It had started off as just being a post with a playlist for those of us who, for whatever reason – be it through lack of funds, or having reached a certain age where going out dancing isn’t really a viable option, or simply have nobody to go with – are unable to go out on a Friday night, to enjoy in the comfort of their own living room.

But somewhere along the line, it changed into me posting ten songs on a particular theme. Some of these became tedious for me to write (I’m thinking of the series of three posts about songs that shared a name with a television programme in particular), and judging by the marked drop-off in comments, I guess many of you felt the same way about reading it!

Secondly, I was running out of ideas for themes, although typically I’ve thought of a couple of potentially good ones recently, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it returning again at some point. Ultimately, though, if it does return, it’ll just be some tunes to brighten up your Friday night, something to dance to, sing along to, maybe even shed a tear to.

Thirdly, it was becoming  bit of a drag to do. By about Wednesday every week, my mind would start to frantically scramble for a theme, the panic rising throughout Thursday, reaching a climax around Friday lunchtime. Sometimes I managed to pull a good one out the bag (I’m still quite proud of the post about Radio songs which I cobbled together at the last minute), but more often than not I felt I was boxed in a bit. And, as I’m sure my fellow bloggers will agree, if writing a particular post becomes a bit of a chore to do, then maybe it’s time to move onto something new. As they say on those adverts encouraging us to gamble, “When The Fun Stops, Stop” (like that’s an excuse for the previous thirty seconds of telling us how cool it is to gamble, how much money you could win…don’t get me started…)

Fourthly, I discovered regular Chain contributor Rol’s excellent My Top Ten blog, where he posts ten songs on a certain theme. Here, it seemed, was my excuse to put Friday Night Music Club on a hiatus, for Rol seemed to be doing a much better job of it than I, writing with warmth, wit and charm about a selection of subjects, whilst highlighting a broad range of records.

I mention this, because having been out for a few beers last night, I woke early this morning, still thirsty, and began my usual trawl of the blogs I follow, at which point I alighted upon My Top Ten and found what I think we can safely describe as “a cry for help”.

As part of his “Top Ten Maths Songs (Volume 5: Division) Rol had posted a song by a former Australian soap star (he’s still Australian, just no longer a soap star) that he was a tad embarrassed about. His writings ended with the following words:

“Perhaps I should consult Jez over at A History of Dubious Taste? If anyone will stick up for me here, it’s got to be him…”

Happy to help. All part of the service, no extra charge.

Now, I should start off by saying that back in 1989, I would have rather chewed off one of my own testicles than admit to liking anything by Jason Donovan (for it is he), or indeed anything from the Stock, Aitken & Waterman camp, but I’ve kind of mellowed. Besides, it’s physically impossible, so I’m told.

Now, Donovan (and when I refer to Donovan from hereon in, I’m referring to Jason, not Leitch) has certainly had his troubles: post-Neighbours, and post-pop career, he developed a serious drug problem, taking around two grams of cocaine a day. In early 1995, at Kate Moss’ 21st birthday party, held in The Viper Room, Johnny Depp’s notorious bar on (not Paul) Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, where actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose a couple of years earlier, Donovan suffered a drug-induced seizure which very nearly finished him off too. Lightweight.

Putting aside the whole episode where he sued The Face magazine in the early 1990s for alleging he was a homosexual – which he has later confessed was the biggest mistake of his life – I’ve always found Donovan to come across as quite a likeable chap, as this clip from now defunct-and-should-have-been-out-of-its-misery-years-before-it-actually-was comedy pop quiz “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” illustrates:

So, a drug habit and a bunch of A-List celebrity friends certainly would seem to provide him with an air of credibility that one could argue his recording career didn’t really deserve.

Sure, we may not consider many, if any, of his records to be in any way profound or artistically worthy, but that’s because they’re not supposed to be. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Donovan made pop records, and pop, by its very nature is “here today and gone tomorrow”, transient bubble-gum. But forever tucked away in our CD racks, our cupboards of vinyl, our MP3 folders, there they lurk: pop songs. And some of them are cheesy. And some of them people will stumble over, raise an eyebrow in your direction and say “Really? You like Cleopatra??”

There’s nothing wrong with liking pop records.

So, as part of the newly founded Bloggers’ Solidarity Movement (so newly founded, that’s the first ever mention of it), here’s a song by Jason Donovan that I like.

There, I’ve said it.


Jason Donovan – Too Many Broken Hearts

I’m perfectly aware that Too Many Broken Hearts is not a great record, but that doesn’t preclude me from liking it. I don’t think this is too difficult a concept to grasp: I’m not wrong for liking it, and you’re not wrong for disagreeing with me.

Oh, and he had a nice hat.

More soon.

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8 thoughts on “All Part of the Service”

  1. It was the sheer ubiquitousness (is that even a word?) of SAW that ground me down. You couldn’t move for the blighters in the second half of the 1980s – from Bill Tarmey to Judas Priest, everyone recorded with them! Some of SAW’s individual songs have stuck with me though – I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Showin’ Out’ and ‘Respectable’ by Mel & Kim, though I’d probably deny that last statement if you asked me in public.

    1. Spot on. Yes, SAW were bloody everywhere, and yes, most of it was utter tosh, but there are some hidden gems in there. To say that everything they did was shite is on a par with saying everyone who voted for Brexit is a racist, and we know only about 98% of them were. (Tongue in cheek, before I get swamped with nasty comments!)

  2. You can give up all your other items, Friday Night Music, Sunday Morning, all of them. But In The Name Of The Sweet Lord do not give up The Chain, it’s the highlight of my week!

  3. Thank you for showing solidarity (and mercy!) in this, my darkest music-blogger hour.

    Of course, the fact that I will henceforth be known to all your readers as “The Jason Donovan Fan” is something I’m sure I will never live down. But it’s all about context, as anyone who read my original post will doubtless understand. Like every other sane music fan who lived through the 80s, I still detest SAW and everything they stood for. But as you say, a pop song is a pop song, and you sometimes just can’t stop it getting into your head. I mean, I hate Mark Ronson too, but Uptown Funk was pretty good. Even U2 had their moments…

    I never bought a Jason Donovan record though. (However, I dd buy the first – and arguably worst – Kylie Minogue single on 7″, but in my defence, that had very little to do with the music…)

    1. My pleasure. Brothers and Sisters, the Revolution starts right here! Agree with you about U2, although they don’t fall into quite the same category, but pompous arses that they are (by which I mean Bono, of course),you aren’t around for as long as they’ve been without stumbling across the odd half-decent tune every now and again.

  4. I’m also a keen advocate of not feeling guilty about liking certain songs – If they give you pleasure/enjoyment what is there to be guilty about? As you say they were never intended to do anything other than give a fleeting moment of joy anyway – Oh that’s right, we never want to look uncool in front of our cool friends. To be honest I’m now of an age where some of my coolest friends are no longer even with us (sorry for being morbid but true) so kind of puts what’s really important into perspective. Agree that when a genre like SAW takes over to the extent they did it just becomes boring, but that’s a totally different thing.

    As a matter of interest I was on the way home in the car a couple of weeks ago when a Jason Donovan medley came on the radio and had to sit in the drive until it was finished. Realised that when I got out of the car I had a bit smile on my face and surely that can never be a bad thing!

    My application to join BlogSol is in progress (sadly BSM has already been taken unless we want to start driving around in little cars with L plates on them listening to bubble-gum pop).

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