Something Changed

Last post for this weekend. Probably.

There can’t be many regular listeners who weren’t saddened by the news that Jarvis Cocker is to stop doing his Sunday Service shows on 6 Music.

Jarvis’ show has been an absolute jewel in the 6 Music crown for the past eight years, and, disappointed as I am, I know that the station has a pretty good  record of employing people who produce consistently interesting, entertaining radio.

So, a fond farewell to Jarvis, and a warm welcome to London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, who’ll be taking over the reins.

This seems apt:


Pulp – Something Changed

More soon.


Which Reminds Me…

Incoming controversial statement.

I rather like a single by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Although, it sounds to me like what would happen if The Vaccines happened to cover a certain record by Ricky Martin.

Here’s the evidence:


The Vaccines – If You Wanna



Ricky Martin – She Bangs


Am I right, or am I right?

More soon.



Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

Regular readers will recall that I used to write a series called “Claps, Clicks & Whistles”, which featured songs that included one or more of those three elements.

I say used to, it’s not dead, just…I haven’t thought of anything to write in the series for a while.

When I got bored of writing earlier this year, part of my back-to-work plan was that I’d not be quite so regimented about when I would post, I’d just dip into any particular series whenever I fancied doing so. Keep you all on your toes, so to speak. So y’know, watch this space.

Anyway, the original point of “Claps, Clicks & Whistles”, was that I thought that any song featured any of those elements was likely to be a cheery little number. And it occurred to me over the weekend that there’s a fourth category here, which I’m going to pretend I thought of ages ago but didn’t include because it would have meant the title didn’t scan so well.

And so here we are. Looking at songs which feature either the lead singer or, more often, the backing singer(s), launching into a chorus of Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba’s.

I don’t think there’s anything more joyous in pop records, except maybe the aforementioned claps, clicks or whistles, or possibly the key change in any record by either Westlife or Boyzone, because when that happens you know it’s nearly over. And I think this might just edge it.

Here’s an example: Julian Cope back in The Teardrop Explodes days, launching into a chorus of ba ba ba’s, interspersed with some whoa-whoa-whoas to the tune of “As Tears Go By”:


The Teardrop Explodes – Passionate Friend

Just glorious.

I already know I’m going to regret calling this series “Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba”, by the way. Tune in next time to see where the hyphen will feature.

More soon.

Mock the Weak

Back in 1983, when I was at secondary school, there was a General Election.

To provide some context, the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher had swept to power in 1979. Labour were led by Michael Foot, portrayed by the press as a scruffy ultra-left threat to national security Communist (sound familiar?). The Social Democratic Party (SDP) had formed in 1981, but had not yet established itself as the third main party; that would take a rebranding or two before the name Liberal Democrats finally stuck.

The Falklands War Conflict had finished. Unemployment was high, but about to get higher. The Miners’ Strike was on the horizon.

My school, deep in the Tory homeland of Cambridgeshire (John Major was our MP, which gives you some idea) decided that they would hold a mock election, and my year was designated the year who would form the political parties to battle it out.

And so it was that one day in our English class (we didn’t have a Politics class), we were randomly split into groups, asked to decide which political party we were going to be, and instructed to prepare a manifesto and speech which we would have to present to the rest of the year, who would then vote.

We could act as one of the established parties, in which case our manifesto had to accurately represent that of the party we were emulating. Or, we could make up our own party, party name, manifesto and speech.

The class were separated out into groups of four people, and it soon became very apparent in my group of wallflowers that the person who would have to stand up and make the speech was going to be me. Which led me to insist on complete artistic control, that I would have the final say over which party we were to represent, what was in our manifesto, and what we were going to say in our speech.

The other three in my group realised this was a perfect opportunity for them to do absolutely nothing, so basically left me to it. All they had to do was stand on stage behind me as I made my speech, look supportive, and remind me not to speak too fast.

And so, I decided we would be an all-new party, and wrote a manifesto and speech which was basically a satire of the Conservative Party’s. I can remember very little of it now; however, since I wasn’t particularly politically engaged back then, at the age of 13,  I banked on very few of my year-mates having either watched or remembered BBC sketch show ‘Not The Nine O’clock News’, pinched a few gags from that and padded it out with a few of my own in the same vein. The only (stolen) joke I used that I can recall was one about increasing the age one had to be to receive a pension, and axing benefits for the disabled, because it made sense to attack those who were unable or unlikely to fight back. All strangely prescient in these days of Universal Credit, it seems.

On the day of the actual general election, my year trooped into the school hall, where each “party leader” took it in turns to stand behind the lectern and deliver their speech.

When it was my turn, I was terrified. I’d had to talk to large rooms full of people  before (at junior school, I was often given the role of Narrator in the school play because I could read), but never before (with one notable exception, which I’ll tell you about sometime) had I read out something I had written myself, even if much of it was plagiarised. My eyes never left my A4 pad. I read at a frantic speed. My fellow party members were lined up behind me. One of them, Robbie Watson, leant forwards and hissed “Slow down, mate” in my ear. I slowed down. And managed to get some laughs from the audience.

I left the stage, glowing with pride, back appreciatively slapped by my comrades.

We came second, losing by a handful of votes. To the Conservatives, of course. I’m used to it by now.

But whilst I can’t recall much of the detail of the manifesto or speech, I’ve never forgotten the name I came up with for my pretend political party: the Northern Irish Political Party to Lead the English.

Or, the N.I.P.P.L.E. Party, for short.

I imagine you can work out why I was reminded of that this week.

Here’s a song:


R.E.M. – World Leader Pretend (Live “Tourfilm” Version)

Dear Theresa. Can I have my £1 billion now please? I promise to support you. Except on the occasions when I don’t want to.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Back to some country this morning, and a follow-on tune to the post I did a couple of weeks ago about the reality TV show “Gone to Pot: American Road Trip”.

The link will become obvious, not least because it’s Willie Nelson again.

And this track also features Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson and….Snoop Dogg:


Willie Nelson – Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die (with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson & Jamey Johnson)

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

I’ve no idea how it is that I’ve never featured anything by The Knife before.

Probably because I have absolutely no idea how to describe them.

The best I can manage is this: occasionally odd, often stunning.

Here’s a track from their quite magnificent album 2006 album “Silent Shout”:


The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health

More soon.