I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

The other day I watched Johnny Owen’s excellent documentary about the history-making Nottingham Forest team that won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980, led by the Brian Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor.

I remember watching the first European Cup final against Malmo (it was probably one of the first football matches I ever watched on TV) and specifically, this goal by Trevor Francis, the first ever £1 million player:

The documentary is called I Believe In Miracles, and this morning’s song features heavily:


The Jackson Sisters – I Believe in Miracles

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

If I were to list the honours bestowed on this morning’s Country act, I imagine that (like me) few of you will know who I mean.

He is an inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and a recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship, the United States’ highest honour in the folk and traditional arts.

But if we did it the other way round and said: “Who is Mac Wiseman?” then  I suspect most will shrug their shoulders (not you, George, put your hand down).

This is Mac Wiseman, still recording at the grand old age of 92 (or ’92 years of age’, as football commentators seem compelled to say when describing someone’s age, like that makes them sound more articulate than saying ’92 years old’):


Mac Wiseman – Somewhere Bound

More soon.


Saturday Night Coming Up

There’s no drug-related story behind this one, although they were probably involved.

Actually, they were definitely involved in the making of the record.

That London’s Bugged Out night tried a few times to migrate down to Cardiff, but it seemed to be doomed from the start. The first night they had to get local DJs to stand in as the main act (Dave Clarke, I think, but don’t hold me to that…my recollection is, for fairly obvious reasons…let’s say sketchy) was involved in a car accident on the way to the gig.

But John Carter made it a few weeks later.

Me and my legally nameless friends had been on the dancefloor, when a tune we didn’t care for too much came on, and we decided to head back to the area where our gang were located, for a fag and a nice sit down.

But as we left the dancefloor, a drum-fill reverberated out of the sound system which sounded strangely familiar. I cocked an ear. It was followed by these words:

How old are you? Are you old enough?

I grabbed my buddy who was slightly in front of me. Having also recognised it, he was already goggle-eyed with excitement as I shouted: “Holy fuck, he’s playing the Mondays!”

We were back on the dancefloor by the time Shaun William Ryder had finished saying:

Should you be in here, watching that?

Glory days.


Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People (Jon Carter’s Main Vocal)

Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People (Jon Carter’s Acid Vocal)

More soon.

Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan Alan ABBA

It was a big day for news yesterday.

Firstly: Latest Royal baby named!

alan gif

Secondly: North and South Korea are now friends again!


Thirdly, and most excitingly: ABBA have recorded some new songs and will be reforming for an avatar tour, whatever that means. (I suspect it means: not actually reforming at all).


Say what you like about the Swedish quartet, they made some bloody great pop records.

And if it weren’t for them, then we’d never have had this, taken from the first episode of Knowing Me Knowing You, the moment we all realised what a genius creation the lead character is:

Alan’s ABBA Medley

Mind you, they’re also more than partially responsible for Mama Mia! and, God help us, the imminent Mama Mia! 2, so y’know…every silver lining has it’s cloud.

More soon.

Replenishing the Vinyl

Hello. I haven’t gone. Just fancied a break.

Whenever I’ve decided to go on hiatus before, I’ve usually said so in advance, but I decided to do so again this time might come across as a little needy, actively encouraging regular readers to ask if I was okay, to tell me that when writing this place becomes a chore then it’s time to take five – precisely the advice I’ve offered to my peers, as it goes. (oh, and thanks to those of you who did take the time to contact me anyway to make sure I wasn’t laying dead in a pool of Jack Daniels and my own bodily fluids.)

Truth is, I wasn’t suffering from writer’s block, nor did I feel the blog had become a task to be completed, several times a week. Actually, I just couldn’t be arsed to write anything for a while.

Anyway,  now I’m back and I thought I’d kick off with something light.


I’ve made no bones in the past of my utter adoration of The Smiths, late as I was to the whole party (did Smiths fans ever got to parties…?), but I did write a few months ago about how I had reached the end of my tether with the bequiffed professional grump, in light of some rather dubious opinions he had aired.

And lo and behold, he’s been at it again. I’m not going to give any more column inches to what he has actually said this time, but when I go on to Twitter and see my old mate Rich – a die-hard Morrissey fan if ever there was one, and, lest I forget, the man who properly switched me on to The Smiths back in 1986 (see, I told you I was late to the party) – has done a triple-linked tweet @Morrissey explaining why he was wrong, then suffice it to say Stephen Patrick must have crossed a line.

Now, I’m not going to criticise Rich for his continued adoration of Morrissey, despite all his faults. If I’m honest, I’d expect nothing less; after all Rich is my longest serving, and therefore most faithful friend, and if he can see past and forgive me for all of my oh-so-many faults, then I’d expect nothing less than for him to extend the same courtesy to the man who has by far had the greatest impact and influence on his life.

I mean, I’ve never written a lyric anywhere near as good as How Soon is Now? (though I have written a lot that are considerably better than Roy’s Keen. Just wait until I get round to telling you about the song about self-abuse based on both Bohemian Rhapsody and a Purple Ronnie card that I both wrote and performed live. Actually, now that I write that, it sounds fricking incredible).

I think the reason I’m so had-it-up-to-here with Morrissey is the sense of utter betrayal. When I was a teenager, assembling and honing my political position and societal standpoint which, let’s be honest, leaned ever-so-slightly to the left, and living in a leafy area of Cambridgeshire where I was most definitely in the minority, Morrissey was a beacon, a guiding light. His position was stoically working class (I can’t pretend I was anything other than middle class, but I empathised), anti-establishment and anti-royalty, sexually and gender ambiguous (okay, I never got fully on board with this to the extent where I wanted to dip a toe in, but still…) and to see the message he sends out now just feels like…is treasonous to strong a word? Duplicitous? I dunno.

See, I don’t understand how someone can go from being in one political position to being at almost the polar opposite a few years later. I appreciate there is the idea that as one gets older you become more right-wing, but it’s not something that has happened to me. In fact, I sit with Elvis Costello when, back in 1989, he said when introducing Tramp the Dirt Down on a BBC Late Show Special:

“I’m not some little kid that they can say “There, there, now, you’re just these young little teenagers that are having their moment of protest. I’m a man. I’m 35 years old. And I’m fucking sick of it, with what’s going on in this country.”

Part of me wants to attribute Morrissey’s recent statements to having a new record to promote, wanting to stir up a bit of controversy. But that’s no excuse with aligning yourself with unsavoury knucklescrapers.

Take his recent comeback single, Spent the Day in Bed. Something niggled at me when I heard that, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. But the other day, it finally clicked into place. It’s that line:

“Stop watching the news, because the news contrives to frighten you.”

Isn’t that an ever-so slightly more articulate way of saying “Fake News”?

Remember when Ben Elton went from co-writing revolutionary landmark comedies The Young Ones and Blackadder, and doing vitriolic stand-up routines routinely attacking “Mrs Thatch” and being universally adored by the Left and the Youth, to being pilloried and lambasted for selling out by writing musicals with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sun City stalwarts Queen? That’s what this feels like.

To paraphrase: Morrissey is the music world’s Ben Elton.

And I’ll be honest: vowing not to buy another record by Morrissey is not that tough an ask, given that I haven’t truly loved anything he’s released for, oh I don’t know, at least ten years now, probably longer.

But still.

Still there’s a part of me that won’t let go.

In the back of my mind there’s not just The Smiths that I have to thank him for. There’s the other cultural references he gave me way back then, things I may never have discovered for myself, things which are as important to me now as they were back in the day.

Oscar Wilde. Shelagh Delaney. The Primitives. Keats and Yeats.

Sandie Shaw.

The Sandie Shaw/Smiths collaboration was over long before I had tuned in to the Mancunian four piece, and it wasn’t until The South Bank Show documentary which focussed on them that I really became aware that she was more than just a woman who didn’t wear any shoes and who won the Eurovision Song Contest sometime in the 60s.

So here’s some songs by Sandie that I love, and which are included in a cheap Best of (although it is careful not to call itself that) album on the Hallmark label (the words of Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit on 24 Hour Garage People ring in my ears: “That’s sure to be good!”) that I recently picked up.


Sandie Shaw – Puppet on a String

Sandie Shaw – Message Understood

Sandie Shaw – Girl Don’t Come

And my absolute favourite by her, not least because of the horns which come parping in towards the end, like they’ve wandered in from Tom Jones recording It’s Not Unusual in an adjacent studio:

Sandie Shaw – Long Live Love

See? Keeping it light.

Morrissey can still sod off, mind.

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Seems I managed to forget to write one of these last week.

So to make up for that, here’s an absolute belter.

Mention Bran Van 3000 and most people will probably recall their Drinking in L.A. single from back in 1997.

Their follow-up album, Discosis, from 2001 didn’t really set the world alight. I’ve never understood why, because it contains one of my favourite records of that decade.

It has Curtis Mayfield on it, which can never be anything other than a good thing.


Bran Van 3000 – Astounded

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Posting that Neil Young song last night really put me in the mood to listen to some more of his records.

Unfortunately, I find his voice a little too whiny to endure for too long.

Which makes this morning’s song a no-brainer:


Emmylou, Dolly & Linda – After The Gold Rush

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

My visit to the cinema this week was to see A Quiet Place. More about this later, but for now, the only song to feature in the whole movie.

It’s a rather lovely moment when it does; real-life husband and wife John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are alone, and she takes one earphone out of her ear and places it in his.

And for a moment or two, the silence that envelopes the film, is broken, as their ears, and the cinema, are filled with this little beauty:


Neil Young – Harvest Moon

More soon.

Happy Heart

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. Here’s somethings I’ve been doing of an evening instead of writing stuff here:

  1. Listening to podcasts
  2. Watching football
  3. Going to the cinema
  4. Watching DVDs
  5. Catching up on TV shows I recorded whilst doing the above.

On Monday, I finally caught up with the podcast interview with Irvine Welsh on Unfiltered with James O’Brien which came out a couple of weeks ago. You can listen to it here (those with delicate ears should be warned it contains multiple swears):

As with pretty much every edition, it’s a fascinating listen. In it, Welsh tells the story of how, having seen Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, he wanted to sell the rights to Trainspotting to him, and was about to do so, when he accidentally sold it to a competitor who he thought was associated with Boyle, but wasn’t. Fortuitously for him – and for those of us who love Trainspotting the way Boyle made it and the many wonderful films he has done since – the situation was rectified.

On Tuesday, after watching the match on TV, I watched the last part of Come Home, the BBC drama starring Christopher Eccleston, an actor I really admire and who I have waxed lyrical before, here. I’ll come back to this at some point over the weekend.

And so it was on Wednesday that I figured the stars must be aligning and that it was time to revisit Shallow Grave, a film I’ve loved ever since I first saw it when I was really putting my degree to full use, working in a video rental store in Cardiff in the early 1990s.

In case you’ve never seen it, here’s the plot: Three flatmates (played by Eccleston, Ewan McGregor and Kerry Fox) have a spare room in their flat, which they rent out to Hugo (Keith Allen). However, shortly after he moves in, the trio find him dead with a large suitcase full of money. They agree to keep the death a secret and the money for themselves, and to bury the body in the woods.

Needless to say, it does not exactly go to plan…Hugo and the money are being tracked down by a couple of psychopathic killers (one of whom is played by a very young and  almost silent Peter Mullan, he of twinkly-eyed kindly lovelorn Mum fame; here he is, I think it’s fair to say, considerably less twinkly-eyed), the police start sniffing around (cue a glorious cameo from the wonderful Ken Stott as Detective Inspector McCall) and Eccleston’s character starts to behave…let’s say erratically.

There’s some neat twists and surprises at the end which I won’t spoil for those of you who’ve never seen it, but as the final act is played out and the credits start to roll, it does end with this glorious song, which seems just perfect for a Saturday morning to me:


Andy Williams – Happy Heart

More soon.