Be Llŷrious

This is the series where I try to honour my recently passed best friend Llŷr by posting songs which remind me of him.

One of the shared passions Llŷr and I both had – and, I suspect many of you have too – was losing a good few hours browsing through the racks in a record store, digging out some absolute gems to buy and bring back home.

When we shared the flat of filth and, latterly, the house of no housework in the Cathays area of Cardiff, we were fortunate to have two second hand record shops within walking distance.

One was on a side road off of Albany Road; it had no name as far as I ever managed to ascertain, but it had a box of cheap, crappy vinyl left outside to entice the likes of us in.

The other was Kellys Records, located on what was commonly referred to as Death Junction because of the number of car crashes that happened there, the apex where Mackintosh Place met Albany Road met City Road met Richmond Road met Crwys Road.

We would visit there often, me losing interest long before Llŷr ever did, if I’m honest.

And he was much better at truffling out the pearlers than I was; I lost count of the amount of times he would march triumphantly through the living room door, bag of vinyl tucked under his arm, turning on the turntable and slipping his first purchase onto the deck before he’d even taken his coat off.

Today’s record is one such find.

“Jez, you have to hear this!,” he said as he burst into the living room, 12″ removed from carrier bag, disc from sleeve, onto the spindle, seemingly all in one movement, before I’d had chance to say hello and turn the TV off.

I have no idea what made him buy this, where he had heard it, or of it, prior to his purchase. As it emanated from the speakers, he was already sitting on the sofa, beaming with pride.

It’s a weird tune, and no mistake: over a proggy, dubby bassline and synth flourishes (I’m rubbish at actually describing music, I know, I know) an elderly gentleman – the titular Lionel – reads out letters written to buxom ladies who feature in the sort of adult magazine you used to find discarded in woodland, if you catch my drift. And yes, I used the word ‘titular’ with a knowing wink.

As you might expect from such a source, there’s a bit of effing and jeffing.

Whenever I hear it, I’m back in the flat of filth, and Llŷr is there, plonked in the middle of the sofa, chuckling away to himself, delighted at his latest find.

Man, oh man, I miss those days.

lionel

Drive Red 5 – Yours Sincerely Lionel (Dirty Dream)

More soon.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

This Next Song Is Dirty

I first heard this tune by way of a mix CD I bought in the mid-2000s, the name of which escapes me for now, but one of those ones where each tune is mixed into the next to form a supposedly seamless playlist.

It then took me a very long time to track down a copy which wasn’t mixed into the tunes either side of it. I defy anyone to try typing the word Dirty into Google and not get….um…distracted.

Anyway, this is ace (and dirty). Dum Dum: if you’re reading this and don’t already know it, you’ll love it:

dirty

Dirty – Dirty (E-Dancer Remix)

More soon.

50 Ways to Prove I’m Rubbish #6

Today’s choice, as with the next one, and probably the one after that, would make an ex-girlfriend of mine really laugh.

We met at Uni, when I was DJ’ing and she came to ask me to play something. Yeh, I know, a totally irresponsible abuse of my power.

The record she asked me to play that night will feature soon enough; for now though, I think it’s fair to say that when we first got together our musical tastes were polar opposites; not just at completely different ends of the spectrum, but without a single cross-over point. It would have made the dullest Venn diagram ever.

It’s odd, because now, musical taste is probably the highest thing on my list of things I look for in a potential partner, if I could be bothered looking at all.

Despite this, we stayed together for seven years, and never once in that time could I bring myself to admit to her that I quite liked some of the records I owned.

She, on the other hand, being a girl and therefore much more grown-up than I was at the time, was quite happy to tell me she liked a record I did. Which is how she ended up being bought an I, Ludicrous vinyl 10″ as a Christmas present once.

Our split, when it came, was amicable. Over the next few years, we would occasionally bump into each other in pubs and bars around Cardiff. We were always civil, and I was always pleased to see her, and if she wasn’t pleased to see me too then she gave a good impression of someone who was.

I didn’t end up buying this until she was a just a dot in the rear-view mirror, a safe distance away that I had accepted she would never breeze into my bedroom again, flick through my CD collection, and hold this triumphantly aloft. Not that she would have done that anyway, she’d probably have just said: “Luther Vandross…?” *knowing look* “I see…”

So, anyway, this is bloody great:

Luther

Luther Vandross – Never Too Much

More soon.

Footnote 1: If ever you are compiling a playlist, and feel the urge to include the above tune, can I recommend you pop this tune in next to it? They sound just perfect sitting next to each other.

crusaders~~_streetlif_101b

The Crusaders feat. Randy Crawford – Street Life

Footnote 2: I’ve always considered this to be a record by Randy Crawford, but in researching this post – yes, I know, it’s staggering, but I do occasionally do research – I can’t find anything to suggest that Miss Randy Crawford ever released this as a single, she *just* features on The Crusaders tracks, and as far as I can glean even they didn’t have the courtesy to credit her.

I’m open to correction on this point, of course.

Milkshake #2

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect there would be a #2 to this.

On May 4th, I posted this, not exactly a defence of the current vogue of throwing milk-based beverages at racists, but certainly an acknowledgement of the comedy value of such an action.

At the time, it attracted a few comments from the old faithful, and then suddenly, on Thursday, I received a comment from henacynflin which made me stop and think.

I imagine that many of you don’t check back on comments on old posts, so I thought I’d share this. I wouldn’t do this normally, but I think henacynflin makes a valid point which needs considering. I reproduce his/her Comments not to score points, but to show that we accepted each others positions, agreed to disagree, and left it at that.

Here’s what henacynflin said:

Milkshake 1

Before we go any further, let me stress, again, that I wish no ill will or malice upon henacynflin, for I think he/she makes a really valid point. Look, I’ve even linked to his/her own blog, because I’m good like that. You can go and have a look at his/her own posts and make your own minds up. Be nice, even if you disagree.

And at least he/she (it’s getting tiresome already, isn’t it?) wasn’t using the “today milkshakes, tomorrow guns” argument we’ve all seen bandied about in the last few days. Because as soon as that argument raises its head, you just have to say the words “Jo Cox” and the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of that particular argument is exposed.

But henacynflin does have a point. Funny as we may find the whole milk-shaking experience, could it be driving away those we thought as allies?

Now, I’ll be honest: when I first saw this Comment, I was blissfully unaware of breaking news. And I wondered how it was that “Tommy” “Robinson” could be described as an ‘elderly ex-soldier’. My inital reaction was to say that anyone who considered “Tommy” “Robinson” to be nothing more than an ex-soldier really hadn’t been paying attention to current affairs or his actual persona.

And then I caught up, and realised that we weren’t actually talking about “Robinson” at all, but rather an elderly ex-forces chap who claimed that, whilst sat outside a polling station on Thursday, peacefully campaigning for The Brexit Party, a ‘Remoaner’ threw a milkshake at him, just like they’d done to racist “Robinson” before him:

tommy-robinson-milkshake (2)

And to UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin who sent a tweet to Labour MP Jess Phillips saying that he “…wouldn’t even rape you”, and then, more recently decided to clarify this with the words: “With enough pressure, I might cave.”

Benjamin

Benjamin later tried to justify his comments by saying it was all an hilarious joke:

Jesus wept.

Congratulations to those who still vote UKIP, that’s your on-brand guy.

And, back to the milkshakes, to our Nigel:

After this, and following his comments that if Brexit didn’t happen he would “don khaki” and “pick up a rifle” – again, let’s not forget that after the referendum he said the vote had been won “without a shot having been fired”, ignoring that fact that Jo Cox had quite literally been shot dead in the name of Brexit – Farage refused to get off his Brexit bus for fear of people “armed with milkshakes”.

World War 2 rhetoric is a common theme amongst Brexiteers. Thank goodness, then, that we didn’t have to rely on the likes of Farage back then, for if Fritz knew that all it would take was a wafting of a frothing milk beverage in the general direction of his cheap Fosters suit to make Farage capitulate and hide, we’d all be speaking German now. Just like Farage’s children and ex-wife (and former employee), coincidentally.

As an aside, I particularly enjoyed Farage visiting Merthyr Tydfil last week, and telling anyone who cared to listen to him how the evil EU takes more than it gives, but omitting to mention that the very road he (probably) drove along to get to Merthyr – the A465, map fans – had been built with EU money.

But, all that said, it’s important to recognise that not everyone who voted to leave in the referendum, or who voted UKIP or for The Brexit Party on Thursday is an idiot, or ill-informed, or a racist, or a mysoginist, or old.

Of course they’re not. And even if they are, being ill-informed, stupid or old is not a crime.

They’re not all egocentric, money-grabbing buffoons like Farage, or homophobic like Brexit Party candidate Ann Widdicombe (amongst many other things I could say about her), or like Brexit Party candidate Claire Fox, who thinks that we all have the right to watch graphic images of child pornography and that the IRA was a really good thing.

No, of course they’re not.

But many of them can get past these points – and trust me, I could pick out many more Brexit Party candidates who have some unsavoury views in their past, and for all we know, their present – with the help of jingoistic Nigel, who can do no wrong, as far as they’re concerned. He’s the man of the people. He likes a pint and a fag. “He’s one of us!” they cry.

Oh. And not only does he consider the EU to be the enemy, he also thinks (amongst other things) that the NHS is a bad thing, and wants you to take out health insurance rather than on top of your National Insurance contributions, and your taxes, as you do now.

Regular readers will know I am particulaly indebted to the NHS. Without them, I may well be dead now. Without them, my best friend Llŷr may well have not lasted for the many happy years that he did.

You’ll be aware, of course, that Farage is alleged to have accepted large amounts of money from Aaron Banks, donations which, along with many others, are being scrutinised by the EU Electoral Commision, so it’s probably best I say no more on the point.

Except, to plead their innocence. For, were the NHS to crumble and UK folk be forced to take out US-style health insurance policies, what possible gain could there be for insurance company magnate Aaron Banks? None, as far as I can see……

Anyway.

Curiousity aroused by henacynflin’s reference to an “elderly ex-soldier”, I did a bit of scouting around before I replied. After I’d done so, this was my response:

 

reply 1 (2)

And here’s the rub of it. You’ll be aware by now of the case we’re talking about. An ex-serviceman of distinguished years claimed that, whilst campaigning for The Brexit Party outside a polling station on Thursday, just like “Tommy” and Carl and Nigel before him, he’d had a milkshake thrown at him.

You’ll note an air of sceptisism from my reply. Something didn’t quite ring true about this so-called event, and I don’t mean the fact that Piers Morgan tweeted about it.

You see, the very premise of “milk-shaking” is to make the victim look foolish in front of a) a large group of his supporters, or b) everyone else in the world via it being filmed, or c) both. Every example of a racist having a milk-shake tossed at them has been captured on a camera phone by someone. But, oddly, not this one.

And then, later, I noticed that in every picture, the so-called victim was smiling.

veteran (2)

Much as I detest “Robinson”, Farage and Benjamin, at least they had the good grace to look pissed off about having been splatted. But not our veteran victim, who seemed positively delighted at having been doused in what later transpired to be…a Tesco black cherry yoghurt.

At this point, I would love to link to a post by @harveyschmacker on Twitter, where he examines the evidence and comes to the conclusion that this was not a Remoaner milk-shaking, but rather an attempt by the right to induce outrage and sympathy, generate more votes, at the feet of this ‘abused’ veteran, by smearing a black cherry yoghurt on him and asking us to believe a false narrative.

I’d love to, but, I imagine prompted by many people trying to ask his permission to reproduce his grassy knoll type findings, his account is locked to all but the approved followers, of which I am not.

Luckily, someone with much more clout than I got there first.

I hate to use the term Fake News – words used by Trump and the American right to decry anything uncomplimentary about them – because I’d like to think we’re better than that over on this side of the pond, and can see through this sort of bullshit. But it seems it’s already got here. That thing that we laugh about gullible Americans falling for is here, and this is just the exposed tip of the KKK iceberg.

I dread the EU election results on Sunday, for I know that even though those that support him are categorically not necessarily all idiots, or ill-informed, or racist, or mysoginistic, or old, and despite the inescapable lie Farage told as he rallied for your votes, so that he coud be democratically elected back in to the “undemocratic” (his words) EU, the Brexit Party will probably win a lot of seats.

Not that, if Farage’s attendance record is anything to go by – he came out of “semi-retirement” as an MEP to campaign, let’s not forget, an elected position for which he does not receive a semi-salary  – they’ll ever be actually sat in.

And here’s the scary thing: The Brexit Party has no manifesto. And therefore, in power, they have no accountability. They can just do and say what they like, and you can’t complain because you knew that and you voted for him/them anyway.

Jesus, I need a tune.

GOLDFRAPP_BLACK+CHERRY-271448

Goldfrapp – Black Cherry

More soon.

 

This Next Song Is Dirty

It’s criminal that more people don’t know of Jake Thackray.

I think I’ve posted this song before, but if not, I love it and it’s long overdue a repost.

Thackray’s lyrical turn and delivery is much respected, and cited as an influence by the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys fame), which should be sufficient enough a recommend to give this a listen. And if not, you can add folk singers-cum-comedians Mike Harding and Jasper Carrott to the list. And some chap called Morrissey, but don’t let that put you off.

I’ve lifted this from the Jake In A Box compilation, a near perfect 4 CD anthology of the late great Yorkshireman’s recordings, which I cannot recommend highly enough:

Jake

Jake Thackray – The Lodger

More soon.

Mission Accomplished

Last night, my boss Kay went to All Points East, a mini-festival in London’s glamourous Victoria Park.

She was going because one of her favourite bands – Hot Chip – were playing. And as an added bonus, The Chemical Brothers were headlining.

(Primal Scream were also on the bill, but we’ll gloss over them after lead Screamer Bobby Gillespie made some rather unsavoury comments about Madonna last week..more of this at some point over the weekend. Maybe.)

Anyway, on Thursday Kay did two very kind things which I’m very grateful for, which I thought I’d share with you.

Firstly, as Kay was out of the office on Friday – off having it large, no doubt in furry moonboots and waving glowsticks – she left me in charge of sorting out something on the most expensive live claim we have at work.

I’ll explain, as much as I am able to: we both work for my local Borough council, dealing with claims made against the council. Mostly these are by people who’ve tripped over a wonky paving slab and hurt themselves in the process, or whose car has hit a pothole, but occasionally a much more serious – and potentially valuable expensive – claim crosses our paths.

At most insurance companies, depending on your status, you will be trusted with claims of an estimated value. Unsurprisingly, it’s no different when working in the public sector: my authority limit is to deal with claims…umm…wait…I should know this…of about up to, let’s say £60,000 or so.

So, if a claim comes in which is worth £60,000 or less, than I investigate it, and decide whether it is one which we have a legal obligation to pay, or whether we have a legal “out” defence.

(I’m wording that very carefully, as Kay once told me off for describing my job as “trying to find a way out of paying”. Nowadays, I describe my job as “Telling people to fuck off for a living.” I’m not sure she finds that much more acceptable. I stand by both descriptions.)

But if the claim is considered to be worth more than £60,000, then over to Kay it goes. And the claim she trusted me to deal with was one such claim.

Obviously, I can’t go into specifics, but the claim in question is valued at over £1 million (I’ve written that as I’m not sure how many noughts there are in a million – proof enough that I should not be regularly trusted with this kind of claim). The task in question: get a statement from a rather elusive witness. Succeed, and we can (try to) dispute the claim in total. Fail, and we would be on for paying. A lot.

At the same time, I had to chase down another witness on another claim, who we needed a statement from, where the claim which has been presented is very obviously fraudulant, but without his statement, we would have to pay.

Both had a deadline of 15:00 hours on a Friday afternoon, and I’m happy to report that – after a lot of frantic emails and phone calls – I managed both: our Defences on both are able to continue with a not unrealistic chance of success.

So, anyway, I’m pleased as punch to have been entrusted with handling, albeit briefly, the most expensive claim we’ve ever had, and to have sorted it, along with another tricky one at the same time.

And secondly. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend, but our payday is the 28th of every month – Tuesday. The day after the Bank Holiday. I was talking to the chap who sits next to me at work, and who has to listen to me chunnering on about how obviously dodgy the claim I’m looking at is, and I was expressing my dismay at payday landing where it did this month. For I was skint, and having to manage to my last few quid so that I could afford to eat for the rest of the weekend.

On Thursday, having landed me with the above tasks, Kay strolled over to my desk, purse in hand, and shoved £40.00 under my keyboard.

“I can’t have you having a miserable Bank Holiday weekend,” she said. “Pay me back next week.”

I had budgeted for a bottle of red on my Friday night, but now the stakes were upped.

I’m writing this late on Friday night, working my way through the bottle of vodka which Kay’s gift allowed me to purchase. The bottle of red is on standby.

I gave Kay a ring when the statement on the £1 million + claim had been procured, and told her that I would spend her money on vodka in celebration, and would spend Friday night listening to Chemical Brothers records. Needless, to say she approved.

It’s rare, I think, that you can call your boss a mate too. But mate’s lend their mates some cash when they’re hard up, and bosses don’t.

That’s a thank you, by the way *hic*.

So, by way of an extra thank you: my favourite record by The Chemical Brothers. Not a popular choice, I would imagine; in fact, possibly not even the record preferred by many with the same guest vocalist.

chemical

The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

One of the reasons I love this record, is the video which acompanies it.  Directed by Michael Gondry, who went on to create one of my favourite films ever, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this is just wonderful:

More soon.