Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

A conversation at work on Friday:

Me: I’ve got this claim by a bloke called Lloyd…(surname redacted for obvious reasons)

Kay: I know that name.

Me: I doubt it…

Kay: Yes, I do. Wasn’t he a singer? In the 80s…?

Me: (after a pause) Do you mean Lloyd Cole?

Kay: Yes!

Me: No. Not him. Because his surname’s Cole. Unlike the person I’m talking about.

Kay: Oh.

A pause.

Kay: You’re going to write about this, aren’t you?

Yes. Yes I am.

Jennifer

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Jennifer She Said

More soon.

50 Ways to Prove I’m Rubbish #3

Just as I didn’t get The Jam until it was too late, so I didn’t have any time for Weller’s next project, The Style Council.

I was too young to fully appreciate the politics the songs contained and the music…well, to these ears it just seemed like all of the other bland, coffee-table soul tunes (see also: Sade) that were around in the early-to-mid 1980s.

In fact, I probably didn’t really appreciate the utter-stomping brilliance of this record until it cropped up in this (far too brief) scene in BBC’s 2007 political drama Party Animals, starring a pre-Dr Who Matt Smith:

Here you go:

Walls Come Tumbling Down Front

The Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down

Welcome to the Weekend.

More soon.

 

 

Final-ly

Okay, let’s get this out of the way.

On Tuesday, Liverpool, who my best friend Llŷr had literally supported all of his life, performed a miracle, and managed to beat red-hot favourites Barcelona 4-0 to reach the final of the Champions League for the second year running.

At full time, I found myself more emotional than I’d ever been at the end of a football match – certainly not at one that didn’t involve my team, Tottenham Hotspur – shedding a tear in joy and sorrow that my old mate wasn’t around to have seen it.

The only thing that could possibly top that would be if my lot managed to overturn a first leg deficit on Wednesday and join them in the final.

I’d been at the first (home) leg, where we had been terrible for much of the first half, and marginally better in the second, fortuitous not to have been out of it by the final whistle.

But there was hope. Just a 0-1 away goal deficit to over-turn in the second leg. It seemed do-able. To Dream is To Do.

But after ten minutes, and another goal down, it seemed much more unlikely.

And by half-time, and at 3-0 down on aggregate, I almost turned the TV off.

But then….the unthinkable happened:

I’ve watched the highlights each night since, and still I can’t quite believe it.

When Tottenham and Liverpool reached the semi-finals, Hel – also a life-long Red – and I pledged that if both teams made the final, we would watch it together. Not just because of our own fandom, but for LlÅ·r; he can’t be here to witness it, so we were going to make damn sure we were together. Because whatever the result, he’d be happy: gutted if Liverpool lost, of course, but happy because he’d know how much it would mean to me.

And obviously, the same applies in reverse from my point of view.

Within minutes of the final whistle on Wednesday, my eyes still full with tears, we’d made concrete plans.

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Kings of Tomorrow (feat. Julie McKnight) – Finally

Of course, I wasn’t the only one who got emotional when that final whistle blew on Wednesday night:

So, y’know, this:

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Teenage Fanclub – Tears Are Cool

More soon.

50 Ways to Prove I’m Rubbish #2

So here’s another confession, and it’s a biggy: at the time, I didn’t appreciate The Jam.

Of course, looking back in my wise old sagedom, I can see just how incredible they were.

Much of their output, he says in his defence, came out before I started buying records.

But this one didn’t, and it’s a song that I absolutely adore:

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The Jam – The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)

Some Bitterest Pill-related facts:

1 – it was kept off number one by Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger (which I bought – sorry!) and Musical Youth’s Pass the Dutchie (which I didn’t – not sorry!)

2 – I’d always assumed the backing vocals were by Dee C Lee, but apparently it’s Jennie Mathias of The Belle Stars fame.

You remember The Belle Stars, right? No? Worry not, something by them will be along in a post or two.

That’s all the Bitterest Pill-related facts I have, and I nicked those off Wikipedia so who knows whether they’re true or not.

More soon.

50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #1

In September this year, confounding everyone who ever knew the chain-smoking, pill-popping, line snorting me, I’ll turn 50.

Which means that I am now in my 50th year. I have completed 49 years, and the next level for me to tackle is level 50.

I mention this because I feel I have to. I’m a good few years older than all of my friends, but not inappropriately so, and I’ve watched them all hit 40, years after I did.

And this is by way of an apology to Hel.

For she had her 39th birthday when we still shared a flat together. But, unable to resist the temptation to pull someone closer to me in age years, to my eternal shame, I said this to her:

“Of course, you’re actually in your 40th year now. Your 39th birthday was just you marking having completed 39 years. After that, you’re in your 40th year. Welcome to your 40s.”

In my defence (by which I mean, I have no defence), I’d had a drink and was trying to be funny.

I won’t repeat her answer.

Whilst that’s techinically correct, I shouldn’t have vocalised it, of course.

I’m not sure what hit me first: the pint or the wine glass. Deservedly so.

(In case any of you wonder why I’m still single here, that’s your answer, right there.)

So, I thought I should mark the impending anniversary by way of a new series, where I acknowledge my age – yes, I’ve completed 49 years and so I’m now in my 50th year.

I’ve seen many bloggers do something similar before, by posting their favourite fifty records for example.

And that’s fine, I’m not criticising that, but I figured I should do something different.

I think, especially when you’re younger, the records you buy, or at the very least admit to liking, lead you into circumstances and company that you may not have experienced had you not pledged your affintity. Maybe it’s far more interesting to have a look at the records that I wish I’d bought, that I recognise now as moments when I could have been cool, when my love of the Quo or my Shakin’ Stevens patch on my parka could have been overlooked by my peers because at least I liked *insert name of cool band/record here*.

Here’s the rules: I’ll post songs which I love and own now, but which I didn’t buy at the time of their release. They must have been released after I bought my first singles with my own money, which was in 1981

So here we go, in no particular order, with 50 songs that I wish I’d bought at the time, but didn’t.

Because his plunge from the public eye was just as meteoric as his ascendancy, it’s very easy to forget what a massive pop star Adam Ant was back at the start of the 1980s. After quitting Adam and the Ants – who I really liked, but who, suprisingly enough, I never bought anything by at the time – he released today’s record,  which I’ve mentioned before, and love: mostly because it’s ruddy great, but partly because of his appearance on Top of the Pops, where he seemed to have the whole studio and every stage at his every whim:

So here’s the first single I wish I’d bought at the time to make me look cool, but didn’t, so I wasn’t:

adam-ant-goody-two-shoes-1982-2

Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend ‘2 for the price of 1’ special offer here on Dubious Taste’s Country slot.

But that’s just because these songs are really short, and I’d hate for you to feel cheated.

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, when I was properly obsessed with all things R.E.M., I bought this album, as Michael Stipe not only produced it, but also supplied backing vocals and, most impressively, handclaps on a couple of tracks.

These two:

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Chickasaw Mudd Puppies – Omaha

Chickasaw Mudd Puppies – Superior

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

I mentioned, I think, that after Llyr died I’d reignited some lovely old acquaintances, one of which had led to a suggestion of a collective camping weekend.

That’s been put on ice for a while, but, somewhat inevitably, led me to think of this, not least because when we worked together, one of the potential camping party, my old mate Mikey G (hello mate!), was often told (unfairly, in my opinion) that he looked like this chap:

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Badly Drawn Boy – Camping Next To Water

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Because of the autobiographical/confessional nature of some of my posts – especially the ones in this series, when I want to relate a clubbing-related story where I have to mention somebody else – I will contact them first, tell them what I want to write about, and ask if they’re happy for me to use their real name, or, if they’d prefer to remain anonymous, I invite them to suggest a pseudonym which they’re happy for me to use when I write about them.

For example, Dum Dum, who appears often in this series, isn’t really called Dum Dum, of course. His real name is…aww, you don’t get me that easily! *shakes fist and grrr’s*

So tonight’s story involves a young lady who, at her request, we shall call Manon. No, I don’t understand why anyone would pick that either; it sounds like something a footballer would shout to another to warn them of an impneding tackle to me, but there you go, that’s what she wanted.

So, back when I lived in Cardiff, and in the middle of my middle-aged reinvention as a clubber, we’d been to the wedding reception of two friends of ours, which was in a slightly more westerly town, far enough away that a group of us Cardiffians hired a mini-bus to drive us there and back.

As we reached the outskirts of Cardiff on the way home, I’d ventured, semi-seriously, that legendary club-night Time Flies was on, and that I quite fancied going, not really expecting that anyone would take me up on the offer.

But to misquote Eminem, I forgot about Manon, who was bang up for it.

And so it was that after the minibus had dropped everyone else off, we directed him down to Cardiff Bay, and to the Coal Exchange.

For as long as I’d lived in Cardiff, the Coal Exchange had been predominantly a music venue, although I’d also been to wedding receptions there too. Truth be told, it was past it’s best days even then, but it remained a wonderful, if slightly decrepit, building.

In 2013, it closed due to safety issues, and as it lay dormant for years it was even the subject of a BBC documentary – Going Going Gone – by legendary documentary maker Nick Broomfield. Eventually, Cardiff Council bought it, and subsequently sold it to Signature Living, who have extensively refurbished it and it’s now a very grand looking (and rightly so) hotel:

The Coal Exchange

But I digress.

Manon and I stumbled off the minibus and up towards those main doors; it was approaching 2am by now and although the door was manned, they took one look at us and waved us through without asking us to pay.

In our heads, on that night and to this day, this made us the King & Queen of Cardiff clubbing. We didn’t need to pay to get in anywhere, our presence was sought after, demanded. Now we were here, the party could finally start!

But only after, I’m afraid to admit, a visit to the toilets to “score”. Here comes the usual disclaimer: if you really must buy drugs to enhance your night out, then don’t buy them from total strangers in the club toilet. It’s a really dumb thing to do.

That said, half an hour later, Manon and I were absolutely flying, and I remember this tune getting played, which, as it’s May Day weekend here in the UK, seems appropriate to let you hear. As with my last post in this series, it’s a bit trance-trousers, as you would expect from a Paul Van Dyk remix, but I bloody love this. Play it loud:

mayday

Members Of Mayday – 10 In 01 (Paul Van Dyk Club Mix)

I’ve always been awful at remembering names and genres of dance records, and this has often been my downfall. I once told LlÅ·r that this was by Men of Madness, which of course, he never let me forget. I imagine he’s chuckling about my error even now, affectionately calling me a twat.

More soon.

Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba

Every now and then I stumble across/am reminded of records which would nestle neatly into a series that I can occasionally be bothered to write.

Here’s how my Friday nights usually go: eat, watch a bit of telly, open a bottle of red, pop some tunes on, start writing some stuff that I hope is good enough to post, praying that inspiration will strike at some point.

Last night, my iPod played me this little belter that I’ve not heard for ages.

In the mid-to-late 80s, I bloody loved The Flatmates, but then I had a bit of an infatuation with girl-fronted indie bands at the time.

The Flatmates have been supporting The Wedding Present on some of their current UK dates; never having seen them back in the day I’m hoping they’ll still be on board when I go to see Gedge & co in December (health permitting!). Ten years ago, I caught The Wedding Present on their tour to mark the 20th anniversary of their Bizarro album, and The Primitives – another female-fronted band I loved but had never seen – were supporting them, and I had an absolute blast when they played.

I always thought that, had their records been slightly more polished, then The Flatmates could have been pretty big. See what you think – here’s some classic late 80s indie ba ba ba ba ba’ing:

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The Flatmates – I Could Be In Heaven

More soon.

A Mix-Tape Maker’s Best Friend

Sometimes I’m shocked at how long it is since I wrote a post in a certain series.

Bar tagging it into my post when Buzzcocks legend Pete Shelley died in December 2018, it’s over a year since I did one of these.

So, here’s a compilation album from 1988, which I bought because it contained sixteen songs by four bands, two by each band.

I already owned and absolutely loved, songs by two of the bands (The Raw Herbs and The Waltones), knew of the third band (The Corn Dollies) but knew nothing by them at the time, and knew nothing of the fourth band (The Rain) although I now wonder if it’s the pre-Oasis incarnation that I’ve read about.

Anyway, here’s all the songs on Edge of the Road: a Medium Cool Sampler:

Edge

The Raw Herbs – The Storm

The Raw Herbs – At My Funeral

The Waltones – The British Disease

The Waltones – Bold

If I may interject for a moment: The Waltones should have been massive. I’ve not even posted my favourite song by them (we’ll save that for another day, but if you know them, you’ll probably already know which song I mean), but they wrote ace jangly pop songs with smart lyrics, such as those in Bold, a song which compares one’s amorous feelings to a popular brand of washing powder.

“Take a look at my heart, it’s a bluey-white you’ll like” is just drop-dead brilliance in my book.

Where were we? Oh yes, I really like the next featured band, who also should have been huge:

The Corn Dollies – Mouthful Of Brains

The Corn Dollies – What Do I Ever

And then there’s this lot:

The Rain – Seven Red Apples

The Rain – Dry The Rain

I expect if anyone can, then Walter from the ever-wonderful A Few Good Times in My Life will be able to resolve my “is it/isn’t it?” quandary about The Rain/Oasis (I don’t think it is, but….) ……no pressure!

More soon.