Strings on Sunday

Back in February 2018, I posted some classical music – Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, in case you’re interested – in what could probably be construed as a rather desperate attempt to appear more culturally sophisticated than I really am.

Well, here I am with the follow-up.

Accompanied by some really quite stunning footage, here’s Sibelius’ incredible Finlandia:

Sibelius – Finlandia

More soon.

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50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #11

I can’t put this one off any longer.

I really was very late to succumb to the charms of The Smiths.

In fact, I only just caught them before their little bubble burst and *pooft* they were gone.

The first record by The Smiths that I bought was 1987’s Sheila Take a Bow, and it was probably the most important record I ever bought in my life.

For it was only then that I nailed my colours to the mast. I thought I loved the Quo – and I did love them, I really did, and still do (to a point) – but The Smiths were the first band who I loved that I felt actually meant something.

I mentioned in a post earlier this week, that it was my (now) 50 year old buddy Richard, who I met at sixth form, who opened my eyes to The Smiths, when he played me There is a Light That Never Goes Out in his bedroom one day. The next day, I went out and bought The World Won’t Listen, and my world changed.

It was one of those moments when you look back at a band’s previous singles and wonder how on earth you had managed to so grossly misjudge them.

Of course, How Soon Is Now? is a masterpiece! How did I not notice how wonderful William, It Was Really Nothing was at the time? How had I heard Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now and not seen past the gladioli and faux misery to embrace the gloriously juxtapositioned upbeat guitar work and the fact that here was a band singing to me and about me?

The epiphany could have come slightly earlier, I suppose, when my cousin played me Panic, video recorded off Top of the Pops. I chose to ignore her.

Ho hum.

In the late 1980s, I did something I’d never done before and never did again: I bought a record advertised in the ads at the back of the NME. Wrote a cheque and posted it off to some anonymous PO Box.

Sure, it was a US import version rather than the UK original on the Rough Trade label, but by then it was a record I simply had to own.

This one:

The Smiths – This Charming Man

And the reason I paid (quite a lot) for that US import was because back then, in the late 1980s, before the advent of the internet where I could have just downloaded them, before all the reissuing, repackaging, repackaging (not a typo, a reference; you’ll get it, I think) had happened, this was the only way to own these two magnificent songs, which were not on any album at the time:

The Smiths – Jeane

The Smiths – Wonderful Woman

NB: My mother’s name is Jean. Put these two song titles together, knock off an ‘e’ (not a clubbing reference on this occasion) and although at the time I was a rebellious, obnoxious twat of a teenager, that’s her described.

Happy Father’s Day, Mum. (You won’t like any of these songs.)

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Not a Country song this morning, so I look forward to the complaining comments.

Not that you have anything to complain about when I’m giving you instead one of the finest, most important folk records ever recorded instead.

My Dad owned this on 7″ when I was a kid. It was, I think, the first song I ever heard that made me actually think.

Pete Seeger – Little Boxes [Live]

Happy Father’s Day.

More soon.