Tuesday Short Song

It may seem like a bit of an admin grind, but I’m actually quite enjoying re-importing stuff into my iTunes library.

Not only am I getting the chance to delete songs that I have multiple copies of and free up valuable memory space, but I’m also taking the time to listen to complete albums again.

With the advent of t’internet, this is a habit I’ve gotten out of: just sitting and listening to an album in its entirety, as it was meant to be heard. I’m not even sure that’s how albums are made any more, we’re all so programmed to dip in and out of things now, I do sometimes wonder if the concept of an album – by which I don’t mean a concept album – truly exists in the way it used to.

And then a tree falls in forest somewhere, and nobody’s there to hear if it actually makes a noise or not, and my brain explodes.

Anyway, one of the albums I’ve very much enjoyed revisiting is Belle & Sebastian’s glorious Brit-snaffling The Boy With the Arab Strap, an album I’ve not listened to properly for a good ten years or so, which is less than many.

And I’d forgotten that tucked away just before the swansong is this little beauty:

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

This album got mentioned in passing last week, and I’ve not posted anything from it for a good while, so it’ll be no surprise to you to see it resurface today, still less of a shock to see this morning’s tune features one of those titles that you only find in Country music:

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Losin’ You Might Be the Best Thing Yet

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Back when I was a teenager, as I have written before, I joined Brittania Music, a mail order company who lured me in with an offer of three albums for a tenner, or something similar.

I used the service mostly to buy a load of Greatest Hits and Best Of albums by older acts I knew one or two songs by and craved more.

Consequently, I soon owned records that none of my peers did: Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and tonight’s artiste.

This isn’t my favourite song by her, but it was one of two that I knew and which drew me to her, and it is bloody magnificent:

Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

And lo! A nerd was born.

More soon.

Bad Moon Rising

Today, as Björk once sang, Is My Birthday, and as is traditional round these parts, as Björk didn’t sing (or if she did, she sang it on one of her later albums I’ve not bothered with), I’ll begin by posting the song which was #1 in the UK singles chart on the day I was born, because I think it’s a super cool, if prophetic, record to have such an association with:

But inspired by Martin over at New Amusements recent run of posts where he featured every song which had been #1 on his birthday, I thought I’d do something similar. Well, ok, almost exactly the same. Except starting this year, I’ll post one a year, the one from fifty years earlier. So, yeh, totally different. (Oh ok, Martin: I’ll buy you a pint at the Martin Rossiter gig, if it ever happens)

Turns out I’m quite pleased to be associated with this one too, a real pub quiz question of a record, which was #1 on this day back in 1970;

I wonder how many years I’ll get through before I hit a record I genuinely dislike…?

Also: I really hope Gary Glitter didn’t have any #1’s in September…

More soon.

Be Llŷrious

It’s funny. When you lose somebody, you expect that there will be certain dates where you miss them more than other days, when their absence is suddenly all the more noticeable.

I’m talking about their birthday, Christmas, the anniversary of their passing.

What I didn’t expect and which hit me really hard last year, was how much you miss them on your own birthday.

And so here I am, turning another year older tomorrow, and very aware that the day will not be blessed with any contact with my friend Llŷr. No spontaneous phone call, no text, WhatsApp message, no nothing.

My mind floats back to happier times.

The problem with having your birthday so close to the end of the month, is that more often than not, it falls just before payday, so everyone is too skint to do anything to mark the occasion.

Worse still, when it lands on a pre-payday Monday, as it did one year when Llŷr and I were living in The Flat of Filth in Cardiff. Post-work, I was slumped in my recovered-from-the-street-washing-up-bowl-for-a-seat chair, idly flicking through the TV channels, when Llŷr barrelled into the living room.

“Happy birthday dude!” he chirped, and I was aware that he was standing next to me, holding something out for me to take.

My coat.

“Cheers,” I said, before adding, rather confused, “why have you got my coat?”

“We’re going out. Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

“Out. Come on.”

“It’s Monday. There’s nowhere to go.”

“Yes there is,” he persisted. “Come on.”

Still befuddled, I got to my feet, took my coat from him, followed him out the door. Confused as I was, I knew it wouldn’t be anything bad or that would cause me pain or embarrassment. I trusted him.

We walked into town, him still refusing to give me any clues about what the night held for us. Arriving in the city centre, we called into The Rummer Tavern for a pint or two. He kept checking his watch all the time we sat there.

Then, eventually, he necked his pint, encouraged me to do the same, and beckoned me outside again. “Come on, time to go.”

And off we set again, this time stopping at the doors of Clwb Ifor Bach, where he pulled two tickets from his wallet and handed them over to the indie girl at the desk. Next thing I knew, I was following him as he bounded upstairs, heading to the top floor, with it’s tiny stage and even tinier bar (this is not a criticism, by the way. It’s precisely because both are so tiny that Clwb is such a special venue.)

Another pint thrust into my hand, Llŷr led me through the sparse crowd to front left of stage, where he finally turned to me and, when I asked, again, who we were here to see, he grinned the words: “Art Brut”.

This would have been a few months before the release of their debut album in 2005, but we had both fallen in love with their debut single Formed a Band which we’d caught, and he’d doubtless recorded knowing him, numerous times on one of the many music channels we subscribed to.

Here’s the original single version which came out in March 2004; it’s a little scuzzier, less polished than the version which ended up on the album, which fits the lyrical content better to my mind:

They played an absolute barn-stormer of a set that night, playing pretty much every song which would end up on their brilliant Bang Bang Rock & Roll debut album. We danced and drank and whooped and clapped and cheered and joined in with songs we didn’t know, most memorably the chant of “Art Brut – Top of the Pops!”

After the gig, we made our way back to the bar, where I waited as Llŷr popped to the gents. Sensible lad, it’s along walk home. I did what I always do in such situations: looked around and thought how much older I looked than all the bright young things milling about me, speculating whether they thought I was there to collect my offspring, or whether I was security. I wasn’t sure which was worse.

As I stood there, like the biblical parting of the waves, a lanky man with a side-parting, moustache and skinny black tie, sweat dripping from every pore, forced himself through the crowd: Eddie Argos, lead singer of Art Brut. I instinctively offered my hand, which he took and shook. “Great gig!” I heard myself saying, which earned the reply: “Thank you. Thank you very much. Is this the way to the dressing room?”

I don’t have adventures like this anymore.

So, yeh. What I mean is: miss you dude.

More soon.

A Surprise Delivery

I was interrupted the other day by a loud knock at the door.

Venturing downstairs, I was confronted by a chap thrusting a cardboard box at me.

“Amazon delivery for you,” he said.

I hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon.

“I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon,” I said.

He showed me the name and address on the label. It was definitely my name and address.

Confused, I took the parcel, thanked him and went inside, where I opened it and found a blue bag with a label on it. “Happy birthday, Bruv”, it said.

It isn’t my birthday until Saturday, so, had I been expecting the parcel, I would have left it until then to open. But it was a bit late for me to stop now.

Inside the bag, I found these:

I am, therefore, now the proud owner of a pair of Joy Division Oven Gloves!

No prizes for guessing what today’s song is:

Cheers, Bruv. I love them.

More soon.


With the Mercury Music Prize announcements imminent, this morning something from a 2017 nominee that I’m really enjoying at the moment.

Lifted from her current, fourth album Kitchen Sink, this is Nadine Shah and here current single Club Cougar. Here she reminds me of Peek-a-Boo era Siouxsie, which isn’t a bad reference point in my book:

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

Back in 2017, to mark the 30th anniversary of the original release of their wonderful George Best album, The Wedding Present – by which I mean founder member, stalwart and only remaining original member David Gedge – invited Steve Albini to record and produce an entirely new version of the album.

The results are really quite impressive, breathing new life into not-exactly-tired-sounding originals, making them sound much more like live studio recordings.

And, even more surprisingly (given their initial brevity), managing to shorten some of the tracks, including this one, which now ducks just underneath the two-minute ticker tape required to permit it entry into this series:

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

Morning all.

With a second wave upon us and a second lockdown almost inevitable, a mission statement: this week I’m going to bring you some absolute bangers to keep the spirits up. (I just haven’t worked out what they’ll all be yet…)

Starting here, not your typical, upbeat Monday morning tune, but an 80s “alternative” classic, smothered in dramatic vistas and catchy as hell and, just…erm…wonderful:

More soon.