I mentioned in passing the other week how BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne has a slot on her Monday morning breakfast show called Cloudbusting, where she plays uplifting records to blow the start of the week clouds away, and how said slot bore more than a passing resemblance to my own New Mood on Monday series. I made no allegations of theft, partly because I love Ms Laverne’s show and would never wish to besmirch it or her, partly because I had no way of ascertaining who had started their series first, but mostly because I have definitely nicked the idea for The Chain from an item on a current 6Music show, so it was 1-1 as far as I was concerned.
The comment was, of course, said with tongue-placed-firmly-in-cheek, but a couple of things have happened recently which makes me wonder if I maybe should be more suspicious,and maybe even a teensy bit flattered.
For the past couple of days this week, 6Music’s Steve Lamacq has been asking for listeners to suggest records for his Friday Free For All section, which has a different theme each week. This week’s theme is ‘songs which are about or feature bells and whistles’ which is at least 50% Claps, Clicks and Whistles.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, on BBC Radio 2, one of the bonus categories on Ken Bruce’s peerless Popmaster quiz was called Same Title, Different Song, which sounded extremely familiar to me.
Later the same day, Lamacq invited listeners to get in touch to tell him about bands or acts that they were initially dismissive of, but who they have subsequently come to love, which reminded me that I haven’t written one in this series, which I started before I turned 50 last year, where I feature bands or acts that I was initially dismissive of, but who I have subsequently come to love, for quite some time.
So, you can expect a few of these old series’ that I definitely thought up all by myself to reappear over the next few weeks, and we’ll see what else coincidentally appears on the airwaves shortly afterwards.
Starting here, and taking you back to 2004: a happier time, when neither the UK nor the USA was governed by a sex offender with ridiculous hair; when the word Brexit didn’t exist; when nobody had even heard of Nigel Farage let alone thought to describe him as toad-faced greasy little spiv; and when Llŷr and I were living in the Flat of Filth, spending our spare time idly flicking between the music TV channels we had in the hope of finding something we either both really liked. And if not that then a record that one of us loved and the other knew nothing of so the one who did could wang on about how amazing they are for ages. And if not either of those things then – and I’d say this was the most preferable of the three options – something that we both thought was unintentionally bad/funny so we could rip the piss out of it for the next three and a half minutes: whoever makes the the other one laugh the most doesn’t have to do the washing-up.
Today’s band were one such band who at that point were on their second single; there may have been a certain degree of peer pressure involved here, perhaps one of us declaring both records to be awful and the other toeing the line, but awful we really did think they were. Neither of these singles were hits first time around and had to be re-released a second time before making the charts. And don’t get me wrong, when they did become hits almost a year later they were proper big boys UK Top Ten hits. This was on the back of one them being endorsed by one of the mono-browed Gallagher brothers – not sure which, the gobby one who hates rap or the gobby one who hates making decent records, it doesn’t matter – and a place at the bottom of the bill on the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour 2005.
Above them on the bill: Bloc Party, The Futureheads and The Killers, all right on the cusp of becoming famous. Llŷr, Hel and I, along with four or five friends, went along to Cardiff University, and with the benefit of hindsight I’m not entirely sure that there was anyone that we specifically wanted to see that day. I think it was more a case of us having heard good things about all the bands on the bill and decided to go and see what the fuss was about.
That said, my expectation levels when the Kaiser Chiefs breezed on stage to kick the night off could not have been lower. But, and I realise this is an absolute cliché, they totally blew me away to the point where, by the time they’d finished, I felt there was little point in staying to watch any of the other bands, because they just couldn’t be bettered. (I did stay though, obviously. I’m not so stupid that I’d walk out of a gig a quarter of the way through it because I had really liked one of the bands.)
But sure enough, whilst they were all just fine and dandy, none of them could hold a candle to the Kaiser Chiefs. I became properly…obsessed isn’t quite the right word, but I bought the Limited Edition of their debut album Employment which I proclaimed, quite wrongly as I realise now, to anyone who cared to listen that it was the “…best debut album since The Stone Roses.” And yes, I really did say that, to multiple people. People who I now try to avoid as best I can.
Anyway, to a song and I’ve chosen this one for two reasons: firstly, as I write this on Thursday evening here in the UK, it looks like this is quite an appropriate description of the current situation in America, and secondly because one very drunken night, Hel and were watching a music TV channel at around 3am in the morning. The channel had inserted one of those signers for the hard of hearing in the bottom right hand corner. They seemed to be having a fine old time, gesticulating furiously away, and, to our drunken eyes, seemed genuinely delighted that we were watching them, to the extent that Hel and I decided that they were actually trying to teach us some dance moves to go along with the song, which we copied, practiced and performed the next time we were out at an Indie club and it got played, much to our hilarity and everyone else’s utter bemusement: