Friday Night No Christmas Music Club

As promised, a new…thing for you.

I’m not going to call it a mix, because, frankly, there’s very little in the way of mixing involved. Sequenced doesn’t seem quite right either. Let’s call it a playlist which happens to have been mixed in places.

And, since many people are unable to properly celebrate Christmas with their nearest and dearest this year, there are absolutely no Christmas songs included.

Originally, the idea was to do a playlist of acts that have famously had Christmas hits, but not to play the Christmas hits they most famously had, but I soon sacked that off. Some of those usual culprits have made the cut though: Slade, Bublé, Spice Girls, The Darkness and Wham! all make appearances (the latter because it is the anniversary of George Michael’s shock passing today, after all), but not with anything remotely Christmassy.

But mostly, I’ve tried to recreate when I used to DJ on a Saturday night back when I was at college, and include a bit of everything to get as many butts on the dancefloor as possible. As such it’s pretty much what you would expect from me: a predominantly indie disco, with the inclusion of some fairly hefty chunks of cheese, in honour of the motto of this place: there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

I’ve listened to this through once, and it sounds okay; a couple of the actual mixes work, a couple don’t (I’m getting better with the software I use, but since there’s no facility to use headphones, the process is much harder than when actually ‘out’ DJ’ing); there are a couple of glitches which are nothing to do with me, although I’m relieved to report that the noise that terrifies every wannabe DJ – that of a record, or in this case an mp3, sticking – which happened as I neared the end of the mix and, frankly, could not be arsed with starting all over again, hasn’t manifested itself in the actual recording.

Anyway, enough with the disclaimers. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for you hopefully you’ll have some fun with it.

Oh, and a warning: there’s a fair amount of effing and jeffing on some of the tracks, so probably best you wait until the kids have been put to bed before playing it.

Other than that, crack yourself another bottle open, push back the sofa or the kitchen table so you have somewhere to strut your stuff, turn the volume to 11 and enjoy just over three hours of defiantly non-Christmas, but unapologetically fun, tunes:

You can also stream it via Soundcloud, here.

If you are spending Christmas alone this year, and you’re finding it a little difficult, then make it easy on yourself. I can recommend the #JoinIn hashtag on Twitter, where you can chat, give and receive support to people who find themselves in a similar situation. And if you’ve stumbled across this place as the result of that hashtag, hello! I hope you’ve had as great a day as possible, and that you have yourself some fun listening to this.

More soon.

I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Hello from Tier 4!

You’ll forgive me if I refrain from wishing you a Merry Christmas, because to do so would betray the philosophy which I hope will get me through the next few days. I’ll explain, and you are more than welcome to adopt it.

It’s quite simple: there is no Christmas this year.

All you folks who are lucky enough to be meeting with your friends and families, I hope you have a wonderful day, I really do.

However, this year I will be spending my first ever Christmas on my own.

See, for the rest of us, today is just Friday.

But don’t get me wrong: Fridays are days which should be celebrated. And celebrate we will. There will be a mix available later specifically geared toward those who are on their own, but which others can get on board with.

So, since for many of us today is not Christmas, just another day of sitting at home, watching TV in our pants, but shovelling mince pies and sausage rolls into gaping gobs, this:

Yes, I’m surprised I didn’t post The Wedding Present’s No Christmas too.

I’ll be back later with a splendiforously non-Christmas mix for you all.

By which I mean: more soon.

R.I.P. Rick

Long time readers will know that Christmas Eve is the day I usually mark the passing of Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt by posting the only Quo Christmas record.

But since I’m ignoring Christmas this year, 2020 is a little different. There will be no Christmas records here.

Instead, long-time reader of this, and since he stopped blogging himself, everyone else’s music blog, George, got in touch with me recently to tell me that a Quo record I posted in a recent edition of The Chain was now his second favourite Quo tune.

Prior to that, he didn’t have a second favourite Quo tune. High praise indeed. I mean, my work here truly is done.

If memory serves me correctly from previous conversations with George, this is (the album version) of his favourite, written by Parfitt under…um….let’s say difficult circumstances (read: spoonful of amphetamine put in his tea as “a joke”, consumed).

I’m not going to condone drug use, obviously, but if that’s how they arrived at this belter, then perhaps they should have tried it more often.

Double/Triple denim ahoy!

Merry Christmas George (and to all of you that are actually having one).

More soon.

The 100 Greatest UK Number 1 Singles – #96

Wouldn’t it have been awful if, in my week of denying Christmas exists, the next song on this list had been a festive one?

Thankfully, the quandary hasn’t reared it’s head. Instead, we have another one that I can’t really argue with, other than to say it’s not my favourite record by the bequiffed and bespectacled wonder, but it’s still pretty bloody wonderful:

The pinnacle of Roy Orbison’s career as rock’s great tragedian: three astonishing, inconsolable minutes during which stars cry, rainbows weep, golden days are sorrowfully recalled and drums beat a leaden funeral march, before it all reaches a terrible climax, Orbison desperately repeating the title as if misery is a kind of catharsis” says The Guardian

Yup. That pretty much sums this up, says me:

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

It is not Christmas week, regardless of whatever your calendar might tell you.

We’re carrying on regardless here at Dubious Towers.

And here’s a sub-two minutes song by a band unlikely to ever release a Christmas record, so we’re on fairly safe ground. Radiohead are no Cliff Richard, they’re not even Shakin’ Stevens. But then who is?

This is from their 2003 Hail to the Thief album:

I’ll await someone sending me a message telling me that Thom Yorke duetted with Perry Como on a version of Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday with interest.

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

Never before has the task of choosing a tune to lift the mood of my regular, and the not so regular readers, been so difficult, after a weekend which has brought us the news that a) London and a large chunk of the South East of England has been moved into the new, specifically introduced, Tier 4, b) that 5 day Christmas bubble we all had, has been pricked down to a 1 day Christmas bubble, and c) there’s a new bigger, badder and uglier mutant strain of coronavirus in town. More of this, undoubtedly, later in the week.

Anyway. I think I’ve found it. A song to make us forget all our woes. A song which, despite whatever it’s message might be (and I’m not convinced it’s a terribly pure message), just sounds so relentlessly upbeat, I’m calling it:

Stay safe.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Usually by now here at Dubious Towers, the place would be awash with Christmas songs to brighten up your festivities.

But not this year. What with the impending doom of Brexit, and the ongoing gloom of Covid, I just don’t feel at all Christmassy.

The very sad death of Charley Pride last week did nothing to lighten my mood. And is if his death wasn’t bad enough, he died needlessly, from complications related to Covid-19. I say needlessly, because his last live performance was on 11 November 2020, a duet with the country singer Jimmie Allen, at the Country Music Awards in Nashville, an event where, as far as I have read, standard Covid-preventative measures like masks and social distancing were not observed.

Anyway. Charley was a ground-breaking Country artist without ever really trying. Back when he was trying to catch a break in the mid-60s, people didn’t know he was black from his voice, only realising when they turned up to see him in concert, by which time he’d got their money so they, mostly, figured they may as well stick around and watch him.

But race and colour were never things which Charley actively campaigned about, preferring to focus on the music and let others decide whether they wanted to listen. He always insisted that music knew no colour: “I never viewed country as white music,” he once said (although when he started out it undoubtedly was). “The songs were stories about the good times and bad that all people experienced.”

As it stands, this is probably going to be the only Christmas record I post this year:

Gawd bless you, Charley.

PS Given last night’s news about many areas of England going into Tier 4, and the reduction of the Christmas bubble from 5 days to 1, the irony of the title of this song is not lost on me.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

In the week leading up to Christmas, there is historically much speculation about what record will occupy the #1 slot on Christmas Day.

I thought I’d contribute to this, sort of, by posting this little beauty, from their 2014 album Complete Surrender, this is Slow Club:

More soon.

Ship of Fools

I was going to have a little rant this morning about the current position with the Brexit negotiations.

About how a No Deal scenario is looking more and more likely.

About how this wasn’t what was promised at the time of the referendum.

About how we were told at the last election that we had a deal that was “oven ready”.

About how the language describing a No Deal scenario had, until very recently changed, with the words “No Deal” bring replaced with the words “an Australia type” deal.

About how ridiculous it is that the sticking point appears to be fishing quotas and territories, when the UK fishing industry is only worth £0.9 billion annually (and £220 million of that is from EU subsidies).

About…oh, so much more, but generally, what a dumb idea Brexit was in the first place, and how disastrous a No Deal Brexit is for all of us.

But I can’t be bothered. You’ve heard it all from me before enough times by now.

So instead, just a song, with the lyrics underneath to underline the significance:

We’re setting sail to the place on the map
From which no one has ever returned
Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
By the light of the crosses that burned
Drawn by the promise of the women and the lace
And the gold and the cotton and pearls
It’s the place where they keep all the darkness you need
You sail away from the light of the world on this trip, baby
You will pay tomorrow
You’re gonna pay tomorrow
You will pay tomorrow

Oh, oh, oh
Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no
Oh, save me, save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no
I want to run and hide right now

Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea
They will leave you drifting in the shallows
Or drowning in the oceans of history
Traveling the world, you’re in search of no good
But I’m sure you’ll build your Sodom like you knew you would
Using all the good people for your galley slaves
As you’re little boat struggles through the warning waves, but you don’t pay

You will pay tomorrow
You’re gonna pay tomorrow, yeah
You’re gonna pay tomorrow

Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no, no
Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools
Where’s it comin’ from?
Oh, where’s it goin’ to?
It’s just a, it’s just a ship of fools

More soon.