It’s been difficult decision time at Dubious Towers this week.
As regulars will know, I’ve been unwell for some time now, with issues with mobility/walking and also a reduced capacity in my hands/arms/wrists/fingers which has made it difficult and painful for me to grip, type and do all the other things one could reasonably expect our hands to do, which in turn has kept me off work for some time now.
Whilst my mobility has generally improved to the point where I no longer need to use a zimmer frame to get about – thanks in no small part to a couple of steroid injections and the draining of a load of as-yet-unidentified fluid from my left knee – the pain in my hands, wrists and arms has remained at roughly the same level.
I had been using this place as my own personal physiotherapy, writing in blocks of around 10-15 minutes or until I was in too much discomfort to continue. Recent longer posts like Friday Night Music Club and Rant have taken me several visits to complete. This is also why I’ve been even more rubbish than usual at responding to your Comments, so my apologies for that. I’d hate for you to think I was just being rude and ignoring you.
Since my ability to type is restricted to short bursts, I’ve been off work for three months now, and am currently signed off for a further month. As such, I have a serious case of cabin fever, and this place has been my release from watching Homes Under the Hammer and Bargain Hunt, so my decision has not been easy.
I’ve now had two consultations with a rheumatologist, and I’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthiritis. On top of that, investigations are continuing as to whether I also have a “…subluxation at the left wrist joint.”
Here’s what Dr Google says about subluxations: “…[it’s] an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint or organ. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a subluxation is a “significant structural displacement”.
I’m right-handed, so you can quit with all your rude thoughts about how I may have injured my left wrist.
I’ve been referred to a different consultant with specialism in this area (happening in early April), and in the meantime started on a course of meds to, hopefully, alleviate my other symptoms.
The upshot of all this is that I’m not sure that writing here is helping.
So, I’ve decided to take a step back again, and put writing here on hold.
For now, this, from Lush’s poptastic 1996 Lovelife album, a duet with Jarvis Cocker which is practically a partner-piece to Lodger’s wonderful I’m Leaving (which is hard to come by, and so I’ll find a reason to post it when I return). Never released as a single, Ciao! still became the title of Lush’s 2001 Best Of… album:
Since I wrote it earlier in the week, I had no idea that BBC4’s output on Friday night would focus on Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
All of what they aired is up on the BBC iPlayer and is worth your time if you like this kind off thing (and thanks also to long time reader Steven for flagging another documentary about lovely Linda to me via the Comments section, which you can watch here).
Anyway, bearing that in mind, since I featured Linda last week, it seemed only right that I featured somehing by Dolly and Emmylou too, so that’s the next couple of weeks sorted.
Here’s Dolly, with a wonderful song about being proud of where she came from:
I know that every now and then they reform to play a few gigs, but if and when they do i again, then it will be without bassist Steve Mackey, who has sadly died at the oh-too-young age of 56.
I wish I could better this description on him, from The Guardian, but I don’t think I can: “With his sharp tailoring, drooping quiff and model good looks, Mackey brought raffish cool and driving, disco-influenced rhythm to the Sheffield band…”
As an unwished for footnote on his achievements this, also lifted from The Guardian: “Mackey collaborated with an impressive range of musicians as a producer, co-writer and mixer. He co-wrote and produced songs on Florence + the Machine’s debut album Lungs; co-produced the breakthrough MIA single Galang; worked on early recordings by the Horrors; and continued to collaborate with Cocker on the latter’s solo recordings. He later partnered with Daft Punk producer Thomas Bangalter to produce tracks on Arcade Fire’s album Everything Now, and worked with Spiritualized on 2018 album And Nothing Hurt.”
I know most people, when Pulp play a gig, go not just to hear the wonderful records they created unleashed upon us, but to see Jarvis in all his wriggling, hip-shaking and pointing glory – God knows I’ve imitated him enough on the indie dancefloor over the years.
But Mackey was an integral spoke of the wheel, and should the band ever play live again, it just won’t be the same without him there.
Here’s a late-period Pulp tune which doesn’t exactly display Mackey’s talents, but nevertheless is wonderful:
One of the things that I’ve been most surprised about during my enforced hiatus is the number of people who got in touch not just to wish me well (thank you!), but to tell me that they missed my occasional rants on here.
I was surprised not because I expected that the Friday Night Music Club would be the most missed series I write here (heaven forbid), but more because I figured my rants were largely preaching to the converted, telling you nothing you didn’t already know.
I checked back to see when I last wrote one: July 16th 2022. This was post-Boris, but in the middle of the jousting to become his successor, which means I didn’t have chance to write a single thing about Liz Truss and her remarkably succesful and long-lived occupancy of No.10 (sense the tone).
This disappointed me, because here was some rich comic/ranty pickings and I bloody missed it.
But fear not because – what’s that coming over the hill? Why, it’s Liz Truss on the comeback trail. Hoorah! Welcome back Liz!
A close ally (of hers, not mine), who, suprisingly, chose to remain anonymous, said: “Liz has taken a few months to gather her thoughts [That’s thoughts. Not thought. Thoughts. Plural!] and is now ready to speak about her time in office and the current state of play.”
Which she did: apparently, she was never given a “realistic chance” to implement her tax-cutting agenda, and was brought down by the combination of a “powerful economic establishment” and a lack of support from within the Conservative party.
A reminder: her radical tax-cutting budget riled financial markets, sank the pound, took British pension plans to the brink of collapse and led to a revolt within her own Conservative Party.
No: this was nothing to do with her economy-crashing ideas which, as they spectacularly unravelled in record time, led to her to throw Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng under the nearest bus in a desperate attempt to save her own skin:
Actually, that comparison is a little unfair; Scooby and Co only ever looked to blame those interfering kids, not the (notoriously!) left-wing economic establishment, who barely got a mention.
Truss is right of course: hop on rush-hour public transport in London on a week day morning, and after all the red braces and filofax brigade have alighted, all that’s left is not used/read/soiled copies of the Metro, as you would expect, but instead train and bus cabs are literally littered with discarded copies of Das Kapital, pertinent paragraphs furiously circled in biro or highlighted with marker pen.
In an unintended display of just how poor her maths skills are, Truss said: “I have lost track of how many people have written to me or approached me since leaving Downing Street to say that they believe my diagnosis of the problems causing our country’s economic lethargy was correct and that they shared my enthusiasm for the solutions I was proposing.”
Er…how many fingers do you have on each hand, Liz? Now take away four. You have lost track no longer. You’re welcome.
This probably, inadvertently, explains her economic policy, because if she can’t measure that on the fingers on one hand, then her plans for the country’s economy was not exactly in safe hands. David “Safe Hands” Seaman would have been a better bet, and he was last seen advertising “…affordable, high quality, energy efficient and secure windows and doors.” And he’s cut his shit ponytail off in an attempt to gain some authenticity and gravitas.
Which, inevitably, leads me to this:
Safe and reliable, right? Just as nobody wanted to shake hands with Seaman that night, you need to face it Liz: nobody wants to associate with you. You are, to quote Britney:
The prospect of Liz Truss making any kind of succesful comeback would be laughable, were it not for another former PM trying to do exactly the same thing. You know the chap: serial liar, shit hair cut, can’t keep his old chap zipped in. Sound familiar?
See, because there has been that Truss buffer, between his inept Premiership and now, the danger is that many will forget what a self-serving, lying, law-breaking stain on our democracy Boris Johnson was, and will fall for his frankly unfathomable charms once again.
Before we go any further, a quick reminder that Todger Johnson is currently contesting the Partygate allegations against him, and, assuming that you’re a fine and upstanding UK tax-paying member of society like me, that challenge is being funded by you and I:
At the same time, it was recently reported that Johnson was understood to have agreed to buy a £4m nine-bedroom, Grade II-listed home in Oxfordshire. With a moat, presumably to keep the oiks out.
Now, for the likes of you and I to get legal aid – that is, help with paying the legal costs in whatever legal dispute we may be involved in – we would have to show that (and this, from the government’s own website): a) the problem is serious (which sounds disconcertingly vague), and b) you cannot afford to pay for legal costs.
Call me old fashioned or out of touch, but someone who can afford to buy a £4m property does not sound to me like someone who cannot also afford to cover their own legal costs (although we can’t rule out a generous benefactor helping him out. Maybe someone with aspirations to be…oh, I don’t know…the chairman of the BBC).
But no: apparently, on top of all the extra shit we’re having to pay for right now – which cannot be contested, challenged or legislated against, for fear of upsetting the non-Russian contributors to the Tory pot – we also have to chip in for Johnson and his legal defence. Seems fair, right?
Anyway, I digress. Much as I loathe him (too), current PM (at the time of writing) Rishi Sunak, with his Windsor Agreement, seems to have sorted out the mess that is the Withdrawal Agreement which Johnson signed off on, which, from the sudden escalation in violence in Northern Ireland, is perhaps not quite the “oven-ready deal” that was pitched to us in the last election. Johnson lied to us, who’d have thunk it?
We already knew this, of course, for when he was still in power, Johnson performed one of the least convincing volte-faces in the history of, well, everything when, having promised that there wouldn’t be an Irish backstop (effectively an insurance policy in UK-EU Brexit negotiations, meant to make sure that the Irish border remained open, whatever the outcome of the UK and the EU’s negotiations about their future relationship after Brexit) or any checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland, or in the Irish Sea between the UK mainland and Ireland, when the latter inevtiably happened following agreement by Johnson, in contravention of the Good Friday Agreement, he claimed that the Withdrawal Agreement (which, just to emphasise, he signed off – “oven ready” and all that), was useless and needed to be renegotiated.
To summarise that: he knew what he agreed was rubbish, and now, having achieved what he wanted (election, big majority, power, etc.), he thought he could just change the deal. You know, like you can with deals you’ve already agreed.
And now he’s stood on the sidelines – just as he was when Theresa May was trying to negotiate the terms of Brexit – lobbing hand grenades and claiming they’re getting it all wrong. He’s like Alan Partridge telling the Bond-fest contributers that they were “…getting Bond wrong…”, that he could do so much better (clip posted before, always worth a watch, and the comparison stands). I can’t resist (Part 1):
…and then how Johnson views himself (I can’t resist (Part 2):
Don’t fall for it twice folks: he’s not interested in what’s best for the people of the UK, or Northern Ireland (part of the UK, I know, I’m making a point): all he is interested in is himself, what power and influence he can attain, and where his next extra-marital fuck can come from (I bet he’s gutted that both Sturgeon and Merkel are off the menu, he must have tried at least once each).
But credit where credit’s due: Sunak has struck a deal with the EU which gives Northern Ireland access to both the EU and the UK markets, without the need for any of this trifling border talk. And here he is bigging it up:
Hoorah for Rishi! He’s got Northern Ireland access to both the EU and the UK markets and this is the best thing…ever!
Oh hang on. Isn’t that what we had in the UK before Brexit?
Yup. Pretty sure we did.
But apparently the comparison between what has been agreed in this wonderful deal for Northern Ireland – which is clearly THE! BEST! THING! EVER! – and what us in the rest of the UK is lumbered with cannot be made.
Which leads me here: the apparent absence of fresh vegetables – specifically tomatoes – in our supermarkets.
Me? I just want to buy some tomatoes.
Remainers say that it’s because of Brexit, the breakdown in food supply chains, additional paperwork, etc.
Brexit supporters, on the other hand, pull their heads out of the sand long enough to point to adverse weather conditions in the countries growing the crops as being the reason for the failure (I cannot, in all conscience, continue to call supporters of Brexit ‘Brexiteers’, since it imbues them with some sort of glamour, glory or flair, a natural talent which, as far as I can see, they do not deserve. Despite what they say, they’re not fighting for the good of us all, they’re either a) protecting they’re off-shore investments and the non-tax-paying arrangements they have in place, b) are not yet ready to accept the over-whelming evidence that Brexit was a shit idea, or c) are just fucking idiots).
That said, they’re right. Up to a point. The weather is a factor in the supply chain problems.
Let’s take tomatoes as a case in point, since it is the lack of availability of our not-vegetable friends (it’s a fruit! Deal with it!) which is causing the most outrage.
See, during winter-times (i.e. now), we mostly import our tomatoes from Morocco.
But Morocco also has a trade agreement with the EU.
They cannot supply to both. So, faced with the choice of pissing off one of their biggest and most lucrative customers (the EU), or one of their smallest and least profitable, (the UK) they have taken the entirety sensible business step of keeping their biggest, most powerful contact as well stocked as can be managed, and pushed us, lowly little non-EU UK, to our rightful place in the queue.
So yes, the shortage may be down to adverse weather conditions, but supply to the UK is not.
But fear not! Environment Secretary Therese Coffey had ridden over the hill on her silver steed and proclaimed that people complaining about the tomato shortage should consider eating turnips instead. “[It’s] important we cherish the specialisms we have in this country,” she said. “A lot of people would be eating turnips right now.”
Don’t you just love the whole “coping with the economic crisis” advice we keep getting from the goverment, which saves them from actually doing something about it?
There’s a government funded advert on TV at the moment which helpfully suggests that we can save energy by turning down the radiators in rooms we don’t use. Who’s heating empty rooms?? Only idiots who need this kind of advice, that’s who.
The specialisms Coffey refers to seems to include having fucking idiots in charge.
Anyway, apparently, turnips are the same as tomatoes. I mean, who doesn’t love a delicious cheese and turnip sandwich? Or a salad, beautifully embellished by a juicy turnip? Or perhaps a splurge of turnip ketchup with our Friday night chips?
Ah, those sunlit Brexit uplands we were promised are now reduced to “let them eat turnips.”
The French revolted for less – but they’re in the EU, so best pretend they don’t exist, whilst we argue about where they can fish.
It seems Therese Coffey is the latest incarnation of Baldrick, where the answer to every problem is: a turnip.
Elsewhere in the (as I write this) current cabinet is Suella Braverman. A little background history: Braverman was appointed Home Secretary when Truss became Prime Minister. She then resigned as Home Secretary after she breached the Ministerial Code by sending sensitive information using her personal email address. Despite this. she was then reinstated as Home Secretary six days later by Rishi Sunak.
A big part of her job is dealing with immigration, and she has gone on record as saying: “I would love to have a front page of The Telegraph [where else?] with a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream, it’s my obsession.”
Anyway, I mention her now because of a song which her name reminds me of, but unfortunately you have to suspend disbelief for a moment for it to work. See, before I had heard it, when i had only seen her name written down, I had assumed it was pronounced Bray-ver-man as opposed to the correct enunciation of Brah-ver-man. But in that short window of mispronunciation, this tune lodged in my brain whenever I saw or read anything about her, the title of the song being replaced by her name; a tune which, given her love of immigrants (her own family excluded), I’m sure she’d appreciate:
A reminder: whilst Braverman was born in Harrow and raised in Wembley, her parents were immigrants, arriving from in Britain Indian in the 1960s from Mauritius and Kenya. Hmmm. Without immigration, Braverman wouldn’t be here, and I literally would not be writing this, so in some respects I do sort of see her point.
And I haven’t even started on the leaking of Matt Hancock’s Whats App messages (is it leaking if you’ve voluntarily handed all of the ‘leaked’ info over to a journalist?) or the demonising of Sue Gray from the right because her report doesn’t say what they wanted it to?
After watching, and reminiscing about, the recent Fatboy Slim/Big Beach Boutique documentary on Sky/NOWTV, I was inspired to put together a mix all my own, so you can see how good Norm is and how not-quite as good I am.
Usual disclaimer applies: any poor mixes are down to me (although I think I’ve done alright this time), any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software or the uploading process; all song choices are mine.
And here’s your track-listing, complete with some reminisces of my clubbing years, where some (but not all) names have been changed to protect the innocent:
Jip/John Simm – The Weekend Has Landed
Not a song, but a bit of dialogue from the greatest ever film about clubbing, Human Traffic. This is not just a clarion call to all those about to have it large, but, performed by John Simm, it also acts as a callback to that day in Brighton back in 2002. Simm was there as an ordinary punter, but was spotted (so he says) by host of E4‘s coverage Vernon Kaye, who hauled him in front of the cameras for a quick interview. There’s an amusing moment in the aforementioned documentary where Simm, one of several celebrity interviewees, is shown the interview, after which he sheepishly admits he has no recollection of it whatsoever.
2. Crazy Penis – There’s a Better Place
Ignore the dreadful name of the act: I bet you weren’t expecting a tune which samples Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, right?
Long before I started writing this blog, I had an idea to collate loads of clubbing related stories from my buddies, and weave them into some sort of a narrative. So, I contacted them, and asked for their memories, and a few of them came back to me. This, which has sat in my inbox for over ten years, is one of them, from a mate who was mostly known by a nickname; since he’s now a police officer, I figured it probably best I use neither his real nor his nickname, so for the purposes of this post he shall be referred to as Bully.
Both of his recollections (another will be along shortly) are set in Cardiff’s now defunct The Emporium, a club which I frequented frequently and mention here regularly. It was, quite simply, my favourite club in Cardiff; after it closed down and the regular nights had to find new venues, none of the nights were ever quite the same or anywhere near as good.
To come anywhere near understanding Bully’s reminisce, you first have to have a basic understanding of the layout of The Emporium; located at the top end of St Mary’s Street (the exterior is actually used in Human Traffic as the venue the clubbers are queuing up to get in to), and above a run of shops, after you’d climbed the stairs to the actual venue, gone past the cloakroom and the final line of bouncers (I knew and had worked with their boss many years earlier, so I was never searched for contraband, which was fortuitous for reasons which I imagine you can figure out for yourself), the first room you came into was a chill-out area, with seats and benches around the perimeter, a step to a raised area where a DJ played mostly relaxed beats, a bar, and a spiral staircase leading to The Attic (which may have actually been called The Loft, I forget which after all this years) which was either rammed when it played host to a reasonably well known DJ (as it was when I saw the excellent Plump DJs there) or, mostly, deserted: it was always one or the other, no middle ground. On the other side, was a wooden staircase, with a top step which was notoriously a little bit higher than all the rest: you would see someone trip up it at least two or three times every night. Then you were into the Main Room, complete with podiums which anyone could get on to (before you ask, no I never did).
Anyway, here’s Bully’s recollection about the tune in question: “…this tune seemed like it was always on in the first room as you enter the place – at first it was spinning me out because of the sample in it but is soo funky i just had to wait for it to finish before going into the Main Room.”
NB: Due to my (failed) attempts to keep this mix to 60 minutes length, I may have mixed this tune into the next a bit early for you to fully appreciate the funkiness to which Bully alludes. My apologies.)
3. Orbital – Chime
This doesn’t really need any introduction or explanation, does it? A ground-breaking classic.
4. Adamski – N.R.G.
I remember this from my days DJing at college, not because of the cover which had a bottle of Lucozade, only with Adamski’s name replacing that of the energy drink, on it, but because at the time I thought it was a bloody awful record, as I did most records from this genre at the time. I’m happy to announce I’ve subsequently changed my mind: it’s bloody marvellous.
5. Alison Limerick – Where Love Lives (Perfecto Remix)
This has featured on these pages before with a wee bon-mot about it’s relevance to me so, since my hands are already hurting from typing, you’ll forgive me for copy and pasting here what I wrote back then (with a couple of additions and amendments):
This got dropped at an Old Skool night; long-time buddy Hel had gone to visit the ladies’ room and managed to get back to us on the dance floor just as this ended and it mixed into the next banger.
This became a recurring theme. The tune didn’t get played that much, but just like you can be sure your team will score the moment you pop to the loo, so it was that you could guarantee that if it did get played, Hel would be otherwise engaged.
And so it became something of a running joke, to the point where, when at home playing tunes, I would often wait until she had just locked the bathroom door, estimated when she would be just taking up position, before skipping to play it. I’m nice like that.
This was particularly annoying for her, as it was one of her favourite tunes.
I don’t think we ever got to dance to it in a club environment together, although a few years ago, Limerick did appear at a mini-festival thing in Brockwell Park, Sarf London. Hel & I were there. Limerick did three songs: her other hit (which I didn’t recognise), a cover version (of something I don’t remember), and of course Where Love Lives – a stone-cold classic if ever I heard one.
6. Junior Jack – E Samba
Although I had it in my head that this was somehow linked to Jon Carter (I was always frequently wrong about this sort of thing, like my head was already too full of useless stuff like chart positions of Quo singles to be able to retain things like which DJ we had just seen, or who did which remix of what tune), but on researching/double-checking this I find that Junior Jack was actually the stage name of Italian DJ Vito Lucente, who was also responsible (under the moniker Room 5 and featuring disco artist Oliver Cheatham on vocals) for the 2003 UK #1 single Make Luv, which I’m sure you’d recognise if you heard it.
Whatever, it’s carnival time, and this is ace.
7. Atlantic Ocean – Waterfall
Another Old Skool classic. Nuff said.
8. Camisra – Let Me Show You
This one features in the Fatboy documentary, as it cropped up in his set; not all the songs did, but this one appeared due to a link to not one but two celebrities who were in attendance that day: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, they of Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun on the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) and Channel 4 slacker sitcom Spaced fame, all of which were directed by Edgar Wright.
There’s a famous (relatively speaking) episode of Spaced where the gang go clubbing, and this song features prominently:
Although my favourite scene is this, where courier/clubber/dealer Tyres (played by the ever brilliant Michael Smiley) visits Tim (Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Hynes)’s flat, where the slightest rhythmical sounds sets him off ‘on one’:
Anyway, in the Fatboy documentary, Pegg says that he was told the superstar DJ had included this in his set because it had featured in Spaced and because he knew Pegg and Frost were in the crowd that day. (NB: Norm does not verify this.)
9. Heavy Rock – [I Just Want to Be a] Drummer
Back in the early 2000’s (this came out in 2004, I think), there was a whole raft of these sort of tunes whipping up the crowds in clubland; tunes where the vocal was a deep voiced male who spoke the words rather than make any effort to sing. There’s one such tune which I’ve mentioned here before (so won’t bore you with the details again – suffice it to say, it’s a lot ruder than this example) that I’ve never managed to identify or track down. If you think you might be able to help, let me know via either the Comments or, if you’d prefer, at the email address hidden somewhere on this page. Thanks in advance.
In the meantime, one night, quite early on in my clubbing career, towards the end of the night, I found myself sitting on the step in the chill out area I described with tune 2 in tonight’s mix. There are three things I loved about clubbing: the music, the dancing, and, as Jip/John Simm put it in the opening monologue, “…talking cod-shit to strangers.” This should come as no surprise to you. On this occasion, however, I was sitting not with a stranger, but with Gaz, a friend who I remain in touch with to these days, as he’s in my group of London chums. This was, I think, maybe the second or third time I’d met Gaz, and I remember very little of what we talked about (bar some running jokes I had going with some of my mates – usually at their expense – this is not unusual: I remember snatches of conversation, but very rarely entire conversations or who they were with. Some of them will crop up in future posts, I’m sure). But I do remember this highly intellectual exchange:
Me: “You’re a drummer, aren’t you?” (I already knew this to be a fact)
Gaz (looking at me both blankly and confused): Yeh. How do you know that?
Me: Drummer’s arms. You’ve got drummer’s arms.
To this day, I have no idea what I meant by this, but I do think The Drummer’s Arms would be a fine name for a pub.
10. Green Velvet – Flash
Green Velvet has a history of making records which, at first blush, seem to be pro-recreational drug use, but aren’t (see also La La Land which featured in Volume 19 of Friday Night Music Club). This one, which I only ever heard played out once, is generally unsettling.
As I often do, when I can’t quite remember where I was when a tune got played, and/or who played it, I turn to my own personal clubbing history wikipedia, my old mate Dum Dum, who confirmed my suspicion that it got dropped at an outdoor event in Swansea’s Margam Country Park, an event called Escape to the Park (Escape being the name of a chain of clubs, one of of which was located in Swansea, which even professional Welshman Rhod Gilbert describes as “shit…a desperate dump…devoid of any hope…”):
Anyway, within the message I got from Dum Dum confirming the location was this extra bit of info: we were, apparently, in the “….Progressive Arena: Sasha, Steve Lawler, Jan Carbon, Ian Dungey, Darren Emerson, Hybrid and Richard Hitchell. Possible Lawler [dropped it] as he played it a lot.” (See what I mean about him being my own personal clubbing history wikipedia? It’s amazing to me, as he started clubbing and partaking in all the naughtiness the scene provides, many years before I did, so his brain cells should by all rights be fried.)
I remember hearing this tune that day because I also remember turning to Dum Dum and asking “What the fuck is this??”. “Haven’t you heard this before?” was his incerdulous reply. No, Dum Dum, I haven’t, that’s why I’m asking.
Anyhoo, Flash tells of Mr Velvet taking some older generation folks on a guided tour of a club, where he invites them to take photographs of the clubbers indulging in various banned substances. It’s great, if a little unsettling. But perhaps that’s just me, who, when approached by photographers, paid to snap happy dancing clubbers to promote the club night in question, would always tell them to fuck off and that they didn’t have my permission to photograph me. I’ve hated pretty much every photo taken of me, mostly because many of them look like I’m off my tits; the last thing I wanted was photos of me when I actually was out in the public arena.
11. Spektrum – Kinda New (We All Live & Die) (Tiefschwarz Vocal Mix)
As promised, back to a bit of Bully:
“In the main room, for me – the track was Spektrum – Kinda New (Tiefshwarz mix) – this track was the bomb, blew us away everytime. I remember just dancing to this and always peering to see where you are and seeing you grinning back to me when this track was on – I’m sure Lottie played it and it went off!”
12. Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400
Since the only words spoken in this tune are “Zombie Nation”, many mistakenly think that’s the name of the tune, rather than the artiste performing it.
This tune has a very specific memory for me (I doubt you’ve gotten this far, but if you have: look away now, Mum and Dad): there used to be a bar on Park Place in Cardiff called Inncognitos that I often frequented. Within walking distance of the town centre, it was often used by those on the way into, or on the way home from, town, as a stopping off point. A watering hole, an oasis, if you will.
As well as the main bar, it had a beer garden and a conservatory, the latter of which doubled up as a dancefloor whenever they had a DJ playing. One Sunday, when Cardiff’s Big Weekend (a free-for-all three day event featuring local talent as well as established bands/artistes on the way up or down) was on, and I met with some friends (all of whom shall remain nameless for this bit, for reasons which will soon become apparent) at Inncognitos under the misapprehension that we were having a few beers there before heading to the festival, which was just across the way.
But no. At some point, one of them whispered to me that they were staying there because they had “some pills” and they wanted to dance. A DJ, Radio 1’s Fergie, was playing there later that night (Dum Dum wasn’t there, I remembered that all by myself).
I told them I wasn’t interested, but, a pint or two later and my barriers severely dropped, I asked if I might get in on the action.
The friend who had told me about the class-A’s approached the other two and broke the good news to them: “Jez is up for it!”
“That’s great,” I was subsequently told they replied, “but we’ve only got three. If he wants a cheeky half, who’s going to give it to him?”
I’m also told – apologetically – that the other two made it very clear they were not prepared to surrender half of their already small stash. It was decided that the friend who had told me about the pills, should share his with me (in a sort of “he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it kind of way”).
I remember very little of what happened after that other than: I recognised two girls that I worked with were also there that night, and that I spent much of the rest of the night avoiding them whilst standing to the side of the dancefloor, rubbing my head and taking deep, sharp breaths through a permanently O-shaped mouth.
This was one of the tunes I do remember being played that night.
13. Darude – Sandstorm
And this is another, hence my enormous affection to both.
But before I go any further, I should make it clear that I’m not condoning the use of ecstacy, nor would I wish to encourage the use of it, I’m merely relating what happened when I did,
I fucking loved it.
On later nights out I bumped into both of the girls who were there that first night, and since they both have fairly popular names, I can mention them without fear of any repercussions: Lisa and Rachel. Like an e’d up Tigger, Lisa came bouncing up to me one night to say hello on the dancefloor at The Emporium; Rachel was a little more demure, sliding up to me one night to say hi. We discussed that night in Inncognitos, and, bless her, she told me she didn’t remember seeing me there as she was also off her face, but she thought me rubbing my head etc was very funny and sweet. I met her and her fiance out many times over the next few years, and we often partied hard when I told her it was the occasion of the anniversary of my first drop.
As I said, this is a tune I associate with that first night, but just in case you find it unpalatable, have a watch of this:
14. Who Da Funk Feat. Jessica Eve – Shiny Disco Balls
Just a tune. That is all.
15. Underworld – Two Months Off [King Unique Sunspots Vocal Mix]
Ditto. I love Underworld, and the original mix of this, but this version knocks the [sun] spots off that.
16. The Streets – Weak Become Heroes (Ashley Beedle’s Love Bug Vocal)
To end things, the most perfect description of clubbing ever committed to record, including that ‘talking-cod-shit-to-strangers’ stuff I mentioned earlier.
For those of you not in the know, Ashley Beedle is one part of X-Press 2, who, without wishing to sound all ‘look-at-me-I-know-what-I’m-talking-about’, you will know from their Lazy single with Talking Heads’ David Byrne providing vocals.
The original version, which appears on The Streets’ Original Pirate Material album is already brilliant, but here it’s made even more brilliant here by Beedle.
Another resurrected series, and this is another where I made the mistake of mentioning how many posts to expect in the series.
To recap: this is the series where I feature The Guardian’s idea of the 100 best UK #1s ever (if it were an album it would have ! at the end of that), and we see what I have to say about them (which usually isn’t much, to be honest).
Here’s what they had to say about the record which they put at #88:
“Like the Old Testament God, Craig chills on a Sunday, but unlike the Old Testament God, he spends Monday and Tuesday engineering sex and spends the rest of the days until the sabbath having it. We looked upon his creation and saw that it was good: his vocals, drilled in the dexterity of the garage rave, twine around delicate acoustic guitar lines like two lovers in Eden.”
Well, somebody sure took the biblical theme and ran with it, didn’t they?
It’s testament to how much this record entered the public’s psyche that you will often hear comic references to it, whenever somebody mentions any day of the week. For example:
“World War II ended on Sunday 2nd September 1945”
“Craig David would have just been chilling” etc etc.
Or more eloquently, this:
Although his career has been somewhat resurrected over the past few years, David blamed the portrayal of him on Channel 4 show Bo’ Selecta! as the reason for his slide from popularity, which itself was itself lampooned on the show (warning: includes a fair bit of effing an jeffing, and a rather abrupt ending):
Anyway, here’s the record which The Guardian placed at #88 in their list of the greatest UK #1s ever and of which I say: I can see the importance of this tune on the UK garage scene (by which I don’t mean that it inspired dads up and down the land to have a proper clear out of their man-caves (not a euphemism)), its just not my bag, but it’s alright really. I wouldn’t turn the radio off it it came on, put it like that. Which I’m sure you’ll agree is a thoroughly illuminating insight. (For what it’s worth, I always preferred Walking Away.)
Given his hectic schedule from Wednesday to Saturday, it’s perhaps surprising that on his return he was packing this physique, which I’m not jealous of at all since his six-pack stomach just seems weird:
Why are none of his six-pack muscles (not a technical term: abs? Is that right? You can tell what kind of shape I’m in from my ignorance) located symmetrically, as one would expect? And what’s with that one on the left that looks like a duck?