Friday Night Music Club

I was beginning to think this mix was jinxed.

I’ll explain, with some back story.

Firstly, I wanted to do a mix unlike the Not Christmas one, which I thought strayed a bit too far into the territories of cheese or chart music. Whilst it served a purpose, it wasn’t really indicative of the sort of tunes which usually feature here.

This one, though is a corker, even if I do say so myself.

Regular readers may recall that way back in the late 1980s, I started DJ’ing at college because I was fed up with being able to guess what song the indie DJs would play next. So imagine my annoyance when my own brother told me that on a previous mix he’d been able to predict my next choice a couple of times. Grrr.

But this mix has proved to be such a pain to complete; when I came to do it today, it tells me that some of the tunes have been played 22 times, which gives you an idea of how many times I’ve tried to get this one right. Pretty much once a week, since Christmas.

What’s gone wrong all those times? Well, on more than one occasion professional pride kicked in: I’ve messed up a mix between tunes, so have elected to start again.

On more than one occasion, preoccupied with playing Solitaire or Candy Crush just to have something to do whilst recording the mix, there’s a sudden, irretrievable silence where the next record should be. Oops!

Once I forgot to stop recording until an hour later, and, triumphant at how the mixes had worked out, I couldn’t understand why the mix lasted over 5 hours, until I listened to it.

The other problem is booze. More than once, I’ve taken drink to such an extent that I’ve forgotten I was doing a mix until the silence after one record has finished hits home and startled me awake.

Last weekend, I got to the third record from the end, and suddenly woke up to silence and realised I’d messed up again. That’s not an indictment of the standard of the mix, by the way, more an example of how drunk I’d gotten.

Even last night, when I finally nailed it, it was my second attempt of the night, having got through most of the mix when I had a drink-spillage event, which I thought I’d sorted, until, four records from the end, suddenly the sound cut out whilst the tunes kept playing and I had no idea if it was still recording the sound or the sound of silence.

Anyway, we’ve got here, and this has been a real pain, so if you could take a listen, that would be great.

I will confess that I have broken the golden rule of not featuring the same act more than once in this mix; this wasn’t intentional, but as the various run-throughs progressed, I simply forgot said acts already appeared as “featuring” acts. One is deliberate. Sue me (Please don’t).

Time for the usual disclaimer: any glitches, skips or jumps are down to the software or the uploading/downloading process, and nothing to do with my limited mixing skills.

Oh, and the usual “effing and jeffing” warning applies; it seems I’m incapable of doing a mix which doesn’t include more than the occasional swear.

I’m not posting a link to download here, other than the one to Soundcloud, where you can either download or stream it.

I couldn’t be bothered with the last ones, but I’ve done it this time: you’ll see a list of all the acts featured in this mix at the bottom of the page, so you can check whether this one’s likely to be your cup of tea before going to the hassle of actually listening to it. If you’re particularly short of things to do, you can try to guess which song I’ve picked by which artist. There’s fun.

But by way of a description: pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.

Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.

Available for a limited time (i.e. until I do the next one), you can download or stream this on Soundcloud here:

Friday Night Music Club (Volume 4)

I hope you have as much fun listening to this as much as I had putting it together. And I found it utterly frustrating, so you’d better.

Oh, and it ain’t over ’til the fat bloke sings.

More soon.

Rant

It may have escaped your attention, although Lawd knows how, but earlier this week an interview with former royals Harry and Meghan was broadcast on ITV, illustrious home of hard-nosed journalism and snuggly interviews on the GMTV sofa.

But this was different. This had gravitas. For this time, an interview broadcast on ITV was hosted not by Richard Madeley, but by Oprah Winfrey, someone who actually knows how to interview people without coming across like an Alan Partridge tribute act, and who knows how to look aghast when the crucial details (that she already knew) are revealed.

And there was no greater cluster-fuck of a revelation to look aghast to than that someone in the Royal family had said something racist to Meghan when she was pregnant with the couple’s first child.

For full disclosure, I didn’t watch the interview, but I have seen clips of it. The best bits. And Oprah is a much better actor than her performance in the interview, gasping “What?” when the bomb was delivered implies (seriously, watch The Color Purple and tell me she can’t act.)

Obviously, that’s not what I want to write about today.

You know how much I adore advertisers, but I think they missed a trick here. When it next cut to an ad break after the big revelation, Ray Winstone’s massive head should have appeared on our screens, shouting “Who done the racist thing? We’ll give you evens on Prince Phillip (he’s got form, hasn’t he), 2-1 on Princess Michael of Kent and 100-1 on one of the Corgis. Tap out at anytime you muppets!”

My money’s on Camilla; I can just imagine her stubbing a roll-up out on the head of a servant, hoiking a tit up like Les Dawson as Ada, and asking “So what colour is this baby going to be, anyway?”

Cue absolute uproar in the press. Particularly as Harry also mentioned the reason they had gotten out of the Royal Family was because of the treatment his wife was getting from the good old British press.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I have very little empathy for the Royal Family as a whole, but I do think that watching your mother literally be hounded to her grave by the British press is going to have an effect on you. And if it were me, if I saw certain behavioural patterns within the Press re-emerging, I would probably do what Harry did: get them the heck out of there, sharpish.

And so in the same interview, there was an allegation that the Royal Family and the British press were racist.

Step up Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, who released a statement insisting that the British press was not racist.

Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

So let’s have a look at some of the things which were written about Meghan, and some of the things, on an identical subject, which were written about a different (i.e. white) member of the Royal family. It’s probably easiest if we focus on perhaps the best point of reference, Kate, having married Harry’s brother only a few years earlier. And for consistency, we’ll only look at articles written by the same paper, albeit their online version.

Nothing to see here in the Express, where North London luvvie-food the avocado is a gift to the Duchess of Cambridge to help her with her morning sickness, but a blight on everything that is bad in the world when linked to Meghan.

Nothing to see here in The Mail either, where it’s a symbol of caring motherhood when Kate “tenderly” touches her pregnant bump, but when Meghan does it it’s either “pride, vanity, [or] acting” but a very definitely a bad thing which ever option you choose.

Well, that all seems perfectly legitimate, fair and not at all driven by either of those papers general hatred of all things non-white. If they’re not determinedly rowing across the channel to try and live a life picking fruit, the bastards, then they’re infiltrating a British Royal family which is German anyway or, even worse, bringing the house prices down where you live.

Having stated that the British press is not racist, Ian Murray, who you will recall is the executive director of the Society of Editors, went on TV to be interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire.

He should have known better, because Victoria is not only a fine journalist, she’s also (I imagine) still mightily pissed off that the BBC cancelled her mid-morning TV show, pushed her back behind a news desk, and therefore has an axe to grind and a point to prove. The interview does not go well for Murray, and Derbyshire is brilliant:

Get her hosting Question Time and maybe I’ll start watching it again.

On Wednesday, Murray resigned.

But this was not the most startling resignation this week. That honour rests with *coughs* people’s champion, Piers Morgan, who walked out of his cushy job on GMTV this week, because someone had the audacity to challenge his position:

Some background:

And there’s the nub with Morgan. He liked her so much he was prepared to risk public humiliation by admitting to have watched Suits, which nobody in the UK ever watched. They met (once), he liked her, but she thought so little of him, they never met again. Such is Morgan’s life: when he’s not sticking his fingers in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, which bandwagon to jump on, then he’s whining about the fact that Meghan Markle met him once and decided that was enough. Spurned, he started to oppose every thing she did or said.

What a sad, pathetic man.

Later in the week, Morgan tweeted this:

What you don’t get in that screenshot is the whole of the quote he posted, so here it is:

That’s Morgan, unironically posting a Churchillian quote which highlights Morgan’s inability to deal with criticism without flouncing out of a TV studio.

And so to a tune. I had a song in mind, but I asked a friend if they thought it could be construed as racist. They said that although they knew I didn’t mean it as such – it’s just a record to illustrate a point – it could be misinterpreted, so I won’t be posting it. I suppose the fact I needed to ask should have told me all I needed to know.

So today you will, rightly, not be listening to Boney M’s “Brown Girl in the Ring”, because there’s only so much weight my cheeky approach to all of this can bear.

Instead, this, dedicated to Morgan & Murray, but in particular Morgan:

Let’s not forget that whilst all of this palaver is going on, the Royals continue to block the FBI’s efforts to question Prince Andrew about his links with dead nonce Jeffery Epstein.

Funny that they can release a statement about alleged racism, but not that, isn’t it?

Still, say what you like about Prince Andrew, at least he never refused to have sex with an underage girl because of the colour of her skin, as far as we know.

Which makes him definitely not racist, and by extension, we can only conclude that the whole Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Windsor family isn’t either.

Wheel him out for another interview, I say. The last one went so well, after all. I may even watch this time.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I can almost sense you rolling your eyes already, but hear me out.

I’ve often thought that many of their songs have a country-tinge to them. This, a live favourite from 1977’s Rockin’ All Over The World album (with a deliberate mis-spelling since they were the subject of my only ever take-down notice) is a case in point:

Go on, give it a go. You only have to listen to it once to see what I mean.

I await George’s comment with interest…

More soon.

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.

New Mood on Monday

Had you asked me to name an uplifting, motivating song, then up until last week, I would not have named this morning’s selection.

But last week, as I pushed my mini-trolley around my local supermarket, wondering whether or not to start stocking up in case of a No Deal Brexit, this came on my headphones, and I found myself coming over all unnecessary. I was so pumped up that as soon as I got home I had to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and a custard slice.

Perhaps next I’ll have to start a series about songs to listen to when I come over all Alan Bennett-y.

Until then, this:

That’s probably brought back a few memories for some of you.

More soon.

NB: Somewhere in the back of my mind is a niggling feeling that there’s a good reason why I shouldn’t post anything by Kirk Brandon (of Spear of Destiny). I can’t quite recall what it is, and I’ve not had chance to look into it. Feel free to enlighten me, folks.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

If I remember correctly, many moons ago, long-time reader George kindly sent me a few mp3s by this double act.

I can’t locate the email now, but I seem to recall him being rather disparaging about them, in a so-bad-they’re-good kinda way.

Well, this morning’s tune falls nicely into that “only in Country records” category we like to feature every now and again, so here’s Carl & Pearl Butler with a very sad song about how a guy learns that his girl is leaving him:

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

If ever there was a post which might polarise people, and which would see my readership figures dwindle, then it’s this one.

Yes, even more so than the one with a mix I posted recently which featured not just The Nolans, but also The Dooleys and Guys’n’Dolls. (I’ve listened to that again tonight, and bar a couple of skips caused by technical glitches when I was uploading it (not my mixing skills, honest!), I’m still pretty happy with it).

Anyway, once upon a time, over at the ever wonderous Charity Chic Music, there was a regular feature about whether a Dylan cover version was better than the original. I don’t think this one ever featured, but I could be wrong.

Now. Let me be clear: I am not saying I think this is better than the original Dylan version. It’s one of my favourite Dylan songs, so it’s unlikely I’d land on that conclusion.

What I would say is this: Mick Hucknall has a beautiful, soulful voice, and when he chooses to put it to good use – which is rare – the results are amazing. Sadly, when he wasn’t picking Martine McCutcheon’s vomit out of his horrid dreadlocks, he spent most of his time in Simply Red churning out bland soulless schlock.

Anyway: put aside your pre-conceived prejudices, and give this a listen. I think it’s rather great:

See? Fair play. The boy done good.

The only other time Mick Hucknall has brought me as much pleasure was in this, and he doesn’t even appear in this clip, as indeed he doesn’t in all the best clips involving Mick Hucknall:

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Yes, I know the titles implies this should be getting posted later today, but let me explain.

Today it’s Children in Need night in the UK, and that can mean only one thing: nothing to watch on TV, unless newsreaders performing poorly choreographed dance routines floats your boat.

It’s a worthy cause, don’t get me wrong, but once you’ve dipped your hand in your pocket, as I’m sure you undoubtedly will, there’s really no need to carry on watching.

Personally, I think they would make loads more money if, once you’d contributed, your TV programmes went back to the normal schedules. The whole thing could be over and done with in half an hour or so.

Anyway, I thought I’d help out with your evening entertainment after you’ve done your charitable duty, by giving you a top mix of tunes to while away a couple of hours. So here you go, just shy of 140 minutes of tunes to bop around your kitchen to and suffice it to say, it’s a real mixed bag, covering the contemporary to the antiquated, the oft-impersonated to the never-bettered, the cherished to the forgotten, the much loved to the…erm…not loved so much. You’ll see.

But – and I mean this most sincerely folks – I love every record included in this mix. Yes, even that one. And that one. And definitely that one. Yes! This mix includes (at least) three acts generally considered to be among the naffest of if not the late 1970s, then ever. But I’d invite you to give them a go with a fresh pair of ears: kitsch, maybe, but loosen up, you might find you quite like them too (NB: I would recommend having a few drinks to truly accomplish this turnaround in opinion. Also, there’s a fair bit of effin’ & jeffin’ on some of these, so if you have kids a) hard luck, and b) put them to bed before playing this, or you’ll have to explain to them exactly what Fiddy is getting up to in “da” club, or worse, just what is going on on the Cansei de Ser Sexy record).

And when I say “mix”, I don’t mean anything has been beat-matched, or scratched, or whatever the cool name for mixing is these days: we’re in purely fade-in/fade-out territory here.

(There are, of course, a couple of technical glitches, by the way. Sorry, but I didn’t have time to go back and re-record the whole mix to get rid of them. I would have done, had the mixing software I have not crashed when I was on the penultimate tune the first time around, forcing me to go back and start all over again. Hope they don’t spoil things – look on the positive side: they will, at the very least, give you that real club feeling as you spin round to face the DJ/your sound system and call him/it whatever rude name you plump for.)

Last time I did one of these, I put the songs on Spotify, only to find they didn’t have many of the songs anyway, so I’ve not renewed my free trial subscription with them (until next time they offer it to me); instead you should (if I’ve done it right…) be able to stream it via Soundcloud here, or you can just download or stream it from the Dubious Taste vaults here (as a WAV file), which should play just fine on iTunes or Windows Media Player.

To make it as close to a “going out” experience as you can, I’d recommend playing it from one of those two sources, rather than scrolling down here to see what I’ve included. You wouldn’t approach a DJ in a club and ask him what he intended to play for the next couple of hours, now would you? No.

But if you must, here you go, 34 songs, in the same running order as on the mix, and without any of my usual snarky comments. As with most of my mixes, its starts innocuously enough….

Enjoy!

Oh and one more thing, you can donate to Children in Need here. Do it quickly, before the dancing newsreaders come on.

Too late.

More soon.

New

Bit of a fib, that title, because today’s tune is by someone who has been around for years, and this single has been knocking around for a couple of months too.

It’s an artiste who I’ve never really “got”, but at the same time I’ve not invested much time in trying to “get” either. A cursory listen back in the early 2000s led me to decide he wasn’t really for me, although I did feel he might be a kindred spirit when he announced The Fifty States Project, where he intended to make an album for each American state. He gave up after two (Michigan and Illinois). Any other blogger out there who has dreamt up what they considered to be a brilliant idea for a series, but which subsequently peters out after you’ve posted the two songs you thought of at the same time as the idea, will also feel some empathy.

I’m talking about Sufjan Stevens of course, and this is from his current album The Ascension; I’ve not heard anything else from the record as yet, but this is most definitely not how I remember him sounding. This is much more electro-pop, and reminds me quite a lot of White Town’s 1997 smash Your Woman:

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

An absolute classic for you this morning, which has featured on these pages before, if not in this series, so I won’t go over old ground except to say it’s one of my favourite records ever, and to remind you the singer is a very young Alex Chilton, who went on to become influential via his next project, Big Star:

More soon