Friday Night Music Club

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write a series here called Friday Night Music Club.

Here is what I wrote way back in March 2015 to explain:

Friends of mine will tell you I love a themed mix tape or CD.

In my old flat, we used to have what we (ok, I) liked to call The Friday Night Music Club. This would involve us a) getting very drunk b) me shaving my head at some point c) listening to the latest CD mix I’d made (later, when I bought a sound system that allowed me to just plug my iPod in (other mp3 playing devices are available) these mixes got waaaay longer, and probably waaaaay more tedious for the listener) and d) ideally having a bit of a dance.

I’ve done mix tapes and CDs for friends and family all my life (but you already knew that, right?) but the idea here was to make a series of mix CDs which, when played in sequence, you could play at a house party and which would keep the night bubbling along nicely.

Actually, this is something I’d already tried a few years earlier. Friends of mine used to have the most excellent parties at their flat on Hilldrop Road, usually with a DJ playing, but on one occasion the DJ – and for that matter, their decks – couldn’t make it. In their absence I prepared a set of 11 CDs – about 15 hours – which, when played in sequence, took you from aperitifs and welcomers, to “go on have a bit of a dance”, through to off your nut party anthems, and then back down to sitting round talking nonsense about radishes until 6am.

Anyway, back to the Friday Night Music Club. Occasionally I’d make a theme out of the whole thing (hey, if Bob Dylan can do a radio show using the same format, I can do a mix CD, okay?) or do more than one CD and spread the theme out (there was once a 4 CD opus to a former flat mate which deserves a mention in passing) but more often than not the theme would occur to me in the middle of preparing it, and that’d be it…I’d be off….

As an aside, I appear to have missed some fairly significant landmarks in the history of this place: my first ever post was in September 2013, and if you think my posts are sporadic now, bear in mind that my second post didn’t happen until a year later in 2014. Whatever, a belated 5th anniversary to me!

Anyway, it was when I became rather fixated on the theme rather than with just posting some songs which sound good when played together that I knocked the Friday Night Music Club series on the head.

Since there are now more of us are spending our Friday Nights at home, many of us getting drunk, I figured I would bring the series back for at least a one-off for you to use as your sountrack to your Zoom/Houseparty chats. There might be more, I’ve not decided yet.

Also, this, right here what you’re reading now, is my 1500th post, so I’d like to mark at least one of my landmark posts in a timely manner.

Ahem.

That’s better.

I figured we’d go back to where it all began, to the first few episodes of Friday Night Music Club, but now with fewer attempts to be clever/funny and just more songs to rock your end of the working (from home) week/kids are in bed celebrations.

Actually, I’d hoped to bring this to you last weekend, in time for the Bank Holiday, but time simply caught up with me, the bastard.

The initial intention was simply to repost those early “mixes”, with a few new songs thrown in here and there (and some brutally culled). But as I was working on it, it metemporphasised into something different, perhaps better described as a completely new mix of tunes, very loosely hung on the framework of the old ones, in an effort to reinvigorate them, poncey as that may sound.

If you’d prefer to just listen to this on Spotify, you can do here:

Friday Night Music Club Vol. 1

…although a word of warning: Spotify doesn’t have all of the songs in the playlist, so the only real way to enjoy this in it’s full…erm…glory is by ploughing through the links below.

Oh, and a second word of warning: there’s a fair bit of effin’ and jeffin’ on some of these, so perhaps not for those with young ears.

Hopefully, there will be something for everyone in here (there’s seventy tunes in just over five hours, so I bloody hope so!), so push back the sofa, get yourself a pint of White Russian (or whatever your weapon of choice is), dim the lights and turn up the volume. Let there be grooves. Let there be guitars. Let there be cheese. Let there be some surprises, some forgotten tunes and some old favourites. Let there be singing. Let there be dancing.

Tell you what: I’ll play a song or two by way of a little intro whilst you’re getting yourself sorted:

Patience & Prudence – Tonight You Belong To Me

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking

Richard Hawley – Tonight The Streets Are Ours

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Night

Lykke Li – Get Some

Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots (Groove Armada Go North Remix)

Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper

Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug

Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

Jackson Sisters – Miracles

Chic – Good Times (Full-Length Version)

Double Trouble & Rebel MC – Street Tuff (Scar Radio Mix)

Adventures Of Stevie V – Dirty Cash (Sold Out Mix Edit)

Skee-Lo – I Wish

De La Soul – Me, Myself and I

N.W.A. – Express Yourself

Public Enemy – Fight The Power

Clinton – People Power In The Disco Hour

Shed 7 – Disco Down

Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

Cee Lo Green – Fuck You!

Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off

Britney Spears – Toxic (Armand Van Helden Remix)

Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Ooooh

Icona Pop – I Love It [featuring Charli XCX]

Armand Van Helden – Koochy

Spandau Ballet – To Cut A Long Story Short

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Enola Gay

Human League – Fascination

Archie Bronson Outfit – Dart For My Sweetheart

Stellastarr* – My Coco

Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To

Gang of Four – I Found That Essence Rare

The Fall – Dead Beat Descendant

Maxïmo Park – Our Velocity

Sports Team – Here’s The Thing

Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic

Elastica – Stutter

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Spread Your Love

Sum 41 – In Too Deep

Good Charlotte – Girls & Boys

My Chemical Romance – Teenagers

Ramones – Beat on the Brat

Iggy Pop – The Passenger

Talking Heads – Girlfriend Is Better

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

The Sisters of Mercy – This Corrosion

The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

Interpol – Mammoth (Erol Alkan Rework)

A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray (Original Mix)

Mory Kant̩ РYeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix)

Underworld – Cowgirl (Bedrock Mix)

Josh Wink – Higher State of Consciousness (Dex & Jonesey’s Higher Stated Mix)

The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

Flowered Up – Weekender

Happy Mondays – W.F.L. [Think About the Future]

The Charlatans – The Only One I Know

Inspiral Carpets – Find Out Why

The Doors – Touch Me

divinyls – I Touch Myself

Yazoo – Don’t Go

New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill

Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar (Way Out West Remix Edit)

LCD Soundsytem – All My Friends

Indeep – Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Primal Scream – Come Together (Terry Farley Remix)

The Bluetones – If…

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Prompted by a tweet from Swiss Adam (auteur of all things Bagging Area-esque) on Friday, this, which is just gorgeous.

Follow Stipe’s lead vocal if you like – and why would you not want to, for it croaks and soars in equal measure – but the key to how beautifully brilliant this record is, I think, Berry and Mills’ sturdy, faithful backing vocals, which weave and wrap around Stipe’s lead like nothing I’ve heard before or since:

R.E.M. – [Untitled Hidden Track]

More soon.

Happy New Year (Part 1)

I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve more than I loved Christmas.

For me, the two events are very different beasts: Christmas is a time for family, New Year is a time for friends.

Over the past few years, going out on New Year’s Eve has happened less and less frequently, to the point where I know that tonight I will be home alone, having a wee drink or seven, and trying to avoid watching the bloody Hootenanny (which I’m sure is very entertaining, but – recorded in October – it’s the last bastion for lonely folks as the year ends, not something I care to admit to: I’m alone but not lonely, thanks very much).

I’m perfectly happy with this, by the way. I’m in my 50s now, but for much of my 40s I really couldn’t be arsed with going out on New Year’s Eve anymore anyway: it’s too expensive, you have to wait an age to get served at the bar, and generally there’s nowhere to sit (fellow over 40s will appreciate this more than anything else), all the good seats having been snaffled up hours ago by those annoyingly young people and their seemingly unlimited disposable income.

Since I moved to That London just over eleven years ago now, my NYE nights have been predominantly spent alone – one night out in Camden in my ‘Freshers’ year (really enjoyable, but bloody rammed), a couple of nights at friend’s house parties, a house party that Hel and I threw which I wrote about here and indeed here (which, Hel tells me, was ten years ago tonight, which it must be, as Hel is wrong even less frequently than me, if such a thing is possible).

Being at home alone on New Year’s Eve means there’s no peer pressure: I can go to bed whenever I want, drink as much or as little (yeah, right) as I want, and I don’t have to pretend to be impressed or excited by fireworks. Tonight, for example, I will be continuing to unpack following my recent decanting from my flat. (Yes, I have been back almost a month. No, I haven’t finished yet. I’ve had a bad back. And a cold. Not forgetting I am, essentially, a lazy sod.)

What I’m trying to say is that I quite like being at home on New Year’s Eve, and if you are too, then welcome. You’re really not alone.

Of course things were different when I was younger, and I would often be met with bemused looks from friends when I announced that I preferred going out on New Year’s Eve to going out at Christmas.

There’s a few reasons for that; firstly, New Year’s Eve is unburdened by any religious connotations. Secondly, many will have been lounging arojnd at home for a few days, and will emerge, batteries recharged, and frankly desperate to get away from their families. And thirdly, back then there was the promise of a midnight snog.

The occasions where I didn’t get lucky far outweighed those when I did, of course.

I hope this doesn’t come across as creepy or spark a #MeToo movement against my blog, for I was (I hope) always a perfect gentleman – but this song pretty much sums things up:

LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls

More (very) soon.

It’s Chriiiiistmas!!!

There aren’t many Christmas tunes about getting a train back to your family, so, since that is my preferred method of transport today (with a replacement bus or two tossed in for good measure) I’ll have to make do with this, glorious and kitsch as one would expect:

Saint Etienne – Driving Home for Christmas

I’m not sure that Lady Cracknell has ever sounded so warm and seductive as she does there.

Ahem. Best have a quick cold shower before I head off.

More soon.

Being Around

I went to a gig on Tuesday.

First one since I came out of hospital. Yey! Go me! Look, here’s a photo I took to prove it:

evan 5

Knowing that I had missed out on all of the gigs I mentioned here, my lovely work colleagues chipped together (coerced/encouraged no doubt by Kay) and bought me a load of credits on Ticketmaster so I could buy some new tickets to new gigs.

The Lemonheads strolled into London town on Tuesday, playing at the Kentish Town 02 Forum, a band I’ve loved for many a year, so I decided the time was right to go gigging again.

But when I tried to buy a single, solitary ticket, I wasn’t able to. I had to buy two.

Putting aside for a moment the obviously scamming nature of this transaction, suddenly, I found myself with two tickets and with nobody to go with.

And then, I remembered.

Many years ago, before LlÅ·r got ill (I think – but certainly when we both shared a place in Cardiff) we had bought tickets to see them perform their wonderful It’s a Shame About Ray album at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We were supposed to be accompanied by a chap I worked with, and had been to a few gigs with, but he had to drop out at the last minute.

“Take my ticket, see if you can get anything for it, but if not, no worries,” he said.

We were crashing at Hel’s flat post-gig, so it only seemed right and fair we offered the spare ticket to her first, free of charge. But she declined on the grounds that she didn’t know enough of their songs. Fair enough. It’s not like we thought she’d been a member of The Lemonheads fan club or anything.

By the time we got home post-gig, Hel had realised the error of her ways, and told us she wished she’d come with us.

Well, now’s your chance to make up for that, I thought, and gave her a ring to see if she wanted to come with me.

For LlÅ·r’s post-memorial service reception, Hel and Sian had compiled a couple of LlÅ·r-related playlists (more of this later), and Hel told me that she’d loved to come to the gig, as she’d included two songs by The Lemonheads on the playlists. I needed warning, in case she got a bit upset if they played them.

These are the two songs in question:

Lemon Arms

The Lemonheads – Into Your Arms

and this:

lemonheads confetti

The Lemonheads – Confetti

Yeh, chances are they’ll play those, I thought.

I had one in mind too. Every time I had ever been to see The Lemonheads, or Evan Dando on his own, with LlÅ·r, he had insisted on calling our friend Mikey G when this particular song came on, because he knew it was his favourite:

LEMONHEADS_ADMAT BASIC

The Lemonheads – Rudderless

Hel and I went for some food before the gig, and we agreed we would look out for each other when/if any of those songs got played. Neither of us wanted to be a blubbing mess, but we both knew it was a possibility.

And then, a curve ball. Hel told me that when she went into LlÅ·r’s room at her parents’ house, the CD on the top of the pile, and therefore probably the last thing he was able to listen to, was a Lemonheads one. Consequently, she had listened to little else since.

And then I’d called, asking if she wanted to go see The Lemonheads.

Life and death are weird, I think we can all agree.

The support band on Tuesday (no idea what they were called, sorry) were very sixth form revolutionary – though we quite liked their last song – and then suddenly Evan was on stage, clutching his acoustic guitar and singing this:

Mrs. Robinson Front

The Lemonheads – Being Around

Quickly followed by a rendition of Frank Mills and then we’re in, singing along and totally enraptured by Dando and his loveable slacker persona.

Dando loves a cover version, to the point where any gig you go to of his is bound to include more than a smattering; indeed his latest album is a second collection of the such. On the night, he plays some which feature on the new record (John Prine’s Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness) some which don’t but he treats us to anyway, namely Townes Van Zandt’s I’ll Be There in the Morning (I’m delighted at this point that both have previously appeared on this blog and I can show off that I know them) and this, which the crowd (including me) loves, even if it is an Eagles cover:

FIRELP506 The Groundhogs - Blues Obituary OUTER SLEEVE

The Lemonheads – Take It Easy

There’s even truncated versions of Teenage Fanclub’s It’s All in My Mind and (I think) John Lennon’s Oh Yoko, which neatly segues into this:

lemon outdoor

The Lemonheads – The Outdoor Type

Which contains one of my favourite lyrics ever:

“I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend

Oh, and they did their wonderful cover version of this:

Favorite Spanish Dishes Front

The Lemonheads – Different Drum

And then…and then they played Into Your Arms quickly followed by Rudderless.

We got through them both. Just about.

I didn’t call Mikey G.

We didn’t cry.

We smiled.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Regular readers of this series will have noticed that generally, with a few noticeable exceptions, my taste in Country music leans towards the older, more tradtiional style.

I’m mostly not all that fussed by the New Country acts, but it wasn’t until I heard this song that I realised why.

Evan Dando covered it when I saw him play an acoustic gig in Islington’s Union Chapel – possibly my favourite music venue in London for small, intimate, gigs – a few years ago, and as soon as I got home I had to find out what it was and who did the original.

Turns out, it was one of them there YouTube sensations we read all about, usually pranking pricks intent on cementing their heads into microwave ovens.

But on this occasion, it was a fifteen year old girl, who sounds not dissimilar to Alison Krauss or Emmylou Harris:

melody (2)

Melody Williamson – There’s No Country Here

More soon.

I’m Not Interested in Anything

It’s a big weekend in the UK.

Firstly, it’s the FA Cup Final, Manchester United v Chelsea.

alan gif

Yawn. I won’t be watching.

And yes, I am bitter, before you ask.

I was at Wembley with my old mate Richie last weekend for Tottenham’s last “home” game of the season, against former Champions Leicester. It was a quiet, uneventful game:

Final Score

We have contacts at the club (hello, and thank you Ray!) so at half time we were ushered into the Members and Sponsors Reception Room; a room which punters pay a lot of money to be in at the same time as some ex-players. I needed to go to the Gents, and found myself stood at the urinal between Pat Jennings and Ricky Villa. I’m still not sure if I actually “went” or not – certainly there was stage-fright on my part (but probably not theirs). I suspect that I just nerd-perspired all of the excess liquid that needed to be expunged from my body.

After the match Richie and I were allowed back into the same Reception Room, for Man of the Match and various sponsor presentations. We – having been told it was perfectly okay to do so – spent a happy couple of hours getting photos of us with Spurs legends. As a result, I now have some photos I’ll cherish to the grave: me (and Richie) with Robbie Keane, Pat Jennings, Gary Mabbutt (he’s diabetic, you know) and Ricky Villa, who,  when we were posing for the photo, I must have told about eight times  that he’s the reason I support Spurs (or, more specifically, because of that goal in the 1981 FA Cup Replay against some up and coming whipper-snappers called Manchester City).

What do you mean, what goal? This one:

Anyway, there were a few other ex-players (legends, if you will) that we didn’t approach for photos (Graham Roberts, Micky Hazard, Alan Mullary, Cliff Jones), one that Richie got a selfie with that I was totally gutted on missing out on (Dimitar Berbatov, who looked cool as flip), one who was at the stadium but didn’t come into the reception area we were in or we would have (Gazza, obviously), and the one who got away, the one that we both really wanted a photo of/with, who we asked and who said he’d be back in a moment, but didn’t: Ossie Ardiles. Maybe next time.

I can guarantee you that the FA Cup Final today will have nowhere near as many goals as we saw last weekend. My prediction – with apologies to London Lee if he’s reading this – is 2-1 to United.

I should stress at this point that I have never correctly predicted a score and if you decide to place a bet based on that last statement that’s entirely up to you. Nowt to do with me, guv.

Here’s a record that sums up how I feel about the game today:

R-475531-1119118431_jpg

Transvision Vamp – Baby I Don’t Care

The other big event of the weekend here in the UK is the trifling matter of a Royal Wedding.

You’ll probably have guessed from previous posts that I’m no fan of the Royals (the family, not the cigarette brand):

2edn

Lorde – Royals

It’s another major event that I won’t be watching.

Throughout the week, the media has been obsessed with whether or not Meghan Markle’s father would be at the wedding and whether he would escort her down the aisle and give her away.

Dropping my feminist dungarees and putting aside my thoughts on what “giving the bride away” says about the patriarchal society we live in and the concept of ownership of women within it, with the news that her father will not be in attendance, I made the following observation at work earlier today:

It seems perfectly fair that Meghan’s father isn’t there. After all, Harry’s father hasn’t been invited either.

harry-hewitt-charl_3149599b

I think I upset somebody at work with this throwaway quip, for I was informed that a) somebody on Diana’s side of the family has red hair (I’m not sure how that adds anything to the discussion), and b) these days Harry has developed many of the same gestures and mannerisms of Charles, so he must be his son. I decided to let this slide, rather than point out that by that logic Mike Yarwood is his son too.

A tune, I think:

1995Elastica600-1

Elastica – Never Here

I’m sort of DJ’ing (I’ll explain the “sort of” later, if I can be bothered) at a friend’s 40th birthday tonight, so that’ll do for now.

More soon.

All Crazee Now

There may be fewer than usual posts here over the weekend, as for the second time in a month I’m off up to visit my parents.

There’s a family get together happening this weekend, as two of my aunts, and one of my cousins all have their birthdays at this time of the year.

As does my Mum, whose birthday it was yesterday. And what better present for her than a visit from her favourite youngest son?

I was reminded of today’s song over Christmas; I stayed with them from the Friday before until the Wednesday afterwards, and we were joined by my brother on Boxing Day. Usually, as I’ve mentioned before, these family reunions tend to remain around the dining room table, as we sit drinking, playing board or card games, listening to music and trying to make each other laugh until the wee small hours. Mum is always first to go to bed, Dad generally lasts a little longer, my brother and I usually carry on until we notice the sun’s coming up and we should try and get some sleep.

And that was the plan for Boxing Day; indeed we’d even stocked up. He and I had agreed we would just buy each other a bottle of Jack Daniels each, so that we knew we were not going to run out, but we hadn’t taken into account that one of our aunts would also buy us a bottle, and another, who recalled us over-indulging in it a few years ago, bought us a bottle of Jägermeister. In preparation, I placed it in the freezer, and popped to the shops to stock up on Red Bull.

But, as we all know, the best laid plans of mice and men…..something something something.

Shortly after he arrived, my brother asked me how I had managed to occupy myself for the past few days, and I answered honestly:

“There’s been a lot of snoozing on the settee in front of the TV,” I confided.

Later that evening, after we had finished eating, my brother mentioned that a quick snooze seemed like a rather good idea. And that was how the day ended, with us all asleep in front of the TV (until Match of the Day came on, and everyone else went to bed, disinterested).

So I post this song ironically, whilst also knowing that even though I’m posting it in conjunction with her birthday, my Mum will have absolutely no idea who they are:

slade-mama_weer_all_crazee_now_s

 Slade – Mama Weer All Crazee Now

Still plenty of booze left for next time we all hook up.

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