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 wold just but 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:

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 Slade – Mama Weer All Crazee Now

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

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(Don’t Be) Lonely This Christmas

Following on from my last post, whilst I’m safely ensconced in the bosom of my family at Christmas, I’m aware that I’m very fortunate in this respect.

I’ve known people who have lost loved ones at this time of year, and I can’t even begin to imagine how painful that must make the festive period. And there’s the ones that get left behind, with nobody to spend Christmas in the company of. (And I’m not just thinking of poor old June off Gogglebox after lovely Leon passed away yesterday here, although I am thinking of them quite a lot.) 

Not to mention those who, for no fault of their own, for whatever reason, find themselves parted from or unable to be with their family or friends.

Comedian Sarah Millican has been organising something quite lovely over the past few year on Twitter. I’ll let her explain:

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I wish I could think of a better song than this to play, but at least it’s (hopefully) a slightly different version than most of you will know:

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Lucky Soul – Lonely This Christmas

More soon.

(The (Brief) Return of) Friday Night Music Club

What, I hear you ask, has caused this sudden splurge of posts on a Friday?

Well, it’s like this.

Last night I went to the British Film Institute (cool kids call it the BFI, like it’s a Roald Dahl character) to see Adam Buxton perform a tenth anniversary of his Bug shows.

I’ve mentioned Adam here before, referencing and linking to his excellent podcasts, and I also went to see him perform at the start of the year, a gig which was one of the funniest nights out I’ve ever been to. To quote Blackadder: “I am glad I wore my corset, for I fear my sides have split.”

The Bug shows are a slightly different beast, and those who subscribe to the Murdoch channels may have caught the Bug shows getting an airing on there.

Here’s the deal: Adam plays some ground-breaking music videos, and says some funny stuff about them, the funny stuff often being about comments that have been left under the video clip on YouTube.

There’s more to it than that, and I’m doing Dr Buckles a grave disservice by describing it thusly, but in essence what you get at a Bug show is some incredible videos, some amazing songs, and a lot of “have I actually wet myself this time?” laughs.

Last night’s show was beset by technical issues, and whilst that may have caused others to flounce off in a huff, Adam simply sat, sorted them out every time they arose, and gave us an hilarious running commentary of what had gone wrong and what he was doing about it, as it all played out on the big screen in front of us. I don’t think there was one person in the audience who was annoyed by the tech problems, in fact quite the opposite: we all felt we were seeing an utterly unique show and watching Adam nonchalantly deal with it merely added to the love in the room for him.

Anyway, watching that gave me itchy fingers, and so here we are. And I figured I’d post the videos he showed last night, along with an mp3 of the tune, but without the jokes, because frankly I would not be able to do them justice.

Even if you don’t like the tunes, each of these videos is incredible in its own sweet way, some funny, more just mind-boggling, so I would heartily recommend you give them a look.

Here we go:

Battles – Atlas

Wiley feat. Daniel Merriweaher – Cash in My Pocket

Bonobo – Cirrus

And, by the same director (Cyriak):

Adam Buxton – Counting Song

I can’t actually embed the next one, and it needs some explanation, so here’s what it said on the hand-out we were given on attending last night’s performance:

“…a groundbreaking exercise in interactive music video making from 2010, that is arguably still the best example there is: created by Chris Milk, The Johnny Cash Project allows viewers to create/illustrate over frames of a guide video, and add them to the viewer. It not only continues to change but is effectively never the same thing twice.”

So, here’s the link to the song:

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Johnny Cash – Ain’t No Grave

And here’s the link to The Johnny Cash Project. Enjoy your unique, never to be repeated viewing.

Next up:

Radiohead – Weird Fishes/Arpeggi

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes

(NB – the mp3 there is a rip of the video, not the track)

M.I.A. – Bad Girls

Great as all the videos featured today are, I think this next one might actually deserve the term “genius” being applied to it:

Swede Mason – Masterchef Synesthesia

Roots Manuva – Witness (The Fitness)

The next one was made specifically for the Bug show, and feature the host in the leading role:

Guitar Wolf – Summertime Blues

Etienne de Crecy – No Brain

Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math

Is it wrong of me to want to add an ‘s’ to that title…?

And finally:

Grimes – Oblivion

Oh, and you can visit Adam’s website here and listen to his consistently brilliant podcasts here.

That’ll do you.

More soon.

You Can Count On Me

It occurred to me the other day, after gloating about having a Bank Holiday Monday off work, that that’s public holidays in England done until Christmas.

Our friends north of the border, of course, have one more to go on November 30th, and so I fully expect, and deserve, any ribbing they may wish to give me in return.

Which means the shops are doubtless already counting down the days until they can start putting the Christmas stock out; in fact I’ve seen a few people posting on Twitter that some have already started. In sodding September.

So, whilst I’m not counting down the days until Christmas as such, I am counting down the days until I can have a day off without it eating into my precious annual leave allowance.

Which gave me an idea for a new series: songs which involve counting, or numbers.

And where better to start than this, which could easily crop up on my Monday morning pick-me-up series:

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Sammy Davis, Jr. – You Can Count On Me

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s been a while since George Jones featured around these parts, so we’ll put that right this morning.

As the title of the album this is lifted from suggests, this is a Country standard which has been covered many times over the years. The best known version was cut by Guy Mitchell back in 1959, but was not the original, which was recorded by Ray Price slightly earlier than Mitchell’s version.

Since then, it’s been covered by the likes of Kitty Wells, Connie Francis, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, Rosanna Cash, Cyndi Lauper and Martina McBride to name just a few.

You can’t beat a bit of George Jones on a Sunday morning though, can you?

R-5154520-1455379905-9288_jpegGeorge Jones – Heartaches by the Numbers

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

I’ll make no bones about it. I find Monday mornings difficult.

I don’t really have a lie in on Saturday or Sunday anymore; there’s some weird clock that kicks in when you hit forty that prevents lie ins, so I’m generally up and about at the same time as I would be on a weekday.

Yet there’s something about having to drag my bloated carcass out of bed when it comes to starting a new week that I find difficult, to say the least.

And I can’t be the only one, surely?

So, for as long as I can manage to remember to write one of these of a Sunday evening, I thought I’d take a leaf out of the weekday breakfast show DJ’s book: play something upbeat to get the audience going.

And so here’s what I came up with first: a song about wanting to pack it all in rather than go to work.

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Piranhas – Zambezi

More soon.

“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #3

Boy, am I regretting giving this series such a long name.

Anyway, I had been planning on holding this one back for a couple of weeks to mark my brother’s 50th birthday at the end of July, but it seems about right to post it now.

The reason I associate this record with my brother has been documented on these pages before, but to summarise: in the 1980s, he went to stay with my Barb and Bill (hello, in the unlikely event that you still read this!), my aunt and uncle, who live over in the US of A.

Barb and Bill met when Bill, a USAAF man, was stationed in the UK, and when his tour was over, he went back to the states, and took Barb with him where they ran a blueberry farm. Chances are that if you’ve ever eaten blueberries (and if you haven’t, you should, they’re yummy), it was them what grew ’em.

My brother went over there one summer and worked on the farm, returning with a) longer hair than he’d ever had before, b) a denim jacket, a pair of cowboy boots and, if I remember correctly, a pair of red jeans, and c) a whole clutch of vinyl.

This must have been how those working in the docks in the 50s and 60s felt when visiting Americans brought over records you simply couldn’t buy in the UK, except instead of rare Soul and Motown records which would go on to be rare, vakuable Northern Soul tunes, my brother brought with him albums by The Go-Go’s, The Fixx, and today’s musical choice, amongst others.

This series is about unrequited love, and can there be any worse kind than that which you know can never happen, not because the other party isn’t interested, but because they’re already going out with your best friend?

Here’s a man in a vest to explain:

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Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl

Fans of Breaking Bad will know (spoiler alert!) there’s not much point in getting too attached to Jessie’s Girl, of course…

More soon.