It struck me recently that my ongoing malaise may be due to the fact that I hadn’t been seeking out upbeat tunes to kick off the week for a good while now. A Catch-22 situation if you will, where I was feeling apathetic because I wasn’t on the lookout for such songs, and I wasn’t on the lookout for such songs because I was feeling apathetic. Or is that the same thing? I dunno.
Anyway, to try and rectify things, here’s one of my favourite records, which reached the giddy heights of #11 in the UK charts back in 1987. Generally considered to be a one hit wonder, it isn’t: there was a follow-up – Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo – which scraped into the charts at #37. Three albums got released, but other than those two singles, the band’s success can only really be measured in terms of two of their songs being used on the soundtracks of Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Point Break.
Here’s their biggest hit though, a record that still transports me back to my sixth form days whenever I hear it:
Westworld – Sonic Boom Boy
It’s still a belter, right?
I’ve not written one of these for a few weeks, chiefly because I’ve been in such an apathetic fug it seemed hypocritical to post tunes of a Monday morning specifically selected to raise one out of the pit of despair that is the working week unrolling out in front of us.
But maybe this is what’s needed: a strutting 1970s era Rolling Stones-esque version of an old Otis Redding classic, chosen for you this morning to shake ya bootie to:
As you may have gathered by the lack of posts recently, I’ve been struggling for a while with the general apathy I usually feel around this time of year.
I mentioned recently that I’d not been feeling myself (stop sniggering at the back!) for a while, and after I’d been off work for a week, my GP signed me off for a further week, prescribed me Amoxillin (for a chest infection) and instructed me to have a Covid test (which came back as negative).
For a good few weeks though, I’ve just felt lethargic and apathetic, I can’t be bothered with doing anything, including writing stuff here. The two weeks I was off work, I spent most of the time in bed sleeping or snoozing in front of the television. A colleague pointed out to me that these are classic symptoms of depression.
And he’s right, but I don’t think that’s where I am. I’ve written before about how I have experienced and suffered bouts of depression, but how I feel now doesn’t feel as I did then. Not that there’s a uniform pattern for such things, of course.
But what I can do is to get back to normal, and try to raise everyone’s spirits – including my own – by posting a relentlessly cheery song of a Monday morning which will make you smile no matter how down you or I might feel.
And there’s no better feel-good record than Shonen Knife covering The Carpenters, from the wonderful If I Were A Carpenter tribute album:
See? Happier already.
I mentioned yesterday that I had caught the last few minutes of a Marc Bolan/T. Rex documentary which I planned to find time to watch in its entirety.
I’ve not managed that yet, but those few moments I did see imparted a bit of trivia which I really can’t believe I didn’t already know.
Bolan was in a relationship with, and had a child with, Gloria Jones, who I also knew was a singer. I honestly had no idea, and doubtless this is common knowledge, that it was the very same Gloria Jones as had given us this, one of the most famous slices of what would become known as Northern Soul:
Not exactly the most cheerful lyrical content, I grant you, by it’s one hell of a great record. I know that much!
Some records which cheer you up are just dumb.
You knew they were dumb when you first heard it, and nothing in the thirty (ouch!) years since it got released has changed your mind about it.
But give me this over the song the bassline is sampled from any day of the week.
Especially on a Monday morning.
Dumb, but fun.
It’s next week again.
And so to get your week off to a cheery start, here’s something which relentlessly upbeat but at the same time impossible not to like:
I had thought that the type of Polaroid camera famously referenced in the song was now, in the age of digital photography, where everyone has a camera on there phone, obsolete. But I was surprised to learn when researching this (Yes! Research! For this!) that they are still widely available on the market, and not just as second-hand, nostalgic collector’s items on ebay.
For those of you unfamiliar with them, this is what they look like:
Nice and pocket-sized, right?
Anyone who was around in the late-70s/early 80s will remember them. The idea was that, rather than have to dash off to Snappy Snaps to get your photos developed, this camera would print them off as and when you took them.
When it emerged from the camera, the photo would be blank, but after a few moments the photo appeared. Users often would shake the photos as they developed, in an effort to speed the process up.
However, in the wake of Hey Ya! Polaroid released an official statement:
“[The image] never touches air, so shaking or waving has no effect. In fact, shaking or waving can actually damage the image. Rapid movement during development can cause portions of the film to separate prematurely, or can cause ‘blobs’ in the picture.”
It’s next week again.
Here’s a song which I typically associate with sunnier times, but the bassline should be sufficient to bounce you out of bed, if played loud enough:
It is Monday, isn’t it?
Phew. Good. I haven’t completely lost the plot then.
And not only is it Monday, it’s the first Monday of the year. And for many of us, the first day back at work if not since before Christmas, then before New Year’s Day.
So the day calls for a truly uplifting tune, guaranteed to put you in a good mood as you stumble from your bed to greet the day:
Never before has the task of choosing a tune to lift the mood of my regular, and the not so regular readers, been so difficult, after a weekend which has brought us the news that a) London and a large chunk of the South East of England has been moved into the new, specifically introduced, Tier 4, b) that 5 day Christmas bubble we all had, has been pricked down to a 1 day Christmas bubble, and c) there’s a new bigger, badder and uglier mutant strain of coronavirus in town. More of this, undoubtedly, later in the week.
Anyway. I think I’ve found it. A song to make us forget all our woes. A song which, despite whatever it’s message might be (and I’m not convinced it’s a terribly pure message), just sounds so relentlessly upbeat, I’m calling it:
So, I know what you want, expect, demand from this series: a song which sets you up for the forthcoming week, puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
This, I think, fulfils all of those requirements:
Now go kill this week, we’re almost on the home straight.