New Mood on Monday

The keener eyed of you will have spotted a recent exchange in the Comments between a chap called Johnny and I.

Johnny is one of the loveliest blokes I’ve ever met. We worked together for a time, during my vacations from college and then for a year after I graduated and had nowhere else to go, in the kitchen of a Happy Eater restaurant on the A1, which connected London to Glasgow and passed by fairly close to the villages where we both lived. And yes, that fingers-down-the-throat logo up there really was the one officially selected to best symbolise the chain of eateries.

It was a shitty job, but Johnny and I had a lot of fun doing it, trying to make each other crack up as we cracked eggs, fried sausages and definitely never picked anything up off the floor and served it anyway. Nosireebob, not us.

Here’s how good mates we were:

  1. We went to see Sonic Youth together (support: Pavement and Huggy Bear, extra cool points there) at Brixton Academy, circa 1993
  2. We wrote an “alternative” company magazine together. There was an official version (The Happy Eater Hotline) which we thought was utterly dull and rubbish, as corporate circulars generally are, so produced The Happy Eater Hitline, where we slagged off and made stories up about our work colleagues. We left it, anonymously, in the staff room, and when the shit hit the fan (as it inevitably did, when someone complained about how they had been portrayed), it ended up with us being asked to write something similar to go out to the whole company. We declined: that was too corporate and very much not cool.
  3. Johnny was a keen photographer, and got me my first (and only) ever album review published in a fanzine he took snaps for;
  4. We made compilation tapes for each other.

Has friendship ever had such a symbolic gesture as a mixtape?

I still have the mixtape Johnny did for me (somewhere); the front cover is a photo Johnny took of Dave, our deputy manager at the Happy Eater (now deceased, as you may have picked up from the Comments exchange) who we loved as he would let us sit in the manager’s office (adjacent to the kitchen) and chat and smoke whilst we were supposed to be working. When I find the tape, there’s a series just waiting to be written.

As I recall, the tape was full of tunes by Johnny’s loves: Senseless Things, Jacob’s Mouse (see also: Comments), Pearl Jam/Soundgarden ‘supergroup’ Temple of the Dog, and this, which I had never heard before but, if you were unhappy about last Monday’s selection, then this should snap you right out of any ongoing malaise:

Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod

You’re awake now, aren’t you?

Happy Monday. More soon.

New Mood on Monday

Bear with me.

If you’re “of a certain age”, and/or have seen the film Brassed Off, you’ll get why this is a great record to start your week.

(And if you haven’t ever seen Brassed Off, what are you doing here? Go and rectify this immediately.)

I’ve been meaning to post this for ages, because to me it’s a properly rousing Monday morning song:

Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band – The Floral Dance

Count yourself lucky that I didn’t post Terry Wogan’s version.

Terry Wogan – The Floral Dance

Ooops!

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

As regular readers will know, I love a good cover version.

Up the stakes: Give me a good cover version of a great 70s sitcom written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and I’m practically immobile with joy.

It turns out Snuff can help me – and you – out this morning.

See, it turns out they have not just released their seminal Flibbiddydibbiddydob, with its thrash versions of TV adverts (Bran Flakes, Shake’n’Vac): they’ve also released the similarly daft-titled Potatoes And Melons At Wholesale Prices Straight From the Lock Up which has this on it. If you listen closely to the backing vocals, there appears to be an inadvertent (I assume) celebration of The Chuckle Brothers thrown in for good measure:

Snuff – Theme From Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?

You’re awake now, right?

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

I haven’t posted one of these for a couple of weeks, for the very simple reason that I couldn’t think of anything suitable to post.

And then this came on my iTunes shuffle, and it struck me that whilst it isn’t exactly in the rousing “up-and-at-’em” category that usually features here, it does offer a much-needed ray of optimism at the start of another working week:

The Charlatans – Try Again Today

Have a great week.

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

This morning’s pick-me-up choice is an absolute no-brainer, because after a pretty tough couple of weeks at work, I was listening to some tunes over the weekend when this came on, and I immediately felt better, happier, kind of warm and fuzzier inside.

Which I’d like to think is exactly what Best Coast intended when they wrote this little beauty:

Best Coast – The Only Place

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

The other week, I posted a pretty ruddy great tune by Midlake which prompted old chum The Swede to get in touch by way of the Comments, asking if I was aware of a remix of a different Midlake song (Roscoe), remixed by Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve.

I wasn’t, I am now (he’s right, it’s amazing) but it led me to dig out the records I do own by Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve.

And which leads me to post this for your Monday morning dose of positive records:

Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve – Don’t Cry Girl

For those not in the know, Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve is long-time favourite of these pages Erol Alkan, along with Richard Norris (of The Grid fame).

As you would expect from that pedigree, this is ace. Listen and love.

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

After a quiet weekend (I wish I had a good reason for not posting anything, other than I couldn’t be bothered…if I was going to try and spin it, I’d say I wasn’t going to post just for the sake of posting something, but since that’s approximately 95.7% of my posts, I figure you’d see through that) here’s one of the most wonderfully happy Indie songs of the past *checks notes* 30 years, which I’m pretty sure I’ve posted in this thread before, but what the heck.

And yes, you did read that right. The past 30 years. This came out in 1994 and I suddenly feel extremely old indeed.

Weezer – Buddy Holly

And if that isn’t enough to perk you up on a Monday morning, here’s the Spoke Jonze directed video for the single:

For those of you who recognise the setting of that video, and remember with fondness the sitcom Happy Days, which ran for ten years, bear in mind those ten years were between 1974 and 1984, meaning that, repeats apart, it finished 38 years ago.

This has very much been a give-with-one-hand-but-take-away-with-the-other kind of post, hasn’t it?

OK, so because that’s my Monday morning posts are supposed to be upbeat and put you in a good frame of mind for the rest of the week, I’ll try to end on a positive note with some Happy Days facts.

In terms of popular culture, Happy Days is really quite significant, for the following reasons:

  • It gave us the phrase “jumping the shark”, an idiom coined in 1985 by Jon Hein in response to a 1977 episode from the fifth season of Happy Days, in which Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. The phrase is used to argue that a creative outlet or work appears to be making a misguided attempt at generating new attention or publicity for something that is perceived once to have been widely popular, but is no longer.

Ok, that’s not exactly cheering things up, so how about this:

  • It gave us one of the most celebrated film directors of modern times in Ron Howard aka Richie Cunningham. Just look at the films he’s made:

Splash, Willow, Parenthood, Backdraft, Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code, Rush, Solo: A Star Wars Story to name but a few. Chances are you’ve seen a Ron Howard film and you’ve enjoyed it

  • It gave us the Fonz, a character who became the benchmark for being cool, so much so that he gets a name check in exactly this concept in Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction:
  • It also gave us the much-missed Robin Williams, whose break-through character part Mork first appeared in an episode of Happy Days. I don’t need to list all of the brilliant films he was in to prove my point, do I…..?

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

When writing and scheduling this post on Friday, I accidentally set it to be published at 7pm rather than 7am today. Doh! Still, better late than never. Maybe…

With the clock’s having gone forwards by an hour here in the UK at the weekend, I thought I’d post something relentlessly sunny and upbeat….although I suspect this may divide opinion somewhat…

Dario G – Sunchyme

Of course, playing that inevitably leads some spod somewhere to sidle up to you and say: “Of course, you know where that sample’s from, don’t you….?”

Well, yes. We all do. It’s from this, which is considerably less cheery (but still quite rousing in its own way), and which I’ll post just to save anyone from either trying to tell me, or moaning about me posting Dario “Bloody” G, as I’m sure he will become known:

The Dream Academy – Life In A Northern Town

More soon. (Possibly even at the right time….)

New Mood on Monday

This morning, a song which really needs no introduction, and is almost guaranteed to put you in a good mood to start the week.

Or to be immensely irritated, one of the two:

Mahna Mahna & The Two Snowths – Mahna Mahna

And just in case you’re now pining to watch that being performed on The Muppet Show, complete with Statler & Waldorf’s obligatory heckle at the end:

You’re welcome.

More soon.

New Mood on Monday

The letting agents that I rent my house through are due to inspect it for the first time since I moved in on Tuesday, so I spent the weekend preparing for this in the way that I do best: by finding other things to do rather than tidy up.

This inevitably involved suddenly deciding that there was something I really wanted to watch on TV, after which I’d get down to the manual tasks I had to complete in advance of the visit.

One such thing I watched was The Adam Project, the new Ryan Reynolds film available on Netflix.

I’m not a big fan of the whole Marvel/DC superhero world currently dominating the movie world, with the exception of the Reynolds-starring Deadpool films, both of which are very funny.

The Adam Project is no Deadpool, but it had its’ moments.

A recurring phrase in this time-travel action/comedy caper is “It’s later than you think”; although it didn’t actually feature in the film, the phrase of course brought this morning’s tune to mind, which although I normally associate it with the approaching end of a night out, suddenly seemed perfect for today’s pick-me-up song, which should not be construed as a suggestion you should call in sick today:

The Specials – Enjoy Yourself

More soon.