Late Night Stargazing

Tonight, one of my favourite records ever.

If I were the type who did karaoke, which I’m not, then this would probably be my song. Lord knows I’ve irritated several neighbours and even more flatmates by drunkenly bellowing along to it at 4am enough times.

ABC – All of My Heart

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

On Tuesday, at work, we had a department conference, followed by a ‘Christmas’ meal (it was in a local Turkish restaurant, so whilst delicious, it wasn’t especially Christmassy) and then a few of us went for a pint afterwards.

At some point during the day, someone said something which caused a penny to drop: shit! It’s Christmas next week!!

Somehow, as I’ve got older, I’ve become a bit more organised. Christmas is always spent at my parents, so all I have to do is turn up with presents, and maybe some booze. The presents aspect I had locked down months ago, so I genuinely hadn’t realised how close the day was.

And so my first thought was not about what I needed to buy, but rather this: bloody hell, I haven’t posted any Christmas songs yet!

And, strictly speaking, that isn’t going to change now, because this isn’t really a Christmas song, but it does always make me feel kinda Christmassy, in a good-will-to-all-men kinda way:

Freiheit – Keeping the Dream Alive

Mullets and other bad 80s hair-do’s: now that‘s what I call Christmassy.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Many years ago, Danny Baker had a late night chat show on BBC1. Y’know, back on one of the days they decided that they liked him.

There was one edition that I’ll always remember, but sadly can find no evidence of.

One of the guests was Jimmy Tarbuck. Another was Shane MacGowan.

MacGowan, at the peak of his drinking years – which I appreciate doesn’t narrow it down much – turned up so slurry and inebriated, you could hear members of the audience gasp, laugh, in incredulity, thinking this was some kind of comedy character, a spoof.

And Tarbuck stepped in, chastising the audience, telling them to be respectful for they were in the presence of genius.

And they were, because MacGowan wrote things like this:

The Pogues – Lullaby of London

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

5 things:

1: Whilst I’ve been away, and so so bored, I’ve listened to a lot of music.

2: I love Radiohead, but I have to admit I lost faith/track post Hail to the Thief. Which means that their Amnesiac album somehow managed to pass me by.

3: Every now and then in this slot, which traditionally features quieter, more introspective tunes, I like to throw something in which is, to egotistically quote myself from a previous post, a “glorious cacophany of noise”.

Radiohead – Cuttooth

4. And then I remembered why I love them so much.

5. More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Another repeat posting tonight – this is what was going to appear last week until I had a change of heart.

Oh, the ignomy of being bumped in favour or Embrace….

In fact I’ve posted this song more than once before, but boy oh boy is this a song which deserves a revisit.

Back in the early to mid 2000s, when Llŷr and I shared the flat of filth, we used to buy The Guardian every Saturday, not because of any political leanings (although we pretty much agreed on that too), but because of The Guide, a little booklet which came with the paper, and provided an overview of the week’s important cultural moments.

Specifically, we were both obsessed with Charlie Brooker’s Screen Burn column, where the man who is now perhaps best known for being the co-creator of Black Mirror (or for being married to former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, depending on your own private obsessions) would provide scathing, savage dissections of whatever he had seen on TV that week. Whichever of us bought the paper had first dibs at reading it, would flick immediately to Brooker’s column, and then sit either openly guffawing or shuddering in giggles until the other gave in and asked that they read aloud what was making them laugh so much.

Every now again, sealed inside the same plastic bag The Guide came in, was a CD, and so it was that I we first came into possession of some songs by Nick Cave.

(Actually, as I’m writing this now I think that it might have been with The Observer. Doesn’t matter really, I don’t think. Point is, it was a freebie.)

I’d never really listened to Nick Cave at this point; I’d heard the records my brother had when we were in our teens, back when Cave was churning out much more gothic, and to these ears, unpleasant noise, and had decided he wasn’t for me.

But I was aware that his sound had matured over the years, and so we gave the CD a listen.

And heard what remains one of my favourite songs. Ever.

It was, I think, the first song on the CD, and I lost count of how many times we repeat played it, so blown away by it were we.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms

And it still hits me every time. But now for different reasons.

Before Llŷr passed, whenever I heard that record, I would be astonished by its beauty, its intellectual and existential qualities counterpointing its simplicity.

But when I hear it now, all I can think of is that Saturday morning, when we sat with the sunlight streaming into our living room, silent as it played, followed by either one of us saying: “I think I need to hear that again.”

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

A repeat posting, but it’s been a couple of years since this song appeared, so I’m sure you’ll forgive me for what I’m about to do.

As I began writing today, I was disturbed by the amount of fireworks I could hear going off in my locality. It hadn’t occured to me that this was the closest Saturday to November 5th, when bonfires and fireworks and explosives are considered perfectly acceptable.

Anyway, this is not a band I care much for, although as I mentioned when I last posted this song, I do have a soft spot for their debut album.

In my opinion it’s good to have an open mind, and to be able to concede that you like something buried in a band or artiste’s back catalogue, especially when the general consensus is that you should either hate or never admit in public to liking anything by them. There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure (although I might be stretching that to a point tonight…).

Here’s….oh gosh, I’m really going to do this, aren’t I….here’s a really good – not great, but good – record by Embrace:

Embrace – Fireworks

More soon.