Sunday Morning Coming Down

There are certain TV programmes that I will, generally, avoid:

  1. Any travel show which needlessly attaches a celebrity to it (see “Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways”), and
  2. Pretty much anything on ITV or Channel 5.

But this week saw a programme which caught my eye for the sheer ludicrousness of it.

“Gone to Pot: American Road Trip”, which one would expect to be on Channel 5, but actually aired on ITV1 featured five…erm, shall we say ‘more mature’ UK celebrities riding a psychedelically painted bus across the USA on a mission to investigate the pros and cons of the legalisation of marijuana.

It’s a premise which could have been lifted from Alan Partidge’s dictaphone. Think “Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank” and “Monkey Tennis” and you won’t be too far off the mark.

The celebrities in question were ex-footballer and Gladiators presenter John Fashanu, former darts player Bobby George, ex-Birds of a Feather actor Linda Robson, and most glorious of all, Pam St Clement – yes, Pat Butcher from EastEnders – and national treasure Christopher Biggins.

Each, apparently, had an ailment which may benefit from taking some of the medical marijuana products available in the States, and so the first stop on their trip was to obtain doctor’s notes to permit them to purchase some, followed swiftly by a visit to a marijuana apothecary.

From there it’s on to a venue called Puff, Pass and Paint, where the group are encouraged to join an art class and have a toot on the reefers that are passed around. Fashanu, who is staunchly anti-drugs, refuses, Biggins declines as he suffers from asthma, Robson has the tiniest drag on a doobie, whilst St Clement and George (who insists on calling it ‘happy baccy’) dive right in, inducing a fit of giggles in both of them that anyone who has ever indulged will recognise.

The sight of St Clement sucking on a bong is something I never expected to see, an image that will live long in the memory.

And then it’s on to chef Nonna Marijuana’s house. Nonna Marijuana, as her name suggests, specialises in recipes which include marijuana, and she serves up a feast for the group, with other “straight” dishes included for those who don’t want to indulge.

Anyone who has ever eaten marijuana products will know that it takes a couple of hours for the weed to be digested, the hit not as immediate as when smoked, so one needs to take it easy and not over-indulge too quickly.

But Biggins, emboldened by having seen St Clement and George giggling uncontrollably at the art class, tucks right in (as does George, to a lesser extent).

And so back on to the bus, and it’s here that a truly hilarious comedic moment takes place. I’ve tried to find a clip of this, to no avail, so here’s a summary. Look away if you don’t like spoilers.

An hour and a half later, the group are having a sing-song.

Robson: What’s your karaoke song, Biggins?

Biggins: My Way. Frank Sinatra singing My Way.

Robson: Sing us a line.

Biggins (pretending to hold a microphone, singing): And now….that’s the wrong song…And now, the end is near, and (he pauses, the rest of the group join in to help him) and so I face the final curtain….what song is that then?

George: That’s My Way.

Biggins: Oh it is My Way. Oh yes. (laughs) ..

He then sits, complaining of feeling “very dry” and a “a little bit ‘hello’, before zoning out, unable to speak and those in the know could see what was going to happen next: Biggins is about to have a whitey.

And sure is eggs are eggs, the next we see of Biggins he is at the back of the bus, spewing up into a paper bag, before being carried off the bus and out to a bed in a hotel room.

I can’t do justice to just how unintentionally funny the first episode of this show was (the second and third ones, not so much), so I would thoroughly recommend you watch it on catch-up if you’re able to, or you can watch it on YouTube here.

So, a song, and who better to soundtrack this than Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard:

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Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – It’s All Going To Pot

Thinking about it, maybe I should have renamed this post Sunday Morning Coming Up….

More soon.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

The thing about taking a hiatus, as I did recently, is that stuff still happens.

And much as I tried to take Alyson’s advice to resist the temptation to read other blogs whilst I was “resting up”, I couldn’t, and so it was that I found out that the “Gentle Giant” of country music, Don Williams had died.

He’s probably best known for this coming-of-age tale:

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Don Williams – I Recall a Gypsy Woman

But there were many other wonderful songs in his back catalogue, one of which has featured here before, so I’ll skip that one and play a couple more:

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Don Williams – Amanda

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Don Williams – I’m Just a Country Boy

And this, covered by Eric Clapton back in 1978 (and listening to it, you can hear why he would):

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Don Williams – Tulsa Time

Some of those lyrics are pure poetry. He may not have written them all, but he sure had an ear for a good rhyme and a tune.

He’ll be much missed round these parts.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Just to be clear, when I said a few weeks ago that this series would no longer exclusively feature Country records, I didn’t mean that Country records would no longer feature here.

So to prove that you can go back, here’s The Statler Brothers, reporting back after a school reunion, and, man, it gets bleak:

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The Statler Brothers – The Class Of ’57

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Wow.

Just Wow.

My head is still spinning from how incredible Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds were last night.

It was the first time I’ve seen them, and no review I’ve read of his gigs came anywhere near accurately capturing how utterly brilliant they were. So, I’m damned if I’m going to try.

Except to say that this morning’s song was a highlight for me, played immediately before the song I posted last night:

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Ship Song

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I featured an album by today’s artist in my series about vinyl I’ve purchased recently which seemed to go down rather well, so I thought I’d share with you my favourite track by them this morning.

Sometimes songs come into your life by slightly unconventional means. I first remember hearing this song when it featured in TV drama Cracker, in a storyline where a lab technician always plays it whilst preparing to murder her unsuspecting student victims.

Personally, I think there’s something quite Scott Walker/Jacques Brel about it, which is rarely a bad thing in my book.

It also, since we both did a double-take when we each named this as our favourite Dusty record shortly after meeting, reminds me of one of my best friends. (Hello!)

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Dusty Springfield –  I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten

Stunning.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Following on from last week’s post in this series, I’m going to be ringing the changes a little.

Instead of being restricted to just Country records, I’m going to widen the net a little, to songs which have a Sunday-morning vibe about them. That will probably still include some Country records from time to time, just not exclusively so.

If you have generally liked what I’ve posted in this series before, then I reckon you’ll probably like what I have lined up going forwards. Trust me, I know what I’m doing!

Consider this a bit of a taste of things to come. With a somewhat appropriate title thrown in.

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Spanky And Our Gang – Sunday Will Never Be The Same

See? Safe hands.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

So here’s where we listen to a County record suitable for a Sunday morning.

Today’s song is a cover of a Hank Williams tune, however the performer is most certainly not a Country singer. Nor is the performance in a Country style.

But it’s more than suitable for posting here, and is just perfect for a Sunday morning.

And that’s because it comes from an album entitled “Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music”, and because it’s by no less a luminary than Ray Charles.

Get your ears round this:

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Ray Charles – Hey Good Lookin’

More soon.