Football Boots and Denim

Hello? Hello?
*Tap Tap*
Is this thing working?
Pffft! *Blows dust off keyboard*
Testing! Testing!
Okay, okay, a bad workman blames his tools and all that. Truth is, the enormity of the task I’ve set myself has kinda sunk in, and fazed me from writing anything for a while. But ok, let’s get this show back on the road. Or as a friend once told me someone had inappropriately offered in a corporate bonding session, and I apologise in advance for the language: “Let’s fuck this c#@%!”
So where were we? Oh yes, on the cusp of 1982.
Truth be told, 1981 and 1982 were formative years for me, and not just in terms of my musical development. For the other love of my life became firmly nestled now (Ladies, you may wish to skip through this one): football.
Back in the early 80s, football wasn’t really on TV that much. Well, certainly not as much as it is now, anyway. You had Match of The Day and…er…the occasional England match…and…er…The FA Cup Final….and…er…well that’s about it.
Bear in mind that I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch Match of the Day, and my options were severely restricted.
Talk to any football fan about The FA Cup final in the late 70s and early 80s and one thing they are very likely to mention is the TV coverage. It was an event, with BBC and ITV (for these are pre-Sky days when thems was all the options we had) jostling for viewers from mid-day onwards. I say they jostled; in all seriousness I have never met anyone who, given the choice, would volunteer to watch a match on ITV if it’s being shown on the BBC at the same time. ITV coverage of an England game is still considered a curse round my way.
Anyway, so it was in 1981 that my brother and I sat down to watch the FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Neither of us had a team, in fact to this day my brother refuses to acknowledge that any enjoyment can be obtained from watching football, and has become a proper petrol head, only following F1 and nothing else. He even watches Top Gear and doesn’t seem to mind that it’s not actually about cars anymore.
But I digress. I loved football, was pressing (unsuccessfully) to get into my school team (I scored a hat-trick against an all-girl team, which didn’t seem to impress, and then captained my Cub Scout team to a resounding 19-0 loss), but hadn’t settled on a team to support and call my own. We were living in a little village outside Peterborough, and to my eternal shame, it never crossed my mind to support the mighty Posh (Port Out Starboard Home, acronym fans!), mostly because nobody else my age seemed to give a monkey’s about them either. No, everyone was either Man Utd or Liverpool, and I had a brief flirtation with the latter before deciding they weren’t for me.
My Liverpool allegiance was short-lived, mostly because I’d never actually seen them play. Truth be told, I only followed them briefly because Kevin Keegan played for them, I’d seen him on Superstars and I didn’t find his perm even faintly ridiculous back then.
There were other teams I considered: Crystal Palace (I liked their shirts) and Queens Park Rangers (I liked their shirts too) – both dismissed as their names sounded a bit…well, gay. I accept the fact that following not one but two football teams because I liked their shirts also makes me sound a teensy bit gay. Deal with it. I know I have.
And yes, I get that all this flip-flopping also makes me sound more than a little like this chap: Soccer!
But as I say, my only experience of actually watching football was the FA Cup Final, and I can remember them as far back as 1978, and only then because we arrived at my Grandad’s one Saturday for the weekly visit to find him not in the pub, chucking darts into random strangers’ heads (“Is this your dart, Charlie?”) but instead jumping up and down cheering Ipswich Town on, the most animated I ever saw him in a non-ferret related situation. They beat Arsenal, so I can understand his excitement. Then there was 1979: Man Utd 2 Arsenal 3, (Grandad less enthused) a dull game which exploded for the final 10 minutes with Alan Sunderland, his perm (a bit more ridiculous than Kevin’s) and his veiny arms scoring the winner (PS – admitting to “playing with Graham Rix” is not the wisest confession to make in these Yew Tree-y times); 1980 – West Ham won, so I’m told. Dunno. Didn’t register. And then there was 1981. 9th May 1981. My brother and I sat down at mid-day to soak up the pre-match excitement, and agreed, to make it a bit more interesting, we’d pick a team each. So: Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester City? I genuinely do not recall whether I chose first or he did (it was probably him, as the elder sibling he had the bragging rights I often had to bow to), but whatever way it happened, I got Spurs. I was quite happy about this, as I’d heard this: Oh come on, you knew I’d have to post this at some point I settled down to watch and cheer. It ended up 1-1 and in those days there was a replay rather than extra time and penalties, so we had to reconvene on the following Thursday evening. And that was when Ricky Villa happened. In one of my many moments of putting off writing this blog, I was watching a TV programme the other day about the best FA Cup moments ever. I may have remembered this wrongly, but I think Ryan Giggs’ goal against Arsenal in the 1999 semi-final came tops. Nah. Shouldn’t count. It wasn’t in the final, and in any event, it seemed to have been placed so highly because of the sight of Giggs’ monkey chest. Then there was Stevie Gerrard’s goal against West Ham in the 2006 final. A screamer, but even he admits he was knackered so he just twatted it. No, Ricky Villa’s where it’s at. He’d had a dog of a final the first time around, and was pulled off (insert own innuendo here) by the manager, Keith Burkinshaw. Managers aren’t called Keith these days are they? Here it is, a thing of beauty: 12 Seconds Of Beauty
The thing I love most about this is not just the goal, wonderful as it is, nor the sight of several (OK, one and the goalie) City defenders being dumped on their arses as Ricky twists and turns past them (twice, in some cases).  No, it’s Garth Crooks miming kicking the ball just before Villa does. Watch it again. There he is, bottom of the screen. Priceless, ain’t it?
In 1982, Spurs only went and got to the final again, this time playing gay-sounding flip-flop attractors Queens Park Rangers, again needing a replay, but again coming out triumphantly. Cue another Chas ‘n’ Dave single (“Tottenham Tottenham (No One Can Stop Them)”, although an undoubted stone wall classic, it’s nowhere as iconic as “Ossie’s Dream” from the 1981 final, but you can’t have everything).
“Cor!”, I thought, for I was only 11 and hadn’t learned any of the good swear words yet, “This Spurs lot are brilliant, winning the FA Cup two year running! I shall continue to follow them for they are excellent!” Yes, the term ‘Glory Hunter’ applies.
And then in 1984 they only went and won the UEFA cup. On penalties. As an Englishman, a win on penalties is not something I have experienced often since.
And that was it. I was hooked. Spurs were my team. My Team. Mine.
(And yes, I can appreciate the irony in my posting this the day after Spurs got knocked out of the FA cup this year. Shurrup. It’s too painful.)
And then, having reeled me in, they didn’t win anything else until 1991, the contrary buggers. And since then, well…not nothing…but not much.
In between this, there had been the 1982 World Cup finals, and I had been utterly captivated. I vaguely remember the final of the 1978 final, or rather I can remember the actual final being on the telly and my Dad watching it. But the 1982 finals were the first I watched properly. They seemed to have everything: Bryan Robson’s goal against France in 27 seconds; Harold Schumacher decking Patrick Battiston in the West Germany v France semi-final. Paolo Rossi banging a hat-trick in against Brazil on his way to winning the Golden Boot, and in the process leading me to go and buy a pair of Rossi football boots (they worked, too: 16 goals in my first season playing for my local team. And a missed open goal in a cup final that we don’t talk about…) Somehow, I feel like this paragraph isn’t complete without ending with the words “Jumpers for goalposts, marvellous!”
So that was 1981 – 1984. Oh wait. I’m supposed to talk about music, aren’t I? Bet you’re expecting me to post some more Chas ‘n’ Dave now, right? Wrong!
Instead, here’s more football funniness: Twat! And this: “On This Sunday!”
There’s a name up there which means more to me than just being a footballer’s. For in 1982, the other love of my life entered.
We had a kind of spare room in our house, a room where us pesky kids could go and hang out without bothering the folks. It had a TV, a stereo, a settee, and as we got older, numerous guitars lived there too. But around this time it had become littered with albums by Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath. For my brother had begun to worship at the altar that is Rock.
I think this is a phase that most teenage boys go through, maybe not so much these days, but they certainly did in the late 70s/early 80. I was no different a couple of years later, but I had the added bonus of being able to plunder my brother’s record collection, and thereby win kudos from my peers at school. Big brothers had to be good for something other than dishing out wedgies, right?
But all this is to come (you lucky people, bet you can’t wait, eh?). In 1982, another rare event , was televised by the BBC: a rock concert. By Status Quo.
Now, I know the reaction their name gets. A guffaw. A smirk, even. Mutterings of them only knowing three chords. I understand that. But to this day I still love them. Although I haven’t particularly liked any of their records for approaching 30 years, one of the things I love about them is that they know what public opinion is of them, and they accept and embrace that, and even lampoon themselves. One of their most recent albums is called “In Search of the Fourth Chord” for fuck sake!
I remember reading a quote from Slade’s Noddy Holder which, when researching this article (yes, I do research, unbelievable as that may sound) I tried to track down, with no success whatsoever. It went something along the lines of “They say Quo only know three chords. That may be true, but I’m still trying to work out which chords they are!”
The gig was for The Prince’s Trust charity, was attended by the patron, Prince Charles (who apparently said afterwards that he wished he’d worn his jeans, the wag) and the first hour or so was broadcast on the telly, the whole thing on Radio 1.
So smitten were we, that shortly after this, my brother and I went halves on a 3-disc vinyl compilation album called “From The Makers Of….”, so called because this was the tag line on each of their previous albums, followed by a silhouette of the image on the preceding albums covers. “From the Makers Of…” came in two vinyl formats: firstly, a cardboard boxette with 2 discs of career defining tracks (as Tommy Vance would undoubtedly have bellowed on the advert), and a third disc with the first 10 songs from the NEC gig set, and secondly a round metal tin containing, I presume, the same. I can only presume, as we went for the cheaper cardboard boxette version. To my eternal shame, this got hidden away in a damp cupboard in a grotty house I lived in as a student, and the box perished, but I still have the discs and the disc-shaped paper inserts with all the details of who wrote what, when it was released and what chart position it reached which I memorised and can still recite to this day. At least one person I know will confirm this.
I’m not going to bang on about them too much here, for they will appear again later. A lot. But suffice to say, the first song of the set had me utterly hooked. If you ever see them live (and I would, I really would) I defy you not to be up on your seat when the guitar and then the whole band kicks in on the intro. And here it is:
Go buy it here: Caroline
More soon. No, really. I promise.
PS I have no idea what has happened to the spacing and paragraphs in this post. Apologies for it being all scrunched up. I must try harder.

A Diversion


Ok, so it’s 10 years today since John Peel died. I don’t think I can let that pass without comment.

It’s rare when I hear about someone famous passing on that I feel anything other than indifference. But when Peelie shuffled off this mortal coil, I felt cold. A veritable shiver. The light that would never go out, had.

I’d love to be able to relate some story now about how I met the Great Man and how it changed my life, but I don’t have one, because I never did. But here’s two things:

Once, not long before he died, he asked on his show who it was that did a song that mentioned Brian Rix’s trousers. In his usual slightly befuddled manner, he’d forgotten, and when you have as many tunes rattling around in your head as he did, one’s bound to fall out every now and then. I emailed him (as did many others) and he thanked me (and many others) on air for doing so. This is the song:

The Brilliant Corners: Brian Rix

Ok so that’s not a great claim to fame. I don’t have anything better than that. But in 1989 I went to the Reading Festival, and on the Saturday John was acting as compere. I remember him reading the football scores out, but insisting on starting with the Scottish results, because they usually get left till the end and nobody really pays attention to them. And this strikes me as being a metaphor for his life’s work: bringing the previously unheard to the attention of the masses.

Yes he played a lot of tosh I wasn’t interested in (I’m looking at you, Bhundu Boys) but for every 10 songs he played, you got at least 2 or 3 that you’d never heard before and wanted to hear some more of.

I could make a really long list of the bands I first heard via Mr Peel. I won’t, but here’s some of them. My life is richer for having them, and the stuff I consequently checked out, in there. Cheers, John!

Colorblind James Experience – Considering a Move to Memphis Go buy it here: Memphis

The Primitives – Stop Killing Me Go buy it here: Killing

The Flatmates – Happy All the Time Go buy it here: Happy

The Wedding Present – My Favourite Dress Go buy it here: Dress

And any Peel tribute wouldn’t be complete without this:

The Undertones – Teenage Kicks Go buy it here: Kicks

Links all repaired. Or done properly, if you prefer.

The First of Many Greatest Hits Albums


It is early 1982 and a major musical epiphany is on the horizon. But before that (and I have no specific stories to relate about it), scalded by my Jungle Boogie experience (which sounds like a fecking great name for a band by the way), I shrunk backwards.

The Beatles were popular, right? Let’s buy something by them. And then, just to make sure I didn’t try to get it played at a local cultural event let’s buy it on cassette. At the risk of coming over all Peter Kay: cassettes! Remember them?? ( I hope so. The word Cassingles will soon feature prominently. I say soon. I mean in about 15 years time. Bear with me.)

I’d borrowed the Red and Blue Greatest Hits from my aunt earlier, and loved every moment of them, so, desperate for recognition, I guess I regressed into my tortoise shell.

This is what I ended up with. Oh how I wish I could say the first album I bought was “Revolver” or “Sgt Pepper”. But no. It’s a mish-mash compilation at best, but the song I loved most of all was from “Revolver” so I guess I kinda win, right? Anyway, it’s this obviously McCartney penned- belter:

The Beetles: Got to Get You Into My Life

The spelling is deliberately wrong by the way, I’m just starting and don’t want any DMCA notices.

At this point, I would normally give you a link so you can go buy it, but, incredibly nobody seems to be selling it (this compilation, that is. You can buy Revolver very easily. You don’t need a link. In fact, don’t buy it, go buy Ella Fitzgerald’s version instead.)

A few years ago, a very good friend of mine (Hi Colin!) made his feelings about The Beatles known to me. Since they’re unlikely to feature much more here, this seems an appropriate moment to share this. He hated them. No, he REALLY hated them.

What he hated was not the music itself, but the very idea of The Beatles. To Colin, they were institutionalised music taste. He was being told what to do. “These are The Beatles and you must like them”. You were just supposed to like The Beatles without ever questioning it, because of who it was and what they represented. As a result, he bloody hated them. I very much admire his stance.

Actually, he’d REALLY hate the fact I’ve mentioned him in a blog post about how much I love The Beatles, which frankly just adds to the appeal of writing this.,

I’ve seen him, in a bar with a band playing a Beatles cover, standing on the dance floor, fists up, challenging anyone who wanted to dance to just give it a try. Which seems a tad extreme, but I get his point.

There is no reason in liking something just because it’s popular and en vogue. Why like something else because everyone else does? Right??? I’d have to like One Direction if that were the case and that ain’t gonna happen. They murdered “One Way or Another” for a start.

If only I’d met him 20 odd years earlier, you (and I) would have been spared a lot of pain.

Pink Jackets are Not Cool

Christmas 1981.

When asked what I want for Christmas, by now, despite (or perhaps because of) my ill-fated public display of musical knowledge, I have decided that what I want more than anything else is more records. There can be no more embarrassing moments. I need to get my shit together.

But……I remain torn. I know Shakin’ Stevens will not earn me any cool points in either this or the next life, yet still there’s a hankering, a soft spot. I want his new album. I have seen him resplendent in a pink jacket. I have witnessed him attacking Richard Madeley, and this is how I want to live.

And yet…there’s this other band I’d become vaguely been aware of. They had first crossed my radar when they were mentioned on Nationwide for having a song the chorus of which sounds like they’re singing “Sue Lawley” over and over again (They’re not). I’ve seen their new stuff on Top of the Pops. But in a video, not in the studio. Remember: this is pre-MTV, so pop videos were still a rarity. Usually if an artiste wasn’t able to appear in person on the show, we’d be treated to Legs & Co’s often far too literal dance interpretation of the hit record in question. They seem, if you’ll allow me to slip into American colloquialism for a moment, pretty cool.

They are The Police.

At this point I am blissfully unaware that The Police are the biggest band on the planet. All I know is I’ve heard “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” and think it’s one of the most amazing things I ever heard. Steel Drums!!! Sting in a trilby hat in the video, in a place where it’s sunny!!!! (I remember sun. I lived through 1976. I remember that, but do I remember punk? Nosireebob. No recollection. Life sucks sometimes.) And, ironically, there’s “Invisible Sun”, which is the polar opposite to “Every Little Thing…”; it’s dark and moody, and seems to be about a political situation in Ireland that I don’t understand (still don’t, truth be told). But it’s music with a message, something above the “Ooh Baby I Lurve You” that constituted 99% of the charts. And even though I didn’t understand it, this piqued my interest.

So when I am asked what I want for Christmas, I imagine my parents were expecting I’d give some Dr Who related answer, as I had for several years previously. But no. I am clear and distinct in my request. I want either (always best to give a choice, I think – it makes the buyer feel like they’ve had some input in the process other than simply purchasing): “Ghost in the Machine” by The Police or “Shaky” by Shakin’ Stevens. One of these would have the distinction of being the first proper album I ever owned.

On Christmas Eve, I spy under the tree a present that is clearly a record. It’s square. It’s about 12″ in diameter. It has a gift tag with my name written on it. Oh yes. that’s an album alright. And soon, it will be mine.

I am confident by now. Yes, I’ve asked for either album, but I’ve dropped enough hints since the question was asked. I no longer care for the Welsh rock’n’roller. I have grown up. I’ve wandered round the house whistling “Every Little Thing…”. I’ve turned Top of the Pops up and told people to “Shush!” when they came on. It is The Police that I crave.

Christmas Day. Presents are distributed. I have in my hands the present. This is the moment when I don’t have to pretend to be excited about my gift, my adrenaline rush will be genuine, unforced, real, and will see me over the line.

It’s worth noting at this point that both album sleeves have something in common. They are both predominantly black. This has not occurred to me. So I tear open the wrapping paper, exposing a jet black (back) sleeve (Oh, alright I’ll do it, Spinal Tap aficionados: How much more black could it be? None more black, that’s how much). Black. It’s black. Black!!! It must be… I hear myself squeal with delight: “The Police! Brilliant! ” only to be met by an “Err…no….” from my parents, as I stripped the last of the wrapping paper away, flipped it over to view the front cover, only to be confronted by Shaky. That’s him in the spotlight, that’s him dressed all in black bar his pink jacket, doing his weird Elvis-pastiche pointing dance, his Brylcreemed hair flicked into something approaching a quiff (but is actually an over-elaborate side parting).

This is not how it was supposed to be. This was Christmas ruined. This was me learning how to do that “just what I always wanted” face you have to perfect at some time in your life. And at that moment I knew that the Shaky bubble had been burst. My musical coming of age had happened. I would have to unpick his badge from my parka (well, not just yet, but it definitely has to go before term starts again). I was ready for proper music. Cheerio Shaky.

Here’s one of the oh-so many singles from that album:


Shakin’ Stevens – You Drive Me Crazy

Buy it here: Shaky

NB – It’s pronounced “Crazy” not “Cwazy”, you mad Ely Elvis-lite.

More soon.

Early 80s Pop Perfection (kinda)

Ok, so perhaps I should have warned you that things would get worse before they got better. Perhaps I should rename this blog “The Austerity Measures”.

Anyway, it is now 1981. In the three years since the purchase of Darts, whilst I haven’t bought any more records, I’ve immersed myself in my Father’s record collection (predominantly Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson albums), as well as borrowing albums from my relatives (The Beatles). I’d also developed a taste for recording songs from the radio, and used to prepare a new tape each week, which I’d force the family to listen to in the car as we drove to visit my grandparents on a Saturday afternoon.

But in 1981 I found my first two obsessions with pop music. The first: Shakin’ Stevens. With the benefit of hindsight, I can probably look back at my love for the snake-hipped Welshman as a continuation of my interest in those doo-woppy records a la Darts from the first post. But this was an obsession alright. I perfected the dance. I sat perched in front of the TV every Thursday waiting to hear his latest song on Top of the Pops (and, like it or not, he was always on there). I even had a Shaky patch sewn into my Parka coat (but under the hood, so nobody could see it, until I stupidly hung it up by the hood and had the piss mercilessly ripped out of me by my mates at school).

The second: Bucks Fizz. I adored “Making Your Mind Up”, their Eurovision winner, so much that I sat hunched over my tape recorder, ready to pounce, until I’d filled up one entire side of a C90 cassette with it just on repeat, over and over again, for 45 minutes. I must have driven my parents to distraction playing that. I think this was probably my first real awakening of “those” kind of thoughts, teenage boy hormones which had been bubbling below the surface since I first clapped eyes on Debbie Harry a couple of years earlier. And here were two blow-dried guys whipping the skirts off two blonde girls, to reveal much shorter skirts and a whole lot more leg. Frankly, you could keep Cheryl Baker, it was all about Jay Aston for me. That’s her in the rather fetching white blouse on the record cover down there. Phewwww-ee, yes please mama.

These two songs feature in the same post as I bought them at the same time, from the same store, and were the first records I ever bought. Again, as with Darts, not a record store, but rather the record section of a supermarket my mother dragged me round a couple of times a month, called Rainbow, just outside Peterborough. Me wandering off to browse through the racks either here or in the newsagent nearby in the shopping arcade, John Menzies, if memory serves my correctly, became a regular occurrence from now on.

On this particular Saturday morning, I was desperate to buy something rather than just window shop as there was to be a disco, as they were still called back then, to be held that evening in the local village hall. Thrillingly, the disco was called “Jungle Boogie”; even more thrillingly it had been made known that the DJ would play any records that solitary groovers such as I cared to bring with them, and I was desperate for a piece of that action (see what I did there?). The two singles in today’s post were my weapons of choice.

Bear in mind 1981 was a time when great things were happening in the world of pop. Adam and the Ants were at the height of their powers. Human League’s “Dare” was about to hit the shops. The Specials had just had “Ghost Town” at Number One. There were so many records I could have bought that would have made me appear impossibly cool. Instead what do I buy? Bucks Fizz and Shakin’ Fuckin’ Stevens, that’s what.

The night was memorable for two reasons: Natalie, an older girl from the secondary school I had just begun to attend, told me I was a pretty good dancer, and my heart swelled with pride, only to be punctured again moments later when I had to leave the village hall, unplayed 7″ singles tucked under my arm, after the DJ had refused to play them since they were “fucking shit, mate”.

See if you agree:

Green Door

Shakin’ Stevens – Green Door


Bucks Fizz

Bucks Fizz – Piece of the Action

Buy them here: Shaky and here: Bucks Fizz

PS  (1) – I’ll admit it: I still think Piece of the Action is a cracking piece of early 80s pop, and it always brings a smile to my face when I hear it. Partly because of Natalie; mostly because of Jay. Oh Jay. Sigh.

PS (2) – Shaky, not so much.

More soon.

Cool Cool Kitty

No, don’t go. Really, this is just the start!

Picture the scene: It’s 1978 and me, my older brother and mother are visiting the sprawling metropolis that is Kettering. I am 8, maybe 9. We are in the record section of WH Smiths. My brother (and he won’t thank me for announcing this to the world) has persuaded my mother to buy him the single which is Number One: “Rivers of Babylon” by Boney M. Being a precocious little brat, I insist that she also buys me a single, and announce that I too want a copy of the same record. Mother, quite rightly, refuses, and asks me to choose another one smartish. My bottom lip thrust out in a massive gib, I decide I’ll have the next best thing: the Number Two single. And that, my friends, was “The Boy From New York City” by Darts.

And lo, my addiction to records began.

Ok, this doesn’t exactly fall into the stone cold classic category. Firstly, it’s a cover version. Not always a bad thing, and at least I can cling to the knowledge that the original, by The Ad Libs was produced by Lieber and Stoller, of whom I’m assuming you need no further introduction. Secondly, 50s-esque doo-woppy bands were ten a penny in the late 1970s and early 1980s (see Showaddywaddy, Manhatten Transfer, Rocky Sharpe and the Replays). But there’s something about this song that even now, 36 years later still makes me want to pop on a zoot suit, click my fingers and start pleading harmonically to “Cool Cool Kitty” to tell me ’bout the Boy From New York City”.

Go on, give it a go: Darts – The Boy From New York City

Buy it here: Doo-wop

PS – a couple of weeks ago, I bought me and my brother tickets to see Jesus and the Mary Chain on the “Psychocandy Revisited” tour. I mentioned to him that I was writing this blog, and recounted the above story. I mention this now for three reasons; firstly, because he insisted that “Rivers of Babylon” wasn’t the first record he ever owned (I rather feel he missed the point of me writing this) and that that particular triumph went to “Mull Of Kintyre” by Paul McCartney and Wings (Yeh, like that’s any better!), and secondly, so you can see I’m a nice guy who treats his older, much better off, brother every now and then, and thirdly (and most importantly) so you realise there is some good stuff coming soon, just not in the terribly near future. Stick with me!