Rant

Just one week off, please, one week where nothing happens to get my goat, one week where I can post something nice and positive of a Saturday morning. That’s all I ask.

But no. Here I am, banging on yet again about the latest injustice and trying desperately to justify it by tagging a tune or two on at the end.

We’ll get on to the biggie soon enough, but let’s start with some good news for a change.

This week, taxi/private hire company Uber finally gave in to a recent Supreme Court ruling that their drivers were not, as Uber had previously contested, self-employed but were employees, and as such entitled to the normal “perks” other employees were entitled to: a minimum hourly wage, sick pay, pensions.

It comes to something when it takes a Supreme Court ruling before companies will give their workers what they are entitled to, and is indicative of how some companies will try and bend the rules, squirm through as many loop-holes as possible, to try to exploit their staff and maximise their own profits. (Take) That’s Capitalism, folks!

But this isn’t just about the exploitation of your working man (or woman): research by Citizens Advice has suggested that as many as 460,000 people in the UK could be falsely classified as self-employed, costing up to £314m a year in lost tax and employer national insurance contributions. That’s £314m which the Government could be passing on to their mates, so I’m struggling to see why the fight was so hard, the original ruling having been handed down in 2016, but then contested by Uber. Surely Johnson or Hancock or Raab could have waded in, insisting they accept the ruling, hand over the cash in a brown envelope to be swiftly popped into the pocket of old Spewy Dickson – seriously, he was such a laugh at college – who swears he knows how to rattle up a few Covid-compliant face masks or aprons or something?

Uber operates around the world, with the company valued at more than £50bn.

I often wonder: just how rich do you have to be, before you stop being a greedy arsehole?

And then I think of “Sir” Philip Green, his love of other people’s money, and yachts, and conclude: well, richer than him, apparently.

Some of the people I went to school with have ended up being far wealthier than me. And that’s fine, I’m comfortable with that. I rarely meet up with them these days, but on the occasions that I do, I always feel them looking down on me, wondering where things went wrong for me. I was a fairly bright, if lazy, pupil when at school, I could have made money like they did, why haven’t I?

Because I have no desire to be wealthy, that’s why. I’m quite happy, bobbing along in my moderately-paid job, paying my taxes, my rent, my bills, and enjoying whatever I have left after doing so; eking out my monthly salary until the next payday is part of the rollercoaster of life for me, safe in the knowledge that whilst I am certainly not as well off as some, I’m definitely better off than many.

Will I make it to the end of the month without resorting to beans on toast as a staple meal? Yes, usually. Will I have any money left over at the end of the month to pop away in a savings account? No, not usually, for I am far more likely, with a few days to go until payday, to splash out on a takeaway or a bottle or two of something to make my Friday night a go with a whizz.

I can’t think of much worse than being so wealthy the question of whether I can afford something or not never enters my head. How dull their lives must be! To misquote Joe Fagin’s 1984 hit and theme tune to Auf Weidersehen, Pet!: That’s Not Living, Alright?

But I digress: the action against Uber had originally been brought by the ADCU, the App Driver and Couriers Union, on behalf of two of its members, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, which leads me to the first tune of the morning.

As mentioned last weekend, I am a huge Billy Bragg fan, although generally I prefer his (unrequited) love songs to the political songs with which he’s most associated by those who don’t really know anything much about him.

This song first appeared on his “difficult third album”, Talking With The Taxman About Poetry, but that’s not a version I’m fond of – it’s a bit too Billy-By-Numbers, if that makes sense. Somewhere I used to have a full band version, all fiddles and folk, but frustratingly I cannot lay my hands on it right now (it popped up on a B-side somewhere, I’m sure….I may be thinking of the instrumental version on Greetings to the New Brunette, but I don’t think so….), so instead here are two versions which I found on YouTube when frantically searching for the lost-Billy version.

The first is what YouTube insists is lifted from the closing credits of the wonderful movie Pride, although, whilst I recall the song being used, I don’t recall it having a choir and a brass band on it, as this does. I’ll have to revisit, which will be an absolute joy as Pride is one of my favourite films from the last twenty tears, telling the true story of a London based group of gays and lesbians (before they would have been called LBGT+) supporting a Welsh mining village during the strike of the mid-1980s. If you’ve never seen it, put that right as soon as possible.

The second version I found is a bluegrass version performed by a collective called Pickers’ Local 608. It’s rather good:

As a disclaimer, I’ve not had chance to do due diligence and look into Picker’s Local 608, so I do hope they don’t turn out to be of the redneck Confederate breed.

And so to the grim stuff.

*****

Remember last year, when we watched how Trump dealt with the BLM protests, how multiple examples of police brutality were caught on camera? And remember how, whilst we condemned it, we, privately, breathed a sigh of relief and thought: “Well, that could never happen here”…?

Well, last weekend, it did.

And here too, many disturbing photographs were taken, as the police waded in to break up what was, to all intents and purposes, a vigil, not a protest, in memory of Sarah Everard, the woman murdered as she walked home alone one night.

Around the world these images flowed, none more evocative and widely shared than this one:

Over the course of the day, mourners had left flowers around the bandstand of Clapham Common, close to where Everard vanished. One such mourner was Princess Cathy, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was seen paying her respects:

Not wearing a mask, I notice.

Funny how the police didn’t wade in when she was there, right? You’d think the Royal Family would have welcomed a change in focus after the couple of weeks they’ve had.

But no, it was much later that evening that the trouble started. And by trouble, from everything I’ve seen, I mean the actions of the police who suddenly decided that the crowd needed to be broken up.

Now, it would not be entirely truthful to say that this was simply a vigil, with no protest aspect attached. Placards were displayed, songs were sung. But what protest took place was, again from what I’ve seen, 100% peaceful, until PC Law decided enough was enough.

And, to my eyes, its important to note that both were going on at the same time, but neither vigil nor protest was worthy of the attention the police gave them. Peaceful protest, even in these times of Covid restrictions is permitted. Indeed, the activities of the day, whilst originally blocked by the Courts, were ultimately allowed to take place.

What followed was an upsurge in real life stories from women about occasions that they have felt scared, threatened, or, on far too many occasions, actually been assaulted by men as they made their way home after a night out.

The #MeToo movement over the past couple of years shocked many of us, but I still think a large amount of people considered the hashtag related exclusively to the famous, the celebrities who had been abused or forced to the euphemistically referred to “casting couch”. Referring to it as such allows you to escape the horror of what that actually means, in a way that the victim was unable to.

Personally, I know of at least two of my female friends who have been assaulted as they travelled home. Both in London, but that doesn’t mean it’s a London problem.

This is a male problem.

And I pray that, reading all of the stories women have posted on social media, men finally learn to change their behaviour.

We all need to reassess our actions. I’ve never assaulted anyone, never taken advantage of anyone when they were drunk or alone or vulnerable, but even I can look back at certain incidents in my life and think: “I could have behaved better there”.

The protest which ran parallel with the vigil was, largely, from the Reclaim The Night movement. Put very simply, all this movement asks is that women be allowed to travel safely at night in the same way as men do. It’s such a basic request, that it saddens me to my very core that they even have to exist. Here. Now. In 2021, when we’re all supposed to be equal, except we’re clearly not.

I pray, but I’m an atheist, so I’m not confident anything will happen as a result of my prayers.

I’m certain that the man who wrote this song didn’t do so in order that it might be included in a blogpost about how women should be able to walk the streets without fear of intimidation or assault, but at first blush it seems to fit. It’s the “Because the night belongs to us”, I’m thinking of here as making this appropriate.

I could have posted any number of versions of this song, but I’ve gone for my very favourite:

By way of a reaction, the Metropolitan Police have announced that once COVID lockdown measures are lifted, they plan to employ more plain clothes officers to frequent bars and clubs, in an effort to stamp down on offences of the nature mentioned.

Which rather overlooks the fact that the person arrested and charged with Sarah Everard’s murder is…a serving policeman from the Metropolitan Police.

Yeh, nice one. I’m sure that will put many people’s concerns to rest.

*****

Now, you know when something seismic has happened, where public opinion and sympathy lies in a particular way, because politicians suddenly leap into action and want to be seen to be doing the right thing.

And so it was that our Home Secretary, old Smirky McSmirkface herself, Priti Patel, criticised pictures of officers manhandling women at the vigil, rebuked the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, and ordered an inquiry.

Quite right too, until it emerged later in the week that Patel had sent a memo to all police chiefs making her position clear: she wanted them to stop people gathering at vigils. (She also promised she would personally urge people not to gather – but she never did.)

And this shouldn’t be much of a surprise to those who had followed a bill which passed it’s second reading at almost the same time Patel was feigning outrage, a bill which written by Patel, further restricts the ability to protest and increases police powers.

What is interesting is that in the debate about the bill on Monday she said this: “On Friday my views were know and they were based on the fact that people who wanted to pay tribute within the locality… laying flowers was the right thing to do.” Which rather implies the opposite of the leaked memo, that she encouraged the Met to let the vigil go ahead, but ho hum, lying to Parliament seems to be acceptable these days, just ask our PM.

Now, permission to protest is one of the cornerstones of democracy; remove it, as this bill seeks to do, and we are sleepwalking into a territory where dissenting voices can no longer be heard in public.

One of the problems with this Bill is that it allows Patel to change the meaning of the phrase “serious disruption” whenever she likes:

In other words, this Bill seeks, amongst other things, to limit the power and ability to protest, whilst also giving Patel the power to decide what is and isn’t acceptable. What the bill should do is lay down the terms, rather than leave it in the hands of someone who has a proven record of being a duplicitous bully to decide.

The Bill attacks, on a permanent basis the fundamental human right of peaceful assembly.

For example, under this Bill, the Home Secretary (Patel, as it stands) could decide that one person protesting in a vocal manner in public should be shut down and imprisoned.

Netpol analysis of BLM demos found that “black-led protests disproportionately faced excessive interventions by police”. This Bill radically increases police power and discretion to impose restrictions on protests. It allows them to impose them not for disruption, but for “impact”, and on the broadest, vaguest and lowest possible basis. It allows police to impose restrictions if they believe a single passer-by will experience “serious unease” from the noise.

These aren’t flashers we’re talking about, likely to cause offence by wanging their wongers in the general direction of some schoolgirls; they’re people exercising their democratic right to protest. Make no mistake about it, this is the most violent attack on our civil liberties we’ve seen since Thatcher blocked flying pickets during the miner’s strike.

I’ll end by quoting the words of Nadia Whittome, MP, as part of the debate on the bill: “There is so much wrong with this bill that three minutes couldn’t possibly cover it. We’re debating it today because the home secretary despised Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter…[The Bill] expands police powers to levels that should not be seen in a modern democracy. If we were debating this legislation in another country, I’m sure members of this House would be condemning that country as an authoritarian regime…We’re sick of male violence. We’re sick of male violence whether it’s at the hands of the state, our partners, our family members, or strangers. And we march because some people don’t survive that violence. The public realm belongs to women too…[The Bill] hands unaccountable power to the police. The same police that were forcing women to the ground on Saturday night.”

The same police which includes the man charged with the murder of Sarah Everard.

It’s cheesy, I know, but there’s only one song which can illustrate this properly:

Ayes: 359 Noes: 263 The bill passed it’s second reading.

There’s still the Committee stage, where the Bill is given a right good going over, so there’s hope.

And there’s still the House of Lords, who might well kick this back for further review and amendment.

Pray this bill doesn’t get passed in its current format, so your voice can still be heard.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Yes, I have been a bit quiet so far this weekend, haven’t I?

I’ll explain; until very recently, I had used free anti-virus software on my trusty laptop, but had noticed it was running decidedly slowly.

I would download the software on a month’s free trial, let that month run out then move onto the next one. You know, because I’m tight.

Whenever I ran a scan using whichever program I had on my laptop at the time, it would tell me it had identified some issues, but to resolve them would involve me stumping up and paying a subscription fee.

Sod that.

Eventually, a couple of weeks ago, I gave in, and purchased and downloaded one which had been recommended to me. I ran some scans and it definitely did the trick: my CD burner suddenly started working for this first time in many months, for a start.

And it’s a good job it had, because when I logged on last weekend, ready to type my usual slew of awesome weekend posts, I found that it had run a routine scan. Good stuff, I thought, this is the kind of thing I expect once I pay for something.

Moreover, it had decided to free up some space on my hard drive by removing any files which had not been used in X amount of time.

It would be at this point, had this been a conversation between me and my laptop (and I should stress that I do not talk to my laptop anymore than I talk to say, my fridge, or my microwave – and besides, who wants a talking laptop? It’s got far more on me than I have on it, the little rat) then it would be right here that a concerned look would cross my face and I’d say: “Rrrrrrrrright…so what have you done, exactly…..?”

And what it had done exactly was to wipe any mp3 which hadn’t been played recently on iTunes.

The problem is that I rarely use my iTunes, other than as a way of getting mp3s from my laptop onto my iPod, so there’s an awful lot of stuff which hasn’t been played on there recently.

I’ve lost a lot. I mean A LOT. My iTunes has 27,394 mp3s on it, and I reckon I’ve probably lost about 60% of those.

Plus, and some of you who I had contacted for assistance with tracking down suggestions will know this, I had been planning on (admittedly, for some time now) bringing back The Chain (I’d even started working on the next edition; no honestly, I had – look there it is in my Drafts folder!). But alas, all of the nominated songs which I had sourced or had kindly donated have also now gone.

So much of today has been spent trying to assess what has been lost and then setting about trying to source new copies of them.

That and reviewing the settings on my anti-virus software so that I don’t have to go through the whole sodding process again next time it runs a scan.

Anyway, this is one of the songs which, thankfully, survived. A cover version, yes, some might even say it’s a cover version of a cover version.

But this is my favourite version from one of my favourite albums; I could listen to Natalie Merchant singing binary code rather than words and I’d still be indecently aroused by her voice:

10,000 Maniacs – Because The Night (Live)

More soon (hopefully).

Late Night Stargazing

Posting that glorious track by 10,000 Maniacs a couple of weeks back in the Acoustic Afternoon series had the rather pleasant effect of making me go back and revisit the other records by them that I own.

King amongst them, other than the “MTV Unplugged” album, is their 1987 album “In My Tribe”, the first album I ever bought by them.

This is the closing song from that album, and it’s simply quite, quite beautiful:

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10,000 Maniacs – Verdi Cries

More soon.

Acoustic Afternoons

Ever since I posted that Glen Campbell cover of the Foo Fighters track, then the acoustic Foo Fighters track, followed by The Sundays track on…erm…Sunday, I’ve found myself generating towards acoustic records, and in particular acoustic versions of songs that I have in my record collection.

Since the wet weather more associated with the British summer time seems to have returned, thereby outing my usual splurge of summer tunes on ice for a while at least, I thought I’d share a few of them with you, every now and then, when I can be bothered. Another of my sporadic themed posts that pop up every now and then, if you like.

Of course, if I’m going to talk about artists doing acoustic versions of their own songs, it’s impossible not to mention the behemoth of the genre: MTV Unplugged.

So there, I’ve mentioned them, but to be honest I want to avoid those records as much as possible, as I figure most of you will know those recordings already. Instead, I’d prefer to have a look some lesser known ones.

Having said that, there are a couple from the MTV Unplugged series that I will feature – no, not the Nirvana one, what would be the point? – but ones which are perhaps less well known, particularly on this side of the pond, or have had a particular effect on me.

And so here’s one of those.

In 1993, 10,000 Maniacs recorded and released their Unplugged album and it, like many of their earlier albums, did little over here, with the possible exception of their cover of the Springsteen-penned “Because The Night”.

But, in the words of the host of a now defunct gameshow: we don’t want to give you that one.

Instead this, the original version of which appeared on 1992’s Our Time in Eden album, and is good, but this live, acoustic version knocks that one into a cocked hat, whatever that means.

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10,000 Maniacs – Stockton Gala Days(MTV Unplugged)

I adore lead singer Natalie Merchant’s voice, but sadly this album turned out to be her last recording with the band. She quit shortly afterwards, embarking on a solo career. The band, after a brief hiatus, continued without her. But neither of their subsequent careers are a patch on what they created as a whole.

Which is a bit of a shame, in my book.

More soon.

The Chain #35

Blimey is that the time?

Alright, alright, alright, already, we’re back, a week later than intended, but restored back to our rightful place on a Wednesday night. This was of course always the plan come 2017, and has absolutely nothing to do with Spurs getting knocked out of the Champions League and into the UEFA Europa League, where they’ll be playing their games on Thursday nights.

So those of you with exceptionally long memories will recall that at the end of The Chain #34,we were left with Malcom McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals” as the record to link to, and as usual the suggestions were many, varied and fell into on of a couple of different categories. They also include a veritable menagerie of different animals; not just buffalos, but cows, crawfish, ducklings, swans, an elk, a moose (and probably a mouse), an ostrich, and cartoon cats, canaries and flying squirrels. We’ll hear from (or mention in passing) all of these, whilst also visiting a sex shop and engaging in some Morris Dancing. Now that’s what I call fulfilling my diversity quota.

And before we go any further, I should point out that one of you gets very close indeed to guessing what the next record in The Chain – right act, wrong song, as is (apparently) so often muttered from the judges’ chairs on The X Factor.

So let’s kick things off by working through the more obvious bunch first – those that linked to “Buffalo”, and even these can be split down into two further sub-categories: those that link to Buffalo (the animal) and those that link to Buffalo (the place).

First up, is Jules from Music From Magazines who, bless him, doesn’t seem to want to let the Christmas feeling go just yet:

“…just one last go at a Christmas/NYE drunk sing along…”

Jules, you sent me this on January 3rd, mate.

“…’Go Buffalo’ is a cracking number by Like Swimming…”

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Like Swimming – Go Buffalo

“Someone who doesn’t like swimming is Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk as featured in ‘Aqua Boogie’ by Parliament, the 12″ version of which was only pressed on one side (no B side to enjoy once and then ignore ).”

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Parliament – Aqua Boogie (12″ Version)

Hold on, he’s not done yet:

“Now this is memory based, but a famous artist, entrepreneur and kiddy fiddler (hell he tried to entice my kid brother into his Roller on the Kings Road I later found out) wanted to release only single sided 45s on his UK label.”

It’s usually at about this point that I would start glancing round the bus to see if I have any chance of escape from the conversation.

“Jonathan King discovered Genesis with Peter Gabriel as a member which can only go to one place…”

I dunno about you lot, but the suspense is killing me.

“The The’s ‘Angel Of Deception’

Only joking.”

I do the jokes. And I love the album that’s from, although some of the songs haven’t really aged all that well:

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The The – Angels of Deception

So where’s the one other place that we can go to……?

“Robbie Williams – ‘Angels'”

Oh. Goodie.

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Robbie Williams – Angels

I can’t really scoff at this. Sitting in the bar at a family wedding around twenty years ago, I led the gathering in a heart-felt rendition of this. About seven times. What little hair I have left still bristles at the memory.

My favourite Robbie moment, however, was this, when he made a guest appearance in the BBC studios at the football World Cup 1998, and was ceremoniously taken down a peg or two by Martin O’Neill:

Anyway, let’s rewind, and start back at the beginning. Here, providing not only the first suggestion I received, but getting us going with a Double Linker, it’s The Great Gog:

“Buffalo is an animal that is farmed for its milk, as is a cow. The Wonder Stuff had a sizeable hit with ‘Size Of A Cow’. It just so happens that their lead singer is [popular rhyming slang] Miles Hunt who shares a surname with a racing driver who (rather tidily for this link) won the F1 Drivers Championship driving for McLaren in 1976.”

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The Wonder Stuff – The Size of a Cow

Next up is The Robster from Is This The Life? who suggests:

“I’m going for a very easy (and slightly obvious) one – ‘Guilty Girls’ by Buffalo Tom. No cryptic, convoluted link needed. They’re one of my favourite bands and that’s good enough for me!”

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Buffalo Tom – Guilty Girls

Mine too, Rob, though I have to admit to kinda losing track of them after the double-whammy of “Let Me Come Over” and “Big Red Letter Day”, so a nod towards some of their later stuff is much appreciated. (It’s as I add their name to the Tags and find their name doesn’t auto-enter that I find myself thinking: how the hell have I never featured anything from them before? I know I was going to post “Tailights Fade” a couple of months ago, but was beaten to it by the When You Can’t Remember Anything boys nicking in first. They’ll nick anything those two; you watch, they’ll be starting up a thread where they invite people to suggest records next.) (Psst! – you know I’m kidding, right chaps? And you know that because I’ve already suggested a couple over at your place.)

Speaking of obvious choices, as The Robster was, and since I mentioned When You Can’t Remember Anything, here’s Badger from the very same blog, with one of the three suggestions that I suspected we’d get this week:

“The obvious route is to ‘Buffalo Stance’ by Neneh Cherry.”

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Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance

And here’s the second one that I expected, from Alyson over at What’s It All About, Alfie?

“From Buffalo Gals to…. “

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Buffalo Soldier

The third other one that I was expecting to get mentioned, wasn’t, although babylotti came pretty close, as you’ll see in the fullness of time. So I guess, I’d better suggest it:

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Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

That song has had various segments of it lifted, quoted, or sampled on many different records over the years, one of my favourites is this, which I seem to associate with a break-dancing Transformer and I’m not sure why: was it in the video? Or used in an advert? Or did I eat far too much cheese before bed one night….?

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Les Rythmes Digitales – (Hey You) What’s That Sound?

A change of pace now. No great explanation from Rol of My Top Ten this week:

“Just two suggestions this week. I was going to try for just one, but I can’t decide between the two below:”

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Kathleen Edwards – Buffalo

and

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The Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo

In fact, many of the suggestions were pretty brief, once you take out all of the most welcome Christmas and New Year messages, along with all of the very kind things many of you said about this place which I’m far too modest to post here. For example, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“In ‘Burning Lights’, Joe Strummer sings ‘…you are the last of the buffalo…’ and it’s a wilderness years highlight so I’ll nominate that please.”

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Joe Strummer – Burning Lights

Over to George now, with a suggestion which comes pretty close to winning the Comment Showboat Award of the week:

“Buffalos have horns, a bony structure on the top of their heads. Another animal with a bony structure on its head is the elk (although they have antlers, but they are still bony), and the elk is also known as a moose. And from my childhood I can recall a lyric featuring the word “moose”, namely “there’s a moose loose aboot this hoose”, which is one of the few lyrics in a song by Lord Rockingham ‘s X1. I think the song is called ‘Hoots Mon’. And I bet everyone will recognise the tune once they play it.”

There’s only one way to find out:

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Lord Rockingham’s XI – Hoots Mon!

Could I ask my friends North of the Border to clarify something for us, he’s actually saying ‘mouse’ isn’t he….? Not that I’m going to disqualify George’s suggestion, because it definitely sounds like ‘moose’.

George included a link to a video clip to his suggestion, something which made him smile. You know where to go to find that. Instead, in case any of you in the UK were wondering quite where you recognise that song from, I would think it’s maybe from this:

Look out. Jules is back:

“Thanks George for the moose link! Casting my mind back to the cartoon series ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ about a flying squirrel and a moose (yes, I know) takes one inevitability to ROCKY with some great tunes. Let’s move on to the star Sylvester Stallone.

Sylvester’s work makes me feel mighty real but I preferred his work with Tweety Pie.”

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Mel Blanc – I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat

Over now to Martin, who I think has posted here before, but forgive me Martin, I’m a little rusty. If this is your first time, then we’d all like to offer you a warm Chain Gang welcome, if not, then we’d all like to offer you a warm Chain Gang welcome back.

Anyway, here’s Martin’s suggestion:

“…On the basis that ‘Buffalo Gals’ is a perfect anagram of ‘Bagful of Las’ [and it is, I’ve checked], can I pitch for the ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s, please? Especially if I promise not to resort to anagrams to often…”

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The La’s – There She Goes

Just one more obvious-ish Buffalo link, and it’s another from me. I was about to write that this was one of my favourite records from the past couple of years, until I checked and found out it was released in 2010, and so now I just feel very, very old indeed:

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Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For

Okay, here comes Dirk from Sexyloser and he’s gonna get all geographic on your asses:

“Loads of great musicians come from Buffalo in the state of New York, located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie at the head of the Niagara River: I trust it’s a fantastic place to go … I mean, I’ve never been there and certainly don’t want to go, but either way …! Where was I? Ah yes, musicians include John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey out of 10,000 Maniacs, so their ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ should be fitting, right?”

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10,000 Maniacs – Anthem For Doomed Youth

“Also Buffalo is a twin town to Dortmund, Germany and I’m sure you all know that Phillip Boa out of Phillip Boa and The Voodoo Club come from Dortmund. If memory serves correctly, he was featured before, but not with ‘Ostrich’, my favourite song of theirs: does that count? I hope it does….”

He has featured here before, Dirk, but you’re right, not with that song, so here you go:

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Phillip Boa & The Voodoo Club – Ostrich (Love is Not The Same)

Okay, something a little more…erm…traditional next. This suggestion comes from Jonny, who is definitely a first time poster here, so please all offer him a warm Chain Gang welcome.

The reason I know this is Jonny’s first time posting here, is because he’s an old mate of mine; we went to the same school although, inevitably, I’m a few years older than him so we didn’t know each other then, but we used to work together in the kitchen of a greasy motorway café masquerading as a family restaurant back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I worked there every holiday throughout college, and ultimately for a year after I graduated, and it Jonny and I forged a great friendship. He was into photography and I enjoyed writing; together we cobbled together a spoof corporate newsletter called “The Crappy Eater” (which gives you a pretty good clue as to the identity of the place we worked in), where we basically took the piss out of and made up shit about our work colleagues. We “accidentally” left it laying around in the staff room one day and…well, some people found it funny, but some of the old dears who worked there were definitely not impressed. Somewhere, buried in a box, somewhere in my flat, I think I have a couple of the articles we wrote. I doubt many of you will be interested as you won’t know the people we’re winding up, but Jonny: if I can find them, I’ll email you copies.

Anyway, one of the reasons that Jonny and I got on so well, apart from the fact that we were amazingly cool gods of the burger griddle, was that we both shared similar music tastes of an indie-ish nature, and it was with Jonny that I ventured to London’s Brixton Academy back in 1992 to see Sonic Youth play promoting their “Dirty” album, ably supported by Pavement and Huggy Bear. Long term readers may recall me writing about it here a long time ago.

So when Jonny sent me a suggestion, I was expecting it would be a really cool blast from the past. I was half right: it was definitely a blast from the past, but also most definitely not really cool.

Over to you Jonny (and I should add, I have had to edit this because I’m not all that familiar with the libel laws so I thought it best I erred on the side of caution):

“So ‘Buffalo Gals’ takes me here (I know the connection is loose and somewhat obscure, but hear me out)” [S’okay, Jonny, I like my connections like I like my women: loose and obscure]

“…back to being a 13 year old, purple legged, lanky piece of shit who was forced on a yearly basis to take part in the school’s Country Dancing display…” [He was quite lanky. I suspect he may have played the part of the Maypole]

“Those Buffalo Gals going round the outside, for me, conjured up images of a scantily clad maths teacher I quite liked the look of prancing round my bed wooing me in for my first sexual experience. Sadly for me, that never happened.

My brief day/wet dream would then be shattered by my then form tutor kicking out the jams with his ‘Molly Dance’. Terrible song. Terrible timing.

But somehow that fucking ‘Molly Dance’ found its way into my record collection and remained there for many a year until in a moment of skint madness I flogged the entire collection of over 700 pieces of carefully chosen vinyl masterpieces for about the amount of a gas bill.”

Anyway, crowbar that in your chain and pull it.”

700 pieces of carefully chosen vinyl masterpieces…and this:

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Ramblin’ Rod & His New Morris Van – (I Can Do The) Molly Dance

If I may fill in a couple of the blanks: the eponymous Ramblin’ Rod was in fact the Morris Dancing alter-ego of Jonny’s form tutor. And the Morris Van bit is “…a joke, that’s short for ‘vanguard'”, said Ramblin’ Rod in what was probably his only ever interview, which apparently took place at a party where “where Rod and friends were wassailing by dipping buttered toast in cider, then sticking the resulting “soldiers” in every tree trunk they could find.” Sounds like one hell of a party, right?

Before we get into the other big category – links to Malcom McLaren – let’s round up the other suggestions.

Here’s Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“Taking the ‘Girls’ theme [actually, it’s Gals, but since I made the same error in The Chain #34 I’ll let it slide] – a celebration of Girls everywhere; a wonderful piece of late 70s, possibly un-PC, Music Hall-esque nonsense:”

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Sailor – Girls, Girls, Girls

Yeh, it’s definitely not PC, but it’s no (previously featured) “Some Girls” by Racey is it?

There, that didn’t take long, did it?

Time for some Malcolm McLaren links, I think. Here’s Alyson, back for another go:

“Malcolm McLaren also released Double Dutch from the same album and that led me to think of Ray and Anita, that Dutch duo who were ’90s dance outfit 2 Unlimited. How about a bit of ‘No Limit’…?”

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2 Unlimited – No Limit

Given how many times the word “No” features in that song, I’ve always found it a little weird that it begins with Ray (I assume it’s not Anita) pleading to hear us say “Yeah!”.

Always reminds me of Jim Trott, that song. You know, Jim Trott, right?

Hold on, I feel a catchphrase coming on. Cue fanfare.

Well, if you’re going to suggest that (a record which features the word “No” many, many times), then I’m going to suggest this lot, back for a second airing this week:

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The Wonder Stuff – No, For The 13th Time

Back to McLaren links, and back to George:

“From Malcolm McLaren to Malcolm McDowell, he of Clockwork Orange, to The Fall and their 6 min 20 second masterpiece ‘Kurious Oranj'”

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The Fall – Kurious Oranj

Readers of a certain age will remember (a different) Curious Orange from Lee and Herring’s “This Morning with Richard Not Judy” show; this was the best (quality, if not necessarily the funniest) clip I could find:

Anyway. Where were we? Ah yes: McLaren and his numerous links. Here to add to them is The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“I know that for a while Malcolm McLaren managed quite a famous band, though for the life of me I can’t remember their name 🙂 Instead I’ll go down the producer route. Trevor Horn produced ‘Buffalo Gals’ and among his many (and varied) other credits is Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’, from which I’d like to suggest ‘ Step Into My Office, Baby’.”

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Belle & Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby

Tailgating on the back of that suggestion, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music with another short but sweet entry:

“The band that The Swede was referring to was clearly Bow Wow Wow so ‘I Want Candy’ please”

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Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy

Much as I love that version (and I really do), this – the original, I think – shades it for me:

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The Strangeloves – I Want Candy

As I’m writing this on Wednesday evening, after Trump’s first speech, and after a load of new salacious rumours began circulating about him, I wondered if I’d be able to get through this post without making reference to it. I reckon if I can get passed a band called The Strangeloves without making a joke, I’ll have done well.

Ah well. Guess I blew it.

Back to McLaren, and here’s babylotti, who’s taking us on a trip over to New York:

“From Malcolm Mclaren, manager of New York Dolls for a minimal time, leads me to David Johansen. I’ll suggest Wreckless Crazy from him…”

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David Johansen – Wreckless Crazy

“…which links me to Johnny Thunders. I’m going to suggest his version of Crawfish with Patti Palladin…”

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Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin – Crawfish

“…and my last link, after the disastrous year for celebrity deaths I feel I have to go for ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ by Ronnie Spector with Joey Ramone.”

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Ronnie Spector (feat Joey Ramone) – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory

Of course, the McLaren-managed band that you’ve all done exceptionally well not to mention, but which my brother would never speak to me again if I didn’t, are the Sex Pistols, so here’s one which is by no means one of their finest moments, but it’s one which we’ve both got a bit of a soft spot for:

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Sex Pistols – Silly Thing

But undoubtedly, the best suggestion of the week, the Comment Showboat of choice, came from Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“About ten years ago, there was an ITV reality show called “The Baron”, the premise being that three celebrities attempted to curry favour in a little coastal village in Aberdeenshire in order to be elected as the new Baron of Troup. The show was a complete damp squib and buried in a late night slot, so there’s no reason for anyone to recall it, really. The only reason *I* remember it is that I happen to live close to the village where it was filmed, and a few of my friends appeared in it.

Getting to the point, the three celebrities flown in were Mike “Runaround” Reid (who won, and then almost immediately snuffed it), Suzanne Shaw from Hear’Say, and… Malcolm McLaren. See, there was some relevance to all of this. On those grounds I would have suggested Mike Reid’s reading (or reiding) of “The Ugly Duckling”, but I think that should really have linked to the last record in the chain rather than the current on, so…”

Whoa there cowboy! That’s a good enough reason for me to post what is not only the Comment Showboat of the Week, but is also the Cheesiest Record of the Week (and since we’ve already featured 2 Unlimited, that’s no mean feat):

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Mike Reid – The Ugly Duckling

That bit in brackets on the record label is a bit harsh, isn’t it?

Anyway, as you were Alex; you were about to proffer your actual suggestion:

“… so bearing in mind there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure [there isn’t, there really isn’t, though sometimes you lot really test that theory], let’s have Hear’Say’s Betty Boo-penned signature hit ‘Pure And Simple’ instead.”

Otherwise known as “The song where it looks like someone’s lighting their farts in the video”:

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Hear’Say – Pure & Simple

And in case you think that’s the cheesiest record of the week, you’re wrong: as Alex G says, it was written by Betty Boo which automatically makes it one of the best records of the week. So there.

Anyway, the aforementioned Miss Shaw was at one time the latest squeeze of serial philanderer and chicken in a basket entertainer Darren Day, which leads me to this:

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Hazel O’Connor – D-Days

Uh oh. Jules has climbed back on board. Quick everybody, avoid eye contact, stare at your copy of the Metro, pretend to make a phone call:

“Malcolm McLaren used to run a boutique on the King’s Road with Vivienne Westwood it was called SEX, most of the sex shops I used to frequent [Jules – have you ever heard the term “over-sharing”…?] mostly sold gentlemen’s magazines and ‘marital aids’ aka vibrators. Not the punk band but the American slang for a vibrator Steely Dan…”Deacon Blues”:

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Steely Dan – Deacon Blues

“…which as it happens contains the line ‘they call Alabama the crimson tide’. Crimson Tide of course is a fine film about a Russian/USA standoff… [no comparisons to be made with anything going on in world news there then…] …so:”

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The Clash – Ivan Meets G.I. Joe

Mention of Vivienne got me thinking of other famous Westwood’s, and the first one that sprang to mind was former Radio 1 and 1Xtra hip-hop DJ and host of the UK version of Pimp My Ride, Tim Westwood, who happens to be the son of the former Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Reverend Bill Westwood. And since I grew up in and around that fine cathedral city, this seems appropriate:

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The Long Blondes – Peterborough

Which should be the end, but George suggested this which, following a year of so many celebrity deaths, seemed an apt way to finish things off this week:

“Buffalo Gals was released in 1982. As was ‘Wham Rap!’ by Wham. (I find myself very ,very sad at George Michael’s death). I bought this in 1982, still have it, and still think it’s a toptastic pop song, it’s impossible to sit still when this plays.”

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Wham – Wham Rap!

Time to wrap things up then, and let’s find out what the next record in The Official Chain was:

“Produced by Malcolm McLaren were…”

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35. Bow Wow Wow – C30 C60 C90

Oh go on then, half a bonus point to Charity Chic for guessing the band, if not the song.

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments section below, for records that you can link to Bow Wow Wow’s “C30 C60 C90”, and don’t forget to explain the link in your suggestion.

See you next week (more soon).