Jubilee

And so, in the UK, the last bank holiday weekend of the first half of the year starts, and this year we get an extra day, in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

There’s only one song to post to mark such a momentous occasion:

Blur – Jubilee

I say “there’s only one song”, but of course, I have some others (and count yourself lucky that I couldn’t think of an hour’s worth or this post would be appearing as a mix tomorrow night).

Let’s start with that image up top, HRH beamed onto Stonehenge. What is the fecking point of that? What are we trying to say? That she’s been on the throne so long she was around when those stones were put in place? That she was created by druids? That she looks particularly fine at the summer solstice? That she has lots of nice hats?

Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that, screaming lefty/woke snowflake (delete as applicable) that I am, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the Royal family. Give me The Royle Family any day (Everton fans, I do not mean Joe Royle, although I’m sure they’re lovely).

Even if I was, I think I’d find it in rather poor taste that, as we go into a cost of living crisis, we’re – to use a phrase coined by our (at the time of writing) #CrimeMinister – “spaffing” millions of pounds up the wall to put on events up and down the country which even she can’t be bothered to turn up to is too old and unstable on her feet to attend. Of course, chuck in a few horses and Alan Titchmarsh and she’s up and out of bed faster than if somebody had wafted some gin in front of her sister.

Still, I suppose with street parties being thrown up and down the country, perhaps the pressure on food banks might be temporarily relieved…

The Housemartins – Flag Day

“It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Try shaking a box in front of the Queen
‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean.”

There is, of course, a Platinum Party At The Palace, and here’s who’s performing:

I suspect that HRH knows even fewer of those names than I do.

And frankly, with the exception of Elton (provided he’s not in Pub Singer mode) and Nile Rogers, I don’t think there’s anyone there that I’d change channels to watch either. (In case you were thinking of challenging me on this, I’ve seen Diana Ross before, and I’m not overly keen on repeating that…)

The Venn diagram, if I were to compose one, of Conservative voters/supporters of the #CrimeMinister, would doubtless show a large overlap where those that think he is doing a good job intersect with those who bloody love The Queen. Which is odd when you think back a few months and recall that he has had to apologise twice to Her Madge: firstly, for the ruddy great parties that were held in Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, when he said: ““I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened…I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgements that were made, and for which I take full responsibility.”

“Renew” is an interesting word there, because of course this was not the first time that he had to apologise to HRH; back in 2019 he apparently rang the Queen to personally apologise for embarrassing her after the Supreme Court ruled his prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

He didn’t apologise for doing it, mind, oh no. He apologised for any embarrassment him doing it caused her.

What I’m saying is this: if you still support our #CrimeMinister and are celebrating the Platinum Jubilee, then congratulations. In psychology, this holding of two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time is known as cognitive dissonance. But to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

Truly, you have “first-rate intelligence”, unfettered by logic or reason. Well done you.

So when over the weekend I will doubtless see footage of people waving Union Jack flags, dressed in Union Jack apparel and scoffing some sausage rolls at a street party as they cheer HRH, this song will be playing in my head:

The Housemartins – The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death

“The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought The Queen was charming.”

Earlier, I touched on the cost of these celebrations, and there is another point which you should consider here: it was only a matter of a few months ago that HRH reputedly paid £2 million ($2.7 million) so that Virginia Giuffre would drop her civil sexual assault case against non-sweaty poster boy for Pizza Express (Woking branch) Prince Andrew. Which, of course – same as Michael Jackson did with all those families claiming he was a a paedophile – one would do if he was totally innocent of all charges, as claimed…

The Smiths – Nowhere Fast

“I’d like to drop my trousers to The Queen
Every sensible child will know what this means
The poor and the needy are selfish and greedy on her terms.”

One song to go, and it’s an obvious one that I doubt I will be alone in posting today:

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

But with all that said, I’ll gladly take the extra day off work. In other words: Happy Platty Joobs, Ma’am.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

I’m not sure how we got here, but get we here we did.

It’s Friday! And that can mean only one thing: fish and chip supper!

Okay, let’s try that again.

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for the latest chunk of reconstituted tuneage that is Vol 4.2 of the Friday Night Music Club!

As with last week’s instalment, this is the mammoth Vol 4 broken down into easy-to-swallow, hour long pieces, only with the running order tweaked – some songs added, some taken away, some just moved – from when the long mix made its appearance here back in April 2021, albeit via a link to Soundcloud.

You know the drill by now: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are, of course, mine.

Oh, and a cursory look down the track-listing will tell you that this one needs one of these slapped on it:

OK, ready? Let’s get going then:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 4.2

Track-listing:

  1. Alex Gaudino feat. Crystal Waters – Destination Unknown
  2. Fedde Le Grande feat. Ida Corr – Let Me Think About It
  3. Richard X Feat. Kelis – Finest Dreams
  4. Shakedown – At Night
  5. X-Press 2 feat. David Byrne – Lazy
  6. Layo & Bushwacka! – Love Story
  7. Devo – Whip It
  8. Pete Shelley – Homosapien
  9. Working Men’s Club – John Cooper Clarke
  10. John Cooper Clarke – Twat
  11. The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
  12. Delta 5 – Mind Your Own Business
  13. Clor – Love+Pain
  14. Elastica – Never Here
  15. Blur – M.O.R. (Road Version)
  16. Denim – Middle of the Road

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Here we are again, this week with the penultimate part of my six-hour mix, divided into six parts for your ‘delectation’.

And this week I think it’s fair to say we’re going full-on Indie Disco, albeit one from circa 1992 (with a few notable exceptions).

It’s also fair to say that once we’ve got past the chanting monks at the start of the first tune (and what better way is there to start a mix than with some chanting monks, right?) we go very LOUD before settling down to a mix of songs you’ll know, some you’ll have forgotten about, and possibly some that you’ve never heard before. Which is exactly how an Indie Disco should be, in my book: entertain and educate.

Many of these tunes remind me of when I used to DJ at college, but two in particular remind me of the first time I DJ’d in around 10 years or so (I’m excluding the time Llŷr and I DJ’d at a friend’s wedding, as all I did that day was hand him records to play).

I was at a party at Hel’s old flat in North London; our friend Ruth, her decks set up on the breakfast bar which looked out on to the living room-cum-dancefloor, has just performed a mammoth set of around 8 hours. People were starting to leave, and I figured she deserved a break. It was around 4am when I sidled up to her: “Do you mind if I have a go?” She nearly bit my hand off, and went and sat on the sofa with Hel.

Since they were practically my entire audience, every one else having left or crashed out, I decided to play some quieter stuff. My first choice caused both of my audience to break off their conversation momentarily, look in my direction, and go “Awwww!” I repeated the trick with my second choice. “Ahhhhhh!”, sighed the two ladies.

“Still got it,” I thought to myself, and played for another hour or so, until it was time to pack the decks away so Ruth could go home too.

I shan’t spoil things by telling you which two tunes I played, but you’ll spot them alright. Partly because, if you know the tunes in question (and I’d be very surprised if you don’t recognise either of them) you’ll probably make similar noises to Hel and Ruth when they start (I’ve put them together here, for maximum effect), but mostly because I couldn’t resist putting a massive sign-post in right before them.

I’ve done mixes, playlists, call them what you will, for years in various guises, from mix-tapes played in the 6th Form common room, in the motorway ‘restaurant’ I worked in during the holidays at 6th Form and at college (and for a year after I graduated), and in the video shop I pretended to work in after I finally graduated, all were sound-tracked by an ever-growing collection of mix-tapes. DJ’ing at college was almost inevitable, really. And then, when I left college – bar a very short, unpleasant stint working for a mobile DJ in Cardiff in the early 90s, which I’ll tell you about some other time (if I haven’t do so already) – nothing.

It was in those moments, standing in Hel’s kitchen, playing to an audience of two awake people and several sleeping ones, that I realised how much I missed DJ’ing, which is why I do these mixes.

So whilst the last of the six parts will be here next week, I’m already adding the final touches to the one for the week after. In short: tough luck, I’m not stopping just yet.

Time for the usual disclaimer: any skips and jumps in the mix are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me (although on this one, it’s all about the timing rather than the mixing, as the cross-fader literally didn’t move from it’s central position throughout this one).

A cross-fader, yesterday

I’m not sure if that’s something I should be proud of, let alone advertise, to be honest…

There is, as usual, a little bit of potty-mouthed effing and jeffing, only on one song (I think), and as you cast your eye down the track-listing below, you’ll have no problem identifying which one it is. Previous mixes have contained worse (and next week’s mix definitely does), but it would be remiss of me not slap one of these on it for those of a delicate constitution:

Here you go:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 6.5

And here’s your track-listing:

  • Eat – Bleed Me White
  • Hole – Celebrity Skin
  • Senseless Things – Homophobic Asshole
  • The Futureheads – The Beginning of the Twist
  • Northside – Take 5 (7″)
  • The Fatima Mansions – Only Losers Take The Bus
  • The Smiths – Jeane
  • Billy Bragg – Sexuality
  • Elastica – Connection
  • Sleeper – Inbetweener
  • The Cure – In Between Days
  • Super Furry Animals – (Drawing) Rings Around The World
  • Teenage Fanclub – Star Sign (Remastered)
  • The Soup Dragons – Slow Things Down
  • Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
  • Blur – Coffee + TV (Radio Edit)
  • Pulp – Something Changed
  • One Dove – White Love (Radio Mix)
  • Prince – Little Red Corvette

Next week is, then, the final part of this series, where the cross-fader is in full effect as I give you over an hour of dance bangers (as I believe “The” “Kids” say, or used to anyway), which tests my actual mixing skills to the maximum, including as it does what my mate Rob insists is “the hardest tune in the world to mix in or out of.”

Tune in next week to see how successful I am.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

For quite some time now, I’ve been pondering what it is that is preventing me from posting with the same regularity as I was last year.

I’ve worked it out.

Regular readers will know that I generally sit on a Friday night, have a few drinks and write posts for the next week. But for a while now, I’ve become preoccupied on doing a new mix.

Warning: artist at work excuse incoming.

See, whilst they seem remarkably unpopular, I really enjoy piecing together a long playlist/mix/call it what you will, and that inevitably means a few drafts which don’t quite, to quote Echo & The Bunnymen, cut the mustard.

So, I’ve been working on this mix for some time now, but somehow something always seemed to prevent me from finishing it, be it me tinkering with the running order, or thinking of new tunes to toss in, or some kind of technical calamity, or (more often) listening to it and realising I’ve utterly messed up a mix and I simply can’t bear to have anyone else listen to it.

I’m not going to pretend all of the mixes between tunes here are perfect – there’s at least one which I know isn’t – but I’ve reached the point where it’s close enough to let it go and move on to something else, before I drive myself mad searching for perfection.

So here’s my latest mix, imperfect though it may be; frustrating as it has been, I really like this one, which starts off in the usual way – slowly – before getting into a groove which includes Kings of Leon from before they went stadium and knew how to use a cowbell, a new(ish) track by The Chemical Brothers, an obligatory Soulwax remix, two of the finest female pop stars going: Miley Cyrus & Dua Lipa (not on the same tune, sadly), the occasional hidden ‘joke’ (by which I mean it seemed funny when I first put the songs together, less so now), via Madonna having a short chat with Johnny Cash.

It’s the usual mix of songs you love, songs you’ve forgotten about, and songs which make you think “What the hell has he put this on here for??”. Some might say eclectic, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Think mainly Indie guitar stuff, with a few dance tunes, 80s pop songs and a couple of timeless classics – at least one of which you probably won’t have heard before – thrown in.

As always, no track-listing – I like to imagine your faces when the next song kicks in – but there’s a list of featured artists on the right hand side in case you want to see what you’re letting yourself in for. Which is a treat, obviously. If you desperately need to know what a track is, either Shazam it or, if you’d like to feed my ego, ask me via the Comments at the bottom of this post.

Usual disclaimer: any skips and jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes (and, as I say, there is at least one) is down to me. Either way: Sorry!

One more thing: you may recall that last time out I mentioned that my brother had said he managed to predict what I was going to play next, which annoyed me greatly. No such criticism of the last mix, although he told me he listened to it whilst out on his morning run, so some of the sudden gear changes weren’t helpful. I’ve tried to rectify that this time, with a relatively steady beat and tempo maintained throughout (after you’ve got past the traditional slow start) for those of you who listen to this whilst doing your exercises (not that I really understand what that means). The danger was that it would denigrate into either a Ministry of Sound pumping dance mix or a Top Gear/Best Driving Songs…in the World…Ever! playlist, but I think the song choices just about keep us on the right side of that happening.

Let’s say it starts slowly, gets into a groove, and then has more false endings than a Status Quo single.

I’m a bit annoyed that since I first decided to include it, at least on song here has popped up in an advert – and you know how I feel about them – for burgers, of all things. Rest assured, the advert in question was not the inspiration for the song’s inclusion. You’ll know it when you hear it, I think.

Oh and there are several songs which feature effing and jeffings – “sexual swear words” as Simon Bates used to say at the start of videos – so please avoid if you are easily offended by unfettered vulgarity and sauciness. Look, there’s a Goldie Lookin’ Chain tune which is probably the rudest and most inappropriate (but funny) thing I’ll ever post, so beware.

For a limited time (until I do another one, so y’know, could be months), you can stream or download it via Soundcloud here.

More soon.

Glastonbury, So Much to Answer For

There’s only one way to end a look back at past Glastonbury headliners, isn’t there?

As I watched this set from the comfort of my sofa, I cursed my luck that I wasn’t in one particular field in Somerset.

Annoyingly, the full gig doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, other than an audio clip which conks out in the opening seconds and then restarts about ten minutes in. If I manage to find a link to the complete concert, I’ll add it later.

In the meantime, here’s Blur’s somewhat frantic set from 2009; to my mind, this is what a headline set should be: a greatest hits sing-a-long.

I’m so jealous of everyone I know who were there that year, as they constantly remind me of just how brilliant this is:

Blur – Live at Glastonbury 2009

Just magnificent. Suck on that, Liam.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

I was beginning to think this mix was jinxed.

I’ll explain, with some back story.

Firstly, I wanted to do a mix unlike the Not Christmas one, which I thought strayed a bit too far into the territories of cheese or chart music. Whilst it served a purpose, it wasn’t really indicative of the sort of tunes which usually feature here.

This one, though is a corker, even if I do say so myself.

Regular readers may recall that way back in the late 1980s, I started DJ’ing at college because I was fed up with being able to guess what song the indie DJs would play next. So imagine my annoyance when my own brother told me that on a previous mix he’d been able to predict my next choice a couple of times. Grrr.

But this mix has proved to be such a pain to complete; when I came to do it today, it tells me that some of the tunes have been played 22 times, which gives you an idea of how many times I’ve tried to get this one right. Pretty much once a week, since Christmas.

What’s gone wrong all those times? Well, on more than one occasion professional pride kicked in: I’ve messed up a mix between tunes, so have elected to start again.

On more than one occasion, preoccupied with playing Solitaire or Candy Crush just to have something to do whilst recording the mix, there’s a sudden, irretrievable silence where the next record should be. Oops!

Once I forgot to stop recording until an hour later, and, triumphant at how the mixes had worked out, I couldn’t understand why the mix lasted over 5 hours, until I listened to it.

The other problem is booze. More than once, I’ve taken drink to such an extent that I’ve forgotten I was doing a mix until the silence after one record has finished hits home and startled me awake.

Last weekend, I got to the third record from the end, and suddenly woke up to silence and realised I’d messed up again. That’s not an indictment of the standard of the mix, by the way, more an example of how drunk I’d gotten.

Even last night, when I finally nailed it, it was my second attempt of the night, having got through most of the mix when I had a drink-spillage event, which I thought I’d sorted, until, four records from the end, suddenly the sound cut out whilst the tunes kept playing and I had no idea if it was still recording the sound or the sound of silence.

Anyway, we’ve got here, and this has been a real pain, so if you could take a listen, that would be great.

I will confess that I have broken the golden rule of not featuring the same act more than once in this mix; this wasn’t intentional, but as the various run-throughs progressed, I simply forgot said acts already appeared as “featuring” acts. One is deliberate. Sue me (Please don’t).

Time for the usual disclaimer: any glitches, skips or jumps are down to the software or the uploading/downloading process, and nothing to do with my limited mixing skills.

Oh, and the usual “effing and jeffing” warning applies; it seems I’m incapable of doing a mix which doesn’t include more than the occasional swear.

I’m not posting a link to download here, other than the one to Soundcloud, where you can either download or stream it.

I couldn’t be bothered with the last ones, but I’ve done it this time: you’ll see a list of all the acts featured in this mix at the bottom of the page, so you can check whether this one’s likely to be your cup of tea before going to the hassle of actually listening to it. If you’re particularly short of things to do, you can try to guess which song I’ve picked by which artist. There’s fun.

But by way of a description: pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.

Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.

Available for a limited time (i.e. until I do the next one), you can download or stream this on Soundcloud here:

Friday Night Music Club (Volume 4)

I hope you have as much fun listening to this as much as I had putting it together. And I found it utterly frustrating, so you’d better.

Oh, and it ain’t over ’til the fat bloke sings.

More soon.

The Chain #47

Finished!!!!

Yes, like a toddler who has just finished doing his business but doesn’t know how to wipe his own bottom yet, I stand before you, poking my arse in your general direction, innocent eyes pleading for assistance (I must say, this analogy works loads more than I expected it to), and announcing: The Chain is back!

Yes, I thought I’d have been a bit more prolific in writing these during “lockdown” too. What do you want me to say? I’m not Cher, I can’t turn back time.

Truth be told I’ve got a little too involved with two things recently: firstly, trimming down duplicate songs on my iTunes which prevent me from updating my iPod with anything I’ve acquired in the last twelve months or so; and secondly a DJ-mixing app which I’m determined to get to grips with so you can have some proper mixes by yours truly (which I’m sure you’re absolutely crying out for).

That aside, I’ll start with a recap: last time out, we were left with this as our source record:

Donovan – Mellow Yellow

Ordinarily, the easiest way to come up with a suggestion is to link to any of the words in the title or the artiste (this isn’t a criticism, it’s how I come up with about 90% of my own suggestions), but when you’ve only got three words to work with, it makes things tricky, and some serious creativity (by which I mean showboating) is needed.

So, in terms of a running order this time around, I thought I’d work through the suggestions which link to Donovan, then to Mellow, then to Yellow, and then we’ll all crash back onto our beds as we climax with those that have drilled down a little deeper, so to speak.

But first: a spoiler. Well, two actually. Firstly, nobody suggested the next record in the actual Chain this time around, and secondly there is no Showboater of the Week award this time. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great records about to cross your path, ingeneously reached, but nothing quite point-worthy (Does anyone know where George, the Undisputed King of Showboating, is, by the way?).

There is most definitely a Worst Record of the Week award. In fact, it’s arguably the worst record I’ve ever posted, and I’ve posted The Wurzels before now (and will do again!).

OK, so let’s kick off with the Donovan related stuff. And where better to start than with something from Rol of My Top Ten fame who seems to have become my standard person to start with, even if his first suggestion this time around was somewhat confrontational:

“Do we also lose points if we mention Jason Donovan? Surely history has been kinder to him that Coldplay?”

I should explain. I signed off the last edition of The Chain with the words: “Minus points to anyone who suggests Coldplay. You’ve been warned.” This was intended not so much as a slur against the band, even though I do think they’re absolute dog-shit (through-gritted teeth: with a couple of admittedly decent songs in their back catalogue that they’ve inadvertently stumbled upon).

Besides, I was rather surprised at Rol’s reticence to suggest a bit of Jason Donovan, given that many years ago, noting my “There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure” tagline, he had reached out to me for a bit of support in justifying…I won’t say his love of, nor admiration, but…the fact that he quite liked some records by Erinsborough’s second finest pop star (and no, Stefan Dennis is not the first). I duly responded with a post explaining why liking Jason Donovan records is perfectly acceptable, which, since I seem to be a little short of clips and funnies this time out, included this:

Anyway, after much to-ing and fro-ing, Rol was placated by me saying I’d happily post something by the definitely-not-lemon-juice-haired-Aussie wonder, so here we go. And a further explanatory word from Rol:

“I do remember thinking Too Many Broken Hearts was a half decent pop song, even at the time (and I generally hated everything SAW did). Plus, I saw Jason in the War of the Worlds stage show a few years ago and he was much better than Marti Pellow.

Yeah, I know. That’s not saying much.”

It’s a banger, mate. Don’t fret. Chill out. You’re amongst friends here.

And if I may interject with a quote from comedian Kevin Bridges: ““Marti Pellow: the only man who had to leave Glasgow to become a heroin addict”.

Anyway, here you go:

Jason Donovan – Too Many Broken Hearts

And before you ask: no, that’s not the worst record of the week. Not by a long chalk. (Is that a phrase? ‘Tis now.)

So, who else came up with a suggestion to the word Donovan? Well, now’s the time for the fevered mind that is Rigid Digit (the man responsible for all that appears on Stuff & Nonsense), to step up to the plate with his first suggestion, which whilst it links to the Donovan name, gives us a good steer as to the waters we may well find ourselves paddling in later:

“Donovan could’ve become Father-in-Law to a Mr S Ryder from Manchester.

His daughter Oriole shacked up with Shaun, and gave birth to one of his (many) daughters.

And if it wasn’t Shaun, then Donovan’s other daughter was knocking about with Paul Ryder.

The Happy Mondays had the song “Donovan” on Pills n Thrills & Bellyaches (which also samples a bit of Sunshine Superman).

And here it is:

Happy Mondays – Donovan

That would’ve earned points had it ended with “…(which also samples a bit of Mellow Yellow)…” but as it didn’t my shiny points will remain in my silk points purse.

Whilst there were several other suggestions which linked to Donovan the person, there was only one other which linked to Donovan the name. And that was **checks notes**…erm…me:

Cornershop – Jason Donovan/Tessa Sanderson (Version)

Ok, that’ll do for Donovan/Jason Donovan links. Let’s move on to links to the word Mellow. And it’s back to Rol, who, still somewhat reticent and tail between his legs for the Jason Donovan situation, came back with this as a very strong contender:

“Mellow Birds was a particularly rank brand of Instant Coffee that was popular when we were growing up and therefore became my first experience of coffee… which I promptly decided I didn’t like much and stuck to tea. It took me years to try coffee again and see the error of my ways.

Anyway, here are two songs that link vaguely to that….”

Guy Clark – Instant Coffee Blues

Closely followed by:

eels – I Like Birds

Catchphrase time!

Wel if you’re having that, then I’m having this:

Terry Scott – I Like Birds

It was a different time, alright?

Time for a little wander off from the chosen path, I think.

Here is a prime example of a suggestion which goes the extra mile and it’s no surprise to find it’s from Rigid Digit (I promise, other people have suggested stuff):

“Donovan went to India with The Beatles, and whilst there taught Paul McCartney the claw-like finger picking techniques which Macca then adapted (because he was left-handed) and came up with…”

The Beatles – Blackbird

I imagine you will all know that McCartney was due to headline on the Saturday night at Glastonbury this year, until bloody Covid-19 ruined everything. Not that I had a ticket, mind. But as previously mentioned elsewhere on these pages, I was fortunate enough to see him there when he headlined in 2004. He played Blackbird that night, I thought at about the second or third song, but trusty songlist.fm tells me it was tenth in the set. Either way, I remember it as we all sang along, realising what a special set I was watching.

Indulge me for a moment:

Apart from all the deaths and distrust that Covid-19 has brought, I think it’s important that we remember and recognise the cultural impact too.

Anyway, where next?

Well, in case you haven’t been paying attention, we’re still on the section where we’re looking at songs which link to the word Mellow, so what else have we got?

Over to the phoenix from the flames that is The Robster, who I’m sure we can all agree we’re delighted to see has been coaxed out of semi-retirement to start posting again over at Is This The Life which currently has an angry but sad tribute to the man who wrote the song the blog is named after, Tim Smith of Cardiacs. I urge you to read it it, and if you don’t know the music of Cardiacs, follow The Robster’s suggestions. He knows his stuff.

As is more than adequately supported by this:

“Mellow? More tricky….”

Blur – Mellow Song

……is the only one I’m coming up with at the mo.”

As you will see shortly, Rob has done that age-old trick of mentioning but not really suggesting songs, knowing full well that I won’t be able to resist and will end up posting everything he utters. That was at the end of the line of a series of “Well, there’s this…but no…or this…but nah…” mentions which, true to form, will pop up later. (This is not a criticism, by the way.)

Next up is Swiss Adam from bagging area; now to be fair, this is the third of his suggestions (the others will be along shortly), hence it’s brevity:

“Mellow Gold, Beck. He’s a loser baby so why don’t you kill him?”

Beck – Loser

Get crazy with the cheese whizz! (or something similar)

So, on the subject of the word Mellow, who’s next?

** Thumbs through suggestions **

Nope, just me again.

And you can all hang your heads in shame that not one of you suggested this:

Teenage Fanclub – Mellow Doubt (Alternative Version)

Oh, and I have this one too, from an excellent compilation album I picked up a while ago, called Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground which I can thoroughly recommend:

The Mellow Dawns – I’m Sorry Baby

And so on to the Yellows, which is thankfully bereft of Coldplay related songs.

Let’s kick off this section with something from Nathan of Nothin’ Sez Somethin’ fame (and yes, I get that yellow is not neccesarily the link Nathan is going for here, but it works so shush!):

“So of course there’s the obvious one: Paul McCartney yelling, clapping, & giggling on Mellow Yellow, playing uncredited bass on the rest of the album…Donovan singing “Sky of blue, sea of green” on…”

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine

There’s another reason I’ve posted that next, and that’s because I figured we could all do with a ruddy good sing-a-long. I’m right, right?

Actually, that’s the first time I’ve listened to that in God knows how many years, and I had a flash-back to singing it at junior school. I, ever desperate to get a laugh out of my friends, would perform the call-back bits in the final verse, paper-and-comb-in-mouth voice and all. I remember our headmaster, face knotted in fury, stalking along the lines of children, trying to locate the source of some unexpected joy, which was not of course permitted. He never caught me (for that). But looking back, what a desperate for attention little squirt I was back then, says the man who writes a music blog in his 50s, as if he’s changed.

Over now to PhonicPat “Here we go, linking the yellow I’ve gone for a a cautionary tale for everybody…”

Frank Zappa – Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow

Next up, the gorgeous C from Sun Dried Sparrows, with another yellow suggestion, but not it’s title, oh no. She’s way too sassy for that.

Keeping it simple: first one that comes to mind is this:

Nirvana – Territorial Pissings

…because ‘if yellow is mellow…’ and it is a great song.

Indeed it is, and one filled with memories for me, for it was a song we used to perform in the band I was in at college. We loved it for it was easy to learn: three chords, a drumfill and lots of thrashing our instruments within an inch of their lives. I tried to explain that most Quo records met at least two of those criteria, but my protestations fell on ironically deaf ears.

I mention this now because there exists some recordings of us playing live, done through the mixing desk and they are, without question, hilarious, for all the wrong, unintended reasons. I’m hopeful that the lead singer can locate said tapes so I can convert them to mp3s to post here, and we can all have a jolly good laugh. Watch this space.

Carrying on with the Yellow theme for now, and I’ll hand you back to Nathan, who has a couple of ideas in this area:

“What about….”:

Yello – Bananas To The Beat

“….a two-fer….?”

Well, no, only if you count a banana as a sex toy, which I don’t, and we haven’t even got onto those sort of smutty suggestions yet. Delete your browser history immediately, young man!

He’s persistent, though, is Nathan:

“How about…”:

Yellow Magic Orchestra – Day Tripper

“…McCartney/Beatles connection…Yellow connection…vague drug reference a la “Mellow Yellow”…a three-fer?

I admire your enthusiasm Nathan, but sorry, no. The source record isn’t by McCartney or The Beatles, and as for the drug reference, well, we’ll come to that soon enough.

In the meantime, you’ll recall I mentioned earlier The Robster’s cunning plan where he names a lot of records that he isn’t suggesting, knowing full well I won’t be able to resist posting all of them. Time to revisit. Brace yourself, for here we go:

“Where do I start with this one? Yellow? Too easy..:”

Throwing Muses – Bright Yellow Gun

“…or…”

Ane Brun – Big Yellow Taxi

I’ve deliberately not picked the original of that one. Click the link and you’ll see why (it’s beautiful). And I don’t just mean because it’s not the Counting Crows version.

Anyway, as you were Robster:

” ‘…Yellow Submarine…’ ” (We’ve had that!) “…I could go on. And on and on…” (I know, I’ve read your blog (just kidding!) received emails from you extolling the virtues of Newport Town FC). “So one that some people might not know is…”

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth

I love that record. It makes me think of David Byrne backed by a teenage wannabe Strokes garage band and it makes me smile whenever I hear it.

If I can just let Swiss Adam squeeze another one in here, that’d be grand.

“The lead rider in the Tour de France wears the yellow jersey, the ‘mailot jeune’, and Kraftwerk did a song and then an entire about the tour:”

Kraftwerk – Tour De France

But The Robster hasn’t finished yet. Oh no. Here he comes with his link to Donovan, which should have featured ages ago but I can’t be bothered with going back and putting it in its rightful place.

Go on then Robbo, fill yer boots:

“I’m going back to brilliant cartoons. Donovan once played himself in an episode of Futurama, which has a character called Fry. The wonderful Stephen Fry (credited as Prof. Joseph Yupik) lent his voice to the title track of (the even more wonderful) Kate Bush’s 50 Words For Snow album.”

Yes, it’s almost August, but here’s a song about snow:

Kate Bush – 50 Words for Snow

Which, fortuitously, leads me nicely onto the final category: all things Donovan-trivia related and associated rudeness.

But before we go there, a couple of the more obtuse suggestions. The Chain Gang may remember that for the past two episodes, The Great Gog has been obsessed with the county of Hampshire. Now, he has a new fixation:

“We move now to Hampstead. The Mellow Yellow album features a track entitled Hampstead Incident. I can think of only two other songs that include this part of North London in their titles:

The Dream Academy – Hampstead Girl

“…and…”

Microdisney – Singer’s Hampstead Home

“(Released in 1987 and 1988 respectively – clearly a time when this area was inspiring Britain’s songwriters)”

Wise words, great mate.

Back then, before the final push, to Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“Husker Du, legendary indie punk pioneers covered a Donovan song, Sunshine Superman in 1983. In fairly breakneck style. I’ve just scrolled up and seen another reference to that song but not the Du’s cover. They also covered the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Showwhich is ace but doesn’t really link to mellow or yellow.

Yeh, but it’s the kind of almost showboating that I mentioned earlier, so I’ll allow it:

Hüsker Dü – Love Is All Around

I think we left Rigid Digit mid-flow a little earlier, so perhaps we should check back in on him:

” ‘…Pills…” is probably the Mondays high point – it’s a bit of a mess after that, and the next album was a bit a a damp squib. They had it, they lost it, and Tony Wilson probably thought it was great art to fail in this manner (and drag his record company down with them). But … Shaun returned with Black Grape proving he still had it (not sure he’s got “it” now – he’s already been on the Help I’m Stuck In The Jungle, Can I Have A Career? thing on ITV, and is probably second or third reserve for a place on The One Show sofa)..”

You haven’t watched him and Bez on Celebrity Gogglabox, I’m guessing. In case there was any doubt, Bez is shown to not be the sharpest tool in the box. Not that there was much debate in this area beforehand. This is a man who is so simple he managed to get himself disqualified for cheating on Celebrity Bargain Hunt. Sadly, we will never know if he’s like he is now because of the vast amount of drugs he took in the (I hate to narrow it down, but let’s say) late 1980s to early/mid 1990s. I think we can hazard a guess. As for Shaun, for a man who claims to have given everything up, his face is a very odd shade of bright pink. It’s almost like he’s self-glazing. Neither know how to complete a sentence without liberal use of the F-word. Not that I object to this, but come on guys, just one phrase without it, please.

But I digress: here’s where Rigid was heading:

Black Grape – Kelly’s Heroes

“…that’s the next link in The Chain, shirley?”

Before we go any further, some background knowledge which you will need to have if what’s to follow is going to make any kind of sense. So have a read of this, which I have pilfered from wiki:

The song was rumoured to be about smoking dried banana skins, which was believed to be a hallucinogenic drug in the 1960s, though this aspect of bananas has since been debunked. According to Donovan’s notes, accompanying the album Donovan’s Greatest Hits, the rumour that one could get high from smoking dried banana skins was started by Country Joe McDonald in 1966, and Donovan heard the rumour three weeks before “Mellow Yellow” was released as a single. According to The Rolling Stone Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, he admitted later the song made reference to a vibrator; an “electrical banana” as mentioned in the lyrics. This definition was re-affirmed in an interview with NME magazine: “it’s about being cool, laid-back, and also the electrical bananas that were appearing on the scene – which were ladies’ vibrators.”

So, to be clear, I have allowed songs which relate to the smoking of illicit substances as that is generally, if inaccurately, assumed to be what the song is about, but none can acquire points. Sadly, since my Mother will be reading this and I’ll have to look her in the eye again at some point, I also have to include any suggestions linked to Lady Love Toys too.

Let’s tantrically wait a while before we submit to the buzzing suggestions which involve items of self pleasure, and we’ll hear from long time-blog faithful, but (I think) first time Chain contributor, Lynchie Fae Enburdeeen:

Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” includes the verse:

Electrical banana Is gonna be a sudden craze

 Electrical banana Is bound to be the very next phase”

Which leads me on to the greatest marijuana songs ever written – performed by the fabulous twin lead guitar band Man, who would occasionally perform this song with a full Welsh male voice choir.

“I like to eat bananas ‘Cos they got no bones

 I like marijuana ‘Cos it gets me stoned”

Man – Bananas

As Donovan is just mad about Saffron,” pipes exp Alex G, “I’m sure he would appreciate the future Republica vocalist’s contribution to N-Joi’s rave classic ‘Anthem’.”

N-Joi – Anthem

I had, and still have, no idea if it’s true that that’s Saffron or not. It doesn’t sound like her to me. But I’m letting it in with no fact-checking because if it’s not true, then it deserves admission just for the balls-out nerve of making such a claim up.

But whilst we’re on the subject of Saffron, here’s Nathan again:

How about Saffron – singer for Republica…Republica doing…:

Republica – Get Off

And so we land on the Mum-non-friendly bit with another suggestion from Nathan to get..er…our juices going:

“…Electrical Banana – slang for electric vibrator [yes, we know!]…The Vibrators doing…”

The Vibrators – Electricity

Well, if you’re having that then – all together now – then I’m having this:

Suede – Electricity

Next, I’ll hand the reins to Alyson from What’s It All About?:

“During these days of lockdown I’ve been threatening to get my guitar down from the loft and serenade the neighbours. Problem is I only ever got to song number two in my “Teach Yourself Guitar” book, which was (I’ll get to the point trust me) Catch The Wind by Donovan. For years I used to mix up that song and his other one Colours, to come up with Colours Of The Wind which is an entirely different affair from the Disney film Pocahontas, but the next song certainly won’t be that one.

As a follow up I’m going to go for Worst Song suggestion – Donovan also recorded Sunshine Superman. Superman was the name of a novelty record by Black Lace which had been originally recorded by two Italians with the title Gioca Jouer. To quote from wiki: ‘The song featured a number of dance gestures that acted out the lyrics – including sleeping, waving, hitching a ride, sneezing, walking, swimming, skiing, spraying deodorant, sounding a horn, ringing a bell, flexing muscles as a “Macho Man”, making the letters “OK”, blowing kisses, combing and flying like Superman.‘”

Brace yourself. This is unspeakably awful, and fully deserving of the only points I’m dishing out this time for Worst Record:

Black Lace – Superman

Oh God, somebody make it stop, please!

It’s alright for you lot, you can choose not to click the link and listen to it. I had to actively seek that out and listen to it when uploading it.

I may well get bored during the lockdown but not so bored I’m going to resort to the Superman dance (I hope),” Alyson concludes, like that makes what she’s just inflicted on us ok.

“Now that Alyson has taken us down the Superman route,” pipes up Charity Chic, “I’m going for:…”

The Flaming Lips – Waitin’ For A Superman

Turns out, that’s quite the palatte cleanser.

I may as well chuck in another one; this was the weirdest record I’d ever heard when I was a kid:

Laurie Anderson – O Superman

Last couple of suggestions now and since I’ve allowed Alyson and Charity Chic’s suggestions, I may as well let this from PhonicPat in too:

“To follow the Donovan link, The Butthole Surfers did a cracking version of Hurdy Gurdy Man…”

They did indeed, and here it is:

Butthole Surfers – The Hurdy Gurdy Man

And finally, one last one from PhonicPat:

“Picking up on your Coldplay warning how about…”

Mitch Benn & The Distractions – Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now

Which is pretty much where we came in, I think.

All that leaves is for me to tell you that the next official record in The Chain is this:

U2 – Beautiful Day

…which was selected because Donovan and Bono share a birthday.

I know. Rubbish, right?

Anyway, you know the drill: submit your suggestions for songs that link to Beuatiful Day by U2 via the Comments section below, or by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com and eventually I’ll get round to writing the next instalment.

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Bank Holiday Mondays, on the other hand, I’m a big fan of.

Except in the current climate, it doesn’t really feel like a national holiday, does it?

So today’s tune is simply a reminder that it is. No need to drag your fat arse out of bed and over to the coffee table to log onto your work laptop today.

Roll over and go back to sleep.

That’s what me and my fat arse will be doing.

Blur – Bank Holiday

More soon.

The Death of a Party

You may have noticed that it’s quite some time since I wrote a post cheer-leading for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. There’s a reason for that: quite simply, I have absolutely no faith in him whatsoever as either a Leader of the Opposition or as a (potential) Prime Minister.

This shouldn’t be complicated: the current Government is proving to be one of the most unpopular in living memory. They’re making a right pig’s ear out of Brexit negotiations, have introduced PIP and Universal Credit to near-universal derision and outrage, and those on their far-right continue to dictate matters which drive the country to a No Deal scenario which, coincidentally, many of them just happen to have a favourable financial interest in, should it happen, God forbid.

This should be an open goal for the Labour party, right? But no, of course not.

For just as Trump’s election and campaign led to the emboldening of the far right in America, and just as Brexit has had a similar effect on this side of the pond, so Corbyn’s utter failure to deal with some of the unpalatable views held by extremists within his own party has led to increased pressure and anti-semitic abuse against several Labour MPs.

For the record, I don’t think Corbyn is an anti-semite. He’s not done much to convince me of this himself, mind. Far from it. In fact, like a bad 70’s sit-com, he does seem to rather make a habit of being caught saying or doing things which would absolutely single him out as one. No, I’m basing this not on anything Corbyn has said or done, but solely on the words of the already much-missed comedian Jeremy Hardy.

Oh Jeremy

On Thursday, the news I think many had been expecting: seven Labour MPs were resigning from the party, and becoming Independent. On Friday, three Tory MPs (including Anna Soubry, one of only two Tory MPs I’ve ever liked or respected – you’re on your own now Ken Clarke!) joined them in the innovatively titled The Independent Group, whilst an eighth Labour MP also left but declined to join the Gang of…erm…*counts on fingers*…Ten.

More will follow, apparently, presumably as long as nobody else gets a bit tired after having worked for the ungodly amount of six hours and blurts out the phrase “funny tinges”.

To compound matters, the Labour Party then decided to let Derek Hatton back in.

Derek fucking Hatton.

I never thought I’d be quoting Neil Kinnock, but I bloody well am:

Sure, they let “Degsy” in again, but suspended him again less than 48 hours later, whilst they investigated some dodgy tweets he may or may not have sent. But that’s not really the point, now is it? Do the checks first, maybe….?

It can’t be that much of a surprise, then, that full-time twat-in-a-hat and professional feline impersonator (will accept bookings for weddings, parties, opening of envelopes but probably not bar mitzvahs) George Galloway is knocking on the door to see whether he can come back in and play again. He’s bought his football an’ all, and his Mum says he can stay out til his tea’s ready.

I hate to say “I told you so”, because I didn’t – in fact back in 2015 when Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party I was a champion of his leftist agenda, although I did say that “…he does have the potential to be the next Michael Foot…” Turns out, from one poll I saw this week, he is viewed even less favourably by the electorate than Foot – and we all know what happened to him (possibly, some of you young ‘uns might not…suffice it to say Foot got battered by Thatcher in the 1983 election, when the Labour Party won its lowest share of the vote since 1918, and the fewest seats since 1945).

See, Brexit voters? I can admit I was wrong. It’s not difficult, just needs a little bit of a reality check, the eating of a bit of humble pie. And just because I was wrong about Corbyn, doesn’t mean you’re not wrong about Brexit. After all, it would seem he agrees with you…

Anyway, since Thursday I’ve had this tune slogging it’s way round my brain, with a degree of sadness on Thursday, but with a slightly more chipper skip in the step since Friday:

R-406321-1139863008_jpeg

Blur – The Death of a Party

More soon.

Strings on Sunday

I’ve posted a couple of Oasis songs recently, but I’d hate to think that any of you assumed that was some kind of seal of approval in the Blur v Oasis debate.

No. Personally, I never understood why you had to pick a side. What’s wrong with liking both?

But if I absolutely had to pick a team, to nail my colours to the mast, it would undoubtedly be to the Blur entourage. There’s just more depth, more variation, to their records than anything Oasis could ever aspire to.

So, here’s a tune which would very easily sit in my S.S.O.S. series, but it deserves better:

BLUR_THE+UNIVERSALII-161668

Blur – The Universal

Often, when I haven’t managed to get a ticket for Glastonbury, I will sit at home, watch the coverage and wish I was there; not because of whichever act is headlining, but because of the whole vibe of being there.

But in 2009, watching this hurt. There’s nothing like being part of a massive crowd, living in the moment, watching a band who means so much to you perform. It’s like a punch to the gut every time I remember that I wasn’t there that year.

More soon.