Port Out Starboard Home

A few months ago, I was contacted by the letting agents I rent my flat through. They were letting me know that the landlord had arranged for a contractor to visit my flat to do some works.

If you rent a property, and your landlord is on the ball, then you’ll know this kind of thing happens fairly regularly; boiler checks, smoke alarm checks, gas checks – my life is a constant flow of people interrupting me, more noticeable since I’ve been working from home, I suppose.

Anyway, time has faded my memory to the point where I can’t quite recall what this particular visit was about. But I was at home, I let them in to do whatever they had to do, after donning my Covid-compliant face mask, diver’s suit, hi-vis jacket, rubber gloves and gas-mask.

A couple of weeks later, another message, another contractor. This one was a cheery young lady, equipped with an A4 pad and one of those laser pens used to measure distances. She visited each of the four rooms in my flat, pointing her laser at the walls and studiously making notes as she went.

After she left, I emailed my letting agent. “Somebody has just been to measure the flat. Reading between the lines, is the landlord considering selling?”

“Yes,” came the reply, “but they’re only thinking about it at the moment. Don’t worry. Selling a property takes a long-time, and even if he does sell, then the new owner may want to keep you in place rather than look for new tenants. And if they do want you out, we have to give you six month’s notice. But we’re a long way off that happening.”

This did not sound good to me, and so I started considering my options. With working from home continuing for the foreseeable future, I could see no reason why I should remain in London, paying London prices for everything. I floated the idea of me moving out of London to management, who said they would have no objection, so long as I was able to visit the offices for a monthly team meeting, and/or can pop in and work in the office once or twice a month.

Best I start looking for somewhere commutable then, I thought, and it didn’t take me long to land on the cathedral city of Peterborough; about an hour’s train ride out of London, it has the added benefit of being the closest town to where I grew up, of still having one of my best friends living in it, and it being close enough to my parents and wider family to make it seem like I was more accessible, when really it made it no more likely that any of them would turn up unannounced and catch me slobbing out in front of the TV watching Police Interceptors! and eating pickled onion Monster Munch in my dressing gown.

So, Peterborough it is then:

The Long Blondes – Peterborough

Home to Peterborough United Football Club, nicknamed The POSH:

Lionel Jeffries – Posh!

But no rush, eh? Selling the property will take ages.

A week or two passed. Another message from the letting agent: “The landlord has agreed for some people to visit the property tomorrow. They are potential buyers, so please make sure the property is tidy and try to make them feel welcome.”

Quite why they thought I should be complicit in making myself homeless was beyond me. I was reminded of when Hel and I shared a flat, and a similar situation arose. But when potential buyers arrived, we would ensure both of us were in our nightwear and dressing gowns, laying on the settees looking hung-over (not that much of a chore, as it goes), and when the latest fresh-faced couple were escorted in, one of us would waive our hand in the direction of one corner of the room, where a dirty great crack lived (the one in the main bedroom was worse, literally so wide you could see the traffic light controlled junction outside through it), and say “Told you about the subsidence, have they?” The landlord soon removed it from the market, and presumably waited until we had both moved out before trying again.

I didn’t have time to point out the many flaws in my flat when these visitors came; they literally arrived, walked through the entire flat (one of them letting out a little laugh as they entered my bedroom), then turned around and walked out.

“What was so funny about my bedroom?” I asked, as I had spent a long time making it look as un-sex dungeony as I could.

“Nothing. Bye.” they replied, as they left. They can’t have been there for more than 2 minutes.

Well, they can’t have been impressed, I thought. No need to worry about them buying it.

Another couple of weeks passed. Another message from the letting agents. “Hi, just to let you know the property has now been sold. We will let you know what the new owner’s intentions are as soon as we know.”

Who on earth would buy a property this quickly, with no surveys done, particularly when the property has the history of subsidence that this place does? Frankly, I smelt a cash sale, with all the possible crimes that might involve, be it tax evasion, money laundering, the lot.

My question was answered a week or two later, when I was advised the new owners would be visiting the property the following day. The arrived mid-morning, and it was the same two men who had laughed at my bedroom previously, this time accompanied by their own person with an A4 notepad and a laser pen for measuring distances. They let him go around the flat, doing his stuff, whilst they stood in the living room, glaring at walls and the TV I was watching but mostly, it seemed, at me as I was watching the TV (Police Interceptors!, of course). It was probably the most awkward ten minutes of my life, and as regular readers will know, I’ve experienced a lot of awkward moments in my time.

They left, their verbal output this time expanded to “Cheers mate. See you again.”

It was around this point that I realised that at no point had the letting agents referred to the new owner as the new landlord. And let’s be honest, when they turn up and start measuring up after they’ve already purchased it, the signs for keeping me in situ were not looking good.

I contacted the letting agents. “They’re going to evict me, aren’t they?” I asked, not unreasonably. “They’ve told us that they have no plans to change anything,” was the less than reassuring reply, a bit like Harry Kane saying he’s decided not to leave Spurs “this summer”.

“Then why have they just been round and measured the flat up?”

“We have no idea. Perhaps they want to refurbish it for you.”

That sounds likely, doesn’t it, dear reader? Having just spent a few hundred thousand pounds on purchasing the flat, they’re bound to want to zhuzh it up for the current tenant – and pay for him to live elsewhere whilst they do it – as opposed to, say, kicking me out, doing it up and doubling the rent for the next poor sod who has to try and negotiate the perilous staircase into my flat.

Sure enough, shortly afterwards, a letter from the owner’s solicitors, serving me with a Section 21 Eviction Notice, telling me that ordinarily this meant they only have to give me one month’s notice, but due to Covid they were going to give me four months (phrased as if they were doing me a favour off their own back, rather than following the temporary rules imposed on them by the Government in a rare moment of clarity).

So, I have until mid-November to find somewhere new. And, I have learned when checking this post, that when the notice period ends, the landlord – because he’s not just the owner anymore, he’s trousering my rent so he’s my bloody landlord now whether he likes it or not – has another 4 months to apply to court. If they don’t start court action within this time, the section 21 notice expires. They then need to give me a new notice if they still want me to leave, and so we go round again.

Not that I particularly want to bank on them not applying to the Court the moment the 4 months is up. Nor would I want to rely on the fact that, due to years of neglect and under-funding coupled with Covid, the Court system has a monumental backlog of claims, complaints, disputes, criminal hearings and evictions to hear.

So I’m actively looking. In Peterborough. And to my delight, I have found that, for less than I currently pay every month to live in a pokey one-bedroom flat, too small to house a washing machine, with it’s death trap electric hob, and kitchen with no windows and no air flowing through it, coupled with a belatedly fitted smoke alarm that knows all of these things very, very well and reminds me every sodding time I make toast – for less than I pay for these luxuries, I can get a three bedroom house, with a garden, a utilities room….oh, my, get me out of here, I can’t wait.

On the Friday before the recent Bank Holiday weekend, I booked the day off work, and arranged to view five properties. On the way, I received a barrage of apologetic texts and emails, so that by the time I got to Peterborough, only one property was left. One had been let, potential tenants had paid holding fees on two of them (which, for the uninitiated, means that nobody else can have the property – they’d ‘bagsied’ it, in essence), and one had some mould discovered in it which needed to be addressed before viewing could happen.

My old mate Richie, who lives fairly locally, kindly agreed to drive me between properties. He accompanied me to view the one that was left. I’d already decided this place wasn’t for me the moment I walked into the kitchen and saw there was an electric hob, but Richie looked out of the rear bedroom window, surveyed the neighbouring properties, and said: “That side hasn’t cut their grass in years, and that side has a hot tub. Do not move in here. They’re sex people.”

I was due to return to Peterborough the following day, to see two more properties; soon that was down to one and then, the inevitable text: “Can we reschedule your viewing for this Wednesday at 4:30 please?” I decided it wasn’t the best plan in the world to refuse a request by someone I was hoping would find me somewhere to live, so I agreed.

Took more time off work, arrived at the property early on the Wednesday. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

At 4:40, I rang their office, and politely enquired why I was at the property but they weren’t.

“We’ve got no viewings booked in the diary, I’m afraid,” was the reply.

I explained they had rearranged my appointment from Saturday, and gave them the name of the person who had acknowledged my agreement.

“He must have forgotten to out it in the diary.”

“Plainly.”

“Can we reschedule it?”

“No. We can’t. You asked me to be here now. I’ve taken time off work and travelled up from London to be here at the time you asked me to be here. Either I view this property today, or not at all.”

This is as close as I ever get to snapping. Friends will tell you I’m the most easy-going of blokes, although Hel will doubtless counter that with a story about how I lost my rag at Glastonbury 2004, with a friend who wanted to go and watch Muse on the Pyramid Stage, whilst all the rest of the group wanted to watch Orbital on The Other Stage, and who had not stopped whining about it all day.

“If you want to go and watch Muse, go and watch Muse,” I apparently said. “We are staying here to watch Orbital. So either shut up or fuck off.”

I was right, of course (even if it wasn’t the year Matt Smith appeared on stage with them):

But I digress.

“We’ll have someone there by 5:15.”

At 5:17, he arrived, poor thing. Clearly just told to get his arse over to me, didn’t have a clue about the property, or the area.

But it was alright, ticked all the boxes I needed, so I asked how we move things forwards.

“I’ll get somebody to call you tomorrow to go through all the details.”

The next day, I waited for the call.

And waited.

And waited.

On Friday, I emailed them: “Have you forgotten to call me, as well as forgetting to show me the property?”

On Saturday, three missed calls, all when I had fallen asleep on the sofa (whilst watching Police Interceptors! and eating pickled onion Monster Munch). I called back – office closed.

Ah well, I thought. They’ll probably call me on Monday.

So on Monday, I waited for the call.

And waited.

And waited.

On Tuesday, I rang them. “I’m beginning to think you don’t want anyone to move into this house,” I said. I knew the house was ready to move into immediately, and had wondered why it hadn’t already been snapped up. I was starting to draw my own conclusion as to how that had come about.

To be fair, the lady I spoke to this time was great, really helpful; she emailed me all the documents I need to sign, along with a list of what they need from me, and took a holding fee so nobody else could take the property before me, subject to me passing all the checks they have to do. Property bagsied.

That evening, I saw I had a missed call from them, about twenty minutes after we had last spoken. I called back: office closed.

On Wednesday, I called them again. “We have some bad news,” said the really helpful lady. “I notified the landlord yesterday that we thought we’ve found somebody to rent the house, he seemed really pleased, but then he rang back and said that the sale of the house was taking too long and he didn’t want to rent it anymore. I’m very sorry. I’ll reimburse the holding fee for you now.”

And so, today, if you’re reading this on Saturday, I’m travelling back to look at two other properties, one of which looks pretty amazing. Wish me luck!

But that’s not the end.

On Thursday, the nice helpful lady called me.

“Guess what?” she said.

“Go on…” I replied.

“The landlord came into the offices earlier, one of my colleagues spoke to him, and told him he was being very foolish not to rent the property out, and he’s changed his mind again! So, what would you like to do?”

I’d like to tell him to go fuck himself is what I’d like to do, I thought, but decided a more measured response was required.

“I can’t say he’s filling me with confidence. And what did you say the other day, about the sale of the house taking too long? I didn’t quite understand that….”

“Oh, he’s in the process of buying the property. We’re handling the purchase for him. The sale hasn’t gone through yet, but it will.”

Huh? How can you rent out a property you don’t own? And what happens if the sale doesn’t go through, and I’ve already moved in, where does that leave me? Getting evicted again, that’s where.

To misquote Oscar Wilde: To get evicted from one property may be regarded as a misfortune; to get evicted from two in a row makes it look like you’ve been smearing shit on the walls in some kind of dirty protest.

I’ve told them I’ll let them know after I’ve viewed the two properties today.

I bet you they’ll be calling me before I call them…

This, then, is for my current landlord, the one who blew me off (stop it at the back there!) and any others who might be just be acting in equally bastardly ways, along with any letting agents who haven’t got the balls to give a long-standing tenant a heads-up that his days are numbered:

Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – Sheriff Fatman

At what point do you think I should I tell my current landlord that the subsidence cracks have started appearing again?

No, me neither.

More soon.

The Chain #51

“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,” I wrote last week.

A tap on the shoulder from my alter ego.

“There’s always The Chain, which you moved to a Saturday morning…”

Ohhhh yes. Totally forgot about that!

And so I revisited the last post I did in The Chain, and find it was so long ago – December 2020 – that I had the audacity to mention Spurs winning a game of kickball, which hasn’t aged at all well.

So, let’s pick up where we left off all those months ago, with the next record in The Chain that I invited suggestions for. This record:

The Coasters – Charlie Brown

OK, so you can probably guess where most of the suggestions stem from, but we’ll start off with a suggestion by George (not of ASDA).

“Two members of The Coasters used to be in The Robins, who’s best song, and this will undoubtedly be the best song on the next Chain, was Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Which was written by Leiber and Stoller.”

Undoubtedly (we’ll see….):

The Robins – Smokey Joe’s Cafe

So, slightly obscure link dispensed with, let’s address the elephant in the room. There are at least two Charlie Browns, the one in the Coasters song of the same name, and the one that we’re probably all more familiar with, from the Peanuts cartoon.

So let’s kick off properly with songs which reference Charlie Brown, and I’ll hand over to Hal, who explains and suggests thusly: Thirty years ago (30 years FFS…) Jim Bob & Fruit Bat released 101 Damnations which featured…:

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Good Grief Charlie Brown

Hal’s “FFS” is of course Young People Speak for “For Flip’s Sake” [Are you sure about this?- Ed], and is often used when one encounters an anniversary of an event considered to have occurred relatively recently, but which transpires to have actually been much earlier, thereby adding to our feelings of old age and past-it-ness. Don’t be fooled by Hal’s use of Young People Speak, for he is as old as we are, which is why he can conjure up such selections from hitherto forgotten bands such as Carter USM (as I believe the “kids” on “the” “street” refer to them these days, if they do at all).

Hal is to be celebrated for refusing to accept that thirty years have passed since that monumental occasion, oft referred to in history books, as the year of Our Lord 19 Hundred and Ninety, the year Carter USM released their debut album.

And he’s right to refuse to accept this, because as the album came out in January 1990, it’s actually 31 years now. Sorry, Hal!

Staying on the Charlie Brown link, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who not only suggests a song linked to our favourite wibble-mouthed cartoon character, he also introduces a much needed touch of class:

Echo and the Bunnymen’s Bring On The Dancing Horses covers Charlie Brown in its first 2 lines via Jimmy Brown and Charlie Clown…

Jimmy Brown Made Of Stone

Charlie Clown No Way Home

Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses

But here’s Rigid Digit, dragging us back into Carter USM territory:

Carter USM’s Falling On A Bruise includes the line: “You win some and you lose some, you save nothing, nothing for a rainy day, You need your nutra-sweet daddy or some Peppermint Patty”

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Falling on a Bruise

Perhaps I should explain. Charlie Brown, as well as being the hapless character in The Coasters records, shares his name with a character in a cartoon written by Shultz called Peanuts.

Cue the next suggestion from Rigid Digit:

Ok, maybe not that Peanuts…

…or this one, suggested by Phonic Pat:

Warmduscher – Disco Peanuts

…but within the cartoon strip known as Peanuts, there are many characters who do have their names crop up in songs. Peppermint Patty is one of them, and here she is again, courtesy of TheRobster:

And then there’s Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow & Run The Jewels which includes the line “I walk Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Lucy / Put coke in the doobie roll moodies to smoke with Snoopy'”

DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak

Who else? Well, The Robster doesn’t stop there, trotting out a litany of characters:

Joni Mitchell – Woodstock

Lou Reed – Sally Can’t Dance

Incredibly, since they only made (if you’re feeling generous) two decent records ever, this lot appear for the second edition on the trot:

Hole – Violet

The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Thank you and good luck with your auditions, indeed.

The Royal Guardsmen – Snoopy vs. The Red Baron

There was also a band called Linus, continues TheRobster, but I don’t know much about them. Me neither, and I’m not going to do your research for you.

Another Peanuts character, picks up the Devonian, is Lucy Van Pelt, whose name was taken for a Japanese indiepop band, and then they had a trademark issue with whoever owned Peanuts after Charles Schultz died, so they changed it to Advantage Lucy instead. But from their days as Lucy Van Pelt, I’ll suggest:

Lucy Van Pelt – Hammock Waltz

Now when somebody describes a band as being “Japanese indiepop“, I had a pre-conceived idea of what they might sound like, but it was nothing like that. And that’s a good thing – my favourite “never heard of this lot before, must explore” record of the month.

And then there’s the eponymous Charlie Brown himself, or, as Phonic Pat deliberately mis-spells it to get it fit his next suggestion, Charly:

The Prodigy – Charly

Along with his already aired suggestion Rigid Digit also laid claim to some other records being linked, which weren’t (unless I were to allow pun-related tunes, which I might be minded to if we were a little short on the ground of suggestions, which we’re not), so I’m afraid Hang on Snoopy (because it’s Sloopy, not Snoopy) and Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger (because he admits to making up that the line “And so Sally can wait” was written after Noel Gallagher had been watching an episode of Charlie Brown), are both disqualified.

However, nothing wrong with his two Brown suggestions, even if he does claim that they are both related to Charlie’s non-existent siblings:

Jim Croce – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

and…

Frank Zappa – Bobby Brown Goes Down

Maybe Whitney would still be alive if that were true.

And here’s another Brown suggestion, courtesy of Phonic Pat:

The Pogues – A Pair Of Brown Eyes

Devonian is back, with this suggestion: As nobody’s said it yet, “Charlie Brown” is not the only hit song to make use of the hookline “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?”. There’s also

Bloodhound Gang – Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ on Me?

I imagine nobody else had suggested that because of the “impression” of a disabled person at the start of it.

Fortuitously, here’s The Great Gog to save us: The phrase “Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me?” that features in Charlie Brown also appears in this:

The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go

I bloody love that record.

Finally, says Phonic Pat, somewhat presumptuously, but I like this suggestion a lot, so I’ll let it slide, linking the trombone sound the adults make in the Peanuts films, how about a trombone take on the Pixies?

Alice Donut – Where Is My Mind

Over to Stevie from Charity Chic now, who has two suggestions for us:

Best Coast – Boyfriend

and:

Coast to Coast – (Do) The Hucklebuck

Although I get the impression he’s not proud of the second choice, as he signs off with the words “I’ll get my coat.” No need, Stevie, really: all of those rock’n’roll and doo-wop records of the late 70s and early 80s were my introduction to pop music, and I have a soft spot for them all, from Shakin’ Stevens to The Stray Cats, from Coast to Coast to Rocky Sharpe and The Replays.

What Stevie has inadvertently done there is lead us seamlessly into those suggestions which consider the Coast aspect of the source record, and here’s The Great Gog with another couple:

I also wonder what type of Coaster the band were named after. A mat on which one places a drink, a person that lives by the sea or a fairground ride? Assuming the latter, we could have:

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Rollercoaster

I personally wouldn’t, GG continues, but you may want to include:

Ronan Keating – Life Is A Rollercoaster

God, that’s nauseating. Let’s cleanse the palate, sharpish:

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Love Rollercoaster

and

Belle & Sebastian – The Rollercoaster Ride

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Crikey, he’s been a bit quiet with his own suggestions this time. And you’d be right. Those last two were mine, and so are all of the rest left to go, all of which are Coast-related. To say I picked up on that and ran with it would be an understatement. So strap yourselves in, here we go:

Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (Shoreline)

Laura Cantrell – Queen of the Coast

Maximo Park – The Coast Is Always Changing

Midfield General – Coastnoise (Dave Clarke remix)

Blood Orange – Champagne Coast

If I was still giving out points, I’d have to consider giving myself one for that double coast link as a double pointer.

Now, some parts of the coast have a beach, some have other geographical characteristics. Where there’s a beach, they tend to fall into two general categories: ones made up of pebbles:

Pebbles – Girlfriend

or stones, if you prefer:

The Rolling Stones – The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man

Seriously, if I was still giving out points, I’d have to consider giving myself one for that Stones/coast link as a double pointer.

And the second type of beach, after pebbles/stones? Why, a sandy shore, of course!

Sandie Shaw – Long Live Love

And close to some coast lines, you’ll find the occasional Cliff:

Cliff Richard and The Young Ones – Living Doll

Now, earlier this week it would have been the comic genius Rik Mayall’s birthday, so indulge me for a minute will you?

Thank you.

Here’s the moment from the final episode of The Young Ones where it all goes utterly utterly wrong:

Here’s the video for the song:

And here’s the gang performing it live for Comic Relief:

And best of all, here’s the speech Rik gave when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. If you’ve never seen this before, I’d heartily recommend you take ten minutes to watch it:

All that leaves me to do is to announce the source record for next time’s edition, and to express some sympathy to The Robster, who picked the wrong version of the right song:

Matthews Southern Comfort – Woodstock

Suggestions via the Comments section below please!

More soon.

Fair Play

Long time visitors to my little corner of the interweb may recall that I used to write a series, raging against the use of songs I love in adverts.

Sometimes though, you have to tip your hat in the direction of the advertisers because they’ve got their song selection absolutely bang on.

Conceding ground is made so much easier when they’ve chosen a song I didn’t care much for in the first place, of course.

Although sometimes you do have to wonder: what took you so long to use this song in your ad?

A case in point: in the last 8 – 12 months or so (I think, it may just not have crossed my radar before then), a well-known domestic cleaning product manufacturer has suddenly started using this song in their ads:

Queen – Flash

Let’s be honest, it’s a dreadful song from a dreadful movie. Frankly, it’s befitting that it has ended up being associated with mopping up spillages and general grot.

I’d have been much more impressed if they somehow managed to crowbar this, one of the most unsettling dance records I’ve ever heard played “out”, into their ads:

Green Velvet – Flash (Original Remastered)

And there’s another advert doing the rounds at the moment where I have to admit they’ve picked precisely the right record and, fortuitously, it’s another one that I’ve never had any time for either.

I mean, when you’re the largest chain of Scottish-sounding burger joints in the world, and you’ve had to close due to that there pesky pandemic, once you’re allowed to start reopening your “restaurants” – apparently the notorious litigants get upset if you describe what they serve junk or fast food, which is funny because whenever I’ve been in one (and you’ll be shocked to learn that I have) the service is rarely fast and the food is (The end of this joke has been removed for legal reasons – Ed.) – what else are you going to choose to soundtrack the advert which triumphantly heralds such joyous news, than this:

Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack

Fair play to them. I can’t fault that.

But it seems their days adding pithy pop tracks to their adverts are numbered, because last weekend, our glorious leader (sense the tone…) Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Wiff Waff Is-This-What-You-Meant-Dominic? Johnson announced plans to ban advertising junk food on good, honest, decent British televisions before 9pm. Not, as I say, that the company I’m talking about (you’ll have noticed I’m being very careful not to actually say their name, right?) consider themselves to be purveyors of junk food. I mean, a slice of pickled gherkin definitely counts as at least one of your Five-a-Day, even if most people do leave it on the side.

The ban will be accompanied by a £10 million advertising campaign, designed to encourage the population to eat more healthily, and exercise more.

If they have any sense, they’ll have Simon Evans doing the voice-over; he sounds as English as can be, and is very funny indeed, especially when talking about being overweight (he gets there eventually, but I’d recommend you watch the whole clip):

Anyway, the reason behind this new Government-backed health-drive is two-fold, it turns out.

Firstly, it’s thought that, as a nation, we’ve picked up poor dietary habits during lockdown, and need a bit of a nudge to get ourselves back on the straight and narrow. Well, I’ve got news for our leaders: I was overweight before lockdown, and I’m even more overweight now. Not because the quality of what I eat has drastically deteriorated – my diet has remained more or less the same throughout – but because now, bored and unable to leave the flat with anything like the regularity I used to, I eat more. You know, just to have something to do.

Secondly, obesity has been identified as one of factors likely to lead to people catching the virus. Those interfering busy-bodies at Public Health England – the sort of experts we’re supposed to be tired of, according to rubber-faced goon Michael Gove – have published a report into the impact of obesity on people with Covid-19, wherein they say that the case for action has “never been stronger”. The report shows that the risks of hospitalisation, intensive care treatment and – Yikes! – death all “seem to increase progressively with increasing BMI (body mass index) above the healthy weight range”.

And that’s me, folks. I only have to wander in the general vicinity of my local GP and I have abuse hurled at me for being “fat”, and that’s not just the surly youths from the local estate, that’s my actual GP, opening a window to shout at me. He probably feels the shudders as I approach, or spots the ripples in his glass of water, like that bit in Jurassic Park when the kids are trapped in the car.

(This will make you feel old: that came out 27 years ago.)

When I lived in Cardiff, the bloke who worked in the kebab shop around the corner from where Llŷr and I used to live would wave at me as I walked past his frontage, which is just the opposite end of the same stick, I guess.

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Surfin’ USM

(No, I’m not going to explain that song’s apparantly unrelated appearance, you’ll just have to listen to it.)

Just as the anti-maskers held a rally in London the other weekend, protesting at the perceived attack on their civil liberties as the locations where one must wear a face covering increased, while at the same time displaying their stupidity at not understanding the reason for wearing a face mask is to protect them and people they come into contact with, I did toy with the idea of organising a similar demo for us fatties, but let’s be honest, we’d all be shagged out after walking up the stairs from the tube station, so there’s not much point.

Last weekend, Johnson said: “I’m not normally a believer in nannying, or bossing type of politics. But the reality is that obesity is one of the real co-morbidity factors.

Losing weight is, frankly, one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid.”

So at this point, I was genuinely thinking: fair play. That – the banning of junk food ads, the encouragement to lead a healthier diet – is a good thing. And that’s me saying that, and you’ve probably have noticed I’m not the biggest fan of Johnson or any of his inept cronies.

And then I thought about it for a bit.

Although I have exaggerated for supposedly comic purposes, I can’t remember the last time I went to see my GP and he didn’t tell me that I need to lose weight.

Johnson, you will recall, was admitted to hospital earlier this year, having, we are told (and I’m not getting into the whole conspiracy idea that he didn’t really have it) displayed the symptoms of Covid-19. When he was in there, he would almost definitely have been told he needed to lose weight.

He was discharged in March.

Why has it taken him until now, four months later, to come out with this advice?

Surely, immediately after being discharged would have been the optimum point to hoik a thumb in the direction of the hospital and say: “You know what? They gave me some great advice in there”, or whatever the Latin (or Twattin, as it’s referred to in my house whenever he or Rees-Moog uses it) for that is.

And then, on Thursday night, mouth-breather and Health Secretary Matt Hancock made this four-part announcement. On Twitter. You know, like Deranged Donald does:

Now then.

There’s one phrase in that which troubles me. Can you spot it?

This one: “The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing….”

Add that to the sudden rush to identify the clinically and morbidly obese as prime Covid targets, and the whiff of “It’s not our fault, it’s yours for not following the guidelines.” starts to filter under the nostrils.

These are the guidelines which say it’s absolutely fine to, say, go to the pub with members of your household/bubble, as long as you don’t go with other households, and observe social distancing when you’re there. As if the consumption of alcohol will have no effect whatsoever on who you interact with, and how far you stand from them.

And the same guidelines which say you can visit someone from within the same family/bubble, but you can’t go into their house or stay with them.

I think.

There’s a really good article in, of all places, the Financial Times which addresses this. I could quote from it endlessly, or you can jut read it yourself here.

Confused? You won’t be! (honest)

So if people are not following the Goverment guidelines, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are doing so willingly. Sure, a very small percentage of anti-maskers may be, but generally – and I appreciate I’m going out on limb here – generally, people don’t want to die. So if the Government guidelines are not being followed, perhaps it’s time to look at those guidelines, and stop churning out contradictory and confusing directives.

In essence: don’t blame us because you can’t do your job.

I’ll just cough the words *herd immunity* and *second wave* and leave you with this:

Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me

More soon.

How to Do a Cover Version

If ever there was a post that would earn me my second ever Take Down notice, this is it.

But then again, I’ve basically said that Bill Wyman is a paedophile on these pages before and nobody batted an eyelid, so maybe I’ll be okay.

In 1958, The Staple Singers released a record called “This May Be The Last Time”, and it went like this:

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The Staple Singers – This May Be My Last Time

But that’s not the original version; it can’t be, because that came out in 1958, and I’ve tracked down a recording from five years earlier, which appeared on this album:

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The Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama – This Could Be The Last Time

“My”…”the”…okay the title may be ever so slightly different, but it’s the same song, right?

And that’s fine, they’re both utterly great versions.

And then in 1965, this got to #1 in the UK Charts:

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The Rolling Stones – The Last Time

Well, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, there’s some different lyrics thrown in, but that’s no problem, the Stones are proud of their blues and gospel roots, so they obviously credited – or the very least part credited – the original artists, right?

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Oh. Bit awkward.

It wasn’t until 2003 that Keith Richards decided to set the record straight: “We came up with ‘The Last Time’, which was basically re-adapting a traditional gospel song that had been sung by the Staple Singers, but luckily the song itself goes back into the mists of time.”

Hmmm.

Let’s take another look at that single sleeve again. There’s another name that leaps out, isn’t there? Andrew Loog Oldham.

Oldham was The Stones’ manager (I can heartily recommend his autobiography “Stoned”, by the way, but I’ve not read the pip-squeezing other two “2Stoned” and “Rolling Stoned”) and producer, and creator of this:

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The Andrew Oldham Orchestra – The Last Time

Hang on just one moment, though. Something about that rings a few bells too, doesn’t it?

From this:

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The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

As a result of a fairly infamous legal battle, centred around the alleged plagiarism by lead Verve-ist Richard Ashcroft, Jagger and Richards were added to that as co-composers, so they got their slice of the pie.

Which, given the above, is a bit rich, really, isn’t it, dear reader?

Mind you, Ashcroft really should have known better. It’s not like Jagger and Richards didn’t have form for that sort of behaviour…..For back in 1991 this record met a similar fate:

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Carter USM – After The Watershed (Early Learning The Hard Way)

…which borrowed heftily from this:

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The Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday

Ah, plagiarism. As some anniversary or another of this album’s release is almost upon us, it seems appropriate for me to sign off with this:

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The Smiths – Cemetry Gates

More litigious nonsense soon.

The Election Section V2.9

A change of plan, a Dubious Taste U-Turn if you like.

Instead of presenting “an overview of what the main parties are offering” – what’s the point? You all know what I’m going to say – just a few songs which sum things up for me:

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The Housemartins – Sheep

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Billy Bragg – Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

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The Redskins – Keep on Keepin’ On!

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The Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down

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Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – The Impossible Dream

Oh and this:

More soon.

The Chain #25

It’s Chain Gang time, and for any newcomers to these shores, hello, and here’s an explanation as to what we do here: each week we move along the records which have featured on the BBC’s The Chain segment of Radcliffe and Maconie’s show, originally on Radio 2, currently on 6 Music; we play the next in the chain, ask for your suggestions for tunes we can play which link to that record, but instead of picking just one, we endeavour to post links to them all. Then, at the end of the post, we reveal what the official next record is, and off we go again.

I mention this as at the weekend I met up with some friends for Sunday lunch; a few of them read this regularly (hello!), some sporadically (hello!), some never (there’s not much point in saying hello to them) and one who falls into the middle category asked me what the hell is going on here. Got it now?

Perhaps it would be better if we just crack on? Last week, we ended with the song that was the 24th record played in the official chain on the aforementioned show, Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” and these are the suggestions you came up with.

Oh and by the way, this is slightly later than usual as I’ve had some issues with the layout of this post, which I don’t seem to be able to rectify. I suspect it’s because of the size of the post; I’ll keep trying to make it look pwetty for you all after I’ve posted it.

Anyway, this week, all of the suggestions (including my own) can be put into one of six, broad categories.

Category 1 – Joni Mitchell:

Regular readers will know that the record that brought us to Joni Mitchell was Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Radio Radio”. Even more regular readers will know that a few weeks ago, in a Comment Conversation about acts which everyone else seems to adore and revere, but which leave some of us utterly flaccid and distinctly unaroused, regular contributor to this page, George, told us how he is left cold by The Clash and Bruce Springsteen. So imagine our surprise when he mentioned last week that he had a link which resulted in a song by The Boss. However, he declined to let us know what it was.

Until, that is, after last week’s Chain post had been posted, at which point he sent this:

“Now that you’ve published this week’s Chain I can give you my Springsteen link. Elvis Costello’s real name was Declan McManus. Mick MacManus was a wrestler, and Bruce Springsteen wrote a song called The Wrestler. Now, I have been in touch with the chairman of FOMAMB (Federation of Middle Aged Male Bloggers ) who tells me you are not allowed to edit your post and re-upload it with my suggestion.”

This is fictional federation-ness gone mad! Curse the federation! Where’s Blake’s 7 when you need them?

So why am I mentioning this in a section a category which I have quite clearly just announced contains links to Joni Mitchell? Well, because Alex G from We Will Have Salad kindly stepped in to assist, that’s why:

“That’s easy” writes our hero, “Nick Mitchell is a wrestler. Or Ryan Mitchell is a wrestler. And so on.”

Thanks Alex! And here you go George. No, no need to thank us:

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Bruce Springsteen – The Wrestler

And that, dear newcomer, is how easy it is to suggest a link.

Here’s another one, from The Robster, from Is This The Life? who writes:

“One of Joni’s most famous songs is Woodstock, about the legendary festival in 1969. Although initially scheduled to perform there, Joni was prevented from doing so by her record label as they had booked a TV appearance for her the next day and they were concerned she wouldn’t make it back in time.

Her then-boyfriend was Graham Nash, who did perform at Woodstock as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He relayed the weekend’s events to Joni who subsequently wrote the song about it.

The link then… Woodstock was opened by Richie Havens who played one of the event’s most fondly remembered sets. On his 1974 album ‘Mixed Bag II’, Havens covered The Loner, a song originally written and performed by Neil Young, who also played Woodstock as a member of CSN&Y.”

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Richie Havens – The Loner

And that, BBC, is how you “educate, inform and entertain”.

Sometimes, the suggestions can go off at a bit of a tangent, mind. One person’s suggestion may lead another contributor in a different direction. So long as the link is sound, though, we’ll dust off the tune in question and give it a spin. Take Swiss Adam from Bagging Area‘s first suggestion of the week, for example (and yes, I did just say first suggestion, for often folks will make offer more than one. I’ve got four this week, but then it’s my blog, so there):

“Neil Young is the obvious route but Robster’s got it covered. Teenage Fanclub’s Neil Jung perhaps?”

Lifted from their should-have-been-huge “Grand Prix” album, it’s often overlooked that when it was released as a single, “Neil Jung” came in two different versions: your actual bona fide album version and this, the lesser known but still bloody excellent, version:

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Teenage Fanclub – Neil Jung (Alternative Version)

But like I said, Swiss Adam isn’t done there. Oh no.

“Acid house band Fluke had a decent track called Joni (think it samples Big Yellow Taxi too).”

Girls: out with your glo-sticks. Guys: off with your shirts and do the Meat Dance. Oi Oi! Saveloy!

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Fluke – Joni

One of the great things, even if I do say myself, is there sheer diversity of the suggestions we get here, and here’s an example. From Teenage Fanclub, to Fluke, to The Fall, all linking back to the same source. Here’s George again:

“Joni Mitchell sang about a Big Yellow Taxi. Taxi was an American sitcom from the late 70s, starring, amongst others, Danny De Vito. And there’s a Fall single Rolling Danny (originally by Gene Vincent).”

Yeh, I thought that was how Danny was spelt too, until I checked out the single sleeve, that is:

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The Fall – Rollin’ Dany

Now, The Chain is not just about picking the coolest record with the cleverest link. Here at A History of Dubious Taste (generally) and The Chain (specifically) we like to feature the occasional record which some might describe as cheesy, some just as downright crap. Previously, we’ve had songs by Chesney Hawkes, Busted, and last week, Russ Abbot. Truly we know no shame.

First to take a tilt at claiming this week’s “Worst Record of the Week” crown goes to babylotti. This is actually the third suggestion he gave this week (the others will feature in a bit,  in different categories):

“Paul Evans with the ‘Hello, This is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)’, purely because I thought he was referring to Joni Mitchell as a kid (I originally thought that was how it was on the record….)

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Paul Evans – Hello, This Is Joannie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song)

Ordinarily, I would now write something terribly scathing and/or witty, but this is a record which I posted a few weeks ago on my currently on hiatus “Friday Night Music Club”, thread, where I once posted a load of songs about telephone calls. You can read it here: self-referential tosser.

Anyway, nice try, babylotti, but I’m afraid that’s not the Worst Record of the Week. Stick around folks, you’ll see soon enough.

Here’s The Swede, from Unthought of, though, somehow with his suggestion for the week:

“Joni collaborated with Charles Mingus on her LP ‘Mingus’. This was Mingus’s final musical project and the album was dedicated to him after his death. On the 1959 LP ‘Mingus Ah Um’, Charles Mingus paid his own tribute to the recently deceased saxophonist Lester Young, with the gorgeous ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’.”

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Charles Mingus – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

See? Educational, informative and entertaining.

On to Rol from My Top Ten now, who perfectly demonstrates what I mean about going off on tangents:

“Kudos to babylotti for suggesting Hello This Is Joannie… which led me to think of my all-time favourite answerphone song:”

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Blake Shelton – Austin

“Oh, but hang on, I’m supposed to be linking to Joni, aren’t I….?”

We’ll come back to you, Rol.

In the meantime, since we seem to be on a bit of a Country tip, here’s George again:

“From Joni Mitchell to David Mitchell of Peep Show and his co-worker Robert Webb, to Webb Pierce, he of the guitar-shaped swimming pool, and his absolutely toptastic song There Stands The Glass.”

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Webb Pierce – There Stands The Glass

Toptastic indeed, great mate!

And so to the last of the suggestions in this category, and I’ll hand you over to Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:

“Joni Mitchell is a talented painter whose work has appeared on her album covers.  Ditto Jon Langford so Chivalry by the Mekons please.”

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Mekons – Chivalry

Category 2 – For the Roses:

That leads me rather nicely on to my own first suggestion of the week. “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” is lifted from Joni’s “For the Roses” album, and, just like Joni and Jon Langford, John Squire of The Stone Roses, when he wasn’t chucking paint over his former record company’s offices, or taking several years to make an album that falls into “alright but not as good as their first album and certainly not worth the wait” bracket, or releasing underwhelming come back singles (did anyone like The Stone Roses come back material? In fact, can anyone name any of the singles? Without checking? Nope, thought not.)

So here’s a double linker, courtesy of Yours Truly:

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The Stone Roses – Made Of Stone

Rol’s back!

“OK… ‘For The Roses’, also contains the excellent ‘Barangrill’, the opening lines of which are:

“Three waitresses all wearing
Black diamond earrings
Talking about zombies and Singapore Slings”

So, this week, my suggestions are…”

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The Zombies – Time of the Season

“…and…”

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Harry Belafonte – Zombie Jamboree

Is it just me, or has Harry Belafonte got massive hands?

Now, newcomers I now need to introduce you to the concept of Comment Showboating. This is where a contributor provides a long, detailed, spectacular explanation of how they have got from Record A to Record B, and is a phrase I originally used to describe one of George’s early suggestions. It is meant as a compliment, by the way. More recently, Dirk from sexyloser has been providing the entertainment in this regard, but not this week:

“No Comment Showboating attempt this week, because the fact that this song seems to derive from an album called ‘For The Roses’ immediately made me think of a version of ‘Good Year For The Roses’ that I simply LOVED ever since I first heard it (on Peel, where else?), and in my estimation it’s better than any other version I know, and this – excuse me – includes E. Costello. So my choice for this week links to Dino Lee (The King Of White Trash) and his version of ‘Good Year For The Roses’ from 1985.”

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Dino Lee – Good Year for the Roses

“If you can’t find it anywhere, I’d be happy to send you an mp3-file …” Dirk adds. Oh ye of little faith! But that does flag up one of the rules here at The Chain: if you’re going to suggest a record, particularly an obscure one, then you must have a copy yourself in case I don’t have it already or am unable to source it. And then be nice when I come begging.

Now, before I become all bogged down with “The Rule”, we’ll move onto the third category of the night.

Category 3 – Turns/Turn-Ons:

Often the simplest links are the best, and more often then not the simplest way to link from the source song to your choice of tune is to pick a word from the title and find one that has the same word, preferably, but not necessarily in the title.

Here’s SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything to show you what I mean:

“So something you turn on are lights. Interpol released a fairly terrific record a few years back called ‘NYC’ which featured on their album ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’.”

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Interpol – NYC

“Alternatively,” continues our just-moved-house-buddy, “you can turn face as Gravenhurst did in their wonderful track ‘I Turn my Face to the Forest Floor’.”

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Gravenhurst – I Turn My Face To The Forest Floor

He’s right, that is wonderful. I’d never heard of Gravenhurst before, but if you like that track, I can heartily recommend getting hold of a copy (legally, of course) of the “Flashlight Seasons” album for more of the same. Cheers SWC!

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wheelbarrow being delivered.”

Erm, fair enough. You’re excused.

What seemed an age ago, babylotti gave us the third of his three suggestions, and it’s about time we went back to check out his other two. Well, one of them for now:

“Robert Palmer’s cover of Jam & Lewis’s ‘I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On’ (the original was by Cherrelle)”

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Robert Palmer – I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On

Now, had you not stipulated you were nominating the Robert Palmer version, I would have happily plumped for the Cherelle version. There’s just something about the Robert Palmer version that makes me feel a little…uneasy. Listen to the lyrics: this a man apologising to a woman for being so utterly irresistible (simply irresistible, you could say) that she cannot help but get turned on by him. This came out in 1985, when Palmer was 36. I know that’s not quite old enough for this to qualify as locker room talk, the optimum age for which we all now know is 59, but still…. The “Don’t blame me, you shouldn’t have gone out with me because you should have known you wouldn’t be able to resist me” defence makes my skin crawl, and Palmer’s version of this song is a Ched Evans of a record.

Trump should use this version as his walk-on music for tonight’s final live debate. At least Palmer is dead and so won’t be able to protest about it’s appropriated use.

Ahem. Anyway. Remember Alex G from right at the top of this post, kindly providing me with a reason to post some Bruce Springsteen? Well, here he is again:

“I would say this is kind of obvious, but since nobody else has suggested it (and I still like it)…”

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Freakpower – Turn on, Tune in, Cop Out [Radio Mix]

Let’s stay in dancier territories for a moment, with another of my suggestions, which at first glance has no link, but once you hear the lyrics, you’ll spot the turn-on link fairly easily:

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Paul Oakenfold Ft Brittany Murphy – Faster Kill Pussycat

And since we’re now on to songs which contain the lyrics “You turn me on”, here’s The Beard:

“You turn me on are the opening words of a well known song by Simple Minds. Said song (almost) shares it’s title with one time Saturday morning kids show Live & Kicking. The predecessor of this show was Going Live!, helmed by Phillip Schofield. The greyer than grey presenter was famously accosted by Fruitbat from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party in 1991. The song they, erm, played at that shindig was After The Watershed.”

For those of you who don’t know what The Beard is blethering on about, here’s the footage:

For reasons which are probably already pretty clear if you watched that all the way through, The Rolling Stones took out an injunction against the band to prevent it being played on the radio, and then took further legal action to make sure the song was thereafter credited to “Morrison, Carter, Richards and Jagger”. You’d have thought, given that “After the Watershed” came out in 1991, Richard Ashcroft might have learned something, wouldn’t you?. But no: six years later The Verve released “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which, predictably, befell exactly the same fate for sampling The Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral version of “The Last Time”.

 And here’s the song:

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Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – After The Watershed (Early Learning The Hard Way)

“It’s better than aforementioned Simple Minds number,” signs off our Bearded Brethren. What, this one?

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Simple Minds – Alive And Kicking

Yes. Yes, it is.

Time for a category change.

Category 4 – Radio:

Time to pop back to babylotti again, for his third choice which was actually his second (I really don’t make this easy for myself, do I?)

“Because I meant to post it when ‘Radio, Radio’ was the chain, but it still is relevant with this thread, Latin Quarter’s ‘Radio Africa’. Wasn’t really a fan, but saw them at the Sheffield Leadmill years ago & have remembered that song ever since……”

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Latin Quarter – Radio Africa

Over now to The Great Gog, who was first to post a suggestion this week, which used to mean he got top billing, but hey-ho, times change, and now he finds himself the second of two songs in the fourth category. Nothing personal, mind, I thought this was one of the cleverest links this week:

“Well, Joni clearly believes herself to be an item of electrical equipment, and this is not a unique state for a recording artist to find themselves in. Remember Buggles? The “Video Killed The Radio Star” duo (there’s a Radio link I hadn’t thought of!)? Some people may be surprised to know that they recorded an album. Still more may be surprised to learn that they even made it as far as a second album.  It is on this second album where Trevor Horn rather robotically advises the listener that “I Am A Camera”. It was released as a single but didn’t trouble the Charts at all.”

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Buggles – I Am A Camera

 You’re right GG – I knew they made one album, but a second? Nope, no clue.

Category 5 – Blue:

Perhaps Mitchell’s most famous album, and one which will always feature in those snooty “Best Albums Ever” lists that are published every now and again, is “Blue”. Here’s another of my suggestions:

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The Bluetones – Are You Blue or Are You Blind?

The Bluetones were a fine singles band in my book, but were regarded as a poor man’s Stone Roses, which I’ve never seen myself. It’s like when Gene were proclaimed as a Happy Shopper Smiths, simply because they had an articulate, literate lead singer and their music was guitar-lead. I’ll feature some more of their records on here sometime soon.

In the meantime, over to Alyson from What’s It All About Alfie? Now, I have to be honest, her reason for suggesting the song she has done does not having anything to do with “Blue”, but I was feeling a little lonely in this category, all on my Jack Jones, and by putting Alyson’s suggestion in here too (it does fit) it bestows double-linker status on it:

“Elvis Costello did a version of ‘Good Year for the Roses’ but that means we double back to him. Thinking of flowers however, it did remind me that when I went to see him in the early ’80s he was supported by a band called The Bluebells (led by Bobby Bluebell !). They had a hit (twice) with the song ‘Young at Heart’ so I’ll go with that one as well.”

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The Bluebells – Young At Heart

In case you’re wondering why she says “as well”, I haven’t gotten to her first choice yet. Time, see. It’s not linear, it’s…oh, I’ll let this chap explain:

Category 6 – Berets:

We’re on the home straight now, folks. And the Worst Record of the Week is still to make an appearance.

Many contributions this week referred to Joni’s preferred head-wear – a beret – yet nobody nominated this one, so I guess I’ll have to:

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Prince & The Revolution – Raspberry Beret

The first to suggest a tune based on a beret was Charity Chic who wrote:

“Joni is famous for wearing a beret. So too was the whippet loving Dundonian, the late great Billy McKenzie. So ‘Party Fears Two’ by the Associates please !”

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Associates – Party Fears Two

Dirk’s back with his actual second suggestion of the week:

“I know that the above [his first suggestion] is not the correct link as chosen by the BBC lads, in fact it’s (because, as CC correctly points out, good ole’ Joni seems to like wearing a nice beret) Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler’s ‘The Ballad Of The Green Berets’. Of course it is….

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Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler – The Ballad Of The Green Berets

I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Dirk…

Ok, here comes the last of your suggestions for the week, and it’s Alyson’s other one:

“Another lady that used to sport a beret was Rickie Lee Jones, she of ‘Chuck E.’s in Love’ fame.”

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Rickie Lee Jones – Chuck E.’s In Love

Which just leaves my final one for this week. Mention a beret to pretty much anyone who was brought up in the UK in the 1970s, and the first person who will spring to mind isn’t Joni Mitchell, or Billy McKenzie, or Prince, or Rickie Lee Jones, or, astonishing as it may seem, to Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. No. They will think of Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer in BBC sitcom “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em”.

Frank Spencer was not the brightest chap in the world, talking in an almost infantile way despite quite clearly being an adult. He was also very accident prone, and the main events of each episode was building up to the grand finale, a impeccably orchestrated stunt which Crawford, apparently, did mostly himself.

Here’s perhaps the most famous one (and yes, I know he’s not wearing a beret in this clip):

In the 1970s and early 1980s there was a band who I have mentioned before on these pages, who did “comedy” versions of pop songs. But their repertoire was not restricted to such cheesiness. Sometimes they wrote their own, original songs, and sometimes the subject matter of those songs was popular television comedy characters.

Brace yourself here come The Barron Knights:

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The Barron Knights – The Ballad Of Frank Spencer

Ordinarily, I would make a half-hearted effort to defend including something that bad, but there’s no point, is there? Sorry.

Let’s move on to the next record in the official Chain, the link to which could easily have rested in the first category of the night and saved us all a lot of time:

“Mitch Mitchell played bass in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, so…”

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25. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]

In case you’re wondering about the slightly dubious sleeve, that’s the original cover of “Electric Ladyland” from which “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]” is lifted.

So – your suggestions please, via the Comments Section down below, for records which you can link to Voodoo Chile [Slight Return] by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, along with an as brief or as complicated as you like explanation as to how you have got from one record t’other.

And I’m willing to bet I know which artist Charity Chic will suggest. And if he doesn’t, I will.

More soon (next week, to be precise).

The Sample Life

Yes, there is an air of me trying to catch up, isn’t there?

I’ll be brief: here is Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine:

MI0001999263 Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Surfin’ USM

And one of the samples contained therein (clue: not the Red Dwarf one):

220px-Bowiecity David Bowie: Suffragette City

Enjoy!