The Chain #19

Hello, and welcome to The Chain Gang (© Charity Chic)

You’ll forgive me if I crack right on this week, as we have an awful lot to get through.

Ok, so we ended last week asking for suggestions for records to play which had some vague connection to Elvis Presley’s “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”, and I’ll tell you straight off that one of you managed to suggest the¬†song that follows next on the official Chain. So: bonus points will be awarded at some point in today’s post.

Exciting this, isn’t it?

So let’s get cracking shall we?

First out of the traps today is Alex G from We Will Have Salad who writes:

“I‚Äôm sure there must be other Maries in popular music (though I can‚Äôt think of any off the top of my head), but I do know that Marie‚Äôs the (real) name of the fairly popular vocalist and light entertainer, Lulu. So in accordance with your request for some cheese (and because I don‚Äôt actually know very much by Lulu), how about ‚ÄúBoom Bang A Bang‚ÄĚ?”

I can’t pretend this isn’t a song that I love and have posted before, so I’m not complaining. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the UK’s entry into the 1969 (a good vintage, by the way) Eurovision Song Contest:

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Lulu – Boom~Bang~A~Bang

For those of you who don’t know the Euro-tale behind this, it was back in the days when the UK wasn’t hated by the rest of Europe, and we regularly stood a fairly good chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1967, Lulu’s tune was the UK’s entry, and it was¬†involved in a four-way tie for first place, with France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Regrettably, there wasn’t time to go through the process of establishing an out-and-out winner on the night, so Lulu was proclaimed joint-winner.

Moving swiftly on and can we all give a very warm Chain Gang (¬©¬†Charity Chic) welcome to babylotti. Now, babylotti seems to be one of those rare creatures to¬†contribute to The Chain (although numbers are starting to flourish): someone who doesn’t have a blog of their own. Regular readers will know that this is something I want to encourage: I love having my regular blogging¬†buddies suggesting stuff to play here, but I also want more people who just pop by, read, listen and download (for assessment purposes only, of course, before¬†purchasing their own copy) to join in, so: babylotti, you are very welcome here. Just don’t take the piss by posting loads of suggestions, okay?

“Maria McKee collaborated with Youth on a project called Sweetest Child, their one & only single being of the same name, so my suggestion is that.”

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Youth feat. Maria McKee – Sweetest Child

Now. Strictly speaking, I should be declining that suggestion on the grounds that the song we’re linking to has the name “Marie”, not “Maria” in it. But, before there are complaints from the locals: I’m going to let it slide this time, for three reasons: firstly, it’s your first time here so I’ll cut you some slack; secondly, for a time in the late 1980s I loved Miss McKee’s band Lone Justice, and they will feature again here soon, so I’m more than happy to hear some of her solo-ish work; thirdly, I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I, diligent and warm¬†host that I am, have posted both. So, shush. Maria McKee suggestion stands.

Take the pressure off me, someone, please?

Ah, here’s Charity Chic, creator of the Chain Gang name with which you are all now blessed (I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t think of that.)

“I suspect I would lose points for the fairly obvious Marie Marie by Shaking Stevens. So what about the original by The Blasters?”

No, but you might lose points for placing an erroneous g where a ‘ should be in his name.¬†Very long term readers will know, I was pretty much obsessed with the Shaky one when I was a kid, so sorry, you’re getting both versions:

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Shakin’ Stevens – Marie Marie

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The Blasters – Marie Marie

Speaking of points, here’s….no, not yet, calm down, I’m just messing with you…

Oh wait, it’s Charity Chic again!

“I see a Maria has already sneaked in. Maria was a song in the musical West Side Story (don‚Äôt panic I‚Äôm not stopping there) Squeeze had an album called East Side Story which included the wonderful Tempted.”

CC, you have redeemed yourself:

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Squeeze – Tempted

If I had to say anyone had mastered the art of getting multiple songs played here, it’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything, who sent this:

“I was going to start with suggesting eternal flame by The Bangles. In the hope that the latest flame lasted for ever…”

Hmmm. At least you didn’t go for the Atomic Kitten version, I suppose…

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The Bangles – Eternal Flame

“Then I wondered what would happen if Elvis in the throws of passion called out ‚Äėoh brenda‚Äô to be met by Marie saying ‚Äėthat‚Äôs not my name‚Äô. Which just so happens to be a song by the ting tings.”

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The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

“….but then after scrolling through the iPod for a vague chain link I came across ‚ÄėHer Name was Audre‚Äô by Maximo Park. Which seems perfect.”

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Max√Įmo Park – Her Name Was Audre

I have to admit I kinda lost interest in Maximo Park after their second album, so it’s rather nice to hear something from later on in their career. Time for to me to revisit them, I think.

Hold up. babylotti’s back:

“I shall suggest another one, Sister Marie Says by OMD, from their 2010 History of Modern LP, though written in 1981 it sounds like it could have appeared next to Enola Gay and not been out of place. And he sings this as Sister Mary, not Marie to add to my earlier Maria faux pas”

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OMD – Sister Marie Says

I can’t say that anything by OMD had crossed my radar since they stopped writing records for Atomic Kitten (there’s a separate theme starting right there…) and reformed, but I take your point about that sounding like something circa Enola Gay.

babylotti’s not finished there though:

“Ok last one, I suggest His Latest Flame ‚Äď “Somebody‚Äôs Gonna Get Hurt” for hopefully obvious reasons‚Ķ..”

Now, there’s a name I’ve not heard for a long time.

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His Latest Flame – Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt

It seems our new friend has an interesting definition of the phrase “last one” though (I’m teasing by the way):

“To add to this chain, I‚Äôm going to make the leap from Somebody‚Äôs gonna get hurt, to Somebody‚Äôs going to get their heads kicked in tonight‚Ķ. the original or The Rezillo‚Äôs one, your choice‚Ķ.”

Since I’ve posted two versions of Marie, Marie I can’t really not do the same here, now can I, Chain Gangers?:

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Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite

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The Rezillos –¬† Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight

And now, as they say, for something completely different.¬†Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“‚Äė(Marie‚Äôs the Name) His Latest Flame‚Äô was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, as was the Andy Williams classic, ‚ÄėCan‚Äôt Get Used to Losing You‚Äô.”

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¬†Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

I figured using the album sleeve, with it’s “And Other Requests” was more appropriate than the single sleeve for that one.

Here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? with something else of a certain¬†vintage:

“As we all know, at one point Elvis‚Äô latest flame was Priscilla Beaulieu but Priscilla was also the real name of that other ‚Äô60s singer/light entertainer Cilla Black. (Don‚Äôt worry it‚Äôs not going to be Alfie) ‚Äď Going to choose her very first release, the Lennon & McCartney penned song Love of the Loved please.”

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Cilla Black – Love of the Loved

Back over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything blog, and to S-WC:

“Two suggestions from me. Elvis famously resurrected his career in Vegas. Vegas was a song by Sleeper. So we could have that. I forget which album it was on ‚Äď the first one I think.”

Indeed it was. As I purchased this on cassingle (remember them?) back in the day, I’ve plumped for the single version though:

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Sleeper – Vegas

The very thought of Louise Wener¬†still makes me go a little weak at the knee….

Here’s S-WC’s second choice:

“The second one is that Elvis as well as singing about Flames called Marie also wrote about being ‚ÄėIn The Ghetto‚Äô which is probably his finest moment. That was memorably covered by Leatherface on their 1989 classic ‚ÄėFill Your Boots‚Äô”

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Leatherface – In the Ghetto

Remember how earlier I said ‘I don’t think there’s a single one of the regular contributors who haven’t posted a suggestion then gone “Doh! I’ve thought of something waaaay better than that!”, and I diligent host that I am, have posted both.’? Well, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie? back for a second bite:

“I‚Äôm back as now having listened to my last suggestion it sounds truly awful so to redeem myself I‚Äôm going to suggest that other Elvis ‚Äď Costello. He also sang about a girl‚Äôs name, the lovely Alison.”

Even if I wanted to complain about multiple submissions (which I don’t), that is not a song I could resist posting (so I won’t):

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Elvis Costello – Alison

Hold up, here’s George with what I think we can all agree is this week’s clear winner of the Comments Showboating award:

“Here goes. The song (Marie‚Äôs the name) His latest Flame was originally sung by Del Shannon. Unfortunately Del Shannon killed himself with a gun (in 1980). And two years earlier Terry Kath had killed himself with a gun, although this was accidental [this from Wikipedia: ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt worry about it ‚Ķ look, the clip is not even in it.‚ÄĚ ‚Ķ‚Ķ.Kath showed the empty magazine‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ.then replaced the magazine in the gun, put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. However, there was a round in the chamber, and Kath died instantly.] Terry Kath was in the band Chicago, whose song 25 and 6 to 4 is pretty good.”

If, like me, you’re more familiar with Chicago for their slushy ballads (“If You Leave Me Now”, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” etc.) then I’d heartily recommend you give this one a listen to see what they used to sound like:

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Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4

But George isn’t done just there. No-siree-bob:

“I was going to link to The Smurfs but they‚Äôre Belgian….so instead. Elvis Presley‚Äôs manager was Tom Parker (who was Dutch, and I thought the Smurfs were Dutch but they‚Äôre not). And Parker was a character in Thunderbirds, he was Lady Penelope‚Äôs chauffeur/manservant. And Felt did a song called Penelope Tree.”

As I mentioned in the Comments to last week’s post, I cannot believe I’ve not posted anything by Felt before, lead singer Lawrence being one of the great unsung heroes of the UK independent music scene:

felt-penelope-tree-cherry-redFelt – Penelope Tree

Ordinarily, I’d save my own contribution until the end, but as George has kindly taken me halfway to both of my suggestions this week, I may as well go now.

Parker was indeed a character from Thunderbirds, and back in 1989 the renamed, rebranded, repackaged Fuzzbox released a single as a homage to those superheroes on  puppet strings:

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Fuzzbox – International Rescue

Of course, they weren’t the only band who released a Thunderbirds-related single, for in 2004 those naughty Busted boys had a hit with the theme to the movie. But I’m not going to play that. A Thunderbirds related Busted song? On these pages? Don’t be so ridiculous.

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Busted – What I Go To School For

Back over to you guys, and here’s Swiss Adam from bagging area with – drum roll please – the correct suggestion, by which I mean, the next official record in The Chain:

“Marie‚Äôs the Name was the inspiration for the riff to Rusholme Ruffians and on Rank and at live shows Marr jammed the two songs together.”

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19. The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)

Bonus points (again) to Swiss it is then!

Over to The Great Gog now:

“Some good tunes already suggested: Smiths, Felt & OMD. Hit by the perils of just returning from hols with all the good suggestions gone, and I feel like I‚Äôm being forced into a bit of fromage. I‚Äôve been on a cruise ship on the Baltic for the last fortnight, and I believe Tony Christie was doing such venues at one point. He of course had a girl called Marie who was apparently hanging around for him in Amarillo, presumably as there was nothing else to do there.”

I really wouldn’t worry about the fromage, GG. You’ve seen what I posted,right?

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Tony Christie – (Is This The Way to) Amarillo

Those of you who read the Comments on this section as they come in will know that Charity Chic posted a very intriguing comment, which I invited CC to expand on:

“You‚Äôre wrong there about Amarillo GG ‚Äď I once spent an hour in a turkey compound there hiding from an armed and unstable man in a El Camino truck intent on causing us harm.”

For those of you were as fascinated as I was for more details, he has indeed spilt the beans, here. (Oh and cheers for the plug!)

Whilst we’re on Charity Chic, here’s a first: a (kinda) dual suggestion by two of our Chain Gang regulars. Firstly Swiss Adam of¬†bagging area, flush with his bonus points, returns with three simple words:

“Absolutely Sweet Marie”

Since no artiste was given, I can only assume Swiss meant this version, as opposed to, say,the George Harrison or Jason & The Scorchers versions:

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Bob Dylan – Absolutely Sweet Marie

…at which point, CC chipped in with:

“The Jason and the Scorchers version please”

Fair enough!

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Jason & The Scorchers – Absolutely Sweet Marie

And so we come to the last suggestion of the week, and it’s a warm Chain Gang welcome back to Rol from My Top Ten:

“The Smiths was my first, most obvious, choice‚Ķ but for something a bit more obscure, how about Flame On! by Captain America?¬†“

Happy to oblige. I seem to remember this lot getting into a spot of bother with a certain high street retailer back in the day. Can’t think why:

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Captain America – Flame On

Ok, so before I wrap things up, two things. Firstly: CW, thanks for your comment and I Рno, we all Рlook forward to your suggestions in the future. And secondly, many many thanks for all of the  messages about my cousin, it really meant a lot to me that some of you took the time to pass on your kind words of support.

Before I get all teary-eyed, I’ll end for the night. Your suggestions please for any record that you can link to The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” which is lifted from their 1988 live album (and Rough Trade contract fulfilling) “Rank” – via the Comments section at the bottom of the page please!

See you same time, next week.

More soon.

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Glastonbury, So Much To Answer For (Part 4b)

And so to Saturday.

I am knackered from Friday night. Sadly, not from any late night dad-dancing into the small hours, but because the trudge back from the Park Stage was a real ball-ache. The rain, you see, the rain. Although it had stopped a few hours earlier, the damage was done, pathways churned up by 175,000 revellers desperate to get to Avalon, to Silver Hayes (the new name for the Dance Tents, though quite what was wrong with calling them the Dance Tents is beyond me. Maybe it was a bit too Ronseal. Perhaps in years to come the Pyramid Stage will be rechristened The Pointy Place) to The Glade, to Arcadia.

Arcadia is close to where we are camped, and the central feature¬†is used as a reference point to guide us back to our tents. At night-time it’s easy to spot, a giant spidery thing which spurts fire, like this:

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Fairly noticeable, right? But during the day, there it stands, sans flames, sans booming techno, sans massive throng of people. Every time I walk past it in the day time, cold and stationary, legs akimbo, it strikes me as being almost gynaecological, which reminds me I really must start my therapy again sometime. And phone my mother.

Anyway, Saturday, and I emerge from my tent to find the weather overcast and, without doing anything as sensible as either checking a) what effect the rain had actually had on the terrain, or b) the little book around my neck with the running order on it, I decide to return to my tent, in frankly a bit of a sulk.

I have it in my head that there’s nobody I want to see until Burt Bacharach on the Pyramid. I am wrong, and I am a twat. This assumption means I miss one of the acts I really wanted to see: Courtney Barnett. When I get home, I plough through all the BBC Glastonbury stuff I recorded,¬†find this¬†and I immediately regret not seeing¬†her. There’s something about this, maybe the almost spoken delivery of the verses that reminds me of Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” which is no bad thing in my book. (To add to my misery, when researching this post – and yes, I do research, though you’d be hard pushed to notice it –¬†I find this duet with one of my heroes, Evan Dando¬†and I’m even more gutted to have missed her.)

When I resurface, I find that I have managed to miss a couple of young lady guests that Andy has brought over to the camp site for a barbecue. I also find much hilarity ensuing at what Dean has brought to assist with the barbecues:

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(With thanks to Chad for the photo and for reminding me about this).

I pull my wellies on and head to the Pyramid. The ground is firm. I curse my glass-half-empty thoughts about the state the terrain would be in, and pitch up to watch Burt Bacharach.

He is, and I hate to say this about a living legend, a wee bit¬†disappointing. It’s not so much the fact that he doesn’t actually sing many of the songs himself: he’s never really been renowned for his singing prowess, and when he does venture to give his tonsils an airing it’s croakier than Kermit in need of a lozenge.

But I have a couple of other issues with his set. Firstly, we rarely get to hear a song all of the way through. This is kind of understandable, when you think about the vast back catalogue of classic songs he wrote or co-wrote with Hal David. Burt wants to appease each and every one of us by performing the one we like, and the only way to do that is to only perform a bit of each. And so, Pyramid becomes Medley-Central for the next hour.

The other problem is that we associate most of his songs with absolute classic, legendary¬†singers: Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Sandie Shaw, Tom Jones …er…Cilla Black…um……Christopher Cross…¬†oh you know, classic, legendary singers.

But what we get are three singers performing snippets of these great, great songs who, whilst very good, are just a little bit cruise ship. They’re¬†never going to do these wonderful songs justice and certainly aren’t going to¬†really affect the on-looking crowd. It’s all just a bit….bland.

Anyway, here’s Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head (which would have been better had he played it on Friday evening) and the utterly schmaltzy That’s What Friends Are For.

Next up is Paloma Faith. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for this bat-shit crazy flame haired Hackney-ite, mostly from her flirtatious appearances alongside Noel Fielding on “…Buzzcocks” and I quite like a couple of songs off her first album. (On the matter of Noel Fielding, if you’ve never heard him tell the story of the time he went missing from his own tour, and was found¬†working in a¬†second hand vintage clothing shop in Brighton, then listen to this: funny as fuck.)

I am totally unprepared for just how much of a show-woman she is; she looks amazing, puts on an utterly spellbinding set, and I don’t really mind that I only know one of her songs (putting aside her frankly inexplicable decision to cover Purple Haze), or that she wants to get off her chest something about a bad thing¬†that the red-tops have written about her, of which most of us have no knowledge, but seems to be about her saying she hates Glastonbury. Paloma: we know The Sun is full of bollocks, there really is no need to clarify.

Anyway, she clearly doesn’t hate Glastonbury. She clearly loves it and has an absolute ball.

She has as much of a blast as we all do watching her. Here’s her doing “Only Love Can Hurt Like This”¬†but the crowd goes uber-wild when she wheels on two blokes behind keyboards/decks; they are apparently called Sigma, they are more than adept at pretending they are actually doing something with their keyboards/decks other than pressing Play,¬†and they rattle through “Changing“, the crowd going¬†mental joining in the “Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh” chorus¬†(they don’t write ’em¬†like that anymore)¬†and I have never felt older.

As Paloma finishes, I espy Chad, Llyr, Emily, Andrew and Cara wending their way through the crowd. I join them, and after much standing around (mostly trying to work out where Andy is Рwe know he has his magical alchemy vodka drinks and we therefore need him) we make our way down the slope to a decent clearing ready for the next act: Pharrell Williams. Located, Andy passes me a bottle full of chocolate vodka, a swig and all is right with the world.

Pharrell is essentially the warm up guy for Saturday night’s headliner, Kanye West. Emily has written “Kan” in lipstick on her right cheek, and “Yay!” on her left in anticipation of the main event, which could also be construed as¬†a show of strength and unity: his booking has been massively criticised, an on-line petition against his appearance at the festival has attracted waaaaay to many signatories from reactionaries and racists, and its refreshing to see someone wear their heart on their, errr,¬†cheeks.

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To be honest, the Eavis’ need not have booked Kanye, for Pharrell utterly owns the Pyramid Stage for the next hour or so. He treats us not just to his solo stuff, but to just about every record he has ever been involved in (actually, that’s not true – we’d still be there¬†if he did that), so we get treated to a barrage of¬†Pharrell’s Greatest Hits: “Frontin“, “Marilyn Monroe“, “Hot in Herre” (yes, I have chosen the magnificently camp Tiga version over the Nelly one there); “Lap Dance“, “She Wants to Move“,¬†“Hollaback Girl“, a triumphant and glorious version of¬†“Get Lucky” and we even manage to cast our liberal outrage aside to¬†dance and sing-a-long¬†to misogynist sex-fest “Blurred Lines” on the strict proviso that he doesn’t wheel out¬†misogynist sex-pest¬†Robin Thicke¬†to co-perform it.

Pharrell’s set is embellished by¬†a group of highly gyratory dancers, and¬†also by ushering on stage a load of your common-or-garden punters, the male section of which seem to be hurried off equally quickly, leaving a group of awkward but star-struck young ladies to frug their way through a couple of songs whilst Pharrell and his enclave direct us to watch a dancer literally standing on her head and spinning. If this is what spinning classes involve, then I’m glad I’ve avoided them (and anything else which vaguely resembles a gym class).

Pharrell’s¬†set is book-ended by an intro and super-long crowd sing-a-long-a-climax of “Freedom“, complete with cute kids brought on stage to stand¬†and look cute, and then he is off, taking his Adidas-arse-logoed jeans with him and allowing the BBC producers to breathe again without fear of allegations of product placement being launched against them.

Now then. The Big One. Kanye. It can’t have escaped your attention that his set was, shall we say, more than a little contentious. I¬†have no intention¬†watching him. But let me set my position straight: I have no issue with Kanye West headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. He’s not my cup of tea, so I won’t be joining in, but I appreciate that there’s a lot of people here who do want to see him, and I think he’s earned the right to be here. I had the same feeling about¬†Jay-Z when he headlined a few years ago – I wasn’t there, probably wouldn’t have watched him if I had been, but those who did, fair play, enjoy!

The comparison between Jay-Z’s appearance and Glastonbury and Kanye’s is an interesting one. Both attracted quite the media storm when their appearances were announced (Noel: I think you’re often quite the amusing rent-a-mouth, but you just came across as a bit of a dick on the Jay-Z issue) but only one came away from their Saturday Night Glasto set with their integrity and standing intact, and it wasn’t Kanye. Why? Well, I watched the footage back when I got home, and it seemed to me the difference was that whilst Jay-Z was all charm personified, Kanye just seemed determined to prove himself to be a serious artiste.

Oh, and Jay-Z probably knows how Bohemian Rhapsody goes, and wouldn’t have attempted to ingratiate himself by singing it anyway.

And from what I gather from all those who stayed and watched him, and from the oh so many comments posted on social media, nobody else bought it either.

In short: Kanye bombed.

I later learn that Emily has changed the “Yay!” on her right cheek to “Nay!”, thereby earning herself some additional cool points which she really didn’t need, and effortlessly summing up the Saturday night headliner at the Pyramid.

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As I said, I have decided not to watch Kanye. I am going to watch Suede. Suede are a band I was moderately obsessed with in the early 90s; I bought all of their early singles on the day they were released, along with the accompanying t-shirt of each, but somehow I have managed to never see them live. Well, not a full gig anyway. I have wandered past the Pyramid before and caught a snippet of them, but a full gig? Nosireebob.

As soon as Pharrell finishes, I announce I am off and I make my way to the John Peel stage. I am early and am delighted to catch the end of La Roux’s set. Her performance of “Bulletproof” is awesome and almost – but not¬† quite – gets these old bones a-dancing (they’re knackered from dancing to Pharell).

Getting inside the tent for Suede is a non-starter, so I position myself outside in my little fold-up chair, in front of a flag (so nobody could sneak up behind me and steal my chair/booze/etc), ciders a-ready for quaffing.

It turns out to be quite a wise decision: I can see the stage and one of the screens, and a¬†bit more importantly I can hear perfectly, and Suede are just…awesome. Brett Anderson is on great form, a lithe prowling skinny narcissist, working the crowd like a true pro. Five songs in and I’m in heaven: we’ve had Pantomime Horse, Moving, Trash, Animal Nitrate, We Are The Pigs….Suede were well and truly¬†tearing up the John Peel Stage. Watch it here, listen to it all here, or if you just want a couple of numbers, then here’s Beautiful Ones and glorious come-back single “It Starts and Ends With You

Filled with Britpop joy, I head home, fall¬†into my tent and¬†lay there, listening to the world go by. I’m fairly¬†close¬†to a pathway, and at one point I hear two people¬†walking past, discussing Kanye.

“I quite like him, actually”

“What, even now? Before and after?”

“Before: yes. After: No, he was shit. I’d defend him, but not that far!”

I realise I made the right decision and fall into snooze-mode.