Long time readers may recall that when I first started preparing and posting these mixes, they were considerably longer than the round-about-an-hour ones I do now.
The change to shorter mixes came about after Swiss Adam of Bagging Area fame diplomatically suggested the mixes were too long, people don’t have time to engage for five or six hours at a time, and I think he was absolutely spot-on.
So, you’ll recall I revisited the previous mixes split them down and spiced them up a bit, making them shorter and closer to the requisite 60 minute mark. The only exception was Volume 3, which was posted on Christmas Day 2020, the covid Christmas that never was; I resolutely refused to include any Christmas songs at all in it, hence it being titled “Friday Night No Christmas Music Club”. I’ve never returned to split this one down, as it doesn’t really represent where we are today. Also, I don’t think any of us, particularly those who lost loved ones due to covid, want to be reminded of those days. I’ll never revisit that one, and have deleted the mix from my hard drive so that I can’t. In fact, unless anyone downloaded it from Soundcloud, it doesn’t exist anymore.
Anyway, whilst I was on hiatus, I was tidying up my iTunes and realised that I hadn’t revisted and broken down Vol 5. And so that’s what I’ll be posting for the next four weeks: Vol 5 split into 4 hour-long mixes, the running orders tweaked, some tunes dropped, and a whole load more added to make each one into a round-a-bout 60 minute mix.
So, this time around, 15 songs, one cover version, it’s a little bit 80s, a little bit rock, a little bit 90s and – brace yourself – at least three that were released after the year 2000.
Strap yourselves in for another trip down memory lane, and off we go:
One of the things that I’ve been most surprised about during my enforced hiatus is the number of people who got in touch not just to wish me well (thank you!), but to tell me that they missed my occasional rants on here.
I was surprised not because I expected that the Friday Night Music Club would be the most missed series I write here (heaven forbid), but more because I figured my rants were largely preaching to the converted, telling you nothing you didn’t already know.
I checked back to see when I last wrote one: July 16th 2022. This was post-Boris, but in the middle of the jousting to become his successor, which means I didn’t have chance to write a single thing about Liz Truss and her remarkably succesful and long-lived occupancy of No.10 (sense the tone).
This disappointed me, because here was some rich comic/ranty pickings and I bloody missed it.
But fear not because – what’s that coming over the hill? Why, it’s Liz Truss on the comeback trail. Hoorah! Welcome back Liz!
A close ally (of hers, not mine), who, suprisingly, chose to remain anonymous, said: “Liz has taken a few months to gather her thoughts [That’s thoughts. Not thought. Thoughts. Plural!] and is now ready to speak about her time in office and the current state of play.”
Which she did: apparently, she was never given a “realistic chance” to implement her tax-cutting agenda, and was brought down by the combination of a “powerful economic establishment” and a lack of support from within the Conservative party.
A reminder: her radical tax-cutting budget riled financial markets, sank the pound, took British pension plans to the brink of collapse and led to a revolt within her own Conservative Party.
No: this was nothing to do with her economy-crashing ideas which, as they spectacularly unravelled in record time, led to her to throw Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng under the nearest bus in a desperate attempt to save her own skin:
Actually, that comparison is a little unfair; Scooby and Co only ever looked to blame those interfering kids, not the (notoriously!) left-wing economic establishment, who barely got a mention.
Truss is right of course: hop on rush-hour public transport in London on a week day morning, and after all the red braces and filofax brigade have alighted, all that’s left is not used/read/soiled copies of the Metro, as you would expect, but instead train and bus cabs are literally littered with discarded copies of Das Kapital, pertinent paragraphs furiously circled in biro or highlighted with marker pen.
In an unintended display of just how poor her maths skills are, Truss said: “I have lost track of how many people have written to me or approached me since leaving Downing Street to say that they believe my diagnosis of the problems causing our country’s economic lethargy was correct and that they shared my enthusiasm for the solutions I was proposing.”
Er…how many fingers do you have on each hand, Liz? Now take away four. You have lost track no longer. You’re welcome.
This probably, inadvertently, explains her economic policy, because if she can’t measure that on the fingers on one hand, then her plans for the country’s economy was not exactly in safe hands. David “Safe Hands” Seaman would have been a better bet, and he was last seen advertising “…affordable, high quality, energy efficient and secure windows and doors.” And he’s cut his shit ponytail off in an attempt to gain some authenticity and gravitas.
Which, inevitably, leads me to this:
Safe and reliable, right? Just as nobody wanted to shake hands with Seaman that night, you need to face it Liz: nobody wants to associate with you. You are, to quote Britney:
The prospect of Liz Truss making any kind of succesful comeback would be laughable, were it not for another former PM trying to do exactly the same thing. You know the chap: serial liar, shit hair cut, can’t keep his old chap zipped in. Sound familiar?
See, because there has been that Truss buffer, between his inept Premiership and now, the danger is that many will forget what a self-serving, lying, law-breaking stain on our democracy Boris Johnson was, and will fall for his frankly unfathomable charms once again.
Before we go any further, a quick reminder that Todger Johnson is currently contesting the Partygate allegations against him, and, assuming that you’re a fine and upstanding UK tax-paying member of society like me, that challenge is being funded by you and I:
At the same time, it was recently reported that Johnson was understood to have agreed to buy a £4m nine-bedroom, Grade II-listed home in Oxfordshire. With a moat, presumably to keep the oiks out.
Now, for the likes of you and I to get legal aid – that is, help with paying the legal costs in whatever legal dispute we may be involved in – we would have to show that (and this, from the government’s own website): a) the problem is serious (which sounds disconcertingly vague), and b) you cannot afford to pay for legal costs.
Call me old fashioned or out of touch, but someone who can afford to buy a £4m property does not sound to me like someone who cannot also afford to cover their own legal costs (although we can’t rule out a generous benefactor helping him out. Maybe someone with aspirations to be…oh, I don’t know…the chairman of the BBC).
But no: apparently, on top of all the extra shit we’re having to pay for right now – which cannot be contested, challenged or legislated against, for fear of upsetting the non-Russian contributors to the Tory pot – we also have to chip in for Johnson and his legal defence. Seems fair, right?
Anyway, I digress. Much as I loathe him (too), current PM (at the time of writing) Rishi Sunak, with his Windsor Agreement, seems to have sorted out the mess that is the Withdrawal Agreement which Johnson signed off on, which, from the sudden escalation in violence in Northern Ireland, is perhaps not quite the “oven-ready deal” that was pitched to us in the last election. Johnson lied to us, who’d have thunk it?
We already knew this, of course, for when he was still in power, Johnson performed one of the least convincing volte-faces in the history of, well, everything when, having promised that there wouldn’t be an Irish backstop (effectively an insurance policy in UK-EU Brexit negotiations, meant to make sure that the Irish border remained open, whatever the outcome of the UK and the EU’s negotiations about their future relationship after Brexit) or any checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland, or in the Irish Sea between the UK mainland and Ireland, when the latter inevtiably happened following agreement by Johnson, in contravention of the Good Friday Agreement, he claimed that the Withdrawal Agreement (which, just to emphasise, he signed off – “oven ready” and all that), was useless and needed to be renegotiated.
To summarise that: he knew what he agreed was rubbish, and now, having achieved what he wanted (election, big majority, power, etc.), he thought he could just change the deal. You know, like you can with deals you’ve already agreed.
And now he’s stood on the sidelines – just as he was when Theresa May was trying to negotiate the terms of Brexit – lobbing hand grenades and claiming they’re getting it all wrong. He’s like Alan Partridge telling the Bond-fest contributers that they were “…getting Bond wrong…”, that he could do so much better (clip posted before, always worth a watch, and the comparison stands). I can’t resist (Part 1):
…and then how Johnson views himself (I can’t resist (Part 2):
Don’t fall for it twice folks: he’s not interested in what’s best for the people of the UK, or Northern Ireland (part of the UK, I know, I’m making a point): all he is interested in is himself, what power and influence he can attain, and where his next extra-marital fuck can come from (I bet he’s gutted that both Sturgeon and Merkel are off the menu, he must have tried at least once each).
But credit where credit’s due: Sunak has struck a deal with the EU which gives Northern Ireland access to both the EU and the UK markets, without the need for any of this trifling border talk. And here he is bigging it up:
Hoorah for Rishi! He’s got Northern Ireland access to both the EU and the UK markets and this is the best thing…ever!
Oh hang on. Isn’t that what we had in the UK before Brexit?
Yup. Pretty sure we did.
But apparently the comparison between what has been agreed in this wonderful deal for Northern Ireland – which is clearly THE! BEST! THING! EVER! – and what us in the rest of the UK is lumbered with cannot be made.
Which leads me here: the apparent absence of fresh vegetables – specifically tomatoes – in our supermarkets.
Me? I just want to buy some tomatoes.
Remainers say that it’s because of Brexit, the breakdown in food supply chains, additional paperwork, etc.
Brexit supporters, on the other hand, pull their heads out of the sand long enough to point to adverse weather conditions in the countries growing the crops as being the reason for the failure (I cannot, in all conscience, continue to call supporters of Brexit ‘Brexiteers’, since it imbues them with some sort of glamour, glory or flair, a natural talent which, as far as I can see, they do not deserve. Despite what they say, they’re not fighting for the good of us all, they’re either a) protecting they’re off-shore investments and the non-tax-paying arrangements they have in place, b) are not yet ready to accept the over-whelming evidence that Brexit was a shit idea, or c) are just fucking idiots).
That said, they’re right. Up to a point. The weather is a factor in the supply chain problems.
Let’s take tomatoes as a case in point, since it is the lack of availability of our not-vegetable friends (it’s a fruit! Deal with it!) which is causing the most outrage.
See, during winter-times (i.e. now), we mostly import our tomatoes from Morocco.
But Morocco also has a trade agreement with the EU.
They cannot supply to both. So, faced with the choice of pissing off one of their biggest and most lucrative customers (the EU), or one of their smallest and least profitable, (the UK) they have taken the entirety sensible business step of keeping their biggest, most powerful contact as well stocked as can be managed, and pushed us, lowly little non-EU UK, to our rightful place in the queue.
So yes, the shortage may be down to adverse weather conditions, but supply to the UK is not.
But fear not! Environment Secretary Therese Coffey had ridden over the hill on her silver steed and proclaimed that people complaining about the tomato shortage should consider eating turnips instead. “[It’s] important we cherish the specialisms we have in this country,” she said. “A lot of people would be eating turnips right now.”
Don’t you just love the whole “coping with the economic crisis” advice we keep getting from the goverment, which saves them from actually doing something about it?
There’s a government funded advert on TV at the moment which helpfully suggests that we can save energy by turning down the radiators in rooms we don’t use. Who’s heating empty rooms?? Only idiots who need this kind of advice, that’s who.
The specialisms Coffey refers to seems to include having fucking idiots in charge.
Anyway, apparently, turnips are the same as tomatoes. I mean, who doesn’t love a delicious cheese and turnip sandwich? Or a salad, beautifully embellished by a juicy turnip? Or perhaps a splurge of turnip ketchup with our Friday night chips?
Ah, those sunlit Brexit uplands we were promised are now reduced to “let them eat turnips.”
The French revolted for less – but they’re in the EU, so best pretend they don’t exist, whilst we argue about where they can fish.
It seems Therese Coffey is the latest incarnation of Baldrick, where the answer to every problem is: a turnip.
Elsewhere in the (as I write this) current cabinet is Suella Braverman. A little background history: Braverman was appointed Home Secretary when Truss became Prime Minister. She then resigned as Home Secretary after she breached the Ministerial Code by sending sensitive information using her personal email address. Despite this. she was then reinstated as Home Secretary six days later by Rishi Sunak.
A big part of her job is dealing with immigration, and she has gone on record as saying: “I would love to have a front page of The Telegraph [where else?] with a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream, it’s my obsession.”
Anyway, I mention her now because of a song which her name reminds me of, but unfortunately you have to suspend disbelief for a moment for it to work. See, before I had heard it, when i had only seen her name written down, I had assumed it was pronounced Bray-ver-man as opposed to the correct enunciation of Brah-ver-man. But in that short window of mispronunciation, this tune lodged in my brain whenever I saw or read anything about her, the title of the song being replaced by her name; a tune which, given her love of immigrants (her own family excluded), I’m sure she’d appreciate:
A reminder: whilst Braverman was born in Harrow and raised in Wembley, her parents were immigrants, arriving from in Britain Indian in the 1960s from Mauritius and Kenya. Hmmm. Without immigration, Braverman wouldn’t be here, and I literally would not be writing this, so in some respects I do sort of see her point.
And I haven’t even started on the leaking of Matt Hancock’s Whats App messages (is it leaking if you’ve voluntarily handed all of the ‘leaked’ info over to a journalist?) or the demonising of Sue Gray from the right because her report doesn’t say what they wanted it to?
So much for my “no more themed mixes” rule – you didn’t really expect I’d be able to resist doing one for Halloween, did you?
See, there’s so many Halloweur/scary/monsters linked songs (and there’s a clue right there as to the identity o)f one that features this week), I could have made this one at least three times as long, had I been so inclined. But I managed to resist temptaion, and kept it to (just over) an hour – the trimmed ones can make their appearances next year. Or the year after. Or the year after that.
Truth be told, I’m not really a fan of Halloween. The only good thing about it, as far as I can see, is that I can legitimately keep my curtains closed and refuse to answer the door all weekend.
Anyway, here we go with what I hope is not an entirely predictable mix for you all to enjoy whilst stuffing your faces full of the candy you decided not to give to Trick or Treaters, or whilst you’re cleaning the smashed eggs off your front door having ignored them.
I’d recommend turning the lights off, drawing the curtains, lighting some candles and turning it up loud:
And here’s your track-listing and sleeve notes. Look away now if you like surprises!
John Murphy – In The House – In A Heartbeat
Or, the super spooky music from one of the best British horror movies from the last 20 years: Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. It beautifully encaspulates the peace and silence which pre-empts all the blood and gore and zombies in a loudQUIETloud kinda way. I don’t profess to be an expert of either band, but it does make me think of Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
In case you’ve never seen it, a) what on earth have you been doing? and b) here’s the trailer, which includes some of those iconic deserted London scenes which were breath-taking at the time (and still are):
The thing I love most about 28 Days Later is that for the first 2/3 of the film, you think it’s just another zombie movie, albeit majesticaly and creatively filmed. But when the last 1/3 kicks in, you realise that’s not what the film is about at all,,,
2. Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
From John to Pete Murphy. I could have filled this mix with goth classics, but in the end plumped for just the one. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have squeezed this in just before SWC completes his wonderfully entertaining countdown of the Top 20 Goth records over at No Badger Required and, since it hasn’t featured yet, I assume crowns this as #1.
This is as intense and moody as hell, slowly building from the intricate drum patterns which sound like flapping bats’ wings, through to the booming darkness of the lyrics: it’s one heck of a record.
Mr Lugosi was unavailable for comment. Because he’s dead.
3. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
From the album with the same name, the first after his notoriously influential, but commercially unsuccesful, Berlin trilogy. Apparently, this return to a more commerical sound (!) was inspired by his loathing of Gary Numan, who was viewed as a Bowie rip-off.
4. The Automatic – Monster
A remix of this almost appeared in a recent Friday Night mix, but got dropped at the last minute. Which is lucky, because it’s ideal for this one.
I’ve never actually read an interview with this Cardiff based band to confirm it – Wiki says the lyrics were “…a metaphor for the monster that comes out when people are intoxicated…” – but I definitely heard that it was about when all the boys from the Valleys would descend on the capital city of a Saturday night and cause absolute mayhem.
5. Peaches – Trick or Treat
Extraordinarily for a record by Peaches, I don’t think this contains any actual swears. Sure, there’s innuendo a-plenty – at least that’s what I assume her mention of never going to bed without a piece of raw meat is, anyway. Probably best I slap one of these on it anyway, to be on the safe side:
6. Radiohead – Bodysnatchers
Included for two reasons: i) when I was a kid, the movie Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (the remake, with Donald Sutherland) absolutely scared the crap out of me, and ii) because it’s one of the many tunes where Thom Yorke sounds in tortured pain, which seems appropriate somehow.
7. Miley Cyrus – I Get So Scared
If you’ve not yet succumbed to the charms of Miss Cyrus, then may I direct you to the album this is lifted from, Мiley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz, described in various quarters as experimental, psychedelic, psychedelic pop and space pop, which will come as less of a surprise when you learn that Wayne Coyne and the boys from The Flaming Lips were massive influences on the creative process and feature on the record too. Seriously: check it out. It absolutely changed my perception of her.
Anyway, there’s no need to be scared, Miley; here’s….
8. Bobby ”Boris” Picket & The Crypt Kickers – Monster Mash
Predictable? You betcha. It’s still great though, 50 years since it was first released.
9. Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches
I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it’s obvious why it’s here and it sounds like…well, like Bloc Party.
Actually, I would say that hunting for witches sounds like a very bad idea indeed. I mean, what are you going to do if you catch one? End up in a disappointing sitcom?
10. Queens Of The Stone Age – Burn The Witch
Ah yes, that’s always an option, I guess.
11. Spinnerette – All Babes Are Wolves
The placing of this, by the former Mrs Josh Homme, is entirely coincidental. Honest. It does provide a rather nice segue into tunes about wolves, mind. Plus, it’s a terrific record, in a quite-a-bit-like-Hole kinda way; a record which was largely and unjustly mostly overlooked when it was released in 2009 and deserves to be revisited.
12. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
Neil! Neil! I remembered it all by myself!
13. Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
Another from the ‘entirely predictable/I couldn’t resist’ pile.
Included for two reasons: i) I don’t think, and I’m open to correction, any other single to make the UK chart has the word spewing in it; I’m certain no others have He finds his heaven spewing from the mouth of hell, and ii) these are preceded by perhaps the most ludicrously misplaced Ooh yeah baby! ever committed to vinyl.
Genius, in a bat-biting, ant-snorting kind of way.
14. Super Furry Animals – Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon
Time for a breather before the glorious finale, and it seemed appropriate to follow up a record where the lead singer dressed up as a werewolf (a furry animal, no less) on the cover of Bark at the Moon, with a song by the Super Furry Animals, who aren’t adverse to dressing up as big furry animals themselves, singing about how we should just let Ozzy get on with it. Sort of.
15. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
Not just the last record from the ‘entirely predictable/I couldn’t resist’ pile, but the last record in this mix.
And I need say no more about it than this: magnificent.
Tonight’s mix is not the one I had planned to post.
The one I had prepared was a little too upbeat for such a momentous weekend; whilst I personally won’t be joining in the nation’s mouring, I didn’t want to disrespect those that are.
And so I decided to create a mix “on the fly”; I decided what the first and last track would be, and then started recording as I journeyed from one to the other.
I tell you this instead of offering sleeve notes, as there will doubtless be those who think some of my selections are….disrespectful. That wasn’t the intention. The intention was simply to pick tunes which sounded good next to each other – any which may seem to have been chosen as some sort of comment on any recent high profile passings are entirely coincidental.
So let’s crack on, shall we?
(By the way, because this mix is just shy of 2 hours, Google Drive can’t cope and won’t let me upload it, so the link below takes you to my old Soundcloud account. Hope it works ok!)
As alluded to in yesterday’s post, had I been able to come up with an hour’s worth of anti-establishmentarian tosh then tonight’s mix would have been very different.
But I couldn’t, so here we are: Jubilee Night and part 3 of the completely unrelated and unpatriotic, non-flag-waving, Volume 4 which was super-long, nobody listened to, so I’ve broken it down into hour-long parts instead.
Volume 4 clocked in at 4:41 minutes, so to make it to a round hour, I either had to add 20 minutes or lose 41. You can guess which of the two won, I think.
So, if you happened to be one the people who listened to this mix in it’s full glory when I first posted it, you’ll note some changes to this one – to the running order, and there’s three tunes dropped and one added – the one added is making a point, which I’m sure you’ll get when you listen to this.
Brace yourself: next week sees the addition of the missing twenty minutes. You have been warned.
Here comes the admin: 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.
And there’s a couple of tunes towards the end of this one which contain a bit of effing and jeffing so:
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.
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:
It’s Saturday morning, and that can mean only one thing round Dubious Towers: Rant or Chain?
Any hope of building suspense is already ruined by the title of course. But believe me, after the humiliation of the press shots of Shagger Johnson looking at his most bumblingly unkempt on Thursday evening, and what his utter failure means for all of us here in the UK, it was by no means a foregone conclusion as to what would appear here this morning. Anyway, we’ve got all weekend until the announcement we’re all now expecting, so there’s plenty of time for me to cobble something together.
So. The Chain. We ended last time with this as the source record:
We were a little thinner on the ground than usual this time around, which I wasn’t especially surprised about, because there’s not a lot to work with there, is there? So hats off to all of you that contributed.
As you know, what I try to do with these is to bring your suggestions together into, if not an actual narrative, then some sort of cohesive whole, so that it’s not just me going “And here’s so-and-so’s suggestions”. And that’s what I’m going to try to do this time, but as many of the songs were related to other songs with years in the title, I figured I’d slip those in every now and then, in their true chronological order.
But first, a little tune, the title of which perfectly describes that Pumpkins source song title:
Look, I know I say this quite a lot, but not all Quo records are of the chugga-chugga three chord boogie variety. A Year is taken from their Piledriver album where they had almost permanently settled on their winning formula, but this is a far more bluesy affair, with a bridge which nods back to their psychedelic days. Seriously, give it a listen.
I’ll be using any songs which simply link to the word “year” as an alarm to warn you it’s about time we went time travelling. If you think about it, it’s a really clever way for me to crowbar all of the ones I thought of into the narrative, and isn’t a bit crap at all.
Ok, so it’s time for some time travel, and we’ll head back to the earliest of the yearly-titled suggestions. Care to hop aboard?
And we’re heading back to 1959 for this bit of flamboyant gothness, which, just as A Year doesn’t sound like Quo, so this doesn’t sound like a Sister of Mercy record, it sounds more like a Jim Steinman composition (checks this: it isn’t, but I had no idea that Sisters mega-hit This Corrosion is a Steinman song, and he has a co-writing credit on Dominion/Mother Russia. Seems he rubbed off on Andrew Eldritch. (Not like that, you mucky lot!)):
Anyway, that was suggested by…erm…me, too. (Note: not #MeToo). I suppose I’d better let some of you lot play, hadn’t I?
Ok, so let’s kick off proper with songs which can be linked to the band name, and for a starter, here’s Rol from My Top Ten:
“Pumpkins are gourds.
So I’ll go with The Gourds and their cover of Gin n Juice by Snoop Dogg. (Or Lion. Or whatever he’s calling himself this week.)”
“You could also have Cucumber Castle by The Bee Gees,” Rol continues, “although it is pretty awful (and I like the Bee Gees).”
Rol is right, of course. I like the Bee Gees too. And that really is not good.
As an aside, for those of you old enough to remember them, was it just me that thought Barry Gibb looked like the blue one (a lion?) from 1970s kids TV show Animal Kwackers?
And you never saw them together, did you? (as I believe it is customary to say when making this kind of joke.)
Anyway, sorry Rol. You were saying?
“Melons are also gourds. Apparently. Which might explain why The Smashing Pumpkins came up with one of the worst pun album titles ever created.”
He is referring, of course, to the album from which our source record is lifted, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. But watch yourself Rol, now you’ve mentioned puns, I have a nasty feeling about where you’re going with all this, since way back in The Chain #32 this very topic came up and I ventured The Beach Boys’ Gourd Only Knows and Teenage Fanclub’s Gourd Knows It’s True and absolutely nobody noticed.
“And then there is…” Rol innocently continues:
Phew. No puns then.
Whilst we’re on all matters gourd-related, here’s the ever reliable Stevie from Charity Chic Music:
“Getting in early with The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead by XTC a song I once heard played at a funeral.”
This, I think, deserves some further explanation. Was the coffin much bigger at the top than the bottom? Did the cremation take ages and start from a single, strategically placed candle? I think the world needs to know.
God, I love a good harmonica. I sense a new idea for a (probably quite brief) series.
And since Rol mentioned the album name from whence our source was ripped, here’s The Great Gog:
“I’ll go with the fact that 1979 is taken from the album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, and linger on the last word albeit with a different adjective. So that will be The Saw Doctors and Exhilarating Sadness.”
Whoa! What was that and where did it come from?
That, good people, was the sound of young people making music. I know, seems a bit out of place round here, doesn’t it? It was also an artiste which links to the word “year”, which means it’s time to hop in our time travelling machine which looks remarkably like a more famous fictional one but which, for legal reasons, is called something completely different. I don’t know. Haven’t given it much thought.
How about: This Is Travelling in Time and Space? That’ll do.
Hop into TITTS and we’ll be off.
(I am 51 years old.)
And we’re landing back in 1966, for the first of several suggestions from Pat from PhonicPat who gives us our obligatory Half Man Half Biscuit song of the month (and a bit):
Since we’re already in Pat’s charming company, he’s given us another couple of songs which link to the source band’s name, thankfully devoid of gourd-related puns:
Allow me to squeeze another couple in. Firstly, here’s legendary jazz pianist Fats Waller:
The really rather ace:
The considerably less ace:
And if I’m chucking a load of Smash references in, I may as well throw a Pump in too:
…which leads me to this piece of genius:
**TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **
Here we go:
And here we are in 1969, the year when all the cool people were born, and I’ll leave you in the hands of babylotti for a while:
“Immediately, I don’t know why, but 1979 made me think of 1969 by The Stooges…”
“…then 1970 by them too….”
Whoa there cowboy! Let’s finish off 1969 before we go gallivanting across the years.
And here’s Pat (who also suggested The Stooges) with another suggestion:
When I was feverishly searching t’internet to try and find some more tunes, I stumbled across this rather surprising entry:
And I don’t suppose we can really leave 1969 without giving this an airing, even if it is rather well known that the digits in the title don’t actually refer to a year, but to something altogether much ruder:
And since we’re on the edge of the 1970s, we may as well let babylotti finish what he started with his Stooges talk and drag us into a slightly more recent age:
“…then 1970 by them too….”
“…then I remembered the great cover version of that song by Flesh for Lulu.”
Here’s a thing. About fifteen years ago, Rocco from Flesh For Lulu was in a fly-on-the-wall property documentary called A Place in Spain: Costa Chaos. It turned out to be one of those excruciating, uncomfortable shows that should go down in legend, but it seems only me, and me good mate Val who I was living with at the time and who watched this with me, remember it.
Actually, not quite us two. For fortuitously, someone has posted most of the episodes on YouTube (I think one is missing), but if you have time to spare, then I’d thoroughly recommend you spend it watching this (first episode only included here):
Seriously, when the commentary says things like “But neither of them seems to have considered how they’re going to pay for it”, you know you’re watching car crash telly. Quite how I’ve managed to get writing this finished with such a distraction, I’m not sure.
Over now to a couple of suggestions linked to Smashing Pumpkins main man Billy Corgan, and first off the boat is Hal:
“Billy reputedly had a fairly healthy self-regard, which reminded me of the opening couplet to ‘San Francisco Fat’ by personae non gratae NOFX
And in a similar vein, here’s Swiss Adam from baggingarea:
“Smashing Pumpkins singer and professional misery Billy Corgan played on New Order’s 2001 comeback album, on the song Turn My Way- which as songs go on that album is pretty good and better than anything on the follow up Waiting For The Siren’s Call.”
He’s not wrong:
He also co-wrote this (Billy Corgan, not Swiss Adam):
Let’s shift ever so briefly to 1973, just so I can post this, which is ruddy magnificent:
And just as I thought I was running out of suggestions, here Devonian with three on the bounce:
“Remember how Smashing Pumpkins had to add a “The” to make sure we all understood that they were referring to the excellence of said squashes, rather than the act of setting about them with hammers? That made me think of songs by other bands with similarly enthusiastic names, such as… da-da-da-DAH…”:
Here’s Pat, back with another related suggestion:
“The Sonic Youth version of The Simpsons theme with the link The Smashing Pumpkins, The Homeralooza episode which included the following conversation
Billy Corgan: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.
Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.”
And so on we march to 1979, and I’ll hand over the reins to Rigid Digit:
“1979 could be a very broad subject. Arguably, I could offer a list of the best songs of 1979 (and there were many – it was a fine fine year in the world of Pop).
A personal memory – 1979 is the first year I really started taking note of pop music, and on an episode of Top Of The Pops saw Dave Edmunds performing Girls Talk – that says more to me about 1979 than Alan Sunderland scoring a last minute winner for Arsenal.”
Sorry, you lost me with that last bit. But here’s Dave anyway:
“Written in 1978, Tom Robinson had a go at guessing the state of the nation 18 months into the future. Not all (any?) of his predictions came true – and certainly not the one about Spurs beating Arsenal (they lost 5 Nil).”
Times have changed, matey, what happened last weekend…? Oh, yes, this:
The Beard doesn’t know when to stop using an analogy, so I’ll let it slide:
“Alan Sunderland scored the winning goal for Arsenal in the 1979 FA Cup Final.”
“There’s the band Death From Above 1979, although I believe they often drop the 1979 bit from their moniker, it is a bit of a mouthful after all… anyway, this leads me to think of ‘Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above’ by CSS, fronted by the marvellously named Lovefoxxx.”
I thought Lovefoxxx was your dating profile name?
It would be rude at this point not to feature some actual Death From Above 1979, so you can decide whether or not you wish to make love to them:
Poor old Willie, having to churn out albums of covers to pay that tax debt back.
But wait: that’s a **TIME TRAVEL KLAXON ALERT **
Which takes us to our last few records, all suggested by yours truly:
…and this odd little thing I stumbled across:
..and this, from Pat:
…and finally, this, which I was very surprised that Swiss Adam didn’t suggest:
I say “and finally”, but what I actually mean is “and finally from the past”, because what’s the point in having a saucily-named time travelling machine if we can’t go into the future as well as the past?
Off we pop:
Which just about wraps it up.
Oh wait. Here’s Rol again:
“And then there’s Little Red Courgette, obviously.”
Which just leaves me to announce what the actual next record in the real Chain is, and it’s this:
“The pumpkin patch featured in the cartoon strip ‘Peanuts’ which featured Charlie Brown, so…:”
Which just leaves me to ask for your suggestions for songs which link to Charlie Brown by The Coasters, to be submitted via either the Comments function on this page, along with a brief explanation of your link, or if you prefer anonymity that you ultimately won’t be afforded, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, what a week. And not just because I took a day off from posting yesterday. This was purely intentional, and nothing to do with me writing a post then accidentally scheduling it for next Friday, nosireebob. Still, more time to write my usual on-brand leftie sludge to infect your eyes and ears this weekend, I guess.
And what a weekend, coming as it did at the end of a week when England came out of lockdown – Hoorah! – with most of the country being placed in either Tier 2 or 3 as they emerged, blinking into the sunlight. This is to be reviewed again on December 16th, a week before we all get 5 days off worrying about Covid so we can pretend we’re good Christians and go mix with our families for Christmas.
I can’t see, for the sake of 7 days, those rules being relaxed; in fact, I rather suspect that all currently in Tier 2 will be elevated to Tier 3 status, in the hope this will make the Christmas bubble as safe as possible. That makes sense to me, which probably means it’s the complete opposite of what the Goverment does.
Whilst I’ve been quick to point out the Government’s bumbling handling of the crisis from day one, it should perhaps be noted that not everyone within their ranks has agreed with their handling either. That’s pretty much where the Venn diagram of things me and some Conservatives think overlaps starts and ends, because it turns out we disagree for very different reasons.
My position, generally, is that the Government has been too slow to follow the science and put us into lockdown, and too quick to bring us out of it at the end of Lockdown #1, whilst some Tory MPs – and I’m looking at Brexit-barmy Steve Baker – feel the lockdown is an infringement of their civil liberties. It’s a frothing-mouthed argument you’ve doubtless heard from the other side of the pond many times, along with declarations that they’re perfectly entitled to threaten black people walking past their house with a 12 bore, and that “they” will never take away their right to bear arms, which is interesting, as I’d have thought having an extra digit on each hand might make it more difficult to fire a gun, but what do I know.
These are often the same people who subscribe to anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, and so I’ve been trying to think of a song which could be used as part of an advertising campaign – because you all know how much I love those – which might encourage those doubters that perhaps, just once, getting vaccinated against Covid might, just might, be a smart move. You know, if you want to live longer and stuff. And the best I could come up with – and yes, I’m really shoe-horning a song in here – along with a tag-line of “Take the cure, it will make you feel just like heaven”, is this:
What I’m saying is this: I am constantly amazed at how many people look across to America and to Trump’s followers, laugh and scoff at their actions but remain completely oblivious when the same arguments are raised over here.
The idea of being asked to wear a mask, or stay home, to prevent the spread of the virus, was met by many in the US, blindly following Trump, with exactly the same argument as Baker raised recently: it’s an infringement on my civil liberties. And if that’s what you think, then fine, go ahead, purify that gene pool. Don’t wear a mask, but don’t expect me to send flowers either.
But what made former Chairman of the ERG (the ironically-named pro-Brexit extremists European Research Group) Baker’s stance so unintentionally smirk-worthy (where’s Priti Patel when we need her? – oh, there she is, busy offending victims of the Windrush scandal by branding those calling for deportation flights to be stopped as “do-gooding celebrities”) was when he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“This is a major infringement on a right to a family life…I’m looking at the European Convention on Human Rights as I speak to you….”
That’s the same European Convention on Human Rights which is incorporated in UK domestic law under the Human Rights Act 1998, which Baker voted to repeal in 2016.
He may as well have said:
“Wah! Wah! I hate the EU and the dictatorial Convention of Human Rights! Abolish it!”
*Feels slightly wronged*
“Well, let’s just blimming well see what the European Convention of Human Rights has to say about this outrage!”
Oh, sweet, sweet, delicious irony.
Speaking of the UK Government – as you knew I almost certainly would – this week it approved and took ownership of a whole lotta Covid vaccines. Hoorah! And as Health Secretary and winner of the award for Most Consistently Awkward Person in the Public Eye 2020 – mostly based on this:
…(and every other time he appeared in public, when, to be fair, he was also competing for the coveted Most Out Of Their Depth Politician 2020 award (previously known as The Chris Grayling Award) Matt Hancock trumpeted on Twitter, this was quite the achievement:
That “Help is on its way” bit is quite telling. To me it says: “Look, we’ve winged it for the past ten months, but we’ve got lucky. You know those science guys we’ve studiously ignored advice from? You know, those expert types we told you we’d all had enough of during the Brexit campaign? Turns out they’re quite useful after all. Unlike us.”
But first country in the world, eh? That must make us the bestest out of all the countries. So, that’s the highest Covid-related death count in Europe, and the fastest to validate and purchase a vaccine in the world that we have to be proud of. Hoorah for us!
If it weren’t for those pesky Americans and their much more massive country and death rate, we’d be #1 in the world for both. Grrr.
(By the way, is it just me that wonders if the rest of the world is using us as their lab rats, their beagles being smeared with cosmetics? “Let’s see how the English get on before we commit”, the snigger up their sleeves, “There’s bound to be some lessons to be learned about how not to do it.”)
Hancock’s right, of course. This was quite the quick turnaround, the fastest in the world, certainly much faster than those bloody Europeans we’ll soon be shot of. This was a “fact” much trumpeted by many on the right. For example, here’s our old pals at Leave.EU, with an Accidental Partridge to be proud of:
It just needs a “Oh Matt, that is textbook”, and that reference would make sense, as opposed to me just trying to justify the inclusion of my favourite Partridge scene ever. Which I’m going to do anyway:
“That’s first class. That is superb. Ooh, there you go, it’s all happening….Ooooh Matt, you know your onions!”
Now, I don’t know about you, but whenever I see that the Leave.EU lot have said something, I immediately assume it’s bollocks, and I want to investigate further: I want to metaphorically lift up the scrotum of Brexit and sniff around the perineum. And if you read a more unpleasant analogy than that this weekend, I want to know what it is.*
Here’s Jacob Rees-Moog saying much the same thing:
There’s a couple of problems with that, isn’t there?
Firstly: it’s not written in Latin to try and make him look clever, and what do you know, it’s proof that he isn’t;
Secondly: and this might come as a shock to some, but we haven’t actually left the EU yet. We’re still in the transition period, we’re still bound by the same EU rules as we have been for many years. Those negotiations that you keep seeing being mentioned on the news? They’re to see if we can agree a trade deal with the EU when we leave in January;
Thirdly: those same EU rules allow us, in certain circumstances, to make a unilateral decision on whether to accept, purchase and distribute the vaccine in question. And in case you don’t believe it, here’s an MHRA (that’s the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) representative clarifying it for you:
Time for a tune, and the inclusion of this song makes way more sense if you listen to it; also I swear I had no idea what the record sleeve looked like until I’d already decided to include the song:
Anyway, here’s to a smooth roll out of the vaccine – and don’t even get me started on the logistical problems of transporting an item which has to be kept at below -70 degrees celsius, or I might start to come across as a vaccine-denier myself, which I’m not. I’ll be having it as soon as I’m allowed to, I don’t care if it makes me transmit 5G, or lets Jeff Bezos know my every waking desire.
Let’s just say, given the short shelf life the vaccine has, I hope they don’t plan on bringing any in via Dover after January 1st 2021.
Give me it. Give all of us it, so we can start trying to get back to something approaching normal.
I wanted to wrap things up this morning by extending a hand of friendship and sympathy to my friends back in Wales. Largely overlooked this side of the border as we focussed on such pressing matters as whether a Scotch egg constituted a ‘substantial meal’ – and if I have to see living Spitting Image puppet Michael Gove be asked about this one more time, I swear I might poke my own eyes out and use them as ear-plugs. If that’s what the Tories consider a “substantial meal” then it can be of no surprise at the contempt they show for those in poverty, having to resort to visiting food banks. “These people aren’t starving, not when they can afford a boiled egg, encased in pork then rolled in breadcrumbs.”
But I digress: following their “circuit-breaker” period, Wales are having to re-introduce stricter measures, one of which is that pubs and restaurants cannot serve alcohol.
I’m not sure I follow the logic of this rule, but I think it’s this: wishing to avoid a repeat of the scenes where those who have been for a few pints end up being turfed out at the same time as everyone else from every other pub in the locality, they have decided that none of them should be allowed to serve alcohol.
Which to my mind, no longer makes them a pub. A pub, unless you’re the designated driver, is a place you go to consume alcohol with friends and family.
This is going to massively hit the pub and restaurant trade in Wales because – and I speak as a resident for twenty years – coming up in the next couple of weeks is the biggest night out of the year: Black Friday.
In Cardiff, where I lived, the last Friday before Christmas was called Black Friday, because that was the day that everybody left their offices early, and went out on the lash. It was a night which was always great fun, as I remember it, but also one of absolute carnage. It was known as such long before any retailers got their greasy mitts on it and tried to flog us a discontinued microwave.
With many people working from home, Black Friday would have undoubtedly been more subdued than usual, but as it stands, it simply won’t be happening at all.
It’s an odd rule, this pub-can-open-but-can’t-serve-alcohol thing, and it put me in mind of this old song, which I’ll leave you all with for now:
I promise that I’m not going to start all of my posts with these words, but following the last instalment of The Chain I had an email from from long-time reader and Chain Gang contributor George who said that he was “toying with idea of making a cd of Chain 48”. (To any of our younger readers, CDs are what we used to record music on to and listen to music from before streaming and making playlists became things.)
Anyway, I thought this was an excellent idea, because I have a playlist for every edition of The Chain, the purpose of which was partly so that I could revisit and relive the good times and the bad, but mostly so that I could check whether something had already been suggested and therefore was precluded from being nominated again. You may have noticed I’ve been rather lax about this since The Chain returned, and that’s not going to change: I figure in these days of Trump & Johnson, of global pandemics*, international recessions, corruption at a governmental level, and starving children (it was The Chain or a Rant today), there’s more important things to worry about than duplications in The Chain back catalogue.
(*Sit down, New Zealand, I’m not talking about you)
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that to get all of #48’s songs onto one CD would take a lot of editing choices, so I’d love to hear which songs made the cut – even more so should you decide on making one after you’ve read this one because this week (I say that like I post these every week, rather than every six weeks or so) we have just shy of 4 and 3/4 hours worth of tunes to get through, and I don’t think there’s a duff choice amongst them. Some ropey ones, yes, but duffers, no. But then Kay hasn’t suggested anything this time, so…..so maybe I should crack on.
Oh, and George (Incoming obligatory oblique 1970s TV reference that about 80% of you won’t get): I’m sorry but we aren’t able to return any drawings sent in, but yes, it is a big one, no I’ve never seen one quite that shape before, and no I don’t need you to send me a photo, but thank you for the offer.
OK, so let’s start as we usually do with a reminder of the source material this time around, which was this:
As you might expect, we have a lot of tunes related to Talk(ing), some related to Fear of Music (the album that features on), and then what I believe is the collective term for lots of suggestions on a similar theme: an absolute fuckload of songs linked to a specific city, or the words cities or city. As always, I’ll try to put them in an order that makes some kind of narrative sense (you’ve noticed I do that right?) but if you’re planning on doing yourself a playlist of these, I’d be interested to see if you think you’ve done better (NB: no I wouldn’t. Keep it to yourself, thanks very much).
Not quite first out of the traps this time was Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who, as he will explain, suggests a tune which simply demands to go first:
“Cities should have a theme and luckily we have an ahead of its time piece of ice cool euro dance that found a second life in the Balearic sounds of ’88 and thereafter:“
Now, I don’t profess to know anywhere near as much about that there dance music as our Swiss, but I do know that got used on a tune recorded by David Russell Lee, who used to be known under the stage name of Joey Negro. Lee also recorded under many other pseudonyms, including this one, which throws in a Queen sample for good measure, and I think is what Swiss means when he says “thereafter”, given this came out in 2001:
But since we’re already going off on tangents, here’s a factoid for you (lifted from Wiki, so large pinch of salt at the ready): In 1993, Lee was approached by Take That’s label with a view to working together. Lee suggested they covered an old hit by Dan Hartman, which hadn’t been a hit in the UK but which had become a popular club track in the house music scene. They did as suggested, replacing Loleatta Holloway from the original with – who else? – Scottish songstress Lulu and lo! the boy band’s second number one in the UK was born.
Anyway. Cities. I think next I’ll hand over to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense to get us back on track:
“Knowing too much about 3rd Division Punk Bands (as I do), the phrase “Cities” immediately brought forth [this]…It’s OK, in a mohican wearing punky thrashing type way, but probably not what you’re looking for.”
Turns out, that’s quite the accurate description. I’m also imagining a purple and black furry jumper:
I gather Westlife are planning to do a cover of that as their comeback single.
Well, we seem to have strayed into the territory of songs with the word Cities in their title, so here’s another couple of suggestions. Firstly, C from Sun Dried Sparrows who says “I’m just plumping for the very first thing that comes into my head as a kind of quick subconscious response and it is…..:”
…which is bound to lighten the mood.
Let’s see what George can conjure up this time:
“Taking the cities from the song, to Manchester City, whose best English footballer was Colin Bell, whose birthday is February 26th, the same date as Michael Bolton…[Oh, Jesus, no…. – Ed]…wait for it…Fats Domino [Better – Ed]…and Johnny Cash, so my song is…:”
I think at this point I should hand back to Rigid Digit, who gave me a whole host of acts who had recorded songs called In The City, the first of which was also suggested by Martin of New Amusements fame:
..and this (just Rigid Digit now):
and (which, if I was still giving points out, would earn a couple for being in one of the coolest films ever, but I’m not, so it won’t – and in any event, I’d have to deduct points for the artist having also been in The Eagles and Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, surely the least cool bands ever):
Now. Regular readers will know that I have deep-seated hatred of songs being appropriated for advertising purposes, as documented in my S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs) series. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m with the late, great Bill Hicks on this one:
Here’s a tune which I’ve been meaning to post for a while, and which samples Hicks and explains my thoughts better than I ever could, and which I must credit my old mate Dum Dum (not his real name) for bringing into my life:
See, it’s bad enough when songs we love are appropriated to sell something, but surely it’s even worse when an act we love pops over to an overseas land in the hope that those back home will never find out what they’ve done – and I’m looking at you Bacon and Clooney – isn’t it?:
Mostly because Joey did it too:
But I digress, again.
Rigid’s next suggestion is this: “…or even Starship who built this city on sausage rolls.” Now, we all know what he is obliquely referring to, and that’s the first of the last two Christmas #1s here in the UK. In a week where Tory MPs voted down a motion which would have ensured that children from poor families don’t starve because of the various lockdown restrictions, I thought it probably best if I didn’t post a free link to a song which tried to help. Instead, here’s the (extremely unfunny) video (and yes, this got to #1 in the UK):
…and here’s the song they are referencing:
To be fair, Rigid does offer up a vastly superior song, the title of which references the same source:
So before we set off on a little journey of all the songs mentioning actual cities in their titles or their lyrics (and there’s lots of them), we’ll have a look at all of the suggestions – most of them are mine, admittedly – which feature the word City in the title or in the artiste name. But before we do that, let’s get all of the other ones mopped up.
Here’s the Devonian with, I think, my favourite explanation ever:
“A geographical link… not going off “Cities” though, but rather the fact that the bassist in Talking Heads was the esteemed (albeit not by David Byrne) Tina Weymouth. That got me wondering whether there are any other groups with bassists named after gentrified Dorset coastal settlements. But I couldn’t find any, so I had to settle for a couple of singers instead. Therefore I give you Shelly and Karen Poole and…”
“…which is great and you know it is really.”
Actually, I’m more of an ‘I Am, I Feel’ kinda guy, as it goes, but that’s enough about why I can’t go on public transport without a responsible adult in tow anymore.
“Whilst Devonian was struggling for Dorset-named bass players to link to Tina Weymouth,” pipes up The Great Gog, “I found myself thinking of a feature of said coast that is named in a song – namely the theme tune to children’s TV show Portland Bill (which must have been 20 years old when my kids watched it on satellite telly in the early 00’s).“
I can’t say this rang any bells with me at all, but I have managed to track down a copy of the writer of the theme tune in question, playing…well, it:
Next up is PhonicPat who, undeterred by suggesting the worst record last time out, has come up with a load of absolute bangers this time, starting with this, which kinda follows on given that it’s “made up of the rhythm section of Talking Heads” who just so happen to be husband and wife combo Chris Frantz (drums) and Tina Weymouth (bass and renowned gentrified Dorset coastal settlement):
Talking Heads “…tried to continue without Byrne and released the ‘No Talking Just Heads’ album” Pat continues, “featuring collaborations with Debbie Harry, Andy Partridge and Shaun Ryder amongst others therefore:”
And Pat isn’t finished there:
“[A] David Byrne/Talking Heads link” (as Byrne features as guest vocalist on this):
Now, there’s two things to say about that: firstly Byrne mentions New York at the start, and we’ll be coming on to that city in the fullness of time; and secondly these PhonicPat sponsored words: “…(along with saucy video)“.
In the name of research, strictly so that you don’t have to press play on this next video, you understand, I have watched this, several times, and can confirm that no matter how much you might slow it down or rewind and watch again, whoever had the job of censoring out the wobbly bits did a fine job. Still, best you approach with caution, eh?
Remind me in a bit to give you a related Pet Shop Boys fact, will you?
Since we seem to have landed on band-related suggestions, George is back again:
“From Talking Heads to the Talking Book album by Stevie Wonder, and the track:…”
And moving on to other suggestions about links to the band name we have Alyson from What’s It All About? who says: “We’ve had Dollar [last time out] so in the same vein can I suggest….”
Whoa there tiger! I need to explain the “in the same vein” bit, because Dollar should definitely not be bracketed with The Fizz so lightly. Oh no. For post-1980s fame The Fizz split into two factions: one containing original members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and (sighs) Jay Aston, the other containing Bobby Gee and an almighty war broke out about who should use the name Bucks Fizz to promote their cruise ship wares. And amidst this row, up popped former member of Dollar and never member of the Fizz, David Van Day who, when he wasn’t trying to be the Lawrence Fox of his day and appear all outrageous by dumping his girlfriend live on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, elected to appropriate the name Bucks Fizz, go on a tour, sing a couple of their songs and trouser all the cash. The twat.
Anyway, here’s Alyson’s Fizz choice:
What I love about Alyson’s choice is that she could have picked the original of that, by The Romantics, but such is her devotion to ladies having their skirts ripped off as part of a Eurovision dance routine, she simply had to plump for a bit of Fizz. Kudos.
No idea what I’m banging on about? Here you go, complete with withering intro from the much missed Terry Wogan:
Genius pop music. And I mean that.
Alyson has some other suggestions linking to Talking Heads’ name, namely:
Almost time to set off on our tour of cities, have you got your packed lunch and your waterproof coat? Ok, I’ll stall for a bit with some frankly rather clever suggestions.
The source record this time features on Talking Heads’ Fear of Music album, which takes us into the dark territory of phobias. Or, as the Devonian puts it: “Cities is from the album Fear Of Music… which is a Phobia… which is a song by Flowered Up”
It sure is:
Which leads us neatly on to Hal’s suggestions: “Didn’t Cage the Elephant release an album called Melophobia?” he asks, rhetorically. Well, yes, yes they did. And in case you were wondering, Melophobia is the correct technical term for having a fear of music, so here’s something from the album of the same name:
I’ve always avoided them because, well, I thought (and still do) that they have a terrible name, but that’s not bad so maybe I need to reassess.
Anyway, Hal isn’t finished yet: “Which leads us to Phonophobia: The Second Coming by Extreme Noise Terror. Or perhaps not…”
Too late, you’ve said it now.
Phonophobia: The Second Coming is an album by Extreme Noise Terror, and this is one of the songs on it:
Peelie would be proud.
How do you follow that? With this:
Thank goodness for Rol from My Top Ten who kindly steps in to suggest this, which in his eyes “seems an obvious winner”
Frankly, if we’re going to mention bands with the word City in their name, I don’t think we can justifiably omit this lot:
“The other obvious one”, Rol continues undeterred, and I’ll let him carry on because I can’t quite work out where else to place this, “is to jump to Radiohead (as they took their name from a Talking Heads song) and Street Spirit (because there are lots of streets in cities…)
He’s not wrong, there are. I counted at least seven near where I live just the other day, and I think I may have missed some.
I hadn’t finished with bands with City in their names. This lot are definitely less renowned than Mr McKeown and the gang (Bay City Rollers, not Radiohead) and are named after 2000AD’s Judge Dredd comic strip. Play this one loud:
And so we move on to songs with the word City in the title (that aren’t called In the City). You know how until that last little spurt I’ve hardly suggested anything so far? Consider that ended. Eyes down and here we go with the almost entirely forgotten about:
…to an often overlooked gem:
…and the never to be forgotten:
A sort of clever one: this was released on City Rockers, a label synonymous with the electro-clash sound of the early 2000s:
And we shouldn’t overlook this brace of bangers:
…which almost inevitably leads us here:…
…which leads me to this spoof record, but it’s a spoof of a song which doesn’t have a city in it’s title, but I’m sure you’ll get it:
And finally, I was very surprised that absolutely nobody suggested anything from PJ Harvey’s magnificent Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea album, so I guess I’ll have to:
I’m stalling because it feels slightly disingenuous to be suggesting we go on a world tour just as so many cities around the world are locking down to prevent travel and the potential spreading of the Corona virus, so can I ask that you all don your face masks, smear yourselves in hand sanitiser like it’s goose fat before you attempt to swim the Channel, don’t stand so close to me and we’ll be off, safely.
But where to start? “Something from Gerry Rafferty’s very fine City To City album perhaps?” pipes up Rigid Digit again, which seems a perfectly good suggestion, and I’ve plumped, somewhat obviously, for the title track:
And it’s to Rigid Digit that we turn to yet again as we herald the start of The Chain World Tour which, given some places like my beloved Wales have gone into circuit-breaking lockdown today, I must say I feel a teensy bit guilty about, but, nevertheless, here we go.
Truly, there can only be one song to kick this off, and as Rigid quotes: “London, Paris, New York, Munich. Everybody talk about…:“
“I was beaten to M,” moans The Great Gog, “but other songs name-checking a number of cities that sprang to mind were…:”
Not forgetting, as Martin from New Amusements points out, a song which (apart from the Hang the DJ bit) perhaps most perfectly encapsulates where we are right now:
Ok, let’s start, with a whistle-stop tour of the UK. Here’s The Robster:
“I was going to suggest the wonderful Theme For Great Cities but Swiss Adam beat me to it! So I decided to think about songs ABOUT cities. Then I realised I’d be suggesting about 4 million songs and you’d hate me more than I’d hate myself! So in the end I plumped for one city. It was going to be Newport, but the only songs about us are parodies and parodies of parodies. So I chose our neighbours instead and came up with…:
I’m not sure why The Robster thinks this lot only do parodies. Funny songs, of course: it’s their stock in trade. I mean, sure this one is a parody, but it’s the only one I know which actually mentions The Mighty ‘Port in it’s title, and (sorry Rob) from the short time I lived there, seems wholly accurate to me:
Let’s head up to Birmingham next, and I’ll hand the reins back to Swiss Adam for a moment, for he is quoting lines from the source material to guide us to our next destination.
“Birmingham ‘lots of rich people’….” (although I think Byrne was probably referring to B’ham, Alabama.)
For those of us old enough to remember, it’s hard to forget when they fell foul of a Government clause of the 1981 Broadcasting Act which prohibited the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of 11 Irish political and paramilitary organisations. The restrictions were part of the Thatcher government’s desire to prevent Sinn Féin from employing the media for political advantage.
Yeh, I know. Dry subject.
What this meant in practical terms was that when, in 1987, they appeared on Friday Night Live , a Thames Television programme hosted by Ben Elton, they played Streets of Sorrow but the broadcaster cut to an ad break before they got to Birmingham Six.
Ridiculous as the rules were, a loop-hole meant that we were allowed to hear what Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) had to say, but we could not hear them spoken by a member of the political party. Generally what this meant was the words were read by an actor with a plummy Home Counties accent, but the ludicrousness of the situation was highlighted here, on The Day Today:
This next song actually mentions bombing in Birmingham, although it means it in the “not going down to well at a gig” sense, rather than the more literal interpretation:
In these times of Tiers and Lockdown, I’m not sure we’ll get any better advice than to ‘start drinking til we’re blind’ (again, metaphorically of course – I don’t want any of us to end up in one of those adverts asking people to sponsor a puppy); I know it’s what has got me through writing this post, for a start.
“This mentions Birmingham, Alabama”, offers PhonicPat, and he’s not wrong, it does:
But we’re not quite ready to go trans-Atlantic, because here’s The Robster again:
“I have another one, this time referring to my Devon roots. The nearest city to where I grew up was Exeter – so:”
What I love about IDLES, apart from their records, is that they’re so bloody angry about everything, even their name is in capital letters like they’re shouting that too.
Catchphrase time! Well, if you’re having that, then I’m having this, a song about the nearest city to where I grew up, but where IDLES are VERY ANGRY! about how shit Exeter is, The Long Blondes are just a wee bit disappointed with how dull Peterborough is:
Staying in the UK, here’s Stevie from Charity Chic Music who takes us (much) further Up North:
“David Byrne was born in Scotland – Dumbarton to be precise. So the link is obviously:”
…which not only gets added to the ever-growing pile marked: ‘Must Investigate Further’, it also allows me to include this, which the title obviously references:
Since that also mentions Berlin, we may as well pop over to Europe, y’know, whilst we still can, without having to incorporate a two-week stay in a car park in Kent. Here’s another suggestion from Martin:
Well, this all seems to have got rather gloomy rather quickly. But I have an idea! Let’s pop over to the former capital of Turkey to liven things up a bit:
It became very apparent as I was sifting through the suggestions that there were two cities which featured more than any other, so, after a spot of self-isolation, we’ll pop back to the one in the UK: That London. And first up is another suggestion from Phonic Pat which takes us on a nice little (if expensive) tour of the city:
Here’s Swiss Adam again, quoting lines from the source record:
“…a small city, dark in the day time…”
…and suggesting this absolute shoe-in:
And here’s Martin again with two further capital suggestions:
“For when one is tired of London, one is tired of life, right?” adds Martin. Try telling Alan that:
Obligatory Alan Partridge clip? Tick!
One more from Martin, “…because I love them so…” (me too, mate, me too):
Sticking with Martin’s stream of suggestions, let’s hop over to the other city which seems to be mentioned in song titles more than any other:
“Decidedly not a cover of Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Martin adds. Well no: there’s a more liberal use of the F-word than Sinatra ever committed to record for a start. Plus, without wishing to be pedantic (he says as he is about to do just that), the Sinatra song Martin refers to is actually called Theme from New York, New York, so there was never any real danger of confusion. This next one though, less so: