We Are Rockstars

Long time readers may recall that a long time ago, back in August 2015, I handed over the pages of the blog to my older brother. The post he wrote, A Goth Steps From The Dry-Ice…, was annoyingly well received, so much so that ever since I have been bugging him to write something else.

On Christmas Eve last year, he finally delivered. It was such a long time ago that he’s probably forgotten all about it, or assumed my hyper-critical editing had ruled out it ever getting published here. Actually, I was waiting until today, his birthday, to post it (honest).

By way of a refresher, Swing’s (Swing is his nickname, but he’s Andrew to his family – you’ll need this info for later) last post told of him growing up to discover he was blighted by a love of the most unfashionable, and to some unfathomable, genre of music: Goth. And he related how he had to adapt when he joined the very particular-about-the-way-you-dress Royal Air Force, where the wearing of guy-liner and black winkle-pickers are very much frowned upon.

So here you go, unedited (pretty much – except to spare some embarrased blushes over spelling and grammar, and to insert either a tune, twice because they are specifically mentioned, one of which is one of the worst records ever made from which I wish to disassociate myself), is the next instalment, which has moved on from the 1980s where we last encountered our hero him in his own words:

“By the early noughties (we’re talking 2002) I was working on a trials unit for Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, testing new aircraft and systems at various places around the world, most of which conveniently (considering the politics of the world at that time) happened to be quite hot and sandy. And which conveniently (for me and my mates) were not anywhere near the Arabian Peninsula, but in the Western United States. Specifically, Nevada. I’m still signed up to the Official Secrets Act, and the memory of the “civilian contractors” defending the places I’ll describe, who regularly pointed the biggest guns I ever saw at me, helps remind me that keeping some secrets is probably for the best.

What I will tell you is that you can probably work out for yourselves where I was, if I tell you the best trick used to stop people wondering what happened in that particular part of the desert was that some very famous rumors suggesting that it was an area frequented by aliens got circulated, so that if anyone saw something strange in the sky around this “Area”, then that’s what they thought they’d seen.

The Futureheads – Area

Then Jerico – The Big Area

So we were based in this “Area” for about 6 weeks, and during the week that meant we were locked on the base, but at the weekends, when they wanted to run some other “experiments” (which may or may not have included aliens) we had to find somewhere else to stay. Which unfortunately meant we had to drive a couple of hours south and wait in Las Vegas until they let us back on Sunday evening. Your armed forces suffer on your behalf, but you’re welcome.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Vegas, but I’m sure you are aware of it. And that it is considerably different to the other desert town they sometimes based us in, which had three bars. And forty-seven churches. The only churches I saw in Vegas had Elvis impersonators as vicars, there to marry the woman you met in a bar earlier that evening. And there were a lot of bars, and more than a few of them had women in them who’d happily marry you for the price of a drink….

The Air Force weren’t skimping on accommodation for us either. The usual policy when they chose somewhere was a simple “which is cheapest?”. In this case the best offer came from a dingy little back street place called Caesar’s Palace, but the powers that be realised that if viewers on the BBC tuned in to watch a big title fight, it wouldn’t go down well if in the background of the shot were a lot of noble airmen in uniform heading for another hard day at the office. Instead they spent the extra cash to put us in a Mormon run hotel, which meant it was one of the only places in town with no bar or gambling emporium. In fact, we had to go all the way across the street to a strip bar just to get a drink. Again, only doing our duty, you’re welcome.

So we started experimenting to understand what the best ratio between partying and sleeping is over 48 hours in a city where the bars never close. To save any of you needing to repeat the experiment I can let you know that the liberal use of pseudo-effedrine and caffeine tablets (they sell them over the counter at gas stations to keep the long distance truckers wired) means 48 hours straight is easily within reach, but you are going to sleep for quite a while after that. Then one Sunday afternoon while I was getting ready to head back I started to question what I was doing with my life? I considered reading the bible in the hotel room, then realized there was something even better in there: the Yellow Pages! I had a read in the back seat of the car as we headed back to base, and that’s where I found it! I knew what was missing! A convertible Lamborghini with a hot tub in the back! And joy to the world, I could rent it by the hour next time I was in Vegas! I asked a few of my mates if they were interested, and amazingly, they were. So when we stopped I called the number from the Yellow Pages, only to be disappointed when I was told the Lamborghini was block booked for a video shoot, but that that someone from the company would call me back to let me know what they could offer instead.

Monday morning I’m back on base working on the flight line, when I was told there’s a phone call for me. You’ll remember I said we weren’t allowed mobile phones, so I’d given them my office number. I also said security was tight, and we knew that included all phone calls being monitored (at times you could actually hear the guys listening in, which I’m sure wasn’t an accident). When I picked up the phone there was a bloke on the other end who I can only describe as what central casting on a low budget film would give you if you asked for an over-excited Mexican. He proceeded to offer me a “party bus” for 6 hours, which would take up to thirty of us around Vegas, stopping wherever we liked. The price sounded good, so I agreed, and he told me he’d be at our hotel 3pm next Saturday. He also told me the bus would come with “plenty of liquor” which sounded exactly what we were looking for. He then went on to ask if I needed “any girls, any drugs?”. I can only imagine how much attention that got from whoever was monitoring my calls, so I quickly explained none of that would be necessary and bid him a good day.

Now I had to think fast. The Lamborghini I’d thought about before would have taken six of us, and I had no doubt I could find that many mates up for it. But 30 on a bus was a bigger challenge, as that was almost the whole of the support team out there. I started to spread the word: anyone who’d overheard the call with my Mexican friend was a fairly easy sell, but I needed a hook to really up the interest…

That was when I decided what was needed was a good back story…. You see, it was a fairly common procedure that whenever we took off to a different town for any reason, we never told anyone we were Air Force. That would be far too boring. Instead we chose a variety of back stories to make opening conversations more interesting. If you’ve ever had someone at a bar describe his job as an underwater tractor driver, or a biscuit designer, chances are he was one of Trenchard’s finest. The last trip to Vegas we’d been a team of carpet fitters, in town to replace the floor in the Mirage as the one of white tigers had pissed on it. On another occasion we were a team of off duty phone sexline operatives (they pay extra for an English accent, don’t you know). I decided that this week it was time to be a rock band, and as easy as that “Into the Breach” were born. Remembering why we couldn’t have a Lamborghini, I realized our band had been on a video shoot themselves, filming out in the desert for their next single, “Cry God for Harry”, and the bus was a thankyou from the management team for their hard work. Easy bit done, I put up a poster with those details in the crew room, sat back and waited.

One other thing in my favour was that to cover expenses while we were away, particularly on those arduous trips to Vegas, we were given a cash advance. This was handed out once a week, so I conveniently hung around at that time and found it extremely easy to persuade people they had always wanted to be in a band. And pay me the $50 it would take to join.

The time was ripe to nominate the band line-up. I didn’t really fancy recreating the So Solid Crew, as I thought thirty was too many for just the band itself, but there were still important roles for security, sound engineers, and a couple of more specialised roles. Such as the actual singer who the pretty boy at the front could lip-synch to, but who was too heavy-boned to be in the video, and the “fluffer” who was there to get the drummer in the mood. And me? Manager and record company executive, of course. Which meant that Saturday morning in Vegas as the others were getting their “costumes” ready I had nothing to do, so I printed myself some business cards, just in case.

Saturday afternoon arrived, and a few of us decided that waiting until 3pm for our first drink was pushing it, so we called in the bar next door for a quick beer or three. I say bar, but strictly speaking it was more of a gentleman’s club, booths, table service, half dressed women asking if you want to dance, you get the picture. Which led to the never to be repeated question from one hostess, as to if I was a record company executive then why had one of the guys I walked in with told her he was an alien hunter? Pausing only to make a mental note to re-educate him on the rules for the weekend, I gave her my business card (knew it would be useful) and said that if she could thought she could sing then she should prove it to me. She paused for even less time to whip off her top, perch herself on my knee and sing Jolene. I told her she had potential, and I’d make her a big star someday, but now I had to go, my band were waiting.

Dolly Parton – Jolene

David Essex – Gonna Make You A Star

Just in time, it turns out, because pulling into the hotel car park was our ride for the day, a fifty-foot-long bus, sort of like the ones big hotels use as airport shuttles, but all black, with blacked out windows.

I introduced myself to the driver, who took me on the bus to sort out the paperwork while the band and support crew gathered in the car park. The inside of the bus was fitted out pretty nicely, with black leather seats along each, split with mahogany topped surfaces. Lift the mahogany tops and there were fridges and cupboards, full as described with beers and all manner of spirits, along with glasses and ice. He checked I was happy with it, as if the huge grin filling my face hadn’t already confirmed that, and we got down to the business side. I paid in full in cash, and he handed me a few disclaimers to sign, including one that said I’d pay for any damage or additional cleaning needed. He swiped my credit card as pre-authorisation for that while I asked what that meant. He told me that if, for example, someone threw up on the bus, then I’d be charged with cleaning it up. Not too likely I thought, these are hardened drinkers, so I started inviting the others on the bus. At which point my new friend, the driver, pulled out a bottle of tequila, threw away the cork and started passing it round. First one he handed it too was my mate Bo. He won’t drink that, I thought, as everyone knew Bo threw up at the first smell of tequila. But the peer pressure got him and he took a good, big swill before passing the bottle on. From inside my wallet I swear I could hear my credit card crying itself to sleep.

MGMT – Time To Pretend

We all settled in for the trip. The driver put some tunes on, lit the ceiling light show and we were off. I was making friends with a bottle of Jack, and concentrating on being a good host, making sure my crew appreciated the treat after working so hard in the desert, on the music video they’d definitely been filming….

As I said, to fill a bus with 30 people I went beyond my regular circle of close drinking mates, so there were a few on there I didn’t know so well. One of those was a young PTI (Physical Training Instructor) who we’d brought along to be a general helper and to be a ringer in case the Americans challenged us to a baseball or “soccer” match. He ended up sat next to me on the bus, so we got chatting.

I knew he was fresh, the correct Air Force term being that the ink was still wet on his twelve and a half (Form 1250 is a military ID card, the implication being that you hadn’t served long enough for it to dry yet). Turns out this wasn’t just his first deployment with a flying squadron, it was his first time outside the UK. He was a good lad, but it would have been remiss of me not tofeed him to the lions at least a little bit, surely?

My mate Pete was the bass player for ItB (as the cool kids had taken to writing it on their pencil cases), and he decided now was the time to help me play with the new boy. He headed down the bus to us and asked the PTI to scooch up. From his jeans pocket he pulled a wrapped-up piece of tinfoil and asked to borrow my 1250. He unwrapped the foil, revealing a fine white powder, broken up with spots of fluorescent green and purple, which he proceeded to use my id card to quite professionally chop up into two fine lines, which he offered to me and the PTI to sample. I need to be clear, neither ItB or any of their support team partake in hard drugs. I’d like to say that was a moral decision, but when we weren’t rock stars we were servicemen and as such subjected to regular no-notice drug tests with instant dismissal if you failed; that may well have influenced our lifestyle choices. No, the white substance was actually candy. I knew that and Pete knew that, but to the PTI it was an obvious dilemma: take a line and risk losing your career before it hardly started, or don’t take a line and lose credibility with a bunch of absolute rock stars you just met?

The indecision and fear were written all over his face, and it didn’t look like he’d resolve it internally quickly, so I pushed him out of the way and helped myself to the first line. Now I said already it was candy, not drugs, but that was only half the story. What it actually was was popping candy, the kind we had as kids back in the Seventies, you put it on your tongue and it crackled. Snorting it is a whole different issue, when those fluorescent green and purple bits hit the top of your nose it felt like bonfire night inside your brain! My eyes immediately dilated massively. I let out a breath, then slapped Pete on the back. “Good shit man!” He helped himself to the other line, with the same effect. Soon all of the band had tried it, with our honorable friend the PTI being one of the few not to push for a hit, which means he was probably one of the only ones on the bus not to be in contention with Toxteth O’Grady for the world’s stickiest bogey title (Gratuitous The Young Ones reference, there).

By now we’d been cruising around in the tour bus for about an hour, up and down the Las Vegas strip, so it seemed like a good idea to let the rest of the world get sight of ItB. Our driver pulled up just near Freemont Street, a big area with casinos either side of a covered walkway with a huge lightshow above it. The bus pulled up and fully in character we headed in, security detail first to clear the way for the talent. These guys were having just as much fun with the dressing up box, all wearing black with SECURITY on the front of their baseball caps, but for some reason the actual casino security were unimpressed with the fact that their earpieces didn’t seem to be plugged into anything, and told them to “Stop fucking about, guys!” but fortunately still let us all in.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – We Are Rockstars

As I left the bus, the driver asked if there was anything else we needed him to get us while we were in there. My Mexican friend hadn’t exaggerated about the amount of liquor, but there was very little to mix it with. While I’m quite fond of straight Jack from the bottle, which seemed rock star appropriate, I thought something to go with it would be good, so suggested he buy us some coke, and headed into the casino. Seconds later I realised what I’d just asked him, what my Mexican friend offered on the phone, and that the driver had just watched the candy episode. Feeling a sudden, urgent need to break character I ran back out and shout to him “Coca Cola, we want coca cola, not drugs!” He laughed at me, said OK, so I got back into character and went to find the band at the bar. Stay cool, Swing!

I’m sure amongst a group of civilians deliberately being the last one into a bar like that would probably be regarded as a serious breach of etiquette and round dodging, but we were a well oiled machine (in many ways) and already ran a regular system with a nominated holder of the kitty who was in charge of going to the bar and ordering the drinks, with the rest of the group adding to the kitty in his pocket on request, usually in $50 chunks. Seems straightforward, and it is, but choosing who holds the kitty is something of a skill: give it to a budgie-sipper and the rest of the crew would be complaining of dry throats, go to the other extreme and you’d all be under the table half way through the night. Our usual kitty holder was my old tequila loving friend Bo, he liked to feel important, and was actually pretty good in the role, as long as you accepted two key facts:

1. He was very keen to implement the Jägermeister rule. Remember this was 2002, before the concept of Jägerbombs had really taken off in the UK, so back then it was something of a novelty to find in bars in the UK. The rule was the first one to see it said the J-word, and everyone else had to drink a shot. Be honest, it tastes like cough mixture, so being first to shout it and thus avoid the shot was a good thing. Two problems: American bars are usually pretty well stocked with a variety of drinks, so it was much more common; and Bo actually liked it, even to the extent of regularly ordering for himself a cocktail called liquid cocaine, which was 50/50 Jägermeister and Bacardi 151. Yummy! Which meant we needed to rein him in to prevent every round including shots.

2. Later in the evening after a few drinks Bo was easily distracted and often wandered off on his own. We needed to be careful to spot the onset of this, not to stop him of course, just to make sure someone else took the kitty before he did.

What that meant was that when I got to the bar I was not at all surprised to have a beer pressed into my hand. I was also not at all surprised that Bo started ribbing me about the way I had to break character and run back out, after all, if you couldn’t rely on your mates to belittle you in public who could you rely on? Equally obviously I needed to retaliate, but exactly how eluded me at first.

It doesn’t need saying that Gaz with his little girl’s bladder had disappeared to the toilets when we walked in, but I was sure everyone else would do the same before we left, and guessed that meant Bo would need to get someone to hold his beer. A few weeks earlier he had done the same thing for me, and while I was gone he put the straw from my Jack and Coke down his pants, so that when I came back he could ask if I “liked the taste of his Bobby?” Sophisticated humour like that was something they taught in Air Force basic training. My expectation was correct, and although it wasn’t me he asked to hold his beer, I was the manager of a successful rock band, so I only had to ask and it was handed to me. Slight problem, its one thing putting a straw down the front of your boxers, a bit more of an issue to do the same with a beer bottle. No problem, sheltered corner found and wall of mates blocking the view I gave the bottle top a quick wipe of the wand. Which is where the next flaw in my plan became apparent, he was drinking Corona, which had come with a slice of lime in the top. He’d pushed the lime in the bottle, but that meant there was a lot of lime around the top of the bottle. A lot of lime. Definitely not something you’d want in a sensitive area….

I passed him the bottle back as he returned, and realising what had just happened he started to complain, but recognising the obvious look of pain in my eyes he just laughed and swore to only ever drink Mexican lager from that day on.

We had a couple of rounds in the bar, but the draw of free drinks on the bus soon drew us back. The driver had added a few cases of soft drinks and a couple more bottles of Jack (just in case) so the security detail checked everyone was back and we set off around the town again. When we weren’t busy being a rock band some of the guys were avionics experts, specialising in maintaining the electronics on the aircraft: radar, weapon systems, radios, etc. The set-up on the bus had been fascinating them, and between drinks they’d been exploring it, taken control from the driver and found that in addition to the stereo there was an option to project one of a small library of “specialist” DVDs onto a screen filling the back of the bus. The dilemma now was this: did we have pounding rock music for the next leg of the tour, or hard-core pornography. The obvious answer was why not have both, so we were treated to the country-rap classic Cowboy loud enough to make your ears bleed, while on the screen were several young ladies getting overly friendly with each other, and what appeared to be one of their school teachers. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Kid Rock would have chosen himself for a video if he could get it played on MTV.

Kid Rock – Cowboy

Much sooner this time the balance between free drink on the bus vs no toilet on the bus required another stop, so we had the driver pull up at the next casino, which happened to be The Venetian. Lots of the casinos on the Vegas strip have themes like this, The Venetian obviously consisting of lots of little indoor canals with gondolas in them, but instead of the architectural wonders like St Mark’s Square you got rows of hundreds upon hundreds of slot machines. You have it to hand it to those Yanks, they know how to take anything from the Old World and just make it better.

Disembarking from the bus was much less orderly this time, more of a mad rush to get in and find the first place to pee. Which is why it was time to start enforcing the ‘little boy wee’ rule. This being the early two thousands I got a lot of inspiration from reading the key record of the cultural and artistic pulse of the nation: Loaded magazine. The idea came from someone who’d written in describing a drinking game in his rugby club, and I shamelessly stole it. (Same also applies to the idea of a pub crawl using a Monopoly board as a map, but that’s another story.) (Yes, one I’ve already told: here – Ed)

In essence, when potty training your children, most little boys don’t go straight from soiling themselves to confidently standing alone at a public urinal, there is an interim stage, usually only a few months, involving mummy helping them go for a number one. During this stage rather than fishing through the willy maze that is the front of most male underwear, she makes things easier for herself by lowering trousers and underpants to the floor, thus making access much easier. The concept of ‘little boy wees’ is what would have happened if your Mummy forgot to tell you you don’t always need to do that when you’re all grown up.

So when the rule is in force that’s what you need to do: every time you’re in a public bathroom, trousers and underpants must be fully around your ankles before any release. And if you choose to use a cubicle instead and hence hide the evidence, what you’re actually proving is that you sit down to pee and you’re in completely the wrong bathroom. Anyone forgetting got a forfeit, usually involving shots and/or humiliation. Its quite an amusing game at the best of times, but goes to another level in a crowded place with multiple bathrooms, like a Las Vegas casino on a Saturday evening.

By now you would expect a lapse in discipline with the first stragglers wandering off, but this game made it easy to find if the others were around, just head to the bathroom and use the level of amusement/disgust to judge how many of your colleagues had already been there. In all that helped get the majority of the team back to the bus after a reasonable amount of time (two drinks).

We did continue for another couple of hours, I suspect there was probably another stop somewhere along the way at another strip club, and the tour ended with us being dropped at a night club somewhere, but I have to be honest, by now time and Jack have wiped all those memories from me. If anyone there wants to tell me what else happened that night (or at any other time since I hit drinking age) it would be greatly appreciated.

But there are two post scripts to this story. The following Saturday I was in a regular bar in Vegas when one of the guys called me up to listen to what was happening. Just along the bar was one of our aircrew chatting to a young lady. Now being a squadron leader fighter pilot should be a pretty good chat up line, in fact pilot was the only persona we had an unwritten rule never to use, because that would only encourage them. But this chap wasn’t telling her that, he was explaining how he was a music producer and talent scout from London. I listened in to him for a while then tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he’d ever met Into the Breach. He realised he’d been rumbled, and bought me a drink, the first of many I took from him over the years whenever I reminded him that he pretended to be me to impress girls.

The second one was a bit later on, back in the UK. It turned out that the lead singer (the one in the video who lip-synched, not the chubster who actually sang on the record, keep up) met some girls in the club who were pretty sure they had seen ItB on MTV earlier, and he had taken advantage of this apparent gullibility to live the rock star dream a bit further than he should have. Definitely further than his fiancé would have approved of….. When he got home he had a pang of conscience and admitted everything to her, so after her Dad beat him senseless she forgave him, but decided that whoever organised such a thing was definitely not welcome at their wedding. Which meant that Swing didn’t get an invite, but for the only time in my Air Force career I dusted off another alias and made sure that Andrew behaved himself at the ceremony and at least the early part of the evening event!”

There’s only one song that we can possibly sign off with, I think:

Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas

Happy Birthday, Bro’.

More soon.

The Chain #46

I got quite excited the other day, when I went into my Drafts folder and saw this title.

“Zut alors!” I exclaimed, thinking that I must have at the very least started writing the next installment of The Chain. And that I was French or German or whatever that language is.

But no, my laziness and ineptitude was laid out there before me, for all I had done was write the title, and that was it. Classic me, if my deadline nightmares are anything to go by.

Anyway, hello, and welcome back to the latest in what is turning out to be an increasingly infuriating occasional series: The Chain.

But at least it’s here, right? We all need distractions and things to think about at the moment, things to fill the time, and surely there’s no finer way to spend some time than reading what folks from all around the world can link to one particular song. It’s what Covid-19 was invented for, surely.

A brief reminder for those new to the shnizz we get up to here: we’re working our way through the songs played on The Chain section of Radcliffe & Maconie’s 6Music show, coming up with alternative suggestions, and listening to them all instead of just the one (Mrs Wembley). 80s sitcom gag, there, to help you acclimatise to the level of writing you can expect should you venture further.

I used to write these once a week, but then couldn’t be arsed lacked inspiration for a year or so, brought it back and suddenly find myself wondering where the days/weeks have gone and how it’s got to the point where I really should have written it by now has arrived.

Anyway, blah blah blah poor old me….let’s be off.

This episode, just to be different, we’re not going to start with the source record from last time. Well not quite, anyway.

No, instead, we’re going start with the first part of one of Rol from My Top Ten‘s suggestions:

The album version of Tubthumping opens with an inspirational quote from the great Pete Postlethwaite, taken from the movie ‘Brassed Off’…

Dammit, it’s done my head in for years trying to remember where I recognised that from! Cheers, Rol!

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping (Album Version)

Before we go any further with Rol’s suggestion, I’ll hand you over to one of the two people who insist on emailing me (which is fine, by the way) their suggestions rather than popping them in the Comments section:

You may recall that last time out The Great Gog got a little obsessed with the county of Hampshire. And rightly so: if Hampshire had a church steeple with a 123-metre spire, then them pesky Ruskies would be queuing up to smear Novochok all over it and any corporate Italian restaurant chain in the immediate vicinity (I’m nothing if not topical).

Anyway, things don’t appear to have changed much in the Land of the Gog:

The album containing Tubthumping is Tubthumper.

Thumper is a rabbit in the animated film Bambi.

There are lots of cartoon rabbits in the animated film Watership Down.

Watership Down is set in some Hampshire fields – which could take us all the way back…

Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes

Is it too early to be handing out points for Comments Showboating? I think not: POINTS!

By the way, I’m not going to post the Points Table every time I write one of these, as nothing much will change from one post to another. It’d be like looking at any sports league table over the past four weeks. I’ll update things and do it every couple of posts or so.

Or…The Great Gog continues…stretching the link to breaking point (You’re by no means the worst cuplrit, fill your boots)…given my ramblings above…[this] would seem appropriate:

Bright Eyes – Down in a Rabbit Hole

Which gives me an unexpectedly early opportinty to to dust off my catchprase (he says, as he dons a spangly suit).


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

Chas & Dave – Rabbit

Sorry, Rol, where were we?

The soundtrack to Brassed Off was performed by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Rol continues. The Grimethorpe Colliery Band also played on this famous John Peel favourite:

Roy Harper – When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease

Next up, over to The Robster from the annoyingly still dormant Is This the Life blog who offers this:

All I could come up with is Get Up by R.E.M. but I’m sure I can come up with something else given time. Probably got, what, 18 months before the next installment? which is a bit rich, coming from the man who only posts anything at the end of the year. Go on click that link to his blog, let’s see if we can’t get him back in action. Your country needs you, Rob!

I posted the album version of this song not so long ago in my I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays series, so here’s a slightly different version, a live one, which pops up as one of the bonus tracks on the Collector’s Edition of the Shiny Happy People CD single.

But since the band themselves have practically disowned that single (guitarist Peter Buck once described it as “relentlessly upbeat” and also said “If we did one of those per record, I could see how it could get a little embarrassing”) maybe we should too; it’s notable for it’s absence from many of the Greatest Hits compilations, despite it being their =4th biggest hit in the UK (after, in reverse order: Leaving New York (#5), E-Bow The Letter (#4) and The Great Beyond (#3))

They weren’t so embarrased by it that they declined to do this, though (and who could blame them: would you turn down the chance to appear with the Muppets on Sesame Street???)

I love that the female vocalist is a Muppet who looks like Kate Pierson from The B-52s who, as you all know, provided the additional vocals on the single.

But I digress: this version is neither the album version nor the tucked-away-on-a-limited-edition-CD single version, but one I *coughs* obtained from a long gone and much missed blog called (I think…) The Independence of Tractors (long-time bloggers and blog followers may be able to jog my memory….I’m thinking of featuring this soon and would like to accredit, so if anyone has any info….y’know….), who once posted the whole of the band’s Tourfilm DVD as a series of mp3s:

R.E.M. – Get Up (Tourfilm Version)

Onwards, then, to the next suggestion, and to Alyson from What’s It All About? who proffers this:

I got a bit worried when you mentioned Jarvis and his controversial stunt at the Brits as I remember whose expense it was at. But no, it was our friendly water boys who if I remember correctly soaked Two Jags Prescott. Sticking to my Scottish band theme I’m therefore going to go with The Waterboys for the next link and sticking with my “water” theme in this comments box, the song….

The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

I think I should step in and clarify that, according to their Wikipedia page, they’re a Scottish-Irish band..

Anyway, nice of you to bring up the subject of Chumbawamba’s dust up with John Precott at The Brits, as this gives us licence to go off at a bit of a tangent.

To start things off, here’s George:

A Chumbawumba was involved in an altercation with then deputy PM John Prescott, who was the MP for Hull. Also from Hull was Mick Ronson, who played guitar on:

Lulu – The Man Who Sold the World

It’s not really a surprise that Ronson was involved, given who wrote the song and who – keen-eared listeners will have noticed – also provides backing vocals on that: one Mr D Bowie Esq.

George adds: I was going to go from John “Two Jags” Prescott to The Jags and Back of my Hand, but changed my mind.

What, and you think that’s going to stop me posting it? Of course you don’t, you know I won’t be able to resist:

The Jags – Back Of My Hand

Since we’re on Prescott, indulge me for a moment with my two favourite clips involving him. The first isn’t really about him, but it is from a documentary he made back in 2008 called Prescott – The Class System And Me:

I guarantee you, she voted Brexit.

And then there’s this notorious clip:

In his defence: a) what would you do if someone chucked an egg at you? and b) later (admittedly when he’d had time to get someone else to write a witty response think of something clever to say, he came up with this: “Well, Tony Blair asked me to go out and connect with the electorate….”

Anyway, that leads me to my next suggestion of the week:

The Chemical Brothers (feat. Tim Burgess) – The Boxer

Over now to Martin from New Amusements who proffers this Prescott related…um… jewel, I guess:

Like George, I’m going with a John Prescott connection, but hope to craft mine into a Double Linker. Yes, Danbert Nobacon once up-ended an ice-bucket over John Prescott at the Brits, but John Prescott was also memorably once replaced on ‘Have I Got News For You’ with a tub of lard, so I can surely claim a double link to Tubthumping for anything lard-related, so I’ll pitch:

The Shirehorses – If You Tolerate This Piss

He’s not done yet: …which, lest we forget, featured Marc “Lard” Riley. Since this is also about drinking, much like Chumbawumba’s chorus, could this be a Triple Linker? And maybe a point for worst suggestion of the week?

I don’t think I can refuse, can I, dear reader? It’s unquestionably the worst record of the week (POINT!) and he has managed to get a triple link out of this, the first time this has happened as far as I can recall (Ermmmm…points, I guess….).

I think we need to cleanse our palate a little, and remind ourselves that Martin could easily have dodged the sub-Barron Knights tosh that is The Shirehorses by referencing it and then directing us to this:

Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Which brings me back to Rol, whose first suggestion was this:

The Manic Street Preachers must be guilty of Tubthumping, since that’s what Street Preachers do.

Alice Nutter was in Chumbawamba. The Manics once covered an Alice Cooper song. So…

Manic Street Preachers – Under My Wheels

If that’s not a double-linker, than I don’t know what is.

Well, yes, Yes it is. POINTS!

Anyway, for continuity purposes, take a step back. If You Tolerate This… was the band’s first #1 single in the UK (I’m sure this can all be traced back to a shared cheese salad…) and it contains the line “Well, if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists”, which leads me to another draft post of mine which I never got round to finishing. And neither Chas nor Dave are anywhere in sight.

This one even had a semi-clever title: “You’re Not The One For Me, Fascist”.

I’ll hand over to the ever wonderful Charity Chic to explain:

Chumbawumba recorded a song with Credit to the Nation called ‘The Day the Nazi Died’…

Chumbawamba & Credit to the Nation – The Day The Nazi Died (1993 Mix)

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t allow a suggestion which was simply “X recorded the source record, and they also recorded this”, but since this was a collaboration with the frankly quite marvellous Credit to the Nation, I’ll let it slide.

Plus: Charity Chic has a point to make:

….Morrissey (who may or may not be a Nazi) – he continues (“Not my words, the words of Top Gear car magazine!”) had a song called:

Morrissey – First of the Gang to Die

…And he is a bit of a tub these days who could probably do with a good thumping…Charity Chic signs off.

Just in case you’re not sure what CC is banging on about, or on which side of the fence you should be sitting when it comes to the whole “Is Morrissey a racist?” question, well I’ll leave you to make your own mind up.

And here to help you is a picture of him performing live on The Jimmy Fallon Show in May 2019:

And here’s a close-up of the badge he’s wearing on his lapel:

In case you’re not familiar with it, and I hope you’re not, that is a For Britain badge.

For Britain are not nice people.

Oh my, indeed.

Here’s my rule of thumb when it comes to Morrissey, which you are welcome to adopt: yes, when he was in The Smiths he made some inflammatory comments in interviews, but none of them leaked into his lyrics. Since The Smiths split and he went solo, they have. Regularly.

So: The Smiths – fine to still express love and admiration; Morrissey solo – tread carefully.

Which leads me to a suggestion from Jules of Music From Magazines fame, which *checks notes* I’m disqualifying becuase *checks notes*…well, I’m not sure why to be honest, but I am and that’s that:

Carrying on with the high five, Mel Brooks ‘Hitler Rap’

Ah now, I remember; in response to Charity Chic’s anti-Moz post, Jules responded: A high five for that and I don’t think that’s enough to allow it.

Yes, I am a strict Taskmaster, and yes, Greg Davies, watch your back!

What else have you got, Jules?

As I am a tad partial to a cider drink or eight anything I suggest at closing time will make sense….

I beg to differ, but nonetheless:

Tom Waits – Closing Time

Please allow me to interject with something more cheerful but less good:

Semisonic – Closing Time

And then with something less good and less cheerful:

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time

Ok, who’s left?

Well, long time readers of The Chain will know that certain things crop up repeatedly. For sure is eggs is eggs, someone will suggest either a record by The Clash or Bruce Springsteen just to annoy George, and Jules will suggest something by Lambchop.

No, not that Lambchop….

So let’s unclasp the shackles and let Jules free; I have to say that I almost rejected all that you are about to enjoy, until I thought about his first suggestion a little harder:

Any crossword fan would see the anagram “wham bam Cuba” and the country’s name was nailed by the Gibson Brothers:

Gibson Brothers – Cuba

Don’t think Debbie Gibson was related but her role in the film “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” was ably supported by Tiffany...

Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now

Whoa there! You can’t mention Debbie Gibson and expect me not to slide this in, for no other reason than to direct you away from the schmaltz:

Mojo Nixon & Skip Roper – Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two Headed Love Child

Well, that hasn’t lost any of it’s charm, has it?

Right, where were we? Ah yes, with Jules. Off you go, feller. Pretend I said nothing. I promise not to interupt again.

Ah yes “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”, not that song

What, this song….? (I lied)

Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Jesus, I’d forgotten how much I hate that record.

…not that song, but the film that featured Moon River...


Audrey Hepburn – Moon River

At last! A bit of class is introduced around these parts!

Oh wait, he’s not done yet.

…but more importantly was based on a novella by Truman Capote. Harry S. Truman was the 33rd U.S. president, the 37th was Richard Nixon….

Lambchop – The Old Gold Shoe

There it is! Normality restored.

Where next? Step up to the plate, if you will, Rigid Digit:

Tubthumping – a synonym for drumming (or it is in my world anyway).

Drummers doing solo singles? Not a rare thing. Plenty of stuff from Ringo…

Ringo Starr – It Don’t Come Easy

….and Phil Collins

Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

Now, let’s be honest: every time we’re unlucky enough to hear that, all we can really think of is this:

…Dave Grohl left the drum stool, strapped on a guitar and became Mr Foo…which sounds like a George Formby record (“Oh Mr Foo, what shall I do…? A niche joke, I know), but I’ve gone off at enough tangents, so we’ll leave that.

Foo Fighters – The Pretender

Even Keith Moon managed a solo album (word of advice: approach with caution).

I have to draw the line somewhere…

But I’m choosing the drummer who was invited to join the reformed ELP in the mid-80s for two reasons:

1) He was a great drummer

2) His surname began with P

Cozy Powell – Dance With The Devil

Let’s hand the baton on to Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life:

The main thing of Tubthumping is keep your head up whatever will be. This leads me to:

Curtis Mayfield – Keep on Keeping On

 …otherwise by…

The Redskins – Keep On Keepin’ On!

If I could award points for Best Record of The Week, that would win, hands down.

Back then to some email submissions I received, and I’ll hand over to Pat from phonicpat for a bit:

“….a couple of suggestions – a link to a thumping:

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

This song has featured in The Chain before so strictly speaking should be disqualified, but looking back I see that both this and The Rezillos version were suggsted at the same time, and, unable to choose between the two, I posted both. So I’ll let this slide too…but only so I can post my favourite record about somebody getting their head kicked in:

The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

What else have you got, Pat?

Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel

…link being Chumbawamba covered this on the “Fuck EMI” compilation.

Which leads me back to The Robster, who hasn’t quite had the eighteen months he ribbed me with earlier to think things over, but nonetheless has returned with this:

I remember when Tubthumping came out, it was released on EMI *shock-horror* a filthy major label. The band was deluged with accusations of selling out and going back on its DIY ethos. But one of the reasons they signed to EMI was because previous label One Little Indian rejected the ‘Tubthumper’ album as they didn’t like its sound. The band subsequently signed to EMI as “…experience had taught us that in a capitalist environment almost every record company operates on capitalist principles. Our previous record label One Little Indian didn’t have the evil symbolic significance of EMI but they were completely motivated by profit. Our position was that whoever we signed with would want us not for our ideas but for the potential profit, so we’d battle for a contract where we still had autonomy.”

So to that end, I’m offering up…a song about the music industry’s obsession with making moolah with little regard for the art:

The Kinks – The Money Go Round

Hang on a minute: that’s two mentions of the same record company in as many messages. It’s almost like somebody has manipulated it so the suggestions fell this way…

Sex Pistols – E.M.I.

We’re on the home stretch now, I promise. And with the finish line in sight, the baton is thrust into Alex G’s hand:

Of course, a song about a man who drinks a whiskey drink, a cider drink, a lager drink AND a vodka drink naturally leads us to Shane MacGowan. I suppose any song would do, but just to keep the theme going, it may as well be

Shane MacGowan and the Popes – That Woman’s Got Me Drinking

What Alex G omits to mention is that That Woman’s Got Me Drinking features the guitar work of one Mr Johnny Depp. When he’s not acting in the latest Tim Burton movie, or appearing in an advert for something smelly, or getting stopped at the border of an antipodean country trying to smuggle dogs across and subsequently being forced to make an apologetic if half-arsed video rather than go to jail, or defending himself against allegations of domestic abuse for that matter, there’s nothing Mr Depp likes more than to pop up in unexpected places:

Where were we?

Ah yes, booze related songs. I’m surprised there wasn’t more of these. Let me chuck one into the mix:

The Wurzels – I Am A Cider Drinker

And yes, The Shirehorses song is worse than that.

Hold up, Pat’s got another one:

Several booze songs come to mind but I’ll go for…

Pulp – Whiskey in the Jar

…on the bonus cd of Different Class, Jarvis trying very hard to keep his own accent rather than channelling Phil Lynott.

Pat has a point; I much prefer it when Jarvis sounds like Jarvis, rather than trying to sound like a drug-addicted partner of gameshow host Leslie Crowther’s daughter.

Hey Dirk! Dirk! DIRK! Fancy suggesting something mate?

Two famous song titles are more or less quoted in the lyrics of ‘Tubthumping’ – the first one being ‘Danny Boy’, which, as we all know, is the Anthem of Northern Ireland. And what is the finest thing Northern Ireland ever produced, apart from ships (minus the Titanic. Obviously)?

Oh blimey, there’s a can of worms opened…

It’s of course:

The Undertones – Teenage Kicks


…which could well be the link here. (It isn’t.)

Alas it’s not [I know] (although, Jez, nevertheless this should be a good excuse to include said tune in your essay straightaway), because, as I said, another song is being mentioned and that is ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. Yes, I have noticed that Chumbawamba omit the ‘Argentina’ – bit (and replace it by ‘next door neighbour’). But this is purely for copyright infringement reasons, I’m sure.

Now, ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ is a song done by Julie Covington back in 1976. But only (freaks like) you and me know this. And Wikipedia. To the wider public another version is much better known, and that’s the one by Madonna from 1997.

So the link, no question about that, is, to my great dismay (because I would have LOVED to see my other option), Madonna’s version of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’.

I mean, love ya for trying and all that, but it isn’t the link, and frankly Covington’s version pisses all over Madonna’s attempt, so Dirk: you shall (metaphorically) go to the (metaphorical) ball!

Julie Covington – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

I always thought that ended rather abruptly, like the whole orchestra had spotted that David Essex had the microphone again, and downed tools to wrestle it from his sweaty palms.

Last one, now (sort of), for inspired by Dirk’s moving words, Walter has something else to offer:

…as Dirk said ‘Danny Boy is is the North Irish anthem and House of Pain celebrated the Irish style on their first album. Therefore I suggest:

House of Pain – Jump Around

(We may have to explain the difference between Northern and Southern Ireland to our overseas friends one day. But not today.)

I say sort of, because of course I have something else to offer.

Dirk also mentions Danny Boy, and you’ll recall that, several hours ago when you first started reading this, Rol mentioned the film Brassed Off and The Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

Which, just to make this all nice and circular (you know, like I know what I’m doing) makes right here a pretty good point to jump off:

The Grimethorpe Colliery Band – Danny Boy

Brassed Off was on Film 4 the other night. It remains a thing of beauty. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, and have a couple of hours to kill (which, I think I’m safe in saying we all do at the moment) then you could do a lot worse than spend them watching this: it’s up to stream on the C4 app All4.

And that leaves just one thing: the unveiling of the next link in The Chain, and trust me, had anybody got this I would have been suspicious.

Here’s the official link from Tubthumping to the next record:

[Tubthumping] was once sung by Homer Simpson of cartoon fame. He also sang:

Donovan – Mellow Yellow

Your suggestions then, please, along with your explanation of how your suggestion links to Mellow Yellow by Donovan, via the Comments section below or, if you must, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com.

Minus points to anyone who suggests Coldplay. You’ve been warned.

More soon.

Back Seat Boris

Don’t worry, I’m not about to have a political rant, although I am long overdue one of those.

What with all the back stabbing and back seat driving involving Brexit and Boris “Two Articles” Johnson, I suspect he’s actively trying to get sacked so he can reposition himself as the Maverick Brexiteer when May finally gets the elbow.

More important than that, is that I’ve had this song in my brain all week. So I thought I may as well share it with you:


Elvis Presley – Moody Blue

That is all.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

As you may recall from a recent post, I’m off to see Status Quo do an acoustic set tonight, so I thought, as a special treat, I’d do a special Quo-tastic Friday Night Music Club for you tonight.

No, wait, come back!!

When I say a special Quo-tastic post, I mean one which features absolutely no songs by Status Quo whatsoever. And yet, (cue the Twilight Zone music), all of them are.

You all know I have a pathological, some might say inexplicable, love of The Quo. You all also know I love cover versions too. So what we have here are ten songs which the double-denimed, perennially unfashionable, septum-less wonders (Only one of them has lost their septum through cocaine abuse – Legal Ed) have covered in their really rather long career.

If you were so inclined, you can split the Quo’s history into five stages:

  1. The Pre-Fame Years (up to 1967)
  2. The Psychedelic Pop Years (1968 – 1969)
  3. The Just Discovered How to Play their Signature Hard Rock/Boogie Years (1970 – 1971)
  4. The Very Succesful Years (or “The Seventies” as they’re more commonly known)
  5. Everything Else After That

If I’m honest, I could easily have compiled this list exclusively from the first two stages, but where would be the fun in that? I’ll be flitting between them, so please don’t expect me to be so organised as to have posted the songs in the order they covered them; instead I’ve gone for what I hope is an aesthetically pleasing running order instead.

So, belt yourself in, here we go:


387. The Bee Gees – Spicks and Specks

Throughout their career, Quo have tried to cover records which weren’t hits in the UK, and this is a prime example: a hit for The Brothers Gibb in Australia in 1966, and in New Zealand, Japan, Germany and Netherlands a year later. Quo covered it on their first album, when they were still called The Status Quo, “Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from The Status Quo” which came out in 1968. No prizes for guessing which single they were cashing in on with that album title, eh?

From the same album, which featured the band perched atop a mountain of Swan Vestas matchboxes (See what they did there? Matchsticks!), comes this little ditty:


388. The Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine

Also released in 1967, this peaked at No 7 in the UK charts but made No 1 in the USA and Canada.

Time for me to ‘fess up now, this next one is a bit of a cheat by me, as it was written for the Quo when they were still wearing slightly awkward Carnaby Street gear on Top of The Pops, but the writer also recorded a version of it himself. Anyway, this is my list and let’s be honest, none of you are actually reading this anyway so I can make the rules up as I go along if I like:


389. Marty Wilde – Ice In The Sun

Yes, that Marty Wilde. Father of 80s pop vixen Kim (who I once served in a motorway ‘restaurant’ when she was on tour supporting some chap called Michael Jackson. Dunno what happened to him).

(Quo’s version reached No 8 in the UK charts in 1968, by the way. Like you care.)

Now, by the end of the 1960s, the boys had shrewdly worked out that the brand of psychedelic bubble-gum pop they had been peddling thus far, and become famous for, was not going to remain popular for much longer (by which I mean, their hits had already dried up). They started searching for a new sound which would supply them with the commercial longevity they desired, and stumbled across it one night in a bar somewhere in Europe (Germany or Netherlands, I think), where they found themselves entranced watching two people dance to a chugging epic featuring a harmonica and a singer with a propensity for getting his knob out on stage (is that why he was called The Lizard King, do you think…?) who was arguably past the peak of his powers by the time this came out in 1970. This lot, and this song, in fact:


390. The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

If any of you already have a healthy dislike for The Doors, well, you can add them being responsible for pretty much all of Quo’s recording career post-1970 to your list of reasons for hating them. You’re welcome.

Quo covered “Roadhouse Blues” on their 1972 break-through album “Piledriver”, but by then they had already released two other albums where they had honed their new sound: 1971’s “Dog of Two Head” and 1970’s “Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon”, from which this next one is lifted:


391. Steamhammer – Junior’s Wailing

We all remember Steamhammer, right? Nope, me neither.

Okay, so let’s move on to some other songs they covered later in their career by people you have heard of. Here’s Tom Jones:


392. Tom Jones – Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like

…and here’s Elvis Presley:


393. Elvis Presley – A Mess of Blues

Those were covered by Quo in 1981 and 1983 respectively, both becoming UK Top 20 hits (reaching No 9 and No 15).

And, I don’t know if you know this, but Tom Jones knew Elvis Presley. You’d think he might mention that every now and again, wouldn’t you?

In the last few years (twenty years is “a few years”, right…?) they’ve released a couple of albums (1996’s “Don’t Stop” and 2003’s “Riffs”) which almost exclusively feature cover versions. I featured one of the covers in my How Not To Do a Cover Version thread here (be warned, both versions lurk there) and here’s another which just defies belief:


394. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

Finally, here’s two songs which have been amongst their biggest UK chart hits (No 2 in 1986 and No 3 in 1977 respectively) and, to return to a point I made earlier, I don’t think it’s a coincidence to learn that many people have no idea that either are cover versions:


395. Bolland – You’re In The Army Now

And finally, the song that opened Live Aid in 1985, and the song which is practically their signature tune:


396. John Fogerty – Rocking All Over the World

Footnote: on the night I first moved to London, and into a flat with Hel, we had quite a lot to drink. We ended up playing records and talking about music. The topic of which artiste would be our specialist subject were we ever to go onto Mastermind came up. Without pausing, I said: “The UK Chart Hits of Status Quo between 1968 and 1986”.

The challenge was on, as Hel then produced a copy of the Guinness Book of Hit Singles and proceeded to test me.

My display was dazzling; I would say I got around 98% of the questions right, correctly stating the year and chart number each single got to, but also adding who wrote each one, the album it was taken from and what track number it was on the album in question (facts which weren’t actually included in the reference book, but I was definitely right).

How she didn’t ask me to move out again immediately is beyond me.

I mention this because when writing this, I haven’t had to look up any of those years/chart positions (apart from the non-Quo ones). Still got it.

Class dismisssed.

More soon (I’ll be here, even if you never darken my doorstep again after that).

The Chain #18

Evening Chainies! Welcome aboard the latest instalment of interactive blogging, where I welcome your suggestions for songs to play next week.

For newcomers, here’s the deal: there’s a feature on 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie week-day afternoon show where they play a record, ask their listeners to suggest a record connected to it, they pick the best one, play that, and ask for suggestions for the next song to play.

Where we differ is this: we play the same record as they do, invite your suggestions, play all of them, awarding completely arbitrary bonus points here and there (usually for correctly guessing the next song in the official Chain, occasionally for the cleverest/most impressive explanation as to how the suggested record was reached (or “Comment Showboating”, as it’s become known round these parts), but most often for suggesting something by a band I bloody love), then play the next record in the 6Music list, point out it’s nowhere near as clever/good/witty as any that you have come up with, and ask that you repeat the trick, provide a suggestion that links to the official record, which we play the following week, and so on, and so forth, repeat ad infinitum.

Of course, we’ve only been doing this for three weeks, and they’ve been doing theirs, playing three tracks a day, five times a week, so we’re quite some way behind them, so when I say we play the same record as they do, we do, just about six years later.

Here’s the only three things I ask:

  1. When making your suggestion, provide an explanation as to how you got there. And try to be a little bit more creative than just saying “So and so did a cover of that, please play their version”;
  2. Whilst it’s great to have obscure, cool records suggested, try and mix it up a little. Don’t be embarrassed to suggest a cheesy or downright awful record. Lord knows I’ve suggested enough myself;
  3. If I don’t own, or am unable to track down a copy of the song in question, please make sure that you’re able to supply me with it if need be. (NB – this happens rarely. This may only be week 18, but we’re 130 suggestions in, and only three times have I been stumped so far.)

Before we get started, one more bit of admin to get through.

I have not yet introduced the “Two Suggestions per person” rule that I mentioned last week. Well, not yet, anyway. To be honest, I felt a bit like a stroppy kid, losing at a game of football in the park who threatens to take his ball home unless he wins. So, uncapped numbers of suggestions remain, for now. But please bear in mind that I don’t have an infinite amount of time go trawling for the oh-so-many tunes that I don’t already own.

Okay, so that’s the tedious stuff out of the way. Let’s get cracking.

Last week, I left you with Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and asked you to come up with any ideas as to what we could play this week. And true to form, you’ve come up with some absolute stonkers, and some utterly weird things too.

So, first up this week is Swiss Adam from bagging area who wrote:

“Hounds of Love? Does your pussy do the dog? (asked The Cramps)”

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:


The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

Actually, I take that back. For before we can draw breath, Swiss is back with a second suggestion. Which is fine. We can still have a kick-a-round:


The House of Love – Never

Yup, totally with you on that one Swiss. It’s a single which is often overlooked because of the majesty of the singles that had preceded it, but it’s still a corking little indie-pop record which deserves an airing.

Now for those of you who don’t peruse the Comments section, where the suggestions are left, these next two take a little extra explanation.

See, last week I was asked to post Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”, which I duly did, but added that they’re not a band I’m fond off, and that they generally just rub me up the wrong way. Regular contributor George left a message, in an effort to show some solidarity, letting me know that he feels much the same way about The Clash and Bruce Springsteen.

Cue Charity Chic, stepping effortlessly into shit-stirring mode:

“Kate Bush on her return to live performances sold out the Hammersmith Apollo for a 22 night residency between 26th August and 1st October 2014. There used to be another venue in Hammersmith called the Palais. So ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash, please…and dedicate it to George!”

Sorry George, but this is for you:


The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

“Kate Bush had an album called The Dreaming. Bruce Springsteen had an album called Working on the Dream. The title track please…and dedicate it to George!”


Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

I have visions of Charity Chic posting the second of those two, saying “Boom!”, dropping his microphone and strutting off stage.

Next up, here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Well there is a track by Death Grips called ‘World of Dogs’ but I wouldn’t put up a picture of the album cover.”

Not sure I see what the fuss is about, Badger:


Death Grips – World of Dogs

I should, of course, point out that isn’t the actual cover Badger refers to. If you want to Google it, I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do it at work.

“As a serious suggestion ‘Hounds of Love’ was covered memorably by The Futureheads which takes us nicely to ‘Decent Days and Nights’ by that lot.”

Badger almost became the first person to have points deducted for providing too obvious a link there, just dodging the bullet by suggesting a record by The Futureheads other than their cover of Madam Bush:


The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

Here’s George, who clearly is not going to rise to Charity Chic’s bait:

“From Hounds to Dogs and Tropical Hot Dog Night by Captain Beefheart (from the Shiny Beast Bat Chain Puller album)”

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

I have to confess, Beefheart are one of those bands I know I’m supposed to like, but I’ve given Trout Mask Replica many opportunities to win me over, and every time I’ve just come away scratching my head (in befuddlement, I don’t have nits).

That said, though, I really like the track George has suggested, so maybe it’s about time I gave it another go.

Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow with another suggestion I didn’t know, or rather didn’t know this version of it. I’ll let him explain:

“On the b-side of the ‘Hounds of Love’ 7″ single, Kate Bush covered a traditional seafaring ballad, ‘The Handsome Cabin Boy’. The great Martin Carthy sang an acapella version of the same song on his self-titled debut LP in 1965.”


Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

Here’s When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s co-writer, S-WC:

“Kate Bush allowed ITV to use her surname for a section of the show I’m a Celebrity… called The Bushtucker Trial [not sure that’s entirely true, but I’ll let it slide – Ed]. Johnny Rotten appeared in one of those and ate a kangaroos anus. So we’d best have Anarchy in the UK.”

And that’s why I’ll let it slide. Still sounding as fresh and as angry today as it did back in 1976 (I imagine, I was a little too young got punk), here’s them Grundy-baiting Sex Pistols:


Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

And there’s a good reason why I’ll let that slide, for if I didn’t, I’d have to disqualify a third suggestion from Swiss Adam at bagging area:

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:


Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Sadly, as long as I waited, not one of you suggested we continue that particular theme by playing something by Peter Andre. Not even “Insania” which he wrote on the show. An opportunity missed, I’m sure you’ll agree. Or, hopefully not.

Coincidentally, those last two suggestions feature bands who are commonly referred to incorrectly as “The Sex Pistols” or “The Happy Mondays”. There is no prefix on either. The next suggestion – by Swiss again with his fourth – yes, fourth – go, features a band with nothing but the word The in their name:


The The – Dogs Of Lust

Now, right at the top of this post, I mentioned that so far I’ve only needed to be bailed out three times when hosting this thread, and two of them were suggestions made by George. So when he popped up again with this, I felt myself break out into a cold sweat:

“From Kate Bush to The Very Things’ song The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes.”

The other time I couldn’t find a postable copy of a song, it had been suggested by Dirk over at Sexyloser, so when he chipped in by saying: “George, the recommendation of that particular Very Things – tune almost makes me forgive you disliking The Clash so much: excellent choice!”, well, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, we’ve just had a Bank Holiday Weekend here, so I had a little extra time to track it down. It’s not the finest quality, and there is a moment or two’ silence at the start that I haven’t had time to trim off, but here in all their glory, are The Very Things:


The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

Have to say the jury’s still out on that one here at Dubious Taste Towers. I’d fully expected to award the Oddest Record of the Week gong to the Captain Beefheart track, but I think The Very Things takes that honour. It certainly wins Best Title of the Week. (I need some jingles for these, don’t I?)

Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad with an idea for a bit of pre-fame (they were not famous for a lot longer than they were famous, after all) Pulp:


Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

Finally this week, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Another female singer with similarly “bushy” dark hair had their biggest chart hit in 1978 and it was Patti Smith with Because The Night so going for that one please.” Which, as Charity Chic gleefully pointed out, was written by one Bruce Springsteen:


Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

And so we come to the end of your suggestions, and we come onto mine.


There are many types of Hound, other than the ones of Love. There are Basset Hounds, which I couldn’t think of anything for. There’s the Greyhound, but The Swede suggested the only song I know by them back in The Chain #7. There’s the Whippet, a sighthound breed descended from greyhounds, but there’s nothing there…

…wait a minute. Whippet. Whippit. Whip It.


Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

Now, if any one you had suggested that, I would have been awarding bonus points. But I can’t really award them to myself, so I won’t. (*looks pleadingly at you all*)

And so, to the official song in The Chain, where this was the reasoning:

“Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial featured the track ‘King of the Mountain’, which referred to Elvis Presley”

..and this was the song:


18. Elvis Presley – (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame

As usual, not a patch on any of your suggestions, but there you have it.

And so that’s my bit done for another week. Please send me your suggestions of records we can play next week, that link to “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” by Elvis Presley – there should be plenty for you to work with there – along with a brief description as to how you got there, via the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

See you next time!

(More soon).