Fair Play

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

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

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

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

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

Queen – Flash

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

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

Green Velvet – Flash (Original Remastered)

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

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

Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Surfin’ USM

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

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

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

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

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

And then I thought about it for a bit.

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

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

He was discharged in March.

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

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

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

Now then.

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

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

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

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

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

I think.

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

Confused? You won’t be! (honest)

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

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

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

Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me

More soon.

The Chain #45

And so, the return of the series which more than any other, when a song I don’t recognise has popped up on my iPod when on shuffle has made me go “What the feck is this…?” (sometimes in a nice way, often not).

Yes, it’s the very long awaited (be modest, it says here – Ed) return of the greatest thing on the internet (oh, don’t bother then – Ed): The Chain. And hopefully The Chain Gang are all assembled, like slightly nerdy versions of The Avengers, except all hot, bothered, and ready to rock and maybe even ‘n’ roll a bit too.

For the unitiated, this is the series where I blatantly nick an idea off Radcliffe & Maconie on BBC 6Music, and ask for suggestions for songs linked to the next in a series of songs. But here’s the rub: free from the constraints of time and the length of a radio programme, instead of picking just one, I’ll post all of them, then ask for suggestions linked to the next in the official series. This way, we (ok, probably just me) gets a hell of a diverse playlist to while away our days, and a whole lot more fun than usual compiling it.

And did I mention there are points to be earned?

Well, yes there are. Totally meaningless points; you won’t be winning a prize or anything, but points nonetheless. And here’s how your suggestion can win them:

Correct Guess: 3 points (fairly self-explanatory, this one – guess the song which is the next in the official 6Music sequence and these could be yours)

Double Linker: 2 points (for a suggestion which works on two levels, and definitely not a sex toy)

Showboater of the Week: 2 points (for the most convaluted link between the source record and your choice)

Worst/Cheesiest Suggestion of the Week: 1 point (again, I would hope this category needs no further expansion).

Up until this reboot, points have been awarded and then discarded, but whilst the series has been laid off, I’ve gone through all the old posts and where I have specifically said that points were being awarded, I have totted them all up and will continue to do so. And if you don’t believe my accuracy, go ahead, check for yourself, my stats could do with a boost.

So we’ll start off by having a look at the league table as it stands

1:  George             17
2:  Swiss Adam         13
3:  Alyson             9
4=: Charity Chic       8
    The Robster        8
6=: The Swede          7
    SWC/Badger         7
8=: Dirk               6
    Rigid Digit        6
10= Alex G             5
    Martin             5
    The Great Gog      5
13= GM Free            3
    Jules              3
    Kay                3
    Rol                3
17  The Beard          2

And so George would appear to be the Liverpool FC of the group, romping into a twenty-two four point lead as he has, although it should be noted that at least one of the point-winning categories was invented as a result of a particularly breath-taking bit of bullshit linkage by him way back in the day.

So where were we? Oh yes – asking for your links to this record:

Pulp – Sorted For E’s & Wizz

Now I figured this was a really easy way to restart the series: just send me any song which has some sort of drug reference involved. Pop music, and music in general, is quite literally littered with them.

Look, here’s one, and it seems a particularly appropriate place to start:

E-Zee Possee – Everything Starts With an E

Or there’s this little beauty:

Soulwax – E Talking

(Choon!)

And here’s another one (sort of):

Junior Jack – E Samba

Or even this:

The Fall – Whizz Bang

See? Easy this, innit?

I only mention this because I was somewhat underwhelmed by the amount of suggestions I received this time. I’m putting this down to two things: firstly, the amount of time it’s been since the last post in this series, and secondly, me moving the suggestions to email rather than via the Comments Section.

I think the latter is the biggie here, so screw it, we’ll go back to suggestions via the Comments at the end of the post again.

I had a bit of a moan about this to Kay at work the other day, as she hadn’t suggested anything – not behaviour fitting of someone equal 13th in the league table of dreams, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Her response was that she couldn’t think of anything other than the theme tune to Wizbit.

In case you’re confused, or one of those annoying young people, or both, Wizbit was a 1980s children’s TV show about a magic alien, shaped apparently like a wizard’s hat, but to these eyes as a fully unpeeled Dairylea triangle:

Wizbit Theme Tune

Yes, that is Paul Daniels you can hear in that, and that’s why Kay immediately earns herself a point for sort of suggesting by far and away the worst song of the week.

See, easy this, innit?

Although I figure a spoiler alert is needed at this point: nobody guessed the correct next record in the Official Chain, so there will be no points awarded there.

But let’s see what the rest of you have suggested and I think this time around, I’ll just take them in the order I received them.

First out of the blocks was The Robster:

“One song sprang immediately to mind. It’s not obscure, it’s not clever, it’s bleedin’ obvious really but a great track nonetheless:”

Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

That, right there, is your actual I-Spy book for party drugs. Have you ticked them all off yet? Well don’t (I am contractually obliged to say) because drugs are bad.

Next up is Charity Chic‘s suggestion:

I’ll break you in gently by going for Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes) by Carla Thomas”

Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)

Eyes like saucers, mate, he’s off his nut.

And now things get tricky, for the next email I received was from Jules and it contained a YouTube link. This one:

…which I assume is meant to be an allegory for the Phoenix from the flames that is The Chain, or example of the worst porn on earth. Hard to tell with Jules, to be honest.

So whilst we dwell on that, here’s George, who any moment now will have the word POINTS! ringing in his ears:

“The last song was by Pulp, whose front man was Jarvis Cocker, which leads to Joe Cocker, so I suggest Delta Lady. In another connection, both men are from Sheffield.”

Joe Cocker – Delta Lady

POINTS for a double linker!

And now I’ll hand the reins over to the newest member of The Chain Gang, Pat, who gives me several thoroughly decent suggestions, although I’ll need to explain this first one a little.

The E in the title of the Pulp song refers to Ecstacy, a party/clubbing drug also referred to colloquially as “pills”, for that is the form in which they are swallowed (as opposed to smoked, injected or sniffed). Who needs Susie Dent, amIright Countdown fans?

Anyway, over to Pat:

“Linking to E’s……”:

The Imposter AKA Elvis Costello – Pills and Soap

If I might interupt for a moment, this seems as good an opportunity as any to wheel out an old catchphrase.

Ahem.

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

Green Velvet – La La Land

Right. As you were. Back to Pat. Pat? Pat?? Paaaaaaaat?

Ahem. Anyway. Next up on Pat’s playlist is this, which he justifies thusly: “…linking to drugs in general….”

David Peel & The Lower East Side – Everybody’s Smoking Marijuana

I’m glad you made that distinction, because the drug referenced in that song is more likely to make you visit an all night garage to buy a Twix or a pastry product at 4:00 am than it is to lead to illicit dancing…

And, since I’ve mentioned all night garages:

Half Man Half Biscuit – Twenty Four Hour Garage People

(I plumped for that version just so we could all all hear Peel’s slightly befuddled voice at the end, which momentarily makes my day brighter whenever it happens.)

And that, inevitably, leads me here:

Happy Mondays – Twenty Four Hour Party People

But I digress. Back to Pat’s suggestions, and I promise not to stick my hoofing great oar in this time.

“”…“from a [Creation] compilation ‘Sorted, Snorted & Sported’ link to the word sorted and a great version of the New Order song”!:

And finally from the font of Pat, this, which he justifies as follows:

“…linked to a night out that doesn’t quite work out as planned….”

…which doesn’t sound like any night I ever had on E’s or Whizz, but you can’t choose your friends, can you? (Or is that what they say about family….I forget….)

Leyton Buzzards – Saturday Night Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees

Now, have you ever found yourself wondering whether your favourite bloggers prefer their orange juice smooth or with the bits, as I believe it’s technically referred to on most packaging, left in? Well, wonder no longer, for here’s Alyson from What’s It All About to answer that nagging doubt for you:

“There is Pulp in Orange Juice (and I usually prefer mine with it left in). Will therefore go for the band Orange Juice and the obvious song, Rip It Up.”

Orange Juice – Rip It Up

Over to Rol of My Top Ten fame next, who, seemingly under the misapprehension that I’d be writing this up quickly, wrote this:

“Up against the clock this weekend, so going with the first remotely decent song I could think of and not going to stretch the grey matter too much.”

Bran Van 3000 – Speed

I invited Rol, as I think I did to all who submitted suggestions, to feel free to send more, and sure as eggs is eggs, he came back with the following:

“…whizz is an example of onomatopoeia…”

Whoa, there tiger! A clarification is required here: although not in the context we are talking about whizz – I’ve never known a drug to make any kind of noise, onomatopoeiac or otherwise, although I’ve made a fair few odd ones when ingesting the same – think Billy Whizz from The Beano and you get where Rol is coming from.

“…so you could have the song with that name by either John Prine…”

John Prine – Onomatopeia

“…or Todd Rundgren”, he climaxed.

Todd Rundgren – Onomatopoeia

Over now to The Great Gog, who frankly had me flummoxed by the very matey tone of his email, which came from someone called Dave. A quick explanation later and needless to say we all saw the funny side, and he came up with not one but two suggestions.

Floor’s yours The Great Gog/Dave:

“I’ve always been intrigued by the line: ‘Mother, I can never come home again ‘cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire’.

Basically, why Hampshire? I can’t think of any other song that mentions it by name, although two of its cities have been the subject of Top 5 hits.’

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why The Chain exists: not so you can propose songs you like by some contrived link you’ve struggled to come up with (although, that’s fine if you do, hence the Showboating award), but to suggest songs which link to the source material, regardless of whether they’re any good or not.

The New Vaudeville Band – Winchester Cathedral

Mike Oldfield – Portsmouth

I’m having awful flashbacks to “Country Dancing” lessons at Junior School because of that last one.

Oh hang on, it gets worse: post-school, voluntary, “Country Dancing” lessons.

My, how I’ve changed.

Quick, before anyone notices, I’ll hand the reins over to Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense infamy:

“The obvious choice here is…”

It’s obvious, it’s not their finest moment, but it’s still great:

But … I don’t do obvious…”, Rigid contines, “so my suggestion is…:

Tony Christie – I Did What I Did For Maria

Why’s that, Mr Digit?

“Why? Pulp front-bloke Jarvis Cocker co-wrote Walk Like A Panther for All Seeing I. Jarvis has said that the song was written specifically for Tony Christie to sing, and he was instrumental in getting Christie on-board – even flying out to Spain to meet him and convince him.”

Oh go on, then. Don’t mind if I do. (I’m trying out new catchphrases):

The All Seeing I – Walk Like a Panther

Now, you’ll recall that we left Jules from Music From Magazines hanging with an odd Dallas clip. Shortly after receiving that, Jules sent me an actual suggestion, which…well, since it wasn’t by Lambchop, as Jules’ suggestions usually are, let’s just say it took some deciphering.

But we got there in the end, despite Jules’ insistance not to bother, and here we go:

The Clash – The Right Profile

…which is included because of the lyric: “Go out and get me another roll of pills.” I think.

Sorry George, we almost made it.

And finally, as they used to say on The Two Ronnies, one last contribution from The Great Gog, who is still wittering on about Hampshire:

“The rather marvellous British Sea Power popped up on random play and the song referenced a field in a county adjacent to Hampshire – I’m guessing it is potentially unique. Said county was Wiltshire and the track was….”

British Sea Power – It Ended On An Oily Stage

Which seems far too classy a way to bow out, so let’s end as we began, if for no other reason than it will look like I know what I’m doing, with a supplementary conversation with Kay.

“What about ‘Magic E’?” she said, which isn’t exactly the kind of proposition one expects from their boss.

Turns out she was talking about this, of which I have no memory whatsoever:

Magic E (Look & Read)

Wait a minute. I recognise that voice. That’s your actual 70s/80s TV kids presenter/legend Derek Griffiths, isn’t it?

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

A popular song was “Magic E”, originally written in the mid-70s for Words and Pictures to demonstrate the silent E and the change in pronunciation of preceding vowels — for example: “cap” becomes “cape” with me, “tap” becomes “tape” with me. The song’s simple lyrics about changing the words with “magic E” were memorable and simple to learn.

And then:

“…most of the songs were sung by Derek Griffiths.”

Which means I can end on a note much more befitting of the nonsense that goes on here:

Cole & Griffiths – Heads & Tails

And that’s yer lot.

Except, of course, to reveal the identity of the next record in the official Chain, chosen because Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker once caused a bit of a fuss at the Brit Awards. So did frontman Danbert Nobacon.

Who’s Danbert Nobacon, I hear you ask.

Well, he’s in this band, and this is the next song in The Chain:

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping

So, you’re suggestions please for songs which link to Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, along with a brief explanation of the link, either by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com or via the Comments section at the bottom, whichever you prefer.

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

Hands up who’s enjoying the Conservative Party electoral contest?

Ah, yes, I appreciate asking such a question is much the same as asking this:

See, putting aside the inevitable conclusion that Boris Johnson is going to be our next Prime Minister – although events over the past couple of days may (I think it unlikely, given the right wing reaction to the Mark Field incident) change things a little – it’s been the X-Factor for people who are interested in politics.

It’s the audition round! And welcome to the stage Esther McVey! She has an interesting back story in that nicest woman on UK TV (if you ignore the stuff about her tax arrangements) Lorraine Kelly hates her.

Desperate to get throught to the judges houses, all of the other candidates appeal to the common, oh-so common, working classes by divulging stories about their previous drug useage, the message being that they’re just ordinary people, sure they’ve done stuff they regret, but they’ve faced up to and beaten their problems.

Dominic Raab: admitted to taking cannabis as a student. To be fair, he probably didn’t realise it had maybe been imported through Dover, since as Minister for Brexit he “did not quite understand” the UK’s reliance on Dover as a trade route.

Rory Stewart: confessed that at a wedding in Afghanistan he had smoked opium (that’s heroin, to the likes of you and me). Which explains why he thought he was holding a phone in those videos he kept posting;

Matt Hancock: didn’t admit it, but sources close to him revealed he had tried cannabis “a few times as a student”;

Popular inadvertant rhyming slang Jeremy Hunt: “thinks” he had a cannabis lassi when he went back-packing through India. (N.B. “Thinks??” And what the effing eff is a lassi?)

Andrea Leadsom: advised that she had smoked cannabis at university. I was a bit disappointed by this, as I was looking forward to hearing about her being in a K-Hole on a family (she’s got children, you know!) day out at Cadbury World. Alas it was not to be.

Michael Gove: admitted to taking cocaine on “numerous occasions” when he was a journalist. If ever there was an anti-drugs advert waiting to be made, it’s that if you take drugs you too could end up just as awful as Gove with an awful wife who writes vile bile in the awful Daily Mail.

And then there’s Boris.

Now, I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but Boris hasn’t been entirely consistent in his answers on this front. I know, that’s not like him, right?

In a 2005 edition of Have I Got News For You he said: “I think I was once given cocaine, but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose. In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar.”

Boris seems to have got himself all mixed up with Woody Allen in Annie Hall, which given both of their questionable sexual morals, perhaps shouldn’t be such a surprise:

But then in 2007, inexplicably and totally out of character for him to contradict himself, Johnson admitted to taking cocaine and cannabis at university but that they “achieved no pharmacological, psychotropic or any other effect on me whatsoever”.

Oh Boris, Boris, Boris. There’s only two explanations for that; either you’re too stupid to work out how to smoke or snort, or you spout so much bullshit it’s impossible to tell druggy Johnson from the straight one. I’m not sure which is worse.

But I digress, because I sense some of you may be wondering why I’m banging on about the Conservative Party leadership process in a series where I traditionally tell a clubbing related story.

And the answer is this: I’ve always felt a little conflicted about writing these posts, partly because I do not wish to be seen to be encouraging or endorsing recreational drug use – which is a dangerous and often dumb thing to do – but mostly because I was concerned about any legal ramifications which might arise from my stories.

But now I think, what the hell: if leading Tory MPs, including the next Prime Minister, can admit to taking illegal substances in the past with no consequences, then all I have to do is screw over the NHS and make sure a totally innocent UK citizen remains in a prison in Iran and I’ll be fine.

I’ll work on that.

In the meantime, a tune which will forever remind me of my clubbing mate Dum-Dum. Whilst I was still popping pills like Smarties, he decided he didn’t need them anymore, which is entirely admirable.

But.

On occasion, about an hour after I’d dropped, as we danced next to each other, Dum-Dum would look enviously at me and ask if I was coming up yet. Invariably the answer was a resounding “yes”.

And then about half an hour later, he would crumble and ask if I had any spares.

Time for a tune which at first listen seems to be about how great recreational drugs are, but closer listening reveals it to be the complete opposite:

Green Velvet – La La Land

Can I be Prime Minister now please?

More soon.