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.

Keeping It Peel

I deserve to have my blogging wings clipped, for yet again I have missed the anniversary of the great man’s sad passing.

There’s very few famous people, and even fewer Radio 1 DJs, whose sudden departure from this mortal coil has stunned and upset me as when I got the news fifteen years (and one day – clip me!) ago that John Peel had died.

Just like people know where they were when JFK was assasinated, I remember where I was when I heard the news. It’s not exciting or unusual, for I was sitting at my desk in the office where I worked. But I also remember a Mexican wave of muttering shock and sadness heading towards me, rolling over and engulfing me as I heard the words “John Peel’s died”. I clicked Google open and there it was, confirmed.

I had to go out for some air. And probably (actually, definitely) a cigarette.

I don’t understand why it is that the good ones, the ones who make our lives richer, are taken from us sooner than they should have been. The last few years has been littered with them: Victoria Wood, Prince, Caroline Aherne, Bowie…this list could go on and on and on. As do those we could do without: Johnson, Gove, Rees-Mogg, Farage, Morrissey – why are they still here and the honourable, decent ones are not?

Anyway, I’ve had this up my sleeve for a while; it’s not a record that I physically own, because the only person who did own it was Peel himself.

But…oh, why don’t I let the great man explain it himself?

Half Man Half Biscuit – A Legend in My Time

More soon.

50 Ways to Prove I’m Rubbish #12

Mention of my DJ’ing days in my last post reminded me of today’s tune.

Long-term readers may recall that back in 2016 I wrote about how I came to start DJ’ing at college, you can read it here (links re-upped, as always).

The event of baggy and Madchester quite literally saved my DJ’ing career and the Indie night I played every other Tuesday night.

For despite mine and my fellow DJ Danny’s grandiose plans to rejuvenate the Indie night – we got it rebranded from the awful Funk Off to the slightly less awful (but only slightly, mind you) Intensity – attendances were dwindling to the point where the night itself was threatened with the axe.

And then Madchester happened, and we were reborn. If you wanted to hear this achingly cool new music, then we were the only DJ’s playing it (in the mid-Glamorgan area).

But, I must confess, we were pretty slow out of the blocks, and owed a huge debt to some of our regulars.

Initially, Danny and I were pretty much oblivious to this new music trend – I blame Danny, he was waaaaaay cooler that I was – and we only played something from the scene when it was dragged into our attention.

Actually, that’s not strictly true: we were playing early tracks by bands like The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets and The Stone Roses, but to my ears there’s one band who were the real flag-wavers of the scene, and we had not a clue about them.

In a desperate attempt to entice punters in, we made it known that if you brought records in and told us what to play from them we would. If I were to try and spin it, I’d say that we were the first truly interactive DJ’s (but then I remember that DJ’s had been doing this for a long time, as evidenced here, in one of my first ever posts. Links also re-upped, though I don’t anticipate anyone will listen to them. Although, were I to tell you that Bob Stanley (of St Etienne fame) retweeted the link to that post back in 2014 maybe you will be a bit more tempted.

This led to some interesting moments; somebody brought in The Boo Radleys’ Ichabod and I and asked us to play a particular track, which we were happy to do, only to find that the record didn’t tell you which was Side 1 and which was Side 2, so I have no idea whether we played the right tune or not.

But specifically, two young chimps from Nottingham came up to us one night, and introduced themselves as Peaty and Daints – they were both called Andrew so everyone referred to them by their surname to avoid confusion.

And they asked us if we had anything by the Happy Mondays.

Which we didn’t.

So we told them, as we always did, to bring something in by them next time and we’d play it.

And they did.

And so, two weeks later we played a track (Kuff Dam, I think, or maybe Tart Tart) from Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Carn’t Smile (White Out). Danny and I looked on bemused as Daints and Peaty performed what we later recognised as Bez impressions on the otherwise deserted dancefloor.

Danny and I caught on fairly soon afterwards, but it’s a massive moment of professional and personal regret that I didn’t spot at the time how immense this record is:

Happy Mondays – Twenty Four Party People

Frankly, you know you’ve made it when Half Man Half Biscuit write a song which references you:

Half Man Half Biscuit – 24 Hour Garage People

I love having Peel pop up on my iPod every now and then, generally introducing HFHB, or more usually, as he does there, utterly messing up.

Recently, I’ve been in touch with Daints, who I haven’t seen since I went to visit him in Nottingham back in 2000. It was lovely to catch up with him, and if all pans out as I hope, there will be something quite unique posted here soon….

By which I mean: more soon.

Tonight Matthew…

…since he’s gone to all of the bother of getting crucified, shoved in a cave and then rising again, all over one weekend (and because I haven’t posted any HMHB for a while), it seems only fair that I post this:

half

Half Man Half Biscuit – Tonight Matthew, I’m Going To Be With Jesus

Look, I know this weekend’s post haven’t been very interesting, but at least I haven’t mentioned Brexit.

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Recently, when my brother asked me to help him when he moved into his new home and told me he had hired a Transit van for the task, I accepted on one condition: that it had a digital radio and that we could listen to BBC 6 Music as we drove.

I’d imagine that for most of you, like me, BBC 6 Music is your (music) radio station of choice. Certainly, recent figures indicate that so far in 2018, it’s the most listened to digital-only radio station, with an average weekly audience of 2.3 million.

It’s hard to believe that it’s not that long ago that the station was threatened with closure. (That’s especially hard to believe because, when fact-checking this post, I realise that it was actually eight years ago.)

This was on the back of a report by the BBC Trust, who, when charged with finding ways for the corporation to make savings, stated that only 1 in 5 UK residents were even aware of the station’s existence, and that the roster of presenters lacked credibility as music experts.

Frankly, the idea that the presenters are not credible music geeks is laughable; the week-day schedules include Lauren Laverne (a pop star, of sorts, in a previous life), Stuart Maconie (former music journalist with the NME, back when it was good, by which I mean when I used to read it), Mark Radcliffe (whose been around for ages, on Radios 1 and 2 previously, and who co-hosts the TV coverage of Glastonbury), Marc Riley (former member of The Fall – but who hasn’t been?), whilst elsewhere on their rota you can find former Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan, 70s agit-pop star Tom Robinson, Mary Anne Hobbs (ex-music journalist at Sounds and NME), former Welsh-pop star Cerys Matthews, Don Letts (who made several of The Clash’s videos, and was in Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones), and Tom “Son of John Peel” Ravenscroft, to name just a few. Frankly, I can’t think of a radio station with a more credible rosta of DJs.

Anyway, I mention all of this now because the other week it was announced that, for the first time in…oooh, ages, the schedule is to be shaken up in 2019. I’ll not bore you with the details, you can read about it here if you really wnt to. Suffice it to say, it will soon be Lauren Laverne’s job to get me out of bed of a morning, instead of Shaun Keaveny’s.

When the station was threatened with closure what I now realise was all those years ago, one of those Facebook campaign things was launched to save it, and at the same time, to get one song – which, it was thought, epitomised 6 Music’s position as purveyors of a mix of quality ‘alternative’ and classic music – to number 6 in the UK charts.

It got to Number 56.

And it’s that song we’re going to this morning. As with many songs by this band, much loved by many in the blogging community, this never fails to put a huge dumb smile on my chops. Enjoy:

achtung

Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1986

I honestly can’t recall what caused me to buy this album back in 1986.

It may have been that I heard something by this band on the John Peel show.

It may be that I’d heard the song of there’s which featured on the legendary C86 compilation album, which my brother owned.

Either way, it’s an album which I love to this day, by a band that I know invokes much love via the Comments section whenever I mention them.

Their sound may have become ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly, more polished over the years, but they’ve remained instantly recognisable. You know when you’ve heard a song by Half Man Half Biscuit.

So here’s a selection of songs from the album in question, along with pictures to help younger readers get some idea of who the many celebrities name checked in them are.:

JBHMHBBitDHSS

Half Man Half Biscuit – Fuckin’ ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus

 

fred

 

As featured:

Fred Titmus, England cricketer who lost four toes in a boating accident, and is still better than the absolute shower we’ve got playing in The Ashes at the moment.

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd

lgbobtodd12

 

As featured:

Bob Todd, comedic actor, straight man to Spike Milligan and, more famously, Benny Hill.

 

leslie

 

Lesley Judd, co-presenter of BBC flagship childrens show Blue Peter, from the classic line-up of Judd, Singleton, Noakes & Purves

 

 

 

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – Time Flies By (When You’re The Driver Of A Train)

M&G_218775_L

As featured: Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub, stars of animated TV show Trumpton. After the series ended, McGrew, Dibble and one of the Pugh boys made ends meet by stripping. (Are you sure about this? – Ed)

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – The Len Ganley Stance

Len-Ganley

As featured: Len Ganley, bequiffed snooker referee and style icon.

 

 

 

 

Half Man Half Biscuit – I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)

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As featured: Jim Reeves, American country singer known as Gentleman Jim

 

 

 

s__4390_1436807592_sailorbeware4555

 

Peggy Mount: English actor, probably best known for starring in sit-com “George & the Dragon” with Sid James. You can probably work out a) the basic plotline of every show, and b) which part she played.

 

 

osO0yNP

Arctic Roll, popular pudding in the 1970s. This post would have appeared a lot sooner had I not decided to go and buy one the moment I saw this picture.

 

372-6466_PI_1000020MN

Shake n’ Vac, popular carpet freshener from the 1970s, when this advert set hearts a-racing:

 

 

and as covered by Snuff, here:

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Snuff – Shake n’ Vac

And finally:

Half Man Half Biscuit – Reflections In A Flat

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As featured:

Echo & the Bunnymen: Liverpudlian trench coat salesmen

 

 

Kurzbi-Bongo_Ali_f

 

Ali Bongo: children’s entertainer, good at contortionism

 

 

 

 

david_nixon

David Nixon: not as good as Ali Bongo

 

 

And I’m mightily relieved to have got through all of those, and realised I don’t appear to have pinched a single description from those presented on the back cover of the album, just about legible here:

il_570xN_1110292233_1b16 (2)

More soon.

Four

Logging into the blog this evening, I see I have a new notification pending. Probably a suggestion for The Chain, thinks I.

I click the icon, and the notification opens:

FourBlimey, is it??

I check the first post I ever wrote. It is dated 21st September 2013.

You’re a day late, WordPress. Sort it out.

Ordinarily, I’d post The Wedding Present version of “Happy Birthday” at this point, but instead, and remembering I started a new series the other week about songs with numbers in the title/and or involve counting, this:

af521f3a25b7babf285e39499b611164_700x683x1

Half Man Half Biscuit – Four Skinny Indie Kids

More soon.