The Chain #24

Ordinarily, I start every post on The Chain by recapping what we do here, what record we’re linking to this week, and then say I’d better crack on as we’ve got loads to get through.

Now whilst it is true that we have got an awful lot of tunes this week, there’s not as many as perhaps there could be, and that’s because one of our regular Chain Gang contributors is conspicuous by his absence for a second week running and is, I hear, rather unwell. I mean, I haven’t actually been presented with a sick note excusing him from participating, but that’s what I hear.

So, Badger: get well soon mate, and this week’s post is dedicated to you.

Last week’s record was “Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions, a song which cropped up a couple of months ago on my Radio-themed “Friday Night Music Club” post, and so I was anticipating a few that I had chosen back then would resurface again here. Not a bit of it, which is either indicative of either the wide range of musical tastes you guys and girls cover, or of how many bad records I chose. Or both.

So to kick things off, one of my suggestions which didn’t quite make the cut when I was writing that “Friday Night…” post, mostly because it doesn’t have the word “Radio” in it’s title. But it seems an appropriate place for us to start:

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Charlie Dore – Pilot of the Airwaves

Onwards, then, to some of your suggestions, and one final piece of housework. George: sorry about this, but there at least five records you’re not going to enjoy this week.

Here’s Dirk from sexyloser:

“Great start to link not one, but four different Clash tunes to, much to the dismay of George, I would suspect (I l.o.v.e. this!): ‘Capital Radio One’….”

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The Clash – Capital Radio One

…and we’ll check back with Dirk throughout today’s post to go through the rest of them.

But first, more Clash-related shenanigans from Unthought of, Though, Somehow‘s The Swede:

“‘Radio Radio’ is taken from the LP ‘This Year’s Model’. If your car happens to be this year’s model (at least if it was registered in the UK between March & August), the age identifier portion of the number plate would be 16. In 1980 The Clash promoted the ‘London Calling’ LP with the 16 Tons Tour, every night of which would see the band walk on stage to ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford.”

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Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons

Next up, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area with one of those suggestions where we get three for the price of one:

“Clearly you need to go to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner’, with his radio on…”

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Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

“…And Joy Division who danced to the radio in Transmission….”

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Joy Division – Transmission

“…And Half Man Half Biscuit who had Joy Division Oven Gloves.”

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves

Actually, there’s a double link for that one, as it was the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to Number 6 in the UK Singles charts in an effort to save the BBC’s radio station 6 Music. It actually managed to scale to the giddy heights of Number 56, but the station survived, thankfully.

Time to check back in with Dirk, whose next Clash/Radio song is, perhaps unsurprisingly:

“…‘Capital Radio Two’…”

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The Clash – Capital Radio Two

Whenever someone mentions Capital Radio, I’m always reminded of one of their DJs, who also worked the decks on Radio 1 for a while: David ‘Kid’ Jensen. I am still allowed to mention him, aren’t I? He’s not one of the bad ones, right? Good. Then I can legitimately play this:

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The Pretenders – Kid

But enough of my suggestions (by which I mean, I’ll have some more later): time for Alex G, who this week writes his suggestion like this:

“The recent Edinburgh Fringe revival of 80s comedy show “Radio Active” has got me listening to the old shows again. One of the episodes is called “The Radio Radio Programme” and as usual it includes one of Phil Pope’s musical parodies, his target in that particular episode being “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. Not one of PP’s best efforts, but reason enough to suggest linking to the original “Sledgehammer” by the actual Peter Gabriel.”

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Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

I could, at this point, post that ground-breaking video, but we’ve all seen that, so instead I thought I’d take a step back and post a couple of Phil Pope’s better parodies. I think you’ll recognise his targets on both of these:

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The HeeBeeGeeBees – Meaningless Songs

Oh, and this, which I don’t find in the slightest bit amusing:

How dare they.

Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? leaps to my their defence, by proving that sounds nothing like them:

“Elvis Costello’s next release after ‘Radio Radio’ was ‘Oliver’s Army’ which led me to think of the Status Quo song ‘In The Army Now’.”

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Status Quo – In The Army Now

Alyson – and indeed her other half Jamie – will be back in a bit. When you see what one of them suggests, you’ll be wishing they had stopped at Quo.

In the meantime, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, who you may recall was very close to suggesting the official next record in the chain last week, and therefore almost bagged himself some invaluable (by which I mean of no value whatsoever) bonus points:

“From ‘Radio Radio’ to the excellent ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall of Voodoo…”

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Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

CC’s not done yet though:

“…whose lead singer was Stan Ridgway who gave us the less excellent Camouflage”

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Stan Ridgway – Camouflage

“Suspect I won’t be troubling the scorers this week…” he sadly concludes.

You’re right, CC, you won’t. But you haven’t nominated the worst record of the week. Has he, Alyson?

Nor has The Beard, although he gave me a bit of a fright with the direction of this week’s suggestion:

“The lyrics to ‘Radio Radio’ make reference to late night listening. Circa 1992 I heard Annie Lennox played back to back in the small hours on Radio One, something that haunts me to this day. One of the songs played was Why. Why by Carly Simon is infinitely better.”

Deep breaths, everyone. We’re okay. He didn’t go there. The Annie Alarm remains untroubled.

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Carly Simon – Why

“…as is Nobody Does It Better by the same artist”, continues our (presumably) Bearded Buddy:

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Carly Simon – Nobody Does it Better

Ordinarily, I might only allow one song by the same artist to be nominated by the one person, but I’m going to let it slide here for two reasons. Firstly, “Nobody Does It Better” is my favourite Bond theme ever (most of the time; sometimes it’s “Live and Let Die”). Secondly…well…have you ever seen the episode in the second series of “I’m Alan Partridge” where our late night radio host describes the opening sequence of “The Spy Who Loved Me”, to which “Nobody…” is the theme, as the VHS copy he intended to watch in his static home has been inadvertently taped over with “America’s Strongest Man”? And have you ever wondered how accurate his commentary is? Wonder no longer:

Speaking of songs that I wouldn’t normally allow, here’s The Great Gog:

“‘Radio Radio’ features the same word repeated in its title as does another ECATA ditty, ‘Party Party’ from the film of the same name. There are obviously lots of other examples of this type of song-titling, but that one seemed the most appropriate.”

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t allow a song by the same artist as the record we are linking to (not that it’s ever happened before, mind). On this occasion, you just get away with it on the grounds of the repetition of words theme.

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Party Party

The film is bloody awful, mind.

GG has a point: there are lots of records which employ repetition in their title, and to prove it, here’s Kay:

“Using the theme of repetition – Radio Radio – I thought of Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins.”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

In fact, you could also have this one, which I pointed out to Kay I was surprised she hadn’t suggested, given that’s it’s by her favourite group, that it has a title with the same word repeated in it, and even has the word ‘repetition’…erm…repeated quite a lot in it:

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Hot Chip – Over and Over

I don’t think Kay has stopped kicking herself for missing that yet.

Time to check back on Dirk and see where he is with his Clash-a-thon:

“…‘This is Radio Clash’…”

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The Clash – This Is Radio Clash

Thanks Dirk, see you in a bit!

Time for The Robster from Is This The Life?:

“Seeing as there’s a lack of cheese so far… How about – playing on the Attractions – ‘Opposites Attract’ by Paula Abdul. Appalling, I know, but this isn’t about taste, is it?”

It certainly isn’t, but you, too, need not be concerned about the quality levels not having dipped enough just yet. Eh, Alyson?

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Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract

Regardless, “I feel the need to right that wrong,” The Robster continues, “so my other offering is Kirsty MacColl’s ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’.”

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Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Right. Let me take a step back, survey the carnage, and see who I haven’t mentioned yet.

George. Of course, George.

“Older people than myself, such as Charity Chic and The Swede, might prefer to use the word wireless instead of radio. In the tv programme Not The Nine O’Clock News, they once did a song with the lyrics “On the road you must be brave and tireless, on the road you can listen to the wireless”. I think that song is called I Like Trucking.”

Close, George. My recollection is that on the show it was referred to as “I Like Trucking”, but when the cash-in accompanying album “Hedgehog Sandwich” was released, the title had been shortened to just “Trucking”:

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Not The Nine O’Clock News – Trucking

Alyson’s back, with her hubby in tow this time:

“I have an entry first from the other half Jamie, who decided that if there are two radios the sound will be in stereo which led him to think of the Stereophonics who released a track called Vegas Two Times from their ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ album. Bit of a double link with the “stereo” and the “two times” both relating to Radio Radio.”

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Stereophonics – Vegas Two Times

What with me having lived in Wales for 20 years, at the time that the Stereophonics came to prominence, you could be forgiven for thinking I love them.

You’d be wrong though.

Did you ever have that thing happen to you, when you’re in the middle of a conversation and someone suddenly sticks their head round the corner, and says something which completely makes you lose your thread? Here’s Swiss Adam again, who’s located another unexpected item in his Bagging Area:

“R.E.M.’s Radio Song too”

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R.E.M. – Radio Song

Now where was I…? Oh, never mind. Can’t have been important.

Back over to Dirk’s Clash Corner for the final time now. What are you listening to now, Dirk?

“… ‘Radio Clash’!!!”

Of course you are. And now, so are we (minus George).

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The Clash – Radio Clash

Here comes Rol from My Top Ten:

I worked in the radio industry for 23 years of my life. Radio Radio is one of my all-time favourite songs because of the lines…

‘And the radio is in the hands
Of such a lot of fools
Trying to anaesthetize
The way that you feel’

When I started working in radio, back in the late 80s, my ambition was to be a jock because then I’d get to pick my own music. A couple of years later, presenter choice was gone from local radio and my ambitions of being a DJ were over. I stayed in the industry for a further 20 years in other roles because it was an easy job and I got lots of freebies from the record library: basically, all the good stuff they wouldn’t ever play because it didn’t “test well” with the great unwashed.

All of which would usually lead me to suggest the same track I selected last week: Rex Bob Lowenstein by Mark Germino & The Sluggers. But as I already had that one, can I instead go with a very similar tale…”

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – The Last DJ

George is back!

“I have a chain that results in a Bruce Springsteen song…” he says, slightly curiously, given that on these very pages he has named Broooce as the other act, along with The Clash, that he dislikes.

Despite much encouragement, he declined to provide us with the link, declaring he would “rather stick pins in my eyes”, which seems a bit extreme. I’d recommend ear plugs as a far more effective way to avoid hearing something, George. You’re welcome.

Instead, he comes up with this:

“From Elvis Costello to Elvis Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins the actor) and from his album Ash Wednesday the song Ash Wednesday.”

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Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday

A couple more folks returning from earlier now. Here’s The Robster:

“We got here by way of the name of Elvis Costello’s record label. There’a a reggae label called Easy Star Records that has a house band, The Easy Star All-Stars. Along with an astounding selection of guest vocalists, they’ve released a series of excellent tribute albums over the years, one of which was ‘Radiodread’, a reggae tribute to ‘OK Computer’ by Radiohead. I could suggest any number of songs from it (‘Lucky’ featuring the legendary Frankie Paul; ‘Let Down’ featuring the uber-legendary Toots & The Maytals), but I’m going to plump for ‘No Surprises’ featuring The Meditations.”

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Easy Star All-Stars – No Surprises (Feat. The Meditations)

And here’s Charity Chic:

“I was going to offer Radio Gaga by Queen but even I would not stoop that low.  The Frank Sidebottom version on the other hand …”

This one?

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Frank Sidebottom – Radio Ga Ga

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s the worst record we’re featuring this week, right? No. No it isn’t. For Frank Sidebottom was a genius. You know he was, he really, really was.

I suppose we should let Dirk have a non Clash request, right?

“What I really would like to hear is The Members – ‘Phone-In Show’ from their debut album, simply because I haven’t heard it for ages and can’t be arsed to search for the LP.”

Well Dirk, I could be arsed to search for it, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. So instead, here’s their version of ‘Phone-In Show’ taken from one of their Peel Sessions instead:

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The Members – Phone-In Show (Peel Session)

You may have noticed that it’s not just Badger who is conspicuous by his absence this week. Where has his When You Can’t Remember Anything… partner in crime S-WC got to? Well, he’s in the middle of moving house, but he did take time out from packing up boxes to suggest this:

“I don’t really have a lot of time to explain but my suggestion is ‘Radio Ladio’ by Metronomy.”

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Metronomy – Radio Ladio

Doesn’t really need much explanation, to be honest, that one SWC. Anyway, hope you have your broadband sorted in time to get a suggestion in for next week!

Rol’s back, with a suggestion to protect George’s eyes from becoming pin cushions:

“…my second choice would be State Trooper by Bruce…

Radio’s jammed up with talk show stations
Just talk talk talk talk talk
Till you lose your patience…”

I think maybe George has suffered enough this week.

Only joking. Course he hasn’t. Here’s the Trentemoller remix of it, which might make it a tad more palatable:

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Bruce Springsteen – State Trooper (Trentemoller Mix)

Okay, where next. Ah yes. Can’t really put this off any longer. Welcome back Alyson:

“I think I have probably come up with something that would win cheesiest song EVER in a poll of polls. Yes, from Elvis Costello to Abbott and Costello (the more mature chain-ganger will remember them) to Russ Abbot who had a mid ’80s hit with Atmosphere (as in he liked a party with one).”

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Russ Abbot – Atmosphere

Let’s be honest, it was only a matter of time before I got round to posting this. There’s so much to make you cringe here: the reference to being “at the dancing party”  – was that ever a thing?; the desperate attempt to be hip by referencing Frankie Goes to Hollywood; the frankly rather seedy looking video where Russ saunters through a nightclub full of dressed-for-the-80s bright young things, looking like the sort of person your mother used to warn you about.

You’ve never seen the video, you say? Then get your laughing gear round this:

See what they did there? It’s so disappointing that it doesn’t quite work.

Maybe it does if you do it the other way round?

Better. Much better.

Okay, to round things off this week, one last suggestion from me.

In 2006, Basement Jaxx released their fourth album “Crazy Itch Radio”, from which I’ve chosen this little beauty:

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Basement Jaxx – Take Me Back To Your House

Which just leaves us with the small matter of what the official song in the link was. And normally I’m a little bit disparaging about the tune they select, not so much for the song, but for the reason it was suggested/selected.

But credit where credit’s due, this week’s is a double-linker:

“Elvis Costello sings on the Joni Mitchell covers album [A Tribute to Joni Mitchell]…”

..and although he doesn’t sing this one, the choice of Joni tune doubles up here:

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24. Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio

And that, as they say, whoever they may be, is that.

Your suggestions please, via the Comments section down below, for records that can be linked to “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” by Joni Mitchell, along with a brief description of your linking logic.

Same time next week?

(More soon.)

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It’s Chriiiistmas!!!

Of course, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I mentioned I was reluctant to do any posts involving Christmas songs. My how times have changed.

There was a reason for this, other than thinking you’d all be sick of hearing Christmas songs by now. Let me take you back a few years.

I was still sharing a flat with Hel, and she, along with our two other flatmates (I say two, I actually mean one other official flatmate and his girlfriend who practically moved in on the same day as he did) suggested we had a Friday night in, just the four of us (so I’m reluctant to call it a House Party, although that’s exactly what it was) and they asked me to do a Christmas playlist to last the night.

I spent the next few weeks finding songs to fill a few hours, my idea to be structure them into sequences of three or four upbeat cheerful ones to have a bit of a dance to, then a slower one or two for us to sit down, catch our breaths, and of course, have a ciggie. And more booze.

Alas, time caught up with me, and I didn’t have chance to fashion them into any kind of order, so I elected to simply put the playlist on shuffle and hope for the best.

You can guess what happened next. My iPod decided to get the ratios the wrong way round, merrily skipping to six or seven slow, depressing Christmas plodders in a row, then chucking in Shaky’s “Merry Christmas Everyone” to lull us into a false sense of security, before reverting back to the death dirges again.

Needless to say, it was not the joyous Christmas knees-up that had been requested. I think we were all in bed by 10.30.

Well, they say that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger, so I thought I’d post a few of the less cheerful songs today, just to temper those Christmas spirits, you understand.

First up, breathy songstress Isobel Campbell and gravel-throated Mark Lanegan, from their excellent third album “Hawk”:

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Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Time of the Season

Next up, a slightly more upbeat track by an actual couple (at the time anyway, I’ve no idea whether they still are) from what is one of my favourite Christmas albums of recent years:

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Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home for the Holidays

Could that sleeve be any more twee indie?

A few songs by female artistes now, and taken from her breakthrough album “I Speak Because I Can” (I call it her breakthrough album partly because it was the first thing I ever heard by her, but also because by now she had ditched Mumford & Sons, who I seem to remember used to be her backing band at some point, but I’m buggered if I can find any reference to this anywhere, so maybe I dreamt it):

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Laura Marling – Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

Moving swiftly on, here’s a bona fide female icon performing a rather over-looked single. Released back in 1980, shortly after her second album “Never for Ever”, I think I had managed to completely avoid hearing this until one of those Top of the Pops 2 Christmas Specials came on last year. You know the kind of thing, where Steve Wright, or more latterly Mark Radcliffe, make super lame jokes about the clip he’s introducing. Whoever would do such a thing? (*coughs…looks guiltily around*)  Needless to say, it’s an absolute joy:

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Kate Bush – December Will Be Magic Again

A word of warning. When I was searching for the sleeve for that single, I actually mistyped her name, writing Hate Bush by mistake. Let me tell you, that brings up a whole different set of search results than I had been expecting, only about 2% of which referred to the former US President.

Mind you, “Hate Bush” would be an excellent slogan for a t-shirt, like those “Brian Maiden” ones which were doing the rounds a few years ago. Does me typing it here count as my having copyrighted it?

(Why do I think there was one of those t-shirts about Motorhead too…? Ah yes, a certain someone I know once got Iron Maiden and Motorhead mixed up and accidentally referred to them as “Maidenhead”. Pffft! You know who you are!)

Anyway, you want iconic female singers doing slightly unhappy songs about Christmas? Well, you came to the right place, I got ’em. How about some nice Joni Mitchell:

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Joni Mitchell – River

Actually, I have a confession to make about that choice: I was rather hoping I’d be able to track down Michael Ball’s version somewhere, but have had no joy. Ho Hum. There’s always next year.

Anyway, never mind that its opening melody is “Jingle Bells” in a minor key and that the lyrics begin with a seasonal scene: “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees/They’re putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace.” Ultimately, “River” is a bereft song about a broken romance and a woman who desperately wants to escape her heartbreak, saying repeatedly: “I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

Well Joni, this must be your lucky day!

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Smith & Burrows -When The Thames Froze

For the unitiated, that’s Tom Smith – lead singer from Editors – and Andy Burrows who you will no doubt recognise as being the drummer from Razorlight (and now of We Are Scientists, apparently). So, proper indie royalty then (*ahem*)

Speaking of Indie Royalty, hands up who remembers this lot? Pretty huge a little while back weren’t they?

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The Killers – Boots

Three to go for today, two of which are from artists that I have banged on about an awful lot on these pages. Firstly it’s Gruff Rhys, lead singer of Super Furry Animals, from his bloody-wonderful-but-then-I-would-say-that-wouldn’t-I? “Atheist Xmas EP”:

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Gruff Rhys – Post-Apocalypse Christmas

Think yourself lucky I didn’t post (and I shit you not, I haven’t made this up) “Slashed Wrists This Christmas” from the same EP. Still brilliant, but maybe a little too dark for tonight’s post.

Instead, something which could quite easily have cropped up in my “From Leeds With Love” series, had I actually been arsed to write any of them for a while; yes, it’s The Wedding Present covering Sir Elton:

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The Wedding Present – Step Into Christmas

And lastly for today, before you get all cheerful again, this, two minutes of a newscaster reading horrible headlines about how terrible everything is whilst the evil ones from The Detectorists sing “Silent Night” in the background:

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Simon & Garfunkel – 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night

Now, tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I’ll be travelling home to spend Christmas with my parents, so there may, or may not, be a post-tomorrow, depending on whether I get all of the things done in time that I need to. Which you could take to be a cover story to obscure the fact that I am actually Father Christmas. You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

More soon.