Don’t Get Angry, Get a Gin & Tonic

I’ve been greatly amused by the suggestions I’ve received so far for this week’s The Chain, not because of the records suggested (which, as usual, are of a very high standard) but for the unprecedented amount of comments which read along the lines of “No, wait! I thought of a better one!”

I know how you feel.

I can’t believe I’ve got through my many EU Referendum posts, without mentioning this:

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Kaiser Chiefs – The Angry Mob

I’m not quite sure which angry mob this best applies to: the Remainers for the injustice of it all, or the Leavers for either feeling duped into voting the way they did (anecdotal evidence continues to rise in this regard), or annoyed the Brexit process hasn’t started yet or (some, not all of them)  for there still being non-English people in the country.

There’s only one way to find out…FIGHHHHTTT – er, no, let’s not, eh?

(Props for whoever did that sleeve though, great isn’t it?)

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Unlike the Leave campaigners, I have to be honest. I don’t really feel like doing this today.

I’m not a bad loser. I’m really good at it. I’m a left wing, Spurs fan: I’ve had plenty of practice over the years.

The country has spoken, and I accept and acknowledge what they’ve said. Such is democracy.

Doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it though.

Especially when you hear things like this:

It’s less than 24 hours since the Leave campaign won, In that time, the following has happened:

  • The pound has hit its lowest point in 30 years;
  • Scotland has said it is likely to demand a new Independence Referendum;
  • Some Irish politicians have indicated they think that’s a pretty good idea, and may want one too;
  • Spain’s acting foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, said the leave vote had brought the prospect of a Spanish flag flying on the rock of Gibraltar closer;
  • Farage’s victory speech claimed it had been won “without a bullet being fired”, which I’m sure the family of Jo Cox were delighted to hear;
  • Boris Johnson has said there is “no haste to start the EU process”;
  • Unfortunately, the EU leaders disagree, and have called for the UK to leave “as soon as possible, however painful that process may be”. Which sounds promising;
  • Donald Trump has hailed the result as “a great thing”. And he’s a thoroughly sensible and creditable person that you want to have agreeing with you;
  • Hamid Aboutalebi, a senior political aide to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said: “The leaving of England from the EU is a historic opportunity for Iran and we should make the most out of this new opportunity.” Uh oh. Time to sex-up some more documents!;
  • David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister (so, not all bad then, until you consider who’s waiting in the wings…);
  • Farage has admitted the Leave claim that “£350 million a week will go to the NHS” was “a mistake” (read: lie)

Do you think they can get the money back that they paid to have that “mistake” plastered all over their buses? Or for the advertising campaign that repeatedly – even after it had been called out – got aired?

You can’t help but think that many have swallowed the lies mistakes that the Leave campaign pedalled. Wales, for example. I love Wales. As many of you will know, I lived there for 20 years, and although I moved away almost 10 years ago, if you asked me today where I considered to be home, I’d say “Cardiff” in a heartbeat. (Still love ya though, London!). But the majority of Wales voted to leave…despite them getting the most EU funding of any UK area. What other explanation other than being duped is there for that?

And Birmingham! One of the most gloriously multi-cultural cities we have, voted to Leave. How did that happen???

As a result of this vote, the UK will probably lose its Triple A credit status. The one we endured austerity for the past few years to keep. I work in the public sector, for my local council. Local authorities have felt the austerity pinch like no other, which has a trickle down effect on to you and I. And that’s now going to get worse. Local authorities will be faced with a choice: either provide fewer services – or the same services but at a lower standard – or increase your Council Tax.

From a purely selfish point of view: I will probably get laid off. I won’t be able to afford to stay in the flat I so happily rent. Chances are, I will become unemployed, and homeless. Spare me some change, won’t you, Brexiters?

And in case you think this is scare-mongering or pity-seeking or worst case scenario thinking on my part, check out the Comments on my “Minds Made Up” post, specifically the one from Dirk (sexyloser), who lives in Germany, one of those EU countries that we’ve just told to “do one”:

“Got very clear instructions from my boss this morning and thus spent the last three hours stopping all deliveries into the UK for clients paying in GBP with immediate effect. Accepting fresh orders is forbidden, too. Next thing is trying to persuade them to pay in Euros, 1 : 1.35 in comparison to yesterday…”

This is Day One. That’s one company. The process to extract the UK is estimated to take up to two years. Imagine how many other European companies will follow suit in that time.

But it’s okay. No need to worry. Just over a month ago, on the 17th May 2016, to be precise, Nigel Farage said that in the event that Remain won on a 52 – 48 basis, he’d consider that too close to call and would want a second referendum as there would be “unfinished business”. And we all know Nigel is a man of his word, don’t we? So since Leave won on an even smaller margin (51.9% Leave to 48.1% Remain), the same applies, right, Nigel? Nigel….??? Sorry, forgot. Pubs are open. (But only till 23:00, because we don’t want those pesky continental drinking hours anymore, do we?)

The bad people have won. The people we’ve all scoffed at, mocked for their insular, backwards, 1970s way of looking at the world. Them.

I stayed up through the whole thing, as anyone who follows me on Twitter will confirm (@jezbionic in case you’re interested), and you won’t be surprised to learn that a few songs of relevance occurred to me throughout the night. Some got posted, some didn’t. And that’s what you’re getting tonight.

You’ll forgive me if tonight’s post isn’t exactly bursting with the usual happiness, enthusiasm, fun or joie de vivre (if you’ll excuse my French, irony intended). I am fucking angry. There will be no commenting in between songs. No funnies. Cos funny is not how I feel.

This ten song sequence is without doubt the best thing to have come out of the EU Referendum. Every cloud, eh?

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306. Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God

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 307. Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time

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308. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

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309. Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels

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310. Buzzcocks – Something’s Gone Wrong Again

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311. R.E.M – Bad Day

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312. The Streets – Has It Come To This?

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313. Ian Dury & The Blockheads – What A Waste

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314. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Who’s Gonna Take The Blame

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315. Dobie Gray – The ‘In’ Crowd

More soon.

Which Reminds Me…

…my dislike of Hue and Cry singer Pat Kane’s butchering of “The Man With the Child in His Eyes”, specifically the na-na-na-na-na’s, reminded me of this:

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Kaiser Chiefs – Na Na Na Na Naa

I mentioned some time ago that I first saw Kaiser Chiefs on the 2005 NME Awards Tour where they were bottom of the bill, below Bloc Party, The Futureheads, and The Killers.

Until that night I’d been totally unimpressed by everything I’d heard from them. But that night they completely blew me away, kicking their set off with a blistering rendition of  this, and managed to utterly upstage all the acts that came after them.

That is all.

More soon.

Glastonbury, So Much To Answer For…. (Part 3)

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Mention Glastonbury to anyone who’s never been, and they will say one or both of the following two things:

1) they will make some reference to you, and everyone else who has ever been to Glastonbury, being a drug taking hippy,

2) they will say something about how crappy the weather always is.

Neither of these things are, of course, entirely true.

You may have noticed that in my last two posts, whilst I haven’t exactly banished the spectre of Glastonbury as a haven for spliff-puffing, pill popping longhairs (it isn’t, though there is a fair bit of hippyness going on) I have tried to shy away from mentioning the weather, partly because it’s so damned predictably English to talk about the weather, but mostly because on the whole it wasn’t too bad in 2003 and 2004.

In fact, I came away from Glastonbury 2004 with quite the tan, mostly because I’d lost my cap on pretty much the first day, and hadn’t bothered applying any sun cream for the rest of the weekend. On my first day back in work afterwards, I was met with a couple of “Fucking hell, where did you go on holiday?”s, although this was probably because my bald bonce had burned so badly I was quite literally able to peel a whole layer of skin off in one go, leaving me with what appeared to be a swimming cap made of my own skin, like some macabre tribute to Duncan Goodhew made by Hannibal Lecter.

So that was the look I was rocking post Glasto 2004: draw a line through the middle of my forehead and I was bright sore pink above it and tanned brown below. I must have looked like I was going to a fancy dress party, had taken it waaaaay too seriously, and was going as a Big Dog’s Cock.

But I digress. There’s really no getting away from it, the weather at Glastonbury 2005 was terrible. We (a considerably smaller posse this time, but I really have lost track of who was there this year) arrived on the Wednesday of our hat-trick year, pitched up and wandered round, and the weather was gorgeous, no sign at all of the quite literal storms to come. This continued through Thursday, and by Thursday evening we were all beginning to believe that we were about to experience that most rare of things: a sunny Glastonbury festival.

No such luck. On Thursday night/Friday morning, the rain came down. And down. And down. Camp sites were flooded, tents and their belongings swept away. Proceedings at the Pyramid were delayed starting due to flooding, with the first two acts, Adjágas, and The Subways having to bow to the storm and the threat of electrocution.

When I was researching (alright, trying to jog my memory) about the 2005 festival, I came across this on YouTube, footage taken by a festival goer showing before, during and after the storm. It kinda has the feeling of one of those camcorder horror films like Blair Witch Project, or Cloverfield that were all the rage a few years ago; for the 1:40 seconds at the start you just know something terrible is going to happen and then…boom!

Still, at least there wasn’t a repeat of the Infamous 1998 Flooded Dance Tent Incident….You couldn’t make that…er…shit up.

But something happens when the Glastonbury Festival is hit by extreme weather. All the festival goers seem to come together in defiance, determined to have a good time no matter what the skies may throw at them, and assuming that your tents survived the deluge that’s about all you can do: chuck a waterproof on, decide “Aww, fuck it”, neck some scrumpy, and soldier on. That’s British Bulldog Blitz Bravado, right there.

Anyway, tracking down footage of some of the acts playing in 2005 proved rather difficult, presumably because most of the TV companies covering the event decided to follow the example of the Pyramid on Friday morning and elected not to risk electrocution by filming much bar the headliners.

As a result, I have nothing to offer you in respect of Editors on The Other Stage on the Friday morning, after which we trudged over to the newly named John Peel Stage to catch Maximo Park. We didn’t manage to see them, but we did manage to stand outside the rammed tent and hear them, a bit. You can get a better idea of how they were here.

Next it was over to The Pyramid to see the legend that is Elvis Costello. Sometime in the late 1980s I’d picked up a copy of his “The Man (The Best Of Elvis Costello)” album. This was back in the days when people released a “Best Of..” album when they had established themselves, and had a wide body of work to choose from and show off about, rather than after two or three albums with a couple of new tracks thrown in to sucker you into buying it. I’m with Dave Gorman on this one. (Hopefully, that link should take you to a rather brilliant analysis of the content of Scouting For Girls’ Greatest Hits album. Scroll up to the start of the chapter if it works. If it doesn’t, then buy the book from which it’s lifted “Too Much Information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think” here)

It would seem that the British Bulldog Blitz Bravado spirit hadn’t quite kicked in yet; much as I loved his set, Elvis went on record saying it was “fucking dreadful” and pledged never to play in the UK again (a threat he has, thankfully, reneged on since, returning to the festival in 2013, sporting, it has to be said, a rather natty hat)

Here’s him doing sticky Valentine unrequited love classic Alison, and segueing into something by some other chap also called Elvis. Not sure what happened to him.

Next up, Doves. Not much to say here, other than I miss them a lot more than I thought I would. Their slightly brooding but captivating sound certainly seemed to sum up how everyone was feeling as the weather resolutely refused to improve.

Next, The Killers. Promoting their first album, the aptly titled Hot Fuss, they were much anticipated by all that had not yet seen them. I, and most of our gang, being super-cool indie kids, had already seen them, headlining the NME Awards Tour earlier that year, with support from (and get this): Bloc Party, The Futureheads, and Kaiser Chiefs. Now THAT’S a line-up.

We’d decided they were okay enough to warrant us sticking around and to watch them again, though this decision had more to do with the mud underfoot and the fact that The White Stripes were on next as headliners than any particular desire to watch The Killers again. That said, they put on a pretty good show, opening with my personal favourite by them, Somebody Told Me, followed by Jenny Was A Friend of Mine (a song which, to this day, my friends and I are unable to say the title of without doing it in that ridiculous yelp Brandon Flowers does when introducing it here), before rounding off things with the song that has perhaps the most cringe-worthy rhyming couplet ever in it All These Things That I Have Done The reaction of people to this song baffles me to this day, all eyes closed, hands and lighters in the air like it actually means something. I’m with Bill Bailey on this one.

Much like Adam Buxton in Commentary Corner, I can’t resist looking at the comments left under a clip on YouTube, and some of the screaming outrage on show under the clip of Mr Bailey, left by Killers fans, is the internet version of those earnestly singing along to utter claptrap. Like Daniel Pacheco, for example, who says “The phrase in context of the song makes perfect sense. Hell even taken out of context it makes perfect sense. Bill Bailey is obviously retarded”. Well, no, Daniel, it does not, and I note that you haven’t actually gone as far as to explain why you think it makes sense. I would challenge him to expand on his theory via the YouTube comments, but I won’t, partly because I’d like to think I’m above that sort of thing, but mostly because I’m not a masturbating fourteen year old. Sighs…I wish….

Anyway, The White Stripes are next, and they do their thing, which is Jack tossing off some awesome riffs whilst Meg just twats the fuck out of her drums, the two seemingly bearing no relation to each other, yet somehow working brilliantly at the same time. We get every White Stripes song you could wish for: Blue Orchid, Hotel Yorba, Jolene, My Doorbell, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, and, of course, Seven Nation Army to name but a few that anyone has actually heard of.

So ended Friday, and off to our tents we all trudged (eventually), hoping Saturday would be a little drier.

It was, but not much. No more floods, thankfully, but still not exactly flip-flop weather.

My day was spent flitting between The Other Stage and The Pyramid. Apparently Goldie Lookin’ Chain played The Pyramid on Saturday morning, and a tiny part of me wonders if this is where my confusion with them playing in 2004 comes from, but a larger part of me remains fairly sure the line up was as I remember. Anyway, I couldn’t find any footage of them in 2005, so I guess I’ll never know.

Next up: Kaiser Chiefs. As already mentioned, we’d caught them on the NME Tour earlier that year, and until that night I’d been totally non-plussed by everything I’d heard from them. But that night they completely blew me away: they were first on the bill, started their set off with a blistering rendition of  “Na Na Na Na Na”, took no prisoners after that, and to my mind utterly upstaged all the acts that came after them.

Their set at Glastonbury followed pretty much the same pattern, and whilst The Pyramid Stage is a rather different proposition to Cardiff University’s Great Hall, they still were pretty darn good. Here’s two out of the three of their early singles that have the trademark “Whooooooooaaaaaaahhhhhhh” in them: Oh My God and, of course, I Predict a Riot.

Next on The Pyramid, Ash. It’s incredible to think that they were still in their late-twenties by 2005; they seemed to have been around for ever, churning out indie classic after indie classic for ten years or so. They don’t need any more introduction, so here’s A Life Less Ordinary and Burn Baby Burn.

Back over to The Other Stage now for the obligatory Echo & The Bunnymen set, The Killing Moon being an obvious high-light, closely followed by Interpol.

Interpol are one of those bands that seemed to have made one awesome album (Antics, for the record) and several kind of okay ones. Luckily, they were promoting said album in 2005, so we got Slow Hands and Evil (I’ve never seen them since, but I imagine they’re staples of every set).

Who’s on next? Wait…is that….Fuck, run!! Head for the hills!! It’s Kasabian!!!

Luckily, over at The Pyramid there was New Order, back in the days when they were still speaking to each other, kind of, occasionally, if they had to. This was a proper tear through their back catalogue, plus a couple from their slightly iffy new album, so we got some Joy Division (Love Will Tear Us Apart, of course), some classic New Order (Temptation) and Keith Bloody Allen, coming onstage riding a pantomime horse, comic genius that he is, so he could “join in” on World In Motion.

Choice of Saturday night headliners had been a bit of a quandary for me this year. 90% of our group elected to watch Razorlight on The Other Stage; promoting their one half decent album (Up All Night) they were probably the wise choice. However, one of the group really wanted to go to The Pyramid and watch…Coldplay. Somewhat bashful after how rude I was to the girl the previous year who wanted to watch Muse rather than Orbital, I think I decided I needed to do something to sort my karma out (now there’s some hippy bullshit, right there).

So, I volunteered – yes, volunteered!! – to go watch Coldplay with my buddy. Now that’s friendship.

They couldn’t be that bad, now could they? I reasoned.

Oh, but yes they could.

I can honestly say that I have never been so deathly bored at a gig in all my life. The one highlight, if you can call it that, was their cover of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head“, played as attribute to Kylie, who had to pull out of doing the headline slot on Sunday due to fairly well-publicised health problems.

Needless to say, they turn one of the finest pop records of the 21st century into a dull dirge. Oh and Chris, don’t give up the day job for comedy.

People, if you buy Coldplay records, CDs or MP3s, or go to their gigs, or buy their T-shirts, then please stop. You’re just encouraging the morose posho dullards.

Sunday arrived, and the weather didn’t seem to be showing any sign of improvement. And then Brian Wilson played The Pyramid, and suddenly everything was alright with the world, for, just like during Belle & Sebastian’s set the year before, the sun suddenly came out to play, only this time we had Surfin’ USA, California Girls and a whole host of other Beach Boy-tastic tunes rather than wry Scottish indie pop songs about someone called Judy dreaming about horses to celebrate to. I have deliberately not posted a link to film footage of the set, partly because I again struggled to find much of decent quality, but mostly because if I had, you would have to watch Brian looking…well, let’s just say he didn’t really seem to be fully aware of where he was, what was going on, and what he was doing, for the majority of the set. But no matter, Glastonbury loved him for bringing the California sun with him.

Next up: Garbage. I don’t mind a bit of Garbage, and actually met lead singer Shirley Manson many years ago when she was backing singer in Goodbye Mr Mackenzie (CLANG! – the sound of a name drop there). Actually, she won’t remember it (nor should she) and I certainly don’t. I’ll explain this some other time. Needless to say, there is no gossip for you to get your teeth into.

Garbage were here in support of their fourth album, “Bleed Like Me”; an album that I would struggle and fail to name a single song from, much the same as with their third album, whatever that was called. Thankfully, they knew what to do in a festival atmosphere, so we got the decent singles from their first two (good) albums: Stupid Girl, Push It, and the apt-if-only-you’d-been-on-stage-a-couple-of-hours-earlier Only Happen When It Rains

Next: Primal Scream. I love a bit of Gillespie, Innes and Co., and now the sun was out, and about to go down again, I, along with probably about 85% of the rest of the crowd wanted a set of sunny-Screamedlica songs to compliment our new found joy and dryness. The signs were good when the into music was the chorus of the single version of “Come Together”, but The Scream don’t really “do” what you expect, so instead of summery dance records, we got their Kraut-rock set, which was fine, they were still fantastic, just not what most of wanted, I think. They started by launching into a blistering version of Accelerator before ending up with Movin’ On Up via Swastika Eyes .

I say “ending up”, but anyone who was there, or watched it on television, will know that their set didn’t end after Movin’ On Up. Well not straight afterwards. Bobby was clearly not impressed that Basement Jaxx were now headlining the Sunday night in place of Kylie, and decided that he wanted to a) berate the crowd, and b) play another song. Some of his taunts are just priceless (“Do you wanna dance? Yeh?? Well you should’ve been here fifteen fucking years ago”). This, I have decided, was definitely aimed at me and the rest of the Screamadelica crowd. He had a point.

So, on to Basement Jaxx. You’ll recall that many of my fellow festivalees had chosen them over Paul McCartney the previous year, and whilst I have no regrets about seeing the former mop-top, I have to admit the Jaxx were incredible, giving Glastonbury the dance Bobby refused to and Kylie would have done.

Again, for some reason, footage seems to be in short supply; here’s U Don’t Know Me from Glastonbury, and Oh My Gosh, which isn’t, despite it being the first time I ever heard it, and it became possibly my favourite song by Basement Jaxx.

Oh My Gosh was a new track on Basement Jaxx’s “The Singles” album. Which I bought. What does that say about me, Mr Gorman?

The Election Section #1

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Ok, grump over.

It can’t have escaped the attention of any of my fellow UK residents that there’s a General Election looming on the horizon. May 7th, to be precise. You have until Monday 20th April to register to vote and I would urge any of you not yet registered to get that sorted right away. In fact, do it now, here: I Want a Say! (PS if you happen to be a UK resident who just happens to be living overseas temporarily in say, oh I don’t know, India, I hope you sorted your postal vote out before you left. You know who you are.)

Sorted? Good. Because this election is shaping up to be one of the closest in years, and every vote counts. I’ll spare you the rest of the usual bleatings, but suffice to say I’ll take rather a dim view of you moaning about the government later on if you didn’t bother to make your opinion heard on the one day it actually matters.

I’m also not going to bore you with a lecture on politics, or try to persuade you to vote the way I’m going to, because, frankly, that’s not what I’m here for.

No, I’m here to play you some tunes, and so I figured, in the run up to the big day to add to the ever-growing number of themed posts that I do a couple of and get bored with, I’d do some which involve politics in some way or another .

Like the BBC, (or like the BBC claims to be but isn’t, if you believe the red tops) I’ll try to be fair and balanced and find songs which refer to a broad spread of political ideologies.  Unfortunately the number of songs which talk about how happy everyone is with the way things are going generally are rather thin on the ground. As are songs about boggle-eyed fag-smoking real-ale swigging reactionary lunatics, so I’m afraid UKIP aren’t going to get much of a look in either.

So, let’s get started with a song which perhaps belies where my own political allegiances lie, but, when viewed in the context of the upcoming election, leaves an air of ambiguity. Let’s just say, you’ll know who I won’t be voting for after this.

This is a song which is generally received with an open mouth and a raised eyebrow and a “You seriously like this?” when I’ve played it to friends. Well, yes, as it happens, I do. Mostly because it’s one of the few rap songs which I can almost (but not quite) do the whole rap thing along to, although I inevitably sound like a middle-aged middle class white bloke when I do, which is fair enough since that’s what I am. Here’s one I can do, the rap performed by someone who is now, probably, a middle-aged, middle class white bloke, more renowned for another much more unsubtle subversive record.

I realise this claim is not impressive. Not long after I moved to London, my flatmates and I went to a barbeque hosted by a buddy of mine, and we got chatting to this Nigerian guy, who decided I was his “Brutha from Anutha Mutha” (I’m sooooo street). I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but this guy, ended up coming back to our flat with us, where he promptly recited the whole of this, (all 14 and a half minutes of it) and then left, just as promptly. Possibly the most impressive thing I ever saw (the rap, not the promptness).

Anyway, I’d class this as a kind of call to arms record. It’s not really predicting a riot nor suggesting a military coup (the first of that double-whammy always gets me thinking of a dance that a friend of mine and I made up (which I always get wrong, apparently), after sitting watching MTV or the like at stupid o’clock in the morning, smashed off our faces, and thinking the little woman in the corner of the screen was teaching us a routine, rather than signing for the hard of hearing). No, it’s the kind of song which could be construed as being about a malfunctioning relationship, but isn’t. Here’s: Break From the Old Routine

And mixtape/playlist fans, here’s a song that I always think goes rather well played straight afterwards: Fusion!