It’s Friday night (at least it is here in the UK), and not just any old Friday night. Nosireebob. This Friday night is the best type of Friday night: the type that kicks off a Bank Holiday weekend. Hoorah! No! Work! Til! Tuesday!
So here’s your weekly 60 minutes or so of tunes curated and mixed by yours truly into some semblance of a coherent playlist. As is often the case, it’s a slow burner at the start, before we get into some tunes that should make you want to dance and/or sing, before we have a little break so you can have a nice sit down for a bit before we’re up and at ’em again for the last few choices.
So, with the usual apologies for a couple of skips and jumps which happened either during the recording or uploading process, let’s get your weekend started:
Look out, here comes your tracklisting (complete with sleeve notes):
I’ve been on a bit of a Paul Fab-Macca-Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft McCartney trip since his headlining slot at Glastonbury this year, so I thought this, from “the band The Beatles could have been”, would be quite a nice way to kick things off this week:
Wings – Let ‘Em In
This is one I’ve been meaning to have as an opening track on one of these for a while, simply because the title fits the mood of things. And also because of Simon’s unintentionally hilarious, trying to sound hip, description of him popping “outside to smoke myself a J”. Oh, you are outrageous, Paul!
2. Paul Simon – Late in the Evening
There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of T. Rex would be the next best thing. I try to avoid posting the obvious, famous ones when I’m doing these playlists, but sometimes it the obvious, famous ones which are just screaming out to be included. I couldn’t resist:
3. T. Rex – Get It On
There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of Suede would be the next best thing.
4. Suede – The Drowners
There’s no Bowie this week, so…oh wait, that doesn’t work with this one. Bring on the lovely Ms Wener and her Sleeperblokes!
5. Sleeper – Nice Guy Eddie
I wanted to pick the tempo up a bit more here, and the Kaisers doing their standard “Woah! Woooah! Woooooaaaaaaah! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooah!” routine seemed as good a way as any:
6. Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot
Contrary to popular belief, Kula Shaker didn’t just release ropey singles. When they weren’t referencing Hinduism or dropping covers of Deep Purple singles, they managed to release at least one decent one:
7. Kula Shaker – Hey Dude
There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but let’s be honest, genius that he was, can we ever be sure exactly what Mark E. Smith was singing all the time? Sacrilege, I know, I know. Chances are we’re on safe ground here, though, with this blistering cover of an old Tommy Blake number:
8. The Fall – F-‘oldin’ Money
If I ever had to name a band that had single-handedly introduced me to the most other bands, then it would be The Wedding Present, via their dazzling array of cover versions. This one cropped up on as an extra track on their 1994 single Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, and it’s easy to see – and hear – what drew Mr Gedge to it:
9. Paul Revere & The Raiders – Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?
This next one is included purely because the intro to it reminded me of the Paul Revere tune, although now I listen to them both, I’m really not sure why:
10. The Monkees – Last Train to Clarksville
I had the pleasure of catching this next lot at Glastonbury back in 2010, playing in the Acoustic Tent (I think); there was only about 15 people there to see what was a blistering set, which was fine for us as there was more room to wig out in; it was probably a little disheartening for the band to have to play to such depleted numbers though.
In the context of this mix, this is a bridging song, by which I mean one which links nicely with what follows, as I slow things down for a bit. The fact that it has the word “Train” in the title is entirely coincidental, a theme is not about to emerge:
11. The Woodentops – Love Train
There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but you should ensure any minors’ eyes are averted from the saucy old name of this band. Time to put your feet up and have a breather for a bit:
12. Starfucker – Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second
I’m genuinely surprised when I hear that this R.E.M. track isn’t universally loved. Sure, it’s from the first post-Bill Berry album Up, which is patchy at best, but I think this is a rare moment of beauty from the band’s late period of ever decreasing circles and diminishing rewards:
13. R.E.M. – Suspicion
Ok, I’ll admit it. There’s another reason I picked that R.E.M. tune: for some reason which I can’t quite fathom, it pleased me greatly to have that song title next to this one. Maybe it’s because it then echoes Supernatural Superserious, the lead single from their Accelerate album. I dunno. Maybe. Does it matter?
Anyway, should you ever you get chance, check out some of the footage of Stevie playing this one when it was released back in 1972; he looks as cool as cool can be:
14. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
We’re on to the home straight now, and Stevie acts as the first part of a pair of Seventies classics used to book-end a couple of belters from the Eighties. No further notes required, I think:
15. New Order – True Faith
16. Pet Shop Boys – Heart
17. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
That’s yer lot til next Friday, although all of the previous mixes should be available to download should you need a long varied soundtrack for your Bank Holiday weekend BBQs. Fill your boots.
I mentioned in passing the other week how BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne has a slot on her Monday morning breakfast show called Cloudbusting, where she plays uplifting records to blow the start of the week clouds away, and how said slot bore more than a passing resemblance to my own New Mood on Monday series. I made no allegations of theft, partly because I love Ms Laverne’s show and would never wish to besmirch it or her, partly because I had no way of ascertaining who had started their series first, but mostly because I have definitely nicked the idea for The Chain from an item on a current 6Music show, so it was 1-1 as far as I was concerned.
The comment was, of course, said with tongue-placed-firmly-in-cheek, but a couple of things have happened recently which makes me wonder if I maybe should be more suspicious,and maybe even a teensy bit flattered.
For the past couple of days this week, 6Music’s Steve Lamacq has been asking for listeners to suggest records for his Friday Free For All section, which has a different theme each week. This week’s theme is ‘songs which are about or feature bells and whistles’ which is at least 50% Claps, Clicks and Whistles.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, on BBC Radio 2, one of the bonus categories on Ken Bruce’s peerless Popmaster quiz was called Same Title, Different Song, which sounded extremely familiar to me.
Later the same day, Lamacq invited listeners to get in touch to tell him about bands or acts that they were initially dismissive of, but who they have subsequently come to love, which reminded me that I haven’t written one in this series, which I started before I turned 50 last year, where I feature bands or acts that I was initially dismissive of, but who I have subsequently come to love, for quite some time.
So, you can expect a few of these old series’ that I definitely thought up all by myself to reappear over the next few weeks, and we’ll see what else coincidentally appears on the airwaves shortly afterwards.
Starting here, and taking you back to 2004: a happier time, when neither the UK nor the USA was governed by a sex offender with ridiculous hair; when the word Brexit didn’t exist; when nobody had even heard of Nigel Farage let alone thought to describe him as toad-faced greasy little spiv; and when Llŷr and I were living in the Flat of Filth, spending our spare time idly flicking between the music TV channels we had in the hope of finding something we either both really liked. And if not that then a record that one of us loved and the other knew nothing of so the one who did could wang on about how amazing they are for ages. And if not either of those things then – and I’d say this was the most preferable of the three options – something that we both thought was unintentionally bad/funny so we could rip the piss out of it for the next three and a half minutes: whoever makes the the other one laugh the most doesn’t have to do the washing-up.
Today’s band were one such band who at that point were on their second single; there may have been a certain degree of peer pressure involved here, perhaps one of us declaring both records to be awful and the other toeing the line, but awful we really did think they were. Neither of these singles were hits first time around and had to be re-released a second time before making the charts. And don’t get me wrong, when they did become hits almost a year later they were proper big boys UK Top Ten hits. This was on the back of one them being endorsed by one of the mono-browed Gallagher brothers – not sure which, the gobby one who hates rap or the gobby one who hates making decent records, it doesn’t matter – and a place at the bottom of the bill on the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour 2005.
Above them on the bill: Bloc Party, The Futureheads and The Killers, all right on the cusp of becoming famous. Llŷr, Hel and I, along with four or five friends, went along to Cardiff University, and with the benefit of hindsight I’m not entirely sure that there was anyone that we specifically wanted to see that day. I think it was more a case of us having heard good things about all the bands on the bill and decided to go and see what the fuss was about.
That said, my expectation levels when the Kaiser Chiefs breezed on stage to kick the night off could not have been lower. But, and I realise this is an absolute cliché, they totally blew me away to the point where, by the time they’d finished, I felt there was little point in staying to watch any of the other bands, because they just couldn’t be bettered. (I did stay though, obviously. I’m not so stupid that I’d walk out of a gig a quarter of the way through it because I had really liked one of the bands.)
But sure enough, whilst they were all just fine and dandy, none of them could hold a candle to the Kaiser Chiefs. I became properly…obsessed isn’t quite the right word, but I bought the Limited Edition of their debut album Employment which I proclaimed, quite wrongly as I realise now, to anyone who cared to listen that it was the “…best debut album since The Stone Roses.” And yes, I really did say that, to multiple people. People who I now try to avoid as best I can.
Anyway, to a song and I’ve chosen this one for two reasons: firstly, as I write this on Thursday evening here in the UK, it looks like this is quite an appropriate description of the current situation in America, and secondly because one very drunken night, Hel and were watching a music TV channel at around 3am in the morning. The channel had inserted one of those signers for the hard of hearing in the bottom right hand corner. They seemed to be having a fine old time, gesticulating furiously away, and, to our drunken eyes, seemed genuinely delighted that we were watching them, to the extent that Hel and I decided that they were actually trying to teach us some dance moves to go along with the song, which we copied, practiced and performed the next time we were out at an Indie club and it got played, much to our hilarity and everyone else’s utter bemusement:
For here we are, a week later, and The Chain is back! Back!! Back!!! (again) for another instalment.
Truth be told, I was totally blown away by the response I received to last week’s edition, so blown away that I almost went full on Sally Field. So y’know, cheers.
I’m also delighted that not only have a couple of old Chain Gang friends chipped in this week, but we also have three new members to welcome aboard.
Before we go any further though, some admin, and I need to add a new rule to the ten I posted last week, namely this:
11. The same artist can feature twice in the same week, but only if suggested by different people. In other words, if you suggest two songs by the same act, I’ll ask you to just pick one of them; if you don’t reply, I’ll pick for one for you.
Actually, this is an old rule that I forgot to include last week. One of you nearly came a cropper with this one, but just about managed to dodge the bullet. You’ll see what I mean.
Ok, so we have 49 new songs (count ’em!) and over three and a half hours worth of tunes to get through this week, and there’s some real treats, including a couple of acts I was surprised to find featuring in The Chain for the first time, some commercially unreleased live stuff, a couple of songs which have featured here before under different guises, a couple of real rarities (I think), a contender for Worst Record In The History of Everything Ever, and – and I mention this now to introduce some totally unneccessary tension and excitement into proceedings – one of you correctly guessed the next record in the Official Chain.
So let’s kick things off with a reminder of the last source song, that is the song that you were all providing suggestions to this week:
And where better to start than with a new member of The Chain Gang? Ladies and Gentleman, please rattle your manacles and give a warm welcome to GMFree:
“The most obvious songs that I thought of first were ‘God Only Knows’ by James…”
Now, in the same way that I think if you’re going to cover a song you should try and do something interesting with it, by the same token I think that if you’re going to write a song and give it the same name as universally loved classic, then it is undoubtedly going to be compared to said song, so you’d better make sure yours is good….
“‘God Only Knows’? So what does he know? Well, he knows it’s true, obviously … so I’ll go for Teenage Fanclub”
Now, strictly speaking, I should be disallowing this suggestion, because this song has featured on The Chain before, back in edition #32, to be precise. However, I’m going to allow it this week for three reasons: firstly, it ws me who suggested it last time; secondly, I posted a Peel Sessions version last time and this time I’m posting the original, and thirdly, because last time it featured I had changed one word in the title from “God” to “Gourd” so that it linked to the source record (XTC’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”, in case you’re interested).
We’re into not commercially released stuff with that one, as far as I know. Any chance to feature Beck, and moreover Union Chapel, my favourite venue in London, will be gratefully seized.
Next up, it’s over to The Beard, who provides one of his usual interesting links:
“God Only Knows is featured in the film Boogie Nights. The film centres around the supremely endowed Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg. He also starred in ‘Four Brothers’ which is pretty much a remake of the John Wayne driven western ‘The Sons Of Katie Elder’. John Wayne? Motherfuck him as said Public Enemy on Fight The Power.”
Speaking of John Wayne, he also starred in the original release of ‘True Grit’ along with the next artist. Over to you, Alyson (of What’s It All About?):
“In light of [last] Tuesday’s sad news of the death of Glen Campbell, and the fact he stood in for Brian Wilson in 1964 as a Beach Boy, I am reminded of his song ‘Galveston’ which always makes me think of a beach because of the following lines:
‘I still hear your sea waves crashing While I watch the cannons flashing I clean my gun And dream of Galveston.’
I know we’ll all have heard it a lot over the last couple of days but I never tire of these songs of his.”
To be fair, Galveston is one of a clutch of Campbell’s records that I don’t think many of us will get tired of hearing:
And so we seem to have made the seamless move from songs which reference ‘God Only Knows’, to songs which link to members, full or part time, of The Beach Boys. So what next?
George has the answer:
“Can I propose a third song that is really, really shit?” he asks.
Yes, I know you haven’t heard his first two suggestions yet. I choose the order the songs feature in, and I want to post his third (really, really shit) suggestion first.
As I pointed out to George in the Comments to last week’s edition, he doesn’t normally ask permission.
“It’s by Wilson Phillips…….one of whom is a relation of a Beach Boy…….and the song is ‘Hold On’. But feel free to disqualify it because it is simply too dreadful.”
George is fully aware that a record being dreadful, or shit, or shittily dreadful, is not enough to preclude it from The Chain. For here, we embrace the dreadfully shit (by which I categorically do not mean Donald J Trump, who we try to keep at arms length at the very least).
And besides, I’ve listened to this – and all of the suggestions – a lot over the last week, and I’ve grown to quite like this:
“God Only Knows”, of course, features on The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”, so how about a couple of suggestions which link to that? Step forwards The Great Gog, who I see has now got as far as starting his own blog, but hasn’t yet got round to writing anything on it just yet. He’s probably got far more important things to be getting on with, like suggesting this kind of thing:
“I’ll go with the fact that ‘God Only Knows’ features on the album Pet Sounds. This album also features a track called ‘Caroline, No’. Whenever I spot this on the album, I always think of the similarly titled Talk Talk track, ‘Does Caroline Know?’ – not surprising really as I owned the ‘It’s My Life’ album some time before I acquired Pet Sounds.”
‘Pet Sounds’ is one of those albums, I think – or at least it is to me – that I knew what a great album it is long before I actually got round to listening to it, let alone owning a copy. I don’t think I actually heard ‘Pet Sounds’ until I was in my late twenties, but I remember in my early twenties having a very long discussion in the pub one night with one of my friend’s younger brother’s friends about how amazing it is, without him realising I’d never heard it. Hold the front page: Jez is a complete bullshitter shocker!
“So many gods to choose from… luckily I don’t own anything by Hermes House Band, so you’re spared that. Instead, let’s go for the god to whom I am most frequently compared (admittedly in the form “you’re no…”) and some proper old-school house: ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis.”
Shame about the Hermes House Band; I’ve got loads of gags about the Hermes parcel delivery service all lined up and ready to go.
Who else haven’t we heard from yet? Ah yes, The Robster from Is This The Life?, I wonder what he’s got to offer?
“If we’re going down the God route though, and with God supposedly living in Heaven or some such mythical place, I offer Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the title track of their seminal second album ‘Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven…’.”
I’ll tell you who else hasn’t chipped in yet: Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, that’s who:
“Sorry to disappoint you but there is noGod,” he blasphemes, “so…”
Hold up, what did you just say?
“Sorry to disappoint you but there is noGod…”
Pray, do continue.
‘No Gods (and Precious Few Heroes)’ by Dick Gaughan, please. JC recently posted a goose-bump inducing live version which is the one to feature”
And it’s JC’s legendary place that I visited to find the specific version CC was after, so it would be rude of me not to attribute credit where credit’s due and provide a link to his site The (New) Vinyl Villain (although if you visit me here, then I’d be really surprised if you didn’t already visit JC).
Although, admittedly, it’s not the best quality recording, and you kind of didn’t really suggest that one anyway, so for one time only I’m going to allow you to suggest a different song by the same artist:
And we’ll stay with GMFree for a moment longer, if we may:
“I had a habit on the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything series to mention the great Stephen Jones almost every time, here are two from him…”
Wait a minute, what did I just say about ‘for one time only’…?
But this is the bullet-dodging suggestion I mentioned earlier, for the first of these two suggestions is by Stephen Jones recording under the name TrUcKeR and the other one…erm…isn’t (that one will be along in a bit, if you care to hang around long enough):
Is it okay if I like the sleeve of that more than I like the actual track….?
Now when I posted the Public Enemy track earlier, I deliberately avoided commenting on how sad it is that a record released in 1989 about black oppression felt as relevant today as it did back then. And that’s because I knew that one of you was going to make precisely that point about a record released a lot earlier than that. So, abramson60, the stage is yours:
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone of late so taking the God road ‘Mississippi Goddam’, a song that is sadly still relevant today when we see what happened in Charlottesville [at the weekend] and it was only last week the UK police released the appalling hate crime figures.”
“…the original version…actually prefer the Kiss version, but they don’t sing the verse about Cliff. Dunno why.”
I would imagine it’s because most of Kiss’ fanbase would have no idea who Cliff is, the heathens.
Anyway, I agree with you about preferring the Kiss version, but I do really like the Argent version too, although every time I’ve heard it my little ears have pricked up as I thought something by Focus had come up on shuffle for me.
We’ll come back to Rol’s second suggestion in a bit.
That’s all the God suggestions done. Next we have a song about Jesus, but I think we need some sort of bridging song, just to reinforce the link here. This’ll do the trick:
For the uninitiated, Mr Rossiter was the lead singer of Gene (who I adore) and I cannot recommend the album that track comes from (‘The Defenestration of Saint Martin’, in case you can’t make it out from the image above) highly enough. An over-looked gem, in my opinion. Seek, and ye shall find.
Which leads us on to God’s greatest adversary, and we’re heading back to GMFree’s seemingly never-ending list of suggestions, which is for this:
Now GMFree mentioned the much missed When You Can’t Remember Anything blog a little earlier, and regular visitors to these shores will know that the writers of that now deceased blog, SWC and Badger, often contributed here. So I was delighted when SWC got in touch to make some suggestions again this week, although the first one he doesn’t really suggest, more wonders out loud about it, which he knows full well is too much for me to resist:
“I need to decide whether to go down the beach route the boy route or the God route. I thinking if ‘God Only Knows’ then perhaps ‘Better the Devil You Know’ but I may change my mind.”
Too late! And count yourself lucky I picked this one and not the song of the same name by professional Scouser Sonia:
Now many of you will recognise KC from her posts on SWC and Badger’s site; she was, if I recall correctly, a relative newcomer to writing and her posts were really rather excellent, so it’s a shame she no longer has a platform to show off her talents. So KC: if you want to continue to write, and haven’t had any other offers to do so elsewhere, drop me an email, you’d be more than welcome to contribute here. Just until the boys get bored and resurrect WYCRA, of course.
God…Lord…Jesus…Lucifer…all suggestions of Biblical proportions. Which leads me back to Rol for his second suggestion, which is this “…because it’s ace.” Have you and Martin been copying each other’s superlatives? You have, haven’t you? You’ve both let me down, you’ve let the class down, but most all you’ve let yourselves down.
Good job both of your ace suggestions really are ace:
And as you can see, that features on an album called ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ which makes that a Double-Linker. Points!
So, having exhausted those suggestions too, let’s have a look at some Boys. And one of you got very excited at the prospect. Hello Kay, who shortly after posting her suggestions, sent me a text to say she was worried it made her sound like, and I quote “a right creepy perv”.
See what you think, readers:
“I’m going for the theme boys – so many to choose from. Maybe….”
Nothing pervy about a woman of a certain age liking her boys wild and bad. And from the 1980s.
“…but I suppose I should go with the first song I thought of which linked to the Beach Boys and that’s…”
Brace yourself everybody. It’s Worst Record of the Week time, and if this isn’t one of the Worst Records in the History of Everything Ever, then I’d like to know what is. No scrub that, I really wouldn’t.
In case you’re interested, that’s the other song which has featured on The Chain before, but then it was performed by Ronnie Spector and came from the very same EP as the one BabyLotti suggested earlier.
Let’s have GMFree’s last suggestion, the other one by Stephen Jones, which you’ll recall I’m allowing because he released it under his Baby Bird moniker, as opposed to the TrUcKeR of the earlier suggestion:
Which, cheese or not, is also ace. And it gives me the chance to post this, my final suggestion of the week. And it may seem an odd one to go to, but some of you will have spotted the reason for the link when listening to that last tune:
Seriously, think of how many albums the Ramones have released, and how many songs of about two minutes that means they’ve recorded. This is the 41st edition of The Chain. How did we get this far without them cropping up?
Which leads me to the final suggestion of the week. Which just so happens to be next song in the Official Chain.
Here’s their link:
“From the Boys on the Beach to…”
And here’s ours, as penned by KC in this Sunshine Strand:
“If Badger was here he would agree that the greatest song to feature beaches either in the band title or the song title is…”
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:
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?)
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?
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.
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!
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?
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!