So much for my “no more themed mixes” rule – you didn’t really expect I’d be able to resist doing one for Halloween, did you?
See, there’s so many Halloweur/scary/monsters linked songs (and there’s a clue right there as to the identity o)f one that features this week), I could have made this one at least three times as long, had I been so inclined. But I managed to resist temptaion, and kept it to (just over) an hour – the trimmed ones can make their appearances next year. Or the year after. Or the year after that.
Truth be told, I’m not really a fan of Halloween. The only good thing about it, as far as I can see, is that I can legitimately keep my curtains closed and refuse to answer the door all weekend.
Anyway, here we go with what I hope is not an entirely predictable mix for you all to enjoy whilst stuffing your faces full of the candy you decided not to give to Trick or Treaters, or whilst you’re cleaning the smashed eggs off your front door having ignored them.
I’d recommend turning the lights off, drawing the curtains, lighting some candles and turning it up loud:
And here’s your track-listing and sleeve notes. Look away now if you like surprises!
John Murphy – In The House – In A Heartbeat
Or, the super spooky music from one of the best British horror movies from the last 20 years: Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. It beautifully encaspulates the peace and silence which pre-empts all the blood and gore and zombies in a loudQUIETloud kinda way. I don’t profess to be an expert of either band, but it does make me think of Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
In case you’ve never seen it, a) what on earth have you been doing? and b) here’s the trailer, which includes some of those iconic deserted London scenes which were breath-taking at the time (and still are):
The thing I love most about 28 Days Later is that for the first 2/3 of the film, you think it’s just another zombie movie, albeit majesticaly and creatively filmed. But when the last 1/3 kicks in, you realise that’s not what the film is about at all,,,
2. Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
From John to Pete Murphy. I could have filled this mix with goth classics, but in the end plumped for just the one. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have squeezed this in just before SWC completes his wonderfully entertaining countdown of the Top 20 Goth records over at No Badger Required and, since it hasn’t featured yet, I assume crowns this as #1.
This is as intense and moody as hell, slowly building from the intricate drum patterns which sound like flapping bats’ wings, through to the booming darkness of the lyrics: it’s one heck of a record.
Mr Lugosi was unavailable for comment. Because he’s dead.
3. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
From the album with the same name, the first after his notoriously influential, but commercially unsuccesful, Berlin trilogy. Apparently, this return to a more commerical sound (!) was inspired by his loathing of Gary Numan, who was viewed as a Bowie rip-off.
4. The Automatic – Monster
A remix of this almost appeared in a recent Friday Night mix, but got dropped at the last minute. Which is lucky, because it’s ideal for this one.
I’ve never actually read an interview with this Cardiff based band to confirm it – Wiki says the lyrics were “…a metaphor for the monster that comes out when people are intoxicated…” – but I definitely heard that it was about when all the boys from the Valleys would descend on the capital city of a Saturday night and cause absolute mayhem.
5. Peaches – Trick or Treat
Extraordinarily for a record by Peaches, I don’t think this contains any actual swears. Sure, there’s innuendo a-plenty – at least that’s what I assume her mention of never going to bed without a piece of raw meat is, anyway. Probably best I slap one of these on it anyway, to be on the safe side:
6. Radiohead – Bodysnatchers
Included for two reasons: i) when I was a kid, the movie Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (the remake, with Donald Sutherland) absolutely scared the crap out of me, and ii) because it’s one of the many tunes where Thom Yorke sounds in tortured pain, which seems appropriate somehow.
7. Miley Cyrus – I Get So Scared
If you’ve not yet succumbed to the charms of Miss Cyrus, then may I direct you to the album this is lifted from, Мiley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz, described in various quarters as experimental, psychedelic, psychedelic pop and space pop, which will come as less of a surprise when you learn that Wayne Coyne and the boys from The Flaming Lips were massive influences on the creative process and feature on the record too. Seriously: check it out. It absolutely changed my perception of her.
Anyway, there’s no need to be scared, Miley; here’s….
8. Bobby ”Boris” Picket & The Crypt Kickers – Monster Mash
Predictable? You betcha. It’s still great though, 50 years since it was first released.
9. Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches
I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it’s obvious why it’s here and it sounds like…well, like Bloc Party.
Actually, I would say that hunting for witches sounds like a very bad idea indeed. I mean, what are you going to do if you catch one? End up in a disappointing sitcom?
10. Queens Of The Stone Age – Burn The Witch
Ah yes, that’s always an option, I guess.
11. Spinnerette – All Babes Are Wolves
The placing of this, by the former Mrs Josh Homme, is entirely coincidental. Honest. It does provide a rather nice segue into tunes about wolves, mind. Plus, it’s a terrific record, in a quite-a-bit-like-Hole kinda way; a record which was largely and unjustly mostly overlooked when it was released in 2009 and deserves to be revisited.
12. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
Neil! Neil! I remembered it all by myself!
13. Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
Another from the ‘entirely predictable/I couldn’t resist’ pile.
Included for two reasons: i) I don’t think, and I’m open to correction, any other single to make the UK chart has the word spewing in it; I’m certain no others have He finds his heaven spewing from the mouth of hell, and ii) these are preceded by perhaps the most ludicrously misplaced Ooh yeah baby! ever committed to vinyl.
Genius, in a bat-biting, ant-snorting kind of way.
14. Super Furry Animals – Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon
Time for a breather before the glorious finale, and it seemed appropriate to follow up a record where the lead singer dressed up as a werewolf (a furry animal, no less) on the cover of Bark at the Moon, with a song by the Super Furry Animals, who aren’t adverse to dressing up as big furry animals themselves, singing about how we should just let Ozzy get on with it. Sort of.
15. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
Not just the last record from the ‘entirely predictable/I couldn’t resist’ pile, but the last record in this mix.
And I need say no more about it than this: magnificent.
It’s Friday yet again (crowd: Hooray!), which means it’s time for your weekly hastily tossed together carefully constructed playlist once again (crowd: shrugs of indifference), and this week we’re back to me splitting down a previous multi-hour playlist into several, easier to digest, hour-long composite parts.
Those of you who rejoiced when it became clear that Vol 2 would only be two playlists long, and those who danced with far more joy than when I post any playlist at the news that I wasn’t going to bother with Vol 3 because I hated it so much, prepared under the extremes of a lockdown Christmas as it was, will be disappointed to learn that this week we start on Vol 4, and this was 4h 41m long when it first saw light of day back in April 2021.
Here’s what I wrote about the full mix last time out:
“…pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.
Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.”
NB: not all of these selling points feature in this week’s mix.
But fear not the two of you who listened to the full mix last time out: I’ve tinkered with the running order a little, and ditched a song or two which didn’t seem to fit, so it should be sufficiently different should you decided to give it another whirl.
Not before the usual disclaimer: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (touch wood, I didn’t notice any when I listened back to it); any mis-timed mixes are down to me (there’s not much actual ‘mixing’ to be done here, but even then I’m not 100% happy with one that I did), all record selections are, of course, mine. Who else do you think would do this and admit it?
Oh, and unlike the first time around, there’s an actual track-listing for you:
Firstly, I wanted to do a mix unlike the Not Christmas one, which I thought strayed a bit too far into the territories of cheese or chart music. Whilst it served a purpose, it wasn’t really indicative of the sort of tunes which usually feature here.
This one, though is a corker, even if I do say so myself.
Regular readers may recall that way back in the late 1980s, I started DJ’ing at college because I was fed up with being able to guess what song the indie DJs would play next. So imagine my annoyance when my own brother told me that on a previous mix he’d been able to predict my next choice a couple of times. Grrr.
But this mix has proved to be such a pain to complete; when I came to do it today, it tells me that some of the tunes have been played 22 times, which gives you an idea of how many times I’ve tried to get this one right. Pretty much once a week, since Christmas.
What’s gone wrong all those times? Well, on more than one occasion professional pride kicked in: I’ve messed up a mix between tunes, so have elected to start again.
On more than one occasion, preoccupied with playing Solitaire or Candy Crush just to have something to do whilst recording the mix, there’s a sudden, irretrievable silence where the next record should be. Oops!
Once I forgot to stop recording until an hour later, and, triumphant at how the mixes had worked out, I couldn’t understand why the mix lasted over 5 hours, until I listened to it.
The other problem is booze. More than once, I’ve taken drink to such an extent that I’ve forgotten I was doing a mix until the silence after one record has finished hits home and startled me awake.
Last weekend, I got to the third record from the end, and suddenly woke up to silence and realised I’d messed up again. That’s not an indictment of the standard of the mix, by the way, more an example of how drunk I’d gotten.
Even last night, when I finally nailed it, it was my second attempt of the night, having got through most of the mix when I had a drink-spillage event, which I thought I’d sorted, until, four records from the end, suddenly the sound cut out whilst the tunes kept playing and I had no idea if it was still recording the sound or the sound of silence.
Anyway, we’ve got here, and this has been a real pain, so if you could take a listen, that would be great.
I will confess that I have broken the golden rule of not featuring the same act more than once in this mix; this wasn’t intentional, but as the various run-throughs progressed, I simply forgot said acts already appeared as “featuring” acts. One is deliberate. Sue me (Please don’t).
Time for the usual disclaimer: any glitches, skips or jumps are down to the software or the uploading/downloading process, and nothing to do with my limited mixing skills.
Oh, and the usual “effing and jeffing” warning applies; it seems I’m incapable of doing a mix which doesn’t include more than the occasional swear.
I’m not posting a link to download here, other than the one to Soundcloud, where you can either download or stream it.
I couldn’t be bothered with the last ones, but I’ve done it this time: you’ll see a list of all the acts featured in this mix at the bottom of the page, so you can check whether this one’s likely to be your cup of tea before going to the hassle of actually listening to it. If you’re particularly short of things to do, you can try to guess which song I’ve picked by which artist. There’s fun.
But by way of a description: pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.
Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.
Available for a limited time (i.e. until I do the next one), you can download or stream this on Soundcloud here:
Having started off the month with a post a day, it had been my plan to continue in that vein for the whole of September.
Unfortunately, I’ve had really unbearably bad lower back pain all week, which has made it impossible to sit at either my desk to do actual work, or at my coffee table to write blog stuff.
I get back pain quite a lot; I’m one of those people who when at work, in an actual office, has a special chair and various other contraptions to ease my condition. Working from home, however, is a different kettle of fish, for whilst my employers had kindly arranged for my chair to be delivered home, and I had all the other paraphernalia, I’m still working at a laptop (a smaller one than my own personal one) rather than using a monitor and keyboard.
I’m not saying that’s definitely the cause, but it would seem to be the most likely.
Ordinarily, I’d manage the pain by using extra strength paracetamol, and, ordinarily, that works just fine. But not this week: they just didn’t seem to be having any effect whatsoever.
And then on Friday evening, having exhausted my supplies, and with neither the will nor the energy to travel to my local supermarket to stock up, I went to my local convenience store, which obviously didn’t stock the same supermarket own-brand I normally purchase, so I had to pick up a well-known brand instead.
I don’t normally bother with the name brands of things, not through any tightness, but because in the mid-1990s I worked for Boots the Chemist, where we were told that there was no point in buying brand names if there was an alternative on option, for they were all made in the same factory, with the same ingredients, and then just packaged differently. I’ve no idea if that was true, or just their way of getting us to flog more of the Boots own-brand stuff, but that little nugget stuck in my noggin to this day, some twenty-five years later.
Imagine my delight, then, when after quaffing a couple of the brand painkillers, I felt able to move without discomfort in a way I’d not been able to all week.
Now, I don’t want to overdo things, so I’m going to keep everything I post for the next few days brief (which is a shame, for a week of watching the news has given me much to rant about) and I’ve already gone on a lot longer than I intended to, so I’ll whizz on to some tunes sharpish before I do myself any damage.
In my teenage years, as I began to explore music which existed outside of my Quo-bubble, I borrowed a couple of Elton John’s Greatest Hits albums from a mate. I realise it isn’t fashionable to like John’s output these days, and I can’t really say I’ve been fond of anything he’s released since 1983’s Too Low For Zero album. But I loved all of those 1970s hits, mostly all of the singles which were lifted from his 1973 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
And it is to the title track of said album we’re turning to this morning:
In 2018 came one of those tribute albums, which are historically very hit-and-miss affairs. This may sound an obvious thing to say, but the quality of these albums very much depends on the artists selected to record a cover version, and which one they’ve been permitted to record.
Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin is no different; I have a copy but must admit to having only skipped through it. I have no desire to hear Coldplay, Mumford & Sons or Ed Sheeran at all, let alone bastardising songs I like.
But there are a couple of peaches on there, not least today’s cover version.
Which leads me on today’s lesson: sometimes, it’s absolutely fine to just do a faithful cover version.
And so, the return of the series which more than any other, when a song I don’t recognise has popped up on my iPod when on shuffle has made me go “What the feck is this…?” (sometimes in a nice way, often not).
Yes, it’s the very long awaited (be modest, it says here – Ed) return of the greatest thing on the internet (oh, don’t bother then – Ed): The Chain. And hopefully The Chain Gang are all assembled, like slightly nerdy versions of The Avengers, except all hot, bothered, and ready to rock and maybe even ‘n’ roll a bit too.
For the unitiated, this is the series where I blatantly nick an idea off Radcliffe & Maconie on BBC 6Music, and ask for suggestions for songs linked to the next in a series of songs. But here’s the rub: free from the constraints of time and the length of a radio programme, instead of picking just one, I’ll post all of them, then ask for suggestions linked to the next in the official series. This way, we (ok, probably just me) gets a hell of a diverse playlist to while away our days, and a whole lot more fun than usual compiling it.
And did I mention there are points to be earned?
Well, yes there are. Totally meaningless points; you won’t be winning a prize or anything, but points nonetheless. And here’s how your suggestion can win them:
Correct Guess: 3 points (fairly self-explanatory, this one – guess the song which is the next in the official 6Music sequence and these could be yours)
Double Linker: 2 points (for a suggestion which works on two levels, and definitely not a sex toy)
Showboater of the Week: 2 points (for the most convaluted link between the source record and your choice)
Worst/Cheesiest Suggestion of the Week: 1 point (again, I would hope this category needs no further expansion).
Up until this reboot, points have been awarded and then discarded, but whilst the series has been laid off, I’ve gone through all the old posts and where I have specifically said that points were being awarded, I have totted them all up and will continue to do so. And if you don’t believe my accuracy, go ahead, check for yourself, my stats could do with a boost.
So we’ll start off by having a look at the league table as it stands
1: George 17
2: Swiss Adam 13
3: Alyson 9
4=: Charity Chic 8
The Robster 8
6=: The Swede 7
8=: Dirk 6
Rigid Digit 6
10= Alex G 5
The Great Gog 5
13= GM Free 3
17 The Beard 2
And so George would appear to be the Liverpool FC of the group, romping into a twenty-two four point lead as he has, although it should be noted that at least one of the point-winning categories was invented as a result of a particularly breath-taking bit of bullshit linkage by him way back in the day.
So where were we? Oh yes – asking for your links to this record:
Now I figured this was a really easy way to restart the series: just send me any song which has some sort of drug reference involved. Pop music, and music in general, is quite literally littered with them.
Look, here’s one, and it seems a particularly appropriate place to start:
I only mention this because I was somewhat underwhelmed by the amount of suggestions I received this time. I’m putting this down to two things: firstly, the amount of time it’s been since the last post in this series, and secondly, me moving the suggestions to email rather than via the Comments Section.
I think the latter is the biggie here, so screw it, we’ll go back to suggestions via the Comments at the end of the post again.
I had a bit of a moan about this to Kay at work the other day, as she hadn’t suggested anything – not behaviour fitting of someone equal 13th in the league table of dreams, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Her response was that she couldn’t think of anything other than the theme tune to Wizbit.
In case you’re confused, or one of those annoying young people, or both, Wizbit was a 1980s children’s TV show about a magic alien, shaped apparently like a wizard’s hat, but to these eyes as a fully unpeeled Dairylea triangle:
And now I’ll hand the reins over to the newest member of The Chain Gang, Pat, who gives me several thoroughly decent suggestions, although I’ll need to explain this first one a little.
The E in the title of the Pulp song refers to Ecstacy, a party/clubbing drug also referred to colloquially as “pills”, for that is the form in which they are swallowed (as opposed to smoked, injected or sniffed). Who needs Susie Dent, amIright Countdown fans?
I’m glad you made that distinction, because the drug referenced in that song is more likely to make you visit an all night garage to buy a Twix or a pastry product at 4:00 am than it is to lead to illicit dancing…
Now, have you ever found yourself wondering whether your favourite bloggers prefer their orange juice smooth or with the bits, as I believe it’s technically referred to on most packaging, left in? Well, wonder no longer, for here’s Alyson from What’s It All About to answer that nagging doubt for you:
“There is Pulp in Orange Juice (and I usually prefer mine with it left in). Will therefore go for the band Orange Juice and the obvious song, Rip It Up.”
I invited Rol, as I think I did to all who submitted suggestions, to feel free to send more, and sure as eggs is eggs, he came back with the following:
“…whizz is an example of onomatopoeia…”
Whoa, there tiger! A clarification is required here: although not in the context we are talking about whizz – I’ve never known a drug to make any kind of noise, onomatopoeiac or otherwise, although I’ve made a fair few odd ones when ingesting the same – think Billy Whizz from The Beano and you get where Rol is coming from.
“…so you could have the song with that name by either John Prine…”
Over now to The Great Gog, who frankly had me flummoxed by the very matey tone of his email, which came from someone called Dave. A quick explanation later and needless to say we all saw the funny side, and he came up with not one but two suggestions.
Floor’s yours The Great Gog/Dave:
“I’ve always been intrigued by the line: ‘Mother, I can never come home again ‘cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire’.
Basically, why Hampshire? I can’t think of any other song that mentions it by name, although two of its cities have been the subject of Top 5 hits.’
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why The Chain exists: not so you can propose songs you like by some contrived link you’ve struggled to come up with (although, that’s fine if you do, hence the Showboating award), but to suggest songs which link to the source material, regardless of whether they’re any good or not.
“Why? Pulp front-bloke Jarvis Cocker co-wrote Walk Like A Panther for All Seeing I. Jarvis has said that the song was written specifically for Tony Christie to sing, and he was instrumental in getting Christie on-board – even flying out to Spain to meet him and convince him.”
Oh go on, then. Don’t mind if I do. (I’m trying out new catchphrases):
Now, you’ll recall that we left Jules from Music From Magazines hanging with an odd Dallas clip. Shortly after receiving that, Jules sent me an actual suggestion, which…well, since it wasn’t by Lambchop, as Jules’ suggestions usually are, let’s just say it took some deciphering.
But we got there in the end, despite Jules’ insistance not to bother, and here we go:
…which is included because of the lyric: “Go out and get me another roll of pills.” I think.
Sorry George, we almost made it.
And finally, as they used to say on The Two Ronnies, one last contribution from The Great Gog, who is still wittering on about Hampshire:
“The rather marvellous British Sea Power popped up on random play and the song referenced a field in a county adjacent to Hampshire – I’m guessing it is potentially unique. Said county was Wiltshire and the track was….”
Which seems far too classy a way to bow out, so let’s end as we began, if for no other reason than it will look like I know what I’m doing, with a supplementary conversation with Kay.
“What about ‘Magic E’?” she said, which isn’t exactly the kind of proposition one expects from their boss.
Turns out she was talking about this, of which I have no memory whatsoever:
Magic E (Look & Read)
Wait a minute. I recognise that voice. That’s your actual 70s/80s TV kids presenter/legend Derek Griffiths, isn’t it?
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:
A popular song was “Magic E”, originally written in the mid-70s for Words and Pictures to demonstrate the silent E and the change in pronunciation of preceding vowels — for example: “cap” becomes “cape” with me, “tap” becomes “tape” with me. The song’s simple lyrics about changing the words with “magic E” were memorable and simple to learn.
“…most of the songs were sung by Derek Griffiths.”
Which means I can end on a note much more befitting of the nonsense that goes on here:
Except, of course, to reveal the identity of the next record in the official Chain, chosen because Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker once caused a bit of a fuss at the Brit Awards. So did frontman Danbert Nobacon.
Who’s Danbert Nobacon, I hear you ask.
Well, he’s in this band, and this is the next song in The Chain:
So, you’re suggestions please for songs which link to Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, along with a brief explanation of the link, either by email to email@example.com or via the Comments section at the bottom, whichever you prefer.
Sometimes it’s the simplest, stupidest things which spark a memory.
And whenever I hear this song, in my opinion the greatest record to air-drum to, I’m transported back to the flat Llŷr and I used to share.
And there he is, proudly sitting on the sofa, massive grin on his face, air-drumming along to this, as I sat opposite on my recovered chair with a washing up bowl for a seat, desperately trying, flailing and failing, to do it with as much style and accuracy as he did (I never got the hang of imaginary tom-toms).
There’s two reasons I think that’s not only a great record, but also a great record to air-drum along to: Dave Grohl (who actually plays drums on it) and Llŷr (who didn’t but would have made a pretty darned good fist of it, I reckon).
Back to hospital stuff now. Sorry to all that are squeamish.
My first night on the ward is hellish. For a start, it’s too hot. I can’t sleep. Nurse James gallantly tries to sort the air-con out and eventually it cools enough to allow me to sleep, a little.
The following morning I am able to assess my surroundings and my fellow detainees, who have also been responsible for keeping me awake for most of the night.
Opposite me is a man I have heard being told he can go home; he reacts badly to this news and refuses to go.
To my left is a chap who I never see; he is in for some rather unpleasant and invasive bowel cancer related surgery and he insists on keeping the curtain between us drawn. I have no objection to this. One less person to be irritated by.
Diagonally opposite is an Irish guy. He seems to have nothing wrong with him. He keeps getting up and wandering around. He is surrounded by a massive stockpile of drinks and chocolate which makes me think that he knows something I don’t and a No Deal scenario has already happened. I wonder why he is even here.
As the day progresses, the Irish guy attracts a large ensemble of friends and family. At one point he is taken away somewhere, and his entourage goes with him. I snooze, and wake to hear what sounds like a fight kicking off amongst them. This seems to have been fuelled by him being (saying he had been) told he can go home but the staff not being kept in the loop. He calls someone, and soon, he is gone. A calm settles over the ward.
James appears at my bedside.
“You’re moving,” he informs me.
“Awww, are we not to have another night of you fumbling with my genitals?” I ask.
Soon, I am being wheeled from my bay, into the service lift and up to a different floor. I’m deposited into a corner of a new ward; there is nobody to my left but opposite me is a chap clearly in some discomfort, next to him is a man who already looks dead but has a visitor sitting chatting to him as if he hasn’t noticed.
A male nurse comes over and introduces himself; he is Kenneth and it transpires that it’s his last night of service on this ward. Although it’s unspoken, it’s clear that he would really rather I was no bother to him. I have no issue with complying.
I feel a little bit of heartburn/acid reflux coming on. It’s something I get every now and then, and so I know how to treat it. I call Kenneth, and explain the problem, asking for a Rennie or some other antacid/milk of magnesia solution.
“I’ll ask the pharmacist,” is the response I get. Of course, I realise, before anything is administered, they have to seek approval. I lay back and wait.
But it gets worse. I call the nurse again and ask where we are with the antacid tablet. Kenneth tells me he has asked the pharmacist, and he will chase them up.
Five minutes later, and I’m suddenly aware that something is going to be coming up if I don’t get some medication quickly. I call the nurse again, and tell them I’m going to be sick if I don’t get something quickly. I’m provided with several cardboard recepticles to be sick into. Courteous to the very end, I oblige, vomiting into each one and setting each filled one on to my table, until I have no more to fill.
At which point, the projectile vomiting starts; I remember hitting one (already filled) cardboard tray, knocking it over, my sick spattering all over the floor and wall. It was quite spectacular.
The nursing team all rushed over to me, but by now it’s too late; I’m throwing up like Linda Blair in The Excorcist, jets of black liquid shooting wherever I point my face.
The nurses begin mopping up my expelled detritus, and a decision to move me to my own room is made. As my bed is wheeled from the ward I shout a “sorry if I disturbed you” apology to my ward-mates, whilst also trying to tell the nurses that I’m not normally this much bother, honest.
Several hours later, the sickness subsides, and I realise that the palaver I’ve caused has inadvertently acted in my favour – I now have my own room, where I remain for the rest of my stay in hospital. Result!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it can’t have escaped your attention that the Olympics start officially later tonight (if you count the opening ceremony as it starting) or tomorrow (if you count it as starting when the competitions actually do).
Of course, whichever opinion you subscribe to, you’re wrong, for the Olympic football tournament started two days ago, but since this is generally being ignored here in the UK as Team GB didn’t qualify (did we even try…? Couldn’t have been a more humiliating experience than Euro 2016 was, I guess), you can be forgiven for that.
Anyway, pack me a lunchbox and call me Linford, I’ve only gone and done us a Friday Night Olympic playlist. Try to contain your joy.
So here goes, 12 songs which are (very) (tenuously) linked to the Olympics. And no sign of that bloody Spandau Ballet record anywhere.
First up, no surprise that I’ve managed to crowbar this lot in:
Next, a song which is actually about a motor race, which means it isn’t a race that appears in the Olympics (I think. I dunno. I haven’t checked), but the theme is roughly the same. Plus, I’ve not heard it for ages:
Mention the name “Queen” and one other band springs to mind, a band who famously had a song which actually mentions an actual Olympic sport, albeit somewhat colloquially, in the title. But I’m not playing Queen tonight; instead this rowdy lot:
In 2012, on the night of the opening ceremony, I was at a works party. The party had nothing to do with the Olympics, and was held in the beer garden of a local pub, whilst TV screens in the bar showed the opening proceedings. I have to admit, in the run up to the games, I was firmly in the “We’re going to make a right pig’s ear of this” camp, and had little to no intention of watching any of the games. However, the appointment of Danny Boyle, he of Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and Slumdog Millionaire fame, to direct the opening ceremony piqued my interest, and every time I went to the bar – which was often – I found myself watching the television, bordering on the entranced.
I got home later that night, found it on the BBC iPlayer, and watched it right through.
The next morning, I woke up on the sofa, my television on stand-by, and watched it again/properly. I hadn’t been mistaken. It was bloody amazing.
Soon after the Games finished, I bought a copy of the DVD box-set. The first disc contains the opening ceremony, the other two the highlights of the games. The first is possibly the most watched DVD that I own. The other two haven’t even been out of the box.
Why is this relevant? Well, the other night I had a text from Hel, asking if I’d watched the BBC documentary about the making of the ceremony. I hadn’t, and sat down to watch it the following night.
For the next couple of hours, I was transfixed, in exactly the same way as when I first watched the actual opening ceremony. The documentary, part of Alan Yentob’s “Imagine” series, contains behind the scenes footage, including the teaching of all the thousands of volunteers, some of whom had to learn to dance, others to drum; it has interviews not just with all the main creative players (Boyle himself, Underworld’s Rick Smith who was the musical director, etc. etc.) but also with several of the volunteers, some of whom have moving stories to tell about why they were there, and what happened to them on the night and as they trained for it. For example, in the “Saturday Night/Music” sequence, which tells the story of a boy and a girl meeting on a night out: I had assumed that both of them were trained actors/dancers. But no: both just normal kids, who’d volunteered to take part, and had been picked from the masses to play a major role in the event.
But there was one scene which stuck in my mind, filmed in the tunnel where the volunteers involved in the aforementioned sequence were waiting to enter the stadium. Out there, the Sugababes’ “Push The Button” is playing; in the tunnel, they are going mental, all bouncing up and down with excitement, singing along and cheering…it’s wonderful to behold. If you have chance to watch it, I urge you to do so. You won’t be disappointed.
So, that’s why the Sugababes are here. They’ve probably changed line-up about seven times since I started writing that, mind (obligatory Sugababes revolving line-up joke, there).
Back to a song which I don’t really think can be criticised for being included in a playlist on an Olympics theme:
And so to round things off, a song from my favourite album by this band (a controversial choice, I believe), which I dedicate to every athlete from every nation taking part. May you hear yours many times over the next few weeks.
Yet another band I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned already on these pages. This is from their fourth album “Simple Pleasures”, which saw a change in direction from those that preceded it. Almost entirely gone were the earlier albums’ string laden lounge jazzy feel (I really haven’t done them justice there), replaced by a more snappy, soulful sound. “Simple Pleasures” may not be the Nottingham band’s best work, wonderful as it is, but it’s certainly their most accessible, a good stepping on point for the uninitiated. Plus it has an artfully shot nude woman on the cover. So y’know…something for everyone.
And if anyone is going to give us permission to start again, then who better than:
On the bus on my way to work on Tuesday, as there were no discarded copies of the Metro for me to flick through, I had a quick browse of Twitter, where I spied this tweet:
Serendipity. Tickets purchased, I’ll be off to see The Fannies in Islington come September. I am already very excited. But not enough to start doing that annoying “149 sleeps” countdown thing people do when trying to appear cute.
Moving swiftly on, to this week’s entry into the “Bloody hell I’d forgotten all about them” hall of fame, this from 1992:
Named after an area in cult comic “2000AD“‘s iconic “Judge Dredd” strip, and led by a chap called Wiz, who sadly passed away in 2006, my path crossed with theirs in 1989/1990.
My mate Ian was a huge fan, and he was delighted when we managed to book them to play the Student Union venue “Shafts” on his birthday. However, the night didn’t pass without incident.
In the weeks beforehand, we’d had a lot of problems with student-hating Paul Calf types coming onto the campus, and into the Union building and causing trouble: picking fights, smashing the place up, smearing shit all over the gents’ toilet walls. Lovely stuff. Something had to give, and at a meeting of the Student Union Executive, it was decided that anyone trying to gain access to the Student Union building without a Union Card would have to pay a £10.00 entrance fee. I argued against this, because that meant that any locals wanting to come to the gigs we were putting on would have to pay twice: once to get into the building and then again to get into the venue. I was out-voted though and wouldn’t you just know it, the first night these draconian measures were implemented was the night of the Mega City Four gig.
The band were, understandably, not happy, but kind of got round the problem, with my knowledge (I can’t call it with my permission, but I certainly didn’t do anything to prevent their plan being out into action after they suggested it to me), by adding anyone who had to pay to get into the building on to the guest list for the gig. I think they would have refunded the difference to them too, if they could have done.
After the gig, as the roadies and sound crew were disassembling all the gear, I wandered over to have a chat with Wiz, to thank him for coming and putting on a great gig, and apologised for the problem with the door. His response was: “Don’t worry about it mate. It’s not your fault. It’s those faceless bastards that make the decisions, it’s theirs”. I decided against telling him I’d been in the room when the decision was taken and had been powerless to stop it.
There’s a line in “Stop” which always reminds me of that moment:
“They say actions speak louder than words Whoever they may be Probably the one’s who’ll break your back To bolster up their insecurity”
Now, I’m not saying that conversation inspired Wiz to write “Stop” but I’m also not saying that it didn’t…
I fear we are about to get trapped in some sort of stop/start vortex:
I’m not going to dwell on this tune, as JC has recently finished discussing all of The Jam’s singles over at The (new) Vinyl Villain, so I’d suggest you pop over there is you want to learn more (like you don’t already read his blog anyway).
Instead, we’ll swirl around in the stop/start vortex a little more, with some outright, shameless pop:
They don’t get the credit they deserve, Erasure. Lead warbler Andy Bell is from my home town of Peterborough, so from their first UK hit in 1986 (which coincided with me starting 6th Form), I’ve found it quite hard to ignore them, and there are very few people of my age from who find it hard not to feel a little proud of him. Let’s face it, Peterborough is not exactly a town blessed with famous pop stars; the only other one I’m aware of is Aston Merrygold of JLS, whoever they are.
And someone else…it’ll come to me…no, no, don’t tell me….
That can’t be it, can it? I decided to do some research, and found this: Famous People from Peterborough You can imagine my surprise when I found there were 226 names on the list. You can imagine my additional surprise when I read that number one on the list: “David Michael Krueger, best known by his birth name, Peter Woodcock, was a Canadian serial killer and child rapist“. Turns out, whoever compiled this list hadn’t realised that as well as a Peterborough in the UK, there’s also one in Ontario, Canada, and New Hampshire, USA.
Which makes 226 look like quite a low number, now I think of it.
Maxim from The Prodigy!! That’s who the other one was!! Which gives me an excuse to play this:
But I digress. Erasure were (and apparently still are – who knew?) a fabulous pop band, and “Stop!” is one of my favourites by them, containing as it does, about half way through, that cheeky little keyboard motif lifted from Donna Summer’s “Love’s Unkind”. You know the bit I mean:
And think yourselves lucky I didn’t post a link to former EastEnder Sophie Lawrence’s version.
Whilst we’re on perfect pop moments, let’s have a bit of this:
Back in the days before Miss Ross had elbowed herself to the top of the bill, but also before their photographer learned to give his camera lens a bit of a wipe before commencing the shoot, judging by the quality of the picture they used for the sleeve.
Several years ago, I got…erm…acquainted with a young lady (who, gentleman that I am, shall remain nameless) on a works night out. We discussed our favourite records; mine included a few she didn’t know, hers included a few which made me question her intelligence. She came back to mine and…well, you know…some stuff happened. (See fellow music nerds – it can happen!!).
Before she made her way home, she asked me – yes, you read that right, she asked me – if I’d mind making her a mix CD of some of the songs I had been waxing lyrical about. Her taxi had barely pulled away when I started on it.
I mention this as a cautionary tale, for I compiled said CD, cramming it full of some of my favourites, without pausing to consider what kind of message my selections were sending out. Among them were: Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know”, The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”, the above Queens of the Stone Age track, and perhaps most ill-advisedly, a mash-up of Spanky Wilson’s version of “Sunshine of Your Love” and N*E*R*D’s “She Wants To Move” that I was particularly fond of at the time, and which had wittily been named “She Wants a Spank”.
Never heard from her again.
I was later told by a mutual friend that my selection or songs had given her the impression that I was some sort of secretive S&M gimp. I would have thought the sex-swing was a bigger clue.
(Just to be clear, that last sentence was a joke)
Ho hum. Lesson learned.
A few years ago, when I wasn’t working, as so often happens with people in the same situation, I found my sleep pattern all screwed up, sleeping all day and awake all night. Generally, my night times were filled watching the late night movies on Film 4, and it was in one such film that I first encountered our next tune. I have no idea what the film was called; it was a British film, set out in the countryside, had very little dialogue, and was quite an unsettling piece. Does anyone know what it’s called? (I know it has also been used in “The Place Beyond the Pines”, but it’s not that).
The record in question was this Bacharach/Hilliard composition:
Back to something a tad poppier now, and of course when I talked about Erasure earlier, I deliberately omitted to mention the other half of the pop duo, Vince Clarke. Which is lucky, because here he is again:
At the time, James were quite the merchandise marketeers, releasing a stream of clothing – t-shirts, hooded tops, etc etc – all bearing their insignia and the name of the current single. The one for Come Home was based on the sleeve of the single above, meaning it had the word Come on the front, and the word Home on the back. A mate of mine bought one, but rarely wore it, so sick was he of us all telling him “Oi mate, you’ve got come on your shirt”. Juvenile, but funny.
That, my friends, is one of the most glorious records from the early 80s, and isn’t even the best record that Pete Wylie made, either in one of his many Wah-guises (Wah!; The Mighty Wah!; Wah! Heat) or solo or even when he was knocking around with Ian McCulloch, Pete Burns and Julian Cope in the late 1970s. One day I’ll get round to playing you the greatest. You probably already know what it is.
And that’s about it for this week. Just one more to wrap things up; this seemed appropriate given the amount of songs I could have posted, the amount that I decided against posting, and the fact that every time I thought I’d exhausted the topic another one popped into my head. Needless to say, I could have gone on for another week, at the very least. Maybe I’ll come back to it sometime (see what I did there?).