50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #28

I’ll be honest, this series is proving a lot harder to complete than I thought it would be.

The problem is, I think, that I set a target of 50, which I originally thought would be a doddle (OK, I thought it was a clever play on a Paul Simon song, which nobody seems to have got), but now, just after half-way through, I find myself scrabbling for subjects to include. But because I set that target, I can’t just let it tail off like I normally do, only to picked up like a discarded toy at some point in the future.

And so to today’s topic, not somebody that I particularly disliked at any point, but just somebody who never really crossed my radar when I was younger.

See, when I was a young ‘un my thirst for music was such that I snaffled up lots of classic artists, buying albums by the likes of Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Dusty Springfield etc etc etc.

But not this guy, despite one of his songs featuring prominently in one of my favourite films, Blue Velvet. I was just disinterested, for reasons I know not.

It wasn’t until he’d died that I finally connected, and I can pinpoint the moment precisely when his music suddenly meant something.

It’s circa 1992, and I was in a car with Daints and Louise; Daints had been the singer in the band I was in at college, Louise was (still is) his partner, and I was crashing on their sofa for a couple of weeks having secured a temporary job and moved back to Cardiff, but unable to move into my new house for a short time.

It was a really happy couple of weeks, for me anyway – they may have a different recollection and considered me to be a terrible imposition. They lived on Richmond Road in the Cathays area of Cardiff, the nearest pub (The George) was just a five minute walk away, and most nights (because we were young and could handle going to the boozer on a ‘school’ night) that’s where we would be. When we weren’t, Daints and I would sit up listening to The Smiths and eating Stilton cheese and crackers.

Good times.

I don’t remember where we were going or why, but I do remember, out of nothing, Louise suddenly started singing this song; Daints and I joined in and for a brief moment it was one of those sponteneous things which seem so much better at the time and with the benefit of hindsight than it does when I see it written down.

I’ve only ever experienced impromptu singing in a car twice in my life (but I’m no James Corden, thankfully): this time and on one other occasion, which maybe I’ll write about some other time when I’m struggling for something to write about.

Because there’s something magical about that moment, when somebody simply has to and does dare to sing, unprompted, and people join in.

And that’s how I view this record: magical. Even though Jeff Lynne glossily produced it to within an inch of it’s life.

Roy Orbison – You Got It

Go on, tell me you don’t feel better after listening to that, you ghoul.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Back in the mid-1980s, my parents bought a video player. Yeh, I know, posh, right?

This prompted me to make regular visits to my corner shop, where an extremely limited selection of videos to rent had been installed.

Because the selection was so limited, I would often end up renting the same film more than once. Usually, this was deliberate, but occasionally it would be accidental.

Such was the case with David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet”; rented it once, watched it, then shortly afterwards rented it again thinking I’d not seen it.

I’m going to put that down to Dennis Hopper’s utterly terrifying portrayal of Frank Booth, which I had probably blocked from my mind after the first viewing.

“Blue Velvet” introduced me to a song that I’d somehow managed to have never heard before. No, not the titular song, but tonight’s choice, which was mimed to by Dean Stockwell (he of “Quantum Leap” fame) in one of the oddest scenes from an already odd, surreal (it’s David Lynch, after all), film:

And here’s the original:

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Roy Orbison – In Dreams

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

After the terribly sad, unexpected news on Monday, I’ve found it pretty difficult to get myself going this week, so I had decided I wasn’t going to post anything today, so bereft of ideas and inspiration was I.

I spent my journeys to and from work listening exclusively to Bowie records on my trusty mp3 player, only this morning deciding to switch it back to the random shuffle setting it usually rests on.

When you lose someone close to you, you often find the slightest thing will remind you of them. Now, I’m not suggesting that I was close to Bowie, but his works were close to me. And all of today’s songs came on as I travelled home, in, I kid you not, the order that I present them to you now. Each one made me think of Bowie, some for more obvious reasons than others, which I will try to explain as we go. So I figured they could be this week’s addition to our Friday night. Hopefully, you won’t think I’m sullying the memory, that’s most definitely not the intention.

C’mon kids, we can get through this together.

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69. The Webb Brothers – I Cant Believe You’re Gone

Fairly self-explanatory one, that, right?

Next, a song which Bowie covered on his 1973 album “Pin Ups”:

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70. The Kinks – Where Have All The Good Times Gone

Next up, a song which seems to sum up the ethos of Bowie:

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71. Mama Cass – Make Your Own Kinda Music

…followed by one which also has an apt title:

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72. The Supremes – I Hear A Symphony

I totally accept that the next song was written as a tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington. But if the words “Thin” and “White” were added to the title….

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73. Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

Next, this:

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74. Mansun – Wide Open Space

Okay, I’ll admit this one is a little tenuous. But since the news on Monday, all I’ve really wanted to do was get away from it all, escape, collect my thoughts.

So, moving on, a contribution from long term Bowie fan (although I gather they didn’t exactly hit it off when they met):

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75. Morrissey – I Will See You In Far Off Places

And finally:

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76. Roy Orbison – In Dreams

This one, to wrap things up, has everything, even a mention of Stardust.

I promise to post something a little more upbeat over the weekend.

More soon.