If you’re in England, by the time you’re reading this, you’ll have been able to drink in pubs for a whole nine hours.
Yes! Since 6am, public houses in England have been permitted to start serving again.
Scotland and Wales are yet to follow suit, Yes, you read that right: England is opening its pubs before Scotland.
But that’s a good thing, right?
Hmmm. Is it?
Before I get into that, let’s have a look at one of the other eased restrictions, and it’s a biggie: international travel.
We now have what’s coloquially referred to as the “air corridor” – a list of countries which we are happy to allow our citizens to travel to and back, without the need for self-isolation on their return.
Hoorah! We can all go on holiday again!
Except: we haven’t agreed this with the other countries.
For example: Japan.
Under the “air corridor” rules we’re now allowed to fly to Japan, and on our return, we do not need to self-isolate.
The only problem with that is that Japan won’t let you in.
Here’s what it says on ther website:
We’re not just listed as one of other countries, we’re specifically named and singled out on the main page.
Blame that on the pesky EU.
Which tells you one thing: other countries do not yet consider the UK to be a safe environment.
As with previous posts on this subject, I’m all for the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions, but only when and where it is safe and appropriate to do so. And don’t get me wrong, the public house industry, already banjaxed by that pesky smoking ban (also probably something to do with the bloody EU…) needs that shot in the arm more than most.
As do we: for the past twelve weeks, I’ve yearned for nothing more than to be pressed up against a wheezing pensioner whilst desperately waving a tenner in the general direction of an over-worked bartender.
But something about this particular restriction-easing piqued my interest. Why at 6am? I can’t remember the last time I woke at such an hour, pulled my strides on and vaulted out of the door, desperate to get battered. These days, if I’m awake at that time on a Saturday morning I’m either contemplating getting up and enjoying a sausage sandwich, or more likely (at my age, anyway) thinking “Really? I need another piss….?”.
So why 6am? Well, the official line was that the restriction on opening was specified to prevent people starting celebrating/drinking at midnight and carrying on throughout the early hours of the morning.
6am, apparently, is an absolutely appropriate time to be getting back on that particular wagon. It gives us a few hours to prepare/sober up.
But wait: how many pubs do you know that are open at 6am?
Just the one. The one chain, that is.
Wetherspoons, with their zero hour contracts, wipe down menus and loyal Brexit champion and owner, Tim Martin.
That’s what this particular easing of restriction is about (apart from encouraging the herd immunity philosophy the Goverment swears it isn’t following): it’s a pat on the back for those loyal servants who have extolled the virtues of Brexit then moved all of their production plants overseas (à la Dyson) and/or applying for a passport from an EU-based country (à la Farage).
The Government seems to have a very strange idea of how people interact in pubs. We’ve all been in many pubs where social distancing is not possible when you join the scrum of the queue at the bar.
Allowing the pubs to reopen just seems to be an odd priority to me, an attempt to pacify the masses, given the number of, for example, theatres which, disallowed from re-opening (despite, one would think, social distancing being much easier to implement), I read daily, with a sinking heart, are having to close permanently.
Still, those playhouses will look fabulous on the portfolio of a Russian oligarch, once they’ve been transformed into salubrious £million apartments, right?
Am I the only one who sees the reopening of pubs and the collapse and closure of theatres as a bad thing?
Maybe. Perhaps I’m the liberal Katie Hopkins. I bloody hope not.
So there I was for the past few weeks, writing a load of posts which linked various songs together somehow, chuckling away to myself that nobody had noticed I was dropping subtle clues that I was going to be bringing this series back, when what do you know, I went and over-egged it, and was thoroughly busted by The Robster, then The Swede, then Alyson, then Rol all airing their suspicions. And that was before I posted this afternoon’s less than subtle final hint.
The busting that really got me, though, was Kay, who asked me if I intended to start writing it again. Until I corrected her last week, Kay thought it was possible to fast forward through the adverts on live television broadcasts, so I figured if she’d worked it out, I’d better come clean.
There’s two reasons I had started thinking about bringing The Chain back: firstly, I’d decided that if and when I did, it would revert back to being on a Wednesday night again, it’s rightful home, but Series 3 of Fargo had been so good I wanted to wait until that finished; and secondly, the sudden recent demise of When You Can’t Remember Anything, one of the finest blogs around. As regular readers will know, not only were Badger and SWC (or is it SWC and Badger? I always suspected they had to stand a certain way round, a la Ant & Dec, so folks would know which was which) long time contributors to The Chain, but they also ran their own points-earning-invite-a-suggestion series on a Saturday morning – and you had to get up bloody early to be in with a shout of posting something that hadn’t already been suggested. So, with that, and them, gone, I felt the time was about right to bring this back. Oh and chaps, if you’re ready this, feel free to chip in like the good old days.
Now: The Chain last made a (proper) appearance back on March 19th, so it’s had a good rest, as have I. And I imagine that there may be some folks reading this who have no idea what this is about, so I’ll recap on the rules (which luckily I did back in March after a much shorter break, so I’ll thank the Gods of Copy and Paste):
The Chain is a feature on BBC 6Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show (and prior to that, their show on BBC Radio 2), where a record is played and they invite suggestions as to what record could be played next, which must link in some way to the one just played.
The difference here is that whilst they choose just one record to play, we try to post all of the suggestions which you submit.
The only rules are:
No suggested record can ever feature twice (unless it has only featured as part of The Official Chain, as opposed to having been suggested by someone previously). If you’re not sure – ask! (NB – I’ve never got round to finishing the definitive list of everything that has featured here…let’s call it a work in progress…)
The only other exception to this rule is “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, which has been adopted as our theme tune, and which can be nominated as often as you like (as long as a solid link between it and the source record is provided)
Make your suggestions by way of the Comments section at the bottom of this post, making sure that you tick the box marked “Notify Me of new comments via email” Your email address will not be displayed to anyone, not even me.
When making your suggestion, you must provide an explanation of the link between the two songs
You must already own a copy of it, and be willing to provide it (in case I don’t already own it or am unable to source it). I will ask you to supply this via a response to your suggestion Comments (hence the bit about ticking the notification box)
Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist. You’re clever than that.
You can make as many suggestions as you like, but please, go easy on me, won’t you?
Don’t be offended if I disqualify your request, although you won’t know I’ve done this until the next post where there will be some gentle ribbing (the name of Durex’s least commercially successful contraceptive).
Even if your song is posted, be prepared for a gentle ribbing anyway. We like a gentle ribbing round these parts.
Submissions will be welcome up until the next edition is posted. But please try not to send them to me late on a Wednesday evening, just in case I am in the middle of writing it and have to rejig the running order.
That’s about it. I award points every now and again, for Worst Record of the Week, Cheesiest Record of the Week, Comment Showboat of the Week, and of course, for anyone who happens to guess either the song or act (or both) that is the next record in the Official Chain, which becomes the source record for the following week’s post. Nobody’s keeping score (well, I’m not anyway), the points are just a bit of fun.
Oh and there’s just one more thing (my trademark Columbo impression, there): I signed off the last edition with the words: “Let’s say that will be next week, and see what happens, eh?” Wise words indeed. I’m not going to promise this will be back every Wednesday, but that’s the plan at the moment. I’ll see what I can do.
Okay, so perhaps we should start off by reminding everybody of the last song in the Official Chain, which is our starting point this week:
Now, there was a little controversy over my presentation of this last time, as I posted the song in question under the cover art for their “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” album. This was shrewdly picked up on by The Great Gog, who pointed out that it wasn’t on the original release of that album, and he was right, as he often is.
The thing is, the source song from The Chain #38 was “The Universal” by Blur, so had I figured I’d post the “Ogden…” sleeve to give you all a bit more to get your teeth into. Y’know, before I ignored you all for five months. It is on one of the reissued, repackaged, remastered releases that has surfaced in the almost fifty years since the album first came out. And anyway, it’s my game, so if I want to exert a little artistic licence then I shall.
Here’s your first suggestion, courtesy of Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music (yup, it would appear that the C key on my keyboard works fine):
“From Small Faces to Angels with Dirty Faces by Sham 69 please.”
See, that’s the way to do it. Short, to the point, and polite. (Not that I have any objections to long, rambling suggestions, of course, as you will doubtless see).
Let’s crack on with a round up of all the suggestions which linked to Small, Faces or Small Faces (sort of, loosely, with a few diversions), and I’ll hand you over to Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense fame:
“Small Faces’ first hit was ‘What’cha Gonna Do About It’, written by Ian Samwell. He also invented British Rock ‘n’ Roll by penning ‘Move It'”
As mentioned earlier on, compiling a list of everything which has featured on The Chain thus far remains a work in progress (we’re on over 1000 songs, and counting now, so you can see the size of the task ahead of me); but you may be surprised to learn that so far Old Turtleneck is, I think, the second most suggested artist. There are no points on offer for guessing who is the most suggested (sorry, George!)
Rigid came up with another, slightly less fact-based suggestion, presented here in the form of a sort of rubbish multiple choice question:
“Small Faces were named because:
(a) they hadn’t yet reached the top of the Mod Hierarchy (i.e. they weren’t yet Faces, they were still Numbers – albeit high ranking ones – but there was already a band called the High Numbers, and
(b) they were all short (Steve Marriott was 5′ 1″, Ian McLagan was 5′ 0″, and Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane were both 4′ 7″).
Not the only Pixies suggestion of the week, as it goes, more to follow.
Over to Dirk from sexyloser and the much admired organiser of the Bloggers Summit that happened a few months ago, which I was immensely flattered to be invited to but, alas, could not attend:
“I must admit I couldn’t remember this Small Faces tune and I could neither be arsed to download it nor to search for the ‘Best Of’ – CD of theirs I have somewhere. So instead I had a look at YouTube and found out that there’s a dog barking at approx. 1:05 minutes. An even better tune with a dog barking in it – albeit not at 1:05, no, at 2:27 minutes instead – is The Clash’s ‘Somebody Got Murdered’ … a link which – again, mind you – will please my friend George mightily, I suspect!”
Poor old Cliff; every time he pulls a goal back, the bloody Clash go and score again:
I’m writing this part of The Chain on Tuesday night, and as I typing, this message has flashed up on my phone:
So, y’know, good job I’m not promising to be back next week. At this rate, none of us will be….
…And we’re back in the room.
Now, one thing I’ve learned since I started writing The Chain is not to interrupt Jules when his brain is ticking over, especially as that usually coincides with a) him having a drink, b) chucking out time, or c) both.
“The American President is known as POTUS the first Lady as FLOTUS which happens to be the title of the latest…… Lambchop album”
Jules suggesting a Lambchop track, who’d have thunk it? Here’s the song he selected from said album, in it’s full 18:12 glory:
“…(particularly the Lenny Henry version)…” By which he means this:
Although personally, it’s a song which always reminds me of this:
Dear Cadburys: should you wish to reward me for the free advert by granting me a year’s supply of your yummy Crème Eggs, I can be contacted by email. But be warned: I’m a greedy fat bastard, and your idea of a year’s supply is likely to be very different to mine.
But wait, Jules isn’t done yet. In fact, you can practically hear his brain fizzing and he starts riffing:
“A final onslaught
‘Universal Hall’ by The Waterboys is a cracking number…
“…and so is ‘The Whole of the Moon’ which name checks the film ‘Brigadoon’ starring Gene Kelly famous for singing ‘Singing in the Rain’…Um…WATERboys…singing in the RAIN what can it mean….?
Your choice: “
I choose all of those that you suggest, if only to prove I don’t mind how many songs you suggest (at the moment, give it a week or so…), and because I could tell all of that was just to get me to post something by this lot:
“From Small Faces, I tried to come up with the smallest thing I could think of that has a face, and naturally I thought of Midge Ure.
I’ll rephrase that.
From Small Faces, I tried to come up with the smallest thing I could think of that has a face, and I thought of midges. And having looked them up and established to my own satisfaction that midges do indeed have an arrangement of features on the front of their heads which would pass for faces, that naturally leads me to Midge Ure. In the spirit of this blog, I suggest his little-remembered 1991 semi-hit “Cold Cold Heart”, which I liked enough at the time to buy it, though it leaves me cold (ha!) now.”
When I’m deciding on the running order, I break them down into the categories and then kick myself because I never remember to make a note of who it was that made the next suggestion, and so have to furiously scroll through the last edition to try and remember. With one exception (bar Jules’ obligatory Lambchop suggestion, that is).
Yup, it’s time for George to round off the Face section in style:
“From Small Faces, to masks (that tend to be worn on faces) to ‘Trout Mask Replica’, and ‘Moonlight on Vermont’.
“If I ever listen to Small Faces it takes me back to the good old days with Rod Stewart. So it is easy to go to his second album under his own name. ‘Gasoline Alley’ might be the best he ever made. Torn between ballads and rockers. So I have to suggest ‘Jo’s Lament’ or ‘Good Old Country'”
Now, before any of you pedants pull Walter up and argue that Stewart was never in Small Faces, I’ve checked and strictly speaking, Walter is correct:
After Small Faces split, Lane, Jones and McLagan joined forces with Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood., but this line-up dropped the “Small” from their name and just became known as Faces. Their record company, however, were not happy, wanting to capitalise on the band’s earlier success by retaining their old name. The band stayed firm, arguing that the personnel changes meant this was an altogether different group from Small Faces. In the end, a compromise was reached: the new line-up’s first album in the UK was credited as ‘First Step’ by Faces, while in the US the same album was released as ‘First Step’ by Small Faces.
Time to welcome The Great Gog now, who picks up the theme:
“Picking up from the Marriott hotel chain – this is mentioned in a song – Mark Ronson’s ‘Record Collection’, where Simon Le Bon sings the line ‘I get preferential treatment at the Marriott’. I got heartily sick of this tune at the time of FIFA 11, as it was on the soundtrack and my youngest, then aged 10, was constantly wanting to beat me at it – happy memories of having to be a Belgian 2nd Division team whenever we played!”
Over to Abramson60 with a typically brief suggestion:
“Steve Marriott was born in Manor Park, which could have fetched us back to Blur and Parklife, but no. How about the Ruskin Arms the famed manor Park boozer that was instrumental in the rise of Iron Maiden, again no as I have never understood their appeal. Manor made me think of Ill Manors but despite having seen the film really can’t say much about the music, though did like the early stuff from Plan B. After all this rambling I thought of the Manor studios, something to do with a younger Richard Branson I believe, so two suggestions, both recorded at the said Manor. Something very un-PC from Supercharge and the ‘Local Lads Made Good’ album, ‘She Moved The Dishes’ first, maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, a re-listen made me think of certain elements of Frank Zappa’s work.”
I think we’ll have to agree to disagree about this one Abramson, not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t preclude it from getting an airing here. To me, it sounds like someone trying to sound like Vivian Stanshall and/or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, but what do I know?
Actually, Martin didn’t get to that suggestion straightaway. No, instead he got to Pavement by way of…well…like this (which I’m including simply because we have nothing else to link to drummer Kenney Jones):
“My first thought is that Small Faces’ drummer Kenney Jones later joined The Who after Keith Moon’s death. No Moon maybe implies eclipse, but no, I’m not pitching anything by Bonnie Tyler.”
Of course you weren’t. And why would you, when you clearly are angling for me to post this:
So that’s Marriott, Lane and Jones ticked off the list, what about Ian McLagan?
Step forward The Beard, with a suggestion which hands down wins the Best Link of the Week:
“The Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan died in Austin, Texas. Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, was played by Lee Majors. He also played Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy and, a la Dennis Waterman, crooned the theme tune, The Unknown Stuntman.”
No, of course I didn’t own that already…..honestly…
And then, just when we thought we’d exhausted all of the possibilities relating to the band’s personnel, George is back:
“The Small Faces’ first manager was Don Arden. The charming Mr Arden, not at all a thug or bully, in a meeting with Robert Stigwood (another would-be band manager) threatened to throw him out of a window, Robert Stigwood was the manager of Cream, so I suggest their single ‘Badge’.”
Okay, where next? Well, let’s take a step back to Ronnie Lane, and we’ll hand over to babylotti:
“Ronnie Lane was in the Small Faces, then the Faces, but it’s Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance & their version of ‘Ooh La La’ I’m going to suggest first. One of my favourite songs and about the only song that makes me wish I could play guitar so I could annoy people at open mics with it.”
No, no, no – learn to play it then take it house parties, or even better, on camping holidays. Much more annoying, although with potentially more things to throw at you to make you shut up.
“… and as I’ve gone there, I’m going to wring it to death like a dog & it’s favourite toy & suggest ‘Ooh La La’ by The Wiseguys, a song I used to love playing when DJ’ing and one of Mrs Lotti’s favourite tunes…”
Time for a refresher or two. You’ll recall that right at the top of this post I wrote that Small Faces’ “The Universal” was the second song in a row we’d had a song called “The Universal” to link to? Well Alyson from What’s It All About? came up with a way of linking the word in those two titles that isn’t ‘Universal’:
“There are 2 x Universals next to each other in The Chain but also 2 x the word The. Something from The The…?”
Pressed to choose a song by them, she asked this, which I vetoed at the time as I’d not long since featured it on these pages….but as so much time has gone by, here’s her choice, which, coincidentally, just happens to be my favourite record by them:
Refresher 2: remember when I said earlier that I had posted the “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” sleeve to give you all something to get your teeth into, given the double appearance of ‘The Universal’? Well, I did you all a grave disservice there, for we’ve got this far and not one of you has linked to it yet.
Here’s The Great Gog:
“Seeing the word Ogden’s immediately brought to mind World Of Twist and their late singer, Tony Ogden. I’ll go for The Storm from them.”
What? You’re all looking at me blankly, like there’s no link there.
C’mon, seriously? Even Kay knows what the link is.
Ogden. Table. Ogden Table.
Ogden tables are a set of statistical tables and other information for use in court cases in the UK. Their purpose is to make it easier to calculate future losses in personal injury and fatal accident cases.
See, we try to educate as well as entertain round these parts.
Now you can tell that I focussed on the album with my suggestions, because here’s some more:
By the way, I think The Delicious Fullness may be my favourite band name ever.
Let’s have another Nut-based song (I do hope none of you are allergic), which I could have sworn George had suggested; it’s absolutely the sort of thing he would suggest, and I mean that in the nicest possible way, because it turns out this one must be one of mine too:
Which just leaves one more suggestion, and I’ll hand over to SWC and/or Badger, or Swadger as I’m going to insist on calling them from now on, as they overlooked telling me which of them came up with this fine, stirring suggestion:
“The Faces reformed in 2009 with a certain Mick Hucknall on lead vocals. Hucknall is also a place in Nottinghamshire which was the birth place of a certain Eric Coates who wrote the theme to Dam Busters and the theme to Desert Island Discs. So either one of those please.”
With great pleasure, especially as you dodged the bullet of nominating a Simply Red tune:
…which, although I don’t think he actually played on the recording, given Glen Campbell’s close links to the band and his sad, untimely passing yesterday, seems a rather appropriate way to end things.
So, all that’s left for me to do is to ask for your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition, whenever that might roll into town.