Friday Night Music Club

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write a series here called Friday Night Music Club.

Here is what I wrote way back in March 2015 to explain:

Friends of mine will tell you I love a themed mix tape or CD.

In my old flat, we used to have what we (ok, I) liked to call The Friday Night Music Club. This would involve us a) getting very drunk b) me shaving my head at some point c) listening to the latest CD mix I’d made (later, when I bought a sound system that allowed me to just plug my iPod in (other mp3 playing devices are available) these mixes got waaaay longer, and probably waaaaay more tedious for the listener) and d) ideally having a bit of a dance.

I’ve done mix tapes and CDs for friends and family all my life (but you already knew that, right?) but the idea here was to make a series of mix CDs which, when played in sequence, you could play at a house party and which would keep the night bubbling along nicely.

Actually, this is something I’d already tried a few years earlier. Friends of mine used to have the most excellent parties at their flat on Hilldrop Road, usually with a DJ playing, but on one occasion the DJ – and for that matter, their decks – couldn’t make it. In their absence I prepared a set of 11 CDs – about 15 hours – which, when played in sequence, took you from aperitifs and welcomers, to “go on have a bit of a dance”, through to off your nut party anthems, and then back down to sitting round talking nonsense about radishes until 6am.

Anyway, back to the Friday Night Music Club. Occasionally I’d make a theme out of the whole thing (hey, if Bob Dylan can do a radio show using the same format, I can do a mix CD, okay?) or do more than one CD and spread the theme out (there was once a 4 CD opus to a former flat mate which deserves a mention in passing) but more often than not the theme would occur to me in the middle of preparing it, and that’d be it…I’d be off….

As an aside, I appear to have missed some fairly significant landmarks in the history of this place: my first ever post was in September 2013, and if you think my posts are sporadic now, bear in mind that my second post didn’t happen until a year later in 2014. Whatever, a belated 5th anniversary to me!

Anyway, it was when I became rather fixated on the theme rather than with just posting some songs which sound good when played together that I knocked the Friday Night Music Club series on the head.

Since there are now more of us are spending our Friday Nights at home, many of us getting drunk, I figured I would bring the series back for at least a one-off for you to use as your sountrack to your Zoom/Houseparty chats. There might be more, I’ve not decided yet.

Also, this, right here what you’re reading now, is my 1500th post, so I’d like to mark at least one of my landmark posts in a timely manner.

Ahem.

That’s better.

I figured we’d go back to where it all began, to the first few episodes of Friday Night Music Club, but now with fewer attempts to be clever/funny and just more songs to rock your end of the working (from home) week/kids are in bed celebrations.

Actually, I’d hoped to bring this to you last weekend, in time for the Bank Holiday, but time simply caught up with me, the bastard.

The initial intention was simply to repost those early “mixes”, with a few new songs thrown in here and there (and some brutally culled). But as I was working on it, it metemporphasised into something different, perhaps better described as a completely new mix of tunes, very loosely hung on the framework of the old ones, in an effort to reinvigorate them, poncey as that may sound.

If you’d prefer to just listen to this on Spotify, you can do here:

Friday Night Music Club Vol. 1

…although a word of warning: Spotify doesn’t have all of the songs in the playlist, so the only real way to enjoy this in it’s full…erm…glory is by ploughing through the links below.

Oh, and a second word of warning: there’s a fair bit of effin’ and jeffin’ on some of these, so perhaps not for those with young ears.

Hopefully, there will be something for everyone in here (there’s seventy tunes in just over five hours, so I bloody hope so!), so push back the sofa, get yourself a pint of White Russian (or whatever your weapon of choice is), dim the lights and turn up the volume. Let there be grooves. Let there be guitars. Let there be cheese. Let there be some surprises, some forgotten tunes and some old favourites. Let there be singing. Let there be dancing.

Tell you what: I’ll play a song or two by way of a little intro whilst you’re getting yourself sorted:

Patience & Prudence – Tonight You Belong To Me

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking

Richard Hawley – Tonight The Streets Are Ours

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Night

Lykke Li – Get Some

Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots (Groove Armada Go North Remix)

Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper

Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug

Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

Jackson Sisters – Miracles

Chic – Good Times (Full-Length Version)

Double Trouble & Rebel MC – Street Tuff (Scar Radio Mix)

Adventures Of Stevie V – Dirty Cash (Sold Out Mix Edit)

Skee-Lo – I Wish

De La Soul – Me, Myself and I

N.W.A. – Express Yourself

Public Enemy – Fight The Power

Clinton – People Power In The Disco Hour

Shed 7 – Disco Down

Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

Cee Lo Green – Fuck You!

Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off

Britney Spears – Toxic (Armand Van Helden Remix)

Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Ooooh

Icona Pop – I Love It [featuring Charli XCX]

Armand Van Helden – Koochy

Spandau Ballet – To Cut A Long Story Short

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Enola Gay

Human League – Fascination

Archie Bronson Outfit – Dart For My Sweetheart

Stellastarr* – My Coco

Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To

Gang of Four – I Found That Essence Rare

The Fall – Dead Beat Descendant

Maxïmo Park – Our Velocity

Sports Team – Here’s The Thing

Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic

Elastica – Stutter

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Spread Your Love

Sum 41 – In Too Deep

Good Charlotte – Girls & Boys

My Chemical Romance – Teenagers

Ramones – Beat on the Brat

Iggy Pop – The Passenger

Talking Heads – Girlfriend Is Better

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

The Sisters of Mercy – This Corrosion

The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers

Interpol – Mammoth (Erol Alkan Rework)

A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray (Original Mix)

Mory Kanté – Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix)

Underworld – Cowgirl (Bedrock Mix)

Josh Wink – Higher State of Consciousness (Dex & Jonesey’s Higher Stated Mix)

The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

Flowered Up – Weekender

Happy Mondays – W.F.L. [Think About the Future]

The Charlatans – The Only One I Know

Inspiral Carpets – Find Out Why

The Doors – Touch Me

divinyls – I Touch Myself

Yazoo – Don’t Go

New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill

Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar (Way Out West Remix Edit)

LCD Soundsytem – All My Friends

Indeep – Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Primal Scream – Come Together (Terry Farley Remix)

The Bluetones – If…

More soon.

Short

Two things:

  1. Thank you to all who posted very kind words when I went on standby recently. I read every one and was really rather touched by them. (As was my mother, who sent me a text saying “The people who read your blog are rather lovely, aren’t they?” Yes. Yes they are.) So, thanks not just from me, but from my Mum too.
  2. Whilst I’ve been laying low, I’ve made my peace with writing the occasional shorter post. As you’ve probably noticed.

spandau-ballet-to-cut-a-long-story-short-chrysalis-reformation-2

Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

More soon.

 

A History of Dubious Taste: The Formative Years

Disclaimer: This post contains four fucking terrible records. But stick with it. There’s four really great ones after that.

It’s funny how the most mundane of events can trigger long buried memories.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all gloomy and confess to years of abuse at the hands of a 1970s celebrity. Well, not unless you can count owning records by a certain band from the 60s & 70s as abuse.

And no, I don’t mean Status Quo.

Let me explain.

This week, for the first time in years, I went to the dentist.

I should stress at this point that I hadn’t avoided going through any lack of care for my oral hygiene – I’m no Shane Magowan, is what I’m saying. When I was a kid, my parents took me to the dentist regularly, and I had learned how to take care of my teeth to the extent that I’ve never had a filling, a crown or a tooth removed. I know you’re supposed to go to the dentist for regular check-ups, but I don’t go to my doctor for them for the rest of my body, and going to the doctor is free, whilst you have to pay to see a dentist. Why waste money just to have a bloke give my teeth a bit of a scrape every couple of months? Trips to the dentist firmly resided in the “If it ain’t broke, don’t mend it” category.

Well, this week, something broke, namely one of my teeth. I wish I could say it was punched out of me in a fight where I was defending someone’s honour, but what actually happened was I was eating a chocolate which suddenly developed a crunchy texture it hadn’t had when I first popped it in my mouth. At first I wondered if I was the latest victim of one of those “look at this disgusting thing that I found in my food” stories you read about every now and then, but it quickly transpired that the crunchiness was in fact a large chunk of tooth which had decided it no longer wanted to be in my mouth, and preferred my stomach instead. My stomach is considerably larger than my mouth, so I can’t really say I blame it for wanting to upgrade to somewhere roomier.

As it goes, the trip to the dentist was considerably less painful than I had expected: all he did was saw off part of the remaining tooth, prescribe me some antibiotics, and tell me I need to come back to have the rest either removed or a crown put in.

In fact, the most painful thing about the whole thing, is that as a result I’ve had this song, by a group whose schtick was performing “funny” parodies of popular hits of the time (on this occasion, “Rivers of Babylon“, “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” and “The Smurf Song“) lodged in my brain all week:

the-barron-knights-a-taste-of-aggro-epic

The Barron Knights – A Taste Of Aggro

Unbelievable as it may seem, that got to Number 3 in the UK singles chart in 1978.

I, of course, did not contribute to its sales. Oh no, of course not. Instead, the nine-year old me belligerently badgered my parents until they finally gave in and bought me their “Night Gallery” album from which “…Aggro” came instead.

At the time, I thought this record was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. I would listen to it over and over again, learning the words, laughing out loud long after the “jokes” had actually ceased to be funny.

Not content with annoying my family by playing this album endlessly, I decided I wanted to share it with my peers at school, and to that end I asked my Junior School teacher at the time if I could bring it in for a “Show and Tell” lesson.

What I should stress at this point is that we had never had a “Show and Tell” lesson before, and as far as I can recall, we never had another one either. I think the second of those two facts can be directly attributed to me.

These are the three parodies from “Night Gallery” that I subjected my classmates and teacher to: one of Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights”, one of Althea and Donna’s “Uptown Top Ranking”, (both fairly recent hits at the time, being from 1976 and 1978 respectively), and Tommy Steele’s “Little White Bull” (from 1959, so slightly less current).

Oh no, you don’t get off so lightly as to just be told what the chosen songs were parodies of: here’s the actual songs, placed in ascending order of awfulness.

The+Barron+Knights+Night+Gallery+466735

The Barron Knights – Boozy Nights

The Barron Knights – Boy Scouts Out Camping

(I seem to have an horrific image of “comedians” Little & Large performing that on one of their shows, both dressed as Scouts. I’m not sure which is worse: that actually having happened, or my imagining it…)

The Barron Knights – Little White Bum

Yes, that last one really is about a young boy who liked, and was encouraged by his parents, to show off his bottom to the extent that he is entered into a Best Baby’s Arse Competition. Was that ever a thing??

When people say the 1970s were a different time, they really aren’t joking.

The only good thing I can say about these is that they introduced me to the original records, two of which I love (the Tommy Steele one, not so much). So, in the interest of balance, and moreover palate cleansing, here they are:

heatwave-boogie-nights-gto-3

Heatwave – Boogie Nights

10

Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

Words cannot express how much I love Althea’s (or is it Donna? I have no clue which is which. Does that make them the 1970s Ant & Dec??) massive glasses and even more massive ‘fro combo.

If I lie back on the psychologist’s couch for a while, I guess this forced “Show and Tell” lesson was the first example of something which has characterised my life ever since – through all the mix-tapes I used to churn out at Sixth Form, the DJ’ing at college, the playlists I still happily compose at the drop of a hat, hell, even this place: a desire to share records with people. The notion that I owe all of those years of pleasure to The Barron sodding Knights is quite a startling one.

But I’m not done with embarrassing confessions from my Junior School days just yet.

Surprising as it may seem now, when I was at Junior School age I was considered to be a pretty bright kid, and was moved up a year as a result. This must have happened when I was about six or seven years old, and I, along with my year older than I classmates, had completely forgotten about it until it came to the time for them all to go to Secondary School and I was left behind.

That meant that I essentially had to repeat my final year of Junior School, a trend which continued when I went to college, but more of that some other time.

Anyway, that meant that I spent two years in Mr Land’s class. He was a nice enough chap, as I recall. He used to be in charge of putting on the annual school play and – and I only remembered this when the above came to mind – he encouraged his class in creative writing. One project he gave us was to write a children’s story for someone in the Infant School, placing them within the story, which now I think about is a quite brilliant way to engage kids in books and writing. He also used to hold a short-story writing competition for his class at the end of each term.

Now, all through my educational years, and when at Junior School in particular, it was considered that I had a great talent for writing. I was given blank exercise books and encouraged to just fill them with stories; I, of course attempted to write one long story. Ultimately, these just consisted of elaborate car chases, but the intention was there.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to write a novel. Many of my friends will vouch for the fact that every now and then throughout my life  I have announced I’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a book which I would start on right away.

FatherJohn_fearfun

Father John Misty – I’m Writing a Novel

Inevitably, I would write the first chapter, if that, before being struck with either writer’s block or a crippling realisation that I just can’t write well enough to produce such a thing.

Which is pretty much why I do this. A few years ago, I decided I was going to write about all of the dumb things me and my friends had got up to, or had happened to us, on nights out, which I would then try to string together into some kind of narrative structure and build a plot around. Needless to say, I didn’t get far when I realised – again – that writing a book is bloody difficult, that I didn’t really have the patience, stamina, self-discipline, determination or drive required for the task in hand. Instead, I decided to write them in bite-size chunks and post them here. I still get distracted and find myself writing about cover versions, or preparing a playlist for you every Friday night, or any of the other threads I’ve started here and got bored with after a while. But be warned: I’m currently working on pieces about all of the records I bought in 1986, so the main thrust of this blog should be returning more regularly soon.

Speaking of getting distracted, I have digressed again. Mr Land’s short story competition is where I was heading.

Because of my perceived talents in the field, I had just assumed, as did many others, that I would walk away with first prize every time the competition came around. But I was reckoning without my nemesis, a lad called Richard Crisp.

Every term, Richard would write essentially the same story, and every term he would win. Every term, without fail, he would write a story about a football match between two semi-fictional teams, say for example “Mods versus Rockers” (the names had absolutely no bearing on the story, he didn’t recount a football match as if it were a pitched battle on Brighton beach), but he would make classmates and teachers members of the teams, giving him scope to make a few jokes at their expense, and refer to incidents which had happened during the previous term.

So when my classmates all went off to Secondary School, leaving me behind with a new class who had never been invited to enter the short story competition before and thus had never heard any of Richard’s prize-winning stories, I saw my opportunity to claim the crown I so desperately craved. I would do exactly the same as he did: write a story about a football match between two random groups, and, just as Richard had done so successfully, would incorporate teachers and classmates alike into the game, with much hilarity undoubtedly ensuing.

But which two random groups would I choose as the names for the teams? I pondered long and hard over this, before finally settling on two which I thought were entirely appropriate and suitable.

Before I go any further, may I just remind you at this point that this was 1980. Granted, no longer the 1970s, but pejorative terms did not die the moment the 70s ended. And the two names I chose were still in common usage at the time, often bandied about in newspapers, or in sit-coms, and so I didn’t really consider what they actually meant. They were just words, as far as I was concerned.

May I also make it very clear that, other than in the context of this post, these are not words I would ever consider using nowadays.

I think that’s enough disclaimers. Allegations that “The lady doth protest too much” would surely follow if I carried on digging any further.

So, on what I was confident would the first of many triumphant wins, I stood up in front of my class, and in front of Mr Land, and began my story:

“It was the annual football match between The Poofs and The Pansies….” I announced.

“Erm…can I have a look at that please?” interjected Mr Land. I handed him my exercise book. He thumbed through it, a concerned look on his brow, before handing it back. “Okay. Carry on.”

I can only surmise that he hadn’t spotted the next sentence.

“And leading The Poofs out onto the field is their Captain, Mr Land….”

“I think we’ve heard enough of that now, thank you. Please sit down. Immediately.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day: never use words that you don’t understand. Which is why you’ll never find me writing about Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis anytime soon.

As I hang my head in shame, this seems appropriate:

spandau-ballet-to-cut-a-long-story-short-chrysalis-reformation-2

Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

More cringers soon.

1985 and All That

So whilst I was busy buying godawful records by members of The Quo, at the same time I was racking up some unintentional points with Britannia Music.

Long-term readers may remember that I mentioned this particular company once before. In the mid-1980s, anytime you opened a weekend newspaper, a leaflet would invariably fall out, advertising Britannia’s 3 for £20 introductory offer, which I have to admit this teenage brain fell for.

Having succumbed, they would send you a booklet every month, detailing all of their wares (of which you had to buy a certain amount within a certain amount of time or…well, actually, as these were the days where you paid for any postal purchases by cheque, I’m not sure what the “or..” was. They’d tell my parents??) and bigging up their Album of The Month.

And here’s where the real money-spinner was for them: they just assumed that you would want to buy the Album of the Month. If you didn’t, you had to tick a box on a form and post it back to them by a certain date. Miss that cut off point, and suddenly you were the proud owner of…well, you’ll see.

You know me by now. I ended up with some stuff that I would not have ordinarily bought. Like this:

Go-West

Go West – Don’t Look Down

and this…

spandau-ballet-the-singles-collection-cd-usa-391101-MLA20268255688_032015-F

Spandau Ballet – Highly Strung

…which contains one of the most cringe-worthy lyrics ever:

“She used to be a diplomat, but now she’s down the laundromat”

Although I can’t really complain, as it did mean I owned this, which is an absolutely belting New Romantic classic:

Spandau Ballet – To Cut a Long Story Short

Both of these inadvertent purchases would, in the fullness of time, actually prove their worth. I’ll explain that later.

So that’s my excuse for owning those. I have no such excuse, nor do I think I need one, for owning this:

big_country-the_crossing(5)

…which I intentionally bought, not so that I owned any of their guitars-as-bagpipes records (if you don’t know what I mean by that, then go YouTube “In a Big Country”), but so that I owned this, which I still adore to this day (and I don’t care what you think):

Big Country – Chance

I also bought this:

R-2058375-1358002607-6384_jpeg

…a collection of tracks by bands who had played at Live Aid, mostly because, if memory serves, it was only £1.99, but also because it contained this (and again, I don’t care what you think about me liking this either):

The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays

Has there been a greater record written about a shooting spree at a school? I think not, and let’s face it, there’s been plenty of opportunities for somebody to have a go at writing one.

But wait. Here comes the good bit.

Yet again, I can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by giving you this brilliant piece of Japanese pop, which samples the piano bit at the start of “…Mondays” (and, whilst we’re at it, the German bit from the start of  “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” by The Offspring, which in turn was sampling Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” which…heck, we could be here all day if I carry on). (By the way, you should watch the Def Leppard video, it is unintentionally, bum-wigglingly, hilarious. Spinal Tap was spot on.)

Anyway, if you only click one link on this blog, I urge you to make it this one. You won’t regret it:

Splurge_album

Puffy AmiYumi – Call Me What You Like

See? Told you.

More soon.