And, as promised/threatened (delete as applicable), we’re back with one of my self-proclaimed ‘eclectic’ mixes.
This one clocks is at just shy of 90 minutes, as opposed to the usual 60-ish, which is partly to celebrate the return of the mix, but also as a reference to an NHS employee I encountered when I had my recent consultant with a rheumatologist.
As this was my first visit, I had to have the usual checks (height, weight, blood pressure) and as I entered the examination room the chap about to perform these tasks (he did introduce himself, but I’m terrible with names) commented that he liked my t-shirt.
I was wearing one which was a homage to the retro, and had depictions of nine cassette tapes on it. This one, in fact:
I pretended I wasn’t absolutely delighted to have someone commend my sartorial taste.
“Thanks,” I replied, “but you realise you’re showing your age, right?”
So, anonymous NHS chap, this mix is designed to fit on a C90 in your honour. Yes, I’d rather you had a decent pay rise too, but sadly that is beyond my control.
Anyway, since this mix includes a bit of actual mixing, it’s admin/disclaimer time: any shonky mixes are down to me; any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software or the uploading process; all song choices are mine.
And here’s your track listing, complete with sleeve notes:
Spinal Tap – Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight
Regulars will know that I like to kick these mixes off with a pace-setter, and this week I was torn between four different tunes. Unable to decide which to use, I’ve included all of them. I was, as you will have gathered from the image at the top of this post, unable to resist starting proceedings with something from one of the funniest films ever made (and I don’t mean Big Momma’s House).
2. Led Zeppelin – Rock and Roll
Second song which could’ve been the opener. Since this is the first mix I’ve posted since October, the “been a long time” lyric seemed too appropriate to ignore
3. The Jim Jones Revue – High Horse
Whatever happened to this lot? Like Jerry Lee Lewis meets the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, this is fecking great.
4. The Vines – Ride
Potential opener number 3. Instead: consider it an invitation.
5. Ride – Like a Daydream
I couldn’t resist the theme. Sue me. Also: I was there Part 1. The video for this was filmed at That London’s ULU, and I was there. Sort of. A story for another day, I think (if I haven’t written about it before, that is…)
6. Helen Love – Power On the Music
Potential opener number 4. Helen Love are ace, even better now they’ve moved on from their original obsession with Joey Ramone to release a swathe of top-notch indie-pop records (not that the Ramone-fixated years weren’t also great). This little beauty is simply a call to play music loudly, and contains one of the few Super Furry Animals samples that I’m aware of.
7. The Lovely Eggs – Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It)
Short of some decent insults? There’s loads in this absolute belter. Lovely stuff.
8. Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now
At the time of writing, there’s a documentary on Sky/NOWTV which covers the events of July 13 2002, when Fatboy Slim threw Big Beach Boutique II, a free entry gig on Brighton beach which was expected to attract around 60,000 people, but which actually found the seaside town over-run by closer to 250,000. One of whom was me (I was there Part 2). I’ll be writing about it when the time is appropriate (i.e. come the 21st anniversary later this year…).
9. U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Perfecto Mix)
Look, I know it’s not the done thing to like U2, and I would certainly not consider myself a fan. But, as the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. It’s possible to think that this remix is great, but retain the belief that Bono is a prick. Lose the sunglasses, mate, you’re not Edgar Davids.
10. The Tamperer feat. Maya – Feel It
Some dumb but great pop from 1998. At the time this was riding high in the charts, I was working at Boots the Chemist in Cardiff, and remember going to local dodgy night-spot Zeus with some of the store’s weekend staff – students, predominantly – and trying to explain to one them that the riff this is based on is a Jacksons sample. She didn’t know the original, nor who The Jacksons were for that matter, and I’ve rarely felt older until I just looked up the date when this came out.
11. Tim Deluxe (Feat. Sam Obernik) – It Just Won’t Do
Fatboy’s opening tune from the aforementioned Big Beach Boutique II gig and an absolute “choon”.
12. Danny Tenaglia + Celeda – Music Is The Answer
In the words of Frank Sidebottom: “You know it is, it really is.”
13. The Prodigy – Breathe
It’s really hard to overstate just how massive The Prodg were way back then, but perhaps this best explains it: in 1998 (two years after this was released) I visited some friends in Nottingham and, as is the law there, we ended up at Rock City, where the DJ broke two golden rules: 1) he played two tunes by the same artists in the same set, and 2) he played them right next to each other, Firestarter followed immediately by this. Rather than point out his faux pas, I danced my legs down to the knees, as did pretty much every one else there that night.
14. Oceanic – Insanity (99 Radio Edit)
Still a tune. Whilst I’ve been off work, I’ve watched all the Top of the Pops recaps of the years on the BBC iPlayer, and the two members of Oceanic continue to argue to this day as to whose idea it was to include the key change in this. Doubtless, Louis Walsh will step in and claim credit at some point.
15. The Osmonds – Crazy Horses
I was DJing once, opening slot (so I could get home on public transport) when the chap following on from me decided to guide me through the records he had brought and especially drew my attention to an Osmonds Greatest Hits album he had in his record satchel.
“Do you know what I’ll be playing off of this, Jez?” he asked.
I gave him my best “do-you-know-who-you’re-talking-to?” look and replied innocently: “Love Me For a Reason?”. Twat.
16. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Hoodoo Voodoo
If I could find a clip of Vic & Bob performing their voodoo song – “Do you do voodoo?” – then I’d include it here, but I can’t so….tough.
17. El Goodo – Feel So Good
Apparently, I’ve met at least some of this lot, friends of friends, who have made the mistake of making themselves incredibly hard to find via a Google search, given that their name is derived from a very wonderful tune by icons-to-cool-indie-kids Big Star.
18. Django Django – Default
You can tell it’s getting near the end when all I can think of to say is that this is great. Next!
19. Cracker – Movie Star
Because your Friday night wouldn’t be complete without a song about a decapitated celebrity, right?
20. The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You
Okay, so I know it’s an obvious pick from this band’s back catalogue, and also it was used in *shudders* an advert back in the day, but, at the risk of sounding patronising, I figured a tune most of you will know was needed. My apologies if I’ve underestimated you. This reminds me of dancing in a packed Cardiff’s Barfly with my buddies Llŷr, Mike, Vicky, and the two Claires. Happy days.
21. The Stylistics – Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)
I’ve had this in my brain for ages, a forgotten 70s classic. It’s another beauty, which probably would have sounded pretty great next to The Tamperer, but it’s getting late and I can’t be arsed with redoing the whole mix. Here is just fine.
22. The Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You)
And so we fade further into end-of-night sing-a-long territory. Probably my favourite Hannon composition (although, to be fair, that changes fairy regularly).
23. The Lemonheads – Bit Part
More sing-a-long stuff which, I’ll be honest, has been squeezed in for no other reason than I realised I had room.
24. Baby Bird – Goodnight
Night BB, thank you for not singing You’re Gorgeous. And that’s it, right?
25. R.E.M. – Afterhours
Wrong. I flim-flammed between this and The Velvet Underground’s original (and indeed We Are Scientists identically-named belter) as the final tune, before ultimately plumping for Stipe & Co’s rather shambolic version, deciding the applause to wrap things up was egotistically appropriate, if ill-deserved on my part. This is lifted from a rip of the band’s Tourfilm video which showed them on the tour to promote the Green album back in 1989 – the first time I ever saw them (at the Newport Centre, support from the Blue Aeroplanes), and to this day my favourite gig I ever went to. With thanks and much love to the much missed The Power of Independent Trucking blog for providing.
Now I’m off to put my hands, fingers and wrists in ice to recover.
So, what’s been happening whilst I’ve been indisposed for the past couple of months?
I mean, blimey, where do I start?
In World War 1, so legend has it, peace temporarily broke out on Christmas Day when British and German troops laid down their weapons and played football in No Man’s Land. When I say “legend”, I mean that it featured in the video of Paul Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft McCartney’s 1983 #1 anodyne smasheroo Pipes of Peace.
I can’t help but think that this is why PM Alexander “Boris” Johnson is so desperate for this Christmas to be “considerably better than last year” – he’s hoping someone will toss him a football so he can show off his skills. He must have some, right?
Oof. Maybe not.
Still, the irony in Johnson’s bonce connecting with that chap’s actual Johnson can’t have been lost on him. I’m sure there’s nobody who likes to be reminded more that their surname is slang for ‘penis’ than our glorious leader. Perhaps that’s why he insists on being called Boris instead of his birthname, Alexander. I mean, if my name was a euphemism for genitals, male or female, then I’d probably change my name too. Family pride would probably prevent me from changing the offending word, so I think I’d probably concur and change my first name, just like Johnson has. (Okay, Boris is one of his many middle names, but you get the giste. Although, that might explain why he was so reluctant to release the results of the enquiry into Russian interference with our electoral procedures…)
Even then, though, having drawn attention away from my surname, I would probably stop short of ensuring my hair always resembles a bush of pubes finally set free from a particularly tight pair of Y-fronts when in pubic public.
Lucky for me, then, that my actual birth name, Jeremiah Bellend-Spunkbubble, has no such connotations, so the problem has never, um, arisen for me.
Until very recently, it seemed that no matter how he and his bunch of thick-as-yeast- extract cronies behaved, nothing could stick. But now it seems, finally the general public is starting to realise what those of us who lived in London under his tenure as Mayor have known for ages: the man is a charlatan, a habitual liar, used to getting his own way, incompetent. A man who doesn’t like to be pinned down on detail, or to be held accountable for things he has said or done. A man who cannot admit when he has made a mistake or done wrong. A man who is, as Eddie Mair famously called him in this interview, “a nasty piece of work”:
There isn’t even any satisfaction in saying “I told you so” now, you know. You’ll be aware that the Germans have a word, schadenfreude, which means “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune”. That definitely applies here.
Whilst I was on hiatus, things finally seemed to be changing. First, there was the Owen Paterson affair and, more specifically what the Tories attempted to do in the wake of his being found to be in breach of Parliamentary rules by the independent and cross-party Parliamentary Commissoner for Standards.
Without wishing to bore you with detail, Paterson – as well as what really should be a full-time job as an MP – was holding down two additional jobs, one with healthcare company Randox, who paid him £8,333 a month for a monthly commitment of 16 hours as a consultant, and one with Lynn’s Country Foods Ltd, who paid him £12,000 for 24 hours work per year for performing a similar role.
Paterson was found to have breached paid advocacy rules for making three approaches to the FoodStandards Agency and four approaches to the Department for International Development in relation to Randox and seven approaches to the Food Standards Agency relating to Lynn’s Country Foods. The Commissioner said Paterson had “repeatedly used his privileged position to benefit two companies for whom he was a paid consultant, and that this has brought the house into disrepute” and that “no previous case of paid advocacy has seen so many breaches or such a clear pattern of behaviour in failing to separate private and public interests”.
A motion to carry out the recommendations of the Committee and suspend Paterson was due to be voted on by Parliament. Had suspension been approved, a recall petition would have been triggered in his constituency, which would have led to a by-election. An amendment to the motion to delay consideration of Paterson’s suspension was put forward by Conservative backbencher Andrea Leadsom; it also proposed to set up a new committee to investigate the disciplinary process for MPs.
This would, in effect, have allowed new rules to be implemented which would have seen Paterson escape punishment. And for once it seemed that the country, along with all of the Opposition, were up in arms about this, leading to a spectacular U-turn, where Beano character Walter Softy made-flesh Jacob Rees Mogg stood up in Parliament, announced that they would not be pursuing the amendment as they were horrified that their actions had been perceived in the way they were, which was never their intention, nosiree, cross my heart and hope to learn some empathy.
Paterson resigned, whilst still protesting his innocence and stating that he would not do anything differently were he to have his time again, meaning that there was a by-election in his safe Tory constituency of North Shropshire
I say “safe”: apart from when the constituency was abolished between 1885 and 1983, it had never been anything other than a Conservative seat. At the last election, Paterson had a majority of 23,000.
And on Thursday, they lost it, to the Liberal Democrats, with a swing of 34%, with a majority of 5925. This Brexit-voting constituency, eternally blue, is now yellow, having voted in a candidate from an explicitly Remain party. (I shan’t mention Brexit again. Not yet anyway. It’s going so well, what is there to say?)
But it would be foolish to think it was just Paterson’s actions which led his constituents to reject his party so utterly, for there’s been the small matter of the illicit Christmas parties.
I don’t intend to go in to all the oh-so-many allegations made, or lies told in defence about all of these. I don’t need to, because the BBC’s Ros Atkins – yes, that BBC, who apparently refuse to report on any wrong-doing by the government, and are biased one way or the other, depending on which side of the fence you’re on – has done it for me:
There’s a lot to unpack from that.
Firstly, the seemingly innocuous wearing of party hats, Christmas jumpers, Secret Santas, tinsel and catering: contrary to claims that “no party took place”, all of these things show that not only did parties happen, but they were planned in advance.
Secondly, the photograph of Johnson hosting what is claimed to be an online quiz: not only does this prove that the PM was mixing with people not in his bubble (unless he lives with the guy with the tinsel wrapped round him), it also shows that he knew a party was taking place. Furthermore, that he knew this was in breach of the restrictions: why else would the CCTV camera have been covered with what appears to be a binbag, other than to ensure that events weren’t captured?
Thirdly, the laughable excuses the Metropolitan Police have given for refusing to investigate this. So far, two ridiculous reasons have been proffered: that they do not investigate Covid breaches retrospectively, coupled with them saying they would not look for evidence as they have no evidence.
Last time I checked, Minority Report was still just a film.
There must be lifers up and down the country’s prisons currently banging their tin cups on the bars of their cells, complaining about how unfair it is that, when it came to their crimes and misdemeanours, the police most definitely looked for evidence when they were trying to get them locked up. And also they arrested them after the offence had taken place, not before.
And in any event, they have now said they will investigate the party that Tory candidate for London Mayor and the former chair of the police and crime committee (now resigned) Shaun Bailey, which very much negates both of their reasons for refusing to investigate the ones that Johnson allegedly had knowledge of, or even attended.
You may think all this focus on last year’s Christmas parties is all a bit trite, cheap and irrelevant, and to be honest, I think you’d maybe have a point.
For whilst we’re all preoccupied with potentially illegal gatherings last year, our own civil liberties are being gradually stripped from under our noses. Already our democratic right to protest has gone. At the same time, refugees – not migrants, refugees – are being turned away on the basis that their attempts to reach our shores whilst fraught with danger (which they are) are illegal (which they aren’t). And I can’t help but think that the herd immunity policy which has been implemented over Covid – not that they call it that, but that’s what it is – and the refusal to go into lockdown again are specifically designed to make our beloved NHS, surely the pride of our country, finally buckle and collapse so that it can be sold off to the highest bidder, or, more likely, to some mate of a prominent MP who owns a pub and is a jolly good egg.
Right now, entitled uber-moron Dominic Raaaaaaaaab is reviewing the Human Rights Act and trying to introduce legislation which would allow the Government to overturn any judicial decision they disagree with. And that, my friends, is scary.
See, I’ve mentioned before the dead cat theory, where we are distracted from something unpopular by the metaphorical throwing of a dead cat onto the table, making every one talk about the dead cat and the person who threw it there rather than whatever it is they were trying to distract us from. It used to be called “burying bad news” and you may recall that one of former PM Tony Blair’s advisers got in a lot of bother when they suggested that 9/11 would be “a good day to bury bad news”.
I don’t think this is a dead cat tossing situation though, or if it is then it has spectacularly backfired, to the point where bookies are offering odds on who will replace Johnson. Current favourites are Liz Truss, Priti Patel and Matt Hancock. Gawd help us, is that the best they have to offer??
Much as I loathe Johnson, there is a tiny part of me that almost hopes he stays on. Not just because of who is likely to replace him (will they go for the idiot, the evil one, or the philandering incompetent next?) but also because I want his fall from grace to become even more spectacular.
“Sunday, Sunday here again in tidy attire You read the colour supplement, the TV guide…”
Well, you can now add “The Chain” to the list of things to read on a Sunday, although events have rather caught up with me, meaning that it will be a race against the clock for me to get this finished by the end of the day.
We ended The Chain #36 with “Hyperactive!” by Thomas Dolby and the usual request for your suggestions for songs that can be linked to that tune. Let’s see what you came up with.
First, a batch of songs which link to “Hyperactive!” the song, and “Hyperactive!” the physical state, first amongst them being submitted by Rol from My Top Ten:
“‘Hyperactive!’ begins with a psychiatrist asking Dolby to “Tell me about your childhood.” So my first choice is…”
A few weeks ago, Babylotti got in touch to put me on notice that he was looking to suggest a song which he thought it would be impossible for me to locate a copy of. This week is the week he put that into practice:
“Okay so starting off with the Hyperactive link, it reminds me of another 80s songster, Alexei Sayle. He had a hit with ‘Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?’ (not the link yet) [which is lucky, as it’s featured before, so I’d have had to disqualify it] in the charts at the exact same time as ‘Hyperactive!’, [I’ve checked this, and it is correct: 26/02/84, ‘Hyperactive!’ was at #29 on it’s way down from #17, whilst ‘Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?’ was at #35 on it’s way to the giddy heights of #15] but in 1982 he released a single as the Albanian World Cup Squad, ‘Albania! Albania!’ (as threatened/promised!). With a chorus quite reminiscent of the Blackadder theme tune, I first heard it on the Anne Nightingale show back then, had been after it ever since.”
One of the rules here at The Chain is that if you suggest a song then you must be able to supply a copy of it in the event that I don’t already own it, or am unable to source it. This has happened 4 or 5 times since we started, and you won’t be surprised to learn than I couldn’t find this one. I had been prepared for this, as Babylotti previously advised me that as far as he was aware, it was only available on one website.
That website, he revealed, was his Soundcloud page. Should be easy enough to find, I thought, typing the words “babylotti” and “soundcloud” into Google. Did it find babylotti’s Soundcloud page? Did it heck. But what it did reveal is that some chap called Rick Shide has been reposting The Chain verbatim for a few months now on something called ‘Inoreader’.
Let’s all give Rick a wave, shall we?
I’m sure you’re all as flattered as I am.
Anyway, to babylotti’s suggestion, which he ended up adding to his own blog, Livin’ Out Rock’n’Roll in order that you can all hear it today. I have to admit, it is pretty funny:
Babylotti then goes off at a bit of tangent, which is fine, as long as it’s justifiable, and his next two suggestions are, linking to “Hyperactive!” via the aforementioned Alexei Sayle record:
“I’ll then stay with the football theme and choose the song from when New Order ruled the world, World in Motion. The greatest football song ever, and that’s coming from a Republic of Ireland supporter…”
Of course, one of the highlights of that record is the rap performed by John Barnes, and let’s be honest, other than that goal against Brazil, it was probably the most impressive thing he ever did in an England shirt.
Caught up on the tube in August last year, Barnes was kind enough to treat his fellow travellers with an impromptu rendition:
“And my last one,” babylotti rounds off, “which always reminds me of Goal of the Month:”
It wasn’t just the song title “Hyperactive!” that was linked to; many others linked to Hyperactive the condition.
Over now to Jules from Music From Magazines. In case you have any issues deciphering Jules’ contributions, as I did this week, please note something he said in a Comments Conversation we had yesterday:
“Please check the time I posted this , music from mags rules are only post in pubs…”
A fine rule, which I may have to bring in as mandatory…
Anyway, here’s Jules’ first suggestion:
“A Hyperactive Thomas can cause many problems, so let’s get it out the system and try Ivor Biggun and….”
Stop right there. Let me just slap one of these labels on this one:
Although, it’s hardly needed, you can pretty much get the gist from the sleeve, the artist (I use that term most misguidedly) and song title:
Ivor Biggun is a the “comic” creation of Doc Cox, who some of you may remember from his stint as one of the co-hosts of consumer show “That’s Life!”, a show spoofed here by the “Not The Nine O’Clock News” team (albeit, in pre-Cox days):
If you ever need to investigate whether there was a link between increased illegal drug use (non-contraceptive) and teenage pregnancies in the 1980s, then you could probably cite this record, for gleefully announcing over a summery, steel drum tune that the lead singer is “drowning in amphetamines” and, even more irresponsibly, that “I don’t care if you get me into trouble”. Yours faithfully, Outraged, Tunbridge Wells.
Finally in this first batch, here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie? who, like me, went to see ‘T2 Trainspotting’ this week and, like me, bloody loved it. That’s a recommendation, by the way.
“Ian Watkins from the group Steps was always called “H” which was short for Hyperactive – If you’ve ever seen him being interviewed on telly (no I wouldn’t admit to it either) you will know why. The song of theirs that I’m going to choose is…”
That’s not quite what I first thought the “H” stood for, if I’m honest…
Regular visitors to these pages will know that each week one suggestion is crowned “Worst Record of the Week”. Unbelievably, this week that record is not by Steps.
Moving on, and several of you provided links to Mr Dolby himself; here’s Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense with one of them:
“Thomas Dolby was in The Camera Club (a band, not a photographic society) with Bruce Woolley. Bruce Woolley was co-writer (with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes) of ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’, the song which epitomises all things 80s (even though it was released in 1979).
Many earholes have agreed that the Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club version is superior.”
The first suggestion we received this week was from The Great Gog, whose nominated track leads us rather nicely into the next batch of similarly-themed-suggestions:
“A fairly straightforward double-link springs to mind immediately. Thomas Dolby was involved in the production of Prefab Sprout’s ‘From Langley Park To Memphis’ album (although duties were shared out on that one). That album just happens to include another song with an exclamation mark at the end of the titles, so “Hey Manhattan!” it is.”
Next up, it’s Martin from New Amusements, who suggests a song by a band who are very dear to me indeed:
“Hyperactive has an exclamation mark at the end. Mid-80s twee-merchants The Chesterfields used to use an inverted exclamation mark as the “i” in their name, so how about ‘Ask Johnny Dee’ by The Chesterfields? Or maybe that should be The Chesterf¡elds…”
Taken from their jingly-jangly guitar lost classic “Kettle”, an album which came out in 1987 on the oft-overlooked Subway Records label; I recently placed it in a “Top 1o albums which have stayed with me” Facebook round-robin thing.
I’d completely forgotten about the ! in their name, and I have to say I’m bloody delighted to have the chance to post a song by them, even if they are very much “of their time”.
Oh but before I do, a clarification from Martin:
“On closer inspection, the exclamation mark in The Chesterfields wasn’t inverted, just normal i.e. The Chesterf!elds.”
Last of the Exclamation Marks now, and another of my suggestions. In all honesty, when the first song linked by the exclamantion mark came in, I thought there would be no way that somebody wouldn’t suggest something by this lot.
If you don’t know this band, but like “House of Jealous Lovers”-era The Rapture, then I’d heartily recommend you give this a spin, if for no other reason than it’s prowling Slits “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”-esque bass line:
Okay, on to other Thomas’s now, and back to The Great Gog:
“Around the time that Mr. Dolby was first active musically, there was another keyboard player called Thomas releasing records, albeit with less commercial success – Thomas Leer. Mr. Leer later went on to be part of Act, who had a minor hit with ‘Snobbery & Decay’.”
“My second choice,” continues Badger, “is ‘Thomas the Fib’ by much missed dancey jazz pioneers Red Snapper from their excellent ‘Prince Blimey’ album. Prince Blimey being the bastard son of Prince William and Katie Price from their ill advised affair of 2001. That was exposed by the Daily Mirror after Wills was seen leaving a kebab shop at 3 in the morning and letting himself into the back door of Price’s Penge Maisonette.” [Can we insert the word ‘allegedly’ in that at least once and preferably several times please? – Legal Ed]
Right, you know who this week’s instalment of The Chain is missing? George, that’s who. Up you step, George:
“From Thomas (Dolby) to the diminutive Tommy, which could lead to any number of tracks from a double by The Who, but won’t, but does lead to Eric Clapton who performed Eyesight to the Blind in the film Tommy (I went with my mum to see that film).. Sonny Boy Williams (the second one) does the original”
I’m assuming it’s the original version that you want:
Now, remember earlier that Jules revealed that he only ever posts when in the pub? Here’s another one from him, which he submitted after I had asked what on earth he was dribbling on about in two of his other suggestions (one of which i still don’t understand):
“St Thomas supported Lambchop at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth some years back, as the encore started we had to go to get the last ferry home. And the song a cover of The Stranglers “(Get a) Grip (of Yourself)’.”
Some admin, from me: the St Thomas referred to does not imply that Thomas Dolby has received some kind ecclesiastical sanctity; it is the performing name of one Thomas Hansen. Also, the cover isn’t by St Thomas, it’s by Lambchop, a live version of which appears on their “Rainer on my Parade” album, but I’m posting the studio version.
Some admin from Jules: “This [choice] is not a reference to my previous ‘I’m a Wanker’ suggestion.”
Two more categories to go now, and unsurprisingly, many of you linked to Thomas Dolby’s surname, and the technical side of sound reproduction.
I’ll let Martin explain:
“Dolby, as anyone of a certain vintage (i.e. all of us) knows, is the de facto tape hiss reduction technology. Dolby-B was most common. Dolby-C less so – better hiss reduction but too much loss of treble. Dolby-S came knocking just as tape succumbed to burning your own CDs instead, but it was brilliant! Especially if recording on a good quality metal tape (TDK MA90 or, better still, Sony Metal-XR)… sorry, turning into a hi-fi geek. The suggestion. So for me, Dolby makes me think “S” and hence, unfortunately, S-Express and ‘Theme From S-Express’. Not something I’m desperate to hear again…”
Long-term readers will know that some time ago I ran a very short-lived thread about the samples used on certain records, and ran one post which looked at exactly this tune. You can read it again here (not sure if the links are still active, let me know if not).
Before we go any further, a suggestion of a different sort. As mentioned earlier, one of the rules here is that we don’t play the same tune twice (unless the first time it was played it was because it featuring in The Official Chain, rather than being suggested by one of us). When you leave your Comment/Suggestion, you should have the option of ticking a little box which lets you know if anyone replies to your Comment – please tick this, for in the event of me being unable to source the song, or in case I need you to clarify your suggestion, or, as happened here, you suggested something that had already featured, it makes it a lot easier for me to get in touch with you. Thanks.
So, back to Rigid Digit:
“Spinal Tap reference time:
When discussing the failure of their new album (‘Smell The Glove’), Jeanine Pettibone (David St Hubbins’ girlfriend) stated that the problem with the album was that “You can’t do Heavy Metal in DOBLY”
Suggested track: ‘Stonehenge’.”
Which we’ve had before (#32). So, in the absence of a response from Rigid to my request for an alternative suggestion, I’ve, er, plumped for this one:
A joint suggestion now, for The Swede of Unthought of, though, somehow nominated a tune that was on my not-so-shortlist, which he very graciously said he’d step aside and let me nominate. However, a better idea, I think is if we jointly suggest this and then both have another go at a snake related tune.
Over to you then, Swede:
“As George so rightly pointed out the Dolby system was developed in part to reduce tape hiss. Another thing that hisses is of course a snake, so let’s have ‘The Snake’ by Al Wilson.”
Nope, that’s not the worst record of the week either.
Some of you knew that Thomas Dolby was heavily involved in the development of ringtones; Rigid Digit says that he “…invented the Nokia Ring Tone (cue oversized mobile phone a la Trigger Happy TV: “HELLO!, I’m on the Internet. It’s very boring (mostly, but there are some places worth visiting – honest!)”
In case the reference to oversized mobile phones means nothing to you, Rigid refers to this:
..which prompted babylotti to pipe up:
“You’d almost want to go with Mario Piu’s Library there, it samples Dom Joly’s favourite phrase.”
Quite an uninspring bit of cover art, that, isn’t it. Let me see if I can find a more appropriate library related picture…
Ah yes, this seems about right:
Anyway, where were we? Ringtones, that’s where. And here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad with, without even the merest shadow of a doubt, the Worst Recod of the Week, by a country mile:
“Thomas Dolby went on to basically invent polyphonic ringtones. I therefore suggest this week’s worst record, ‘Axel F’ by Crazy Frog, on the grounds that it’s Thomas Dolby’s fault. I dimly recall there were some further, possibly even worse, follow-ups, but I think Axel F will suffice to remind us of the evil that Thomas Dolby has visited upon the world. His crimes must never be forgotten.”
It’s alright for you lot, you don’t have to listen to it, like I do when I check the copy I *ahem* aquired is clear and has uploaded okay.
Crazy Frog – Axel F
I once berated a guy I worked with for having that as his ringtone.
As I mentioned when Alex posted that, the one redeeming feature of that record is, if my memory serves, that it stopped Coldplay from getting their first ever number one single.
“Thomas Dolby had the look of a mad scientist and indeed did ‘She Blinded Me With Science’. So, ‘The Scientist’ please – not the Coldplay original but rather the Willie Nelson cover. If you can only find the original please don’t bother.”
Always a pleasure to deny Coldplay twice in one post.
Just two more suggestions to go now; penultimately, back to The Robster:
“The quirky scientist Dr Magnus Pyke guested on another of Thomas Dolby’s hits ‘She Blinded Me With Science’. In his Wikipedia entry, it claims one of the many books he’s written is ‘Tricky and Portishead and Other Stonehead Bristol Sounds of the Future.’ I have seen references of this come up occasionally in other places, but have never actually managed to track down any credible suggestion that such a book even exists. However, it’s a fantastic thought that Dr Pyke would have written such a thing, so I’m also going to suggest some things links with my other suggestion: Tricky’s cover of XTC’s ‘Dear God’.”
Which would be where we’d leave it, but one last peek into the pub to see what Jules has been up to leads to something about him being too old to be in a fight, about Donald Trump, an admission that the one suggestion I still don’t follow “…still makes not a lot sense…”, that I should “…ignore previous drunken ramblings…” and most pertinently that “…I needed some Billy Bragg…”
So, as a one off, while I’m not at all sure how this links to the source record, I’ll assume that somewhere there is a link buried deep in Jules inner psyche, play it, and leave it at that. It is rather fine, as relevant today as when Woody Guthrie first penned the lyrics:
Here’s some Bonus Points for The Great Gog for proving Meat Loaf right when he sang “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”.
And here’s a request for your suggestions for songs which link to “Bonny” by Prefab Sprout, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for next Sunday’s edition (by which I mean, by Saturday night, please!)
Is it Wednesday again already? Where did that week go?
Right, we’ve got the biggest number of suggestions to get through that we’ve ever had this week, and that’s without any from a couple of regular Chain Gangers, so there’s no time for pleasantries this week, bar a courteous “Hello!” (Also, I’m feeling a little under the weather today, so please excuse me if there are less attempts at jokes than usual this week…)
Still, the show must go on, and all that.
We signed off last week with “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by XTC, inviting your usual wide-ranging nominations for tunes that link to it, and I can’t think of a batter way to kick things off this week than with one of The Beard’s suggestions:
“The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead was released in 1992. Also released in 1992 was the album Connected by Stereo MCs. That year they supported Happy Mondays on their Yes Please! tour. Yes Please! is a genuinely appalling album and one that appeared to mark the end of Shaun Ryder as a lyricist and a poet comparable to Yeats (in the mind of Anthony H. Wilson, anyway). That was until he came back with Black Grape and the single Reverend Black Grape a few years later.”
“My first thought was that the XTC sleeve looked familiar, but I know that I didn’t buy ‘Peter Pumpkinhead’ as a single, only acquiring later on a compilation. A quick look through the vinyl singles revealed another XTC sleeve in that style for The Disappointed, which I presume was on the same album [it was, on “Nonsuch”]. This immediately brought to mind a couple of other singles I possess called Disappointed – one by Public Image Limited…”
Now, when I say the Morrissey song leads us nicely to Bob the Builder, it’s because Bob is of course voiced by actor Neil Morrissey, and not because anyone other than the aforementioned Spud has a head shaped like a pumpkin.
“Frank Sidebottom didn’t have a pumpkinhead, but it was the size of a pumpkin. His cover of Panic is always worth a spin, but as it’s that time of year, you may want to consider something from the Christmas Is Really Fantastic EP which came out 30 whole years ago! Blimey…”
By the way, apologies for the absolute bobbins way that mp3 ends; I didn’t notice until earlier today that it cuts out mid-conversation between Frank and Little Frank, and, erm, frankly I haven’t had time to re-edit it.
Anyway, we seem to be in the middle of some pumpkin related shenanigans, so here to add to the mix is a couple of suggestions from SWC, also of When You Can’t Remember Anything:
“If you need a Pumpkin reference [as it happens, I thought we would, but we’ve done alright, ta!], then we could go towards ‘Pumpkin’ by Tricky…”
And here’s another. Remember Kate Nash? You know, her with that really annoying voice that sounded like she was affecting an Essex accent, had a massive hit with “Foundations” a few years back? Yeh, you do. Well, anyway, here’s one of her follow-up singles:
I have no idea why that song is so named. I can’t help but suspect it’s one of those “Yesterday/Scrambled Eggs” scenarios, except she didn’t bother changing it.
Time for a big Chain Gang welcome to a new (I think…) contributor, and here with a couple of belters is Julian, the first of which is a double-linker, since it mentions not only pumpkins but also ballads:
“Murder Ballads by Nick Cave & The Bad Seedshas the song The Curse Of Millhaven, a line in which refers to two dog killers as ‘Stinky Bohoon and his friend with the pumpkin sized head’…”
Sorry, George, I had no idea he was going to do that, honest….
Anyway, since we seemed to have strayed into Ballad territory, we may as well have some more. Welcome, then, Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“I shall redeem myself with my second thought – ‘The Ballad of El Goodo’ by Big Star.”
Yes, I know I haven’t posted his first suggestion yet, do I need to post the whole Dr Who, Timey-Wimey clip again? I’ll get to it. Besides, this now adds a whole element as to whether or not CC’s second suggestion really is going to be better than his first, don’t ya think?
“I remembered My Top Ten Ballads Of… which I did ages ago (I can’t be bothered looking for a link, I’m not after a cheap plug this week!) Ahead of the aforementioned Peter Pumpkinhead [and another one which will be along in a minute or two] was ‘The Ballad of Barry Allen’ by Jim’s Big Ego, which is about the fleet-footed superhero The Flash and, curiously enough, written and performed by Jim Infantino, the nephew of comic book artist Carmine Infantino who used to draw said superhero quite a lot back in the comics I read when I was a younger, more affluent person.”
“I tend to submit only one suggestion per week as realise you must be pretty overloaded nowadays [yeh, a little, but I’ll survive!] …but three that came to mind immediately – if any of them seem worthy of including, or have a gag in them, take your pick.”
This, then was the third: “…Marianne Faithful, who tends to be remembered less for her music as for “other things” but there you go”:
Gags? I have no idea what you mean. Nor do I have any idea what those “other things are” that you refer to.
Oh, I see.
Moving swiftly on, here’s Martin from New Amusements, back for his second week of Chain Gangery:
“My first reaction was to pick up on the ballad, and go with ‘The Ballad of Tom Jones’, by Space and Cerys Matthews. However, much as I sometimes love Cerys, I felt determined to come up with a better song than this….”
Back over to Rol, who’s still banging on about the Ballad Top 10 he did over at his place, but which he definitely isn’t after a cheap plug for, nosireebob. (It’s right here if you want to have a look. Needless to say, there’s some belters)
“At #2 was Martin’s Tom Jones.
#1 was something really rather special.
‘The Ballad of the Kingsmen’ by Todd Snider. It’s Louie Louie-tastic.”
babylotti continues: “The video (apart from having several ladies in a state of undress) is one of those ones which stops the song halfway through, which leads me onto my next suggestion, the magnificent Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order (You’re a real ‘up’ person..) surely the best song they ever wrote?”
I’m not arguing.
babylotti is right, The Bloodhound Gang video does stop halfway through (as their bass player wanders off stage, his eye caught by one of these ladies). I have watched it, so that you don’t have to, just to check the link is valid. You know, purely for research purposes. Seven times.
In case you’re not sure what babylotti is talking about re:Bizarre Love Triangle, this from wiki:
“The music video, which was released in November 1986, was directed by American artist Robert Longo. It prominently featured shots of a man and a woman in business suits flying through the air as though propelled by trampolines; this is based directly on Longo’s “Men in the Cities” series of lithographs. The video also features a black and white cut-scene where Jodi Long and E. Max Frye are arguing about reincarnation, in which Long emphatically declares “I don’t believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug or as a rabbit!” Frye responds, “You know, you’re a real ‘up’ person,” before the song resumes.”
Some of you, and I won’t be asking for a show of hands, will perhaps not be familiar with Chasey Lain, so I’ll let babylotti wrap things up, as he seems to know who she is:
“My last suggestion, as Chasey Lain is a porn star, I would like to suggest another porn star who went on to make a record (no, not Paris Hilton, though surely that would have made worst single of the week….), ‘Fallen Angel’ by Traci Lords”
Now, a few moments ago, babylotti made reference to the Worst Record of the Week, and surprisingly, in a week where we’ve already mentioned Bob the Builder, there were very few of these this week. Few, but not none.
Step forwards SWC:
“The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead takes us to A recent poll in a magazine in which ‘More Than Words’ by impossibly awful hair bear band Xtreme was voted as the ‘worst ballad of all time’. This was a song that was my sisters first dance at her wedding and a song on a cassette that I once reversed my car over around 19 times.”
A small admin point here: I’m taking the link to be bands whose names start with an X? In which case, sorry to break the news, but they were called Extreme, not Xtreme. But, under the weather as I may be, Spurs have just managed to finally win a game in the Champions League (better late than never, eh?), so I’m feeling magnanimous and I’ll let it slide this time:
Of course, it’d be sacrilege for me to post that and not also post this:
And whilst we’re on out-dated sounding bands from the 70s, here’s a suggestion from George:
“Right. Worst record of the week. Here goes. Also from Swindon was Diana Dors, who was married to Alan Lake, leading to Emerson Lake and Palmer and a record I bought for a pound (and was described to me in the record shop as a terrible record, and they were right) Pictures At An Exhibition, and side 1 track 2 The Gnome. Complete and utter tripe.”
Over to Kuttowski from A Few Good Times in My Life. As you will see shortly – and this is my introducing yet another element of suspense – I have had to disqualify his first suggestion. Until the moment of that big reveal, though:
“Far back in time, when punk ruled my life for a bit I was addicted to Peter and the Test Tube Babies. Fast, mean and straight was the main things they gave me at these times. So I would like to suggest their ‘Banned From The Pubs’.”
I’m not surprised they were banned from pubs. Test Tube Babies are way under age, even if they are accompanied by a consenting adult.
Time to head over to Muso Corner and see what some of our regulars have rustled up for us this week.
Here’s Martin again: “Andy Partridge of XTC was originally going to produce Blur’s ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ but, at the label’s insistence, was subbed, and Stephen Street was drafted in like an indie supply teacher. Cue career-redefining album and the salvation of the band. All of which is my excuse for pitching Colin Zeal by Blur, from ‘Modern Life’ …”
Well pitched sir. You’ll be on the creative team on The Apprentice in no time!
“‘Peter Pumpkinhead’ was produced by the late Gus Dudgeon, most famous for twiddling the knobs on many of Sir Reginald of Pinner’s greatest hits, though also among his credits are two albums by The Bonzo Dog Band (post Doo-Dah). From the second of these, ‘Tadpoles’, I’d like to suggest ‘Canyons of Your Mind’.”
“(There’s a rather splendid TV performance of the song on YouTube if you’re looking for a video to post this week.)” The Swede rather helpfully suggests. Well, I wasn’t, but since I think the clip you’re referring to is actually where I know the song from, it would be churlish of me not to:
Back now to SWC, with “a proper suggestion”. And when he says, “a proper suggestion” he means “a proper suggestion”:
“If I remember this song correctly it had a dodgy reference in it to crucifixion – something about being nailed to a chunk of wood…?”
You do remember correctly; in fact it goes:
“Peter Pumpkinhead was too good
Had him nailed to a chunk of wood
He died grinning on live TV
Hanging there he looked a lot like you
And an awful lot like me!”
“So the obvious link to that is ‘Reverence’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain.”
“I’m only hoping,” winds up SWC, “that the real link is nothing to do with Crash Test Dummies.”
I’m not sure I understand that reference. Still, with a bit of luck, someone will explain it to me soon enough.
Here’s Alex G again:
“‘The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead’ was later a minor hit for Crash Test Dummies via the soundtrack of ‘Dumb and Dumber’ [Oh, I see! Thanks!]. So going with the link of “original recordings of songs subjected to ‘quirky’ cover versions on the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack”, I would like to suggest “Get Ready” by The Temptations.”
Penned by Smokey Robinson when he was still called William, and covered by The Proclaimers of all people on the above named soundtrack, I think that may be my favourite record of the week. It’s certainly my “Best Dressed for a Single Sleeve” winner of the week.
Time for more Dumb and Dumber relayed madness from Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense:
“As mentioned above, covered by Crash Test Dummies for the ‘Dumb and Dumber’ soundtrack, Crash Test Dummies are best known for going “Mmm!” a lot. That single was a huge seller (and after a while hugely annoying). The parent album (God Shuffled His Feet) is worth a listen, as is the follow-up single ‘Afternoons and Coffeespoons'”
Maybe time has dulled it’s ability to irritate, but I listened to “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” after you mentioned it, first time I’d heard it in years, and it wasn’t as bad as I recalled. It’s his voice that’s really annoying, I think. Still, I don’t know anything else by them, so let’s have a listen and see if he’s always like that:
That was the B-side to their smash “Unbelievable” single, and I remember there being quite the furore in some of the red-tops when they flipped the record over and found out what EMF stands for. Other interesting facts: one of the band (Derry…?) used to have a party trick where he inserted a whole orange under his foreskin. That’s not the sort of party I ever want to be invited to, thank you very much.
Still, more fine E related skull-doggery is afoot, with this suggestion from Swiss Adam from Bagging Area, which wins my “Oh, Is That What That Tune’s Called!!” Award of the Week:
“XTC, as several people have pointed out, is also a name of a popular rave drug. It is chanted throughout Joey Beltram’s monstrously good Energy Flash.”
Now, earlier on, I mentioned that I had to disqualify a suggestion by Kuttowski, this one to be precise:
“XTC were an art-rock band from Swindon and were much more as the average in these days. So it would great to listen to their Making Plans For Nigel once again.”
I don’t disagree, but here at The Chain we need a link to be more than just “X band also did X song”, the suggestion needs to be more than that.
But, I’ll tell you what, how about I give you a tune which has the music from “Making Plans” but something else over the top if it? I’m talking, of course, about one of them there “mash-ups”; as a whole I’m not a great fan of the genre – yes, they’re often very clever but equally often the producer over eggs it, assumes the listener needs it explaining, and includes the vocal from the backing track when it really isn’t required, spoiling it.
This is one of the better ones, mixing Tweet featuring Missy Elliott’s “Oops (Oh My)” with the aforementioned XTC tune. Give it a listen:
You thought we’d finished with the pumpkin related tunes a while ago, didn’t you? Well, as it happens, we haven’t, I was saving a couple back.
Here’s George again:
“A pumpkin is a member of the squash family, and in the 1970s there was a squash player called Jonah Barrington (who stormed out of Superstars for some reason ,but I might be wrong there), and Barrington Levy is a reggae artist, so I suggest his diddly-diddly-wah-hoo song ‘Here I Come’.”
Time to tie up one more loose end now, and it’s back to Charity Chic, who you will recall is due to post a record worse than Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo”, which really shouldn’t prove too difficult:
“XTC to Andy Partridge to the Partridge Family to David Cassidy and Daydreamer.”
Since we’re on Partridges – and I know you’re expecting me to post a video clip to a bit of Alan Partridge, but I’m not going to -here’s something seasonal from The Great Gog:
“Now it’s December, there is a well-known song that features the word partridge rather a lot. My favourite version of this tune actually DOESN’T contain the word partridge, and despite many listens over the years, I do still find it mildly amusing – The Twelve Days Of Christmas by Bill Barclay.”
Ok then, to round things up, here’s a wee message from Andy Partridge himself, which I picked up on one of those “Late Night Tales” compilations a few years ago, this one compiled by Helmut, and it seems rather apt: