Halloween Night Music Club

So much for my “no more themed mixes” rule – you didn’t really expect I’d be able to resist doing one for Halloween, did you?

See, there’s so many Halloweur/scary/monsters linked songs (and there’s a clue right there as to the identity o)f one that features this week), I could have made this one at least three times as long, had I been so inclined. But I managed to resist temptaion, and kept it to (just over) an hour – the trimmed ones can make their appearances next year. Or the year after. Or the year after that.

Truth be told, I’m not really a fan of Halloween. The only good thing about it, as far as I can see, is that I can legitimately keep my curtains closed and refuse to answer the door all weekend.

Anyway, here we go with what I hope is not an entirely predictable mix for you all to enjoy whilst stuffing your faces full of the candy you decided not to give to Trick or Treaters, or whilst you’re cleaning the smashed eggs off your front door having ignored them.

I’d recommend turning the lights off, drawing the curtains, lighting some candles and turning it up loud:

Halloween Night Music Club

And here’s your track-listing and sleeve notes. Look away now if you like surprises!

  1. John Murphy – In The House – In A Heartbeat

Or, the super spooky music from one of the best British horror movies from the last 20 years: Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. It beautifully encaspulates the peace and silence which pre-empts all the blood and gore and zombies in a loudQUIETloud kinda way. I don’t profess to be an expert of either band, but it does make me think of Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

In case you’ve never seen it, a) what on earth have you been doing? and b) here’s the trailer, which includes some of those iconic deserted London scenes which were breath-taking at the time (and still are):

The thing I love most about 28 Days Later is that for the first 2/3 of the film, you think it’s just another zombie movie, albeit majesticaly and creatively filmed. But when the last 1/3 kicks in, you realise that’s not what the film is about at all,,,

2. Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead

From John to Pete Murphy. I could have filled this mix with goth classics, but in the end plumped for just the one. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have squeezed this in just before SWC completes his wonderfully entertaining countdown of the Top 20 Goth records over at No Badger Required and, since it hasn’t featured yet, I assume crowns this as #1.

This is as intense and moody as hell, slowly building from the intricate drum patterns which sound like flapping bats’ wings, through to the booming darkness of the lyrics: it’s one heck of a record.

Mr Lugosi was unavailable for comment. Because he’s dead.

3. David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

From the album with the same name, the first after his notoriously influential, but commercially unsuccesful, Berlin trilogy. Apparently, this return to a more commerical sound (!) was inspired by his loathing of Gary Numan, who was viewed as a Bowie rip-off.

4. The Automatic – Monster

A remix of this almost appeared in a recent Friday Night mix, but got dropped at the last minute. Which is lucky, because it’s ideal for this one.

I’ve never actually read an interview with this Cardiff based band to confirm it – Wiki says the lyrics were “…a metaphor for the monster that comes out when people are intoxicated…” – but I definitely heard that it was about when all the boys from the Valleys would descend on the capital city of a Saturday night and cause absolute mayhem.

5. Peaches – Trick or Treat

Extraordinarily for a record by Peaches, I don’t think this contains any actual swears. Sure, there’s innuendo a-plenty – at least that’s what I assume her mention of never going to bed without a piece of raw meat is, anyway. Probably best I slap one of these on it anyway, to be on the safe side:

6. Radiohead – Bodysnatchers

Included for two reasons: i) when I was a kid, the movie Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (the remake, with Donald Sutherland) absolutely scared the crap out of me, and ii) because it’s one of the many tunes where Thom Yorke sounds in tortured pain, which seems appropriate somehow.

7. Miley Cyrus – I Get So Scared

If you’ve not yet succumbed to the charms of Miss Cyrus, then may I direct you to the album this is lifted from, Мiley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz, described in various quarters as experimental, psychedelic, psychedelic pop and space pop, which will come as less of a surprise when you learn that Wayne Coyne and the boys from The Flaming Lips were massive influences on the creative process and feature on the record too. Seriously: check it out. It absolutely changed my perception of her.

Anyway, there’s no need to be scared, Miley; here’s….

8. Bobby ”Boris” Picket & The Crypt Kickers – Monster Mash

Predictable? You betcha. It’s still great though, 50 years since it was first released.

9. Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches

I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it’s obvious why it’s here and it sounds like…well, like Bloc Party.

Actually, I would say that hunting for witches sounds like a very bad idea indeed. I mean, what are you going to do if you catch one? End up in a disappointing sitcom?

Yes, you.

10. Queens Of The Stone Age – Burn The Witch

Ah yes, that’s always an option, I guess.

11. Spinnerette – All Babes Are Wolves

The placing of this, by the former Mrs Josh Homme, is entirely coincidental. Honest. It does provide a rather nice segue into tunes about wolves, mind. Plus, it’s a terrific record, in a quite-a-bit-like-Hole kinda way; a record which was largely and unjustly mostly overlooked when it was released in 2009 and deserves to be revisited.

12. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me

Neil! Neil! I remembered it all by myself!

13. Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

Another from the ‘entirely predictable/I couldn’t resist’ pile.

Included for two reasons: i) I don’t think, and I’m open to correction, any other single to make the UK chart has the word spewing in it; I’m certain no others have He finds his heaven spewing from the mouth of hell, and ii) these are preceded by perhaps the most ludicrously misplaced Ooh yeah baby! ever committed to vinyl.

Genius, in a bat-biting, ant-snorting kind of way.

14. Super Furry Animals – Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon

Time for a breather before the glorious finale, and it seemed appropriate to follow up a record where the lead singer dressed up as a werewolf (a furry animal, no less) on the cover of Bark at the Moon, with a song by the Super Furry Animals, who aren’t adverse to dressing up as big furry animals themselves, singing about how we should just let Ozzy get on with it. Sort of.

15. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon

Not just the last record from the ‘entirely predictable/I couldn’t resist’ pile, but the last record in this mix.

And I need say no more about it than this: magnificent.

Oh, and: more soon.

Friday Night Music Club

A little later than usual this week, not that I think anyone actually listens to these on a Friday Night.

My apologies for that, and for the lack of much preamble or sleeve-notes this week. I will explain why at some point over the weekend.

All I will say is that this week, it’s guitars all the way, with some 70s, 80s and 90s classics, a couple of jokes in the running order, and a few tunes you’ll either have never heard before or will have not heard for so long you’ve forgotten all about. With good reason, some might say.

And no need for my usual admin disclaimer about any mixing gaffes, since this week the cross-fader stayed resolutely here again:

(I’ll be honest, I’ve not had chance to listen to this one; if there’s loads of skips and jumps I’ll redo it, and remove this sentence).

So, we’ll dive straight in – here’s this week’s mix for you:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 16

Track-listing:

  1. The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
  2. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Pump It Up
  3. The Boomtown Rats – Rat Trap
  4. The Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom
  5. The Look – I Am The Beat
  6. Idlewild – When I Argue I See Shapes
  7. Symposium – Farewell To Twilight
  8. Shed 7 – She Left Me On Friday
  9. The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops
  10. Buzzcocks – I Don’t Mind
  11. The Undertones – My Perfect Cousin
  12. King Kurt – Destination Zululand
  13. Tenpole Tudor – Swords of a Thousand Men
  14. Salad – Drink The Elixir
  15. Shocking Blue – Send Me A Postcard Darling
  16. Orange Juice – Felicity
  17. My Life Story – Strumpet
  18. Super Furry Animals – Play It Cool
  19. Belly – Now They’ll Sleep

More soon.

Get Off My Playlist! #5

It’s very easy to explain today’s tunes deselection from the batch of tunes I had first come up with for the summery play list I prepared for JC’s place recently.

For to include it would have been a direct breach of #1 in The Rules of Making a Playlist: Thou shalt not include the same artiste more than once in the same mix.

Having dug out two records by Super Furry Animals which met the original “must have the word sun in the title” criteria, it was a straight choice between today’s tune and Hello Sunshine.

Whilst I wanted to champion the fine city I used to live in – Rhod Gilbert and Rob Bryden have both had the Visit Wales advertising campaign gig, surely I’m next in line? – Cardiff in the Sun is a huge sprawling psychedelic groove full of sha-la-la-la’s and Beach Boys harmonies and, crucially, is over eight minutes long; Hello Sunshine, on the other hand, is a concise, catchy and cool way to start the mix off and, crucially, isn’t. Time and space were rearing their ugly heads again.

And so today’s tune got kicked into touch, only to reappear here today for your delectation:

Super Furry Animals – Cardiff in the Sun

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

It’s Friday yet again (crowd: Hooray!), which means it’s time for your weekly hastily tossed together carefully constructed playlist once again (crowd: shrugs of indifference), and this week we’re back to me splitting down a previous multi-hour playlist into several, easier to digest, hour-long composite parts.

Those of you who rejoiced when it became clear that Vol 2 would only be two playlists long, and those who danced with far more joy than when I post any playlist at the news that I wasn’t going to bother with Vol 3 because I hated it so much, prepared under the extremes of a lockdown Christmas as it was, will be disappointed to learn that this week we start on Vol 4, and this was 4h 41m long when it first saw light of day back in April 2021.

Here’s what I wrote about the full mix last time out:

“…pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.

Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.”

NB: not all of these selling points feature in this week’s mix.

But fear not the two of you who listened to the full mix last time out: I’ve tinkered with the running order a little, and ditched a song or two which didn’t seem to fit, so it should be sufficiently different should you decided to give it another whirl.

Not before the usual disclaimer: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (touch wood, I didn’t notice any when I listened back to it); any mis-timed mixes are down to me (there’s not much actual ‘mixing’ to be done here, but even then I’m not 100% happy with one that I did), all record selections are, of course, mine. Who else do you think would do this and admit it?

Oh, and unlike the first time around, there’s an actual track-listing for you:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 4.1

  1. BMX Bandits – Serious Drugs
  2. The Kills – The Good Ones
  3. Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer
  4. Super Furry Animals – Something For The Weekend
  5. Primal Scream – Rocks
  6. The Cramps – Bop Pills
  7. The Fall – White Lightning
  8. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues
  9. The Mamas & The Papas – Creeque Alley
  10. Marlena Shaw – California Soul
  11. Shirley Ellis – Soul Time
  12. The Go! Team – Bottle Rocket
  13. The Phenomenal Handclap Band – 15 to 20 [Den Hann Remix]
  14. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
  15. The Shamen – Move Any Mountain (Beat Edit)
  16. iio – Rapture [John Creamer & Stephane K Remix]
  17. Kosheen – Hide U [John Creamer & Stephane K Remix]

Enjoy!

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Regular visitors to my Friday night slot (stop it….!) will probably have noticed a few things that I like to do with the mixes I put together and post here (I’m talking the self-contained, meant-to-be-listened-to-as-a-whole mixes, not one of the ones I’ve recently split down into hour-long mixes).

Firstly, I like the first tune to be a definite opener; not necessarily one which sets the tone and style for the rest of the mix, but one which can easily be recognised as a curtain-raiser. See Tonight You Belong To Me by Patience and Prudence from Vol 1; I Dig Rock’n’Roll Music by Peter, Paul & Mary from Vol 2; Rudy, A Message To You by The Specials from Vol 3; Serious Drugs by BMX Bandits from Vol 4; R.E.M.’s Daysleeper from Vol 5…you get the idea.

Secondly, I love placing songs next to each other which shouldn’t really be there, songs which you would never have thought to play alongside each other but which somehow work (I think/hope).

Thirdly, I do love to slip in a tune which makes the listener think: ‘Blimey, I’ve not heard this for ages’ or ‘Cor, I’d forgotten all about this!’ (Not that anyone really says ‘Cor’ or ‘Blimey’ outside of a Carry On film anymore.)

Fourthly, end on something magnificent, just like you would want any gig or DJ set you went to in real life to do. Go out on a high, always leave ’em wanting more etc etc.

You’ll find examples of all four of these character traits on tonight’s brand new shiny mix, so let’s get the admin out of the way and crack right on, shall we?

Admin Part 1: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (I counted two when I listened back to this one); any mis-timed mixes are down to me (there’s one that’s a bit clunky here, I’m afraid; all record selections are mine (you’d better believe it, baby).

Admin Part 2: two of the tunes featuring this week contain some effin’ and jeffin’. One of those two contains a lot. Therefore this warning is most definitely required this week:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 8

And here’s your track listing. Look away now if you like it to be a surprise:

  • Death In Vegas – Dirge
  • Marilyn – Calling Your Name
  • Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno
  • The Pogues – The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn
  • Pixies – Nimrod’s Son
  • Super Furry Animals – Golden Retriever
  • New Order – Regret
  • Missy Elliott featuring Ludacris – Gossip Folks [Fatboy Slim remix]
  • Miike Snow – Animal [Crookers Remix]
  • Fatboy Slim – Everybody Needs a 303
  • The Beloved – Your Love Takes Me Higher [7″ mix]
  • Bentley Rhythm Ace – Bentleys Gonna Sort You Out
  • The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
  • Belle & Sebastian – Seeing Other People
  • Beck – Deadweight
  • The Primitives – Spacehead
  • Ride – Twisterella

That’ll do.

More soon. I may even post something else before next Friday, you never know.

Friday Night Music Club

And we’re back, with the latest part of the first of the way too long mixes I did at the start of the series, and which I’m in the process of splitting down into much more easy to swallow hour-long chunks.

This one was an absolute joy to revisit, although I jiggled around with the running order a little and ditched one track from the initial mix for another, it was enormous fun to put together this 58 1/2 minute long mix of 16 songs, ranging from spiky indie guitar tunes to some skater punk to the 1970s New York punk scene and then to some Emo and some Goth – all absolute bangers in my humble opinion:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 1.3

Track-list:

  • Gang Of Four – I Found That Essence Rare
  • The Fall – Dead Beat Descendant
  • Maxïmo Park – Our Velocity
  • Super Furry Animals – God! Show Me Magic
  • Sports Team – Here’s The Thing
  • Elastica – Stutter
  • Sum 41 – In Too Deep
  • Good Charlotte – Girls & Boys
  • My Chemical Romance – Teenagers
  • Ramones – Beat On The Brat
  • Iggy Pop – The Passenger
  • Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden
  • The Sisters Of Mercy – This Corrosion
  • The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers
  • Interpol – Mammoth (Erol Alkan Rework)

A quick reminder: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine.

Hope you enjoy, see you back here this time next week.

(More soon.)

Friday Night Music Club

Here we are again, this week with the penultimate part of my six-hour mix, divided into six parts for your ‘delectation’.

And this week I think it’s fair to say we’re going full-on Indie Disco, albeit one from circa 1992 (with a few notable exceptions).

It’s also fair to say that once we’ve got past the chanting monks at the start of the first tune (and what better way is there to start a mix than with some chanting monks, right?) we go very LOUD before settling down to a mix of songs you’ll know, some you’ll have forgotten about, and possibly some that you’ve never heard before. Which is exactly how an Indie Disco should be, in my book: entertain and educate.

Many of these tunes remind me of when I used to DJ at college, but two in particular remind me of the first time I DJ’d in around 10 years or so (I’m excluding the time Llŷr and I DJ’d at a friend’s wedding, as all I did that day was hand him records to play).

I was at a party at Hel’s old flat in North London; our friend Ruth, her decks set up on the breakfast bar which looked out on to the living room-cum-dancefloor, has just performed a mammoth set of around 8 hours. People were starting to leave, and I figured she deserved a break. It was around 4am when I sidled up to her: “Do you mind if I have a go?” She nearly bit my hand off, and went and sat on the sofa with Hel.

Since they were practically my entire audience, every one else having left or crashed out, I decided to play some quieter stuff. My first choice caused both of my audience to break off their conversation momentarily, look in my direction, and go “Awwww!” I repeated the trick with my second choice. “Ahhhhhh!”, sighed the two ladies.

“Still got it,” I thought to myself, and played for another hour or so, until it was time to pack the decks away so Ruth could go home too.

I shan’t spoil things by telling you which two tunes I played, but you’ll spot them alright. Partly because, if you know the tunes in question (and I’d be very surprised if you don’t recognise either of them) you’ll probably make similar noises to Hel and Ruth when they start (I’ve put them together here, for maximum effect), but mostly because I couldn’t resist putting a massive sign-post in right before them.

I’ve done mixes, playlists, call them what you will, for years in various guises, from mix-tapes played in the 6th Form common room, in the motorway ‘restaurant’ I worked in during the holidays at 6th Form and at college (and for a year after I graduated), and in the video shop I pretended to work in after I finally graduated, all were sound-tracked by an ever-growing collection of mix-tapes. DJ’ing at college was almost inevitable, really. And then, when I left college – bar a very short, unpleasant stint working for a mobile DJ in Cardiff in the early 90s, which I’ll tell you about some other time (if I haven’t do so already) – nothing.

It was in those moments, standing in Hel’s kitchen, playing to an audience of two awake people and several sleeping ones, that I realised how much I missed DJ’ing, which is why I do these mixes.

So whilst the last of the six parts will be here next week, I’m already adding the final touches to the one for the week after. In short: tough luck, I’m not stopping just yet.

Time for the usual disclaimer: any skips and jumps in the mix are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes are down to me (although on this one, it’s all about the timing rather than the mixing, as the cross-fader literally didn’t move from it’s central position throughout this one).

A cross-fader, yesterday

I’m not sure if that’s something I should be proud of, let alone advertise, to be honest…

There is, as usual, a little bit of potty-mouthed effing and jeffing, only on one song (I think), and as you cast your eye down the track-listing below, you’ll have no problem identifying which one it is. Previous mixes have contained worse (and next week’s mix definitely does), but it would be remiss of me not slap one of these on it for those of a delicate constitution:

Here you go:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 6.5

And here’s your track-listing:

  • Eat – Bleed Me White
  • Hole – Celebrity Skin
  • Senseless Things – Homophobic Asshole
  • The Futureheads – The Beginning of the Twist
  • Northside – Take 5 (7″)
  • The Fatima Mansions – Only Losers Take The Bus
  • The Smiths – Jeane
  • Billy Bragg – Sexuality
  • Elastica – Connection
  • Sleeper – Inbetweener
  • The Cure – In Between Days
  • Super Furry Animals – (Drawing) Rings Around The World
  • Teenage Fanclub – Star Sign (Remastered)
  • The Soup Dragons – Slow Things Down
  • Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
  • Blur – Coffee + TV (Radio Edit)
  • Pulp – Something Changed
  • One Dove – White Love (Radio Mix)
  • Prince – Little Red Corvette

Next week is, then, the final part of this series, where the cross-fader is in full effect as I give you over an hour of dance bangers (as I believe “The” “Kids” say, or used to anyway), which tests my actual mixing skills to the maximum, including as it does what my mate Rob insists is “the hardest tune in the world to mix in or out of.”

Tune in next week to see how successful I am.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

I was beginning to think this mix was jinxed.

I’ll explain, with some back story.

Firstly, I wanted to do a mix unlike the Not Christmas one, which I thought strayed a bit too far into the territories of cheese or chart music. Whilst it served a purpose, it wasn’t really indicative of the sort of tunes which usually feature here.

This one, though is a corker, even if I do say so myself.

Regular readers may recall that way back in the late 1980s, I started DJ’ing at college because I was fed up with being able to guess what song the indie DJs would play next. So imagine my annoyance when my own brother told me that on a previous mix he’d been able to predict my next choice a couple of times. Grrr.

But this mix has proved to be such a pain to complete; when I came to do it today, it tells me that some of the tunes have been played 22 times, which gives you an idea of how many times I’ve tried to get this one right. Pretty much once a week, since Christmas.

What’s gone wrong all those times? Well, on more than one occasion professional pride kicked in: I’ve messed up a mix between tunes, so have elected to start again.

On more than one occasion, preoccupied with playing Solitaire or Candy Crush just to have something to do whilst recording the mix, there’s a sudden, irretrievable silence where the next record should be. Oops!

Once I forgot to stop recording until an hour later, and, triumphant at how the mixes had worked out, I couldn’t understand why the mix lasted over 5 hours, until I listened to it.

The other problem is booze. More than once, I’ve taken drink to such an extent that I’ve forgotten I was doing a mix until the silence after one record has finished hits home and startled me awake.

Last weekend, I got to the third record from the end, and suddenly woke up to silence and realised I’d messed up again. That’s not an indictment of the standard of the mix, by the way, more an example of how drunk I’d gotten.

Even last night, when I finally nailed it, it was my second attempt of the night, having got through most of the mix when I had a drink-spillage event, which I thought I’d sorted, until, four records from the end, suddenly the sound cut out whilst the tunes kept playing and I had no idea if it was still recording the sound or the sound of silence.

Anyway, we’ve got here, and this has been a real pain, so if you could take a listen, that would be great.

I will confess that I have broken the golden rule of not featuring the same act more than once in this mix; this wasn’t intentional, but as the various run-throughs progressed, I simply forgot said acts already appeared as “featuring” acts. One is deliberate. Sue me (Please don’t).

Time for the usual disclaimer: any glitches, skips or jumps are down to the software or the uploading/downloading process, and nothing to do with my limited mixing skills.

Oh, and the usual “effing and jeffing” warning applies; it seems I’m incapable of doing a mix which doesn’t include more than the occasional swear.

I’m not posting a link to download here, other than the one to Soundcloud, where you can either download or stream it.

I couldn’t be bothered with the last ones, but I’ve done it this time: you’ll see a list of all the acts featured in this mix at the bottom of the page, so you can check whether this one’s likely to be your cup of tea before going to the hassle of actually listening to it. If you’re particularly short of things to do, you can try to guess which song I’ve picked by which artist. There’s fun.

But by way of a description: pretty much all life is here, from indie rock to 60s California hippy-shtick, some Old Skool dance classics, some hip-hop and some soul classics via some Northern Soul belters via some TV show theme tunes (sort of); there’s some hoary old rock and some psychobilly, and a couple of tracks which should have featured in a New post by now, but the bands in question played the 6Music festival last weekend so you’ll probably know them intimately by now. And, of course, there’s The Fall.

Easy on the cheese this time, there’s even some poetry so we can all pretend we’re intellectual. You’ll have chance to dance, sit and recover for a few moments, before getting back on it again.

Available for a limited time (i.e. until I do the next one), you can download or stream this on Soundcloud here:

Friday Night Music Club (Volume 4)

I hope you have as much fun listening to this as much as I had putting it together. And I found it utterly frustrating, so you’d better.

Oh, and it ain’t over ’til the fat bloke sings.

More soon.

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Parts 1-3

A week is a long time in politics, so the saying goes. And what a week we’ve just had.

First, Joe Biden was announced as the next President of the United States of America, having won control back from tantrum throwing Donald J Trump.

Secondly, in the news that I think we’ve all been waiting for more than anything: a potential vaccine for Covid-19 has been found. Of course, it has been developed by one of those massive pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer, so we can expect to be charged an arm and a leg for it: Tim Berners-Lee they most definitely are not.

Now I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but as it happens, I have some experience of Pfizer products. Back in the mid-2000s they manufactured a course of tablets designed to assist people wishing to quit smoking, as I did. I’d heard about this magic pill, asked my GP about it, and he prescribed me some. I was instructed to continue smoking my normal amount everyday for two weeks, taking half of one of the tablets for that same period. Then, stop smoking and increase dosage to take a whole tablet each day. The pill would, so the bumph said, quash the desire to smoke.

I utterly failed to give up as a result, soon sliding back to my bad old ways. To be fair, I don’t think that Pfizer had reckoned with quite how dedicated to smoking I was back then.

One of the reasons I failed to quit on that occasion was because the tablets made me feel really nauseous. Ordinarily, when I’d had a few too many drinks and felt pukey, I rarely reached for a cigarette, so I did wonder if that was the masterplan all along: make the patient feel unwell so they don’t want to smoke.

Shortly after this latest of many falls off the wagon, I decided to give them another go, and returned to my GP to ask for a new prescription, only to be told that they no longer prescribed this course of tablets. He was a little evasive as to the reasons, but I was told by a friend who worked in the NHS that there had been reports of multiple people, almost exclusively men, who had been prescribed the same drugs as I, and who it later transpired were vulnerable in terms of their mental health. Placed on a course of these pills, the rumour went, they either had violent, psychotic episodes or they committed suicide, or both. Although (I hasten to add) no link was formally identified, I gather there sufficient concern to lead GPs to refrain from continuing to prescribe them to anyone.

Now, I am not for one second saying that the Covid vaccine is going to have the same effect, in fact it seems extremely unlikely that it would, given the (anecdotal) history I’ve just outlined. I’m sure we’ve all noticed a much greater focus on people’s mental health during lockdown than I can ever remember happening before, and that’s to be welcomed; but – as with any new drugs rushed on to the market – we need to make sure all testing is done to ensure that there are, if not none, then very limited side-effects.

I guess what I’m saying is we should be cautiously optimistic. Let’s not all go wild and drop our guard: we should continue as I hope you all currently are: wearing our masks, socially distancing, washing our hands, and only leaving our homes for essentials. In other words: don’t get carried away, or, if you prefer, just play it cool :

Speaking of getting Carried away (see what I did there? No? Ok, we’ll come back to this…), thirdly, this:

I wrote in my recent post about the American elections that suddenly both social and the mass media appeared to have developed spines, and this seems to have spread to the UK as on Friday night Prime Minister Honey Monster booted out his right hand man and architect of all things dastardly Dominic Cummings.

I’ll admit that when the kernel of this story first surfaced on Thursday, I assumed it was a No 10 tactic to divert attention away from the most unwelcome news that the UK was the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 Covid-related deaths.

Yey! Go Us! Number 1!! Whoo-hoo!

It seemed such a non-story, a bit of in-house cat-fighting as Lee Cain quit after having his promotion from head of communications to chief of staff was blocked by Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds (OK, now do you see what I did there??).

First things first: who the heck is Lee Cain, and why should we give a monkey’s about him quitting? Well, he was the former Vote Leave campaign official who started out as a tabloid journalist with The Sun. After a short period of employment with The Mirror where he was employed to dress as a chicken to taunt David Cameron (surely a pig would have been better…), he went on to work for the Vote Leave organisation in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum. He was the Head of Broadcast for the successful push to quit the EU, working closely with campaign director Dominic Cummings.

Let’s back up a moment here. I’m sure you noticed it. He worked for (right wing rag) The Sun and the (left wing rag) The Mirror. This is not a man whose CV screams “consistent political allegiance”.

Let’s back up a bit more and just remind ourselves that Vote Leave, under Cummings and Cain’s supervision, were fined £61,000 and referred to police for breaking electoral spending laws.

At this point, I have to say I’ve made my mind up about Cain: he’s a flim-flamming charlatan, a law-breaker, seemingly more interested in progressing his own career than, say, doing what is best for the country. To me, he is absolutely not someone that I would want to have anywhere near power.

Not a view shared by those in actual power, it seems.

Having made the switch into Conservative politics, he then found PR roles at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under Spitting Image-puppet made flesh Michael Gove – presumably because he wasn’t one of those ‘experts1 Gove announced we were all so tired of – and very briefly at Downing Street under Dancing Queen Theresa May.  

In 2017 he left to join Johnson as his spokesperson at the Foreign Office. When “Boris” walked out of the cabinet – he’d run out of countries to offend, if memory serves – Cain walked out with him, even working without pay for a short period, telling journalists that “the boss would come good”. What a martyr.

Note: if you can afford to work for a period, no matter how short, without pay, you were probably being paid too much to do the job you left. Just saying.

When Johnson made it to No 10 last July, Cain landed a key job – Head of Communications – in the inner circle. He was identified as the “evil genius” who put his old mate Cummings forward to become the PM’s most senior adviser.

His exit from No 10 followed Allegra Stratton’s appointment as the government’s spokesperson for new White House-style TV briefings. Cain is said to have had a hissy-fit and flounced out several days ago, insisting that he must get the job of Chief of Staff since he would be side-lined on communications by the arrival of Ms Stratton.

In a bid to keep Cain in a job, it was rumoured that Cummings had threatened to go too. And here’s the problem: after Cummings’ infamous drive to Durham, followed by a further drive to check his eyesight when the rest of the country was in Lockdown 1, in the face of popular public opinion, Johnson decided to stand by him. Consequently, the man thought he was bullet-proof.

Much as I love the Poppies, it’s incredible to think that band member Clint Mansell is now one of the most respected film score composers.

But I digress. Now in the middle of Lockdown 2 (“Corona’s Back…and You’re Still Dead”) it all kicked off again on Friday, when Cummings and Cain were summoned to Downing Street to explain themselves, Johnson having evidence – in the form of text messages sent by unidentified whistle-blowers to his partner Carrie Symonds (you’ve got it by now, surely?) – that they were briefing against him.

Who could possibly have foreseen that a pair with histories the likes of Cummings and Cain carried with them would prove to be scheming, duplicitous shits? Budding Iago’s, the pair of them (there, that’s a cultural reference you weren’t expecting!).

Of course, Machiavellian mastermind that he is, Cummings spoke to the press on Thursday night/Friday morning, saying that that it had always been his plan to be become redundant by the end of 2020.

And to support this, he says that he says that he wrote about it on his blog back in January 2020.

We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

You’ll recall that after his little jaunt up to his illegally built farmhouse earlier this year, he gave an interview where he said this: “For years I’ve warned of the dangers of pandemics. Last year I wrote about the possible threat of coronaviruses and the urgent need for planning.”

But according to Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (which is a lot more credible than it sounds), sometime between 8 April 2020 and 15 April 2020 – just before his trip – Cummings’ 2019 blog on pandemics was updated to include a paragraph on SARS (which, along with Covid-19, is also caused by a coronavirus).

This is also confirmed by the website’s sitemap information. This shows that this particular blog post appears to have been edited on 14 April  2020. Prior to this, his blog made no mention of coronaviruses.

I wonder: has anyone checked whether his statement about wishing to be largely redundant by the end of the year made via his blog wasn’t added at a later date too?

And that’s where we are now: Cummings and Cain both booted out of Number 10 a month or so earlier than they say they intended to leave anyway. It’s like when you got dumped as a teenager, and were desperate to wrestle back control of the narrative: “No, I finished with her…”

Now: why would Cummings and Cain both want to extricate themselves from positions of power within the Government before the end of the year? You got it: because on January 1st 2021, we leave the EU and everything is pointing to that being an absolute shit-show. Nobody is going to buy the Covid excuse that will doubtless be rolled out, because that has been handled so ineptly too. Best you distance yourselves from it, eh lads, just as most of them did after the referendum.

Look, don’t get me wrong: I’m glad he’s finally gone. It’s the first thing Johnson has done in his feeble premiership that I’ve agreed with, as it goes. But I think it’s a case of too little, too late.

I have a nasty feeling that Cummings and Trump will be back, though.

But for now, cautious optimism is recommended.

And at the very least, a chorus of this:

I wish Ray had recorded a song called “Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Arse On The Way Out.”

More soon.

The Chain #49

I promise that I’m not going to start all of my posts with these words, but following the last instalment of The Chain I had an email from from long-time reader and Chain Gang contributor George who said that he was “toying with idea of making a cd of Chain 48”. (To any of our younger readers, CDs are what we used to record music on to and listen to music from before streaming and making playlists became things.)

Anyway, I thought this was an excellent idea, because I have a playlist for every edition of The Chain, the purpose of which was partly so that I could revisit and relive the good times and the bad, but mostly so that I could check whether something had already been suggested and therefore was precluded from being nominated again. You may have noticed I’ve been rather lax about this since The Chain returned, and that’s not going to change: I figure in these days of Trump & Johnson, of global pandemics*, international recessions, corruption at a governmental level, and starving children (it was The Chain or a Rant today), there’s more important things to worry about than duplications in The Chain back catalogue.

(*Sit down, New Zealand, I’m not talking about you)

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that to get all of #48’s songs onto one CD would take a lot of editing choices, so I’d love to hear which songs made the cut – even more so should you decide on making one after you’ve read this one because this week (I say that like I post these every week, rather than every six weeks or so) we have just shy of 4 and 3/4 hours worth of tunes to get through, and I don’t think there’s a duff choice amongst them. Some ropey ones, yes, but duffers, no. But then Kay hasn’t suggested anything this time, so…..so maybe I should crack on.

Oh, and George (Incoming obligatory oblique 1970s TV reference that about 80% of you won’t get): I’m sorry but we aren’t able to return any drawings sent in, but yes, it is a big one, no I’ve never seen one quite that shape before, and no I don’t need you to send me a photo, but thank you for the offer.

OK, so let’s start as we usually do with a reminder of the source material this time around, which was this:

As you might expect, we have a lot of tunes related to Talk(ing), some related to Fear of Music (the album that features on), and then what I believe is the collective term for lots of suggestions on a similar theme: an absolute fuckload of songs linked to a specific city, or the words cities or city. As always, I’ll try to put them in an order that makes some kind of narrative sense (you’ve noticed I do that right?) but if you’re planning on doing yourself a playlist of these, I’d be interested to see if you think you’ve done better (NB: no I wouldn’t. Keep it to yourself, thanks very much).

Not quite first out of the traps this time was Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who, as he will explain, suggests a tune which simply demands to go first:

“Cities should have a theme and luckily we have an ahead of its time piece of ice cool euro dance that found a second life in the Balearic sounds of ’88 and thereafter:

Now, I don’t profess to know anywhere near as much about that there dance music as our Swiss, but I do know that got used on a tune recorded by David Russell Lee, who used to be known under the stage name of Joey Negro. Lee also recorded under many other pseudonyms, including this one, which throws in a Queen sample for good measure, and I think is what Swiss means when he says “thereafter”, given this came out in 2001:

But since we’re already going off on tangents, here’s a factoid for you (lifted from Wiki, so large pinch of salt at the ready): In 1993, Lee was approached by Take That’s label with a view to working together. Lee suggested they covered an old hit by Dan Hartman, which hadn’t been a hit in the UK but which had become a popular club track in the house music scene. They did as suggested, replacing Loleatta Holloway from the original with – who else? – Scottish songstress Lulu and lo! the boy band’s second number one in the UK was born.

Anyway. Cities. I think next I’ll hand over to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense to get us back on track:

“Knowing too much about 3rd Division Punk Bands (as I do), the phrase “Cities” immediately brought forth [this]…It’s OK, in a mohican wearing punky thrashing type way, but probably not what you’re looking for.”

Turns out, that’s quite the accurate description. I’m also imagining a purple and black furry jumper:

I gather Westlife are planning to do a cover of that as their comeback single.

Well, we seem to have strayed into the territory of songs with the word Cities in their title, so here’s another couple of suggestions. Firstly, C from Sun Dried Sparrows who says “I’m just plumping for the very first thing that comes into my head as a kind of quick subconscious response and it is…..:”

…which is bound to lighten the mood.

Let’s see what George can conjure up this time:

“Taking the cities from the song, to Manchester City, whose best English footballer was Colin Bell, whose birthday is February 26th, the same date as Michael Bolton…[Oh, Jesus, no…. – Ed]…wait for it…Fats Domino [Better – Ed]…and Johnny Cash, so my song is…:”

Phew!

I think at this point I should hand back to Rigid Digit, who gave me a whole host of acts who had recorded songs called In The City, the first of which was also suggested by Martin of New Amusements fame:

..and this (just Rigid Digit now):

and (which, if I was still giving points out, would earn a couple for being in one of the coolest films ever, but I’m not, so it won’t – and in any event, I’d have to deduct points for the artist having also been in The Eagles and Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, surely the least cool bands ever):

and this:

Now. Regular readers will know that I have deep-seated hatred of songs being appropriated for advertising purposes, as documented in my S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs) series. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m with the late, great Bill Hicks on this one:

Here’s a tune which I’ve been meaning to post for a while, and which samples Hicks and explains my thoughts better than I ever could, and which I must credit my old mate Dum Dum (not his real name) for bringing into my life:

See, it’s bad enough when songs we love are appropriated to sell something, but surely it’s even worse when an act we love pops over to an overseas land in the hope that those back home will never find out what they’ve done – and I’m looking at you Bacon and Clooney – isn’t it?:

Mostly because Joey did it too:

But I digress, again.

Rigid’s next suggestion is this: “…or even Starship who built this city on sausage rolls.” Now, we all know what he is obliquely referring to, and that’s the first of the last two Christmas #1s here in the UK. In a week where Tory MPs voted down a motion which would have ensured that children from poor families don’t starve because of the various lockdown restrictions, I thought it probably best if I didn’t post a free link to a song which tried to help. Instead, here’s the (extremely unfunny) video (and yes, this got to #1 in the UK):

…and here’s the song they are referencing:

To be fair, Rigid does offer up a vastly superior song, the title of which references the same source:

So before we set off on a little journey of all the songs mentioning actual cities in their titles or their lyrics (and there’s lots of them), we’ll have a look at all of the suggestions – most of them are mine, admittedly – which feature the word City in the title or in the artiste name. But before we do that, let’s get all of the other ones mopped up.

Here’s the Devonian with, I think, my favourite explanation ever:

“A geographical link… not going off “Cities” though, but rather the fact that the bassist in Talking Heads was the esteemed (albeit not by David Byrne) Tina Weymouth. That got me wondering whether there are any other groups with bassists named after gentrified Dorset coastal settlements. But I couldn’t find any, so I had to settle for a couple of singers instead. Therefore I give you Shelly and Karen Poole and…”

“…which is great and you know it is really.”

Actually, I’m more of an ‘I Am, I Feel’ kinda guy, as it goes, but that’s enough about why I can’t go on public transport without a responsible adult in tow anymore.

“Whilst Devonian was struggling for Dorset-named bass players to link to Tina Weymouth,” pipes up The Great Gog, “I found myself thinking of a feature of said coast that is named in a song – namely the theme tune to children’s TV show Portland Bill (which must have been 20 years old when my kids watched it on satellite telly in the early 00’s).

I can’t say this rang any bells with me at all, but I have managed to track down a copy of the writer of the theme tune in question, playing…well, it:

Next up is PhonicPat who, undeterred by suggesting the worst record last time out, has come up with a load of absolute bangers this time, starting with this, which kinda follows on given that it’s “made up of the rhythm section of Talking Heads” who just so happen to be husband and wife combo Chris Frantz (drums) and Tina Weymouth (bass and renowned gentrified Dorset coastal settlement):

Talking Heads “…tried to continue without Byrne and released the ‘No Talking Just Heads’ album” Pat continues, “featuring collaborations with Debbie Harry, Andy Partridge and Shaun Ryder amongst others therefore:”

and

and

And Pat isn’t finished there:

“[A] David Byrne/Talking Heads link” (as Byrne features as guest vocalist on this):

Now, there’s two things to say about that: firstly Byrne mentions New York at the start, and we’ll be coming on to that city in the fullness of time; and secondly these PhonicPat sponsored words: “…(along with saucy video)“.

In the name of research, strictly so that you don’t have to press play on this next video, you understand, I have watched this, several times, and can confirm that no matter how much you might slow it down or rewind and watch again, whoever had the job of censoring out the wobbly bits did a fine job. Still, best you approach with caution, eh?

Remind me in a bit to give you a related Pet Shop Boys fact, will you?

Since we seem to have landed on band-related suggestions, George is back again:

“From Talking Heads to the Talking Book album by Stevie Wonder, and the track:…”

And moving on to other suggestions about links to the band name we have Alyson from What’s It All About? who says: “We’ve had Dollar [last time out] so in the same vein can I suggest….”

Whoa there tiger! I need to explain the “in the same vein” bit, because Dollar should definitely not be bracketed with The Fizz so lightly. Oh no. For post-1980s fame The Fizz split into two factions: one containing original members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and (sighs) Jay Aston, the other containing Bobby Gee and an almighty war broke out about who should use the name Bucks Fizz to promote their cruise ship wares. And amidst this row, up popped former member of Dollar and never member of the Fizz, David Van Day who, when he wasn’t trying to be the Lawrence Fox of his day and appear all outrageous by dumping his girlfriend live on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, elected to appropriate the name Bucks Fizz, go on a tour, sing a couple of their songs and trouser all the cash. The twat.

Anyway, here’s Alyson’s Fizz choice:

What I love about Alyson’s choice is that she could have picked the original of that, by The Romantics, but such is her devotion to ladies having their skirts ripped off as part of a Eurovision dance routine, she simply had to plump for a bit of Fizz. Kudos.

No idea what I’m banging on about? Here you go, complete with withering intro from the much missed Terry Wogan:

Genius pop music. And I mean that.

Alyson has some other suggestions linking to Talking Heads’ name, namely:

and

Almost time to set off on our tour of cities, have you got your packed lunch and your waterproof coat? Ok, I’ll stall for a bit with some frankly rather clever suggestions.

The source record this time features on Talking Heads’ Fear of Music album, which takes us into the dark territory of phobias. Or, as the Devonian puts it: “Cities is from the album Fear Of Music… which is a Phobia… which is a song by Flowered Up”

It sure is:

Which leads us neatly on to Hal’s suggestions: “Didn’t Cage the Elephant release an album called Melophobia?” he asks, rhetorically. Well, yes, yes they did. And in case you were wondering, Melophobia is the correct technical term for having a fear of music, so here’s something from the album of the same name:

I’ve always avoided them because, well, I thought (and still do) that they have a terrible name, but that’s not bad so maybe I need to reassess.

Anyway, Hal isn’t finished yet: “Which leads us to Phonophobia: The Second Coming by Extreme Noise Terror. Or perhaps not…”

Too late, you’ve said it now.

Phonophobia: The Second Coming is an album by Extreme Noise Terror, and this is one of the songs on it:

Peelie would be proud.

How do you follow that? With this:

Thank goodness for Rol from My Top Ten who kindly steps in to suggest this, which in his eyes “seems an obvious winner”

Frankly, if we’re going to mention bands with the word City in their name, I don’t think we can justifiably omit this lot:

“The other obvious one”, Rol continues undeterred, and I’ll let him carry on because I can’t quite work out where else to place this, “is to jump to Radiohead (as they took their name from a Talking Heads song) and Street Spirit (because there are lots of streets in cities…)

He’s not wrong, there are. I counted at least seven near where I live just the other day, and I think I may have missed some.

I hadn’t finished with bands with City in their names. This lot are definitely less renowned than Mr McKeown and the gang (Bay City Rollers, not Radiohead) and are named after 2000AD’s Judge Dredd comic strip. Play this one loud:

And so we move on to songs with the word City in the title (that aren’t called In the City). You know how until that last little spurt I’ve hardly suggested anything so far? Consider that ended. Eyes down and here we go with the almost entirely forgotten about:

…to an often overlooked gem:

…and the never to be forgotten:

A sort of clever one: this was released on City Rockers, a label synonymous with the electro-clash sound of the early 2000s:

And we shouldn’t overlook this brace of bangers:

…which almost inevitably leads us here:…

…which leads me to this spoof record, but it’s a spoof of a song which doesn’t have a city in it’s title, but I’m sure you’ll get it:

And finally, I was very surprised that absolutely nobody suggested anything from PJ Harvey’s magnificent Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea album, so I guess I’ll have to:

I’m stalling because it feels slightly disingenuous to be suggesting we go on a world tour just as so many cities around the world are locking down to prevent travel and the potential spreading of the Corona virus, so can I ask that you all don your face masks, smear yourselves in hand sanitiser like it’s goose fat before you attempt to swim the Channel, don’t stand so close to me and we’ll be off, safely.

But where to start? “Something from Gerry Rafferty’s very fine City To City album perhaps?” pipes up Rigid Digit again, which seems a perfectly good suggestion, and I’ve plumped, somewhat obviously, for the title track:

And it’s to Rigid Digit that we turn to yet again as we herald the start of The Chain World Tour which, given some places like my beloved Wales have gone into circuit-breaking lockdown today, I must say I feel a teensy bit guilty about, but, nevertheless, here we go.

Truly, there can only be one song to kick this off, and as Rigid quotes: “London, Paris, New York, Munich.  Everybody talk about…:

“I was beaten to M,” moans The Great Gog, “but other songs name-checking a number of cities that sprang to mind were…:”

…and…

Not forgetting, as Martin from New Amusements points out, a song which (apart from the Hang the DJ bit) perhaps most perfectly encapsulates where we are right now:

Ok, let’s start, with a whistle-stop tour of the UK. Here’s The Robster:

“I was going to suggest the wonderful Theme For Great Cities but Swiss Adam beat me to it! So I decided to think about songs ABOUT cities. Then I realised I’d be suggesting about 4 million songs and you’d hate me more than I’d hate myself! So in the end I plumped for one city. It was going to be Newport, but the only songs about us are parodies and parodies of parodies. So I chose our neighbours instead and came up with…:

I’m not sure why The Robster thinks this lot only do parodies. Funny songs, of course: it’s their stock in trade. I mean, sure this one is a parody, but it’s the only one I know which actually mentions The Mighty ‘Port in it’s title, and (sorry Rob) from the short time I lived there, seems wholly accurate to me:

Let’s head up to Birmingham next, and I’ll hand the reins back to Swiss Adam for a moment, for he is quoting lines from the source material to guide us to our next destination.

“Birmingham ‘lots of rich people’….” (although I think Byrne was probably referring to B’ham, Alabama.)

For those of us old enough to remember, it’s hard to forget when they fell foul of a Government clause of the 1981 Broadcasting Act which prohibited the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of 11 Irish political and paramilitary organisations. The restrictions were part of the Thatcher government’s desire to prevent Sinn Féin from employing the media for political advantage.

Yeh, I know. Dry subject.

What this meant in practical terms was that when, in 1987, they appeared on Friday Night Live , a Thames Television programme hosted by Ben Elton, they played Streets of Sorrow but the broadcaster cut to an ad break before they got to Birmingham Six.

Ridiculous as the rules were, a loop-hole meant that we were allowed to hear what Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) had to say, but we could not hear them spoken by a member of the political party. Generally what this meant was the words were read by an actor with a plummy Home Counties accent, but the ludicrousness of the situation was highlighted here, on The Day Today:

This next song actually mentions bombing in Birmingham, although it means it in the “not going down to well at a gig” sense, rather than the more literal interpretation:

In these times of Tiers and Lockdown, I’m not sure we’ll get any better advice than to ‘start drinking til we’re blind’ (again, metaphorically of course – I don’t want any of us to end up in one of those adverts asking people to sponsor a puppy); I know it’s what has got me through writing this post, for a start.

“This mentions Birmingham, Alabama”, offers PhonicPat, and he’s not wrong, it does:

But we’re not quite ready to go trans-Atlantic, because here’s The Robster again:

“I have another one, this time referring to my Devon roots. The nearest city to where I grew up was Exeter – so:”

What I love about IDLES, apart from their records, is that they’re so bloody angry about everything, even their name is in capital letters like they’re shouting that too.

Catchphrase time! Well, if you’re having that, then I’m having this, a song about the nearest city to where I grew up, but where IDLES are VERY ANGRY! about how shit Exeter is, The Long Blondes are just a wee bit disappointed with how dull Peterborough is:

Staying in the UK, here’s Stevie from Charity Chic Music who takes us (much) further Up North:

David Byrne was born in Scotland – Dumbarton to be precise.  So the link is obviously:”

…which not only gets added to the ever-growing pile marked: ‘Must Investigate Further’, it also allows me to include this, which the title obviously references:

Since that also mentions Berlin, we may as well pop over to Europe, y’know, whilst we still can, without having to incorporate a two-week stay in a car park in Kent. Here’s another suggestion from Martin:

Well, this all seems to have got rather gloomy rather quickly. But I have an idea! Let’s pop over to the former capital of Turkey to liven things up a bit:

It became very apparent as I was sifting through the suggestions that there were two cities which featured more than any other, so, after a spot of self-isolation, we’ll pop back to the one in the UK: That London. And first up is another suggestion from Phonic Pat which takes us on a nice little (if expensive) tour of the city:

Here’s Swiss Adam again, quoting lines from the source record:

“…a small city, dark in the day time…”

…and suggesting this absolute shoe-in:

And here’s Martin again with two further capital suggestions:

“For when one is tired of London, one is tired of life, right?” adds Martin. Try telling Alan that:

Obligatory Alan Partridge clip? Tick!

One more from Martin, “…because I love them so…” (me too, mate, me too):

Sticking with Martin’s stream of suggestions, let’s hop over to the other city which seems to be mentioned in song titles more than any other:

“Decidedly not a cover of Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Martin adds. Well no: there’s a more liberal use of the F-word than Sinatra ever committed to record for a start. Plus, without wishing to be pedantic (he says as he is about to do just that), the Sinatra song Martin refers to is actually called Theme from New York, New York, so there was never any real danger of confusion. This next one though, less so:

That’s what being brought up listening to Radio 2 does for you: you remember records like that.

You won’t be surprised to read that I’ve got loads of these, the next of which is by someone who gets a bad rap for being a bit square (I think that’s it; I certainly don’t recall him having done anything unmentionable, apart from Uptown Girl of course), but I think he’s written some absolute corkers, and this is one of them:

New York, here we are, and here’s Odyssey to tell us we fit right in:

When The Strokes released their wonderful and never-bettered debut album Is This It? in 2001 (God, that makes me feel old), there was a difference between the UK and the US release, for the UK release included this, presumably omitted from the US release because it probably wasn’t considered to sit well so close in the wake of 9/11:

Back in time now, to the first record I ever bought, sort of. You can read about that here but in case you can’t be bothered (and if you’ve got this far I can’t blame you for feeling a bit wiped out) here it is:

Remember about seven hours ago, just after The BPA tune, I asked you to remind me to give you a Pet Shop Boys factoid? Well, the time is now: before he worked for Smash Hits magazine (my gateway drug to pop music before I grew up/discovered the NME) Neil Tennant used to work for Marvel Comics, editing out any hint of nipple from the cartoons contained within the pages of the heralded comic book. And that’s not even as funny as the rumour Stuart Maconie made up about him being a fully qualified Rugby League referee.

Anyway, here’s the Pet Shop Boys:

Hold up, Swiss is back with his quoting lyrics and suggesting songs ways:

“Memphis: ‘home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks’”

Leading him here:

And if you’re going to mention Memphis, you either have to include something by a certain Mr Presley (not Reg), or make a joke about being dead on a toilet eating a burger, or post this:

Funnily enough, Mr Simon is going in the opposite direction to Ian Hunter and the Mott the Hoople crew, as suggested by Phonic Pat:

And here’s a group who are considering a move to a completely different part of the US of A:

But as we all know, there’s only one place in America that one should consider moving to:

And that’s where I intended to sign off, were it not for one final suggestion from Martin:

“Oh, and can I add Vegas by Sleeper, just because… well, okay, just because of Louise Wener, really.”

Of course you can: if it doesn’t get cancelled as opposed to being forever rescheduled, I’ll be going to see them perform their debut album Smart, sometime, along with this morning’s postees The Bluetones doing the same with their debut album Expecting to Fly:

And that’s yer lot, except to reveal the actual next record in the actual Chain, which nobody suggested.

Here’s the link: “Talking Heads had a female bassist. So did…

Which just leaves me to ask for your suggestions for songs which link to 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins, to be submitted via either the Comments function on this page, or if you prefer anonymity that you ultimately won’t be afforded, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com

More soon.