Yes, I know the titles implies this should be getting posted later today, but let me explain.
Today it’s Children in Need night in the UK, and that can mean only one thing: nothing to watch on TV, unless newsreaders performing poorly choreographed dance routines floats your boat.
It’s a worthy cause, don’t get me wrong, but once you’ve dipped your hand in your pocket, as I’m sure you undoubtedly will, there’s really no need to carry on watching.
Personally, I think they would make loads more money if, once you’d contributed, your TV programmes went back to the normal schedules. The whole thing could be over and done with in half an hour or so.
Anyway, I thought I’d help out with your evening entertainment after you’ve done your charitable duty, by giving you a top mix of tunes to while away a couple of hours. So here you go, just shy of 140 minutes of tunes to bop around your kitchen to and suffice it to say, it’s a real mixed bag, covering the contemporary to the antiquated, the oft-impersonated to the never-bettered, the cherished to the forgotten, the much loved to the…erm…not loved so much. You’ll see.
But – and I mean this most sincerely folks – I love every record included in this mix. Yes, even that one. And that one. And definitely that one. Yes! This mix includes (at least) three acts generally considered to be among the naffest of if not the late 1970s, then ever. But I’d invite you to give them a go with a fresh pair of ears: kitsch, maybe, but loosen up, you might find you quite like them too (NB: I would recommend having a few drinks to truly accomplish this turnaround in opinion. Also, there’s a fair bit of effin’ & jeffin’ on some of these, so if you have kids a) hard luck, and b) put them to bed before playing this, or you’ll have to explain to them exactly what Fiddy is getting up to in “da” club, or worse, just what is going on on the Cansei de Ser Sexy record).
And when I say “mix”, I don’t mean anything has been beat-matched, or scratched, or whatever the cool name for mixing is these days: we’re in purely fade-in/fade-out territory here.
(There are, of course, a couple of technical glitches, by the way. Sorry, but I didn’t have time to go back and re-record the whole mix to get rid of them. I would have done, had the mixing software I have not crashed when I was on the penultimate tune the first time around, forcing me to go back and start all over again. Hope they don’t spoil things – look on the positive side: they will, at the very least, give you that real club feeling as you spin round to face the DJ/your sound system and call him/it whatever rude name you plump for.)
Last time I did one of these, I put the songs on Spotify, only to find they didn’t have many of the songs anyway, so I’ve not renewed my free trial subscription with them (until next time they offer it to me); instead you should (if I’ve done it right…) be able to stream it via Soundcloud here, or you can just download or stream it from the Dubious Taste vaults here (as a WAV file), which should play just fine on iTunes or Windows Media Player.
To make it as close to a “going out” experience as you can, I’d recommend playing it from one of those two sources, rather than scrolling down here to see what I’ve included. You wouldn’t approach a DJ in a club and ask him what he intended to play for the next couple of hours, now would you? No.
But if you must, here you go, 34 songs, in the same running order as on the mix, and without any of my usual snarky comments. As with most of my mixes, its starts innocuously enough….
Oh and one more thing, you can donate to Children in Need here. Do it quickly, before the dancing newsreaders come on.
I know I have often moaned in the past about how time-consuming it is to write The Chain, but this morning, at around 2am, having put off writing it every day this week, it suddenly occured to me that there are three reasons why it takes me so long:
1. You won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t own every record that gets suggested, so I have to track down a copy to post here. I quite enjoy this aspect, as it goes;
2. As I’m going through all of your suggestions, I put all the songs on a playlist so I can familiarise myself with them, and hopefully come up with either some decent jokes (I’ll let you be the judge of how succcesful I am with that) and/or some funny video clips to include in the post. This latter aspect, as I’m sure you can imagine, often leads me down a YouTube rabbithole. That said, I quite enjoy this aspect too;
3. For practically every song you suggest, I manage to think of at least one more to link to either the source record, or your suggestion. That’s not meant to sound like a boast, more a statement of fact: people who write music-based blogs tend to know quite a lot of records. I try to exert some kind of control over the amount of my own suggestions I include but sometimes I just can’t resist. I really like this aspect as well.
So next time I moan about what a pain it is to write The Chain, ignore me. Once I get going on it, I bloody love it.
As can be seen by the amount of suggestions I’ve made this time.
And that’s despite the source record being, in my opinion, one of the worst singles by – well, I’m not going to say the worst bands, not when Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay are both things – but certainly by a band that I don’t much care for.
In case you’ve forgotten, said source record this time around was this:
As usual, the suggestions can be split into categories, one for each word: ‘U2’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Day’, with a few tangents thrown in for good measure.
We’ll save the vitriol of links to U2 for later I think, so let’s start with a suggestion from PhonicPat:
“[Beautiful Day] is from their ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind” album which leads nicely to…:”
Over to C from Sun Dried Sparrows to kick off all the nominations linked to the word ‘Day’ and complete the cleansing of the palate:
“I think ‘keeping it simple’ will be my mantra from now on, so… Beautiful Day takes me to beautiful Days. I’ve just been through your back pages and I couldn’t see Kirsty MacColl’s sublime cover version appearing here before, so can we have that one please?”
Next up is a clutch of suggestions/songs mentioned in passing – which you all know I can’t resist – from Kay. For those of you who don’t know, Kay is my manager at work, but also a friend. She, too, wants to keep things simple:
“I’m a simple soul [I’m saying nothing – Ed], so I immediately started thinking of songs about a particular day of the week. First thought was…”:
“…then remembered [Look out, folks, she’s off. Experience tells me to get comfy and look like you’re paying attention – Ed] Foals had a song called Sunday, and I thought I would choose that, so you’d have to post it (much to your disgust)…”
Allow me to explain that “much to your disgust” comment: I’m not a Foals fan. I don’t dislike them either, to be honest. I just find them a bit “meh”. I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay money to go and see them, unless they need to pick up a new Yasser Arafat-type scarf from the merchandise stall, that is.
Anyway, carry on.
“…but then thought neither a Monday or a Sunday is a beautiful day. So I’m going for…”
That’s all the ‘Day’ suggestions, and before we move let’s move on to the “Beautiful” links, a suggestion which covers both, and I’ll hand you over to The Robster from on/off/on-again/no-he’s-definitely-gone-this-time Is This The Life?
“Beautiful Day was used by ITV for their ill-fated coverage of The Premiership back in, erm, I don’t remember. Quite a few years ago. The song I always associate with football on TV is Life Of Riley by the Lightning Seeds which Match Of The Day used for its Goal Of The Month feature.”
Ill-fated it certainly was, for two reasons: firstly, given an alternative, I don’t know anyone who would elect to watch football on ITV, and secondly, tactical analysis was provided by former professional footballer Andy Townsend, not from the comfort of a warm studio, but from what was know as The Tactics Truck, for no other reason, it seemed, than alliteration.
Whilst we’re on the subject of football, here’s PhonicPat with a couple of suggestions which I’ll allow, even though they link to The Robster’s suggestion more than to the source record:
“Late to the party this time around and some of my thoughts already reflected in the comments [but I haven’t got to them yet in this post, in case you were wondering – Ed]…More footy with…”:
“…and one more football song:”
Sorry, Pat. I can’t say I enjoyed that one. Worst Record of the Week, in my book.
Now we’ll move on to just plain Beautiful, words often used to describe Swiss Adam from Bagging Area, I’m sure:
“There are lots of songs that link to beautiful – Peaking Lights’ Beautiful Dub has the double pleasure of the word in its title and being beautiful to listen to.”
There’s a little snatch (and no, I don’t mean Bono) of the melody of that, such as it is, which reminds me of Una Paloma Blanca by Jonathan King, but since I’ve banned Morrissey’s solo records from the blog because of his extremist views, I guess I should extend that to convicted paedophiles too. So instead, here’s the George Baker Selection with the titularly-truncated (presumably Ms Stubbs complained) Paloma Blanca:
Personally, whenever I hear the name U2, I want to rebel against it, and listen to the complete opposite. So, like a typically confusing clue on 70s game show 3-2-1…
…here we go: The clue mentions the complete opposite and the the opposite of U could be Me or it could be We; the opposite of the opposite of 2 is the number immediately adjacent to it, so it could be 1 or it could be 3; if you want to rebel against something then you want to bring about change, and perhaps the most famous rebels were the French Resistance…so the next suggestion is of course:
I mean, really I should be awarding myself some points for Showboat of the Week. Not that I can be bothered awarding points anymore. Nobody really cares about them, do they?
Here’s Martin again with another song which sort of links to the band’s name:
“Finally I want to mention ‘U Talk 2 Much’ by Sultans of Ping FC, not least for its U2-referencing sleeve art”:
Which takes me back to PhonicPat, and an alternative Sultans of Ping FC tune, suggested “…for the footy link”:
Do you remember when U2 graciously and modestly decided that everyone with iTunes should be blessed with a free copy of their 2014 Songs of Innocence album, whether they wanted it or not? Well, that leads me here:
Time to go off on some (non-football) tangents, I think, and so here’s Alyson from What’s It All About?:
“U-2 is a kind of plane and another plane become the inspiration for a song by OMD, so I’m going for Enola Gay, which very scarily was a big hit for them in 1980, 40 years ago now. The awful event addressed in the song, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, happened only 35 years prior to that. Is it just me or is time running away with us as we get older?”
And follow that up with an equally warm hand on his entrance for Stevo Kifaru, who, for a first-time Chain Ganger has certainly got the hang of naming a load of records knowing full-well I won’t be able to resist posting them all:
“U2 were named after an American spy plane, the Lockheed U-2, so I’m going with the theme of Spies for a second. My initial thought was…:”
Pop the handbrake on for a moment and hide the jacket potatoes, I have (yes, yet another) suggestion:
….which I’m sure you’ll agree is the very best of the mixes, right Chums?
It turns out Stevo is quite the Chatty Cathy (a bit rich, coming from me, granted), for he continues:
“I also thought U2 reminded me of the nomenclature of German submarines, always beginning with a U, & that brought me to Das Boot. Many years ago my friend randomly asked me, what was the number of the sub in Das Boot? I thought for a second & said U96. I have felt like such a nerd since that day, my friend obviously grateful that I answered his question, but the look he gave me was one of shock at my depths of geekness….In reality I just remembered the techno remix of the theme tune that was released under the name of U96….”:
In the interest of balance, perhaps I should point out that Bono at least seems to be vaguely self-aware and have a sense of humour about how many people view him, even if that sense of humour has been written by somebody else:
“U2 to Stiff Little Fingers to Grandmaster Flash and back to U2 in 3 moves:
There is a story that Adam Clayton says the bass line for U2’s ‘With Or Without You’ is basically Stiff Little Fingers’ ‘Alternative Ulster’ slowed down.”
Now. I know you haven’t suggested it, and I wouldn’t ordinarily post a second song by the source artist (especially when it’s U-Sodding-2), but I don’t think I can let that slide without investigating. So here’s both of those records, to allow us to compare and contrast:
Hmm. I suppose he may have a point. But it’s not exactly the most complicated bass-line in the world is it?
“SLFs 1997 album Tinderbox,” Rigid gamely continues, undeterred, “contains a cover version of ‘The Message’, which includes the lyric: “Don’t push me cos I’m close to the Edge”
So, here’s both the cover and the original. I do like a bit of SLF, but I know which of these I prefer:
Sounds a bit Walk This Way, only not as good to me, no? Imagine the Run DMC boys hadn’t turned up at the studio and so Aerosmith recorded their part too.
Where were we? Ah yes: Grandmaster Flash:
Of course, any mention of The Edge being close to the edge means that I’m contractually obliged to share this clip:
Last ones before we find out what the next record in The actual Chain is, and I’ll hand over to The Great Gog to bring things to a thrilling climax as only he can:
“The phrase ‘close to the edge’ has already been mentioned. Of course Bono and the other two are close to The Edge when they play live. Close To The Edge was also an album recorded by Yes in 1972. Later versions of this album include a cover of the Paul Simon-penned America, also recorded in the same year.”
Now, I’m no Yes man, so I checked what Wiki has to say about this, and GG is quite correct:
“In 1987, ‘Close to the Edge’ was reissued by Atlantic Records on CD in the United States and Europe. Another issue of the album was digitally remastered by Joe Gastwirt in 1994. In 2003, the album was reissued again on disc in an expanded and remastered edition by Rhino and Elektra Records. Included were two previously unreleased tracks: an alternate version of ‘And You and I’, an early run-through of ‘Siberian Khatru’, and Yes’s 1972 single ‘America’ with its b-side, an edit of ‘Total Mass Retain‘.”
Never in doubt:
It’s not so much a cover version as a lot of proggy noodling with the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics chucked in after a while.
I should be careful how I phrase that, really; for to describe them as ‘Simon & Garfunkel lyrics’ does rather give the impression that Art had some involvement in the song-writing process, a goof that Annie Nightingale made when she interviewed Paul Simon for The Old Grey Whistle Test many years ago:
“1972 saw Simon record the song ‘Mother & Child Reunion’,” GG continues. “He performed this song on stage (and presumably close to The Edge) with U2 at Madison Square Garden in 2015.The performance is on YouTube but the quality isn’t great and there’s a load of waffle from Bono at the start of it.”
Which seems a good enough reason to just post the Paul Simon version:
And all that leaves me to do is….oh wait. Rigid Digit is back:
“Forgot to include the story of my U2 branded SatNav.It’s terrible – the streets have no names, and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
And I think my U2 fridge is on the way out – all it does is Rattle and Hum.”
Thanks Rigid, I trust you’ll be here all week?
Anyway, as I was saying (he says, locking the door behind him to be on the safe side), all that leaves me to do is to give you the next song in The Chain, along with the way the person suggesting it got there. And don’t worry, it’s a waaaaaaaay better record this time:
The link: As PhonicPat said right at the top, Beautiful Day appeared on the band’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind album. What Pat didn’t say was that said album was produced by Brian Eno (and Daniel Lanois); and the album that this is taken from (Fear of Music) was also produced by Brian Eno (without Daniel Lanois):
So, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to Cities by Talking Heads, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below or via email to email@example.com in time for whenever The Chain circus next rolls into town, in a month or so’s time (probably).
As of 23:00 yesterday, the UK is no longer a member of the EU.
So what happens next?
Well, probably not much, for a while. Because for the next eleven months, we are in the transition period, where we remain bound to the EU’s rules: we will continue to contribute to the EU’s budget; we’ll remain in the single market and the customs union; trade between the UK and the EU will continue as it has done, with no extra checks, charges or paperwork; we’ll still be able to travel to and from the UK; freedom of movement will continue.
See, that whole Get Brexit Done sloganeering at the General Election was prime bullshit. And many – not all – of those who voted to Leave, or voted Conservative at the last election, think that it’s all done and dusted now.
So brace yourself for Leavers telling Remainers that our concerns were unfounded as civilisation hasn’t collapsed now that we have left. My advice: tell them to come back to you in just over a year’s time and talk then.
Of course, the economy won’t come crashing down around our ears. Of course we’ll survive. But isn’t merely surviving a long way short of being better off?
Still, now we’re out, at least the NHS will start getting that £350 million a week, as promised on the side of that bus, right? Right….?
You’ll notice that I’m being very careful here not to say that all people who voted to Leave are stupid, or that they don’t know what they voted for. And the reason I’m not saying that is because I genuinely don’t think that.
Not all of them, no. There must be at least one, somewhere.
But fuck me, you only had to watch some of the coverage of last night’s “celebrations” to realise that there’s a bloody big chunk of them who need to have L and R written on their shoes, and then be given an explanatory note about what L and R means after they’ve fallen over.
People who, microphone thrust under their noses and invited to explain the benefits of leaving the EU, of why they voted to Leave, what they were celebrating, couldn’t some up with a single thing.
Credit where credit’s due though: at least they were bright enough not to say “I don’t like them foreigners” on national TV.
And this is the thing: in the almost four years since the referendum I am yet to read or hear – and trust me, I read, listen and watch a lot of this kind of stuff – (and putting aside some hazy notion of sovereignty being reclaimed, or taking back control of our borders (which we already had, but couldn’t be bothered to implement) – one single, solitary benefit. Not one.
Passports. Sorry, there’s the blue passports.
I imagine you saw this, but on 21st January, The Express – in one of those moments when they alternate between banging on about Princess Diana and championing Brexit – posted this:
Hoorah for Brexit! Hoorah for the blue passports!
But wait a minute: what’s that written on the crest….?
“Your mother was a hamster”….?
Let’s take a closer look:
“Your father smelt of Elderberries”….?
For the uninitated, these are two insults hurled at King Arthur in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. Given that this gaffe happened on the day that Terry Jones died, the unintentional satirical irony was just too delicious.
But those who champion Brexit are definitely not idiots, ok?
Let’s dip our toes into the cesspit that is Twitter, to find a totally random example of somebody who voted to Leave and is able to justify their decision. Here’s @Craig4Brexit, who, given his moniker, must understand the subtle nuances of leaving the EU, and the impact it will have:
Like I said, definitely not all idiots. Totally knew what they were doing.
But then, what do you expect when those whose bullshit they swallowed, those who they voted for, don’t know what they’re doing themselves.
Ladies and Gents, I give you Brexit Party MEP June Mummery:
I mean, really. This is a Brexit Party MEP not understanding that, after the UK has left the EU it would have no representation within the EU. You just couldn’t write a character as monumentally stupid as this. Even Baldrick would have grasped that concept.
It’s almost as if the Brexit Party, it’s members, it’s MEPs, were all a con. It’s well documented that if one was so inclined to either join the party, or stand as a member for Parliament, be it UK or EU, then they had to make a sizeable donation to the party for the pleasure. A non-refundable donation. Again, you don’t have to look too hard online to find examples of budding Brexit Party MPs or MEPs who gave their donation and then were told that they could do one.
Farage has already announced that, post-Brexit, the Party will be wound up, meaning all of those payments will not be subject to scrutiny by HMRC. I wonder whose pockets that’ll all end up in?
And of course, now Brexit is done, now there are no Brexit Party MEPs (I’m sure you all saw the utterly embarassing goodbye they gave to the EU on Thursday which….well *exhales* where do you start…?), all of those who did get elected can now, finally, be released from their EU torture, and return to their normal life.
Take cobwebbed-knickered, 72 and never been kissed (with good reason), Ann Widdicombe. She can go back to appearing in reality TV shows and panto. But she must have believed in Brexit, or why bother?
She came out of political retirement in 2019, and was elected to the (democratically) to the supposedly undemocratic EU as an MEP in May of the same year.
For the months in between, she has pocketed a monthly (pre-tax) salary of €8.932,86 plus expenses.
Now, I’m not saying that Widdicombe doesn’t believe in all things Brexit, but when the choice is between being paid that, as opposed to recreating that moment from Strictly in a panto in – no offence – Guildford, which are you going to choose? I don’t blame her, I’d take the money for doing the square root of fuck all too, thanks for the offer.
And then there’s Farage’s EU pension, which, much as he despises the EU, he is perfectly happy to trouser. It’s £73,000 per annum, by the way. More than three times the average annual salary in the UK (as it stands…). And he’ll take it because he “doesn’t see why his family should suffer”. (That’s his German ex-wife and former employee, by the way, and his kids, two of whom have German passports).
Surely, leaving the EU is all sunlit uplands, Nigel, where everyone is better off?
What a fucking hypocrite.
There, then, finally, is a positive about Brexit. For if the Brexit Party is no more, then there is categorically no reason to invite Farage on to any more political TV shows, unless it is to expose him as the charlatan spiv he is.
Now that’s something I’d have voted for.
Whilst I accept that the UK is leaving the EU, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. So no: I’m not going to shut up, and I’m certainly not going to get behind Brexit and celebrate leaving in the patronising way we’ve been asked to.
I turned 50 last year. I may have mentioned it in passing.
I mention it now (yet again) because I’ve had my youth, my spirit of investigating and exploring the world has waned, not that it was particularly prevalent anyway. (Living in Wales for 20 years counts, right?)
The other reason I mention it is because what saddens me most about this situation is that those who it will most effect have not had a say in their own future.
As far as I’m concerned, if you’re old enough to pay Income Tax and National Insurance, then you should also be considered old enough to have a democratic say in how that money is spent. In other words: a vote.
But not here in the good old U of K, where you have to start paying tax and NI at the age of 16, but can’t vote until you’re 18.
That’s just not right, is it?
The argument is that at 16, one is not intelligent enough to make an informed decision on such matters. It is unclear how old @Craig4Brexit is.
I don’t doubt that one day the younger generations will decide to rejoin the EU. But I don’t think it’ll happen in my life time.
Until then, let this by the theme tune to many a protest:
So, today’s the day we get to say the words that twelve months ago we thought we never would, so ridiculous, so implausible did they sound when put in the same sentence together in this order:
Today is the day that Donald J. Trump becomes the President of the United States of America.
Some of my blogging peers have said that, depressing and scary though this is, we need to stay positive, and this is a position I want to buy into. For unless he happens to drive past one too many grassy knolls during his Presidency (and given he owns that golf course in Scotland which has loads of them, it’s got to be a possibility. Come on Scotland, you know what to do!) we’ve got him for at least the next four years (he couldn’t win a second term, could he…?)
So, something positive. Hmmmm.
*Rummages around the shelves in Dubious Towers*
Ok, this seems perfect. One could take the title as an endorsement, but you can wipe that thought from your mind: listen to the lyrics and that’s not where the artist (or me) is coming from. This is a song of hope, of faith, of determination in the face of adversity:
So I’ll try to stay positive, and to send positive vibes out to you all. We can get through this.
Appropriate records are my weapon of choice though, so I may get weak and falter every now and then. For example, when I’m watching his inauguration later today, I may find myself getting the urge to post something uncomplimentary. Like this:
Or maybe I’ll need to show restraint after he is sworn in and gives his first speech as your actual President (I’m not sure “speech” is the right description. The phrase rather implies someone had actually written it in advance; however Trump’s delivery gives the impression that what he says has been completely made up on the spot), and I find my finger hovering over the Publish button after I’ve written a scathing diatribe which ends with this record:
The keener eyed amongst you may have spotted a comment from Heledd the other day after I had post the titular track from this summery thread of songs.
That’s the same Heledd who I’ve known for approaching 20 years now, and who I shared a flat with when I first moved to London. Amongst other things in that time, she’s been my drinking partner, my clubbing partner, my confidante (and I hers), my DJ’ing partner, and much, much more.
Of “That Summer Feeling” she said this:
“Well it’s between this and Summertime by Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince as the greatest song with Summer in the title. And I mean that with no irony.”
She really doesn’t.
Now, if you think I’m going to let Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince grace these pages, then you’re sadly misguided. One of you will have to come up with an acceptable reason for me to post it in The Chain (yes, alright, it’s coming already!). And knowing how you like a challenge, I bet one of you does.
No, instead I’m mentioning this in a way for me to tenuously crowbar todays’ song in.
For were I ever to be asked to name my favourite two songs about lobsters, this would be number one: