It’s that time of the week again, so here we go with, some of you will be relieved to hear, the final part of my revisit and butchering of the first five-hour long mixed playlist.
For those who listened to it the first time around: I’ve jiggled about with the running order a little, and squeezed in an additional tune, y’know just to make it a bit more interesting (for me, if nobody else).
Primal Scream – Come Together (Terry Farley Remix)
The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
Inspiral Carpets – Find Out Why
The Doors – Touch Me
divinyls – I Touch Myself
Yazoo – Don’t Go
New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill
Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar (Way Out West Remix Edit)
Big Sound Authority – This House (Is Where Your Love Stands)
The Bluetones – If…
Which just leaves me to add the usual disclaimer: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (which seems to have behaved, pretty much this time); any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine.
Next week: a brand new mix. As it’s Easter weekend, this may well be an Easter-themed mix, although, as I’ve commented before, Easter-related songs are rather thin on the ground so may also be it won’t be. I think I’ve got enough songs together, I think – some more tenuously linked than others – so much will depend on how it sounds once I’ve put it together. If it sounds rubbish, I’ll bin it off and give you one I prepared earlier.
Blimey. It’s been a while since I wrote one of these too.
This was the second single by a band I love, and who, in the mid-to-late 90s released a whole load of really great, catchy, hell I’m going to say it Britpoppy singles.
Are You Blue or Are You Blind? came out in 1995 and was their first Top 40 hit, peaking at #35. Incredibly, it doesn’t feature at all on their debut album, Expecting to Fly, although the follow-up single, Bluetonic, and the re-released breakthrough smash Slight Return both do. As such, it’s an often forgotten early single, which is a shame, because this is a barn-storming way to start your weekend, and no mistake:
When I last sounded off, one of the many topics was students and the utter fiasco which was their A-Level results, so let’s pick up there.
Now, this may come as a shock to many of you, but what you achieve at A-Level pretty much decides what happens next for you. Do badly: start looking for a job.But do well and you can start thinking about what university offer you want to accept, to continue your education.
So before I go any further, congratulations to all who achieved sufficiently impressive grades, despite the interference of Gavin Williamson and his blessed algorithms.
I don’t think this will come as much of a surprise to many, but what happens next is that those who have achieved the required grades travel to live at and attend the university they had been accepted by.
What actually happened next was also no surprise: a spike in those away from home for the first time, now diagnosed with Covid and impelled to self-isolate.
I have a lot of sympathy for the students here; they had been told that they were of an age-group unlikely to be susceptible to virus, and were happily told to pack themselves off to college to enjoy themselves. There has been much talk of “The University Experience” and what that means: you live away from home for the first time, you study but you also meet lots of new people from different parts of the country. You bond, you may go on to party with them, and if you’re very lucky, you might sleep with at least one of them.
There was no need for them to leave home at all: the lectures could have been engaged in at home online, rather than having the students leave home and then be confined to their rooms. So let’s be clear: these students are not attending lectures: because of the ongoing crisis, it’s all being done online, via Teams or Zoom, all of which could have been done from the comfort of their own homes.
Try telling me, in those exact same circumstances, if it were you then you wouldn’t try to meet up with people, and I call bullshit.
This was, of course, not the Goverment’s fault. Nosireebob. Here’s Dido Harding, and just to fill you in on her qualifications: Diana Mary “Dido” Harding, Baroness Harding of Winscombe is a British Conservative Party businesswoman who served as chairwoman of NHS Improvement since 2017, current head of the Test and Trace programme, and acting Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection since 2020.
She is also the former chief executive of the TalkTalk Group where she faced calls for her to resign after a cyber attack revealed the details of 4 million customers. A member of the Conservative Party, she’s married to Conservative Party MP John Penrose, and is a friend of former Prime Minister David Cameron. Dido was appointed as a Member of the House of Lords by Cameron in 2014 and she holds a board position at the Jockey Club, which is responsible for several major horse-racing events including the Cheltenham Festival. (That’s the same Cheltenham Festival which was allowed to take place this year, despite the obvious Covid risks it presented.)
Dido – head of Track and Trace, remember – said “I don’t think anybody was expecting, to see the real sizable increase in demand that we’ve seen over the last few weeks, so none of the modelling was expecting that, and that’s why we all need to think really hard about how we prioritise the use of these tests.”
No, Dido. Nobody could possibly have predicted that students would go to University at the start of term in September. Absolutely unforeseeable.
Think about this too: most of the people who had been helping with testing over the summer worked for universities, and so when they returned to their full-time jobs, said testing positions were left vacant.
You’ll be shocked to learn the Government hadn’t thought of this and, like Roy Hodgson as England Manager (sorry for the comparison, Roy) had no back-up plan, no Plan B. Just surprise: suddenly we have less people to administer the tests at exactly the time where we’re encouraging more people to get tested. This, of course, could not have been predicted.
Which leads us to the situation where people who needed to have a Covid test suddenly found that they were instructed to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest appointment. That’s travelling at Cummings-grade level.
See, the thing one thing everybody agrees on (now) is that keeping the virus in check relies on having a fully working Track and Trace system. The Independent published this handy, cut-out-and-keep chronology of our dabbling with the idea of tracking and tracing:
‘January 2020 – deadly pandemic breaks out.
February 2020 – World Health Organisation issues three word advice: “Test. Test. Test.”
UK’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries responds by saying: “There comes a stage in a pandemic where testing is not an appropriate intervention.”
March 2020 – Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, advises people with coronavirus symptoms to self-isolate at home and don’t get tested.
April 2020 – Matt Hancock decides testing is in fact important. Launches drive to “100,000-tests-a-day” target.
May 2020 – Matt Hancock announces his own success in reaching his 100,000-a-day target, which turns out to have been through putting 35,000 tests in the post the previous day.
Dido Harding is put in charge of test and trace programme. Boris Johnson promises it will be “world-beating”.
July 2020 – government starts bribing people to go to pubs and restaurants, and threatening people with redundancy if they don’t go back to the office.
August 2020 – infection rate begins to soar. People going to pubs are blamed.
September 2020 – schools reopen. Infection rates rise to more than 4,000 a day. The “world-beating” test and trace system is running at full capacity. Parents in London with coughing children are advised to drive them to Inverness if they want a test. If they don’t get a test, the child can’t go to school and the parents can’t go to work.
Dido Harding tells a House of Commons select committee: “I don’t think anybody was expecting to see the really sizeable increase in demand that we’ve seen over the course of the last few weeks.”
Harding continued to explain that she had no real idea how many people were trying and failing to get a test. The system capacity is 250,000 a day. The only way to know how oversubscribed it is by measuring “how many people are visiting the website and calling the number”.
She did acknowledge that there would be some “double counting” involved, which indeed there would be, as anyone who has ever tried to use a website or call a phone line that is not capable of coping with the demands placed on it will testify. “Between the years 2011 and 2019, for example (The Independent journalist writes), “I would estimate that I personally represent over a quarter of a million people attempting to buy a ticket for the Glastonbury Festival. One would hope a “world-beating” test and trace system would have rather more robust metrics in place for gauging how many people in the country think they’ve got coronavirus.”
Look, I know I’m a raving Leftie, but I do not dare to claim that things would necessarily have been any better had Labour won the last election, especially when you think about who would have been in charge if “we” had won. But Jesus wept, I’d like to think there would be at least an element of transparency, of learning from mistakes, which is not what we’re seeing now.
For a start, don’t be fooled by Conservative MPs referring to what we do have as “NHS Track and Trace”. The implication in them referring to it as such is that the NHS is at the heart of it, when in actual fact it has knack all to do with the the NHS.
In fact, it is an outsourced service provided to the NHS. The contact tracers are employed by Serco, who were paid £108 million for the first phase of the work, up to late August. The call centre is operated by American specialists Sitel, who were paid £84m for a similar period.
Money well earned.
So why do Conservative MPs continue to refer to it as NHS Track and Trace? Call me a cynic, but I think it’s because they want you to believe, when this is all finally over and done with, that it was the NHS that failed the nation, rather than one or any number of the privately owned firms who are actually culpable, and to whom our most precious asset will doubtless be sold off.
Who, when reading this and seeing the name Serco did not feel their heart sag? Oh that lot, we thought. For Serco have a bit of a reputation: in July 2019, a fine of £19.2m was imposed on them for fraud and false accounting over its electronic tagging service for the Ministry of Justice. This is where they were found to have charged us – the British taxpayer – for tagging a number of prisoners temporarily and legitimately released from prison, whom they hadn’t tagged at all. The company was also ordered to pay the Serious Fraud Office’s investigative costs of £3.7 million.
And what do we do with companies who have failed to adhere to the very basic terms of a contract? Give them another one, that’s what.
Incidentally, Serco have also been accused of an extensive cover-up over sexual abuse of immigrants at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, and, together with its consortium partners, failing to develop a strategy for managing Higher Active radioactive Waste at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. I think that’s a Full House, isn’t it?
So, Serco are exactly the sort of people one would expect to have been awarded such a lucrative and important contract as the Track and Trace one. I could go on about how these contracts, and many others, which have wasted millions, if not billions, of pounds since Covid kicked in, were awarded without going through the proper tender process and just so happened to be awarded to companies which are owned by, or who have shareholders who are Conservative MPs or their main fund providers, but you’re all smart cookies. You can look it up.
And get this: the government backed Track and Trace app, which you’ve doubtless seen advertised this week, encouraging us to download it and help beat the virus, isn’t actually compatible with Covid tests done by the NHS.
World-beating, my arse.
Let me just say this: there are parallels to be drawn between the money which has been made by Tory benefactors since Covid, and those that a record company makes when a star on their books dies:
At the time of writing, the Goverment has wasted £3,895,556,000 since March. This includes unsafe testing kits; face masks that don’t work; broken tracing systems; useless antibody tests; contracts to sweet manufacturers and dormant companies with no employees, to provide PPE that, well who’d have thunk it, never arrived.
Three words: Magic. Money. Tree.
At the end of July 2020, debt was £2,004 billion, £227.6 billion more than at the same point last year. Just remember that next time Labour is painted as the profligate party.
Yeh, yeh…these are unprecedented times of national crisis…I get that. Extra money had to be spent. Agreed. But that should not be seen as an opportunity to line the pockets of your already stinking-rich mates.
Meanwhile, as various areas – the North East, the North East, South Wales (fuck it, anywhere but London) – saw spikes in those who were diagnosed with Covid, the Government implemented regional restrictions in an attempt to curb the rise. The problem here was that nobody in Government seemed to know exactly what the rules were from one area to the next: when questioned junior minister Gillian Keegan was unable to explain what the rules were in the North East. You can maybe excuse her for not being all over the detail (were she not being interviewed on a local radio programme in one of the areas in question), but surely one could expect the person who had imposed, or at the very least sanctioned, said measures to be all over it like the proverbial tramp on chips, no?
No. For later the same day, our PM when asked got it wrong too, prompting this hastily written (by someone else) Tweet:
Fair play for admitting he got it wrong, but via the medium of Twitter is hardly the way to announce it, is it? He may as well have hidden in another fridge. Get out in front of the press again, man. I brought eggs.
And “Misspoke”…? Miss-speaking is when you accidentally refer to someone as Mrs rather than Miss. This was not him miss-speaking, this was him getting it wrong. Politician-speak, see: where the words “I’m sorry” are followed by the word “if…”; where you have to make it seem like you’ve said what is expected or anticipated, but where you leave yourself enough wriggle-room to amend, backtrack, clarify or denounce as deemed necessary later on.
This is where the whole matter of trust comes into play. Now, more than ever, it is essential that the people of the UK trust and believe in those who rule over us, and yet what we constantly get is the breaking of rules we’re supposed to adhere to, and the flim-flam justification for doing so, followed by errors and cover-ups. I’m not necessarily advocating another nationwide lockdown, but what I am asking for is for consistency. Is that too much to ask?
An example: new rules state that pubs and clubs must now shut at 10:00 pm. Putting aside the implied idiocy of thinking that the Covid virus is only active from 10:01 pm, and the actual idiocy of having all pubs turf people out at exactly the same time, to travel home on public transport where social distancing is simply not possible, what was not widely advertised was that one particular set of bars were exempt from the rule: those located in the House of Commons.
In the meantime, regional spikes – and we should really start calling it what it really is now: the second wave – led to our Government asking us all to work from home where possible, when only a matter of weeks ago they were encouraging us to go back to our offices to work, under the pretence that local sandwich businesses were struggling. Let’s call that what it was too, whilst we’re at it: it’s no coincidence that the people who were losing out on rent for vacant office buildings just so happened to also be major contributors to the Conservative coffers. And we can’t have those billionaires being out of pocket, now can we?
These spikes are, apparently, all our fault: we love freedom “too much” and we “don’t like being told what to do”. I call bullshit once again. There may be small pockets of Covid deniers in the country, or those who consider wearing face masks to protect ourselves and others is either a fallacy or an infringement on our civil liberties, but they are very much in the minority.
The majority of us just want to get through this and will do whatever it takes to do so.
What’s needed here is clear and consistent messaging, and (and I can’t believe I’m about to type these words) strong and stable leadership.
What we’re getting is the absolute opposite.
For once, I agree with Phil and the boys:
In non-Covid related news, it was announced that Brexit – ah, Brexit! Remember those heady days when this was all we had to worry about? – and the additonal paperwork which every vehicle will need to have (and have checked) will cause queues of approximately 7000 lorries per day at channel ports. Give or take, that’s 700 miles of tailbacks. And the solution? More staff, presumably. But no: a new internal border in Kent. Genius. Say what you like about Boris’ “oven-ready” deal: we never expected it to lead to the annexing of Kent.
Oh, and the software needed to control the borders won’t be ready until May 2021, months after it’s needed.
And the same applies for the border with Northern Ireland he assured us wasn’t going to happen.
But it’s okay, Boris has a master-plan: all we have to do is pass new legislation which allows us to renege on the Withdrawal Agreement he signed with the EU less than a year ago – which, for those of you with short memories, was forced through Parliament in record time because, it was argued, there was no need to examine the detail of the agreement. “We would never have agreed to this had we bothered to read it first time around” the likes of Ian Duncan Smith exclaimed. (Still no sign of Mark Francois. Funny, that)
And our Premier agreed – and he claims to have written the fecking thing – hence the Internal Market Bill, which has got through two readings in the House of Commons, and which – amongst other things, such as grabbing power back from our devolved nations, and throwing the Good Friday Agreement out the window, so it’ll be a big 70s welcome back to sectarian violence in Ireland – permits us to renege on the Withdrawal Agreement, all of which is of course, in breach of international law.
Here’s Ed Miliband, standing in for Labour Leader Kier Starmer when he was self-isolating, still sounding like an Aardman Animations character, but giving Johnson a proper what-for at PMQs:
If only he could have managed to eat a bacon sandwich properly.
But, of course, it is the EU who are being painted as the unreasonable ones now. Does anyone actually buy that? How outrageous that they might insist on us sticking to an agreement we agreed to only last year, the manipulative bastards.
What this does, of course, is send out a very clear message to all of those countries with whom we are currently negotiating new trade deals (to replace the perfectly good one we had via the EU): Britain can’t be trusted.
Who haven’t I mentioned yet?
You know it: Home Secretary, Priti Patel.
Obsessed with her desire to send any asylum seekers (she continues to call them illegal immigrants, even though they are not) elsewhere, this week two proposed plans were leaked to the press. The first was that we should send them all to the Ascension Islands (hello Australia! Does this sound familiar?), the second was that we should contain them on boats moored off-shore whilst their applications were considered.
Just to clarify the hard-line Patel allegedly proposed: we remove them from the dangerous craft on which they had paddled their way here and either relocate them to an isolated volcanic island, about 1,600 kilometres from the coast of Africa and 2,250 kilometres from the coast of Brazil, or we put them in a much bigger and safer ship than they had been used to thus far.
Or – and this may seem radical – maybe, since they’ve done nothing wrong, we could treat them like humans and let them in whilst their applications are processed. maybe even let them work a little, pay their taxes and National Insurance contributions, to make up at least some of the money the Government seems determined to – and I quote – “spaff up the walls” on Covid and Brexit.
I heard a government minister – sadly, I didn’t catch his name – being interviewed and asked whether these suggestions were true. His answer was that he ‘wouldn’t comment on leaks’. Which is Politician Speak for “Yes, it’s true, but it’s a bit embarrassing so I’d rather you didn’t press me on this.”
One wonders just how persuasive Patel is for these nonsense ideas to be even considered, let alone leaked. With apologies to you all, not least to The Robster for the tarring of a great record with debase connotations:
And don’t even get me started on the US elections, which given the developments over the last 24 hours, I’m steering clear of. I’d hate to speak ill of the dead (until they’re actually dead, and then it’s fair game. Fingers crossed!).
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write a series here called Friday Night Music Club.
Here is what I wrote way back in March 2015 to explain:
“Friends of mine will tell you I love a themed mix tape or CD.
In my old flat, we used to have what we (ok, I) liked to call The Friday Night Music Club. This would involve us a) getting very drunk b) me shaving my head at some point c) listening to the latest CD mix I’d made (later, when I bought a sound system that allowed me to just plug my iPod in (other mp3 playing devices are available) these mixes got waaaay longer, and probably waaaaay more tedious for the listener) and d) ideally having a bit of a dance.
I’ve done mix tapes and CDs for friends and family all my life (but you already knew that, right?) but the idea here was to make a series of mix CDs which, when played in sequence, you could play at a house party and which would keep the night bubbling along nicely.
Actually, this is something I’d already tried a few years earlier. Friends of mine used to have the most excellent parties at their flat on Hilldrop Road, usually with a DJ playing, but on one occasion the DJ – and for that matter, their decks – couldn’t make it. In their absence I prepared a set of 11 CDs – about 15 hours – which, when played in sequence, took you from aperitifs and welcomers, to “go on have a bit of a dance”, through to off your nut party anthems, and then back down to sitting round talking nonsense about radishes until 6am.
Anyway, back to the Friday Night Music Club. Occasionally I’d make a theme out of the whole thing (hey, if Bob Dylan can do a radio show using the same format, I can do a mix CD, okay?) or do more than one CD and spread the theme out (there was once a 4 CD opus to a former flat mate which deserves a mention in passing) but more often than not the theme would occur to me in the middle of preparing it, and that’d be it…I’d be off….“
As an aside, I appear to have missed some fairly significant landmarks in the history of this place: my first ever post was in September 2013, and if you think my posts are sporadic now, bear in mind that my second post didn’t happen until a year later in 2014. Whatever, a belated 5th anniversary to me!
Anyway, it was when I became rather fixated on the theme rather than with just posting some songs which sound good when played together that I knocked the Friday Night Music Club series on the head.
Since there are now more of us are spending our Friday Nights at home, many of us getting drunk, I figured I would bring the series back for at least a one-off for you to use as your sountrack to your Zoom/Houseparty chats. There might be more, I’ve not decided yet.
Also, this, right here what you’re reading now, is my 1500th post, so I’d like to mark at least one of my landmark posts in a timely manner.
I figured we’d go back to where it all began, to the first few episodes of Friday Night Music Club, but now with fewer attempts to be clever/funny and just more songs to rock your end of the working (from home) week/kids are in bed celebrations.
Actually, I’d hoped to bring this to you last weekend, in time for the Bank Holiday, but time simply caught up with me, the bastard.
The initial intention was simply to repost those early “mixes”, with a few new songs thrown in here and there (and some brutally culled). But as I was working on it, it metemporphasised into something different, perhaps better described as a completely new mix of tunes, very loosely hung on the framework of the old ones, in an effort to reinvigorate them, poncey as that may sound.
If you’d prefer to just listen to this on Spotify, you can do here:
…although a word of warning: Spotify doesn’t have all of the songs in the playlist, so the only real way to enjoy this in it’s full…erm…glory is by ploughing through the links below.
Oh, and a second word of warning: there’s a fair bit of effin’ and jeffin’ on some of these, so perhaps not for those with young ears.
Hopefully, there will be something for everyone in here (there’s seventy tunes in just over five hours, so I bloody hope so!), so push back the sofa, get yourself a pint of White Russian (or whatever your weapon of choice is), dim the lights and turn up the volume. Let there be grooves. Let there be guitars. Let there be cheese. Let there be some surprises, some forgotten tunes and some old favourites. Let there be singing. Let there be dancing.
Tell you what: I’ll play a song or two by way of a little intro whilst you’re getting yourself sorted:
Signatures and autographs seems to have become an unintentional theme of my posts this weekend, so I thought I’d share something that happened last weekend to round things off.
As many of you will know, I’m a massive football fan, and, as I wrote way back here (song link not re-upped as I got my only take-down notice when I first posted it) I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur since 1981.
I don’t believe in fate, but something – pure coincidence seems more likely – has lent a hand in me now living in North London, not a million miles away from my beloved Spurs’ home ground.
Many of you will know that for the past year and a half, Spurs have relocated to Wembley, as their own stadium, White Hart Lane, was demolished and then rebuilt with a significantly larger capacity. The process has not been without its problems: the stadium was supposed to be finished and ready for the start of the 2018/2019 season, but it was only this week that the doors finally reopened and we were able to play our first competitive match at the new stadium (I say “we” like I had something to do with it, which of course I didn’t).
Whilst the club was relocated, I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a few games for free, courtesy of a friend of mine, Ray, who works for the club. I’ve known Ray for about twenty-five years, since he first worked with and then lived with my old mate Richie. Full disclosure: that twenty-five years includes a massive gap when I lost touch with both of them. But now, every now and then, I’ll get a text or a direct message from Richie, asking if I fancy going to a specific game as Ray could probably sort out free tickets for us (I feel embarrased to actually ask if he can sort tickets for us for a particular match, and would much rather wait until the opportunity is offered to me). The answer is always, unless I have something else on which I really can’t get out of: yes!
Consequently, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at matches against Real Madrid in the Champions League last year (we won, 3-1 – what a night!), against (and, no disrespect intended but there’s a considerable drop-off in the quality of the opposition here) Huddersfield (a 2-0 win), the final game of last season (which was supposed to be our last game at Wembley) against Leicester – possibly the stupidest but most thoroughly enjoyable match I’d ever seen up until that point, which ended up with us winning 5-4 – and our 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this season, where Richie and I, thanks to Ray, ended up sitting very close to the likes of Michael McIntyre and England manager Gareth Southgate.
For that last couple of those games, Ray had arranged for us to have access to the bar where the sponsors meet and eat, and where ex-players are employed to meet with the fans, have a chat and a photo taken. Consequently, I have pictures (which I won’t bore you with) of me and Richie with the likes of Tottenham Legends Robbie Keane, Ledley King, Pat Jennings, Gary Mabbutt, Ray Clemence and Ricky Villa (I was a total dribbling fanboy when I met him, telling him over and over – as he must have heard a thousand times before – “You’re the reason I support Spurs!”.
Because of this goal:
So last Saturday, Ray had sorted something really special, never to be repeated, for us: pre-match lunch in the exclusive Tunnel Club (yes, I know it sounds like a euphimism for a gay bar, but it’s so called because the end wall looks out onto the tunnel the players line up in as they prepare to head out onto the pitch) followed by really quite amazing seats, right behind the home bench, for the Tottenham Legends as they played Inter Milan Forever in the final test event before the stadium doors opened properly on Wednesday of this week.
And when I say “really quite amazing seats” I mean it:
The stadium is breath-takingly amazing, getting the balance between the old and the new just right, as evidenced here:
On the day, for Milan, such lumiaries as Lauren Blanc, Mikaël Silvestre, Juan Sebastian Veron turned out. For Tottenham the likes of Robbie Keane, Jurgen Klinsman (who played for Milan in the second half), Dimitar Berbatov, David Ginola, and of course, Paul Gascoigne.
Here’s all nine goals that were scored – it’s worth watching just for Robbie Keane’s gloriously impudent goal, and his trademark celebration, which is round about the 8:00 mark:
What’s missing from that footage (apart from me – I’ve spotted Richie in the crowd, but I’ve no idea where I am) is Gascoigne’s brief appearance; he came on in the second half to a rapturous reception, but clearly injured himself in the warm-up; he basically limped around the pitch for fifteen minutes or so as he desperately, unsuccesfully, tried to run off his injury. It was lovely to see him, but also sad that we hadn’t really seen him.
As he came off, Richie turned to me and said: “I’ve always wanted to say that I saw Gazza play. I’m not sure I can say that now.”
And on came David Ginola.
We’d been sitting very close behind him for the first half, and I spent much of that time in irritating fanboy mode, nudging Richie in the ribs and saying “David Ginola’s sat just there!” over and over again:
I’d wanted to capture the moment he stripped off to his kit to come on; this was the best I managed:
Phwooooar! Am I right, ladies?
But, as is to be expected of a man who has recently had major heart surgery, his involvement in the game was restricted to a few nonchalant Gallic flicks and back-heels.
I still would though.
To see these players, who mean so, so much to me, even if I wasn’t watching them play in their pomp and prime, was utterly, utterly priceless to me. It was quite the most glorious of days. I can’t think of another time that I was quite so deliriously stupidly happy.
Anyway, to the anecdote.
In the second half, one of the chaps who had been sitting on the table next to us in The Tunnel Club, leaned over and tapped Darren “Sicknote” Anderton on the shoulder, proffering him a match-day program and a pen. Anderton duly obliged, and went to hand the program back, only to be asked if he could pass it forward to Gazza.
Which, whilst I must applaude the audacity of the autograph hunter in question – I commended him on it back in the Club after the game – it must have been a dagger to Sicknote’s heart.
So the plan was this: every week, I’d post a round-up of the events from the week on the campaign trail, coupled with a scathing yet entirely impartial *ahem* review, and an appropriate song or two.
There are two flaws in that plan. Firstly, I was away last weekend, so I now have two weeks to catch up on.
I love Twitter, and some of you know and follow me on there, but there is a danger with that social media platform: because of the very nature of the beast, I find I’ve reacted to something or retweeted it there, long before I’ve written anything here.
So when it comes to time to write here, I’m frankly a little worried I may be accidentally using a joke or a point I’ve already read, and probably retweeted, on Twitter.
In other words, forgive me if I accidentally repeat something which I don’t credit to the original source. (In other words, I’m saying that all you are about to read is my take on the General Election, and if it anyway chimes with something on Twitter that I may or may not have read, that’s entirely coincidental.)
Where shall we start? Here: sometime in the last couple of weeks, Theresa May announced she would not take part in televised debates with the leaders of her opponents parties. The BBC and ITV announced that they would “empty chair” her, which means they’d have a chair for her to sit in, and when any question was asked, they would cut to the empty chair and the answer it wasn’t giving.
And they say the BBC is biased….
At this, many of us pricked up our ears, and rubbed our hands together.
Surely this is an open goal for Jeremy Corbyn, one even he can’t mess up? An opportunity to put his views and his vision out to the electorate, pretty much unchallenged.
And then he announced that if Theresa May wasn’t going to participate in the live TV debates, then neither was he.
Nice one, Jeremy. For why would you want to monopolise on such an opportunity? It’s almost like he doesn’t want to win…
And apart from that, nothing has happened in the past couple of weeks.
Ah yes. There was the Diane Abbott incident.
I quite like Diane. Of course, she ticks a lot of PC boxes.
Managed to regularly sit on a couch with Michael Portillo without punching him in the balls? Tick.
Absolute Liability with a microphone anywhere near her? Sadly, tick, tick, tick.
I’m not going to post the link here, as I’m sure you’ve already seen/heard it, but she did an utterly excruciating telephone interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari, where she discussed Labour’s plans to increase funding for the police. It’s fair to say, she made a right hash of the figures: the sound of her frantically flicking through her notes was more evident than any coherent message from Abbott.
Her explanation later was that the interview was her sixth of the day and she was tired.
That’s not really good enough, is it? For a start, if I’d done essentially the same interview, being asked the same questions, five times previously, I’d like to think that a) I’d have learnt the details before the first interview, and b) that having trotted the figures out five times already, they might have sunk in a bit by the time of the sixth interview.
The idea, of course, is to portray a picture of someone who is determined, resolute, and doesn’t waiver or change their mind.
So let’s not forget that this election is happening as a result of May changing her mind, and backtracking on previous pledges:
But then, she has a history of this, doesn’t she?
So, irrespective of whether you voted to remain or leave the EU last year, bear in mind that, if the Tories win the forthcoming election, then the negotiations will be led by someone who doesn’t believe we should be leaving at all.
And just think for a moment who she appointed into her cabinet. Foreign Secretary: Boris Johnson. I don’t have time to list all of the countries that Johnson has managed to offend, before or after the EU vote, but there are lots. And that’s before we even start on the amount of cities in the UK that he’s managed to piss off with his bumbling Eton toff routine.
But it’s okay, for David Davis is the minister charged with negotiating the Brexit deal, and he’s already admitted that there is no plan in place should the UK not get a deal which is favourable to leaving, so we all know how competent he is.
But, what he can do is get t-shirts printed with an exruciatingly bad joke emblazoned on them, and then persuade “curvaceous lovelies” to wear them:
But okay, fine. If you’re happy with Benny Hill negotiating the biggest and most important trade deal in the last 50 fifty years, then fill your boots:
Now. You know how we all scoffed at Donald Trump’s baseless, unfounded allegations that his presidential campaign had been wire-tapped by the Obama administration? The rantings of a deranged, parnoid loon (with something to cover up), right?
So this week, Theresa May went into full-on Trump mode.
Following a dinner with senior EU negotiating bods, May made a staement that there had been “European threats against Britain, deliberately timed to affect the election”
Whoa. Wait a minute, wait a minute. You mean, those people that we’ve told to fuck off have taken it badly, and want us to honour the agreement we previously signed off on?
And, unless I’m very much mistaken Mrs May, you called the election, not them.
And – hang on, I must be missing something here – since you didn’t want to Leave in the first place and clearly have all of the negotiating prowess of a potato in a sock with a face drawn on it, why would they want you to be replaced?
Oh wait – unless this was a deliberate ploy to make sure that all who voted to Leave last year turned out again for you in June? But that kind of scaremongering has no place in modern politics, does it?
It’s not strong and stable, it’s fucking deranged. She can’t even eat chips without looking like she’s from another realm. Seriously, it comes to something when Ed Miliband is able to call you out on how to eat in public:
And don’t even get me started on May’s response to a perfectly reasonable question about the NHS, about nurses, and their increased dependency on food banks:
That’s right, Theresa. There are many complex reasons why nurses might be going to food banks. I’ll list them for you:
That appears to be it.
But it’s okay, there’s always the European health workers (who you refuse to guarantee the safety of, post Brexit) to step in and take over.
Oh, and then there’s the small issue of the proposed increase in tax and National Insurance contributions which they tried to bring in under the last budget, before ditching it when (finally, after trying to defend and justify it for a few days, claiming it was our fault for misunderstanding everything, because we’re all THAT stupid) they had to accept it was in direct contradiction of their last manifesto pledge, and which May now refuses to confirm won’t happen should they be re-elected.
Look, I know there’s an obesity probem in the UK, I’m living proof of it, but surely the way to address that isn’t by making sure that the working (and a large chunk of the middle) classes can’t afford to eat?
So, anyway, let me just leave this here for you to think about:
And then there were the local elections on Thursday. I can’t pretend these went well for a cardigan-wearing leftie like me. There were Conservative gains, of course, many in traditionally Labour heartland. This cannot be considered to be encouraging. Areas of Wales, Scotland, and Birmingham, all went to the Tories.
Wales: I love you but you should hang your heads in shame that you’ve voted for the party that decimated the economic output of your community.
The only thing I can cling to here is the massive losses suffered by UKIP, who ended up with just one seat.
And why did UKIP only manage to secure one seat? From the results, it certainly isn’t the case that UKIP voters switched to Labour, is it?
So ask yourself this: if you’ve never voted UKIP before, because you recognise them as the racist fuckwits we know they are, then why would you vote for a political party which has – as Real Ale and fags raconteur, the man with a face you’d never get tired of punching, Nigel Farage acknowledged this week – absorbed their policies?
If you continue, or are considering, voting Tory in the forthcoming election, but think that UKIP are a bunch of whackos, then you need to take a fucking long look in the mirror, for you are now just UKIP under a different name.
So, it’s Easter weekend again, and time for us all to pretend we’re devout Christians honouring a long-standing tradition, when really all we care about is the fact that we all get to stuff our faces with chocolate and, in the UK at least, enjoy a super long, four day weekend:
Yes! A whole four days to think about doing that bit of DIY you’ve been putting off for months, and which you’ll continue to think about until Monday when, suddenly aware that you’ve totally wasted the whole weekend, you’ll skulk off to B&Q and spend the rest of the day trying to construct a flat-pack chest of drawers, armed only with a knife masquerading as the screwdriver which you can’t find, several screws less than your supposed to have, and an instruction manual written in every language except English accompanied by the most confusing diagrams known to mankind.
But we shouldn’t ignore the real reason we get this extended break. So, here’s a little something which references the events which didn’t actually take place at all, let alone on this day (controversial, I know):
Regulars will know that, despite not having a single religious bone in my body, I do love to post festive songs at Christmas but, as I pointed out in previous years, there just aren’t that many which can be linked to Easter celebrations, unless you go down the egg route, which I’m not going to.
So, here’s my tradition: posting this every year in all it’s outrageous, glorious campness:
Before we get going a disclaimer: if I seem a little distracted tonight, it’s because I’m trying to accomplish that task that so many (men) find difficult – multi-tasking. For tonight, whilst writing this, I am also watching Spurs in the Champions League. So, if my demeanour takes a turn for the worst towards the end, you’ll know why. (As you can see, I’m full of optimism….).
So, to business: last week I left you with “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and asked for your suggestions for songs to link to it, and, as usual, you’ve not let me down with the standard of suggestion or level of link.
As is often the case, the majority of the suggestions fell into the same categories, and this time there were four
Links to the names of members of the bands
Links to the word “Animal(s)”
Links to the word “House”
Links to…erm…the oldest profession in the world.
There are a few others which we’ll sprinkle liberally throughout the post too.
Band Members Names
Now, you’ll remember that the reason we’re looking at “The House of the Rising Sun” was because one of the members of the band was Chas Chandler, who went on to manage Jimi Hendrix, the subject of last week’s post, so it only seems right that we start with a Chas related record.
Also, there wasn’t that much in the way of cheese last week; this redresses that immediately.
Over to you, Charity Chic (who is going to be annoyed that I have already started one sentence with the word “So”):
“Let’s get the cheesy one out the way at the start – Chas ‘n’ Dave with Snooker Loopy”:
“John Steel of The Animals met Alan Price in Byker. Byker Grove was a TV programme that gave us Ant and Dec…but we’ve already had Ant and Dec….I’ll start again…”
And have a word with yourself while you’re at it, George. It was PJ and Duncan we previously featured, and as we all know, they were completely different to Ant and Dec. One of them had been tragically blinded in a bizarre paintballing accident, for a start. (“Bizarre Paintballing Accident” sounds like a suggestion from a random “New Order/Half Man Half Biscuit/Elvis Costello” title generator, doesn’t it? Actually, thinking about it, that joke works just as well with the words “New Order” and “Elvis Costello” removed from it.)
Time for my first suggestion of the week. Alan Price appeared in, and composed the music for, “O Lucky Man!”, a 1973 film directed by Lindsay Anderson. Five years earlier, Anderson released arguably his most iconic film, “if….” which is also the name of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling, but is also the name of a single culminates in a glorious sing-a-long, probably my favourite song by The Bluetones, who make their hat-trick appearance here on The Chain.
Last one for our linking band members names, and here’s The Beard:
“Alan Price had success after leaving The Animals with Simon Smith and The Amazing Dancing Bear which was also covered by The Muppets on their debut album.”
It was, and I very nearly posted their version (it’s by Scooter, which would have led to a lot of very disappointed fans of the German dance band accidentally stumbling across this place), but the Muppets will be making an appearance later, so we’ll pass on that.
Besides, I don’t think that’s the record our Bearded Buddy was looking to nominate, as he continues:
“Animal was, of course, the drum bashing Muppet. A similar sounding drummer is Philthy Animal Taylor from Motörhead. Their single No Class is in fact pure class.“
Which leads us rather nicely onto the next category, but before we go there: we’ve all seen over the years boy bands exploit their innocent fan base by releasing a single which featured a different member of the band on the cover? Well, who knew that such acts weren’t just restricted to the teen market….?:
Time to sprinkle a little uncategorisable magic dust. And some more shameless nicking of ideas.
I’ll let The Great Gog, who suggested it, take over:
“The Animals also recorded We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, which was covered by (lovable?) 90s Scousers, Space. A couple of decades earlier, a French band of the same name came to our attention with the then futuristic-sounding Magic Fly.”
Take a look at that sleeve. Remind you of anyone? Seems a little bit daft, a little bit punk to me. And there was me thinking Daft Punk were ground-breaking, and it turns out they’re just rehashing ideas from their fellow countrymen from the 1970s. Luckily, very few of the UK’s current pop stars follow suit, or most of them would be in prison. Maybe that should be unluckily…
By the way, that suggestion continues a trend which I’ve encountered a couple of times since I started hosting The Chain, and which Alyson identified following my Halloween night post, a condition known as “Oh so that’s what that record’s called”. (see also “House of the King” by Focus and another one that I’ve forgotten already.)
Speaking of Focus, that hasn’t been an issue for me so far, it’s 0-0 at half time, in case you’re interested.
Last one before we start looking at the sings in the Animal(s) category, and here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?:
“Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun. Melt-Banana is a Japanese band who have quite a few songs that mention animals. They once released a compilation called 13 Hedgehogs which included tracks called Iguana In Trouble, Turtle vs. Bunny (Who One?) and Pig To Dog. But I’m going for the fabulously-titled Bird-Like Monkey in Cave, Singing in Drops, basically because it’s the only one of the above that breaches the 2-minute mark. (There’s also Bird-Like Monky Part 2 on the same album if you prefer – it’s just seven seconds long and for that reason might be a little more bearable for those with tender ears…)”
Regular readers will know I love Japanese bands like Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then. So when The Robster suggested this lot, who I’d never heard of before, I was positively moist with anticipation:
Let’s move on to some Animal based fun. Not that kind of fun. Purely aural fun. Not that kind of aural fun either, you mucky lot.
You’ll remember that last week I had to disqualify one suggestion because, well, as far as I could establish, it was wrong. I was disappointed, as the link led to one of my favourite cover versions. I’m delighted to report that Swiss Adam from Bagging Area has taken up the challenge:
“The Animals are named after our four legged friends. On the cover of The Rockingbirds’ ‘Gradually Learning’ 12″ single the guitarist (who also plays with Edwyn Collins) is riding a horse (which is of course an animal). The Rockingbirds covered Right Said Fred’s Deeply Dippy….”
“Eric Burdon always looked grumpy whenever I saw him perform or in photographs. Decided it was maybe because he was also moonlighting as an ironmonger (the jackets in the HOTSR cover are just like those worn in our local shop when I was a youngster). Whenever your dad asked them for anything in the shop it was never on a shelf and they always had to go upstairs to the storeroom for it. Led me to thinking of Upstairs at Eric’s by Yazoo and I think my favourite from that album was Don’t Go.”
For our American readers, that’s Yazz to you, which must have been very confusing when the other Yazz and her Plastic Population appeared a few years later.
Hold up, The Robster’s back, and he’s only going to suggest something else by Melt-Banana….:
“I’ve reassessed my choice of Melt-Banana track and thought maybe we should have something that vaguely resembles a song. Which led me to another compilation the band released called Return Of 13 Hedgehogs. It contained their cover of Toots & The Maytals’ ‘Monkey Man’. Certainly a mite more tuneful than ‘Bird-Like Monkey…’”
Remember earlier when I said I liked Shonen Knife and Puffy AmiYumi, who have a knack of stumbling across the odd cracking tune every now and then? Well it turns out that Melt-Banana do too, it’s just they’ve stumbled over one that isn’t one of their own:
It’s funny how the menfolk who make suggestions here tend to feign ignorance when it comes to “being told” what kind of house is being described in The House of the Rising Sun. Take Dirk for example:
“Alright, apparently [see? – Ed] said house in the song really seems to be a brothel, a bagnio, a bordello, or, if you’d rather, a whorehouse. And this reminds me of Wreckless Eric’s ‘Semaphore Signals’. “Why’s this?”, you might be asking yourself – and quite rightly so! The truth of the matter is that for years and years I misheard the lyrics of ‘Semaphore Signals’ a little bit (blame it on my poor English, but hey – could you Englanders sing along to all of Tocotronic’s fantastic debut album? Nah, I bet your German is not good enough, right? I can though!). Either way, it was an embarrassing moment when I finally found out, albeit 15 years or so too late, that Eric says in the chorus “Messages of love down to her house” and not “Messages of love from the whorehouse”.
Still, he should have done. Perhaps. ‘Cos, whenever the tune comes up in the car when I’m on me way to work in the morning these days, I have a picture in my brain of half naked hookers waving little flags … and it always brings a stupid grin to my face!
P.S.: the Peel-Session version is marginally better than the album version.”
Mental note to self: stay off of the autobahn in the morning.
Here’s the Peel Session version, complete with a sleeve where Wreckless Eric’s name has inexplicably been mis-spelt (it’s entirely possible it’s a different Wreckless Erik, but there’s can’t be two, can there?):
“The fact that in this house the oldest profession was practiced it leads me to two songs about prostitution.” There. He’s said it. “First was Blondie’s X-Offender where she first played with her sexual attitude in front of the band.”
“The other one is ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen. Mercury made no bones about the song’s meaning, explaining, ‘It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation on it’.”
We don’t really need to bother, now you’ve told us, do we Freddie?
Elvis Costello – Love For Sale (or the Nina Simone version, if you prefer). Cole Porter rules.”
Now. I have looked everywhere for a copy of Nina Simone performing “Love for Sale”. I can’t find it, or any reference it. But rather than disqualifying a suggestion for the second week running, and in the unlikely event that you may have just got them mixed up somehow, you can have Billie Holliday’s version instead:
Which just about wraps it up for the prostitution related songs, except, well just in case you don’t get the Sting reference, I found this when I was trying to track down the Nina Simone version of Love for Sale:
Now, I have no idea who Idina Menzel is, or rather I didn’t until I decided to add her to this post. She’s an actress, best know for appearing in “Glee” and more recently for being Queen Elsa in “Frozen” which apparently means it is her that sings that “Let it Go” song which seems to get referenced everywhere these days, but which I’ve never heard, nor do I ever want to, thanks very much.
Anyway, the reason I’ve included her version is for the audience reaction, which at the start of “Love for Sale”, a Cole Porter composition, is absolutely nothing, before a smattering of applause and whooping (it’s recorded in America) welcomes the second line of “Roxanne”, like the crowd have been stirred from their slumber by something they kinda recognise.
Oh, wait. I have one more song from this theme. As regular readers know, I love this band, particularly their early stuff, and this is a song which is right up there amongst my favourite ever tunes by them. Wikipedia says the song “concerns a young man’s encounter with a prostitute”, which explains why they called it “Mystery Song”. Although “Song Concerning a Young Man’s Encounter with a Prostitute” would have been a great title too, should Colorblind James Experience ever decide to cover it.
Anyway, put simply, this rocks, it rocks more than anything else on this page. So there.
Incidentally, there’s a vaguely amusing story behind that song. That came out in 1976, when the band were at the height of their fame, and also well on the road to the drug addiction which made lead singer Francis Rossi’s septum fall out. When they were in the studio working on their “Blue For You” album, Rossi laced Rick Parfitt’s cup of tea with “an inordinate amount” of speed, not expecting him to drink it. You can work out how the rest of the story goes: he drank the lot, oblivious to the contents, began playing this riff and continued to do so until the rest of them left the studio, leaving him in there all night. On their return the following day, he was still sitting in the same place, playing the same riff, some twelve hours later. “I just couldn’t go wrong,” Parfitt recalls, “everywhere my fingers went on the fretboard it sounded fantastic.” Drugs, see kids. Don’t do them. Especially speed. Anyone who has read my article about what happened at Glastonbury the year I found a bag of the stuff will know I know exactly what I’m talking about.
Okay we’re on the home straight now, just some more sprinkles of magic dust to go, and to start off this final section, can we all give a very warm Chain Gang welcome to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense (and anyone with a picture of Rigsby as their avatar is alright by me):
“Approaching his 50th Birthday, John Otway asked his fans for a second hit single to follow 1977s “Really Free”. The chosen track – Bunsen Burner – nicked the music from Disco Inferno, and Otway fashioned a lyric after helping with his daughters chemistry homework. The link to House Of The Rising Sun? HOTRS was the B-Side (or second track on CD single) – the track featured 900 fans (all credited on the record sleeve) in a glorious ‘call and response'”
“Can I have another go, please? Ta. Be warned, this one is more than a little convoluted…”
Excellent. The Beard’s links are becoming my favourite links here each week, if not for the songs, then the reason he gives. As close to Comment Showboating as anyone has managed this week (apart from my quite brilliant even if I do say so myself link to The Bluetones). Time for the rest of you to up your game, I think.
“The Rising Sun is a pub on Beverley Road in Hull. Grafton Street is a thoroughfare, one end of which comes out on Beverley Road. Down Grafton Street is The Grafton, the pub where the video for Happy Hour by The Housemartins was filmed. Phill Jupitus appears in the video. He was also a captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Howard Devoto left Buzzcocks to form Magazine. A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine is fanruddytastic.”
And that would be that, had The Beard’s suggestion not prompted a couple of further ideas from Rol, which I’ll allow, as they’re the next step on a couple of references The Beard makes. Plus, Rol is as brief as brief can be (although, just to be contrary, I’m posting them in the different order to suggested, just because his first suggestion sounds more like an end of the show track than his second to me):
We ended up last week with me inviting suggestions for songs which link to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]”, which is lifted from their “Electric Ladyland” album, whilst also making a rather bold prediction:
“I’m willing to bet I know which artist Charity Chic will suggest.”
So over to you, CC:
“If you are thinking Wall of Voodoo, they only had one decent song which I suggested last week which could be winner if it didn’t take you back to the radio theme.”
Errrr, no. That wasn’t who I was thinking of. However, that did prompt Dirk from Sexyloser to suggest the following:
“Wall Of Voodoo’s “Dance You F***ers*” was okay as well, if I remember correctly”
“Chile used to be ruled by a tin-pot fascist dictator called General Pinochet. When he took I’ll he came to the UK where our very own tin-pot fascist dictator Margaret Thatcher gave him bed and board at the countries expense. Thereafter the normally spineless Jack Straw the then Home Secretary deported him. I wrote to congratulate him but never got the courtesy of a reply.
So “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” by Heaven 17 please.”
You see, the other week, having successfully suggested a link to a Kirsty MacColl record for the second week running, and aware of our mutual adoration of her work, CC announced that he would attempt to link to something by her at every opportunity.
I’m reminded of QI, and the number of times Alan Davies has proffered “a blue whale” as an answer, and got it wrong, but then when it is the answer, manages to miss it. Like this:
Now. Before we go any further, I need to just clear a little something up. And having popped the tissues away, now I need to clarify something.
The reason we are linking to The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Voodoo Chile [Slight Return]” is that it was the next record in the official BBC Chain, following on from Joni Mitchell’s “You Turn Me On I’m a Radio”, and the official link between the two was given as “…Mitch Mitchell played bass in the Jimi Hendrix Experience…”. Needless to say this raised a few eyebrows, by The Swede (“That’ll be news to Noel Redding’s estate”) and Alex G (“What a disappointing official connection. I expect better than that for £145.50 a year.”)
So let’s just check with the bible of all accurate data: Wikipedia, which lists Mitch Mitchell’s credits as ‘backing vocals, drums (except on “Rainy Day Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”), percussion, lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”‘ and Noel Redding’s as ‘backing vocals, bass on “Crosstown Traffic”, “Little Miss Strange”, “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)”, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, acoustic guitar and lead vocals on “Little Miss Strange”‘
So perhaps we should have a couple of Noel Redding related tunes before we go any further.
There is a town just outside London which hosts an annual music festival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. That town is Reading, but it’s pronounced the same way as Noel’s surname. The other way to pronounce it is, of course, in the same way as in the phrase “Reading, Writing And Arithmetic”, which just so happens to be the title of the debut album by The Sundays. Here’s the opening track:
Similarly, here’s George, with both of his suggestions linking to the unappreciated multi-instrumentalist:
“Noel Redding the bass player/drummer, could also play the mandolin, and so could Ira Lonnie Loudermilk, better known as Ira Louvin, one half the toptastic Louvin Brothers. (He was also the heavy drinking much married and alleged wife-beater who was once shot by one of wives). And one of the Louvin Brothers’ song is The Angels Rejoiced Last Night, which has one of the finest examples of lyrics in country music you’ll ever hear.”
I have two things to say about that. Firstly, I always thought Roy Orbison was ‘The Big O’? Secondly, George adds: “I played this to some of my classes when I was working.” So what on earth was your teaching style like if you had to play the pupils a record imploring them not leave?
“I also played them the occasional track by Gong,” George adds, like that makes it perfectly acceptable. Although maybe in an alternative to classroom bell context, a “That Gong’s not for you, it’s for me” kinda way, I guess it might work.
But I digress. Where were we. Oh yes, Chile. CC was not the only person to go down the “Chile” route. Here’s The Robster from Is This The Life?
“I also couldn’t get Chile out of my head, in this case the country – ‘Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto’. While the Billy Bragg version is best known, for me you can’t beat Sweet Honey In The Rock’s take which is just wonderful.”
And in similar territory, literally, here’s The Great Gog:
“Back in my mid-80s student radio days, I had a stand-in co-presenter for the mammoth 4-hour Saturday Sportswatch (not my choice of title). I set the Hendrix track off and as it finished I was busy scribbling info off Ceefax for an upcoming link. Said co-presenter then back-announced the track, pronouncing Chile as one would the South American country which is spelt that way. Cue much mirth around the studio where music snobbery was positively encouraged.
Anyway…I’m obviously now in South American county mode, so I offer ‘Ecuador’ by Sash!…”
Before we move on to the most popular links, one which received two nominations this week, firstly from Rol (“The other obvious suggestion is ‘Slight Return’, the Bluetones’ biggest hit. But you can have that one for free.”) – CC: did you notice that’s the second time he’s said “obvious choice”? He may as well have said blue whale – but also from The Beard (“Alternatively, ‘Slight Return’ by The Bluetones”), which, to be fair, looks a little bit odd when taken out of context i.e. immediately after his other suggestions, which we’ll come to in a bit.