The Chain #46

I got quite excited the other day, when I went into my Drafts folder and saw this title.

“Zut alors!” I exclaimed, thinking that I must have at the very least started writing the next installment of The Chain. And that I was French or German or whatever that language is.

But no, my laziness and ineptitude was laid out there before me, for all I had done was write the title, and that was it. Classic me, if my deadline nightmares are anything to go by.

Anyway, hello, and welcome back to the latest in what is turning out to be an increasingly infuriating occasional series: The Chain.

But at least it’s here, right? We all need distractions and things to think about at the moment, things to fill the time, and surely there’s no finer way to spend some time than reading what folks from all around the world can link to one particular song. It’s what Covid-19 was invented for, surely.

A brief reminder for those new to the shnizz we get up to here: we’re working our way through the songs played on The Chain section of Radcliffe & Maconie’s 6Music show, coming up with alternative suggestions, and listening to them all instead of just the one (Mrs Wembley). 80s sitcom gag, there, to help you acclimatise to the level of writing you can expect should you venture further.

I used to write these once a week, but then couldn’t be arsed lacked inspiration for a year or so, brought it back and suddenly find myself wondering where the days/weeks have gone and how it’s got to the point where I really should have written it by now has arrived.

Anyway, blah blah blah poor old me….let’s be off.

This episode, just to be different, we’re not going to start with the source record from last time. Well not quite, anyway.

No, instead, we’re going start with the first part of one of Rol from My Top Ten‘s suggestions:

The album version of Tubthumping opens with an inspirational quote from the great Pete Postlethwaite, taken from the movie ‘Brassed Off’…

Dammit, it’s done my head in for years trying to remember where I recognised that from! Cheers, Rol!

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping (Album Version)

Before we go any further with Rol’s suggestion, I’ll hand you over to one of the two people who insist on emailing me (which is fine, by the way) their suggestions rather than popping them in the Comments section:

You may recall that last time out The Great Gog got a little obsessed with the county of Hampshire. And rightly so: if Hampshire had a church steeple with a 123-metre spire, then them pesky Ruskies would be queuing up to smear Novochok all over it and any corporate Italian restaurant chain in the immediate vicinity (I’m nothing if not topical).

Anyway, things don’t appear to have changed much in the Land of the Gog:

The album containing Tubthumping is Tubthumper.

Thumper is a rabbit in the animated film Bambi.

There are lots of cartoon rabbits in the animated film Watership Down.

Watership Down is set in some Hampshire fields – which could take us all the way back…

Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes

Is it too early to be handing out points for Comments Showboating? I think not: POINTS!

By the way, I’m not going to post the Points Table every time I write one of these, as nothing much will change from one post to another. It’d be like looking at any sports league table over the past four weeks. I’ll update things and do it every couple of posts or so.

Or…The Great Gog continues…stretching the link to breaking point (You’re by no means the worst cuplrit, fill your boots)…given my ramblings above…[this] would seem appropriate:

Bright Eyes – Down in a Rabbit Hole

Which gives me an unexpectedly early opportinty to to dust off my catchprase (he says, as he dons a spangly suit).

*Ahem*

Well, if you’re having that, then [all together now] I’m having this:

Chas & Dave – Rabbit

Sorry, Rol, where were we?

The soundtrack to Brassed Off was performed by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Rol continues. The Grimethorpe Colliery Band also played on this famous John Peel favourite:

Roy Harper – When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease

Next up, over to The Robster from the annoyingly still dormant Is This the Life blog who offers this:

All I could come up with is Get Up by R.E.M. but I’m sure I can come up with something else given time. Probably got, what, 18 months before the next installment? which is a bit rich, coming from the man who only posts anything at the end of the year. Go on click that link to his blog, let’s see if we can’t get him back in action. Your country needs you, Rob!

I posted the album version of this song not so long ago in my I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays series, so here’s a slightly different version, a live one, which pops up as one of the bonus tracks on the Collector’s Edition of the Shiny Happy People CD single.

But since the band themselves have practically disowned that single (guitarist Peter Buck once described it as “relentlessly upbeat” and also said “If we did one of those per record, I could see how it could get a little embarrassing”) maybe we should too; it’s notable for it’s absence from many of the Greatest Hits compilations, despite it being their =4th biggest hit in the UK (after, in reverse order: Leaving New York (#5), E-Bow The Letter (#4) and The Great Beyond (#3))

They weren’t so embarrased by it that they declined to do this, though (and who could blame them: would you turn down the chance to appear with the Muppets on Sesame Street???)

I love that the female vocalist is a Muppet who looks like Kate Pierson from The B-52s who, as you all know, provided the additional vocals on the single.

But I digress: this version is neither the album version nor the tucked-away-on-a-limited-edition-CD single version, but one I *coughs* obtained from a long gone and much missed blog called (I think…) The Independence of Tractors (long-time bloggers and blog followers may be able to jog my memory….I’m thinking of featuring this soon and would like to accredit, so if anyone has any info….y’know….), who once posted the whole of the band’s Tourfilm DVD as a series of mp3s:

R.E.M. – Get Up (Tourfilm Version)

Onwards, then, to the next suggestion, and to Alyson from What’s It All About? who proffers this:

I got a bit worried when you mentioned Jarvis and his controversial stunt at the Brits as I remember whose expense it was at. But no, it was our friendly water boys who if I remember correctly soaked Two Jags Prescott. Sticking to my Scottish band theme I’m therefore going to go with The Waterboys for the next link and sticking with my “water” theme in this comments box, the song….

The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

I think I should step in and clarify that, according to their Wikipedia page, they’re a Scottish-Irish band..

Anyway, nice of you to bring up the subject of Chumbawamba’s dust up with John Precott at The Brits, as this gives us licence to go off at a bit of a tangent.

To start things off, here’s George:

A Chumbawumba was involved in an altercation with then deputy PM John Prescott, who was the MP for Hull. Also from Hull was Mick Ronson, who played guitar on:

Lulu – The Man Who Sold the World

It’s not really a surprise that Ronson was involved, given who wrote the song and who – keen-eared listeners will have noticed – also provides backing vocals on that: one Mr D Bowie Esq.

George adds: I was going to go from John “Two Jags” Prescott to The Jags and Back of my Hand, but changed my mind.

What, and you think that’s going to stop me posting it? Of course you don’t, you know I won’t be able to resist:

The Jags – Back Of My Hand

Since we’re on Prescott, indulge me for a moment with my two favourite clips involving him. The first isn’t really about him, but it is from a documentary he made back in 2008 called Prescott – The Class System And Me:

I guarantee you, she voted Brexit.

And then there’s this notorious clip:

In his defence: a) what would you do if someone chucked an egg at you? and b) later (admittedly when he’d had time to get someone else to write a witty response think of something clever to say, he came up with this: “Well, Tony Blair asked me to go out and connect with the electorate….”

Anyway, that leads me to my next suggestion of the week:

The Chemical Brothers (feat. Tim Burgess) – The Boxer

Over now to Martin from New Amusements who proffers this Prescott related…um… jewel, I guess:

Like George, I’m going with a John Prescott connection, but hope to craft mine into a Double Linker. Yes, Danbert Nobacon once up-ended an ice-bucket over John Prescott at the Brits, but John Prescott was also memorably once replaced on ‘Have I Got News For You’ with a tub of lard, so I can surely claim a double link to Tubthumping for anything lard-related, so I’ll pitch:

The Shirehorses – If You Tolerate This Piss

He’s not done yet: …which, lest we forget, featured Marc “Lard” Riley. Since this is also about drinking, much like Chumbawumba’s chorus, could this be a Triple Linker? And maybe a point for worst suggestion of the week?

I don’t think I can refuse, can I, dear reader? It’s unquestionably the worst record of the week (POINT!) and he has managed to get a triple link out of this, the first time this has happened as far as I can recall (Ermmmm…points, I guess….).

I think we need to cleanse our palate a little, and remind ourselves that Martin could easily have dodged the sub-Barron Knights tosh that is The Shirehorses by referencing it and then directing us to this:

Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Which brings me back to Rol, whose first suggestion was this:

The Manic Street Preachers must be guilty of Tubthumping, since that’s what Street Preachers do.

Alice Nutter was in Chumbawamba. The Manics once covered an Alice Cooper song. So…

Manic Street Preachers – Under My Wheels

If that’s not a double-linker, than I don’t know what is.

Well, yes, Yes it is. POINTS!

Anyway, for continuity purposes, take a step back. If You Tolerate This… was the band’s first #1 single in the UK (I’m sure this can all be traced back to a shared cheese salad…) and it contains the line “Well, if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists”, which leads me to another draft post of mine which I never got round to finishing. And neither Chas nor Dave are anywhere in sight.

This one even had a semi-clever title: “You’re Not The One For Me, Fascist”.

I’ll hand over to the ever wonderful Charity Chic to explain:

Chumbawumba recorded a song with Credit to the Nation called ‘The Day the Nazi Died’…

Chumbawamba & Credit to the Nation – The Day The Nazi Died (1993 Mix)

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t allow a suggestion which was simply “X recorded the source record, and they also recorded this”, but since this was a collaboration with the frankly quite marvellous Credit to the Nation, I’ll let it slide.

Plus: Charity Chic has a point to make:

….Morrissey (who may or may not be a Nazi) – he continues (“Not my words, the words of Top Gear car magazine!”) had a song called:

Morrissey – First of the Gang to Die

…And he is a bit of a tub these days who could probably do with a good thumping…Charity Chic signs off.

Just in case you’re not sure what CC is banging on about, or on which side of the fence you should be sitting when it comes to the whole “Is Morrissey a racist?” question, well I’ll leave you to make your own mind up.

And here to help you is a picture of him performing live on The Jimmy Fallon Show in May 2019:

And here’s a close-up of the badge he’s wearing on his lapel:

In case you’re not familiar with it, and I hope you’re not, that is a For Britain badge.

For Britain are not nice people.

Oh my, indeed.

Here’s my rule of thumb when it comes to Morrissey, which you are welcome to adopt: yes, when he was in The Smiths he made some inflammatory comments in interviews, but none of them leaked into his lyrics. Since The Smiths split and he went solo, they have. Regularly.

So: The Smiths – fine to still express love and admiration; Morrissey solo – tread carefully.

Which leads me to a suggestion from Jules of Music From Magazines fame, which *checks notes* I’m disqualifying becuase *checks notes*…well, I’m not sure why to be honest, but I am and that’s that:

Carrying on with the high five, Mel Brooks ‘Hitler Rap’

Ah now, I remember; in response to Charity Chic’s anti-Moz post, Jules responded: A high five for that and I don’t think that’s enough to allow it.

Yes, I am a strict Taskmaster, and yes, Greg Davies, watch your back!

What else have you got, Jules?

As I am a tad partial to a cider drink or eight anything I suggest at closing time will make sense….

I beg to differ, but nonetheless:

Tom Waits – Closing Time

Please allow me to interject with something more cheerful but less good:

Semisonic – Closing Time

And then with something less good and less cheerful:

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time

Ok, who’s left?

Well, long time readers of The Chain will know that certain things crop up repeatedly. For sure is eggs is eggs, someone will suggest either a record by The Clash or Bruce Springsteen just to annoy George, and Jules will suggest something by Lambchop.

No, not that Lambchop….

So let’s unclasp the shackles and let Jules free; I have to say that I almost rejected all that you are about to enjoy, until I thought about his first suggestion a little harder:

Any crossword fan would see the anagram “wham bam Cuba” and the country’s name was nailed by the Gibson Brothers:

Gibson Brothers – Cuba

Don’t think Debbie Gibson was related but her role in the film “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” was ably supported by Tiffany...

Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now

Whoa there! You can’t mention Debbie Gibson and expect me not to slide this in, for no other reason than to direct you away from the schmaltz:

Mojo Nixon & Skip Roper – Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two Headed Love Child

Well, that hasn’t lost any of it’s charm, has it?

Right, where were we? Ah yes, with Jules. Off you go, feller. Pretend I said nothing. I promise not to interupt again.

Ah yes “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”, not that song

What, this song….? (I lied)

Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Jesus, I’d forgotten how much I hate that record.

…not that song, but the film that featured Moon River...

This..?

Audrey Hepburn – Moon River

At last! A bit of class is introduced around these parts!

Oh wait, he’s not done yet.

…but more importantly was based on a novella by Truman Capote. Harry S. Truman was the 33rd U.S. president, the 37th was Richard Nixon….

Lambchop – The Old Gold Shoe

There it is! Normality restored.

Where next? Step up to the plate, if you will, Rigid Digit:

Tubthumping – a synonym for drumming (or it is in my world anyway).

Drummers doing solo singles? Not a rare thing. Plenty of stuff from Ringo…

Ringo Starr – It Don’t Come Easy

….and Phil Collins

Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

Now, let’s be honest: every time we’re unlucky enough to hear that, all we can really think of is this:

…Dave Grohl left the drum stool, strapped on a guitar and became Mr Foo…which sounds like a George Formby record (“Oh Mr Foo, what shall I do…? A niche joke, I know), but I’ve gone off at enough tangents, so we’ll leave that.

Foo Fighters – The Pretender

Even Keith Moon managed a solo album (word of advice: approach with caution).

I have to draw the line somewhere…

But I’m choosing the drummer who was invited to join the reformed ELP in the mid-80s for two reasons:

1) He was a great drummer

2) His surname began with P

Cozy Powell – Dance With The Devil

Let’s hand the baton on to Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life:

The main thing of Tubthumping is keep your head up whatever will be. This leads me to:

Curtis Mayfield – Keep on Keeping On

 …otherwise by…

The Redskins – Keep On Keepin’ On!

If I could award points for Best Record of The Week, that would win, hands down.

Back then to some email submissions I received, and I’ll hand over to Pat from phonicpat for a bit:

“….a couple of suggestions – a link to a thumping:

Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite

This song has featured in The Chain before so strictly speaking should be disqualified, but looking back I see that both this and The Rezillos version were suggsted at the same time, and, unable to choose between the two, I posted both. So I’ll let this slide too…but only so I can post my favourite record about somebody getting their head kicked in:

The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

What else have you got, Pat?

Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel

…link being Chumbawamba covered this on the “Fuck EMI” compilation.

Which leads me back to The Robster, who hasn’t quite had the eighteen months he ribbed me with earlier to think things over, but nonetheless has returned with this:

I remember when Tubthumping came out, it was released on EMI *shock-horror* a filthy major label. The band was deluged with accusations of selling out and going back on its DIY ethos. But one of the reasons they signed to EMI was because previous label One Little Indian rejected the ‘Tubthumper’ album as they didn’t like its sound. The band subsequently signed to EMI as “…experience had taught us that in a capitalist environment almost every record company operates on capitalist principles. Our previous record label One Little Indian didn’t have the evil symbolic significance of EMI but they were completely motivated by profit. Our position was that whoever we signed with would want us not for our ideas but for the potential profit, so we’d battle for a contract where we still had autonomy.”

So to that end, I’m offering up…a song about the music industry’s obsession with making moolah with little regard for the art:

The Kinks – The Money Go Round

Hang on a minute: that’s two mentions of the same record company in as many messages. It’s almost like somebody has manipulated it so the suggestions fell this way…

Sex Pistols – E.M.I.

We’re on the home stretch now, I promise. And with the finish line in sight, the baton is thrust into Alex G’s hand:

Of course, a song about a man who drinks a whiskey drink, a cider drink, a lager drink AND a vodka drink naturally leads us to Shane MacGowan. I suppose any song would do, but just to keep the theme going, it may as well be

Shane MacGowan and the Popes – That Woman’s Got Me Drinking

What Alex G omits to mention is that That Woman’s Got Me Drinking features the guitar work of one Mr Johnny Depp. When he’s not acting in the latest Tim Burton movie, or appearing in an advert for something smelly, or getting stopped at the border of an antipodean country trying to smuggle dogs across and subsequently being forced to make an apologetic if half-arsed video rather than go to jail, or defending himself against allegations of domestic abuse for that matter, there’s nothing Mr Depp likes more than to pop up in unexpected places:

Where were we?

Ah yes, booze related songs. I’m surprised there wasn’t more of these. Let me chuck one into the mix:

The Wurzels – I Am A Cider Drinker

And yes, The Shirehorses song is worse than that.

Hold up, Pat’s got another one:

Several booze songs come to mind but I’ll go for…

Pulp – Whiskey in the Jar

…on the bonus cd of Different Class, Jarvis trying very hard to keep his own accent rather than channelling Phil Lynott.

Pat has a point; I much prefer it when Jarvis sounds like Jarvis, rather than trying to sound like a drug-addicted partner of gameshow host Leslie Crowther’s daughter.

Hey Dirk! Dirk! DIRK! Fancy suggesting something mate?

Two famous song titles are more or less quoted in the lyrics of ‘Tubthumping’ – the first one being ‘Danny Boy’, which, as we all know, is the Anthem of Northern Ireland. And what is the finest thing Northern Ireland ever produced, apart from ships (minus the Titanic. Obviously)?

Oh blimey, there’s a can of worms opened…

It’s of course:

The Undertones – Teenage Kicks

Phew!

…which could well be the link here. (It isn’t.)

Alas it’s not [I know] (although, Jez, nevertheless this should be a good excuse to include said tune in your essay straightaway), because, as I said, another song is being mentioned and that is ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. Yes, I have noticed that Chumbawamba omit the ‘Argentina’ – bit (and replace it by ‘next door neighbour’). But this is purely for copyright infringement reasons, I’m sure.

Now, ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ is a song done by Julie Covington back in 1976. But only (freaks like) you and me know this. And Wikipedia. To the wider public another version is much better known, and that’s the one by Madonna from 1997.

So the link, no question about that, is, to my great dismay (because I would have LOVED to see my other option), Madonna’s version of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’.

I mean, love ya for trying and all that, but it isn’t the link, and frankly Covington’s version pisses all over Madonna’s attempt, so Dirk: you shall (metaphorically) go to the (metaphorical) ball!

Julie Covington – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

I always thought that ended rather abruptly, like the whole orchestra had spotted that David Essex had the microphone again, and downed tools to wrestle it from his sweaty palms.

Last one, now (sort of), for inspired by Dirk’s moving words, Walter has something else to offer:

…as Dirk said ‘Danny Boy is is the North Irish anthem and House of Pain celebrated the Irish style on their first album. Therefore I suggest:

House of Pain – Jump Around

(We may have to explain the difference between Northern and Southern Ireland to our overseas friends one day. But not today.)

I say sort of, because of course I have something else to offer.

Dirk also mentions Danny Boy, and you’ll recall that, several hours ago when you first started reading this, Rol mentioned the film Brassed Off and The Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

Which, just to make this all nice and circular (you know, like I know what I’m doing) makes right here a pretty good point to jump off:

The Grimethorpe Colliery Band – Danny Boy

Brassed Off was on Film 4 the other night. It remains a thing of beauty. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, and have a couple of hours to kill (which, I think I’m safe in saying we all do at the moment) then you could do a lot worse than spend them watching this: it’s up to stream on the C4 app All4.

And that leaves just one thing: the unveiling of the next link in The Chain, and trust me, had anybody got this I would have been suspicious.

Here’s the official link from Tubthumping to the next record:

[Tubthumping] was once sung by Homer Simpson of cartoon fame. He also sang:

Donovan – Mellow Yellow

Your suggestions then, please, along with your explanation of how your suggestion links to Mellow Yellow by Donovan, via the Comments section below or, if you must, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com.

Minus points to anyone who suggests Coldplay. You’ve been warned.

More soon.

The Fall

No, not them.

I’m writing this as an advance apology; there may be less writing round here for a little while, there may be more (we’ll see), but there’s a possibility that anything I do write might not make much sense. Teapotkettlebarbeque!

On Room 101, host Frank Skinner once illustrated that he was getting old by relating how once he was backstage at a gig, talking to a much younger comedian, when he (Frank) complained of some back pain. The younger comedian asked him what had happened, and he realised that this back pain came with no anecdote, he was simply getting old and had inexplicable aches.

I haven’t quite reached that stage yet, but I do ache at the moment, and that’s because on Monday I had what a different Frank – Spencer (look him up, millenials) – used to describe as “a bit of an accident”.

Rushing to catch the bus which would get me to work at something approaching ‘on time’ (a rarity on a Monday, hence my I’m Not Too Keen On Mondays series), I fell down the stairs to my flat.

Worry not, these are internal stairs, not an external fire exit.

But they are very steep, with a corner step right outside the door to my flat. There’s no bannister to hold on to, past a certain point; when I was discharged from hospital in 2018, with my rehab/physio incomplete, the thing I was looking forward to least was trying to conquer these stairs.

Anyway, on Monday morning, they finally beat me, as I went arse over tit down them. I’m blaming me wearing a different pair of shoes which perhaps had less grip than my normal ones, but truth be told I have no idea what caused me to fall.

But fall I did, from top-to-bottom; I think my arse hit every step on the way down, and my head at least one or two too.

The next thing I remember is the woman from the flat below me – who I don’t exactly get on with – standing over me, asking if I was okay. I have no idea if she heard the thumps of fat arse on step and had come out to see what was going on, or if she had found me there when she left for work, but she kindly helped me to my feet and asked if I was okay.

“Yeh, yeh…I’m fine…bruise a bit prided though….”

“I think you need to go to A&E,” she told me, and as I wobbled a bit trying to get to my feet and out the door, I decided she probably had a point.

And so Monday was spent at the local hospital, waiting, waiting, having some X-Rays, then waiting some more. Turned out nothing was broken, though they suspected I had “mild concussion”. The advice was to take it easy, and if I was feeling dizziness in a day or so, I should come back to A&E and they would do further investigations.

And so Tuesday was spent at home, flat on my back, watching TV. Which was nice.

By Wednesday, the dizzy spells hadn’t stopped so I returned to A&E and after several hours of waiting, I had a CAT scan to my head, which found nothing of any interest (insert own joke here). I relayed the result to Kay (my boss) and told her I would be back in the office on Thursday.

And so Thursday came; I went to work, and the journey was, thankfully uneventful. I had a chat with Marion, one of the senior managers, about what had happened and felt kinda fine. Stiff and achey, but otherwise ok.

Back at my desk, some twenty minutes later, the lad next to me said something. I asked him to repeat it, which he did. I looked at him quizzically. Why is he telling me it’s good to see me now, I thught, when I’ve been back at my desk for this long, and we’ve already discussed the ridiculousness of something he had been sent to review? On request, he repeated what he had said again, and at the third time of asking I realised he was telling me that Marion was trying to attract my attention.

Kay got in to work and suggested we do my Back to Work Interview straight away. We found a vacant room off of the main office space, and before my arse had even hit the seat, Kay had said: “Should you be here?”

Midway through the conversation I realised I wasn’t exactly sitting normally: my left hand was on the table between us, about half way across it, propping me up.

And then I realised I was blethering on about having bruises on my arse like when John Noakes had that accident doing the Cresta Run on Blue Peter in the 1970s, and when he showed off one on his hip he realised that he was wearing his wife’s underwear, which he had ‘accidentally’ put on in the dark that morning. (I wish I could find a link to this, to prove it happened…)

It was like a knock to my head had caused all of the built-up popular (and not so popular) cultural references were finally released into the wild, gambolling across the vesta, or rather spilling out and into my words.

And now I realise that I have also referenced Room 101 and Frank Spencer in this post and that Kay’s decision to send me home and tell me not to come back until Monday was probably wise.

So perhaps I should just skip to the appropriate tunes, some of which in no way indicate a buried Messiah complex.

Elbow – Fallen Angel

Adorable – Favourite Fallen Idol

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down

Franz Ferdinand – The Fallen

The Chemical Brothers – Catch Me I’m Falling

More soon.

Believe

There was a really interesting article in The Guardian on Friday, detailing some of the rather more unconventional methods Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has used during the team’s training sessions in the build up to today, which focus on increasing the players belief and faith in themselves.

Pochettino – and, indeed, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp – are both men of religious faith, but some of the methods mentioned here (walking on hot coals and breaking arrow tips with your neck) go a little beyond that in my book.

That’s not a criticism, especially not should we win, they just raised an eyebrow in Dubious Taste Towers.

Some fairly predictable songs, then:

EMF – I Believe

And final-ly…

More soon.

Mission Accomplished

Last night, my boss Kay went to All Points East, a mini-festival in London’s glamourous Victoria Park.

She was going because one of her favourite bands – Hot Chip – were playing. And as an added bonus, The Chemical Brothers were headlining.

(Primal Scream were also on the bill, but we’ll gloss over them after lead Screamer Bobby Gillespie made some rather unsavoury comments about Madonna last week..more of this at some point over the weekend. Maybe.)

Anyway, on Thursday Kay did two very kind things which I’m very grateful for, which I thought I’d share with you.

Firstly, as Kay was out of the office on Friday – off having it large, no doubt in furry moonboots and waving glowsticks – she left me in charge of sorting out something on the most expensive live claim we have at work.

I’ll explain, as much as I am able to: we both work for my local Borough council, dealing with claims made against the council. Mostly these are by people who’ve tripped over a wonky paving slab and hurt themselves in the process, or whose car has hit a pothole, but occasionally a much more serious – and potentially valuable expensive – claim crosses our paths.

At most insurance companies, depending on your status, you will be trusted with claims of an estimated value. Unsurprisingly, it’s no different when working in the public sector: my authority limit is to deal with claims…umm…wait…I should know this…of about up to, let’s say £60,000 or so.

So, if a claim comes in which is worth £60,000 or less, than I investigate it, and decide whether it is one which we have a legal obligation to pay, or whether we have a legal “out” defence.

(I’m wording that very carefully, as Kay once told me off for describing my job as “trying to find a way out of paying”. Nowadays, I describe my job as “Telling people to fuck off for a living.” I’m not sure she finds that much more acceptable. I stand by both descriptions.)

But if the claim is considered to be worth more than £60,000, then over to Kay it goes. And the claim she trusted me to deal with was one such claim.

Obviously, I can’t go into specifics, but the claim in question is valued at over £1 million (I’ve written that as I’m not sure how many noughts there are in a million – proof enough that I should not be regularly trusted with this kind of claim). The task in question: get a statement from a rather elusive witness. Succeed, and we can (try to) dispute the claim in total. Fail, and we would be on for paying. A lot.

At the same time, I had to chase down another witness on another claim, who we needed a statement from, where the claim which has been presented is very obviously fraudulant, but without his statement, we would have to pay.

Both had a deadline of 15:00 hours on a Friday afternoon, and I’m happy to report that – after a lot of frantic emails and phone calls – I managed both: our Defences on both are able to continue with a not unrealistic chance of success.

So, anyway, I’m pleased as punch to have been entrusted with handling, albeit briefly, the most expensive claim we’ve ever had, and to have sorted it, along with another tricky one at the same time.

And secondly. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend, but our payday is the 28th of every month – Tuesday. The day after the Bank Holiday. I was talking to the chap who sits next to me at work, and who has to listen to me chunnering on about how obviously dodgy the claim I’m looking at is, and I was expressing my dismay at payday landing where it did this month. For I was skint, and having to manage to my last few quid so that I could afford to eat for the rest of the weekend.

On Thursday, having landed me with the above tasks, Kay strolled over to my desk, purse in hand, and shoved £40.00 under my keyboard.

“I can’t have you having a miserable Bank Holiday weekend,” she said. “Pay me back next week.”

I had budgeted for a bottle of red on my Friday night, but now the stakes were upped.

I’m writing this late on Friday night, working my way through the bottle of vodka which Kay’s gift allowed me to purchase. The bottle of red is on standby.

I gave Kay a ring when the statement on the £1 million + claim had been procured, and told her that I would spend her money on vodka in celebration, and would spend Friday night listening to Chemical Brothers records. Needless, to say she approved.

It’s rare, I think, that you can call your boss a mate too. But mate’s lend their mates some cash when they’re hard up, and bosses don’t.

That’s a thank you, by the way *hic*.

So, by way of an extra thank you: my favourite record by The Chemical Brothers. Not a popular choice, I would imagine; in fact, possibly not even the record preferred by many with the same guest vocalist.

chemical

The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

One of the reasons I love this record, is the video which acompanies it.  Directed by Michael Gondry, who went on to create one of my favourite films ever, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this is just wonderful:

More soon.

Saturday Night Coming Up

All that talk of meat earlier reminds of me of one of Llŷr’s other passions: laughing at, and often (in a piss-taking way) joining in with the meats doing The Meat Dance.

Okay, this is going to be really tricky to explain.

So: Meats, to us, were blokes who danced in clubs with their tops off, to expose what they perceived as being their ripped bodies, something Llŷr and I both knew we could never aspire to, even if we wanted to. “Them’s the Meats” was our clarion call.

And, regardless of whether they had fellow Meats with them or not, they always did the same Meat Dance: *Handclap…and to the left* dance, which Llŷr used to mimic so well.

Here’s how The Meats viewed themselves:

muscle (2)

Our mates Jo & Ian visited us in Cardiff one weekend, back in 2006, to go to the horribly named Get Loaded in the Park and oh my there was some prime meat – Valleys boys with their tops off – on display that day.

Jo took loads of meat-worthy pictures on the day, but annoyingly she had her laptop nicked along with all her photos – except this one, which does rather neatly illustrate the disparity between the perceived and the reality, the difference between a ripped torso and a thumb in shades:

Jo & Hel meat

But I digress.

When I finally got into clubbing, Llŷr, wary of me being a big old fat fish out of water, made me a load of mix-tapes (which dates this somewhat) to help me crib up.

I still have a couple of them, and last year, since I had no means to listen to the sodding things, I bought a second hand stereo which had a tape deck on it, specifically so I could hear them again.

So here’s (almost) all of the tunes on one of them, which he entitled Losing It, a title inspired by my reaction on one night out when a tune by Faithless was dropped (I’d love to say it was Insomnia, but truth be told I think it was probably We Come 1).

Anyway, my explosion that night definitely influenced the tunes on this mix-tape, which is probably a bit more trance-trousers than he would care to be associated with.

But he even made a proper sleeve for the cassette, God bless him, so here it is:

IMG_0116 (2)

And here’s the tunes.

Side A:

Chemical Brothers - It Began in Afrika

The Chemical Brothers – It Began in Afrika

BT - Mercury and Solace

BT – Mercury and Solace

Way Out West - Intensify

Way Out West – Intensify

Muse - Sunburn

Muse – Sunburn (Timo Maas Sunstroke Mix)

Paul Van Dyk - We Are Alive

Paul van Dyk – We Are Alive

kosheen - hide u

Kosheen – Hide U (Rollo + Sister Bliss Mix)

Sister Bliss - Deliver Me

Sister Bliss – Deliver Me

Side B:

Mutiny - The Virus

Mutiny – The Virus [King Unique’s Snake Charmer Mix]

X-Press 2 - Muzikizum

X-Press 2 – Muzikizum

Coast 2 Coast - Home

Coast 2 Coast – Home (DJ Tiesto Remix)

Dusted - Always Remember

Dusted – Always Remember To Love And Respect Your Mother (Euphoric mix)

Jan Johnston

Jan Johnston – Flesh (DJ Tiësto Mix)

Push - Strange World

Push – Strange World (2000 Remake)

Alas, I cannot find the last track, something called Outro by G.H. Feel free to send me links to it if you can.

Otherwise: More soon.

London to Brighton (Side by Side by Side)

Over the weekend, BBC4 showed this, a program that lasted just 4:12, showing the footage taken in 1953 and 1983 of the train journey from London to Brighton, which, as any commuter using Southern Rail will confirm takes considerably longer than four minutes twelve seconds to complete.

What I thought was odd, was that they chose to show this, rather than the third edition, which also showed the journey as filmed in 2013:

If you’ve watched both of those, you’ll have noticed the addition of a different soundtrack, and the music they selected – “Star Guitar” by The Chemical Brothers – is very appropriate.

I have posted this before, but it’s always great to re-watch this, the promotional video for “Star Guitar”, directed by Michel Gondry, of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” fame, where the view from a train window is perfectly synced to fit the beats and blips of the song:

And here’s the extended version of the same tune; next time you’re on a train journey you can pop this on, look out the window and curse that life just isn’t kind enough for your own journey to the music:

Star Guitar Front

The Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Mention The Chemical Brothers, and trippy, chilled out tunes suitable for posting in this series are unlikely to spring to mind.

But this came up on my iPod the other day, a song I had completely forgotten about, and which had me scrabbling to check who it was (I thought it must be Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve, which shows how much I actually know).

Turns out, it’s just, well, bloody perfect:

a6812f77c4f645fb92b92f5991132be7

The Chemical Brothers – Hoops

The only problem is that I can’t hear the song title without thinking of this:

Ho hum.

More soon.