“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #7

“A Short Album About Love”, a seven track record released by The Divine Comedy in 1997 was the first thing I ever bought by the band. I know, I know, late to the party as always.

I played it over and over again, causing my flatmate at the time to knock on my bedroom door to enquire if everything was alright. (It was.)

And this is the only single lifted from the album, and it sits perfectly in this series:

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The Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You)

The group have a habit of releasing live (often) orchestral versions of not just their own songs but others too. For example, “Everybody Knows…” got released on three separate CDs, each one featuring an extra three live tracks.

On CD1 was a cover of their breakthrough hit single:

The Divine Comedy – Something for the Weekend

…along with a cover of this Walker Brothers classic:

The Divine Comedy – Make It Easy On Yourself

I might post some more of those soon.

Or just: More soon.

A Load of Blowing Fetlocks

So by now you’ll have heard the devastating news.

Tonight is the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, and multiple winners Ireland will not be represented.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but think of that episode of “Father Ted”, where Ted and Dougal against all odds are selected to represent Ireland, for the country has won it so many times it can’t afford to do so again.

The song in question was composed (and shhh…! performed) by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy – as was the theme tune (Pulp were asked, but turned it down), which was performed on one of William Reid of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s guitars (factoid!) – and saw the light of day as an extra track on the “Gin Soaked Boy” CD single.

Oh, and here:

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The Divine Comedy – My Lovely Horse

I guess you may as well have the “video” for it too:

The UK have qualified though, with former X-Factor contestant Lucie Jones (she was beaten by Jedward, so you can insert your own joke here if you like) flying the flag where such luminaries as Blue and Scooch have failed before. And, without wanting to go all political on you, this will be the first Eurovision since the Brexit referendum; we’ve done really badly for the last few years, so just imagine how badly we’ll do now we’ve told all those we want to vote for us to fuck off. Maybe if the Remain campaign had written “We Will Never Win Eurovision Again!” on the side of a bus this time last year…

Perhaps it’s time we took stock of our involvement in this competition, and instead of using unknowns, wannabes, hopefuls, and failed TV singing contestants, we wheeled out the old guard.

I read an interview with Paul Weller the other day where he said he’d be interested in writing the song at the very least, and a few years ago Morrissey said he’d happily represent the UK. In fact, his announcement, by sheer coincidence, came at much the same time as he released this as a single:

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Morrissey – You Have Killed Me

…a song which featured a video which was pretty much a dry-run for an appearance at the finals:

I dunno. Personally, I’d prefer it if we didn’t enter a ballad every year. Maybe cranked up the kitsch a little.

I’ve written before how I was obsessed with Bucks Fizz’s “Making Your Mind Up” when I was a young ‘un, but, as I’ve said before (and yes, I am going to post this next song every year)  my favourite UK Eurovision entry isn’t by them.

It’s from the year after The Fizz only went and won the bloody thing back in 1981 with their skirt-ripping and hand-jive combo: a tough act to follow, indeed.

This song came seventh on the night, but it did recently crop up, to my absolute delight, in the first episode of the second (and not as good as the first, in my opinion) series of “Peter Kay’s Car Share”. A song which Hel and I on many occasions attempted to recreate the dance moves to, but only when we were far too pissed to be able to stand, let along shimmy up and down each others backs.

This:

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Bardo – One Step Further

Just in case the dance routine reference goes above your head, here:

Seriously, if I ever had to list my favourite fifty singles – and, since I’m rapidly approaching the age of fifty (two and a bit years to go), and making such lists seems to be what bloggers do when reaching a landmark age, it seems entirely likely that I will – I guarantee that song would not only be in it, but in the upper reaches of it.

Anyway, if you’re watching Eurovision tonight, enjoy it and, much as Graham Norton will make a fine fist of the commentary, raise a glass to Sir Terry with me, won’t you?

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club (That Summer Feeling #31 – #40)

With the exception of our friends North of the Border, it’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK this weekend, and from what I can gather, the weather is set to be uncharacteristically fine. No more perfect time to post a few more summer(y) records then, right?

The first one could easily have featured in the How To Do A Cover Version thread here, being a cover of a Vic Godard tune as it is (who knows, I may post the original and the other cover I own of it at some point). For now though, here’s Orange Juice:

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377. Orange Juice – Holiday Hymn

Whatever happened to St Albans finest, Friendly Fires? Between 2008 and 2011, they seemed to be everywhere, every festival line-up had a mid-afternoon slot set aside for them and their brand of breathy alt-pop. Like this, for example:

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378. Friendly Fires – Jump in the Pool

A couple of stone-cold (or should that be red hot?) classics now. First a tune that effortlessly nails the…erm…California Soul summer vibe:

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379. Marlena Shaw  – California Soul

…and secondly, a laid-back chilled out soul tune, cut from the same cloth as Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” and The Isley Brothers’ “Summer Breeze

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380. Osibisa – Sunshine Day

All this talk of sunny days, hot weather, swimming pools and beaches should not, however, over-shadow the blight of summer for many. That’s right: hay fever.

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381. The Divine Comedy – The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count

Now a song which for those of you who follow The Chain thread we do here (and if you don’t, why not??), and specifically this weeks’ comments, will know that I, like Charity Chic, am unable to resist dedicating this to George:

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382. Bruce Springsteen – Girls In Their Summer Clothes

Question: What should be better than one Webb?

Answer: Two Webbs.

And that’s why I never made it as a stand-up comedian.

The one Webb in question is Jimmy, the man responsible for such classics as “Galveston“, “Wichita Lineman” and “MacArthur Park“; the two Webbs are his sons, The Webb Brothers, and of course, bettering their father’s records is a tough ask. They’ve written a few decent songs, especially on their “Maroon” album. This one isn’t on that, and it’s okay I guess (and that’s why I never made it as a music critic either):

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383. The Webb Brothers – Summer People

Of course, if you want a classic British summer tune, recalling yer actual Cock-er-nee family trips down to the beach, you don’t have to look much further than this pair:

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384. Chas & Dave – Margate

I have vague memories from when I was a kid of going on coach trips to the seaside, although I can’t recall quite who organised them (the scouts, possibly…?) or where we went (I imagine Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Skegness…all names so impossibly exotic as to make the mention of Margate pale in comparison). This next one tells the story of one such trip, of a young lad getting what I believe is called a knee-trembler behind the chalets. But it’s the description of the everyday beach life that really hits home here, which is only to be expected when you consider who its’ by:

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385. Squeeze – Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

To round things off for another week, here’s Super Furry Animals with some blissed out Welsh psych-rock loops and Beach Boys harmonies perfection lifted from their ninth studio album, “Dark Days/Light Years“:

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386. Super Furry Animals – Cardiff in the Sun

More soon.

The Return of Friday Night Music Club

It’s Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK, which can mean only one thing: being stuck in the house, watching television, whilst the rain buckets down outside until it’s time to go back to work again on Tuesday.

Which leads me onto the theme for this week, and for the next couple of weeks: Songs With The Same Name As Television Programmes, But Which Are Not The Actual Theme Tune, Or A Cover Version Of The Theme Tune Of The Programme In Question.

Catchy, eh?

With a sub-title that long, you can’t really be all that surprised to learn that this one is going to take more than one week to get through….

And where better to start than here:

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232. The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops

Released in 1978, and peaking in the UK chart at 17, this new wave classic earned the group an appearance on the very show that the lyrics so roundly criticise. There’s an interesting bit of pop history about the line up too: each band member had a stage name and one, Jo Calles (a.k.a. Luke Warm), after the group split up in late 1978, went on to form Shake with, amongst others, Troy Tate, a name many of you will recognise partly from him later appearing in Julian Cope’s band Teardrop Explodes, and many more will recognise as the producer of the original cut of The Smiths’ debut album, which was ditched in favour of the mix provided by John Porter. After Shake split, Callis went on to join Human League, just in time to co-write their classic “Don’t You Want Me”. There you go, don’t say you never learn anything around here.

And just to prove that The Rezillos “Top of the Pops” was neither the actual theme nor a cover of the theme to the show in question (see, I’ve already heavily edited this subtitle), get your laughing gear around this little montage:

Moving on, here’s one of my favourite singles from the mid-90s “Britpop” era:

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233. Ash – Kung Fu

The title is lifted not just from the erroneously used term for Chinese martial arts (the original meaning is any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete – see, entertaining and informative, me), but also the American TV series which ran from 1972 – 1975, and starred David Carradine as a Shaolin monk called Kwai Chang Caine. The part was originally intended for some chap called Bruce Lee, only for the TV studios to duck out of casting an Asian and cast non-Asian Carradine instead. The 70s, eh? Gotta love ’em.

Having spent much of his subsequent life appearing in frankly duff straight to video B-movies such as Deathrace 2000, Safari 3000, and Night Rhythms, Carradine’s career was going through something of a renaissance following his appearance in Tarantino’s 2004 “Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2”, At least it was, until 2009 when he died suddenly in a hotel room in Thailand, apparently killed by the same thing as allegedly killed Michael Hutchence: the old “erotic asphyxiation” routine, which I shall not be demonstrating for you any time soon.

Here’s the title credits, featuring not just David Carradine, but Keith too:

But there’s another popular culture moment involved with the Ash single: the sleeve, which captures that moment back in 1995 when Manchester United’s Eric Cantona, having just been sent off during a match against Crystal Palace, got ever so slightly upset by some comments from the crowd:

This, inevitably, led to a lengthy ban from the game for Cantona, and to this very brief press conference statement which I often see people describe as being confusing:

Now, I do not claim to be a man blessed with profound intellect, but that’s not really that hard to understand, is it?

Anyway, on May 21st 2016, Manchester United and Crystal Palace will meet each other in this year’s FA Cup Final, and there’s the teensiest part of me that hopes one of the participants decides to re-enact the Cantona moment. My money’s on Palace boss Alan Pardew, whose got a bit of form in the losing his rag stakes. Him, or United’s Marouane Fellaini, who I’m sure you could wind up pretty easily if you asked him when the new series of Saved By the Bell is going to start enough times.

But I digress. Some more Britpop tuneage next:

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234. Sleeper – Sale of the Century

Sleeper will feature many more times on these here pages, so we’ll jump straight to the TV show from whence the title is ripped:

I bet there’s quite a few people my age and older who went a tad misty-eyed at the sight of Anglia Television’s silver knight at the start of the clip.

But, oh! Times have certainly changed in the world of TV game shows, haven’t they?

That’s broadcasting stalwart Nicholas Parsons doing the hosting duties; he can still be heard hosting Radio 4’s wonderful parlour game/panel show “Just A Minute”, and, at the age of 92 as I write this, he seems to be in possession of just as many of his faculties now as he was back then. Take that in whatever way you wish.

But Sale of the Century has a dark secret. For it was here that the Dark Overlord himself made his first TV appearance:

So, y’know, cheers for that Anglia Television.

In 1975, David Bowie released “Young Americans”; you don’t need me to tell you what an incredible album that is, or to tell you that this was one of the singles lifted from it:

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235. David Bowie – Fame

Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat by me, since the Bowie single pre-dates the 1980 Alan Parker directed movie of the same name by five years:

…and the 1982 TV series by the same name by seven years:

…but any excuse to post a bit of Bowie, eh?

It also gives me the excuse to link to this 24 carat cheese nugget:

Bruno was no singer, was he?

In 1969, the BBC launched a show about holiday destinations, called “Holiday ’69”. (Stop it…..!!). The show ran until 2007, but in the 1990s, they dropped the year from the title, making it just plain old “Holiday”. Which is lucky, as surprisingly Madonna never recorded a song called “Holiday ’69” (she left that kind of grubbiness to Bryan Adams):

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236. Madonna – Holiday

Back when I was at college, there was a quiz held in the Students’ Union every other Tuesday which a couple of mates and I used to regularly enter (and which I ended up hosting). The Students Union had invested in a karaoke machine – quite the new-fangled gadget at the arse-end of the 1980s – but were struggling to come up with occasions on which it could be used. So, at the end of each round of the quiz, it was decided that one member from the team with – now, I want to say the highest, but in reality, it was probably the lowest – score was invited up on stage to perform a song of the host’s choice.

My fellow team-mates were considerably less stage-shy than I, so on the two occasions that one of us had to go on stage, it was me that bowed to public pressure. The relevance of this is that on one of these occasions, it was Madonna’s “Holiday” that I was obliged to perform (on the other occasion, it was The Police’s “Walking On The Moon”, just in case you’re interested). I delivered both in a dead-pan, spoken style, a la Ted Chippington.

“Who’s Ted Chippington?” I hear you ask.

This is Ted Chippington:

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Ted Chippington – The Wanderer

“Oh THAT Ted Chippington”, I hear you reply, looking none-the-wiser.

Don’t worry yourself about him now, he’ll crop up again on these pages in a lot more depth at some point or another.

So, with the BBC having a show about potential holiday destinations – which, if memory serves me right from my younger days, seemed to feature a pleasing amount of footage of continental topless beaches – ITV decided to get in on the act with a rival show, called “Wish You Were Here?”. We know a song about that too, don’t we?

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237. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Ok time to wrap things up for this week, and here’s the finest example of a song having the same name as a TV show, but this is another cheat by me as it is clearly named after and references the show in question. But it gives me a chance to play some Divine Comedy, and a lesser known track by them too:

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238. The Divine Comedy – Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World

And just so you know that neither me nor The Divine Comedy main-man Neil Hannon are losing our marbles:

That’ll do you for this week.

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

Listening to The Sundays’ “Here’s Where The Story Ends” from my last post got me thinking: are there any other great records which mention sheds?

Well, yes there is. There’s this:

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The Divine Comedy – Something For The Weekend

Which leads me on to the okay-not-quite-the-same-title-but-close-enough-to-qualify-for-inclusion-here (and definitely NOT about a shed, although it does always remind me of a watershed moment in my life. See what I did there?)

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Super Furry Animals – Something 4 The Weekend

After the ghastliness of the cover versions in the last post, I think some kind of equilibrium has been achieved.

More soon.