Friday Night Music Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A cross-fader, yesterday

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

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

Here you go:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 6.5

And here’s your track-listing:

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

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

Tune in next week to see how successful I am.

More soon.

We Are Rockstars

Long time readers may recall that a long time ago, back in August 2015, I handed over the pages of the blog to my older brother. The post he wrote, A Goth Steps From The Dry-Ice…, was annoyingly well received, so much so that ever since I have been bugging him to write something else.

On Christmas Eve last year, he finally delivered. It was such a long time ago that he’s probably forgotten all about it, or assumed my hyper-critical editing had ruled out it ever getting published here. Actually, I was waiting until today, his birthday, to post it (honest).

By way of a refresher, Swing’s (Swing is his nickname, but he’s Andrew to his family – you’ll need this info for later) last post told of him growing up to discover he was blighted by a love of the most unfashionable, and to some unfathomable, genre of music: Goth. And he related how he had to adapt when he joined the very particular-about-the-way-you-dress Royal Air Force, where the wearing of guy-liner and black winkle-pickers are very much frowned upon.

So here you go, unedited (pretty much – except to spare some embarrased blushes over spelling and grammar, and to insert either a tune, twice because they are specifically mentioned, one of which is one of the worst records ever made from which I wish to disassociate myself), is the next instalment, which has moved on from the 1980s where we last encountered our hero him in his own words:

“By the early noughties (we’re talking 2002) I was working on a trials unit for Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, testing new aircraft and systems at various places around the world, most of which conveniently (considering the politics of the world at that time) happened to be quite hot and sandy. And which conveniently (for me and my mates) were not anywhere near the Arabian Peninsula, but in the Western United States. Specifically, Nevada. I’m still signed up to the Official Secrets Act, and the memory of the “civilian contractors” defending the places I’ll describe, who regularly pointed the biggest guns I ever saw at me, helps remind me that keeping some secrets is probably for the best.

What I will tell you is that you can probably work out for yourselves where I was, if I tell you the best trick used to stop people wondering what happened in that particular part of the desert was that some very famous rumors suggesting that it was an area frequented by aliens got circulated, so that if anyone saw something strange in the sky around this “Area”, then that’s what they thought they’d seen.

The Futureheads – Area

Then Jerico – The Big Area

So we were based in this “Area” for about 6 weeks, and during the week that meant we were locked on the base, but at the weekends, when they wanted to run some other “experiments” (which may or may not have included aliens) we had to find somewhere else to stay. Which unfortunately meant we had to drive a couple of hours south and wait in Las Vegas until they let us back on Sunday evening. Your armed forces suffer on your behalf, but you’re welcome.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Vegas, but I’m sure you are aware of it. And that it is considerably different to the other desert town they sometimes based us in, which had three bars. And forty-seven churches. The only churches I saw in Vegas had Elvis impersonators as vicars, there to marry the woman you met in a bar earlier that evening. And there were a lot of bars, and more than a few of them had women in them who’d happily marry you for the price of a drink….

The Air Force weren’t skimping on accommodation for us either. The usual policy when they chose somewhere was a simple “which is cheapest?”. In this case the best offer came from a dingy little back street place called Caesar’s Palace, but the powers that be realised that if viewers on the BBC tuned in to watch a big title fight, it wouldn’t go down well if in the background of the shot were a lot of noble airmen in uniform heading for another hard day at the office. Instead they spent the extra cash to put us in a Mormon run hotel, which meant it was one of the only places in town with no bar or gambling emporium. In fact, we had to go all the way across the street to a strip bar just to get a drink. Again, only doing our duty, you’re welcome.

So we started experimenting to understand what the best ratio between partying and sleeping is over 48 hours in a city where the bars never close. To save any of you needing to repeat the experiment I can let you know that the liberal use of pseudo-effedrine and caffeine tablets (they sell them over the counter at gas stations to keep the long distance truckers wired) means 48 hours straight is easily within reach, but you are going to sleep for quite a while after that. Then one Sunday afternoon while I was getting ready to head back I started to question what I was doing with my life? I considered reading the bible in the hotel room, then realized there was something even better in there: the Yellow Pages! I had a read in the back seat of the car as we headed back to base, and that’s where I found it! I knew what was missing! A convertible Lamborghini with a hot tub in the back! And joy to the world, I could rent it by the hour next time I was in Vegas! I asked a few of my mates if they were interested, and amazingly, they were. So when we stopped I called the number from the Yellow Pages, only to be disappointed when I was told the Lamborghini was block booked for a video shoot, but that that someone from the company would call me back to let me know what they could offer instead.

Monday morning I’m back on base working on the flight line, when I was told there’s a phone call for me. You’ll remember I said we weren’t allowed mobile phones, so I’d given them my office number. I also said security was tight, and we knew that included all phone calls being monitored (at times you could actually hear the guys listening in, which I’m sure wasn’t an accident). When I picked up the phone there was a bloke on the other end who I can only describe as what central casting on a low budget film would give you if you asked for an over-excited Mexican. He proceeded to offer me a “party bus” for 6 hours, which would take up to thirty of us around Vegas, stopping wherever we liked. The price sounded good, so I agreed, and he told me he’d be at our hotel 3pm next Saturday. He also told me the bus would come with “plenty of liquor” which sounded exactly what we were looking for. He then went on to ask if I needed “any girls, any drugs?”. I can only imagine how much attention that got from whoever was monitoring my calls, so I quickly explained none of that would be necessary and bid him a good day.

Now I had to think fast. The Lamborghini I’d thought about before would have taken six of us, and I had no doubt I could find that many mates up for it. But 30 on a bus was a bigger challenge, as that was almost the whole of the support team out there. I started to spread the word: anyone who’d overheard the call with my Mexican friend was a fairly easy sell, but I needed a hook to really up the interest…

That was when I decided what was needed was a good back story…. You see, it was a fairly common procedure that whenever we took off to a different town for any reason, we never told anyone we were Air Force. That would be far too boring. Instead we chose a variety of back stories to make opening conversations more interesting. If you’ve ever had someone at a bar describe his job as an underwater tractor driver, or a biscuit designer, chances are he was one of Trenchard’s finest. The last trip to Vegas we’d been a team of carpet fitters, in town to replace the floor in the Mirage as the one of white tigers had pissed on it. On another occasion we were a team of off duty phone sexline operatives (they pay extra for an English accent, don’t you know). I decided that this week it was time to be a rock band, and as easy as that “Into the Breach” were born. Remembering why we couldn’t have a Lamborghini, I realized our band had been on a video shoot themselves, filming out in the desert for their next single, “Cry God for Harry”, and the bus was a thankyou from the management team for their hard work. Easy bit done, I put up a poster with those details in the crew room, sat back and waited.

One other thing in my favour was that to cover expenses while we were away, particularly on those arduous trips to Vegas, we were given a cash advance. This was handed out once a week, so I conveniently hung around at that time and found it extremely easy to persuade people they had always wanted to be in a band. And pay me the $50 it would take to join.

The time was ripe to nominate the band line-up. I didn’t really fancy recreating the So Solid Crew, as I thought thirty was too many for just the band itself, but there were still important roles for security, sound engineers, and a couple of more specialised roles. Such as the actual singer who the pretty boy at the front could lip-synch to, but who was too heavy-boned to be in the video, and the “fluffer” who was there to get the drummer in the mood. And me? Manager and record company executive, of course. Which meant that Saturday morning in Vegas as the others were getting their “costumes” ready I had nothing to do, so I printed myself some business cards, just in case.

Saturday afternoon arrived, and a few of us decided that waiting until 3pm for our first drink was pushing it, so we called in the bar next door for a quick beer or three. I say bar, but strictly speaking it was more of a gentleman’s club, booths, table service, half dressed women asking if you want to dance, you get the picture. Which led to the never to be repeated question from one hostess, as to if I was a record company executive then why had one of the guys I walked in with told her he was an alien hunter? Pausing only to make a mental note to re-educate him on the rules for the weekend, I gave her my business card (knew it would be useful) and said that if she could thought she could sing then she should prove it to me. She paused for even less time to whip off her top, perch herself on my knee and sing Jolene. I told her she had potential, and I’d make her a big star someday, but now I had to go, my band were waiting.

Dolly Parton – Jolene

David Essex – Gonna Make You A Star

Just in time, it turns out, because pulling into the hotel car park was our ride for the day, a fifty-foot-long bus, sort of like the ones big hotels use as airport shuttles, but all black, with blacked out windows.

I introduced myself to the driver, who took me on the bus to sort out the paperwork while the band and support crew gathered in the car park. The inside of the bus was fitted out pretty nicely, with black leather seats along each, split with mahogany topped surfaces. Lift the mahogany tops and there were fridges and cupboards, full as described with beers and all manner of spirits, along with glasses and ice. He checked I was happy with it, as if the huge grin filling my face hadn’t already confirmed that, and we got down to the business side. I paid in full in cash, and he handed me a few disclaimers to sign, including one that said I’d pay for any damage or additional cleaning needed. He swiped my credit card as pre-authorisation for that while I asked what that meant. He told me that if, for example, someone threw up on the bus, then I’d be charged with cleaning it up. Not too likely I thought, these are hardened drinkers, so I started inviting the others on the bus. At which point my new friend, the driver, pulled out a bottle of tequila, threw away the cork and started passing it round. First one he handed it too was my mate Bo. He won’t drink that, I thought, as everyone knew Bo threw up at the first smell of tequila. But the peer pressure got him and he took a good, big swill before passing the bottle on. From inside my wallet I swear I could hear my credit card crying itself to sleep.

MGMT – Time To Pretend

We all settled in for the trip. The driver put some tunes on, lit the ceiling light show and we were off. I was making friends with a bottle of Jack, and concentrating on being a good host, making sure my crew appreciated the treat after working so hard in the desert, on the music video they’d definitely been filming….

As I said, to fill a bus with 30 people I went beyond my regular circle of close drinking mates, so there were a few on there I didn’t know so well. One of those was a young PTI (Physical Training Instructor) who we’d brought along to be a general helper and to be a ringer in case the Americans challenged us to a baseball or “soccer” match. He ended up sat next to me on the bus, so we got chatting.

I knew he was fresh, the correct Air Force term being that the ink was still wet on his twelve and a half (Form 1250 is a military ID card, the implication being that you hadn’t served long enough for it to dry yet). Turns out this wasn’t just his first deployment with a flying squadron, it was his first time outside the UK. He was a good lad, but it would have been remiss of me not tofeed him to the lions at least a little bit, surely?

My mate Pete was the bass player for ItB (as the cool kids had taken to writing it on their pencil cases), and he decided now was the time to help me play with the new boy. He headed down the bus to us and asked the PTI to scooch up. From his jeans pocket he pulled a wrapped-up piece of tinfoil and asked to borrow my 1250. He unwrapped the foil, revealing a fine white powder, broken up with spots of fluorescent green and purple, which he proceeded to use my id card to quite professionally chop up into two fine lines, which he offered to me and the PTI to sample. I need to be clear, neither ItB or any of their support team partake in hard drugs. I’d like to say that was a moral decision, but when we weren’t rock stars we were servicemen and as such subjected to regular no-notice drug tests with instant dismissal if you failed; that may well have influenced our lifestyle choices. No, the white substance was actually candy. I knew that and Pete knew that, but to the PTI it was an obvious dilemma: take a line and risk losing your career before it hardly started, or don’t take a line and lose credibility with a bunch of absolute rock stars you just met?

The indecision and fear were written all over his face, and it didn’t look like he’d resolve it internally quickly, so I pushed him out of the way and helped myself to the first line. Now I said already it was candy, not drugs, but that was only half the story. What it actually was was popping candy, the kind we had as kids back in the Seventies, you put it on your tongue and it crackled. Snorting it is a whole different issue, when those fluorescent green and purple bits hit the top of your nose it felt like bonfire night inside your brain! My eyes immediately dilated massively. I let out a breath, then slapped Pete on the back. “Good shit man!” He helped himself to the other line, with the same effect. Soon all of the band had tried it, with our honorable friend the PTI being one of the few not to push for a hit, which means he was probably one of the only ones on the bus not to be in contention with Toxteth O’Grady for the world’s stickiest bogey title (Gratuitous The Young Ones reference, there).

By now we’d been cruising around in the tour bus for about an hour, up and down the Las Vegas strip, so it seemed like a good idea to let the rest of the world get sight of ItB. Our driver pulled up just near Freemont Street, a big area with casinos either side of a covered walkway with a huge lightshow above it. The bus pulled up and fully in character we headed in, security detail first to clear the way for the talent. These guys were having just as much fun with the dressing up box, all wearing black with SECURITY on the front of their baseball caps, but for some reason the actual casino security were unimpressed with the fact that their earpieces didn’t seem to be plugged into anything, and told them to “Stop fucking about, guys!” but fortunately still let us all in.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – We Are Rockstars

As I left the bus, the driver asked if there was anything else we needed him to get us while we were in there. My Mexican friend hadn’t exaggerated about the amount of liquor, but there was very little to mix it with. While I’m quite fond of straight Jack from the bottle, which seemed rock star appropriate, I thought something to go with it would be good, so suggested he buy us some coke, and headed into the casino. Seconds later I realised what I’d just asked him, what my Mexican friend offered on the phone, and that the driver had just watched the candy episode. Feeling a sudden, urgent need to break character I ran back out and shout to him “Coca Cola, we want coca cola, not drugs!” He laughed at me, said OK, so I got back into character and went to find the band at the bar. Stay cool, Swing!

I’m sure amongst a group of civilians deliberately being the last one into a bar like that would probably be regarded as a serious breach of etiquette and round dodging, but we were a well oiled machine (in many ways) and already ran a regular system with a nominated holder of the kitty who was in charge of going to the bar and ordering the drinks, with the rest of the group adding to the kitty in his pocket on request, usually in $50 chunks. Seems straightforward, and it is, but choosing who holds the kitty is something of a skill: give it to a budgie-sipper and the rest of the crew would be complaining of dry throats, go to the other extreme and you’d all be under the table half way through the night. Our usual kitty holder was my old tequila loving friend Bo, he liked to feel important, and was actually pretty good in the role, as long as you accepted two key facts:

1. He was very keen to implement the Jägermeister rule. Remember this was 2002, before the concept of Jägerbombs had really taken off in the UK, so back then it was something of a novelty to find in bars in the UK. The rule was the first one to see it said the J-word, and everyone else had to drink a shot. Be honest, it tastes like cough mixture, so being first to shout it and thus avoid the shot was a good thing. Two problems: American bars are usually pretty well stocked with a variety of drinks, so it was much more common; and Bo actually liked it, even to the extent of regularly ordering for himself a cocktail called liquid cocaine, which was 50/50 Jägermeister and Bacardi 151. Yummy! Which meant we needed to rein him in to prevent every round including shots.

2. Later in the evening after a few drinks Bo was easily distracted and often wandered off on his own. We needed to be careful to spot the onset of this, not to stop him of course, just to make sure someone else took the kitty before he did.

What that meant was that when I got to the bar I was not at all surprised to have a beer pressed into my hand. I was also not at all surprised that Bo started ribbing me about the way I had to break character and run back out, after all, if you couldn’t rely on your mates to belittle you in public who could you rely on? Equally obviously I needed to retaliate, but exactly how eluded me at first.

It doesn’t need saying that Gaz with his little girl’s bladder had disappeared to the toilets when we walked in, but I was sure everyone else would do the same before we left, and guessed that meant Bo would need to get someone to hold his beer. A few weeks earlier he had done the same thing for me, and while I was gone he put the straw from my Jack and Coke down his pants, so that when I came back he could ask if I “liked the taste of his Bobby?” Sophisticated humour like that was something they taught in Air Force basic training. My expectation was correct, and although it wasn’t me he asked to hold his beer, I was the manager of a successful rock band, so I only had to ask and it was handed to me. Slight problem, its one thing putting a straw down the front of your boxers, a bit more of an issue to do the same with a beer bottle. No problem, sheltered corner found and wall of mates blocking the view I gave the bottle top a quick wipe of the wand. Which is where the next flaw in my plan became apparent, he was drinking Corona, which had come with a slice of lime in the top. He’d pushed the lime in the bottle, but that meant there was a lot of lime around the top of the bottle. A lot of lime. Definitely not something you’d want in a sensitive area….

I passed him the bottle back as he returned, and realising what had just happened he started to complain, but recognising the obvious look of pain in my eyes he just laughed and swore to only ever drink Mexican lager from that day on.

We had a couple of rounds in the bar, but the draw of free drinks on the bus soon drew us back. The driver had added a few cases of soft drinks and a couple more bottles of Jack (just in case) so the security detail checked everyone was back and we set off around the town again. When we weren’t busy being a rock band some of the guys were avionics experts, specialising in maintaining the electronics on the aircraft: radar, weapon systems, radios, etc. The set-up on the bus had been fascinating them, and between drinks they’d been exploring it, taken control from the driver and found that in addition to the stereo there was an option to project one of a small library of “specialist” DVDs onto a screen filling the back of the bus. The dilemma now was this: did we have pounding rock music for the next leg of the tour, or hard-core pornography. The obvious answer was why not have both, so we were treated to the country-rap classic Cowboy loud enough to make your ears bleed, while on the screen were several young ladies getting overly friendly with each other, and what appeared to be one of their school teachers. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Kid Rock would have chosen himself for a video if he could get it played on MTV.

Kid Rock – Cowboy

Much sooner this time the balance between free drink on the bus vs no toilet on the bus required another stop, so we had the driver pull up at the next casino, which happened to be The Venetian. Lots of the casinos on the Vegas strip have themes like this, The Venetian obviously consisting of lots of little indoor canals with gondolas in them, but instead of the architectural wonders like St Mark’s Square you got rows of hundreds upon hundreds of slot machines. You have it to hand it to those Yanks, they know how to take anything from the Old World and just make it better.

Disembarking from the bus was much less orderly this time, more of a mad rush to get in and find the first place to pee. Which is why it was time to start enforcing the ‘little boy wee’ rule. This being the early two thousands I got a lot of inspiration from reading the key record of the cultural and artistic pulse of the nation: Loaded magazine. The idea came from someone who’d written in describing a drinking game in his rugby club, and I shamelessly stole it. (Same also applies to the idea of a pub crawl using a Monopoly board as a map, but that’s another story.) (Yes, one I’ve already told: here – Ed)

In essence, when potty training your children, most little boys don’t go straight from soiling themselves to confidently standing alone at a public urinal, there is an interim stage, usually only a few months, involving mummy helping them go for a number one. During this stage rather than fishing through the willy maze that is the front of most male underwear, she makes things easier for herself by lowering trousers and underpants to the floor, thus making access much easier. The concept of ‘little boy wees’ is what would have happened if your Mummy forgot to tell you you don’t always need to do that when you’re all grown up.

So when the rule is in force that’s what you need to do: every time you’re in a public bathroom, trousers and underpants must be fully around your ankles before any release. And if you choose to use a cubicle instead and hence hide the evidence, what you’re actually proving is that you sit down to pee and you’re in completely the wrong bathroom. Anyone forgetting got a forfeit, usually involving shots and/or humiliation. Its quite an amusing game at the best of times, but goes to another level in a crowded place with multiple bathrooms, like a Las Vegas casino on a Saturday evening.

By now you would expect a lapse in discipline with the first stragglers wandering off, but this game made it easy to find if the others were around, just head to the bathroom and use the level of amusement/disgust to judge how many of your colleagues had already been there. In all that helped get the majority of the team back to the bus after a reasonable amount of time (two drinks).

We did continue for another couple of hours, I suspect there was probably another stop somewhere along the way at another strip club, and the tour ended with us being dropped at a night club somewhere, but I have to be honest, by now time and Jack have wiped all those memories from me. If anyone there wants to tell me what else happened that night (or at any other time since I hit drinking age) it would be greatly appreciated.

But there are two post scripts to this story. The following Saturday I was in a regular bar in Vegas when one of the guys called me up to listen to what was happening. Just along the bar was one of our aircrew chatting to a young lady. Now being a squadron leader fighter pilot should be a pretty good chat up line, in fact pilot was the only persona we had an unwritten rule never to use, because that would only encourage them. But this chap wasn’t telling her that, he was explaining how he was a music producer and talent scout from London. I listened in to him for a while then tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he’d ever met Into the Breach. He realised he’d been rumbled, and bought me a drink, the first of many I took from him over the years whenever I reminded him that he pretended to be me to impress girls.

The second one was a bit later on, back in the UK. It turned out that the lead singer (the one in the video who lip-synched, not the chubster who actually sang on the record, keep up) met some girls in the club who were pretty sure they had seen ItB on MTV earlier, and he had taken advantage of this apparent gullibility to live the rock star dream a bit further than he should have. Definitely further than his fiancé would have approved of….. When he got home he had a pang of conscience and admitted everything to her, so after her Dad beat him senseless she forgave him, but decided that whoever organised such a thing was definitely not welcome at their wedding. Which meant that Swing didn’t get an invite, but for the only time in my Air Force career I dusted off another alias and made sure that Andrew behaved himself at the ceremony and at least the early part of the evening event!”

There’s only one song that we can possibly sign off with, I think:

Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas

Happy Birthday, Bro’.

More soon.

The Chain #43

There. That’s caught you all out. The Chain on a Wednesday morning.

Don’t get used to this. I’m at a work conference this afternoon and won’t get back until late, so I figured if I didn’t get it done before then, it’d end up being another week before it appeared. So, I started writing it earlier than usual (but still a week late, if you’re being ungratefully picky).

Anyway, we’ve lots to get through this week – 63 new suggestions in total – and so, as has become usual, we’ll start off with a reminder of the source record for the week:

original_44242. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

Yet again, one of you correctly guessed the next song in The Chain, but we’ll come to that later. Or, more specifically, at the end.

But first, where to begin? Link-wise, I can think of no finer place than with therobster from Is This The Life? although, as you will see, the first tune of the week can only be partly credited to him:

“I’ve gone down the ‘intentionally misspelled animal-related band name’ route. How about some Def Leppard? No…?” 

Yes! But with no actual one-armed suggestions forthcoming from the robster, in stepped Rol from My Top Ten:

“If therobster isn’t going to suggest one, can I suggest…”

Def Leppard

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked

“…because it’s very silly.”

Back to therobster, who actually suggests this:

“…let’s have the Monkees. As the Beatles were from Liverpool, I reckon ‘Randy Scouse Git’ would fit well. Plus, it’s actually about a party the band went to that was hosted by The Beatles”


The Monkees – Randy Scouse Git

Now, just in case any of you were planning on pulling me up on using that sleeve, let me explain. RCA Records bosses told the band that they would not release the song with the title “Randy Scouse Git” (which, incidentally, is taken from 1960s sitcom “‘Til Death Us Do Part”), and demanded they gave it an alternate title. “Okay”, said drummer/singer Mickey Dolenz, “‘Alternate Title’ it is.”

Here’s another band that fits nicely into the category:


The Byrds – I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

Now, as therobster quite right points out, The Beatles is indeed a mis-spelling, and a pun, on a group if insects, but this seems to have completely passed Kay by:

“I’m going down the insect/bug route” she announces, and then names these two tunes:

Adam & The Ants

Adam & The Ants – Prince Charming



The Verve – Catching The Butterfly

But whilst we’re on links from The Beatles to the beetles, we may as well have Mrs GMFree, who suggests: “A Beetle is a VW car which is German, so are krautrock masters Kraftwerk…”

Or, as Alan Partridge would say:


 “Kommen sie bitte und listen to Kraftwerk”


Kraftwerk – Autobahn

(NB. I tried to track down a video clip of just the Partridge – Kraftwerk introduction, sadly to no avail. But imagine my surprise when typing the words “alan partridge introduces kraftwerk” into Google to find that the fourth link it offers is to…The Chain #28!)

But I digress. GMFree seizes the opportunity to do the old Chain link one-two shuffle:

“Which leads me to my [next] suggestion with the recent death of Holger Czukay…”


Can – Mushroom

“…which I first heard covered by The Jesus & Mary Chain, one of many bands influenced by the experimental Germans.”

And GMFree isn’t done there, providing “a Beatle link to a Captain Beefheart cover”, which contains one of the rarest sounds ever committed to record – Mark E Smith giggling:


The Fall – Beatle Bones ‘N’ Smokin’ Stones (Peel Session)

There’s also this, of course:

House Of Love

The House of Love – The Beatles and The Stones

Enter George (that’s an introduction, rather than a command), who suggests:

“…given that The Beatles once played on the roof of their Apple building, what about…”


The Drifters – Up On The Roof

Ah yes, Apple Records. Alex G picks this up and runs with it:

“‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP, their first on their own Apple Records imprint. So from one artist-owned label named after a fruit, to another: Ray Charles’ Tangerine Records. I do wonder whether the Beatles got the idea from him, though nobody else seems to think so. Anyway, let’s go for Ray Charles’ version of…”


Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby

Which is, as Alex G points out/pleads, a double linker. Points!

Time for a Magical Mystery Tour next, courtesy of Julian from Music From Magazines:

“The Beatles had a couple of names before they became famous

1. The Quarrymen

To quarry is to mine as in ‘Soul Mining’ by The The ( fill your boots)”

Don’t mind if I do.

The The

The The – Uncertain Smile

Julian continues:

“2. The Silver Beatles

Martha is a lady’s name

And the bloke leaning over my shoulder at the bar is called Dave, amongst other things

So let’s switch on the Magimix ™ and see what delight we get

………… and the winner is

David Soul ‘Silver Lady'”

Much as I love that record, it’s featured before, way back in The Chain #8, and as such has to be disqualified. But since GMFree has done the old Chain link one-two shuffle, I suggested Julian might want to follow suit. So, since, he’d got to David Soul, perhaps one of his other songs? Nope. That’s too straight-forward for our Julian:

“David Soul starred in a short lived TV show called ‘Casablanca’, so how about…”


Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By

I must say, I’m not in the least bit surprised that Julian has suggested a song from a film which contains the line “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Anyway, he’s riffing by now:

“…coincidently [Casablanca] was the record label that released…”


Parliament – Dr. Funkenstein

Having valiantly chipped in to assist therobster earlier, Rol’s back with a suggestion all his own doing:

“‘Martha My Dear’ is from The White Album. Another band who released a ‘White Album’ (following on from their Blue, Green and Red albums… even though all of them were actually just eponymous) were Weezer. From that, I’ll suggest…”


Weezer – Thank God for Girls

Do any other White albums spring to mind? Well, no, although there is, of course “The Whitey Album”, by Sonic Youth off-shoot Ciccone Youth (I really thought this would get suggested, especially as I posted a track from it in a recent post).


Ciccone Youth – Addicted to Love

Over to Alyson from What’s It All About? to wrap up the whiteness now:

“It occurred to me that The Beatles ‘White Album’ reminds me of Mr Barry White…I can’t find any dog-related [this will get explained soon – Ed] Barry songs or ones about a girl called Martha [I think we pretty much used them all up last time – Ed] so it’ll have to be the next most appropriate for this place:”


Barry White – Let The Music Play

Now, all this white stuff is all well and good, but let me draw all of your attention back to something Alex G said earlier: ‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP…” And he’s quite right: the album in question is colloquially known as ‘The White Album’ but it’s actually, officially, called ‘The Beatles’.

Which takes us back to George, who suggests a new category: “…the ‘eponymous album that wasn’t a debut’ route.” And specifically he suggest this, from Blur’s 1997 album, the fifth that they released:


Blur – Death of a Party

I must say, this is my favourite link of all that were suggested this time. It had never occurred to me before that most acts, when releasing an eponymous album, made it their debut, presumably to double the impact of their name, get it “out there” as a recognisable brand. So I did a little digging and found these acts also released eponymous albums, but not first time around:


Metallica – Enter Sandman

Yes, everyone calls their fifth album “The Black Album”, but it’s not called that, it’s called ‘Metallica’.

And at the other end of the musical spectrum, this lots’ first album was 1973’s “Ring Ring”, but it wasn’t until two years later, when they released their third album, that they released an album called…well, you can figure the rest of that sentence out for yourselves:

Front Cover


I sense a new series of posts coming on…

Now, remember how in her suggestion Alyson mentioned something about dogs in songs? Well that’s where we’re going next and here’s Dirk from sexyloser to explain why:

“..the title ‘Martha My Dear’ was inspired by McCartney’s Old English Sheepdog, named Martha.”

Which leads us nicely into a whole batch of songs about dogs. Sort of. But before we get to Dirk’s suggestion, here’s The Great Gog, awake at 02:31am and thinking about dogs:

“All this talk of Martha has me thinking of my one of my sister’s dogs, which goes by that moniker. Martha is a spaniel, no idea what type of spaniel though. One type is a cocker spaniel which immediately led me to thinking of…”


Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

Relax ladies, he’s married. And dead.

Back to The Great Gog it is then:

“Another type is a King Charles spaniel. The next King Charles is still a prince, however, so I can legitimately suggest…”

Prince Charles

Prince Charles & The City Beat Band – Cash (Cash Money)

The Songs (Sort Of) About Dogs category is (almost) the largest category, so strap yourself in for some canine capers. You could say that we’ve gone dog crazy, in fact:


The Soup Dragons – Backwards Dog

Okay then Dirk, what have you got for us?

“Another famous Old English Sheepdog was Alfie, who starred in ‘Serpico’, so – of course – did Al Pacino. And Al Pacino will always be remembered – at least in my household – not for Serpico, but a) [for the sex scene he had with the fabulous Ellen Barkin in] ‘Sea Of Love’, the film being named after a single by Phil Phillips from 1959. I prefer The Heptones’ version from 1968 though, also we don’t have enough Rocksteady on ‘The Chain’, I’m sure you’ll agree!”

Sorry, I stopped paying attention at the mention of Ellen Barkin. (I was wondering you were linking to her surname)


The Heptones – Sea Of Love

What was the other thing Al Pacino is remembered for in Dirk Towers, Dirk?

“…and b) for ‘The Godfather’….So…if you have a minute The Godfathers would be appropriate…perhaps….?”


The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death

And Dirk’s not done there. Oh no:

“We could also have something by Blondie as well…‘cos contrary to what everyone thinks, the band didn’t choose their name because Debbie Harry was blonde, no, they named themselves after Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd, Blondi (the ‘i’ – ending was generally regarded as being too uncommon for American ears, so much so that the ‘-e’ was added)!”

Which is good enough for me. Here’s the Blondie track Dirk suggested:


Blondie – Ring Of Fire (Live 1980)

At which point, Walter from A few good times in my life pops in to throw this threesome into the mix:

“…if we go the ‘dog’ road there will be a lot of songs recommended, i.e….:”

And as it happens, nobody else suggested any of the three Walter mentioned, (although I had one lined up as one of my oh-so many choices) so here they are:


The Specials – Do The Dog



The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog


Adam - Dog

Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog

Ok, brace yourself. It’s time for the undisputed Worst Record of the Week award, and to present the award here’s all round nice guy and not a white supremacist enabler at all, Sean Spicer accept the award and explain what the hell he was thinking when he sent me this suggestion is Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“…sticking firmly to the Dogs route (and a contender for Worst Record Of The Week)…”

Not just a contender, Rigid, but so nailed on The Worst Record Of The Week that nobody else even bothered to try to think of any more because this was so obviously unbeatable.

But first some context.

The song is about Barbara Woodhouse, a dog trainer who found celebrity status in the UK in the late 1970s/early 1980s, back when celebrities were required to have some semblance of talent (see also celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah). Here’s a clip to give you an idea:

And here she is, interviewing William Shatner, teaching his dogs a thing or two, and then revealing a little too much about her bedtime habits for my liking:

And here’s Rigid’s suggestion. Remember: in the world of The Barron Knights, a man putting on a ladies voice = funny:


The Barron Knights – The Sit Song

Not that they’re alone in that belief:

And here’s two actual funny women, Rebecca Front and Joanna Scanlon, parodying Ms Woodhouse directly and subtly:

I’ll leave the last word on that Barron Knights song to Charity Chic who quipped:

“I think you missed an H out of the title.”

Rigid then goes on to mention the Dogs d’Amour, but doesn’t actually suggest a record by them. Luckily for us him, babylotti steps in with three suggestions by the band; I’ve picked the one he cited as his favourite. Because I’m nice like that.

Dogs D'Amour

the Dogs d’Amour- How Do You Fall In Love Again?

Relax ladies, etc. etc.

I must say I always get the Dogs d’Amour mixed up with The Quireboys. Were they around at the same time? (NB: This is a rhetorical question, the type where instead of already knowing the answer, I already know that I don’t really care.)

So let’s have some more doggy-do’s, and one which I was surprised nobody else suggested. A song which is famously about a dog, although the name in the title was changed from ‘Brandy’ in the first draft (who sounds more like a stripper than a dog, if I’m honest) to:


Barry Manilow – Mandy

Count yourselves lucky I didn’t post the Boyzone version. Or the Westlife version. Whichever one of them recorded it. They’re the same thing really anyway, aren’t they?

Oh, and innuendo fans, check out the title of that B-Side. Parp!


Since we appear to be in 1970s softie ballad territory, here’s another from Rigid Digit:

“What the world needs is more acoustic guitar playing beardy blokes…”

which is debatable, but he means that as an introduction to this:


Cat Stevens – I Love My Dog

It’s no wonder that Cat Stevens changed his name. A cat admitting to loving a dog is always going to be given the cold shoulder by the feline community.

Now, I must admit that when Rigid suggested that song, I actually thought he was talking about this:


Peter Shelley – Love Me Love My Dog

Thank goodness for The Barron Knights, or I’d have to give myself the Worst Record of the Week award now.

But it’s okay, I can turn things round. From Peter Shelley, to Pete Shelley:

Pete Shelley

Pete Shelley – Homosapien

(I was going to post a Buzzcocks tune and had settled for the (s)punky little burst that is ‘Orgasm Addict’, until I realised how that might look when played after the previous two songs…)

Time for another one that I was surprised nobody else came up with. The original version has featured on The Chain before, so I would have had to disqualify it. But, as with the helping hand I tried to give Julian earlier, had the original been suggested than I would doubtless have given you a nudge towards this:


The Futureheads – Hounds Of Love

One more doggy disc to go, and we’re back with Rigid Digit again. He’s relentless, isn’t he?

His final suggestion is for a record that’s “Madly brilliant, but not really essential.”


The Who – Dogs

Their record label initially refused to release that, on the grounds that it was trying just a bit too hard to sound like The Small Faces. Harsh, but fair.

But as Rigid astutely concludes:

“There ain’t many songs whose last words are: ‘lovely buttocks'”

A fair point, well made. But just think of the songs which could be improved by the inclusion of those words. “God Save The Queen” springs to mind.

Speaking of which…

Often, the suggestions link from one song to another by way of one word in the title. But there wasn’t much to work on here, just three words, and one of them, Martha, was pretty much done to death last time. But there was one more song to link to that name, from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:

I have a niece called Martha. Her Mum, my sister, was born in June 1977. My parents sometimes say that if she’d been born on the Queen’s jubilee day they’d have called her Jubilee. At least I think they’re joking. So [this] seems an appropriate link (Pistols obvs).”


Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

As does this, to be fair:

Blur Parklife

Blur – Jubilee

Having mopped up the last of the Martha’s, we’ll edge towards the end of the song title now with a “My” or two. Or three, actually. And two of them are from me.

This being one of them:

Armand (2)

Armand Van Helden – My My My (feat. Tara McDonald)

And since it features a man and his dog (and for no other reason, honestly) here’s the video for that one too:

The other “My” suggestion comes from abramson60, who, clearly unmoved by that video, announces that he’s “got a soft spot for Joan Armatrading.”


Joan Armatrading – Me Myself I

Me: Well, if you’re suggesting that…

The Chain gang: …then you’re suggesting this:

De La Soul

De La Soul – Me Myself and I

And so on to what is the biggest grouping of songs of the week.

Surprisingly, nobody went for this:


The Stone Roses – Elizabeth My Dear

So, where to start with this little lot. Well, let’s split them down into songs which feature the word “Dear” in the title (or prominently elsewhere in the lyrics) and, first, songs which can in some way be linked to Deer.

And, after missing last times linkage, it’s a warm welcome back to SWC, who proffers this:

“If we want to be clever…”


Hinds – Garden

Look out. Julian’s back:

“I never checked the spelling and assumed Paul was singing about a ruminant mammal on his Scottish Croft . The Beatles released a b-side “Rain” and Bambi was a deer, know the song yet?

Blind Bambi… no idea

Dead blind Bambi… still no idea…?”

I must admit, I assumed at this point that Julian was about to suggest this:


Sex Pistols – Who Killed Bambi

(Except it’s not really the Sex Pistols, is it? It’s got Eddie Tudor-Pole on lead vocals for a start. And it’s from ‘The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle’. And it’s title and that picture are  clearly meant to shock, but it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking. Not cool.)

But no, Julian was in fact going here:

“Ok it’s the rain song from Bambi”.

This caused a little confusion at Chain HQ, as the song that Julian actually wanted was this:


Bambi – Little April Showers

…which, confusingly, was not going to be in the original film, it was going to be a song called “Rain Song”, which was ditched in favour of “…April Showers”, and which you can see/hear here:

And then, just to confuse things even further, Julian goes and suggests this:

Houses of The Holy

Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song

But of course, we all know where Julian’s really heading:

“More importantly the animated video for “Is a Woman” also features falling leaves and a deer, by Lambchop of course”

But of course:


Lambchop – Is A Woman

And here’s the video he mentions:

I’ve not had chance to watch that, so I’m trusting you on that one, Jules.

Ok, so that’s the deer related bunch over with, so “if we are going down the dear route”, says SWC, then “we need….”


The Dears – 22: The Death Of All The Romance

Cheers, SWC, I’d totally forgotten about that one. Great to hear it again.

Back to GMFree now, for another couple of belters:


Lush – Dear Me (Miki’s 8-Track Home Demo)


Blade Runner

Don Percival – One More Kiss, Dear

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Blade Runner. Sacrilege, I know. But it’s one of those films that everybody bangs on to me about how amazing it is that it can never live up to expectations. I guess I’d better rectify that before the new one comes out later this year, right?

Over to babylotti now, who suggests these two:

“[I’m] going to fall back on Marvin Gaye’s divorce settlement album, ‘Here My Dear’, with obvious reference to Martha my dear….I’ll suggest the title track rather than any of the singles.”


Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear

…before also doing that old Chain link one-two shuffle:

 “And from there I believe I have to link to…”


Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

And whilst we’re on great versions of classic songs, does this next one remind anyone of anything?

Little Fish

Little Fish – Darling Dear

Anybody? No? Not even this:

Just me then.

Back to abramson60 again for his second and final submission:

“…there would be ‘Mother dear, they’re teaching me to do the goose-step’, which can be found in….”


The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Give My Compliments To The Chef

Martin from New Amusements snuck his suggestion under the wire just in time:

“Keith Moon used to call everybody “Dear Boy” and he did a pretty fair cover of Beatles track ‘In My Life’ for his lone solo album ‘Two Sides of the Moon’ (even if it was played with too straight a bat). Anyway, a double-linker!”

A double-linker indeed. Points!


Keith Moon – In My Life

Back to Walter now, and his final two suggestions (although, granted, his first three were more mentioned in passing than actual suggestions):

“For sure,  from probably Talking Heads’ last good record ‘Naked’…”

Talking Heads

Talking Heads – Ruby Dear

and “Another song that accompanied me since my youngest days…”


Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy

Time for C from Sun Dried Sparrows tune now, and this is an example of me saving the best ’til (almost) last; I think this is my favourite song by this lot. I love a good bracket (see?)

“I went down the ‘dear’ route too and another song whose title ends in the word ‘dear’ (there can’t be many, surely?). “Dear” is such a charming, old-fashioned word, I always thought it sounded a bit out of place for Blondie to use it but I love that they do. So I’d like to suggest…”


Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear

Now, when the suggestions start coming in, I will often have a little bet with myself as to who I think will suggest what. I’m rarely right, of course. For example, this week I was sure that Dirk would suggest this:

Au Pairs

Au Pairs – Dear John

But he didn’t, so now I have to, just to give extra justification for me posting this:


Status Quo – Dear John

You’re right. I can’t help myself sometimes.

Which just leaves two songs, and you’ve probably noticed that Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music has been a bit quiet this time out. Here’s why:

“My first thoughts (neither of which will be the correct answer) were…”


Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dear Prudence

…which, given it’s a cover of a song from The Beatles’ “White Album” and features the word “Dear” is unquestionably a double-linker (Points!!).

And I wouldn’t be so sure about neither of your suggestions being right, CC, for you’re right on the money with your second one. The official link is, quite simply “From one Dear to another…” and the next record in The Official Chain is this:


43. Dexys Midnight Runners – There, There, My Dear

I’d forgotten how great that record is too, as it goes.

So, CC, congratulations. A huge bag of non-existent points is winging its way to you. Hopefully that makes up for The Chain making you late for work last time. And today, too.

Ok, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I invite your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “There, There, My Dear” by Dexys Midnight Runners, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Who knows when that might be.

More soon.

The Chain #18

Evening Chainies! Welcome aboard the latest instalment of interactive blogging, where I welcome your suggestions for songs to play next week.

For newcomers, here’s the deal: there’s a feature on 6Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie week-day afternoon show where they play a record, ask their listeners to suggest a record connected to it, they pick the best one, play that, and ask for suggestions for the next song to play.

Where we differ is this: we play the same record as they do, invite your suggestions, play all of them, awarding completely arbitrary bonus points here and there (usually for correctly guessing the next song in the official Chain, occasionally for the cleverest/most impressive explanation as to how the suggested record was reached (or “Comment Showboating”, as it’s become known round these parts), but most often for suggesting something by a band I bloody love), then play the next record in the 6Music list, point out it’s nowhere near as clever/good/witty as any that you have come up with, and ask that you repeat the trick, provide a suggestion that links to the official record, which we play the following week, and so on, and so forth, repeat ad infinitum.

Of course, we’ve only been doing this for three weeks, and they’ve been doing theirs, playing three tracks a day, five times a week, so we’re quite some way behind them, so when I say we play the same record as they do, we do, just about six years later.

Here’s the only three things I ask:

  1. When making your suggestion, provide an explanation as to how you got there. And try to be a little bit more creative than just saying “So and so did a cover of that, please play their version”;
  2. Whilst it’s great to have obscure, cool records suggested, try and mix it up a little. Don’t be embarrassed to suggest a cheesy or downright awful record. Lord knows I’ve suggested enough myself;
  3. If I don’t own, or am unable to track down a copy of the song in question, please make sure that you’re able to supply me with it if need be. (NB – this happens rarely. This may only be week 18, but we’re 130 suggestions in, and only three times have I been stumped so far.)

Before we get started, one more bit of admin to get through.

I have not yet introduced the “Two Suggestions per person” rule that I mentioned last week. Well, not yet, anyway. To be honest, I felt a bit like a stroppy kid, losing at a game of football in the park who threatens to take his ball home unless he wins. So, uncapped numbers of suggestions remain, for now. But please bear in mind that I don’t have an infinite amount of time go trawling for the oh-so-many tunes that I don’t already own.

Okay, so that’s the tedious stuff out of the way. Let’s get cracking.

Last week, I left you with Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and asked you to come up with any ideas as to what we could play this week. And true to form, you’ve come up with some absolute stonkers, and some utterly weird things too.

So, first up this week is Swiss Adam from bagging area who wrote:

“Hounds of Love? Does your pussy do the dog? (asked The Cramps)”

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:


The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

Actually, I take that back. For before we can draw breath, Swiss is back with a second suggestion. Which is fine. We can still have a kick-a-round:


The House of Love – Never

Yup, totally with you on that one Swiss. It’s a single which is often overlooked because of the majesty of the singles that had preceded it, but it’s still a corking little indie-pop record which deserves an airing.

Now for those of you who don’t peruse the Comments section, where the suggestions are left, these next two take a little extra explanation.

See, last week I was asked to post Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”, which I duly did, but added that they’re not a band I’m fond off, and that they generally just rub me up the wrong way. Regular contributor George left a message, in an effort to show some solidarity, letting me know that he feels much the same way about The Clash and Bruce Springsteen.

Cue Charity Chic, stepping effortlessly into shit-stirring mode:

“Kate Bush on her return to live performances sold out the Hammersmith Apollo for a 22 night residency between 26th August and 1st October 2014. There used to be another venue in Hammersmith called the Palais. So ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash, please…and dedicate it to George!”

Sorry George, but this is for you:


The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

“Kate Bush had an album called The Dreaming. Bruce Springsteen had an album called Working on the Dream. The title track please…and dedicate it to George!”


Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

I have visions of Charity Chic posting the second of those two, saying “Boom!”, dropping his microphone and strutting off stage.

Next up, here’s Badger from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“Well there is a track by Death Grips called ‘World of Dogs’ but I wouldn’t put up a picture of the album cover.”

Not sure I see what the fuss is about, Badger:


Death Grips – World of Dogs

I should, of course, point out that isn’t the actual cover Badger refers to. If you want to Google it, I’d strongly recommend that you don’t do it at work.

“As a serious suggestion ‘Hounds of Love’ was covered memorably by The Futureheads which takes us nicely to ‘Decent Days and Nights’ by that lot.”

Badger almost became the first person to have points deducted for providing too obvious a link there, just dodging the bullet by suggesting a record by The Futureheads other than their cover of Madam Bush:


The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

Here’s George, who clearly is not going to rise to Charity Chic’s bait:

“From Hounds to Dogs and Tropical Hot Dog Night by Captain Beefheart (from the Shiny Beast Bat Chain Puller album)”

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

I have to confess, Beefheart are one of those bands I know I’m supposed to like, but I’ve given Trout Mask Replica many opportunities to win me over, and every time I’ve just come away scratching my head (in befuddlement, I don’t have nits).

That said, though, I really like the track George has suggested, so maybe it’s about time I gave it another go.

Here’s The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow with another suggestion I didn’t know, or rather didn’t know this version of it. I’ll let him explain:

“On the b-side of the ‘Hounds of Love’ 7″ single, Kate Bush covered a traditional seafaring ballad, ‘The Handsome Cabin Boy’. The great Martin Carthy sang an acapella version of the same song on his self-titled debut LP in 1965.”


Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

Here’s When You Can’t Remember Anything‘s co-writer, S-WC:

“Kate Bush allowed ITV to use her surname for a section of the show I’m a Celebrity… called The Bushtucker Trial [not sure that’s entirely true, but I’ll let it slide – Ed]. Johnny Rotten appeared in one of those and ate a kangaroos anus. So we’d best have Anarchy in the UK.”

And that’s why I’ll let it slide. Still sounding as fresh and as angry today as it did back in 1976 (I imagine, I was a little too young got punk), here’s them Grundy-baiting Sex Pistols:


Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

And there’s a good reason why I’ll let that slide, for if I didn’t, I’d have to disqualify a third suggestion from Swiss Adam at bagging area:

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:


Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

Sadly, as long as I waited, not one of you suggested we continue that particular theme by playing something by Peter Andre. Not even “Insania” which he wrote on the show. An opportunity missed, I’m sure you’ll agree. Or, hopefully not.

Coincidentally, those last two suggestions feature bands who are commonly referred to incorrectly as “The Sex Pistols” or “The Happy Mondays”. There is no prefix on either. The next suggestion – by Swiss again with his fourth – yes, fourth – go, features a band with nothing but the word The in their name:


The The – Dogs Of Lust

Now, right at the top of this post, I mentioned that so far I’ve only needed to be bailed out three times when hosting this thread, and two of them were suggestions made by George. So when he popped up again with this, I felt myself break out into a cold sweat:

“From Kate Bush to The Very Things’ song The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes.”

The other time I couldn’t find a postable copy of a song, it had been suggested by Dirk over at Sexyloser, so when he chipped in by saying: “George, the recommendation of that particular Very Things – tune almost makes me forgive you disliking The Clash so much: excellent choice!”, well, I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, we’ve just had a Bank Holiday Weekend here, so I had a little extra time to track it down. It’s not the finest quality, and there is a moment or two’ silence at the start that I haven’t had time to trim off, but here in all their glory, are The Very Things:


The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

Have to say the jury’s still out on that one here at Dubious Taste Towers. I’d fully expected to award the Oddest Record of the Week gong to the Captain Beefheart track, but I think The Very Things takes that honour. It certainly wins Best Title of the Week. (I need some jingles for these, don’t I?)

Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad with an idea for a bit of pre-fame (they were not famous for a lot longer than they were famous, after all) Pulp:


Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

Finally this week, here’s What’s It All About, Alfie?:

“Another female singer with similarly “bushy” dark hair had their biggest chart hit in 1978 and it was Patti Smith with Because The Night so going for that one please.” Which, as Charity Chic gleefully pointed out, was written by one Bruce Springsteen:


Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

And so we come to the end of your suggestions, and we come onto mine.


There are many types of Hound, other than the ones of Love. There are Basset Hounds, which I couldn’t think of anything for. There’s the Greyhound, but The Swede suggested the only song I know by them back in The Chain #7. There’s the Whippet, a sighthound breed descended from greyhounds, but there’s nothing there…

…wait a minute. Whippet. Whippit. Whip It.


Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

Now, if any one you had suggested that, I would have been awarding bonus points. But I can’t really award them to myself, so I won’t. (*looks pleadingly at you all*)

And so, to the official song in The Chain, where this was the reasoning:

“Kate Bush’s 2005 album Aerial featured the track ‘King of the Mountain’, which referred to Elvis Presley”

..and this was the song:


18. Elvis Presley – (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame

As usual, not a patch on any of your suggestions, but there you have it.

And so that’s my bit done for another week. Please send me your suggestions of records we can play next week, that link to “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame” by Elvis Presley – there should be plenty for you to work with there – along with a brief description as to how you got there, via the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

See you next time!

(More soon).

How To Do A Cover Version

Continuing the theme, and a further attempt to prove that I don’t just throw this stuff together (although, to be honest, that’s pretty much exactly what I do), here’s some covers of Kate Bush songs that I think are pretty good.

Still, none as good as the originals, of course, but pretty good nonetheless.

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way:


The Futureheads – Hounds Of Love

When I saw them on the NME Tour I mentioned in my last post, they played this, and split the crowd into two, encouraging each half to sing-a-long with a different backing vocal part (most evident at the very start of their version), in a pantomime audience style. Great fun.

Compare and contrast with the original:


Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love

Next up, a cover which I have no idea how I have come to own, partly since it’s by a Romanian-German singer/songwriter (not a pool of music in which I usually paddle), but mostly because the missing “i” from her name really irks me.

I quite like this though, in a kinda sub-Lily Allen/Mark Ronson kinda way:


Miss Platnum – Babooshka

Here’s the original, and I think Kate had got new art directors in for her single sleeves post-“The Man With The Child in His Eyes”:


Kate Bush – Babooshka

Last, but by no means least, lifted from his “Distraction Pieces” album, and performed by the reliably brilliant Scroobius Pip, sans regular collaborator Dan Le Sac, but avec Natasha Fox, of whom I know nothing:


Scroobius Pip feat. Natasha Fox – Feel It

And, here’s the original, from Kate Bush’s debut album:


Kate Bush – Feel It

Let me round things off by pointing you in the direction of the Blogroll list on the left, and particularly to the link to a blog with the same name as those last two tunes. Written by Darcy, it’s a great blog crammed with predominantly soul and disco tunes, the majority of which are (great, and) new to these old ears. Darcy’s gone a bit quiet recently, so hopefully a few more visitors might spark him back into life again.

More soon.