A post title guaranteed to annoy and disappoint fans of a certain fim involving Patrick Swayze, which holds an embarrasing memory for me. The full story is here.
Whatever. The other day on Pointless, there was a picture round about multiple Grammy winners, where there was one photo I knew I should know, but couldn’t identify. Turns out it was (spoiler alert) Alison Krauss, and I was bloody annoyed for not having recognised her. And it was a Pointless answer (I think), so doubly annoying.
Serendipitously, long time friend of the blog, and regular contributor to The Chain (back when I could be bothered to write it), babylotti seems to have finally got their house in order and started actually posting on their own blog for the first time since a one-off post ten years ago.
If you like obscure tracks from 80s stalwarts like Soft Cell and 90s electro-pioneers Sheep on Drugs, give them a visit, here: Livin’ Out Rock’n’Roll.
I’m torn between two songs to post to celebrate the proper arrival of babylotti on the blogging scene, so here’s both of them. Firstly, a tune which I suspect is unlikely to ever feature over there:
And, as promised/threatened (delete as applicable), we’re back with one of my self-proclaimed ‘eclectic’ mixes.
This one clocks is at just shy of 90 minutes, as opposed to the usual 60-ish, which is partly to celebrate the return of the mix, but also as a reference to an NHS employee I encountered when I had my recent consultant with a rheumatologist.
As this was my first visit, I had to have the usual checks (height, weight, blood pressure) and as I entered the examination room the chap about to perform these tasks (he did introduce himself, but I’m terrible with names) commented that he liked my t-shirt.
I was wearing one which was a homage to the retro, and had depictions of nine cassette tapes on it. This one, in fact:
I pretended I wasn’t absolutely delighted to have someone commend my sartorial taste.
“Thanks,” I replied, “but you realise you’re showing your age, right?”
So, anonymous NHS chap, this mix is designed to fit on a C90 in your honour. Yes, I’d rather you had a decent pay rise too, but sadly that is beyond my control.
Anyway, since this mix includes a bit of actual mixing, it’s admin/disclaimer time: any shonky mixes are down to me; any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software or the uploading process; all song choices are mine.
And here’s your track listing, complete with sleeve notes:
Spinal Tap – Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight
Regulars will know that I like to kick these mixes off with a pace-setter, and this week I was torn between four different tunes. Unable to decide which to use, I’ve included all of them. I was, as you will have gathered from the image at the top of this post, unable to resist starting proceedings with something from one of the funniest films ever made (and I don’t mean Big Momma’s House).
2. Led Zeppelin – Rock and Roll
Second song which could’ve been the opener. Since this is the first mix I’ve posted since October, the “been a long time” lyric seemed too appropriate to ignore
3. The Jim Jones Revue – High Horse
Whatever happened to this lot? Like Jerry Lee Lewis meets the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, this is fecking great.
4. The Vines – Ride
Potential opener number 3. Instead: consider it an invitation.
5. Ride – Like a Daydream
I couldn’t resist the theme. Sue me. Also: I was there Part 1. The video for this was filmed at That London’s ULU, and I was there. Sort of. A story for another day, I think (if I haven’t written about it before, that is…)
6. Helen Love – Power On the Music
Potential opener number 4. Helen Love are ace, even better now they’ve moved on from their original obsession with Joey Ramone to release a swathe of top-notch indie-pop records (not that the Ramone-fixated years weren’t also great). This little beauty is simply a call to play music loudly, and contains one of the few Super Furry Animals samples that I’m aware of.
7. The Lovely Eggs – Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It)
Short of some decent insults? There’s loads in this absolute belter. Lovely stuff.
8. Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now
At the time of writing, there’s a documentary on Sky/NOWTV which covers the events of July 13 2002, when Fatboy Slim threw Big Beach Boutique II, a free entry gig on Brighton beach which was expected to attract around 60,000 people, but which actually found the seaside town over-run by closer to 250,000. One of whom was me (I was there Part 2). I’ll be writing about it when the time is appropriate (i.e. come the 21st anniversary later this year…).
9. U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Perfecto Mix)
Look, I know it’s not the done thing to like U2, and I would certainly not consider myself a fan. But, as the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. It’s possible to think that this remix is great, but retain the belief that Bono is a prick. Lose the sunglasses, mate, you’re not Edgar Davids.
10. The Tamperer feat. Maya – Feel It
Some dumb but great pop from 1998. At the time this was riding high in the charts, I was working at Boots the Chemist in Cardiff, and remember going to local dodgy night-spot Zeus with some of the store’s weekend staff – students, predominantly – and trying to explain to one them that the riff this is based on is a Jacksons sample. She didn’t know the original, nor who The Jacksons were for that matter, and I’ve rarely felt older until I just looked up the date when this came out.
11. Tim Deluxe (Feat. Sam Obernik) – It Just Won’t Do
Fatboy’s opening tune from the aforementioned Big Beach Boutique II gig and an absolute “choon”.
12. Danny Tenaglia + Celeda – Music Is The Answer
In the words of Frank Sidebottom: “You know it is, it really is.”
13. The Prodigy – Breathe
It’s really hard to overstate just how massive The Prodg were way back then, but perhaps this best explains it: in 1998 (two years after this was released) I visited some friends in Nottingham and, as is the law there, we ended up at Rock City, where the DJ broke two golden rules: 1) he played two tunes by the same artists in the same set, and 2) he played them right next to each other, Firestarter followed immediately by this. Rather than point out his faux pas, I danced my legs down to the knees, as did pretty much every one else there that night.
14. Oceanic – Insanity (99 Radio Edit)
Still a tune. Whilst I’ve been off work, I’ve watched all the Top of the Pops recaps of the years on the BBC iPlayer, and the two members of Oceanic continue to argue to this day as to whose idea it was to include the key change in this. Doubtless, Louis Walsh will step in and claim credit at some point.
15. The Osmonds – Crazy Horses
I was DJing once, opening slot (so I could get home on public transport) when the chap following on from me decided to guide me through the records he had brought and especially drew my attention to an Osmonds Greatest Hits album he had in his record satchel.
“Do you know what I’ll be playing off of this, Jez?” he asked.
I gave him my best “do-you-know-who-you’re-talking-to?” look and replied innocently: “Love Me For a Reason?”. Twat.
16. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Hoodoo Voodoo
If I could find a clip of Vic & Bob performing their voodoo song – “Do you do voodoo?” – then I’d include it here, but I can’t so….tough.
17. El Goodo – Feel So Good
Apparently, I’ve met at least some of this lot, friends of friends, who have made the mistake of making themselves incredibly hard to find via a Google search, given that their name is derived from a very wonderful tune by icons-to-cool-indie-kids Big Star.
18. Django Django – Default
You can tell it’s getting near the end when all I can think of to say is that this is great. Next!
19. Cracker – Movie Star
Because your Friday night wouldn’t be complete without a song about a decapitated celebrity, right?
20. The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You
Okay, so I know it’s an obvious pick from this band’s back catalogue, and also it was used in *shudders* an advert back in the day, but, at the risk of sounding patronising, I figured a tune most of you will know was needed. My apologies if I’ve underestimated you. This reminds me of dancing in a packed Cardiff’s Barfly with my buddies Llŷr, Mike, Vicky, and the two Claires. Happy days.
21. The Stylistics – Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)
I’ve had this in my brain for ages, a forgotten 70s classic. It’s another beauty, which probably would have sounded pretty great next to The Tamperer, but it’s getting late and I can’t be arsed with redoing the whole mix. Here is just fine.
22. The Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You)
And so we fade further into end-of-night sing-a-long territory. Probably my favourite Hannon composition (although, to be fair, that changes fairy regularly).
23. The Lemonheads – Bit Part
More sing-a-long stuff which, I’ll be honest, has been squeezed in for no other reason than I realised I had room.
24. Baby Bird – Goodnight
Night BB, thank you for not singing You’re Gorgeous. And that’s it, right?
25. R.E.M. – Afterhours
Wrong. I flim-flammed between this and The Velvet Underground’s original (and indeed We Are Scientists identically-named belter) as the final tune, before ultimately plumping for Stipe & Co’s rather shambolic version, deciding the applause to wrap things up was egotistically appropriate, if ill-deserved on my part. This is lifted from a rip of the band’s Tourfilm video which showed them on the tour to promote the Green album back in 1989 – the first time I ever saw them (at the Newport Centre, support from the Blue Aeroplanes), and to this day my favourite gig I ever went to. With thanks and much love to the much missed The Power of Independent Trucking blog for providing.
Now I’m off to put my hands, fingers and wrists in ice to recover.
Here we are again, and this week, as ‘promised’ a completely new mix for your Friday Night enjoyment.
Not much to say about this one (man alive, I know how to pitch!), except to say that after the first track, it goes a little bit Radio 2 for a few songs (which is no bad thing in my book), before diving head-long into a right old Indie disco, starting off over in the USA (and mostly New York) before switching to some tunes which are unmistakeably British, along with a rip-roaring final track to bring matters to a close.
Here comes the disclaimer: any skips or jumps are down to the mixing software (there’s one biggie in the first tune, but other than that it seems to have behaved itself this time); any mis-timed mixes are down to me; all record selections are mine.
Blimey. It’s been almost two years since I wrote something in this series. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? I mean, I must have been having fun, I can’t think of anything else which has happened since March 2020 which might have made this series drop off my radar…
To make up for the long gap, here are two songs from the same album, both sliding in just under the requisite 2:00 mark.
They’re from one of my all-time favourite albums, and the band in question have featured in this series before. Much as I love them, they do have an annoying habit of sometimes including and sometimes omitting the ‘The’ from the start of their name. These are from a phase when it wasn’t included, as evidenced by the album sleeve:
Reissue time at Dubious Taste Towers, and 2020 sees the 30th anniversary of the Lemonheads Lovey album.
It’s the album immediately before their breakthrough effort It’s A Shame About Ray, which is one of my favourite albums ever.
Lovey, not so much. It’s a mixed bag that doesn’t have the cohesive identity that …Ray does, but it does signify the progression the band were making from the thrashy hardcore meanderings of their first album, Lick, through to the more alt-country beauty of …Ray.
As such, it’s a lot more hit and miss than the record that followed it, but it does contain a couple of absolute diamonds: a beautiful, very faithful, cover of Gram Parsons’ Brass Buttons, and today’s choice, which very much points the direction the band were heading:
Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday; I could have sworn I wrote something over the weekend to feature in the usual I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays series, but apparently not. I think I decided after writing The Chain that I just couldn’t be bothered, which, given the supposed inspirational, motivational theme of the series is a tad ironic.
Anyway, I’ll try to combine the two, with this rollicking opening track from one of my favourite records ever. The title, however, may be a little inappropriate for these times, but since it clocks in at a mere 1:47 it’s perfect for here, and allows us to look forward to the day when we’re allowed out to have any kind of stroll at all, be it of the Rockin’ or just Plain variety.
One year ago tomorrow, I was admitted to hospital. This led to some posts where I tried to wring as much humour as I could from the sitution. This, combined with my more recent story about how I accidentally exposed my arse in a local convenience store, and as the dark nights are drawing in, led me to decide to share some more embarassing moments from the file marked “Oh, Jeremy…”
As a bit of a back-story by way of an introduction: years ago, when I still lived in Cardiff, I was out one night with a now ex-girlfriend and her friends. She was off dancing, and one of her friends shuffled along the seats towards me.
“Can I just say that you seem really nice, we all really like you and approve of you being with XXXX…” – I was quite pleased and surprised by this, for we all know that the hardest thing about a burgeoning relationship is convincing your new partner’s closest friends that you’re not an utter scumbag “…but,” she continued, “you’re your age and single, never married, no kids, so I guess what I want to know…”
It dawned on me, too late that, that wasn’t really going to be one of those “Gosh you’re so great” conversations, she was going somewhere with it and that somewhere involved a question I probably wasn’t going to like very much. I glanced around for an escape route, but found none.
“….is,” she continued, “what exactly is wrong with you….?”
“Well, if I knew that…” I said, allowing the sentence to tail off mysteriously, to become a semi-sentence, punctuating it with a shrug and a bemused smile.
I was pretty pleased with the way I dodged that particular bullet, having turned her question into a rhetorical one without her having any say in the matter. Then, just to let her know that particular thread could be pulled at no further, I quickly stood and added, “It’s my round, what are you drinking?”
Truth be told, I did know how that sentence ended. I knew what “that” was. It was my propensity to say or do something so ludicrously inappropriate as to ensure a second date would definitely not happen.
So. Here we go. Mum, Dad: here come the reasons there have been no grandchildren from my branch of the family tree.
Episode one (of too many).
I am out with some friends in Cardiff. They’re people I know pretty well, because they work and drink in my local pub; when they were working then I was generally sitting at the bar chatting to them, and often when they finished their shift they would join me. Let’s say that we gravitated towards each other, found the company perfectly agreeable, and so it went on.
The upshot of this is that I didn’t really know the people on the peripherals, the ones who only came into their orbit every now and then.
And so it was that I found myself in a different bar with these pub friends and a couple of other people that I didn’t know at all, but who, social chameleon that I am, I got on with.
As it happens, I was getting on with one lady in particular, who I quite fancied, and I thought I was getting reciprocal good vibes back from. I’ll not divulge her name, not for any ‘protecting the innocent’ reason, but because this many years after the event, I simply can’t remember it. Which sounds outrageous, but it isn’t: I’m pretty sure my brain has blocked me from recalling it, just in case.
So we’re sitting chatting, getting on very well, and all my friends are doing that thing where they flash you knowing looks from out of her line of vision every now and again.
We do the whole chit-chat thing – Are you from round here? What do you do for a living? Any brothers/sisters? You know the kind of thing – and this lady offers me these words in response to one of those questions:
“I’m a police officer.”
Now I thought I did quite a good job of disguising the startled look on my face, but she picked up on it.
“Don’t worry, I haven’t got my tazer gun with me tonight!” she breezed cheerily.
I afforded a smile, because that wasn’t what I was thinking. No, what I was thinking was that I must be carful not to inadvertently use any uncomplimentary references to the police as being The Pigs, The Filth, The Scum, or whatever.
Not that they are terms I would use under normal circumstances, but when you find yourself in a situation where you really shouldn’t say something, in my experience the temptation to do the exact opposite becomes almost irrisistable.
Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition with many levels, one of which is the inability to resist saying the most inappropriate thing in moments of social awkwardness. Often I think I have a much milder version, where the inappropriate thing pops into my head, but I just about manage to stop myself from blurting it out.
And resist I did; on this occasion I disguised my condition by telling her she certainly didn’t look like a police officer – meant as a compliment, and, I think, taken as one – but asked if it was okay to imagine her in the uniform. Flirting, I think it’s called, if a little over the line marked “Cheesy”. Ok, along way over.
This large slice of fromage didn’t deter her, and we chatted on for quite a while, to the point where we were practically separate from the rest of the group, not engaging with them at all, just engrossed in each other. We became such a satellite of the main group that we started up our own round of drinks, just me and her.
After a while, I had to excuse myself and visit the Gents. And that’s where things began to unravel.
I may have mentioned this before, but when I reach a certain level of pissed-ness – and I’ve always figured it was my body’s way of telling me to slow down – I sneeze.
In a row.
And my sneezes are not your discreet a-tish-oo-s but a loud blunderbus of an expulsion
I had made it known to some of my buddies that this is something that happens to me, hoping to generate some sympathy by embellishing it with the phrase “allergic to alcohol”, but instead their reaction was often to start betting on how many times I would sneeze this time.
On one night out, with a different group of friends, a sneezing fit commenced and they started putting money down. When the sneezes fizzled out after five or six, a pepper shaker was commandeered by whoever had bet on 13 being the winning number, and a line was chopped out on the table in front of me, which I duly snorted.
To no effect.
Except the next morning, I woke up with a woozy head, wondering why my nose felt like it was on fire.
But not this time, for this time I was in the Gents when the sneeze-fit struck. So I should be okay, right? Just stay in there until the phase had passed.
Except….one of the sneezes was so head-joltingly violent, that my glasses flew off and smashed on the floor.
I picked them up and, in between the involuntary spasms which continued, I examined them. Nope, they were beyond temporary repair.
I returned to a slightly blurrier bar, and to my seat. The young lady to whom I had provided such irresistably engaging company before my visit noticed the difference in my appearance, and asked what had happened to my glasses. I explained and we laughed it off. Result, thought I. Hurdle succesfully negotiated.
And then she asked me this: “And do I still look good without your glasses on?”
And before I had chance to properly engage my brain, I heard myself say the following words:
“Oh no. You still look like a pig to me.”
We all left the bar shortly afterwards; in the interim we didn’t exchange a single word, and I don’t really think I can put that down to her not fancying me without my glasses on.
I never saw her again, even when I got a new pair of glasses.
First one since I came out of hospital. Yey! Go me! Look, here’s a photo I took to prove it:
Knowing that I had missed out on all of the gigs I mentioned here, my lovely work colleagues chipped together (coerced/encouraged no doubt by Kay) and bought me a load of credits on Ticketmaster so I could buy some new tickets to new gigs.
The Lemonheads strolled into London town on Tuesday, playing at the Kentish Town 02 Forum, a band I’ve loved for many a year, so I decided the time was right to go gigging again.
But when I tried to buy a single, solitary ticket, I wasn’t able to. I had to buy two.
Putting aside for a moment the obviously scamming nature of this transaction, suddenly, I found myself with two tickets and with nobody to go with.
And then, I remembered.
Many years ago, before Llŷr got ill (I think – but certainly when we both shared a place in Cardiff) we had bought tickets to see them perform their wonderful It’s a Shame About Ray album at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We were supposed to be accompanied by a chap I worked with, and had been to a few gigs with, but he had to drop out at the last minute.
“Take my ticket, see if you can get anything for it, but if not, no worries,” he said.
We were crashing at Hel’s flat post-gig, so it only seemed right and fair we offered the spare ticket to her first, free of charge. But she declined on the grounds that she didn’t know enough of their songs. Fair enough. It’s not like we thought she’d been a member of The Lemonheads fan club or anything.
By the time we got home post-gig, Hel had realised the error of her ways, and told us she wished she’d come with us.
Well, now’s your chance to make up for that, I thought, and gave her a ring to see if she wanted to come with me.
For Llŷr’s post-memorial service reception, Hel and Sian had compiled a couple of Llŷr-related playlists (more of this later), and Hel told me that she’d loved to come to the gig, as she’d included two songs by The Lemonheads on the playlists. I needed warning, in case she got a bit upset if they played them.
I had one in mind too. Every time I had ever been to see The Lemonheads, or Evan Dando on his own, with Llŷr, he had insisted on calling our friend Mikey G when this particular song came on, because he knew it was his favourite:
Hel and I went for some food before the gig, and we agreed we would look out for each other when/if any of those songs got played. Neither of us wanted to be a blubbing mess, but we both knew it was a possibility.
And then, a curve ball. Hel told me that when she went into Llŷr’s room at her parents’ house, the CD on the top of the pile, and therefore probably the last thing he was able to listen to, was a Lemonheads one. Consequently, she had listened to little else since.
And then I’d called, asking if she wanted to go see The Lemonheads.
Life and death are weird, I think we can all agree.
The support band on Tuesday (no idea what they were called, sorry) were very sixth form revolutionary – though we quite liked their last song – and then suddenly Evan was on stage, clutching his acoustic guitar and singing this:
Quickly followed by a rendition of Frank Mills and then we’re in, singing along and totally enraptured by Dando and his loveable slacker persona.
Dando loves a cover version, to the point where any gig you go to of his is bound to include more than a smattering; indeed his latest album is a second collection of the such. On the night, he plays some which feature on the new record (John Prine’s Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness) some which don’t but he treats us to anyway, namely Townes Van Zandt’s I’ll Be There in the Morning (I’m delighted at this point that both have previously appeared on this blog and I can show off that I know them) and this, which the crowd (including me) loves, even if it is an Eagles cover:
Returning to the medicinal theme of the posts since I came back, here’s a piece of slacker country (i.e. not really country at all), courtesy of Evan Dando and the boys, from their often-overlooked 1996 album, Car Button Cloth: