Friday Night Music Club

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.

Friday Night Music Club Vol 9

And here’s your track-listing:

  1. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Darklands
  2. Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight
  3. The Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang
  4. Electric Light Orchestra – Sweet Talkin’ Woman
  5. Eagles – Take It Easy
  6. The Lemonheads – You Can Take It With You
  7. The Wedding Present – Go-Go Dancer
  8. Redd Kross – How Much More
  9. The Go-Go’s – Beatnik Beach
  10. Ramones – Rockaway Beach
  11. Kings of Leon – The Bucket
  12. Weezer – Hash Pipe
  13. Interpol – Slow Hands
  14. The Strokes – Reptilia
  15. Fountains of Wayne – Radiation Vibe
  16. David Devant & His Spirit Wife – Ginger
  17. Cud – One Giant Love
  18. Status Quo – Mystery Song (album version)

Long-term readers should not read anything into the inclusion of the third tune. It’s not coming back.

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

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:

Lemonheads – Bit Part

Lemonheads – Alison’s Starting To Happen

Oh, and you know how I mentioned time flies….? Well, chew on this: that record is 30 years old this year.

Ouch.

I’ll be back tomorrow, feeling very old, probably sucking on a Werther’s Originals.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

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:

More soon.

Tuesday Short Song

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.

The Lemonheads – Rockin’ Stroll

More soon.

Do The Wrong Thing

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.

Thirteen times.

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.

The Lemonheads (feat. Liv Tyler) – Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye

Sadly, more soon.

Being Around

I went to a gig on Tuesday.

First one since I came out of hospital. Yey! Go me! Look, here’s a photo I took to prove it:

evan 5

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.

These are the two songs in question:

Lemon Arms

The Lemonheads – Into Your Arms

and this:

lemonheads confetti

The Lemonheads – Confetti

Yeh, chances are they’ll play those, I thought.

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:

LEMONHEADS_ADMAT BASIC

The Lemonheads – Rudderless

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:

Mrs. Robinson Front

The Lemonheads – Being Around

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:

FIRELP506 The Groundhogs - Blues Obituary OUTER SLEEVE

The Lemonheads – Take It Easy

There’s even truncated versions of Teenage Fanclub’s It’s All in My Mind and (I think) John Lennon’s Oh Yoko, which neatly segues into this:

lemon outdoor

The Lemonheads – The Outdoor Type

Which contains one of my favourite lyrics ever:

“I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend

Oh, and they did their wonderful cover version of this:

Favorite Spanish Dishes Front

The Lemonheads – Different Drum

And then…and then they played Into Your Arms quickly followed by Rudderless.

We got through them both. Just about.

I didn’t call Mikey G.

We didn’t cry.

We smiled.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

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:

front

The Lemonheads – Hospital

I should stress at this point that I am not alleging that the hospital where I found myself was in any way disease-ridden.

More soon.

 

Acoustic Afternoons

Ahh, Evan Dando and the Lemonheads. About time they cropped up here, for I have quite a few tunes of theirs performed acoustically.

See, old Evan I think sees himself as quite the troubadour, travelling around the land armed only with an acoustic guitar and a plaid shirt, tossing off unplugged versions of some of his finer moments for his adoring fans, of which, just so there’s no confusion, I am most definitely one of them.

In fact, the first time I ever saw Dando play live, it was without the Lemonheads, an acoustic gig, upstairs in Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, and it was a wonderfully sing-a-long affair, as you would expect.

Here’s an acoustic version of a track from their “Come On Feel The Lemonheads”, which cropped up as an extra track on one of the singles released from the album:

It's About Time Front

The Lemonheads – Down About It (Acoustic)

Aficionados of the original version will know that backing vocals were provided, as they often were on Lemonheads records, by Juliana Hatfield (I’m not entirely sure if it’s her that crops up at the end of that acoustic version). Coincidentally, Juliana released an album of acoustic cover versions in 2012, and here she is performing one of Led Zeppelin’s finest moments:

cover

Juliana Hatfield – Rock And Roll

And to round things off here for today, I’m going to take you back to Evan. Last night I watched the Nick Broomfield documentary about Whitney Houston, which leads me to this:

ificouldtalkcoverThe Lemonheads – How Will I Know?

More soon.

The Election Section V2.7

Right, let me make it clear; it’s less than a week to go until the General Election, so there’s probably going to be a few of these posts over the next few days. So, if you’re bored with reading my thoughts on what has happened in the run-up to June 8th, you’re more than welcome to come back next week when a miserable normality will have been restored.

Still here? Good.

There was something that I wanted to mention on the back of Wednesday’s “Leader’s Debate”, and that’s this: the not entirely unexpected bleatings from the right about BBC bias.

Much of this has been prompted by the studio audience’s reaction to some of the things (Conservative) Amber Rudd said, compared to things said by her political opponents on the night.

Nowhere is this better summed up than this screenshot someone posted on Twitter; a snatch of one of Rudd’s answers (about the absence of any costings in the Tory manifesto), complete with subtitles:

Ruddy Brill

You don’t need me to tell you why that raised the biggest laugh of the night.

the-wedding-present-nobodys-twisting-your-arm-reception-records

The Wedding Present – Don’t Laugh

The response, predictably caused outrage amongst the right-wingers. Here’s Nicholas Soames on Twitter:

Soames 2The first thing to say about that is that Soames really hasn’t got the hang of hashtags, has he? Make it snappy, Nicholas, that’s the way to get it trending.

And then, something rare in this Election campaign, rarer even than Theresa May being seen engaging with the public: Boris Johnson was let out of his cage.

Old Shagger Bojo claimed that the audience was “the most left-wing audience I’ve ever seen”. Boris, using words we all understand there, for a change. Not a whiff of mug-wumps or wiff-waff.

See, the thing is, this is a standard trick both of the main parties churn out whenever things don’t really go their way on a BBC programme. The BBC, you see, has to be impartial – as do all of the broadcasters when the purdah rules of an election apply (which, by the way, is why you won’t find any BBC radio station playing Captian Ska’s “Liar Liar”: it hasn’t been banned, but if they are going to play it, then they’d have to be balanced and play a song extolling the virtues of the Conservatives. And can you think of one of those? Me neither.)

I, though, have no such obligation, so here’s the song in question:

Where was I? Ah yes, the biased BBC.

I addressed this on Twitter a good while ago. See, since it’s publicly funded by way of the TV Licence, the BBC is supposed to be impartial all the time, so when prominent voices from both sides of the political spectrum howl in indignation about the BBC being biased (and the left do it too: see their upset about perceived bias of Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, or Nick Robinson), then it seems to me that’s evidence of the BBC doing it’s job: having a go at all sides, not siding with anyone.

If you watched any of the Andrew Neill interviews, you can’t honestly say that he gave anyone a particularly easy ride, now can you? He took down each and every leader who stumbled into his cross-hairs (or should that be his cross hair…?)

Truth be told, the audience at the Leaders’ Debate weren’t biased or loaded in the left wing’s favour at all: they were representative of the country’s current political make-up. The largest share of voters present were Conservatives and Labour, whilst the smaller parties had a proportionally lower number of supporters in the audience, which was also weighted to have a 50:50 split of Remain and Leave voters.

See, the audience had been assembled not by BBC staff but by Comres, a polling company. And here’s what their founder, Andrew Hawkins had to say:

“If you have a panel of people – one from the governing party, one from what’s regarded as a right-wing party [that’s UKIP, by the way] and five from broadly left-wing parties – and you give those speakers equal airtime, it means you’re giving five slots of airtime to the left-wing parties for every two slots to the not-so-left-wing parties…Therefore it’s inevitable that the cheering is going to be skewed in one direction.”

So, Boris, Soamesy: if the audience seemed anti-Tory, it’s for the fairly good reason that  a lot of people just don’t like the Tories very much.

R-384767-1375817379-1959_jpeg

Electric Light Orchestra – Don’t Bring Me Down

See, here’s your marker. Remember when this happened?

Nigel Farage there, taking the unprecedented step of criticising the audience for being too left wing in the middle of a debate prior to one of the many elections he failed to win a seat in.

Which leads me nicely on to one of the other big stories of the week: that Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” to the FBI in the investigation into links between US President Donald Trump and Russia, and with his association with WikiLeaks founder and Hide & Seek Champion (2012 – Present), Julian Assange.

Really, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, could it? The come-uppance of the oily, frog-faced hypocrite (no, really, I like him!) is long overdue. Maybe it’s about time.

THE_LEMONHEADS_ITS+ABOUT+TIME-97896

The Lemonheads – It’s About Time

(Just to be clear: I don’t like him.)

(I wish I could think of a better way to describe Farage than Tory MP Anna Soubry managed – credit where credit’s due – in 2013 when she said: “I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it.”)

Of course, Farage denies any wrong-doing. In a recent interview with Die Zeit, Farage, having been seen leaving the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange has lived for years, was asked about his relationship with the hiding alleged sexual predator. Farage declared that he had “never received a penny from Russia”, and said he met Assange for “journalistic reasons”.

Which is interesting, since that wasn’t his first answer. Door-stopped by BuzzFeed as he left the embassy, Farage said he “couldn’t remember” what he had been doing in the building.

I’m of the age where, every now and then, I forget why I’ve gone into a room. But I think that even I, were I to be exiting an Embassy, would be able to remember why I was in there.

Asked specifically if he had gone to the Knightsbridge building to meet with Assange, Farage said: “I never discuss where I go or who I see.”

Course you don’t, Nigel, course you don’t.

I’ll just leave this here:

Farage

When pressed on his past meetings with Russian officials, Farage initially denied having had any. Oh, apart from that time he met some Russians (the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, to be precise), in 2013. That, he (finally) admitted.

If that and his meeting with Assange was all above board, why not just say so when asked? S’all rather odd, isn’t it?

*coughs* selective memory *coughs*

Fear of litigation leaves me saying no more. Except, I’m not saying Farage is a conniving liar, but pretty soon we’ll have conclusive proof one way or another.

Oh and this: we all laugh at Trump, because, well, he’s a fucking idiot. We all rub our hands together with glee at the prospect of the FBI uncovering some links between Trump and Russia. And now, it seems, there’s the possibility of Farage being involved too.

That’s Farage, formally of UKIP, who, as I’ve mentioned before, have had many of their policies adopted by the Conservatives. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusion there.

More soon.

The Least Surprising News of the Week

In a week full of nasty surprises, death and war, surely, this week’s news that Barry Manilow is gay was a little ray of sunshine, even if it can have come as a surprise to literally nobody.

Manilow explained that he had kept his sexual orientation secret out of concern that it would disappoint his largely female fan base; turns out that when his fans found out, they were supportive. Probably because they’re all in their late-70s by now and past caring. Or at the very least, unable to chase him anymore.

I can understand that when he rose to fame in the early to mid-1970s, times were different, and perhaps such an announcement would have attracted some adverse publicity. But it’s rather sad that he felt the need to keep this concealed, especially when you consider that he married his long-time partner in 2014, whom he had been with since 1978.

A couple of songs which seem appropriate then:

diana_ross-im_coming_out_s_7

Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out

THE_LEMONHEADS_ITS+ABOUT+TIME-97896

The Lemonheads – It’s About Time

Something else which will probably not come as much of a surprise – and this is where my credibility takes a bit more of a battering – is that I do have a bit of a soft-spot for Manilow’s schmaltzy kitsch shtick.

But, I’ve always found it rather ironic that, despite his reputation as being a composer/arranger and  singer/songwriter, one of his bigger hits, “I Write the Songs”, was actually written by former Beach Boy Bruce Johnston; in fact by the time Manilow released it in 1976, it had already been recorded by The Captain & Tennille, and been a hit for teen pin-up David Cassidy.

I do rather like Manilow’s version, though. There. I’ve said it.

220px-I_Write_the_Songs_cover

 Barry Manilow – I Write the Songs

Yes, you’re right. I did just want to post some Manilow. Sue me.

More soon.

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