Friday Night Music Club Vol 5.3

Well, we seem to have made it to Friday Night again, which means it’s time for the next session of Music Club mixes, and speifically, Volume 5.3.

And you’ll be surprised to learn that, despite that dancing Darth gif up there, I haven’t included Can You Feel The Force? or any other Star Wars related tunes, nor anything by The Beautiful Sith in this one. Trust me though, had I stumbled across the gif earlier than I did, I would probably have redone the mix to include any and all of them.

“So what have I got lined up for you this time?” I sense you yawn.

Oh you know, just the usual mish-mash carefully crafted mix of house classics, unforgiveable Europop, a bunch of truly great 60s and 70s cover versions by 60s and 70s artists, followed by a veritable deluge of indie classics before rounding things off with an utterly filthy (even by their standards) tune by GLC which definitely deserves one of these:

Sounds good, no? No? What do you mean “no”?

*Sits in the corner, arms folded, glowering*

Right, let’s crack on then shall we? Off we pop with 19 songs and 2 guest vocalists in 62 minutes:

Friday Night Music Club Vol 5.3

And here’s your track-listing and sleeve notes:

  1. Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk feat. Darryl Pandy – Love Can’t Turn Around

Eschewing my usual slow-burner start for this House classic, and part of a two-header of songs with guest vocalists. I hated this when I first heard it, on an edition of Top of the Pops back in 1986, which is no surprise given my aversion to any record which didn’t feature guitars. At the time I considered it just a fat sweaty bloke bellowing over some synths. How wrong is it possible to be?

2. Bran Van 3000 – Astounded

And that’s none other than Curtis Mayfield providing the vocals. OK, strictly speaking it’s a sample, but it’s not quite as straight-forwards as that; this explanation from wiki: “Bran Van 3000 member James Di Salvio approached Curtis Mayfield with the idea of collaborating months before his death in 1999. Mayfield was too ill to contribute a vocal, but weeks before his death, he gave Di Salvio permission to pull through his archives, which is where he discovered an unused vocal Mayfield recorded in the 1980s. With Mayfield’s permission, that vocal was incorporated into “Astounded.”

3. Moony – Dove [I’ll Be Loving You] (T&F vs Moltosugo Radio Mix)

Cheesy Europop ahoy! Actually, I really like this one, especially this mix, which is the bestest of all the mixes, with the possible exception of the Almighty Records remix, which I definitely didn’t try and blag a free copy of from Hel when she used to work there.

4. DB Boulevard – Point of View

Ok, you could argue that this is a tad on the Europop side too, but it contains a sample from ultra-cool French band Phoenix’s Heatwave, which lifts it above other songs which fall into that category.

5. Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out

On to some cover versions, and a bit of class. This is from Wonder’s wonderful 1970 Signed, Sealed, Delivered album, which also contains a song called Never Had a Dream Come True, which is definitely not the same song as the one S Club 7 had a hit with in 2000.

6. Nancy Sinatra – Day Tripper

Nancy turned 83 this week. And this sassy, parping version of The Beatles tune is just fabulous. So there.

7. Yvonne Elliman – I Can’t Explain

If ever a singer needed to have her career written about, then it’s Elliman. Born in Honalulu, she moved to London and began singing in bars and clubs in 1969. She was discovered by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who asked her to sing Mary Magdalene’s part for the original audio recording of Jesus Christ Superstar which featured Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan singing as Jesus. She later joined the stage show’s traveling cast, and moved to New York in 1971 for the Broadway production of Jesus Christ, Superstar, and sang backing vocals on Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff, went on to tour as part of Clapton’s band and appears on four of his albums. In 1977, the Bee Gees wrote How Deep is Your Love for her, but they were over-ruled by record boss Robert Stigwood who wanted the Gibb brothers to record it. Instead, she was given If I Can’t Have You; both songs appear on the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, and her song went to #1.

This cover of The Who song features on her 1973 album Food of Love, and you can spot the influence of living in early 70s New York; Fatboy Slim certainly could, sampling it on his single Going Out of My Head, which was the third and final single from his ruddy-brilliant debut album Better Living Through Chemistry.

8. Clout – Substitute

I bloody love this record so much. And it’s a cover of a song by The Righteous Brothers. No, really.

9. Erasure – Stop!

What were/are Erasure, the fourth or fifth stage (after Depeche Mode, Yazoo, The Assembly…did I miss anything from his highly prolific career…?) in Vince Clarke’s plan for world domination? Of course, his most succesful and enduring collaboration came when he paired up with flamboyant son of Peterborough Andy Bell (not to be confused with the Ride/Oasis/Hurricane #1 guitarist of the same name, of course). I did a search to see how many other famous people come from Peterborough, and namaged to track down about 15 of them. My name was not included (yet).

10. The Flaming Lips – The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song

American psyche-rock group in political song shocker! The main thrust of this seems to be: you think politicians are all corrupt, power-mad warmongers? How well would you do in their position?

11. Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun

Opening track from an actually perfect debut album. But you knew that already, right? Gawd knows I’ve mentioned it enought times on these pages.

12. Idlewild – You Held The World In Your Arms

The biggest hit from these Scottish indie scallywags (not that it’s up against much competition…)

13. Pixies – Allison

You don’t need me to tell you why this is ace, do you? (Part 1)

14. Primal Scream – Ivy Ivy Ivy

Should you ever need confirming just how influential Andrew Weatherall was on the Scream’s 1991 classic Screamadelica, then just cock an ear in the direction of the albums they released before it, like their eponymously-titled second album, relesed two years earlier, from wnce this is lifted.

15. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Taste of Cindy

You don’t need me to tell you why this is ace, do you? (Part 2)

16. Manic Street Preachers – Faster

When they burst onto the scene with their feather-boas and eyeliner back in 1992, they announced their debut album Generation Terrorists would be their only record. The idea of making one great record and then disappearing completely seemed impossibly cool. Thank goodness they resisted the temptation, or we would never have got the utterly brilliant in-your-face The Holy Bible two years later, and by extension, this.

17. The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make

Still gives me goose-bumps and makes me want to whirl my cardigan around the room all these years later, irrespective of what a twat he is these days.

18. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Cutter

Ditto, only substitue whirling my cardigan for standing in a raincoat looking dour.

19. Goldie Lookin Chain – Sister

Utter filth. You’ve been warned.

That’s yer lot for another week. Next time, I’ll be polishing off the admin that is posting these split down Volume 5’s, and we can get back to normal again.

    By which I mean: more soon.

    The First of the Gang to Die

    Like many of my blogging peers, and doubtless many of you, I was shocked and saddened to learn yesterday of the death of Andy Rourke.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the name, Andy was the bass player with the finest band of the 1980s, The Smiths.

    Whilst the spotlight predictably fell on singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, the rhythm section, Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce were always solid, reliable and, seemingly happy to let the other two receive all of the attention. Watch any performance by the band, ignore the gladioli-waving whirling histrionics of Morrissey and the happy jangling and rock star stylings of Marr and there, to the side, is Rourke, doing his thing and not making a big show of it.

    That was, of course, until the band split, and Joyce and Rourke took Morrissey and Marr to court for a more equal share of the band’s royalties. Throughout the band’s short life, Morrissey and Marr took 40% each, whilst Rourke and Joyce took 10% each. They were, their barrister said, treated like session musicians as “readily replaceable as the parts in a lawnmower.”

    To anyone who has cast even the slightest of ear in the direction of a Smiths record will know that simply wasn’t the case, and the judge ultimately agreed. Whilst Rourke settled out of court, Joyce received a more favourable result than he.

    I mention this rather unpleasant episode merely to highlight the irreplaceable, integral, court approved contribution that Rourke made to those wonderful records. But surely the best way is to revisit some of those recordings and let them speak for themselves.

    Perhaps the finest example of Rourke’s talent and adaptability came on their second album proper, with a tune which saw the band stretch out to an unexpected blistering funky disco sound:

    The Smiths – Barbarism Begins at Home

    Many have tried, and failed, to copy Marr’s beautiful jangling guitar spangles, but if you’ve ever attempted to play that bass line, you’ll know it’s just as difficult to replicate. I’ve tried, Lord knows I’ve tried, and got nowhere near.

    In a not entirely dissimlar vein, comes this (I’ve posted the Peel Session version which popped up on the band’s final release, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me, before the endless slew of reissue, repackage, repackage began in earnest. To these ears, Rourke’s bass line seems a little more prominent in the mix than the version on Meat is Murder):

    The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians (Peel Session)

    And here, on the opening track from their debut album, Rourke’s bass rolls beautifully, mournfully, and thus fitting perfectly:

    The Smiths – Reel Around the Fountain

    Of course, social media was awash yesterday with kind words, happy memories and sad condolences, but none more moving I thought than this:

    Hear, hear.

    So, to round things off, perhaps predictably, the band’s most iconic song where again Rourke’s performance has that beautiful, rolling, lilting quality that only he could do:

    The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

    Rest in Peace, Andy. You may have gone, but may your light never go out.

    More soon.

    Friday Night Music Club

    Evening all.

    After declaring on here a couple of week’s ago that there would no longer be themes to these mixes, I found that on the first completion of this week’s mix, that’s exactly what I’d gone and done. You’ll probably guess from the first couple of tunes, and then another couple later on, this was going to one which featured nothing but pop records

    So having painted myself into a bit of a corner, I had to U-turn faster than Liz Truss’ car in Autopilot mode; fortuitously, me dropping a load of pop songs from a mix and sticking a whole load more in their place doesn’t have the effect of crashing the economy. Again.

    Because this week’s has been subject to several revisions, I’ve not had time to write any sleeve notes again. I’m sure you’ll learn to live with that.

    So, here you go: 18 songs, 63 1/2 minutes of partly poppy fun:

    Friday Night Music Club Vol 22

    Look out, track listing incoming!:

    1. The Lightning Seeds – Ready Or Not
    2. Blur – Popscene
    3. The Associates – Party Fears Two
    4. Courtney Barnett – Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party
    5. Cansei De Ser Sexy – Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above
    6. 5ive – Everybody Get Up
    7. Blink-182 – All The Small Things
    8. Girls Aloud – No Good Advice
    9. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
    10. The Sugarcubes – Hit
    11. Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrel Williams – Drop it Like Its Hot
    12. Britney Spears – I’m A Slave 4 U
    13. Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick
    14. Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous
    15. The Sweet – Ballroom Blitz
    16. New York Dolls – Personality Crisis
    17. The Smiths – Sheila Take A Bow
    18. The Charlatans – North Country Boy

    More soon.

    Late Night Stargazing

    Tonight, a song which, when I first heard the album it lives on, was probably my least favourite song by the band in question. And that’s despite it featuring rather a good joke, which I can’t be the only one to have noticed, but which I’ve never seen anyone else mention.

    Tonight’s song is by The Smiths, and is lifted from their final studio album, 1987’s Strangeways Here We Come.

    Now. I know many people feel conflicted about The Smiths these days, on account of Morrissey turning out to be a a supporter of extreme right wing views. But back in the 80s, he and his lyrics, combined with Johnny Marr’s often juxtaposed guitar work, were the main appeal of The Smiths.

    Integral parts of the whole that they were, literally nobody loved The Smiths because of Mike Joyce’s drumming or Andy Rourke’s bass lines. It was all about Morrissey’s tormented words, making a virtue of solitude and outsider-ness, offset against Marr’s chiming, jangly guitar.

    How we all laughed, as we earnestly did our Morrissey impressions on the dancefloors of indie clubs, wearing our cardigans, pretending to have either a hearing aid or a fistful of gladioli, wagging a finger and furrowing our brow as we sang-a-long-a-Mozzer.

    We suspected, of course, that something was not quite right – the interview where he announced that “all reggae is vile”, for example (he’s just thinking of UB40, surely?) – but these thoughts never encroached or disturbed the lyrical content, which remained steadfastly both left-wing and Northern. But we chose to ignore it.

    Until tonight’s record.

    I’d like to think that Marr had some degree of creative control, and refused to allow some lyrics through. He doesn’t mention it in his excellent autobiography, Set The Boy Free, but then again he was never the kiss-and-tell type.

    And although Death of a Disco Dancer seems to be a pondering of life, death and the afterlife, that title has always bothered me. It seems to at best to witheringly accept, at worst condone, the bludgeoning of someone who likes disco music – a genre usually associated with either gay or ethnic communities – in a manner which didn’t manifest itself again until Morrissey’s solo work – see Bengali in Platforms‘ “Life is hard enough when you belong here”, or all of The National Front Disco, with all it’s orchestrated Union Jack waving, skinhead baiting Finsbury Park rhetoric.

    So what to do? Do we deny our experience and love of The Smiths on the basis of what Morrissey patently is, or at best, has become. I know of many people who cannot bring themselves to listen to the band’s records, because of what he now represents. I get that, totally.

    Me? Until now, I’ve made a disctinction between him in The Smiths and his solo work. The Smiths stuff has the dust blown of its grooves every now and again, but the solo Morrissey records have obstinantly remained on the racks. Fortuitously, much of the latter has been dull and plodding pub-rock – watch his band try and perform The Smiths’ hits live compared with how Marr handles it, and there’s a world of difference.

    My rule has been this: post nothing of his solo work, but if you absolutely must, thenposting The Smiths is fine because everything was (almost) okay back then.

    On my commute to and from work on Friday, my trusty iPod kept shuffling Smiths’ tunes into my ears which I’d not listened to in ages because, well….because. And it was lovely to hear I Don’t Owe You Anything, and tonight’s tune, and Rusholme Ruffians. And then it gave me Suedehead, and I began pondering cancel culture.

    Suedehead is a magificent record which holds many memories for me; am I to deny myself the pleasure of ever listening to it, of reliving those memories, simply because I disagree with the singer’s political views? Am I heck.

    Have I stopped posting Ian Brown’s records because he was a vocal anti-vaxxer? No. I rarely post anything from his solo canon because it’s not very good (bar F.E.A.R.).

    Do I refuse to post anything by Gary Numan just because he does more than dress to the right? No (but again, get passed Are Friends Electric? and Cars and there’s little I’d be likely to mention.

    Why do radio stations continue to play Micahel Jackson, but not Gary Glitter? Does it make a difference that one was convicted whilst the other paid off his accusers victims?

    The list goes on. And the thing with being cancelled is that rarely has the person moaning about having been excluded actually been so – if they had, then we wouldn’t hear them complaining about it.

    So I refuse to deny myself the pleasure of listening to or featuring records by artist swith whom I disagree. But when I do, I’ll be mentioning why I feel conflicted. And I think I’ve covered that tonight.

    So here’s Death of a Disco Dancer in all it’s possibly racist and homophobic, sounds-a-bit-like Dear Prudence grandeur:

    The Smiths – Death Of A Disco Dancer

    And here’s Morrissey wearing a For Britain badge on The Jimmy Fallon Show in May 2019:

    And here’s a close-up, just in case you weren’t sure:

    And as for that joke I mentioned earlier? Well, the pawing at the piano described as being keyboards on that is none other than Morrissey himself, and this after him singing on The Queen is Dead : “She says ‘I know you and you cannot sing’; I said ‘That’s nothing you should hear me play piano!'”.

    That joke isn’t funny anymore.

    But this is: Jools Holland playing piano with The Beach Boys after Adam Buxton has “just tweaked the sound ever so slightly”:

    More soon.


    And so, in the UK, the last bank holiday weekend of the first half of the year starts, and this year we get an extra day, in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

    There’s only one song to post to mark such a momentous occasion:

    Blur – Jubilee

    I say “there’s only one song”, but of course, I have some others (and count yourself lucky that I couldn’t think of an hour’s worth or this post would be appearing as a mix tomorrow night).

    Let’s start with that image up top, HRH beamed onto Stonehenge. What is the fecking point of that? What are we trying to say? That she’s been on the throne so long she was around when those stones were put in place? That she was created by druids? That she looks particularly fine at the summer solstice? That she has lots of nice hats?

    Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that, screaming lefty/woke snowflake (delete as applicable) that I am, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the Royal family. Give me The Royle Family any day (Everton fans, I do not mean Joe Royle, although I’m sure they’re lovely).

    Even if I was, I think I’d find it in rather poor taste that, as we go into a cost of living crisis, we’re – to use a phrase coined by our (at the time of writing) #CrimeMinister – “spaffing” millions of pounds up the wall to put on events up and down the country which even she can’t be bothered to turn up to is too old and unstable on her feet to attend. Of course, chuck in a few horses and Alan Titchmarsh and she’s up and out of bed faster than if somebody had wafted some gin in front of her sister.

    Still, I suppose with street parties being thrown up and down the country, perhaps the pressure on food banks might be temporarily relieved…

    The Housemartins – Flag Day

    “It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
    Try shaking a box in front of the Queen
    ‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
    It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean.”

    There is, of course, a Platinum Party At The Palace, and here’s who’s performing:

    I suspect that HRH knows even fewer of those names than I do.

    And frankly, with the exception of Elton (provided he’s not in Pub Singer mode) and Nile Rogers, I don’t think there’s anyone there that I’d change channels to watch either. (In case you were thinking of challenging me on this, I’ve seen Diana Ross before, and I’m not overly keen on repeating that…)

    The Venn diagram, if I were to compose one, of Conservative voters/supporters of the #CrimeMinister, would doubtless show a large overlap where those that think he is doing a good job intersect with those who bloody love The Queen. Which is odd when you think back a few months and recall that he has had to apologise twice to Her Madge: firstly, for the ruddy great parties that were held in Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, when he said: ““I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened…I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgements that were made, and for which I take full responsibility.”

    “Renew” is an interesting word there, because of course this was not the first time that he had to apologise to HRH; back in 2019 he apparently rang the Queen to personally apologise for embarrassing her after the Supreme Court ruled his prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

    He didn’t apologise for doing it, mind, oh no. He apologised for any embarrassment him doing it caused her.

    What I’m saying is this: if you still support our #CrimeMinister and are celebrating the Platinum Jubilee, then congratulations. In psychology, this holding of two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time is known as cognitive dissonance. But to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

    Truly, you have “first-rate intelligence”, unfettered by logic or reason. Well done you.

    So when over the weekend I will doubtless see footage of people waving Union Jack flags, dressed in Union Jack apparel and scoffing some sausage rolls at a street party as they cheer HRH, this song will be playing in my head:

    The Housemartins – The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death

    “The people who grinned themselves to death
    Smiled so much they failed to take a breath
    And even when their kids were starving
    They all thought The Queen was charming.”

    Earlier, I touched on the cost of these celebrations, and there is another point which you should consider here: it was only a matter of a few months ago that HRH reputedly paid £2 million ($2.7 million) so that Virginia Giuffre would drop her civil sexual assault case against non-sweaty poster boy for Pizza Express (Woking branch) Prince Andrew. Which, of course – same as Michael Jackson did with all those families claiming he was a a paedophile – one would do if he was totally innocent of all charges, as claimed…

    The Smiths – Nowhere Fast

    “I’d like to drop my trousers to The Queen
    Every sensible child will know what this means
    The poor and the needy are selfish and greedy on her terms.”

    One song to go, and it’s an obvious one that I doubt I will be alone in posting today:

    Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

    But with all that said, I’ll gladly take the extra day off work. In other words: Happy Platty Joobs, Ma’am.

    More soon.

    Ba Ba Ba Ba-Ba Ba Ba Ba*

    *Now expanded to include La La La’s, Do-be-do-be-do’s, Na Na Na Na Na’s and all points in between.

    Today, a band who could easily feature in this series quite a lot.

    The lead singer, who we all try not to name these days, did have a bit of a habit of filling out his songs with trite la-la-la’s and the such.

    But the other night, channel surfing before I went to bed, I chanced upon a show on the Sky Arts channel called The Great Songwriters. Each episode features a different (great) songwriter, and I’d caught one previously that I had really enjoyed which featured Paul Heaton, of The Housemartins, The Beautiful South and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot fame, of whom I am a huge fan, and I really enjoyed the programme.

    The format goes a bit like this: interviewee is asked about a certain phase of their career, then asked about a certain song within that phase, which they explain how they came to write, before performing it so you can see what they mean.

    Heaton did all his performances backed just by a chap on an acoustic guitar, but the guitarist who was the subject on the episode I stumbled onto had his full band to back him up.

    This, the opening track from Meat is Murder, isn’t the version in question, but it’s close enough:

    Johnny Marr – The Headmaster Ritual (Live at KEXP)

    There’s so much to love about Johnny Marr: from his resolute refusal to reform The Smiths, to the incredible back catalogue he has accrued, to his ever burgeoning confidence in his own vocals, which you can see grows from record to record.

    I’ve been to Morrissey gigs and I’ve been to Johnny Marr gigs, and when the old favourites get wheeled out, I know who I would prefer to see play them every time: Marr. And not just because of the bequiffed gladioli waver’s dodgy political views, but because Marr has put a band together behind him who can actually play those songs properly, as opposed to Morrissey’s bunch of pub-rockers who seem to turn every cover version they turn their hand to into a turgid stodge of backroom bar mediocrity.

    Anyway, I’m sure his former band will feature in this series again at some point soon: I just hope Marr’s done a good enough version of the original so I don’t have to post it.

    More soon.

    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.

    Friday Night Music Club

    For quite some time now, I’ve been pondering what it is that is preventing me from posting with the same regularity as I was last year.

    I’ve worked it out.

    Regular readers will know that I generally sit on a Friday night, have a few drinks and write posts for the next week. But for a while now, I’ve become preoccupied on doing a new mix.

    Warning: artist at work excuse incoming.

    See, whilst they seem remarkably unpopular, I really enjoy piecing together a long playlist/mix/call it what you will, and that inevitably means a few drafts which don’t quite, to quote Echo & The Bunnymen, cut the mustard.

    So, I’ve been working on this mix for some time now, but somehow something always seemed to prevent me from finishing it, be it me tinkering with the running order, or thinking of new tunes to toss in, or some kind of technical calamity, or (more often) listening to it and realising I’ve utterly messed up a mix and I simply can’t bear to have anyone else listen to it.

    I’m not going to pretend all of the mixes between tunes here are perfect – there’s at least one which I know isn’t – but I’ve reached the point where it’s close enough to let it go and move on to something else, before I drive myself mad searching for perfection.

    So here’s my latest mix, imperfect though it may be; frustrating as it has been, I really like this one, which starts off in the usual way – slowly – before getting into a groove which includes Kings of Leon from before they went stadium and knew how to use a cowbell, a new(ish) track by The Chemical Brothers, an obligatory Soulwax remix, two of the finest female pop stars going: Miley Cyrus & Dua Lipa (not on the same tune, sadly), the occasional hidden ‘joke’ (by which I mean it seemed funny when I first put the songs together, less so now), via Madonna having a short chat with Johnny Cash.

    It’s the usual mix of songs you love, songs you’ve forgotten about, and songs which make you think “What the hell has he put this on here for??”. Some might say eclectic, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Think mainly Indie guitar stuff, with a few dance tunes, 80s pop songs and a couple of timeless classics – at least one of which you probably won’t have heard before – thrown in.

    As always, no track-listing – I like to imagine your faces when the next song kicks in – but there’s a list of featured artists on the right hand side in case you want to see what you’re letting yourself in for. Which is a treat, obviously. If you desperately need to know what a track is, either Shazam it or, if you’d like to feed my ego, ask me via the Comments at the bottom of this post.

    Usual disclaimer: any skips and jumps are down to the mixing software; any mis-timed mixes (and, as I say, there is at least one) is down to me. Either way: Sorry!

    One more thing: you may recall that last time out I mentioned that my brother had said he managed to predict what I was going to play next, which annoyed me greatly. No such criticism of the last mix, although he told me he listened to it whilst out on his morning run, so some of the sudden gear changes weren’t helpful. I’ve tried to rectify that this time, with a relatively steady beat and tempo maintained throughout (after you’ve got past the traditional slow start) for those of you who listen to this whilst doing your exercises (not that I really understand what that means). The danger was that it would denigrate into either a Ministry of Sound pumping dance mix or a Top Gear/Best Driving Songs…in the World…Ever! playlist, but I think the song choices just about keep us on the right side of that happening.

    Let’s say it starts slowly, gets into a groove, and then has more false endings than a Status Quo single.

    I’m a bit annoyed that since I first decided to include it, at least on song here has popped up in an advert – and you know how I feel about them – for burgers, of all things. Rest assured, the advert in question was not the inspiration for the song’s inclusion. You’ll know it when you hear it, I think.

    Oh and there are several songs which feature effing and jeffings – “sexual swear words” as Simon Bates used to say at the start of videos – so please avoid if you are easily offended by unfettered vulgarity and sauciness. Look, there’s a Goldie Lookin’ Chain tune which is probably the rudest and most inappropriate (but funny) thing I’ll ever post, so beware.

    For a limited time (until I do another one, so y’know, could be months), you can stream or download it via Soundcloud here.

    More soon.


    It’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means around Dubious Towers: either I’ve written the next part of The Chain (spoiler alert: I haven’t) or I’m about to vent my spleen about something or other that has irritated me this week.

    There’s been too much good news recently in my book, what with Biden winning the US election (Pah! So he says!), Dominic Cummings getting kicked out of No. 10 (I thought the news that he’s been offered the gig of turning on the Christmas lights at Barnham Castle was just too delicious to be true, but I hope it is), that a potential cure for Coronavirus has been found, and a new series of I’m a Celebrity…set not in the inhospitable Australian jungle but in what is apparently the UK equivalent: Wales, has started. Personally, I’m looking forward to week three, when the endurance test sees the remaining contestants have to sit through several hours of the Eistedfodd, politely applauding at yet another parade of children in national dress whilst placating someone’s Nana with platitudes about the quality of her home-baked Welsh cakes.

    *Looks around for something to shout about*

    How about Priti Patel? Nah, too easy. But just in case you’ve not followed the story: this week, a report was released at the conclusion of an inquiry into the conduct of the current Home Secretary, following the resignation of top civil servant at the Home Office Sir Philip Rutnam in March. Rutnam alleged staff felt Ms Patel had “created fear” within the governmental department through her bullying behaviour.

    The inquiry was launched by PM “Shagger” Johnson, who placed trusted ally Sir Alex Allan at the helm of the investigation, and the results were, if not damning, then not flattering either.

    The Ministerial Code says “…ministers should be professional in their working relationships with the civil service and treat all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect…harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the Ministerial Code”.

    Surprise, surprise, Allam’s report found that Patel had broken the code governing ministers’ behaviour. It says that: “…[she has] become – justifiably in many instances – frustrated by the Home Office leadership’s lack of responsiveness and the lack of support she felt in the Department for International Development (Dfid) three years ago...The evidence is that this has manifested itself in forceful expression, including some occasions of shouting and swearing...This may not be done intentionally to cause upset, but that has been the effect on some individuals.”

    (Let’s not forget, of course, that Patel has form when it comes to the Ministerial Code. I won’t go over it all again, but if you want to read something I wrote when these allegations first arose, you can do so here.)

    Ah. “Not done intentionally”. There’s your get out clause, right there, which Patel seized upon. Cue a public apology which fooled nobody, where Patel, for once almost managing to contain that trademark smirk as she spoke, said that “…any upset I have caused was completely unintentional…” and that “…issues were not pointed out to her.”

    Actually, Sir Philip Rutnam paints a different picture: “As early as August 2019, the month after her appointment, she was advised that she must not shout and swear at staff…I advised her on a number of further occasions between September 2019 and February 2020 about the need to treat staff with respect.”

    The report, however, states that “…no evidence that [Patel] was aware of the impact of her behaviour, and no feedback was given to her at the time”.

    Sir Rutnam was not asked to give evidence to the inquiry, which might explain that.

    What we have here, of course, is a classic example of the NMA – that’s a Not-Meant Apology – which usually includes the phrase “I’m sorry if my actions caused offence…”.

    There’s no “if” about it here, is there? Her actions did cause offence, people complained, an inquiry found that she had caused offence, so the element of doubt introduced by the hypothetical “if” is removed.

    What I find incomprehensible is that were the busted politician, or whoever, to offer a full apology, devoid of get-out clauses, then they would almost certainly earn the respect of the majority of the public. We’d probably be willing to cut them some slack: they’ve admitted what they did, they’ve apologised, let them get on with their apparently invaluable work drowning desperate immigrants in the English Channel, and we’ll check back in a while and see whether they’ve actually learned anything from the whole experience.

    And of course, the outcome of this was PM “Spaffer” Johnson rejecting the findings of the inquiry and announcing he did not think Patel is a bully and he has “full confidence” in her – you know, like he did in Dominic Cummings after his drive-up North during lock-down.

    What is the point of launching an inquiry into a set of allegations, putting your own man at the helm, and then dismissing the findings because they weren’t the ones you wanted? Bit Trumpian, isn’t it? The inquiry cost the tax-payer money, which would have been much better spent being handed over to an MP’s brother-in-law’s best mate, who runs a newsagent in Bristol Temple Meads, but reckons he can secure all the PPE the NHS needs for the next ten years.

    It makes me wonder: was the term “bully” the term used for a member of The Bullingdon Club? In which case it’s no wonder Johnson doesn’t recognise Patel as being one: there’s no way a woman of colour would ever be allowed to enter The Club unless they were part of the catering team.

    And of course, the person who loses their job as a result of this is…you got it: not Patel, but Sir Alex Allan, who quit after learning that Johnson was going to take absolutely no notice of the report’s findings. Of course it wasn’t Patel: we all now know that the only way to get Johnson to fire you is to say something unkind about his girlfriend.

    So perhaps Patel’s behaviour should be encouraged: let her bully, shout and swear at as many people as she likes. The law of averages says that of every, say, 10,000 expletives, one is going to refer to the mother of one of his children, and so it’s only a matter of time before she gets to the current one (whoever that might be at the time).

    But we’re not talking about Patel this morning. I have something much more worthwhile to rant about: adverts.

    Regular readers will know this is a topic which grinds my gears a lot, but usually it’s because of them appropriating (read: being given permission to use) a song I love for some poxy campaign or other.

    But that’s not what is getting right on my tits at the moment; for a start it’s the fake sincerity of some of the adverts, the ones where they pretend they’re not really after your money, they really care about you.

    I’m thinking predominantly of the tag-line which appears on the advertisements or any of the many gambling websites which now exist: “When the fun stops, stop”. This slogan was introduced by the gambling industry-funded responsible betting body Senet Group in 2015, but seems to be more prevalent recently.

    And it’s bullshit.

    By which I mean, the advice is sound, but do those using it really mean it? Do you really think Paddy of Paddy Power fame really wants you to spend less money with them? Do they heck. They want you to think they care, but of course they just want your money:

    Because if everyone who gambles stopped betting the moment “the fun” stops, the gambling sites and bookies’ profits would be drastically reduced. The fun stops the moment you lose money. But those with addiction issues find it near impossible to walk away: play one more hand, and I can win that money back, they convince themselves. And then they lose that, but carry on, now even more desperate, and so on, and so on, until they’re broke, sleeping in a bus shelter and shouting at pigeons (who probably deserve it).

    And I say this from personal experience: in my first year at Polytechnic Uni, I became friends with a chap who loved playing quiz machines and fruit machines. I would often stand at his side when he played the quiz machine in the Students Union bar, chipping in with an answer every now and then. And then he would shift to the fruit machine, and a big crowd would gather, because they knew if he was playing it, it was probably going to pay out. And I would play the one next to him, with a considerably smaller crowd (i.e. none) as my pound coins rattled through at a speed that would make Usain Bolt blush, until my pockets were empty. I was so constantly skint during that first year -not to mention thin, my God, I was thin – my parents were convinced that I had taken up guzzling heroin. My mate, however, would finally win the £20 jackpot and walk away. “Are you up?” I would ask; “Broke even, in the end,” he would reply, which is gambler’s code for “No, I lost, but it could have been worse.”

    Coming from a screaming leftie, this may sound odd, given the relaxing of the rules about advertising gambling sites and shops on television happened under the last (as opposed to The Last, I hope) Labour government, but they got it wrong and it needs to be redressed.

    This idea that companies advertising care about you goes further. During Lockdown #1 you will have seen countless adverts which included webcam footage (not that sort, you mucky pup), of employees of firms, and most of these were banks, it seemed. Unsaid, the message was this: “Look at us. We’re working from home, just like you. We’re the same, you and I. Because we’re so similar, perhaps you should think about maybe giving me some more of your money to look after…?”

    As restrictions eased, those same companies and banks changed tack: now it was all about how they were doing their best to help you maintain social distancing should you ever, y’know, fancy popping into one of our stores/banks. Because they understood us and our concerns, they alone know what we want, and wouldn’t you just know it, whatever it was, they had it to sell you at a terribly reasonable price.

    The tipping point came, I felt, in an advert I saw recently. Where previously, the effort to sell had been subtle and empathetic, suddenly there was a gear change with an advert which said – much as I did recently (without trying to sell you anything) – that people will be judging where you live when you’re doing your Lockdown #2 Zoom calls, and your kitchen is, frankly, shit, but it’s okay because we’ll sell you another shinier, newer one.

    I preferred it when they were trying to be subtle and devious, I think, rather than blatant and exploitative. The only people who should be cashing in on Covid are those companies who have something to contribute to the cause, by which I don’t mean all of those handed contracts by the Government, of course.

    It’s around this time of year, of course, that we all moan about Christmas adverts appearing on TV way too early, but I’m not an idiot, I understand the economy needs a massive boost, and purchasing Christmas presents and food and drink and all the rest is probably going to be the shot in the arm needed.

    That was until I saw the Tesco ad campaign this week.

    The ad shows lots of different people, confessing to their lockdown sins. I wouldn’t normally do this, because it’s a tad contradictory to slag an advert off but then give them free advertising, but I think it’s important that you know what I’m talking about here. So, here you go:

    On the face of it, it’s a great idea: 2020 has been an absolute shit-show, so this year Santa isn’t going to be compiling his usual list of people who’ve been naughty and those who’ve been good. No, this year, we’re all absolved of our failings (see Priti, Santa says you’re off the hook too!), so long as we go to Tesco’s to buy our Christmas indulgences.

    And it’s has an absolute banger (I was going say pig in blanket, but somehow that seems insulting) of a tune:

    So there’s Tesco, encouraging us to visit their stores, and telling us that no matter what we did wrong this year, we’re forgiven.

    There’s a flaw in this logic, isn’t there?

    Perhaps the soundtrack to the advert should have been this:

    Remember folks: there’s no naughty list this year! Fill your boots at Tesco!!

    To be honest, the Christmas campaigns could have started in July for all I care because I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry this year, and that’s not the outrage racist Sainsburys shoppers have displayed at the not-as-posh-as-Waitrose supermarket chains’ having the audacity to feature a black family in this year’s advertising campaign…oh wait, not seen this?

    OK, well, here’s their advert:

    And here’s some of the delightfully enlightened comments left on Sainsbury’s Twitter feed:

    There were many, many more, most of which were deleted when the tide of responses, thankfully, turned against them. Still, pretty safe to say that Chris, Chez and Tom are all hoping for a White Christmas. Enjoy shopping at Aldi, who have a much more palatable family of carrots in their adverts.

    Anyway, I mean the still unanswered question about where we’re all going to be for Christmas in 2020.

    As it stands, Lockdown #2 is due to finish on December 2nd, but the data at the moment is not showing any great improvement. And then you see headlines like this:

    I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather our PM listened to the experts than battled them. We’ve been here before, of course, with the premature and contradictory easing of restrictions after Lockdown #1.

    To me, if the experts say Lockdown #2 has to be extended, and that goes over Christmas, then so be it.

    We’re not the most Christian of countries anyway, so Christmas is really just an excuse for families to get together. It can be done later, when things have got better.

    I’ve never spent Christmas on my own, but if that’s what we’re told to do, then that’s what I’ll do. But don’t get me wrong: I love my family very much, and there’s nothing I would like more than to be able to go and visit my parents over Christmas. But if the choice is between doing that and possibly finishing them both off, or delaying seeing them for a few more weeks, then I, reluctantly, choose the latter.

    Such a dramatic statement requires an equally dramatic soundtrack:

    Now, I didn’t want to kick the weekend off with such a downer, so I had intended to include my favourite ever clip using that song. And it turns out it’s this, from Friends, when Joey and Chandler are trying to cope with living apart:

    But what I wanted it to be was this, until I realised I had misremembered which song this auditionee was trying to perform: a different one to the one I’ve just posted:

    I’m sorry if the mix-up has caused any offence.

    More soon.

    Tuesday Short Song

    Frankly, I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid posting this song here already.

    Originally tucked away on the B-Side of their William, It Was Really Nothing (2:11 and thus just too long to feature here) single, I remember Bobby Bluebell mentioning it in Smash Hits when he made it single of the week.

    I’m paraphrasing Bobby’s review now, but this does what it has to do, says what it has to say, doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, and then leaves, beautifully.

    For sure, it’s one of many jewels in their crown:

    Just magnificent.

    And this can be construed as a message to our voting friends over in the USA today, too.

    More soon.