The Chain #35

Blimey is that the time?

Alright, alright, alright, already, we’re back, a week later than intended, but restored back to our rightful place on a Wednesday night. This was of course always the plan come 2017, and has absolutely nothing to do with Spurs getting knocked out of the Champions League and into the UEFA Europa League, where they’ll be playing their games on Thursday nights.

So those of you with exceptionally long memories will recall that at the end of The Chain #34,we were left with Malcom McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals” as the record to link to, and as usual the suggestions were many, varied and fell into on of a couple of different categories. They also include a veritable menagerie of different animals; not just buffalos, but cows, crawfish, ducklings, swans, an elk, a moose (and probably a mouse), an ostrich, and cartoon cats, canaries and flying squirrels. We’ll hear from (or mention in passing) all of these, whilst also visiting a sex shop and engaging in some Morris Dancing. Now that’s what I call fulfilling my diversity quota.

And before we go any further, I should point out that one of you gets very close indeed to guessing what the next record in The Chain – right act, wrong song, as is (apparently) so often muttered from the judges’ chairs on The X Factor.

So let’s kick things off by working through the more obvious bunch first – those that linked to “Buffalo”, and even these can be split down into two further sub-categories: those that link to Buffalo (the animal) and those that link to Buffalo (the place).

First up, is Jules from Music From Magazines who, bless him, doesn’t seem to want to let the Christmas feeling go just yet:

“…just one last go at a Christmas/NYE drunk sing along…”

Jules, you sent me this on January 3rd, mate.

“…’Go Buffalo’ is a cracking number by Like Swimming…”

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Like Swimming – Go Buffalo

“Someone who doesn’t like swimming is Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk as featured in ‘Aqua Boogie’ by Parliament, the 12″ version of which was only pressed on one side (no B side to enjoy once and then ignore ).”

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Parliament – Aqua Boogie (12″ Version)

Hold on, he’s not done yet:

“Now this is memory based, but a famous artist, entrepreneur and kiddy fiddler (hell he tried to entice my kid brother into his Roller on the Kings Road I later found out) wanted to release only single sided 45s on his UK label.”

It’s usually at about this point that I would start glancing round the bus to see if I have any chance of escape from the conversation.

“Jonathan King discovered Genesis with Peter Gabriel as a member which can only go to one place…”

I dunno about you lot, but the suspense is killing me.

“The The’s ‘Angel Of Deception’

Only joking.”

I do the jokes. And I love the album that’s from, although some of the songs haven’t really aged all that well:

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The The – Angels of Deception

So where’s the one other place that we can go to……?

“Robbie Williams – ‘Angels'”

Oh. Goodie.

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Robbie Williams – Angels

I can’t really scoff at this. Sitting in the bar at a family wedding around twenty years ago, I led the gathering in a heart-felt rendition of this. About seven times. What little hair I have left still bristles at the memory.

My favourite Robbie moment, however, was this, when he made a guest appearance in the BBC studios at the football World Cup 1998, and was ceremoniously taken down a peg or two by Martin O’Neill:

Anyway, let’s rewind, and start back at the beginning. Here, providing not only the first suggestion I received, but getting us going with a Double Linker, it’s The Great Gog:

“Buffalo is an animal that is farmed for its milk, as is a cow. The Wonder Stuff had a sizeable hit with ‘Size Of A Cow’. It just so happens that their lead singer is [popular rhyming slang] Miles Hunt who shares a surname with a racing driver who (rather tidily for this link) won the F1 Drivers Championship driving for McLaren in 1976.”

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The Wonder Stuff – The Size of a Cow

Next up is The Robster from Is This The Life? who suggests:

“I’m going for a very easy (and slightly obvious) one – ‘Guilty Girls’ by Buffalo Tom. No cryptic, convoluted link needed. They’re one of my favourite bands and that’s good enough for me!”

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Buffalo Tom – Guilty Girls

Mine too, Rob, though I have to admit to kinda losing track of them after the double-whammy of “Let Me Come Over” and “Big Red Letter Day”, so a nod towards some of their later stuff is much appreciated. (It’s as I add their name to the Tags and find their name doesn’t auto-enter that I find myself thinking: how the hell have I never featured anything from them before? I know I was going to post “Tailights Fade” a couple of months ago, but was beaten to it by the When You Can’t Remember Anything boys nicking in first. They’ll nick anything those two; you watch, they’ll be starting up a thread where they invite people to suggest records next.) (Psst! – you know I’m kidding, right chaps? And you know that because I’ve already suggested a couple over at your place.)

Speaking of obvious choices, as The Robster was, and since I mentioned When You Can’t Remember Anything, here’s Badger from the very same blog, with one of the three suggestions that I suspected we’d get this week:

“The obvious route is to ‘Buffalo Stance’ by Neneh Cherry.”

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Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance

And here’s the second one that I expected, from Alyson over at What’s It All About, Alfie?

“From Buffalo Gals to…. “

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Buffalo Soldier

The third other one that I was expecting to get mentioned, wasn’t, although babylotti came pretty close, as you’ll see in the fullness of time. So I guess, I’d better suggest it:

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Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

That song has had various segments of it lifted, quoted, or sampled on many different records over the years, one of my favourites is this, which I seem to associate with a break-dancing Transformer and I’m not sure why: was it in the video? Or used in an advert? Or did I eat far too much cheese before bed one night….?

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Les Rythmes Digitales – (Hey You) What’s That Sound?

A change of pace now. No great explanation from Rol of My Top Ten this week:

“Just two suggestions this week. I was going to try for just one, but I can’t decide between the two below:”

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Kathleen Edwards – Buffalo

and

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The Dead Weather – I Cut Like A Buffalo

In fact, many of the suggestions were pretty brief, once you take out all of the most welcome Christmas and New Year messages, along with all of the very kind things many of you said about this place which I’m far too modest to post here. For example, here’s Swiss Adam from Bagging Area:

“In ‘Burning Lights’, Joe Strummer sings ‘…you are the last of the buffalo…’ and it’s a wilderness years highlight so I’ll nominate that please.”

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Joe Strummer – Burning Lights

Over to George now, with a suggestion which comes pretty close to winning the Comment Showboat Award of the week:

“Buffalos have horns, a bony structure on the top of their heads. Another animal with a bony structure on its head is the elk (although they have antlers, but they are still bony), and the elk is also known as a moose. And from my childhood I can recall a lyric featuring the word “moose”, namely “there’s a moose loose aboot this hoose”, which is one of the few lyrics in a song by Lord Rockingham ‘s X1. I think the song is called ‘Hoots Mon’. And I bet everyone will recognise the tune once they play it.”

There’s only one way to find out:

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Lord Rockingham’s XI – Hoots Mon!

Could I ask my friends North of the Border to clarify something for us, he’s actually saying ‘mouse’ isn’t he….? Not that I’m going to disqualify George’s suggestion, because it definitely sounds like ‘moose’.

George included a link to a video clip to his suggestion, something which made him smile. You know where to go to find that. Instead, in case any of you in the UK were wondering quite where you recognise that song from, I would think it’s maybe from this:

Look out. Jules is back:

“Thanks George for the moose link! Casting my mind back to the cartoon series ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ about a flying squirrel and a moose (yes, I know) takes one inevitability to ROCKY with some great tunes. Let’s move on to the star Sylvester Stallone.

Sylvester’s work makes me feel mighty real but I preferred his work with Tweety Pie.”

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Mel Blanc – I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat

Over now to Martin, who I think has posted here before, but forgive me Martin, I’m a little rusty. If this is your first time, then we’d all like to offer you a warm Chain Gang welcome, if not, then we’d all like to offer you a warm Chain Gang welcome back.

Anyway, here’s Martin’s suggestion:

“…On the basis that ‘Buffalo Gals’ is a perfect anagram of ‘Bagful of Las’ [and it is, I’ve checked], can I pitch for the ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s, please? Especially if I promise not to resort to anagrams to often…”

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The La’s – There She Goes

Just one more obvious-ish Buffalo link, and it’s another from me. I was about to write that this was one of my favourite records from the past couple of years, until I checked and found out it was released in 2010, and so now I just feel very, very old indeed:

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Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For

Okay, here comes Dirk from Sexyloser and he’s gonna get all geographic on your asses:

“Loads of great musicians come from Buffalo in the state of New York, located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie at the head of the Niagara River: I trust it’s a fantastic place to go … I mean, I’ve never been there and certainly don’t want to go, but either way …! Where was I? Ah yes, musicians include John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey out of 10,000 Maniacs, so their ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ should be fitting, right?”

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10,000 Maniacs – Anthem For Doomed Youth

“Also Buffalo is a twin town to Dortmund, Germany and I’m sure you all know that Phillip Boa out of Phillip Boa and The Voodoo Club come from Dortmund. If memory serves correctly, he was featured before, but not with ‘Ostrich’, my favourite song of theirs: does that count? I hope it does….”

He has featured here before, Dirk, but you’re right, not with that song, so here you go:

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Phillip Boa & The Voodoo Club – Ostrich (Love is Not The Same)

Okay, something a little more…erm…traditional next. This suggestion comes from Jonny, who is definitely a first time poster here, so please all offer him a warm Chain Gang welcome.

The reason I know this is Jonny’s first time posting here, is because he’s an old mate of mine; we went to the same school although, inevitably, I’m a few years older than him so we didn’t know each other then, but we used to work together in the kitchen of a greasy motorway café masquerading as a family restaurant back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I worked there every holiday throughout college, and ultimately for a year after I graduated, and it Jonny and I forged a great friendship. He was into photography and I enjoyed writing; together we cobbled together a spoof corporate newsletter called “The Crappy Eater” (which gives you a pretty good clue as to the identity of the place we worked in), where we basically took the piss out of and made up shit about our work colleagues. We “accidentally” left it laying around in the staff room one day and…well, some people found it funny, but some of the old dears who worked there were definitely not impressed. Somewhere, buried in a box, somewhere in my flat, I think I have a couple of the articles we wrote. I doubt many of you will be interested as you won’t know the people we’re winding up, but Jonny: if I can find them, I’ll email you copies.

Anyway, one of the reasons that Jonny and I got on so well, apart from the fact that we were amazingly cool gods of the burger griddle, was that we both shared similar music tastes of an indie-ish nature, and it was with Jonny that I ventured to London’s Brixton Academy back in 1992 to see Sonic Youth play promoting their “Dirty” album, ably supported by Pavement and Huggy Bear. Long term readers may recall me writing about it here a long time ago.

So when Jonny sent me a suggestion, I was expecting it would be a really cool blast from the past. I was half right: it was definitely a blast from the past, but also most definitely not really cool.

Over to you Jonny (and I should add, I have had to edit this because I’m not all that familiar with the libel laws so I thought it best I erred on the side of caution):

“So ‘Buffalo Gals’ takes me here (I know the connection is loose and somewhat obscure, but hear me out)” [S’okay, Jonny, I like my connections like I like my women: loose and obscure]

“…back to being a 13 year old, purple legged, lanky piece of shit who was forced on a yearly basis to take part in the school’s Country Dancing display…” [He was quite lanky. I suspect he may have played the part of the Maypole]

“Those Buffalo Gals going round the outside, for me, conjured up images of a scantily clad maths teacher I quite liked the look of prancing round my bed wooing me in for my first sexual experience. Sadly for me, that never happened.

My brief day/wet dream would then be shattered by my then form tutor kicking out the jams with his ‘Molly Dance’. Terrible song. Terrible timing.

But somehow that fucking ‘Molly Dance’ found its way into my record collection and remained there for many a year until in a moment of skint madness I flogged the entire collection of over 700 pieces of carefully chosen vinyl masterpieces for about the amount of a gas bill.”

Anyway, crowbar that in your chain and pull it.”

700 pieces of carefully chosen vinyl masterpieces…and this:

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Ramblin’ Rod & His New Morris Van – (I Can Do The) Molly Dance

If I may fill in a couple of the blanks: the eponymous Ramblin’ Rod was in fact the Morris Dancing alter-ego of Jonny’s form tutor. And the Morris Van bit is “…a joke, that’s short for ‘vanguard'”, said Ramblin’ Rod in what was probably his only ever interview, which apparently took place at a party where “where Rod and friends were wassailing by dipping buttered toast in cider, then sticking the resulting “soldiers” in every tree trunk they could find.” Sounds like one hell of a party, right?

Before we get into the other big category – links to Malcom McLaren – let’s round up the other suggestions.

Here’s Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“Taking the ‘Girls’ theme [actually, it’s Gals, but since I made the same error in The Chain #34 I’ll let it slide] – a celebration of Girls everywhere; a wonderful piece of late 70s, possibly un-PC, Music Hall-esque nonsense:”

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Sailor – Girls, Girls, Girls

Yeh, it’s definitely not PC, but it’s no (previously featured) “Some Girls” by Racey is it?

There, that didn’t take long, did it?

Time for some Malcolm McLaren links, I think. Here’s Alyson, back for another go:

“Malcolm McLaren also released Double Dutch from the same album and that led me to think of Ray and Anita, that Dutch duo who were ’90s dance outfit 2 Unlimited. How about a bit of ‘No Limit’…?”

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2 Unlimited – No Limit

Given how many times the word “No” features in that song, I’ve always found it a little weird that it begins with Ray (I assume it’s not Anita) pleading to hear us say “Yeah!”.

Always reminds me of Jim Trott, that song. You know, Jim Trott, right?

Hold on, I feel a catchphrase coming on. Cue fanfare.

Well, if you’re going to suggest that (a record which features the word “No” many, many times), then I’m going to suggest this lot, back for a second airing this week:

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The Wonder Stuff – No, For The 13th Time

Back to McLaren links, and back to George:

“From Malcolm McLaren to Malcolm McDowell, he of Clockwork Orange, to The Fall and their 6 min 20 second masterpiece ‘Kurious Oranj'”

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The Fall – Kurious Oranj

Readers of a certain age will remember (a different) Curious Orange from Lee and Herring’s “This Morning with Richard Not Judy” show; this was the best (quality, if not necessarily the funniest) clip I could find:

Anyway. Where were we? Ah yes: McLaren and his numerous links. Here to add to them is The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow:

“I know that for a while Malcolm McLaren managed quite a famous band, though for the life of me I can’t remember their name 🙂 Instead I’ll go down the producer route. Trevor Horn produced ‘Buffalo Gals’ and among his many (and varied) other credits is Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’, from which I’d like to suggest ‘ Step Into My Office, Baby’.”

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Belle & Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby

Tailgating on the back of that suggestion, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music with another short but sweet entry:

“The band that The Swede was referring to was clearly Bow Wow Wow so ‘I Want Candy’ please”

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Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy

Much as I love that version (and I really do), this – the original, I think – shades it for me:

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The Strangeloves – I Want Candy

As I’m writing this on Wednesday evening, after Trump’s first speech, and after a load of new salacious rumours began circulating about him, I wondered if I’d be able to get through this post without making reference to it. I reckon if I can get passed a band called The Strangeloves without making a joke, I’ll have done well.

Ah well. Guess I blew it.

Back to McLaren, and here’s babylotti, who’s taking us on a trip over to New York:

“From Malcolm Mclaren, manager of New York Dolls for a minimal time, leads me to David Johansen. I’ll suggest Wreckless Crazy from him…”

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David Johansen – Wreckless Crazy

“…which links me to Johnny Thunders. I’m going to suggest his version of Crawfish with Patti Palladin…”

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Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin – Crawfish

“…and my last link, after the disastrous year for celebrity deaths I feel I have to go for ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ by Ronnie Spector with Joey Ramone.”

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Ronnie Spector (feat Joey Ramone) – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory

Of course, the McLaren-managed band that you’ve all done exceptionally well not to mention, but which my brother would never speak to me again if I didn’t, are the Sex Pistols, so here’s one which is by no means one of their finest moments, but it’s one which we’ve both got a bit of a soft spot for:

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Sex Pistols – Silly Thing

But undoubtedly, the best suggestion of the week, the Comment Showboat of choice, came from Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“About ten years ago, there was an ITV reality show called “The Baron”, the premise being that three celebrities attempted to curry favour in a little coastal village in Aberdeenshire in order to be elected as the new Baron of Troup. The show was a complete damp squib and buried in a late night slot, so there’s no reason for anyone to recall it, really. The only reason *I* remember it is that I happen to live close to the village where it was filmed, and a few of my friends appeared in it.

Getting to the point, the three celebrities flown in were Mike “Runaround” Reid (who won, and then almost immediately snuffed it), Suzanne Shaw from Hear’Say, and… Malcolm McLaren. See, there was some relevance to all of this. On those grounds I would have suggested Mike Reid’s reading (or reiding) of “The Ugly Duckling”, but I think that should really have linked to the last record in the chain rather than the current on, so…”

Whoa there cowboy! That’s a good enough reason for me to post what is not only the Comment Showboat of the Week, but is also the Cheesiest Record of the Week (and since we’ve already featured 2 Unlimited, that’s no mean feat):

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Mike Reid – The Ugly Duckling

That bit in brackets on the record label is a bit harsh, isn’t it?

Anyway, as you were Alex; you were about to proffer your actual suggestion:

“… so bearing in mind there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure [there isn’t, there really isn’t, though sometimes you lot really test that theory], let’s have Hear’Say’s Betty Boo-penned signature hit ‘Pure And Simple’ instead.”

Otherwise known as “The song where it looks like someone’s lighting their farts in the video”:

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Hear’Say – Pure & Simple

And in case you think that’s the cheesiest record of the week, you’re wrong: as Alex G says, it was written by Betty Boo which automatically makes it one of the best records of the week. So there.

Anyway, the aforementioned Miss Shaw was at one time the latest squeeze of serial philanderer and chicken in a basket entertainer Darren Day, which leads me to this:

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Hazel O’Connor – D-Days

Uh oh. Jules has climbed back on board. Quick everybody, avoid eye contact, stare at your copy of the Metro, pretend to make a phone call:

“Malcolm McLaren used to run a boutique on the King’s Road with Vivienne Westwood it was called SEX, most of the sex shops I used to frequent [Jules – have you ever heard the term “over-sharing”…?] mostly sold gentlemen’s magazines and ‘marital aids’ aka vibrators. Not the punk band but the American slang for a vibrator Steely Dan…”Deacon Blues”:

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Steely Dan – Deacon Blues

“…which as it happens contains the line ‘they call Alabama the crimson tide’. Crimson Tide of course is a fine film about a Russian/USA standoff… [no comparisons to be made with anything going on in world news there then…] …so:”

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The Clash – Ivan Meets G.I. Joe

Mention of Vivienne got me thinking of other famous Westwood’s, and the first one that sprang to mind was former Radio 1 and 1Xtra hip-hop DJ and host of the UK version of Pimp My Ride, Tim Westwood, who happens to be the son of the former Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Reverend Bill Westwood. And since I grew up in and around that fine cathedral city, this seems appropriate:

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The Long Blondes – Peterborough

Which should be the end, but George suggested this which, following a year of so many celebrity deaths, seemed an apt way to finish things off this week:

“Buffalo Gals was released in 1982. As was ‘Wham Rap!’ by Wham. (I find myself very ,very sad at George Michael’s death). I bought this in 1982, still have it, and still think it’s a toptastic pop song, it’s impossible to sit still when this plays.”

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Wham – Wham Rap!

Time to wrap things up then, and let’s find out what the next record in The Official Chain was:

“Produced by Malcolm McLaren were…”

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35. Bow Wow Wow – C30 C60 C90

Oh go on then, half a bonus point to Charity Chic for guessing the band, if not the song.

So, your suggestions please, via the Comments section below, for records that you can link to Bow Wow Wow’s “C30 C60 C90”, and don’t forget to explain the link in your suggestion.

See you next week (more soon).

Tony’s Themes

The Chain is going to be a day later than usual this week. This is entirely intentional, for today I need to write about someone, today is the day that I must post it, and I’m sorry, but I don’t want it be overshadowed by a second post later on. You’ll see why, and you’ll understand, I’m sure. Back to normal next week.

Right. When I was at Sixth Form, as I’ve mentioned before, I had my little gang of like-minded (politically and musically) chums.

There was Richie, who I’m still in touch with; Anne, who lives down in New Zealand now and who I had the pleasure of a very long phone conversation with earlier this year, the first time we had actually spoken in approaching thirty years; Kirsty and Maria, wicked,  lovely people, all polka-dotted skirts and tousled up hair – I’m in touch with Maria on Facebook, but haven’t heard from Kirsty since we disbanded in 1987.

And then there was Tony.

Tony Plant was a little bit older than the rest of us. He was with us because he had some health problems which meant he was a bit behind his peer group, physically not intellectually. We all knew that he had some kind of problem with his heart, but I don’t think we ever really knew the extent of it. If you asked him, he would just wave you away, saying “Oh, it’s just a thing…nothing to worry about.”

Tony would have been 50 today. You’ll notice the tense of that sentence.

A couple of years ago, I bumped into Richie and he broke the news to me. I was visiting my parents at the time, and they found the fact that I’d bumped into someone I knew – in a B&Q car park, in a town I hadn’t visited in over twenty years, of all places – highly amusing, until I divulged the content of the conversation.

Tony had died, on the operating table, finally having the operation that was hoped to have sorted out once and for all the issues which had put him back into the same Sixth Form, and circle of friends, as me.

It’s a weird situation. I’m so glad I knew him, but I only knew him because of the heart condition that ultimately killed him.

I only knew Tony for a year, maybe a year and a half at the most, a long time ago. But he was one of the loveliest, funniest, warmest blokes I ever met, one of those rare people that the moment you meet them for the first time, you feel like you’ve known them all your life.

He was as much a part of my musical awakening as anyone else that I may attribute that to elsewhere on these pages, pointing me in the direction of some bands he thought I’d like, nodding appreciatively when I told him about ones I’d discovered by myself. It pains me that I will never be able to catch up with him again.

Let me give you an example (or six).

One day I was round at his, sitting in his bedroom at his Mum and Dad’s, listening to records. He played one, which he said he loved because it was precisely in his vocal range. A girl, who he refused to name, had pointed this out to him once. He sang along for me, and he was right. He loved the fact that both she, and I for that matter, had been blown away by his rendition of a record that I had thought was by Heaven 17 until that moment, when I found out it was this:

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The The – This Is The Day

It was on this occasion that he first showed me his party trick: “The Man With the World’s Smallest Mouth”, which I cannot even begin to do justice to. Imagine Rob Bryden’s “Man in a Box” and then take it back 20 years. That was Tony.

He sidled up to me once in the Sixth Form Common Room; a mixtape I had made was playing, and suddenly I was aware that Tony was standing by my side.

“This should be number one, shouldn’t it, mate?” he whispered to me.

In an ideal world, Tony, yes, it should have been. (It got to Number 11.)

This record:

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Westworld – Sonic Boom Boy

And he was right, it should have been Number One because it’s bloody great, far better than most of the old tosh that was cluttering up the UK Singles Charts at the time. Who cares that they released nothing else of any note? That is a great record. Westworld were The Ting Tings of the 80s, only without the number one hit record.

I bumped into Tony one day, in a record shop in Peterborough. It was called “Choices”, a short-lived place just off the main drag, which I often visited because nobody else ever seemed to, and I picked up many recued-to-clear bargains in there. Also, a guy I knew from junior school was working there, so he would happily order stuff for me. It was odd seeing him there, as he was not someone I particularly associated with music – I remembered he and I when we were much, much younger extolling the virtues of Bucks Fizz’s “The Land of Make Believe” and Tom Baker-era “Dr Who”.

Anyway, one day, Tony was in there too, we chatted about what he’d bought, and about a gig he wanted to go to, The Wedding Present, not just because he loved them, but because he’d heard the support act, The Flatmates, were pretty good too.

Desperate to please, moments after our conversation ended, I picked up this :

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The Flatmates – Shimmer

And so began a life long love affair with indie bands with female lead singers.

He was also very supportive. Around this time, having had a guitar for a few years, I was getting to grips with playing chords and being able to perform songs. I once told him I could play the next one, did it for him, and the next thing I knew I was wheeled out in front of his parents and a few friends, being encouraged to do it again:

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The Wedding Present – Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft

It’s the 30th anniversary of that record next year, and I’m going to see them perform it in it’s entirety. Tony will be with me.

I see Tony whenever I hear those records. But none more so than this next one.

Christmas 1986. Sixth Form Christmas Party. Tony and I have ended up sitting on some tables, all the chairs having been snuck off by people less drunk than we.

We talked about records, as we often did, and when we got to this one, we both sat, cross-legged on the table, singing the 82-second life out of the C86-opening track:

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Primal Scream – Velocity Girl

To finish off, I remember how excited he was when he first heard the Pixies’ “Surfer Rosa”, not least because it’s a brilliant, brilliant record, but more so because it had this on it:

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 Pixies – Tony’s Theme

That little group of friends I mentioned earlier: I guarantee that every time we hear that, we think of him, thank our lucky stars we knew him, and curse our luck that he’s gone.

After I found out he had passed away, I got in touch with Anne and broke the news to her. It was a shitty way to reconnect with someone after so many years, but I knew she would want to know. After the initial shock, she sent me a collage of pictures she had from when we all used to hang out. It included this one:

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He couldn’t play the bloody thing, but he was going to try and look like a member of The Bluebells if it was the last thing he did.

And that is exactly how I want to remember him.

It’s such a cliché to say that you wish you’d stayed in touch with someone, but I don’t really care that it’s a cliché. Tony is someone I wish I’d tried harder to keep in my life. And now it’s too late. He’s gone.

As we approach the festive season, perhaps there’s a message there for us all.

Rest in peace, old buddy. And happy birthday.

More soon.

The Chain #18

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

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

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

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

Here’s the only three things I ask:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short and to the point, is our Swiss:

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The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?

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

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The House of Love – Never

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry George, but this is for you:

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The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

And he isn’t done there either:

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

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Bruce Springsteen – Working On a Dream

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

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

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

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

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Death Grips – World of Dogs

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

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

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

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The Futureheads – Decent Days And Nights

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

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

MI0000642565Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band – Tropical Hot Dog Night

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

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

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

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

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Martin Carthy – The Handsome Cabin Boy

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

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

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

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Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the U.K

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

“Shaun Ryder too. Wrote for luck?”

Oh, go on then:

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Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

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

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

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The The – Dogs Of Lust

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

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

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

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

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The Very Things – The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

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

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

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Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere

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

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

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Patti Smith Group – Because The Night

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

Ahem.

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

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

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Devo – Whip It

I’m here all week.

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

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

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

..and this was the song:

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

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

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

See you next time!

(More soon).