The Chain #11

Afternoon all.

So, I  left you last week with “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts and asked you to suggest songs that linked to it. (It’s my new catchphrase, shush!)

Okay, first the admin. The link between Bruce Springsteen and “I’ll Be There For You” was that Courtney Cox – Monica from Friends to which the latter is the theme tune – appeared in Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” video, as a plucked-from-the-audience-hottie who gets to dance on stage with The Boss himself, regardless of how excruciatingly 80s that might look. What are the odds of that happening? Totally spontaneous, and not at all bought and paid for, naturellement.

I say naturellement, for unlike the England football team, we’re in France for much of this week.

As I did last week, I’ll post the suggestions as they were received. I mentioned in an intervening post there was a fair bit of mind changing/dual suggestions going on this week. For the record, as long as I don’t get swamped (which seems unlikely) I’ll try to post all suggestions, irrespective of whether you’ve already suggested something. This does not give you carte blanche to bombard me with multiple ideas (You know who I’m looking at).

You won’t be surprised to learn that all of today’s suggestions focus on the Rembrandts rather than the “I’ll Be There For You”, opening up many possibilities in respect of art and artists as it did.

So, here we go, first up is The Swede, who managed to beat George out of the traps for once.

“Rembrandt’s old gaff, now known more formally as the Rembrandt House Museum, is located in Amsterdam. So, keeping it simple and straightforward, how about spinning David Bowie’s interpretation of Jacques Brel’s ‘Amsterdam’?”

Deal. As I mentioned in my response, I’ve been meaning to post some Brel for a while now, but would probably have plumped for a really obvious Scott Walker cover. But since very little Bowie has been posted in the blogosphere this year (!), here’s his BBC recording version, with a bit of a certain Mr John Ravenscroft at the end, just because it’s always great to hear his voice (and because I have no idea how to edit MP3s):

bowie

David Bowie – Amsterdam

And yes, I’m well aware Amsterdam isn’t in France, before you all start.

Okay, there’s been much kidding around in the Comments since I started doijg this thread about “Showboating”. It’s a term of endearment, of admiration, for a particularly fine example of getting from one song to another. If I, or anyone else, says you’re Comment Showboating, it’s the equivalent of us applauding your choice and how you got there.

Here’s a prime bit of showboating from the Great Gog:

“Takes deep breath…

Obviously, Rembrandt was a famous painter, one of his works being 1632’s “Self portrait as a burger”. Although this meant burger in another sense, I found myself imagining a painting with Rembrandt placing himself between two halves of a seeded bun. One organisation famous for placing burgers in seeded buns is McDonald’s.

Michael McDonald was a member of The Doobie Brothers, so perhaps one of theirs, but which? Linking back to the Friends theme, many would consider Jesus as a friend, so “Jesus Is Just Alright”, it is. This appears on the Toulouse Street album, and by an amazing coincidence, Toulouse-Lautrec was also a famous painter!

I’m off for a lie-down now as my brain is beginning to hurt.”

Okay, two things. Firstly, The Great Gog has a very odd imagination. And secondly, I’ll admit, I had to check this. Burger as opposed to Berger? The Great Gog was, needless to say, correct.

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The Doobie Brothers – Jesus is Just Alright

Just like the Marillion sleeve in my post from yesterday, that’s a really odd sleeve isn’t it? Every one of them seems to be saying, in a Southern drawl, reminiscent of that scene in Deliverance: “Yeh, my sister is pretty, ain’t she?”

I have to admit, my knowledge of the Doobies output pretty much began and ended with “Long Train Runnin'”, but that’s pretty good isn’t it. Must investigate further. Cheers, TGG.

Next up, here’s Charity Chic:

“I’m going to jump on the back of the excellent comment from the Great Gog with Goodbye Toulouse from The Stranglers.”

For those of you unfamiliar with The Stranglers output, that’s from their “Rattus Norvegicus” album, and it sounds like this:

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The Stranglers – Goodbye Toulouse

A few years ago, I was working for an Insurance company. My phone rang and it was one of our customers calling to report a little bump he’d been in.

I took their policy number and loaded their details up on my screen. There was something familiar about the name.

“Can I confirm your name, please?” I asked.

“Burnel,” came the response.

It can’t be, can it? I thought.

“First name and date of birth?”

“Jean-Jacques and (I’ll leave this bit blank)”.

Jesus, it was.

I spent the rest of the conversation trying to think of a way to let JJ know that a) I knew who he was, and b) that I bloody love The Stranglers. But I couldn’t find an “in”. The moment passed, the call ended.

I removed my headset, and announced to my colleagues “That was Jean-Jacques Burnel!”

Not a flicker.

“From The Stranglers!”

More “couldn’t give less of a shit” noises and glances.

Still, made my day. I almost wish he’d dangled me out of a window by my ankles.

But, I digress. Here’s The Great Gog again:

“You’ve jogged my memory of a single from Radio Africa hitmakers, Latin Quarter, simply titled Toulouse. Slightly annoyed with myself that I didn’t think of that one just over 24 hours ago.”

The only song I know by Latin Quarter is “Radio Africa”, and it’s not a song I’m overly fond of, so I approached this with some trepidation:

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Latin Quarter – Toulouse

At this point, George arrived:

“One of The Rembrandts is Danny Wilde. Who was born in MAINE. And MAINE Road used to be where Mancheter City played, and Joe Hart is their goalie, leading us to another Joe, Joe Tex, who sang Buying A Book”

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, Spurs had a goal keeper called Erik Thorstvedt who we affectionately named “Butterfingers”. After his ricks against Wales and Iceland, I think Hart has taken over ownership of the name. Quite how long he’ll stay at Man City if he carries on doing the same remains to be seen, but for now, the link stands:

joe_tex-buying_a_book_a

Joe Tex – Buying a Book

And that’s your lot for this week.

Oh, wait. Here’s George again.

“Can I have another go? In my defence I can link to an absolutely outstanding song.”

To be fair, pretty much every song George suggests is absolutely outstanding, so I told him to carry right on.

“The song I’ll Be There for You was co-written by Allee Willis. Who grew up in Detroit, Michigan. as did a certain Denise Nicholas. Who? Well she married Bill Withers, who gave us the outstanding I Can’t Write Left Handed (and the best version is on the Live At Carnegie Hall album).”

Which I think is this version (I own it on a compilation album, where it doesn’t stipulate where it was recorded):

Bill_Withers_-_Live_At_Carnegie_Hall

Bill Withers – I Can’t Write Left Handed

George, if that’s not the version you were after, my apologies. Either way, it’s right up there with “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” in terms of anti-war sentiment, although the latter edges it in terms of numbers of limbs lost. Not that I’m proposing that should be the way we judge records, you understand. Otherwise I’d have to crown “Jake the Peg” as the greatest record ever, which it clearly isn’t.

Please note, I have resisted doing the duck in a microwave joke. Kind of.

And just in case you’ve never heard that before (the song, not the joke) but think something about it seems familiar, it may be because of this:

As for my suggestion? Well, it turns out that mine was fairly close to the one chosen in that there real life thing. I also went for an artist, but a different one, and to a song from an album that many people mistakenly call “Andy Warhol” or “The One With The Banana On the Front”:

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The Velvet Underground – Femme Fatale

And here, in a rather pleasing, circular, all loose ends tied up kind of way, is the official selection:

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David Bowie – Andy Warhol

So, roll up, roll up, your suggestions please for tunes to play next week that link to “Andy Warhol” by David Bowie. Please send them via the Comments section below explaining how you have got from that record to yours.

Or, if you can do it in 140 characters or less, tweet me @jezbionic.

Or, if you’re one of the lucky people who have my email or mobile number and want to keep your submission private (until next Sunday), then you can use those methods to. And we really should do lunch sometime, it’s been ages.

I already know my suggestion for next week. I wonder if any of you will be like-minded. I can think of at least one person, a very dear friend, who I know reads this and who I would be absolutely staggered if they haven’t chosen something along the same lines as me.

I’m not sure that last sentence makes grammatical sense, but you get the gist.

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

I’ve had this one sitting ready to post for a while now, so since the first band have a new, rather fine (from what I’ve heard of it so far), album out (“Helter Seltzer”) I thought now might be quite a good time to finally post it.

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We Are Scientists – After Hours

Hel and I would often try and play this as our last record, particularly when we DJ’d in bars, in the hope that the bar staff would take the hint and keep the bar open a little longer (even more so if we were being paid in booze as long as the bar was open). I think it only ever actually worked once, in the now sadly defunct “Mucky Pup” bar in Islington. Although our playing little known 60s belter “Send Me a Postcard” by Shocking Blue when we knew the landlord/owner was a massive fan probably helped. It certainly helped us get some free Jagerbombs.

The Velvet Underground, of course, did a song by the same name, the final track on their eponymously-titled third album, which categorically should not be confused with the “The Velvet Underground & Nico” album (the one with Andy Warhol’s banana on the sleeve). It’s a cute little acoustic number, not particularly indicative of their normal sound, and featuring drummer Moe Tucker on lead vocals:

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The Velvet Underground – After Hours

I first encountered this song when at the greatest gig I ever went to: R.E.M. at the Newport Centre, May 18th 1989, when they were promoting their Green album. Here’s the set-list from that night; fans of the band (and those who are familiar with the venue) will understand just why, approaching 30 years and many, many other gigs later, it remains the greatest gig I ever went to. I’ll talk about it in more detail at some point soon; until then, since I haven’t posted anything by them for a while, lifted from the Tourfilm live video which got released shortly afterwards, here’s R.E.M. covering (and forgetting the words to) The Velvet Underground’s After Hours:

More soon.

I Coulda Tooken

I think I’d better start off this post by declaring that I am not drunk. Whether that is still the case by the time I finish it is questionable.

The reason I feel the need to declare this is because I’m probably going to end up writing some things which are likely to come across as the kind of slurry “You’re my best mate, you are” things you’d only really expect someone four or five sheets to the wind to say.

There you go, that’s the disclaimer out of the way.

You may have noticed recently there has been a lot of Birthday talk on these here pages. A lot of people I know seem to have birthdays around September and October, and I suppose if you think about it logically, at the time of year when we were all conceived it would have been the winter months, dark and cold, and perhaps our parents were huddling together under what used to be called a Continental Quilt when…well, you know…one thing led to another and here we are. (Note to self: I may need to rewrite that bit, it sounds like all my friends’ parents were under the same duvet, which they weren’t, obviously)

Anyway, the thing about birthdays is that on at least one of yours, or perhaps on another totally inappropriate moment – on the school bus, say – you will find yourself suddenly considering the most awful of truths: your parents did “it”.

My brother and I are lucky in that respect. I should explain. My parents got married on 22nd October 1966. My brother was born on 29th July 1967 – near enough nine months to the day after the honeymoon, which I think it’s safe to assume went well. (This has also just reminded me I forgot to remind my Dad about their anniversary, my traditional job. Ooops!)

Similarly, I was born on 26th September 1969, almost nine months to the day after Christmas Day, so it’s safe to say the petrol station was closed, or my Dad just forgot to get my Mum a Christmas present, and had to make it up to her in…er…different ways.

So there we have it. They only did “it” twice. Ever.

I’m not really sure why I’m mentioning all of this, except as a preamble into wishing my former housemate and equal best mate Hel a happy birthday, in something approaching a creative way.

A couple of weeks ago, we were out having a few drinks and Hel pointed out that we had been friends for 16 years. Jesus, really? (You’re expecting an “it seems longer” gag here, right? Well jog on, you’re not going to get it. Because it really doesn’t seem that long. And of course by referencing said joke, I have managed to make it, whist simultaneously denouncing it. Oh yes! I am finally revealing myself to be the very epitome of a hitherto concealed post-modern self-deconstructing blogger!)

Anyway, it seems just weeks since we first met, upstairs in what was The Tut ‘n’ Shive on City Road in Cardiff (although she will probably tell me I’m wrong and we met much earlier than that). She was with her brother Llyr, also mentioned often in these pages, who would soon become my flatmate, but more of him another time.

Hel was wearing a Motorhead t-shirt, which I thought was pretty cool. This was before band t-shirts such as this became fashion accessories worn by needy people who had no clue about any record ever made by the bands whose logos graced their t-shirts  (see also Ramones).

As an aside, I have two band t-shirt stories to tell.

Firstly I was at a house party once, and there was a guy there wearing one of these:

amplified-mens-primal-scream-screamadelica-t-shirt-orange-p1831-4202_zoom

You and I know this is a Primal Scream “Screamadelica” t-shirt. But the guy wearing it? No-siree-bob.

“Nice tee shirt” I called across the room to him.

“Thank you” he beamed in response.

“Great album too!” I suggested.

“It is an album?” he replied, genuinely confused. “I just liked the picture!”

Hmmmm…..

Second, I was wearing a PJ Harvey tee shirt at work once, one promoting “50 Foot Queenie” from her “Rid of Me” album. It looked like this:

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I was wearing it ironically, since it has the words “Hey I’m One Big Queenie” emblazoned on it.

Certain folks in my office had never seen the likes. A very attractive girl approached me at the photocopiers.

Her: “I like your tee shirt”

Me: (nonchalantly) “Oh, thanks”

Her: “Who’s the picture of?”

Me: (disinterestedly) “PJ Harvey”

Her: “Who’s that?”

Me: “A really cool singer/songwriter. You’d like her.”

Her: “Oh? What does she sing? What do you recommend?”

My brain: “Sorry mate, I got nothing. I mean, I could have a rummage round some of these boxes of the usual shit you’ve got stored up here and try and dig out some of her songs so you don’t look like a dick, but I don’t think I can be arsed right now.”

Me: “Um….er….ahhh…hahaha…would you believe it…my mind has gone totally blank…..”

Tune in soon for the next instalment of “I am rubbish at talking to girls”

But anyway, I digress.

I asked Hel what her favourite Motorhead record was. Her reply: “It’s actually a thing they did with Girlschool…”

I looked at her in some amazement.

“Please Don’t Touch?” I said.

“Yes!!” she replied, mouth and eyes agog that someone else knew that record.

This one:

motorhead-and-girlschool-please-dont-touch-bronze Motorhead & Girlschool – Please Don’t Touch

And yes, I know I’ve posted that before.

We got talking and somehow got onto the topic of Smash Hits magazine. The more astute of you will have spotted the more-than-occasional homage to their way of writing around these parts. We enquired about each others favourite fact gleaned from those glossy pages. Number one on both of our lists was: “Mark King of Level 42 has insured his thumb for a million pounds!!” Truly I had found a kindred spirit. A Liverpool fan, but you can’t have everything, right?

If further proof were needed, we both love this record, the UK’s Eurovision entry the year after Bucks Fizz:

One_step_further_bucks_fizz Bardo – One Step Further

If I had a pound for every time we had drunkenly attempted to do the dance routine I’d be a very rich man by now.

We’ve spent many a happy night ratted together, me and Hel. There was the time we stayed up all night pissed, and I sent her out to buy another bottle of vodka at 9am, after which we decided it would be a really good idea to watch Jimmy McGovern’s death drama “Hillsborough” (the clue’s in the title as to how happy it’s going to be), spending the next few hours hugging each other and bawling our eyes out.

And then there was the time of the great argument about radishes.

Suffice it to say that on many of the stories I will tell over the forthcoming posts, Hel has been at my side, my wing-girl, a reciprocal deal, I hope. There’s so many stories I could, and probably will, tell you about times we’ve spent together, things we’ve done. For now, I’ll just give you a couple.

Firstly, as a measure of the woman, when I first was moving to London 7 years ago, I gave her a ring to see if she knew of anywhere I could find some digs.

“There’s a spare room in my place,” she said.

“Really? Great! Can I have it….?”

“It depends. Have you got the following things: 1) a DVD player 2) a pepper grinder, and 3) friends who are male models?”

I had the first two, but not the third.

“Meh. We can work on that. Move in when you like”.

And on the day I moved in, instead of unpacking and then letting me get an early night before my first day in a new job, she proceeded to take me on a tour of all the local pubs and get me proper hammered.

More recently, we’ve started DJ’ing together. Usually when you DJ with someone, you have an agreed spell “solo” on the decks, say half an hour on, half an hour off, but I have a need to know what’s coming next, in being prepared and lining the next one up (reasons will become clear in subsequent posts, and yes, those that know it, I am going to tell that story eventually), and she totally buys into this. As a result, Hel and I seem to have such a blast DJ’ing together we spend the whole night conferring about a running order, concurring about what the next record will be, and then the next and the next, with an implicit agreement that if you suggested the next record up, you mix it in. It’s a truly democratic process.

Our most prestigious gig was about a year ago, a private function in London’s swanky Groucho Club (we’ve never been invited back, but we were invited to “turn it down please” on the night.)

Beforehand, Hel had told me she was desperate to play Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”. I wasn’t particularly happy, but had decided I could counter it by deciding what to play either side. The next three records were the sequenced result:

Dance%20Apocalyptic%20Concept%20Art%20-%20Credit%20SAM%20SPRATT Janelle Monae – Dance Apocalyptic

Krista-2_28-2 Taylor Swift – Shake it Off

Britney_Spears_Toxic Britney Spears – Toxic

(What actually happened was as we walked to the venue, I told Hel I had thought of a record that would fit perfectly after Taylor Swift. “Is it Britney?” she asked. Damn you!!!)

(The place went batshit crazy when we dropped the Janelle Monae track, but we’ve never actually agreed which of us thought to play it. But I mixed it in, so……)

Some time earlier, we had played a friend’s wedding (truly any occasion, bar mitzvahs etc etc) and Hel taught me a valuable lesson: in certain circumstances, it is perfectly acceptable to play this:

whitneydance Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody

There’s loads more records I could play now which make me think of her, one of which she would fucking kill me if I posted, but for now, that’s me and Hel.

Oh, and then there’s this:

R-826535-1190720197_jpeg Almighty Allstars – Star Wars

Can’t think why that reminds me of Hel….did I mention she used to work for Almighty Records…? And recorded the odd vocal…? No….? Silly me….

Happy Birthday, hope you have a great one.  Love ya loads.

Here’s an appropriate one:

R-1574277-1274915614_jpeg The Velvet Underground – She’s My Best Friend

(Count yourself lucky I didn’t post The Wedding Present version)

PS: OK, now I’m drunk.