Sunday Afternoon Movie Club

At the time of writing, with the UK currently at various stages of Lockdown 2 new National Restrictions, fire-breakers or Tier systems due to the second wave of Covid (which was perfectly obvious to everyone was going to happen, everyone except the Government it seems), I thought I’d share with you some film and TV suggestions, stuff which I’ve watched since the new restrictions came in to place, in the hope that it might give you some ideas as to things to occupy yourselves too. Or, on occasions, what to avoid. And for those of you with kids to occupy, I’ll try to keep these as family-friendly as I can; I’ll let you know if any I feature are ones to keep young eyes and ears away from.

Some of these will be new, but most of them will be older films I’ve not watched for a long time and am revisiting, others part of my ongoing quest to plug the gaps in my own popular culture knowledge.

This quest was prompted about a year ago by two things which seemed to happen a lot: firstly, many people that I follow on Twitter routinely getting very excited whenever Midnight Run airs (I’d never seen it, have now. It was okay. Probably the victim of so many people waxing lyrical about it over the years that it simply couldn’t live up to expectations), and secondly the look on people’s faces when they learn that I’ve not seen certain movies – and one in particular – which they consider to be essential viewing, a look of disbelief which deepens when they realise that I worked in a video store for a couple of years in the early 1990s when the films being referenced were widely available.

More of those another time. Yesterday evening I stocked up on munchies, dimmed the lights and watched a movie I hadn’t seen since it got released on video way back when: 1995’s Apollo 13.

I don’t think the story of Apollo 13 is anywhere near as well known on this side of the pond as it is on the other, so here’s what Wiki has to say about it (no spoilers):

Apollo 13 is a 1995 American space docudrama film directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise. [It] dramatizes the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission and is an adaptation of the 1994 book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, by astronaut Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. The film depicts astronauts Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise aboard Apollo 13 for America’s fifth crewed mission to the Moon, which was intended to be the third to land. En route, an on-board explosion deprives their spacecraft of much of its oxygen supply and electrical power, which forces NASA’s flight controllers to abort the Moon landing and turns the mission into a struggle to get the three men home safely.

Ok, so for a start, that’s a pretty impressive cast: Hanks plays Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell, and just having Hanks on board means we know we’re in safe hands, even if the crew might not be.

As an aside, it’s amazing just how many real-life men throughout US history Hanks has played (and no, I don’t mean Forrest Gump), and who presumably he must at least vaguely resemble: lawyer James B. Donovan in Bridge of Spies; Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post in The Post (which I think airs on Channel 4 this week and is…well, a bit dry to be honest); the eponymous US Congressman in Charlie Wilson’s War; the eponymous merchant mariner in Captain Phillips; the eponymous commercial airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger in Sully; Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks; US TV icon Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, not to mention FBI agent Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can (although this is actually a character based on real-life FBI agent Joseph Shea), and Eastern European Mehran Karimi Nasseri in The Terminal.

Popular board game Guess Who? must be really tricky in America:

Player 1: “Does he look like Tom Hanks?”

Player 2: “Yes”

Player 1: does not flick any of the faces down.

But I digress; alongside Hanks are the much missed Bill Paxton as Apollo 13 Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise, Gary Sinese as Apollo 13 prime Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly, who gets bumped from the flight at the 11th hour in favour of mobile phone salesman Kevin Bacon as Apollo 13 backup Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert; and back in charge at Mission Control we have Ed Harris as White Team Flight Director Gene Kranz.

The movie has the potential to get bogged down in mathematical equations, of men in brown suits stroking their chins whilst looking at monitors as they ruminate on how to get the crew home safe and sound, but if you’ve ever seen any of director Howard’s other docudramas (and if you haven’t I’d strongly recommend you check out Rush, the story of the battle between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, and Watergate classic Frost/Nixon, where British chat show host David Frost attempts to lure US President Richard Nixon into a confession during a series of TV interviews) plays an absolute blinder: for example, he anticipated difficulty in portraying weightlessness in a realistic manner, but after discussing this with some chap called Steven Spielberg, those sections of the film which demand zero gravity – and there are a lot of them – were shot on board a KC-135 airplane, or as it’s also known, “the vomit comet”, which can be flown in such a way as to create about 23 seconds of weightlessness, a method NASA has always used to train its astronauts for space flight.

Here’s the trailer:

Plus, there’s some great tunes on the soundtrack:

I loved revisiting this movie; it’s message of hope, bravery and that science will undoubtedly win out in the end offered some unexpected optimism in the current pandemic climate: 9/10.

Apollo 13 is currently available to stream on Netflix.

More soon.

The Chain #49

I promise that I’m not going to start all of my posts with these words, but following the last instalment of The Chain I had an email from from long-time reader and Chain Gang contributor George who said that he was “toying with idea of making a cd of Chain 48”. (To any of our younger readers, CDs are what we used to record music on to and listen to music from before streaming and making playlists became things.)

Anyway, I thought this was an excellent idea, because I have a playlist for every edition of The Chain, the purpose of which was partly so that I could revisit and relive the good times and the bad, but mostly so that I could check whether something had already been suggested and therefore was precluded from being nominated again. You may have noticed I’ve been rather lax about this since The Chain returned, and that’s not going to change: I figure in these days of Trump & Johnson, of global pandemics*, international recessions, corruption at a governmental level, and starving children (it was The Chain or a Rant today), there’s more important things to worry about than duplications in The Chain back catalogue.

(*Sit down, New Zealand, I’m not talking about you)

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that to get all of #48’s songs onto one CD would take a lot of editing choices, so I’d love to hear which songs made the cut – even more so should you decide on making one after you’ve read this one because this week (I say that like I post these every week, rather than every six weeks or so) we have just shy of 4 and 3/4 hours worth of tunes to get through, and I don’t think there’s a duff choice amongst them. Some ropey ones, yes, but duffers, no. But then Kay hasn’t suggested anything this time, so…..so maybe I should crack on.

Oh, and George (Incoming obligatory oblique 1970s TV reference that about 80% of you won’t get): I’m sorry but we aren’t able to return any drawings sent in, but yes, it is a big one, no I’ve never seen one quite that shape before, and no I don’t need you to send me a photo, but thank you for the offer.

OK, so let’s start as we usually do with a reminder of the source material this time around, which was this:

As you might expect, we have a lot of tunes related to Talk(ing), some related to Fear of Music (the album that features on), and then what I believe is the collective term for lots of suggestions on a similar theme: an absolute fuckload of songs linked to a specific city, or the words cities or city. As always, I’ll try to put them in an order that makes some kind of narrative sense (you’ve noticed I do that right?) but if you’re planning on doing yourself a playlist of these, I’d be interested to see if you think you’ve done better (NB: no I wouldn’t. Keep it to yourself, thanks very much).

Not quite first out of the traps this time was Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who, as he will explain, suggests a tune which simply demands to go first:

“Cities should have a theme and luckily we have an ahead of its time piece of ice cool euro dance that found a second life in the Balearic sounds of ’88 and thereafter:

Now, I don’t profess to know anywhere near as much about that there dance music as our Swiss, but I do know that got used on a tune recorded by David Russell Lee, who used to be known under the stage name of Joey Negro. Lee also recorded under many other pseudonyms, including this one, which throws in a Queen sample for good measure, and I think is what Swiss means when he says “thereafter”, given this came out in 2001:

But since we’re already going off on tangents, here’s a factoid for you (lifted from Wiki, so large pinch of salt at the ready): In 1993, Lee was approached by Take That’s label with a view to working together. Lee suggested they covered an old hit by Dan Hartman, which hadn’t been a hit in the UK but which had become a popular club track in the house music scene. They did as suggested, replacing Loleatta Holloway from the original with – who else? – Scottish songstress Lulu and lo! the boy band’s second number one in the UK was born.

Anyway. Cities. I think next I’ll hand over to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense to get us back on track:

“Knowing too much about 3rd Division Punk Bands (as I do), the phrase “Cities” immediately brought forth [this]…It’s OK, in a mohican wearing punky thrashing type way, but probably not what you’re looking for.”

Turns out, that’s quite the accurate description. I’m also imagining a purple and black furry jumper:

I gather Westlife are planning to do a cover of that as their comeback single.

Well, we seem to have strayed into the territory of songs with the word Cities in their title, so here’s another couple of suggestions. Firstly, C from Sun Dried Sparrows who says “I’m just plumping for the very first thing that comes into my head as a kind of quick subconscious response and it is…..:”

…which is bound to lighten the mood.

Let’s see what George can conjure up this time:

“Taking the cities from the song, to Manchester City, whose best English footballer was Colin Bell, whose birthday is February 26th, the same date as Michael Bolton…[Oh, Jesus, no…. – Ed]…wait for it…Fats Domino [Better – Ed]…and Johnny Cash, so my song is…:”

Phew!

I think at this point I should hand back to Rigid Digit, who gave me a whole host of acts who had recorded songs called In The City, the first of which was also suggested by Martin of New Amusements fame:

..and this (just Rigid Digit now):

and (which, if I was still giving points out, would earn a couple for being in one of the coolest films ever, but I’m not, so it won’t – and in any event, I’d have to deduct points for the artist having also been in The Eagles and Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, surely the least cool bands ever):

and this:

Now. Regular readers will know that I have deep-seated hatred of songs being appropriated for advertising purposes, as documented in my S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs) series. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m with the late, great Bill Hicks on this one:

Here’s a tune which I’ve been meaning to post for a while, and which samples Hicks and explains my thoughts better than I ever could, and which I must credit my old mate Dum Dum (not his real name) for bringing into my life:

See, it’s bad enough when songs we love are appropriated to sell something, but surely it’s even worse when an act we love pops over to an overseas land in the hope that those back home will never find out what they’ve done – and I’m looking at you Bacon and Clooney – isn’t it?:

Mostly because Joey did it too:

But I digress, again.

Rigid’s next suggestion is this: “…or even Starship who built this city on sausage rolls.” Now, we all know what he is obliquely referring to, and that’s the first of the last two Christmas #1s here in the UK. In a week where Tory MPs voted down a motion which would have ensured that children from poor families don’t starve because of the various lockdown restrictions, I thought it probably best if I didn’t post a free link to a song which tried to help. Instead, here’s the (extremely unfunny) video (and yes, this got to #1 in the UK):

…and here’s the song they are referencing:

To be fair, Rigid does offer up a vastly superior song, the title of which references the same source:

So before we set off on a little journey of all the songs mentioning actual cities in their titles or their lyrics (and there’s lots of them), we’ll have a look at all of the suggestions – most of them are mine, admittedly – which feature the word City in the title or in the artiste name. But before we do that, let’s get all of the other ones mopped up.

Here’s the Devonian with, I think, my favourite explanation ever:

“A geographical link… not going off “Cities” though, but rather the fact that the bassist in Talking Heads was the esteemed (albeit not by David Byrne) Tina Weymouth. That got me wondering whether there are any other groups with bassists named after gentrified Dorset coastal settlements. But I couldn’t find any, so I had to settle for a couple of singers instead. Therefore I give you Shelly and Karen Poole and…”

“…which is great and you know it is really.”

Actually, I’m more of an ‘I Am, I Feel’ kinda guy, as it goes, but that’s enough about why I can’t go on public transport without a responsible adult in tow anymore.

“Whilst Devonian was struggling for Dorset-named bass players to link to Tina Weymouth,” pipes up The Great Gog, “I found myself thinking of a feature of said coast that is named in a song – namely the theme tune to children’s TV show Portland Bill (which must have been 20 years old when my kids watched it on satellite telly in the early 00’s).

I can’t say this rang any bells with me at all, but I have managed to track down a copy of the writer of the theme tune in question, playing…well, it:

Next up is PhonicPat who, undeterred by suggesting the worst record last time out, has come up with a load of absolute bangers this time, starting with this, which kinda follows on given that it’s “made up of the rhythm section of Talking Heads” who just so happen to be husband and wife combo Chris Frantz (drums) and Tina Weymouth (bass and renowned gentrified Dorset coastal settlement):

Talking Heads “…tried to continue without Byrne and released the ‘No Talking Just Heads’ album” Pat continues, “featuring collaborations with Debbie Harry, Andy Partridge and Shaun Ryder amongst others therefore:”

and

and

And Pat isn’t finished there:

“[A] David Byrne/Talking Heads link” (as Byrne features as guest vocalist on this):

Now, there’s two things to say about that: firstly Byrne mentions New York at the start, and we’ll be coming on to that city in the fullness of time; and secondly these PhonicPat sponsored words: “…(along with saucy video)“.

In the name of research, strictly so that you don’t have to press play on this next video, you understand, I have watched this, several times, and can confirm that no matter how much you might slow it down or rewind and watch again, whoever had the job of censoring out the wobbly bits did a fine job. Still, best you approach with caution, eh?

Remind me in a bit to give you a related Pet Shop Boys fact, will you?

Since we seem to have landed on band-related suggestions, George is back again:

“From Talking Heads to the Talking Book album by Stevie Wonder, and the track:…”

And moving on to other suggestions about links to the band name we have Alyson from What’s It All About? who says: “We’ve had Dollar [last time out] so in the same vein can I suggest….”

Whoa there tiger! I need to explain the “in the same vein” bit, because Dollar should definitely not be bracketed with The Fizz so lightly. Oh no. For post-1980s fame The Fizz split into two factions: one containing original members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and (sighs) Jay Aston, the other containing Bobby Gee and an almighty war broke out about who should use the name Bucks Fizz to promote their cruise ship wares. And amidst this row, up popped former member of Dollar and never member of the Fizz, David Van Day who, when he wasn’t trying to be the Lawrence Fox of his day and appear all outrageous by dumping his girlfriend live on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, elected to appropriate the name Bucks Fizz, go on a tour, sing a couple of their songs and trouser all the cash. The twat.

Anyway, here’s Alyson’s Fizz choice:

What I love about Alyson’s choice is that she could have picked the original of that, by The Romantics, but such is her devotion to ladies having their skirts ripped off as part of a Eurovision dance routine, she simply had to plump for a bit of Fizz. Kudos.

No idea what I’m banging on about? Here you go, complete with withering intro from the much missed Terry Wogan:

Genius pop music. And I mean that.

Alyson has some other suggestions linking to Talking Heads’ name, namely:

and

Almost time to set off on our tour of cities, have you got your packed lunch and your waterproof coat? Ok, I’ll stall for a bit with some frankly rather clever suggestions.

The source record this time features on Talking Heads’ Fear of Music album, which takes us into the dark territory of phobias. Or, as the Devonian puts it: “Cities is from the album Fear Of Music… which is a Phobia… which is a song by Flowered Up”

It sure is:

Which leads us neatly on to Hal’s suggestions: “Didn’t Cage the Elephant release an album called Melophobia?” he asks, rhetorically. Well, yes, yes they did. And in case you were wondering, Melophobia is the correct technical term for having a fear of music, so here’s something from the album of the same name:

I’ve always avoided them because, well, I thought (and still do) that they have a terrible name, but that’s not bad so maybe I need to reassess.

Anyway, Hal isn’t finished yet: “Which leads us to Phonophobia: The Second Coming by Extreme Noise Terror. Or perhaps not…”

Too late, you’ve said it now.

Phonophobia: The Second Coming is an album by Extreme Noise Terror, and this is one of the songs on it:

Peelie would be proud.

How do you follow that? With this:

Thank goodness for Rol from My Top Ten who kindly steps in to suggest this, which in his eyes “seems an obvious winner”

Frankly, if we’re going to mention bands with the word City in their name, I don’t think we can justifiably omit this lot:

“The other obvious one”, Rol continues undeterred, and I’ll let him carry on because I can’t quite work out where else to place this, “is to jump to Radiohead (as they took their name from a Talking Heads song) and Street Spirit (because there are lots of streets in cities…)

He’s not wrong, there are. I counted at least seven near where I live just the other day, and I think I may have missed some.

I hadn’t finished with bands with City in their names. This lot are definitely less renowned than Mr McKeown and the gang (Bay City Rollers, not Radiohead) and are named after 2000AD’s Judge Dredd comic strip. Play this one loud:

And so we move on to songs with the word City in the title (that aren’t called In the City). You know how until that last little spurt I’ve hardly suggested anything so far? Consider that ended. Eyes down and here we go with the almost entirely forgotten about:

…to an often overlooked gem:

…and the never to be forgotten:

A sort of clever one: this was released on City Rockers, a label synonymous with the electro-clash sound of the early 2000s:

And we shouldn’t overlook this brace of bangers:

…which almost inevitably leads us here:…

…which leads me to this spoof record, but it’s a spoof of a song which doesn’t have a city in it’s title, but I’m sure you’ll get it:

And finally, I was very surprised that absolutely nobody suggested anything from PJ Harvey’s magnificent Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea album, so I guess I’ll have to:

I’m stalling because it feels slightly disingenuous to be suggesting we go on a world tour just as so many cities around the world are locking down to prevent travel and the potential spreading of the Corona virus, so can I ask that you all don your face masks, smear yourselves in hand sanitiser like it’s goose fat before you attempt to swim the Channel, don’t stand so close to me and we’ll be off, safely.

But where to start? “Something from Gerry Rafferty’s very fine City To City album perhaps?” pipes up Rigid Digit again, which seems a perfectly good suggestion, and I’ve plumped, somewhat obviously, for the title track:

And it’s to Rigid Digit that we turn to yet again as we herald the start of The Chain World Tour which, given some places like my beloved Wales have gone into circuit-breaking lockdown today, I must say I feel a teensy bit guilty about, but, nevertheless, here we go.

Truly, there can only be one song to kick this off, and as Rigid quotes: “London, Paris, New York, Munich.  Everybody talk about…:

“I was beaten to M,” moans The Great Gog, “but other songs name-checking a number of cities that sprang to mind were…:”

…and…

Not forgetting, as Martin from New Amusements points out, a song which (apart from the Hang the DJ bit) perhaps most perfectly encapsulates where we are right now:

Ok, let’s start, with a whistle-stop tour of the UK. Here’s The Robster:

“I was going to suggest the wonderful Theme For Great Cities but Swiss Adam beat me to it! So I decided to think about songs ABOUT cities. Then I realised I’d be suggesting about 4 million songs and you’d hate me more than I’d hate myself! So in the end I plumped for one city. It was going to be Newport, but the only songs about us are parodies and parodies of parodies. So I chose our neighbours instead and came up with…:

I’m not sure why The Robster thinks this lot only do parodies. Funny songs, of course: it’s their stock in trade. I mean, sure this one is a parody, but it’s the only one I know which actually mentions The Mighty ‘Port in it’s title, and (sorry Rob) from the short time I lived there, seems wholly accurate to me:

Let’s head up to Birmingham next, and I’ll hand the reins back to Swiss Adam for a moment, for he is quoting lines from the source material to guide us to our next destination.

“Birmingham ‘lots of rich people’….” (although I think Byrne was probably referring to B’ham, Alabama.)

For those of us old enough to remember, it’s hard to forget when they fell foul of a Government clause of the 1981 Broadcasting Act which prohibited the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of 11 Irish political and paramilitary organisations. The restrictions were part of the Thatcher government’s desire to prevent Sinn Féin from employing the media for political advantage.

Yeh, I know. Dry subject.

What this meant in practical terms was that when, in 1987, they appeared on Friday Night Live , a Thames Television programme hosted by Ben Elton, they played Streets of Sorrow but the broadcaster cut to an ad break before they got to Birmingham Six.

Ridiculous as the rules were, a loop-hole meant that we were allowed to hear what Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) had to say, but we could not hear them spoken by a member of the political party. Generally what this meant was the words were read by an actor with a plummy Home Counties accent, but the ludicrousness of the situation was highlighted here, on The Day Today:

This next song actually mentions bombing in Birmingham, although it means it in the “not going down to well at a gig” sense, rather than the more literal interpretation:

In these times of Tiers and Lockdown, I’m not sure we’ll get any better advice than to ‘start drinking til we’re blind’ (again, metaphorically of course – I don’t want any of us to end up in one of those adverts asking people to sponsor a puppy); I know it’s what has got me through writing this post, for a start.

“This mentions Birmingham, Alabama”, offers PhonicPat, and he’s not wrong, it does:

But we’re not quite ready to go trans-Atlantic, because here’s The Robster again:

“I have another one, this time referring to my Devon roots. The nearest city to where I grew up was Exeter – so:”

What I love about IDLES, apart from their records, is that they’re so bloody angry about everything, even their name is in capital letters like they’re shouting that too.

Catchphrase time! Well, if you’re having that, then I’m having this, a song about the nearest city to where I grew up, but where IDLES are VERY ANGRY! about how shit Exeter is, The Long Blondes are just a wee bit disappointed with how dull Peterborough is:

Staying in the UK, here’s Stevie from Charity Chic Music who takes us (much) further Up North:

David Byrne was born in Scotland – Dumbarton to be precise.  So the link is obviously:”

…which not only gets added to the ever-growing pile marked: ‘Must Investigate Further’, it also allows me to include this, which the title obviously references:

Since that also mentions Berlin, we may as well pop over to Europe, y’know, whilst we still can, without having to incorporate a two-week stay in a car park in Kent. Here’s another suggestion from Martin:

Well, this all seems to have got rather gloomy rather quickly. But I have an idea! Let’s pop over to the former capital of Turkey to liven things up a bit:

It became very apparent as I was sifting through the suggestions that there were two cities which featured more than any other, so, after a spot of self-isolation, we’ll pop back to the one in the UK: That London. And first up is another suggestion from Phonic Pat which takes us on a nice little (if expensive) tour of the city:

Here’s Swiss Adam again, quoting lines from the source record:

“…a small city, dark in the day time…”

…and suggesting this absolute shoe-in:

And here’s Martin again with two further capital suggestions:

“For when one is tired of London, one is tired of life, right?” adds Martin. Try telling Alan that:

Obligatory Alan Partridge clip? Tick!

One more from Martin, “…because I love them so…” (me too, mate, me too):

Sticking with Martin’s stream of suggestions, let’s hop over to the other city which seems to be mentioned in song titles more than any other:

“Decidedly not a cover of Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Martin adds. Well no: there’s a more liberal use of the F-word than Sinatra ever committed to record for a start. Plus, without wishing to be pedantic (he says as he is about to do just that), the Sinatra song Martin refers to is actually called Theme from New York, New York, so there was never any real danger of confusion. This next one though, less so:

That’s what being brought up listening to Radio 2 does for you: you remember records like that.

You won’t be surprised to read that I’ve got loads of these, the next of which is by someone who gets a bad rap for being a bit square (I think that’s it; I certainly don’t recall him having done anything unmentionable, apart from Uptown Girl of course), but I think he’s written some absolute corkers, and this is one of them:

New York, here we are, and here’s Odyssey to tell us we fit right in:

When The Strokes released their wonderful and never-bettered debut album Is This It? in 2001 (God, that makes me feel old), there was a difference between the UK and the US release, for the UK release included this, presumably omitted from the US release because it probably wasn’t considered to sit well so close in the wake of 9/11:

Back in time now, to the first record I ever bought, sort of. You can read about that here but in case you can’t be bothered (and if you’ve got this far I can’t blame you for feeling a bit wiped out) here it is:

Remember about seven hours ago, just after The BPA tune, I asked you to remind me to give you a Pet Shop Boys factoid? Well, the time is now: before he worked for Smash Hits magazine (my gateway drug to pop music before I grew up/discovered the NME) Neil Tennant used to work for Marvel Comics, editing out any hint of nipple from the cartoons contained within the pages of the heralded comic book. And that’s not even as funny as the rumour Stuart Maconie made up about him being a fully qualified Rugby League referee.

Anyway, here’s the Pet Shop Boys:

Hold up, Swiss is back with his quoting lyrics and suggesting songs ways:

“Memphis: ‘home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks’”

Leading him here:

And if you’re going to mention Memphis, you either have to include something by a certain Mr Presley (not Reg), or make a joke about being dead on a toilet eating a burger, or post this:

Funnily enough, Mr Simon is going in the opposite direction to Ian Hunter and the Mott the Hoople crew, as suggested by Phonic Pat:

And here’s a group who are considering a move to a completely different part of the US of A:

But as we all know, there’s only one place in America that one should consider moving to:

And that’s where I intended to sign off, were it not for one final suggestion from Martin:

“Oh, and can I add Vegas by Sleeper, just because… well, okay, just because of Louise Wener, really.”

Of course you can: if it doesn’t get cancelled as opposed to being forever rescheduled, I’ll be going to see them perform their debut album Smart, sometime, along with this morning’s postees The Bluetones doing the same with their debut album Expecting to Fly:

And that’s yer lot, except to reveal the actual next record in the actual Chain, which nobody suggested.

Here’s the link: “Talking Heads had a female bassist. So did…

Which just leaves me to ask for your suggestions for songs which link to 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins, to be submitted via either the Comments function on this page, or if you prefer anonymity that you ultimately won’t be afforded, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com

More soon.

The Kids Are Alright

Social Media gets a bad press. Discuss.

Often, deservedly so. And I’m not talking about people who insist on posting photos of their dinner, or their kids doing something nauseatingly cute.

No. We’ve all read the stuff about Cambridge Analytica, the Fake News posts which gently massage ones thoughts into a particular way of thinking/voting. I think since 2016 we’ve all – hopefully- become a lot more wise this, and so it’s refreshing to learn that – finally, and long overdue – to the bohemoths of social media (Facebook and Twitter) seem to be trying to get their houses in order.

Facebook has announced that it’s cracking down on Fake News advertising, whilst Twitter has started fact checking tweets sent by some chap called Donald J Trump, and deleting them when, on the (ahem) very odd occasion, they are found to be somewhat lacking in the truth department.

Whilst this is, of course, to be welcomed, it comes four years too late in my book. We’ve had four years of Trump related damage. Brexit is happening (and just in case it escaped your attention, the deadline to extend the transition period passed this week. Hooray for the death of all of our industries! Hooray as those ex-pats come sucrrying back from the Costa Del Anglais complaining that “this isn’t what they voted for”!). But okay, better late than never.

Then there’s the young pretenders on the social media scene, none of which I really understand. (I’m in my 50s, I’m not their target market, I’m not supposed to get it.) I don’t see the appeal of Instagram, and had you said the words Tik Tok to me six months ago, I’d have assumed you were talking about these early 80s oddities:

Tik & Tok – Screen Me, I’m Yours

I’m not sure I’ve imparted just how odd those two seemed back in the day. Have a look at this:

They’re like Daft Punk choreographed by Peter Crouch and dressed by Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

Anyway, I was heartened to read this week how certain Tik Tok subscribers have unleashed their subversive power against the Trump in recent weeks.

If I have understood matters correctly, it began with a communal effort to leave bad ratings on all of the Trump owned leisure facilities.

Here, for example, is the daughter of Kellyanne Conway, suggesting that her followers leave one star reviews of Trump’s facilities:

And just in case you’re not clear who Kellyanne Conway is, here’s her Wiki entry:

Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway (née Fitzpatrick; born January 20, 1967) is an American pollster, political consultant, and pundit who serves as counselor to the president in the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump. She was previously Trump’s campaign manager, having been appointed in August 2016…; She has previously held roles as campaign manager and strategist in the Republican Party, and was formerly president and CEO of The Polling Company / WomanTrend.”

Which just makes her daughter’s post so lip-smackingly perfect.

And here’s the thing: people did as she asked.

and, no holds barred, brilliantly:

On top of this, and I may be reporting these in reverse order, they started targeting Trump rallies. This is even more delicious.

On Saturday 20th June, there was a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brad Parscale, the chairman of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, posted on Twitter on Monday that the campaign had fielded more than a million ticket requests, but reporters at the event noted the attendance was lower than expected.

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said protesters stopped supporters from entering the rally, held at a venue with a 19,000-seat capacity.

But reporters present said there were few protests. According to a spokesman for the Tulsa Fire Department on Sunday, the fire marshal counted 6,200 scanned tickets of attendees. (That number would not include staff, media or those in box suites.)

So what happened? Step forward your subversive Tik Tokers, who in conjunction with fans of Korean pop music (or K-Pop to us oldies), claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After the Trump campaign’s official account @TeamTrump posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not turn up.

The trend quickly spread on TikTok, where videos with millions of views instructed viewers to do the same. I’d post some examples here, but, clever kids that they are, they’ve deleted all the messages, ready to rise and troll the Trump again.

My heart swells.

Also, garnering support for an online movement such as this is a lot easier – and possibly more effective – than standing in front of a tank in Tianeman Square.

So what song to post to honour these revolutionary subordinants? Oh Gosh, so many spring to mind.

But it’s Saturday, I’ve not posted in a while, so let’s have them all:

Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue – Kids

Shut up. You’re wrong. It’s an absolute tune.

The Who – The Kids Are Alright

More soon.

The Chain #43

There. That’s caught you all out. The Chain on a Wednesday morning.

Don’t get used to this. I’m at a work conference this afternoon and won’t get back until late, so I figured if I didn’t get it done before then, it’d end up being another week before it appeared. So, I started writing it earlier than usual (but still a week late, if you’re being ungratefully picky).

Anyway, we’ve lots to get through this week – 63 new suggestions in total – and so, as has become usual, we’ll start off with a reminder of the source record for the week:

original_44242. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

Yet again, one of you correctly guessed the next song in The Chain, but we’ll come to that later. Or, more specifically, at the end.

But first, where to begin? Link-wise, I can think of no finer place than with therobster from Is This The Life? although, as you will see, the first tune of the week can only be partly credited to him:

“I’ve gone down the ‘intentionally misspelled animal-related band name’ route. How about some Def Leppard? No…?” 

Yes! But with no actual one-armed suggestions forthcoming from the robster, in stepped Rol from My Top Ten:

“If therobster isn’t going to suggest one, can I suggest…”

Def Leppard

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked

“…because it’s very silly.”

Back to therobster, who actually suggests this:

“…let’s have the Monkees. As the Beatles were from Liverpool, I reckon ‘Randy Scouse Git’ would fit well. Plus, it’s actually about a party the band went to that was hosted by The Beatles”

Monkees

The Monkees – Randy Scouse Git

Now, just in case any of you were planning on pulling me up on using that sleeve, let me explain. RCA Records bosses told the band that they would not release the song with the title “Randy Scouse Git” (which, incidentally, is taken from 1960s sitcom “‘Til Death Us Do Part”), and demanded they gave it an alternate title. “Okay”, said drummer/singer Mickey Dolenz, “‘Alternate Title’ it is.”

Here’s another band that fits nicely into the category:

Byrds

The Byrds – I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

Now, as therobster quite right points out, The Beatles is indeed a mis-spelling, and a pun, on a group if insects, but this seems to have completely passed Kay by:

“I’m going down the insect/bug route” she announces, and then names these two tunes:

Adam & The Ants

Adam & The Ants – Prince Charming

and

Verve

The Verve – Catching The Butterfly

But whilst we’re on links from The Beatles to the beetles, we may as well have Mrs GMFree, who suggests: “A Beetle is a VW car which is German, so are krautrock masters Kraftwerk…”

Or, as Alan Partridge would say:

tumblr_mzmv3gTWx11qedb29o1_500

 “Kommen sie bitte und listen to Kraftwerk”

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk – Autobahn

(NB. I tried to track down a video clip of just the Partridge – Kraftwerk introduction, sadly to no avail. But imagine my surprise when typing the words “alan partridge introduces kraftwerk” into Google to find that the fourth link it offers is to…The Chain #28!)

But I digress. GMFree seizes the opportunity to do the old Chain link one-two shuffle:

“Which leads me to my [next] suggestion with the recent death of Holger Czukay…”

Can

Can – Mushroom

“…which I first heard covered by The Jesus & Mary Chain, one of many bands influenced by the experimental Germans.”

And GMFree isn’t done there, providing “a Beatle link to a Captain Beefheart cover”, which contains one of the rarest sounds ever committed to record – Mark E Smith giggling:

Fall

The Fall – Beatle Bones ‘N’ Smokin’ Stones (Peel Session)

There’s also this, of course:

House Of Love

The House of Love – The Beatles and The Stones

Enter George (that’s an introduction, rather than a command), who suggests:

“…given that The Beatles once played on the roof of their Apple building, what about…”

Drifters

The Drifters – Up On The Roof

Ah yes, Apple Records. Alex G picks this up and runs with it:

“‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP, their first on their own Apple Records imprint. So from one artist-owned label named after a fruit, to another: Ray Charles’ Tangerine Records. I do wonder whether the Beatles got the idea from him, though nobody else seems to think so. Anyway, let’s go for Ray Charles’ version of…”

Ray

Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby

Which is, as Alex G points out/pleads, a double linker. Points!

Time for a Magical Mystery Tour next, courtesy of Julian from Music From Magazines:

“The Beatles had a couple of names before they became famous

1. The Quarrymen

To quarry is to mine as in ‘Soul Mining’ by The The ( fill your boots)”

Don’t mind if I do.

The The

The The – Uncertain Smile

Julian continues:

“2. The Silver Beatles

Martha is a lady’s name

And the bloke leaning over my shoulder at the bar is called Dave, amongst other things

So let’s switch on the Magimix ™ and see what delight we get

………… and the winner is

David Soul ‘Silver Lady'”

Much as I love that record, it’s featured before, way back in The Chain #8, and as such has to be disqualified. But since GMFree has done the old Chain link one-two shuffle, I suggested Julian might want to follow suit. So, since, he’d got to David Soul, perhaps one of his other songs? Nope. That’s too straight-forward for our Julian:

“David Soul starred in a short lived TV show called ‘Casablanca’, so how about…”

Dooley

Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By

I must say, I’m not in the least bit surprised that Julian has suggested a song from a film which contains the line “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Anyway, he’s riffing by now:

“…coincidently [Casablanca] was the record label that released…”

Parliament

Parliament – Dr. Funkenstein

Having valiantly chipped in to assist therobster earlier, Rol’s back with a suggestion all his own doing:

“‘Martha My Dear’ is from The White Album. Another band who released a ‘White Album’ (following on from their Blue, Green and Red albums… even though all of them were actually just eponymous) were Weezer. From that, I’ll suggest…”

Weezer_-_Weezer_(The_White_Album)

Weezer – Thank God for Girls

Do any other White albums spring to mind? Well, no, although there is, of course “The Whitey Album”, by Sonic Youth off-shoot Ciccone Youth (I really thought this would get suggested, especially as I posted a track from it in a recent post).

Ciccone

Ciccone Youth – Addicted to Love

Over to Alyson from What’s It All About? to wrap up the whiteness now:

“It occurred to me that The Beatles ‘White Album’ reminds me of Mr Barry White…I can’t find any dog-related [this will get explained soon – Ed] Barry songs or ones about a girl called Martha [I think we pretty much used them all up last time – Ed] so it’ll have to be the next most appropriate for this place:”

Barry

Barry White – Let The Music Play

Now, all this white stuff is all well and good, but let me draw all of your attention back to something Alex G said earlier: ‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP…” And he’s quite right: the album in question is colloquially known as ‘The White Album’ but it’s actually, officially, called ‘The Beatles’.

Which takes us back to George, who suggests a new category: “…the ‘eponymous album that wasn’t a debut’ route.” And specifically he suggest this, from Blur’s 1997 album, the fifth that they released:

Blur

Blur – Death of a Party

I must say, this is my favourite link of all that were suggested this time. It had never occurred to me before that most acts, when releasing an eponymous album, made it their debut, presumably to double the impact of their name, get it “out there” as a recognisable brand. So I did a little digging and found these acts also released eponymous albums, but not first time around:

Metallica

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Yes, everyone calls their fifth album “The Black Album”, but it’s not called that, it’s called ‘Metallica’.

And at the other end of the musical spectrum, this lots’ first album was 1973’s “Ring Ring”, but it wasn’t until two years later, when they released their third album, that they released an album called…well, you can figure the rest of that sentence out for yourselves:

Front Cover

ABBA – S.O.S.

I sense a new series of posts coming on…

Now, remember how in her suggestion Alyson mentioned something about dogs in songs? Well that’s where we’re going next and here’s Dirk from sexyloser to explain why:

“..the title ‘Martha My Dear’ was inspired by McCartney’s Old English Sheepdog, named Martha.”

Which leads us nicely into a whole batch of songs about dogs. Sort of. But before we get to Dirk’s suggestion, here’s The Great Gog, awake at 02:31am and thinking about dogs:

“All this talk of Martha has me thinking of my one of my sister’s dogs, which goes by that moniker. Martha is a spaniel, no idea what type of spaniel though. One type is a cocker spaniel which immediately led me to thinking of…”

Cocker

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

Relax ladies, he’s married. And dead.

Back to The Great Gog it is then:

“Another type is a King Charles spaniel. The next King Charles is still a prince, however, so I can legitimately suggest…”

Prince Charles

Prince Charles & The City Beat Band – Cash (Cash Money)

The Songs (Sort Of) About Dogs category is (almost) the largest category, so strap yourself in for some canine capers. You could say that we’ve gone dog crazy, in fact:

Soup

The Soup Dragons – Backwards Dog

Okay then Dirk, what have you got for us?

“Another famous Old English Sheepdog was Alfie, who starred in ‘Serpico’, so – of course – did Al Pacino. And Al Pacino will always be remembered – at least in my household – not for Serpico, but a) [for the sex scene he had with the fabulous Ellen Barkin in] ‘Sea Of Love’, the film being named after a single by Phil Phillips from 1959. I prefer The Heptones’ version from 1968 though, also we don’t have enough Rocksteady on ‘The Chain’, I’m sure you’ll agree!”

Sorry, I stopped paying attention at the mention of Ellen Barkin. (I was wondering you were linking to her surname)

Heptones

The Heptones – Sea Of Love

What was the other thing Al Pacino is remembered for in Dirk Towers, Dirk?

“…and b) for ‘The Godfather’….So…if you have a minute The Godfathers would be appropriate…perhaps….?”

Godfathers

The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death

And Dirk’s not done there. Oh no:

“We could also have something by Blondie as well…‘cos contrary to what everyone thinks, the band didn’t choose their name because Debbie Harry was blonde, no, they named themselves after Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd, Blondi (the ‘i’ – ending was generally regarded as being too uncommon for American ears, so much so that the ‘-e’ was added)!”

Which is good enough for me. Here’s the Blondie track Dirk suggested:

deborah-harry-13772

Blondie – Ring Of Fire (Live 1980)

At which point, Walter from A few good times in my life pops in to throw this threesome into the mix:

“…if we go the ‘dog’ road there will be a lot of songs recommended, i.e….:”

And as it happens, nobody else suggested any of the three Walter mentioned, (although I had one lined up as one of my oh-so many choices) so here they are:

Specials

The Specials – Do The Dog

and

Stooges

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

and

Adam - Dog

Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog

Ok, brace yourself. It’s time for the undisputed Worst Record of the Week award, and to present the award here’s all round nice guy and not a white supremacist enabler at all, Sean Spicer accept the award and explain what the hell he was thinking when he sent me this suggestion is Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:

“…sticking firmly to the Dogs route (and a contender for Worst Record Of The Week)…”

Not just a contender, Rigid, but so nailed on The Worst Record Of The Week that nobody else even bothered to try to think of any more because this was so obviously unbeatable.

But first some context.

The song is about Barbara Woodhouse, a dog trainer who found celebrity status in the UK in the late 1970s/early 1980s, back when celebrities were required to have some semblance of talent (see also celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah). Here’s a clip to give you an idea:

And here she is, interviewing William Shatner, teaching his dogs a thing or two, and then revealing a little too much about her bedtime habits for my liking:

And here’s Rigid’s suggestion. Remember: in the world of The Barron Knights, a man putting on a ladies voice = funny:

Barron

The Barron Knights – The Sit Song

Not that they’re alone in that belief:

And here’s two actual funny women, Rebecca Front and Joanna Scanlon, parodying Ms Woodhouse directly and subtly:

I’ll leave the last word on that Barron Knights song to Charity Chic who quipped:

“I think you missed an H out of the title.”

Rigid then goes on to mention the Dogs d’Amour, but doesn’t actually suggest a record by them. Luckily for us him, babylotti steps in with three suggestions by the band; I’ve picked the one he cited as his favourite. Because I’m nice like that.

Dogs D'Amour

the Dogs d’Amour- How Do You Fall In Love Again?

Relax ladies, etc. etc.

I must say I always get the Dogs d’Amour mixed up with The Quireboys. Were they around at the same time? (NB: This is a rhetorical question, the type where instead of already knowing the answer, I already know that I don’t really care.)

So let’s have some more doggy-do’s, and one which I was surprised nobody else suggested. A song which is famously about a dog, although the name in the title was changed from ‘Brandy’ in the first draft (who sounds more like a stripper than a dog, if I’m honest) to:

Manilow

Barry Manilow – Mandy

Count yourselves lucky I didn’t post the Boyzone version. Or the Westlife version. Whichever one of them recorded it. They’re the same thing really anyway, aren’t they?

Oh, and innuendo fans, check out the title of that B-Side. Parp!

IMG_20170626_195601

Since we appear to be in 1970s softie ballad territory, here’s another from Rigid Digit:

“What the world needs is more acoustic guitar playing beardy blokes…”

which is debatable, but he means that as an introduction to this:

Cat

Cat Stevens – I Love My Dog

It’s no wonder that Cat Stevens changed his name. A cat admitting to loving a dog is always going to be given the cold shoulder by the feline community.

Now, I must admit that when Rigid suggested that song, I actually thought he was talking about this:

Peter

Peter Shelley – Love Me Love My Dog

Thank goodness for The Barron Knights, or I’d have to give myself the Worst Record of the Week award now.

But it’s okay, I can turn things round. From Peter Shelley, to Pete Shelley:

Pete Shelley

Pete Shelley – Homosapien

(I was going to post a Buzzcocks tune and had settled for the (s)punky little burst that is ‘Orgasm Addict’, until I realised how that might look when played after the previous two songs…)

Time for another one that I was surprised nobody else came up with. The original version has featured on The Chain before, so I would have had to disqualify it. But, as with the helping hand I tried to give Julian earlier, had the original been suggested than I would doubtless have given you a nudge towards this:

Futureheads

The Futureheads – Hounds Of Love

One more doggy disc to go, and we’re back with Rigid Digit again. He’s relentless, isn’t he?

His final suggestion is for a record that’s “Madly brilliant, but not really essential.”

Who

The Who – Dogs

Their record label initially refused to release that, on the grounds that it was trying just a bit too hard to sound like The Small Faces. Harsh, but fair.

But as Rigid astutely concludes:

“There ain’t many songs whose last words are: ‘lovely buttocks'”

A fair point, well made. But just think of the songs which could be improved by the inclusion of those words. “God Save The Queen” springs to mind.

Speaking of which…

Often, the suggestions link from one song to another by way of one word in the title. But there wasn’t much to work on here, just three words, and one of them, Martha, was pretty much done to death last time. But there was one more song to link to that name, from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:

I have a niece called Martha. Her Mum, my sister, was born in June 1977. My parents sometimes say that if she’d been born on the Queen’s jubilee day they’d have called her Jubilee. At least I think they’re joking. So [this] seems an appropriate link (Pistols obvs).”

Pistols

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

As does this, to be fair:

Blur Parklife

Blur – Jubilee

Having mopped up the last of the Martha’s, we’ll edge towards the end of the song title now with a “My” or two. Or three, actually. And two of them are from me.

This being one of them:

Armand (2)

Armand Van Helden – My My My (feat. Tara McDonald)

And since it features a man and his dog (and for no other reason, honestly) here’s the video for that one too:

The other “My” suggestion comes from abramson60, who, clearly unmoved by that video, announces that he’s “got a soft spot for Joan Armatrading.”

Joan

Joan Armatrading – Me Myself I

Me: Well, if you’re suggesting that…

The Chain gang: …then you’re suggesting this:

De La Soul

De La Soul – Me Myself and I

And so on to what is the biggest grouping of songs of the week.

Surprisingly, nobody went for this:

tmp_2F1420573049348-s4rvbej6l5g919k9-e0b7ea9049dbb04b796f7811c3583366_2FMCR914-675x672

The Stone Roses – Elizabeth My Dear

So, where to start with this little lot. Well, let’s split them down into songs which feature the word “Dear” in the title (or prominently elsewhere in the lyrics) and, first, songs which can in some way be linked to Deer.

And, after missing last times linkage, it’s a warm welcome back to SWC, who proffers this:

“If we want to be clever…”

Hinds

Hinds – Garden

Look out. Julian’s back:

“I never checked the spelling and assumed Paul was singing about a ruminant mammal on his Scottish Croft . The Beatles released a b-side “Rain” and Bambi was a deer, know the song yet?

Blind Bambi… no idea

Dead blind Bambi… still no idea…?”

I must admit, I assumed at this point that Julian was about to suggest this:

bambi

Sex Pistols – Who Killed Bambi

(Except it’s not really the Sex Pistols, is it? It’s got Eddie Tudor-Pole on lead vocals for a start. And it’s from ‘The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle’. And it’s title and that picture are  clearly meant to shock, but it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking. Not cool.)

But no, Julian was in fact going here:

“Ok it’s the rain song from Bambi”.

This caused a little confusion at Chain HQ, as the song that Julian actually wanted was this:

Bambi

Bambi – Little April Showers

…which, confusingly, was not going to be in the original film, it was going to be a song called “Rain Song”, which was ditched in favour of “…April Showers”, and which you can see/hear here:

And then, just to confuse things even further, Julian goes and suggests this:

Houses of The Holy

Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song

But of course, we all know where Julian’s really heading:

“More importantly the animated video for “Is a Woman” also features falling leaves and a deer, by Lambchop of course”

But of course:

Lambchop

Lambchop – Is A Woman

And here’s the video he mentions:

I’ve not had chance to watch that, so I’m trusting you on that one, Jules.

Ok, so that’s the deer related bunch over with, so “if we are going down the dear route”, says SWC, then “we need….”

Dears

The Dears – 22: The Death Of All The Romance

Cheers, SWC, I’d totally forgotten about that one. Great to hear it again.

Back to GMFree now, for another couple of belters:

Lush

Lush – Dear Me (Miki’s 8-Track Home Demo)

and

Blade Runner

Don Percival – One More Kiss, Dear

I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Blade Runner. Sacrilege, I know. But it’s one of those films that everybody bangs on to me about how amazing it is that it can never live up to expectations. I guess I’d better rectify that before the new one comes out later this year, right?

Over to babylotti now, who suggests these two:

“[I’m] going to fall back on Marvin Gaye’s divorce settlement album, ‘Here My Dear’, with obvious reference to Martha my dear….I’ll suggest the title track rather than any of the singles.”

Marvin

Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear

…before also doing that old Chain link one-two shuffle:

 “And from there I believe I have to link to…”

CCR

Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

And whilst we’re on great versions of classic songs, does this next one remind anyone of anything?

Little Fish

Little Fish – Darling Dear

Anybody? No? Not even this:

Just me then.

Back to abramson60 again for his second and final submission:

“…there would be ‘Mother dear, they’re teaching me to do the goose-step’, which can be found in….”

Alex

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Give My Compliments To The Chef

Martin from New Amusements snuck his suggestion under the wire just in time:

“Keith Moon used to call everybody “Dear Boy” and he did a pretty fair cover of Beatles track ‘In My Life’ for his lone solo album ‘Two Sides of the Moon’ (even if it was played with too straight a bat). Anyway, a double-linker!”

A double-linker indeed. Points!

Keith

Keith Moon – In My Life

Back to Walter now, and his final two suggestions (although, granted, his first three were more mentioned in passing than actual suggestions):

“For sure,  from probably Talking Heads’ last good record ‘Naked’…”

Talking Heads

Talking Heads – Ruby Dear

and “Another song that accompanied me since my youngest days…”

Traffic

Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy

Time for C from Sun Dried Sparrows tune now, and this is an example of me saving the best ’til (almost) last; I think this is my favourite song by this lot. I love a good bracket (see?)

“I went down the ‘dear’ route too and another song whose title ends in the word ‘dear’ (there can’t be many, surely?). “Dear” is such a charming, old-fashioned word, I always thought it sounded a bit out of place for Blondie to use it but I love that they do. So I’d like to suggest…”

Blondie

Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear

Now, when the suggestions start coming in, I will often have a little bet with myself as to who I think will suggest what. I’m rarely right, of course. For example, this week I was sure that Dirk would suggest this:

Au Pairs

Au Pairs – Dear John

But he didn’t, so now I have to, just to give extra justification for me posting this:

Quo

Status Quo – Dear John

You’re right. I can’t help myself sometimes.

Which just leaves two songs, and you’ve probably noticed that Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music has been a bit quiet this time out. Here’s why:

“My first thoughts (neither of which will be the correct answer) were…”

Siouxsie

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dear Prudence

…which, given it’s a cover of a song from The Beatles’ “White Album” and features the word “Dear” is unquestionably a double-linker (Points!!).

And I wouldn’t be so sure about neither of your suggestions being right, CC, for you’re right on the money with your second one. The official link is, quite simply “From one Dear to another…” and the next record in The Official Chain is this:

Dexys

43. Dexys Midnight Runners – There, There, My Dear

I’d forgotten how great that record is too, as it goes.

So, CC, congratulations. A huge bag of non-existent points is winging its way to you. Hopefully that makes up for The Chain making you late for work last time. And today, too.

Ok, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I invite your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “There, There, My Dear” by Dexys Midnight Runners, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Who knows when that might be.

More soon.

The Chain #33

So this is what Thursday looks like, is it? I’m not sure I care for it much. It’s no Wednesday, is it?

We ended last week with the 32nd record in The Official Chain, “Valley Girl” by Frank Zappa, and my usual open invitation for suggestions for songs which can be linked to that.

And, as usual, the usual diverse range of songs came in, linking a numerous amount of clever, corny, obscure, obvious, tenuous or terrific ways. This week, for a change (and because it’s a lot easier) we’re going to look at them in the order they came in.

Also this week, as I was struggling for ideas for my own suggestions, I seem to have developed a new catch-phrase.

First out of the traps this week was Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music, with a suggestion which truly fulfils the remit of the name of this here blog:

“‘Frank Zappa and the Mamas were at the best place around’ according to Deep Purple on Smoke on the Water”

Altogether now: Der-der-der, der-der-de-der, der-der-der-der-der…..

deep-purple-smoke-on-the-water-1973

Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water

That’s taken from their 1972 album “Machine Head”, an album which my brother owned when we were kids, on gatefold vinyl. When opened, this was the collage which greeted you:

tpsa-7504-machine-head-inner

As you may be able to see, each of the band member has their photo with their name on the right hand side – there’s Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord, Paice, and then on the left, just one photo bears a name, a name which my brother and I found hilarious when we were kids: Claude Nobs.

This sounded to us like one of those comedy innuendo names, like Ivor Biggun or Hugh G. Rection. But actually, Nobs is there for a reason. He does not appear on the record. He is not one of the sound technicians. During Zappa’s concert, when the fire that the song tells the story of broke out in the Montreux Casino, started by a fan firing a flare into the ceiling, Nobs was a hero, saving several young people who had hidden in the casino, thinking they would be sheltered from the flames.

He still has a funny name, mind.

Anyway, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this version, just in case you think that what that song needs is less guitar riffs, and more salsa brass:

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Senor Coconut – Smoke On The Water

If that version isn’t on Strictly Come Dancing some day, then…well, I won’t have the faintest idea, as I never watch it.

Over to the Great Gog now:

“Frank Zappa’s band were the Mothers Of Invention which set me thinking about anything referring to invention / inventiveness or whatever, and inevitably our old friends, Manic Street Preachers cropped up with ‘Another Invented Disease’.”

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Manic Street Preachers – Another Invented Disease

I think sooner or later I’m going to have to draw up a league table of the acts who have featured the most in The Chain. The Manics have to be right up there, along with Kirsty MacColl and maybe The Bluetones.

“Also springing to mind on a separate train of thought,” continues the Great Gog, “was a band who I’m guessing didn’t name themselves purely to be next to Zappa in the record store racks, but achieved that anyway. That will be Zapp and the only song I can recall of theirs is ‘It Doesn’t Really Matter’ – and it didn’t to the Great British record-buying public at least, because it wasn’t much of a hit.”

And here’s why I think that was: because we just weren’t ready for someone trying to sound like Prince after he’d had a vocoder forcibly inserted:

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Zapp – It Doesn’t Really Matter

Here’s Rol from My Top Ten, with the first of many “Frank” links:

“Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years. I won’t come up with a better song than that this week.

Although I might come up with a few worse ones.”

Time will tell, eh, readers?

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Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years

And since we’re on Frank’s, well if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:

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The Frank and Walters – After All

Time to welcome back Dirk from Sexyloser, conspicuous by his absence the past week or so, and, from the length of his suggestion, keen to make up for lost time:

“That’s an easy one and one that links to one of my favourite tunes in the history of the whole wide world ever: how cool is that? Now, Zappa had this song on the album “Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch”, which was released in 1982. Now, if you have a closer look at the lyrics of “Valley Girl”, you start wondering who stole from whom when you take into consideration that The Valley Girls’ “Marina Men” (a m.i.g.h.t.y. tune, friends!) was ALSO released in 1982: if some expert now told me that the Valley Girls’ 12″ came out first, my life would be complete, believe me!”

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Valley Girls – Marina Men

“Plus,” Dirk continues, “in order to show you that I’m a friend of the stars: one of the first comments I received when I started sexyloser years and years ago came from Pamy out of The Valley Girls: she thought it was cool to see the record being brought up again some 25 years after its release. Had I already known about the Zappa – tune then, I would have asked her for the exact release date straightaway! So Pamy, if you’re reading this, who was first: you or Zappa? Also, as a kind reminder: I’m still waiting for this lyric sheet, alright?!”

I don’t think she reads this, Dirk. Not unless one of you is about to suddenly rip a mask away from your face to reveal your true identity, like the owner of the run-down, reputedly haunted, circus in every episode of Scooby Doo ever.

Charity Chic is back, with two more suggestions now, one absolute belter, and one…er…less so. I wonder if you can guess which one is which?

“The Skids who recorded the mighty ‘Into the Valley’ were from Dumfermline…..”

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Skids – Into The Valley

“So too is Barbara Dickson who recorded the not so mighty ‘Answer Me’.”

Don’t you go bad-mouthing Dickson on my watch, CC! For me, Dixon epitomises Saturday night TV in the 1970s, since she seemed to be the guest singer on every episode of “The Two Ronnies” ever:

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Barbara Dickson – Answer Me

Over now to The Robster from Is This the Life?:

“What immediately sprang to mind was Our Frank by Morrissey, but you had a Moz tune on the previous episode, so…”

Yes, so? That’s not a reason not to have another one by him this week:

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Morrissey – Our Frank

“…Fresh from seeing Pixies in Cardiff last night, and with my body still recovering from a full TWO HOUR onslaught in the mosh-pit, my mind turns to lead singer Black Francis. Now he has released records under the alternative name Frank Black. In 2000, with his backing band The Catholics, he recorded an album called ‘Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day’, the title track of which was a cover of the Sir Douglas Quintet track. The album was never officially released, although Frank did distribute some copies at gigs. He re-recorded the track for his 2005 album ‘Honeycomb’ while other tracks ended up as b-sides or on compilations. It also provides a double-link for The Chain!”

Frank + Valley = double- linker!

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Frank Black – Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day

Well, if you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this, my own double-linker, one of the greatest Northern Soul tunes ever, and frankly (see what I did there), I can’t believe nobody else suggested it this week:

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Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Night

Now if anyone was ever going to rip their mask off and reveal themselves to be Pamy from the Valley Girls, then surely it’s George:

“Frank Zappa’s middle name was Vincent. Which leads to Vincent Eugene Craddock, who was better known as Gene Vincent. So the song is Baby Blue.”

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Gene Vincent – Baby Blue

Here’s Rol, back again, with a suggestion which may, or may not, be worse than his earlier one. You decide:

“That would lead me on to Vincent Furnier, aka Alice Cooper. ‘School’s Out’ is too obvious, so how about ‘Teenage Lament ’74’?”

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Alice Cooper – Teenage Lament ’74

Time for something circular from Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense now:

“Alice Cooper released two albums on Frank Zappa’s Record Label Straight. Ian Dury and The Blockheads sang ‘I Want To Be Straight’, and to complete the circle (back to Frank’s middle name) [and back to George’s suggestion, for that matter] he also recorded ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’.”

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Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Sweet Gene Vincent

Back now for his third suggestion, it’s Rol time again:

“…it just occurred to me that a Zappa is a good way of killing flies… as is Flyswatter by Eels.”

I do not recommend you using the song Flyswatter by Eels to kill flies, it’ll take you ages. You’d be much better off trying an actual flyswatter.

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Eels – Flyswatter

Before we’re completely over-run with Rol’s interjections, here’s a few suggestions by Martin from New Amusements:

“So many roads to take from this one, doubtless many cul-de-sacs…

The ‘valley’ connection: Generation X, Valley of the Dolls’…”

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Generation X – Valley Of The Dolls

“A ‘moon’ connection (since Frank co-wrote Valley Girl with his daughter, Moon Unit) – Moon Unit implies moon base, hence the ‘Space 1999 Theme’…”

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Barry Gray – Space:1999 (Series One Theme Tune)

(You did mean the Series One Theme Tune, right Martin? Pah, of course you did. Nobody would pick the Series Two Theme Tune. The Series One Theme Tune is the best Space:1999 Theme Tune ever, everybody knows that).

“A better ‘moon’ connection – Keith wrote, sang and drummed on the excellent ‘I Need You’ from ‘A Quick One’ by The Who…”

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The Who – I Need You

“…Another ‘valley’ connection: The Monkees, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’…But ultimately, I will revert to type. Yes, I want to pitch Pleasant Valley Sunday to you, because it’s utterly brilliant, Gerry Goffin and Carole King at their 60’s song-writing zenith. But, to maintain my indie boy credentials, can I hesitantly suggest The Wedding Present’s 1992 cover of same….?”

Oh, Martin. Never be hesitant round these parts when suggesting The Wedding Present. Besides, when they released a limited edition 7″ single at the start of the month, every month, throughout all of 1992, with an original song as the ‘A’ side and a cover version on the ‘B’ side, I bought the lot, and still have them all. And their version of Pleasant Valley Sunday was on the flip-side of May’s “Come Play With Me”:

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The Wedding Present – Pleasant Valley Sunday

Time to welcome back Julian Badenoch for a second week on the trot, and after I’d spent a few days scratching my head and trying to work out where I knew his name from after he kindly dropped by last week, I was reminded – admittedly by him – that he writes, as he calls it the “unreliable music blog”: Music from Magazines (“unreliable” seems a little overly self-deprecating, Julian. I think “sporadic” is more appropriate):

“This may be wrong for the girls but …Valley sounds like valet which leads to valet parking, and Grace Jones’ instruction to ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’…”

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Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Ms Jones generally – we got off to a bad start when she battered Russell Harty about the head – but that’s an absolute stone cold classic (I’ve not said that for ages, I don’t think…)

Anyway, Julian proceeds: “…which could be paired with ‘Relax’ [I’m skipping that one, as I’m not quite sure I follow what the link is; doubtless I’ll get it the second I press Publish] or even ‘If It Don’t Fit Don’t Force It’…”

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Parliament – If It Don’t Fit (Don’t Force It)

Next! Over to Alyson from What’s It All About Alfie?, permanently scuppered in her efforts to get her suggestions by a combination of a) being in work and b) those fast-fingered blogging boys:

“…as I have absolutely no indie boy credentials whatsoever to maintain, I can go in a totally different direction. One of the first songs I can think of that links to the word Moon, is by Al Jarreau and it’s his theme from the TV Show ‘Moonlighting’. I mention this only because a certain Chain Ganger, who shall not be named, recently revealed a first album purchase which did kind of link to that show!”

I’m not going to mock. I bought a single from the same album. It most definitely wasn’t my first single, so I cannot even afford myself the luxury of that excuse.

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Al Jarreau – Moonlighting

Here’s a little know factoid for you: Al’s surname is actually spelt Jarrow. His parents adopted this as their family name after they took part in the 1936 Jarrow March. However, when he started earning his corn as a soul singer, young Al decided to change the spelling from ‘Jarrow’ to ‘Jarreau’ because he didn’t think being associated with the Tyneside town with the same name made him sound “suave” enough.

100% true, that. Except for the bits that aren’t. Which is all of it, obviously.

“Other than that all my Moon suggestions come from way back, Moon River, Blue Moon, Moonlight Serenade etc. or are by Showaddywaddy (and we won’t go there). Slightly more recently there is ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ by Toploader (this millennium anyway, just) [DON’T YOU BLOODY DARE SUGGEST THAT!!]. The one I’ll go with as my actual suggestion [Phew! Crisis averted]however is going to be ‘Moonlight Shadow’ by Mike Oldfield (featuring the vocals of Maggie Reilly). As ever I don’t know if its cool or uncool to like Mike Oldfield around these parts but not averse to hearing a bit of ‘In Dulce Jubilo’ at this time of year.”

Also a single I bought when I was a kid, so it’s a thumbs-up from me:

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Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow

Hands up who needs a bit of Badger in their life?

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Thought so. Off you snuffle, Badge:

“Now valleys. They are found in the country as are girls which leads us to ‘Country Girl’ by Primal Scream…”

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Primal Scream – Country Girl

(Is it just me, or is that sleeve strangely reminiscent of The Wannadies’ “Bagsy Me” album, released in 1997, almost 10 years earlier…..?

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I’m not playing anything from it, jus’ sayin’ like.)

Sorry, Badger. Floor’s all yours again.

“Or if we want to go a bit seventies doll is another word for girl which takes us to ‘Valley of the Dolls’ by strangely absent Scottish dance guru Mylo.”

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Mylo – Valley of the Dolls

That’s a fair point, what has happened to Mylo?

“SWC will be along later with his suggestions,” wraps up Badger, in what looks suspiciously like an audition for hosting duties on some interactive music blog, like that’s an idea that would ever take off, “I think he was going down the Frank route. Or something to do with Lithuanians.”

Huh? Lithuanians?

And here is he, right on cue. Badger and SWC both write When You Can’t Remember Anything, so it’s quite nice that their suggestions have come in next to each other, not least because I only have to type their blog name once.

Anyway, SWC, what’s all this about Lithuanians?

“So…in the city of Vilnius in Lithuania there is a statue of Frank Vincent Zappa. There is a reason it is there, but I can’t remember what it is. [You can read it here, if you so wish to do – Helpful Ed] As I’ve stated Vilnius is in Lithuania which gives us a lovely link to ‘Lithuania’ by Jaga Jazzist.”

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Jaga Jazzist – Lithuania

“In addition there is a street in Berlin named Frank Zappa Strasse (its in Marzahn, check it out…) which gives us two options – the brilliant ‘Berlin Got Blurry’ by Parquet Courts …”

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Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry

“…or the godawful ‘Take My Breath Away’ from homoerotic classic ‘Top Gun’. Your choice….”

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Berlin – Take My Breath Away

In case any of you are unsure as to why SWC refers to Top Gun as being homoerotic, then watch this, written and performed by Quentin Tarantino from early 90s indie-flick “Sleep With Me” (which, by the way, is definitely Not Safe for Work, containing, as you would probably expect from anything written and performed by Tarantino, a fair degree of effing and jeffing)

Now, I’ve noticed a scarcity of records vying for the title of “Worst Record of the Week” this week, so, time for me to wheel out my new catchphrase.

If you’re going to suggest that, then I’m going to suggest this:

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Infernal – From Paris To Berlin

Europop at it’s most….erm…most distinguished there.

As an aside, do you remember when in 2006 they re-recorded that for the football World Cup, which was being held in Germany? No? Have a listen to this (not the official video, needless to say – all traces of that seem to have been wiped from all corners of the internet):

England got to the last eight that year, going out on penalties to Portugal. I think they deliberately lost so that we didn’t have to hear that rubbish ever again. Until today.

Here’s Rigid Digit, back to inject some class back into proceedings:

“Frank: Frank Bough presented BBCs Grandstand – all the big sporting events, mainly Football, Rugby League, Horse Racing and Snooker were covered every Saturday Afternoon. ITV offered an alternative with World Of Sport fronted by Dickie Davies which focused on Wrestling, Darts and Stock Car Racing.

Which leads to:”

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Half Man Half Biscuit – Dickie Davies Eyes

There’s another band who must feature in the “Most Suggested” list. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve written before how that contains one of my favourite rhyming couplets ever.

Hold up, old Goalhanger Rol’s back, hovering ready to pounce should another suggestion leave a gaping goal, which as we all know by now, is what I do.

“Frank Bough would lead me either to ‘Make It Right’ by Tim Buckley …”

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Tim Buckley – Make It Right

“…or ‘Spank’ by Jimmy “Bo” Horne. Both, for the same reason.”

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Jimmy “Bo” Horne – Spank

Well, if you’re suggesting that….altogether now……then I’m suggesting this (see, catchy, innit?):

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Spanky Wilson – Sunshine of Your Love

And just in case you don’t know what Rol and I are referring to, it’s to the broadcasting career ending expose of Bough, when it was revealed he enjoyed attending S&M dens, dressed in stockings and suspenders, and indulging in a little light flagellation.

Over to George again now, and you may recall that last week George suggested a tune by Emerson Lake & Palmer, and the next day Greg Lake dropped dead. Let’s see who he has in the cross-hairs this week:

“I can get a link to the Clash, but I’m not going to [regulars will know why – Semi-Helpful Ed]. Frank Zappa was made a special ambassador for Czechoslovakia by then President Vaclav Havel. Vaclav Havel was a founder of Charter 77 (formed in 1977, and isn’t that the title of Clash song…?) so I am of course suggesting a track from Talking Heads’ first album, 77, namely ‘Don’t Worry About The Government'”

So tune in tomorrow for tributes to one of the late founding members of Talking Heads:

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Talking Heads – Don’t Worry About The Government

Here’s The Beard with his usual clutch of contributions:

“Valley Parade is the home of Bradford City FC. The dreadful nineties outfit Terrorvision hailed from Bradford. I stood next to their lead singer at a Supergrass gig at Leeds Town & County Club in 1996. He was wearing, if memory serves me right, awful trainers. I can’t remember what made them so particularly awful but since I always associate Terrorvision with bad footwear. As awful as his trainers were they were nowhere near their single Tequila in the scale of awfulness. Bile inducingly bad. Tequila is of course a type of alcoholic drink. Better songs loosely linked to alcohol, to name just a few, are:”

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Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Pina Colada Song)

(I have genuinely never heard that record as being described as “better” than any other, so fair play for buying in to the ethos of this place, trying to justify those records traditionally considered “guilty pleasures”, which we all know don’t exist. Well, not in the land of music, anyway)

He’s not done yet though:

“‘Velocity Girl’ by Primal Scream (“here she comes again, with vodka in her veins”)”

If I hadn’t posted it yesterday, this would undoubtedly have featured today. We’ll call it an honorary mention this time, and we’ll try to think of a reason to post it some other time. Sorry!

“Or…”

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Nouvelle Vague – Too Drunk To Fuck

Well, if you’re suggesting louche cover versions of alcohol based beverages, then I’m going to suggest this louche cover version of an alcohol based beverage (Wasn’t quite as catchy that time, was it? Mental note to self: new catch-phrase needs some polishing):

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Dexys Midnight Runners – Marguerita Time

No, I didn’t quite believe it existed until I heard it either.

Oh, wait. The Beard’s thought of another one:

“And ‘I Got Loaded’ by Peppermint Harris. I think that’s his name anyway.”

It was indeed, so-called because of his world-renowned minty fresh…erm…”Aris” (look it up):