I’ve told this story before, exactly two years ago as it happens, so if you read it back then, feel free to skip this.
When I lived in Cardiff, for several years my local pub was The Tut’n’Shive on City Road. I got to know the bar staff in there to the point where some of them became friends, and we would hang out socially.
Tuesday night in the Tut was quiz night, hosted by a chap called Nigel, who didn’t look anything like the sort of person one normally associates with the name; he rocked the surfer dude rather than the former Chancellor of the Exchequer look.
The final round of the quiz was always a music round, where Nigel would play ten records and you had to correctly name the song and artist. Having gained a bit of a reputation as a music buff, I found myself in demand, and ended up joining the bar staff’s team.
Anyway, one Friday night I was on a works do, in a joint called Bar Med, which was supposed to be a ‘Mediterranean-style cafe bar’, which it wasn’t, unless you count having tables and chairs outside during the daytime as being Mediterranean, which I don’t.
There was a DJ playing on that particular Friday night, playing some truly awful chart records to a largely indifferent crowd. I realised it was Nigel, so I went over for a chat. Nigel wasn’t happy, as he had been instructed to only play ‘cheesy’ records by the bar’s management. I attempted to reassure him by pointing out that it was fairly early, and I was pretty sure that once people had got a few more drinks inside them, they would probably loosen up a bit and venture onto the dancefloor.
“Are you taking requests?” I asked.
“As long as it’s a cheesy one, yes,” replied Nigel.
I suggested today’s tune.
Nigel stared at me.
“Not that cheesy, I draw the line there.”
Well, this is my pub and my rules, and as you all know, I have no ruck with things like standards, so here it is:
That’s better. A prime slice of Davies storytelling and no mistake.
Next up, released way back in 20-God-that-makes-me-feel-old-07, and for my money one of the greatest indie singles of the last ten years. Recorded by exclamation mark afficonados and unquestionably the greatest non-Welsh band to come out of Welsh capital Cardiff (the band members all met at the fine city’s university, but none are actually Welsh), here with the original release of the single (the version on their debut “Hold On Now Youngster…” album being slightly longer and slower) which you can find on their “Sticking Fingers In Sockets” EP:
If that doesn’t have you bouncing round your humble abode then you have not an ounce of grooviness about you.
There’s so much to love about “You! Me! Dancing!”: the outright unfettred youthful exuberance; the slow build up; the hand-claps. And some of the smartest yet twee-ist lyrics you’ll ever hear to boot. This, from the climax of the record – for that’s what it is, a climax – where the lyrics are spoken rather than sung:
“And I always get confused Because in supermarkets they turn the lights off when they want you to leave But in discos they turn them on…
..And then on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain, and that’s because it IS a good idea.”
(I can vouch for this. For many years when I lived in Cardiff, my walk home was via the front of City Hall, which is graced with some beautiful fountains, and by God they look tempting when you’re staggering back at 4am under the influence of various substances, even if they are switched off at that time. This record gave me permission to do it. Still never had the nerve though.)
“We’re undeveloped, we’re ignorant, we’re stupid, but we’re happy”. There’s my epitaph, right there.
Anyway, if you ever, ever get chance to go see Los Campesinos! live, treat yourself and go, you won’t be disappointed.
Next up a band whose debut album I bought on the strength of the review in Metro, the daily free-tabloid so beloved of eye-contact-avoiding commuters. Not, I should stress, because the quality of the review was in any way illuminating, just simply because I liked the name of the band and the album in question. So, here from their “In Our Space Hero Suits” album it’s:
I’ve gone a bit quiet on my “From Leeds With Love” thread for a couple of weeks (again); I’d love to say this was totally planned so that I could justify posting a song by The Wedding Present here, but that’d be a total lie, I just haven’t got round to writing one.
So, here’s The Wedding Present, with the second of twelve 7″ singles they released in 1992:
Say the name Leif Garrett to me, and two things pop into my head; firstly I seem to remember him wearing the most ludicrously tight red leather trousers – not a good look, ever – and secondly, for a while he seemed to pop up every other week on The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, the BBC’s Saturday morning live kids TV show which ran from 1976 and 1982. That is, he popped up on the weeks that the “special” “musical” guest wasn’t ironing-board-chinned talent-vacuum B.A. Robertson, anyway.
Garrett was quite the teen pin-up for a while, although this never really translated into record sales, either in his homeland in The US of A or here in the UK. They bloody loved him in Germany and Australia though. Read into that what you will.
Should you be so inclined to go and purchase his Greatest Hits album – and I see no reason why you would want to do that, since I’ve just given you the only thing approaching a decent song he ever made, so you can see just how far short of the mark the rest of his songs fall – but if you are so inclined, then please do. It’s entitled “The Leif Garrett Collection (1977-80)” which gives you some idea of his shelf life. It doesn’t however, give you any indication of just how long he outstayed his welcome by.
Moving on, and here’s one of them there mash-up songs. It’s in disguise though, as you can tell by the title. I had no idea I owned this until it came up on my iPod the other day, so I can only think that I must have obtained it from one of my peers out there in the blogosphere. So…er…thanks. I think.
See, what they’ve done there? They’ve taken Liquid Gold’s super-cheesy 1980s UK disco hit “Dance Yourself Dizzy”, slowed it down a bit, and thrown Yomanda’s super-cheesy 1999 club smash “Synths and Strings” over the top of it.
I have a bit of a soft spot for both of these tunes, “Dance Yourself Dizzy” because it reminds me of being a kid, and “Synths and Strings” because I was once in a bar in Cardiff where I found an acquaintance of mine (a bloke called Nigel who used to run the quiz night in my local pub) was DJing. He was dropping some naff records – it was that kind of a bar – so I approached him and asked if, since he was playing such piss-poor records, if he would mind dropping a bit of Yomanda for me.
He gave me a right look and said “My records might be cheesy, but I draw the line at ‘Synths and Strings’ “
Anyway, that mash-up doesn’t really work in my book but who am I to judge, so here’s the video of the Yomanda tune, posted for no other reasons than for comparison purposes, and certainly nothing to do with the plentiful shots of ladies in short skirts, nosireebob:
Right, just time for one more. I’m intentionally trying to keep things brief this week, and not bang on as much as I have here recently. Please don’t moan, I’ve had a very busy week and frankly I’m knackered.
So here, without any need for further introduction, explanation, deviation or hesitation, but plenty of repetition, is super cool French duo Justice: