Wednesday 31 July 2019

I know how she feels

It's not going so great, is it? Johnson's only been in charge five minutes and already the Irish (both lots), the Scots and the Welsh are threatening to dissolve the Union. So much for those promised sunlit uplands. Stop the world I want to get off.

It will only be when the country is brought to its very knees and begs to come back into the EU fold that the leavers will finally wake up to the fact that, actually, what we have now is not so bad. It's workable. We trade with Europe; we trade with the rest of the world. And they trade with us. Frictionlessly. Everybody wins.

But come October 31st it's gonna be a cold wind that blows across the Channel and into the dystopian badlands of a once great Britain. Our just in time procurement chain will last seven days before essential supplies run out. Queues at the forecourt and fighting on the streets. And that's just for starters. It'll be like an episode of Survivors - that post apocalyptic drama from the 70s, only for real.

Or will it? All I know is, I've got a bad feeling about this. And it's not going away.

Dodgy - U.K.R.I.P. (1996)

Sunday 28 July 2019


They're toilet chains, since you ask
We're only a fortnight away from our next Sunday Vinyl Session - our fifth, can you believe? And it's a yacht rock classic - Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

When the Mac were writing and recording it their personal relationships were all over the place (everyone in the band, seemingly, was sleeping with each other), their level of drug taking was off the scale (cocaine really became 'a thing' in California in 1976) and emotions were close to breaking point. A perfect storm. Yet out of this hedonism - released in in February 1977 - came 11 perfectly formed songs which have formed the backbone of every Fleetwood Mac gig in the last 40 odd years. It cemented their career and meant that Stevie Nicks never had to wait on tables again.

Our friend Pippa Ward is presenting the afternoon - she'll tell the back story behind the album before playing it in full. And in the interval (twixt Side 1 & 2) Pippa will be singing some acoustic Mac songs live. I've got a couple lined up too. So, if you find yourself in Nottingham on Sunday 11th August, we'd love to see you.

Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way (1977)

Friday 26 July 2019

And the Sun was a demon

I think it's safe to say that yesterday was a little on the warm side. James came up with Janneke to see his poorly mother; convalescing in temperatures akin to Hades is no fun, but seeing the Number One Son and his bride was a tonic far surpassing that of any of the morphine based knockout drugs Jenny was prescribed when she left the hospital last Saturday.

I took this photo in my car yesterday afternoon just after 4.30pm. 40 degrees. I tell you what, the Sun didn't feel like it was 93 million miles away. I'm sure it slipped anchor at lunchtime while nobody was looking.

Below is my favourite Sun TV/film clip, bar none. It's from Thunderbirds and is the one where Alan Tracy is stuck on the bridge with his grandma in temperatures similar to those we were experiencing in the East Midlands.

If you fast forward to 2:17 you'll see real beads of perspiration running down Alan's wooden puppet head. That was me yesterday.

Monday 22 July 2019

After the Savoy Truffle

It's common knowledge that George Harrison cribbed the lyrics from a Good News chocolate box he saw round at Eric Clapton's gaff one day. Clapton was still doing a lot of heroin at the time and, coming down, allegedly, he'd regularly eat an entire box of chocolates in one sitting. Even the Savoy Truffle.

Probably less well documented is how much of an influence on Harrison an EP put out by Lulu two years before the White Album was. The title track, Chocolate Ice (written by Mike Leander - Gary Glitter's scribe), bears more than a passing resemblance to Harrison's effort. Judge for yourself.

Lulu - Chocolate Ice (1966)

Instead of going with the Fabs, I've decided to play you the Analogues' version. The Analogues play Beatles tunes live. Nothing new there, I hear you say. True, but this bunch of Dutch musicians have taken the reproduction of Beatles music to a whole new level. Recreating every note of an alabum - in sequence - with period instruments (often with strings and horns) and with fastidious attention to detail, they really are the business. When they play Maxwell's Silver Hammer, for instance, they even bring an anvil up on stage. I particularly like the songs that not only the Beatles didn't play live (i.e. everything after '66), but also the ones Macca can't be arsed with when he tours; check out Your Mother Should Know from the Magical Mystery Tour EP. You'll be amazed. Truly amazed.

The Analogues - Savoy Truffle 

For further listening, hear what David Hepworth and Mark Ellen think about them.

Saturday 20 July 2019

The Sea of Tranquility

Oh I do like to be beside the Sea
of Tranquility
Where Neil and Buzz in ’69
took a giant leap for mankind
and found craters and rocks beneath their feet
Not cheese. Or aliens to greet.
So they planted a flag and left behind
a planet so utterly amazing, beautiful, desolate, barren and beguiling that after fifty years we're desperate to revisit, and find…
The Sea of Tranquility.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Take that to the bank

I have absolutely no comprehension how it must feel to be in a place where your only source of nourishment is through your local food bank; to reach a point where the rug has been pulled from beneath you, your pride is through the floor and your stomach is painfully empty. Yet in the UK thousands of adults AND CHILDREN most certainly do. What a shameful country we live in right now. And it's only getting worse.

Paul Carbuncle - Food Banks and Ferraris (2017)

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Led Zep VII

Thanks to Peter Grant, their thug in a suit manager, Led Zeppelin never released singles in the UK; he thought it was beneath them. Not so in the States, however; Grant wasn't quite so precious about what his charges released over there by way of 45 RPMs. Their seventh single on the Atlantic label was a delicious slice of cod reggae with John Bonham's drums very much to the fore. I think the reason I like it so much is because their po-faced bass player, John Paul Jones, said publicly, many times, that he hated it; hated the song, particularly hated the title. Get over yerself Jones.

Led Zeppelin - D'yer Mak'er (1973)

It only made No. 20 on the Billboard charts, unlike the album from which it was lifted, 'Houses of the Holy', which sat at No. 1 for weeks on end.

Friday 12 July 2019


Edward Kennedy 'Duke' Ellington (1899-1974)
You can't overestimate the power of music: during the Great Depression, which took a hold in the United States from 1929 (the Wall Street crash in October launched the country off a cliff) and lasted for much of the 1930s, it was music - jazz music - that got people dancing.

Of course the country was still in freefall - but listening to, and dancing to, this surgent musical uprising (often during 24 hour Dance Marathons) was what got a lot of Americans though one of the bleakest periods in modern history.

They'd be throwing shapes to stuff like this. Duke Ellington's band would often go by a string of aliases. This was one of them.

The Whoopee Makers - Flaming Youth (1929)

Wednesday 10 July 2019


It's long been acknowledged, between me and Steve anyway, that the 70s actually started in 1968 and probably kept going till around mid-1983. Culturally, musically definitely, and sportingly - mavericks ruled the world in concert halls and football grounds the world over. So when you talk about 1979 be under no illusion that the 1970s still had plenty of gas left in its tank.

Some stonking albums came out in '79. I particularly remember buying Joe Jackson's Look Sharp, Valley of the Dolls by Generation X (produced by Ian Hunter), this classic by Graham Parker and The Damned's Machine Gun Etiquette. It was also the year In Through the Out Door - Led Zeppelin's swan song was released, and the Clash's eclectic mixed bag, London Calling.

Tom Petty was busy too. Together with his band the Heartbreakers, he released Damn the Torpedoes the day before his 29th birthday. And if you were to press me for one song from today's featured year (go on, press me) I reckon it would have to be this:

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Refugee (1979)

Monday 8 July 2019


The events of 1969 are currently looming very large. There are a number of monumental 50th anniversaries going on right now; not least Apollo 11 - a must see movie is on general release depicting just what Neil Armstrong and the real Buzz Lightyear got up to when they were floating in their tin can half a century ago.

I remember Aldrin saying in Andrew Smith's Moondust that NASA were very candid with the crew when they signed up for the mission of all missions: their chances of coming back alive were given at no more than 50/50. This is one film I will not be missing.

And Abbey Road. The Beatles' final recorded album (Let it Be, despite coming out in 1970, was already in the can before the Fabs entered EMI Studios in Abbey Rad for the last time). Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn is touring the country later in the year giving his unique take on the events that made Abbey Road, quite literally, The End. And he's coming to a venue near me, so I'm well chuffed.

Joey Ramone may have left this earth (as too have all the original Ramones), but he still looks down on New Yorkers: the sign for Joey Ramone Place, if you look high enough (it's been stolen so many times it's now been sited where it can only be reached by basketball players) is in the Bowery district, close to the site of a (long gone) club where he and the band played many of their 2,500+ gigs: CBGBs - the New York punk venue.

Joey Ramone - 1969

Sunday 7 July 2019


Went to see the much hyped Yesterday yesterday. Being something of a Beatles nut (clock the number of Beatles and Lennon & McCartney posts on this blog [left]), I thought it would be massively churlish of me if I didn't scribble a few words about it here.
I'm usually pretty quick out of the traps when it comes to rating and ranking new movies, but this is a little bit different - I'm still processing it, would you believe; a fantastical plot (a world without the Beatles - really?) with seemingly more holes than a used dartboard, peppered with more than a few comedy cul-de-sacs and incorporating a typically lame Richard Curtis crow-barred rom-com. And yet, and yet...

That soundtrack; those songs. For all its faults, and there are many, it's the music, ultimately, that carries this film over the line. Himesh Patel who plays struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malik, has been gifted the most fantastic set of songs served on a silver platter and ready to be devoured. And they are, for the most part, played brilliantly.   

Patel is not just a talented actor but he can play a bit too. That means there's no awkward miming or contrived camera angles to disguise the fact that a non musical actor is holding a strange instrument around his neck and doesn't know what a chord is, let alone know where they can be found on the neck of a guitar.

Himesh Patel - Yesterday (2019)

Apart from Malek's performance (and the Beatles music, obvs) I took three positives away from the film:

Lily James - who played the love interest with just the right amount of girl next doorness. 

Ed Sheeran - just a good egg. The ginger superstar was quite happy to sit on the subs bench for much of the movie, but was given some great lines nonetheless.

The best gag in the film - when Jack Malik realises, after an internet search, that his friends really aren't winding him up when they tell him they don't know who the Beatles are, he then Googles Oasis - nothing but a clutch of exotic holiday websites. "That figures" he says.

Thursday 4 July 2019


Bloody brilliant!
Paul McCartney would often gives songs away: Mary Hopkin (Goodbye) and Badfinger (Come and Get It) being two lucky recipients that spring to mind.
One that a lot of people overlook is a song called 4th of July. In 1974, between the Band on the Run and Venus and Mars albums, Macca recorded a very loose demo but never did anything with it; instead he gave it to John Christie. Polydor put it out as a single, but, despite its lineage, it never amounted to much.

In 2010, when Venus and Mars was given the Macca remastering treatment, they chucked 4th of July in with the extras. Like a lot of stuff McCartney was writing at the time, it walked that fine line between bloody brilliant and twee. For what it's worth, I quite like it.


Monday 1 July 2019

Two to Know

Our next Sunday Vinyl Session (our 4th) is a little bit special: the album, Pink Floyd's 'Relics', has been chosen by Martin Stephenson - he of the Daintees - who will not only curate the afternoon, but also be playing a gig later in the evening in the very same pub!

We've kind of broken our own rule regarding compilation albums with this one, but, hey, it's a belter. Although it's obviously very much Syd's collection (it was Barrett's band, after all), Dave Gilmour can be heard setting his stall out on Side 2.

Here's a rather tasty bit of footage of a Gilmour gig at the Albert Hall in 2006. With very little by way of introduction Gilmour brings an old friend up on stage...

Arnold Layne

Where? Running Horse, Nottingham 
When? Sunday 14 July 2019 - Relics 2-5pm; Martin Stephenson gig 8-10pm