Friday, 3 April 2020

Listen!


A friend of mine from Scotland emailed me this morning: a Corona catch-up, if you will. In my reply I rather ramblingly told her what my coping mechanisms were. I won't bore you with them here; anyway, regular readers could probably figure out most of them for themselves.

However, I forgot to tell her about Tim's Twitter Listening Party The idea is simple: every night during at 10pm during Lockdown the Twitter community listen to an album in its entirety. The sessions, overseen by Tim Burgess, are curated in real time by band members who provide intimate insights into the making of the albums and answer questions posed by those 'in the room'. I've done two so far - Jollification (Lightning Seeds) and Steve McQueen (Prefab Sprout) - and I found them totally uplifting. For what it's worth both these long players proved to be very poignant in my life around the time they came out - 1994 and 1985 respectively. Ten year cycles and all that.

A complete list all of future runners and riders can be found here and the link to Tim's Twitter feed is here. I can't recommend the project highly enough. And even if you don't own hard copies of the albums, just hook up your Bluetooth speaker to Spotify at 22:00 and you're good to go!


Prefab Sprout - Goodbye Lucille #1 (1985)


In 1985 I was still known as Johnny; this song followed me everywhere

Monday, 30 March 2020

Substitute


With everyone's life currently on hold (parked up), and staying in becomes the new going out, we now have to embrace a whole new world of substitutes. Depending on how lavish your lifestyle was BC will dictate how adversely this new regime will affect you PC; if and when when normality (normalcy) ever returns it will of course all centre around freedom of movement - the taboo subject (elephant in the room) linking Coronavirus (Covid-19) with Brexit (the UK's slow and painful suicide).

But that's a debate for another day; a debate which will be, I'm sure (be in no doubt), front and centre - pushing its way up both the political and cultural agenda for a long, long time to come. Substitute your lies for fact.

Today's musical selection is not, as you may have been expecting, from the 'Oo. (They're no longer young, but still backdated.) No, it is instead a song written by Willie Nelson released nearly a decade on from the single Pete Townshend famously called 'our first number four.'

The Righteous Brothers - Substitute (1975)


A couple of years later it would go on to be a number one smash in South Africa for a female five piece from Johannesberg. However, I've substituted the lip gloss and spandex of Clout for a bunch of ageing London mods whose front man has got that don't fuck with me look about him. A look you often see in lead singers.

Smashing Time - Substitute (2008)

Sunday, 22 March 2020

!


Quite by chance, at a recent vinyl evening (in those dim and distant pre-self isolating days when I quite really did get out more), two tracks were played back-to-back that both had exclamation marks in the title; a point (literally) not picked up at the time (why would it?). But as they were both from my collection it was only when I was putting them away that I clocked the fact.
As something of a musical pedant I'm pretty big on musical punctuation and generally getting song titles right - therefore, Sweet's 1973 Number 1 hit is not Blockbuster, it's Block Buster! And the song that followed it on the night in question was Mél Torme's Right Now! Although a B side, it's every bit as special as the lounge/mod classic you'll find when you flip it over.

Mel Tormé - Comin' Home Baby (1962)



A recent discovery of mine from a freakbeat collection titled Sugar Lumps comes courtesy of a band calling themselves Smashing Time. To my shame I know vey little about Smashing Time (an out of date Facebook page would lead you to believe they came from London and called it a day c.2015/16). It's a belter and although it doesn't have an exclamation mark it does have a question mark.

Smashing Time - Is it Her? (2005) 



I'm playing it on heavy rotation here at Medd Towers; it's got under my skin well and truly. Not least, I think, as it tips the wink to Comin' Home Baby. Yes, no? Its other influence, IMHO, is this beauty written by Rod Argent. Again, see what you think.

The Zombies - She's not There (1964)

Friday, 20 March 2020

Lifeline


In these new dystopian times I'm trying to stay positive; my overriding sense of humour is being, and will continue to be, tested to its absolute limits. And because the landscape is changing on an hourly basis, it's a struggle to keep to the path; and to stay sane.

Don't get me wrong, my personal situation is by comparison (judging by the decimation of my local high street and the number of desperate callers currently ringing James O'Brien on LBC - to use just two indicators) not as perilous as I know it is for some. But at this critical time in all our lives, we need decisive leadership and reassurance. And a modicum of hope. All of which are in short supply at the moment. 

We're all clinging on to whatever lifelines we can - family, friends beer, music, whatever. Though, for some, even those touchstones may not be enough.

The corner shop at the top of my road has always been 'there for me'. And never more so than now. Recent footfall has increased considerably and, despite now being increasingly populated by Tesco refugees, it will, I'm sure, be vital to my physical and mental wellbeing as social distancing becomes the new normal. 


Cornershop: St Marie Under Canon - 2020


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

1970 (5/5)


The final song in this mini series hasn't just popped into my head, its been kipping in the attic ever since my son was born. Sweet Baby James is 50% cowboy song, 50% lullaby, 100% immaculate. There may well have been better songs written than this; but not many. Even its writer, James Taylor, said it's the song he's most proud of. I can't disagree with that.


James Taylor: Sweet Baby James (1970)

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

1970 (4/5)


Did he? Or didn't he? We can talk till the cows come home about how George Harrison accidentally or otherwise plagiarised He's so Fine by the Chiffons, but it won't change the outcome. In 1976 the judge - after years of legal wrangling - found Harrison guilty as charged. Beatle George never saw a dime from his multi-million selling chart topper - ironic as he was the first of the post-Fab Four to land a Number One single on both sides of the Atlantic.

So, whether I'm singing the George Harrison original (well, as original as a song with a nicked riff/motif can be), or the version George produced for his mate Billy Preston - before Harrison committed his to tape - My Sweet Lord is the 4h. selection of songs currently pin-balling round my skull 24/7.

Billy Preston: My Sweet Lord (1970)


John Lennon once famously said that whenever he heard My Sweet Lord he was convinced there was a God. Even as a non believer, I think I know where he was coming from.

George Harrison - My Sweet Lord (1970)


And, finally, the elephant in the room. It's hard to believe nobody (not even Phil Spector) told the ex-Beatle he was treading on very thin ice. But, hey, it made for a great rock and roll story.

The Chiffons - He's so Fine (1963)

Monday, 16 March 2020

1970 (3/5)


Only three songs in to my mini series and already I'm floundering with the concept of themed blogs; I've said before that lists, running themes etc. are an anathema to me. And do you wanna know why? I'll tell you why: the third song from 1970 that I've been singing like a madmancap isn't even from 1970. Yikes!

All this time I thought I was singing a Syd Barrett song from his 'A Madcap Laughs' album; turns out I was actually singing an Andy Ellison pastiche recorded some 35 years later. There never were such times.

So, to demonstrate what a chump I've been, here are the (offending) tunes in all their glory:


Exhibit A

Andy Ellison - Heather Lane (2005)


Exhibit B

Syd Barrett - Octopus (1970)

Sunday, 15 March 2020

1970 (2/5)


The conceit for this mini series - songs from 1970 buzzing round my head - is, of course, deeply flawed: how can there only be five songs in there and why are all from 1970? Busted.
But, at the time of conception, you've gotta believe me that this clutch of songs were pretty much front and centre of what passes for my brain and, yes, I was, and still am, singing them at traffic lights. In the supermarket. In the shower. Don't tell me you've never been afflicted too.

This one is a funny one. Unlike the last ear worm which is from a band I kind of know inside out and back to front, Cat Stevens is an outsider to me; albeit an outsider who, for a handful of years in the late sixties and early seventies, wrote some real touchstone songs. Maybe I was too young, maybe I wasn't emotionally invested enough to buy into his brand, maybe he was just too gospel-y for me. But 'Wild World' pierced my armour. It got thru. And still hasn't left.

Cat Stevens - Wild World (1970)

Friday, 13 March 2020

1970 (1/5)

It was Sandy Denny who asked the perennial question: Who knows where the time goes? And having recently compiled a photo book for James' 30th - a job that saw me rifling thru literally thousands of photographs, slides and digital images - I know. God, I know. But, like asking how they get the stripes into a tube of toothpaste - we all kinda pretend not to.

Which brings me to today's offering. Anyone still following me after all these years will know the glue that binds this whole shaky caravan together is four parts shooting from the hip, one part premeditated. Themes or lists (apart from annual roundups) happen when they happen, or, most likely, don't happen when they don't happen. But, for some unfathomable reason I have five songs in my head that were all released in 1970. And even those at the back of the class will know that that's 50 years ago in anyone's language.

So, rather than blurt them all out in one hit I'm going to release them into the ether one at a time.

First up, Slade. Long before Noddy Holder discovered mirrored top hats and indeed before Dave Hill found an alternative use for Bacofoil, Slade were a bunch of Black Country skinheads trying to catch a break. They obviously succeeeded, but not before dispensing with the Ben Shermans, Sta Press and 14 eye DMs (your mum probably called 'em bovver boots). And they sounded like this:

Slade: One Way Hotel (1970)

Monday, 9 March 2020

Different Drum


I''m really looking forward to reading the Michael Nesmith autobiography I've just ordered - Infinite Tuesday. Whilst I think all four Monkees are fascinating individuals, there's something about the one they call Nez that I can't quite put my finger on. And no, it's not his trademark wooly hat, though I will be hugely disappointed if I find his titfer hasn't been granted its own chapter.

As part of a research project I'm currently carrying out - putting the case for his 1972 album And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' being one of the greatest recordings of the 20th Century - it will, I'm sure, prove invaluable. In 1972 you won't be surprised to learn that I was still watching the Monkees syndicated TV reruns on our newly acquired Radio Rentals telly; I had no idea that Nesmith had already left the band, ditched the hat, grown a beard and single handedly invented Alt. Country. All I knew back in 1972 was that Last Train to Clarksville was a song I knew I would love for the rest of my life* and that I really wanted my dad to trade in his J reg. Hillman Hunter for a Monkeemobile**.

* I have
** He didn't

Michael Nesmith: Different Drum/Harmony Constant - 1972

Monday, 2 March 2020

Heaven Only Knows


In the ten years this blog has been in existence I can honestly say I've lost count of the number of truly great songs I've written about and shared. Just when you think - not for the first time - that all the gold has been mined, a nugget so big and so bright rises to the surface just begging to be heard.

Geraint Watkins, he of the Balham Alligators and Nick Lowe sidekick (to name but two senior positions he's held over the years) knows a thing or two about the art of songwriting. I think I said as much here. With Watkins there is no fat; no filler. Any excess will have been trimmed in the editing suite (if not before) so all that's left is a song in its purest form. Not a word (or indeed syllable) too many or too few set against a melody so achingly beautiful you wonder why more artists aren't covering his stuff.

This is from his latest long player, Rush of Blood, which came out last September. I can't stop playing it. And I can't stop loving it.

Geraint Watkins - Heaven Only Knows (2019)

Thursday, 27 February 2020

"He's very clean"


John Junkin said it. John Lennon said it. "He's very clean" they both said. I know they were talking about Paul McCartney's grandfather, but my penchant for a bath most weekday nights, in addition to my daily morning shower and, well, I'm surprised sometimes I don't squeak. I'm hoping Carson Robinson's theory that too much bathing will weaken you is not based in fact.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Hancock's Half Hour


Apparently NHS 111 is creaking: listening to James O'Brien on LBC this morning, concerned callers - who may or may not have Coronavirus - are, in some cases, taking over 30 minutes to get put through to a human being. I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise. Will the NHS be able to cope with a global pandemic? Systemic starvation of funding to our health service over the last decade was never going to end well, was it? Then again, when you look at the clown heading up the department, you'll wonder in amazement that the NHS is still 'a thing'. Given his (and his paymasters) way the whole kit and caboodle would be replaced in a trice by shiny stars & stripes, pay as you go, Recovery Hotels available only to those earning telephone number salaries.

But I digress. While you're at home self isolating and wondering if and when things will ever get back to normal*, you could listen to this:

Todd Rundgren - Influenza (1997)


* They won't

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Long Shot


You take the long shot, if that's all there is 
And put it in a very safe place where your doubt can't get to it 
Cos once you're certain, that all hope is gone, a long shot is better than none...

All you need to know about football life wrapped up in one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. I always get a lump in my throat when I listen to it. Maybe I'm a snowflake; you're probably made of stronger stuff than me. 

Megson - The Long Shot


Megson are acclaimed folk duo Stu & Debbie Hanna. And they're on tour in the UK right now.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

X

On this day in MMX a blog was born. 
My blog. Everyone seemed to be writing one at the time, so I thought why not me?
Back in 2010 my collection of randomly scribbled notes - then called 'Even Monkeys Fall Out Of Trees' - was set against a backdrop to a world where Prime Ministers were honourable, beer was ten bob a pint and nobody bothered locking their front doors.

Or that's how it appeared at the time.


Fast forward to MMXX and contrast the above to a world where all the familiar and reassuring signposts - pointing to hope, optimism and sunlit uplands - have been taken down and replaced with, well, precisely nothing. Nobody knows where we're going (certainly not the cunt presently occupying 10 Downing Street), or how; though Hell and handcart spring to mind. Who knew just a decade earlier that we'd be incrementally sleep walking into a dystopian nightmare? A nightmare we seem destined never to wake up from.

In other news, I'm thinking of getting a new kitten.


**********************

A huge thank you to all the waifs and strays who have swung by in the last 10 years - I couldn't, as they say, have done any of this without your continued support and friendship (whether from the sidelines or in 'real life'*).

* That said, there are still two people who I really do need to see in the flesh this year - they know who they are.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Bringing It All Back Home


In true Magnus Mills style I guess it was inevitable that when a local record listening club got a little too priggish, a breakaway faction would eventually peel off and try things a bit differently. And what better way to listen to cherished albums than in the comfort of your own living room; with a select guest list, a varied assortment of hot and cold beverages and, of course, some quality listening material, what else do you need? Bringing it all back home.


Bob Dylan - She Belongs to Me (1965)

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Croweing

Here's to you Messrs. Robinson (Rich, left, & Chris) 

I'm made up: the Black Crowes are coming to town in October and tickets go on sale next week. The feuding Robinson brothers have patched up their differences and are going to be playing $hake Your Money Maker - the band's 30 year old debut album - in its entirety. What's not to like? I've seen them a few times over the years - up and down the country - and always came away thinking 'this is what it must have been like to see Rod and The Faces in 1971.' Yes, they really were are that good. 




If my friend David Swift is reading this in Melbourne, Australia, I'll be mortified if I don't see you on October 16!

---------------------------------------------

The Black Crowes - Jealous Again (from the Howard Stern Show, Nov. 2019)

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Little Britain


It's a little after midnight as I type this. We're out of Europe. After nearly four years of infighting, which has left half the country despising the other half, we have now turned inwards on ourselves and become Little Britain. A Britain that is now run by swivel eyed loons.
I feel sad: I know I'm not on my own. And still nobody I speak to who voted Leave can give me one tangible benefit they/we will see now that we've Brexited that will improve their lives - their sad, miserable lives; which probably explains why at about five past eleven what I thought was a car backfiring (do cars still backfire?) was actually a rather pathetic solitary firework. 

William Orbit - Barber's Adagio for Strings (1995)

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Searching


I'm going away for a few days - a temporary respite from this darkest of dark English Januarys: getting me some winter sun. Passport? Check. Tickets? Check. Taxi? On its way. Play nicely while I'm gone, won't you? And if somebody could kindly put the bins out that would be fabulous. Ta.

James has sent me a collaborative playlist he's in the middle of compiling. It's called Young Soul and is, essentially, an evolving mixtape comprising soul interpretations of Neil Young songs. I added this one yesterday (I'll more than likely find a few more over the next seven days & seven nights), here it is:

Boz Scaggs - On the Beach (2018)

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Georgina Wilding


From D.H. Lawrence to Alan Sillitoe, John Harvey to the Sleaford Mods, the fair city of Nottingham - my home on and off (more on than off) for the last 35 years - has produced a wealth of writers whose genius is recognised way beyond the county border. That's right, even as far as Derby...and beyond.

And that (very) long list of extraordinarily gifted writers with an NG postcode is growing all the time: I wrote about (or should I say abaht) one of Nottingham's up and coming young writers when I saw her perform last year at a poetry workshop. An event - a festival, even - that she had helped both organise and host. Georgina Wilding is an amazing raw talent, a writer who, even for one so young, is steeped in everything both culturally and artistically that makes Nottingham the greatest city, I think, in the country; though I may be biased!

Georgina very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the blog, and for that I can't thank her enough.

When did you first realise you could write poetry?

I think I was 20. I’d just dropped out of a Forensic Science degree at Liverpool John Moores University wishing I’d pursued English after a love of creative writing followed me all my life. I’d moved back to Nottingham and got lucky discovering a poetry collective called the Mouthy Poets. Of course, I immediately fell in love. It was the perfect mix of rules and art and rule breaking. After a year or so in the group, I decided to apply to Nottingham University’s Creative and Professional Writing course to further my poetic education, and upon arrival I finally felt like I’d found ‘it’, you know, the thing that sets you off. Saying that, I visited my Grandma recently and she’d found a scrap of old wallpaper I’d written a poem on at about 5 or 6 years old so, maybe I was ‘a poet and didn’t know it’ for a long time before it came into my consciousness.

Your job often takes you out of the country - does your writing style change depending on your location?

I haven’t found that to be true, not yet anyway. For me, travelling really opens up WHAT you write about, and makes you explore yourself through the medium of something new. Travelling with my poetry has been a real source of growth for me personally because of this. For example, in Krakow last year I discovered the most mind blowing botanical gardens; they had ladders and platforms in a tonne of their greenhouses that let you get right up into the tropical canopies. Whilst up there it felt like I’d taken breathing for granted until then, and I had this weird sense of awakening and power that had me in a writing daze crossed between a forest nymph and a Disney Villain. That’s stayed with me, and I’m really enjoying using that lens as a tool to look at life and write.

I’m guessing you get homesick when you’re away; describe Nottingham in three words.

A patchwork city.

Here's Georgina on the BBC a couple of years ago talking about her love of Nottingham's Goose Fair:




Just how big a deal was it when you were made the city’s first young Poet Laureate?

Honestly, even I struggle to compute how I survived that winning call from Sandeep Mahal. I could not believe it. It’s probably the proudest moment of my career to date, and it has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever guessed. That title has opened so many doors for me, in both my professional and personal life, and I’ve seen so much more than I think I would have done without it. It’s hard to express, really. All I can say is "thank you, thank you, thank you" to the forces that made it be.

Who are your poetry heroes and heroines?

I’ve been so lucky to be mentored by the likes of Caroline Bird, Andrew McMillan and Roger Robinson. Their work makes me want to fight; for poetry, to write stronger poems personally, and to get every single person reading their stuff and seeing the world through their eyes, even if just for the length of a poem. As well as those, I love to read Sharon Olds, Kate Clanchy, Mona Arshi, Fatimah Asghar, Norman McCaig, Sean Hewitt…the list goes on and on, but if you can read a sample from all of the above I’d bet you my favourite boots that you’ll fall in love with at least one of them.

Do you buy into the ‘songs are just poems with music’ i.e. when people talk about Bob Dylan? Or are song lyrics and poetry two parallel lines that never meet?

I think in its simplest form, yes, maybe. The thing I love about poetry is that it doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle, or end. It’s really more like photography to me; it’s a snapshot of a moment or a feeling that doesn’t have to come full circle, or to some extent, even make rational sense. It’s about moving people, allowing space for their interpretation of the world as you’ve seen it in that poem.

Tell me about Mud Press (Georgina's own compact and bijou publishing house)

Ah, Mud Press, my little love. In 2015 I graduated from uni and decided I’d set up a poetry publishing house to provide a print platform for todays contemporary writers. It’s been such a joy to run, but since I got the poet laureate role Mud has been on a bit of an informal hiatus as it’s just me running the show. I do all the social media, set all the competitions and read all the entries, format all the books and do all the taxes and admin and… it’s a lot. So, when I took on the laureate role as well as my freelance Learning Design (to keep the wolves from the door) I just couldn’t manage publishing as well. However, that said, there are plans for a few small publications to come out in 2020, and in 2021, I’m hoping to get some funding together to acquire a small team and really get that publishing engine going again.

And finally… Curry or pizza?

Curry all day every day - especially from Tamatanga! 

Beer or wine?

Beer, all the beer! (Wine sometimes.)

Party animal, or stay in with friends? 


I’m both! Though life these days definitely sees me in with friends more so than out - the hangovers are coming to get me. 


Upstairs on the bus, or down? 


Upstairs. And, if I'm lucky, right at the front! 


Brown sauce or ketchup? 


Brown for sausage cobs (yes, COBS, none of this ‘roll’ malarky) and red for nuggets!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Faucet


Subtlety is not heavy metal's default position; never has been - neither in its musical output or, indeed, its cover art. When UK hopefuls UFO approached Hipgnosis in 1975 for sleeve ideas for their new album it was the firm's crack design team, led by Storm Thorgerson, that came up with the initial idea. Thorgerson and co. then proceeded to absolutely throw the kitchen bathroom sink at it. Literally. The band wanted to call the album Force It, so Hipgnosis gave them taps (geddit?), and lots of them.

In the UK it was released as the band intended. Sexual politics aside, it's a non gender specific couple seemingly getting it on in the bath. But the Americans wouldn't stand for such shenanigans. On its initial release in the US the offending protagonists were airbrushed out totally (with a shedload more taps added) and then subsequently replaced by the band's guitarist Michael Schenker (though not, unfortunately, in the bath).


UFO - Shoot Shoot (1975)

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

He Will be Prosecuted


1n 1977 Ian Dury and Graham Parker were on fire. Conveniently, both had the punk tag loosely attached to them - more for their attitude than their music it has to be said - and both used it as a launch pad to grow still further their fan base. And the pair had the foresight to employ graphics wizz Barney Bubbles to help sell their wares - his artwork and designs (remember the Blockheads logo, that was Bubbles) were integral to the punk and new wave scene and could be seen strewn all over the music press, on swathes of record sleeves, and, indeed, anywhere frequented by Bill Stickers.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Back Home in 1970



"But there's only four of us" said Reginald Dwight to his pay masters at Hallmark Records when they asked him to cover the England 1970 Mexico World Cup tub thumping anthem Back Home. That's right, the future Elton John and his then band couldn't even muster a 5-a-side team, let alone the 22 man squad who sang (mostly in tune) the football anthem to end all football anthems.
All things considered, I think Elton makes a decent fist of it. Oo-er missus.

Top of the Poppers - Back Home (1970)

Monday, 13 January 2020

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Bus


Not since the days of Barry Norman have I paid a great deal of attention to film critics; oh, don't get me wrong, many of them can (and do) steer us away from turkeys, but, at the end of the day, a movie is only ever as good as *you* think it is. Nobody else's opinion counts. Nobody's. Far too many scribes walk into movie theatres with so much baggage you'll often be wading through their 2,000 word review and not start reading about the actual film till you're two thirds of the way into it.

went to see The Gentlemen on Saturday. For those of you who don't know The Gentlemen, it's a modern day British gangster movie, and it's written & directed by Guy Ritchie. So, contained in that last sentence alone is enough information to alienate at least 50% of broadcasters, journos, hacks and bloggers who will probably dismiss this frenetic 113 minute caper with not so much as a backward glance. Critics, eh?

For what it's worth, I absolutely adored it. The script was fizzing, the storyline both clever and compelling, and the casting of Hugh Grant as a grubby tabloid reporter was a masterstroke. Consign to the rubbish bin all your bungling Grant preconceptions and be in no doubt - he steals the film; right from under the nose of its star Matthew McConaughey.

Let's wrap this up then - the language is eye watering, the gags are punchy and the pace is nothing short of high speed. And it's very funny. What more do you need? It's a masterpiece. ***** (Put that on the side of a bus.)

Monday, 6 January 2020

Yellow

DELIVERING FLOWERS

Today's offering, in true Sesame Street style, is brought to you by the colour yellow. Three photographs - two shot in Nottingham during the recent Christmas break, and the third of my daughter-in- law's footwear taken in Manchester sometime last year. The idea to show them together is kind of obvious and I think (well, I would say this wouldn't I?) pleasing to the eye. Unless, heaven forbid, you suffer from Xanthophobia.

NG - ONE

YELLOW LINES

I came very close to choosing The Race by Yello to sign off today, but thought it a tad obvious; though, ironically, Behind the Wheel by Depeche Mode (seen here in yellow vinyl), I think, more than tips its hat to Yello's Vicious Games. It's a small world. And yellow.

Depeche Mode - Behind the Wheel (1987)


Friday, 3 January 2020

Woah! Not so Fast


We've all done it. Hell, John Peel practically made a living out of it; however, playing vinyl at the wrong speed isn't always a bad thing. Check this out, for instance. I found it on Twitter (where else?) and it works. No, I mean it really works. Jolene sung at 33 rpm.

Dolly Parton - Jolene (1974)


Am I right, or am I right? How to turn a good song into a brilliant song - even her guitar picking sounds wondrous. And if you like that you may or may not want to check out Billy Jean. Slow down!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Cold Turkey


I'd like to think that the opening words of my first blog of a new year set the tone for the remaining 360 odd days to come. But as last year ended on an all time low (for all sorts of reasons - some obvious, some not so), the bar is currently set pretty low. However, as this blog approaches its 10th anniversary I'm afraid I can't make any promises for 2020. To quote Doris Day, what will be, will be. A Happy New Year to you all.
.........

I spent much of the holidays re-watching Budgie - Keith Waterhouse's finest creation (surpassing even the brilliance of Billy Liar). I've name-checked Waterhouse and Budgie Bird in previous blogs so I'll concentrate, instead, on the theme music. 

Only two series were made by LWT - in 1971 & 1972. The first deployed a haunting instrumental, The Loner, credited to the Milton Hunter Orchestra. Budgie, played by Adam Faith, is seen chasing (always out of reach) pound notes - the programmes's overriding premise encapsulated in just 45 seconds.



For the second series we see the same footage, only this time to the backdrop of a beautiful song written by Ray Davies: Nobody's Fool is - to the untrained ear, the Kinks at the top of their game. Only it isn't. Well, it's Ray Davies singing, that much we do know, but according to the label on the accompanying Pye single, the artist is Cold Turkey. Go figure.

Cold Turkey - Nobody's Fool (1972)


From the bright busy streets off the Charing Cross Road
To the dark little alleys in old Soho