• Musical Memories 9

    Mar 16 2008, 0:22

    The Life Of Riley - Ah, Saturday nights in early 1990's: Arriving home from the pub slightly the worse for wear, making a cup of tea and a cheese sarnie and joining dad to watch the end of 'Match of the Day'*, hoping my impersonation of a sober person is working and he hasn't realised just how pissed I actually am.

    Apparently, it wasn't. And he did.

    *(For those too young to remember, this song was used in the background of the 'Goal of the Month' competition back then. It was the best tune they ever used).
  • Foo Fighters - MEN Arena - Saturday November 3rd.

    Nov 5 2007, 10:09



  • A Music Meme

    Mag 27 2007, 22:27

    Recently elsewhere on the Wibbly Wobbly Web, I was tagged to do a music meme. As it was about music, I thought I'd reproduce it here.

    Basically, I'm supposed to list five songs I'm really enjoying listening to at the moment. I'm glad this wasn't a list of my favourite songs, because that would be impossible for me to do, I love so many songs for so many different reasons. But this one wasn't so bad, once I got into the habit of a) listening to the radio and b) listening to iTunes again. So here are my five, which reflect my favourites over the past few weeks, but would probably be completely different if I did this meme again in a month or two's time:

    Barenaked Ladies If I Had a Million Dollars
    I wish I'd got into to the Barenaked Ladies when a nice American bloke I got to know via an email mailing list recommended them to me back in about 1995 or something. Still, it's never too late - and thanks to some nice new pals sending me some of their stuff over the past year, I'm now making up for lost time.This is my current favourite song (of theirs and generally) and it's just gorgeous. It works on so many levels. It's melodic, it's funny, it's sweet, it has a fantastic singalong tune and quirky lyrics, yet it's poignant too. It's a simple premise: if the singer had a million dollars, what would he buy for the woman he loves? Some art (a Picasso, or a Garfunkel), A fur coat (but not a real fur coat, that's cruel), John Merrick's remains (ooh all them crazy elephant bones), or just a green dress (but not a real green dress, that's cruel). But most of all, he would buy her love. Aw. And with lines like the ones I've quoted above, is it any wonder I sway along to it with a big fat cheesy grin on my face every time I hear it (and never fail to laugh out loud at the Garfunkel line)? No. No it isn't.

    Brian Protheroe - Pinball
    A bit of a Golden Oldie this one, and a song I've rediscovered thanks to the wonderful 'Guilty Pleasures' series of CDs. It starts off with a simple guitar strum and the chime of a triangle, then Brian's mournful lyrics kick in and you find yourself wondering where all this is going. Gradually it builds up, adding in drums, sax, backing 'lalala's', a bit of a duet with himself and then....it just pootles off into the distance, beautifully. I love this song for so many reasons, but mostly because it's the only song I know of that mentions that most British of all alcoholic beverages - Pale Ale.

    Starland Vocal Band - Afternoon Delight
    Another Golden Oldie courtesy of 'Guilty Pleasures', and a song I have loved since I first heard it as a child. I've always been a sucker for harmonies in songs, and this one gave me so many to choose from - but even after all these years, I still can't get them right! It's a gentle little sway-along ditty with a bit of a country twang to it. Of course, as an innocent 9 year old I had no idea what 'Afternoon Delight' was, and for many years I genuinely thought they were singing about the joy of eating Angel Delight as a teatime treat. Well really, what else would 'thinking up he's working up an appetite, looking forward to a little afternoon delight' mean eh?

    Sugababes - Easy
    I know I'm going to get the piss ripped out of me forever for admitting to liking the Sugababes, but I don't care. They sing bloody good pop tunes. This isn't my favourite song of theirs by any means (that would be a close run thing between 'Overload' and 'Stronger') but it's the one I'm enjoying listening to the most at the moment, and that's what this meme is all about. I think what sets Sugababes apart from some of the other girl groups around are that they have great songwriters and producers backing them up (and their voices meld together well, too). This song's like two different songs combined into one and I love the atmosphere it creates, which also makes me want get up and boogie my arse off. I love the slightly sinister sounding tune in the background of the "ohhhh-OHHHHHH!" at the end of the chorus (which I also love singing along to in my tuneless way, much to the misery of anyone in earshot). I also love the fact that the girl who replaced Mu(n)tya has a much better voice than she ever did. Hah! In your face, Mu(n)tya!

    Take That - Shine
    The only song on my list that I don't (yet) own, but I hear it at least once a week on the radio and I am still absolutely in love with it, despite it being played to death on the radio for months now. As soon as it starts up, I get a big old cheesy grin on my face and I just have to sing and dance along. I love Little Mark's slightly ropey vocals, I love the cheesy backing vocals (which, of course, I sing along to), I love the jangly production and I love the video with it's Berkley-esque imagery (and the fact that they make Fat Gaz sit at the piano throughout so as not to show up his lack of dancing skills!) Most of all I love this song because it makes me feel happy. And there's nowt wrong with that, if you ask me.
  • Musical Memories 8

    Mar 13 2007, 22:55

    Would I Lie To You? - Sometime in the mid 1980's. The 18th birthday party of a boy from school. The Leiston Community Centre - you know the kind of place. Or maybe you don't. Typical 1970's built community centre in the middle of a council house estate, the roughest in the neighbourhood as it happens. The hall is full of a mixture of family, friends and miscreants like us who vaguely know the Birthday Boy from school and got invited because we worked with his girlfriend on Saturdays in Sainsburys. We've raided the buffet, drunk about as much Peach Concorde as it's possible to drink in one night (we always were classy birds) and now we just want to dance. But the DJ has been playing mostly rubbish, and even when he's played the odd good tune nobody has made any sort of move towards the dance floor. It's going to be one of those sort of nights, and we wonder how soon we can make our excuses and go back to the pub...

    The DJ is at giving-up point, and bungs this track on, and me and my friends decide enough is enough - we just have to dance once before we go! And lo! All of a sudden we are surrounded by everybody else in the hall, all smiling and singing and dancing their socks off. Even the really old people who just a few minutes earlier looked like they were dozing off in their chairs. I'd never thought of this tune as a dancefloor-filler before that night. I've always thought of it as one since.

    We didn't sit down again for the next two hours, as I recall, and the DJ played a blinder from that point on. And, despite my feet aching in four inch stilleto heels, even the walk home via the rough council estate at midnight was good fun - though that might have had more to do with the Peach Concorde than the music.
  • Andrew Gold - Lonely Boy

    Feb 23 2007, 10:05

    Lonely Boy
    I love this song to bits, but I often find myself pondering the fact that, if I ever met the eponymous hero of it in real life, I wouldn't half want to give him a good slap. Spoilt, selfish little git!

    (I do hope it's not autobiographical!)
  • Farewell Then...

    Feb 13 2007, 10:59

    ...The Beautiful South

    For a brief period during the early 1990's, The Beautiful South were something of an obsession for me. They were the first band whose CD's I would race out to buy on the day of release. They were the first (and only) band whose CD singles I would buy because I wanted the bonus tracks from them. They were the band who indirectly introduced me to several people I would never have met otherwise, thanks to a fledgling Internet mailing list. They were the first band I went to see live on my own. Twice. Actually, they are the only band I've been to see live on my own! And they are the only band I've seen live more than once (four times, in all, sadly the last time being a huge disappointment).

    Admittedly my early obsession with them had a an awful lot to do with the massive teenage crush I had on Dave Hemingway at the time. Slightly embarrassing given that I was in my twenties. But crushes fade, as mine inevitably did, whilst fortunately their talent and the music did not. Sadly it all started to go a bit pear shaped (for me) after they released 'Miaow', the last album of theirs that I liked more than a couple of songs on, and Paul Heaton's problems with booze seemed to grip him to a degree that his previously dark-but-witty-and-harmonic songs turned into dark-and-nasty-tuneless ones - to these ears, at least. Oh, there were still occasional flashes of genius, and tracks that I loved, but the consistency was gone. This was also around the time I last saw them live, when Paul was a drunken wreck whose late arrival at the gig (delaying them and shortening the set by a good half-hour) and subsequent shambolic performance was later blamed on him apparently settling himself into the pub over the road and refusing to come out until he was quite literally dragged out by some roadie or other.

    I digress. None of that matters anymore. What matters is that, at their peak, The Beautiful South wrote and played perfect pop music with a twist, just the way I like it. They sang harmonies to die for. Their first three albums are still amongst my favourite albums of all time, and I never tire of playing them, nearly fifteen years on. I doubt I ever will. Live, at their best, they were talented, tuneful and a joy to watch, listen and dance along to. Their encore performance of 'Woman In The Wall' neatly merging into the Bee Gee's 'You Should Be Dancing', will stay in my memory for many years to come and will always make me smile.

    RIP The Beautiful South. I loved you from the bottom of my pencil case.
  • Musical Memories 7

    Lug 7 2006, 22:26

    Build Me up Buttercup - One of quite a few songs that will always remind me of my parents' New Years Eve parties in the mid 1970's. As I was only a little 'un, I'd be packed off early to bed on NYE, only to usually be awoken a few hours later by the sounds of loud music, clinking glasses, and grown-ups shouting and laughing and singing along to the music. Ah, the music, of course. All of mum and dad's favourite LP's would have been lined up by the 'gram' to be played through the night - great tunes from the 50's, 60's and 70's that I have continued to love to this day.

    At some point before midnight, one of my parents (usually mum - dad would have been fairly well sozzed by this time) would come into my room and ask me if I wanted to come downstairs to the party. Daft question to ask a 7 year old, or what? Then me and Sis would be allowed downstairs and treated to the sight of all those grown ups - who we normally saw being terribly serious and authoritative - falling around and laughing and dancing and singing. I remember that one year I had received a box of magic tricks for my birthday the day before, and was 'allowed' to perform the various tricks to the party-goers. I thought I was being so impressive, they must've been wetting themselves laughing at my junior magician act.

    Then the inevitable moment would come, when dad would get me and Sis in an almost-headlock under each arm and pronounce loudly to anyone who wanted to listen (and several who didn't) how he was 'so proud' of his 'lovely girls'. I loved it all, my little insight into adult parties. I loved the way all the grown ups were acting silly, the sight of my mum dancing with her girl friends in a big group, letting us girls join in with them, all of them having a laugh, and the smell of beer on my dad as he gave us big bear hugs and told us how much he loved us. This song is one of many that was played so often on those New Years Eves gone by, and always makes me remember them and smile.

    What I find quite scary now is that mum and dad were younger then than I am now - and I thought they were all so old!
  • 46 More Ways Required!

    Apr 8 2006, 16:58

    50 Ways to Leave Your Lover- So, according to Paul Simon's mysterious lady friend, there are 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Only, she doesn't actually tell him what they are, does she? By my reckoning, she only actually tells him four ways. So either she just cheated and misled him, or Paul got bored of the shit-stirring bitch and didn't listen beyond the first few she mentioned. Which, given the title of the song, I feel is a bit of a swizz. So, here are the ways she describes:

    1. Slip out the back, Jack.
    2. Make a new plan, Stan.
    3. No need to be coy Roy, just listen to me (now that's not really a way to leave your lover, is it? That's just an instruction).
    4. Hop on the bus, Gus.
    5. You don't need to discuss much (again, that's not technically a way to leave your lover, is it? Cheat).
    6. Just drop off the key, Lee
    7. And get yourself free. (I reckon she's playing for time here, because she can't think of any more).

    So, here's a challenge for anybody who actually reads this tripe. What are the other 46 ways to leave your lover? So far I've come up with:

    Chop off her head, Fred.
    Tell her to leave, Steve.
    Give her the push, Mush.
    Be a miserable fucker, me old mucker.
    Kick her into touch, Butch. (It helps if you read that one in a Northern accent).
    Tell him it's not him it's you, that your feelings have changed but you'll always love him as a friend, ah! Brenda.

    Any more for any more?
  • This Is The Politics Of Lo-oo-oooo-ve!

    Apr 1 2006, 22:29

    Heart & Soul - I've never understood why 'China In Your Hand' was a bigger hit than this far more superior tune. This song really deserved to be No. 1, even if the lyrics get a bit silly at times.
  • Musical Memories 6

    Feb 12 2006, 22:11

    Sparks - This Town Aint Big Enough For The Both Of Us - September 1999. Brother-in-law's 40th birthday party. It's fancy dress. This song comes on and every single person in the room gets up to dance. I'm dressed as Frida from Abba, dancing with my 8 year old niece who's dressed as a 'hippy chick'. Surrounding us are - amongst others - 'Agnetha' a couple of Pink Ladies, 'John Lennon', 'John Travolta' a Hell's Angel, a Flapper and various teddy boys. All are dancing with huge grins on their faces. As the song reaches its climax, everyone joins in loudly with the final line..."I ain't gonna LEEEEEEAAAAAAAAVE!'

    Top, top tune. Top, top party. Play this song and play it loud. And dance. Like no-one's watching. It's the only way.