Mildly Highly* Interesting Pop Facts: Miquel Brown is the step-sister of fellow disco diva Amii Stewart and the mother of disco div Sinitta (to whom the resemblance is uncanny). An actress as well as a singer, Miquel also appeared in the pilot episode of The Sweeney!
*Due to the unusually high interestingness quota of these facts, I've given them an upgrade.
One of my very favourite things at the moment has to be artist Antony Gormley's "living monument" on the (previously) empty Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Basically, in case you've not heard about it, what happens is: every hour, twenty-four hours a day, for a hundred days without a break, a different person occupies the plinth and does whatever takes their fancy during their sixty minutes on the perch (27713 people applied for the 2400 available places). It is utterly brilliant, sort of like Big Brother, only without the hysteria and ratcheted-up tension.
And as if that wasn't enough on its own, you can also dip into the coverage of the action whenever you like as there's a free live webstream of the action here which will, presumably, be up throughout the hundred days (or eighty-seven remaining days as it is now).
I've only been dipping in and out for a day or so now but personal highlights so far include the middle-aged woman who took a pile of ironing with her and spent her hour making her way through it (between you and me, though, I don't think the iron was plugged in). There was also an especially paranoid conspiracy theorist who, in the ten minutes or so I watched him, managed to claim that the USA actually hanged one of Saddam's lookylikeys rather than the erstwhile Iraqi dictator himself (who apparently remains at large. Who knew?!), and also that the real power behind the various regimes in the White House over the years have, in fact, been.... the Presidents' dogs. Absolutely barking.
The last time I looked Margie from the south west was due for her stint on the plinth. She says on her profile page that she's "not sure what I'll be doing yet". Oh dear. I hope Margie doesn't spread herself too thin.
Oh I've been a bad blogger - hardly any updates this week, and I've got nowt planned. In which case, please accept this gratuitous plug for the daily trivia quiz wot I run, and which enjoys the regular patronage of such luminaries as DavyH, tvv, Breadman and Spike/Sutti (when she's not too busy to get online).
There are ten multiple choice questions to be answered each day on a variety of subjects (only one subject per day, mind, so it only takes a minute or two of your time). If you're not part of it already please do come and join in, as all are welcome. It's a good laugh and an education to boot!
Also, apropos of nothing, I seem to remember an old Girlfrendo single that I put up here a while back proving to be quite a hit with some of you, and which led to one or two people requesting to hear some more of the sadly now defunct winsome Swedish twee-piece (tweesome? twee-o?). So here, somewhat belatedly, you go!
With less than a month to go until the new English football season begins in earnest, there's never been a better time to sign up to play the free, official Premier League fantasy football game for 2009/10. As ever, we here at Too Much Apple Pie are running our own private league, which you, our uniquely talented and universally good-looking readership, are invited to join. Please feel free invite your friends along too - the more the merrier!
To enter, simply register for free here and then, once you've selected your squad of 15 players, click on "Leagues" in the left hand menu. Once you've done that simply click "Join", then enter the following code in the "Join private league" box:
And voila! Your team will now be enrolled in the fourth annual "Group of Death". Hope to see you there! (My team are called Optimists Anonymous, by the way. What's yours?)
The man in the pic above is Dr Richard Beeching i.e. the fucker responsible for the infamous Beeching Report (what a coincidence that it bore his name!) which led to the closing down of thousands of miles of the UK railway network in the 1960s. He got paid a fortune for it too, by all accounts, wielding his "axe". There's really no justice sometimes.
What's that got to do with the price of an open return to Inverness, I don't hear you ask. Well, blog favourites the Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut have only gone and released a single about the man, in which Pete fantasises about travelling back in time and turning Beeching's axe back on him. Sounds like a plan!
Hey Doctor Beeching is available as a free mp3 from sparklemotion.co.uk, and while you're there they'd also appreciate it if you could make a voluntary donation to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, as Pete explains:
"The LWR is a little steam railway near where I grew up which is run by volunteers and needs funds to carry on its work restoring old locos, extending the track and enhancing the site for visitors. It's on a section of line which was closed following the recommendations of Dr Richard Beeching, as referred to in the lyrics of the song, so there's kind of a nice circularity about it if we can use the song to undo a little bit of the damage wrought by the Beeching Axe.
"The donation is entirely voluntary and you're quite welcome to download the song without making one. But we'd love it if you could put something in the hat. We suggest a donation of one pound (though, of course, it would be great if you could give more)."
A good gauge of a band's popularity, I find, is to see how many plays they've accumulated on Last.fm. For example, the daddies of them all, The Beatles, have amassed a whopping total of 172,143,820 plays to date. The Rolling Stones, meanwhile, have racked up a healthy 41,176,357, The Smiths 38,610,847, The Kinks 16,776,569, Madness 4,211,755, Teenage Fanclub 2,452,694, Ride 1,956,548 and, erm, Bros 87,662. Today's featured band, The Family Cat, may have only managed a paltry 18,553 Last.fm plays but, although relatively small in number, us fans are still as enthusiastic about their music as ever. How many Brosettes would still be able to claim the same of their own one-time favourites, I wonder?! (I'm guessing about three.)
In case you're under thirty and/or haven't come across them before, here's a bit about the Family Cat. Hailing from Devon, Hampshire and (mostly) Cornwall, and active between 1988 and 1995, the band had not one, not two, but three - count 'em! - guitarists, and made a pleasingly melodic racket (oxymoron alert!) that had a bit more oomph about it than a lot of the more shoegazy brand of indie doing the rounds at the time.
TFC released two full-length albums - 1992's Furthest From The Sun and '94's Magic Happens - and quite a few singles in their time, most of which I bought and all of which still sound tremendous. There was also a Rick Buckler-produced mini-album, 1989's Tell 'Em We're Surfin', which I've never heard, but which, apparently, was so badly produced that the band spent the rest of their career disowning it!
Anyway, I could have chosen many more TFC songs just as good as the ones you're about to hear (assuming you take the plunge and download them), but I settled on the three below.
(By the way, although their CDs are long out of print, the iTunes Shop seems to have the Family Cat's output pretty well covered, so get yourselves along there for lots more of the same.)
Mildly Interesting Pop Fact #2 Steamroller is largely about Southampton FC, the team of choice of one the the band members. I just had to include it here, as Southampton are in the news today - having just been bought by a Swiss billionaire. Topical!
...or at least I love this song; I've not actually heard anything else Glasgow combo the 1990s have recorded. But this one jumped out at me as soon as I heard it on the radio the other day. Honestly, it's catchier than a bout of swine fever. Much less hyped though. (It somehow only reached #106 in the UK pop charts.)
Yesterday it was a Pelle Carlberg song appropriated for the purposes of flogging a leading brand of breakfast cereal; today it's a ditty that's actually a paean to cereals in general, courtesy of versatile Sheffield singer-songwriter John Shuttleworth. Serial Cereal Eater (for that is it) even mentions Special K at one point, which makes me wonder if Kellogg's weren't missing a trick by not hiring Mr Shuttleworth for that ad campaign. Ho hum.
Funnily enough, John has recently been appearing in a series of TV commercials, for Yorkshire Tea. Which at least makes some kind of sense I s'pose. Still, though, if he must advertise a tipple, I reckon Ken Worthington's Bitter would be a better bet. Ooph!
It's always disappointing when your favourite music is appropriated by The Man (whoever he is) for the purposes of hawking tat on TV commercials; but I was more surprised than anything else when Riverbank by Pelle Carlberg popped up as the music on the latest Kellogg's Special K advert in the UK. It's even more surprising when you bear in mind that the song is actually about unquestioning consumer consumption and opportunistic advertisers shoving their products down our throats. Oh the irony!
The MP3s on this site are designed for sampling purposes and are available for a limited time only. If you like what you hear, please support the featured artists by buying their CDs, records or downloads.
If you're an artist who'd like us to feature your music, or remove it from the site, please drop us a line here