Monday, 21 June 2010

New balls

Just in case anyone has been disappointed at the discovery that those links I posted to Santo, Sam & Ed's Cup Fever in the previous entry no longer work, here's a new (permanent) one where you can download all episodes - and the links really will work this time!

It really is worth the bother if you're a fan of football and comedy (that's actual, intentional comedy, by the way, rather than the type served up by the England team), as this show is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. (A typical joke saw the presenters all sucking on a packet of Wayne Rooney's Disappointmints, which tasted surprisingly bitter.)

I'm really letting the side down with blog posts this World Cup. Apologies for that. Just can't seem to drag myself off the sofa at the minute! Today also sees the thrilling start, if you're posh, of Wimbledon. Here are a couple of links to commemorate this momentous occasion.

From 1982: The Brat - Chalk Dust (The Umpire Strikes Back). Who could possibly have guessed as a sprog that twenty-eight yeasrs later the lyrics to this song wouldn't seem quite so hilarious after all?

Something that does still seem funny almost three decades on is the McEnroes at Breakfast sketch from Not The 9 O'Clock News:

The above clips illustrate perfectly, I think - for those too young or too addled to remember - just what a big deal John McEnroe was at the time. His fame/notoriety seemingly knew no bounds. Not that he's entirely slipped from view, of course. Whose was the first voice I heard when I woke up this morning? That's right, John McEnroe's. (Umm, not that I'm sleeping with him or anything. He was talking on the radio is all.)

Finally today, many congratulations to Northern Irishman Graham McDowell (who I'm sure will be reading this) on his stunning victory in golf's U.S. Open overnight, thus becoming the first European to win the event in colour. When Tony Jacklin won it in '70, the game was played entirely in black & white.

Apologies to anyone who's already read me coming out with many of the above comments on Twitter this morning, by the way. I am aware, however, that our entire readership doesn't necessarily frequent that place, so I have to keep both of you happy somehow.

In keeping with the entirely haphazard nature of this post, here's a song what I like!

Popsicle - Never Know mp3

Monday, 14 June 2010

More World Cup shows (good ones this time)

ITV may have plumbed the depths with their venture into light-hearted World Cup spin-off programming this time round, but the spirit of Baddiel & Skinner's old Fantasy Football programmes lives on in other parts of the world. Places like Australia, for example, where SBS are running the splendid nightly half-hour show Santo, Sam and Ed's Cup Fever presented by amiable funny types Santo Cilauro, Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang. This programme really is a breath of fresh air, and best of all, thanks to the wonders of the interweb, we can watch it in other territories too, at this rather fantastic blog, where all episodes to date are gathered in a one-click, embedded YouTube stylee. Marvellous.

Baddiel & Skinner themselves, meanwhile, are doing regular podcasts for Absolute Radio during the World Cup, just in case you hadn't heard. These are very good also, as you might expect.

Completing what appears to have turned into a bit of a round-up, I'd also highly recommend the Guardian's World Cup Daily podcasts with James Richardson and various journos from said newspaper. But then you probably already knew about those as well. I'm just wasting everybody's time here really, aren't I?

Righto, bedtime I think. Big day tomorrow. Many football matches and related shows to enjoy! I think I might be going a bit dotty with the excitement of it all you know.

EDIT: I really ought to have mentioned the fact that all episodes of Cup Fever can be streamed directly from the SBS website too. Terribly remiss of me.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

May God have mercy on arseholes

Just spotted this in tonight's Radio Times programme listings for ITV1:

James Corden's World Cup Live

New series. 1/14
. In this regular post-match magazine show the Gavin & Stacey star is joined by model Abbey Clancy - England striker Peter Crouch's other half - for an alternative view of the tournament.

Now I'm not a big one for profanity, as you know, but really, ITV can fuck right off.

Anne Soldaat - Going South mp3

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The height of twit

Spike's going to (rightly) hate me for saying this but Too Much Apple Pie is now on Twitter. (It's making me feel ashamed just typing the words out.) You can find us @2MuchApplePie anyway. Please follow us (me) and encourage our (my) pitiful need for attention. We'll follow you back and everything. Thanks!

Hello Saferide - Long Lost Penpal mp3

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Three of a Kind #106

I'm really enjoying Caroline's Radio, the new single - and homage to the famous pirate radio station of the 60s - from Scots popsters Bubblegum Lemonade; not just because it's a very good song in its own right but also because it's reminded me of, and provided me with the perfect excuse to dig out, a couple of my favourite songs on a similar theme i.e. My Radio Sounds Different in the Dark by fab early-90s Irish combo The Would Be's (sic) and On The Radio by Sweden's own Concretes. Sometimes these things just fall into your lap.

The Would Be's - My Radio Sounds Different in the Dark mp3

The Concretes - On The Radio m4a

Bubblegum Lemonade - Caroline's Radio mp3 (right click)

You can order the full three-track Caroline's Radio EP from the Matinée Recordings website

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

For fox sake

(Scene: BBC Radio Five Live studios, earlier today. The presenter is just hitting his stride.)

"On today's phone-in we ask, in the horrific wake of the terror attack by a fox on two baby girls in west London at the weekend, should foxes be culled? Call or text in your thoughts to us here in the studio. Our first caller is Deborah from East Grinstead. Good morning, Deborah."

"Yes, hello. I just wanted to say that the fox problem has to be dealt with straight away. They're an absolute nightmare round my way. All I have to do is open my back door and I am literally overrun by scores of the dangerous beasts who generally hang about looking cocky in my garden. I caught one chewing on the corner of my son's play mat the other day. When I screamed he just looked at me with utter contempt. The fox didn't look too impressed either."

"The fox was chewing your son's play mat?!"

"That's right. I even found one sleeping in my son's bed one time. Not a care in the world. I literally vomited when I saw it lying there as if it owned the place."

"The fox was sleeping in your son's bed?"

"It was. The story has a happy ending though. My husband scooped it up and threw it out of the window. Took ages to scrape it off the patio mind you. I just cannot believe the arrogance of these creatures."

"And this wasn't an isolated incident?"

"Goodness no. They're literally a plague round here. I was at my wits end. If I didn't have them systematically exterminated I don't know what I'd do."

"Thanks for your call. Bill is on line two. Morning, Bill."

"Morning, Nicky. Big fan of the show. The foxes are a problem aren't they? These alien creatures infesting our beautiful English countryside. And now our gardens!"

"Hang on a minute, alien creatures? Surely foxes have been a part of the British countryside for thousands of years?"

"Yes but they don't play by our rules. It's against nature. We live in constant fear in our house. I'm scared to let my kids out to play in the garden now. They must be destroyed! The foxes I mean. Kill them all!!"

"Kevin is on line four. Kevin, you don't believe foxes should be culled?"

"Hello Nicky. No, no I do not. I fervently believe that foxes should not be cold. Can we not just give them nice warm jackets to wear or something?"

(Bill on line two cuts back in)

"Oh for goodness' sake, this is just the kind of lily-livered nanny-state hogwash that has sent this country into decline since new Labour came into power. We should take action against these frenzied beasts NOW, not mollycoddle them. I think it's time to lift the ban on fox hunting now that we have a strong, right-thinking government again."

(presenter cuts in again)

"Interesting point. What do other listeners think - is Bill right? Is it time to take action and lift the ban? Or should it stay in place? And what about the timing of this whole business, is it a bit strange that the mainstream media are becoming so obsessed with a story like this five minutes after the Tories have come back into power? Gordon is on line twelve."

"Political. Correctness. Gone. Mad. Honestly, I'm surprised at you, Nicky. Surprised that you could be so easily influenced by the spoutings of the loony left! Of course fox hunting should be brought back. It's what made this country great. We need to rid the country of them now. Won't someone think of the children!!"

"Beryl is on the central line. Beryl?"

"Yes I just wanted to say that I think it's terrible the-the sheer hostility and hatred that people are showing for these beautiful animals. We are all God's creatures after all. Can we not just live and let live?"

(Bill and Gordon both try to interrupt; the presenter interjects)

"Hang on, one at a time. Gordon, talk to Beryl."

"Let me get this right. What you are actually saying here Beryl is that you want the foxes to win, right?"

"I didn't say that at all. I was merely saying we have to learn to be tolerant and understanding towards these animals. Perhaps if we stopped leaving our bins overflowing on the street and disposed of our litter more appropriately, this might discourage them hanging around our urban environments. That and stop leaving food for them in our gardens."

"Don't you tell me what to do! Our brave soldiers aren't out there laying down their lives on the front line in Algeria-"

(Presenter interjects)


"Wherever - so that the likes of you can come on here and ABUSE ME for giving my honest opinion. I think you should apologise, Beryl. Your hate-filled rant has left me quite shaken."

"Well I-I'm very sorry if what I said hit some kind of nerve with you, but consider this. If you - and other callers to this programme - had substituted the word 'fox' with 'jew' in your various diatribes then you would have been using exactly the same language that the Nazis used seventy years ago. Albeit they would have said it in German, obviously."

"Oh great, so now I'm a Nazi am I?! Not that Mr Hitler didn't talk a lot of sense at times. But still, stop oppressing me you evil cow!"

(Gordon spontaneously combusts; hate-filled lynch mob and nation's press gather outside Beryl's house; Nicky hands over to Philip Eden with the weather; The End)

Monday, 7 June 2010

Three of a Kind #105

With, at the time of typing, a mere ninety hours to go until the 2010 World Cup begins in earnest (well, South Africa) there's never been a better time for me to start blathering away about how much I'm looking forward to this summer's soccerball shindig. Non-football fans may wish to look away now - and possibly for the next five weeks or so. I suspect there'll be a lot more of this type of thing to come.

Actually, what am I saying, stick around! For the consistently choice selection of mp3s if nothing else!

I think I've done quite well holding back this long before launching into some of what erstwhile 6-0-6 host David Mellor would have cretinously termed "red hot soccer chat" actually. It's reminding me of the restrain you have to show as a music blogger towards the end of the calendar year, when you're dying to let loose with the Christmas songs but, conscious of the fact that they're not exactly everyone's cup of char, don't want to start posting them too soon for fear of pissing people off. But hopefully four days before the big event is acceptable.

So yes, the thirty-two competing squads will have mostly (if not all) arrived in South Africa by now (probably); the various World Cup shows and podcasts have begun in earnest; I've started counting down the hours rather than days till the big kick off (South Africa v Mexico, 3pm Friday, ITV); my When Saturday Comes World Cup wallchart is firmly in place (albeit, in an act of astonishing rebelliousness on my part, not on the wall at all, but rather the fridge door. Hell yeah. Like some kind of - or actual - maverick wallchart pinner-upperer, I don't play by the rules), and I am ready to go. Or at least ready to go and plonk myself down on the settee and stare at the telly for a month or so straight.

As for who I reckon's going to win the thing, well, Spain and Brazil are the bookmakers' favourites so the sensible thing would be to tip one of those two. But I don't really do sensible, as you know. Besides, I feel there's really only one team I can throw my full weight of support behind at this particular time. In fact, I feel compelled to cheer them on after that Eurovision debacle the other week. They are, of course, the Netherlands!

Oh yes, things are going to be different this time, I can feel it. For one thing, I've done my research this time and, unlike their Eurovision counterparts, the Netherlands football team have actually qualified for the finals, so we're ahead of the game already!

And for another, they have a fine attacking tradition and many technically-gifted and exciting players such as Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart in their current squad. Mind, they also have Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel, a dearth of truly world-class defenders, and a not-so-fine tradition of internecine squabbling within their championship squads; oh, and van Persie and Robben are injured half the time anyway. But I never said they were perfect. Might be worth a punt at 11-1 though.

Anyway, now we've got the World Cup ball rolling, so to speak, here are some songs on a theme. Mostly. I suspect I'm going to run out of actual football-related songs pre-tty bloody quickly.

Agent Simple - Friday mp3

Woog Riots - Football Round the Clock mp3

Colourbox - The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme mp3

By the way, in case you were wondering, the accompanying picture at the top of this post comes from Jack Rosenthal's 1972 parks football TV play, Another Sunday and Sweet F.A., which is now, thrillingly, available to buy on DVD. Woo.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Confused? You will be...

Not much in the way of new blog entries from yours truly of late - the disappointment of the Netherlands entry not actually making the Eurovision final after all obviously must've hit me harder than I first feared. In fact, I've not really got anything new to offer today either (why change the habits of a lifetime? etc).

I have, however, been watching the odd music vid on YouTube over the past week or so, including these two largely forgotten (at least by me - until last night) 80s classics from Womack & Womack, 1984's Love Wars and 88's Teardrops. And who knew that Linda Womack was actually Sam Cooke's daughter? Not me for one. Linda married Cecil Womack, who'd previously been married to Motown's own Mary Wells. Linda and Cecil's marriage created controversy as Cecil's brother Bobby (of Bobby Womack fame) had himself married Sam Cooke's widow Barbara just three months after the legendary crooner's murder in 1964. (Seldom has Soap's trademark "Confused?" line seemed so apt.)

Anyway, yes, love wars and teardrops all round I'd imagine!

In other eighties-related news, Rick Astley was a guest on Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 show this morning. What a thoroughly likeable, down-to-earth chap he comes across as. Modest too, insisting that he'd never really cracked America, despite having enjoyed two number ones on the Billboard singles chart and a few more top ten hits besides (we only learnt this information at all because Ross had to shoehorn it in amidst Rick's protestations of failure).

I also love the fact that that supposedly ironic but actually quite snidey "Rickrolling" campaign is what seems to have thrust our man back into the spotlight, as evidenced by his current unexpected comeback. Anyway, hurrah. Whatever you think of Rick's music - and no one's ever been more withering on this particular subject than the late, great Bill Hicks - it's refreshing to see someone with a bit of humility getting on well in the business of show. The new single's bloody awful though.