Tuesday 21 June 2016

Three of a Kind #117

My first Three of a Kind post for about, what, three years is inspired by rediscovering one of my favourite bands of the early 90s, Revolver. To be honest, I could take or leave a lot of their stuff, but the following trio of songs - Heaven Sent An Angel, Red All Over and Molasses - are as good as anything I ever heard in the 90s, shoegaze-wise, dreampop-wise or otherwise. Pure brilliance from start to finish. They only ever sold about twelve records, too. Funny old world.

Thursday 25 February 2016

The nation's favourite

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn has been sacked by the BBC with immediate effect following the devastating revelation that he worked at Radio 1 in the early 1970s. "We were shocked and appalled when evidence emerged recently that Blackburn hadn't, as he claimed, worked on the World Service at the time, but had actually been plying his trade at Radio 1," said BBC spokesman Toby Tool in a statement released earlier today.

"Not only was he a colleague of Jimmy Savile, it's believed he may also have at times played records by Gary Glitter and Jonathan King, and he probably mentioned It's A Knockout at some point too. Faced with such overwhelming evidence it quickly became clear to us that Mr Blackburn's position at the corporation had become untenable."

Blackburn, 73, had hosted the popular Pick of the Pops on Radio 2 since 2010. Early favourites to take over the role include Olly Murs, Jeremy Clarkson and Bashar al-Assad. Arnold the dog was today unavailable for comment.

Sunday 10 January 2016

Ideal - Blaue Augen (Blue Eyes)

Classic German new wave from 1981. Note the studio audience totally not getting into it. Imagine being able to sit there so impassively while such a brilliant racket's blasting in yer lugholes. I'll never understand normals.

Friday 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Courtesy of Madder Rose. From one of my favourite albums of the nineties, Panic On.

Monday 28 December 2015

Sprout, Sprout, knock yourself out

Prefab Sprout knocking it out of the park with this live version of When Love Breaks Down from Whistle Test in 1985. Doesn't get better than this.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Top of the Pops Christmas Day 1981

The first thing to say about this show is that it's presented by pretty much all the Radio 1 DJs of the time - Andy Peebles! Paul Gambaccini! Paul Burnett! - which means that alas two links feature Jimmy Savile (who appears to have turned up dressed as Geoffrey from Rainbow), which means it will probably never again be seen on British TV. A shame if so, as there are some memorable performances here and it would be easy to edit Savile out.

Honestly, there is so much to see: Julian Cope miming along to Reward dressed in what appears to be one of his mum's old frocks; Midge Ure doing Vienna in a gimpy leather cap with accompanying metal ch(a)in-strap. We know you're bald under there, Midge. There's also some quintessentially deadpan John Peel links; Colin Blunstone and lovely Kim Wilde singing live - albeit not together; Phil Oakey in full wonky-fringed mode, an inebriated-looking Adrian Juste introducing Kirsty Maccoll as "a little lady". Imagine being patronised in such a way by someone with precisely none of your talent.

Adam Ant reveals to Simon Bates that the highlight of his year was meeting the Queen. Phew, rock 'n' roll! Fans of Legs and Co should look away as show-offy usurpers Zoo prance about to the strains of Can You Feel It and O Superman; Steve Wright gets heckled by Chrissy Boy from Madness whilst introducing Toyah and Peter Powell invades Thereze Bazar's personal space (she should have kicked him in the knackers). There's also a communal rendering of All You Need Is Love over the end credits. All that plus The Beat, Depeche Mode, OMD and Altered Images with Clare Grogan done up like a Christmas tree. What more could you ask for?

video deleted by copyright killjoys

Wednesday 16 December 2015

The Christmas Tree's On Fire

A salutary tale.

P.S. What's a tube sock when it's at home?

Monday 14 December 2015

Cry Cry Christmas

Not only is Cry Cry Christmas by The Sweptaways featuring Magnus Carlson & The Gray Brigade my favourite Christmas song that hardly anyone knows, it may even be my favourite original festive song of the 21st century. And not just because for the most part they don't write them like they used to. This is simply brilliant.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Oh Blimey It's Christmas

Hello again! Thought I might post a few less-obvious Christmas songs (if such things exist any more) here over the festive season - starting with this Frank Sidebottom effort from 1985, which spent a solitary week at number 87 in the UK pop 100 before plummeting to obscurity. The Christmas number one in this particular year was Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin' Stevens. What a different place the world - or at least Christmas compilation albums - would be now had their two chart positions been reversed. Maybe Shaky would have had a film biopic made about his life starring Michael Fassbender or perhaps even Michael Sheen. We'll just never know now. Anyway, here's Timperley's finest with Oh Blimey It's Christmas.

Monday 8 December 2014

Simon Says

"Right, you two grab me round the arms & try not to look too queasy while I introduce Walking On The Moon as Walking."

An historic night for BBC Four last Thursday as the channel had the not inconsiderable honour of repeating the very first edition of Top of the Pops to be hosted by Simon "Batesy" Bates, first broadcast in December 1979. So, how did the young 33-year-old get on during his TOTP bow? Time for a spot of tactical analysis, I reckon.

He kicks off by introducing Darts' version of the Jackie Wilson classic as "Little Richard's Reet Petite", which I suppose you could put down to first-night nerves. But I dunno - he does look and sound extremely relaxed and full of confidence. Anyway, it seems to me that if you're hosting a TV music show watched by MILLIONS - and indeed if your full-time job is playing music on the nation's airwaves - a few seconds' research on the songs you're introducing is the very least you could do. Assuming he made the same basic error in rehearsal, you would have thought someone - anyone - on the production staff would have been able to put him straight? But no. Did no one on that show like him pop music?

No problems with his next link to camera - a still of which you can see above. Although, I dunno, for some reason those two girls don't seem to be enjoying the experience all that much. Why it's almost as if they don't enjoy being playfully grabbed round the neck by a complete stranger. Get a grip, girls! Simon has!

Two songs later and there's another unforced error when Simon introduces My Simple Heart as My Simple Hut, before swiftly correcting himself. After the video clip Simon says, laughing: "My Simple Heart, and that's the Three Degrees." Then, gesturing towards the girls flanking him in this picture:

"...And three very jealous boyfriends. I like this job!" Zinger! (Remember: Simon is irresistible to women.)

And how about this: "That's Michael Jackson and Legs and Company. It gets hot in here, but even hotter now. Here's Sugarhill Gang and one of the fastest climbers of the week. It's The Rapper". Oh Simon, you've done it again! You meant Rapper's Delight! Never mind, at least you can correct yourself after the clip has played:

"That was The Rapper. I mean when does he breathe? That's the most important thing to know!"


"Now then, you lot. Do you like sloppy songs? Yeah, you've got one here... I think Marianne Faithfull is gonna have The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan in the charts." Ah yes, that sloppy song about a mentally ill woman being committed to an institution. Off the schmaltzy scale!

Anyway, apart from all that, and the Police incident (no, not a police incident! The Walking one!) he was great, and it's no wonder he went on to present the show on a regular basis for the next nine years. I'd like to think he even learnt the names of some of the songs at some point.

Friday 28 November 2014

Bill Hicks on marketing & advertising

"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalization for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the destroyer of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's going to be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show."

Happy Black Friday.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Friday 31 October 2014

Thursday 30 October 2014

The Devil's Ball

(he's only got one)

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Pizza First, Booze Second

A rare mp3 from me today. If you have a low tolerance threshold for tweepop, probably best give this one a swerve; otherwise, dive in - you'll love it!

The Hazzards - Pizza First, Booze Second mp3

Tuesday 28 October 2014

#37 On This Day In History

Today sees the introduction of an exciting* new regular feature on the blog: #37 On This Day In History. Every week I'll feature a different song that was at number 37 in the UK singles chart on the corresponding week in the past. The songs will not necessarily be ones that peaked at 37 - let's face it, that would make for quite a limited pool - but could just as easily be former chart-toppers on their way out of the top 40, as new entries.

Whatever - the important thing here is that this flimsy #37 pretext gives me the ideal opportunity to share some guilty pleasures from my pop past. And let's face it, we all loved cheesy chart music at some point in our journey from there to here, right? Anyone who protests that they went straight from nursery rhymes to Einstürzende Neubauten is having a laugh, basically.

To kick things off here's a song that was #37 on this week in 1983 - in what turned out to be its one and only week in the top 40; Level 42's Micro Kid, in which the titular character invents the internet or something, probably.

It's easy to bemoan the fact that technology is the preserve of the young and that us old 'uns have a hard time keeping up with every new development. But I can safely say that, as a kid at the time of this song's release, I was as clueless about all things computer-related as I am now. No Microkid, in other words!

Full disclosure: although this isn't their greatest song, I was - and remain - a Level 42 fan, slapped bass and all. Something About You, Lessons In Love and The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) are great pop songs. Mark King was on Pointless Celebrities a while back, and seemed like a lovely, humble bloke (in contrast to some of the other celebrities who've appeared on that show) so good luck to him. They're still touring in 2014, too (Level 42, rather than the pointless celebrities).

*or not