Wednesday, 22 November 2017

NEW ENTRY: How To Be A Morrissey Fan In 2017

I'm finally reading the Morrissey autobiography. Sam seems fascinated by it. The other day I caught him flicking through the pages again and asked him what he was doing.

"I'm looking for the bit where he talks about Lightning McQueen."

There Is A Lightning McQueen That Never Goes Out?

Punctured racing car on a hillside desolate?

We Hate It When Our Mater Becomes Successful?

(Dave suggested The McQueen Is Dead: too obvious?)

You might expect that I'd have read this book already: after all, it was published in October 2013 and considering I've been a huge Morrissey fan for most of my adult life...

October '13 though... that was one month after Sam was born. And though I've had the book since then, and tried to start it soon after I bought it, I found it too much for my baby-weakened brain to cope with. Though it appeared well written (and the reviews at the time were glowing: unlike the ridiculous "novel" that followed), there were very few concessions to readers. You know, simple things like chapters... or even many paragraphs. It's a non-stop, Joycean stream-of-conscious ramble through one of the mind of an increasingly bonkers genius. Of course there were no concessions to readers: since when has Morrissey ever made concessions to anyone?

It's been a tough year to be a Morrissey fan. He never makes it easy, but some of the utter bilge he's come out with lately has driven even some of his most ardent admirers to despair. Some (like Gene's Martin Rossiter) even renounced him for good. Not that Morrissey will have given two hoots. I must admit, I came close myself...

And then I bought his new album on the day it came out. In a moment, I'll try to justify myself. First though, a note about the album cover...

Many have commented that the ridiculously reactionary album cover (and, indeed, many of the song titles listed on the back) are a parody of Morrissey. That the man has become a caricature of himself. Well, yes, he has. But surely in this day and age, nobody could get hot under the collar about that cover? Not from Morrissey, of all people? It's over 30 years since The Queen Is Dead, and despite the tabloids trying to cause a stir over that at the time... well, they hardly put him in the Tower, did they?

So how come when I tried to buy the CD in Tesco... then Sainsbury's (don't ask why I shop at two different supermarkets: the answer is scones), the only album cover I could find was this one...?

You can answers that one yourself... I have to get back to my defence.

This is a post about growing older. Aren't they all? You see, Morrissey has played an essential - but ever-changing - role throughout my life.

When I was a teenager, he was the witty miserablist I refused to listen to because everyone told me I'd love him.

In my 20s, when I was often happy in the haze of a drunken hour, he was an essential lifeline...
In my early 30s, he was the only popstar who successfully gave voice to my loneliness and isolation...
I have forgiven you, Jesus
For all the desire,
You placed in me 

When there's nothing I can do with this desire
I think he might actually have saved my life.

As I entered my 40s though, my relationship with Morrissey changed again... I found myself continually having to defend him when the press castigated him for the outrageous and asinine things he said. It was starting to get very tiring.

It's taken me awhile to come to terms with that. But now I have.

Yes, Morrissey is a caricature now. But a caricature is exactly what I need. There's no time left for moping and self-pity. The clock is ticking. We need to enjoy every sandwich. We also need a good laugh. And Morrissey has become the greatest sitcom character ever. Like a demented cross between Larry David, Alf Garnett, Frasier Crane and Victor Meldrew, he's growing old disgracefully... happily putting the cat among the pigeons whenever he's given a lectern to preach from. In lyrics and interviews, he expresses unorthodox opinions that shock and upset the masses... and even longtime Morrissey supporters and apologists, many of them in this little corner of the blogosphere.

On the one hand, you might argue that Morrissey has become so divorced from reality that we can't and shouldn't take his outbursts seriously... his self-loathing egomania knows no bounds... and his views on the world outside his gilded fortress are naïve and blinkered.

But is that the whole story?

In the last week or so, the papers have had a field day about comments he's made regarding Kevin Spacey and the Harvey Weinstein business, comments the newspaper in question obviously went fishing for, because a Morrissey interview is too good an opportunity to pass up: if you can't get him to say something outrageously controversial, you're doing something wrong.

Meanwhile the reviews of his new album have been averagely positive. 3+ stars out of 5 and upwards. Grudgingly so, in most cases. A lot of the reviewers have criticised Mozzer's naïve political stance on tracks such as Israel and The Girl From Tel Aviv Who Would Not Kneel, while most got the knives out the album's centrepiece, an attack on stupid soldiers who blindly follow orders without ever understanding what they're fighting for, I Bury The Living. "What a ghastly man," said one reviewer.

Let's return to our Morrissey sit com for a moment, shall we? There's a scene in a recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where misanthropic Moz-alike Larry David is forced to greet an Afghanistan war hero at a party. Everyone else at the party says, "thank you for your service," when they greet the soldier. David just says hello... and then, in true Larry David style, everyone gets pissed off with him for being so rude and insensitive. The point of this scene was, to me, the "thanks for your service" stuff was done because people felt they ought to. It was about confirming to social niceities and the expectations of the crowd... and Larry David never does that.

Neither does Morrissey. Morrissey is an extreme pacifist - of course he would look down on people who kill on order without understanding why. Whatever you might think about modern day soldiers, there's a big difference between what they do and what our grandparents' generation did in the war. A couple of reviewers have said "the land weeps oil" is a simplistic and obvious metaphor for why there are so many wars fought in the Middle East. I think it's a perfect one: succinct and emotive. If Bono had written that line, he'd have been carried high on the shoulders of journalists everywhere. But not Morrissey.

Something else that irreverent comedy shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm or Brass Eye or even South Park do is allow us to hear unorthodox opinions that challenge the status quo. We may not agree with them, but sometimes it's good to hear them, because if all we ever hear are safe opinions, how are we ever supposed to think for ourselves? And a lot of challenging opinions often contain a kernel of truth, or another way of looking at a situation, a different perspective. Because no situation is black or white. There are a million shades of grey.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I support Morrissey's stance on the Kevin Spacey story (however: has any other commentator asked how the underage boy's parents allowed him to be in that situation?), but I know from friends in the gay community that they consider comparing Spacey to Weinstein to be ridiculous, just because of how things work in their circles. (That said, I'm sure many gay men feel differently... but if we only ever hear one side of a debate, we're back to black and white. And - as Mark points out in the comments - my friends have universally condemned Spacey for linking his own coming out to such allegations because of the damage this does towards public perception of their community as a whole.) Morrissey's Weinstein reaction is harder to defend... but imagine it was a comedian making the point that some actresses might do anything to reach the top? Would the outcry have been so vehement? Look at prostitution and the age old argument about who is really being exploited: the women or their clients? Personally, I think any man who thinks it's OK to use power as a way to initiate a sexual relationship is utterly reprehensible. But again, this issue isn't just black or white. Morrissey's comments are offensive, insensitive and really unhelpful right now... but they touch on grey areas no other commentator has dared to approach in this current (social) media witch-hunt. Most people in the public eye these days are far too worried about reactionary twitter-storms to ever speak out of turn. I wouldn't be surprised if Morrissey still thought twitter was what the sparrows in his garden do when they want some more vegetarian seed (no fatballs chez Moz!).

When Morrissey expresses challenging opinions, it forces us to think without a safety net. It forces us to face up to the fact that the world isn't a simple place and we can't just suck on the safe opinions that are handed down to us by the media. This is Morrissey's role in the music industry, and in the media at large now: he is a provocateur. And we need that more than ever. He knows that: hell, that's what his latest album is all about! 
Teach your kids to recognise and despise all the propaganda
Filter down by the dead echelons mainstream media
That's the opening line of the album. And that's before we even get to possibly the most subversive pop song of his career, Spent The Day In Bed, with it's cheerful chorus of:
Stop watching the news
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn't your own
This song made it onto the Radio 2 playlist! The biggest radio station in the country (one of the biggest in the world), run by the blessed BBC... and their breakfast show is pumping out a pop song that is openly criticising them!

I'm an English teacher, and one of the most important lessons I try to teach my students when they ask me "what's the point of doing English?" is that words have power. And that there's a big difference between facts and opinions. The media no longer gives us facts: it gives us opinions disguised as facts. And they're mostly safe opinions that convince us to conform and follow the status quo. We need someone who can shake that up and make us think for ourselves. Morrissey does this... and he's always done it. Sometimes he even blends rhetoric with pop song in a memorable way (November Spawned A Monster is a good example, for the unflinching way it tackled attitudes towards disability... while still being a spooky, hypnotic guitar anthem). Other times, the rhetoric just becomes a dirge... and hell, Smiths fans, there's no better example of that than Meat Is Murder. (Give me I Bury The Living any day: for all its faults, it's a more interesting album track than MIM.)

Do I support everything Morrissey says - in lyrics and interviews? Of course not. Much of it is utter tosh. Occasionally it is even outrageously shocking and offensive. But it makes me think. It challenges me in a way few other social commentators do these days... except certain comedians and comedy shows. And a lot of the time, I think there are kernels of truth in there. Things that - if you filter out the self-publicising, outrage-for-outrage's-sake bullshit - nobody else is saying. I've listened to Low In High School almost nonstop since I got it last Friday and no other record has made me think as much - or as hard - this year.

Larry David. Frankie Boyle*. Todd Solondz. Chris Morris. Bill Hicks. Trey Parker & Matt Stone. Morrissey. (The only other musician I can think of who comes close if Mark Kozelek, but hardly anyone knows who is, whereas Morrissey is virtually a household name.)

The most subversive people we have in our society are often comedians. Or their creations. Morrissey is one of them. I won't be defending him any more. I don't need to. He is exactly what the world needs right now. Long may he continue to horrify us.

 (*I hate Frankie Boyle: but I accept that he fits the criteria I'm talking about above to a tee.)

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Saturday Snapshots #9 - The Answers

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programme... two days late. Apologies, we have visitors from New Zealand, the decorators and a new kitten. I haven't had time to blow my nose, let alone blog...

As usual, you pretty much worked them all out between you.

10. Len met Adam x 2. Said hi to drugs from a witch doctor.

Len (123) Barry + Ryan Adams (Adam x 2) = Barry Ryan.

Hi = hello (or 'elo!)

The Shamen (witch doctors) sang about E's being good...

The Swede worked that out, also recalling that the song was written by Barry's brother, Paul.

Barry Ryan - Eloise

9. Restaurant for birds: glue on the menu.

George came up with a much fancier answer for this clue: The Penguin Café Orchestra.

Rigid Digit takes his birds to much more basic eateries though, meaning he was able to spot Feeder.

Nobody got that cement is a type of glue.

Feeder - Cement

8. Hayes goes feminine on the road to the Cathedral: won't stop listening to Bruce's longest player.

Hayes Carll is a cool Americana singer. A feminine version of his name would be Carly.

Paul had his epiphany on the road to Damascus and ended up a Saint who had a Cathedral named after him... all of which leads us rather tenuously to Paul Simon. One of my more misleading clues, but Alyson got there in the end, even though Chris was convinced this was one of the three sirens from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

The River is Bruce Springsteen's longest album - well, it's his only double album.

Carly Simon - Let The River Run 

7. The Amarillo Hulk avoids the Flaming Lips' postman.

Tony Christie sang (Is This The Way To) Amarillo? Lou Ferrigno was The Incredible Hulk.

The Flaming Lips have a song called Lightning Strikes The Postman.

Lou Christie - Lightning Strikes

Charity Chic was reluctant to admit to having this poster on his bedroom wall. George had no such qualms. Martin glued the pieces together.

6. Spock's killer loses her pliers while sympathising with Prince.

Spock died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (I originally typed The Wrath of Kath, which would have been a much better title.)

Chaka Demus & Pliers were a popular beat combo from the decade known as the 90s.

If you sympathise, you feel for someone. Prince wrote the song.

Chris was first out of the traps this week and nabbed the easy one...

Chaka Khan - I Feel For You

5. Find your fortune in Motown and you'll always stay warm.

If you found your fortune, you'd be lucky.

Motown = Soul.

If you're always warm... you ain't never been cool.

The most obscure track this week, but we can always rely on Martin.

Lucky Soul - Ain't Never Been Cool

4. The 18th provost makes you a suit despite being hunted by Harrison.

R is the 18th letter of the alphabet.

Provost is another name for a Dean.

Tailors make suits.

Harrison Ford was Indiana Jones.

Alyson spotted the artist straight away but figured I was making a reference to George Harrison being a ghost now, so went for There's A Ghost In My House. Like I'd ever be so bad taste, Alyson!

The Swede set her right...

R. Dean Taylor - Indiana Wants Me

3. The sound made by a feuerwehrauto, after almost a century of hot air.

A feuerwehrauto would be a German fire engine, which might go Nena Nena Nena (Nena being German, see).

Almost a century would be 99 years; hot air is what you get in balloons.

I figured Alyson would get this one... though Rigid Digit provided the German translation (Neunundneunzig Luftballons).

Nena - 99 Red Balloons

2. Go to the chemist for gender realignment.

A chemist is a drugstore.

Gender realignment could change lead singer Isabel Monteiro into a man.

Pretty simple, if you know the song. The Swede did.

Drugstore - I Want To Love You Like A Man

1. Scared by basic Maths? Be polite to Quincy.

Basic Maths would involve counting.

Scare... crows.

If you were polite to Quincy, you wouldn't call him a doctor (no, it wasn't a reference to Jack Klugman), you would call him Mr.... Jones.

Another easy win for The Swede (though I'm surprised he took credit for knowing such an "uncool" band... then again why else did I make them this week's Number One?)

Thanks, as always, for taking part.

I'll be back later in the week with possibly my most controversial post yet (particularly right now): How To Be A Morrissey Fan in 2017. Despite all those who are turning against him, I will endeavour to explain why I think we need Morrissey right now... perhaps more than we ever have.

So that'll be fun.

(If it makes you unfollow this blog, well - thanks for sticking with it as long as you have!)

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday Snapshots #9

Say cheese... or cheesy!

Ten clues to ten great songs by ten great artists. Who can guess them first?

10. Len met Adam x 2. Said hi to drugs from a witch doctor.

9. Restaurant for birds: glue on the menu.

8. Hayes goes feminine on the road to the Cathedral: won't stop listening to Bruce's longest player.

7. The Amarillo Hulk avoids the Flaming Lips' postman.

6. Spock's killer loses her pliers while sympathising with Prince.

5. Find your fortune in Motown and you'll always stay warm.

4. The 18th provost makes you a suit despite being hunted by Harrison.

3. The sound made by a feuerwehrauto, after almost a century of hot air.

2. Go to the chemist for gender realignment.

1. Scared by basic Maths? Be polite to Quincy.

The only question remaining...

How long will it take Martin to get them all?

Thursday, 16 November 2017

NEW ENTRY: Hoge's Hero

Number #6 on My Top Ten Albums of 2015 was Will Hoge's last record, Small Town Dreams. At the time I loved the mix of sophisticated Americana with 80s Ameri-rock flashback: hints of Bruce, Mellencamp, Petty and more. Since then, I've been looking forward to whatever Hoge did next... and here it is.

Anchors is a more mature, contemporary record - straight down the middle Americana which owes a lot to Jason Isbell's current style. But just as before, Hoge's songwriting stands out. There's a maturity of detail to the lyrics that easily makes him worthy of mention in the same paragraph as Isbell...and to be honest, this stripped down, bombast-free set will probably appeal more to the musos among you than his last record.

Stand-out track at the moment is this one, the story of a marriage gone wrong, staying together for the kids... the sort of everyday mundanity it's hard to romanticise, yet Hoge makes it quietly heartbreaking.
You go to bed early and darlin' I'll stay up late
Come to the morning the kids are already awake
Get 'em dressed, get 'em breakfast, out the door and on the bus
Hope they don't see these walls building up between us

I drive to work in this rusted out pickup truck
Coffee steams in the holder
I'm torn between staying and just giving up
Sometimes I sit in this parking lot and I just cry
And wonder how the hell this became our life

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

My Top Ten Kitten Songs

This is Millie, the new addition to our family. Too soon? I did think so... but I've been proved wrong. A welcome blast of sunshine and fun in these darkest of times...

The big problem with songs about kittens is that they're rarely actually about kittens. Kitten, is seems, is a popular metaphorical term of endearment, and just about the only song on this list which appears to be about an actual kitten is about a dead one. So I'm not dedicating any of these to Millie. Ten great songs, nevertheless...

10. Bellowhead - Moon Kittens

Bellowhead go John Williams. Better than that might sound.

9. Whitesnake - Kitten's Got Claws

The thing about Whitesnake was, around about the time this came out, they were showing their kitten side more than their claws. Power ballads had taken them into the charts and their metal beginnings were all but forgotten. This was them showing they still had their claws. You won't like it, it ain't cool, but it did the job for teenage rock fans back in the mid 80s.

Can you believe this is the first time Whitesnake have featured on this blog? I can't.

8. The Kelley Deal 6000 - When He Calls Me Kitten

What Kelley did when she got out of rehab.

7. Lily Rae & The Saturday Girls - Little Kittens

Dark and creepy - Nick Cave would be proud. From Lily's debut record, available on The Indelicates' Corporate Records label. Since then she's gone on to form the band Fightmilk: also worthy of your attention.

Don't forget that little kittens have the sharpest claws!

6. Hefner - Hello Kitten

Another song about...
I'm gonna make myself go blind tonight
...well, not kittens.

5. British Sea Power - Electrical Kittens

I've featured this here before, but no reason not to do so again. My favourite song from the latest BSP album.

4. REM - Star Me, Kitten

I guess that should be **** Me, Kitten... or @%$# Me, Kitten. It's one of those songs that sounds beautiful, but if you study the lyrics you'll choke on the metaphors. Of course, you could also scare yourself half to death with the REM & William S. Burroughs version...

3. Riff Raff - Kitten

Billy Bragg and Wiggy, back when they were still in short pants.

2. Angelica - Why Did You Let My Kitten Die?

Forgotten noughties indie from half of The Lovely Eggs. Indie-girly-pop loveliness with a sting in the tail.

1. Little Willie John - Leave My Kitten Alone

"Laying in the back seat, listening to Little Willie John..."

Yes, it was Elvis Costello who introduced this song to me... but it was Robbie Robertson who introduced me to Little Willie. And the original has added meows!

Any cuddly kitten songs in your collection?

Monday, 13 November 2017

My Top ∞ Radio Songs #23: What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?

I worked on the Saturday morning show for two years while I completed my 'A' Levels, by the end of which I was virtually co-presenting the show... although it'd take another year or so to get my name on the schedule. I still wasn't getting paid, but then I was only in the building for three hours a week.

However, it was reaching the point now where I had to answer that crucial question above. Many of my friends had applied for university, yet although I was on track for good 'A' Level grades (I ended up with 2 Bs, a C and an E... in Art... so I guess that ruled out drawing comics for a living) I was adamant I didn't want to follow them. It was the old story: if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have come to recognise the fatal character flaw I had as a teenager... I never wanted to do what everybody else was doing. Partly that was because I thought I was destined for bigger things, things I didn't need Higher Education for (after all, Steve Wright still hadn't replied to my demo tape... and my debut novel would surely be in bookshops by the middle of the 90s) and partly, if I'm brutally honest, it was parochial fear. Upping sticks from the safe, comfy, loving and supportive home my parents had always provided me felt too risky. I wasn't the most independent of teenagers, and certainly not rebellious in the traditional sense. I didn't believe I was born to run... I was born to stay where I was.

The 6th form careers adviser despaired of me. He'd have happily helped me fill out my UCAS form, but all I wanted to do was carry on working in radio. (And tinker with the writing on the side.) Of course, there wasn't actually a job going at the station where I worked... but yes, they could probably find me some more voluntary work during the week, and if I was around and available, paid opportunities would surely follow suit...

So when I finished my 'A' Levels in the summer of 1990, I walked away from my uni-bound friends... and those who were already applying for "proper" jobs... and went off to pursue my "hobby" 24/7. Surely, something spectacular would come of that... I was, after all (as most teenagers believe) destined for greatness...

#23 Echo & The Bunnymen - What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?

I realise some of these radio songs are becoming less about radio and more about my life story, but in an infinite number of posts, I'm sure I'll still have time to get to all the great radio songs I haven't yet featured. And there really was no more apt track to post than this one today...
If I knew now what I knew then
I'd wonder how not wonder when
There's something going wrong again
With me and mine
It's only ever what it seems
Memories and might have beens
Heaven's scent: the smell of dreams
We'll never find
Tell me... tell me... tell me... 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Neverending Top Ten #8 - Remembering The Soldiers

When I picked Sam up from nursery on Thursday evening, he paid special attention to the poppy I was wearing on my coat. I prepared myself for an awkward conversation...

For a long time - like a lot of parents do, I suppose - I have avoided addressing the subject of death with Sam as it's a concept young children struggle to get their heads around. Hell, it's a concept I struggle to get my head around. When he was younger, that was easy. You deflect, you talk about other things, you hope you can protect him from the harsh realities of the world for as long as you can. Of course, short of keeping your child in a bubble, you can't stop the world from finding its way in to their heads. We first noticed this a few months ago when Sam told us a story about a deer he had when he was a baby, that he kept in the garden, but it was dead now. I don't know where the story came from - probably something one of his friends at nursery had said - but it soon became clear that his young mind was trying to come to terms with the concept.

Then Molly died and we could avoid the truth no more. Louise, being an atheist, was keen not to fill his head with ideas of heaven. I, having grown up with religion but considering myself more of an agnostic ("an atheist who is hedging his bets"), wasn't so sure. But just as you can't protect them from the truth of the world, you can't shield them from other people's ideas either.

"Molly's chasing mice in Heaven," my sister told him. Sam pretty much ignored her and carried on playing. But a couple of weeks later it became clear he'd heard something similar from his friends... and really, it's up to him to make up his own mind about such things when he's older. The concept of an afterlife was a comfort to me when I was younger and I still cling to the idea that the soul is something that lives beyond the death of the body, though I don't subscribe to any specific religious dogma... I think the reality is something beyond our capability to properly grasp. Wow, deep, huh? Or just hedging my bets.

After Molly's death, the inevitable questions followed. "Will you die, daddy?" "Will mummy? "Will I?" We tried to answer them as best we could. As best as anyone can, religious or not. Not for a very, very long time... (I hope!)

Anyway, the poppy. When Sam noticed it, I braced myself for another of those conversations... but it turns out I needn't have worried.

"We made a poppy at nursery," he told me on the way home.

"Oh," I said. "Did you talk about what it was for?"

"To remember the soldiers," he said.

We talked about it a little more, about how the soldiers had died to save us from bad men who wanted to hurt us, then we went back to listening to our songs on the car stereo. A little later I noticed he was quiet and asked if he was OK.

"I'm just remembering the soldiers," he replied. "I don't need a poppy to do that. I can just be quiet and remember them when I want."

Yesterday morning, before watching Paddington 2, there was a minute's silence in the cinema. This morning we turned on the TV just before 11 to observe the two minute's silence at the Cenotaph. Sam stayed quiet for both. I'm not saying I think he understands now what Remembrance Day is all about, but he understands as much as a 4 year old can. Just like I try to understand, as much as a 45 year old can.

8. Radiohead - Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

Here's a song I haven't yet put on one of Sam's CDs. I will when he's older.
I am the only one that got through
The others died where ever they fell
It was an ambush
They came up from all sides
Give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Saturday Snapshots #8 - The Answers

Far too easy this week.

We went to Manchester today for a special VIP screening of Paddington 2, arranged by Louise's former employers. By the time we got back, the answers were all but sorted...

10. Political liars give Muffet top marks.

Spin Doctors are political liars.

If Little Miss Muffet got top marks, she would be Little Miss Can't Be Wrong.

One of those bands the musos always turn their noses up at, but I always loved this one - more than their bigger hit, Two Princes. At least Martin has no shame.

The Spin Doctors - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong

9. Hank and Lucinda go Scottish in search of Cockney King Tracy's diary.

Hank & Lucinda = Williams.

Scottish would make them McWilliams.

A Cockney King would be Pearly.

Spencer Tracy.

A diary is full of days.

David McWilliams - The Days of Pearly Spencer

I probably over-egged the clue on this one, but I wasn't sure you'd remember it otherwise. Charity Chic probably recognised the picture and didn't even read the clue...

8. Crazy clerics on the road to narcissism.

Way too easy, but I couldn't resist this picture. I'll give this one to Rigid Digit just to stop Martin hoovering up all this week's points.

Manic Street Preachers - You Love Us

7. 64 Captains: well built - no shit!

A Captain in the Navy is one rank below a Commodore (or something... go look it up yourself).

Children of the 80s will remember the Commodore 64 (although I myself had a Spectrum 48K - keeping it British... and crap).

There is a colloquial expression "built like a brick shithouse"... I'm not sure whether they say this in America, but Brian seemed to know what I was talking about.

The Commodores - Brick House

It would probably have been harder if I'd put my thumb over the top right of the camera when I snapped this picture.

6. The tin is on... you'll only get this if you collaborate.

The HEAT is on (R.I.P. Glenn)

Tin = Can

Collaborate = work together.

Canned Heat - Let's Work Together

5. Spector girl in a storm... hope she doesn't lose her coloured contacts.

One of Phil Spector's many era-defining girl groups was The Crystals.

A storm is a gale.

Brian stayed up till 1am to be first in line to guess this one. Now that's what I call dedication!

Lynchie snoozed and losed.

Crystal Gayle - Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

4. Touch-typing jumpers visit a windy island.

I never learned to touch type. In fact, though I can type pretty damned fast, I only do it with one finger (two if you count the one on the shift key). If I was learning to touch type though, I might use this pangram...

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

Mykonos is "The island of the winds" (according to Iffypedia, anyway).

Fleet Foxes - Mykonos

(Conicidentally, I bought the new Fleet Foxes album yesterday. I suspect it may be pretentious bullshit, but the harmonies are still glorious.)

Another one for Martin, I guess.

3. Them stained songs go Welsh... will end up in a comfy prison.

Them sang Gloria.

Jones is originally a Welsh surname.

A stained song would be tainted.

"Will end up in a comfy prison" - this was, of course, more famously covered by Soft Cell.

I didn't know that Gloria Jones was also Marc Bolan's girlfriend until I researched this post.

2. Russian landmark turns 3D because of the U.S.

Red Square is a famous Russian landmark... which would become Red Cube... or Red Box in 3D.

Martin got that too... but couldn't work out the rather obvious song "because of the U.S.". Really Martin? They only had two hits! Luckily, RD came to the rescue.

Gloriously naff 80s video ahoy!

1. Resignation In Lieu Of an old Neighbour. Serving up food for #4.

Really difficult to come up with a clue for this band. I have no idea what Rilo is: the internet tells me it related to the above acronym, but I don't know if that's anything to do with the name of Jenny Lewis's former band... or if Miss Minogue was an inspiration either. But I do love this song, it has one of the best guitar hooks I've ever heard (specifically the bit after she sings "And then there is no mystery left" about 45 seconds in... and it crops up again later). I don't know why it affects me so much; I don't normally get hung up on guitar riffs.

Well done to CC, anyway.

Thank you all for taking part, as always. I'm glad you try to guess them before clicking on the comments section and reading everybody else's answers.

Saturday Snapshots #8

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are ten, with some rather confusing words attached. Name the artist and the song title...

10. Political liars give Muffet top marks.

9. Hank and Lucinda go Scottish in search of Cockney King Tracy's diary.

8. Crazy clerics on the road to narcissism.

7. 64 Captains: well built - no shit!

6. The tin is on... you'll only get this if you collaborate.

5. Spector girl in a storm... hope she doesn't lose her coloured contacts.

4. Touch-typing jumpers visit a windy island.

3. Them stained songs go Welsh... will end up in a comfy prison.

2. Russian landmark turns 3D because of the U.S.

1. Resignation In Lieu Of an old Neighbour. Serving up food for #4.

Lemon squeezy, right?

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