Sunday, 22 May 2022

Snapshots #241: A Top Ten Wandering Songs

Yesterday Henry, today Bridget. (Jane has featured here before.) Two Fondas, because they rhyme with Wander. And because I couldn't find a picture of either Wanda Jackson or Elizabeth Olsen holding a camera. 

Anyway, here are ten great songs to wander to...

10. Sounds like nobility is only down the road in the local municipality.

The Earl is just in town.

Justin Townes Earl - Wanderin'

(Don't even start me on the Queen making Doncaster a city but not Huddersfield. Don't even start me.)

9. Et tu, dosh?

U2, Cash?

Johnny Cash & U2 - The Wanderer

8. Shroud + Cane.

A pall and a birch.

Paul Burch - Wander

7. Shorn in Syria.


Harry Nilsson - As I Wander Lonely

6. What snails use to play golf.

Slow Club - Wanderer Wandering

5. Jamaican hat trick.

The Kingston Trio - The Wanderer 

4. Pink planet.

If you like your steak pink...

The Rare Earth - Born To Wander

3. Almost makes me want to Call Saul...

Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, in the best show on TV at the moment, is played by Bob Odenkirk. Which almost sounds like...

The Obernkirchen Children's Choir - The Happy Wanderer

Don't laugh. That was in the UK charts for SIX months back in 1954.

2. Sounds like half a Eurovision winner.

Celine Dion won Eurovision for Switzerland in 1988... even though she's Canadian. 

Dion - The Wanderer

1. Jeans make him paranoid.

Lee Jeans make him a Paranoid Android... like Marvin.

Lee Marvin - Wandrin' Star

Do I know where hell is? Hell is in hello. Heaven is goodbye for ever, it's time for me to go...

...but I'll be back here next Saturday, because I've never seen a Snapshot that didn't look better looking back.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Saturday Snapshots #241

It's Saturday morning. Time to play that game we're all quite Fonda...

Identify the ten artists below, then work out what might connect their songs...

10. Sounds like nobility is only down the road in the local municipality.

9. Et tu, dosh?

8. Shroud + Cane.

7. Shorn in Syria.

6. What snails use to play golf.

5. Jamaican hat trick.

4. Pink planet.

3. Almost makes me want to Call Saul...

2. Sounds like half a Eurovision winner.

1. Jeans make him paranoid.

Don't go too far away this weekend - the answers will be here tomorrow morning.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Positive Songs For Negative Times #68: Poor Blind Birds

The war goes on.

Prices keep going up.

Covid could be set to surge again soon.

On the positive side, the oil companies are enjoying record profits and Boris has been let off with a slap on the wrist for repeatedly breaking the law and lying to everyone about it.

So it's not all bad, is it?

The Felice Brothers continue to provide me with a wealth of entertainment. I'm currently enjoying their 2019 album Undress, which contains many fine tunes, not least this one. It seems particularly apt today.

We live in a world we can't understand
Poor blind birds, if we're anything
And the world is not what it seems
To poor blind birds

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Grumpy Old Men Songs #19: Money, Compliments & Publicity

It's exactly two months since I turned 50, and because I went into a lying in a dark room sulk for a couple of weeks straight after, I never posted my 50th birthday presents. Here they are, for posterity; photo taken in our cliff-top retreat. The Brit-Pop Top Trumps were from Ben. I was thinking of doing a series based around them, but I'd rather just fill this blog up with more existential whinging.

Here's another Grumpy Old Man who has featured here before, and will no doubt do so again. Todd Snider is the gift that keeps on giving, like The Dude if he'd followed Creedence's example and spent less time bowling and more time writing songs.

So many great lines in this song, I'm tempted to quote them all. Or you could just listen to it and discover them for yourselves. I'm not going to spoon-feed you!

I went to see this therapist
She said, "Just do the best you can do"

Do the best you can do?
I was hoping for something more specific

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

2022 Contenders: Even More Shakespeare

This year, rather than releasing 3 new albums, Weezer are instead releasing 4 new EPs (that's a reduced work ethic for these guys). However, the first one, SZNZ: Spring, has seven tracks on it, so that's bigger than most EPs. Weezer are always worth a listen, but like most artists who release everything they record, they could do with a little more quality control. These days though, where new content is king, they're probably doing the right thing to maximise the old streaming revenue. What do I know? It's a crazy world.

Anyway, Weezer promised these new records were "inspired by magic, Pagan myths, religious rituals, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Shakespeare & more", and track one certainly fulfills the promise of the Bard... it even sounds a little bit "hey nonny nonny", with added Weezer guitars.

Hamlet makes me happy
Falstaff makes me happy
So happy, and I'm happy to be with you
Rosalind makes me happy
Beatrice makes me happy

So happy, and I'm happy to be with you

Hamlet makes me happy too. Sadly, I don't get to teach my favourite Shakespeare play as it's not on the syllabus. Lots of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, and last week I even had to teach Twelfth Night... which I've never even read. Just stay a few pages ahead of the class and you'll be fine...

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Conversations With Ben #28: The Blind & The Bald

Rol: Since getting my glasses, I've found reading much easier. I know that sounds really obvious, but whenever I've sat down to read anything over the past few years, I've ended up really tired after a chapter and ready to quit. Clearly I've been straining my eyes for a long time.

Ben: Have you tried looking at a tree yet? That was what was most notable. Its like the branches as leaves had become HD.

They're reading glasses. My long sight is fine. But I presume you mean close up.

Still, did everything suddenly seem much clearer? Like more than you were expecting? That's what surprised me.

Only things that are a reading arm's length from my face. Everything else is as blurry  with the glasses on. Which is probably for the best.

Why on earth...? Haven't they suffered enough?

Maybe Putin sent him. Sleeper soldier.

Putin strikes me as more of a Simple Minds man.

Don't nuke forget about me?

Jim Kerr. In Spain, they call him Juan.

I thought that was John?

Think about it...

I used to work with a Jim Kerr. He was a Glaswegian with a big scar on his face.

My wit is wasted on you.


New Jamie T song is great.

Yeah, it's not bad.

Statham in the MCU?


Just no.

He's been cast.

It's not me speculating.

I'm just speculating who he's been cast as.

Dr Doom.

"I fackin hate you, Reed Richards!"

That's Danny Dyer.

Oi, Reed. You slaaaaag.

Yer doin me fakkin nut in.

He's too busy doing quiz shows.

I think his Wall show is quite funny. Me and Mrs. Ben have created this narrative that he thinks the wall is alive and is his enemy.

I wish he'd get buried under it.

I think it's filmed somewhere in Europe so there'd be a lot of red tape to enable that.

You have to spoil all my plans.

Blame BoJo, not me. We'd still be able to do it if we were in the EU.

If Cameron had mentioned burying Danny Dyer under a wall, the Brexit vote would have gone the other way.

Looks like we need to get Red Wedge back together to help us.

Whatever happened to Ken Livingston?

This is something I can get behind.

"Commenting on a man’s baldness in the workplace is equivalent to remarking on the size of a woman’s breasts."

All those ladies staring at my scalp.

Would you be less upset by the “Anglo-Saxon” language than the comment on your appearance?

Yes. I am a Celt.

I've been saying that for years.

Goes back to when the Romans invaded. It was the Celts who went, "yep. We have no allegiance to these deities, gimme day Jesus."

Sorry. Just put my glasses on. I misread what you said above.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Monday Morning Blues #2: The Original Talkin' Blues

I'm a big fan of Talkin' Blues songs, as popularised by the likes of  Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs, and in more recent times by artists such as Todd Snider and Dan Bern. They say it's the original rap music, and who am I to argue with they?

But what was the first ever Talkin' Blues record? Well, it's this one, by Chris Bouchillon, recorded in 1926. Apparently he had a terrible singing voice, but a great sense of humour...

Blues to cheer up your Monday morning. That's what we need!

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Snapshots: A Top Ten Snake Songs (Different Species)

Yesterday, I gave you a photo of Kurt Russell, aka Snake Plissken in Escape From New York.

Today, I give you a photo of Sylvester Stallone, aka Lieutenant Marion Cobretti from the movie Cobra. Sadly, I couldn't find a picture of Cobra holding a camera, so you get Rambo holding a camera instead. Taking a shot at a Monarch, by the look of it. Rambo is terrified of butterflies, you know.

Anyway, here are ten songs about different types of snakes. Aficionados of 80s action movies get extra clues! 

10. Devotees of 104.

104 is 10 to the power 4. Or 10,000. Devotees are maniacs.

10,000 Maniacs - Pit Viper

9. Monks who make a hash of it.

Doobie Brothers - Cotton Mouth

8. In truth, jello needs mixing well. 

"In truth jello" was an anagram...

Jethro Tull - Black Mamba

7. Essential on a parachute.

What good's a parachute without a rip chord?

The Rip Chords - Hey Little Cobra

6. I see a frozen innuendo. 

Test Icicles - Boa Vs Python

5. Like the Artist Formerly Known as Fluck.

Diana Dors was born Diana Mary Fluck.

The Doors - Crawling King Snake

4. I can ink Jim.


Nicki Minaj - Anaconda

I advise you not to watch that video. It'll make you feel old. 

3. Found inside a Creme Egg.

REM - The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

2. Probably a friend of George Duke and Keith Baron.

I presume Dukes and Barons knock around with Earls.

Steve Earle - Copperhead Road

1. Coldly, Leo makes a racket.

"Coldly, Leo" is an anagram of someone who likes to make a Commotion.

Don't push me! There will be more Snapshots next week. If you don't push me.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Saturday Snapshots #240

Snapshots. Work out who they are. Then what connects their songs. Go.

(Apologies if that seemed a little Kurt.)

10. Devotees of 104.

9. Monks who make a hash of it.

8. In truth, jello needs mixing well. 

7. Essential on a parachute.

6. I see a frozen innuendo. 

5. Like the Artist Formerly Known as Fluck.

4. I can ink Jim.

3. Found inside a Creme Egg.

2. Probably a friend of George Duke and Keith Baron.

1. Coldly, Leo makes a racket.

I'll Russell up the answers for you tomorrow morning...

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