Sunday 31 July 2022

Snapshots #251: A Top Ten Beach Songs

Ten songs to take with you to the beach. If we get the weather...

10. Top scholars.

The First Class - Beach Baby

9. Rich arse.

Unfortunate anagram alert!

Chris Rea - On The Beach

8. Stirrer.

Pushing the boundaries of what's accepted on this blog, even by my own low standards...

7. Warm, stuffy, smoky atmospheres.

Lovely musical interpretation of the Matthew Arnold poem.

6. First Man on the Golf Course.

Adam on the green.

5. Leafy Romford suburb.

Check your maps for Gidea Park.

Apologies, but featuring the actual Beach Boys in this week's quiz would have been too obvious.

4. Carlos's Samba Goes To Washington. 

Carlos Santana performed Samba Pa Ti.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

3. Jamie Unchained, twice.

Jamie Foxx starred in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.

2. Bruce & Clark's mum makes mules.

The mothers of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent both shared the same first name, a fact that was used as a cringe-worthy "let's stop fighting and make friends" plot twist in the awful Batman Vs. Superman movie.

Muffin was a mule.

1. Ms. Tricky Local.

Anagram! (Fixed after Charity Chic spotted a missing y.)

Kirsty MacColl - He's On The Beach

More next week.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Saturday Snapshots #251

Cats with cameras - always guaranteed to increase my page views.

Welcome to this week's Saturday Snapshots, where you get the fun of working out the identity of the ten hitmaking popular musical artistes below, then figuring out what their songs have in common.

(Clue: it's nothing to do with cats.)

10. Top scholars.

9. Rich arse.

8. Stirrer.

7. Warm, stuffy, smoky atmospheres.

6. First Man on the Golf Course.

5. Leafy Romford suburb.

4. Carlos's Samba Goes To Washington. 

3. Jamie Unchained, twice.

2. Bruce & Clark's mum makes mules.

1. Ms. Tricky Local.

Answers tomorrow morning.

Friday 29 July 2022

Celebrity Jukebox #15: Bernard Cribbins

"National Treasure" Bernard Cribbins left us earlier this week, aged 93. He deserves a place in the Celebrity Jukebox Hall of Fame.

From Jackanory to The Wombles, Bernard Cribbins was the voice of my childhood. Over the years, I've watched him save the world alongside Doctor Who, stand up to Basil Fawlty, and work with everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Mark 'n' Lard. And let's not forget his contributions to the world of popular music, most notably this...

...which was obviously a favourite of Mick Jones & co.

And, of course, this... which gave its name to a popular beat combo who were far too sexy for their shirts.

You'll also find the influence of Right Said Fred popping up in the most unexpected places. Like here...

I've been trying to get people to call me Freddy Knuckles
People keep calling me Right Said Fred

And here...

He is in my head his chair's on bread
He is Right Said Fred and Brice Beckham at the same time

Now, admittedly, both those tracks are probably referencing the Deeply Dippy guys... but without Bernard, they wouldn't have been there to reference, would they?

But what of an actually lyrical mention? I had to dig that hole in the ground pretty deep, but I did eventually find one... and it's really quite lovely. A fitting tribute for a truly special celebrity.

Just a normal day
I hadn't made any plans
I was enjoying a walk in the sunshine when I saw a lovely old man
Who just happened to be Bernard Cribbins
And he beamed at me so wide
Then he gave me an ice cream that was sweeter than his smile
And it also contained the unspoken knowledge of the ancient ones

Thursday 28 July 2022

Positive Songs For Negative Times #74: A Recipe for Truth and Lasting Happiness

Following Tuesday's post, which suggested that given the current state of the world, it was high time for hypersonic missiles... or as Bruce Cockburn put it (thanks, Lynchie)...

If I had a rocket launcher, I'd make somebody pay

...I figured we needed a little positivity to redress the karmic balance. 

So here is S.E. Rogie with his Recipe for Truth and Lasting Happiness. I'd like to think that whoever wins the Tory leadership race will listen to this and dedicate themselves to its message. But really, what are the chances? We all know politicians are created in a mad scientist's lab without an empathy chip. Still, it's nice to dream.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Celebrity Jukebox #14: Joan Fontaine & Olivia de Havilland

Another of George's challenges today. "What about Joan Fontaine (or her equally famous sister)?" 

Well, Joan I had an answer for immediately. Olivia, on the other hand, took some digging.

First, a little background. 

By all accounts, Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland hated each other. Olivia was only 15 months older than Joan, but their feud started in childhood and only ended when they were both dead. Joan died in 2013, aged 96, but Olivia had the last laugh, reaching the grand age of 104 before dying in 2020. It's amazing they both lasted that long, since Joan allegedly fantasised of killing her sister when she was 9, and later broke Olivia's collarbone in a scrap. When they were both nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1942 and Joan won, she was convinced her sister would finish her off. 

Who wins the musical tribute contest though?

Well, I did find a contemporary musical artiste called De Havilland, though I can't find out anything about them, including whether they took their name from Olivia or not.

Meanwhile, the only lyrical mention I uncovered for Olivia was this rather charming number from Norwegian rock band Major Parkinson...

Seven o'clock the sun is up
And like a bullet in a china shop
In these anachronistic hours of today
The belly of the moon is grey
Now there's nobody here but Fred Astaire
Frank Sinatra, Doris Day
Oh Olivia de Havilland my bride
I'll keep you by my side...

So how does Joan fair in comparison?

Well, you could argue that The Fabulous Fontaines, Richmond Fontaine and Fontaines DC all keep the Fontaine flag flying, but I'm not sure any of them were thinking of Joan when they chose their name.

What about lyrical mentions then?

Well, Flagpole Sittas Harvey Danger don't exactly put her in the best of company...

Once I had a sweetheart;
She kind of looked like Joan Fontaine
She made mediocre art
But had a fascinating brain

While Paul's lad has a nicer comparison to make...

She's got the style of Paulette Goddard
And the smile of Joan Fontaine
And she drives a Karmann Ghia
Through the streets of Silver Lake

But it's neither of these that make Joan the winner. Oh no... it's this little beauty, from another of George's favourites, The Boss. Admittedly, it's from his debut album, before he developed his own lyrical voice and was more into aping Mr. Dylan, but still. We love it anyway.

Hey bus driver, keep the change
Bless your children, give them names
Don't trust men who walk with canes
Drink this and you'll grow wings on your feet
Broadway Mary, Joan Fontaine
Advertiser on a downtown train
Oh, Christmas crier bustin' cane
He's in love again

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Positive Songs For Negative Times #73: High Time For Hypersonic Missiles

Boris is gone. Only not really. He needs to stick around long enough to sign his chat show deal.

Meantime, a bunch of rich, lying scumbags are fighting over who gets the pleasure of screwing up Britain even more. Apparently there's only two of them left now.

I vote Judge Death.

Alternatively, I might go with Sam Fender's suggestion...

All the silver tongued suits and cartoons that rule my world
Are saying it is a high time for hypersonic missiles
When the bombs drop, darlin', can you say that you've lived your life?
Oh, this is a high time for hypersonic missiles

They all do the same, only their names change honey
You can join their club if you're born in to money
It's a high time for hypersonic missiles

Monday 25 July 2022

Celebrity Jukebox #13: Patrick McGoohan

Number 13 in this series might seem unlucky, unless we go with someone who resolutely refuses to be a number, because he is a free man!

Despite a movie career that includes Ice Station Zebra, Braveheart and Scanners (the one with the exploding heads, kids) Patrick McGoohan will always be better remembered for his TV roles, first as Danger Man, and then as The Prisoner. Despite the fact that the former ran for 86 episodes and the latter only 17, it's Number 6 who became an icon, not John Drake from Danger Man (although some people believe they're one and the same, and that The Prisoner was a continuation of the earlier show... although McGoohan himself has poured cold water on this idea). Let's not go any deeper into all that, otherwise we could be here all day.

The influence of The Prisoner was fell across all genres of popular music, from heavy metal... dance... rap... indie...

But what about Patrick McGoohan himself? 

I found three songs that mention him by name, though they're all inextricably connected to The Prisoner.
First, try a blast of 90s ska from Brixton...

Do you remember when you used to go bopping
You would sit back down to watch Batman and Robin
All those silly crazy things that you thought you were doing
Coz you used to watch the Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan

Then a little alt-rock from Boston...

And with luck I'll be drugged and dragged to a Village ocean view
Lazy afternoon down on the terrace
Playing chess with sexy Number Two
Maybe I'll present my lighter
and suggest you burn my file
I'll be Patrick McGoohan resigned to Number Six landscaped exile

Both pretty good, but Edward Ball was always going to win this one... with a little help from the Spencer Davis Group, I think. This is from 1982...

The Times - I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape

Sunday 24 July 2022

Snapshots #250: A Top Ten Sorry Songs

Saturday is a day for Snapshots... and Sunday is a day for Christians. So here's Christian Slater.


Here are ten sorry songs...

10. Toothless Wookie joins the Republican Army (but not in Ireland). 

If Chewbacca didn't have any teeth, he wouldn't be able to chew, which would make him Bacca + RA.

Baccara - Sorry I'm A Lady

9. On Trial.

In Kafka's The Trial, the main character was Josef K...

Josef K - Sorry For Laughing

8. Haunted Hughes.

If Ted Hughes were HaunTed, he would be a...

Ghostpoet - Sorry My Love, It's You Not Me

7. Lancaster enjoys a Golden Shower.

Burt (Lancaster) likes getting Weedon.


Burt Weedon - Sorry, Robbie

6. Sounds like a cruise with The Doors.

The Doors sailed on The Crystal Ship. Which sounds like...

The Crystal Trip - Sorry

5. Peter and Catherine were great, but Ivan was terrible.

They were all Tsars. Or...

The Czars - Sorry I Made You Cry

John Grant before he was John Grant.

4. Doing well, without trying very hard.

They're just coasting.

The Coasters - Sorry But I'm Going To Have To Pass

3. Come on, feel the Illinoise.

Chicago, Illinois. 

Chicago - Hard To Say I'm Sorry

Peter Cetera's teeth give Donny Osmond a run for his money.

2. It's Clip Tit Trio!

Unfortunate anagram. Sorry again.

Scritti Politti - Oh Patti (Don't Feel Sorry For Loverboy)

1. Most of what's needed to stop a Beatle's pants falling down.

A belt on John would stop his pants falling down. Most of that is...

Elton John - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Hard to find a picture of Elton without his glasses on. Although he doesn't wear them at all in this video...

'Slater, dudes.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Saturday Snapshots #250

It's been a very hot week, so here's a very cool picture. No puns, no hidden clues, just Fred and Audrey.

Below are clues to ten artists. Identify them, then work out what connects their songs.

10. Toothless Wookie joins the Republican Army (but not in Ireland). 

9. On Trial.

8. Haunted Hughes.

7. Lancaster enjoys a Golden Shower.

6. Sounds like a cruise with The Doors.

5. Peter and Catherine were great, but Ivan was terrible.

4. Doing well, without trying very hard.

3. Come on, feel the Illinoise.

2. It's Clip Tit Trio!

1. Most of what's needed to stop a Beatle's pants falling down.

 Answers tomorrow morning...

Friday 22 July 2022

Random Friday: Midnight Train

Today is the last day of term in the new job I started back in November. It's no understatement to say this job saved my life, or at least my sanity, and for the first time in years I'm actually looking forward to going back to work after the summer. As mentioned earlier in the week, I also get a full 6 week holiday, which I've never had before, so... I'm going to try to be a bit more positive. There are some things in life you can't fix, and you just have to learn to live with them, but I fixed the job problem, and that was huge. Happy happy, joy joy, as a sadly-departed old friend of mine used to say.

The Steve Miller Band's Midnight Train is pure feel-good rock n roll. It's late-stage Miller, from the early 90s, yet it could easily fit in a set list with their prime era classics such as Rock 'n' Me, Jungle Love or Jet Airliner. (I don't include The Joker in that list, not because I don't love it, but because it's unique, and not an obvious match for the rest of his back catalogue.) Sam loves it too, it's probably his favourite song at the moment.

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