Friday 30 June 2023

Celebrity Jukebox #95: Dr. Samuel Johnson

Everything I know about Dr. Samuel Johnson, I learned from Blackadder. As an English teacher, I can say with some authority that it's really all you need to know. Except that he once wrote that, "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life". And if that's the case, I know a hell of a lot of people who are fed up with living.

Over the last year, I have encountered a couple of fine songs that reference the first man in dictionary corner... so I was sure I'd be able to find some more with a little digging. 

Let's start in 1923...

Ernest Hare & Al Bernard - Samuel Johnson (Get Thee Gone From Here)

And if we drop his Christian name, I'm guessing these will also suffice...

Eat that mighty apple
Crawl across the ceiling
Force feed her a bundle
Dr. Johnson's got the feeling

The Fat White Family - Fringe Runner

I am a little beggarman and beggin′ I have been
In Dr. Johnson′s motorcar I′ll take you home Kathleen

Paddy goes to Holyhead - Seldom Sober

Meanwhile, today's finest discovery are called Tankus The Henge. Yes, they are.

Well there's old Dr. Johnson with a hole in his eye
He don't know how to fight, but he knows how to die
There's someone outside in the corridor now
Pulls open the shutter, and takes a bow
The window to the track is rivetted shut
Poor old Dr .Johnson he ain't got much luck
As the ticket inspector come along for the dead
And sees the curves of a girl silhouetted instead

Tankus The Henge - The Deviationist Society

Now, when I extended my search to include Johnson's famous quote about London, all kind of things crawled out of the woodwork. All kinds of Dirty Pretty Things for a start...

How can they be tired of London?
The scents in the air on a warm day
Generation of hope that sees better days
But moving along in the same old ways

Dirty Pretty Things - Tired of England

And then there's this little seafood delight...

Tired of London, tired of life
Tired of London, tired of life
Tired of London, tired of life
Tired of London, tired of life

King Prawn - Gather Round

The two artists I had in mind when I decided to feature Dr. Johnson here both mention him by name and reference his love of the capital... though they do seem to disagree with that quote somewhat.

Dr. Samuel Johnson
You were very nearly right
I was tired of London
But I would never tire of life

That's not the album version, but a lovely live recording featuring Chris T-T on piano.

Jim Bob has a new album out today. I'm waiting for my copy to arrive in the post, but from what I've heard, it could be his best yet.

Frank Turner, meanwhile, mentions Dr. Johnson twice in song. Firstly here...

Wandering Rosebery Avenue
I could only think of you
Facing Samuel Johnson down
A soul to wear down London Town

And, most notably, on this glorious tune from his most recent record...

I got tired of London
Not tired of life
I'm so sorry, my darling
To leave you behind

Thursday 29 June 2023

Words & Music #2: Weird Weekends

The coffee in my travel mug tasted off. Maybe I hadn’t rinsed the Fairy Liquid out properly, or maybe it was just that off-tasting water you get in the kettle sometimes, no real explanation for it. Whatever the cause, I couldn’t handle the commute without a coffee, so I decided to stop at the Co-Op petrol station and get a machine Costa. It was Friday morning, the roads were quiet and Google Maps was telling me the journey would only take an hour today, not 75 minutes, so an extortionately priced “Signature Blend” was, if not exactly enticing, then at least better than washing up water.

As I walked across the forecourt, a grubby-looking White Van Man sprinted past me, clearly eager to pay for his petrol and be about his day, ogling young women, driving aggressively close to other motorists, and screaming obscenities at both. Except… that wasn’t why he was in such a rush. Oh no. He wanted to get to the coffee machine first. Clearly he’d seen the look on my face, assessed my need, and decided his was greater. Either that or he was just an arsehole.

And so, I had to waste my time pretending to scour the Meal Deal sandwiches, while standing just close enough behind him to be in a sort of queue if anyone else with a desperate murder-you need for caffeine should try to butt in. And of course, White Van Man didn’t just want one machine coffee, he wanted three. My life was slowly ebbing away. And then he was done. At last, I stepped up to the machine to order my elixir… and that’s when I noticed.

No big cups.

Only the small ones.

I stormed out of the Co-Op in a huff, back to my car, and my off-tasting travel mug. Which didn’t taste so bad now, to be honest. Actually, it was all right.

Laurie Shaw is another artist I discovered through compiling those interminable posts about songs that randomly mention pop culture ephemera. He’s from the Wirral but currently resides in Cork. He’s incredibly prolific, having recorded over 100 albums according to bandcamp (7 of which were released in 2022), and the one with the best title is If You’re So Good, Then Why Haven’t I Heard Of You? Lately I've been very much enjoying Weird Weekends, which sounds a lot like pre-fame Pulp. Slightly sordid tales of yearning adolescent misadventures set to a lo-fi indie soundtrack. He’s even mastered the Jarvis yelp. Quite wonderful. He's a wonderfully natural storyteller...

We were in your room
And we were listening to your mum’s old records
You put the White Album on
And said this was their magnum opus
I didn’t know what you meant
But I could see down your vest
And then the grooves got out of focus

“There’s a party on on Saturday night,
You should come”
I said “I’d love to, but the lift in’s a pain
For my mum”
She said “well, you could stay at mine
And it might coincide with my mum
Doing nights in the hospital”

Laurie Shaw - Weird Weekend

Laurie Shaw – Inserts

If you’ve not caught it yet, Poker Face is very good. It’s by the guy he does the Knives Out movies and it's basically Columbo for the 21st Century. Natasha Lyonne brings her typically ramshackle Top Cat chutzpah to the role of a human lie detector on the run, stumbling across murders wherever she goes, then bumbling her way to delivering some kind of justice. Highly implausible, but very entertaining, and Lyonne is a natural successor to the legendary Peter Falk. Good soundtrack too, including…

The Louvin Brothers - Cash on the Barrel Head

Donald Fagen - The Goodbye Look

The Sweet - Fox On The Run

My brother lost his wallet in the pub last week. I don’t talk about my brother much, but here’s all you need to know to understand this story: he’s a retired builder. Now when I tell you that there was £700 cash in his wallet when he lost it… well, I just need to refer you back to the previous sentence.

When he realised his wallet was missing, he returned to the hostelry in question and asked if anyone had handed it in. They hadn’t, but the staff were happy to take a look at the CCTV. Sure enough, there was my brother enjoying his meal, and – whoops! – there goes his wallet onto the floor. Fast forward to after he’s left the pub and another couple take his table. And… oh, look, what’s this on the floor? Oh, it’s a wallet. I wonder what’s inside? Well, we better keep that safe… tell you what, why not put in your handbag just in case anyone unscrupulous should find it?

The police were informed, but my brother’s partner also decided to enlist the help of the Local Vigilante Action Syndicate (aka Facebook), posting a CCTV still of the woman with the wallet and asking if anyone could identify her.

A few hours later, they received a private message.

“That’s my sister. We haven’t spoken in 20 years since she shacked up with a former MP who’s also a paedophile, but she still lives next door to me. Here’s the address…”

Rather than pass this information onto the police (see paragraph #1), my brother instead chose to drive round to the address in question… but there was nobody in. So he put a note through the door with his phone number. I don’t know what the note said exactly, but something along the lines of “Give me my wallet back and I won’t shop you to the bizzies.” Not that my brother’s a Scouser, I just miss Jimmy Corkhill. A little while later he received a phone call and was invited round for tea.

Well, not tea, but he did get his wallet and all its contents back. When asked why the couple hadn’t handed it in to the bar, they replied, “Oh, we didn’t like the look of the bar staff.”

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been listening to Grand Funk Railroad’s Greatest Hits lately. They’re a good time rock ‘n’ roll band, not quite up there with Steve Miller’s lot, but ploughing a similar furrow. For some reason, I always thought they were from Canada, which doesn’t make any sense since their biggest hit was We’re An American Band, but logic was never my forte. Here’s my favourite track from the compilation, originally taken from the album 1974 album All The Girls In The World Beware!! Ah, the 70s…


Wednesday 28 June 2023

TV On The Radio #12: Metal Mickey

How do you get from Mickey Dolenz to Brett Anderson with only two degrees of separation?

Metal Mickey first appeared on The Saturday Banana, a 1978 kids TV show I don't remember... probably because I was watching Swap Shop at the time. By 1980 he had graduated into his own sitcom, which also featured Irene Handl, Gary Shail from Quadrophenia and Margaret Omolola Young, the future Baroness Young of Hornsey as Janey. The show was produced, and at times directed, by one Mickey Dolenz...

As research, I watched bits of the Metal Mickey pilot episode on youtube. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did when I was 8, but Mickey seems more sarkily benign that the artificial intelligence of today.

Between 1979 and 1983, Metal Mickey released 6 singles. None of them appear to have troubled the singles chart. Here's one, which will cost you £20 for an original copy on discogs...

The Firm had a couple of novelty hits in the 80s based on the popular TV shows, Minder (Arthur Daley E's Alright) and Star Trek (Star Trekkin'... which went to Number One, which I can only apologise for, as I did buy a copy myself). Here's something else they did...

All me mates are on a diet
And I think I'd like to try it
But they take the Metal Mickey out of me
I tried to lose weight from me hips
By cutting down on silicon chips
And just the one expansion module in me tea

The Firm - Heavy Metal Robot

In 1996, Mr Dexter, Shylock & Mr Spyce were The Brotherhood. Look what happened when they got a rhyming dictionary for Christmas...

Who be motormouth Metal Mickey
Audible barrage like Pat nagging Ricky
It's sticky

The Brotherhood - Alphabetical Response

All right. You all know why we're here. 

I always assumed that the title of Suede's first Top 20 hit was some kind of 90s drug culture reference. A rave culture equivalent of a Mickey Finn, perhaps, the knockout drug of choice in all the old detective films I loved. Turns out it's actually a reference to the TV show... but why, I've no idea, since the lyrics have nothing to do with a smart-mouthed boogieing robot, and were apparently written as an ode to KatieJane Garside, the lead singer of Daisy Chainsaw. 

She sells hearts
She sells meat
Oh, dad, she's driving me mad
Come see, ay-ay

I've no idea if KatieJane worked in Brett Anderson's local butcher's shop on a weekend (the video suggests she might have done) but I always thought "Oh, dad, she's driving me mad" was a great chorus line.

Boogie Boogie. 

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Namesakes #40: Neighbours

Neighbours... everybody needs good neighbours... or so the theme tune goes. And yet... since Louise and I got together, we've lived in five different houses, and one of the deciding factors each time we've moved (though not always the main one) has been bad neighbours. Like the neighbour who had a paddling pool in her back garden and sat out in it, drunkenly singing, late at night when we were trying to get baby Sam to sleep. Or the neighbours who hated us for no apparent reason and turned their back if we passed them in the street. And let's not even revisit the horrors of the last house we lived in...

While researching this feature, I came across quite a few bands named after bad neighbours. Like the Unfriendly Neighbours, the Nasty Neighbours,  the Miffed Neighbours and, my favourites, the Shitty Neighbours. But what about bands named just (the) Neighbours... or Neighbors if you're American?


The old slave song, dating back way into the 19th Century, and also recorded by Bruce on his Pete Seeger tribute album, We Shall Overcome.

This is a typically 50s white-washing of the tune, but it still raised a smile. No info on the Neighbours themselves, but they appear to have also released a song called I Won't Go Until I Get Some, which I was very disappointed not to find anywhere online.


German free jazz from 197-nein*. Do you see what I did there? Never mind. I'm making it up as I go along. That's free jazz.

(*Actually it's from 1978. But the gag wouldn't have worked then.)


Perfectly serviceable New Zeland pop from 1981. Discogs describes them as a soul band, but I reckon they sound more like The Cars with a female singer.


Clearly these guys lived in the same neighbourhood as The Specials and Madness. They were on Tyger Records in 1982, a lost label that often throws up gems.


Irish Neighbours from 1985. They released one single, There's A Bell, on Bus Records. I can't find it, but I did find the B-Side, No More Raggae (sic) On The Radio. They appear to be unhappy about that.


Also from 1985, here's some power pop from Arlington, Virginia. Taken from their debut album Famous Potatoes.


Hardcore San Diego punk rock from 1995.


21st Century Danish Soft Rockers. I mean, basically just look at the picture and imagine what kind of music these guys make. It'll save you from having to press 'Play'.


This was released in 2010 and found its way onto the soundtrack of the US remake of the British TV show Being Human. Beyond that, I know nothing.


Smart-suited neighbours from Pittsburgh in 2012. From their Facebook page, it appears they played live Dungeons & Dragons more than they did actual shows.

Which Neighbours would you be happy to have living next door... and which ones would you send an anonymous letter to the week before Christmas, asking them to get their hedge cut?

Monday 26 June 2023

Celebrity Jukebox #94: Glenda, Treat & Cormac

The Grim Reaper has been so busy lately, I'm having to do triple time.


Women In Love. A Touch of Class. The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show. Was there anything Glenda Jackson couldn't do? And that was before she became a Labour MP in the Blair government... though she went on to be openly critical of her boss, the war-mongering liar, so that's OK too. 

Let's forgive Glenda for the film that gave its title to a song by The Irish Band and listen instead to Scouse band Noctorum...

I'm gonna ring you up
And have you come on down
And lie here next to me
We're not gonna need the satellite
'Cause we've got ITV

If you press eject
Then we can both reflect
On what the best scenes did for you
We'll be Glenda Jackson and Olivеr Reed
In this epic bedsit room

And here's one of my heroes, the great Warren Zevon, with an early draft of his biggest hit...

I saw Oliver Reed walking with Glenda Jackson
They were doing nothing, ha!

I did find a couple of tracks that mentioned Glenda in the title, by bands called Hooker and Fish From Tahiti. Sadly, I couldn't find them online. So I'm left with this...

Treat Williams

Treat Williams came to fame playing Danny Zuko in the 1972 Broadway production of Grease, but I guess he was too old for the role by the time they got around to casting the movie. Having said that, Travolta was only three years younger, so who knows. Williams enjoyed a pretty respectable career in the movies, across all genres, though I pretty much think of him as a B-movie guy from shlocky fluff like The Phantom and Deep Rising. That is, the kind of movies my brain prefers.

Here’s Swedish rapper Niello…

Och dansa, dansa psycho
Som Treat Williams på ditt middagsbord

Which translates thus…

And dance, dance psycho
Like Treat Williams on your dinner table

Niello - Legenden feat Phantomen

The ultimate tribute to Treat comes from John Grant…

He could call me up
If he wants to chat
You know I waited so long
Now I'm up to bat
He's no Treat Williams, but neither am I
It might be wishful thinkin', but you got to try


There is an American folk singer called Cormac McCarthy, but he's not the one who left us this month. Still, because he's worth a listen...

I've only read one book by the other Cormac McCarthy, but it was a doozy. That said, I'm not sure I would rush to read The Road again, because as engaging as it was, it was also pretty grim. Here's a song inspired by that Pulitzer Prize-winning novel...

And here's a song that wasn't, but, y'know, any excuse...

Now for some Math(s) rock. Which sounds to me like when you're listening to one track on your computer but another track is still playing in the background and you don't realise.

I'm thinking about Cormac McCarthy
And why I can never remember his name
Or how he was supposed to change my life 

And that's why English is better than Math(s), kids. 

Here's Randy Chabot, aka Deastro...

Cormac McCarthy waves a flag of flapping skin
To hide his darkest fears and find a way back home

And finally... I feel like I've come across The Burning Hell before, yet a quick trawl through the search box reveals no past blog references. Regardless, this is my favourite song of the day, and possibly the week.

The band was as blue as the melted Joni Mitchell cassette
On the dash of the van they had nicknamed regret
Touring round the United Kingdom
Selling compact discs to the people of England
And Wales and Scotland, 
Oh it’s hard to be a rock band these days
People like to spend their evenings in different ways

The road is a lot like the Cormac McCarthy book
Less cannibalism but a similar look
There’s nothing more post-apocalyptic
Than a landscape of truck stops and rock critics
To paraphrase Joni on the first track of that melted cassette
It’s a lonely road and it’s not over yet

Sunday 25 June 2023

Snapshots #298: A Top Ten Weather Forecast Songs

It's 10 years since I last did a Top Ten Weather Forecast Songs, and although I did re-use a couple of the tracks from that old list this weekend, I also skipped some of the more obvious selections, including The Weather Girls, ELO, and... of course... this...

Every week I try to include a mix of well-known artists alongside artists that have never featured here before... otherwise, you guys get them all immediately, and where's the fun in that? Hence why I always call it "A Top Ten..." rather than "My Top Ten...", since chances are, I might include a track or artist I don't really care for. Although even the ones I might not choose to listen to in my own time uusally spark a brief nostalgic smile. Even the worst bits of the pop past look better from a distance.

Anyway, with thanks to C for suggesting it, here are ten songs about weather forecasting...

10. Before Ella could be bothered.

Ella Fitzgerald was Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered...

B*Witched - Blame It On The Weatherman

9. Jump in the middle of a newspaper tycoon.

The famous newspaper tycoon was not Rupert Murdoch or Robert Maxwell, but William Randolph Hearst. Add a jump to his middle name and you get...

Randolf's Leap - Weatherman

Great video, featuring a post-retirement Michael Fish, infamous for his "don't worry, there's isn't" a hurricane coming forecast back in 1987.

8. Artistically apt... but also prepared for the worst.

It's OK, these guys brought an umbrella.

Weather Report - Umbrellas

7. Rumour has it...

Graham Parker, whose back band was "The Rumour"...

Graham Parker - Weather Report

6. The warm up act on Mars.

The Radiators From Space - Let's Talk About The Weather

5. When upset, she chews lorry.

"She chews lorry" is an anagram. This is what Sheryl looked like when she was a backing singer on Michael Jackson's Bad Tour.

Sheryl Crow - Weather Channel

4. He'll grow on you.

Bob Mould - Forecast Of Rain

3. Doctor, could be related to Shatner's cop.

Shatner's cop was T.J. Hooker. But this is guy's a D.R....

D.R. Hooker - Weather Girl

2. Could easily be confused with the hard part of the Appalachian trail... if your hearing aid isn't working. 

One of the hardest stretches of the Appalachian Trail is the Mountains of Maine. Pardon? I said...

The Fountains of Wayne - Traffic & Weather

Look, I can do hearing aid jokes since I wear them. Don't try and cancel me!

1. That's a Stretch.

I was thinking specifically of...

What do you mean Louis Armstrong never did a song about weather forecasters?

I don't care what the weatherman says
When the weatherman says it's raining
You'll never hear me complaining
I'm certain the sun will shine

Louis Armstrong - Jeepers Creepers

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. It blows towards more Snapshots next Saturday.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Saturday Snapshots #298

How many roads must a man walk down before he can identify all the Snapshots this Saturday?

And how many seas must a white dove sail before she can work out the link between the songs?

10. Before Ella could be bothered.

9. Jump in the middle of a newspaper tycoon.

8. Artistically apt... but also prepared for the worst.

7. Rumour has it...

6. The warm up act on Mars.

5. When upset, she chews lorry.

4. He'll grow on you.

3. Doctor, could be related to Shatner's cop.

2. Could easily be confused with the hard part of the Appalachian trail... if your hearing aid isn't working. 

1. That's a Stretch.

The answers, my friends, will be blowing in the wind tomorrow morning.

Friday 23 June 2023

Words & Music #1: "Lovely to see you."

As Robert Palmer told me in a dream last night, Don’t Explain. That was a Billie Holliday song originally, but for me it’ll always be by Batley Bob, because I heard him do it first, at an impressionable age.

I stopped at Morrisons last week for a few bits. Went to the self-service checkout so I didn't have to make conversation. After I'd paid, the following message flashed up on the machine...

Lovely to see you. Bye for now.

This offends me in so many way, I can't even begin to count. If a cashier said this to me, I'd think it was weird... but a machine? 

The chances of me getting around to featuring the stylistically extravagant action movie director John Woo on Celebrity Jukebox any time soon seem slim. Hopefully for him anyway, since the jukebox has become a hectic requiem in recent weeks. Anyway, here's a song with his name from new London band My Fat Pony. 

Love the home-made video.

Louise bought me some socks for Father's Day. My initial reaction was, "I'm not sure I can wear these for work..."

"Oh," she said. "Sorry. I didn't know they said that on them."

I told Ben. He replied with two words.

She knew.

Speaking of Ben, he recommended I listen to Tim Heidecker, an artist he saw on tour earlier in the year. Heidecker's an American actor and comedian, so the first half of his set is a world weary stand-up routine. Then he comes back on and does a set of upbeat, nostalgia-focussed Americana Ben figured would be right up my street. He's not wrong.

Back when I taught in college at The Bad Place, I had a student who regularly called me Brendon. When I asked why, he said it was because I looked like Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! At The Disco. I don’t. Brendon’s much younger and prettier than me. The most I can say is that my hair goes back in a similar way. 

Despite being named after Smiths lyrics, P!ATD are a band who have said little to me about my life since they emerged from the provincial town of Las Vegas in 2004… however, I’ve been strangely taken by their latest album, Viva Las Vengeance. It’s a tribute to the bands Urie loved when he was a kid, and on first listen the obvious influences (to me, anyway) were Queen, Costello, Thin Lizzy and Steinman. Reviewers have cited The Beatles and The Police, among others… but after repeated listens, the homages coalesce and it all starts to sound like a Panic! record. But a really good one, and a really catchy one. Shame it’s their last, as Urie has announced his retirement… at least until the inevitable comeback tour beckons.

Here's the title track, which immediately made me think of vintage Costello...

Lovely to see you. Bye for now.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #95: Wasted Youth

Spring has been particularly glorious this year. Especially the hawthorn blossom, which has exploded. 
The hillside across from us is painted white, like it's been snowing.

Young Galaxy - Youth Is Wasted On The Young

So sang George Bernard Shaw with his 21st Century Canadian dream-pop band... or perhaps I'm mixing up my sources. The insane pop culture reference library that is my brain is getting a little clogged up with an abundance of trivia... no chance of remembering what I'm having for tea tonight then. 

When we’re young, we have all the time in the world… and yet we fritter it away. We don’t realise how valuable it is, because life seems endless. So we do whatever the hell we want and don’t worry about tomorrow. Many’s the pop song that has been written about this subject, but this is the one that best captures that sense of youthful headonism… or it’s the first that springs to mind today, anyway.

Fun. ft. Janelle Monáe – We Are Young

I don't recall many nights like the ones Nate Ruess sings about there. A few, I guess, but not as many as most. I spent a large part of my wasted youth chasing the twin fantasies of a radio career and best-selling authordom.

The Colourfield – Castles In The Air

Don McLean – Castles In The Air

Not to mention…

Bob Lind – Elusive Butterfly

Was it a waste? 


Considering how down I’m feeling lately, do I regret my “wasted youth”?

No, that’s not it. After all, as Jim Steinman wrote…

A wasted youth is better by far 
Than a wise and productive old age

Meat Loaf - Everything Louder Than Everything Else

And it's important to remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again." 

The only problem with inspirational quotes (and Crazy Eleanor had a box full of them) is that they don't work on the terminally cynical. Still, they obviously made an impression on Jim...

We've gotta' fast, we were born out of time
Born out of time and alone
And we'll never be as young as we are right now
Runnin' away and runnin' for home

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Product Placement #16: Old Spice

When I was a small boy, I drank a whole bottle of Old Spice aftershave and had to go to hospital. Or so the story goes. I'm not entirely sure how this was possible, since in my memory, Old Spice bottles only allowed a few drops out at a time, so I must have been sucking on that white plastic teat for ages. You might well ask "Was Old Spice so delicious to a 3 year old that he wanted to keep on suckling that bottle till he'd drained it dry?" To which I have no real response. An easier question to deal with is, "Where were your parents?" We all know the answer to that one: it was the 70s. 

I do wonder if this early escapade put me off alcohol and stopped me joining the teenage drinkers in High School... I was vehemently tee total until I turned 21. Made up for it in the 90s, then quit at the turn of the Millennium for health reasons. Haven't touch a drop since: booze or Old Spice.

Back in the 70s, men only really had the choice of two aftershaves, as far as I can tell. It was Old Spice or Brut... which cost more, because you had to "splash it all over". Old Spice was my dad's choice back then, and it definitely had the classier advert...

The music was O Fortuna, the opening section of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, which (like many people, it seems) I always thought was used in The Omen. It wasn't, but it was later used in The X-Factor, so there's definitely a satanic connection.

My dad stopped wearing aftershave when I was a teenager. But the scent of Old Spice still takes me back to my childhood... thankfully not my trip to Casualty.

Here are some songs that mention Old Spice... none of them are about Victoria Beckham or Geri Halliwell. (That gag wouldn't have worked for Emma.) This first one is particularly apt... 

Sometimes I think about my daddy
And his Old Spice grin
Cleaned pressed shirts, and a farmers tan

Slaid Cleaves - Flowered Dresses

Time for a slightly less fragrant memory... 

I can smell his cousin's Polo mixing with his grandpa's Old Spice and the
Swedish meatballs look so tempting that his two fat aunts might even fight

Wait - the smell gets worse!

And I can taste the bleach on your breath 
Covering the Old Spice and cigarettes 

The businessman beside me smelt like Old Spice and gin
The lady to the left was talking about her grandchildren
Two kids behind me were screaming for their mom
She was screaming back, I wonder how come

I've known some arrogant worms in my time. I'm sure you have too.

Splashing on the aftershave was part of the ritual many young men performed in order to prepare for pulling... or trying to pull. 

I took a fresh pack of Luckies
And a mint called Sen-Sen
My old man's Trojans
And his Old Spice aftershave

Often it was the scent of desperation. 

There they go again,
Covered in Old Spice,
They think they will get the girls,
'Cause they smell nice!

Still, whatever you think of Old Spice, it's got to smell better than Lynx. One more reason to treasure the good old days.

Drapes and quaff are all in place
Old Spice splashed on a fresh cut facе
Putting on a tie of the old boot lace
Creepеrs and a 30 inch waist

Even if the Old Spice did help you find romance, there was no guarantee it'd last...

Here's a little Old Spice you can put it on your pillow
In the spot where I used to lay my head

Ricky Van Shelton - Baby, Take a Picture

And even if it did, you'd probably stop wearing it after awhile. How long then before the infidelity sets in...?

You come home all hours of the night 
The fragrance on you ain't Old Spice 

You got that guilty look in your eye
And you smell like Old Spice on your skin
So there ain't no way that you can lie

I guess in the days of Paco Rabanne, Ralph Lauren and Johnny Depp's Sausage, Old Spice is old hat. What do the young people have to say about it?

You old Old Spice wearing
Short chain wearing
Dress shoes and jogging pants wearing
Church sock wearing...

I don't know if I have more respect for Kanye, knowing that he's sampled Billy Joel, or not. Also, "young people" - dude is 46 now. Almost as old as another artist I'll always think of as a "youngster", even though she'll be 50 next year...  

Old Spice is nice
But sweat is better

Here's a random sprinkling of tunes that named themselves after my beverage of choice as a toddler...

I don't think that's actually the famous Creed, though to these uncultured ears, they sound pretty much the same.

And second to last, but not second to least, some rare XTC...

They sailed in the shallows now they've paid the price
The captain drank the champagne but it tasted like Old Spice
How can we free, how can we free
The ship trapped in the ice

But it's John Grant who wins the prize today. A year's supply of Old Spice is winging its way to Iceland... don't drink it all at once, John.

You'd better watch out sugar, 'cause I'm about to get my Old Spice on

John Grant (featuring Midlake) - Chicken Bones

There is a video for that tune, but it breaks the song up to create a (very entertaining) narrative, so I linked to the album version instead. He still gets his Old Spice on in the video though. 


Tuesday 20 June 2023

Namesakes #39: Luna

Last week, we looked at Dean Wareham's band, Galaxie 500, and another group that chose exactly the same name. When Galaxie 500 broke up, Dean went on to form Luna. And... you can guess the rest.


Free Jazz. 1967. USA. Free Jazz. Jazz Free. FrJaeezz. The composer tells us, "This piece is about getting smaller than getting bigger then getting smaller." JFraezez.


Boston rockers from 1978, formerly known as Orchestra Luna.


Italian "Space Rock" from 1983. Clearly Luna-tics.


Spanish synth-pop, also from 1983. Youtube compares their sound to OMD. Can't really hear it myself.


"Cult dark-wave band" from the former Yugoslavia. I'm guessing they owned a Joy Division record or two. This is what they sounded like in 1984...


Japanese duo from 1985 who had clearly taken a couple of French lessons before taking over the asylum.


Rolling Stone described Dean Wareham's Luna as "the best band you’ve never heard of", though I swear I've heard that epithet applied to hundreds of bands over the years, and I've probably used it myself multiple times. They made some fine records between the early nineties and the mid noughties,  and apparently they reformed in 2015 and are still touring today.


Serbian Euro-pop-pop-popsters, formed in 1996, but have released a heck of a lot of "bangers" since then.


"Funeral Doom Metal" from the Ukraine. I wouldn't have included this were it not for the song title, There Is No Tomorrow Gone Beyond Sorrow Under a Sheltering Mask, which is about as "Funeral Doom Metal" as you get.

I'm going to stop there, although I could go on. And on. And on. Discogs appears to have more than 150 different credits for the name Luna, although a lot of them appeared to be dead ends. Which Luna sends you into orbit?

Monday 19 June 2023

Celebrity Jukebox #93: John Romita

The name John Romita won't mean much to most people reading this blog, but of all the celebrity deaths I've written about this year, his is the one that's hardest for me to process.

John Romita was the second regular artist to draw the original Amazing Spider-Man comic. He took over from Spidey's co-creator, Steve Ditko, in the late 60s, and set a template that defined the look of the character for over a quarter of a century. Although you probably don't know his name, you will have seen his art, since it was generally his work that was licensed for T-shirts, lunch-boxes, candy wrappers and anywhere else that Spidey showed up in the 70s and 80s. Although other art styles came in and out of fashion, Romita's Spider-Man seems timeless. His son, John Romita Jr. went on to follow in his father's footsteps with a looser, more contemporary style, but one that sticks pretty firmly to the template. He's still drawing the character today. 

I don't often write about comics here, but as with the passing of Stan Lee a few years back, I wanted to mark the death of one of my heroes. The only lyrical mentions I found were rappers quoting his name as the co-creator of The Punisher. Big John did, however, draw the covers of two albums I used to own on vinyl, but haven't listened to in years: Spider-Man: Rock Reflections Of A Superhero by Hero (a made-up group that included Marty Nelson from Manhattan transfer and David Sanborn on sax) and The Amazing Spider-Man: From Beyond The Grave - A Rockomic by Ron Dante (formerly of The Archies) & The Webspinners. Neither are classics, but they meant a lot to me growing up.

Sunday 18 June 2023

Snapshots #297: A Top Ten Hunting Songs

The hunt is over! Hopefully you tracked down all your quarries... now it's time to release them back into the wild.

Ten songs about hunting...

10. Just... purple eyes.

Just William. Irises are purple flowers... or part of your eye.

9. Where should I put the charge, guv'nor?

The guv'nor in The Sweeney was Regan. What should he put the fee on?

8. A Gibb and a Giggs.

Barry Gibb & Ryan Giggs =

7. A campaign to promote Irish families.

An ad for the clans.

6. You'll get no sleep in your neighbourhood tonight, with this racket going on.

5. 5. Not much hope of a Spector becoming Superman's girlfriend.

Ronnie Spector + Lois Lane... it's a slim chance.

4. Short saint's conquest.

The Saint was Christopher, shortened to Chris in the Norman Conquest.

3. Lego fodder.


2. Always found in a handy pocket size.

Always found in a handy pocket size.

1. Spider-Man fangirls encounter a much older comic hero.

The Spider-Man fangirls might describe themselves as Marvelettes...

Marvelettes - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

The older comic book hero would be...

...who also had a stab at this Smokey Robinson-composed tune...

Blondie - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

Hunt down more Snapshots next Saturday.

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