Friday 31 May 2024

Cnut Songs #28: The Youth Of Today

Continuing this week's theme of stealing content from the past (because it's Half Term and I'm lazy), here's something I posted on the book of faces in 2016, when I was teaching at The Bad Place. I guess I didn't post it here because back then , all I pretty much did on this blog was write about music... 

Squire - The Face Of Youth Today

A recent conversation with a student highlights the problem with the yoof of today...

Me: JK Rowling took a lot of her ideas for Harry Potter from Lord of the Rings...

Student: Yeah, but Harry Potter is much better than Lord of the Rings.

Me: Why's that?

Student: Harry Potter has his own theme park.

Me: Oh, so that's how we judge the worth of a story, the "greatness" of literature, is it? If they give them their own theme park?

Student: Yeah - I mean, who else can you name who has their own theme park?

Me: Mickey Mouse... Truly one of the greats of literature. After all, it was William Shakespeare himself who created Mickey Mouse.

Student: Did he???

Young Galaxy - Youth Is Wasted On The Young

Worse still, when relating this story to others in the staff room, a teaching assistant in her early 20s immediately responded: "Did he? I didn't know that."

Amy MacDonald - Youth Of Today

All of which brings me to my theory about what's wrong with the yoof of today. They have no cultural awareness beyond their own lifetime...even beyond the last couple of years in most cases. This is the fault of the internet and 57 channels of TV. When we were kids, we 3/4 channels, we watched whatever was on. Which often was old stuff made long before we were born. And we were happy with that. And it made us aware of cultural history. By the time I was 16 (the age of the above student) I was well-versed in Hitchcock, Bogart, 50s sci fi, Orson Welles, Universal horror films of the 40s, Hammer, Clint Eastwood et al. On top of all the stuff I grew up with (Star Wars, Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller). Nowadays, you can comfortably watch E4 all day and never see anything older than Friends. And why would you ever watch something in black and white? 

River City People - When I Was Young

Which leads me to another conversation I had with another 16 year old recently...

Me: What's your favourite film?

Student: Magic Mike 2.

Me: Really. And why do you like that?

Student: Dunno.

Me: Well, why the sequel? What makes Magic Mike 2 better than the original Magic Mike?

Student: It's newer.

Musical Youth - Pass The Dutchie

It's worth pointing out that when I originally posted this 8 years ago, a couple of people who've known me for a long time and who are similar ages to me suggested that I wasn't typical of the average 80s teen in the way I reached back to old black and white movies, that many of my contemporaries just watched new stuff back then and never looked back at all. I wonder if you'd agree?

Thursday 30 May 2024

The Past Is Another Blog #1: In The Beginning

So here's a lazy idea for a new series, in which I dig back into the archives of my previous blog and mine it for content, thereby allowing myself to make sarcastic commentary on my younger self, with new tunes. Let's start by looking back at the first blog post I ever wrote...

Bob Seger - Looking Back


I used to think blogging was pointless. I'm starting to think it'll soon be essential. I'm not sure that's a good thing, but it may be unavoidable.

For my first post, I considered a huge essay on how the Internet might be a champion of the individual, leading us gloriously forwards to a true democracy of opinion... or it might be the beginning of a collective loss of identity and privacy, a hive mind that eventually erases the individual altogether.

But I'm not smart enough to write that essay, especially when far more incisive social commentators have been there already. In her book, 'Tomorrow's People', Professor Susan Greenfield suggests:

"In brief, the notion of an independent individual, with a private life and a unique portfolio of thoughts, knowledge and opinions, is finished."

The future scares me. "Maybe the Unabomber had a point." But we can't go back now.

So here I am. Welcome to my blog...

The Donnas - I Wanna Be a Unabomber

Ironically, I reckon I joined the blogoverse just as it had ceased to be essential, and the tastemakers were already starting to move on. I couldn't see that at the time. Maybe my arrival was the first nail in the coffin...

I don't know where I got that quote from, as I don't recall reading that book. Maybe I did. I read a lot more books 18 years ago. Of course, that quote seems all the more apt - and eerily prescient - looking back at it now. I'd like to claim some kind of foresight there, but as usual, I was just regurgitating what I'd read elsewhere, with added jokes. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

At which point, I could have linked to this... but I figured you might prefer...

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Self Help For Cynics #35: People Ain't No Good

Lloyd Cole - People Ain't No Good

Last week, we talked about hating people, and I came to the conclusion that I didn't really hate people, but actually it's "all just an act to paper over insecurity, a tragic lack of self-confidence and a Grand Canyon of loneliness in perpetual conflict with an innate desire to be on my own".

Felt - All the People I Like Are Those That Are Dead

Just as I thought I'd talked myself out of misanthropy, C replied...

You're in good company Rol, I think nearly all the best people I know are people-haters, which doesn't really make a lot of sense and yet somehow it does!

Richard Cheese - People = Shit

And then I remembered the postcard at the top of this page, which Louise bought me some time ago; it's pinned on the wall next to my desk. You may find it interesting to note that Louise ordered two copies. There's also one pinned up on the wall next to her desk. Make of that what you will...

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

Depeche Mode - People Are People

The jury's still out on hating people then, but here's something I thing we can all agree on: people are very, very annoying.

James - Born Of Frustration

But why is this so?

"They just are!" I heard you cry.

Napoleon - I Try To Despise The Ugly People (But The Beautiful Ones Keep Turning Me Down)

OK, let's start with an easier question. Why does our brain get annoyed?

To answer that, we need an MC...

Ring the bell, school's back in!

MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This

Not that MC. Here's MC Flux, psychologist, neuroscientist and science communicator from the University of Colorado, as quoted in the Grauniad. He says annoyance is “moderately negative, and moderate arousal... it’s basically a flag, saying: ‘Something is wrong, and I should probably do something about it.’”

Green Day - Warning

Now, I'm tiptoeing around this subject because I don't want to get onto anger until I've read sweary Dr. Faith's next book on my reading list, Unfuck Your Anger. And clearly anger is the next step on from annoyance. However, it should come as no surprise that our old friend the amygdala is the main culprit responsible for such emotions. Healthline says,

Anger starts with the amygdala stimulating the hypothalamus, much like in the fear response. In addition, parts of the prefrontal cortex may also play a role in anger.

Frustration, such as facing roadblocks while trying to achieve a goal, can also trigger the anger response.

Now we know what's going on in our brain... but we've still not answered the big question: why are people so annoying? Or should that be: why do I find people so annoying? Are they the same question... or two very different questions?

The Doors - People Are Strange

That Guardian article I mentioned earlier highlights four key answers to the first question: "uncouth habits, inconsiderate acts, intrusive behaviors and norm violations". I think a lot of these come down to what I'd label a lack of empathy, emotional awareness... or just plain arrogance. And once we get onto the subject of arrogance, I need another post. Or ten.

Dean Wareham - Heartless People

Meanwhile, therapist Julia Kristina has an uncomfortable answer to the second question...

Those unfavourable qualities, habits, or tendencies of someone else we react negatively to are really just our own shortcomings that we have turned our back on and refuse to own up to.

They always clap on the wrong beat
They're wearin' loafers on their feet
Greedy awful people!

The Stooges - Greedy Awful People

Ouch. I think I'm going to have to come back to that one as well. But just in case anyone here thinks of me as an annoying person, I consulted Indeed for some tips on how to eliminate my own annoying behaviour...

Be an active listener

This is actually really easy if you don't have much to say for yourself.

The Ramones - Learn To Listen

Focus on the positives

Easier said than done, as discussed some time ago.

Sam Cooke - Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive 

Speak at a normal volume

Louise does sometimes get embarrassed when we're out in public (not often, to be honest) as she claims I speak louder than I need to. I don't think I do, but then I am partially deaf...

OMD - Talking Loud And Clear

Avoid interrupting others

Science For People butts in a this point...

Many annoying people don’t even realize they’re being annoying in the first place. Annoying people might violate various social norms, be incompatible with others, try too hard to make others laugh, or even take a phone call while in a quiet library.

Did you know that you could even be the “irritating person” because you’re too positive?

Oh, yes. I knew this.

This type of positivity is known as toxic positivity—and it’s a real thing.

You don't need to tell me twice. There's a post in that as well. 

Georgie Fame - Bird In A World Of People

Clearly, I've only scratched the surface of our central question: Why are people so annoying? There's a lot more to uncover in future weeks...

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Namesakes #87: The Jerks

What a bunch of Jerks I've got for you this week...


Winners of the Phipps Piano Co. VOX Battle of the Bands contest in 1966, these Jerks hailed from Alabama. They recorded their sole single in a studio in an old church on 1st Avenue and 35th Street, Birmingham. 


Leeds punk band from the late 70s, one of many I discovered thanks to Cherry Red's excellent Where Were You? compilation. Their greatest misses were collected on an album called Jerk Off.


Philippines punk band who have been jerking around since 1979... and are still going strong!


Illinois new wave / power pop band from the early 80s. This looks like it might have been their only release, but I like the fact that the youtuber who posted this says his dad used to go watch them play live on a Friday and Saturday night.


Late 80s Jerks from Manchester, produced by the legendary Clint Boon.


Virginia "supergroup" from 1996, made up of members of Frodus, Dead Meadow, and Pines of Nowhere. These guys caused the corners of my mouth to curl upwards in what some people might describe as a smile.


Noisy as hell Brazilian punks, also from 1996, who enjoyed "making lyrics of protest and about the daily life". I know where you're coming from, guys...


Parisian punks from the late 90s... also known as Steve and the Jerks, perhaps in tribute to Steve Martin, star of The Jerk (as pictured at the top of the page).


More French Jerks, this time from about 12 years ago. I think they might own an LP by The Strokes. (Sadly, it's not a Donny Osmond cover.)


Meanwhile, in Germany, they have Jerks too...


Female-fronted punk band from Milwaukee in 2018...


The first Jerks listed on discogs are, apparently, a production / performer team who have worked with Gloria Estefan, Kid Creole And The Coconuts, Bandera and Marcia Griffiths. Their sole release, again according to discogs, is a self-released 2021 album from a Pittsburgh punk band. Clearly this particular discogs entry was put together by a bunch of Jerks.

Which ones are the Cool Jerks and which ones are just Jerks?


Monday 27 May 2024

Memory Mixtape #32: My Uncool Youth

In his excellent book Listen, Michel Faber asks many important questions about why we like the music we like. Here are just three...

At what age do kids start getting doctrinaire about music, and anxious about the social esteem and reproof that society attaches to various stylistic allegiances?

At what age do kids start to be dishonest about what they like and envious of others' taste?

At what age does the shame begin?

Huey Lewis & The News - The Power Of Love

I've written many times about how I swam against the tide when I was younger, taking an active dislike to songs many of my peers cherished. I even ran an unfinished series called Songs I Hated When I Was A Kid, which included records by The Smiths, Madness and The Pet Shop Boys, all artists I've since come to cherish. 

The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Michel Faber continues...

For a child to love the Pussycat Dolls when all of her pals don't love them anymore requires almost superhuman self-confidence - especially since self-confidence tends to arise from doing stuff which inspires the approval of others. By contrast, the social rewards for pledging allegiance to the latest thing that everyone likes are instant and plentiful.

The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)

I'm not writing all this to champion my younger self as a free-thinking rebels with superhuman self-confidence... since clearly I was none of those things. I was probably just stubborn, contrary, and responding to neural pathways that had been formed by an early diet of Radio 2 and Reader's Digest box sets. My tastes changed as I got older... but I also became more aware of how other people judged them, to the point of apologising profusely for liking uncool things, something I've never quite got over.

Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road

Below you'll find an excerpt from one of those APAs I found in my mum's attic. This was written in the early 90s, a list of my 100 favourite songs sometime in my early 20s. Many of them won't surprise longtime readers of this blog, especially those of you who shake their head in despair at some of my trad-rock and Dad-rock faves...

That said, I'd stand by much of the Top Ten to this day. If you put a gun to my head and forced me to list my ten favourite songs, I'd be remiss if I didn't include The Power of Love, This Old Heart Of Mine, Thunder Road and There Is A Light. The other six might not make my Top Ten, but they'd still be hanging around in the Top 50. In the rest of the list you'll notice strong showings from the usual suspects: Bruce, Costello, Morrissey & The Smiths, Billy Joel, Jim & Meat... although the song choices occasionally surprise me (Souls of the Departed? Sleeping With The Television On?) here and elsewhere (of all the Stones songs I might have picked, I'm mystified by my choice of Fool To Cry). God knows how Eric Clapton got in there though.  

Beyond that, there are some interesting choices, many of which have more to do with records I was listening to / discovering at the time rather than seriously considering a long term bet. I'd obviously recently bought Suzanne Vega's 99.9°F album and Bob Seger's The Fire Inside. A lot of the choices feel like Greatest Hits fodder (Bo' Rap, Hotel California and American Pie will no doubt cause much consternation among the cognoscenti), although a couple of the deep cuts show a shift away from obvious radio fare (the solitary REM choice is about the only moment where I can claim any degree of cool).  

I'm quite disturbed by the lack of female artists - apart from Suzanne, who was clearly a current fave, all I can see is Kirsty (singing a Billy Bragg song), Patti Smith (Springsteen) and Bonnie Tyler (Steinman). I can put that down to the male dominance of rock music back in the day, but still I'm disappointed not to see any Blondie or Kate Bush or even one of my crushes like Belinda or Wendy... hell, I'd even settle for Carol Decker to balance out the testosterone.    

Suzanne Vega - 99.9°F

There are other huge gaps on show - all the indie and Britpop bands came later (and the 80s stuff I discovered through the gateway drug of The Smiths), but there's hardly any Motown or soul (especially The Supremes, one of my first loves). My country roots are showing in a couple of places, but not as much as I might have expected. This is clearly prior to me coming to terms with the greatest song ever written...

Even back then though, I was aware of the need to apologise for my taste in music to anyone cooler who might have been reading. Some things never change...

Sunday 26 May 2024

Snapshots #345: A Top Ten Fishing Tackle Songs

Yesterday, I left you fishing for the identities of the ten top tuna makers below. Did you catch them all... or was there one that got away?

10. Blake's gang wear plates to show they're still taking lessons. 

Blake's 7 wearing L-plates...

L7 - Packing A Rod

9. Gordon's alive! (But only 25%.)

Flash... but only a quarter.

Quarterflash - Love Without A Net (You Keep Falling)

8. Regicidal Mac meets Loot-making Joe.

Macbeth killed a king. Joe Orton wrote Loot.

Beth Orton - Worms

7. Michael Ne, Fred Eagle, Ron Sex.

Mike Nesmith, Fred Eaglesmith, Ron Sexsmith...

Here's the full photo...

The Smiths - Reel Around The Fountain

6. BB King on the bus.

Blues Traveler - The Hook

5. They sound a bit like the First Lady of the United States.

The First Lady of the United States is the FLOTUS. These guys are...

The Floaters - Float On

4. Nasty drug and those who indulge.

Amyl & The Sniffers - Maggot

3. Drink cake - it'll help you unwind!

"Drink cake" was a rather obvious anagram...

Nick Drake - Fly

2. Boo! went Richard, when his cake was left out in the rain.

Betty Boo meets Richard 'McArthur Park' Harris...

Betty Harris - Hook Line 'n' Sinker

1. Don't mess with their Toot Toot. 

Toot is probably the shortest anagram I've ever dared...

Toto - Hold The Line

A handful of runners up, left over in the tackle box...

The Little Hands of Asphalt - Bait

Peter Gabriel - The Family & The Fishing Net

Beautiful South - The Lure Of The Sea

And if you're after really big fish...

The Jayhawks - Broken Harpoon

Catch more Snapshots next Saturday.

Saturday 25 May 2024

Saturday Snapshots #345

This man had three Number One records in the mid 90s, you know. Well, him and another bloke. 

What a strange world we live in.

Welcome back to Saturday Snapshots. Ten pictures of ten musical acts, and all their songs are connected... but how?


10. Blake's gang wear plates to show they're still taking lessons. 

9. Gordon's alive! (But only 25%.)

8. Regicidal Mac meets Loot-making Joe.

7. Michael Ne, Fred Eagle, Ron Sex.

6. BB King on the bus.

5. They sound a bit like the First Lady of the United States.

4. Nasty drug and those who indulge.

3. Drink cake - it'll help you unwind!

2. Boo! went Richard, when his cake was left out in the rain.

1. Don't mess with their Toot Toot. 

Answers tomorrow!

Friday 24 May 2024

The List #4: How Many Times?

How many times do you have to listen to a song before you decide if you like it or not?

The answer to that, of course, depends on the song. Take this, which I heard for the first time a couple of weeks back...

Now there's nothing particularly original about it. In fact, it reminds me of a hundred other things, including this...

Blur - Song 2

While the drum intro sounds very much like this...

Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine

And the spiky attitude is particularly reminiscent of this...

Liam Lynch - United States Of Whatever

...which in turn reminds me of this...

Eddie Cochran - Something Else

But familiarity is good. It's reassuring. As long as there's a new spin, and nobody gets sued, I don't mind songs that rip off other songs. Let's face it, rock n roll has been devouring its own tail since day one. 

Bad Mary are from New York, but that goes without saying. One listen and you can immediately hear Blondie, the Ramones... all those CBGB bands. (By the way, I just discovered that CBGB stands for Country, Bluegrass, Blues, none of which immediately spring to mind when you think of that particular establishment. Who knew?)

The live version of Forget About It is also worth 90 seconds of your time...

Bad Mary - Forget About It (Live)

And here's a clear winner in any Title Fight I could ever enter it for...

Bad Mary - I Just Called To Say Fuck You

Anyway, I ended up adding Forget About It to a couple of playlists and mixtapes and it may be starting to wear out its welcome now. That's the problem with songs that are instant earworms... sometimes they burn out on you.

On the other hand, a song that takes a few listens to really grab your attention, a song that steals slyly into your subconscious, that can often be even more satisfying...

Amy Rigby - Slow Burner

Exactly what I'm talking about, Amy. 

I figured I'd close today with a couple of less immediate tunes. Real slow-burners. Like this lovely little number from Gruff Rhys, which has crept up on me and is now threatening to become one of my songs of the year. I'd like to think 6Music will have been all over this, but as I can't listen to 6Music any more, I have no idea...

And then there's this, from an artist I stumbled across due to the algorithms. Our AI overlords presumably spotted my fondness for John Prine and recommended Texan Americana fella Sam Baker, who iffypedia tells me has quite a fascinating back story. In 1986, he was on a train to Machu Picchu when a terrorist bomb exploded in the luggage rack above his head. Seven of his fellow passengers were killed - Sam escaped with brain damage (he now struggles to remember names), permanent tinnitus and a gnarled guitar hand. But he didn't let that stop him writing beautiful songs like this... an inspiration for us all.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Celebrity Jukebox #127: Roger Corman

Director and producer Roger Corman, who died earlier this month aged 98, was something of a Hollywood legend... if you like tacky cult films. He's the guy who gave Jack Nicholson his big break in the original version of Little Shop of Horrors, got William Shatner to play a manipulative bigot in The Intruder (also known as I Hate Your Guts) and gave Ray Milland X-Ray Eyes. In comic book circles, he's known as the man behind the original screen version of The Fantastic Four, a movie so "bad" it was never officially released. I'm guessing Roger still did OK from it - after all, his autobiography was titled How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime

All that said, it should come as little surprise that The Ramones were big fans...

Vin Scelsa is on the radio
Ramones are hanging out in Kokomo
Roger Corman’s on a talk show
With Allan Arkush and Stephen King, you know

Roger's also in fine company on this kitschy classic...

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde!
Christine is the baddest ride!
Roger Corman
Barbra Steele
Killer Tomatoes have appeal!
Hannibal Lector, sick and mean!
Eat your heart with Fava Beans!
Chuckie's just a living doll!
The Fifty Foot Woman is awfully tall!

Way back in 1981, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys teamed up with Adrian Borland of The Sound, Morgan Fisher from Mott The Hoople and weird minimalist synth-punk Christian Lunch to form The Witch Trials. They only released on EP, which Biafra later claimed was the "most evil record I've ever been associated with".

A slimy green claw comes up through the dock
People run away and climbing through the hole
Is a protege of Roger Corman
He photographs this mutant
Says, “I’ll make you a star
Bring me all your friends
And we’ll make a movie out of you on location
Give me five minutes to get my camera, please”

You might not expect to find the Pet Shop Boys in this post, yet iffypedia informs me that their 1986 Top Ten hit Suburbia was inspired by Penelope Spheeris's movie of the same name, a Roger Corman production...

Let's close with a little Italian power pop from 2011... a fine tribute.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Self-Help For Cynics #34: Hating Everybody

Julian Cope - World, Shut Your Mouth

Reading back through one of those old APAs I found in my mum’s attic, and I came across a throwaway line that demonstrated how much of a curmudgeon I was in my youth. “My thesis on why I hate the world, I’ll save till next time.” With an attitude like that, it’s a wonder I ever made any friends. 

Cream - World Of Pain

I wondered if it was possible to offer a little psychoanalysis to my 20 year old self, so I took advantage of Captain Google (who wasn’t a twinkle in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s eye back in 1992) to ask…

Why did I hate people?

Big G - I Hate The Whole Human Race

A website calling itself Very Well Mind (which I tried not to be too judgemental about) immediately stuck up its hand and started waving it about in a “pick me, pick ME!” kind of way, so let’s see what it has to say…

The reality is that no one likes every single person they’ve met. However, some people reach a stage where they get so annoyed, hurt, or frustrated with people or circumstances that they feel like they hate everyone.

Kimberley Rew - Stomping All Over The World

Clearly, this was 20 year old me. “But why?” I hear you cry. 32 years later, I’m not sure I have a definite answer to that, but here are some of Very Well Mind’s suggestions…


I’m not sure I had a lot to be stressed about at 20. I had a loving family, a home where I felt safe and cared for, a job I enjoyed with people who (ironically) I didn’t hate (well, most of them, anyway) and I was starting to earn a slither of money. I was back at uni, but that was free in the early 90s and because I went to a local uni, I wasn’t running up any kind of debt. No, then, I don’t think I can blame my post-teenage misanthropy on stress.

Black - Learning How To Hate

Social anxiety / Introverted personality

Now we might be getting nearer the cause, but again, this isn’t an obvious win. I’ve always felt a degree of social anxiety, and that’s certainly something I can deal with much better now than when I was young. And while I am by nature an introvert, I’ve always been able to fake being an extrovert. Which is how I ended up on the radio… although, unlike most radio presenters, I wasn’t a sunny, cheer up your day personality… I was a grumpy, sarcastic anti-personality. Hence the fact that they didn’t ever give me my own solo show, but also paired me with a “straight man” who could offer a little light to contrast my dark. 

Harald Thune - The Power Of Hate

Ideological differences

I think this is more likely to explain why 52 year old me gets wound up by large swathes of the human race, rather than my 20 year old self. I wasn’t really that bothered back then.

Dancer - Hate Generator

A Doctor Kristen Farrell Turner, quoted on Very Well Mind says… 

…feeling hatred toward others will rob you of enjoyable life experiences. Not only does hatred require a great deal of cognitive and emotional energy, it also inhibits you from connecting with others and enriching your life.

The Beautiful South - In Other Words I Hate You

Looking back, I’m not sure I was robbing myself of enjoyable life experiences. In radio, I found a setting in which my grumpiness was actually a way of getting ahead, and I was using that to make people laugh and build new opportunities. 

Did 20 year old me really hate the world? 

Did he heck. 

It was all just an act to paper over insecurity, a tragic lack of self-confidence and a Grand Canyon of loneliness in perpetual conflict with an innate desire to be on my own. None of which has changed in the intervening years… I’ve just become a better actor.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Namesakes #86: New Order

This blog resolutely rejects all the tenets of National Socialism, and so, I'm sure, do all the bands below...


All those guys named above were New York's The New Order in 1966. They released a handful of songs and wore some very snazzy shirts...

...and then they were gone.


When the Stooges fell apart in 1974 due to Iggy's generally mental heroin-induced behaviour, guitarist Ron Asheton formed a new band called The New Order. Their first singer was thrown in jail for drink, drugs and refusing to do community service. They produced a bunch of demos which were eventually released on album compilations, but it all fell apart long before the New Order had chance to become the Old Order. 


Out of the ashes of Joy Division (a name which originally referred to women in concentration camps who were forced into prostitution by the Nazis) came another band who stole their name from Hitler and his cronies. 

Some time ago, I wrote about why I hated this particular New Order for many, many years... and it had nothing to do with the band themselves, or their music. I'm over that now, so please feel free to vote for them today if they tickle your fancy.


Sadly, I failed to find any audio for the 1981 field recording of Bradford Red Light District released by The New Order, a group who chose the name in protest about New Order #3 "stealing" their name from New Order #2. I did find the cover below though, which makes some erroneous claims about who was involved in the production. Genesis P-Orridge was apparently so mad to have his name included that he went round all the record shops that were stocking the vinyl to destroy the sleeves. One man happy to take responsibility was "noise and industrial musician" William Bennett, who was also in the following "groups"...  The 150 Murderous Passions, Or Those Belonging To The Fourth Class, Composing The 28 Days Of February Spent In Hearing The Narrations Of Madame Desgranges, Interspersed Amongst Which Are The Scandalous Doings At The Château During That Month. Actually, that's just one group.  

Which New Order would you place today... and which are only following orders?

Monday 20 May 2024

Neverending Top Ten #7.0: Off The Shelf

Nobody ever looks at my CD shelves, except me. We don't get a lot of visitors here at Top Ten Towers, and those we do get are usually Louise's friends or family. The CD shelves are upstairs in the spare room, out of the way, not that the majority of our visitors would be remotely interested in them.

A couple of weeks back, Sam started to show an interest. Initially he was impressed that the albums are alphabetised by artist - this appealed to the part of his brain that likes making lists and putting things in order. (Fortunately, he hasn't yet spotted that not all the discographies are in the correct chronological order... they used to be, but a half-dozen house moves over the past couple of decades has messed that up... it's on my To Do list).

Then... be still, my beating heart... he started to pull individual CDs off the shelf and play his favourite tracks. I'm saving the first of his choices till the end of this post, but over the weekend he found a copy of Queen's Greatest Hits and decided to play that while we were having tea. I don't think I've been as proud since he uttered his first words (which were "Spider-Man", in case you were wondering).

Now those of you who sit firmly in the Queen-are-rubbish camp, just hold your tongues. Sam's choice is significant for a number of reasons. Primarily because it was that same album (a much older copy, on vinyl), that I first pulled out of my sister's record collection when I was about Sam's age, slipping it onto her turntable while she was at work then sitting back to enjoy and explore. There's probably much that can be written about how Queen (like the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Motown, or Taylor Swift) are a good gateway drug when it comes to discovering music... I mean, you're not going to start with Bog Shed, are you? But for me, this was an incredibly powerful piece of symmetry. It almost brought me to tears.

Of course, Sam knows most of the tracks on Queen's Greatest Hits (ditto the singles collections of all the artists mentioned above) due to their inclusion on the 150+ in-car CDs I've slowly been indoctrinating him with over the past ten years... but there's a big difference between listening to what your dad puts on and choosing a record for yourself. This is a rite of passage moment.

And if you're not impressed by Sam's Queen selection... well, that's why I saved the best to last. The first song he chose for himself is the one below. Not a big hit, instead one that only reached #53 in 1997, by a band most of the people who wouldn't even take a second glance at my CD shelves only really know for one song... and it's certainly not this one. 

Grander than Castles, Cathedrals or stars
Electric Guitars!
Riots in airports - everywhere that we go
Mascara meltdown - hysteria-a-go-go
Electric Guitars!

'Nuff said.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Snapshots #344: A Top Ten Songs For Tradespeople

Yesterday, we had a picture of Whoopi Goldberg at the top of the post. Today, it's Sean Connery. What do they have in common? Before they were famous, they both worked as bricklayers. Imagine living in a house that Whoopi or Sean built.

In celebration of the humble (but extremely well-paid in a lot of cases) tradespeople, here are ten songs than can build you a house and unblock your drains in one go...

10. Large blob and Scottish monster in abundant supply. 

A blob is a Splodge. The monster is from Loch Ness. Abounds means "in abundant supply".

Splodgenessabounds - I Fell in Love With a Female Plumber from Harlesden NW10

9. Tell her I love her before she changes direction suddenly.

Tell Laura I love her, before she veers off in another direction...

8. Did you ever listen to Porker Klan FM? The reception was terrible.

"Porker Klan FM" was a badly heard anagram...

You can't build anything without scaffolding these days.

The clue is the title of an excellent song by the Pooh Sticks. But Alan McGee, of course, is the head of Creation Records...

6. What you get if you spill bleach on your tortoise.

5. Relatively pedestrian.

4. I'm pretty sure the fare's too high for a looker like me. I'll take the bus instead.

I'm not getting in your Death Cab, I'm too Cute!

3. Gets lost inside inglenooks, encampments and portobellos.

Inglenooks, encampments and portobellos.

Any excuse, etc....

2. Tymes woman meets crow counting man.

The Tymes sang about Ms. Grace. The Counting Crows sang about Mr. Jones.

1. Found in victims and blowhard intellectuals. 

Victims and blowhard intellectuals. 

Tim Hardin - If I Were A Carpenter

Oh, and if you need help with any of that, try this guy...

49th Parallel - Labourer

We'll be building more memories next Saturday...

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