Sunday, September 28, 2008

Swiss Role

Well that was my last night at home until Friday because I'm working in Zurich all next week and I'm flying out (from the infamous Heathrow Terminal 5) this evening.

I've never been to Zurich (or Switzerland) before, but I don't imagine it's exactly Barcelona or New York or Tokyo or, well, London - is it? I did a web search on it a while back and uncovered more than one site from people who live there saying it isn't a boring place, which rather suggests that it might be. We'll see.

I am staying in a hotel that has been described to me as 'functional'. Hmmm. Evidently though it has 'free wi-fi' in the rooms, so I've bought a new laptop that does that so I can reach out to home and the world beyond and feel a bit less like a sad, broken castaway. Who knows, I might even post something from there midweek. Get me.

Anyway please keep talking to me, because I'll be able to pick up comments whilst I'm gone. I'm not really the jet-set type and will miss my girlies big time, so the usual nonsense from you lovely people will be sweet.

Any suggestions for Swiss bands I could have posted here? I could only think of Yello, who I don't especially like, and Double, who I've already done. Some cursory research suggests Heavy Metal is quite big there. *sigh* I had a feeling it might be.

We best have some John Denver via PP&M.

Peter, Paul & Mary - 'Leaving On A Jet Plane' (1969)


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Into The Light

On weekend nights when we fire up the phonogram and uncork the vino it is often that I turn to Mrs H and say, tenderly, 'Whadja want on the jukebox then?' and often that she lodges a nostalgic request for this, her Getting Ready For Going Out On Saturday Night track from Uni days.

I whack it on again, and smile a big smile at its arch romanticism, its spirited pastiche, its sparkly metropolitan.....pizazz!

Boy, I love it.

Waiter! Bring cocktails now!

Joe Jackson - 'Steppin' Out' (1982)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Confidence Is A Preference

But it's a mighty long way down rock and roll from Quadrophenia to Blur to Eastenders to Strictly Come Bloody Dancing, innit Phil?

Still, keep an eye on these guys - I reckon they could make it big.

The High Numbers - 'I'm The Face' (1964)
The High Numbers - 'Zoot Suit' (1964)

Nice curtains!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Had To Let You Know

Over a civilised Guinness or few last night at the pub by the river we fell to discussing this man and his lovely music and how, I'm afraid to say, I had only just discovered this song.

Though if you asked me whether I would swap all the years I could have known it for the thrill of hearing it this week for the first time, like a new record, it would be a close-run thing.

Come on time
Do your magic trick

Grant McLennan - 'The Dark Side Of Town' (1992) [buy]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blue Monday

And especially so. Yet such loveliness here.

John Coltrane - 'Naima' (1959)

Friday, September 19, 2008

And With Each Beat Of My Heart

Eddie Kendricks and Diana and The Supremes & The Tempts.

Turn up that volume and listen - did a Tamla record ever sound better? Frank Wilson, producer, and the legendary James Jamerson on bass.

Diana Ross & The Supremes With The Temptations - 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' (1968)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Value Of Defiance

All this using up download credits on emusic mallarkey has been more testing than I thought. In a good way, of course.

Still, I was cockahoop to find this.

The tale of how Scritti Politti went from making anarcho-Marxist art squat anti-pop (or something) to supershiny chart smashes in just about five years has been well-rehearsed, especially, brilliantly, here; and I suppose that if there were a single 'transition' record, a beautiful bridge between what was and what would be, then this might well have been it.

I think it still sounds bloody marvellous, as a matter of fact.

Scritti Politti - 'The "Sweetest Girl"' (1981)

(very important those quotation marks; very "post-modern").

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blue Monday

Artist mentioned in despatches and so here for your week-starting delectation.

New Order famously nicked the title for their fantabulous new 12" single in 1983 leading, I remember, a Smash Hits reviewer with a ridiculous pseudonym ('Red Starr') and even more ridiculous (and out of place) intellectual pretensions to liken this to Harold Robbins calling his new paperback 'War And Peace'. This seemed slightly odd to me, even at the time.

*sniff*- I'm a bit coldy this morning but I reckon a dose of Lemsip and a blast of Fats'll soon sort that out.

Fats Domino - 'Blue Monday' (1956)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hey Did I Get You Wrong?

Right, Friday night. I'm having my tea, which is Mum's homemade fish and chips, then I'm getting changed and I'm off to the school disco. Maybe I'll slap on some of that aftershave in the exotic green jar I got last Christmas. Not that I will be shaving 'before'.

Apparently in the bit after 'You wouldn't phone those guys that mess around with you girl' this bloke is singing

And when a guy you whack a stack-a-plass
You wet der met der fool you dry your ass

but I'm sure that can't be right.

The Jags - 'Back Of My Hand' (1979)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


OK lovely people, I need your expertise. This hypnotic bluesy doo-woppy thing has sat on the same infernal Peel show tape that Ray Martell and this (and a copy of Arthur Alexander) are on for that same 26 years and I'm mad keen to know what it is.

I'm pretty sure it's from a programme broadcast on October 20th 1982 because my tape also has songs from reggae toasters Laurel And Hardy's Peel Session, which aired that night.

I have tried Googling the lyrics and I have tried that there young person's tune-identifying text service Shazam, both to no avail.

And so I throw it before you, the great and wonderful and complex and all-knowing collective.

Name that artist/tune! (er...even a few informed guesses would be nice...).

Unknown Artist - 'Even Though You Are Gone' (?) (unknown year)

PS: It does liderally fade in slowly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Please Please Me

Well you can say what you like about Dr Winston O'Boogie but he knew a good record when he heard one.

Arthur Alexander - 'Anna (Go To Him)' (1962)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Blue Monday

Once upon a lost time in the early 1990s there was a TV play by Alan 'Beiderbecke Affair' Plater in which the lead character, a jazz club owner and musician played by the wonderful Jack Shepherd, describes this piece of music in the most beautiful and eloquent way. He says something about what it does technically, which is complicated, and rather more about it being, sort of, 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma', to misquote Winston Churchill; that there is something in it that is always elusive, always just ahead of you and just out of reach. There's a thematic link to the plot of the play, which centres on a daughter's search for the father (Shepherd) she didn't know she had.

No-one I've ever mentioned it to remembers this play, and there are no clips of it on YouTube.

Why am I thinking about it on a dull London Monday? I have no idea.

Thelonius Monk - 'Misterioso' (1948)

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Stone me but this is good - new single from th'album, etc.

How very dare they be so young, handsome and clever...

The Last Shadow Puppets - 'My Mistakes Were Made For You' (2008)

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's A Tough, Tough World

So, speaking of the Albums Of Our Lives, which we weren't...

The economy's gone tits up, the price of oil and a bag of peas is soaring and the Right are on the rise boo-hiss. Hey! It's just like old times! We best play Sound Affects!!

You know by now I'm no good at all that critical reappraisal/album review stuff, so feel free to put your own little piece together with these handy fridge-magnet phrases....

Joy Division Wire Gang Of Four Foxton Buckler underrated rhythm section Revolver melodic bass offbeat drumming Vic Coppersmith-Heaven swansong studio time 'five minutes whilst pissed, Weller's best song yet' Percy Bysshe Shelley Shelly's Shoes Paisley shirts Thatcher class war fans favourite 'Man In The Corner Shop'.

More of this record's lyrics made my fifth form jotter than any other. Just looking at the cover* still fills me with wonder. And do you know the whole thing only lasts 35 minutes?

28 (!) years on, is this the best Jam album really?

The Jam - 'Monday' (1980)
The Jam - 'Dream Time' (1980)
The Jam - 'Man In The Corner Shop' (1980)
The Jam - 'Scrape Away' (1980)

* source

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Have you ever sizzled sausages over a fire on a beach - salt air, coming into dusk, put a jumper on, but summer's not quite gone?

I have, but not for years - decades! - and it must be the season, something in the breeze, because suddenly I want to do it now, badly.

I associate it with the turning year...things ending, other things about to start....someone's brought some rough old scrumpy and I'll sip some because the smoke from the fire and that salt air's making me thirsty, and oh yes I'll be sorry tomorrow. But now - the stars.

Anyway - campfire music...

Michelle Shocked - '5am In Amsterdam' (1986)
Davy Graham - 'Anji' (1964)

Monday, September 01, 2008


David Sylvian - 'September' (1987)