Saturday, January 31, 2009


Thought all you people living through a properly cold winter (and taking beautiful pictures thereof) would appreciate the humour in the UK media's prediction that tomorrow night temperatures here will 'plummet' (!) to minus 4C!

I know! You BARBECUE in that in Ohio, right?!!

Anyway, Mrs H, ever the loving and dutiful mother, today bought our two girlies a fluffy hot waterbottle each. Such excitement!

These things (in their primitive, unfluffy, versions) were standard issue in my UK 70s childhood.

It was cold there.

Central Heating was a concept unknown; we had an open fire in the front room and a stinky paraffin heater in the back, and that was it. Rooms and heating sources would never be used simultaneously. Basically, you shut the door on your room of choice for the evening and you Stayed In There. If you had to go to the toilet (best avoided), you ran upstairs (ascent of The Eiger), did your business and ran back down again quick as you could to rejoin humanity and re-shut the door, repositioning the crudely-fashioned-by-auntie sausage-dog draught excluder swiftish, or there'd be trouble.

At bedtime you cleaned your teeth in 30 seconds, sluiced the coldest tapwater you'd ever tasted down your throat and dived under the blankets; and you clung to that hot waterbottle for dearest life until the bed, or at least 10 square inches of it, became (allegedly) warm.

Meanwhile, as you struggled to sleep, frost spread like streptococchi across your bedroom window. On the inside.

Pah! Young people today!

White Stripes - 'In The Cold, Cold Night' (2003)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Me & Alan McGee

Some of you younger people may not recall a time when Creation Records was not about Oasis or even The Boo Radleys but artistes like these and when The House Of Love in particular were a deeply exciting musical prospect and reality and The Man at Sony hadn't yet taken his share (and Alan lost his marbles).

I've had this record since Back In The Day but it's come alive for me again in the last couple of weeks in digital form, and crikey but for the most part the stuff on it's held up well (I especially like 'Jetstream'); listening to it does tend to make you want to grow your fringe, wear black moley jumpers* and drink endless mugs of tea mind, but then it is Friday and don't say I didn't warn you.

Jasmine Minks - 'Cut Me Deep' (1988)
The House Of Love - 'Christine' (1988)
The Weather Prophets - 'Well Done Sonny' (1988)
The Jazz Butcher - 'Lot 49' (1988)
Nikki Sudden - 'Death Is Hanging Over Me' (1988)
Pacific - 'Jetstream' (1988)
Momus - 'A Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)' (1988)

* which I am in fact currently doing.

Nerdnote: The record came out in the autumn of '88, and as far as I can tell all the tracks are from that year, but if I'm wrong about that, do shout. See here for the whole track listing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

John Martyn (11th Sep 1948 - 29th Jan 2009)

And may you never lay your head down
Without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

In one of those thrillsome bloggy world coincidences that we all know and love, I see Mondo posted some erzatz psychedelia this morn when I planned to post this but ran out of time.

We were talking here about cassettes (yes, we were)....and twenty years ago a kind soul who I have sadly forgotten lent me a tape of this record (then impossible to find) that I taped on my tape-to-tape deck (oh! object of desire Tottenham Court Road emporium late 80s!).

It was the time of 'Bye Bye Badman' and the Second Summer Of Love (sic), but I think it would have been me lauding Surrealistic Pillow wot won it.

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - 'Shifting Sands' (1966)

Generations of indie bands wanted to sound like this!

The WCPAEB'S unlikely story here.

Friday, January 23, 2009



Elvis Costello - '(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes' (1977)


Julie Covington - huge in 70s Britain! Rock Follies! Evita! Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds ! And this! From Mrs H's old singles box!!

Do you like a fretless bass? I love one. Here it's played by top session man Dave Markee and makes the record.

Oh, and that's John Cale on keyboards.

Julie Covington - 'Only Women Bleed' (1977)

He were a top feminist that Alice Cooper.

The World Was Large

Thursday was the new Friday last night as Mrs H and I stayed up late drinking red wine and playing records because we are grown ups and we can.*

So what I need this morning to cut through a slight fug and some squally weather are noisy-thick swashy guitars topped with sweet melodious vocals, I reckon.

I first had this on a C90 my good friend Dr Al made for me in a high-rise Toronto apartment; it also featured They Might Be Giants doing 'Roadmovie To Berlin' and some Antonio Carlos Jobim.

I miss getting cassettes in the post.

Pale Saints - 'Sight Of You' (1990)

* thanks Colin

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Harbinger Of Spring

We've talked before about how even at the height of summer you can sense autumn in the air, and I think it's also true that even in the depth of winter you can sometimes get a whiff of spring - or in my case, a sniff of spring, since I have been sneezing non-stop for the past hour and am told by a cursory Google that I might attribute this to the pesky birch pollen, the bastard.

We have a very nice silver birch in our small London garden which was about five feet tall when we put it in, but is now about twenty.

At least it is big enough when it is in leaf to block out the sight of the large woman behind with a propensity to stand about naked at her not very well frosted bathroom window, but it does today seem to have set me off with the sniffles.

I am listening to this whilst waiting for the antihistamine to kick in.

Felt - 'Evergreen Dazed' (1981)

Note: 1) A silver birch is not actually an evergreen 2) No-one much blogs about Felt, which is a shame, because they were good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gorillaz (Slight Return)

Damon Albarn presented a brilliantly eclectic Peelie-type show 'for' Zane Lowe on BBC Radio One last week, an edited versh of which you can still listen to here.

He played some demos of songs from what will be the next Gorillaz album, including this, which is rather Good, Bad & The Queen-esque.

Gorillaz - 'Broken' (demo) (2009)

I wasn't going to post anything today but 1) I really like this and feel I should always shove on here the things I am enjoying and 2) I am looking for reasons not to complete my 2007-8 Tax Return.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Chet Baker - 'Come Rain Or Come Shine' (1957)

Friday, January 16, 2009



Roxy Music - 'Angel Eyes' (single) (1979)


It would have been the Smash Hits with, of all people, Rod Stewart on the cover, or maybe a few issues later; it would have been all Dan Hartman, The Buzzcocks and Driver 67 and the words to this inside; and punk and post-punk and pub rock and new wave and disco and doowop revivalism and novelty schlock and good old silly old pop set all the singles charts on fire and bliss was it at that time to be alive (and 14!) with more records sold in Woolworths in one hour than in the entire 21st century to date (probably).

You could look, sound and talk 'underground' (i.e. be going to art college) but also pull off a big poppy chart smash and be on Top Of The Pops for everyone's Mum (including your own) to say 'What is she wearing?' or even, as mine did with Tubeway Army's 'Are Friends Electric?' (whilst ironing) 'I like that; it's something a bit different' (she was 57 at the time). You could do interviews in which you listed your influences as 'early Roxy Music' and 'Horses' and tell us your favourite sock colour was yellow and you hated Kia Ora, and good on you.

(None of this may be true, but it remains The Truth).

I pretended to hate this at the time, whilst secretly liking it. Last night I played it downstairs as I was knocking up a bit of tomato pasta and my eldest daughter (9) said 'Daddy, can I please have this on my iPod?'.

'It's just pop music' - Mick.

Eh ooh eh ooh!

Lene Lovich - 'Lucky Number' (1979)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Yes, I know, she's a novelist now.

Sleeper - 'Delicious' (1994)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


'Not that you're obsessed or anything'. But I do get obsessed, don't you? 

I latch on to certain songs sometimes, and they might not even be new to me and there might not even be an obvious reason - 'maybe it's the time of year or maybe it's the time of man, I don't know' - and this week it's been that last Cocteaus album, the one no-one really (ahem) treasures, and two songs in particular on it with real - terrifyingly, shockingly real after all the spooning good singing gum business - lyrics; and I've been playing them and playing them and playing them. 

And then, only today, and all this time later, do I hear for the first time that only those two songs from it (as far as I know) exist in earlier, very different, chamber versions on this* And if I thought I was in Heaven (or Las Vegas) before, I most certainly am now.  

Intimacy is when we're in the same place at the same time Dealing honestly with how we feel, and who we really are 

'You boys and your indie sirens'. 

Cocteau Twins - 'Half-Gifts' (Twinlights EP version) (1995) 

Cocteau Twins - 'Rilkean Heart' (Twinlights EP version) (1995)  

* oh yes, you all knew that. But I didn't. And I've enjoyed the discovery.


On foggy London Wednesdays when he otherwise lacks inspiration, the blogger reserves the right to default to Harriet.

(I wanted to post the video to this, but they've done that 'embedding disabled by request' thing; how very annoying).

The Sundays - 'Love' (1992)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


From what is possibly the greatest concept album by a Welsh musician about a maverick American car designer featuring pastiche 80s synthpop music ever!

Neon Neon - 'Raquel' (2008)

Friday, January 09, 2009

All The Way From Memphis

Week-by-week our extended disco classics build into a magnificent collection your whole family will enjoy.

Tonight, incense and myrrh and girls that swirl to the music.

Pharoah nuff.

The Jones Girls - 'Nights Over Egypt' (12") (1981)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Norwegian Blue*

This isn't new, but it's new to me and perhaps it will be to you too. I like it a lot.

I've been playing it because I caught the end of an interview with him last night on Radcliffe & Maconie whilst relaxing in a hot Radox bath and 1) he seemed like a genial chap 2) he is from the Faroe Islands, which I'm sure you'll agree is unusual in 'rock' circles and 3) Maconie claimed to hear Bjork, Talk Talk, The Blue Nile and Rufus Wainwright in his music, which is recommendation a-plenty for me (well, OK, maybe not the Bjork so much).

He has a MySpace and website of course, but more excitingly indicated the possibility of touring Blighty this year, so I shall keep an eye out for that I think whilst investigating his music further in the meantime.

Anyone ahead of the game on this who'd willingly act as my guide, do call.

Teitur - 'I Was Just Thinking' (2003)

* actually the Faroe Islands are Danish, as the lovely Beth has helpfully pointed out in comments . But since Danish Blue is a sort of cheese I have decided to leave the headline as it is.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Frost Report

Decorations down, fairy lights wound up tight in the box they came out of and the Christmas tree leaning bare and dry and all-forlorn against the front hedge waiting for the man from the Council to come and collect it *sigh* - it's twelfth night and the end of All That.

The girls built a snowstump on the front pavement today (small and unfinished because they had to hurry to school, so I'd hesitate to call it a snowman) and it was still there tonight when they came home, unmelted, standing guard by parked cars in this parky suburban street.

This one's for Mick and anyone who's blundered in here from Miss P's kind link wondering where the heck all the '80s music' is.

Fiat Lux - 'Feels Like Winter Again' (1982)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Our Last Summer

Week-by-week our cut out and keep series builds into a superb collection of classic extended disco mixes your family will treasure for years.

Today, someone left the cake out in the rain. For 17 minutes 47 seconds.

Donna Summer - 'MacArthur Park Suite' (1978)

Contains cheese.