Friday, October 30, 2009

Virgin Peely

Our occasional series of bloody good things builds into a random collection your whole family will enjoy.

This week, a whole hour of music and chat with your Uncle John, as recorded for in-store entertainment at Mr Branson's record shops 30 years ago this month.

This will certainly help your Friday poison-of-choice slip down and if you play it really loud tomorrow night you might even be able to drown out the incessant door knocking of those pesky trick or treating kids.

John Peel - Virgin In-Store Show, October 16th 1979 (part 1)
John Peel - Virgin In-Store Show, October 16th 1979 (part 2)

In memoriam
JP (five years!) and with thanks to the Peel Wiki and our very own Turkish Adam wot started it up, the treasure.

Track listings in comments. You'd have definitely walked out with the new Specials LP...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Half Term

There will be a short break whilst 1) we (again!) drive to Devon and back in a single day to wish my Aged Father a happy birthday, and 2) I generally gather my autumn thoughts (with motorway sandwiches).

Quentin Crisp - 'Stop The Music For A Minute' (1982)

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Friday, I'm In Love.....With 'London'

This one's been lurking for a good few weeks now, popping up in pub conversations and iPod shuffles, making a cameo appearance in this post, breaking the surface in this book and yesterday its opening line running through my head on the southbound train from New Street (along with Dexy's - 'I'm on the train from New Street to Euston, I'm going back to Harrow again...').

I used to think the lyric was 'train creep on to Euston', but how much greater is 'heave' ? I suppose that's why he's Morrissey and I'm.....not.

I love how that opening squeal of feedback seems like the inertia-breaking brakes and suddenly we're off, fast fast fast down the tracks.

Smoke lingers 'round your fingers
Train heave on to Euston
Do you think you've made
The right decision this time ?

You left your tired family grieving
And you think they're sad because you're leaving
But did you see jealousy in the eyes
Of the ones who had to stay behind ?

And do you think you've made
The right decision this time ?

You left your girlfriend on the platform
With this really ragged notion that you'll return
But she knows that when he goes
He really goes

And do you think you've made
The right decision this time ?

A whole world, a whole drama, in two minutes, two seconds.

That's a lovely, affectionate fan video too.

The Smiths - 'London' (1987)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bolder To Birmingham

Oh yes, I'm off to Britain's second biggest city for two days' work and a hotel night between (hello trouser press and 'gold' taps, hello cheap teabags) so I'm selecting this fruity slice of West Midlands psychedelic pop to serenade me on my way.

According to my Birmingham A-Z there is, sadly, no Blackberry Way in the city, though there is a Blackberry Lane in the suburb of Halesowen, wherever the Roy Wood that is.

See you back here on Friday.

The Move - 'Blackberry Way' (1968)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still Life With Pears

Cooked this tonight for Mrs H - last time we made it, it was for friends that have long since gone ( Merseyside, not the Great Beyond) ; first time, it was when we had the Aged Ps up to London from Devon on the event of the first birthday of the first daughter and my Mum said 'Well, I can't believe Dave cooked something like that" which she meant, and I took, as a compliment.

Tonight, perhaps because I am off to Strange Parts for a night later this week and perhaps because me and Mrs H spent our wedding anniversary this year driving north on the autoroute from SW France and eating in service stations and perhaps because, damn it, it was a dull Monday on a darkening week at a darkening time of year, I cooked it again.

This time though, of course, I had the girls helping, but had to explain that 1) whilst Delia has good cooking ideas she is 2) a bit over-fussy, and there's no need to follow her to the letter, you know....Improvise around a stated theme, maaaan - it's a jazz thing, baby.

Anyway, it was nice.

Though our bastard dishwasher has broken and there's a hell of a lot of washing up for tomorrow.

Quincy Jones - 'Something's Cookin' (1969)

From the 'Italian Job' OST, and, I think, Art Decade, originally....thank you New York!

Painting by Jos Van Riswick.OK. I'll shut up about cooking for a bit now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

House Work

This Friday, in a change from our usual programme, we go all post-punk funk agitprop with some people from Leeds, one of whom's called Hugh.

If you are unfamiliar with this and expect dour avant-gardeism you may be pleasantly surprised by its sprightly pace and funky bass'n' drum.

Lefties can dance! It's like the 80s were about to happen!

Gang Of Four - 'It's Her Factory' (1979)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

House Music

Tonight back late, tired and tapped out, I poured myself a glass of wine and briefly exchanged news of the day with Mrs H who was imminently off on a Girls' Night Out (outrageous!). The daughters got the Monopoly out ("Well, it is a bit late for that..." - 'Oh, Daddy...!"), I set Mr Shuffle to 'Go' and started cooking up a dhal.

Mr Shuffle played the best, most right-for-my-mood and the moment and the time of year and all, little shuffle sequence.

The girls played on, buying up the train stations - two a piece ("always buy up the train stations"), building houses and hotels, and Mr Shuffle dropped his tunes and the tomatoes sank into the cooking lentils and the aroma of fresh ground ginger and garlic arose and.....things were good.

The wine was fine.

Things were good.


I go all old indie and goth at this time of year - it's an almost involuntary reaction to the turning of the earth and the lengthening of the shadows.

If you came here for this sort of thing once upon a blogdream you'll now be saying 'At last!'

If you came here for the funky when the summer was around, you'll now be thinking 'You wha-?'

If you've been around for a while, you'll know the score by now.

This Mortal Coil - 'Help Me Lift You Up' (1991)
Biff Bang Pow! - 'She Paints' (1988)

Mr S. actually played these back to back; it just went. We must add TMC to our list of tracks with good thundery bits at the start.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Our occasional series of extended disco classics builds into a magnificent libr-oh, you know the rest.

This baby has a bass line that can only be described as FAT and Melba funks around it like a good 'un: you best turn it up and tell your neighbours it's Friday.

Melba Moore - 'Standing Right Here' (extended version) (1977)

[Still recording]

King Richard

Some of you might be wondering how Hawley was last night and the answer is quite, quite superb - tighter and slicker and more serious than when I last saw him, his voice still astonishing and his guitar-playing exemplary. The songs from Truelove's Gutter were razor-sharp live and this one, of course, made me cry (maybe I will drink a little less).

"I wrote it for The Mrs. I were dead pleased with it and played it to her. I said 'What do you think of that then?' She said 'Yeah, it's all right is that. Now what do you want for your tea? Shall we have a Chinese?' "

[All things Hawley here: buy stuff!]

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Echo In A Shabby Bay

Way back in the dying, dog days of the late 80s I was a summer out of college and had failed to get a job to keep me in London. I had returned, sad and defeated, to my parents' in Torbay. Applying for jobs in the local paper, I'd wound up in the customer accounts department of British Gas.

It was the run-up to the 'Tell Sid' privatisation and they'd taken on extra people to cope with what they imagined would be an increase in calls from members of the public wanting info about shares. No such calls, of course, came (there was a well-publicised hotline the gullible phoned instead) and I just got absorbed into the department, taking final meter readings over the phone from people moving house, clearing up account queries, helping old ladies understand why their bills had been 'estimated' even though 'I'm always in my dear, they only have to knock', making appointments for meter readers, referring hardship cases to the DHSS. It was, for the most part, inestimably grim.

I spent rainy lunchtimes (and in my memory of those days it is always raining) in the library, or in the not especially well-stocked Torquay branch of HMV or with a sympathetic colleague in the town's one proper coffee shop. I was living an extended hangover from a terrific time at college where the world had been my oyster, now fearing - like the old Jam lyric had said - that my future was a clam. And the sympathetic colleague turned out to be a sort of Mrs Robinson figure, which, calm yourself, didn't really help, to be honest.

One impossibly dark and drizzly lunchtime I went and bought this; how odd to think now that this 'late' there were still new Echo & The Bunnymen albums out. Its sweep and its tug and its singing-through-grey seemed all I needed, and I played it to bits.

The summer came and went and like Billy Liar I knew I had to get out; unlike poor Billy, I did. 'Do you think you've made the right decision this time?'. Yes. I packed a bag for London and I never went back.

I've been playing these songs again lately, not because it is grim here, or I am sad, or nostalgic for the past, or any of that obvious stuff, but because they stand up as songs, seem right for the season* and because the LP is, I think, underrated, and I like it a lot.

Echo & The Bunnymen - 'The Game' (1987)
Echo & The Bunnymen - 'The Game' (acoustic demo) (1987)
Echo & The Bunnymen - 'All My Life' (1987)

[*I see the album came out in July. Bah! It'll always be autumn for me]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

At Last I Am...

Three years of my life peddling this nonsense! 526 posts! 4,695 comments! Some of them from real people! And popstars! Write ups in The Grauniad! Links from The Word! Countless witterings! Quite a lot of music! But still no podcasts! Or pre-planning! Hurrah!

Thank you for your companionship - I'd have given this up long, long ago had it not been for you - yes, you! xx

Here's a lovely, apposite, 3 minute 42 second thing from a while back you can listen to whilst, Winslet-like, I 'gather, gather'.

Tanya Donelly - 'My Life As A Ghost' (2004)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Echoes In A Shallow Bay

Dark in the mornings now, isn't it? And it's a drizzly-greasy one today, a slow drip drip drip.

Here's a perfect thing.

From Elizabeth via Robert Wyatt out of, somewhat incredibly, Chic.

Elizabeth Fraser - 'At Last I Am Free' (2003)

[From this]

Friday, October 02, 2009

Yeah Baby

Our occasional series of extended disco classics builds into a magnificent library your whole family will enjoy.

This week - La Ross! Enfin!

Diana Ross - 'Love Hangover' (12") (1976)