Friday, 24 May 2019

Could you be more Pacific?


808 State's Pacific State* was "the song that made a nation chill out." So said some hack at the Independent; and, you know what, I think they were spot on. "Mellow but insistent beats", they went on to say, "a light garnishing of wildlife noises, and a soprano sax threading through it like a viper in the Eden undergrowth."

What then, would it sound like if a brass band got hold of it and transcribed the dots for cornets and euphoniums?

Pretty much like this I guess, from the album 'Acid Brass':

The William Fairey Brass Band - Pacific 202 (1997)


* Graham Massey - 808 State head honcho - once said "there's about 42 different versions of Pacific. Pacific 707 is the single we put out on ZTT."

808 State - Pacific 707 (1989)

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Trees


Anyone familiar with the Archers will be aware that Jill’s new gentleman caller, Leonard (played by Paul Copley - better known to younger listeners on Radio 4 as Tom Wrigglesworth’s dad*), can’t paint trees for toffee. Not even if his life depended on it; he recently passed off a picture he acquired from a gallery as one of his own. Charlatan.

These are for you Lenny.


* As opposed to older Radio 4 listeners who will remember him as Mr. Long in King St. Junior which ran from 1985-1998.

Monday, 20 May 2019

A lighthouse; or two


"What time are you on tonight?", I asked her in the pub. "We're on at half eight, but Tim's on at half seven - he's really good, I think you'll like him." So said Rachel Unthank when I saw her in the Prince Rupert, just round the corner from the Palace Theatre on Friday evening. She'd just sound-checked and was with her sister Becky and the rest of the entourage having their tea.

I'm sure I'll wax lyrical about the headliners (and my chance meeting with an Unthank) - I may link to my gig review in the local rag. I might even post the photo of me and Rachel.

But, for now, I'm just gonna put this up here: I did get to the venue for half seven. I did see Tim. And, yes, he is really good. Thanks for the heads up, Rachel.

Tim Dalling - Two Lighthouses

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quite

No need to turn to page 26; he's a bit nearer than that

Baxter Dury was interviewed in 2005. The Beatles cropped up... 

"My old man rejected the Beatles and white rock'n'roll from England, he was pretty dismissive of it, so you grow up precociously being dismissive of it yourself. There is something I still hate about the Beatles, but when you're trying to write songs you're an idiot if you don't acknowledge them, 'cause they're brilliant."

Quite.

Baxter Dury - When I'm Sixty-Four (2012)

Monday, 13 May 2019

I'm Partial to Your Abracadabra


In the same way he wouldn't be able to sing Helter Skelter anymore, or I'm Down, Macca would struggle to reach a good 90% of the notes he shrieked when he covered Ian Dury's Partial to Your Abracadabra. It was for a Dury charity album released the year after his death - Brand New Boots and Panties - with the likes of McCartney, Suggs and Robbie Williams covering the great man's tunes (many with the Blockheads as house band). This was probably the last time Sir Paul of Kintyre really tore it up.

Paul McCartney - Partial to Your Abracadabra (2001)

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Trombone


I've spent much of today in hospital wards and waiting rooms; where staff are kind and caring and dispense care and sympathy to all-comers 24/7. They are places where an hour can last a day and vice versa; you're as well taking your watch off when you enter through their cavernous sliding doors - you leave when you leave. I have no right to judge, I wasn't there in a patient capacity. Not today.

So the time passes - reading, listening to podcasts, looking up to see if there's a familiar trolley being wheeled in your direction. And then, when you need a shot in the arm (vending machine coffee ain't all that), a few tunes to tap your toe to on the cleanest floors this side of anywhere.

This isn't remotely medically linked or themed, but it appeared in my ears twice today. It's Nick Lowe's brand new single which has its official release next week. I hope you like it.

Nick Lowe - Trombone (2019)


Monday, 6 May 2019

You Can't be too Strong

Phonogram RIP

Unlike other stand alone record labels, Phonogram was never a label per se, but an umbrella company with a host of catch all labels in its stable including Philips, Mercury, and Vertigo. As with so many other labels and imprints it was subsumed by Universal Music; any identity these labels retain today is purely nostalgic. Which is probably why I paint them.



One of Vertigo's star players from the seventies was the maverick Graham Parker. His silky skills provided the perfect counterpoint to the emerging punk and new wave. I love this song.


Graham Parker - You Can't be too Strong (1979)

Thursday, 2 May 2019

I Wanna be Adored


1989 was a momentous year. For all sorts of reasons. The collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the Tiananmen Square massacre - to name but a couple. How trite, crass even, would it be on the back of that to say that on May 2nd - 30 years ago today - the Stone Roses released their debut album?

But they did. An album so audacious it threw paint at anyone who even looked in its direction. It covered the indie rock crowd, and fair splattered the dance fraternity too. Many column inches have been given over to just how groundbreakingly awesome this was in 1989. And it was. But you don't need to read all that again today. Instead, I've chosen the track you would, if you had to explain to an alien who had just beamed up from another planet, play to him/her/it, and, in its resplendent 4' - 33" they would totally 'get it'.


Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored (1989)

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Walk and Talk


Nottingham Poetry Festival 2019 is in full swing. Curated and overseen by its Creative Director, the effervescent Georgina Wilding - the whole thing runs from 26 April to 5 May. And, as you would expect, there's a fantastic smorgasbord of poets doing full-on gigs, readings, workshops & open mics in scores of venues across the city.

I was lucky enough to see Georgina on Sunday supporting Caroline Bird (more on her to follow, I can assure you) at one of Nottingham's newest venues, Metronome. Georgina was Nottingham's Young Poet Laureate 2017/2018 and has had an extremely busy 12 months - taking her work all over the county, and beyond (she was recently in India). She is currently in the process of completing her first soon to be published anthology and, in a few days time, is jetting over to Poland for a few weeks to write, gig, teach and perform. Not bad for someone who was telling me after Sunday's gig that she never thought of herself as academic when she was at school.

Georgina Wilding - That's Where We Live (2018)

Monday, 29 April 2019

Where Dreams Go to Die

Don't ask me. Seriously
You wouldn't want me as your phone-a-friend if Chris Tarrant Jeremy Clarkson was asking you the £million question on John Grant. Ask the audience, I would beg you. My knowledge of Grant probably amounts to the square root of fuck all.

That said, I do absolutely 110% know that Where Dreams Go to Die is a beautiful song. An utterly, utterly beautiful song.




John Grant - Where Dreams Go to Die

Saturday, 27 April 2019

What happens next is private, it's also very rude

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that our second Vinyl Session album will be Ian Dury's New Boots and Panties. After the success of our debut session (when we dissected David Bowie's Hunky Dory) we will, once again, be convening at Nottingham's Running Horse to listen to the Blockheads' 1977 classic - in full.

It would be rather wonderful if you could join us on Sunday May 12th; the Runner is a very convivial venue with a great PA and some rather splendid beers.

We kick-off at 2:00 p.m. whereupon lots of Dury and Dury associated chit-chat will, no doubt, ensue. And, of course, the album will be played in its entirety. If you can make it, please feel free to bring along any Blockhead related goodies - singles, ticket stubs etc. and we'll celebrate the quite unique talent of Ian Dury.

Ian Dury - Wake Up and Make Love with Me (1977)


Ian Dury (1942-2000)

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Square Route


A midweek smash and grab raid on that London yesterday. Quality time spent in the company of Brother Mondo and Brother Steve. We zoned in on some of the West One Squares with Beatles and Bowie connections. And nearby pubs too. Obvs. First, the EMI Building in Manchester Square and, just around the corner, is where David Jones was snapped reading all about it. We volunteered a German passer by, showed her Bowie's pic and asked her to recreate same; despite a bit of camera shake, I think we just about get away with it.


Staying in the same zip code you then come across Montagu Square - it's actually a rectangle - and situated at No. 34 is where John Lennon holed up for most of '68. It's not Strawberry Fields, but it's got a blue plaque outside, nonetheless. 

A huge thank you to the boys for another great trip to the capital. Let's do it again in the Summer.



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

What's in Store?

"Do I hear 25 quid?"
I very rarely mention Record Store Day around here; maybe it' something to do with the very fact that we now refer to them as stores; I was brought up with (and, for a time, virtually lived in) record shops. Quite when we changed the lexicon (and why) is unclear. Am I being petty/churlish? Probably. Can I move on and not let it spoil the rest of my life? Of course.

But while I'm here, and while RSD19 is still, for some anyway, fresh in the mind, another thing that annoys the hell out of me - folk queuing thru the night to enter the store at 9:00 a.m. and buy a single by, let's say Generation X, for a fiver (red vinyl, picture sleeve) and, by eleven bells, are selling it on ebay for a score. Probably the same charlatans who buy four tickets for a gig, keep two and sell the other pair on the secondary market. We are the secondary market and everyone is now a tout - since venues stopped selling their own tickets exclusively and it all went online.

I don't know what Tony James (bass player with Gen X - pictured above) would have to say about it. Though he's probably too busy preparing for the re-release of the band's eponymous album - first released in the Summer of 1978. Back when the hair atop his head was all very much his own.

Generation X - Your Generation (1977)