Sunday, 23 September 2018

Heartbreaker

Unmasked
This time last year I was telling you all about Los Straitjackets. Unnerving and unmissable in equal measure, Nick Lowe must feel permanently underdressed these days.

Seems he and the Straits would often soundcheck with Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker, before finally embracing it full on and dropping it into their set. Although, some would argue, not one of the Gibb brothers best songs (even though it went Number One all over the world in 1982), Nick and the band have breathed new life into it and have, I think, made it into an uber cool record*. See what you think.


It's from a tasty little EP - Tokyo Bay - released in June of this year.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

So Let Me Go Far ( A Pilgrimage)

"Did you put the hand brake on?"

And then there were four
It's like a clarion call. One of your favourite bands announce that they're gonna be performing their (utterly, utterly splendid) second long player (a quarter of a century after its release), in its entirety. In the same running order as the album, and everything. LIVE!

Next Monday, Dodgy are announcing dates for their Homegrown 25th. Anniversary tour. They did something similar back in 2013, 20 years after they released their debut album.

I shall be pulling in a couple of shows - at least; in the same way that next March/April I'm getting a few miles under my belt catching this lot; I've already got tix to see Phil Mogg and co. at Northampton Roadmenders, Nottingham Rock City and Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Next year's diary is filling up fast.


Dodgy - So Let Me Go Far (1994)

Monday, 17 September 2018

All Change


Crows have been looming large just recently, one way or another. I'm not normally someone who goes looking for hidden meanings in this sort of stuff, as it's usually just a hop, skip and a jump to places I'd rather not go, thank you vey much. But... if yer humble crow can shine any light on events to come - in some sort of totemic way - and if indeed they are an omen to the future, then I think, for what it's worth, they represent change.
Even if it just gets that little fella on the middle row - third from the right - turned back up the right way. Cos that's how I've felt these last few days, can I just tell you.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Egypt? I Don't Know


It will not have escaped your attention that Paul McCartney has released yet another solo album. His 76th, or is that how old he is? I lose track. Time was was when such an occasion was marked at Medd Towers by hotfooting it down to my local record emporium and standing in line for the pleasure of topping up Macca's latest offshore bank account.

These days I leave it to others* to try before I buy. And when I say buy, I mean rip the audio off of the Youtube video and chuck it in my digital vault where it will sit unlistened to for the rest of eternity. Sorry Macca, I know this sort of behaviour doesn't butter your parsnips, but you really have squeezed me dry over the years. The pips really are squeaking now.

*Anyway, I've let one of the best writers around, Martin Hodges, be my eyes and ears on this one - and I too think I Don't Know is the standout track. It really is. In fact, if McCartney ever released it as 7" single on blue vinyl (and put, say, 'Jet' on the B-side), I'd pay a couple of quid for it. That I do know.

Macca - I Don't Know (2018)

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Bath Bombs

We all know that major cities including London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, Hull, Sheffield and Newcastle took a pasting during WW2. Industrial cities, strategic ports, places where they made stuff - in particular, munitions - were all high on Mr. Hitler's 'To Bomb' list.

But they came after cultural and historical cities too. Like Bath. Just 13 miles inland from Bristol (another of the Luftwaffe's prime targets), the beautiful city of Bath bore the brunt of a blitz so fierce that between April 25th. and 27th. 1942 it was utterly annihilated. Over 400 people perished and a more than 1,000 injured, with nearly 20,000 buildings suffering devastation.

Here's a short film telling the story.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Man and Machine

If the designers of football shirts think that they are in any way part of the fashion industry, they are sadly deluded. I'd ban them in a heartbeat from being worn anywhere other than a football pitch at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.

That said, in their 1973/4 season, Chelsea came up with an away shirt so f**king sexy it is still talked about 45 years after it was put out to pasture.

You know what it's like when you see a photograph and think to yourself 'God, that is so good.'  Here is one of those aforementioned photos.

Long story shirt short: Charlie Cooke (Chelsea, Scotland, Los Angeles Aztecs) pictured in 1974 crouched in front of a matching Mark 1 Ford Escort RS Mexico. Nothing more to add, really.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Tired

Just back from Liverpool where sleep was in short supply*. John Lennon wrote I'm So Tired whilst in India studying meditation with the Maharishi in 1968. After three weeks of quiet, and not so quiet, contemplation, it was driving him insane; to the point that he was plagued by insomnia. And it is a very John song. Every line is pure Lennon. Paul McCartney admits he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

This is for anyone who's having trouble getting to sleep tonight.



The Beatles - I'm So Tired


* Not getting to bed much before 5:00 a.m. probably didn't help

Thursday, 30 August 2018

She gives me everything, and tenderly


Liverpool tomorrow. I'm training it - using split tickets for the first time - ETA into Lime Street around lunchtime. Ray's flying in from Belfast, due to land around the same time, so it'll be a spot of bush tucker in the Philharmonic, and then we'll see where the fancy takes us.

We're not expecting to see Macca during our two day stopover, though if he did care to join us I'm sure he'd be good company. There are many questions I'd love to put to him, not least: 'Why, at the age of 76, are you still getting bent out of shape about songs being credited to Lennon & McCartney and not McCartney & Lennon or, in the case of 'Yesterday', McCartney & Lennon can whistle? Life's too short Paulie, get over yourself.

If I've got this right, these two Hard Day's Night period classics - which, as you can see (above) were paired as an 'A' & 'B' side for their American release - were written by the pair thus:

And I Love Her (1964)- McCartney, with Lennon writing the middle eight* 


If I Fell (1964) - Lennon*


*Unless of course you, or indeed Macca, know different

Friday, 24 August 2018

What Happens on Tour...

Essential holiday reading*
Maybe Jimmy Page has already been questioned by the authorities about having sex with underage girls in the 1970s; maybe he hasn't. One thing is certain though - Led Zeppelin weren't big on asking to see picture ID when young girls queued up to get back stage after gigs. Or when they made their way past hotel security and found which rooms the band were occupying. On the contrary, their manager, the notorious Peter Grant, actively encouraged the practice. Different times? Maybe. Different crimes? Well, no, actually.

Oh Lori
The notoriety surrounding similar events today are played out in the press as vile acts carried out by vile people. But in1972 Lori Maddox was a 13 year old virgin when David Bowie publicly bedded her on his Spiders from Mars tour. I say publicly: Bowie knew she was jail bait. His entourage knew she was jail bait, and so did every band, bartender & bellboy in Los Angeles where Maddox was part of a groupie inner circle that hung with any bunch of musicians knocking around Sunset Strip.

Led Zeppelin was one such bunch and, not long after Bowie's exploits with Maddox, Jimmy Page called her and had her chauffeured to his hotel suite. Lori was all of 14 at this point. Page knew this but wasn't remotely bothered. There's nothing more to add really; it's a salacious story that needs no further embellishing. It was Led Zeppelin and it was the 1970s. That seems to be the general consensus of opinion. Just read Hammer of the Gods, or indeed the new Page biography [*pictured poolside- above - by Danny Baker], where you're never more than ten pages from a juicy 'What happens on tour...' story. Only, these stories never stayed on tour.

I discovered this tune only recently on a Classic Rock station coming out of New York that doesn't play Rocky Mountain Way on the hour, every hour. Jimmy Page lends his guitar skills to this 1968 diamond in the rough from Donovan.

Donovan - Season of the Witch (1968)



Monday, 20 August 2018

Blue Eyed Soul


Blue Eyed Soul was a lazy catch all phrase that some music hack coined back in the sixties to describe anyone with white skin having the audacity to sing rhythm and blues or soul music.
And everyone from Rod Stewart to Adele, via Paul Young and Mick Hucknall, has subsequently been burdened with the tag. It should be redundant now, but you will still see a rake of compilation albums bearing the name, and flyers too for various club nights; as the duty roster included the likes of George Michael and Spandau Ballet, you'd know to leave your parka on the coat hook and your scooter in the garage. Northern Soul it is not.

One of the names (well, two to be precise) constantly mentioned when Blue Eyed Soul gets a name-check is Hall & Oates. Their take on all things soulful was never anything less than luxurious. It all sounded so effortless. And frighteningly good, too: Kiss on My List was just about as good as it got.

Here's a version Daryl Hall did as part of his Daryl's House series - a couple of octaves lower and a tad slower, I think it shades the original.




Saturday, 18 August 2018

Birthday Girl

Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., aka Stormzy, has crammed a lot into his first 25 years; not least funding scholarships for black students to enable them to scale Oxbridge's ridiculously high walls. And, calling out Theresa May for her woeful inaction in the aftermath of Grenfell.

The fella also writes some blinding tunes. If it's your birthday today, Happy Birthday!

Stormzy - Birthday Girl (2016)

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Happy




Two songs below that share the same title. Both make me happy. One deliriously so. I'll let you guess which. And it's all in the brain. Music lights up our limbic system and quite literally turns us on. It's official. But I'm just a mere layman, I won't insult your intelligence with my mumbo jumbo - read all about it from people who know their shit. Ok this might not be Stephen Fry, probably more Brian Cox, but you get the drift. Now, those two songs:


Exhibit 'A' 

Pharrell Williams - Happy (2013)



Exhibit 'B' 

Rolling Stones - Happy (1972)

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Jelly (Helplessly Hoping - Again)

Don't worry lads, I'll play yours next time

Got a favourite song, but haven't got a Scooby as to what it's all about? I've got a shed load of them, as I guess you do too. I've even been known to avoid reading the real words to incomprehensible songs and using my own which I think work better. I know, I need to get out more.

I could've told whoever wrote this about one of my top tunes that it's like nailing jelly to a wall. As much as I love Helplessly Hoping, and even though every word in it is as clear as a bell, I think its meaning changes every time I listen to it; none the worse for that. It keeps me on my toes, that much I do know. But right now I think I've sussed it - right time right place, perhaps. Though if I revisit this piece in six months it may be a different story.

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other

And just like the last time I posted it, I have, perversely, chosen the most delicate of covers.

Jellywine - Helplessly Hoping (written by Steve Stills in 1968)

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Don't walk towards the white light

Cured Bacon
I was reading on the train yesterday how Richard Bacon cheated death; a very powerful story. One minute you're feeling a bit unwell on an aeroplane, the next you're in Intensive Care with more tubes sticking out of you than can possibly be good for you. He was told by the Consultant that if they didn't put him into an induced coma for at least seven days in the next 20 minutes he would die. No ifs, no buts.

As he was digesting this news the sleep inducing drugs were already in his system and slowly shutting him down. He remembers his wife whispering into his ear - "Don't walk towards the white light." And there, wrapped up in six words, is my new mantra.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Lucky You


A whole month of World Cup action recently came and went and I managed to keep this sleepy digital backwater a football free zone for the duration. Likewise today, on what is Ian Broudie's sixtieth birthday, I'll try not to mention that song; you know which one I mean.

Ian Broudie has written some cracking songs over the last thirty years or so. His band the Lightning Seeds was really nothing more than a vehicle to take the songs he'd written on the road and play them live. Like a lot of musicians he's much more at home in a studio working by himself, writing, recording, refining. The Lightning Seeds was just a name above the door. When he recorded the tracks for what would become Jollification, apart from some additional vocals by Alison Moyet and Terry Hall, Broudie played every note of music himself and, of course, produced it. Quite literally a one man band.

Jollification came out slap bang in the middle of the Britpop boom and could be seen and heard rubbing shoulders with the likes of Oasis, Blur, Dodgy (who he also produced), Ocean Colour Scene et al. The fact that it spawned four hugely successful singles should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Except, maybe, the slightly morose, slightly awkward scouser who wrote them all.

This one has, for a number of reasons, become something of an ear-worm just lately. Lucky You may not have set the charts alight, but nearly 25 years later it's till ringing in my ears; lucky me.

Lightning Seeds - Lucky You

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Hong Kong Ping Pong


Every now and again you come across a mixtape that you wish you'd put together yourself, such is the quality not just of the tunes, but the inter-song banter, the timing, the pace, the very feel of it. And so it is with Hong Kong Ping Pong Mixtapes. I'm reliably told they operate out of a club in Bristol; all I know is I'm hooked - I've had it playing in my ears all week.

Mixtape  #10 - it's funky, it's jazzy and it's got soul - with a capital S O U  & L. See what you think. You might love it, you might hate it. But, just so you know, I love it. The intro is particulatly elogant - it's lifted from Deadwood and the hilarious, I think, 'Wu sketch'. Fill yer boots:

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Woman Driver

Until today, I'm ashamed to say, this NME cover was the only* thing I knew Laura Marling for
Here's something that will brighten up your Saturday morning; stick this short film on while you're having breakfast. It's a deceivingly simple two hander from 2013 - shot in Texas and featuring Laura Marling (who also gets a co-write) it gives a subtle nod and a wink to many road movies of old. I promise you that by the time you've finished your toast and refilled your coffee you'll have come down on either her side, or his; you won't be neutral. I'll defer telling you my take on it until after you've watched it.



*I now know, thanks to Google, that Laura Marling was born seven days before James , her father is Sir Charles William Somerset Marling and her debut album, 'Alas, I Cannot Swim', was released in 2008.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

News of the World


I can't imagine T B Hudson sold too many more copies of the News of the World after this photograph was taken. In fact, he probably shut the door for the last time later that day - if indeed there was still a door to shut. We have Peter Mitchell to thank for this gem from 1974. Mitchell was a truck driver from Leeds in the seventies and, on his rounds, would grab his camera at every opportunity and record the ever changing city in which he lived. That's what I call proper social history.



Meanwhile, the Methodist Church next door, you'll be pleased to know, is now an arts venue,  home to Chapel FM as well as still being a place of worship. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.


Monday, 23 July 2018

If You Can't Stand The Heat


With the exception of Keith Floyd, who I once had the pleasure of meeting, I cannot abide celebrity chefs, and their tendencies.

That said, I may or may not have shown tendencies myself back in the day when I was cooking up a storm. It was not uncommon for me to banish everyone from the kitchen and then crank up the stereogram to 11 (and beyond). I must dig out the article I wrote a few years ago for Delicious magazine in which I said that food and music were joined at the hip; obvious, I know - but it was an easy 500 word piece.

I've mellowed over the years - these days, as long as you come bearing a bottle anyone can come and watch me play.

One of the albums that used to come out regularly on a Saturday night was Death by Chocolate by De Phazz. My friend Riggsby had put me on to them and he once told me that someone he used to work with in Germany went out with their bass player. That's good enough for me.

De Phazz - Heartfixer (2001)




Sunday, 22 July 2018

'68 Special


Today's Sunday Times magazine is marking the 50th Anniversary of a remarkable day in the life of the Fab Four. And, as you can see (below), they are really pushing the boat out with a quartet of collectable covers. Anyone familiar with the Beatles' Mad Day Out will know that, for a handful of hours on July 28th. 1968, John, Paul, George and Ringo took a day off recording songs for their White Album and instead, with a select bunch of toggies, slipped anchor and between them created some of the most iconic, and totally non-choreographed set of pictures ever taken of the group.

Their freewheeling adventure took them to some of the most, at the time, insalubrious parts of north and east London including St. Pancras Hospital, Wapping, Cable Street in Whitechapel, Tower Bridge, even Old Street roundabout.

Many of the photographs have probably appeared in this blog over the years, though this one is, I think, my personal favourite.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

Nothing Rhymed

Gilbert O'Sullivan and friends
It's late,  I'm tired, and I've had this song going round in my head all week. It was released in 1970 and, in all honesty, I'm guessing there are only a handful of tunes written since that are even fit to tie its boot laces.

I really need someone like Alyson on hand who could put Nothing Rhymed into all sorts of perspectives - musical, personal, cultural, political even. All I know is that if you're sitting anywhere near me on the train to Sheffield tomorrow morning, I'll probably sing it to you. I apologise in advance.

Before I go, does anyone know what drink Gilbert's talking about when he name checks a Bonaparte Shandy? It sounds very elegant, though probably isn't at all.

Night x

Gilbert O'Sullivan - Nothing Rhymed (1970)

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Badge of Honour

Image result for clapton is god
London N5, c.1967

Image result for clapton reading beano
He's not the Messiah
Time was when social media consisted of nothing more than a can of spray paint. If you had something to say then all you needed was a wall; or any surface at all, really.

Long before trending and hashtags it was thought by some in London that Eric Clapton's ability to play guitar had transcended that of a mere mortal, and so he was awarded god like status. Seemingly overnight the sort of graffiti pictured above started to appear all over the capital.

Clapton played it down at the time, but it certainly didn't do record or ticket sales any harm.



Eric Clapton - Badge (co-written by George Harrison)

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Dim the Lights


Although not as depressing to read as an obituary, I've just learned that Phil Mogg, 70, is standing down from all UFO duties after a UK farewell tour in 2019. The band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year and Mogg has decided enough's enough. Sad news indeed.

"Being out on the road isn’t always tremendously luxurious and although the playing is as great as it ever was, the stuff that surrounds it becomes very tiresome. I always told myself that when I reached that stage I would step down, and that’s what I’m going to do. This is the right time for me to quit."

My love affair with UFO goes way back. Way back. My friend Rocky Newton - who himself is still trading the boards with Lionheart and Airrace - was a devotee of the band and introduced me to them when he and his band at the time, Next, would drop Rock Bottom into their set in the late seventies. I was hooked. I would go on to seeing them live at every opportunity (and later write about them), Rocky, on the other hand, eventually hooked up with their errant guitarist Michael Schenker, joined MSG, and toured all over Europe.

So next year I plan to go on an a mini pilgrimage around the country and try and pull in at least two or three dates, and pay my respects to one of the most underrated rock vocalists this country has ever produced - while he's very much still with us.

The band's last album was, interestingly, a covers album; an album in which they pay homage to a hand picked bunch of rock classics that have inspired them over the last half century.

I've chosen two for today. First up is their terrific interpretation of the Yardbirds' Heart Full of Soul. It was written by Graham Gouldman, so not much more to add really, wouldn't you say?


Next up is a bluesy version of ZZ Top's Just Got Paid. ZZ Top will be forever remembered over here for their classic MTV videos (with that car) and the clutch of radio friendly hits they had in the mid eighties - Sharp Dressed Man, Legs and Gimme All Your Lovin' - but this is far classier. Listen for yourself.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Things I've discovered in 2018 (Part 1)


I normally wait till the end of the year to write stuff like this, but I've thrown away the rule book for once and got in early - five months early to be precise. And the thing I'm sharing with you today is pretty specific (niche, you could say), and not a carry over from previous years - like, for instance, it's not good to over think stuff (things generally work out, they really do) and a biggie: neither is it wise to reach for your phone when you've had a drink...But I digress.

At school, when our history teacher, Mr. Shorrock, used to write on the blackboard he would print his words: lower case, not capitals - and not joined up. He told us why one day. 4G never normally listened to anything any teacher had to say, but Shorrock was not long out of teacher training college and he liked Led Zeppelin. "I was off school for a week with Measles", he said, "and when I came back all the other kids had been shown how to join up their letters. But I'd missed it." Hence, whenever he wrote anything down it took him bloody ages; however, it was very neat.

At the risk of digressing again, the above preamble tees up nicely my discovery I want to tell you about. Since time immemorial whenever I go shopping - supermarket shopping - I've had an irrational fear of trolleys. More specifically, the coin lock jobby that releases it from the trolley in front. I've always thought it was the work of the Devil, and as such, will, if I'm on my own, only ever use a basket. Two, sometimes - if there's too much beer for one. Quite restricting, but necessary nonetheless. People in Tesco and Aldi (other supermarkets are available) have, over the years, watched in sheer amazement as I have struggled with these dangerously overloaded wire contraptions, generally used for nothing heavier than biscuits and teabags, looking like Geoff Capes pulling a lorry with just a rope between his teeth.

All because, like Mr. Shorrock and his joined up writing, nobody showed me. Until last Sunday. And, guess what? I've been back twice this week to practice my new skill, and it's only Thursday. It may not be Penicillin or even rocket science, but it's one giant leap for John Medd, I can tell you.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Maniaco Guitariste

John Wilkinson (b.12.7.47)
It's Wilko Johnson's birthday this week; something of a miracle seeing as how he stared pancreatic cancer in the eye in 2012 and told it to f*ck right off. His doctors had given him less than a year - shows what they know.

Johnson will forever be known as the manic guitarist in Doctor Feelgood, but they kicked him out of his own the band in 1977. Since then he's been the manic guitarist in Wilko Johnson's Solid Senders and Ian Dury's Blockheads. Now he's just a manic guitarist, period.

Here he is in a superb bit of footage from French TV in August 1976. In it he reminds me of a tethered dog in an overgrown front garden who, try as he might, can get no further than the garden gate; 'cos if he ever did...he'd have your hand off. Nothing's so sure.

Doctor Feelgood - Going Back Home

Sunday, 8 July 2018

I Often Dream of Trains

Friday night, platform 1. Waiting for my train home. Stay awake John, stay awake. Zzzzzzzzz.

"Excuse me sir, is this your train?"

"The who'll be along in a what now?"

"It's the 23:42 to Nottingham, sir."

"Thanks! Bye!"




Robyn Hitchcock - I Often Dream of Trains

Monday, 2 July 2018

And you use it only for me

It's nearly twenty years since Semisonic released Secret Smile as a single. Christ on a bike - 20 years! And yet, if you were to ask me, I could tell you where I was and who I was with the first time I heard it. And what I'd had for breakfast that day, probably. Which is more than I can do today. And, yes, I was tempted to put a sad face emoji at the end of that last sentence.

As I've said here on numerous occasions, a great song will always be a great song. I heard a dance version of this just the other day (I do remember that), and, I'm almost certain, it's become something of a staple for the X Factor generation; there's no shame in that, whatsoever. I love it when new artists unearth old treasures.

But being strictly old skool I still prefer the original. No surprises there then.

Semisonic - Secret Smile

Saturday, 30 June 2018

London Pie

Timing is everything - boiling an egg, the 100 metre dash, buying newly released vinyl; in 1977 and most of 1978, despite being a huge Beatles fan, there was no way I'd be seen dead in a record shop asking for the new Wings album. They were tribal times: the only albums (and singles) acquired* during those heady days of punk and the subsequent new wave (and Wings were obviously as old wave as you could possibly get) were by the likes of the Buzzcocks or the Clash, 999 and the Damned: turns who would regularly feature between the covers of Sounds and/or the New Musical Express, basically. Wings were more Melody Maker, or Record Mirror.

Of course when the dust settled, and the battle lines become less blurry, it was safe to not only bring your old Emerson Lake and Palmer albums out of hiding, but you could once again walk into record emporiums, politely ask for the new, say, UFO album (other second division English rock bands are available) and not be ridiculed by the punk police.

Yet still I never went back and bought the album Macca and Wings recorded in '77 and put out the following year: London Town was released hot on the heels of Mull of Kintyre which had occupied the number one slot seemingly forever (and alienated a lot of Macca fans to boot). In fact, he and the missus, together with Denny Laine, had recorded it in the same sessions but (thankfully?) never put it on the album.

But I digress; all this preamble comes on the back of a Tweet that caught my eye earlier in the week from Eoghan Lyng at the magnificent We are Cult, who had the audacity to claim that London Town was in his Top 5 Macca post Beatles albums. Surely not I thought. Better than Flaming Pie (which didn't feature) I fired back? Oh yes, came the the reply: the exchange went something like this:








So I said to myself I'd live with a copy of London Town for a week and see how I got on; of course, in that short time, it couldn't possibly compete with an album I'd emotionally invested so heavily in over the years: Flaming Pie, for me, was Macca's last hurrah - the last time he was truly reevant. In 1997 he came out with a set of songs that seemed to chime with the very times it was released. 

But in the week that Macca came back to Liverpool (here's his visit condensed into 20 minutes) and, for once, appearing quite humble to be back in his hometown, I wasn't in the mood for a pointless slanging match. You know what, both albums stand up just fine in 2018 and Macca should be proud of both sets of work, bookended, funnily enough, by the birth of his son James and, twenty years on, the same young lad's first recorded guitar solo.

So in the end, I say to Eoghan and all at We are Cult, London Town is the perfect companion piece to Flaming Pie. And, here, to prove same I give you the two standout songs - one from each. The title  track from London Town, here, in the form of a rough and ready promo film of Mr. & Mrs. McCartney and Denny Laine cruising down the Thames eating a bag of chips.



And here's Heaven on a Sunday from Flaming Pie, twenty one years later, with James providing *that* solo.



I really must dig out the notebook I kept at the time that details all record shop purchases from the arse end of 1974 to, I think, mid 1979. And I can assure you that from 1st. January 1977 till the day the Pistols imploded, all my purchases were coated in a fine film of gob.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Madness Frontman

Suggs in the City
The death of Suggs' cat on his fiftieth birthday (Suggs, not the cat) surprisingly became something of a turning point for the man who will be forever introduced by the prefix Madness Frontman.  

On that fateful day (for the cat), back in January 2011, Suggs was in the bath (I'm tempted to say Suggs in Suds, but I think I'll pass on that one), when the moggy fell off a collapsed bathroom shelf (a shelf put up by the man in the bath, it transpires). 'There was an almighty crash, broken glass everywhere, and my cat was dead. I was 50, my two daughters had recently left home and now this. I really felt like God hated me.' As you can tell, it knocked him sideways.

That day he started to write about all the events leading up to the moment the dodgy shelf parted company with the wall. In no time at all the Madness Frontman (see, even I'm doing it) had written an autobiographical stage show he could take out on the road and perform. 'My Life Story': a form of therapy? Having seen the show myself, yes, I think it was.  Funny and moving in equal parts (well, maybe 60/40), it received rave reviews. Not least by me - I told him as much when I met him earlier this year.

And now Julien Temple film has made it into a film. Of course he has - it's what he does. Here's the trailer.


This is for Alyson: she asked me to write something about Madness Frontman Suggs (it's catching). I absolutely love this version of My Girl. I hope she does too.



Thursday, 21 June 2018

Shameless


They call it shameless self publicity; those Mini Cards that Moo are so good at come in really useful. I use them as tags for Medd's Bread. I slip them into birthday cards and CDs. I put them on pub notice boards. I slide them into new paperbacks at Waterstones. I even leave them on trains.

They cost peanuts and you can put as many designs and photos on them as you like. The ones you see here have that picture of my mother in London, the interior of a rather exclusive private members club in Soho, and the new Are We There Yet? mast head - designed by James. I know, I'm shameless.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Back in the Saddle

Every now and again I post something that needs no preamble.

This is one of those times.