Sunday, 20 May 2018

Saturday Snapshots #33 - The Answers


I wouldn't normally post a picture of a young lady in the bath, but given she's the answer to one of this week's questions and she appears to have taken the photo herself, I thought it would be allowed. Sharp-eyed readers (i.e. those of you who don't just come here on a Saturday and/or Sunday) will have noticed that she's already featured on this blog earlier this week anyway. But Snapshots are prepared well in advance of regular postings for reasons too mundane to explain.

For balance, if you want to send me a photo of your favourite male pop star in the bath holding a camera, I'll be sure to feature that some time in the future. As long as it's not Bono.

Anyway, it was pretty much a three horse race this week, with a returning George first out of the raps, followed swiftly by Rigid Digit and Martin, with Lynchie getting half a point to keep him happy. Even though Martin got more correct answers, I'm going to - somewhat controversially - award the crown to George this week because he went above and beyond the call of duty in trying to explain (at least half of) my convoluted clue to #1. And the referee's decision is final...


10. Escape with this Rat Pack sibling.


The Rat Pack did swing music. See?

Swing Out Sister - Breakout

9. The Admiral invites some mates round for a barbecue.


Admiral Nelson.

Ricky Nelson - Garden Party

8. Passing rigs steal Belinda Carlisle's shoes...


Belinda was in the Go-Gos.

Drive-By Truckers - Go Go Boots 

7. I dream of the life of a school governor in Mockingbird county.


I Dream Of Jeannie.

The Life of Riley.

Harper Lee wrote To Kill A Mockingbird.

Jeannie C. Riley - Harper Valley PTA

6. Teenage party game played with a bowler in the pasture.


Bowler hat in a field.

Juliana Hatfield Three - Spin The Bottle

5. Farrell & Firth are professional bigamists. A new paint job is required!


Colin Farrell & Colin Firth are Professionals... ProCol. Important that you spell this band's name correctly to get that clue.

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale

4. The beauties enjoy a citrus squeeze.


LaBelle - Lady Marmalade

3. Two mules for sister Stewart! Where Chris, Cliff and Neil went.

Where Chris, Cliff and Neil went.

Where Chris, Cliff and Neil went.


Two Mules For Sister Sarah.

Muffin was a mule.

Martha Stewart.

Chris Rea, Cliff Richard & Neil Young all sang On The Beach.

Is there an echo in here?

Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach

2. Traffic report: I've been waiting for this for ages!


Delays - Long Time Coming

1. Buck Rogers teleports into Michael's disturbing house to find Billy refusing to let his T-shirt be filmed. (Most convoluted clue ever: extra marks if you can explain it all. Or any of it.)


Buck Rogers was played by Gil Gerard.

Mr. Scott worked the teleporter on the starship Enterprise.

REM (and Michael Stipe) sang about a Disturbance At The Heron House.

Billy Bragg sang that "the revolution is just a T-shirt away". (I own that T-shirt.)




The revolution will not go better with Coke
The revolution will not fight the germs that cause bad breath
The revolution WILL put you in the driver's seat
The revolution will not be televised

But Saturday Snapshots will be back next week.




Saturday, 19 May 2018

Saturday Snapshots #33


It's Saturday again - c'est la vie. If you've got no particular place to go this morning, then try these - identify ten great songs and ten cool artists from the clues below.



10. Escape with this Rat Pack sibling.


9. The Admiral invites some mates round for a barbecue.


8. Passing rigs steal Belinda Carlisle's shoes...


7. I dream of the life of a school governor in Mockingbird county.


6. Teenage party game played with a bowler in the pasture.


5. Farrell & Firth are professional bigamists. A new paint job is required!


4. The beauties enjoy a citrus squeeze.


3. Two mules for sister Stewart! Where Chris, Cliff and Neil went.

Where Chris, Cliff and Neil went.

Where Chris, Cliff and Neil went.


2. Traffic report: I've been waiting for this for ages!


1. Buck Rogers teleports into Michael's disturbing house to find Billy refusing to let his T-shirt be filmed. (Most convoluted clue ever: extra marks if you can explain it all. Or any of it.)


Answers tomorrow. B. Goode till then.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Talky Songs #1: Belong



Just in case you're one of those people who lie awake at night worrying about the number of ongoing and unfinished series this blog has running, let me reassure you that I haven't forgotten any of them. I have an idea who the next entry for Yesterday's Big Thing will be about; I've not thought about Songs I Hated When I Was A Kid in ages but I'm sure there's a couple more out there; I still haven't revealed the most shocking of my Songs I Bought Because I Fancied The Singer; and yes, I've only managed the grand total of one post so far in my Anyone Can't Play Guitar series, but there has to at least be a post about Richard Thompson coming up, even if I quit that series then. They'll all be back when you least expect them, but as I never force a post and only write about things when the mood hits me...

...here's another new series. There are loads of these too, so potentially it could run and run. Or I might get bored with it after today. We'll see.

I do like it when singers stop singing for a bit and just talk to us. So I decided to do a series focussing on my favourite songs that feature far more talking than singing. There might be little bits of singing in them, but there's usually far more mumbling.

1. REM - Belong

Possibly the first REM song I truly fell in love with, and the very best song on their breakthrough album, Out Of Time... even though the rest are very nice too. (Yes, even Shiny Happy People. Don't be a snob. It's got Kate Pierson on it: how can you hate it?)

It's a song that starts out with a story: "Her world collapsed early Sunday morning" is arguably the best opening line Michael Stipe ever wrote. But then it gets weird and spooky. What are the "creatures that jumped the barricades and headed for the sea" and why did they make her world collapse? Are they coming for her? Can she protect her child? Why is it so important to Belong? Why does she open that window at the end...?

There may be answers to those questions if I google them, but to be honest I don't want to. The song evokes so many potential stories, I don't want to be limited by someone else's interpretation - not even Michael Stipe's.





Thursday, 17 May 2018

My Top Ten Karaoke Songs




I've never done karaoke. Not because of any muso-snobbery on my part, merely because I guess I hang out with people who wouldn't be seen dead in a karaoke contest. The frustrated pop star in me regrets this quite a lot. Maybe I ought to start a sad, middle-aged bucket-list and put karaoke at the top of the list, rather than sky diving or bungee jumping.


Anyway, here's ten songs about singing someone else's songs badly over a tinny backing track...


10. Maxïmo Park - Karaoke Plays

Someone gets run down
Karaoke plays somewhere in the background,
But there is no explanation
What makes a grown man cry?
Karaoke plays and someone gets run down

That's probably pretty deep if you think about it.

9. Tom McRae - Karaoke Soul

This guy was on the verge of making it big back in the early 00s. Not sure why he didn't.

8. Kate Nash - Karaoke Kiss

I got a renewed respect for Kate Nash following her performance in the Netflix show GLOW, so I was pleased to see she had a new record out. This is a pretty fine cut from that...

7. The Haywains - Kill Karaoke

I owe Brian a big thank you for introducing me to this lot.

6. Catatonia - Karaoke Queen

Whenever I listen to old Catatonia songs, I lament the fact that Cerys packed in the day job.

5. Jimmy Buffet & Toby Keith - Too Drunk To Karaoke

The very definition of a marmite song, depending entirely on whether you consider Jimmy Buffet a loveable old doofus... or just a doofus.

4. Bennet - Karaoke / Younger Younger 28's - Karaoke Queen / Speedy - Karaoke King

Three long-forgotten Britpop and post-Britpop bands for the price of one: all of them far more interesting than Oasis. Particularly Younger Younger 28's - why weren't they massive? All worth a listen if you dig that era.

3. Ben Folds - Hiro's Song

I wanna explode in
A karaoke supernova...

...so much more interesting than a champagne one.

2. Elbow - Grounds For Divorce

Any excuse to play this, Elbow's rockiest moment... with a Costello-esque venom to the lyrics.

There's this whispering of jokers doing flesh by the pound
To a chorus of supposes from the little town whores
There'll be twisted karaoke at the Aniseed Lounge
And I'll bring you further roses
But it does you no good
And it does me no good
And it does you no good

1. Blur - The Universal

Gonna have to give the crown to Blur, for probably their finest hour after Song 2 (and certainly their most optimistic)... even though they disgraced themselves somewhat by letting it be used in a British Gas ad campaign. Surely you didn't need the money that much, Damon?

Every night we're gone
And to karaoke songs
How we like to sing a long
Although the words are wrong
 
It really, really, really could happen
Yes, it really, really, really could happen
When the days they seem to fall through you, well just let them go

Never really thought the Clockwork Orange video did the song justice, but here it is anyway...



Ever done karaoke? What did you sing?

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

2018 Contenders: Hopelessly Devoted To Juliana


Sometimes I think there is an evil genius sitting in a dingy lair somewhere deep in a volcano coming up with Machiavellian plots to get me to part with even more of my hard-earned cash on records than I do already.

Case in point: Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John. I mean, to be fair, I pretty much buy anything Juliana Hatfield puts out anyway, but when she confessed to being a huge ONJ fan as a teenager and decided to record an entire album of covers... well, I think my heart may have skipped more than one beat.

The great thing is, she's not mucked about with these songs too much. Her voice is obviously a bit more indie than ONJ's, and she's turned up the guitar a little as you'd expect, but otherwise these are pretty faithful renditions. And yes, she's done Xanadu, Hopelessly Devoted and even Physical! Probably a good thing she didn't wear a leotard for the video... it'd be more than a 46 year old man's heart could stand.

The only disappointment is that she didn't do a cover of Summer Nights or You're The One That I Want with Evan Dando... but I wouldn't be surprised if the Grease people didn't allow here the rights.

Hear the full album at Bandcamp if you're so inclined. One dollar from the sale of every album will be donated to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJ Centre), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing patients with cancer access to leading medical treatment, breakthrough research, and the best in wellness and supportive care.



I'm patiently awaiting the Ben Folds Sings Barry Manilow LP... do you hear that, evil genius?

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Hot 100 Countdown #84



It took you quite a while to work out #84 on my countdown, even though I gave you a pretty big clue that the song had featured here quite recently. Luckily, C has a better memory than most, but first a few runners-up, starting with the Orwellian ones...

Charity Chic suggested...

Eurythmics - Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)

The Swede offered...

David Bowie - 1984

C gave us...

Spirit - 1984

Sadly, nobody suggested...

Van Halen - 1984 (from the album of the same name... though to be fair, it is just a glorified introduction to Jump)

Alyson, meanwhile, ditched Orwell and came up with a perfectly decent offering I'd never heard before...

The Strypes - 84

Rigid Digit, on the other hand, offered a Simple Minds album that he might also be thinking of suggesting for the next three weeks. Let me save him the effort... no, thanks, RD.

All of which leaves us with this, which C remembered from back in November...




83? Your guess may be better than mine...


Monday, 14 May 2018

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #25: "A one night rebellion that ends up just being a drag"


Here's a proper mid-life crisis song for you: existential angst at its best, courtesy of the late, lamented (they broke up a couple of years ago after 22 years of thoughtful indie-Americana) Richmond Fontaine. Brace yourself...

For once I didn’t go home after shift
I called my wife and said I’d be late
Every day it gets harder to go home
I rode with a guy from work named Ronnie
I'd never been to his house before
His wife was high, on the couch watching TV
Their kids were fighting in the yard so we got out of there
We drove to a strip bar called Mary’s but the girls there are so young
And who am I? Just a middle aged man, I’m who they hate
Ronnie went to the front and sat at the line so I left him there
I bought a bottle and I didn’t call home, I didn’t go home

A night in the city
The city at night

I got sick behind a car, slept against a bank wall
Ate at Annie’s Donuts and made it to work on time
Is this all there is? Is this what life is?
A job that means nothing
A woman who sleeps right next you but she ain’t yours at all
A one night rebellion that ends up just being a drag
Like a weight around your feet that ain’t heavy enough to send you down
I remember in the back of a bar called the Blue Sea
My wife sitting on my lap whispering, “You and me, only you and me”

A night in the city
The city at night




Sunday, 13 May 2018

Saturday Snapshots #32 - The Answers


Summertime and the living is easy. Perhaps not as easy as you lot keep proving the answers to Saturday Snapshots to be...

I think Rigid Digit took it again this week. I tried to mix it up a bit by changing the start time. Maybe next week I'll start it at 5am and see who's up then (Brian?). Well done to the rest of you who worked hard on the rest though - the winner isn't always the one who gets up first and nabs the easy ones. The true winners are the ones who work at hard the tougher ones... sometimes discovering answers involving bands you've never heard of (so top marks to Alyson for #6).

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by how many Captain & Tennille fans there are reading this blog. Or maybe just people who once they've seen The Captain... have had many, many sleepless nights as a result.


10. Young Strummer wasn't a pretty boy - and he didn't think much of you either.


Joe must have been an ugly kid?

Ugly Kid Joe - (I Hate) Everything About You

9. Muse over these siblings - their affection spills out.


Matt Bellamy is the lead singer of Muse.

The Bellamy Brothers - Let Your Love Flow

8. Followers of Paul and Jimmy are seemingly zero.


Paul Young and Jimmy Young.

The Young Disciples - Apparently Nothin'

7. She's electric - a faux murder mixes with no mutants.


Hole guitarist goes solo... and sounds better for it.

"a faux murder" is an anagram of her surname... minus the X (for mutants).

Melissa Auf der Maur - Lightning Is My Girl

6. Father John takes Pee Wee's place to date a lady plasterer cum brain surgeon.


Father John = Misty.

Pee Wee went on a Big Adventure.

Misty's Big Adventure - She Fills The Spaces In My Mind

5. Steve Rogers unites with Young, Diamond, Tennant, Hannon, Finn, Armstrong, Gaiman, Kinnock, Patrick-Harris and Sedaka. Again!


Steve Rogers is Captain America.

Those are ten Neils.

If you think that picture's scary... watch the video!

The Captain & Tennille - Do That To Me One More Time

4. A ceramic dick.


Some clues write themselves.

Moby - Porcelain

3. A bunch of hairdressers will murder me this evening.


Cutting Crew - I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight

2. Can you eat a huge apple in 60 seconds at the Regatta, boss?


Don is the mafia boss.

Henley Regetta.

New York is the Big Apple.

Don Henley - New York Minute

(Look, Boys of Summer would have been too easy.)

1. Is this Morrissey's moggy? If so, I'll shoot it.


Cat? Steven's! I'm gonna get me a gun...

Why doesn't this ever get played on the radio anymore? It's much better than Father & Son...




More next week... unless The Captain has come for his revenge.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Saturday Snapshots #32




If you're one of those people who thinks that life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone... then Saturday Snapshots is here to put a little thrill back into your Saturday morning.

Identify ten artists and songs from the clues below, please...


10. Young Strummer wasn't a pretty boy - and he didn't think much of you either.


9. Muse over these siblings - their affection spills out.


8. Followers of Paul and Jimmy are seemingly zero.


7. She's electric - a faux murder mixes with no mutants.


6. Father John takes Pee Wee's place to date a lady plasterer cum brain surgeon.


5. Steve Rogers unites with Young, Diamond, Tennant, Hannon, Finn, Armstrong, Gaiman, Kinnock, Patrick-Harris and Sedaka. Again!


4. A ceramic dick.


3. A bunch of hairdressers will murder me this evening.


2. Can you eat a huge apple in 60 seconds at the Regatta, boss?


1. Is this Morrissey's moggy? If so, I'll shoot it.


Answers as soon as I've finished suckin' on chilli dog outside the Tastee Freez. Or tomorrow morning.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Grumpy Old Men Songs #4: For Guardian Readers Only...


Throughout his career, Lloyd Cole has always managed to make cynicism sound bittersweet. Although he might come across as something of a curmudgeon at times, he's actually the most warm and self-effacing live performer I've ever seen... and I've seen him live more times than any other artist.

Back in 2006 - when he was a younger man than I am now, but still cheerfully playing the Grumpy Old Man card (as I do) - he used to introduce the following tune as being "for Guardian readers only". It's a song about having some of your right-on principles knocked out of you as you grow older, and perhaps looking back with some cynicism at the naïve youth you once were who honestly thought your actions made a difference and that one day you might change the world. Behind that glorious grumbliness though, there's also an aching melancholy for that same past, a fervent desire to grab on to it and make it real again.
 
I know I said I favoured peaceful resolution
But that was when we were the young idealists
The Young Idealists
Raging through the coffee shops and bars
Make believe the world was really ours
Still supposing we could make a difference

 
Then we bought into the neocon economic dream
And we were trading in futures we believed in
The Young Idealists
Careering through the markets to the Mall
Venturing that we could have it all
Still supposing we could make a difference

 
And then the markets fall
And the heavens open
And there's no synergy at all
The synergy is broken

 
So maybe now I'd take that wholesale revolution
We were talking about
Maybe now I'd take a future we can breathe in
The Young Idealists

It's been too long since Lloyd had a new record out. I do hope there's one in the pipeline. I want to grow older and grumpier with him by my side.



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