According to an NME report Lady Gaga has a new perfume coming out and she says she wants it to smell of blood and semen. Obviously I assume she means semen of the spermatozoa variety and not old sailors. In my view she should have blood and semen and then add vomit, booze and fags. She could call it Inner City Saturday, it would sell by the gallon in most UK provisional towns. You could spray some of it on you and your mates and get all the authentic smells of a night out without going anywhere. She could even have a few special editions; Kebab and chilli, Alcopop and finally curry with essence of skidmark. How about some ideas from you folks? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Read the report by clicking here.
“You’re delicious and if my wishes can all come true” January 23, 2011
Have you seen the news about the newly discovered species of big cat? The Sunda Clouded Leopard was only discovered in 2007, it was thought to be the same as other clouded leopards. But now scientists have found out that there are two quite distinct types of Sunda one living in Sumatra and the other in Borneo. It is thought that the two species separated a million years ago. They are genetically different after being based on islands all that time. I bet that must have confused the hell out of Noah, how many Sunda Cloud Leopards made it on to the Ark anyway? Frankly if there are supposedly 5 million or so species, give or take a Sunda, then the Ark must have been one enormous boat! Click here to read the story on BBC Earth News.
Anyway this is a music blog and this story gives me an opportunity to hit you with some cat related songs;
“What’s New Pussy Cat?” – Tom Jones. This song was composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was the theme tune of the film of the same name starring Peter Sellers. It has featured a couple of times in the Simpsons, notably in an episode where Marge worked at the Nuclear Power Station and requested that Tom Jones’ music was played over the tannoy.
“Honky Cat” – Elton John. This song was taken from Elton’s 1972 album ‘Honky Chateau‘ It features no guitar, but it does feature Elton’s regular 70s guitarist Davey Johnstone. He played banjo on this track.
“The Cat Crept In” – Mud. This was the follow-up to another cat related song from Mud; “Tiger Feet” which reached number 1 in the UK in 1974. “The Cat Crept In” just failed to match that performance later in 1974, peaking at number 2.
“Stray Cat Strut” – Stray Cats. This song reached number 11 in the UK in 1981. Singer Brian Setzer went on to even greater things with his Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Let me give you a bit of a rant warning before you read this post, just so you know! It would appear that HMV are now in some significant degree of financial trouble. Whilst I have a dislike of faceless corporate record/ music stores, HMV is effectively the last national left in the UK. Even their range has fallen considerably in the last couple of years as well. So along with the ongoing and sad demise of the independent record shop and HMV’s precarious position just where the hell will future generations buy their physical music? Downloading will continue its inexorable rise, both legally and illegally, but for physical purchases what are we left with? We’re left with just a handful of small chains (Fopp etc.) and fewer and fewer independent stores. Although I do believe that Fopp were rescued by HMV who still have a stake in them. That leaves the likes of WH Smith and the Grocers (Tesco, Asda etc.) who all seem to operate an ‘if it’s in the chart we’ll stock it policy’. So that pretty much takes away all key channels apart from the internet and downloads for new bands and artists.
A couple of the major labels (Sony and Universal) are looking to spice up interest in the singles market by releasing singles on the same day that they begin airplay. Read about it by clicking here. This will certainly allow songs to rise up the charts, just like those hazy old days of my youth, rather than enter high and then crash and burn after a couple of weeks. This will clearly help downloads, but will it help sell the physical product? If the only place you can get that product is on-line (Play.com etc) then I don’t think it will.
Sadly I believe that we are truly heading for a time when digital music will outstrip every other form. Sure, vinyl is making a bit of a comeback, but it will never match the digital form with most of todays generation. OK you might think I’m a boring old fart and you are entitled to your opinion. But I am not advocating a wholesale return to vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks and CDs. What I am concerned about is the ongoing demise of the record shop. We cannot let the grocers take a stranglehold on our music, which is just so wrong on many levels. With Woolworths and Borders now dead and HMV potentially heading the same way we must support all the remaining small chains and independent record shops. So next time you are tempted to buy a CD on impulse in the supermarket resist the urge and find your nearest proper record shop. I know that you may pay a little more, but these people offer excellent service and they are a million times more knowledgeable about their ‘product’ than pretty much anyone on the supermarket checkout. But if you are a music aficionado who works on a supermarket checkout then please accept my apologies. So you know what to do, boycott music from large grocers and get it from a proper record shop, trust me it’s a better experience all round!
“If I could reach the stars I’d give them all to you” January 16, 2011
Upon reaching the ripe old age of 50 a couple of years back I made myself a short list of things I wanted to do before I pop my clogs. There were five things; Ride a motorbike, learn to play the guitar, have something I’ve written actually published, spend a couple of hours in a flotation tank and be hypnotised for some past life regression. Thanks to my delectable fiancée, who most of you know as Catwoman, I have now achieved three of them, all birthday presents in fact. I spent a day at the Harley Davidson Centre in Wales in 2009, but I won’t be taking up riding! I took an initial few guitar lessons in early 2010, but work got in the way as I could never get home in time for my lessons. But I do have a very rudimentary skill. This weekend I underwent past life regression hypnosis. Now in many things I am quite cynical, but with things like reincarnation I do have an open mind.
The experience, given to me by Catwoman for my birthday, surpassed all my expectations. I wasn’t put into a deep trance, but some of the things I experienced were incredible. Were they actual past lives or were they part of my imagination driven by the vastness of my unconscious mind (I’m not bragging here, everyone has one!). I don’t know, but I do know it was an amazingly thought-provoking and exciting experience. I am still an atheist with no-balls, which is how an old boss of mine described agnostics! Anyway I won’t go into too much detail about it here, but feel free to get in touch if you’d like to hear more. But I am happy to say that I wasn’t Napoleon or Caesar!
But apart from the guitar lessons none of this is about music so I thought I’d add a few past life related songs. I hope you enjoy them.
“We have climbed so high, never wanna die” January 15, 2011
I won’t go as far as addressing you as constant reader as Stephen King does, but I will say dear regular reader thank you for coming to this blog every so often. In particular a big thank you to those of you who send me links to stories that might be worth posting about. I do try to use all of them, although I haven’t done much of that in recent weeks. However I intend to rectify that today with a double whammy of two car related stories. The first was provided by my good friend Nick Horslen and the second from yet another good friend, Tom Wycks. Strangely or appropriately both are car related, so perhaps you can guess the kind of songs that will follow!
Apparently a few days ago whilst out and about in LA actor Peter Fonda discovered a dead body in a car. It wasn’t his, I mean the car wasn’t his, but then neither was the body, but that would have been a hell of a story too wouldn’t it? he saw the body slumped over the wheel and reported it to police. I wonder if he thought it might have been George Michael asleep at the wheel again. You can read the Fonda and the Dead Body (now that’s a good name for an indie band don’t you think?) story on the Guardian website. There are a couple of easy music links to any story involving Peter Fonda. Firstly his involvement in acting and co writing the film Easy Rider means I simply have to include the magnificent “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf from the soundtrack of the movie. This song was said by many to be the first heavy metal song, whether that is true or not it may well be the first song to use the phrase in its lyrics. Secondly it is Peter Fonda’s voice that you can hear sampled on Primal Scream‘s excellent “Loaded”
The second story is now a few weeks old, but it involves gruff Aussie Crooner Nick Cave who attacked a speed camera in Hove with his car. Now I don’t condone vandalism, but frankly there must be a modicum of praise given to someone who decommissioned a speed camera. But somehow I don’t think the police and the judiciary will see it that way. But joking aside for a moment whilst Nick’s Jaguar was obviously damaged both he and his 10-year-old twin sons were fine. You can read the story here on the BBC News site.
So moving along a car and road travel theme here are a few related songs for you pleasure;
“Good weed, white wine, I come alive in the night time” January 9, 2011
It would appear that UK chart history was made today by Rihanna. She became the first female artist to have a number one single five years in a row. She has almost matched the feat of Elvis Presley who managed a number one in each year from 1957 to 1963, some six years in total. Starting with “All Shook Up” and ending with “Devil In Disguise“. Inevitably the current record is held by the Beatles who had a number one in each year from 1963 to 1969, a 7 year run. Staring with “From Me To You” and ending with “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” I reckon Rihanna has a good chance of overturning both of those records. read about it on the NME site by clicking here.
Rihanna’s UK number one singles since 2007 have been;
2008 “Take A Bow”
2009 “Run This Town”
2010 “Only Girl (In The World)”
2011 “What’s My Name” featuring Drake
Rihanna was born nearly 20 years after the last of the Beatles run and she is still only 22. She will be 23 in February. She originates from Barbados and plays a big part in the support of the marketing of her homeland. She is now an honorary cultural ambassador. She is also a great philanthropist, setting up her Believe Foundation in 2006. It is a charity which supports terminally ill children.
“They take some brain away, then turn my face around” January 8, 2011
OK perhaps a tad late, but it is still just about 8th January where I am. Anyway I would like you all to join me in a quick chorus of Happy Birthday for David Robert Jones, better known as David Bowie to most of you and possibly even the Dame to longstanding NME readers. I became a Bowie fan in September 1972 after that now legendary performance of “Starman” on Top Of The Pops. Many, many people had their Bowie epiphany from this performance, understandably too, it was otherworldly and alien. Even now it is quite a striking performance, especially subtle touches, like Bowie draping his arm around Mick Ronson‘s shoulders. It might all seem quite innocuous and tame nowadays, but in 1972 it was so very far out there.
That performance was shown on a Thursday night and two days later I raided my piggy bank and purchased four Bowie albums on cassette; “Space Oddity”, “The Man Who Sold The World“, “Hunky Dory” and “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars“. After about 18 months I had worn them all out! I first saw Bowie in 1976 and have now seen him 8 times in total, although if the rumours are to be believed we may never see him in concert again. However if you’re reading this David, can we at least have another album or two?
I have another piece of very slightly related Bowie news. My good friend Nick Horslen appeared on BBC Radio Berkshire earlier this week to do an interview about his life as a business coach, small business supporter, charity volunteer and many other things. He chose a few songs to play during his slot, notably Mr Bowie’s “Heroes” alongside “Harvest For The World” from the Isley Brothers and “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles. He interviewed really well and I would also like to thank him for the excellent shout he gave this very blog. You can still hear the interview on the BBC iPlayer for a few days at least. Click here for the link and wind it forward to around 2 hours and 4 minutes and you’ll be able to listen to Nick’s interview on BBC Radio Berkshire’s Phil Gayle Show.
Now take some time out to enjoy a couple of Bowie classics and a couple that don’t get played much. Happy 64th birthday Mr Jones!
“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am…..” January 4, 2011
It is with sadness that I bring you news of the death of talented Sottish singer songwriter Gerry Rafferty aged 63. He had a well documented battle with alcoholism and also supposedly ‘disappeared’ a couple of times in recent years. But even with all that 63 is still a relatively young age to go these days.
Most people will remember Gerry for the classic “Baker Street“, which reached number 3 in the UK and number 2 in the US. It’s 1978 parent album, ‘City To City‘ sold 5.5 million copies in the US and managed to top the US album chart in 1978, beating the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. He was also co responsible for another classic song “Stuck In the Middle With You” with Stealers Wheel from 1973. The two songs have achieved 5 million and 4 million radio plays respectively. In 1987 he also co produced one of my favourite songs, “Letter From America” by the Proclaimers. I am sure he will be sadly missed by his family, friends and fans. Gerry Rafferty RIP.
“She’s Lois Lane, but when it’s bad it’s awful” January 3, 2011
So here we all are in a new year once again. It seems hard to believe that we are now 11 years into the current century and that I have now lived in seven different decades. But then as my Nan once said to me, old age is always 10 years older than you are. So I take this to mean that as long as it’s not my name in the Guinness Book Of Records as the oldest person on the planet then I will never be old, will I? Obviously I’m only saying all this because I turned 52 on January 1st and birthdays make you think of age, longevity, life and stuff don’t they?
Anyway enough drivel about me let’s take a quick look at the best-selling UK albums and singles for 2010. Rihanna has performed amazingly well with one entry in the album top 5 and two in the singles. It was also good to see the X Factor single failing to make the top spot in the end of year sales chart.
Top UK albums of 2010
- Progress – Take That
- Crazy Love – Michael Buble
- The Fame – Lady Gaga
- Loud – Rihanna
- The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
Worldwide album sales have Lady Gaga at number one with ‘The Fame’, followed by Eminem with ‘Recovery’ in the number 2 slot.
Top UK singles of 2010
- Love The Way You Lie – Eminem ft Rihanna
- When We Collide – Matt Cardle
- Just The Way You Are (Amazing) – Bruno Mars
- Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna
- OMG – Usher ft Will I Am
2010 in review January 2, 2011
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 490,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 21 days for that many people to see it.
In 2010, there were 143 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 245 posts. There were 402 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 45mb. That’s about 1 pictures per day.
The busiest day of the year was September 13th with 6,362 views. The most popular post that day was Janie Jones.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were alphainventions.com, search.aol.com, 220.127.116.11, facebook.com, and en.wordpress.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for lady gaga, eminem, pink floyd, kate bush, and pink.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
“We are starlight, we are golden” February 2009
“If you’re 555, then I’m 666” March 2009
“I wanna say, I wanna tell you, about the young ideas, but you turn them into fears” February 2009