With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“But to lose all my senses, that is just so typically me” October 31, 2013


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I’m sure that you couldn’t make this up could you? Anyway the Merchant Navy are using Britney Spears’ music to deter Somali sea Pirates. If the pirates fail to heed the warnings from security on board merchant ships off the African coast and continue to head towards them then Plan B is invoked. Or perhaps that should be Plan Britney. They pump out Britney’s biggest hits at full volume and miraculously the pirates usually turn away.

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The pirates supposedly hate western culture and music so the music of Britney is perfect. I suppose that using Bieber, Cheryl Cole or One Direction would be like using the nuclear option on the pirates. How stupid are these half-witted Jack Sparrows though? I mean have they never heard of ear plugs? Or maybe they could counter attack with the Barney the Dinosaur, Teletubbies or Mr Blobby themes. Click here to read the story on the Guardian’s web pages.

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“Fairy tales of yesterday, will grow but never die, I can fly, my friends” July 31, 2013


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That well-known badger supporter Brian May has unearthed some recordings made by Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson at Jacko’s home in 1983. He has worked on them with fellow Queen member Roger Taylor and William Orbit. I guess the issue will be whether or not the three songs will live up to the expectations. was it quality control that kept them from release until now? Another big name duet for Jacko was Mick Jagger who joined the Jacksons on the single “State Of Shock” from the brothers ‘Victory’ album in 1984. Personally I was and still remain underwhelmed by that song. Other elements of posthumous twiddling may have fared well but for me the quality was lacking with the Beatles “Free As A Bird” which was based around a very basic John Lennon demo recording.But let’s keep fingers crossed that this stuff is actually good.

Michael+Jackson++Freddie+Mercury+FreddieMichael

Paul Gambaccini has suggested that the songs were dubbed the Llama recordings given that Jacko allegedly brought his Llama into the studio when Freddie was there. A cautionary note was sounded by the Guardian’s Laura Barton who said “It feels like we’re sucking the artists’ bones dry… sometimes it would be nice to leave them with a little bit of dignity.” I think I can agree with her sentiments there. But I obviously won’t pass judgement until I have heard the songs. The release seems likely to be later this year. So while you wait take a listen to some classic Jacko and classic Queen and a couple of Jacko versus Queen mash-ups!

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“I could have been someone” “Well, so could anyone” December 10, 2012


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The Guardian ran a great article about the history of the Pogues classic Christmas songFairytale Of New York“. Whilst there was a lot in there that I already knew, there were some real gems that I didn’t. Notably that before it was decided to duet with the late, great Kirsty MacColl both Chrissie Hynde and Suzi Quatro were considered. Personally I think that Kirsty was not only the right choice but also an inspired choice.

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the video for the song was directed by Matt Dillon and as he couldn’t use the NYPD choir as it doesn’t exist he invited the NYPD pipe band to take part. The pipe band duly joined Dillon and the Pogues for the shoot, however none of them knew the song “Galway Bay” which is mentioned in the song as “The boys from the NYPD choir are singing ‘Galway Bay'”. So if you watch the video carefully you can watch them mouthing the words to the only song that they all knew, none other than the Mickey Mouse Club chant!

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If you’d like to read the full Guardian article click here. And finally to celebrate “Fairytale Of New York”‘s tenth appearance in the UK charts, it is at number 15 this week (also it’s 8th consecutive year in the UK top 40), enjoy the song below.

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“You’re worth more, you’re worth more than this, you can take a leap without the risk” December 23, 2011


Now that the wind had changed direction Matt's face would remain like that

It’s that time of year when we reflect as individuals on the highs and lows of our year and more importantly we decided what the best album and song of the year was. Many publications take part in this annual festivity and my newspaper of choice, the Guardian, is no exception. I expected to see the top 2o albums and songs of 2011 as voted by Guardian readers (including me) to show a similar profile to the lists of other publications and possibly of the critics employed by the newspaper.

Matt sold all his clothes to buy votes in the Guardian poll

However thanks to what I would call (rather begrudgingly) and excellently executed piece of guerilla voting by all of Matt Cardle‘s fans which must number in the high hundreds (ok that was wishful thinking on my part). They have managed to succeed in voting him into first place in both lists. Regular readers of this blog will know the general disdain I show the X factor and all it spawns and for me Matt Cardle is no exception. I find him insipid, limp, lacking charisma and at best an ok karaoke singer. Before the devout fans get on their high horses let me say that I have listened to his album before forming this opinion. I am not like the Christian Fundamentalists in the USA who burned Harry Potter books without having the good grace and common sense to read them first.

Being beaten by Matt Cardle had hurt Polly very deeply

Fair play to the Matt Cardle fans, but in my humblest of opinions his stuff shouldn’t even be close to the top twenty for the year or even the top 50 for the year, unless of course we are talking about the turkey awards. The number two slot in the albums list was taken by Polly Harvey‘s ‘Let England Shake’ and for the songs it was the sublime “Video Games” from Lana Del Ray. Click here to read the Guardian report on what I will refer to as Cardlegate.

The full lists are shown below. I have 11 of the albums and 12 of the songs if you’d like to begin to understand my own eclectic tastes. My own favourite song for the year is “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People, which is in the list and my favourite album is ’50 Words For Snow’ from Kate Bush. The latter sadly isn’t in the list;

Guardian Readers’ albums of 2011

20 Destroyer – Kaputt

19 Adele – 21

18 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

17 Björk – Biophilia

16 St Vincent – Strange Mercy

15 King Creosote & John Hopkins – Diamond Mine

14 The Arctic Monkeys – Suck it and See

13 Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX – We’re New Here

12 Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen

11 Wu Lyf – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

10 Metronomy – The English Riviera

9 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

8 Katy B – On A Mission

7 The Horrors – Skying

6 Tom Waits – Bad as Me

5 James Blake – James Blake

4 Wild Beasts – Smother

3 Bon Iver – Bon Iver

2 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

1 Matt Cardle – Letters

Guardian Readers’ songs of 2011

20 St Vincent – Cruel

19 Nicola Roberts – Beat of My Drum

18 Azealia Banks – 212

17 Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks

16 Summer Camp – Better Off Without You

15 Wild Beasts – Bed Of Nails

14 Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle

13 Lady Gaga – Born This Way

12 Bon Iver – Holocene

11 Joe Goddard – Gabriel

10 SBTRKT – Hold On

9 Laura Marling – Sophia

8 Metronomy – The Look

7 Radiohead – Lotus Flower

6 PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder

5 Adele – Someone Like You

4 M83 – Midnight City

3 The Horrors – Still Life

2 Lana Del Rey – Video Games

1 Matt Cardle – Starlight

Here are a few related videos, starting with one of my least favourite songs of the year “Run For Your Life” from Matt Cardle

 

“I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now, entertain us” July 30, 2011

Filed under: News — justwilliam1959 @ 8:01 pm
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Do you ever feel like Big Brother or simply the Nanny State is watching us or coming to get us even? Are there people and organisations out there that would like to control what we see, hear and read? I believe that there are. I guess the recent phone hacking debacle has gone some way to proving this. If scum tabloid newspapers can get away for years with listening to people voice messages (and who knows what else) then what the hell must the ‘powers that be’ get up to?

Spencer Elden recreates that classic album cover aged 17

So a small part of this kind of state is reflected in the recent action by Facebook. They removed a picture of the iconic cover of Nirvana’s classic album ‘Nevermind‘ from the album’s Facebook page. Presumably because it shows……..shock, horror…. a baby penis! They have apparently rectified what has been described as an administrative error, personally I see it as more of a cock-up. What do you think?

Spencer Elden in a TV appearance around the time he turned 20 earlier in 2011

Click here to read about it in the Guardian. Spencer Elden, now aged 20, was the baby in the picture. In 2008 he was quoted as saying “Quite a few people in the world have seen my penis, so that’s kinda cool.” He is the son of a friend of Nirvana’s photographer.

 

“Good evening this is the Intergalactic Operator, can I help you?” April 27, 2011


I have always been a big fan of space exploration and I remain extremely disappointed that the Apollo programme was ended way to soon. The last time a man set foot on the moon was 38 years ago in 1973. Since the first moon landing in 1969 only 12 men have set foot on any piece of land which isn’t the Earth. The big programmes since Apollo have been the Space Shuttle, which is very close to retirement, the International Space Station, now largely supplied by the Russians and SETI. The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence are the words that lend themselves to the SETI acronym.

For me the Shuttle was never a good replacement for the Apollo Programme and whilst it was and remains a brilliant act of international cooperation the International Space Station is hardly a mission to Mars is it? However the principles behind SETI have always meant a lot to me. An organisation and network set up with the aim of being there for any communication from alien civilisations is really exciting, isn’t it? If you’ve seen the Jodie Foster movie ‘Contact‘ then you’ll know how important and difficult it could be. do I believe that there are alien civilisations out there? Yes I do. How about you?

Anyway let me get back to the purpose of todays post; it appears that the SETI Institute has run out of money. Just how sad is that? Still as long as we leave an appropriate answer machine message we’ll be fine won’t we? I feel really let down that we have come to this. Can we not find a few billionaires with some spare cash to keep SETI in operation? read the report here in the Guardian.

So as I have said many times before this is a music blog so here are a few appropriate songs for this sad story, feel free to submit your own;

 

“Now hold on a minute before we go much further, give me a dime so I can phone my mother” April 17, 2011


Dizzee enjoyed dressing as an 18th Century poet whilst promenading with a powerful female. Thatcher hasnt aged well has she?

Hello people, I have some assorted bits of music related news for you in todays post. Some old, some new and some strange. Beginning with Dizzee Rascal, who according to the UK tabloid press has an addiction. But not to drugs, drink, sex or gambling, but to 18th century poets. He is very much into his Wordsworth, Byron, Blake and Keats. Mr Rascal, formerly known as Dylan Mills, is hoping that classical English poetry will have an influence on his next album. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? Read about it here in the soaraway Sun and be careful your phone isn’t tapped!

Simon makes one last appearance on Page Three before he departs for the USA

Most of you probably know that Simon Cowell will be leaving the UK version of X Factor to launch and take part in the US version. It still seems most likely that he will take Cheryl Cole with him, providing the Americans can understand her one assumes. My only wish is that the opportunity is taken to get rid of Louis Walsh. What do you think and also who would your ideal fantasy X Factor judging panel consist of? My vote would be Lily Allen, Keith Richards, Jeremy Paxman and Nick Clegg. The latter choice is largely because there should always be one idiot on the panel and surely he will be out of a job soon won’t he?

Clearly Liam was buzzing about the new Beady Eye Bee Side

You’ve probably all heard of the post Oasis band Beady Eye, which is basically Oasis without Noel. I have listened to their album and it’s not bad, it’s hardly ‘Definitely Maybe’  or ‘Morning Glory’ but it’s ok. Anyway this isn’t a review but a rather strange piece of news about Liam Gallagher. According to a report in the NME (click here to read it) he likes to warm up before he goes on stage by listening to Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, let’s pray he doesn’t do a cover version of it! What song do you use to get pumped up before work? For me it’s often “Complete Control” by the Clash or “Do Anything You Wanna Do” by the Rods.

Billie Joe auditions for a part in the new version of Snow White

Tom Hanks is currently preparing to produce a film adaptation of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ album. The director is likely to be Michael Mayer who was the director for the ‘American Idiot’ Broadway musical. Could this be this generation’s ‘Tommy’? Only time will tell. Click here to read the NME report. What album would you like to see turned into a film? I would definitely vote for David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’

And finally how small do you think the world’s smallest working guitar actually is? Well you’re probably wrong. It is in fact no bigger than a human blood cell and obviously impossible to be played in a conventional way. It has to be played by having lasers directed at the strings. Read more about the Nano Guitar in the Guardian by clicking here.

 

“Then preheat the oven to three fifty and give that spoon a lick” April 3, 2011


Well hello again dear readers it’s been 2 and a half weeks since my last post, that is probably the longest I have ever gone without posting, so hopefully I can make up for that in the next couple of weeks. As long as work doesn’t get in the way at least.

Thom auditions for the new series of Vision On

This post is a motley collection of the amusing and strange that I have picked up or seen and heard during that long lay off. Have you heard the new Radiohead album? You must have by now surely. I like it but I don’t think it’s as good as ‘In Rainbows‘. There have been many suggestions that as ‘King Of Limbs’ is quite a short album there will be a part 2 coming soon. I certainly hope so. Anyway if you are a fan you will no doubt have seen the video for “Lotus Flower” with Thom Yorke‘s crazy dance. This has spawned many versions of the video which put Thom together with completely different songs, many of which are rather amusing. Click here to see some of the best.

In a recent article in the Guardian’s Lost In Showbiz section it was revealed that Mark Feehilly off of Westlife is a big fan of artist Leigh Bowery. That really does seem weird to me that a member of one of the blandest boybands ever is into a performance artist who has been known to throw shit at his audience. But then again Westlife have been pushing shit songs at their audience for years now so maybe it’s not that weird. Click here to read the rather excellent piece.

The new Westlife tour has been sponsored by Ferrero Rocher and Leigh Bowery has designed the stage costumes........ oh ambassador you spoil us!

Have you ever wondered how well ambient music and cop radio go together? well wonder no more, this is a mash-up of recordings taken from the LA Cop radio frequency and some superb ambient style music. I really love this, what do you think of it? Click here to listen, you can also listen to similar sounds from different North American cities.

A scene from an Isaac Hayes concert, although the costumes were probably from a 70s porn movie!

And finally for this post, ever wonder about the genesis of the wah wah pedal? ever wondered what music would be like without the pedal? Well click here to see how the wah wah came to be and obviously there would have been no “Theme From Shaft” or indeed any 70’s porn soundtracks without it! Check out two very different Isaac Hayes classics below

 

“Look at you, the record stops will you run, or flirt ’til it hurts?” January 19, 2011


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!

 

“We have climbed so high, never wanna die” January 15, 2011


I used to have this poster on my bedroom wall as a teenager

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”

Nick Cave 1 Speed Camera Nil

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;

 

 
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