With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Some specials and rat food, get lost in the crowd” February 16, 2013


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I think I am seriously ill, I must be, otherwise why would I like this years official single recorded for Comic Relief? It’s a great cover version of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another” with a few lines of the Undertones‘ “Teenage Kicks” thrown in for free. Why would liking this make me think I am seriously ill I can hear you shout. “WHY DOES LIKING THIS COVER OF BLONDIE’S ONE WAY OR ANOTHER MAKE YOU THINK YOU’RE SERIOUSLY ILL?” (that was you shouting by the way).

Good advice from Debbie for when you have a Wand Erection

Good advice from Debbie for when you have a Wand Erection

Well I am sad to say that the act that has covered it is none other than those X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction or Wand Erection as I now prefer to call them. Their version doesn’t come close to surpassing the original, but it is far better than I would have expected and more importantly it is for a good cause. Click here to make your donation for Red Nose Day 2013. It is released on Sunday 17th February and they will be performing it at the Brits this Wednesday. Enjoy both versions of the song while I go and lie down for a restful nap and hopefully to recover from this abominable blight on my previously great music taste!

 

“I need excitement oh i need it bad” May 2, 2012


At last work has started on cataloging the music collection of the late, great John Peel. A project called The Space at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket is aiming to recreate his library and home studio. Details of his 25,000 strong vinyl album collection is being put on-line at the rate of 100 per week in alphabetical order. This has already begun and includes Adam and the Ants and Abba. The website does not allow you play the music but it will give links to places where you will be able to listen to it.

Along with the album covers even Peel’s index cards have been digitized for the project which benefits from Arts Council funding. I am looking forward to watching it grow on-line, although one worrying point is that Arts Council funding only runs until October. By this time it is hoped to have at least 2,600 album details on-line. Click here to check out the rather excellent site.

A few years ago I considered the idea of contacting John Peel and possibly Elton John (who also has a very large music collection) with a view to offering my services as organiser and curator of their music collections. I had a vision that this would also include building a database for the collection. So if you’re reading this Elton please feel free to get in touch. I will be in the crowd when you play the Royal Harrogate Showground next month!

what song should I choose to celebrate such a momentous piece of Peel news? Surely there is only one option right? yes John Peel’s favourite song ever; “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones.

 

“Now little Jimmy’s gone, he disappeared one day” October 30, 2011


You have probably already read about the death of Jimmy Saville this weekend. He passed away at his home in Leeds aged 84. Whilst he wasn’t a musician the late, great Jimmy Saville has played a prominent role in the music world. He was a dance hall disc jockey in the 40s and 50s and he also claimed to have been the first person to put two turntables and a microphone together. He came to prominence as a DJ when he worked at Radio Luxembourg and was among the first DJs on Radio 1. On 1st January 1964 (coincidentally my 5th birthday) he presented the first ever Top Of The Pops from the BBC’s Manchester Studios. He was also one of the presenters of the last ever Top Of The Pops in 2006.

His TV showJim’ll Fix It‘ made him a true household name as it ran for 20 years on UK TV. the concept was that you wrote to Jim to see if he could ‘fix it’ for you to do something you’ve always wanted to do. At its peak the show received around 20,000 letters per week. I remember that one of my young cousins thought that Jimmy’s first name was in fact Jim’ll.

He also raised vast amounts of money for charity. His accountant apparently said that he stopped counting how much had been raised when it hit £40 million. He ran more than 200 marathons in his tireless effort to raise money. I saw him when I ran my one and only marathon in 1986. I am proud to say that Jimmy Saville finished before me in the London Marathon, obviously he was wearing his trademark gold tracksuit too!

This could be a young Michael Parkinson couldn't it?

This is a great short interview, documentary clip with the man himself.

I’m sure Mr Saville will be sadly missed by fans, friends and family and my thoughts are with them. Sir Jimmy Saville RIP. I will close with an appropriately titled song from the Undertones;

 

“The five years we have had have been such good times, I still love you” December 6, 2010


Well aren’t those December days just rushing past, this is the sixth day of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar and therefore it must be (a bit of an easy one this) December 6th. So go ahead put your fingernail in the frame of the little cardboard door and pull it open carefully. Todays song takes us back to Christmas 1981. It’s those good Sheffield folk, the Human League with a little ditty called “Don’t You Want Me”. It was number one for five weeks in total and became the 30th different UK Christmas number one.

The hair and make-up artist left the country after this job

It was the band’s only UK number one and also reached the top in the US charts as well. They went on to have a further number one in the US with the excellent “Human” in 1986. “Don’t You Want Me” has become a bit af a party staple, I certainly play it at pretty much every mobile DJ gig I ever do. Yet another 80s song that I like, what’s up with me? The 80s was generally crap, wasn’t it?

In the early days Phil could only afford half a haircut

The band released their first single, “Being Boiled” in June 1978. The NME review was quite positive, although guest reviewer John Lydon dismissed the band as trendy hippies. Apparently David Bowie saw them play live at the end of 1978 and allegedly claimed that he had ‘seen the future of Pop Music’. They were even name checked in the Undertones song “My Perfect Cousin” with the line; ‘His mother bought him a synthesiser/Got the Human League in to advise her/Now he’s making lots of noise/Playing along with the art school boys’ An obvious dig at arty music too.

Nowadays Phil (like me) doesn't have any hair to cut

The band originally included Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh who both left in 1980 following a big bust up with Phil Oakey. They went on to form Heaven 17 and thanks to the Human League’s Virgin contract Marsh and Ware also received 1% of royalties from the next League album, which was ‘Dare’ home of “Don’t You Want Me”

The song has been covered a few times, including versions by Alcazar, Mandy Smith and the Farm. Click on the artist names to see and hear those versions.

Enjoy the original Human league video for the song below.

And finally here they are performing the song on Top Of The Pops

 

Reading Festival 2010 – Day 3, Sunday 29th August August 30, 2010


Off to the NME/ Radio tent to kick off our third day at the Reading Festival, where we saw the Joy Formidable and they were indeed a formidable joy, if you’ve not heard them you really should check them out. After that it was back to the BBC Introducing Stage to see another band from Wakefield (remember the Penguins from yesterdays post?) These guys were called the Runaround Kids and I felt that they had a bit of the Undertones about them, the vocalist also has a similar style to Luke from Reading band Steal The Smile. Next up it was Local Natives from Los Angeles and this was their first Reading appearance. I am pretty damned sure that it won’t be the last for these purveyors of great summer pop harmonies. We trundled back to the BBC Introducing Stage again after that for another local band; the Peers. Very much a local band done good, they are a really tight band and seemed incredibly well rehearsed.Los Campesinos have as many personnel as Arcade Fire and are not dissimilar in sound, a very good band indeed.

After our earlier experience in the Comedy Tent (aka Alternative Stage) we returned to see two comics in a row. First up was Charlie Baker from Devon and bears a striking resemblance to Jack Black and he uses this as part of his act, genuinely a funny guy. Secondly we saw Robin Ince; a great ‘leftie’ comedian. We actually hit the comedy tent to get out of the rain, but in spite of that Baker and Ince were bloody hilarious.

The Festival Republic Stage was the next to be graced with our presence, we went there because neither Nick or I could be bothered with Limp Bizkit on the Main Stage. At this point let me tell you Nick’s Limp Bizkit joke; “Do you know that you can now put Viagra in your tea to stop your biscuit going limp?” Boom! Boom! Anyway back to the Festival Republic Stage, the band are from Philadelphia and are called Free Energy. Sadly it was a small crowd, but these guys could work a crowd of almost any size I reckon. The lead singer was very Jaggeresque and came across like Bobby Gillespie with more funk than Primal Scream. In a nutshell an archetypal classic rock band, truly fucking amazing.

Back to the Introducing Stage yet again for the Brilliant Things. The singer appeared to have dressed for the prom or was perhaps a fan of Stevie Nicks‘ (off of Fleetwood Mac) sartorial style. Thanks to Mr H for pointing out that latter suggestion. None of that was meant as negative though, the Brilliant Things are clearly a very good band. Kele off of Bloc Party was next in the NME/ Radio 1 Tent. Electro funk and dance styles really suit him, although I’m not sure the pyjamas did though. But nonetheless he played a storming set and worked his audience really well. Exit International were then on the Introducing Stage. They played screaming hard rock with perhaps too much emphasis on the screaming. It makes you wonder though exactly how the fuck three people can make such noise.

Weezer would easily win the best crowd interaction and comedy awards for the festival if such awards exist. The singer wore a cat hat given to him by someone in the crowd for most of their set. His energy was truly phenomenal and he even found time to fall in the mud while dressed as Lady Gaga. That was during their excellent MGMT cover which had a touch of Gaga thrown in. I am looking forward to seeing them again someday too. Paramore were next, they were very good and had a strong fan base in the crowd. Personally I thought they would have fitted better if they had been on before Weezer. Hayley’s voice was a little too low in the mix for the first couple of songs. The crowd really loved them.

Finally it was time for the last headline band of this years festival and most of us in the crowd had been in position since just before Weezer’s set, those at the front had been there even longer. Yes the stage was set for the return of Blink 182. I had never seen them live before, although I had seen Mark Hoppus with +44 (Travis had a broken arm that tour so didn’t appear, I never had the chance to see Tom Delonge’s Angels And Airwaves. But however good these Blink offshoots were they were surely nowhere near as good as the sum of the original parts. Their stage set, including some strange rabbit animations and a brilliant light show was excellent, but it was the power and camaraderie of the band that really shone through. They played a blistering set, just allowing a few moments of quite amusing toilet humour style banter between songs, including a great dig at Jedward. the crowd were really fired up and everyone I spoke to really loved it.

What a great close to a great festival. although when I first saw the line up back in March I thought I’d be disappointed, I even thought this might be my last Reading. Well I wasn’t and it won’t be! Roll on Reading 2011. Who will the headliners be? I don’t know but my guess at the moment is that it could be Linkin Park and maybe Green Day. I’d be happy with either of those. Who would you like to see there next year?

 

 
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