Sunday, 15 July 2018

About the fifteenth of July

Guitarists, note how Bill has capo'ed his way half an octave up the neck, allowing him to sing this half an octave lower than normal. Sore throat, or artistic reasons? We shall never know. Either way, love this version.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

The morning after

So it wasn't to be, but well done to Gareth's boys. And they really are boys, in some cases, so young. Anyway, please beat Belgium and at least bring home the third place medal, and maybe a golden boot for Harry. Then (and more importantly) please don't let this be a false dawn - kick on and do well in Euro 2020.

Seems like a good time to play this - re-releases aside, surely New Order's last great single?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Good luck lads

Number 1 when England lost their Euro '96 semi-final was Killing Me Softly by Fugees (yes, really - Three Lions was number 2 that week).

Number 1 when England lost their Italia '90 semi-final was the double A-side Sacrifice/Healing Hands by Elton John (yes, really - Nessun Dorma was number 2 that week, World In Motion was at 6).

So... here's the number 1 from 30th July 1966, when Jules Rimet really was still gleaming.

Good luck tonight, lads - hope you're not out of time come the final whistle.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

About Wimbledon

An early sporting memory to keep the blog ticking over...

As an aside, if you haven't seen it, Borg McEnroe is a very watchable film, dramatising the events leading up to the 1980 Wimbledon final. And for all the talk of bitter rivalry, fire and ice, and Mac effectively retiring Borg after beating him in the '81 final, it's worth remembering that when John came to get married in 1986, Björn was his best man...

Friday, 6 July 2018

In case it doesn't come home...

...which, given that I rate us the seventh or eighth best team left in the tournament, is entirely feasible ... I mean, tomorrow, we're playing a well-organised, defensive side who have only conceded one goal in the whole tournament thus far, and we haven't scored too much that wasn't from the penalty spot or a deflection, and certainly not against any teams of note ... but anyway, of course it's nice to have something positive to think about, something that isn't Brexit, or an impotent Prime Minister, or perma-tanned balding man-babies with nuclear buttons, or overpopulation, or deforestation, or global warming, or species extinction, or - well, the list goes on. Just try to maintain some objectivity, England, that's all - be hopeful but don't be optimistic. And certainly don't be confident.

And since you probably won't be needing to watch the final on Sunday 15th, you might conceivably be looking for something else to peruse instead. Something a bit gentler, maybe comedic, to lift your post-footy mood, maybe a bit blokey, to blur the edges of the testosterone void the inevitable departure from the World Cup has left. So let me point you towards the hidden gem that is Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, in which Bob Mortimer (triple heart bypass) and Paul Whitehouse (three stents) discuss life, mortality and cardiac problems, whilst Paul teaches Bob to fish at numerous beautiful locations in the British Isles. Unscripted, unsentimental, somewhat unplanned and very, very watchable. Here's the trailer, which explains the premise better than I.

And a clip from episode 2, in which novice Bob catches a bigger barbel than the experienced Paul.

I should add that you need no great interest in, or love for, fishing to enjoy this. I've been fishing a few times, in my younger day, with The Man Of Cheese, but that's the limit of my knowledge. But I still enjoy this. It's about friendship, you see, and growing older, and seeing the world through a different lens, and still being able to laugh with your mate about everything. And I'm all in favour of that.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Fantasy Cover Version #16 - if Black Sabbath covered "Bits And Pieces"...

The sixteenth contributor to this series is C, from the always-excellent Sun Dried Sparrows, and is written with all the thought and detail that makes her blog so compelling. As you will see...

My line of thought started when I saw a clip of the Dave Clark Five doing "Bits And Pieces" on something the other day. Ugh, I hate that song. It really grates. I mean, he’s in bits – he’s in pieces, for Chrissakes, because he’s been dumped -and yet the song is all bouncy and happy and singalong. Maybe it’s just his way of combatting the rejection blues but she went away and left him misery, and that’s the way it will always be, now she says it was just a game but all she’s doin’ is leavin’ him pain. And there they are on "Top Of The Pops" swaying cheerily from side to side like those nodding plastic flower things that go nuts in the sun when you put them on your window sill. (I understand the official term for this item is a Flip Flap. Good to know.) The Dave Clark Five sound, and look, more glad all over than in pieces, bits and pieces.

Too glad all over

Thus I started thinking how this song really ought to be a little more maudlin-sounding, surely. Slowed down a little, and played in a minor key. How much would that change it? So, here’s my challenge to you – think of something a teensy bit sad now, and as you start to choke up slightly (sorry), bring the tune and mood of the Funeral March to mind.

Ashes to ashes (not that one)

Okay, once you’ve got that feel, and that general musical vibe going on, try singing these two lines from "Bits And Pieces" at half speed, in the same note pattern as by the Dave Clark Five but much more plaintively. "Since you left me and you said goodbye, all I do is sit and cry." Now, tell me that that couplet in your head, once phrased in this dirge-like manner, doesn’t sound just like Ozzy Osbourne? The limited vocal expression and switching to a minor key would suit him so well, especially with the way the last syllables in each line are elongated into two – bi-iye and cri-iy. It would sound not unlike "Iron Man".

A bit Paranoid

I want, and need, to hear Black Sabbath cover "Bits And Pieces". It would be the perfect fit.

So what do you reckon? A very good argument, I reckon. And how surprised am I to have featured some Chopin on New Amusements? (Answer: not as much as I am to have featured Black Sabbath...)

Think you can suggest a fantasy cover version this good? Then please, try your luck and remember - the more you make the case, the better! The list of past submissions may inspire you.