Monday 29 April 2019

Fantasy Cover Version #17 - if Kacey Musgraves covered "Does This Train Stop on Merseyside?"...

The seventeenth 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, plus it introduces me to artists and songs with which I am not familiar. Here we go...

It was during the coverage of the 6 Music Festival from Liverpool a few weeks ago when a certain track, a very apt one, received a fair bit of airplay and I immediately fell in love with it. I'm not even sure if I already knew it – I felt as if I should, but I couldn’t recall. Whatever - it's up there now with my favourite examples of what I consider as "perfect pop", alongside such classics as Big Star's September Gurls and Lucky You by the Lightning Seeds. I've got a thing for that lightness of touch and a particular type of hook, especially if there's a wistfulness to it, a heart. And a slow-ish pace, that kind of lazy beat, with a voice that means every word.


I let it seep in, take me with it all the way to Merseyside, and I love it as it is. But I found myself thinking of another song too, it reminded me of... of what? There was something in the crafting and the chord sequence which brought me to an altogether different artist and I started to imagine a different, but equally effective, beautiful take.

I know who could do the perfect cover version of this, and she would give it a new, feminine, country-tinged spin.

What a world, indeed

Play them side by side and hopefully you'll know what I mean.

Hey, does this train stop at Nashville?

So what do you reckon? Would Kacey covering Amsterdam work for you?

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.

Monday 8 April 2019

The cycle-path test

After years of not doing any, I've done a lot of cycling recently. More than 2,200 miles in the last ten months, apparently. And I'm not going to lie to you, it has transformed my fitness and general health. In that time I've lost nearly a stone and a half in weight, and my cholesterol level is now so low the nurse had to double check her machine. Not only that, but about 60% of those miles would have been clocked up in the car previously, so I've saved money and reduced my CO2 footprint too.

So far, so smug, right?

It hasn't all been sweetness and light, of course. I've got wet quite a lot, such are the vagaries of the British weather (and the inaccuracies of domestic weather forecasts). There have been three punctures and a broken chain. I came off my bike early in February too, and banged my knee up pretty good. That's still not fully better yet either - one of the joys of getting old, everything takes longer to heal. And I'm currently getting a bit of lower back pain on longer (>25mi) rides. Yet another joy of getting old, I expect.

But on the whole, it's been pretty good. The thing is, brilliant though cycling has been for me, it's not the cycling per sé that's been pushing my buttons, oh no. It's Strava. Or, more specifically, the statistics, segment records, club leaderboards, trophy challenges and personal bests that Strava offers. I should probably confess to being quite competitive (and also to the fact that you can probably remove that "quite" too). Competitive with colleagues who use Strava too, sure, but most of all, competitive with myself: I want a faster time, a personal best, a top-10 segment record, a KOM.

Don't worry, I haven't turned into a MAMIL... but I am thinking of buying a new bike... and I have reviewed the Highway Code for the first time in many a year to check the law about cycle paths. No, I don't have to use one if it's there, it is neither compulsory nor mandated (see rules 61 and 63). If the cycle path is well thought out and benefits the cyclist, I'll use it; if it's a poorly conceived afterthought that inconveniences me and/or is full of detritus that gives me punctures, I won't, simple as that. It's no good you honking your horn or shouting out of your window at me either - I'm a road user, just like you, and have just as much right to be on the road as you.

Sorry, ranting there for a sec'. Anyway, all of this is all the excuse I need to wheel out (see what I did there?) this spectacular slice of 70s inappropriateness from Queen. "On your marks, get set, go!"

If you're on Strava, let me know in the comments.

Saturday 6 April 2019

"Simplest but most complicated"

From a pack of playing cards, imported from an unspecified country...

The Big Wizard and Little Wizard are the jokers, by the way. And I should add that the jokers are just regular, traditional jester figures, not depicted as wizards.

So, poker: the simplest but most complicated game in the cultural history of the human being. Who knew?

Still, the happiness in every day is a nice sentiment...

Tuesday 2 April 2019

News of the world

After yesterday's latest instalment of Brexit shambles, today's front pages make for interesting reading.

One of these papers is pro-Tory, one isn't. See if you can discern which...


Whilst the i paper nails it with their appraisal of our elected representatives:

So many ways to spin to the same story. Still, in these dark days of Brexit, at least The Daily Star has cleared up the thorny issue we've all been troubled by recently:

A song, then, and a lesson, as true today as it was 40 years ago. "Don't believe it all. Find out for yourself. Check before you spread..."

Footnote: for a summary of the day's front pages, try Kiosko.

Monday 1 April 2019

Monday long song: That Spiritual Feeling

Post-Council, pre-Modfather reinvention, this is a Weller B-side from when he was a Movement, with a leftover from the rejected final Style Council album...