Saturday 30 May 2020

What will you be doing in your late seventies?

Whatever it is, I bet it doesn't get six million views and counting on YouTube...

Now I know there's nothing revolutionary here but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? And this... this is pretty good, I reckon? What do you think?

Friday 29 May 2020

Songs for tomorrow: No Tomorrow

From Suede's decent comeback album, Night Thoughts. With apologies for the overly stocked supermarket at the start of this video...

Friday 22 May 2020

Monday 18 May 2020

Monday long song: Anyway

I've written about The Church before - in fact, I opened my old Clandestine Classics series with one of their tracks (ten years ago, blimey). When they started out, in the early 80s, The Church, in their stronger moments, were a bit like an Australian REM, as in that track I've linked to above. As time went on, they became a different, darker, gothic animal, more like an Australian Mission. As the 80s gave way to the 90s, the songs got longer and longer, and arguably less melodic. My interest in them didn't last much beyond 1993. I understand that frontman Steve Kilbey had personal demons to deal with - others might be better placed to judge whether this was a factor in the gradual change in musical style, I don't know.

Anyway... this is from an EP released in 1998, well past my days of buying Church releases but discovered a couple of years ago via YouTube. It's not great, it's not terrible, but it is long enough to qualify for this series.

What do you reckon? Bobby-dazzler or bobbin-shite?

No band would call themselves The Church these days, not if they wanted to be Googlable...

Sunday 17 May 2020

The greatest Smiths song they never recorded

I might have mentioned this before, I can't remember, but if I have I'm going to repeat myself because this is brilliant on so many levels: as a musical pastiche, as a literary history lesson, as comedy... Really, watch it all the way through, with the sound turned up. How many Smiths songs are referenced?

Wasted on the kids, I tell her.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Separated at birth VIII - Maroon 5's Memories and Pachelbel's Canon

Memories by Maroon 5

I haven't done one of these for a while (five years, as it turns out, almost to the day!) but I heard Memories by anodyne pop rockers Maroon 5 yesterday, and I was really struck by the chord progression - it was so familiar. Now I'm not well versed in classical music, so it took me a while to find what it reminded me of; in the end, it took working out where I'd heard the piece (at weddings) to help me track down Pachelbel's Canon. People get excited about whether Lana Del Rey ripped off Radiohead, and then whether Radiohead ripped off The Hollies; similarly, hitting Oasis with the Beatles stick is a popular pastime. Clearly they've all been doing it wrong, and Adam Levine's got it right: if you're going to plagiarise someone, pick a dead person who can't sue you, and whose work is all out of copyright.

Canon in D by Pachelbel, popularly known as Pachelbel's Canon

Previous separations at birth

Footnote: I am a very, very long way from being the first person to spot this (example), so apologies if it's old news...

Friday 15 May 2020

Songs for tomorrow: All Tomorrow's Parties

Can't help but wonder whether anyone has sped up or pitch-shifted Nico yet? In the same way Dolly Parton's Jolene was so effectively slowed down...

Thursday 14 May 2020

The Unewsual II - the faded beauty of abandoned cars

I found much to like in this news story about a photographer who has been capturing old cars, as they are reclaimed by nature. You don't need to be a petrolhead to enjoy this either, just to know a good picture when you see one; it's really worth clicking through to...

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Rain Makes The Roses Grow

A public service announcement for all Gene fans, and anyone else who likes good music. At 8.30pm this Friday, the 15th of May, Martin Rossiter will be playing a mini gig online. The gig marks his 50th birthday, and is also a fundraiser for NHS Charities Together. You don't have to donate to watch, but you'll feel better about your life if you do. Here, let the man tell you himself:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Martin Rossiter (@martinrossiter) on

These are the links you'll be looking for:

Martin is promising the first airing of a new song too, Rain Makes The Roses Grow. Not bad for someone who was going to be playing his farewell gig next month...

And as if that isn't enough, straight after the gig Tim's Twitter Listening Party will be listening to Olympian from 10pm, look:

Do not miss this.

Monday 11 May 2020


Last month, I had a little moan on Twitter about Robert Peston, specifically this, about his use of "so-called" to describe the logarithmic scale:

No-one else was too bothered, as you can see. No replies, no retweets, just a couple of likes. I wrote it off as Peston being a bit crap, and me being a bit picky.

But then last night, at around 1am, the anchor on BBC News described the COVID-19 rate of infection as "the so-called R number"! What's so-called about it? It is the R number, plain and simple.

Now I know language changes, so I started to wonder whether the common usage of "so-called" had changed, and no-one had told me. But look, it hasn't... Collins dictionary defines it as an adjective meaning "designated or styled by the name or word mentioned, esp (in the speaker's opinion) incorrectly..." But that's just the British English definition. The same dictionary goes on to define the term's meaning in American English as "popularly known or called by this term". So, as English absorbs more Americanisms, is so-called becoming one of those words that is its own antonym? Both incorrectly called, and correctly called? Like cleave meaning both cut apart and stick together? A contronym, for the other word nerds out there.

Anyway, what's my point? Well, I just wish British journalists would stick to using "so-called" in the conventional British Engligh manner. Logarithmic scales, R numbers... these are not debatable or dubious concepts. They are established factual concepts of science and maths. Sloppy wordplay does them no favours in our age of misinformation and unclear messages.

Better find an appropriate song, I guess.

Anything But Nothing

An ongoing positive from the lockdown is that artists have time to make their art. Which, if you're a musician, might mean playing live from your front room or, you know, recording bedroom demos.

I've enthused about Such Small Hands before. She (Melanie) is the bass player with The Wedding Present and, prior to lockdown, had just crowdfunded enough money to record a solo album. That, like just about everything else, is on hold for now...but in the meantime, Melanie has created this lockdown demo, which is typically haunting and has interesting lyrics, very much borne of the COVID days in which we live. Is good, yes?

Friday 8 May 2020

Songs for tomorrow: Wait Until Tomorrow

God, it's hard to find good embeddable versions of Jimi Hendrix. Maybe the eternal wranglings over his estate just mean that everything gets taken down. Anyway, I found this, on Vimeo, which will have to do. I prefer the version from Jimi's Radio One sessions album, but needs must...

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Not just Downtown

These are from 2013. The first one will have passed you by (it did me) but you'll recognise the second. Petula Clark was 79 when she recorded these...

Friday 1 May 2020