Thursday 31 August 2023

New to NA: Marseille

I can't remember how or where I stumbled upon this track by Marseille. I don't know much (anything) about the band either, other than what I can hear, which is that they grew up listening to their parents' Roses, Bluetones and La's albums, and inherited not only those influences but their influences' influences too.

What I can tell you is that I rather like this, and you might too.

Tip the authorFrom what I can see Marseille have neither a Bandcamp nor Soundcloud presence, but they do have this handy Linktree should you, like me, want to know more.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Europe. It's like a different country or something... V

I haven't done one of these for a very long time. I know it cheapens the blog and, by extension, me, but I was surprised to find multiple slagrooms in a Dutch supermarket, and intrigued by the idea of luxe and royale variants. And I hadn't even got to Amsterdam...


Tip the authorAt least you know I'm still here, right? I'll try to be back with a proper post soon...ish.

Wednesday 9 August 2023

You're still one illusion that I can't resist

I know very, very little about Deus (or dEUS, as they style themselves), other than that they come from Belgium, started up in the early 90s and have carried on every since. Never huge, their commercial peak came in '99, with the album The Ideal Crash. The band's only continuous members are Tom Barman (vocals, guitars) and Klaas Janzoons (keyboards, violin); for everything else, it's been a revolving door of Belgian musos.

So far, so Wikipedia.

What I do know is that I own one song by them, Magdalena, from the aforementioned Ideal Crash album. I think it was on a Q magazine CD, either a cover-mount or subscriber special (yes, I subscribed for a while, back in the day). Until last weekend I had completely forgotten this track but it seems I thought enough of it at the time to include on a mixtape for someone special. Was it good, or had I just had a four and a half minute gap that needed filling?

Turns out it was quite good, I think. Quite ear-wormy, in places. And quite different too. And as a bonus, I think this might be the first Belgian band to grace these pages... but aside from that, what do you reckon?Tip the author

Friday 4 August 2023


I watched Yesterday again recently. It was on late on the Beeb, nothing else remotely watchable was on and, besides, it has a charming if slightly unoriginal premise that makes it worth a look - imagine what would happen if the rest of the world collectvely forgot something monumental, and only you could remember. Hence struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is the only person who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate reality where they never existed. Cue lots of cameos from Ed Sheeran (the best of which involves Ed comparing Jack to Mozart and himself to Salieri), lots of songs everyone knows to ramp up the feel-good, some good in-jokes (like Oasis not existing either - "Makes sense," says Jack), and even Lily James as the smalltown love interest. And since the whole thing is a Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis creation, you're in safe, if slightly too safe, hands.

But this isn't a film review. There's a scene two thirds of the way through the film where Jack gets to meet John Lennon. Who is in his seventies, living by the sea, quietly creating art, having had a happy, normal life. Well, here it is.

Which is nice, isn't it? Nice to imagine John's life without the events of December 1980.

Did you recognise who was playing John, in that clip, by the way? Behind the de facto round glasses and under the docker's cap? An uncredited cameo from regular Boyle collaborator Robert Carlyle, but I digress. The point is, I guess it was easy to imagine John looking like that: the glasses, the hat, the jeans. It's how I might have drafted him, given the brief. But how, I wondered, would AI imagine him? Like this, it turns out:

My prompt to the AI engine for this was "John Lennon as a pensioner", rather than " 78". But you get the idea. Aside from one side of his glasses being on the wonk, it's quite good. Or is it? I mean, it's well rendered. But does it capture the essence, the spirit of the man? Maybe I should ask a real, human artist to draw John as an old man (any volunteers, C?) and see how it compares.

Tip the authorGiven the artifice of AI, it feels like there's only one song to end this post with. And for non-Beatles obsessives, that guitar solo from 49s is George.

Tuesday 1 August 2023


It's not so long ago, really, that finding somewhere to go after last orders was problematic. Okay, it's 25 years ago, probably more, but it doesn't feel so long since The Man of Cheese and I, plus whatever assortment of others was out that week, would exit a pub a little after closing time and stumble around the provnicial streets of small-town east Kent, in search of a late drink... somewhere.

The thing about stumbling around provincial streets of small towms is that they tend to be pretty quiet, late at night, unlike gaggles of youth post-pub. Often, one of our number would entreat the others to keep it down a bit - we were good eggs, really. But this, in turn, could result in a woozy, beery, giggly rendition of a song from the others in attendance. Verses only, of course; no-one really had the vocal chops for the chorus. I can still hear it now...

I expect some would have seen the title of this blog post and expected some early REM. Well, I don't like to disappoint, so here it is.

Tip the authorGod, I love REM, especially the IRS years. But anyway, the song of theirs I should really include if I want to maintain the theme of walking home tipsy after a night out, stumbling around being accidentally noisy, is this. Intentionally or otherwise, it always felt like the perfect song for arriving home, unable to be quiet despite best intentions, the slightly goofy guitar line through the verse a perfect fit for the attempt to get yourself "up the stairs to the landing, up the stairs into the hall..."