The Billy Breakdown 20/11/2021

I don’t know how long this new idea will last, but this is the start of a new concept for a weekly post here. It’s going to be called the “Billy Breakdown” and will basically be a short (or long-ish, depending upon how much I feel needs to be discussed) discussion about the previous evening’s edition of the Billy Sloan Show on BBC Radio Scotland.

There was no interviewee this week so the show was fairly crammed full of music this week, which was great. 

There were some really great tunes played this week. Standouts for me were the Wet Leg single, Chaise Lounge, which has now been a constant earworm for me over the past few days. I find the song absolutely SEXY AF. That part of the second verse “hey you, over there / on the chaise lounge in your underwear / what are you doing sitting down / you should be horizontal now” – I mean…come on! It doesn’t leave much to the imagination, does it!? But then there is also “hey you, in the front row / are you coming backstage after the show / because I’ve got a chaise lounge in my dressing room / and a pack of warm beer that we can consume.” Goddamnit, I wish! And no surprises as to who with, either. Bejaysus! 

Anyway, enough of Chaise Lounge and my sexual fantasies. 

Other things about the show this week that I loved:

Inwardly dancing like a loon to Magazine’s Because You’re Frightened. What a tune! And to hear Billy describe John McGeoch as “a beautiful man” – that was lovely. I wish I had got to know of John further back in time than I have done. Malcolm Garrett spoke very kindly of him to me also. He told me they shared a flat together for a time. He is greatly missed by a lot of people.

Hearing the new Johnny Marr single, Tenement Time again – that’s a catchy fucker too! He’s making some cracking music right now. Wish he could share some of that Halloween Scorp magic with me so I could become some super stellar, amazeballs person. 

The Associates – The Rhythm Divine. Another person greatly missed by many is Billy McKenzie. What an incredible voice – and I sat listening, captivated. Stunning. 

Loved the Wings songs played during the “Live and Dangerous” part of the show. It has made me want to hunt down and listen to Wings Over America. 

Then the Skids’ TV Stars. Never heard that before. That’s fab. 

Highlight and surprise of the night? – Highlight was the Lola In Slacks track Strawberry Locks. Wow – what a hypnotic kind of thing that was! It was bloody braw! Surprise of the night was The Scars’ Your Attention Please – and Billy giving me an education, name-dropping an Australian poet I had never heard of in my life! A man by the name of Peter Porter, who had written the poem The Scars track is based upon. Wow, it had some clout, that!

The topic for this week was to choose a song that has a list within the lyrics, be it placenames, items of food, clothing, people… whatever. As long as it listed things. The songs I enjoyed hearing on the topic were producer Gregor’s choice of Adam And The Ants’ Christian Dior, and the other was Ian Dury And The Blockheads’ Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3. I’ve heard the song a few times over the years, but never really took any heed of the lyrics until last night. He was always great with words. My fave line? Unsurprisingly enough is the line “being in my nuddy” – not that I go about naked – just …. Certain imagery that I conjure up thinking of other persons (hint hint). I don’t need to elaborate any further on that, either, I don’t think! 

My choice for this week’s topic came to me quite late. I saw Billy ask the question as I was putting myself to bed on Tuesday night. And I went and had a look at the choices people had left on Facebook on Wednesday morning and saw that someone had chosen Up On The Catwalk. Nothing immediately sprang to my mind on Wednesday morning so I left even trying to think about coming up with a song. Then last night when he asked the question again shortly before going to air – like a shot John Grant’s Marz came to my brain. Marz is basically a list of ice cream flavours that he turns into verses of the song. Marz is meant to be about a place he’d go to as a kid. An ice cream parlour and they had all these fantastical ice cream flavours. It was one of his favourite places to go. For a song about ice cream flavours, it’s really quite beautiful. And I have that silly memory of being in Oz, and Jim writing a post about St Patrick’s Day, choosing a John Grant song and then him posting a link to Marz for me in the comments. Me forever associating the line “you’ll get your heart’s desire, I will meet you under the lights” as a wish to meet him at the stage doors after a gig as a wish that may by fulfilled sooner than I think, if I have the gumption to stand about and wait. Oh, Bridlington…

My choice wasn’t read out this week. Probably got lost in the deluge. 

Along with Up On The Catwalk, I Travel was also chosen by a listener. 

Billy played another track from Peter Capaldi’s St Christopher album and he said they had one of the most amazing responses ever to his interview the previous week with Peter. He said “I’ve interviewed some big names over these past years on Radio Scotland”, and Jim got mentioned amongst those “big names”. That’s Billy making sure he stays on Jim’s Christmas card list! Lol

As for next week he said “I am hoping to get a guest for next week, but nothing has been finalised yet.” Hmmm, a mystery! I wonder who it could be? I kind of wondered with the couple of name-drops that Jim got and that next week’s show will be on November 27th as to whether it might be Charlie on the show? That could be quite fab! 

We shall see!

Link to the show on BBC Sounds HERE

She Rag Doll And Beautiful James

I was catching up with Billy Sloan’s radio show last night. I haven’t listened in for….a few months now. I think I got a bit overwhelmed by him referring to me as one of his “most loyal” listeners. And to be honest, I wasn’t at that point, though I would listen most weeks. But that statement from him – I guess it kind of put the mockers on it. I didn’t feel worthy of such a thing and then weirdly it kind of then … I dunno. Weird, eh?

Anyway, the previous week he had been asking for favourite songs that mentioned mens names in the lyrics or title. Earlier in the week when he first asked the question the song I chose hadn’t entered my head, even though it had been an earworm for days on end already. By Saturday evening, it was there swirling around as Billy posed the question again just before show time. Of course I put in my choice of “Oh, Jim”. I didn’t end up listening to the show that night. I was chatting away to a friend and ended up “otherwise engaged” but I was intrigued to see if my choice got mentioned. It did. And it seemed Billy had missed me! Bless him! I didn’t expect that at all. Well, I’ve missed him too. He puts on a great show week after week and there’s always something that particularly piques the interest – more on that shortly. 

Anyway, that’s a looong preamble to say…I am back listening to Billy Sloan’s show. I didn’t hear it go out live but caught up with it via BBC Sounds last night. The topic was … what do you think is the greatest song of all time? One choice! Mine is “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?” by Jimmy Ruffin. It’s both sadly melancholic but ultimately uplifting. 

Around midway through the show, Billy played “River Deep, Mountain High” and it had me thinking about Jim’s post a few days back about “songs of home” and him talking about Nutbush City Limits – another Ike and Tina Turner song. As River Deep, Mountain High was playing, I am taking in the words as I usually do with the songs I listen to. I always try to pay attention to the lyrics. Not always easy as singers’ diction when they sing can vary wildly so it isn’t always easy to decipher lyrics. Hence the long litany of misheard lyrics. Lol. Nothing wrong with Tina’s diction though. I was taking in the lines “when you were a young boy did you have a puppy?” and then my brain backtracked and was thinking about the first lines of “when I was a little girl I had a rag doll” and “I love you just the way I loved that rag doll” and started thinking… “Hang about? Is THIS the genesis for ‘she rag doll’ in Celebrate?”

I have been in recent times debating this line (one could deem it a “mass debate”, perhaps? Though no…not between just two people it ain’t. Lol) with a friend of mine about the true meaning of that “she rag doll” line. Rather unusually for me, I interpreted rather “innocently” – my version of innocent anyway. More a kind of “canoodling” way….a bit kind of “post-coital spooning” kind of way. My friend informed me that a “rag doll” can be seen much more sexualised than that even. I never considered it to have such potency. I found it potent enough with my interpretation of it to be honest. And if one ponders the lyrics further then “she rag doll, keeps him warm / but this negative shows no form” – then I guess a “rag doll” in its most sexualised sense would NOT show any true form on a negative. My word! 

Either way, it’s damn sexy! And it is why I love Celebrate so much. Celebrate, when you get down to the heart of it, is a kind of love song. Well, maybe not a LOVE song – but a song of desire. The desire for lust and life. “A lust for life.” And it’s certainly uplifting. That “dark light” of theirs. Of Jim’s lyrics. Give it a dark heart but make it ultimately “feel good”. God, he’s good at it!

Anyway, River Deep Mountain High seems like the most innocent thing in the world now compared to Celebrate! Lol

Also on Billy’s show, he played this – the new Placebo single. It immediately piqued my interest before it even played as Billy said the title of it is “Beautiful James”. And what a chorus! “Beautiful James / I don’t wanna wake you” – how goddamn beautiful is that?! That’s me right there picturing Jim sleeping and just enjoying the sheer beauty of it. Gorgeous. Just so we end on a rather more innocent note than we could have done on the dirty ditty of Celebrate.

Lanark Last Night

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I have just started Lanark. Only just. I’m not the fastest reader and I started much later than I wanted to, which meant my eyelids already were starting to get heavy barely one chapter in. I managed two. Lol. And am already attributing the identity of Sludden to a certain someone. Lol. And I would be any of those hangers on – apart from Gay – I should be so lucky! Or Rima (she has standards – it seems so far anyways). So I guess it only leaves me to be Frankie – most likely – or the other one whose name escapes me (irony!).

Anyway! Early days.

But I am already wanting to explore the world of Alasdair Gray so much more already as a consequence of those couple of chapters of Lanark.

So very later last night, after listening to a new episode of The Archers (now caught up with the real world – Ambridge is now in lockdown too) – and a very emotional yet beautiful Desert Island Discs with Charles Hazlewood as the castaway – highly recommended listening by me, not always easy, granted! (I still keep wondering when the frig they are going to get Jim on there!). I then put in Gray’s name in the search wondering if the BBC had done any adaptations to his books, etc, so thought I’d see what a search of him would bring up.

Well, it brought up this in the search results. A wonderful interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I started listening. I had assumed Gray would sound very dour and “Weegie” for one – but I found his voice mesmerising and beautiful. He has such music in his voice. A beautiful burr and lilt that I just was not expecting – almost as if he sang as he spoke. As a consequence, as enthralled in the interview as I was, I found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through, to awake again for the final few minutes and the talk of the hardships of making a career from art – making a sustained paid professional income from artistic pursuit.

His final goodbye was pure music, and rather poignant for this must have been one of his final interviews. He passed away at the end of December last year.

I fell in love with him. He sounded like a magical being. Like a pixie or elf or something. Little did I know my flippant little line to Jim the other day about “starting a book at chapter three – seems like my kinda guy” would ring so true.

You can listen to the interview via BBC Sounds HERE

Grant Stott Talks To Bruce Findlay – The Vinyl Collective, BBC Radio Scotland

The link may only work for those in the UK at the moment…and you may need be signed into the BBC website, but I will try and get it as soon as I can so it is listenable to all.

I’ll be heading to the Rip It Up exhibition in Edinburgh in just under four weeks time, in which I’ll also be at a talk being given by Bruce and Ian Rankin as part of the exhibition. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of hearing the great man talk, and of meeting him. It will be fab.

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To listen to the interview, jut click on the audio clip below…

UPDATE: I posted all the info before listening to it. Aaawww, man! Bruce says he “fell in love with” Jim! That is such an awesome thing to say! Who can blame you, Bruce. Who can blame you…