Jim’s July Playlist – The Reaction

“The dogs are impatient for attention….” he opened with. Pretty obvious metaphor there. It wasn’t lost on me, I just tried to brush it aside yesterday.

Anyway, I thought with the whole deluded continuation of “discs and doughnuts”, I’d post my reactions to Jim’s choices this month.

Will O The Wisp

I must confess that I really was unfamiliar with the folklore tale behind it. I knew it was a term but really didn’t know anything about it and felt compelled to look it up. It didn’t escape my attention that a variation on the character is known as “the Spunkie” in the Scottish Highlands. Maybe that is where the alternative term for “having spunk” – ie: to be gallus and have attitude and bolshiness – comes from?
Anyway, on to the song itself. After one listen…I’m not sure. Very few songs capture me after a solitary listen, it has to be said. Those that do are pretty damn special. The only judgment I can pass for now is that I probably prefer other Pet Shop Boys songs to this. But I will give it a few more listens…it may lure me in…

Israelites

To be honest, all I could think of initially is this!

But in all seriousness, it’s a great reggae/soul/gospel fusion. Obviously political too – well, to my ears it has a political slant.

She Sells Sanctuary

I have to admit as much I have enjoyed hearing the song over the years, it was a rare one that escaped my knowledge lyrically. Most songs if they grab my attention I’ll educate myself on lyrically. I guess for this I just liked the tune and was happy for Astbury’s lyrics to be just gobbledegook to my ears.

She’s A Mystery To Me

What is NOT to love about the Big O? Geez, the man could sing the phonebook and have you crying tears. An immaculate falsetto too – used to perfection to end the song. My mum bought a copy of Mystery Girl for herself. I had bought a copy of You Got It as a single and she had to trump me. Lol. She loved him. I think she may have even seen him perform live but I am not so sure now – and I can’t really ask her. We were both so saddened by his passing. A great loss at still a relative young age.

When Jim mentioned that semi-conscious half sleep, half wake state, I had to comment about Alasdair Gray, Lanark, and my discovery of the word “dwam”. Reading Lanark, I have been made aware of so many words I had never heard before and “dwam” was just one of them. And because I had never seen/heard it before I had to look up its meaning and I instantly fell in love with it.

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Let The Good Times Roll

The Cars are one of those bands that I dabble into now and again and enjoy listening to a “best of” and then they languish again. Much like how it was for Simple Minds for the longest time. I am only familiar with “the hits” and the use of Drive showing the footage of the Ethiopian famine at Live Aid – forever synonymous with those images. Ingrained on the conscious. As much as Ric Ocasek is seen as the main head of the group, it was the songs with Benjamin Orr on vocals that are my faves – Let’s Go and Just What I Needed, as well as Drive, of course – but all the songwriting is Ric’s. Favourite line is from Let’s Go “she’s got wonderful eyes and a risqué mouth” – combined with Orr’s delivery of it – I just find it damn sexy.

Hey, but it’s Let The Good Times Roll that we’re on about here. I’m surprised Jim didn’t relay the story of the signing to Zoom/Arista as part of it because he had mentioned in the past that as part of the celebration of Simple Minds signing the Arista deal, they went to a Cars gig and it was another reason why the song has resonance with him – as for Simple Minds the “good times” were indeed about to roll.

Kooks

It’s such a fab song. And what a gift David gave to Duncan writing this for him. He and David had such a wonderful relationship. It was heartbreaking seeing Duncan on Twitter announce his imminent fatherhood and the sadness he felt that David wouldn’t get to experience being a grandfather. 😦

The song is just a lovely “you and me against the world, kid!” anthem. Both kitschy and beautiful.

What Jim said of Bowie’s Glastonbury performance I agree with. It actually seemed quite lacklustre and David himself just didn’t seem in the right place for it. His music of the period fell a bit flat for me. He had released album ‘Hours…’ several months prior and I wasn’t keen on it, to be honest. Move ahead three years and Heathen could not have been any different! To me, Heathen is on a par with Low as my all-time favourite Bowie album.

Back to Glasto…I’m not sure what it was beyond the music. His voice seemed weak to me. He had given up smoking. Iman was pregnant with Lexie and so he was trying to stay away from the “cancer sticks” – sadly it seemed to be somewhat to the detriment of his voice at the time. I’ve not watched the performance since the time. I never wanted to go back to it. I was seeing the hype over social media last weekend and I wasn’t particularly fussed. And I certainly didn’t want to put my head above the parapet and express my disappointment with the set back then. Perhaps I should watch it on iPlayer to see if my opinion and feeling has changed?

Almost exactly 12 months later I got to see him live for the one and only time – seeing him at a day long festival at Old Trafford cricket ground called Move. He was top of the bill. Suede were on before him. There were several other acts on the bill – the other highlight being The Divine Comedy (another man who could sing the phonebook and make me swoon – Neil Hannon). The weather was dodgy during the day and when Suede arrived on stage the heavens opened. Brett Anderson did his best to distract us in the crowd from the downpour but we all looked like drowned rats by the time David appeared. When he did appear, the gloaming sunlight returned – as if we had been joined by God himself. I was soaked to the bone and freezing cold, but I didn’t care. He was wonderful.

Thunderstruck

Oh, I have an aversion to Brian Johnson fronted AC/DC, I really do. I can tolerate Back In Black, but after that, I just find them a parody of themselves. To me, Johnson is a mimic of Bon Scott – and not a good one. “Cartoon rock” is a summation I’d agree with. Not when Bon was around though! Not on your nelly.

So, along with the glockenspiel and triangle, we can add “air-drums” to Jim’s calibre of “instruments” he can play? Lol

Thank god I got me a real kit last week! Jim can probably play his air-drums better than I can play my real ones right now though!

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The Joke

And so we go from the ridiculous to the sublime. Oh, you are too right, Mr Kerr on this one. The emotion in that lady’s voice?! Wow. Nothing else to add.

You can listen to Jim’s playlist here…
(Check Simple Minds FB for his explanation of the choices.)

 

The Anglophile – A ‘Discs And Doughnuts’ Playlist

This one started germinating from the idea of two things – the response to the “Antipodean Greats” playlist and that love of music from the UK that I always had too. “The Mother Country”, old “Blighty”. As the Australian nation post WWII looked to align itself firstly with America and then in more recent years as part of southeast Asia, my personal allegiance was still with the UK – particularly musically and culturally.

The other was Jim’s choice of Life In A Northern Town for his June playlist. As much of an affiliation I had for the UK musically and culturally, it wasn’t necessarily somewhere I desired to live when I was growing up. It always looked so bleak and dreary. Despite the bleak appearance though, it still managed to appeal. “Life In A Northern Town” may not have seemed very aesthetically appealing, but in other ways there was a draw.

Cars – Gary Numan

It’s synch pop bliss. And I was always conscious of it coming out of the UK. The synth based New Wave sound was very obviously very UK centric to me. Cars is probably the epitome of that sound for me. That final minute is just heaven. It gives me goosebumps every time. Always just does something to the senses. Never fails.

Dreadlock Holiday – 10CC

Brits abroad. That’s Dreadlock Holiday. It always used to be on the radio this one. Feels kind of odd to go for this track but it just came to me as I was thinking about what songs seemed typically “Brit” to me. I was so very tempted to add Godley and Creme’s An Englishman In New York as well – if for nothing else than the splendiferous video that accompanies it.

Ghost Town – The Specials

Seemed to sum up how Britain looked from the outer. Bleak, drab, rundown…deserted. Not exactly a song that English Tourism would be clamouring to use for an advertising campaign. Lol. And now the song has resonance again in a whole new light. Life is constantly cyclical. Only certain aspects change.

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

1984 Probably the height of my love for 80s music and the vast majority of it is coming from the UK. I guess there are some exceptions. Australia was a real melting pot of influences – taking in music equally from the USA and Britain. The preference for me was always the British stuff. FGTH was HUUUUUUGE in 1984 and into ‘85. And the first thing that made its way to us was Relax. It took quite a number of years before I saw the “other” video (the one I chose here – seems rather sedate now). The one I remember when first recalling hearing the song is the one done with the laser lights. I loved Frankie and Holly’s voice just absolutely knocked me for six.

I could have chosen Ferry Cross The Mersey but…nah.

Eurythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again

Rain. It always seemed to be raining in the UK. If it wasn’t raining, then it had just rained or was about to. The skies seemed permanently grey in any footage I ever saw coming out of the UK. Very rarely did it ever look sunny.

God, how I wanted to be Annie Lennox as a 13 year old! She was tall, androgynous, and she looked beautiful. Nothing I was ever going to be. The one thing I always wanted to change about myself (apart from weight – but that I could alter and do something about) was my height – or lack thereof. I ALWAYS wanted to be tall. If I had been at least 5’8” tall, I’d have been happy. Wasn’t to be…

Big Country – In A Big Country/Wonderland

I couldn’t decide which Big Country track I wanted. I love In A Big Country. As opposed to England and its urban drab dreariness – Scotland seemed beautiful and mystical. You don’t really get sold Glasgow. Alasdair Gray was spot on in Lanark. No one ever “sold” Glasgow to you. They sold the Highlands, the munros, the heather, the kilts, the lochs – Brigadoon. Big Country were rock music Brigadoon. They fed you it, still. Stuart Adamson with guitar effects like bagpipes. So…I think I was initially sold it with Wonderland. I bought it as a 12” single and then bought The Crossing after that. So, I’m not purely an “Anglophile”. But…try and find an equivalent phrase for Scotland and you see how Anglo-centric the UK is! Scotophile? Hiberophile? Caledonophile? Albaphile? Which would you choose? Answers on a postcard.

The Clash – London Calling

Political punk that always rang a chime with me.I can’t say I am the BIGGEST Clash fan. Never sought out their music too much. Had a 12” copy of Should I Stay Or Should I Go back in the day. Always loved Rock The Casbah too. They just had that very London centric kind of sound – even though there are ska, reggae and rockabilly leanings in the fusion of musical genres.

Adam And the Ants – Stand And Deliver

Although Adam had that kind of meld of the Native American meets pirate look thing going on – it was so very obvious he was from London and so Stand And Deliver plays up to that kind of thing. “The dandy highwayman” – Dick Turpin et al. Prince Charming played up to it to a degree also. It just has that skewed “cheeky chappy” Londoner thing about it. Playing up to aged stereotypes.

Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK

Well if you properly research your music history, then you know that punk – purely as a musical genre – started out in America. But punk as a concept, as an ethos, as a culture as a way of life DEFINITELY took hold in Britain. And the one band most lauded as taking the ethos and running with it are The Sex Pistols. I guess you could choose anything from Never Mind The Bollocks – but the obvious choice due to the playlist subject is Anarchy In The UK.

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

The first thing that knocked me for six was the sound of Jimmy Somerville’s voice. And then it was the video. As a 14 year old girl who probably wasn’t even aware if she knew any gay boys at the time or not, I was just floored by that video. I mean, even still for that time, it was brave to highlight such a thing. I mean in the same year Queen release I Want To Break Free and do their video and the U.S. fans just DUMP them. And although gay rights was a worldwide thing, it was obvious the video was UK based. So the song has a UK centric sensitivity to it for me.

The Police – Synchronicity II

The picture of domesticity. A highly “dysfunctional” family – as they would be called. “Another suburban family morning / grandmother screaming at the wall / we have to shout above the din of our rice crispies / we can’t hear anything at all” Sting writes. It’s a bleak picture. It could be anywhere in the modern western world, really only for the chorus that pertains to a Scottish loch “many miles away”. I guess it could be Europe somewhere – but more likely England, and more likely northern England, perhaps near Sting’s childhood home in Northumbria. It conjures up that bleak, dreich imagery in its wording for me and the drama of the music. And…just, a moment to say that – as a drummer, I worship the ground Stewart Copeland walks on! In my dreams I would be even ONE TENTH the drummer he is! OMG!

Tubthumping – Chumbawumba

I’m not usually much of a victim of misheard lyrics as I will study songs and I am usually pretty good and taking lyrics in properly. But in this case, the northern accents got the better of me and I did mishear the chorus as – and it makes absolutely NO grammatical sense! Lol “I get knocked down but I get up again and I’m hanging on a cheap guitar”. Lol. I KNOW! As a joke I still end up singing it like that. So, yeah…it’s just an anthem, really, innit? A celebration of pub culture, essentially. Something oddly uplifting about it too in that – correctly worded here – chorus “I get knocked down but I get up again and you’re never gonna keep me down”.

Blur – Parklife

It’s just…London, innit? All the “cool Britannia” stuff of the mid to late 90s. The bands of the time and the whole Oasis v Blur thing. In that contest it was Blur for me. Oasis didn’t do as much for me – though I liked Don’t Look Back In Anger, Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova. I suppose I just preferred Essex boys to northern lads – musically then, perhaps. The other groups I liked at the time were Supergrass, Pulp and into the early noughties, Elbow – though after getting a copy of Newborn, I didn’t really stick with them much. Guy Garvey certainly has a way with words though. I also loved the more dance and trip hop stuff – Massive Attack, Faithless, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim.

But, back to Parklife…it just kind of sold a stereotype then – pallid Brits in the sun. And, well, due to Cool Britannia and the closing down of the more industrial aspects of Britain, it started to look cleaner and began to seem more aesthetically pleasing. It wasn’t just the music now that was appealing, it was how life was looking here. We had just ended 13 years of Labor government in Australia in 1996 and the UK finally had a Labour government come in in 1997. The future looked bright. It looked better.

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

A homage to London and the Thames. London was not a part of the whole “Anglophile” thing that particularly appealed. It seemed a big scary, dirty place. And even after my first visit there shortly after I moved over, I felt very “meh” about it. The place I fell in love with first in the first few weeks I was here was Bath. My partner has relatives in Bristol and a cousin was getting married 4 weeks after I moved over. A bit of a baptism of fire, that. Going to a big family wedding when we’d barely been married a year ourselves. We stayed a weekend in a B&B on the outskirts of the city and had a day in Bath. The weather was glorious and warm and the architecture of Bath floored me.

It took a while…but slowly there were aspects of London I grew to like. The convenience of getting there from Luton was a HUGE plus. Erm….the West End. Theatreland. The museums and art galleries. The fact it is a cultural hub. From being absolutely indifferent to London, over the years I found the little hubs and things I liked about it. And certainly being by the Thames (particularly along the Southbank) was one. I never wanted to live in London though. NEVER. Luton was more than close enough.

London is definitely no Glasgow! Thank fuck for that!

You can also listen to the tracks as a Spotify playlist here…

Jim’s June Playlist – The Reaction

The response to June’s “Discs and Doughnuts” follows.

I suppose Computer Love is more “accessible” than earlier Kraftwerk. More lyrics, more harmonies. I guess “warmer”. It’s more dancey too, I suppose. It has a rhythm though…that kind of minimalist repetitive cycle which gets quite hypnotic…not as, I dunno “colourful” as it was on Autobahn. I do like it though. Hard not to like anything by Kraftwerk. Masters of the game.

Never heard Rubberband Man before ever in my life before. Detroit Spinners I am guessing (without looking into it – doing in totally blind) are Motown – it’s Detroit, right? That funk centric thing cannot help but be fab and uplifting. It’s the BVs that make it for me.

I love Jim – Iggy, I mean. I admit to not exploring The Stooges so much. I’ve gone to in the past. Obviously being led to Iggy via Bowie and learning Raw Power was produced by David so it was a natural progression of discovery to look into Iggy and Lou Reed, etc. I guess The Stooges didn’t pull me in as strongly as Iggy did as a solo artist.

I gotta say the Sparks track is catchy. Lol. It has great harmonies. Fun for the novelty value. On this first listen I can’t see it being something I will be playing in years to come thinking “wow, what a classic!” Lol. I mean, it isn’t exactly The Number One Song In Heaven, is it?

How do you like people who think you suck arse, Jim? Lol. All I remember is Mac going on about, well, maybe not so much you, I dunno…but he was always dissing Bono and back as a lovelorn teen it would fucking piss me off. Lol. I prefer other Bunnymen songs, I think. (Lips Like Sugar – wonder why that would be? Lol. The Cutter.)

4th And Vine. Bhangra beat! It’s almost like (apart from the actual marriage aspect of the song) the “lockdown let out ladies let’s get dolled up release”. Lol. Put the bins out – bin isolating dress up excuse. Lol. It’s got all that getting married/love stuff in it. Meh. Lol. (I’m just envious, is all.)

Life In A Northern Town: It’s a magic mix of melancholy and joy. It has that softness in between those drums. For Aussies like me, it kind of reinforced that feeling of like “geez, England looks sssoooo oppressive!” Oh, as that line comes in “as the train pulls out of sight…byyyyye byyyye” – the protracted delivery of the “bye bye” – that used to induce tears I’m not ashamed to say. As oppressive as England looked, it always drew me in though. The music made me the most extreme Anglophile. Because the music ALWAYS transcended how life looked. And the same went for Scotland too. When I moved here – first to England, then to Scotland – both felt like “coming home”. As much as I loved growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney – there was always something that never felt quite like I belonged. I dreamed of getting out.

I love musicals. I’ve seen a few. And this is where I let my guard down and admit that my favourite musical is the Disney version of Beauty And the Beast. Lol. I’ve seen it about seven times on the stage in Sydney, London, Bristol (during the early stages of whooping cough in 2002 – surprised they didn’t chuck me out of the Hippodrome – I couldn’t shut up!) and Milton Keynes. Own copies of the animated film and the original cast recording of the Australian production (Hugh Jackman as Gaston, thank you very much – sadly I didn’t get to see him on the stage, he was only in the Melbourne production and didn’t come up to Sydney, DANG!). Went and saw the live action remake a few years back. Yep!

Anyway…moving on! Tom Waits…well…yeah, he’s kind of an acquired taste. Lol. I could take him in small doses. Not sure I could deal with that voice for a whole album or concert. It is a lovely languid version and not dripping with pretension – which is always good. And it’s musically pretty lush.

Well…no need for me to do a playlist in response just yet, eh, Jim? (As if he’s looking or gives a flying fuck. Lol. Asked the fans what their choices would be in the post today – no interaction! Oh, Mr Kerr, you are a master at dangling a carrot on a stick, you really are).

I keep telling myself I will try and walk away. Save myself. But I always come back for more!

Speaking of Motown…

Of course you can hear Sir’s playlist HERE