Once upon a time, this fine organ – The Rocking Vicar – was simply an email. But what an email! Turmoil, tales, trivia and tittle-tattle were regular features of this in-box innovation. Evolution being what it is, those early ideas mutated and transformed into the site you read today.
But now, let’s delve into the far reaches of the Vicar’s library, past the empty brandy bottles and dog-eared copies of The Word, and sample some of the highlights of those classic emailers, courtesy of long-serving parishioner, Louis Barfe …
WORLD’S WORST GUITAR SOLOS
Parishioner Steve Moore: Bad guitar solos by people who should know better? Jimmy Page on Hot Dog from Zeppelin’s In
Through The Out Door – a hamfisted attempt at a country-style twang-fest. Short But High Quality Solos? – the outright winner must surely be Lowell George’s single note glissando in Long Distance Love (just after the line ‘I wonder does she know’ and before ‘Does she know she hurt me so’) Less than two seconds long but pure, aching heartbreak.
Parishioner Ian Bruce: Having just had to turn it down on the bus into work out of embarassment, can i suggest the solo from The Prisoner by The Clash? what were they thinking?! Although, in its favour, it is short, they were near the end of the song anyway, and it is followed on the album by their fine cover of ‘pressure drop’ which makes up for a lot…
Parishioner Phill Jupitus: On The Ruts excellent debut ‘Them Crack, the track ‘Out Of Order’ features a solo by Paul Fox which lasts a bar or so which consists of a delightfully Brechtian single note played repeatedly. Not short as such, but hysterically minimalist.
Parishioner Spencer Leigh: Wreckless Eric broke two strings in his first two songs when supporting the Rutles at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool last night. Eric: Should I change them? Member of audience: We paid for six strings and we want six. Eric: You fucker. Member of audience: Mr Fucker to you. Eric: I don’t remember the number of strings being specified in the contract. You get one string with me and anything else is a bonus.
THE AD MAN’S SHILLING
Parishioner George Laxman: I have just heard a Rolling Stones advert for Rice Krispies made in the year 1964. “Wake up in the mornin’ and there’s a crackle on your plate” sings Mick while the most blueswailin harmonica blares in the background. I’m obviously aware that David Bowie did an ad for an ice cream of some description back in the 60s. I wonder if other parishioners can remind us of other unlikely takers of the ad man’s shilling.
DAVID DUNDAS AND THE MONEY-ROPE EXCHANGE
Parishioner Graham Johns: Parishioner Earnshaw is correct about the Channel Four Symphony (as I believe it was called). Being one of Thatcher’s Millions in November 1982, I would regularly switch to C4 of an afternoon in the hope of catching the occasional trails which were run before the launch of the ‘young’ channel. However, in the days preceding the launch what you mostly got was Dundas’s interminable magnum opus and a then cutting-edge, computer-animated ‘4’ leaping around the screen. Which was preferable to a lot of what filled the screen once C4 started up. And while we’re on C4 : The Sex Inspectors – hell in a coal scuttle or what?
SWITCHING ON THE XMAS LIGHTS
Parishioner Andy Mackenzie: A couple of years ago St Albans had the pleasure of one hit wonder (and poor mans Kid Creole!) Lou Bega turning on its Christmas lights. After singing his Hit Mambo Number 5, he promptly disappeared. We’d never had it so good. I only realised this when I witnessed Michelle from Big Brother (as she was introduced) a bloke from the Disney Channel and Scooby Doo turning on the lights this year.
BILL ODDIE IN NOVELTY DISC HORROR RUMOUR CONFIRMED
Parishioner Jim McDonnell:– I can confirm Parishioner Graham Johns’ memory of Bill Oddie singing On Ilkley Moor – although I can’t claim to own the diminutive twitcher’s masterpiece, I clearly remember hearing it while working in a certain Carnaby Street jeweller-to-the-rock’n’roll-famous in the 80s.The song was done in a full-on, heartfelt ‘woke up this morning’ blues stylee. Funny enough in itself but the b-side was even better, being a version of the Hare Krishna chant with various plays on the word ‘Hare’ – eg Hare Worth, Hare along now, and my personal favourite, Hare-va derci, Roma.
Parishioner David Pollard:– Bill Oddie was possibly one of the first performers to parody a rock song, arranging the traditional Yorkshire folk song On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at in the style of the worldwide Joe Cocker hit With a Little Help from my Friends, and singing Andy Pandy in the style of a brassy soul number such as Wilson Pickett or Geno Washington would perform. He plays the drums and saxophone on Im Sorry Ill Read That Again. In many shows he would do short impressions of Hughie Greene.
Parishioner Gavin Hogg:– Bill Oddie sang On Ilkley Moor B’ah T’at Joe Cocker style on I’m Sorry I’ll read that again. I’m sure it was on BBC radio seven recently. The song may have appeared on an old ISIRTA LP as well. It was actually an excellent rendition lots of screaming etc.
Parishioner Gareth Renowden:– Ah yes, I remember it well. I believe Bill did it first as one of his musical interludes on I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again (my name is Angus Prune etc etc).
Parishioner David Shakespeare:– My understanding is that the recording did actually feature Joe Cockers backing band. My memory recalls that is musically very close to the original, even down to the backing singers wailing “On Ilkley Moor B’ah T’at” in the appropriate place.
ROCK AND ROLL SPELLCHECK
Parishioner Michael Pilch:– My girlfriend and I went to see ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon recently and when I emailed her the spell check wanted to change the name to Graham Colon, oh how we laughed (me more so).
Parishioner Lisa Sergent:– Never mind the Misheard Lyrics, I have a problem with wilfully straying from the track. Perhaps it’s a sign of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. But whenever I hear the chorus of the latest U2 single Vertigo, I leave Bono behind and embark on a rousing rendition of the chorus from The Supremes’ You Keep Me Hanging On – which is not a dissimilar tune across those particular measures. Perhaps other members of the congregation, or indeed the Parish Organist, find themselves starting with one song only to become irresistibly and repeatedly drawn into their own medleys?
CAN THIS BE TRUE?
Parishioner Gordon Mignot:– One of life’s little guilty pleasures here in Australia, on the SBS TV network, is to watch a series from Austria called Inspector Rex, where the central character is an alsatian. Generally it features a naff storyline, naff direction, naff acting – with the pooch out-acting the humans. I am further bemused that the theme-song is provided by PETER WOLF. Is it the same Mr. Wolf from the J. Geils Band? Does any other parishioner have any knowledge?
ROCK IN-JOKES IN TV SCRIPTS
Parishioner Steve Edwards reports: Returning to scriptwriters dropping knowing references to the activities of thespian pop stars C4’s mobster soap The Sopranos recently featured Tony Soprano’s nephew Christopher explaining his lateness thus: “The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive”.
CONCEPTS OF TIME IN THE WORK OF SQUEEZE
Parishioner Ronnie Dungan: “This morning at 4.50 I took her, rather nifty, down to an incubator, where 30 minutes later, she gave birth to a daughter…” 30 Minutes later! Cutting it a bit fine wasn’t he? Personal experience and countless episodes of Holby City inform me that such matters can take hours. She must have been quite a few centimetres dilated when they bundled her in through the double doors. We should assume I suppose that, given the state of his finances, like many people in those days, he didn’t have a car and taxis must have been a bit thin on the ground at such an hour, so they had to wait around for quite a while.
Despite the lack of sleep he still found enough time and energy to pen the ditty in question later that day. Clearly this bloke needed to sort his priorities out, starting with a sensible approach to contraception. No wonder he ended up in a mess. Tsk.
SONGS INSPIRED BY FOOD
Parishioner John Blenkinsopp: This might be old hat to you but I wondered whether this is true. Paul Simon’s ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ was apparently inspired by a chicken omelette that he had for lunch. I wonder whether the parish are aware of any other songs inspired by dead animals and their unfertilised offspring?
WHERE PAUL SIMON GETS HIS SONGS FROM
Parishioner MHCampos: Actually, Mother And Child Reunion is a Chinese specialty prepared with chicken and egg. I’m glad
he didn’t order the Crispy Squid or the Sauteed Happy Family.
OFFICIAL: SAMMY DAVIS JNR NO OIL PAINTING
Parishioner Alan Robinson: Apropos of nothing at all, although perhaps partly inspired by your Parishioner Danny Baker’s use of Sammy Davis Junior’s Candy Man as the theme for his BBC Radio London Show, my thoughts have turned recently to the life and times of that late, great entertainer and Rat Pack stalwart. When I was but a mere stripling, I recall having a surreptitious gander at copy of Penthouse magazine circa 1971 (it was my eldest brother’s – only read it for the car articles, etc), which featured an interview with the Samster. The headline read: “God made him the world’s ugliest man – then hit him in the face with a shovel”. I also recall a famous Johnny Carson Show appearance with Sam. He’d recently taken up golf. Carson asked of him “Hey, Sammy what’s your handicap?”, to which he replied “I’m a one-eyed Jew nigger – how many handicaps do you want?” We will never see his like, etc.
PEEL’S PEARLS OF WISDOM
Parishioner Bill Henderson: Sorry to be so slow on the Peel front, but I recalled just recently his wonderful observation that ‘Cowdenbeath nil, Stenhousemuir nil’ is the most depressing phrase in the English language.
Parishioner Lynda Bowen: During the woefully ignored Boomtown [on UK Sky TV] this week: “The Humvee’s going south
on Emerson, between Lake and Palmer….” tee and indeed, hee!
SECRETS OF TOP OF THE POPS
Parishioner Phil Graham: I can lay claim to having been in the audience for the single worst-ever edition of the programme. This was 19 December 1991, and was a “gift” from the management to the staff of the Our Price store where I worked at the time. The line up, which is scarred indelibly onto my brain, was:
1) The Bare Necessities Megamix
2) The techno remix of Rhubarb And Custard
3) Some other techno people (called, Google tells me, Human
Resource) shouting about being the “complete dominator”
4) Bryan May playing the music from the Ford advert
5) The video of Guns & Roses covering Live and Let Die
6) Lisa Stansfield singing All Woman
7) Bohemian Rhapsody at No 1
At the end of the video to Bohemian Rhapsody, they cut back to the studio to reveal an almost uniformly ecstatic crowd, except for a small group of record shop employees in one corner scowling. My mother was very proud.
Malcolm Hill of the New South Wales parish: Ah yes, dear Reverend, us ex-pluggers have a plethora of stories about Top of The Pops. My time mostly covered the era’s of directors Michael Hurll, Paul Ciani, Stan Appel and Chris Cowie. The Musicians Union thing went away in the mid-’90s prior and we did have to re-record the tracks in under three hours. We humbly went along with the shenanigans and had exciting times on the way. I must have done scores of these ‘sessions’. I had the Union turn up only twice, once for a Limahl track. I was very smug because I had the required number of musos in a studio in Regents Park and all things were going fine, except! I had let Limahl talk me into usinga girl singer friend of his to do the harmomy bits ‘cos the original girl Beth Anderson was American and was at home in America.
Limahl’s friend couldn’t sing to save her life and the bloody union man stayed for the whole session and even gave his sanction to go over the three hours to try to get it right! I was saved because even he gave up 55 minutes into the extra hour and two minutes later we were following him up the road. Needless to say the tape was swapped and the single went on to a remarkable Number 4 in the charts. The second knock on the door was for a Robert Palmer session for She Makes My Day.
I did feel smug when the Union man turned up. I’d booked a relatively small studio which looked packed with about a dozen string players plus the rhythm section. Robert didn’t have to be there because he was due to sing live on the show so didn’t have to be involved. The rep must have stayed two minutes max, EMI paid all the musos in the studio plus the studio costs and we still used the original track. My involvement with that track didn’t end there because they made me do Robert’s part during all the camera rehearsals, “not just the mime Malcolm, I want all the actions as well. If your artist can’t be bothered to turn I need you to let me see what he will actually be doing”. Bastards.
In my time I got to be Tina Turner, Chris Lowe, David Bowie and did Mistletoe And Wine for Sir Cliff better than he ever did it!
TAKING THE AD MAN’S SHILLING
Parishioner Andrew James: Regarding the pop/shameless commerce interface, surely none stranger than punk laureate
John Cooper Clarke chowing down with the Honey Monster to flog Sugar Puffs?
Chris Sienko here from the parish of Chicago: Cream did an ad for Falstaff beer to a reworked-but-easily-discernable
version of Sunshine Of Your Love. The hook line goes “Faaaaaaaalstaaaf!! It’s the thirrrrrst SLAKER!!!” It can be found, I think, on the Cream boxset. Also from the same time period: the Beau Brummels did a short (and not too memorable) commercial for Hertz Rent-a-Car. It’s very la-la and cutesy, and I barely remember it. I didn’t recognize it as a bastardisation of the hit/style, more just a standard Madison Avenue jingle. Finally, the best (and strangest) psych-era rock-shill-action I can think of is by the
Jefferson Airplane, for none other than Levi’s jeans. After a short, wailing intro by Grace Slick, singing in a distinctly raga style, extolling the virtues of their White Levi’s brand, there’s a bizarre monologue by another member of the band (Kantner?). Taking the persona of a duck, and punctuated in the sound studio by duck calls, he somberly intones, “I am a duck [quacking noise], I don’t get to wear White Levi’s. You are a human. You have all the luck. [quacking noise].” All three of these commercials were
briefly available on a cassette release from the free-form radio station WFMU (New Jersey), titled Radio Archival Oddities. It was given away as a premium in exchange for financial support.
Parishioner Tony Blews: I recall that back in the late ’80s, the parish’s favourite poodle-haired fret-worrier Brian May sold his soul to the admen. Who can forget the wondrous fusion of his homemade axe-twanging and the cutting edge of Ford Sierra technology? Ah bliss.
Parishioner Graham Johns: Not very ‘rock’, and not ‘rock’ at all, respectively but Eric Idle replaced Bruce Forsyth as the face and voice of the lately-defunct and heroically un-Pythonesque Courts furniture chain while, as a youthful adman, Salman Rushdie came up with ‘Naughty, But Nice’ for Fresh Cream Cakes.
Parishioner Martin Scott: I fondly recall a version of Route66 by Clover being used in a Levis ad in the late ’70s: fondly, because the band featured in the ad too, as the eventual destination of the two lissom young things in skintight Levi cords whose trans-American journey the ad portrayed. Thus fuelling my adolescent fantasies about blokes in bands getting girls who otherwise wouldn’t look at you twice.
Parishioner Pat Hawkes-Reed: Though she was long dead and probably didn’t sanction it, there is the use by Mercedes-Benz of the Janis Joplin song of the same name in their TV commercials back in the US. And, I remember the use of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell in an ad for some party snack in the late 1980s.
ONE NOTE GUITAR SOLOS
Parishioner Mike: Best guitar solo surely has to be Mr Jimmy
Page’s eight (ish) note solo on Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual.
And all on the same note!
Parishioner Val Jennings: I think Glenn Tilbrook has
everyone licked. In Squeeze’s Pulling Mussels (From The
Shell), he executes a wondrous eight bar one-note-repeated
solo, but importantly, makes it alternate between the left
and right speakers! This is particularly entertaining when
listening in the car.
Friar Ambrosius: It is really an unusual case of
“blink-and-it’s-gone”, in Stephen Bishop’s Save It For A
Rainy Day from the Careless LP – and by “Slowhand” Clapton.
It starts – and it also ends – with maybe two or three
Parishioner Ian Bruce: Can I suggest the solo from The
Prisoner by The Clash? What were they thinking?!
Parishioner Barnaby Irish: As Bono soars (as is his wont) to
the heights of “Touch me…” on Beautful Day, the song flips
– in my head at least – straight into “How can it be,
Believe me, The sun always shines on TV” by A-Ha. Are God’s
favourite band able to plunder the Guinness Book of Soaring
Songs (or whatever) unscathed, or are there backhanders
going on that we are not privy to? Maybe the Pet Shop Boys
could be persuaded to make a whole album of perfectly
spliced songs in the same vein as Where The Streets Have No
Name/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.
Parishioner Paul Grimshaw: U2’s Beautiful Day. When the
shaded one hits the vocal line starting ‘Touch Me’ I defy
any parishioner not to head off down the The Sun Always
Shines On TV route’.
Parishioner Jimmy Hughes: Reading about Lisa Sergent’s
inability to hear U2’s song Vertigo without veering towards
The Supremes’ You Keep Me Hanging On, reminds me that I am
totally unable to hear Beautiful Day by U2 without morphing
seamlessly into The Sun Always Shines On TV by A-Ha. Think
of the bit where Bono shouts Touuuuuch meeeeee’ then hear
‘The Sun always shiiiiiiiiines on TV’.
Parishioner Alex Pullan: I can’t listen to the chorus of
U2’S Beautiful Day without launching into The Sun Always
Shines On TV by A-Ha. Most off-putting at the beginning of
The Premiership but true! Try it.
Sister Louise Pepper: Elvis’ Devil in Disguise. As soon as I
have murmured ‘but I got wiiiise’ for the fifth time, my
boyfriend belts out the chorus of the Venga Boys Vengabus.
Poof – Elvis is gone! Kind regards, hope to see you for the
Christmas floral arrangements (I assume I’m in charge of the
pedestal by the pulpit again?).
Parishioner Slim Shaney: You can happily sing You Can’t
Hurry Love along to the chorus of S Club 7’s Reach. Don’t
ask me how I know, but the Phil Collins version works best.
Parishioner Graham Johns: For a few bars Belle and
Sebastian’s Wrapped Up In Books becomes Cliff & the Shadows’
In The Country, so much so that you can’t help picturing
Cliff’s sunny visage smiling from a London bus when you hear
it. So fair do’s to the Scots popsters for owning up to
unconscious plagiarism and agreeing to pay 20% of any
royalty to the Shads BEFORE the song’s release. And what a
refreshing change from our monkey-faced friend from
Burnage’s attitude to tune-theft, ie call for m’learned
Parishioner Ayad Andrews: Boomshackalak by Apache Indian.
For some reason the song I always hear in my head is “He’s
in the army now, a-blowin’ reveille/He’s the boogie-woogie
bugle boy of Company B”. Just listen to it and you will
understand. Unless I’m going full-on mentalist.
Parishioner ‘mhcampos’: Remember a song by Leo Sayer, mid
’70s, called When I Need You. “I just close my eyes and I
touch you,” and so on? For me, it’s always mutated into
Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen: “And Jane came by
with a lock of your hair,” etc.
Mary Roane, of the parish of Chicago: Why, when I start out
singing Eric Clapton’s lovely Tears In Heaven, do I find
myself singing the Bee Gee’s execrable How Deep is Your
Love? Could it be because EC pulled ‘a George’ on us?
From Reverend Derek: Re: Billy Bragg’s New England and the
lines ‘I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song, I’m
twenty-two now but I won’t be for long’, it’s a quote from
Leaves That Are Green by Simon & Garfunkel. You can’t blame
Billy for it. Blame the dwarf in the wig!
THE RED HOT BILLIE PIPERS
Parishioner Neal Thompson: Earth Wind … for hire! Beat that.
PARISH APPEAL: HELP A CONFUSED A PARENT
Parishioner Simon Hewitt: My kids were watching an episode
of Scooby Doo the other day. Accompanying scenes of Fred
surfing, what should issue from the soundtrack but Rockaway
Beach, which I hardly need mention is from the third Ramones
platter. How am I supposed to feel? Glad that my children
are being exposed to great pop records rather than just the
latest talent show winner? Outraged that a children’s show
should feature these progenitorz of punk? Or just old, and
perplexed that the ‘unlistenable’ sounds of rebellion from
my childhood are now considered suitable for small and
tender ears? Some guidance from the parish would be
RUTH IS STRANGER THAN RICHARD
Parishioner Graham Johns: X Factor finalists posh
barbershop quartet G4 are to release Radiohead’s Creep as a
single in January. Get your pre-orders in, the Parish!
From Reverend Derek: There are so many of these in the #2.99
section of supermarkets. The cover ‘features the original
recordings’ – and you get two original ’60s hits or
whatever, and the rest appear to have been re-done in 1987
by guys with mullets. I found that bad Byrds rip-off
mentioned in last week’s mailout in HMV a few years back and
was so appalled I emailed Roger McGuinn about it – I’ve not
seen it since.
Scott Schinder, New York City: Hello Old Vic, I was
perversely pleased see your recent references to ex-Animals’
bassist Danny McCulloch’s odd sideline as classic-rock
counterfeiter. McCulloch is definitely the man behind the
bogus Byrds and Mott The Hoople recordings that you mention,
as well as a set of bargain-basement faux-Animals tracks.
All of these have been licensed endlessly to countless
bottom-feeding cheapo labels as well as a few better-known
ones (including K-Tel), and are usually packaged to suggest
that they’re the genuine article, with vintage photos of the
real bands and no indication of the sham nature of the
actual contents. Adding insult to injury, McCulloch’s
atrociously cheesy remakes of the classics share space with
gadawful originals (generally credited to McCulloch and
Gerry Chapman), so presumably he gets to collect writer’s
royalties as well. Apparently, at least one of the phoney
Mott releases was withdrawn after Ian Hunter threatened
litigation, yet McCulloch’s monstrosities continue to
resurface with alarming regularity. And while the “Mott The
Hoople” tracks mentioned by the parishioner are indeed
dreadful, McCulloch’s “Animals” and “Byrds” output is far
worse. The whole sorry enterprise began in the early ’90s
after McCulloch staged a short-lived and rather questionable
Animals “reunion,” minus Eric Burdon but including
psychedelic-era Animals Vic Briggs and Barry Jenkins. This
lineup apparently performed at an outdoor benefit concert in
Moscow’s Red Square, recorded
some horrid metallized reworkings of Animals hits as well as
some equally mortifying originals.
WILL THE REAL PETER WOLF STAND UP
Tom Tuerff from the Phoenix Arizona parish: Parishioner
Gordon Mignot wants to know if the Peter Wolf who scored the
TV show Inspector Rex is the Peter Wolf of J. Geils fame.
Alas he is not, but he IS the same Peter Wolf who played in
many of Frank Zappa’s later touring bands. Zappa actually
had several guys with the same names as other musicians play
for him. Nearly-original Mother Don Preston had the same
name as Leon Russell’s lead guitarist in the ’70s and even
once cashed a royalty check meant for the other Preston.
Drummer Chester Thompson, who now drums with Phil Collins,
was with the Mothers in the ’70s at the same time another
Chester Thompson was pounding keyboards for Tower of Power;
and Zappa himself employed (at separate times ) two
different guys named Bob Harris. Are we all confused yet?
SLEEVENOTES BY STALIN
Parishioner Davi D Jennings: I wonder if other members of
the parish have detected an unsettling trend that has
developed with the rash of CD reissues now ushering forth
from labels keen to promote repeat purchasing. I refer to
the extended sleevenote ‘features’ that accompany these
repackagings. Under the guise of informing and education, I
detect frequent tendencies to rewrite ‘history as we know
it’, particularly in respect of the turbulence of the punk
years. Here’s an example – Fleetwood Mac rewritten as a high
class punk band. From Parke Puterbaugh’s notes to Tusk:
“Lindsey Buckingham tapped into the freewheeling,
do-it-yourself ethic of punk and new wave bands.’ Tusk had
“the adventurous hang-it-all spirit of edgy new wavers and
the lavish budget of major-label rock stars … Buckingham’s
modernist ear was also tuned in to the punk and new wave
bands who had been rewriting, if not entirely discarding,
the rulebook in the mid-to-late 1970s.” Can other
parishioners uncover similar attempts to topple established
perspectives on cultural relationships. Was Howard Jones
perhaps the most authentic interpreter of Kraftwerk’s
legacy? Is Sheena Easton the neglected pop diva who will one
day be recognised as paving the way for Madonna and Kylie?
SADE IN GRAVE GEOGRAPHICAL ERROR
Parishioner Graeme Robson: Sade’s Smooth Operator contains
the lines “Coast to coast, LA to Chicago”. Last time I
looked, Chicago was in the Midwest. Is there something about
coastal erosion that they’re not telling us? Yuletide
greetings to one and all.
Parishioner Mark Hagen: Some years back I was at Tramps in
New York (in the company of a Vicar as memory serves) to see Joe
Gruschecky & The Houserockers. Actually, we were really there to see
honorary Houserocker Bruce Springsteen, as was early rocker Dion who
happened to be standing next to us. Anyway, the gig finishes & I trot
off to the backstage area, only to have to stand politely aside to allow
one Robert De Niro to make his exit.Then there was Jimmy Tarbuck at a
Mavericks gig; Donald Trump & his frightening hair at the Stones (also
there: Sarah, Duchess of York & Lenny Kravitz. We knew it was him
because he had his name written on his plimsolls in biro)…
Parishioner Joe Whyte: That IS Engurland footballing hard-man Stuart
“Psycho” Rearce in the audience photo on inner sleeve of The Lurkers
first album. Teenage punk rocker becomes hair-highlighted, jacket
sleeves rolled-up footballer! Treachoury!
Parishioner Charlie Ivens: Ahoy there Vic. As well as a smattering of
pop-related fans – stand up Ed Harcourt, for example – The Magic
Numbers’ splendid gig at Bush Hall last Friday was blessed with the
presence of actors Tony “Giles out of Buffy/the Prime Minister in Little
Britain” Head and Steven “I used to be in The Bill but I’m now in
Doctors” Hartley. Both clearly have their fingers on the joypop pulse…
Parishioner Adam Atkinson: It’s often been pointed out that
among the legendary few to see Prince play at the Lyceum show in 1981
was the nation’s favourite bearded twitcher, Bill Oddie.
Parishioner Nick Ratcliffe: I was at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s
South Bank on 11 October 2003, to see Elvis Costello and Steve Nieve
play songs from EC’s “Jazz” album – North, which had been critically
pasted in England. I was excited at having spottted EC’s dad – Ross
MacManus with Chris Difford of Squeeze in the foyer of the venue before
the show started. Imagine however my surprise, when seated in the front
stalls, who should appear from backstage, walk past me up the aisle and
take his seat circa row K but Dirty Harry himself – Clint Eastwood. The
Oscar Winning Hollywood Icon was unmistakeable, but also completely
unexpected. At the stage door afterwards, it has to be said that
security for Mr Eastwood was considerably tighter than for Mr Costello.
It was later reported that they dined together at The Ivy after the
show, so they are (apparently) best of friends. Who would have thought
that the writer of Watching the Detectives would get together with Harry
Parishioner Barrie Cree: OK, so it’s been well documented but it’s still
a somewhat surreal sight to spot Steve “I’m not boring, no really, I’m a
very interesting avant garde progressive rock fan” Davis at a gig at the
RFH by the ever so slightly strange, yet ever so slightly wonderful,
Magma. A group so disenchanted with the real world and any of its
languages that they invented their own & sing all of their compositions
in it – whilst refusing point blank to actually “translate” any of the
lyrics. Paul McCartney was there as well!
Parishioner Carl Parker: To go off at tangent from Parishioner Mary
Ingoldby’s sighting of acting BBC Director General. In November 1995 I
went with my wife, also to the Shepherds Bush Empire, to see Emmylou
Harris. In the row in front of us was actor Sylvestre Le Touzel
(currently appearing in Wild East at The Royal Court, London). Nothing
particularly untoward with that, except for the fact that the previous
week she’d appeared in Between The Lines as Neil Pearson’s girlfriend,
in a full frontal nude scene and I had to resist the tempatation to tap
her on the shoulder and say “I saw you last week!”
Parishioner Moira Dennison: at a Roxy Music gig at Wembley 3 or 4 years
ago..none other than that wild man of err..BBC weather forecasting –
John Ketley. Complete with tweed jacket if my memory serves me well.
Parishioner Bill Stone: I went to see The Armoury Show
supporting the Psychedelic Furs at what used to be known as the
Hammersmith Odeon back in the early 80’s. In the bar was one Stephen
Morrissey. When I said to my friend who was with me that it couldn’t be
the Mozza, said friend went and stood next to him so that the point
could be demonstrated beyond dispute. It was him to be sure. The gig was
also memorable for me locking my car keys within my Austin Allegro (for
shame!) and the manager of the Odeon coming out with me during the
headline set to break into the car with the help of the legendary bent
wire coat hanger. Customer service above and beyond the call of duty I
Parishioner Rob Egan: I once witnessed former England cricketer (right
arm medium pace) and current Telegraph cricket correpondent, Derek
Pringle, at a Cambridge Junction gig by Sugar; Bob Mould’s early 90s
post-Husker Du popsmiths. The reports of Henry Blofeld being present at
an early Cradle of Filth performance may, however, be somewhat
Parishioner Vincent Egan: I saw Noddy holder in the gents at a Steely
Dan concert at the NEC Birmingham in 1996.
Parishioner Andrew Mueller: Last year, I interviewed Her Majesty’s
Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon about his legendary record
collection. He claimed that within the previous few months he – and his
doubtless bemused Special Branch security detail – had been to see Ryan
Adams at the Astoria, and The Jayhawks at the Empire, among others. And
would Geoff Hoon tell a lie? Well, would he?
SONGS THAT MORPH
Parishioner Mark Campos: “It struck me out of the blue
just minutes ago how much the primary guitar figure of Franz Ferdinand’s
“Dark Of The Matinee” reminds one of the middle part of “Hava Nagila”.
Am looking forward to hearing it in a club and singing along: “Uru achim
belev same’ach, uru achim belev same’ach, take your right finger ..”
Parishioner Alex Pullan: The instrumental break – there is one! – in Kylie’s I
Should Be So Lucky is the chorus of I’ve Had The Time Of My Life by Bill
Medley & Jennifer Warnes.
Parishioner Phil Kayes: I have missed a couple of issues so I don’t know
if this has been nominated yet, but every time I hear The Inspiral
Carpets’ ‘This Is How It Feels To Be Lonely’ I can’t help but go from
“This is how it feels when the world means nothing at all” straight into
the chorus of the Bros hit ‘I Owe You Nothing’
Parishioner Gillian Kirkby: I can’t hear S Club 7’s seminal ‘S Club
Party’ without wanting to sing the chorus of Grandmaster Flash’s ‘White
Lines (Don’t Do It)’ over the top.
Parishioner Alison Fewtrell: When listening to “When You Don’t See Me”
by the Sisters of Mercy, I can’t help launching into “Rainbow in the
Dark” by Dio.
Parishioner Joseph Reeves: For your Songs That Morph category, I must
submit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin and “What’s Going On?”
by the drearily bad Four Non Blondes. You can sing either along to the
other with no ill effects whatsoever.
Parishioner Steve King: the mention of damien rice’s “blower’s daughter”
reminded me that it’s not so much a morph, more of a copy – thought it
sounded familiar, and then it clicked – it’s the same tune, and even
chord progression, as vangelis’ love theme from blade runner. has anyone
else noticed? is there a potential court case in this?
Parishioner Gavin Hogg:
Esteemed Vicar, After reading Parishioner Michael Pilch’s observation
that he detected the theme tune of “Are You Being Served?” in a Pink
Floyd tune, I felt I should write with news of another group’s debt to
the charms of The Grace Brother’s signature tune. On the mighty Fall’s
album “Bend Sinister”, there’s a song called “Shoulder Pads #1”.
Everytime it gets a spin at Hogg Towers my wife and I say to each other,
“This reminds me of the theme tune of Are You Being Served”. Till now,
we’ve had no-one to share it with.
THE HUMAN LEAGUE/ UNDERTONES FALLACY
Parishioner Russ Hunt (among many others): But dear Parishoner Dungan, the
League formed in 1977 and released their first single (Being Boiled) in
TOM WAITS FOR NO MAN
Parishioner Cain Hendricks
Tommy Roe: Contestants must try to pick that “Dizzy” rascal out of a
lineup of lookalikes.
Emma Bunton: Baby Spice joins a baseball team, but never hits the ball
Tommy Sands: Bland teen idol removes all the rough edges from a piece of
wood, much as he did to rock & roll.
Crosby Stills Nash & Young: The diabolical David Crosby uses his
paralysis ray on Graham Nash and Neil Young.
Kevin Shields: My Bloody Valentine procrastinator gets in the way
of various objects thrown at volunteers from the studio audience.
Mozart: Amadeus rises from the grave to present a gallery of paintings
Thurston Moore: Sonic Youth guy is dropped into the Sahara
Desert. Watch his desperation for water grow.
Barry Mann: Cynthia Weil’s partner becomes a gravedigger.
Freddy Cannon: Singer packs sardines.
Ray Manzarek: Titanic is raised; Doors keyboardist is placed at its helm.
Joey Dee: Erstwhile peppermint twister tries to take care of a baby
kangaroo after the first three (named A, B, and C) passed away. B
Springsteen: The Boss breaks a juvenile offender out of jail.
Gerry Marsden: Pacemakers’ ringleader goes around remodeling people’s homes,
with disatrous results, particularly in the den.
Connie Boswell: Not only can she sing, she’s also great at imitating sheep.
Tony Orlando?: Cheesy 70s singer gets his own talk show but doesn’t always show up, in
which case we must settle for guest-host Billy Dee Williams, in full
Empire Strikes Back regalia.
Parishioner Keith Smith
Randy Newman – Politically correct gent wrestles with lustful urges.
Geezer Butler: Black Sabbath’s most chucklesome hair-monkey takes coats,
answers the door and hands out drinks and Benson’s to gently ageing
Dean Martin: Perma-drunk Vegas legend wakes, befuddled, one morning to
find he’s something terribly important at a venerable Oxbridge pile.
Jerry Garcia: Offensive 70’s sitcom character – spotted only once in a
shocking episode of “Mind Your Language” – who goosestepped round the
classroom with a finger stretched across his top lip while wearing a
large sombrero and filthy sandals
I WAS A TOTP STAND-IN
Parishioner Malcolm Hill: Bit late but latching on
to Brother Bakers admission of his Top of the Pops appearance I need to
get this off my chest. I duetted with Johnny Cash on ‘Later with Jools’.
Admittedly he did most of the singing (very good it was, of course) but
I shared the screen with him for what seemed like hours and here is the
admission. I knew what I was doing, my best shot at immortality I
thought. Sister Frazer Cook, director of the sequence, must have spotted
me doing it but let me get away with it. Does it appear on any of the
Later DVD’s, I don’t have it on what I’ve got. Would the parish mind
checking for me, slightly tubby white with a beard ( me not Johnny)?
Oohh that reminds me. In my capacity as stunt man for Chris Lowe I was
doing a rehearsal with the lovely Mr.Tennant for some TV show (‘Audience
with’ I think) where David Bowie was doing a collaboration with them.
The Thin White Duke, unlike Chris, could be arsed to turn up and he
bounced on stage with the line to Neil ‘Oh I see you’ve got Captain
Birdseye on keyboards now!’
Parishioner Michael Mckever: re the item from me on the early 70s Radio
1 show which included ‘Cooking Mice-Wise’ – you have missed the
important detail that it was hosted (I’m not mistaken about this) by
SONGS WITH NO INTRO
Parishioner Nick Quarmby: You Left Me Sore by Todd Rundgren has no
intro. To emphasise the point, they even have three attempts on the
album to count themselves in and all hit the start together with the
opening line of Love is infectious
LUST FOR LOOT
Parishioner Lynda Bowen: What do you think of when you think of Iggy
Pop? Silver trousers, bare chest, sliding on broken glass, peanut butter
smearing, drugs problem in the 70’s, impressively large todger?
And when you think of Lust for Life? Greatest drum intro in the world,
seminal Berlin album with Mr Bowie…Renton and Spud running through
Edinburgh as they’ve just nicked stuff to feed their heroin habit?
So, given the above images: if you were an advertising agency, would you
think of using it as backing music for a cruise ship advert?
Well, somebody has. Daft beggars.
FIRST F WORD IN ROCK
Parishioner Brian Cady: I have a question for the community. Listening
again to The Who’s “Live At Leeds” it occurred to me that Roger Daltrey
sings the “f” word (I hesitate to spell it out for the sake of the
little ones in the parish) at the end of “Young Man Blues.” This record
came out several months before “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” where the
late Brother Lennon gained more notoriety using the same word in
“Working Class Hero.” Are there any earlier instances of someone
dropping the “f” bomb on a pop music record?
God bless you, the parish. As my old aunt from Limerick used
to say – May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be
always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face,
may The Soft Machine talk of Schoenberg, may Starbucks play
Robyn Hitchcock records, may no-one throw a chair at you
when youre on stage at the Reading Festival, may The
Beloved get the heckling they so richly deserve, may Tom
Waits for no man, and may the rains fall soft upon your
fields until we meet again.
THE MOST DEPRESSING PHRASE EVER UTTERED
Parishioner Graham Johns: Heard on the wireless the other
day, and surely a match for Peel’s ‘most depressing phrase
you can hear’ (which was ‘Cowdenbeath Nil, Stenhousmuir
Nil’, if memory serves): ‘Here’s the new single from Ocean
Colour Scene’. Suddenly it’s a late October afternoon, just
after the clocks have gone back.
WEIRD THINGS THROWN ON STAGE
Parishioner Holly Davies: At last year’s Reading Festival
someone threw a lawn chair at 50 Cent. I believe that was
the final straw which led to his deciding to stop weathering
the hail of bottles and storm offstage. Fair enough, really.
Bottles are the predictable missiles of the bored and
opportunistic, but when someone actually goes to the trouble
of hauling hefty items of furniture into the crowd in order
to chuck them at you, you know they’ve really got it in for
Parishioner John Innes: Light-hearted Canadian popsters
Barenaked Ladies included the throwaway line “If I had a
million dollars I’d eat Kraft dinner” (an add-water pasta
dish similar I believe to Pot Noodle) in one of their songs
and had to suffer fans throwing packets of pasta on stage
for years afterwards. When I saw the band in the late
Nineties they’d wised up by installing charity bins at the
doors and asking fans to donate their pasta pre-gig.
Parishioner John Scotswood: A Fall gig, probably on their
Code: Selfish tour at Cambridge Corn Exchange saw me at the
very front being squashed to the barriers as Mr Smith
growled and shouted at us. Something flew onto the stage,
hit the drum riser and rolled off onto the floor in front
of me. I picked it up and it was an orange with ‘Curious’
written on it. To top the night off, I got to shake the hand
of the legend that was John Peel who had been lurking near
the back on my way out. He appeared very surprised that
anyone would bother and actually thanked me.
Parishioner Mark Huxton: I too was witness to the re
enactment of the Somme that was Daphne and Celeste at
Reading 2000 (they came on between Rage Against the Machine
and Slipknot, I think). I recall from my vantage point, at
least two incendiary devices hitting the stage.
Parishioner Martin Horsfield: Teenage Fanclub used to bemoan
the pesky fan who used to constantly pelt them with bacon at
their gigs. Later there was a trend in Glasgow for showing
your love for the Fanclub by peeling the labels from bottles
of the popular-in-Scotland “tonic wine” Buckfast and
throwing them onstage.
Parishioner Steamhammer: It was the early Seventies I think
– my memory doesn’t serve me as well as it once did (God
damn the pusher, man) – but am I alone in recalling Steeleye
Span showering the audience with pound notes during a gig at
the Free Trade Hall in Manchester?
STEP AWAY FROM THE LIBRARY!
Parishioner Bernie Caffarey: This week’s post from George
Laxman reminds me of Ian Dury’s lyrics in Honeysuckle
Highway – “I was Oscar Homolka you were Marjorie Proops”
which prompted me to look up who Oscar Homolka was. (A
rather attractive if drunken actor from the early 20’s).
Parishioner John Shepherd: Being a reformed teacher, Sting
cannot resist the temptation to educate us masses and none
was better to me as a lad than the line from Don’t Stand So
Close To Me: “Just like the old man in that famous book by
Nabakov”. How about a whole subsection on Very Clever Things
Sister Roberta Chapman: Anyone else acquired cultural
information via pop” asks Parishioner Laxman. Where to
begin, mate? Growing up in a a working class household where
the shelves groaned with Engineering Manuals. Football
Annuals and Gardening Catalogues the music of the late
sixties offered a pathway to the cultural pantheon than my
grim and parochial little Bedfordshire Grammar School
couldn’t begin to compete with. The back cover of
Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Unicorn introduced me to Blake and
Kahlil Kibran. The track titles on Soft Machine Two
introduced me to Alfred Jarry, Dada, Pataphysics, and
Schoenberg. (I interviewed Mike Ratledge for a Soft Machine
feature a few years ago and he confirmed that that’s exactly
what they were intended to do.) Kevin Ayers Why Are We
Sleeping put me on to loony old Gurdjieff. Zappa introduced
me to Eric Dolphy, Varese, and Stravinsky done properly and
not just pastiched badly. And lets not even think about the
sleeve of Sgt Peppers right now. You too eh?
Parishioner Charlie Ivens: I’m pretty amazed we’ve got this
far in our quest for musicians who shoehorn one too many
literary references into their lyrics without mentioning
Neil Hannon. Lest we forget, Hannon’s band The Divine Comedy
are responsible for the (actually quite splendid) The
Booklovers, which rather than appropriating obscure
references from outre authors, simply lists a whole load of
’em instead – along with what our Neil deems to be
author-appropriate responses after each one. Here are a few
Jane Austen: Here I am!
Sir Walter Scott: We’re all doomed!
Honore de Balzac: Oui…
Edgar Allen Poe: Aaaarrrggghhhh!
Herman Melville: Ahoy there!
Charles Dickens: London is so beautiful this time of year…
Mark Twain: I can’t even spell ‘Mississippi’!
Emile Zola: J’accuse
Thomas Hardy: Ooo-arrr!
Virginia Woolf: I’m losing my mind!
Anais Nin: The strand of pearls
Jean-Paul Sartre: Let’s go to the dome, Simone!
Simone de Beauvoir: C’est exact present
Albert Camus: The beach… the beach
Franz Kafka: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!
Graham Greene: Call me ‘pinky’, lovely
Vladimir Nabokov: Hello, little girl…
Brett Easton Ellis: Aaaaarrrggghhh!
Roddy Doyle: ha ha ha!
Parishioner Peter Higgins: Apropos of sod all, I am reminded
of a great moment at a terrible gig in Birmingham in the
mid-to-late Eighties, featuring The Beloved supporting The
Fall. During The Beloved’s unspectacular set someone called
out the name of a song they were desirous the band should
play next. As luck would have it, this was the very next
song they were going to play anyway, and the singer
acknowledged this with the words, “We have a clairvoyant in
the audience!” To which some quick-witted wag responded “and
a wanker on the stage!” Never a truer word spoken.
TOM WAITS FOR NO MAN
Parishioner Richard Burgess:-
CHRIS SPEDDING: Motorbikin’ ex-Womble demonstrates his
aerial prowess inside the penalty area by dispatching a
series of unstoppable salt n’ vinegar snacks past the
‘keeper with his noggin
FRANCIS ROSSI: Annoying mockney chat-show host spends a
bewildering 24 hours being mistaken for a continental
CURT SMITH: Tears for Fears frontman becomes a brusque
DICK DALE Surf guitarist becomes all unnecessary over a
quest to “romance” Disney cartoon chipmunk
BEN E KING Soul singer tries to make everything in his food
cupboard last as long as possible
RINGO STARR Former Beatle discusses the relative merits of
bitumen from all over the globe
BJORN ULVAEUS:: Delighted German fans queue outside Abba
star’s mansion to have him guess their body mass
STEPHEN STILLS Off-kilter guitarist tries to persuade
shopkeepers that their cash belongs to him
JUDEE SILL Drug-ravaged singer invites GPs to tell her what
diseases she has
FRED SMITH Television bassist hosts regular documentary slot
exploding a new legend each day
FRED ‘SONIC’ SMITH MC5 Wild man hosts in-depth documentary
on the mystery of a particular gem stone
MARK E SMITH Garrulous Northerner debunks drug tales
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Celebrated lyricist hosts holiday show for
insects who like to get around urban areas in a Ford Transit
Parishioner Andrew Goodfellow:-
JOHNNY MARR The Mancunian guitar legend of Smiths fame vandalises condoms
KIM DEAL Selling drugs to the North Korean dictator with the Pixies bassist
Parishioner Laurence Arnold: Further to Gideon Coe’s post
about groovy sounds in Starbucks, a friend and I were
pounding the mean streets of Chicago a few years back and
dived into a Starbucks to find Robyn Hitchcock on the
stereo. We made those coffees last a long time. But last
Sunday I visited a TK Maxx and heard the sound of Josh
Rouse. Whatever next? Damien Jurado as you wander the aisles
of Ikea? Hem blasting out of Top Shop?
Parishioner Tim Sergent: In our local branch in of Oddbins
in Barnes we can ponder over our vino choices to the
ponderous tones of Tindersticks, regardless of the time of
day you go in there.
Parishioner Kirby: While doing what we can only call
‘shopping for clothes with the family’ late last year I
heard God Only Knows, High and Dry (Radiohead), Cannonball
(Damien Rice), Peaches (Stranglers) and Jesus by the Velvet
Underground. Not a bad day considering. Then I got the
credit card bill. I had obviously been distracted …
Parishioner Dominic OReilly: The Starbucks outlet in the
Euston Centre by Warren Street always played Blonde On
Blonde when I’d pop in for a meeting. The bankers from the
Abbey HQ opposite who are the core clientelle always looked
rather bewildered by it. Keep up the splendid work.
Parishioner Mike Tobin: On a recent visit to The Riverside
Garden Centre, Bristol, I was both amazed & delighted to
hear the following mix of musical diversity playing over the
shop “background music” system: Cab Calloway/ Franz
Ferdinand/Ray Charles/ Keane/ Ella Fitzgerald/ Blues
Traveller/ Emmy Lou Harris/ James Carr and The Beatles! I
stayed much longer than I intended.
Parishioner Nick Leslie: Vic! Vic! Hang onto your cassock! I
popped into Oddbins at London Bridge to buy a can of Special
Brew – you can usually get a seat on the train if youre
carrying one – and they were playing Acadian Driftwood by
The Band. Apparently they play a lot of Band in there.
Whilst the guy behind the counter and I chewed the fat about
Rick Danko and Levon, the female assistants behind him
yawned and rolled their eyes (unfortunately they don’t sell
Special Brew as it attracts the wrong sort of customer). I
was lucky enough to work adjacent to Julie’s Wine Bar in
Notting Dale once when they played nothing but Exile On Main
Street! I was in there one evening with my old pal Harry The
Hen and he said “don’t look don’t look it’s fuckin Keith
Richards”. So of course I looked and it was Mick Jagger.
Choirboy Andy Myall: I actually misunderstood the meaning
of best-sounding shops, but I feel the Vicar should be made
aware of a musical emporium in the quaint (no shops open on
a Sunday) town of Reigate in Surrey which goes by the name
of Electric Lindsey Land.
HANDBAGS AT DAWN
Brother Brian in Atlanta: Denis Hamill in the New York Daily
News wonders what if famous rock and rollers of the past had
acted like rap stars now – ie go after each other with guns
and knives to the death? Which battles would you have paid
to see? Some of Denis’s suggestions: Bob Dylan v Donovan,
Mick Jagger v Rod Stewart, Percy Sledge . Michael Bolton.
And which one would be more likely to put the other into the
THE RED HOT BILLIE PIPERS
Parishioner Steve Mainwaring: I’d like to commend to you the
inspired name of our local (Bath/Bristol) tribute to Stiff
Little Fingers, who call themselves Rigid Midget Digits.
Parishioner Derek MacDonald: Four years ago on the Greek
island of Zakynthos I recall seeing advertised a Westlife
tribute act. Nothing unusual in that. However whilst passing
the venue later that evening it became apparent that this
tribute had something different to offer. Firstly the act
consisted of just one person. Secondly, he interspersed his
songs with balloon folding. Yup. Funny balloon animals.
Maybe his act was just ahead of its time. To be fair to him
he had given the entire audience amusing balloon animal
hats. Both of them.
F-WORD IN ROCK
Parishioner Steve Copenhagen: John Cooper Clarke song
Evidently Chickentown runs to well over 80 examples.
Brother Danny Baker: So, re: the first Derek & Clive. On the
dazzling 2cd compilation Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon (A Rude
Blues Collection) all can luxuriate in Dirty Red’s Mother
Fuyer – a 1938 version of Memphis Minnie’s slightly less
transparent Dirty Mother For You (1933). During the
rendition Mr Red can be heard calling his nemesis a Dirty
Motherfuyer, a Cheap Motherfuyer, An Evil Motherfuyer and a
Rotten Motherfuyer, several times while, perhaps lost in the
moment, all too clearly forgetting about the crucial silent
SINGLE USE SONGWORDS – THEYRE BACK BACK BACK!
Parishioner Paul Grimshaw: I am moved to provide surely the
most singular of songwords. This is to be found in Nemesis
by the excellent Shriekback. While nemesis’ itself may
well be a single use songword (unless the parish knows
differently), it is then rhymed with ‘parthenogenesis’. If
this word is mentioned anywhere else in a rock lyric I will
eat Badly Drawn Boy’s hat (or Mike Nesmith’s for
parishioners viewing in black and white).
Sister Louise Pepper: As I read this week’s missive, VH1 was
on downstairs, playing the usual Top 100 Eighties Songs That
We Didn’t Play In The Last Hour, and I heard the dulcet
tones of Martin Fry belting out The Look of Love. Surely
this is the only hit song that uses the words “hip hip
hooray” and “yippie ai yippee aiaay”?
Parishioner Sean French: Rick Springfield’s use of ‘moot’ is
not unique. Witness the following triplet from I Don’t
Believe You by The Magnetic Fields: ‘You tell me that I’m
not not cute/Its truth or falsity is moot/Cause honesty’s
not your strong suit.’ And a clever double negative as well.
But what about the chorus of Aimee Mann’s fine song ‘J for
Jules’: ‘And thus it begins.’ Does the word ‘thus’ occur
anywhere else in the history of rock music?
Brother Andrew Harrison: Parishioner Graham Johns is right –
the word “moot” is not common in rock and pop. But its
appearance in Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield is not
unique. The word also appears in I Don’t Believe You by The
Magnetic Fields: “You tell me I’m not not cute/Its truth or
falsity is moot/’Cos honesty’s not your strong suit/And I
don’t believe you.” By an amazing coincidence this song is
available on a covermounted CD free with this month’s issue
of monthly music magazine WORD. Can the Vicar tell us more
about this title? It sounds absolutely fascinating.
Parishioner Jaffo: I have a vague recollection of reading
that Peter Purves (Blue Peter) and Roy Castle were seen at a
Fall gig at the ICA in the very early Eighties. Can anyone
Parishioner Pete Paphides: At the regular mid-80s Tuesday
indie jamboree that was Birmingham’s Click Club night, the
dancefloor was graced by none other than footballer turned
Sky pundit Andy Gray, pogoing to The Buzzcocks. Having
fathered five children by four different women, the former
Wolves, Everton and Villa forward would have special cause
to empathise with the lyrics to “Have You Ever Fallen In
Love…” A few weeks later, it was no less thrilling to see
Michael Elphick propping up the bar whilst a fledgling
Primitives clattered away in the distance.
SONGS THAT START STRAIGHT AWAY
Parishioner Will Aitken: Brother Baker’s insistence on
rigorous adherence to the rules of this game is gratifying
in this slack and sloppy age. I hope never to meet him
across a Scrabble board. However, let us examine the
Beatles’ EP All My Loving, which topped the UK EP charts for
8 weeks in early 1964 (thereby presumably meeting the ‘hit
record’ criteria). Side 1 track one of said EP is
aforementioned All My Loving and bless me if that isn’t Fab
Macca himself singing before we hear instrumentation. I
should add that my copy is in a box, so this is from memory,
perhaps triggering the ‘simple minded amateurs’ clause. Do
keep up the good work.
ALBUM COVERS THEY WOULDNT GET AWAY WITH NOW
The Vicar writes: Many thanks for the response to this
parish appeal from our friends across the duckpond at WORD
magazine. Many of these artefacts now seem depraved and
outlandish and, as a consequence, will appear in their next
edition. Im relieved to hear that Sister Susie Hudson has
had the good sense to donate generously to the Axl Rose
window fund to avert publication of the sleeve by Fumble
that features her teenage self. Heaven forfend that its
available on the interweb! Heres a few crimes against good
taste to be going on with, most of which can be found
through Google image search:-
Parishioner Ronald Hackston: The following examples of
unfortunate album artwork spring to mind: The Undertones’
ill-advised sponsorship deal with Danepak known as “All
Wrapped Up”, “Tanx” by T Rex… is that a gun in your
pocket, Marc?, Led Zep’s “Houses Of The Holy” (clearly some
schoolchildren who’ve forgotten to pack their swimming
kit)… The Beatles’ Butcher sleeve, Whitesnake’s
LoveHunter, then of course there’s Guy Paellart’s Rock
Dreams image of theStones, which isn’t actually an album
cover but should perhaps be taken into consideration given
that it features rudeness and nazi oufits.
Parishioner John Innes: The Slits caked in mud as ‘exotic’
tribes-women is a possibility. Saw Ari Up in Camden last
week, still a fine looking (if slightly bonkers) woman. And
each and every one of those dolly bird fronted Top of the
Pops albums are probably worthy of an un-PC sticker.
Sister Roberta Chapman: I was wandering around a cheap and
nasty flea market in one of Barcelona’s less salubrious
suburbs a couple of years ago – marvelling at the Spanish
capacity to sell hard core porn videos, childrens clothes
and exotic birds in tiny cramped cages, all on the same
stall – when I spied what is probably the dodgiest picture
sleeve ever issued. The single was Good Girls Don’t by the
Knack (of My Sharona fame). The sleeve – I kid you not! –
depicted a child of tender years adorned in full basque,
stockings, suspenders, etc. Any jocular thoughts I had of
purchasing the tawdry item were met with a full and frank
account from my other half regarding the reception that
might await me from the stony-faced customs bods at
Manchester Airport. If anyone has a copy of this, I assume
European only, issue, I wouldn’t jpeg it if I were you. I’d
imagine the police will be knocking at your door before you
can hum the first few bars of Do You Wanna Touch Me There.
THE AD MAN’S SHILLING
Parishioner Tony Blews: Sir, Is it possible that Suggs has
joined the Army of Darkness? The vocal of the advert for the
new Full House magazine sounds like him at least, and I
can’t imagine there being many Macpherson sound-a-likes out
there. Surely they would have less work than a Right Said
Fred tribute act.
Parishioner Beany: For one second there I thought the
National Treasure, aka Danny Baker, was going to recall his
excellent TV adventure on late-night BBC1 when he
introduced the world to the theme tune to the Burnley
Building Society ad, with lyrics by the shy and retiring
Salman Rushdie. Could he better that? Course he could and
should. A film clip of Elton’s mum, Dame Barbara Cartland,
and a track from her new album of love songs. I thought they
would have made him Controller after that.
Parishioner John Mullen: I can figure out why the RAC might
use Gimme Shelter (the idea being that outside the
protection of the ‘new knights of the road’, rape and murder
is just a shot away – how could you NOT keep paying those
easy-to-afford premiums? And I haven’t even got a car). Far
more confusing is Volkswagen using Pink Moon in the US – a
song, basically, about how we’re all going to die. Everytime
I see a VW, I’m not thinking about their impeccable clutch
control, but whether I’d rather be buried or cremated…
SONGS THAT MORPH
Parishioner Paul Johnson: I don’t think this one’s been mentioned yet – although practically every other kid’s TV show theme tune has been highlighted in your missives. The innocence of ‘Ballamory’ – introduced by the relentlessly cheerful schoolteacher Miss Hooly – is always ruined for me by visions of Alice Cooper, emerging from his black house on the outskirts of the village, singing ‘School’s Out’. All together now… ‘Bal-la-mo-ry, no more teachers…’.
Parishioner Adrian Ransome: Scary, starey, shiny-faced, ex-Neighbour and face of cosmetics Natalie Imbruglia’s last single “Shiver” bears rather more than an uncanny resemblance to “In My Place” by Coldplay. Indeed, the resemblance between the verses of both songs is such that I’m more than a little surprised that Mr Martin and his anonymous chums haven’t enlisted legal aid in reclaiming lost songwriting royalties from the – ahem – success of Miss Imbruglia’s recent carbon paper-based effort (which, coincidentally, shares its title with a song by, um, Coldplay!)
Parishioner David Marriott: Cher’s stentorian, impassioned query “Do you bo-lieve in life after love?” is answered perfectly by Chumbawumba’s tart but deadpan “I don’t remember” (from that “short term memory loss” thing). Sing it aloud – you’ll see what I mean.
Parishioner Neil Kibbler: Playing Erin McKeown’s rather fine album Grand, I was struck with the urge to complete the half spoken opening line of the track Cosmopolitans…”Cosmopolitans and ladies looking for pills in draperies”……..”wigs and haberdashery kitchenware and food. Going up”.
Parishioner Mark Walker: Hi, Vic, love the new curtains. Once upon a cheap holiday, I was giving it large in the karaoke bar with my soulful rendition of Abba’s “Thank You For The Music”. I subtly changed the lyrics to “Thank you for the mucus”, although nobody noticed. I expect the gallons of cheap sangria overpowered my subtle satire somewhat.
THE ART OF THE HECKLE
Parishioner Ben McCormick: I ill-advisedly accepted an invitation to watch Bernard Manning’s ‘hilarious’, ‘comic’ ravings at his ‘world-famous’ Embassy Club one evening. Le Manning was famed for his tirades against anyone who moved during his set and, predictably, a volley of expletives met my mate as he got up to visit the lavatory. Manning made only one mistake. He asked: “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?”, to which my quick-witted companion replied: “Just off for a piss before the comedian comes on.” Magnanimous to the end, Manning made it clear that, for me and my mates, the evening was over.
Parishioner Steve Cobb: I had the pleasure of witnessing Captain Beefheart at The Venue in London god knows how many years ago (supported by Rip Rig and Panic, Mr Sager where are you now?). some wag called for Ice Cream For Crow. At which point The Don walked to the front of the stage shielded his eyes with his hat and said in that deadpan cackle of his; “You know I’ll play just what I want!” and promptly did. Ice Cream For Crow never raised its head!
Parishioner George Laxman: James Taylor’s response to people in the crowd shouting for particular songs is a favourite: “Try this one instead. They all sound the same anyway.”
From Brother Shaq: In the mid 70’s I was emotionally press-ganged into attending a Gladys Knight and the Pips concert at the London Palladium. About halfway through the interminable evening, it was time to showcase the Knight’s voice, so the Pips exited stage left respectfully. GK took centre stage and, in a spotlight, and accapella, commenced to sing ‘The Way We Were’. She got to the end of the first line ( ” Memories, like the corners of my mind… ) and as she paused winsomely, a voice with a broad Jamaican accent rang out from a couple of rows in front of us- “Teet’ like a harse! Ya got teet’ like a haaaarse…!”. I recall she was not put off her stride by this obviously audible rudeness. To this day whenever I hear the mournful dirge I cannot help rehearsing this, aloud or to myself in gentle company. And if it is Barbara Streisand, “Nose like a haaaarse”, etc.
SINGLE USE SONGWORDS
Parishioner Bryan Glancy:
My fave has got to be ‘interventionist’, in Nick Cave’s beautiful ‘into my arms’. ‘i don’t believe in an interventionist god’, what a glorious opening line.
“I LOVE JOY DIVISION. I’VE GOT TWO OF HER ALBUMS”
Parishioner Mary Ingoldby: Walking through Islington I just spotted a poster for Joy Zipper, another one of those acts that I suspect will trip up an under-informed DJ in the near future. Didn’t some jock once famously declare on air that he liked Jethro Tull and couldn’t wait to hear his next single? Same must have happened to Molly Hatchett or, possibly, Marjorie Fair or Catherine Wheel. Any more of these out there?
THE WRITER’S PRIVATE JOKE
Pastor Michael Paterson: In the current series of “24”, there is a shady defence firm called McLennan-Forster. Befitting this nod to the songwriting team in one of the all-time great Australian bands, McLennan-Forster are not the main bad guys; they are go-betweens. Do any fellow readers know of other hidden rock tributes in popular culture?
Parishioner Malcolm: In the mid-nineties, I went along to the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal to enjoy the multi-talented and oft hilarious Slim Gaillard play a concert. Guitarist, pianist, crooner, multi-linguist, raconteur and all round good egg, Slim was enjoying a beer at the bar prior to his set when I sidled up to him to ask if he would be performing a number he had written many years previously entitled, “Serenade To A Poodle”. No, who wrote that? he asked; “Why, you did!” I reminded him. Later, during his set, someone yelled a request to play “Atomic Cocktail”. Octogenarian Slim had to admit that he had forgotten the lyrics, but that if the lyrics could be found, then he would gladly oblige. During the break, said requester dashed home to jot down the lyrics from his record, and returned triumphant. To the accompaniment of Slim playing the piano with the back of his fingers, our friend joined him on stage to deliver the song, much to Mr Gaillard’s chuckled delight. Ah, ha
ppy days indeed.
Parishioner David Cottis: I’m fairly sure I once heard a busker start a verse of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ with the question ‘How many years can some people exist before they’re washed into the sea?’ Frankly, I don’t think the answer to that is blowin’ anywhere.
Parishioner Steve Mainwaring: Radio Bristol used to have occasional (bank holidays) programmes of ‘bloopers’. One of these included a track from a live album by Jack Jones, performing Ray Stevens’ ghastly ‘Everything Is Beautiful”. JJ succeeded in introducing a more imaginative element to it however by singing “We shouldn’t care about the colour of his hair or the length of his skin”. They didn’t spend weeks redubbing live albums in those days.
Parishioner Richard Burgess: This one from Top of the Pops….as a young(ish) REM fan I was heartened to learn that my heroes had their dibut slot on the UK’s top music show back in the 80’s-performing Orange Crush which had crept into the top 40. As the song drew to a close, complete with stentorian martial drums, helicopter sound-effects and polemic lyric regarding the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, the camera cut away to the resident Radio 1 DJ who (be)mused “REM there with Orange Crush. What a lovely song for a hot day”
TOM WAITS FOR NO MAN
Parishioner Andrew Goodfellow: Shaun Ryder- Bloated Happy Mondays singer presents a Grand National linked gameshow – the aim being to find a jockey and shave him – the winner being whoever removes the greatest weight of surplus hair before weigh-in.
Jim Morrison – Dead hippy idol look-alike presents a new version of Supermarket Sweep in the titular emporium.
RECORDS THAT KILLED THE PARTY
Parishioner Graham Johns: Is it my memory playing tricks, or was every night part night in my local in the late ’70’s? I well remember that the landlord hit on a cunning wheeze to clear out those of us who had no homes to go to; he’d ceremoniously approach the jukebox, put the B-side of ‘Heroes’, ‘Sense of Doubt’, on for 3 plays (for 20p!), and bar anyone who dared to bump it. I don’t know if anyone ever stuck it out for the third play. The practice had to stop because his potmen threatened to leave on masse rather than be stuck there throughout a triple helping of Eno arseing around in the bottom register of his synth.
Parishioner Carl Parker: “In the Easter Vacation of 1978 I was doing a Saturday night disco with my friend Gerry for the Malaysian Society. We had to provide a bit of background first while they dined and then crank things up for the disco. Well after the food was eaten we tried every dance floor filler known to man and they would not move. Motown, the Stones, Abba and stuff you’ve forgotten like Boogie Nights, Rubber Band Man and Dance, Dance, Dance all failed to get a single toe-tapping. So getting fed up we decided we’d just play records for ourselves. Gerry, liking heavy metal dug out Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water. The result was pandemonium. It was as though an an electric current had been wired through the seating. They were up and dancing. We’d cracked it, although the supply of HM in the record box was fairly limited and Purple ended up being repeated, but they didn’t care.
Parishioner David Quantick: Andrew Collins’ disco reminiscences have reminded me that I once ran a student union disco. The high point was playing Ricky Gervais’ single by his electropop band Seona Dancing, because he was in my year and the only cool person I knew. The low point was doing a disco for Hippy Soc (I think that’s what they were called) and, as a dyed-in-the-hair punk fan, being asked by a long haired type to play The Pistols “so we can all do the Piss Pogo.”
THE PEDANTS REVOLT
Parishioner Tim Footman: Maybe your readers could settle this one. Is it more pedantic to point out to Tim Tucker that the road Billy Bragg serenades is the A13, not the A14; or to Peter Gorgeous that Swans Way’s early 80s hit was ‘Soul Train’, not ‘Night Train’? I am aware that awareness of both of these factoids labels me as a tragic anorak; to draw them to anybody’s attention consigns me to the inner circles of damnation, more vile than anything created by Dante.
SINGLE USE SONGWORDS
Parishioner Roger Gibbens: Don’t think Barry Mcguire hard-hitting satire “Eve Of
Destruction” has had a mention yet, “Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like
coagulatin” Cant think of another song with that word or indeed another
song with “mad blood”
All stand for hymn number 1,476 in your books: “Being Boiled” by Human
League Mk I. “Listen to the voice of buddha saying stop your
sericulture” So sang Phil Oakey in his profoundly deep voice and his
even more profoundly silly lop-sided fringe. My dictionary wasn’t big
enough to tell me what sericulture was at the time. Google can tell me
in 0.04 seconds now (It’s the production of cultivated silk). You may
Parishioner Val Jennings:
Just wanted to be the 100th person to point out that Grandmaster Flash’s
use of ‘sacroiliac’ is not unique, or even the the first usage. The
penultimate song on 10cc’s excellent second album “Sheet Music” (1974)
is entitled “The Sacro-Iliac”. The chorus asks the listener to “do the
sacro-iliac” as though it were a new dance craze…
MASTERS OF WIT AND REPARTEE
Parishioner Mark Bryer: Reading recently of Robin Trower soloing his way
around the country again reminded me of a time when his brand of
Hendrix-inspired noodlings and gurnings were more widely appreciated,
although not by all. At the Reading Festival of 1975 he was some way up
the bill, and most of the late Sunday afternoon crowd were fairly
encouraging as he pulled the Old Man Steptoe faces and peeled off a
lengthy solo every couple of minutes. None were more enthusiastic than
the bearded bloke in the denim waistcoat who stood alone, not twenty
feet from the stage, dead centre of an audience who were, to a man,
seated on the grass. He aped Trower’s every movement, every lick and
facial tic. During one particularly energetic solo a voice barked out
from behind, “Oi, Trower, you’ll never be as good as Hendrix.” Trower’s
double spun around, not missing a beat or a note. Indeed, he showed his
innate understanding of the hint of violence that underpinned the
drink-soaked spirit of Reading when he replied, “Fuck off, cunt,” spun
back stagewards and continued his solo.
PRIMAL SCREAM – THE BAND THAT DIED OF EMBARRASSMENT
Parishioner Mick Kilcourse:
Does anyone recall a more shambolic end to a band’s performance
than the closing stages of Primal Scream’s set at Glastonbury? With the band having
already overrun their allotted time, a well-served Bobby Gillespie,
fresh from insulting any hippies in attendance, asks the crowd what they
want to hear. A female voice rings out clearly “Basement Jaxx”. The
scrawny frontman is then bundled offstage by a burly security man. Not
with a bang, but with a whimper, Bob.
ROCK STARS AS REFLECTED IN THE BACKS OF SPOONS
Parishioner Danny Baker: Whoah! Just watched the (rather good) new ELP
double DVD called “This Is How We Did It” or something and, boy oh boy,
the size of Greg Lake! I mean huge! I’m a fat guy but I bow down to our
leader! He actually appears to get fatter as the documentary goes on as
though, whenever it cuts away to archive footage or other talking heads,
he takes the opportunity to wolf down another couple of chicken pies.
Stick two straws in his mouth and, ladies and gentlemen, we have the
cover of Tarkus. Still, comes across as quite a decent, wry sort. As
does Carl Palmer. Keith Emerson on the other hand…
RECORDS THAT DON’T DESERVE TO BE LEGENDARY
Parishioner Martin McKee:
Vic. How about a new item called “Sunken Chests”. This would feature
the sort of albums which normally appear on “great lost” lists, like in
that there “Word” magazine, but which really should have stayed lost.
I’m particularly inspired by the acreage devoted recently to “Back In
Denim” by Denim. Before you ask, yes I do actually own a copy of this
great work, but in mitigation, I was suffering from the headstaggers at
the time and wasn’t really really the full shilling. As I’m sure a few
people know, Lawrence off of Felt used to make yer actual Dylanesque
sonic cathedral type jobs, but decided he’d show everyone how to make a
proper pop album. (Probably because Teenage Fanclub knocked up a
tribute to Felt called “Belt” which completely encapsulated/surpassed
the original act.) Anyhoo, my head was completely turned, Vic, by the
reviews of the Denim album when it came out, describing it as a work of
visionary genius, and having more money than sense at the time, I went
out and bought it sight unheard. It really is a great steaming pile of
excremental vanity. Lawrence could not write a real, proper pop song if
you held a gun to his head. Godawful singing and production. It is
truly abysmal. I’ve only listened to it twice and it’s still sitting
there as a warning of the evils of excess cash. My real fear is that a
desperate executive will bring out a deluxe “legacy edition”. I’m sure
there are some other parishioners who have suffered similar traumas and
that the Vicar can set aside some time from mismanaging parish funds to
form a “Cloth-eared Bastard Reviewer’s” support group network council,
to work with survivors.
TOM WAITS FOR NO MAN
Parishioner Mark Service:
GAMBLE AND HUFF. Veteran Philly producers place bet then flounce off
when it loses.
Parishioner Simon Moffat:
CHARLIE PARKER – Spectral sax player attempts tricky driving manoeuvres
whilst off his head on London drug TERRY HALL – Sullen ska singer builds
a country house entirely out of old-fashioned nappies THOM YORKE –
Boss-eyed misery-guts guest stars in The Bill as a northern prostitute
JOHNNIE MARR – One-trick 80’s guitar hero damages condoms
THE LOWEST BROWS IN ROCK
Parishioner Graham Johns: In the latest Observer Music Monthly, Noel
Gallagher reveals that he has just read his first book, ‘Angel & Demons’
by Dan Brown. If I had a case, I’d rest it.
WHAT WE USED TO DO ROUND THE WAR MEMORIAL
Parishioner Ronald Hackston Re: Kids Today
bSpotted at a BlackSabbath gig, 1981, Newcastle City Hall… young female metallist,
pristine white trainers with the biro inscription “Flash!” down the side
of the left foot, and “Ah-Aaaah” down the right one. We used to make our
own fun in those days, etc. While I’m on the subject, whatever became of
that essential heavy metal wardrobe item, the denim jacket with band
names self-embroidered on the back? If kids today had to sit indoors for
hours of an evening sewing Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in gothic script,
I’m sure there’d be a lot less aggravation on our nation’s streets.
Asbos? Nonesense. What the kids today want is needlework lessons.
AT THE SIGN ON YE OLDE SPINNING DISC
Parishioner Jimmy Webster:
Parishioner John Ingham’s mention of Aarons Records in LA reminded me
that one of its branches was the only record shop I have been to with
valet parking. It was still very Anglicised in the 1990’s having copies
of no hope 7 inch singles I released in Blighty up on its walls within
days of hitting the streets. I worked at HMV in Bristol in the 1990s.
Daft enquiries came thick and fast. Puzzled staff finally worked out
that ‘John and Frank Ellis’ was Jon and Vangelis, ‘Alan Morrison’ was
Alanis Morisette and ‘Eileen Eon’ was Celine Dion. A request for ‘that
farmer record’ from a local yokel had us all scratching our heads. The
local was asked to sing it and he delivered a rendition of Snow’s white
reggae rap hit ‘The Informer’ in his finest Worzel. I could go on…
AT THE SIGN OF THE SPINNING DISC
Parishioner John Rennie:
Record shop memories. Virgin Edinburgh in the 1980s. A
French tourist requests Holding Back The Ears by Simple Red.
And a baffled Yank complains that we sold her the
wrong-shaped musicassette for her hire car. Our experts
demonstrated that the tape should be inserted lengthways not
sideways (yes, really). A small ‘scheme-ey’ clad entirely in
maroon asks for Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary Can… (The
American by Simple Minds). Oh and the grumpy old man who
demanded Beethoven’s 1812. After a painstaking (but very
straightforward) explanation that Beethoven didn’t do that
one, the old charmer replied: ‘So you’ve not got it then?
I’ll try HMV, you people are useless.’
Parishioner Mike Brett: The record shop in Croydon called
The Vinyl Resting Place must surely take its place in the
annals of retail punning, alongside the hairdresser named
Barber Blacksheep and the pet shop Doggy Style.
OBSCURE NAMECHECKS IN SONG
Parishioner Finnbar Cornwall:
There’s a track called Ha Ha by TY that includes what has
got to be two of the best namechecks in one song – both
Ronnie Whelan (the ex-Liverpool midfielder) and the Labour
MP Oona King (who was recently defeated by George Galloway.
Does it get any more obscure than that?
HOPE I DIE BEFORE I GET OLD
Parishioner Graham Johns: It
occurred to me that, had Live Aid had been topped-off by
British artists of a similar vintage and longevity to Live
8’s Floyd, Who and Macca, Wembley would have rocked to the
likes of The Andrews Sisters, The Joe Loss Orchestra and
Dame Vera Lynn.
“WHERE’S MY WATER ROADIE?”
Parishioner Mary Ingoldby: When
our perfectly pleasant Live 8 barbecue was disturbed by the
arrival on the Hyde Park stage of Mariah Carey, things went
from bad to worse. Will you LOOK at that woman! She’s an
absolute disgrace. Every now and again she’d ask for a sip
of water and some minion would come trolloping on with a
little plastic container with a straw in it and direct the
straw towards her mouth. I’ve heard Bob Dylan has a bike
roadie who’s in charge of his pushbike in the unlikely event
that he ever wants to go for a spin when he’s on tour, but
surely Carey takes the – possibly pink-iced – biscuit. If
any parishioner knows of roadies for anything more absurd,
Parishioner Bob Hunter: Watching the old
guard at Live 8 – and pretty impressive they were too – it
struck me how active the Maccas and Eltons of this world
still are. And they’re not alone. The 64 year-old Dylan
still plays an average of two nights a week. Ginger Baker’s
66. The Everly Brothers are still filling the aisles in
their early 70s. John Mayall’s on the road at 72, the same
age as “the hardest working man in showbiz”, stir-crazy soul
firecracker James Brown. Is there anyone any older still
regularly treading the boards?
Parishioner Rob Mansfield: Your Grace!
Witty ripostes puts me in mind of a gig at The Leadmill in
Sheffield seeing Julian Cope around the time of his Peggy
Suicide tour in 1991. Halfway through the evening, members
of the congregation were shouting out suggestions of his
back catalogue to play. Saint Julian! screeched one, to
which a heartily stoned Mr Cope replied: I know! True
Parishioner Dave Gorman: While passing
through Heathrow Airport recently I spotted a chap who, I
think it is safe to assume, had attended the Motley Crue gig
at Wembley Arena the night before. He was kitted out in a
lot of denim and a little leather but most impressive was
the tattoo upon his upper left arm. It simply bore the
legend: HEAVY METAL. Hats off to the chap – you have to
admire his commitment to the genre as a whole. He knew his
tastes wouldn’t change but that the personnel responsible
would. Bands have come and gone, heroes have been elevated
and then dismissed but his tattoo has truly stood the test
of time. Are there any parishioners out there with less
foresight and uglier forearms? Has anyone had a band’s name
inked into their skin one night only to find their new album
has taken them in an embarrassing new direction? The Vicar
writes: We had this thread four or five years ago, if memory
serves, and someone came up with a story about a
Liverpudlian who’d spend his life since the early ’60s in
long-sleeved shirts. The reason: his over-hasty
self-inflicted tattoo – I LOVE THE BATLES.
“A BAG OF WALNUTS WRAPPED IN CLINGFILM”
Earnshaw: Re your thread about pop stars who haven’t aged
too well, I saw Robin Trower interviewed on German TV last
week. He looked like a thousand year-old turtle rudely
pulled from his shell, and/or a hideous cross between Gollum
and a lab foetus. The clips of him playing with his current
touring band reduced me to writhing in shame on the hotel
BLUE SUEDE NEWS
Anonymous Parishioner: As the only famous
alumnus of a middle-of-the-road comprehensive in West
Sussex, Suede’s Brett Anderson was due to present the Year
11 leavers with their GCSE certificates one year.
Unfortunately, the Head’s wife had run off with Brett’s dad
and he wasn’t altogether delighted with the prospect of
spending the evening with the fruit of his love-rival’s
overactive loins. Much to the chagrin of the expectant
teenagers, Sally Gunnell made a guest appearance in his
FINGER THE FAKE: ROCK AND ROLL FRAUDS EXPOSED!
Roberta Chapman: Respect due to Parishioner Martin McKee for
invoking the emperors new clothes clause, re the talentless
Lawrence out of Denim. (See also “there’s one in every
town.” Stephen Pastel in Glasgow, John Robb/Goldblade in
Manchester etc etc….) I’ve always thought that those
Buried Treasure and Great Lost Classic sections beloved of
the rock mags should really be called A Record That Isn’t
That Great Really But Which The Writer Holds In Sentimental
Regard For Reasons Usually Shagging Or Drug-Related. I mean
personally I wouldn’t petition for the inclusion of
Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Beard Of Stars in any Great And Good
List, but it has a special and enduring place in my
affections which time resolutely refuses to diminish. As an
adjunct to all this, how about we push the boat out even
further and nominate the top ten records and artists loved
by critics but ignored by everyone who lives in the real
world? Hands up, does anyone know anybody outside of the
music business or rad-fem cultural studies lecturers of a
certain age who actually owns a copy of Marianne Faithfull’s
Broken English? Similarly, St Etienne, lovely people to be
sure, and the fabulousness of their tastes and their record
collection cannot be faulted. But come on, as with the
Sadistic Mika Band, evoked in this newsletter not many
months back, they’re better in theory aren’t they?
Personally I think one verse of the Paper Dolls’ Something
Here In My Heart, or Love Games by Belle And The Devotions,
trumps their entire recorded output. And don’t get me
started on Prefab Sprout.
Parishioner TJ Worthington: Can’t agree about Back In Denim,
which is worthy of fulsome praise even if just for the
sublime song The Osmonds. My own personal nomination for
this honour would be Belle And Sebastian’s Fold Your Hands,
Child, You Look Like A Peasant. I’d adored everything that
the band had done up until then, bought it excitedly on the
day of release, and was so underwhelmed that I haven’t been
able to bring myself to give it a second listen.
ROCK AND ROLL INSULT
Parishioner Mike Brett: Is there
anything in the Most Insulting Song Lyric? Can anyone top
the back-handed non-compliment by the Stone Roses in Going
Down, in which we’re told that a certain young lady ‘looks
like a painting – Jackson Pollock’s Number 5’?
WHAT WE USED TO DO ROUND THE WAR MEMORIAL
Parishioner Tim Earnshaw: Ronald Hackston’s rheumy-eyed reminiscence of embroidering Black Sabbath logos on his denim jacket sent me on a pipe-sucking saunter down the dimming avenues of memory – HARP GLISSANDO – to a time when me and my mates would cover our deliberately-frayed army surplus school bags with our favourite group names, lovingly rendered in biro. It was a pretty good way of discovering new stuff – first sightings of Captain Beefheart and Leonard Cohen led to life-long devotion to both. In an effort to out-cool my mates, I inscribed ECLECTION on my own bag, copying the Elektra artwork years before I ever even heard the music.
DUST MARKET CORNERED!
Parishioner Mike Brett:
During a marathon Woody Guthrie session aboard a delayed train to Manchester it struck me that, far from breaking new linguistic ground, some artists make their living through a stubborn refusal to incorporate anything new into their songs. In Woody’s case, he seemed unable to get through a song without throwing the word ‘dust’ in for good measure. Any man whose greatest hits album includes Dust Can’t Kill Me, The Great Dust Storm, Dust Bowl Blues and – my personal favourite – Dusty Old Dust surely deserves some sort of lifetime award for services to detritus.
GREAT SONGS RUINED BY ADVERTS
Parishioner John Mitchell:
Dear Vicar. No doubt, like many of your parishioners, I enjoyed Brian Wilson’s Sunday set at Glastonbury to a degree which bordered on religious fervour. As one glorious, hook-laden classic launched into another, with the summer sun beating down and with a cold Red Stripe in my hand, I was struck by the thought that life could hardly be more agreeable. There was only one nagging annoyance. As the band launched into California Girls, I could not dislodge from my head the image of a bunch of fat businessmen on a plane serenading the hostesses with the refrain ‘I wish they all could be Caledoniaaan’? That’s right, a particularly horrific British Caledonian advert from the ’70s had come back to reek a terrible revenge on my good karma. Do any other parishioners have examples of classic songs ruined by appalling adverts?
AND ANOTHER PARISH APPEAL
Paul Smith of the Shepherd’s Bush parish writes: Can any of the parish help with this important detail from The Wall. I’ve attached it. It’s the beginning of Another Brick… Part 3. The question is: what is the source of whatever’s on the TV? I believe the character is saying “This room used to be a bakery. Thought you’d like to know.” It’s been bugging me for, well, 28 years.
Hear it here:
MUSICIANS IN SKITS
Parishioner Brett Lampitt:
On the subject of musicians trying to cut the mustard in the world of comedy, have any parisioners seen the Beatles’ rather limp rendition of the Pyramus and Thisbe scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, made for a Rediffusion special in 1964? Of the fab four, only George Harrison seems to possess any sense of timing or comic understatement, trading heavily on his nasal scouse tones. Meanwhile, John relies too much on comedy pigtails, blacked-out tooth and Lennonesque gurning, Paul is quite without humour, and Ringo is dressed as a lion. Which is funny only for those who are amused by drummers dressed as lions. Interestingly, the skit is carried along by the additional talent of Trevor Peacock (him off the Vicar of Dibley with his hilarious ‘no no no no no no no no yes’ catchphrase), and someone else who looks familiar playing the part of the wall, who’s funnier than the rest put
Parishioner Ric Latham:
George Harrison on Rutland Weekend Television
WORST TEMPER IN ROCK
Parishioner Alan Robinson:
Another entry into your ‘worst temper in rock’ strand. I promoted a gig at London’s Town & Country Club with the now deceased Mr Albert King – one of the ‘Three Kings Of The Blues’ back in 1990. When his road crew arrived, I was told by his crew that Albert would only allow his vocals and guitar to be put through the PA. Drums, bass and keyboards would not be miked up, and if Albert saw any such accoutrements, he would walk out of the venue. Albert, bless him, wouldn’t soundcheck, so, when he arrived at the venue, it was down to muggins here to attempt to persuade him that, for the fifteen hundred punters or so who had shelled out their hard-earned, it would be a better listening experience if the gear went through the PA. Our conversation went something like this: me “Hello Albert, how are you? I gather that you don’t want the rest of your band to be miked up through the PA, and…”
Albert immediately interjected: “F*ck you, motherfucker. I’ve been playing this m*therf*cking shit for forty years. You can blow your m*therf*cking PA out your m*therf*cking ass. The people are gonna hear my music my way, and if y’all don’t like it, y’all can f*ck off. F*ck you.”
Me: “I’ll take that as ‘no’, then Albert.” ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’? You m*therf*cking bet.
Parishioner Iain Welsh:
Shootin’ fish in a bucket, I know, but I saw the Guru of Grump, Van Morrison give a lacklustre performance at Harrogate a few years ago. In the middle of one song, he insisted that the drum kit be moved about two feet to the left. The noble roadies achieved this while the song was still in progress. The evening was saved by enthusiastic performances from sidesmen Georgie Fame and Andy Fairweather-Low.
RICK ASTLEY LIVES ON IN SONG
Parishioner Stuart Kaufman:
It would seem that Donots have a song on “Pocket Rock” called Whatever Happened To The 80s with the lines
“Whatever happened to the 80’s?
Thank god, Rick Astley gave us up.”
NAME CHECKING YOURSELF IN SONG
Parishioner Tony Blews:
I may have been at the wine a bit early on this glorious Sunday afternoon,
but i’m fairly sure that Queen managed it (and not just by having songs
about Black, White and Killer Queens) with the following lines from “I Go
Crazy” (w/m The Astronomer Royale in Waiting):
“So I ain’t gonna go and see the Rolling Stones no more
I don’t wanna go and see Queen no more no more
I ain’t gonna go and see the Rolling Stones no more
I don’t wanna go and see Queen no more no more”
Back to the booze now…
Parishioner David Innes:
Not once, but twice…
Kevin Rowland not only self-refers: “My name is Kevin Rowland, I’m the leader of the band” but actually titles the song “Kevin Rowland’s 13th Time” (b-side and opening track on Don’t Stand Me Down – The Director’s Cut).
As if to prove the point he made in Keep It Part 2 where he intoned that “competition with myself is not enough”, where both he and Al (Archer) are referenced, “Liars A to E” (single and Too-Rye-Ay track) contains the line, “good old Kevin’s gonna be all right”.
I guess that makes three.
Andy Partridge of the parish of Swindon: The Vicar might be interested in a wave of “comfycore” artists currently sweeping the nation. These are courtesy of myself and fellow parishioner Thomas Walsh…
Alan Bennett And The Rebel Rousers
The Thora Herd
Derek Nimmo And The Dominoes
The Rolling Scones
Birds Of Eddie Vedder
Gardeners’ World Party
Gongs Of Praise
Last Of The Summer Wire
Gerry And Margot And The Pacemakers
Pam Ayres And The Whole World
All Gas And Gaydad
RETAILING THE STARS
Parishioner Derek Thomas:
A slight ‘man bites dog’ twist on your request for stories of selling something to someone famous……Andy Partridge, in his pre-XTC days (probably Starpark or Helium Kidz), was a sales assistant in the record dept of Debenhams (or Bon Marche possibly). I was trawling the vinyl LPs when he recommended an album by MAN – Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth for which I am forever in his debt! I was already a fan but unaware of the release of this ‘Limited edition – for Man fans only’ album.
LAST OF THE SUMMER PHLEGM
From the desk of Danny Baker:
I’m sure we’ve all been hanging on every last twist and turn of the recent split within top punk band Sham 69. A group who last had a hit in 1979. Well now the dust has settled the latest, Jimmy Pursey free, incarnation of the rightful heirs to Pablo Cruise have emerged and the first photo session is online. Vic, has there ever been a more unlikely quintet of posturing old grandads giving it plenty? Note the urban alley and stairs locale as if to say, “Hey man, where you going? Don’t you know this is OUR turf? Oh and by the way if you’re going to Boots we take 3 of every 12 Gaviston heartburn tabs you suckers are packing. It’s our due and respect. Also could you get us some Deep Heat – my back is killing me pulling this leather jacket on and off at my age…”
By the way – Punk is dead. I’d know….
CORONATION STREET – BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAUL WELLER
Parishioner Danny Keene:
Has anyone else noticed Eastenders and Coronation Street’s current fascination with all things Paul Weller and The Jam. Besides the fact that you often hear either Paul or The Jam playing on the “The Vic” jukebox or in “the caff” in Eastenders or “Roys’ Rolls” in Corrie, he is now becoming part of the script. In Coronation Street the other week, Peter Barlow proudly announced that he enjoyed driving back home during the night listening to The Jam full blast, whereupon his murdering step sister Tracey admitted that she liked Paul Weller as well. Directly afterwards was Eastenders, where Kevin (Phil Daniels) girlfriend Denise tells Pat that Kevin has tried to get her to like the The Jam despite him dancing around to them in his underpants. And only last week, the Morton family move into Coronation St and immediately upset their new neighbours by playing The Jam at maximum volume. On a
slightly “mod” related tip, did anyone else also notice in Eastenders the other week that when Kevin (Phil Daniels) went “missing”, they showed him walking back from the sea/coast in a scene very reminiscent of the opening scene from Quadrophenia. Hardly surprising really when you consider that he has acted alongside him mum (Kate Williams) and Dave (Mark Wingett) from Quadrophenia in the past year….
Parishioner Chris Parfitt:
Can any parishoner help me with something that has plagued my waking hours for over thirty years. Many moons ago I was a spotty Genesis obsessed youth watching Saturday Morning TV (I think it was Multi Coloured Swap Shop but I may be wrong). Anyway Peter Gabriel was on promoting his new single Solsbury Hill. He set a competition where to win the goodies you had to say what the the term Loo Phooey ( Mentioned in the song) meant. Now for some reason I missed the next weeks show and have been trying o find the answer ever since. Can any parishoner help? Many thanks and if someone finds the answer I’ll put a couple of extra coinso in the collection plate at the evensong service.
NAME CHECKING YOURSELF IN SONG
Parishioner Doug Ashford:
Actually more a song-check, but Loudon Wainwright III glanced back at his novelty hit a few years on. From his indictment of the music press, “How Old Are You?”:
Are you bitter, have you grown lazy?
Were you embarrassed about ‘Dead Skunk’?
Parshioner Simon Moffat:
Julian Cope is a great one for self-reference. “Julian H Cope” on Jehovakill, for instance, has the line “Julian H Cope, you’re a real dead loss”. Incidentally, that song has the line “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”, which I thought was a quote from Blazing Saddles, but turns out to be of those movie in-jokes that appears all over the place (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinking_badges).
LEGAL, DECENT, HONEST, TRUTHFUL
Parishioner Adie Turner:
I’m sure at some point The Parish has discussed inappropriate uses of music in TV ads, but having just returned from the US, I had to share this with you… Do you remember The The – you know, Matt Johnson, Mr. Grumpy Trousers, big for a fortnight in the early 80s? Well, no-one was more astonished than I to hear their 1983 non-hit single “This Is The Day” (sample lyric “You didn’t wake up this morning ’cause you didn’t go to bed, You were watching the whites of your eyes turn red…”) soundtracking a TV ad in the USA last week. And what was the ad for? M & Ms. Yes, M & Ms. Yes, the Smartie-like sweets. With the cute round yellow & red cartoon characters. Blimey…
Parishioner Ronald Hackston:
Top jock-rock twins the Proclaimers are very much in the ether at the moment, what with their charity single, and their greatest hits album, but imagine my surprise the other day when I saw one of them in a video dated approx 1968 or 69, for the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”. You may recall a bespectacled young man in the audience shaking his fists insistently – see attached image – who bears a startling resemblance to one of the aforementioned twin celts. Now either (a)the Reid boys are much older than they’re letting on, (b)one of them has access to a time machine, thus explaining his presence here and their long absences from our recent chart, or (c) this is actually their dad. My money’s on (b), and I’m going to keep an eye out for other anochronistic Proclaimer-sightings, as they are bound to have cropped up, Zelig-like, as they surfed the rift in the space-time continuum. Anyway, here’s
a photo of one them in 1968…
Parishioner Mark A. Walker feels we should know about this exciting offer for those who like New Balance trainers and Joy Division.
Parishioner Susan Murphy:
I cannot be the only parishioner strangely fascinated by the fact that the following are all 50 this year:
Makes you think, don’t it?
Susan, it do.
CALLING ROCK VIRGINS!
Parishioner Tim Turner:
At a party at the weekend I was chatting to a bloke in his mid-50s who mentioned in passing that he’d only ever been to one rock concert. “Oh, who was it?” I asked. “The Beatles,” he said, matter-of- factly, “at the Odeon in Leeds.” He couldn’t even recall the year, though he did remember screaming a lot. I’m not sure what that proves, and I didn’t get the chance to ask why he never felt the urge to repeat the experience. Can any other parishioners provide examples of people who’ve got a perfect record in some sphere of entertainment?
The Vicar has never stayed overnight at a rock festival. Does this count?
Parishioner Rich Goodall:
In the episode of The Young Ones where Neil joins the police, they raid a party where the stereo gets trashed. Neil looks at the camera and says ‘Oh no, Steve Hillage’. Does any one know the title of the song playing? It features lyrics along the lines of ‘sophisticated sciences’. Thank you.
SHOPPING WITH MICK JAGGER
We’re grateful to parishioner Paul Gorman of blog.myspace.com/rockpopfashion for this:
As a coda to his memories of working at Granny Takes A Trip in LA in the early 70s, THE LOOK’s friend Roger Klein has dug up a memory concerning a surprise visit to the store by one Michael Phillip Jagger. It is, at all times while reading this, worth remembering that Mick was a student at the London School Of Economics.
Roger takes up the story:
So, one day Jagger strutted into the shop just like he was on stage. He came up to me and announced, in the unlikely combo of a Southern accent and Cockney drawl: “I need some fancy clothes, whadda y’all got?”
Oh, I was nervous alright. Not because it was Jagger, but because we hadn’t made a sale all week and there was the distinct possibility that there wouldn’t be any funds to pay me.
If he bought a load of gear that would change everything. Oh yes! Right this way, Mick!
The first thing I put on him was the black silky jacket with copper threads and black velvet collar. It always ended up being the last jacket left in the shop and we kept it high up on display. I blew off the thick layer of dust that had settled on the shoulders.
How old was it, I wondered? It may well have been sitting in the shop in London for years before it found it’s way over here.
Yet Mick seemed quite pleased as he gazed into the mirror in the fitting room. “I’ll take it ,” he proclaimed.
Next was a black satin shirt and then two pairs of velvet trousers. “I ‘ll take the lot!!” he cried.
Ahhhh, I’d be paid after all. I filled out the receipt on top of an old wooden pump organ that was in the front of the shop in place of a counter. The bill came close to $700.
When I gave Mick the total amount he looked positively confused…then irritated: “Uhhh, well, Marty never makes me pay!” Marty was the co-owner, back in London.
I reiterated that he had to pay the full amount, at which he swept the clothes off the organ onto the floor.
“No. I’m not paying,” he declared and wandered off towards the back of the shop and buried his head in a large cardboard box of the oldest, rattiest clothes imaginable. They WERE NOT Granny’s: awful looking satin loons, scooped necked crap t-shirts and a bunch of other rubbish that the other owner Freddie had brought back from somewhere and I had been told to give to the Goodwill or inmates at the local ladies prison.
Hey, I’m not making this stuff up. That’s what Freddie told me!
“What’s this then?” Mick inquired.
“Oh,just old clothes we don’t want,” I told him.
“And they’re free?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Right, then,” the leader of the biggest rock band in the world exclaimed. “I’m taking all of this,” and out he marched with an armful of clothes meant for the homeless.
“GLASTO! THE FLOYD! MADGE!”
Parishioner Germane Paxman: I’m just listening to Half Man Half Biscuit’s “Corgi Registered Friends” and can’t help agreeing that the worst thing you can say about a bloke is “he calls Glastonbury Glasto”. There’s something about all these matey diminutives that puts my teeth on edge. It’s the sort of thing radio presenters affect when they’re trying to sound au courant. Shouldn’t we compile a list starting with Glasto, The Floyd and Madge? Do any other parishioner etc…
FROM THE DESK OF PARISHIONER DANNY BAKER
I’m all over the Sham wars as you know.
Now Jimmy Pursey, who likes his drink and smoke, has posted the following bonkers statement on his myspace page: “To whom it may concern. Any DJ, promoter, deserter, mutineers, blaggers or thieves, anyone using the name Sham 69 without the official consent of the House of Hersham must pay all monies for using this name to the Zahid Mubarek family. i.e. Jack the Lad Promotions, Kerrang Radio, Virgin Radio, Dave Parsons, Ian Whitewood, promoter Timothy (Scazz) Scargill, any desecration, vandalism of our name or artwork e.g. polar bear, will be deemed as a discriminatory deception of our character. Any Facsist internet thug tactics against my name in art or a blatant attempt to attack all work that is done for Green Peace or the Enlightenment of Climate Change direct action, the House of Hersham. The official Sham 69 has no management or
IF U WERE THE ONLY BAND IN THE WORLD
In some draconian future each citizen is only permitted to listen to music by artists whose bandname, first or surname begin with the same letter (ZZ Top, Zappa, The Zutons etc.). So the question is, which letter do you choose and which artists does it give you? Verbal polls suggest one letter is most popular, but will the parish agree?
PARISH APPEAL ANSWERED
Parishioner Aidan was one of many who sprang with alacrity to the aid of the parishioner who wanted to know what the tune was that was playing in The Young Ones when the police raided the party. Most seem to agree that it’s “Electric Gypsies” from Hillage’s second album “L” ‘Isn’t that the one that Todd Rundgren produced?’ pipes up the Curate from the vestry.
PARISH APPEAL LAUNCHED
Parishioner Peter Simmons:
“When did we start calling groups bands? It was groups all the way until at least the mid 60s ( often referred to as ‘beat groups’ ) but when did the ever so slightly hip term ‘band’ first emerge. Was it good old Sergeant Pepper or perhaps Music From The Big Pink by The Band? Or perhaps it started with the Summer of Love? And why is it that some groups will always be groups ( The Hollies, Spencer Davis ) and never make the transition to band?”
THE VICAR WRITES: Excellent topic, Peter. Surely it was an Americanism imported at the end of the 60s? Your thoughts, please, flock.
PUTTING A BIT BACK
Parishioner Brett: Your reverence, I thought you’d be interested in a fine example of heartwarming benevolence from a section of rock society better known for its guitarless stadium power-tunes and occasional trips to rehab. Those nice young men from Keane donated an impressive £10,000 to help build a new cricket pavilion at their home ground in Battle, after the first one was burnt down by some of the town’s ne’er-do-wells. Isn’t it refreshing to know that not all rock stars are pumped-up prima donnas or touchy psychopaths? Before the music took over, Tom Chaplin used to open the bowling for Battle 1st XI, and by all accounts was a bit of a tweaker. Which makes me wonder how many other musicians have a secret sporting talent. Do any of your parishioners etc etc.
MAKING IT COUNT
If ever there was a pastoral role for you…
Mebbe you’d like to check out my new post on the messageboard. Given that I’m following the path of Bill Hicks, I invoke the mighty powers of guilt. Also, my blog: www.captpancreas.blogspot.co.uk
STAMP OUT MATEY DIMINUTIVES
Oh and on the subject of matey superstar diminutives, pushing past well-popular unpleasantries such as “Van The Man” and “The Boss”, my own least-favourite has to be any reference to Paul McCartney as “Macca”, (especially with a precursory “thumbs-aloft” – come on, you’ve all written it at one point, haven’t you?). However, my hatred has recently been slightly tempered by the fact that Heather Mills is now habitually referred to in the Red-Tops as “Mucka”, so maybe there is a thin silver lining to that cloud after all… I should also add that my own personal favourite pop epithet (“popithet”?), though for a musician of slightly lesser status, is to refer to a certain Madonna-producing and Les Rhythmes Digitales-fronting redhead as “Stuart from Reading”. Maybe others in the parish have equivalent less-than complementary shorthands for their own personal satisfaction / use /
THE VICAR WRITES: Ungenerous I know but there are sections of the parish where Tony Hadley is know either as “Foghorn” or “Foggers”.
Parishioner Gideon Coe:
It’s been a while since I got in touch, I’ve been short of material though I’m working on a startling anecdote involving Kevin Ayers and my mother’s fireplace. In the meantime I was delighted to read Parishioner Paxman raging against matey diminutives especially as uttered by radio presenters (whatever they are). “Glasto” is the prime example of this and should be at very least banned forever. I’d also like to nominate some more whilst accepting that I just might have been guilty of using them from time to time. So letâ€™s have no more of:-
The Stuffies when talking about the Wonderstuff and, while we’re about it,
The Poppies when talking about Pop Will Eat Itself (they do come up in conversation occasionally.) See also…
And, perhaps most of all,
“The Zim” when discussing Bobby D. Blast, there I go again
Parishioner Andy Franks:
Following on from Germane’s can-opening e-mail. I think we should be a little firmer on these Disc Jockey blighters and suggest that the following should immediately be consigned to the blacklist. Eric Clapton will no longer be referred to as God or even worse Slowhand. Paul Weller will not be announced as The Modfather or The Woking Wonder. Bruce Springsteen, much admired in the parish, has surely warranted the dropping of The Boss. Others that spring to mind are Led Zep, Led Zeppelin if you please and of course my particular bete noire is the insistence of self appointed ‘Kings of the Airwaves’ referring to Mr Reg Dwight as “Elton John”, this nonsense must stop. Some may regard this as harsh, well maybe but we do need standards. That being said I think an exception should be made for The ‘Mighty’ Fall/The Fall when used in a John Peel (RIP)
GINGER BAKER’S DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR
In 1967 I was lead singer with a Bristol-based band and we blagged a booking to support Cream when they played the Chinese R+B Jazz Club at Bristol’s Corn Exchange. It must have been very early in their brief career as I don’t recall anyone had heard of them outside a small band of John Mayall devotees. Anyway, the Corn Exchange was not the most salubrious of venues; in fact it featured a ‘dressing room’ that was a metre-wide strip of stage behind the back curtains. The only toilets were accessed from the main auditorium and shared by acts and public alike. I wandered innocently into said facilities prior to going on stage to find stall one (of two) being used by this nondescript bloke in a brown leather jacket. Availing myself of stall two it gradually dawned on me that I was STANDING NEXT TO ERIC CLAPTON! Lacking the bravura to ask for an autograph, as his hands were otherwise
engaged, I returned to the backstage dressing room to find Ginger Baker, grinning evilly, looking like the proverbial and pissing into a pint beer mug. His reason for this display of golden agility? “If I go out there I’ll probably get mobbed” – an interesting comment from the man who wasn’t God and didn’t go on to become one.
ROCK VIRGINS AMNESTY
Parishioner Mike O’Rourke:
Whilst anything but a rock virgin I never knowingly attended a gig featuring a rock combo that had had a 45 in the popular music charts. Many subsequently did.
An old work pal of mine once expressed his total disbelief that I am so fond of music, saying ‘Can’t stick it, myself’. To the misguided suggestion that a visit to a live concert might alter his perception, he added ‘Went to some Gilbert and Sullivan once, couldn’t make head nor tail of it.’
GROUPS OR BANDS?
Parishioner Will Birch:
One could look this sort of thing up, but from memory I’d say it was introduced in America in 1967, when improvising rock musicians started to compare themselves to jazz musicians (and refer to a guitar as an ‘axe’!) I recall an Eric Clapton interview in Rolling Stone, in which he talked about Electric Flag being ‘an incredible band’. This was way before ‘The Band’ was christened. Mind you, I think Clapton also used the term ‘LP’ in the same piece, quite perversely I thought, as by then they were surely ‘albums’. Other ‘new’ terminology from this era included ‘concert’ or ‘gig’, and ‘heavy’ to denote musical depth. Clapton, first in print for sure, late 1967.
Parishioner Stuart Booth:
I recall distinctly reading a review of The Paul Butterfield Blues band first (Elektra) LP in the same issue of MM or NME where Eric Burdon was interviewed and was asked/commented upon same Band. It seemed to get picked up thereafter, I think – especially after US usage (like so much other abuses, even of the term “rock’n’roll”) was adopted by the music biz et al.
Parishioner Steve Mainwaring:
As Your Eminence suggests, I remember the move from “groups” to “bands” as an Americanism of about 1967/8 and, I believe, contemporary with and parallel to the distinction between “pop” and “rock”. After that, those who played pop were still groups (eg T Rex, Slade, Lt Pigeon) and those who played rock were bands (Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Lothar and the Hand People, etc). As Peter Simmons says, some groups will always be groups – in fact there were very few who made the transition from pop group to rock band. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Small Faces, the Who – can’t think of many more.
IF U WERE THE ONLY BAND IN THE WORLD
Parishioner Gavin Hogg:
It must be the letter S. Think on…
The Smiths, Sparks, Franks Sinatra and Sidebottom, The Specials, Nina Simone, The Sugarcubes, The Shangri-Las, Dusty Springield, Simon and Garfunkel, The Stone Roses, Sigur Ros, The Supremes, John Shuttleworth and The Small Faces.
Parishioner John Gannon:
Might I suggest that the letter has to be “B”, if only for The Beatles and Bob Dylan, but also for:
Bonnie Prince Billy
Parishioner Tim Turner:
It’s got to be B, surely. Even without looking at my CDs, I’d take a collection that included The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, The Buzzcocks, The Beat, Chuck Berry and Tim Buckley, to name but 10. I’d mourn the loss of Nick Drake, certainly, but apart from that I could live with the restriction.
THE VICAR WRITES: I feel it’s important to lay down some ground rules here and to suggest that we follow the alphabetisation system adopted in the 70s whereby solo artists go by surname. Which puts Bob Dylan in “D”, I’m afraid.
Parishioner James Bentley:
I’ve never attended a festival either. And until I can do so in a land-yacht like Robert de Niro’s in Meet The Fockers, that isn’t going to change.
Re: rock festivals: In 40 years of concert going, I went in my teenage years to an LA festival one evening, found a hole under the fence and watched Jimi Hendrix play the most boring set I have ever seen. Then left. In 1976 I attended a festival at Cardiff Castle one afternoon in a professional capacity and another afternoon at Reading to watch I-Roy and The Mighty Diamonds. That’s it. Does this win me a Common Sense Award? Yours etc….
I’ve never knowingly heard “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I probably should have done. I’ve spent enough time in guitar shops, enough time watching terrible bands soundchecking, enough time listening to CDs in vile Eastern European rock venues to have heard it a million times. And if I went foraging on the internet now, I’d probably hear it and say “oh, it’s that one, right.” But until I do, I’ll continue to claim that I’ve never heard it. The nearest I came was when a band I was once in did an utterly pointless gig on the Isle Of Lewis, and sailing into Stornoway harbour we saw “LYNYRD SKYNYRD” painted in foot high letters on the jetty. Our drummer immediately started singing an excerpt of what was, apparently, “Freebird”, but he was tone deaf, so that doesn’t count.
Parishioner Matthew Morris:
never been to “glasto” ( also hate this familiar shorthand but I do advocate the Twat in the Hat when referring to Jamie Roquai) Love music but 100000 wannabe hippies in one place just seems like a missed opportunity to test all the latest doohickeys developed at Porton Down to me. I also hate the idea of giving money to greenpeace. I advocate a gig where taxpayers raise money for the french secret service.
THE BOY’S A BIT HANDY
Serge and Tom of Kasabian were talented footballers in their youth and occasionally expose their skills at charidee matches. All of which is fairly well documented. Perhaps less well known are the collective footballing skills of tabloid baiting Towers of London. The recent Bravo documentary series included one episode featuring a music biz 5-a-side at which Donny in particular looked really useful, as the men with the liniment and magic sponge would say. The same TV series also highlighted their al fresco boxing skills, but that’s quite a different matter……………
Parishioner Kingsley Abbott:
I believe I am right in saying that Bill Wyman is still the only person (professional sports stars included) to have bowled a hat trick live on TV (Sky) from the Oval Cricket ground. Previously, of course, he was known to have bowled many maidens over…
Parishioner Shane: More news from Ian “refunds at the door” Gillan, whose ‘Deep Purple play Machine Head in it’s entirety’ gig at Wembley last weekend involved a mild set list amendment. Bowing to “fan pressure”, by the time the tour hit the capital they’d dropped two songs from the album as they “didn’t really work”. Seeings as how it’s only eight tracks long to start with this seems to be a tad disingenuous bit of advertising. Still, since they’d already printed up the t-shirts (from which Ritchie Blackmore has been artfully airbrushed out) I suppose they had to go through with it, albeit abridgedly and including five songs that pretty much make it into most of their sets anyway, I’m led to believe. Rumours of Roger Glover’s old rope business are, sadly, unconfirmed.
STAMP OUT MATEY DIMINUTIVES
Rev Steve Lucifer:
Obviously the most common diminutive must be Robert Plant being known as “Percy”. Damn those men with huge knobs!
In my small circle of pals The Cure’s Robert Smith has always been referred to as “Fat Bob” !
It always annoyed me that The Wedding Present were referred to as The Weddoes, especially as it would have made to much more sense to call them The Prezzies. TV news reporters always refer to Madonna as the Material Girl the second time they name her in any report. You find yourself waiting for it. They also make a show of calling Michael Jackson ‘Jacko’ – as if every Jackson in the world isn’t given the same epithet.
FURTHER TO LAST WEEK’S TALE OF THE PARISHIONER WHO SUPPORTED CREAM
Parishioner Mike Tobin:
I was there !!!!!!! Please remind me of the name of your band, Rodders. My lot ( The Magnettes) also played support to many a fine group ( band???) @ The Corn Exchange, Bristol. Amongst others we supported the magnificent Graham Bond Organisation when the afore mentioned Mr. Baker thundered on the drum kit. The following day I just happened to be visiting Carnaby Street in London ( probably to buy a new tie or check hipsters) when I noticed I was stood right next to the Ginger one. I piped up ” Oh Hi, Ginger . We played with you last night in Bristol” He glowered at me , said “So?” & turned his back. Friendly chap , knew how to respect his fans.
HE WOULD HAVE WANTED IT THIS WAY
Parishioner Chris Charlesworth: With reference to that chap from Keane stumping up for a cricket pavilion in Battle, John Enwistle did something very similar for Stowe-On-The-Wold CC, or so the congregation was informed by the local publican who delivered a Eulogy at John’s funeral. Evidently John paid for a new roof for the local cricket pavilion. Interestingly, the speaker failed to mention either The Who or bass-playing, confining his remarks to John’s fondness for antiques, Stowe being blessed with many antique shops, and patronage of local inns.
FROM A PARISHIONER DOING MISSIONARY WORK OVERSEAS
Parishioner Alun Probert:
Do stop me if I have too much time on my hands in this island paradise, but we’ve recently received a new CD from the Vicar’s friends the Pet Shop Boys down here in the colonies. On “made my excuses and left”, you’ll find a trifecta of items of interest to the flock, namely “obscure words in songs”, “lazy rhymes” and local dialect…all in the same song. Pull up a chair…Has the word “supplicant” ever been used in a song before? It should be, it’s like a Werther’s original of words. And fabulously obscure. Shame that the word they chose to rhyme it with was “elephant”. Mind you, thinking about it, it could have been worse…As for pronunciation, I notice your friend says/sings “rumm” for the word “room”. Bizarrely in exactly the same way that Sarah Beeny regularly does on Property Ladder. Are they by any chance related?
For at least two decades, every father in the country was duty-bound to refer to Dame Shirley Bassey as “Burly Chassis,” a tradition I continue to uphold.
My Mother insisted on naming my own particular rock Gods ‘Ned Zeppelin’ and in fact managed to purchase Led Zep III for my Chrissy pressy using this name from the then far less capitalist, Virgin Records in Reading. She also managed to buy me ‘200 Motels’ by describing Franky boy as ‘ that man who just got pushed off the stage and broke his leg’.
In 1965, in an attempt to belittle Mick Jagger’s abilities and success, my father referred to him as “Jag Nicker”, and has continued to refer to him in this fashion ever since. Is this a record?
The best mispronounciation is more a spoonerism, but has stuck with me ever since he first emerged in the early 80s with the execrable Kiss me (with your mouth) is it actually possible to kiss with anything else? Who penned and performed this ? None other than Stephen Duff Duff Tinny.
BANDS I WOULDN’T CROSS THE STREET TO SEE
Parishioner Brian McLuskey: Oh this is a topic and a half! My father once said to me when I first started listening to Bob Dylan way back in the day that he “wouldn’t even go to Condorrat Social Club to hear him” which even in my callow youth I knew was dead wrong of him. However if Coldplay happened to play in that particular venue (which would need to be on a rare night when the resident singer “Mr Condorrat” wasn’t already appearing obviously) then that would be a definate night in with a DVD. However could I expand on this discussion? With the festival season coming up surely plenty of parishoners have already avoided crossing the metaphorical street to see some big names? My own experience of this was in 1998 at “Glasto.” The man formerly known as the “fat dancer” was due to appear on the main stage, every single person I was at the festival with was going to see him but I refused.
Coldcut were on at the dance tent at the same time and there was no way I was going to miss them. I still reckon I was right and everyone else was wrong. Mind you if he showed up at Condorrat Social Club I’d be there clutching a bag of rotten fruit…
The Vicar writes: Is this one of those cases where a mildly sceptical attitude hardens into full-blown antipathy thanks to the enthusiasm of everybody else? This probably explains the next post in this thread:
Parishioner Martin Colyer:
The Hold Steady
A band that only exists for rock critics to fawn over. Embarrassingly bad, old enough to know better.
The voice an awful inflexible cardboard bellow, playing turbocharged skiffle.
Listen again to Hammersmith 75 and wonder where it all went wrong. Reading ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ started the rot, I’d say…
Lovely people, I’m sure.
Jazz? And if not, what?
GIG GOING ATTIRE
I went to see Eric Clapton at the Budokan in Tokyo in December a few years ago. We were in the back row upstairs (which is not as far from the stage at the Budokan as it sounds). I have seen lots of shows at the same venue but, for some unknown reason, on that night it was freezing cold. People had their coats done up (some with hoods up) plus scarfs and gloves on and were still shivering. Rather than wishing I had taken an extra jumper, I wish I had taken an extra coat. I cannot remember being so cold at a concert (or even indoors).
Gulp. I’m over 40 and wore jeans and white trainers to a gig only recently. But it was the Waterson family’s Mighty River Of Song at the Royal Albert Hall, so I don’t think anyone there was in a position to judge. I mean, Robyn Hitchock attended in an emerald green suit…
In my youth I would occasionally attend gigs at Deeside Leisure Centre or, to give it the proper title, ‘Deeside bloody ice-rink with some cheap carpet rolled over the ice’. The carpet might have stopped you slipping but possessed little power of insulation. I saw Whitesnake there on a night when 4 inches of snow fell outside, and it was still colder inside the gig.
…to Camel at Reading Town Hall in the early seventies. They were performing, highly appropriately, The Snow Goose, in full, in January, it was bitter out and the considerate folk at the town hall had decided the heating wouldn’t be necessary for that evening. It was one of those nights when it seems warmer outside. Second thoughts, I wish I’d taken a sleeping bag.
I’m normally the warmest man on the planet, and rarely take a coat to gigs because I’m also a stereotypical cheap northerner and avoid cloakrooms like the plague (in my youth, I’d change out of my sweat-drenched concert going t-shirt into an extra top I’d hidden somewhere outside the venue). At the recent Midlake concert at the Plug in Sheffield, the air conditioning was switched onto maximum towards the end of their high quality sit-down set, and even with my coat retrieved from the floor and zipped right up, an extra sweater would have been greatly appreciated. Or maybe I’m just getting old, after all I was at a Midlake concert.
MONEY WE HAVE WASTED
In this age of cheap CD compilations of our favourite tracks, not to mention our adult wages, it is perhaps easy to forget when buying a record was a bit of a treat, and smetimes not always worth it.
I am sure that all of us, in our youth, once purchased a single or LP from our hard-earned cash (or generous allowance, for the posh among you) which, on hearing it, we instantly felt was the most heinous waste of pocket/paper round money, ever.
May I have the privilege of starting the LP rolling with Bowie’s ‘Pinups’?
At a time when the average LP was about £2.00, this one retailed at about £2.75, and the long-promised gatefold sleeve, full colour booklet and appended lyrics were nowhere to be seen. Single cardboard cover, one slip of grey/blue paper with the lyrics to ‘Where have all the good times gone’ printed on it, over a picture of Bowie in a boring suit. I’m not saying the LP was all bad, no, Bowie did a cracking cover of ‘Sorrow’, but the rest suffer from some all-too 70’s production and the songs were done infinitely better by the original artists, perhaps ‘Sorrow’ being the exception.
I’m not saying every other Bowie LP of that period was a complete rip-off, no, quite the opposite, they were brilliant. But this one was surely the most despicable means of separating fans from their cash ever practised by Mr Jones.
THE VICAR SUPPORTS LOCAL TRADERS
Parishioner TJ Worthington:
I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shameless plug to The Memorex Years (http://memorexyears.blogspot.com/), an occasional project involving giving ancient ‘ex-Walkman’ home-recorded C60s and C90s that have been long since replaced by compact discs etc one last listen before being flung bin-wards.
POST OF THE WEEK
Parishioner Spencer Leigh:
We didn’t have a record player until 1955 and I well remember buying Eddie Calvert’s “The Holy City” as my first record as I didn’t want my dad to think that my lobbying for the player might be for more turbulent and troublesome music. One of my first pop records was Alma Cogan’s “The Birds And The Bees” and when my Uncle Leslie came round, he said to my dad, “Tom, do you know that Spencer is listening to a record about the facts of life?” Horrified by such depraved behaviour, my father confiscated the record and said I could have it back in 1961 when I was 16. He referred to the Everly Brothers as the Barmy Bats, while my mother would classify everything I bought as either “a waste of money” or “a complete waste of money”. When I wanted “Elvis’s Christmas Album” for Christmas in 1957 (no £500 iboxes or whatever for me!), my mother said okay but my dad said that I must also have
something more enduring and bought me a world atlas. With all the changes in names and territories, the atlas was soon out of date but as for Elvis, I play him every Christmas and think of my dad. When I got my O levels, he bought me a Billy Fury LP as a present: I know he took part in the war but I think it took him greater courage to go into a record shop and ask for a record by Billy Fury. Similarly, when I got my A-levels, my mother bought me “The Eddie Cochran Memorial Album”. These may seem minuscule presents, but I can remember clearly: if someone asked me what my wife got me for Christmas five years ago, I wouldn’t have a clue.
Parishioner Alan Robinson:
I dunno about mistaken band names, but I came to Tim Buckley too late for my purchasing of his catalogue to help him whilst he was alive – autumn 1979. I purchased a copy of his ‘Happy Sad’ long player, and my dad, suitably ‘refreshed’ after a lunch time sesh at the Terminus Social Club, North Shields, came home, and saw the sleeve, and said ‘Happy Sod? Is he Punk?’ My dad would also, apropos of nothing, come out with strange, gnomic utterances like “What about the Blue Oyster Cult, then?’, or ‘You don’t hear much from that Alvin Lee these days – is he still married to that Lisa Goddard?’ Or, things like “I saw your mate on telly the other neet – Elvin Costello. Has he still got that aaaaful beard?” “Flamin’ Groovies – flamin’ shite”. He used to call the MC5 the Macfive, like they were Scottish or something. Truly, parents are far weirder than their
Parishioner Randall of the Wells:
Further to your ‘Dad mispronunciations’, I have a similar thing, which owes more to the Rev. Spooner rather than my Dad. Since Hear’Say have split and a female chanteuse of aforementioned band appears to be ubiquitous on Classic FM, reality shows and M & S ad campaigns. I have great pleasure in introducing Miss MyClean Arse.
Parishioner Alex Baxter:
I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having become my Dad, when talking about certain dubious quality rock bands. On hearing that a work colleague had secured, at considerable time, trouble and expense to herself, a ticket to see Coldplay in some muddy field, I instantly piped up: ‘If they were playing at the end of my garden, I’d shut the curtains and go to bed’ My Dad said those same words to me when I was hankering after Bowie tickets sometime in the 70’s.
Parishioner Andrew Harrison:
My granddad began referring to the band which sang ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ as Gerry And The Po-Makers in 1962, and still does to this day. Pax vobiscum.
I have no idea why, but it still amuses me to refer to the shaggy-haired 80s Rock God as Bon Jon Bovi
Around 1980, at the height of the NWOBHM ( new wave of british heavy metal to the uninitiated), my old work buddy Peter Smith came out with a couple of belters. He would refer to Def Leppard as ‘Wet Lettuce’ and Iron Maiden as ‘Iron Mistress’. God bless you Pete, wherever you are !
Parishioner David Hepworth: Growing up in Yorkshire I was used to grown-ups’ disparaging remarks about pop stars being furthered coloured by arcane references. My mother could never look at Mick Jagger on the TV without muttering “he’s got a mouth like a set pot.”
BANDS I WOULDN’T CROSS THE STREET TO SEE
Parishioner Andrew King:
The Clash. Now, I just never got them at all. Every time I hear someone going on about how they were the greatest rock and roll band of all time or the last gang in town or something, be it some bloke in the pub, one of my mates or Stuart Maconie, Andy Kershaw or, just last Saturday on The Culture Show, Mark Kermode I wonder if I’m ever going to have my eureka moment with them and catch on to whatever it is that’s ensnared everyone else. It certainly hasn’t happened yet.
A cursory Google this morning led me to this: http://www.myspace.com/albinimusic “Jazz / Italian Pop / Lounge”? – roll on the new Shellac LP!
GIG GOING ATTIRE
Oh dear. I am regularly found attending gigs with not only my handbag slung casually across my person but with my jacket folded over said bag. I can’t be bothered with cloakrooms (half the venues don’t even have them) and its too cold coming and going from the gig to go without (and I’m a hardy northerner !) Incidentally, at my local top notch venue Selby Town Hall (there’s rock ‘n’ roll for you) you need to bring a jacket as the form is that you enter, bag a seat with your jacket, then go off to the bar and return safe in the knowledge that noone will nick your seat !
We all know about Rock Dads, but what about Rock Toddlers? My little girl is 18 months and frequently critiques my driving soundtrack choice from her car seat. I put on the Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog”; she shakes her head resignedly while firmly repeating “no no no no”. I’ve tried everything from XTC to Rilo Kiley, but most things meet with no no no (although she quite likes the Feeling and Carla Bruni). She loves Raffi (think of Bob Dylan for babies) but I can’t drive by Raffi alone. I can’t be the only parishioner with a Rock Toddler. What music does the parish’s other Rock Parents enjoy with their little ones?
THE MADNESS OF PARENTS…
Parishioner Paul du Noyer:
No fan of uncompromising Kraut-rock, my Irish mother-in-law was known to thwart her son’s enjoyment of LPs by Amon Duul II “Jaysus Mary and Joseph, will yer take off that bloomin’ owld Eamon Dooley!”
My father, a keen Acker Bilk wannabee (is there any worse noise than a squeaky clarinet?) and a James Last/Syd Lawrence afficianado to boot, was wont to irritate me with “Bo Wo Wo” for “Bow Wow Wow”, “Orchestra Removals In the Dark” for, well, guess, and as for my friend Martin’s band, The Great Outdoors, if he phoned and asked for me, it was “Chris, it’s that bloke in a tent for you….”. Eventually at least got him listening to the Carpenters, a seismic shift in his musical world…..
My father unfailingly complained loudly with the following whenever Cliff Richard appeared on TV ;
“…oh no, it’s ‘Arry Adenoids again”
Parishioner Old Sir Henry:
When I reached the tender age of 13 in 1967 (what a fine year), my parents bought me a single as a present. It was in the charts. They knew I liked The Who.
They bought me Pictures Of Lily.
They had no idea.
They’ll have to be dead before I write about it.
….AND THE VEXATIOUS MISPRONUNCIATION HABIT
Parishioner Idiot Bastard:
Have we yet had Joan Armour-Plating, Olivia Neutron-Bomb or Loose Windscreen (of whom my father once asked “What about The Governor, then, eh?”)? I’ll never forget my grandfather, on seeing my 6′ x 4′ poster of Zappa, memorably commenting, “Who’s that ugly sod?”. I am now carrying on the family tradition with my emo daughters by talking about Thused, Enter Shakira and Jimmy Eats Wood.
Parishioner Ron Hadgraft:
It is indeed a strange thing how we develop a habit over the years of using our own version of a band/artiste’s name. Perhaps due to the influence of the mid-to-late-70s New Musical Express, I have always referred to Emerson, Lake and Palmer as ‘Cumbersome, Fake and Trauma’ , Bryan Ferry as ‘Brain Fury’ and Cockney Rebel as ‘Cocky Rabble’. Other terms I have thankfully been able to give up because they sounded so annoying, include Olivia Neutron-Bomb (Newton-John), The Boss (Springsteen) and The Zimm (Dylan). There are others I use, which I cannot explain at all: e.g. The Heeds (Talking Heads), Spix (Sparks) and The Wiffs (Smiths).
Parishioner Mark Whitehouse:
Whilst in the sixth form – almost 30 years ago – a friend of mine insisted on calling Elton John by the name Elephant Bones. I’ve never been able to look at the balding, downward-spiralling Watford fan since without thinking: aah, Elephant Bones.
Parishioner Mike D.:
Oh Vicar, if only it were confined to parents – the GLW, when I listen to “Sounds of the Sixties” of a Saturday morning, will inevitable greet certains artistes with cries of “Bodagh Codgers!” and “Stiff Pilchard!”.
WHEN THE ROLLING STONES ARE PLAYING IN ONE’S GARDEN
Parishioner Derek Ridgers:
Having seen the Rolling Stones several times in their heyday, by the time the ’90s came, I often used to use that same line that Alex Baxter mentions. “If they were playing in my back garden I’d close the curtains and go to bed.” Unfortunately, since my back garden virtually overlooks Twickenham Stadium, when the Rolling Stones play there, closing the curtains and going to bed doesn’t really make much difference as to whether I get to hear them or not. So, I just join the rest of the neighbourhood and go and see them anyway. The older they get the more humorous the spectacle becomes. Maybe I’ve turned into my dad too?
SARTORIAL MISJUDGEMENTS AT ROCK AND ROLL CONCERTS
Memories of my 1st ever gig are constantly evoked as it was a muched photographed event, Free’s “comeback” at Newcastle city hall in 1972. These fond reminiscence are tarnished slightly by the still lingering embarassment of my unfortunate appearance. The problem was that although I was in possession of a ticket (50p), my parents had refused their permission regarding my attendance, punishment for some long forgotten transgression, one of many I’m afraid. Knowing that if I returned home from school that would be it, I simply travelled to Newcastle straight from school, wearing my school uniform. As anyone who attended Usworth Comp in the early seventies will testify, I was never the the most dapper dresser, I shudder to think what all the “heads” thought of the unbelievably tatty 14 yr old thrashing his meagre locks to The
WHAT NOT TO WEAR
Parishioner Jeff Carmack:
Back in 1969 or ’70 (I was probably 15 years old) I went to see Jefferson Airplane when they played my hometown, Oklahoma City, Okla. I wanted to look cool, so I opted to wear jeans, an Oxford cloth shirt and no tie to the show. My father took one look and said, “Surely you are not going to the concert dressed like that. I assure you that the Jefferson Airplanes [sic] will be wearing jackets and ties.” This was not the first time my father was wrong about rock music (his first and most memorable was when he declared the Beatles “a flash in the pan”), nor was it the last. I got to the show and was astounded to discover that my boring old hometown boasted a sizable contingent of long-haired freaks. As for the Jefferson Airplanes, I recall as if it were yesterday that lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen was wearing fringed, knee-high moccasins, a Che Guevara t-shirt, and a swastika on a chain
around his neck. Myself, I could not have looked like a bigger geek.
Parishioner Capn Nikko:
An unfortunate weight training accident in the early 70s put paid to my budding sporting career. Instead this previously clean-living boy discovered the holy trinity of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Still recovering from my injury I was wearing a full plaster jacket from chest to groin – but this didn’t stop me from attending a momentous gig at Birmingham Town Hall by Californian acid rockers, The Flock. I quickly found out that a tight-fitting plaster jacket is not ideal garb for a concert hall. Sweat poured down within, causing intolerable itchiness which alas could not be assuaged due to access problems. On leaving the gig, however, this constricting garment came into its own. I was going through a subway when about 100 skinheads came running towards me. (Remember when gangs of them used to literally run around city centres all night?). They passed by me (I should say pased over me)
delivering a good kicking en route. More than one of em I’ll warrant was perplexed that his DMs met what seemed to be like body armour. Thankfully due to my invisible protection I was almost totally unhurt (except for the kicks to the head of course). So what I had been cursing not 15 minutes before actually turned out to be a lifesaver. Since then I have made a point of wearing full body armour to all gigs just in case.
VEXATIOUS MISPRONUNCIATION AND THE THINGS THAT PARENTS SAY
Although in our house, we talk rarely of the Goss twins, Matt and Luke, it is customary to refer to them as Boris.
Parishioner Mark Bryer:
I remember that Dusty Springfield morphed into Rusty Bedsprings in our house.
Dad also came up with Ned Zeppelin (although he was good enough to drive us from Berkshire to Earl’s Court to see Ned Zeppelin in ’75, and spent the intervening 3 hours or so sitting through my mother’s choice of film, Streisand and Redford in The Way We Were. No small feat for confirmed Cagney, Wayne and Bogart man).
“Who’s this?” he’d ask.
“The Who,” I’d reply.
“Who?” etc, etc, etc.
He would also walk around at Xmas singing “Good Christian men rejoice, The Beatles have lost their voice.”
Spencer Leigh’s recollections of his mother’s opinion of his record buying habits reminded me that my mother would greet every new purchase I made from One Stop Records in Richmond in the 70s with the phrase “Haven’t you got enough records?” This always seemed to me to show that she was missing the point by implying that they were all exactly the same, almost as though as I was buying identical figurines to put on a shelf.
Way back in about 1981 we had some suburban teenage punks living next to our family home in Maidenhead. Mum thought they were a bad influence on the neighbourhood and reguarly criticised the hair, clothes, behaviour etc. One time I remember one of them was wearing a crude, handmade t-shirt with the slogan ‘Kraftwerk’ written across it. “See?” said mum triumphantly. “They can’t even spell!”
Parishioner Gary Selwyn:
Depeche Mode have always been referred to as Depressed Toad in this parish, as it seems to provide a greater insight into their musical offerings
I love to irritate my American friends by speaking of those Texas boogiers Zed Zed Top.
As a 14 year old punk during the white heat of musical revolution in 1976, I had adapted one of my old school jackets by ripping off the arms and writing “Clash” and “Ramones” on the back in felt tip. Upon seeing this sartorial triumph my dad asked “Whose this Clash Ramone bloke then ?” . He quickly picked up on my irritation when I explained his mistake and spent a great deal of the next couple of years informing his friends, family etc that Clash Ramone was my favourite pop singer
I am faintly embarrased (but amused enough by the realisation that I am not alone) to admit that for many years I have referred to Spandau Ballet as “Splendid Wallets” – I know; it doesn’t really work does it? Beverley Craven, the tampon-sponsored songstress will always be “Heavily Laden” and Julia Fordham forever “Julia Boredom”. Well, they will to me anyway. Thing is – I don’t remember if they are made-up creations of my own fevered 80’s mind or further exmaple of the genius they called Smash Hits. Anyone got an idea?
Parishioner Mike Mortimer:
My parents didn’t mispronounce the names of any musicians I liked, they just referred to the music as: that crap. From 1986 to 1989 I was an all-night D.J. for an elevator music radio station here in Canada. There are music content regulations here that require 30% of the music going out on air be Canadian. For an easy-listening radio station, this was quite difficult to accomplish and management had us playing a lot of Dan Hill (Sometimes When We Touch). I took to calling this drivel producing musician, Down Hill. Yes, I was fired.
Parishioner Adam Doughty:
My mate Steve Burton’s blind and batty Nana always said how much she liked that Elsie Brookes.
Ever since my teenage years, I have referred to Reg Dwight as Elton’s John, which is the answer to surely the worst rock ‘n’ roll joke of all time: what’s pink and sits on the piano? And from a misprint from a 1983 Arsenal programme, in which Charlie Nicholas was questioned on his favourite music, we now have The Psychedelic Fuzz. Must have been the Glaswegian accent.
Parishioner Paul Grimshaw:
I have no idea why, but New York’s Priestess of Punk has always been Patti Smurf to me….. Perhaps it was the image that once came to me in a dream of her painted blue and wearing a little white pixie hat. I don’t drink Stella Artois anymore….
While my dear old dad does not and never did indulge in “vexatious mispronunciation” (that was far more my mum’s remit, and I shall bore you with hers at another time), he can be a fantastic old fart about “the young people’s music.” A music lover himself, having faintly nasty busts of both Mozart and Beethoven on the desk in his home office, he has been wont to make pompous pronouncements on the music the younger members of the family are in to. Two favourites spring to mind, the first being his fairly recent and perfectly serious statement, “Anything written after 1750 is dangerously modern.” And I also remember an early 80s car journey, during which the rest of the family spent the remainder of the trip in severe danger of wetting themselves, when he asked, genuinely bemused, “What is a Kate
Parishioner Tim Earnshaw:
My dad used to refer to Captain Beefheart as “Captain Bee Fart”, chuckling smugly the whilst. THAT was vexatious.
The late dad of a dear friend could never come to terms with her copy of THE WHO LIVE AT LEEDS, as upon reading the LP sleeve he always commented, “…..but I thought they were a West London lot”
PARISH APPEALS – CAN YOU HELP?
Parishioner David Marriott:
Near where I live is a little village (remember them?) called Clyffe Pypard. Is this the only place in the UK that sounds a bit like…..OK, I thought so.
Parishioner James Hill:
Whilst listening to the excellent new Shins album – “Wincing the Night Away” i got to thinking great cd, dreadful title. Can fellow parishioners think of any other examples or conversely terrible albums with great titles?
Parishioner Mike Walters:
There must be other examples of this, but I’ve never noticed it before… A while ago, I bought the Hal Willner produced compilation, ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ – as you’ll be aware, a collection of pirate songs, sea shanties and the like performed by a mix of quasi-folkies (Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright, Martin Carthy et al) and various rock luminaries slumming it for the day (including, inevitably, Sting, Bryan Ferry and the lead singer from the popular beat combo U2). When I came to load it on to my iPod recently, I duly stuck the CD into the PC and waited for that clever Gracenotes database to do its stuff. Sure enough, the tracks all appeared, correctly credited. Except that whoever had entered the data had chosen, with that lack of respect so typical of the younger generation, to assign the aforementioned Greatest Living Irishman a more complete soubriquet – namely ‘That Wanker
Bono’. Are parishioners aware of any similar examples of such critical judgements being disseminated through this particular medium?
POST OF THE WEEK
Parishioner Steve D:
In the mid-1990s, shortly after the Manic Street Preachers had brought out their grim The Holy Bible album, I found myself sharing a flat for a few months in Gateshead with a drug-crazed, manically depressed bloke. He spent his days drinking white cider and doing any drug he could get his hands on, while listening to The Holy Bible about eight times a day. His unhealthy idolatory of Richey Manic culminated in him one day deciding to carve the word ‘despair’ into his arm, in the style of the notorious skin slashing guitarist. However, when he came into the room to shock me and a friend of his with what he had done, a misspelling and too big a space between letters caused his friend to ask him: “Who’s Des Pear?”
I had a music teacher whose limitless loathing of beat groups led to him constantly referring to the two worst examples, in his view, as the Small Things and the Pretty Faces. On the other hand though, a friend’s deeply conservative mother, while no great lover of popular music, was an admirer of Motorhead’s Lemmy because “He looks as though he’s got a bit of go in him.” To this day no-one’s had the courage to tell her where the bit of go probably came from.
Sometime in the eighties, my Dad is well remembered (in our house) as having referred to a certain Richard Darbyshire and cohorts as Lost in a Box, this they have of course remained. I myself find it impossible to refer to Lance Armstrong’s ex as anything other than Beryl Crow, and cannot prevent myself from spoonerising mid morning DJ Wo Jhiley.
I read with interest that Parishioner Mark Bryer’s parents also used the ‘NED’ Zepp monica, and that Parishioner Mike Mortimer’s parents broadened the field by the labeling modern music in it’s entirety as ‘that crap’. My parents were obviously of less straightforward stuff preferring the term ‘thumpty, thump, thump music’, although in a tribute either to Bishop Viv or Cardinal Partridge my brother and I have started using the epithet… ‘damn drums and banjoes’
Parishioner Peter Byrchmore:
In our house, where Popular music was barely tolerated at the best of times, former Opportunity Knocks winners cum Brit Carpenters wannabes Peters and Lee became Litres Of Pee, the 1976 eurovision winners were known as Motherhood Of Bran and as for ‘Sugar Candy Kisses’ brother n sister team Matt and Katie Kissoon….step forward Cack and Matey Bassoon..
I’ll wager it’s old news in the vestry, but back in the day, my dear old mum (bless her) used to enjoy the pop hits of a solo singer named Freda Greaves, blissfully untroubled by the fact that ‘she’ was in fact ‘three’, the pop combo 3 Degrees. I wonder if our future king realises that there were three of them all along or is he also a big Freda Greaves fan? ‘Go figure’ as I believe our younger parishioners have been heard recently to say.
Parishioner Gideon Coe:
Once we’re done with parental reactions to pop stars perhaps we could turn our attention to our fathers’ fathers or, in this, case my mother’s father. Frank was a lovely man and was also a keen watcher of Top of the Pops in the days when it hadn’t been axed/moved to Fridays/spoiled by terrible new music. He must have witnessed some classic performances… Bowie with Ronson, Bolan, Thin Lizzy, Car 67 by Driver 67 but the one which got the biggest and most pronounced reaction was when a young singer songwriter performed her stunning debut single one Thursday evening after Tomorrow’s World. For the rest of 1978 and indeed into the 80’s and his passing he would regularly break a silence by suddenly singing “HEATH-CLIFF!” at the top of his voice and waving his arms around. It was the only Kate Bush lyric he learned but he learned it
GREAT ALBUM, TERRIBLE TITLE
Parishioner Andrew King:
“OK Computer” is a terrible title and most of the track titles are awful in a trying-much-too-hard-to-be-of-the-moment kind of way – “Airbag”, “Karma Police”, “Subterranean Homesick Alien”, “Paranoid Android”. Having resisted the charms of the band up to then, I put off hearing the album for at least a year after its release, mostly because of those titles. Even after I’d heard it a few times it continued to elude me until it was the only tape left to play on my walkman during an over-long wait for a flight home from Frankfurt Airport one darkening October evening when, fitting in perfectly with the ambience, surroundings and my tiredness, it suddenly all started to make some kind of sense.
Parishioner James Hill asks for more Great Records, Crap Titles (or vice versa). His example of the Shins’ latest should lead him, not very far, to their first two albums: the equally excellent, and equally badly-monickered, “Oh Inverted World” and “Chutes Too Narrow”. And how about “Come on feel the Illinoise”? What will Sufjan do next: “Alaska Myself”? Other records with appalling titles from the last few years (quality of actual record open to debate): “Dear Catastrophe Waitress”, “Alright, Still”, “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant” (for fuck’s sake), “Those the Brokes” (as Dixon might have said: What the Brokes? Those What Brokes? Those the What?), “Favourite Worst Nightmare” (cool!), “Endtroducing…”, “Road to Rouen”… please, make it stop!
THE VICAR’S MEDIA HIGHLIGHT
Parishioner Bette Paul:
Saturday June 16th 6.15 pm. Radio Four. Loose Ends.
John Shuttleworth guesting and singing one of his mundane but delightfully apposite songs ‘You can’t go back to the savoury’ a ballad about the problem of discovering a portion of left-over shepherd’s pie after embarking on one’s treacle sponge pudding superb and available on-line, his first, I believe. Lovely, lively interview with John’s usual painfully logical, local responses and a load of laughs from the other guests.
Same day 7.15. BBC 2 The Culture Show.
Lauren Laverne interviews Lou Reed with visible awe and clips of various gigs, which , thank goodness, interrupt their intense eye-balling, simpering and smirking. And then it’s Caroline Says. Now, I’m (almost) new to Reed and my idea of a good gig tends towards the baroque but I was struck by the banality of both words (you can’t call them lyrics, can you?) and music as well as the timbre of the voice. It all reminded me of … yes … it was utterly Shuttleworthian! Now, my question is: was it all in the cause of irony or has Reed decided to cut in on the Shuttleworth cult? Oh, and at the end she simpered her thanks and he said, yes he did, “Are you the London journalist I’m going to fall in love with?” and she replied. “It’s mutual”. Cut mid eye-locked gaze. Now what was all that
SOMETHING TO DO INSTEAD OF WORKING
Parishioner Kerry Harvey-Piper:
Here’s a wonderful quiz I just found, called ‘Discontinued Ben & Jerry’s Flavours or Band I found on MySpace’.
GREAT ROCK AND ROLL UNDERSTATEMENTS
Parishioner Matthew Miller:
Whilst listening again to the Stones Let It Bleed, I came across one of the great ‘Rock and/or Roll understatements’
Exhibit: Midnight Rambler – “I’ll stick my knife right down your throat. And it hurts” as Mick plantively yelps, i’m struck to think: Yes i’d imagine it would rather smart.
GLAM FOLK AND OTHER CROSS-GENRE MISADVENTURES
Parishioner Gavin Hogg:
A few weeks ago, whilst listening to The Cure’s “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” CD, I reflected upon the fact that their tune “Hot, Hot, Hot” may be the only example of the genre “Goth Funk”. A kind of musical google-whack. I seem to remember that some years ago there was some kind of Acid House and brass band crossover but I was eating a lot of strong cheeses in that period so may be mistaken. It also reminded me of an episode in the first series of “The Mighty Boosh” when Vince Noir joins a Glam Folk duo – all arran sweaters and Kiss make-up. I wonder if any other parishioners can think of examples of singular genres or unlikely genres yet to be invented. I imagine that not many bands are planning a “Death-Metal Disco” album and it’s unlikely that Simon Cowell dreams of making more moolah with an “Ambient Boy Band”. But wouldn’t that be
WELCOME TO YOU TUBE POKER
Parishioner Alun Probert (from the parish down under):
It’s Winter down under and we’re enjoying an unusually wet spell. Thought I’d keep you abreast of a new game that’s helping two of the parishioners to fill the long dark nights till Summer comes around again. Combining three of the fads of the modern world, welcome to You Tube Poker by email.
In truth, the rules still need a little work, but we’re fairly clear that a pair is any memorable clip of an artist of interest. If said clip is from Supersonic, Runaround or the Oxford Road Show, or presented by a long forgotten yoof expert e.g. Gaz Top, Nick Laird Clowes, etc, then that’s the equivalent of three of a kind. A flush is harder, as it has to also feature the artist as an unknown. Examples of that hand would be mullet headed Bono in a polo neck sweater introduced by Mr Clowes on the Tube or Lesley Ash in 18 year old Roddy Frame’s log cabin.
Four of a kind is harder to come across as the clip must be filmed in the city in which the game is being played. A full house is only possible when all the previous boxes are ticked AND YOU WERE THERE WHEN IT WAS FILMED. I guess that the winning hand would probably be all of the above and also on stage with the artist. So we’ll probably not invite Courtney Cox round for a game lest she wheel out her boring old ‘When I was plucked out of the audience by Bruce’ anecdote.
In the latest game, after opening with Eddie and the Hot Rods’ 96 Tears, and getting raised a Dr .Feelgood Iâ€™m currently sitting pretty with my ‘Thin Lizzy at the Opera House in 1978’ on the basis of location. (I wasn’t there sadly and the only acts that do play there now are the winners of Australian Idol).
Must go and check the inbox.
RACEHORSES IN ROCK
Parishioner Simon Moffat:
A friend of mine recently ‘lent’ me the album by The Hold Steady. One of only two tracks to pass the audition (“The Hold Samey”, I call them) was Chips Ahoy. In this song their usual theme of ‘getting high’ was happily augmented by a subplot wherein a horse named ‘Chips Ahoy’ comes in six lengths ahead. It got me thinking about racehorses in rock.
The only other named horse I can think of was in Hope Street by the Levellers. It was also called Hope Street and, naturally, lost.
“The Race Is On” features horses called Pride, Heartaches etc, although they are a bit allegorical and I don’t think we find out who wins.
It all makes me feel a bit cheated that Peter Sarstedt doesn’t record the name of the racehorse his ‘lovely’ keeps just for fun. I wonder what she called it?
THE CORRECT USE OF VINYL
Parishioner David Innes:
With the revived interest in vinyl, driven to some extent by Brother Hepworthâ€™s recent articles in the parishâ€™s sister tract, The Word, rock n roll’s equivalent of the splendid War Cry, I was given to musing on the subject. Caused by perusing the last great Strawbs’ album Grave New World on mp3, I came to realise, that whilst I can sing lustily along, in my wobbly baritone, to Benedictus, Queen Of Dreams, Heavy Disguise and New World, nearly every song thereafter is fairly unfamiliar. I can only assume that this is because the 1971 original LP was rarely turned over when listening to it in Brother Mair’s bedroom in ’72.
In similar vein, my children, Beatles fans due to this being a strict condition of residence, look at me with puzzlement when I make the case for side 2 of Abbey Road being the finest song cycle in the canon (no offence, Your Worship). So, Whipping Post is not track 7 or 8, depending on which digital version of Fillmore East you own, it is â€œside 4â€. The final chord of Rory Gallagher’s Pistol Slapper Blues signals time to reach for the tone arm, wipe the platter on the sleeve of the checked Ben Sherman and turn over to side 2 of Live In Europe to the mandolin-frenzy that is Going To My Home Town.
And where do todayâ€™s adolescent males conceal their, ahem, ‘jazz magazine’ (a term which may make one think again about what Kind Of Blue is about). Polydor’s double sampler Bombers was my preferred filing system when I was in my Pictures Of Lily period, its cavernous gatefold sleeve spacious enough to conceal a dog-eared Mayfair and a year-old copy of Parade. I suppose they’re all downloading images from the internet these days.
The Vicar says: I have many precious possessions (photographs, educational certficates, even letters from young ladies) filed away in the capacious sleeves of ancient live albums in the belief that they provided “somewhere safe”. Have any parishioners gone back to a much loved old favourite only to find some long forgotten memento fluttering from its bosom?
RACEHORSES IN ROCK
Parishioner Alessandra Pinasco in Lima, Peru:
Of course, Steel Pulse were named after a racehorse…
Parishioner David Mills:
As regards racehorses in rock, Parishioner Milligan would like to draw the betting fraternity’s attention to Dapple Rose, from the Slade album Play It Loud. Having said that, I work for the BBC, so you’ve only got my word for it….
Our man on the rail Tom Swan:
The Pioneers didn’t seem to have much luck at the bookies, what with follow up Poor Rameses apparently not doing too well either. There is also an lp dedicated to Mill Reef with, amongst the many musical highlights, a picture of a very young Clare Balding on the back. Also Shergar by Betty Davies & The Balconettes & Red Rum’s song by Christopher, Robin Ted & Alice.
Parishioner Stuart Booth:
None better than Ghost Train in the long intro by Chip Taylor to his song “101 in Cashbox” form the much forgotten and underrated LAST CHANCE album Of course, there is also “racehorse Haines” by Tom Russell, though that is a mere sobriquet for a shyster lawyer. Folkier…..’The Galway Farmer’. A tour de force of a number from Show of Hands, of course Not quite a disguised name, but I did hear that backing singer Helen Terry (of Boy George singles fame) did have an R’n’B band named after various appropriate luminaries; it was Ike & Turner Korner.
Parishioner Ant B:
Just about to reach for the Horlicks, but catching up on a few day’s back emails brings me forth again. I have to trumpet The Pogues most excellent “Bottle Of Smoke” from “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” as the best horseracing song bar none, m’fraid – trust McGowan to do justice to the sport of kings – “Twenty fucking five to one, my gambling days are done, I bet on a horse called the Bottle Of Smoke, and my horse won.” Ah, and indeed, men.
I fel sure you are already aware of the comprehensive description offered on ‘Henry The Human Fly’ by one R.Thompson of this parish of his racehorse which was sadly “taken away” by “the angels”. Delaney’s Donkey, I imagine, doesn’t count.
(Speaking of parishioners, I am currently holidaying on the idyllic isle of Mallorca courtesy of some rather more well-to-do-than-myself in-laws (and no-one appreciates the irony of preparing a nice tomato and pesto salad in a converted farmhouse to the haunting strains of The Clash’s Career Opportunities on the iPod, I can tell you) and the bathroom reading is an array of ‘Hello’-style glossies featuring the great, glamourous and good of the island. Imagine my delight, therefore, upon finding a six page in-depth interview, photoshoot and career overview of one Danny Baker. I’d not heard the Elton John story before. Good work, your Bakerness.)
Parishioner Steve Tallamy:
If memory serves, America went to the desert with a horse. But I cant remember its name…..
THIS PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING (NOT ME)
Parishioner Mark Ellen:
I enjoyed Simon Moffat’s comments about The Hold Steady in the last newsletter and, having seen them the other week, I think his allegation that they’re mostly about ‘getting high’ seems fairly well-grounded. I didn’t know much about them to be honest but our neighbour Amanda and her two teenage sons suggested a raid on the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The Hold Steady look like American frat boys in check shirts and trainers and the odd lyric I picked up suggested that girls could be indifferent to their charms. But no matter, there was always a keg of Bud around to help drown their sorrows! The upbeat nature of their canon implied this wasn’t actually a massive disappointment: the keg of Bud was apparently more fun than most of these girls anyway. To illustrate their enthusiasm for getting a bit giddy, The Hold Steady brandished their bottles at the end of every song. I’m pretty good at
identifying booze – even from Row 6 of Level 1 – and I’m here to tell you that the drummer and lead singer were drinking Budweiser, the bass and lead guitarist had single malt with lager chasers, and the keyboard player was sucking down a bottle of claret. I freely admit on the rare occasions when I’M jumping up and down, pouring sweat and prodding an electric organ, I find nothing quenches the thirst quite like a 13 per cent proof slug of warm Cabernet Sauvignon. At one point the bassist, worried he might not survive the next 24 bars without restoring his tissues, tipped his colleague the wink, and the kindly keyboard player placed the claret bottle in his mouth and administered a draught mid-song. The Hold Steady’s consumption of booze was astonishing. They had something I’ve honestly never seen before – apart from on Dave Allen’s TV show in the Seventies – a booze roadie. When they
send panicked signals to the wings it doesn’t mean there’s a malfunctioning foot-pedal. God no. A shaggy-looking bloke in a t-shirt comes sprinting on with two more cold ones and a fresh pint of Scotch. “Do you think they recyle?” Amanda wondered, and I thought she had a point. The sheer SIZE of their mountain of glass was almost unimaginable. There was probably some massive truck backing up to the “get out” to collect the drum riser and wall of guitar amps but it would be DWARFED by the vehicle they’d need to clear out all the empties. “You know that awful feeling you get when you put the tins out for the recycling lorry and you think everyone’s thinking ‘blimey those people at Number Eleven don’t half tip it back?'” – this is our neighbour again – “well imagine how great it would be if you lived next door to The Hold Steady. You could drink yourself daft seven days a week and they’d
trump you every time!” It was like a cartoon strip – (MEANWHILE AT THE HOLD STEADY’S HOUSE…) Hey guys, you awake? It’s the crack o’ noon! Anyone for a rum ‘n’ Red Bull? (LATER THAT DAY…) Dude! We’re like todally out of Talisker! When they left the stage after the big finish, towels round necks, thanks for coming out etc, two of them nipped back on to retrieve their bottles – and fair play to them: it’s a long old walk to the dressing-room. I saw the impressively thirsty Rod Stewart and The Faces in 1971 but this lot could match them pint for pint. It was good work from The Hold Steady and no mistake.
MUSIC FOR THE DRUNK
Parishioner Mark Bryer:
The GLW is of the opinion that if I put the Scott Walker sings Jacques Brel CD in the machine (even before I’ve racked up the volume) that either, 1. I’ve had too much to drink, or 2. That I intend to have too much to drink.
Any other things that give fellow parishioners away?
ONE RIFF FITS ALL
Whilst singing along loudly to Saint Bob’s “Like A Rolling Stone” the other day I found myself segueing into “Louie Louie” which accompanied, nay fitted alongside, perfectly when sung slowly and with meaning. My husband then burst into “Twist and Shout” in similar vein and the three made a wonderful what I believe is called “Mash” in the modern hymnal. Have any other parishioners discovered similar wonderful mixtures from the seminal age of rock?
SHE ONLY WANTED ME FOR MY FLUFF
In 1974 (may of been 75), I use to spend many a Saturday Afternoon listening to Radio One and Alan Freeman. I don’t know if any other parishioners recall the show, seemed quite good to a sixteen year old at the time, anyway he had a competition where he played a track which if you knew who it was, you would need to write in with the name of the artist and the title of the song. I seem to recall he played the whole track so it was pretty easy, it was just making the effort to write in. One of my favourite albums at that time was Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus by Spirit, still quite fond of it now when I come to think of it. As soon as I heard Mr Skin hit the airwaves I felt the urge to write in. The following week the mighty Al read my name out and I duly received a £2-50 record voucher which was much appreciated at the time. I invested this in the Man album Be Good
To Yourself which was probably their worst album by a mile, no listening before buying the more obscure albums in those days… The other thing I received was a signed photograph of the man himself with some type of message on. This resided on my bedroom wall for a few months along with all my other posters, until my girlfriend who I was seeing at the time asked if she could have this memento to show a few friends. The truth was I was starting to get a bit scarred waking up each morning and seeing that scary grin so was only to glad to pass it on. Anyway a few weeks later said girlfriend finished with me and I have often wondered if she only went out with me to get close to Al and stardom. Two things- one- did any other parishioners win on Big Als show and if so do they still have their signed
picture and they can tell me what he used to write on it – and two – did their girlfriends finish with them also shortly after? This new found freedom did enable me to get off with one of her mates who I had fancied for ages so everything turned out great. I have never won another competition or even a tenner on the lottery since…
SONGS RUINED BY CALL CENTRES
Parishioner Emerald Carter: “How about Songs That Have Been Ruined By Call Centres? If you ring Talk Talk, the broadband provider, you get Something In The Air by Thunderclap Newman – over and over again. I used to love this record but now I want to lamp someone every time I hear it. Any other great tunes wrecked by Johnny Commerce?”
NOMS DE ROCK
Parishioner Carl Parker:
Listed among the musicians on the back of Roy Harper’s Bullinamingvase album is one Skaila Kanga. I thought for many, many years that this was some jokey name hinting at carnal relations with a marsupial. From time to time over the years, when there have been discussions along similar lines that led you to this thread, I’ve asked if anyone knew who SK really was. No-one ever did. So imagine my surprise when, a couple of years ago, I found out that far from being a pseudonym Skaila Kanga is not just a musician but a Professor of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music:
THE THINGS YOU FIND IN ALBUM COVERS
Bless me Vicar, for I have sinned. About a year ago, to celebrate buying a turntable, I did a raid on the local charity shop, where three quid bought me a decent haul of old gems. Tucked inside the sleeve of Supertramp’s ‘Crime of the Century’ – I make no apologies for that – was a letter to a lucky young chap from a pair of girls called Wendy and Tina, and though I knew my nosiness to be wrong, I felt I had to read it. What a splendid artefact of the mid-to late 70s it is. Excerpts include: ‘At the moment we are playing Donna Summer’s record (Love to Love you Baby)’ ‘Have you been to Brent Cross yet? We are going there on Tuesday, I want to get a pencil skirt suit and a new bag. I think Tina is getting some drain pipe jeans.’ ‘On Wednesday I went to Earls Court to see Elton John he was fantastic, great, fabulous, and lovely… The drink up there were really expensive, half a lager was
28p and usually its about 17p.’ ‘Have you been down the Disco Lately? Do you like the Rolling Stones? I wanted to go and see them, but I could not get hold of and tickets (worst luck).’ ‘You know Lyndhurst school well today some one set alight to it, and well there is nothing left off it. Lucky old lot Lyndhurst is.’ Apologies to Wendy and Tina if you ever read this, but I have yet to stumble across anything that so effortlessly describes a world punk was only just beginning to influence – and that only in the fashion sense. Nevertheless, I know I must atone for my inquisitiveness. I’ll stick a fiver in the collection plate if you can have a word with the governor – is that how the business works these days?
THEY LIED TO US IN SONG
I have an irrational dislike of Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon’. ‘Fly me to the moon / Let me play amongst the stars’ – The stars are actually suns at the centres of inumerous galaxies, millions of miles away. So one wouldn’t have any better chance of playing amongst them by being on the moon. ‘Let me know what Spring is like / On Jupiter and Mars’ – Although the planets in our solar system do have seasons of a sort, Spring wouldn’t be any more stimulating on Mars than any other point in its cycle. Jupiter is a gas giant, with no solid surface and clouds of acidic atmosphere. It being May would not dispel this. ‘In other words (the original title) / Hold my hand’ – In exactly what way is travelling throughout the solar system, analysing the seasonal differences on other worlds analagous with grasping someone’s sweaty palm? ‘In other words / Darling kiss me’ – Just a second. In the
previous line, the interstellar journey was a token of the desire to hold hands. Now it’s a plea for tonsil hockey. Make your mind up …
WHERE THE FUN NEVER SETS
Parishioner Mark Ellen: I’ve just returned from the Notting Hill Carnival and feel compelled to report that Gaz ‘Son of John’ Mayall’s sound system on the Talbot Road was in particularly sparkling form. Longtime supporters will be aware that the effervescent ska and R&B doctor makes this trip out west from his Soho-based dance parlour Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues every August Bank Holiday, and each time he and his sidekicks adopt a particular theme. One year it was The Pharoahs and the great man spun his vinyl atop a giant pyramid while sand-dancers cavorted on the decking. Another year had a Trojan slant and required the construction of a vast wooden horse. But this year Gaz may have excelled himself. He appeared as The Joker in a white suit, mask and panama hat in the upper storeys of a Gotham City skyscraper, his cape billowed by a wind-machine. A gigantic web of blue nylon rope had been woven
over the buildings behind him and two colossal (real) aircraft had been lowered into position at either end of his soundstage. Suspended to his right was a lavishly-tattooed geezer dressed only in trousers swinging from a crane attached to the skin of his back by two enormous fish hooks. Continuing the Superheroes theme, a Spiderman, Superman, Catwoman and Human Fly got on the good foot beside him while handing out balloons scrawled with the legend “Mutate, Mate!” to revellers activating klaxons, munching coconuts and upending bottles of Courvoisier. The speaker stacks were emblazoned with expressions like “Kepow!” and above the door of his console was a hand-written cartoon box saying TO BE CONTINUED! The first three tunes we heard beneath the blistering sun were Johnny Burnette’s Drinkin’ Wine Spo-De-O-Dee, Barrington Levy’s Here I Come and Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti. It fair
warms the cockles, doesn’t it?
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES
Girl I know was being chatted up by a very boring man in the Garage.
“Blah blah blah…”, he droned on at length about himself.
“What do you do for a living?” she asked out of desperation.
“Actually, I’m in Razorlight.”
Her reply? “IF YOU’RE GOING TO LIE, AT LEAST PRETEND TO BE IN A
Cue Razorlight drummer’s goons insisting to security that she be
She is now barred from the Garage.
BOOZE AND THE HOLD STEADY
Parishioner Tim Turner:
I can’t argue with Parishioner Ellen’s in-depth analysis of The Hold Steady’s booze consumption – I was at the same gig and witnessed it at close quarters, and with similar feelings of awe. But just to be pedantic, I believe the many references in their songs to ‘getting high’ are actually about taking illicit substances, rather than drinking. Isn’t alcohol-induced intoxication known as ‘getting loaded’ in the US? Are there any visiting American parishioners who can confirm this?
May I nominate Bill Bruford, who is credited with “admirable restraint” on the King Crimson track “Trio”? Since the track is a live improvisation, he also gets a writing credit for discerning that discretion is the better part of percussion.
Parishioner Mike Gallacher:
I too was a winner on Alan Freeman’s “Get on The Right Track” ……er baby.
My prize, a signed photo of the man staring pensively at what appeared to be a model ship and bearing the message “All the best Mike”. Also included a tee shirt with the legend “Fluff” in large letters and “Radio One” in smaller letters which resulted in me suffering that nickname every time I wore the shirt to five a sides. The track I id’d was Leave Your Hat On by The Jess Roden Band
HERE COMES THE FLOOD
Parishioner Stuart Maconie:
On the subject of songs that give parishioners away, Peel used to always say that if Sheila ever heard the sounds of Roy Orbison emanating from his den she knew to go in and offer him a Kleenex and a wifely bosom to cry on as he was clearly down about something. As for myself, i don’t think I’ve listened to Gentle Giant sober or The Triffids Save What You Can dry-eyed in a decade.
ON HOLD MUSIC
Parishioner Clair Woodward:
When I called Shield Pest Control, naturally, their holding music was There’s A Rat In Me Kitchen by UB40. At which I laughed as I was standing on a stool in aforementioned room, holding my skirts up and shouting ‘THOM-ASSS!!!’
Parishioner Louise Pepper:
Ilva, the ‘posh-Ikea’ furniture shop plays ‘Mr Blue Sky’ over and over and over as their hold music. Considering they mucked up my order so royally that in total I was on hold for 12 hrs in one week they have ruined what used to be an old favourite. Bastards. And returning to that old favourite of one-song-becoming-another, in a tribute to the King I was listening to a few Elvis tracks this week. Anyone else find the opening of In The Ghetto remarkably similar to the theme to Postman Pat? Kinda loses its pathos when your head is twiddling ‘and his black and white caaaaaaaat’ in the background.
Parishioner Jason Lee: I recently read that the late Max Wall wouldn’t have a phone in his house. However, he was possible to contact because every day at 1 pm he would attend at the same phone box to receive incoming calls. This set me to thinking, are there any other celebrities who have had particularly interesting schemes for seeking or avoiding contact with the rest of the world?
IN THE DAYS BEFORE HEALTH AND SAFETY
I felt I ought to pass on this tale of Greg Lake talking about a stadium show ELP played in Italy in the 70s. They turned up on the day to discover there was no stage and no lights because the promoter had got the date wrong. The same promoter had arranged a firework display featuring a huge rocket. This was supposed to go up at the rear of the stage at the climax of the show. Unfortunately it fell over and therefore blazed directly across the stage and into the audience. I wondered whether some of the older members of the parish could recall particularly hair raising experiences of gig-going in the days before health and safety.
Parishioner Tim Footman:
I do recall that on The Seekers’ ‘Seen In Green’ album (the one where they tried to get ever so slightly flowery and psychedelic, but in a polite, responsible and neatly turned out manner, of course), on a track where one of the guitar-toting chaps takes the lead, regular chantoose Judith Durham is credited as “making a cup of tea”. I’m not sure whether they could get away with that now.
THE VICAR ADDS: That leads us seamlessly on to one subject we’ve never done before. It’s this. MOST ACTS HAVE MADE ONE CONCEPT ALBUM AND THEY THINK WE’VE FORGOTTEN – BUT WE HAVEN’T.
IS RINGO THE JAMMIEST MAN IN THE HISTORY OF POP
Parishioner George Laxman:
I recently came across a copy of Ringo Starr’s Greatest Hits and was shocked to discover that after he left the Beatles he had more solo success than the other three. Of course, it didn’t last, but then he landed the sweetest gig in history as the voice of Thomas The Tank Engine. While I yield to no one in my affection for the nebby one and his criminally under rated drumming, I can’t help but wonder, is he the jammiest man in the history of rock and roll? Joined up when they already had a record deal, didn’t have to write the songs, never came in for any character assassination, always got baled out by one of his many friends when he was on his uppers, tooled about in films, saw one of his kids join a very successful group and is still with us. I would certainly be interested in hearing the parish’s thoughts on others who have had an armchair ride through a lifetime in
The Vicar was very impressed by Richard Hawley’s recent concerts (though some of the patter wouldn’t bear repetition at the W.I.). He particularly liked the way Sheffield’s answer to Roy Orbison opened up with the exhortation “OK, let’s ballad!”
THE PLAINTIVE CRY OF THE ROCK AND ROLL DAD
Parishioner Adam Doughty, New Zealand:
Whilst driving my daughter on her birthday outing with her friends, I showed my ‘cool dad’ credentials by encouraging her to bring along a couple of CD’s. This she did. All was well. Fergie popped up. Her top tune ‘Glamourous’ came one, which involves spelling, to which I am also very partial, and off she went into the chorus….”G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, yeah G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.” This touched a nerve, and a rant about our Colonial cousins, and how their spellings are archaic and we should only pity them. Cue much eye-rolling in the back of the car. And on to the next track: Fergalicious. No arguments from me on that score. And more spelling ensues: “D to the E to the L I C I O U S.” Indeed so. But then, disaster strikes: “T to the A to the S T E Y girl you tastey.” And I was off again. I believe fists were shaken this time. Huffing and puffing and whispered apologies to the
chums. My Cool Dad credential in tatters, the CD was changed. Rhianna this time. The toes were tapping and the natural order was restored. Until Umbrella. Or as the lovely Rihanna styles it, “Um/Ber/Re/La”. Four syllables. Count ’em: four. And off I went for the third time. How will the poor girl ever write a decent haiku with this syllabic incontinence? These people are murdering our language!!! Etc. Mysteriously, the CD disappeared and we traveled in stony silence until some minutes later, when the radio went back on and the singing started again. My daughter’s opinion of me was not changed by these events, but I think her friends may now consider me something of a Character.
FROM THE DESK OF PARISHIONER DANNY BAKER:
In an idle moment, log on to iTunes, go to the Greg Lake Live album and listen to the free thirty second sample of Court Of The Crimson King (Track One). The original pitch for the word “king” seems to have sunk through Greg’s boots. Pub singer ahoy!
THE VICAR WRITES: This is a favourite topic around the vestry hearth. As singers careers go on for far longer than they originally anticipated many’s the rock classic which is now being either: a) sung in a key more suited to the vocalist of advancing years or ; b) secretly handed over to one of the backing singers. We are told by one who should know that Ms Whitney Houston no longer attempts to scale the heights of the chorus on “I Will Always Love You”, instead delegating the chore to one of her backing singers. And we await with bated breath the Led Zeppelin reunion concert where we shall find out whether Robert Plant is still capable of the Viking howl at the opening of “Immigrant Song”. Any more examples of “note ducking”?
SOME THINGS WE IN THE VICARAGE MISS ABOUT VINYL
1. The surface noise before the track began.
2. Having a sleeve big enough to read on the way home from the record shop.
3. Reading the messages from “Porky” Peckham in the run-out groove.
4. Checking the vinyl for scratches before paying for a second-hand record.
5. The way that the zip on “Sticky Fingers” used to damage your other records.
6. The skill involved in dropping the stylus precisely on the gap between the tracks.
7. The unimprovable sound of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” on a seven-inch 45.
8. The fact you could distinguish your copy of Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic” from others by the pops and clicks.
9. Going to school carrying an album under your arm.
10. The sheer joy of flicking through a rack of new releases.
11. Jamaican LPs that felt as if they were pressed on oak and RCA “Dynaflex” pressings that wobbled when you picked them up.
12. The way that a new record would stick to its inner bag when first taken out.
13. The adverts for Miner’s make-up on the bags of Beatles singles.
14. “Dustbugs” and other record care paraphernalia.
Is there anything else worthy of a mention?
Your Rocking Vicar