Friday 17 August 2007

all my world is one grain of sand....

I don't know how it's been for you, but this has felt like a very long week indeed to me. Still, it's over now and I've got a nice glass of Semillon Chardonnay on the go and some fish and chips on the way.


Anyway. Friday = Earworms.

This week's Guest Editor is a long-time friend and sometime colleague of this blog. His taste in music is fantastically eclectic, and because I occasionally used to buy stuff from Amazon on his behalf, my recommendations are still hopelessly skewed by his purchases (Sapphire and Steel, anyone?).

Ladies and Gentleworms, without further ado, it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure......

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #70 - The Eye In The Sky

I'm afraid, all that clever writing stuff of an earworm guest editor's opening paragraph has deserted me. So, in no particular order, here are the tunes:

> Renaissance - Secret Mission

I ran into this on You Tube and it kinda stuck. Renaissance are one of those bands who seem to have (unjustly) been buried by punk. It has much to commend it: clear soaring vocals from the incomparable Annie Haslam, 12-string jangles aplenty, and some excellent Bass-as-lead lines from Jon Camp. No idea what the hell it's about, but that's often the way with an earworm.

> Caravan - disassociation / 100% proof

Many years ago, there was a "scene". The Canterbury scene, a vast soup of talent, jazz, exploration, humour, and taste. Several young men getting together in bands and grooving for the fun of it. Caravan came from this background (as did Kevin Ayers, and also Soft Machine) and produced a steady string of underground hit albums and a strong, loyal following. This pair of tracks - forever linked - are a wonderful, plaintive, tender ballad, and a cathartic blowout, release. Dig it man. Oh and if you've never heard of them, there's a sample of them playing something off the same album "In the Land of Grey and Pink" - Golf Girl

> Yes - Parallels

Hmmm. We start with a chord fanfare on church organ (recorded in Switzerland), heralding a ringing bass line, and then lifted to the stars by one of Steve Howe's lifting guitar lines. . . . . and then it has nowhere else to go so Jon Anderson starts singing. I love this track.

> Magazine - Shot by both sides

Another blast from the YouTube time machine. I was presented with Magazine by my contemporaries at the time they were happening. I gamely nodded and thought this is ok. And did nothing about it. After almost two decades dormant, the butterfly has emerged - I love this band. All indie bands should kneel down and face in the direction of Howard Devoto, the mortal remains of John "the Legend" McGeoch, of Barry Adamson, of Dave Formula's keyboard stack, and John Doyle's tasteful drums. For this is the womb that gave life to indie, the 2nd dawn of the electric guitar. The Smiths should eat Magazines shorts. Oh and this is a great record. Buy all their stuff. Do it now!

> Sally Oldfield - Waterbearer

I've just imported a remastered copy of this album from Japan. It comes in a replica miniature album sleeve, complete with facsimile lyric sheet from the original LP, and paper inner sleeve. The CD itself comes in it's own anti-static, dust and scratch guard condom to prevent damage to the disk, enclosed in a wholesome reusable cellophane wrapper to protect the sleeve. This is an artisan CD re-release. I tracked it from the Japanese stockists across the world to my doorstep courtesy of Japan Post's parcels tracking service, my anticipation building as it came closer. And it was worth every penny of the price. This remastering has revealed the depth and sparkle of every aspect of this album. Rich sonorous low's, sparkling high's polished like fine crystal in the early morning sun, cupping the wine of music in the glass of silence that you can hear, nay feel. Naturally with any eagerly anticipated purchase it sticks in the ears.

> Blondie - The Hardest Part [ST's note: dammit but Debbie Harry looks good in this video]

Debbie Harry and Blondie are best remembered for great songs such as Atomic, Heart of Glass, Call me, Hanging on the Telephone, Denis .... the list is extensive. Most bands would donate kidneys to have 2% of Blondie's catalogue of great songs. However, lurking amongst the album tracks are some gems that haven't seen the popular light of day because of the stellar nature of the other material. So here is a song about a robbery on an armoured car. Might I suggest this could be unique subject matter ? A swaggering, bravado performance from all concerned, and in the video, Ms Harry struts around in a coal black wig, sunglasses, and some scraps of a blackish material. It has to be said that her hip movements, whilst subtle and understated, suggest the ability to crack open an armoured car unaided is a real possibility.

Danger! Attitude ahead.

> Rick Wakeman - Myths and Legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table

Yes - I do own this, yes I do like it and yes, he really did perform this on ice at the Wembley arena. You may also recall the title track being used as the opening theme music to the BBC election night coverage. Stirring stuff.

> The Flying Lizards - Money

I just love the deadpan delivery of Deborah Strickland on this. One of those covers that becomes the definitive version. This is another recent acquisition of stuff I just had to have but couldn't find.

> Pink Floyd - One of these Days

I just found myself humming this. Off the sublimely titled "The Delicate Sound of Thunder" this version includes a nod to the Delia Derbyshire realisation of the Dr Who theme, and aerial swine.

> Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby

Yes this is the 16' 52" fully orchestrated, satin sheets, tantric overdrive, funkified version. Recorded in Munich and with production as lush as a black forest gateau with double cream.

Oh dear - that just generated another earworm....

> Goldfrapp - Black Cherry.



In the space of a 20 minute drive to work today - without Radio 4 - my mental jukebox stormed through

Kraftwerk - Kometmelodie 2
X-ray spex - Identifty
Jon and Vangelis - the friends of Mr Cairo
Human League - the Black hit of Space
Elkie Brooks - Fool if you think its over
The Muppets - Mneh Mneh (Doo Do Da DOODOO)
Pink Floyd - The Fletcher Memorial Home
Status Quo - Rocking all over the world

- is nowhere safe ?


Ah, many thanks to the Eye for such a comprehensive set of earworms. Yes, Donna Summer, a bit of punk and some Alison Goldfrapp all on the same list? Ah, truly we have been blessed.

Next up: Charlie (hopefully)

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II, Sweeping the Nation, Aravis II, Olympian II, C, Planet-Me, Mike, Michael II]


  1. There's a commercial that I caught recently that uses the Muppets song you speak of... That one is total earworm. I just have a feeling that one is gonna haunt me all day at work.

  2. On a completely unrelated note, did you and C call briefly into Loch Fyne yesterday early afternoon? I was sitting having lunch with the old man when I saw a vaguely recognisable tall chap with a female companion - I thought "I know those people from somewhere" - once I'd twigged I think you'd already left. We were sitting near the fish counter enjoying a very reasonable two course lunch for 11 squid, complete with complementary glass of wine - yum.

  3. Tina - yes we did... we were just popping in to book a table for that evening, when I had some lovely oysters and delicious baked sea bass. and someone else paid. hurray!


  4. Oh good, its a nice spot, it was off form for a few years but it seems to be back on again.

    One of these days I'm sure we'll actually speak to each other, we certainly live pretty close.

  5. Re. Blondie. The whole of the "Eat To The Beat" album is great.

    "Slow Motion", "Dreaming", "Atomic", "Die Young, Stay Pretty"...