Friday 24 October 2008

a sight worth seeing, a vision of you...

Earworms of the Week.

It's been a horrible day at work, so as I mix myself what I hope will be the first of several White Russians in an attempt to unwind, let's have a look at the songs that have been buzzing about my head over the last ten days or so (not including any Elbow...).

> "Patience" - Take That

I think they've got new material on the way out, but I think this got into my head when I caught a bit of Gary Barlow on the phone to Chris Moyles the other day. He was obviously sat in front of his piano at home and he kept playing little snippets of a few of his songs as he was chatting to the fat lump. Even down a phone line and even though our Gary sounded like he had only just got out of bed, this song stood out a mile. It's a proper song this. I'd normally say that this type of thing isn't really my cup of tea, and I suppose it's not really, but I think the quality of the songwriting on this stands out a country mile from some of the other shit that you hear on the radio. A collaboration between Status Quo and Scooter you say? Well, that's certainly something to look forward to, eh?

> "Boomshakalaka" - Apache Indian

Entirely LB's fault. I have absolutely no idea how this got into his head, but he was good enough to pass the infection on to me, and I've been singing it to myself for more than a week now. Nice one. Whatever happened to Apache Indian? I seem to half-remember a recent programme where he travelled to India and made some sort of documentary? Or did I dream that? If it's not a programme that's been made, then who do I pitch it to? We could follow it up with Apache Indian's guide to the Aboriginal peoples of Northern America. Apache Indian meets the Apache Indians anyone? From the producers who brought you "Schama's Sharmas", historian Simon Schama's journey through the transformation of modern India....

This is a ridiculous song, incidentally.

> "Oxford Comma" - Vampire Weekend

Mike went to go and see this lot the other day instead of attending the Leftlion quiz, and no sooner had he mentioned the band than this song started to play in my head (closely followed by "Mansard Roof"). I quite like them, although I do find the whole idea of a New York indie band being quite so influenced by Paul Simon being influenced by the rhythms of Africa to be a little bit strange. Decent album though. Coincidentally, I was also reading something the other day about the usage of the Oxford Comma (which, of course, is the comma used immediately before a grammatical conjunction that precedes the last item in a list of three or more items. The phrase "Portugal, Spain, and France", for example, is written with the serial comma, while "Portugal, Spain and France", identical in meaning, is written without it). Does it better match the cadence of the spoken word? Does it remove ambiguity or simply add to it? Is it redundant? Who knows...and frankly, as the song says, who cares? (oh, who am I kidding? You know I care about stuff like that....)

> Theme tune to Bullseye / Big Break

You know when it's really late at night and you've been flicking idly through the tv channels to see if there's anything on worth watching? Well, if you find yourself in front of Challenge TV and watching re-runs of absolutely ancient quiz shows, then it's probably time that you went to bed. I didn't heed my own advice, mind you, and so I found myself the other night watching in fascination as contestants competed for a cube clock radio and a teasmaid on Bullseye, and at the whole idea that anyone once thought that Jim Davidson being sexist and racist on prime time television was anything remotely approaching a good idea.

> "It's Beginning to Get to Me" - Snow Patrol

They're not cool, obviously, but I quite like the new single, and I will be buying the album at some point next week. Soft as shite and lyrically stuck in a postion of wide-eyed wonder, I can't help but like Snow Patrol for their sincerity and for that wonderfully expressive Norn Iron voice of Gary Lightbody. He really does look like he's having a fit when he's singing though, doesn't he? Eyes rolling into the back of his head and everything. And I see that although he still has that "Celt" sticker attached to his guitar, it's no longer a battered telecaster but a sleek and gleaming Les Paul. They must have sold some records or summit.

> "Is It Any Wonder" - Keane

...and on the subject of soft as shite bands. I bought the new album the other day, have listened to it a couple of times, and remain resolutely unconvinced by it so far. Tom Chaplain has a great voice, no question, but after about 30 minutes on the new album, it struck me that he's singing every song at almost the same pitch and that there's precious little variation. Perhaps it's my imagination or perhaps it's the production on the record, but where Gary Lightbody's voice is a powerful instrument for conveying the emotion in Snow Patrol's songs, Chaplain's voice on this record seems to be stripped of anything like the same kind of expression. Hmmm. I'll give it time and see if it grows on me. Unlike lots of people, I'm not predisposed to dislike Keane, and I think it's great that they've started to throw away the apparent givens of their own band and have added a bass and guitar to their sound. I heard this song on the radio the other day, and although that keyboard bit at the beginning is very U2-circa "Achtung Baby", it really is very catchy.

> "Manic Depression" - Jimi Hendrix

You know how you hear some tunes, and although you can't quite put your finger on exactly what it is, you just know that you know it? I had exactly that feeling when I heard this song as played on the bontempi organ at the pub quiz the other night. I was trying to think out loud, to see if the rest of the team could help out, when my lovely wife suddenly asked if it was Hendrix. That was all the cue I needed to get to the name of the song.... which as I'm sure you will know, is the kind of thing that gives you a lovely feeling of warm satisfaction. The questions that you really have to work to get the answer are often the most gratifying, aren't they? Good song, actually. C. couldn't remember ever hearing the song, but something about it just reminded her of Hendrix. What a great team we make, eh?

> "Da Doo Ron Ron" - Crystals

Nope. No idea.

Catchy though, eh?

> "Picture This" - Blondie

Ah, the song that got away. Another one that made an appearance in the bontempi organ round of the quiz, where apparently lots of people mistook it for a completely different song. I thought it was unmistakeable, and immediately gave out the artist and title. A few questions later, after a bit of questioning from a couple of teammates, I had a moment of doubt and amended the title of the song to "Picture Of You". Wrong, and until the recount, it looked as though it was a half point that was going to cost us our winning streak. Luckily it didn't, but always trust your gut instincts in these things. Always.

> Sky+ Menu music

I have no idea what this piece of music is, if indeed it is anything at all. All I know is that, apart from the odd ill-advised seasonal interlude, this is the music that plays when you are navigating around the menus on your Sky+ box. It's not very long and it loops almost seamlessly back upon itself every few minutes. It's also, without a shadow of a doubt, the most hypnotic piece of music I think I have ever heard. Mesmerising.


And that's it...... have a good weekend y'all and STAY CLASSY.


  1. Yes! Goddammit, I too have earwormed the Sky EPG music, on a frequent basis.

  2. As a fellow pedant, I care about the commas too, although not as much as I care about the apostrophes. I was always taught that the list comma, or Oxford comma, is redundant in modern written English, but I rather like it. Consistency, I think, is key where commas are concerned.

    On the Keane front, I must confess to really liking their last single (was it called Spiralling?) precisely because it's so different to their usual stuff. Not enough to buy the album, or actually be sure of the song's name, mind, but still.

  3. I'm attempting to stay classy, but am wondering if there is going to be a Shuffleathon this year??

  4. hmm. There might be. It was a bit of a pain last year asniy dragged on and on, and a couple of people who I expected better of never came through with their CDs. If I do it this year, it may be smaller, as I really need people to be reliable, or the whole thing becomes a bit of a nightmare.


  5. I understand. Possibly an idea whose time has been and gone. Great while it was going.

    Congratulations on the multiple quiz wins by the way. Many a long year ago, Lisa Rullsenberg (of Rullsenberg Rules) and I were in a quiz team together that had a tremendous run of success - we went to Sheffield for the final of something that covered the entire North of England from Newcastle down to Nottingham and won! She and I did music and films and we had a sports afficianado who pulled all of the names of the 1966German World Cup losing team from the recesses of his memory banks at one stage - oh happy days!!

  6. I'm not saying I'm not going to do one - actually, I think I probably will - just that I'll be a bit more selective this time. The select few....

  7. I hope I can be included in the "select few"? Please?