Friday 10 December 2010

writing prose, anything goes....

Earworms of the Week

"Pipes of Peace" - Paul McCartney
"Beautiful Boy" - John Lennon

"Pipes of Peace" was a number one single back in December 1983, when I was a wee swissling of 9 years old. It was common knowledge at my school, around about this time, that Paul McCartney was so rich that he was earning something like 50p a minute. It seemed an almost inconceivable amount of money to me (when, of course, it isn't really), but his music was everywhere, so maybe it was true. Mind you, at that point I almost certainly had no real idea that this was the same guy who was also in the Beatles - you know, the Yellow Submarine band - so perhaps it's best not to draw too many conclusions from that, eh? I think this appears on a few Xmas albums, which would explain why it has suddenly dropped into my subconscious (look at the video and the xmas link is not so hard to explain). The Lennon is easier to explain, and it's nothing to do with the 30th anniversary of his death either. The guy who sits next to me at work has a fairly young son, and he proudly handed me his iPod this morning so I could hear the song that he sings his lad to sleep with every night. Aw. Sweet. Not Lennon's finest work, but I imagine Sean likes to hear it and think fondly of his dad (I imagine that when Julian hears "Hey Jude", he has rather more mixed emotions: great song, sure... but it was written by McCartney, not his dad. Still, as Lennon says in the song, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans"

"Ernie - the fastest milkman in the west" - Benny Hill

The guy who sits on the other side of me (my weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse, as it happens), was telling me today how his grandfather had this song played at his funeral. An odd choice, you might think, but he was a milkman by trade and was called Ernie, so.....

"Discotheque" - U2

I hated U2 with a fury at about the time that this record came out. Time has mellowed my opinion of them. It's hardly their finest song, but it's decent enough. I can listen to them without exploding with rage now too. I might even go and see them at Glastonbury next year. My 20 year old self hates me.

"I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You" - Claudine Longet
"The River" - James Taylor / Joni Mitchell

For a while now, I've been collecting Christmas songs. I do it because I like Christmas songs, but I'm heartily sick and tired of hearing the ones that we always hear. Yes, so "Fairytale of New York" is a good song, but for me it has been ruined by being played to death. There are loads of brilliant seasonal records out there by people as diverse as the Ronnettes, Frank Sinatra, Sufjan Stevens, The Eels and Joseph Spence. The Joni Mitchell version of "The River" is one of my absolute favourites. It's clearly seasonal, but Joni is singing about something other than just a list of Christmas cliches. It's a good song, full stop. The Taylor version is also good, albeit not quite as good. The Claudine Longet song is a new one for me, discovered on the playlist that David Belbin kindly sent to me last year to refresh my collection of seasonal songs (I think he sends a CD out every year with his Christmas cards - which to my mind is a whole lot better than a family newsletter. Perhaps he includes one of those as well). I also like Christmas films, although here my tastes are a bit more mainstream, with my favourites being "Elf", "Muppet Christmas Carol" and "Bad Santa".

"Friday Night, Saturday Morning" - The Specials

I actually came to this song via Nouvelle Vague, but this is the classic version of course. I love the wistful tone to Terry Hall's vocals, as though the whole thing is viewed with a certain detached sadness, ennui even, as though it was happening to someone else.

"Vienna" - Ultravox
"Amadeus" - Falco

The one song leads to another in my head, tied up in my mind as they are with Austria in general and Vienna specifically (and both were played at our wedding too). Ultravox came first this time; specifically that echoey bit at the beginning. Falco followed soon after, along with a mental image of an Austrian of my acquaintance doing the whole rap everytime he hears this. I think all Austrians of a certain age can do that. I don't think they can help it.

"Back in the Saddle Again" - Aerosmith

Worth it just for the opening bit as the music builds up and Steven Tyler starts singing. "Rocks" is a damn good album. If you only know Aerosmith from Armageddon, then you hardly know them at all. Back in the day, they were an awesome rock band.

"Anything Goes" - Cole Porter

Hands up who hears this and suddenly finds themselves transported to Club Obi Wan and a routine involving some chinese dancing girls, a dragon, and a guy with a fedora using a big gong to escape from some goons who are shooting at him as he tries to escape with the antidote to some poison he's swallowed? It surely isn't just me?

Oh, and for followers of that facebook meme, here - in all their unedited glory- are the first 15 songs that came up on my iPod on shuffle.

> "Words Just Get In the Way" - Richard Ashcroft (sounds like that awful Ronan Keating cover of "When You Say Nothing At All")
> "Roadkill" - Pulp (from "We Love Life")
> "Where I Fall" - The Reindeer Section
> "Got the Shakes" - James (from "The Morning After the Night Before")
> "Born of Frustration" - James
> "Cheer Up Boys, Your Makeup is Running" - Foo Fighters
> "Join Together" - The Who
> "Disco 2000" - Nick Drake Cave (yes, that Nick Drake Cave and yes, that Disco 2000)
> "Make For This City" - James ("The Morning After the Night Before" again.... what are the chances with 12,091 songs to choose from that I get 3 James songs out of 15 on shuffle?)
> "Garden" - Pearl Jam
> "Night Flight (Live)" - Jeff Buckley ("Live At Sin-e")
> "Year of the Boomerang" - Rage Against the Machine
> "Greetings to the New Brunette" - Billy Bragg ("How can you lie back and think of England when you don't even know who's in the team?")
> "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - Keane & Faultline (From the second "Help" album)
> "Drifter" - Iron Maiden (from "Beast Over Hammersmith", the live album)

Make of that what you will.

Have a good weekend y'all.


  1. Nick Cave's Disco 2000, surely? Given Jarvis was 11 when Drake died...

  2. Um... yes. Excellent spot. Nick Drake's Disco 2000 would be... different.

  3. The worst FB post I saw after Apple Corp and Apple Inc agreed and That Band was available on iTunes? "Yoko's husband's former band is now on iTunes" followed by "Wings?"

    As for "Back in the Saddle", it's better on the Live Bootleg album.