Thursday, 30 December 2010

Indiepop Mansions: Yeah Yeah Noh

A much-thumbed copy of The Bumper Book of Yeah Yeah Noh.
The third part of the strangely popular Indiepop Mansions series arrives (and I think it can be called a "series" now that there are three), this time featuring the much-loved Yeah Yeah Noh.

Yeah Yeah Noh (or "Tick Tick Cross", as they sometimes styled themselves) were a group of ex-students from Leicester, active between 1984 and 1986, who wanted to "put the Delia into psychedelia". Their peculiar brand of English Midlands home-made psychedelia has proved to be a stayer in this house, at least. Although, with less than 1,700 listeners on Last fm, they are nowhere near as popular as they should have been. Having said that, they did intimate during their lifetime that they would be recognised as one of the all-time great cult bands "in twenty-five years time" (I quote from memory, so that may not be strictly accurate). I think that less than 1,700 listeners counts as a cult, so in that respect, they have been successful.

So, now that a quarter of a century has passed since the release of their truly fab Cutting The Heavenly Lawn... LP, I hereby declare that they are indeed one of the all-time great cult bands. Hands up for happiness if you agree!

But the point of the Indiepop Mansions series is to find out where my favourite bands of the Eighties lived whilst they were recording their happening sounds. So, where did Yeah Yeah Noh reside? Let's take a look:

View Larger Map

A terraced street in Leicester's northern quarter is the answer. They lived just a few doors down from a Post Office - very handy for posting out all their records, Bumper Books (only 50p!) and Printhead fanzines. Opposite the Post Office is a florist, specialising in funerals. Various restaurants and newsagents are just around the corner on the main road to Leicestershire's northern towns.

All-in-all, it reminds me very much of Portsmouth, my home city. Tightly-packed housing, slightly down-at-heel shops; a proper, honest, hard-working area. A good place to live for these Paul Weller-hating champions of the every day and ordinary.

Who will be the next Indiepop Mansion dwellers? Tune in soon to find out!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Catalogue Quiz: Orange Juice

It's an Orange Juice song.
With all the pre-Christmas jobs, I haven't had time to produce a Mascot Match-Up for Boxing Day (boooo!).

However, I did make this quick quiz:

The two items in the illustration above were cut out of the current Argos catalogue. Together, they make the title of an Orange Juice song. Can you guess which one?

I'll post the answer after Christmas.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mascot Match-Up: Exeter City v Sheffield Wednesday

Watch out Grecian! He's behind you!
A second attempt to predict the result of a random football match by comparing the teams' respective mascots...

This week's mascot match-up features Exeter City's Grecian The Lion and Sheffield Wednesday's Barney The Owl. Match time: 3pm, Saturday 18th December 2010. (If you are in the St James's Park area tomorrow morning, go along and help them to clear snow from the stadium so that the match can go ahead! If there is no match, then the atmosphere at Exeter will resemble the Cage Against the Machine song, except it will last for 90 minutes instead of 4'33").

Apparently, Grecian The Lion replaced Athena The Goddess as club mascot a couple of years back. Athena was a young, buxom blonde woman in revealing Greek robes. She was more "one for the dads". Mascots are supposed to exist to entertain feckless children, for which Grecian is far more suitable. Thus, he scores a GOAL!

However, looking at him in the picture, I suspect he's been out drinking Blackthorn cider with one or two dads before the match. Looking at his eyes (a surefire way of counting how much alcohol has been consumed), I would suggest he's had at least five pints. For his undoubted bar-room bonhomie and joviality, I award him a second GOAL! (I bet he's a terrible singer when imbibing though. If I hear he's been trying to sing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, he may well lose a goal...)

Barney The Owl seems to be one of several owls that appear as Wednesday mascots - another is named Ozzy, and um, there's at least one other that I've seen in pictures whilst "researching" this piece... Barney looks handy with a football at his feet - he's taking aim at Grecian's backside in the picture. Can't see him missing that target, so there's a GOAL! for SWFC.

Going by his name, I'm assuming Barney is a barn owl (despite having completely the wrong plumage). The largest barn owl babies in the nest tend to eat all their brothers and sisters through boredom (I'm starting to wonder where Ozzy and the others have gone in the picture now. Oh dear). Being the last owl left out of his siblings would make Barney nice and strong - probably stronger than a drunken lion. With strength being a much-prized commodity in the third tier of the English league, I'm going to award another GOAL! to The Wednesday.

So, Barney has mad ball skillz and strength; Grecian is great with kids, and enjoys a cider or two. I can't separate these two, which means that my official prediction for the match is...

Exeter City 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday



The final score in Devon yesterday was...

Exeter City 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday

So, I  got that one completely wrong! I can only surmise that eating your brothers and sisters is considered a VERY BAD THING INDEED, and that Barney was severely punished for doing so.

I shall attempt another prediction for the Boxing Day fixtures. The random match-up will come from the second tier of the English leagues. I'm just hoping it won't produce a second tear for my predicting reputation.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mascot Match-Up: Rotherham United v Aldershot Town

Aldershot Town's Phoenix (left) takes on Rotherham United's Miller The Bear, today at 3pm.
Here's an idea: predicting the result of a random football match by comparing the two team mascots, and deciding which one I like the best.

The first in what could be a very short series: Rotherham United versus Aldershot Town, taking place at the Don Valley Stadium this afternoon.

The home team's mascot is Miller The Bear, who is new for 2010/11, replacing a rosy-cheeked Yorkshire miller in a flat cap, who in turn, replaced the Rotherbird a few years ago. Miller The Bear looks quite cuddly - a proper big teddy, for which I'm going to award RUFC a GOAL. On the other hand, real bears are omnivores, which means they eat pretty much anything, including humans (okay, not all bears, but don't go too near a polar bear in the wild if you value your life). However, I can't see Miller noshing on anyone any time soon, which makes him a nice friendly mascot. Another GOAL for RUFC.

Aldershot Town are represented by The Phoenix. Now, I have a problem with phoenixes in general: any business who like to think of themselves, or a product, as new and exciting (or rising from the ashes, zzzz) will invariably turn to the phoenix as a great big cliché. ATFC have a phoenix on their club badge - boring and uninventive. No goal. The other big problem I have with phoenixes in general is the common mis-spelling - phEOnix (which would be pronounced FEE-ON-IX). This makes them sound like a second-rate Pokémon character. Again, no goal.

As for the actual mascot...well, he's just plain scary. There's not a cuddly feather on his entire body. He looks like he'd peck you to death as soon as look at you. And imagine looking down his throat if you were brave enough to get up close. If the human inside was wearing a red balaclava, he would look like a bloomin' great  tonsil with eyes staring back at you. Again, no goal for ATFC.

So, based on the clash of the mascots, I predict that this afternoon's result will be:

Rotherham United 2-0 Aldershot Town.

Mind you, if they had a fight, I reckon the phoenix would win every time. Poor old Miller.


Deep joy for football bear.
Well, the final score was 1-0 to Rotherham, so I was nearly right. It may be that giving a goal for both cuddliness and friendliness was one goal too many, or perhaps I should have deducted one for Miller squatting in the centre-circle in the top picture - he might have been having a poo (although, to be fair, his shorts are pulled right up, so he probably wasn't).

Another random match-up to follow soon...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pleasure City Hip Parade, November 2010

Bad kitty!
The Pleasure City Hip Parade of most-hummed tunes this month could quite easily have exclusively contained twenty tracks by Orange Juice, as I was fortunate enough to receive the Coals To Newcastle box set for my birthday. However, The Notes' Wishing Well has also been much-loved in November (possibly a coincidence, but the words "the notes" feature in the opening couplet of this month's number one tune. I wonder if that's where they took their name from?).

Bearing in mind Edwyn Collins's love of our feathered friends, I have compared November's top five songs to birds:

1. (-) Orange Juice - In A Nutshell (a perfectly-plumed pair of puffins, cuddling up for warmth in a remote island burrow)
2. (2) Betty and the Werewolves - Should I Go To Glasgow? (a splendour of summer swallows, swooping for pond insects)
3. (4) The Notes - Summer Love (a gaggle of gorgeous gannets, divebombing for fish)
4. (-) Orange Juice - Dying Day (a bashful spoonbill)
5. (-) Dum Dum Girls - Throw Aggi Off The Bridge (a flotilla of frustrated winter pochards, milling around waiting to be fed by snowbound humans)
6. (-) Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes - Laughing And Smiling
7. (6) The Notes - Dancing Shoes
8. (-) Orange Juice - Consolation Prize
9. (7) Dum Dum Girls - Stiff Little Fingers
10. (-) The Notes - Those Days, Those Nights
11. (20) The Go-Betweens - Casanova's Last Words
12. (13) Darren Hanlon - All These Things
13. (1) The Go-Betweens - Wait Until June
14. (-) Orange Juice - Three Cheers For Our Side
15. (5) Darren Hanlon - House
16. (-) Orange Juice - I Can't Help Myself
17. (3) The Maladies Of Bellafontaine - Black Biro
18. (-) Househunters - I Am A Mole
19. (-) Fabienne Delsol - Take Your Seat
20. (-) Associates - Nude Spoons

I had Coals To Newcastle on my desk at work recently, when one of my colleagues came up to me, picked up the box and said "ooh, I didn't know you liked George Jones!" Noticing my blank stare, he looked at the cover again and said sheepishly that, didn't have his glasses on.

Will Orange Juice dominate the charts again in December?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Teesside

It's not just all chemical works on Teesside, you know.
Viewing the urban extent of Teesside in the north-east of England, my friend could see some goings-on if he squinted just so. He drew them and sent them to me with the following note:

"The urban area of Teesside resembles a man hitting a clown, while another man strangles an ostrich prior to hitting it with a piece of bacon. Watch out for the out-of-control squirrel surfing on a vacuum cleaner".

And if you study the picture above, you should be able to see all those things.

Now, take a look at the outline of your own town on a map, and see what you can make out...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Reminder To Self: 21 Squirrels

Please note: these aren't real squirrels.
Brownsea Island has been visited every last Friday in Autumn half-term for a few years now. It's a family tradition. There are peacocks, chickens and spoonbills to be seen and admired on the island, but better than all of these are the adorable red squirrels. Smaller than the alien (but well-established) and more familiar grey squirrel, the red squirrel is officially Britain's Cutest Squirrel.

Every year, if we are quiet enough, the shy little creatures reveal themselves, carefully leaping between the branches of the numerous trees, or sometimes scampering around amongst the leaf litter with a hazelnut in their tiny paws. And every year, we count each squirrel and total them up at the end of the day. And every year, within weeks, we have forgotten how many we saw.

So, this year, I am writing down the number of red squirrels seen on the trip to Brownsea Island in 2010.

And the final total this year was...21! This may have been a record number, but as I have never written the total down before, it equally well may not be!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Thatcher's Hatchlings: One Of Them Did Not Burn.

The hatchlings all burned very nicely.

However, Thatcher remained unburnt. Look out Hell! She's fireproof!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Thatcher's Hatchlings: Before...

Nick's wondering just what he's let himself in for. Dave and George are as smarmy as ever.
Bonfire Night 2010. Can you guess what happened next to dear old Mrs Thatcher and her newly-hatched spawn?

Friday, 5 November 2010

My Pointless Friend Richard

My Pointless friend, Richard, yesterday (yes, it really was yesterday). His brother is in Suede, apparently.

I have a wish. A pointless wish. I should like a researcher from the BBC quiz show Pointless to knock on my door and give me 100 seconds to name as many breeds of cat as possible. Failing that, as many countries with horizontal tricolour flags, or match up as many rulers of Britain with their nicknames - "Harefoot"? I know that one!

Please, please, let it happen.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Pleasure City Hip Parade, October 2010

Number 1 this month: a 22-year-old B-side!
It's time for the Pleasure City Hip Parade! My twenty most-hummed tunes from the previous month, collected together in one place for the delectation and delight of my regular readers.

Like every other site on the 'web, I have random readers that arrive here via searching for key words, and yes, there is a tab on Blogspot that tells the blog author what search terms people have been using when they come to their site. Possibly unsurprisingly, the most-common search term for arrivals at this blog is "The Maladies of Bellafontaine" - what with them being a talented new band that very few other people have written about yet. Of more concern is the second-most common search, which is for South Today weather girl Reham Khan! (Incidentally, Reham was poorly today and couldn't do the weather).

To boost reader numbers, I may start adding hidden random keywords within each article from now on...

Anyway, on with the main item - this month's chart:

1. (10) The Go-Betweens - Wait Until June (I've played a LOT of Go-Betweens this month. This was one of the B-sides to Streets Of Your Town, and is what they call "a lost classic". Well, I've found it again!)
2. (1) Betty and the Werewolves - Should I Go To Glasgow? (She's always been a Celtic fan - any football reference in a song makes my ears prick up)
3. (-) The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Black Biro (Any mention of a string of sausages in a song makes my ears prick up)
4. (-) The Notes - Summer Love (Did I mention that The Notes sound like the exact moment before anything is possible? Don't think I did)
5. (-) Darren Hanlon - House (Wherein Darren returns to his old house, looks inside and sees that everything has changed. This was a recurring dream for me when my parents moved for the first time, so it resonates strongly)
6. (4) The Notes - Dancing Shoes
7. (-) Dum Dum Girls - Stiff Little Fingers
8. (8) Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes - The Rain Fell Down
9. (7) The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Long Socks
10. (-) The Go-Betweens - You Tell Me
11. (-) Rote Kapelle - Preacher Man Aural
12. (11) The Dole - New Wave Love
13. (-) Darren Hanlon - All These Things
14. (-) Navvy - Letters
15. (-) The Notes - Awake
16. (6) Withered Hand - New Dawn
17. (-) Twa Toots - Yo Yo
18. (2) Best Coast - Goodbye
19. (4) Betty and the Werewolves - Purple Eyes
20. (-) The Go-Betweens - Casanova's Last Words

Lemon sprinkles.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The King Of Rompelstan

The King of Rompelstan, yesterday.
According to TS Eliot, in the poem The Naming Of Cats, cats can have up to three names.

Firstly, there are the sensible names that the family use daily.

Secondly, there are names that are peculiar and particular to only one cat: names that help keep a cat's tail perpendicular.

And thirdly, all cats have a secret name, that only they know...

Well, my cats have their everyday names. They are known as Tommy and Minty to the rest of the world.

They also have a variety of peculiar names, according to my mood and their fancy. See Tommy Pom Poms and Minty Minstrel on Kittenwar!(Come on Minty, you so cute! Tommy! Get down from those curtains!).

But recently, I have felt that I have come very close to guessing Tommy's real name - the one that only he should know. I can tell by the loving looks he gives me when I say these names:

Pompadom, Pomplemousse, Rompelstiltskin, and, most revealingly of all, The King Of Rompelstan.

And just yesterday, I caught him wearing a golden crown, just like a real king...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Pop Quiz Number Four: Scotpop All The Way!

Is this a rabbit?
It's Pop Quiz time again! After two artist-based quizzes in a row (The Magnetic Fields and The Wedding Present - follow the Pop quiz tag on the right to find them), it's now time for the first quiz based on a geographic location.

After thirty-plus years of outstanding left-of-the-field pop, choosing Scotland for this quiz was easy. Not so easy was who to include, and who to leave out...and stopping after ten clips wasn't an option either. So, for this quiz, there are thirteen introductions to Scottish underground pop songs, ranging in date from circa 1978 to the mid-2000s.

Press Play on the player below. Listen to the thirteen clips. There are short gaps in between each intro in which you can Pause the player to note down your answer. There are a maximum of 26 points available - one point for each correct song title; one for each correct artist. If you score more than 12 points, consider yourself a Scotpop Expert! Be warned though: this is a tough old quiz...

Answers will be posted in the Comments section after a week or so.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Indiepop Mansions: Rote Kapelle

A prize to anyone who can name this Moomins character!
Rote Kapelle ("Red Chapel") were active on the Edinburgh music scene between 1985 and 1990. They shared members with Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes, The Fizzbombs and Shop Assistants (the extended family tree also included Meat Whiplash and The Motorcycle Boy). They were the spiked-up, awkward-pop members of the gang, neither purely pop, nor purely awkward. With their male/female vocals and bumpy/jumpy guitars, they got the mix right more often than not. Their second and fourth singles are particularly good.

They released six records:

The Big Smell Dinosaur 7" EP (1985)
These Animals Are Dangeroos 7" (1986)
It Moves... But Does It Swing? 12" EP (1987)
Fire Escape 7" (1988)
San Francisco Again 12" EP (1988)
No North Briton LP (1990)

All but the first EP came out on the magnificent In-Tape Records.

"But never mind that - this is the famous Indiepop Mansions series! Tell us, where did they live?"

Well, I have taken their contact address from the first two singles and gone a-searchin'. It seems they lived in a rather pleasant part of Edinburgh, not far from the University, and a short walk from Holyrood Park. To be precise, Duncan Street, in the National Grid square NT2671.

View Larger Map
And this is the building I assume at least one band member lived in (the one who enjoyed answering their fans' letters, I suspect - or, more likely, the one who had most contact with gig promoters and suchlike, which in pre-interweb times was probably the prime reason for printing an address on your record sleeves).

Perhaps Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes, Meat Whiplash et al lived in the same building? It looks like flats - possibly student accommodation. Handy for the chapel next door (but not a red one!) and a dental practice in the same road. For the book-lovers in the band, the National Library of Scotland was just around the corner.

Andrew Tully (of Rote Kapelle and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes) went on to run Avalanche Records, where you can still buy Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes vinyl. Rote Kapelle MP3s are currently available on Emusic, Itunes, and probably other places too. I don't suppose the band have made much money from them, but if you want to help them buy a can of beans, they are there...

More Indiepop Mansions another time. Who will it be next?

Pleasure City Hip Parade, September 2010

Betty and the Werewolves enjoy a nice cup of tea
It's high tea for Betty and the Werewolves, but the bearded one doesn't look like he wants to join in! Never mind - he can cheer himself up with the thought that he contributed to my most-hummed tune of the month!

Here is the Pleasure City Hip Parade for September:

1. (-) Betty and the Werewolves - Should I Go To Glasgow? (Obsessions over the past year or so: Vivian Girls > Wetdog > Dum Dum Girls > Best Coast > Betty and the Werewolves. Spiky, independently-spirited pop)
2. (1) Best Coast - Goodbye (still rockin' my world!)
3. (17) Tender Trap - Do You Want a Boyfriend? (One of the brainy Amelia Fletcher's finest moments. Up there with Oh Katrina and C Is The Heavenly Option)
4. (-) Betty and the Werewolves - Purple Eyes (at last - someone else who doesn't understand the appeal of The Libertines!)
5. (-) The Notes - Dancing Shoes (Awake and Summer Love also recommended)
6. (8) Withered Hand - New Dawn
7. (3) The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Longsocks
8. (7) Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes - The Rain Fell Down
9. (10) Rote Kapelle - Sunday
10. (-) The Go-Betweens - Wait Until June
11. (-) The Dole - New Wave Love
12. (-) Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts - Revenge of the Extra from Zulu
13. (6) Helen & the Horns - Freight Train
14. (5) Best Coast - Happy
15. (2) Liechtenstein - Passion for Water
16. (-) Best Coast - Wish He Was You
17. (-) Fabienne Delsol - Come Away
18. (12) Heavenly - Wrap My Arms Around Him
19. (-) Shine! - I Just Can't Celebrate Today
20. (4) Rote Kapelle - These Animals Are Dangeroos

Nine new entries over the course of a month would mean approximately two per week if I did this weekly (which I won't). Seems about right.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The South Today Team Not Attacked by Giant Cats!

The South Today team with Sally Taylor's dancing lemurs
Relief for the South Today team last weekend, as they were not bothered by giant cats at all!

Pictured above, relaxing at the trendy Unit nitespot, are transport correspondent Paul Clifton, weather girl Reham Khan, sports reporter Roger Johnson (not the Birmingham City footballer Roger Johnson), Sally Taylor, and rockabilly DJ Tony Husband.

Also pictured are Sally Taylor's troupe of dancing lemurs - always a big hit at Unit!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Notes on Bandcamp

<a href="">Introducing THE NOTES by the notes</a>

A band called The Notes recently introduced themselves in the Southampton thread on the Anorak forum. Not an easy name to find via search engines - however, through a bit of sleuthing, I eventually managed to find some tunes of theirs on Bandcamp.

In exchange for your e-mail address, the six-song Introducing The Notes is available as a free download. The song that I have been playing on repeat is Dancing Shoes, which reminds me of the days between post-punk and goth, when gloominess was exciting. Psycho-twangin' guitar, echoing, throbbing, headmunching beat music. It's a two-minute gloomthrill. Excellent stuff.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

South Today Attacked By Giant Cats! Again!

The South Today team relaxing at Unit.
Reports have reached us of more bad luck for the South Today crew.

Whilst the team were winding down at Southampton's trendy nitespot Unit, after a stressful week reporting on the tribulations of the good folk of the BBC South region, they were startled by the appearance of an enormous cat (seen here stealing Sally Taylor's pink wine goblet).

Resident rockabilly DJ (and South Today sports reporter) Tony Husband, told us that he had been petrified by the prodigious puss, but at least the colossal kitty had left his valuable box of original rock n' roll 7" vinyl singles alone - "the monstrous moggy only seemed to be interested in having a drink".

Transport correspondent Paul Clifton, who had had a previous encounter with a giant cat, was said to be both shaken and stirred by the incident.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

South Today Attacked by Giant Cats!

South Today's transport correspondent Paul Clifton.
It was supposed to be a normal, everyday kind of assignment for South Today's transport correspondent Paul Clifton. Reporting on a spate of giant trucks being stolen by under-fives in a quarry just outside Petersfield, he suddenly became aware of the look of dread on his cameraman's face. Turning around slowly, he froze in terror as he saw a giant cat staring back into his eyes.

The terror turned to amazement as the cat spoke: "Miaow! I only want a drink of filthy truck-water!"

It was Hello Kitty's fiancé, Minty!

Apparently, the quarry had been the site of a nuclear waste dump in the 1960s, and Minty had drunk some radioactive water, which had caused him to grow to the size of a house! Not only that, but he could talk like a human too!

How they all laughed when they realised what had happened!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Minty and Hello Kitty have had kittens!

Lovebubbling news reaches us today from Kitern Villig (Minty and Hello Kitty's secret lovenest)!

Hello Kitty has given birth to two healthy kittens! One of them looks very much like Minty at a few weeks old, whilst the other is said to look just like the young Hello Kitty before she dyed her fur completely white.

The mother, father and kittens were all said to be doing well. Awww!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Pleasure City Hip Parade, August 2010

The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray!

Now, there's a song I've been humming to myself for the past several decades at regular intervals...

However, the Pleasure City Hip Parade records what's been tootling around inside my head over the previous month. And this month, I have mostly been tunelessly warbling...

1. (-) Best Coast - Goodbye (in which the singer wishes her cat could talk - I understand 100%!)
2. (18) Liechtenstein - Passion For Water (in the absence of a Mo-dettes reunion, this will do very nicely! A "grower", as they say)
3. (2) The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Longsocks (would have been a shoo-in for the Festive Fifty number one in Peely's day - my tip for a high placing in Dandelion Radio's version this year)
4. (9) Rote Kapelle - These Animals Are Dangeroos (the highest "old" song this month - I only need two more Rote Kapelle singles to complete my collection!)
5. (6) Best Coast - Happy (the illustration is from the CD version of the Crazy For You album - I was standing just to the left of this photo, unless it was taken during the soundcheck, in which case I was probably about two miles away on the number 17 bus)
6. (1) Helen & The Horns - Freight Train
7. (-) Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes - The Rain Fell Down
8. (5) Withered Hand - New Dawn
9. (3) Best Coast - Far Away
10. (-) Rote Kapelle - Sunday
11. (-) Best Coast - Boyfriend
12. (-) Heavenly - Wrap My Arms Around Him
13. (-) The Chiffons - When The Boy's Happy (The Girl Is Happy Too)
14. (13) Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes - I'm Up Here
15. (4) The Farmer's Boys - All Of A Sudden
16. (-) Betty and the Werewolves - David Cassidy
17. (17) Tender Trap - Do You Want A Boyfriend?
18. (-) Bubblegum Lemonade - Caroline's Radio
19 (-) Summer Cats - Pinhead
20. (-) Misty's Big Adventure - There's Someone At The Window

Ten new entries! 50% turnover in a month! 60% "new"/40% "old" songs! It's a statistician's dream!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Pop Quiz Number Three: The Wedding Present

Hooray! It's The Return Of Pop Quiz!

This time it's the turn of The Wedding Present.

In the player below, there are ten introductions to Weddoes songs, each of which are between 15 and 30 seconds in length. There are gaps of approximately five seconds in between each intro, when you can Pause the player.

Some songs are well-known; others are more obscure. A score of ten out of ten would be IMMENSE! However, to be a Gedgey SUPERFAN, you need to score at least SIX!

Good luck!

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Laughing Cow goes to Denmark

Interesting and unlikely football news from Denmark today, as the national team boss begins the overhaul of his aging national squad after their disappointing World Cup campaign.

The likes of Dennis Rommedahl and John Dahl Tomasson are being replaced by The Laughing Cow of AFC Cream Cheese.

A spokesman re-veal-ed today that she had no beef with the udder stars: "The new player will have the opposition cow-ering with fear. She really is the cream of the crop. She proved recently that she can play on a Friesian cold night in Mos-cow. So long as she takes the bull by the horns and tries not to milk the fans' applause too much, she should start the team moo-ving in the right direction very quickly". She will be awarded the number 9 Jersey for the national team as soon as she recovers from her calf injury.

The Laughing Cow's favourite band is Cud.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Pleasure City Hip Parade, July 2010

The NME has done it every week since 1952; Paul Heaton has done it every week since 1980; this chap does it most weeks on his it's my turn!

What's a blog for if you can't publish your own charts from time to time?

And why Hip Parade? Because I spent my entire childhood mis-hearing the word "hit" in "hit parade" on the radio!

So, here is Pleasure City Avenue's first monthly hip parade - a list of my most played and most hummed tunes of the month for July 2010, some old, some new, but all swirling around inside of me at some point:

1. Helen & the Horns - Freight Train (a 99p Ebay win a few weeks ago - cowgirl indiepop)
2. The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Longsocks (creepy and fascinating, like sugar mice coming to life at sunset - reminded me of the first time I heard Birthday by the Sugarcubes - and they called me a lovely fellow on their Myspace blog! Physical release on September 8th - I can't wait!)
3. Best Coast - Far Away (fabulous singalong 7" bought at their Joiners gig in May)
4. The Farmer's Boys - All of a Sudden (better than anything The Smiths ever did - not taken seriously at the time of release because they were marketed as bumpkins)
5. Withered Hand - New Dawn (new to me - I'll be checking out more of this lo-fi loveliness)
6. Best Coast - Happy
7. A Place To Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
8. Dum Dum Girls - Oh Mein M
9. Rote Kapelle - These Animals Are Dangeroos
10. The Pastels - Stay With Me Till Morning
11. The Magnetic Fields - The Nun's Litany
12. The Chiffons - Oh My Lover
13. Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes - I'm Up Here
14. Best Coast - Crazy For You
15. Johnny Burnette & the Rock n Roll Trio - Train Kept a Rollin'
16. The Sandwitches - Back To the Sea
17. Tender Trap - Do You Want a Boyfriend?
18. Liechtenstein - Passion for Water
19. Blanketarms - I Love Your Guts
20. Dum Dum Girls - Yours Alone

There, that was random! But I like it!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Day I Was Bob Marley

This seemed such a good idea at the time! Hold a record sleeve in front of your face and pretend you're a pop star!

The same day, PJ Harvey, Bo Diddley, The Soup Dragons, and the knitted puppet off of a Sonic Youth LP were all photographed in a similar manner.

I thought it was an original idea. Then it was pointed out that it had been done before.

Oh well.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Indiepop Mansions: The Chesterf!elds

Number one in a new series, wherein I hunt down the former dwellings of some of my favourite artists. It was common for bands on independent labels in pre-internet times to include an address on their record sleeves, so that their fans could write to them. I like to think that pop groups lived together in happy houses full of music and gay frivolity, where they let their creative muses run wild - I thought it would be interesting to view some of the places where my essential listening originated.

Thus, the first band to come under investigation are The Chesterf!elds, purveyors of many fine indiepoppin' tunes, including their third Subway Organization single, Ask Johnny Dee, from which I have taken their 1987 address. From the single's insert, I found that they (or at least one of them!) lived in Gas House Hill, Sherborne, Dorset. Some Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing revealed that this is on the SW corner of British National Grid square ST6416, literally next door to Sherborne Station (handy for the short train ride to Yeovil!).

View Larger MapTracking the address down even further on Streetview (and this wasn't easy), I came up with the house above as The Chesterf!elds' most likely abode in 1987. Was Kettle written here? I don't have the answer to that, but it looks like a nice place to live from the outside, right on the edge of town, with a pretty view of brightest green grassy fields from the front windows. The one thing that is obviously missing is a blue plaque, an indication of the pop genius that used to live within.

Would you like to know what pop kids wear in the sea? Ask Johnny Dee!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Maladies of Bellafontaine

Well, I didn't intend to make this blog a Music Blog - there's enough of those already - but hey, if I come across something special, I'm going to shout about it here.

Or, in this case, whisper.

Listening to my newly-mended radio last Thursday, I tuned in to the Gary Crowley show on 6Music whilst soaking in warm lavender bubbles. I wasn't expecting much - maybe a ten-minute Glastonbury live slot from the previous weekend.

What I actually heard was my new favourite band. My new favourites sound like a gaggle of glockenspieling kittens riding around on wooden-wheeled ducks-on-strings. They sound like Noosha Fox, a playful Marissa Nadler, Broadcast, The Ditty Bops, and quite a lot like old John Peel faves The Would Be's. So...destined to be ignored by most, but unconditionally adored by a few.

Searching the 'net, I've been unable to find any trace of officially released music, so I suspect Gary Crowley was playing a pre-release (the song being Longsocks). Perhaps it's coming out on Static Caravan in the near-future? Consider this a bookmark.

Listen to the jolly, Ditty Bops-ish Champagne and the enchanting, "black kitten leather shoes and" Longsocks on their Myspace page.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Farmer's Boys and Sulley Muntari

As regular readers may know, I have been obsessed with collecting Panini's World Cup 2010 stickers recently. I spend hours poring over every tiny detail in the collector's album, wheedling out pointless facts that nobody really needs to know, but keep me from going hatstand.

For example, did you know that Honduras is the only country playing in the World Cup that is spelt the same in all eight languages that Panini use in their albums?

I have much more sympathy with the teams who have smiled for the camera when they posed for their photos - Germany in particular seem like such lovely boys. I wonder what the equivalent of "say cheese!" is in German?

Some of the French team are also smiling, but their stickers are spoilt by a nasty marble effect in the background.

My latest obsession (well, since yesterday evening anyway) is to match up players' birthdates with dates of Peel session broadcasts (as found in Ken Garner's excellent The Peel Sessions book). As most of the players were born in the 1980s, and much of my favourite music was made in the 1980s, I wondered who was born on the same day that the first Yeah Yeah Noh session was broadcast, and did it give them any luck in their career?

Well, I haven't found anyone born on 7th August 1984 yet (although I'll let you know when I do!), but I've checked out a few players, and here is what I've found so far:

Yakubu Aiyegbini, who has had a largely successful career in English football, helping the mighty Pompey to promotion eight years ago, before big money moves to puny Middlesbrough and Everton, but who will now be mostly remembered for his unbelievable miss in Nigeria's match with South Korea this week...was born on the same day that the fourth Birthday Party session was broadcast. The session did not include their song Figure Of Fun, which is unfortunately what Yakubu may have become. However, for his performances in Pompey's early Premiership years, he'll always be a hero to me.

Sulley Muntari, another ex-Pompey player, who recently argued with his coach and went off in a strop before being recalled to the Ghana squad, was born the night the final Farmer's Boys session was broadcast. This session included the song Sport For All, and also Walkabout, which seems appropriate for what he did last week. His coach may also have been thinking "whatever is he like?" during their argument (The Farmer's Boys' most well-known song). See if you can spot Sulley hiding in a tree in the illustration above.

David James, yet another Pompey player (if you've been paying attention, you may have spotted a theme with which players I've been checking out first)...was born on the same day that sessions by Fairport Convention and Osibisa were broadcast by the BBC. Hey, weren't Osibisa performing at the World Cup's opening ceremony? Have I inadvertently found an omen here? David James to lift the World Cup trophy in two weeks time? Yes? Yes? No?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Pop Quiz Number Two: The Magnetic Fields

It's Pop Quiz time again! This time it's a Magnetic Fields Special.

Play the quiz in the player below. You will hear intros from ten Magnetic Fields songs (NB there are no other Stephin Merritt projects included, such as The 6ths). The intros range in length from 15 seconds to just under 30 seconds. There are five second thinking-gaps in between each piece of music. The player can be paused at any time.

Some of the songs are better-known than others. If you score more than five out of ten, you can consider yourself a True Magnetic Fields Fan!

Good luck!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Four Johan Vonlanthens, there's only...

Well, I'm collecting the Panini South Africa 2010 football stickers set, and I need people to swap with! This seems like as good a place as any to advertise my swaps, so here's my current list (new swaps will be added in separate lists as and when...):

12 42 43 47 63 75 83 94 109 117 129 143 148 150 155 166 176 177 186 201 209 222 231 232 235 239 251 264 278 298 300 322 327 328 340 343 344 361 366 376 377 403 411 424 425 437 452 473 488 499 503 529 534 537 542 545 549 555 564 573 581 583 588 593 596 606 629 631 636

New as of Saturday 12th June: 39 45 141 216 237 252 305 325 338 355 443 496 590 608

New on Tuesday 15th June: 56 193 214 224 259 299 304 357 368 371 384 409 432 484 515 526 528 580 604 607

New on Monday 21st June: 30 35 57 65 73 78 88 116 126 134 187 215 234 241 248 261 276 311 318 349 354 365 369 370 391 392 413 421 423 439 450 455 463 465 467 485 489 496 501 530 547 586 591 594 602 622 625 632 638

New as of Saturday 26th June: 14 32 37 85 105 120 149 152 157 162 163 168 178 208 212 269 277 287 303 314 462 506 527 563 584 609 619 623 626

New on Thursday 8th July: 3 90 132 139 167 172 188 221 262 265 348 364 388 394 400 404 420 427 448 453 502 511 521 525 533 548 554 566 578 585 634

Contact me via the comments, forum PMs, or even real-life! And I'll send some to you in exchange for your own swapsies.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Pop Quiz Number One

It's Pop Quiz time!

Press Play on the player below. You will hear ten introductions to songs of between 15 and 30 seconds in length, separated by 5 second gaps (thinking time!). Press Pause at any time, and the player will stop and then restart from the same point when Play is chosen again.

All the songs are by artists beginning with the letter C. Most, if not all, were recorded and released in the 1980s. All are independently-spirited; most were Not Big Hits.


Monday, 17 May 2010

Dance Critters at the FA Cup Final

I went to the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium last Saturday. As a Portsmouth fan, it was my second visit in three years for the end-of-season football showpiece, and probably the last time I'll ever go there to watch my team, as they head for the gutters.

It's a big place, full of big noise - and not just us fans laughing at Saloman Kalou's hilarious first half miss. There's also the big noise of the public address system. The stadium deejay "treated" us to some very very loud Florence + The Machine, Paulo Nutini, Pixie Lott...oh, deep joy. He also played the two sets of fans a "special" song each: firstly Chelsea had something that sounded like The Small Faces, but was probably some hapless major-label indie band; then he played us Pompey fans...nope, not Mike Oldfield's jolly sailor tune Portsmouth...but Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out. It's an okay tune and all that, but the looks of bemusement all around me said it all. Pompey's special tune? Nah.

The song I had going around my head all day was Dance Critters by The Colorblind James Experience (no jokes at the expense of goalkeeper David James's bright pink kit here, please!).

'Tis funny how irrelevant tunes swim around at random.

Pictured is Chuck Cuminale, aka Colorblind James. The first album by his band is a highly recommended toe-tapping mix of country-allsorts with some memorable lyrics. Read all about them on the linked blog.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Tommy's Cat Food Quiz

Tommy has just woken up after a long day asleep in a bowl in the bath. He has dreamt up a cat food quiz for us. Translate the following flavours from packets of Felix (naming the language is optional):

1. Con Buey

2. Au Colin
3. Mit Lamm
4. Med Vildt
5. Med Kyckling
6. Sisältää Sardiinia
7. Met Tonijn
8. Mit der Maus (are you sure about this one, Big T?)

Tommy will post the answers in the Comments in a week or so (if he remembers).

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

New songs from Misty's Big Adventure

&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=""&amp;amp;amp;gt;Dumb Head by Misty's Big Adventure&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;

Misty's Big Adventure have two new tunes up on Bandcamp for just one of your Earth pounds! Dumb Head is a cover of a song from the early 1960s (I know the version by Sharades, recorded by Joe Meek, and it's fantastic!); There's Someone At The Window is the sort of scaredycat ska that they do so well.

Their new album will be with us in a few months, and I can't wait!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Another World Cup sticker

More shock news, as Pop (of Snap, Crackle and Pop fame) has been called up by Fabio Capello to play for England at this summer's World Cup!

Oh, hang on...isn't that Ashley Cole in an unconvincing disguise?

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Knitted By Nanas at the 2010 World Cup

News just in! Shreddies' Knitted By Nanas star, Pearl, chosen to play for South Africa at this summer's World Cup, as shown on this unofficial Panini sticker!

***Possibly the worst piece of Paint-work ever!***

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Nintendo Zoo Keeper Quotes

As Jonathan Richman might have said: "I like this game; I like it a lot" (in the unlikely event of Jonathan preferring Nintendo to Dodge Veg-o-matics).

So, Zoo Keeper...

You round up escaped animals, trying to score as many points as you can. At the end of the game, the zoo keeper (he's supposed to be your father) waves a cigar at you and makes a comment (presumably translated direct from the original Japanese). Sometimes these comments are kind, at other times soul-destroying, but more often than not, highly amusing.

This post collects together ninety-three of Zoo Keeper's sayings (in alphabetical order - it was already such a sad thing to do, I decided to make it even more sad by alphabeticising them all). If you come across this post and have knowledge of more sayings, feel free to add them in the comments box! Thank you!
  1. ...
  2. 78 points?
  3. A monkey would be better than you
  4. Are you enjoying your youth?
  5. Best of Zoo Keepers
  6. Borderline
  7. Can I cut your pay?
  8. Can I give you a raise?
  9. Cheers to you and thanks to me
  10. Don't go anywhere
  11. Do you eat regularly?
  12. Do you have someone special?
  13. Do you need a vacation?
  14. Do you need an energy drink?
  15. Do you want to grab a drink after this?
  16. Fabulous! You are the hero!
  17. Fight!
  18. Finally, you have matured
  19. Follow me for the rest of your life!
  20. Give way to a cleaning lady
  21. Glory!
  22. Go and wash your face
  23. Go back to training for a while
  24. Grrrreat!
  25. Having a lot of drive is not enough
  26. Honestly, I am shocked
  27. How much of raise do you need?
  28. Humph
  29. I am impressed. I have tears in my eyes
  30. I am not playing
  31. I am pretty satisfied
  32. I am proud of you
  33. I am too nice today
  34. I don't think you can do it
  35. I don't want to see your face
  36. I know how to train people
  37. I know what to look for in people
  38. I'll put you on the cover of our brochure
  39. I love you
  40. I'm changing my opinion of you a little bit
  41. I'm extending your contract
  42. I think it's okay
  43. It's all down to your talent
  44. I think you'll make a name
  45. I want you to follow in my footsteps
  46. I will put a picture of you on the wall
  47. Jump sideways repeatedly until night falls
  48. Just try to give me some hope
  49. Late, late, you are too late!
  50. Let me go crazy
  51. Let's be loud!
  52. Let's put a picture of you on the wall
  53. My expectations of you are getting higher
  54. Not even in my league
  55. Oh! Unbelievable!
  56. Out of the question
  57. Put your bronze statue next to mine.
  58. Regaining your power!
  59. Rub yourself down with a dry towel at the pond
  60. Start with the small things
  61. Stay in your room and take a good look at yourself
  62. This is godlike
  63. Today's lunch is three slice of pickled radish
  64. Well, hmm, ho-hum
  65. What a neglect!
  66. What do you want?
  67. When I was young I was better
  68. Where are you from?
  69. You are a curator.
  70. You are a legend in this zoo
  71. You are a mainliner
  72. You are a professional
  73. You are barely forgiven
  74. You are definitely rejected!
  75. You are growing a little bit
  76. You are miserable
  77. You are missing something
  78. You are nothing but average
  79. You are shining today
  80. You are the man I counted on
  81. You came this far because of me
  82. You can do it when you feel like it
  83. You dress the part but you can't do the job
  84. You'll be a history soon
  85. You'll polish my shoes from tomorrow
  86. You'll work for a week without pay
  87. You make a poor show no matter how old you are
  88. You must be blind
  89. You're better than me!
  90. You remind me of my early days
  91. Your face is now shining with pleasure
  92. Your time begins
  93. You will not be paid this month!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Tweecore Tommy: The Melons

Resident indiepop expert, Tweecore Tommy (pictured, left) has been searching through my list of free downloads on Last fm, searching for rarely-heard gems. He thinks he may have found one, in the shape of The Melons song, Strictly Melonhead.

"Cheap keyboards, synthetic handclaps, cheeky lyrics, sung by hard-drinking party girls - ex-members of Fat Tulips...yes please!" Tommy purred. "If I was human, I'd say it was just my cup of tea, but as I'm a cat, I'll say it's just my puddle of fetid rainwater*".

*This is a good thing. Other free downloads by The Melons are available - Fire Engine Girl is particularly recommended.