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 he...er, 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.