TRUE CONFESSIONS : WILL WE ALWAYS BE HAPPY GO LUCKY?

Here’s a confession that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  It also won’t come as a surpise who can recall the time I wrote about the song as #36 in the Scottish Singles series away back in August 2016…..

Back in 1984, a Glasgow band called The Blue Nile released a song called Tinseltown In The Rain. Everybody, and I really do mean everybody, who was an acquaintance at the time seemed to go nuts for the song, with many considering it the perfect sounding anthem for a city that was slowly but gradually re-inventing itself and regaining its self-confidence after an extended period of post-industrial decline. Further afield, loads of journalists and writers pounced on the song and the album A Walk Across The Rooftops, boldly declaring the music as unlike anything else recorded before, with some going as far to say that the songs were the sort that Frank Sinatra would be proud of.

Part of the aura around the band was linked to the fact they released their songs via a company called Linn Products, which was (and remains to this day) an engineering company which built very hi-tech audio equipment, including turntables, amps and speakers. They were also ridiculously expensive products. The engineers were growing increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of LPs that they were having to use to test their flagship turntable and so they developed a cutting lathe to enable improvements. The company, however, needed to find a singer or band who would be happy to record for them and deliver a ‘type’ of music that would best showcase the audio equipment.

One version of what happened next is that the bosses at Linn, and in particular the highly determined and driven MD, asked The Blue Nile to produce one song to help with the testing. The MD liked the song so that he offered an immediate contract for an album on what would be a new venture called Linn Records. The band dispute this version of events and say that the link-up came after they had recorded a whole series of demos with a studio engineer who just happened to have ties with Linn and was a friend of the MD. The band version is that there was no approach from Linn to make a record for the company nor did the company seek to influence the album’s sound in any way and have said “it was a myth that we were a ‘hi-fi band signed to a hi-fi company’. We just got lucky that we’d found our way to an excellent engineer who knew the company.”

That particular version of events emerged in 2013 – my memory of events as they were reported in 1984 was that the band and label were very closely linked and much was made of the album being given a very slick and glossy production that could be best be enjoyed and appreciated via Linn equipment.

This was all something that pissed me right off. My hi-fi equipment was fairly low-spec and much of my record collection was of the hurriedly produced and ramshackle variety that sounded just perfect to my ears. I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in something so artificial…and so I’m willing to admit that I did listen with some prejudice.

Regular readers will know that I have used the pages of this and other blogs to hold my hands up and admit that I got something wrong; sometimes, first impressions of a song can be misleading and repeated or a different exposure to something can provide a change of mind or opinion.

I haven’t ever changed my mind about The Blue Nile or Tinseltown In The Rain. There is no soul or warmth to the music whatsoever and the 1984 marketing campaign was a triumph for style over substance. I’m not a fan of Paul Buchanan’s voice either – he is no better or worse than a marginally above-average pub singer. It’s a killer combination of music and vocals that is deadly dull to listen to with not one note or octave providing any sort of surprise or excitement.

I know that many of the bloggers I most admire – echorich, postpunkmonk and Brian among others – are in complete disagreement with me.  My brother Stevie is also a huge fan of the record and the band.

It was, however, interesting that some, including Jonny the Friendly Lawyer, had my back on this one last time out.

Just thought it would be a nicely controversial way to close out what has been a controversial and at times unsavoury month on t’blog.

mp3 : The Blue Nile -Tinseltown In The Rain (12″ version)

JC

PS : A reminder that I need votes on a previously voided match in the ICA World Cup….details are here.

BONUS POST FOR THE BONUS SERIES : OOPS!

I was sitting in front of the laptop tonight, pulling together some facts and stats in preparation for the draw for the last 16 of the ICA World Cup when I had a ‘FUCK……WHAT HAVE I DONE?’ moment.

Last week, I asked you to cast your votes for the merits of Felicity (Orange Juice) against a live version of My Favourite Dress (The Wedding Present). You shouldn’t have been asked that as Felicity had in fact already been fielded in Round 1 of the competition and the rules are that no song can appear twice. The fact that Edwyn & co won the match-up means the result is null and void.

Genuine error on my part….and so now the tie to be replayed.

The Wedding Present are being allowed to field the studio version of My Favourite Dress while Orange Juice are required to offer up a different song from their original ICA. So, if you don’t mind….let me have your thoughts on this match up:-

Falling And Laughing (single, 1980) v My Favourite Dress (from George Best, 1987)

I need the votes in by Friday 4 May at 10pm. So sorry for the mix-up and any undue stress this may have caused.

JC

A RE-POST TO BUY MORE TIME (3)

In case you’re wondering what this is all about, I’ve a plan for something to take up the usual Sunday slot which looks in depth over a number of weeks at a particular band or artist but I’m putting it on hold till after the ICA World Cup is over.  The space will be taken up in the meantime by reposts from the deleted old blog….and I’m delighted to say that I’ve salvaged some from May 2009 when the place was given over to guest bloggers.  This appeared on Wednesday 27 May 2009…..

PRIMITIVE BUT FUN

Hello dear people,

First of all: thanks to you, JC, for letting me participate in this series of guest contributions for the Vinyl Villain. I hope you and Mrs. V. enjoy your holiday … you certainly deserve it!

Now, there are thousands of songs I like quite a lot and which I could have picked in order to write something pretty clever about. Songs with an immensely wise meaning, a political statement perhaps, songs you all know, love and would be eager to hear again here. Songs that would have made it more or less easy for me to create a long essay of wisdom about which I could then share with you here.

But be warned, the opposite is true, I’m afraid: the tune I have chosen doesn’t mean pretty much. Nor does anyone know it, I’m willing to have a small bet. Nevertheless I simply love it and have done so since I first heard it back in 1983 or thereabouts. It includes everything a good tune needs, at least as far as I’m concerned: a) whacky rhythm b) clever lyrics c) young female vocalists. Or, if you’d rather, it’s primitive, but fun.

In it the singer tells us a story of everyday life: it’s about chatting up girls. And about how ludicrous men behave when trying to do so. And yes, I admit: at times we do. Most often, in fact. Although: the bloke in the song really tops the bill, perhaps that’s why he’s referred to as an ‘Aquavelva Geek’. You may wonder now what this might possibly mean, and rightly so. Well, there’s a little dictionary at the back of the sleeve of the record, described as the ‘Val Talk To English Dictionary’. Here’s what the ‘Aquavelva Geek’ is translated as:

“(ak’ wa vel’va gek) n. : Distasteful individual hailing from Marina Del Ray area; frequently divorced and on the make.”

Next to this there is a little comic-style drawing of the Geek with clothing details described below: “1. attempted perm on balding head, 2. fake gold chain, 3. unbuttoned white collar shirt, 4. chest hair wig, 5. Casio alarm watch w/ Pac Man game, 6. Ultra-suede jacket, 7. doubleknit pants, 8. Justin boots. ”

Mostly all of the strange expressions which are contained in the lyrics are translated in the dictionary and if I only had a scanner I would perhaps be able to picture it here. But I don’t, so listen closely to one of the finest songs in the history of recorded music, which, I shouldn’t forget to mention, includes my favourite song line ever: “Yeah, I learnt quite a while ago not to be afraid to wear fashion underwear”…:

mp3 : The Valley Girls – Marina Men

Marina Men was released as a 12” on Rhino Records back in 1982.

The Valley Girls were Chrissy Peters (16), Sonia Gordon (16) and Pamy (18) and, astonishingly enough, I got an email from one of their nephews not so long ago, saying that all of them are enjoying their family lives in the Valley …

Well, I do hope you enjoyed my choice, friends.

Take care,

Dirk

JC ADDS……………

I closed off that particular posting by saying

“TODAY’S GUEST CONTRIBUTION IS COURTESY OF A REALLY TOP BLOKE…SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN A LONG-TIME FRIEND OF TVV….AND SOMEONE THAT ONE DAY I HOPE TO MEET IN THE FLESH….DICK HUPPERTZ OF ALDENHOVEN, GERMANY AND OF THE BLOG SEXY LOSER.”

In May 2017, that ambition was realised…..with the added bonus of many other great bloggers also hooking up for a truly unforgettable weekend in Glasgow. Where has the time gone since?

BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : ROUND 3 (Part 4)

Part 4, which should have been Part 3 and featured last week, has been penned by jimdoes, the founding father of this competition. Before then, there is the small matter of last week’s sensational match-ups….

Lightning Seeds 23 v Saint Etienne 17
Pulp 26 v Pavement 9
Wire (2) 17 v Butcher Boy 20
Orange Juice  v The Wedding Present  : VOID RESULT…..REPLAY REQUIRED (Click here for details)

Butcher Boy make history by being the first side in the competition to make a winning comeback from a 5+ deficit. I think it’s fair to say that they will be the minnows in the last 16….but given a reasonable draw, they could still progress even further.

And now to ties 13-16…..and I’ve taken on the task of trying to come up with the right form of words to accompany the match-up that has caused a bit of chaos……

MarrRourkeJoyce v Ride

It does seem right not to exclude the songs of The Smiths from the competition and for this round at least it was easy enough as the tune which had come out for consideration is one that Johnny Marr has been known to include in his live sets. Some credit has to go to Ride who have sat patiently on the sidelines, at one point thinking they had been given a bye into the last 16 and then having to adjust the game plan and tactics for their new opponent.

Bigmouth Strikes Again (from Adrenalin Live, 2015) v In A Different Place (from Nowhere, 1990)

Over now to jimdoes…..

Anyway…

This week’s ties have been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding a certain Manchester singer’s utterances and have left the remaining teams in disarray and with an ‘anything can happen’ air to them. Whatever JC decides to do for the other tie I expect there will be ‘a bit of handbags’ in the comments as the Smiths have clearly lost the previously solid backing of many fans and the outcome could very well be an early bath. We are also now reaching the business end of the tournament with everything to play for – every game is akin to a cup final.

The Jam v Daft Punk

This tie has the kick and rush English coming up against Gallic flair. The Jam tend to play the long ball game – they have a solid backline that feeds the talents of their star man Paul Weller. They’re prone to entertainment and always give it 110%. On the other hand, Daft Punk appear to play in the wrong kit – with their helmets they’d be better suited to American Football. Even if they kept handling the ball I’m sure their technological links would make any VAR decisions go in their favour.

Thick As Thieves (from Setting Sons, 1979) v Digital Love (from Discovery, 2001)

Billy Bragg (2) v Prefab Sprout

Johnny Marr plays a part in this round whatever the outcome of the stewards’ enquiry in one of our other ties as he played guitar on this, my favourite song by Billy Bragg. But has Bragg hit this one too well? He’s a top, top player who’s got plenty more in his locker for the next few rounds so we shouldn’t expect any schoolboy defending from him. But this is the match where we will be asking can he do it on a wet Tuesday night in Atlantis? Prefab Sprout have found themselves in acres of space and they’ve really grown into the tournament. They are at home on any field and are a potential banana skin for any team. They’ll be sticking it in the mixer and hoping to put it in the onion bag.

Greetings to the New Brunette (from Talking With The Taxman About Poetry, 1986)  v Looking for Atlantis (from Jordan, The Comeback, 1990)

Edwyn Collins v Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

The magic of the cup eh? There’s always one – the tie that makes all the others seem like easy picks – the match that makes me go aaaaaaargh! The one that shows that there are no easy games at this level. And it’s this one – two absolute classics against each other. And a tenuous link to The Smiths here too – Sandie Shaw covered “Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken” and “Hand In Glove”, performing The Smiths Song on Top Of The Pops with Marr, Joyce and Rourke. Anyway, this is a real statement of intent from Edwyn Collins – he’s been taking it one game game at a time and is taking nothing for granted. Lloyd Cole has set his stall out early doors by sticking this one into the corridor of uncertainty by playing mind games with his choice of song. Cole is literally asking questions of Collins here in a match that is a great advert for the ICA World Cup.

A Girl Like You (from Gorgeous George, 1994) v Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? (from Rattlesnakes, 1984)

Votes must be cast by Friday 4 May at 10pm.

Next week sees the first games in the round of 16; which of the four above will join this lot in the hat??

1. Echo & The Bunnymen
2. The Police
3. Half Man Half Biscuit
4. OMD
5. New Order
6. The Housemartins
7. The Clash
8. The Jesus and Mary Chain
9. Lightning Seeds
10. Pulp
11. Butcher Boy
12. Orange Juice or The Wedding Present

Happy Listening.

JC and jimdoes

(FRIDAY) NIGHT FEVER

With apologies to those of you who keep in touch via the personal Facebook page as you’ll be sick-to-death at me going on about this.

Tonight sees the launch of Mixtape at The Admiral.

It’s the brainchild of my friend Robert who, along with Carlo and Hugh, has been the driving force of the very successful Strangeways club night that has been a mainstay of the Glasgow scene for some 10 years. Strangeways is a night based almost exclusively around the music of The Smiths and Morrissey that has grown in size and popularity and now takes place in the downstairs suite of The Admiral Bar where some 200 folk pack in four times a year with all profits going to various charities and worthy causes. I DJ’d on one occasion at Strangeways and did a decent enough job to be asked back to help at ‘There Is A Night That Never Goes Out’ in which the intrepid trio went for a theme of 80s music, often with an indie or electro twist.

Mixtape takes things a wee bit further in that the music will be anything goes. As Robert said when he went public with it:-

Mixtape is a new night for the bar of The Admiral. The music is non genre so really anything goes.

The night is designed as a sound track the bar with the option for some late night dancing or clubbing for people who don’t like clubs. 🎧

The playlist covers Indie, Electro, Disco, Post Rock , New Wave , House, Soul, New Romantic, Mod, Pop, Punk, C86 and anything else that sounds good.

Initially, it will be taking place in the upstairs part of the pub where we will do our best, through our own tastes, to entertain the regular drinkers but also taking requests and so on in the old-fashioned way. The only difference from the 80s is that instead of lugging around heavy boxes of vinyl, the DJs will be bringing along a memory stick to plug into a laptop – I’ve got just short of 1,000 tracks on mine just now but even then I know I won’t have everything that is asked for on the night.

Mixtape at The Admiral is going to be a regular residency, scheduled for the final Friday of each month. It’s free of charge in the upstairs bar but, all being well, the plan in due course is to shift downstairs every so often, charge a few quid to get in and again raise monies for good causes.

I’m looking forward to it…but with a degree of nerves. I’ll report back in due course about how it all goes.

mp3 : The Divine Comedy – At The Indie Disco

And tomorrow, after all that, I’ve got the biggest game of the season for the Rovers with the pre-match music and announcing malarkey.  A win, in what is the final match of the season, and we clinch the title and gain promotion.  A draw or loss and its likely we have the lottery of the play-offs. This has the potential to be a memorable few days in my life.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #164 : BANANARAMA

Bananarama? You seem bemused. You shouldn’t be. There’s a myriad of reasons why they are more than worthy of an ICA:-

– Formed in 1981 and still going strong today

Terry Hall loved ‘em

Siobhan Fahey

– Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the all-female group with most chart entries in the world

– Wrote a seemingly fun-filled song about an Oscar-winning actor which turned out had a really dark meaning

– Have championed the LGBT community from the outset

Keren Woodward

– Along with Pete Burns/Dead or Alive, they made Stock, Aitken and Waterman bearable for a short time

John Peel loved at least one of their songs

– Said song was sung in Swahili and did more for raising the profile of world music than any po-faced festival organised by Peter Gabriel

– the other one

– They got The Bluebells a #1 hit

– There’s enough songs to merit a first-class ICA

A few things worth remembering before launching into the ICA on a song-by-song basis. The trio of Keren Woodward, Siobhan Fahey and Sara Dallin had befriended one another as fashion students in the late 70s and their preferred listening and hang-outs centred around the post-punk scene in London where they were friendly with the likes of The Monochrome Set, Department S, Shane McGowan, Paul Weller and a couple of ex-Sex Pistols.

Malcolm McLaren was also an admirer and indeed, hatched a plan to alter their image and make much more of their looks and femininity, which was a complete no-no as far as the girls, two of whom were still in their teens, weree concerned. They wanted to get success the old fashioned way through gigs and good song writing….and they did.

One of their biggest fans is DJ MLC – a dear friend of mine and Jacques (indeed it was MLC who first coined the name ‘Those Charming Men’ for us).  I asked him to do the blog the honour of a Bananarama ICA.  He said yes, but only on the conditions that it was a remix effort and that I wouldn’t alter a word of his prose.  I haven’t……..so without any further delay, I’m putting you in the very capable hands of DJ MLC.

I was delighted to be asked by Those Charming Men to provide a remixed version of the Banarama compilation. Writing I’m not so good at, but ask me to twiddle knobs and whip out a 12” then I’ve plenty experience.

I was big in the 80s and the Bananas come from the era when I was in giving it proper large. Sure, weddings was really my thing, but I could often be seen doing the odd gay club back in the day. Boy, the things I saw on those nights. I’ve turned a few moustaches I can tell you. As a straight hunk of manhood it was hard to know what they wanted, how to satisfy at times, but I worked up a sweat to keep them happy and more often than not was relieved by the end of the night.

Balance these girls on my decks, turn them on, give them a scratch now and then, sometimes rub them up the wrong way, sandwich them between Donna and Divine – then those lads would give me their all on the floor. I’m not ashamed to say that I could keep them up all night. They couldn’t get enough and neither could I.

One awkward night I saw Barry from my work. Topless and wearing baby oil – he’d never seen me like that before. He was pretty discreet about the whole affair, especially after I gave him some Tainted Love near the end of the night. Sadly I don’t DJ now, except in my head. Dorothy in Accounts saw to that. The only baby oil I see now is that left over from when Dom and Deb were kids. These days when I’m “in the house” I’m actually in the house. I’m happy, sure. But I do miss my late nights with the boys.

So, boys AND girls, hands in the air like you just don’t care, poppers up your nose, fit a couple of coloured bulbs in the living room lights and get your kids to flick them on and off, put some leather around your loins if you must. But, most importantly, dance motherfunkers dance…

Side A

Shy Boy (US Extended Version)
Nathan Jones (Psycho Mix)
Don’t Step on My Groove
Love In The First Degree (Jailers Mix)
Aie a Mwana (Extended Version)

Side B

Really Saying Something (Solasso Mix Version)
I Heard A Rumour (Miami Remix)
Robert De Niro’s Waiting (Remix 2000)
Cruel Summer (89 Swingbeat Dub)
Venus (Marc Almond HiNRG Showgirl Remix)

Oh and in case you were thinking that it’s an urban myth about the #1 hit, this song was composed by Bobby Bluebell and Siobhan Fahey.

mp3 : The Bluebells – Young At Heart

Hopefully today’s posting has brought a bit of fun back into the blog.

JC

HALF TIMES SCORES…AND A DECISION

Not sure how many of you are here to catch the half-time scores but instead want to hear the outcome of the deliberations on the possible expulsion of The Smiths. I’ll come to that in due course….but there’s four crucial ties being played against this backdrop…..

Lightning Seeds 16 v Saint Etienne 13
Pulp 18 v Pavement 6
Wire(2) 14 v Butcher Boy 12
Orange Juice 19 v The Wedding Present 9

Lightning Seeds exploded from the blocks and took a 9-1 lead, but then there was the mother of all comebacks as Saint Etienne went 11-10 ahead before the Scouser(s) got another six goals in a row.  Saint Etienne are fighting back again and there’s much to play for in what has been the most  topsy-turvy tie in the entire tourney.

The other possible historic comeback is in the Wire v Butcher Boy contest with the Scots really clawing their way  into things having been 10-2 behind early on.

I can’t thank enough all of you who offered thoughts, views and opinions on the frontman’s outburst and my intention to now remove The Smiths from the ICA World Cup. It became very clear, very quickly, that whatever decision was taken, it couldn’t please everyone. Some of you thought expulsion was fine, others were completely against the idea. There were suggestions of using instrumentals so that the singer alone was excluded which, although tempting, would have resulted in songs being included despite never having been on any ICA.

In the end, the decision I’ve taken is a bit of a fudge and may only, depending on how the voting goes, lead to a different dilemma further down the road.

The song which had come out for use by The Smiths was, aptly, Bigmouth Strikes Again. The song which will be aired in one of this coming weekend’s ties will be Bigmouth Strikes Again….as performed live by Johnny Marr. You’ll have to wait and see who he’s up against to decide whether he progresses…..

Turning to some stuff from the terraces for your half time entertainment….

I have no idea how the hell the fans of FC Koln adopted this monstrosity of a tune as their anthem!

I just can’t bring myself to post Runrig on the blog….so in honour of the Koln fans taking something bad and turning it into something good, here’s something from a hero of mine.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Something Good (10 inch mix)

Remember….if you haven’t voted yet this week, you have until 10pm on Friday.

JC