Hard luck, I’m back.

Late last year, I was strong-armed into joining the works Christmas Party team, a role I’m sure you can imagine I attacked with all the vigour of a substituted soccer ball player.

As is the norm with this sort of thing, our directions were that we had to come up with lots of games which would promote teamwork, which we duly did.

But about a week before the event, Covid rules changed. We should now only meet up if absolutely necessary, which this clearly wasn’t.

And so it shifted to an online, virtual Christmas Party, and we had a lot of time to fill.

“Can you knock together a Christmas pop quiz, Jez?”

At last. Here was my calling, my vocation.

But I couldn’t just do any old “What was the Christmas No. 1 in 1978?” type quiz. (Boney M with Mary’s Boy Child/O My Lord, in case you’re playing along at home), as the bloke who did it the year before had done that.

So instead I plumped for Christmas songs which you assume reached the coveted Christmas #1 slot, but didn’t. I wittily called it “The Christmas Number Two Quiz”, but decided not to include Mr Hankey, The Christmas Poo for wanting-to-keep-my-job reasons.

For those of you who don’t know me, my daytime job is working for the London Borough Council I lived in until fairly recently. In what I assume is a cost-cutting exercise, my Head of Service also performs the same role at a different London Borough Council.

She emailed me a day or so after our online Party to ask if she could use my pop quiz for the Christmas party for the other Borough. She’s my boss, what am I going to do, say no?

And so I became “Pop Quiz Guy”, not a title I have shied away from to be honest.

A couple of months ago, I was approached by one of our other managers, who was putting together a shared-service day, where employees in both Boroughs under the rule of the aforementioned Head of Service would meet up for a day of jolly training.

“Can you do a pop quiz for us, please?”

Of course, I agreed. It’s nice to be wanted, and also this manager is also my boss, what am I going to do, say no?

I dutifully prepared an “Identify the song from the lyric” quiz, fifteen songs, a point for the song, another if you got the artiste right.

And then, having attended a different training session a few days earlier, I tested positive for Covid, so couldn’t host it. I press-ganged some colleagues into filling in for me, but I felt an emptiness, a vacuum within me (by which I don’t mean I had inserted Henry the Hoover where the sun don’t shine).

Which brings us here, with extreme hot weather warnings ringing in our ears, a sort of summery mix for your delectation, you lucky people.

Named as a homage to the British media’s obsession with covering climate change by way of sending a photographer/camera person to a beach in the hope of catching a bit of tit to bolster their article about how it’s hotter here than it is in (enter any country more renowned for being warmer than the UK is), this is

mp3: Various – Phew! What A Scorcher!!

And here’s your track-listing, with ICA style sleeve notes where required (and rest easy regulars at my place, Chas & Dave don’t feature (although Quo very nearly did):

1. Super Furry Animals“Hello Sunshine”

2. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci“Patio Song”

Parts 1 & 2 of the Welsh contingent of this playlist

3. Spanky WilsonSunshine Of Your Love

Nobody does a cover version like Spanky. And heaven forbid I would be compelled to include the original, sung by the right-wing “God”

4. Belle And SebastianLegal Man

Safe to say that, with its “Get out of the office and into the springtime” refrain, it won’t be featuring on Walter Softey tribute act Jacob Rees Mogg’s Desert Island Discs selection

5. The KinksRainy Day In June

Reality check. No matter how great the weather is, or is forecast to be, you can rely on one thing: it’ll start pissing it down the second you unfurl your picnic blanket. If the wasps and ants don’t get you, the weather will

6. The AlarmRain In The Summertime

Here’s the 3rd of our Welsh contingent, a record which, up against some very stiff competition, manages not to be their worst single. Still, props for trying to put a positive spin on shit weather. Which is especially commendable when you imagine how pissed off you’d be to have rain ruin all those hours of furious back-combing and industrial levels of application of hairspray

7. The DelgadosMr Blue Sky

Because I’d never get the original past JC’s watchful eye

8. WeezerIsland in the Sun

True story: I once had a brief dalliance with a young lady once; she flicked through my record collection and asked me to put together a mix CD for her. She’s the one, I thought. I duly obliged (in more ways than one, knowwhatImean?), she made this her ringtone on her phone and then ignored me for the rest of eternity

9. Dinosaur Jr.Take a Run at the Sun

A record I will forever associate with my dear departed buddy Llyr. We used to make mix CDs for each other, I would never provide a track-list, preferring to see how he reacted to what I had put together (and, if I’m honest, check he’d actually listened to it). There is no greater joy than receiving a text which just reads: “Take a Run at the Sun!!!”. And because J Mascis trying to be Brian Wilson: what’s not to like here?

10. BarracudasSummer Fun!

Because I thought an ad break was due. And because it’s chuffing brilliant. Bonus points for the inclusion of an exclamation mark.

11. The UndertonesHere Comes The Summer

Because no summer playlist is complete without it

12. RamonesRockaway Beach

Because the idea of four goofy NY dudes in black leathers hanging out at the beach is inherently ridiculous

13. SupergrassSun Hits the Sky

If you were fortunate enough to catch their recent life-affirming Greatest Hits set at Glastonbury, you’ll know there’s no such thing as a bad Supergrass tune

14. SqueezePulling Mussels (From the Shell)

You’ll be aware that JC writes a wonderful series about songs which tell a story. This tale of a seaside coach trip’s journey home being delayed because one of the group is off shagging is ripe for inclusion at some point. This, or pretty much any other song from Squeeze’s canon

15. Kirsty MacCollHe’s On The Beach

It was a close call between this and the Lemonheads version. Kirsty wins, as she always should

16. Martha & The MuffinsEcho Beach

Quite simply, one of the greatest escape-from-the-daily-grind summer records ever

17. Fatboy SlimSunset (Bird of Prey)

Featuring Jim Morrison on guest vocals, spouting 6th form poetry, with his knob out (probably). This is the end.

JC adds..

This really should have been posted up earlier this week when the UK was experiencing record-high temperatures…and to be fair to Jez, he did fire it over in advance of things, but I had been too busy to look at the TVV inbox.

And for those of you not all that familiar with the sort of things Jez comes up with on a daily basis, then you really should take a leisurely stroll over to A History of Dubious Taste.

I’ve already got my own mixtape ready to roll when August comes around, but if anyone else wants to put something together, then there will always be a spot available.

And finally for today, a link to a guest posting I pulled together for SWC over at No Badger RequiredClick here for musings on Toronto and its baseball team.

8 thoughts on “PHEW…WHAT A SCORCHER!!

  1. Great stuff – amid all the postings of Macca’s performance at Glastonbury it was Supergrass for me which i enjoyed the most TBH…

  2. Great mix
    Favorite Song: “Echo Beach” (Went straight to my 1980 mix)
    But I miss “He’s on the Beach” (A very good song too).

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