The Bluetones – If

I once bought Badger a copy of the excellent debut album by the Bluetones from a charity shop. It was back when we were seeing how many decent CDs we could find in a charity shop with £20. The £20 had been found by Tim inside a book he had bought. ‘Learning to Fly’ was purchased after I had spent a lovely afternoon at the zoo with my daughter. During that trip to the zoo, my daughter and I sat in the picnic area and had our lunch surrounded by tame animals and birds that wander gaily around the park sweeping up all the cake crumbs.

Before lunch I’d placed my new bag (kind of like a strong satchel type bag, very durable and capable of holding lots of sandwiches and drinks) on the floor whilst I hungrily pulled out our packed lunch.

Ten minutes later, a massive peacock wandered over to see us. At first, I thought it was just going to show off, like peacocks do, but then it started to get a bit closer. It was probably after my sandwiches I figured. I mean, peacocks like everyone else love halloumi cheese. So I clapped my hands and tried to make it go away.  It sort of worked, but not before the peacock delivered a huge wet slimy shit on my new bag causing me to whisper ‘Bloody sodding peacock’ at the bird/bastard. I whisper it so that my daughter (four at the time) doesn’t realise that daddy knows bad words. I carry the poo stained bag inside a bright yellow carrier bag for the rest of the day.

Two hours later in a charity shop my daughter picked up a copy of this album and shouted quite loudly, “Daddy, look, bloody sodding peacock’.

‘If’ was the second single from the second Bluetones album ‘Return to the Last Chance Saloon’ and reached number 13 in the Uk charts. It followed ‘Solomon Bites the Worm’ which Badger also owned.

The Bluetones – Solomon Bites The Worm

C is for Chemical Brothers

Chemical Brothers – Leave Home

I remember leaving home. Back in the last week of September 1994. I packed all my worldly goods into the back of me dads Sierra, he moaned that I had too many bloody records, and that they were knackering the suspension. I think he was kidding as about two weeks earlier we got an entire chest freezer in the back of that car. A freezer that my dad had apparently won at cards off a bloke called ‘Eggy’ who drank in the Conservative Club. Not that Dad drunk in the Conservative Club.

The next day ‘Eggy’ turned up at our house in his Skoda and gave my dad a bin bag full of meat as well. ‘Eggy’ was well dodgy. I’m sure he was one of the guys nicked for the Hatton Garden heist a few years back. He certainly had spent time as her Majesty’s Pleasure because he told me that when I was 12. “Nicked a few things from a shop that wasn’t open, lad” he said. Saying that, you could always get a decent car stereo from Eggy if you needed one.

Anyway, halfway along the M25, we pull into a services and dad treats me to lunch, the lunch of kings he says, followed quickly by, “well Burger King”. He smiles at me and for the first time there is a look of sadness in his eyes. I don’t say anything, but the old bugger is going to miss me, I think to myself.

I tell him in the car park that I am bit nervous, worried that I won’t fit in, won’t make friends. He looks at me and delivers a lecture that he has sort become renowned for.

“Boy”, he starts, “anyone who doesn’t want you as a mate is a tool, simple as that. You can talk to anyone and unlike your brother, you have inherited all my best bits, humour, good taste in music and good looks. You, son will go far.” Which is nice…he hadn’t finished though…

“But…” he continues, “I thought you might say something like this, so I have got you a little present” and he goes to the boot of the car and hands me a box. It’s quite a big box. “Open it” he says, bobbing up and down on his toes, “In there is everything you will need for your first week at Uni…”

The box contained an eight pack of lager (“icebreaker with the blokes”) 200 Marlboro cigarettes (“I know you don’t smoke, might be a good time to start”. Genuinely said that.), four Mars Bars (“everyone likes chocolate”), a West Ham T shirt (“guaranteed to make sensible human beings talk to you and guaranteed to make sure no Chelsea fans do”) and a packet of Durex (“you never know son, you never know”).

And then he hugs me and hands me a wodge of cash. Which I give back to him straight away and he shakes his head and tells me that he won it at cards from Eggy and besides its only half of what he won. He folds it in half and pops in my back pocket.

There were a few of other C’s worthy of attention

There was this on 12”

Carter USM – Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

and this on a smashing yellow vinyl 7”

Catatonia – Lost Cat

And this on 12”

The Charlatans – Weirdo

All three are stone-cold classics


THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week Six)


Tim Badger writes…..

“You are lucky” SWC tells me in the pub as he gives me this weeks CD. “I took my daughter to the zoo the other day and we picked the CD from the Hospicare music shop on the way back”. I didn’t know how this made me lucky so I took a deep breath and asked “Why does that make me lucky?” At this point I haven’t opened the bag, there is a pint of Otter Bright sitting in front of me and that is far more important.

“Well, I gave her three choices, three debut album choices handpicked by me. The first CD was a remastered version of the debut longplayer by Rod Stewart ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Let You Down’, which features such timeless Rod classics such as ‘Street Fighting Man (not his), Handbags and Gladrags (erm, not his) and ‘Dirty Old Town’ (erm again…)’ . The second was the debut album ‘Much Love’ by long forgotten soul princess Shola Ama – who I have also confused with ex Newcastle show pony Shola Amoebi – both are a bit shit to be honest, its easily done. She had her biggest hit with a cover version of the Turkey Richards staple ‘You Might Need Somebody’ “– he is trying to funny he means Turley Richards obviously.

I take a huge gulp of the Otter and glance at the bag in front of me. I’m hoping that its not Shola Ama – not only for the sake of my ears but for the sake of your ears too. SWC has been looking to up the ante since I let Mrs Badger buy last weeks CD, although she let him off the hook lightly because after she had given him Simon & Garfunkel she revealed to me later that night she nearly bought him his very own copy of ‘Picture Book’ by Simply Red – and was going to annoy him even more by putting it inside a copy of ‘Showbiz’ by Muse. SWC knows Muse quite well or rather his wife does – Mrs SWC went to school with at least two of them and one of their wives and last year they went to a birthday party at a huge castle on Dartmoor that the band had hired for the night. Weirdly he doesn’t really enjoy their music as much as I do. When Muse played a homecoming gig at Teignmouth a few years back, SWC was the most miserable person to have a backstage pass. I have a photo of him chatting to celebrity fat bloke Chris Moyles – or rather Moyles is doing the talking, SWC is doing the ‘Get the fuck away from me look’. To perfection. SWC denied even knowing who he was.

mp3 : Muse – Sober

I’m digressing.

“So what was the third debut album?” I ask him, hoping its not ‘The Party Album’ by the Vengaboys.

“This is why you were lucky. At the zoo we sat in the garden and had a small picnic. Whilst we were there my bag got shat on. By a peacock.”

I get a strange look from the bloke across the pub as I have just sprayed what’s left of my otter over the table – you know when you laugh and drink at the same time and what you were drinking comes out your nose. Well that happened. I recover myself just as SWC is picking up the bag.

Turns out it was a bag his wife bought him for his last birthday. I call it his man bag. Anyway…

“So in my hand I had the debut album by Starsailor….

mp3 : Starsailor – Alcoholic

…….when she saw this’

He handed me the CD. “And said look Daddy ‘Bloody Sodding Peacock’ and it had to be that”. He smiled and laughed. I laughed too as its good to hear that Toddler SWC has as good a grasp of English swearing as her daddy.

Its ‘Expecting to Fly” by The Bluetones. An album which has a peacock spreading its wings on the cover and it’s a rather wonderful choice. Again this was an album that I have heard and have probably owned a copy of on cassette – I certainly recognised all the tracks – but have never actually owned properly.

It has several brilliant tracks on it – here are a collection of them

mp3 : The Bluetones – Bluetonic
mp3 : The Bluetones – Cut Some Rug
mp3 : The Bluetones – Slight Return

And perhaps best of the bunch

mp3 : The Bluetones – Putting Out Fires

Here is the skinny

Bought Hospicare South West Music Shop, Exeter

Price £2

Left £9

Beats Rod Stewart any day of the week. Just.