B is for BLUETONES
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.
C is for Chemical Brothers
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”
and this on a smashing yellow vinyl 7”
And this on 12”
All three are stone-cold classics