Les ailes de la Rolls effleuraient des pylônes
Quand m’étant malgré moi égaré
Nous arrivâmes ma Rolls et moi dans une zone
Un endroit isolé

Là-bas, sur le capot de cette Silver Ghost de 1910
S’avance en éclaireur
La Vénus d’argent du radiateur
Dont les voiles légers volent aux avant-postes

Hautaine, dédaigneuse
Tandis que hurle le poste de radio
Couvrant le silence du moteur
Elle fixe l’horizon
Et l’esprit ailleurs
Semble tout ignorer des trottoirs que j’accoste

Ruelles, culs-de-sac
Aux stationnements interdits par la loi
Le cœur indifférent
Elle tient le mors de mes vingt-six chevaux-vapeur

Princesse des ténèbres, archange maudit
Amazone modern style que le sculpteur, en anglais
Surnomme “Spirit of Ecstasy”

Ainsi je déconnais avant que je ne perde
Le contrôle de la Rolls
J’avançais lentement
Ma voiture dériva
Et un heurt violent
Me tira soudain de ma rêverie
J’aperçus une roue de vélo à l’avant
Qui continuait de tourner en roue libre
Et comme une poupée qui perdait l’équilibre
La jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs

“Tu t’appelles comment?”
“Melody comment?”
“Melody Nelson”

Melody Nelson a les cheveux rouges
Et c’est leur couleur naturelle

And so begins the Histoire De Melody Nelson with another contender for an Opening Tracks ICA, Melody by Serge Gainsbourg. This is of course chapter one, so it focuses on the narrator’s first encounter with the titular character, knocking her off a bicycle whilst driving around night-time back streets in his Rolls Royce. The implication is there from the start, but the narrator is subsequently painted as an obsessive who seduces and objectifies the 15-year old Melody. I won’t spoil the ending if you’ve not listened to the album. Gainsbourg’s spoken word narration is underpinned by Herbie Flowers’ bass, with Jane Birkin briefly giving voice to Melody Nelson at the end. The original 1971 album version runs for seven and half minutes, but the 2011 deluxe edition includes an alternative version, extending the climatic wig-out for another two minutes.

Melody (Prise Complète)

Roughly a quarter of a century later, David Holmes covered Melody on his album Let’s Get Killed, albeit as an instrumental track retitled Don’t Die Just Yet. It was released as a single and the CD contained ‘remixes’ by Arab Strap, Delakota and Mogwai.

SWC posted about the Arab Strap version way back on Christmas Eve, 2013 as an example of a great remix, and he’s spot on. Each of the versions radically rework the song, taking it in very different directions. However, in a nod back to Gainsbourg’s original, each version reintroduces a new, spoken word narrative: Arab Strap recalls ‘The Holiday Girl’; Delakota recounts another tale of abusive, destructive love; Mogwai reads a transcript of US astronaut James Lovell’s alleged sighting of UFOs, set against a musical mash up of the Melody bass and strings with Slint’s Good Morning, Captain.

I’ll be honest, the transcripts are a bit questionable: a ropey Arab Strap version is ubiquitous on t’internet although I’ve tried to correct the mistakes where I can; Delakota’s narrative is a little more straightforward; I gave up on Mogwai completely after a few attempts. Musically, all of the versions are worth your time.

I’m telling you it’s the same girl
She’s always there on holidays when you’re wee
She never grows up and she’s everywhere
She was in the lift in Covent Garden underground last week and she was in Torquay when I was thirteen
She said she was called Tina then and she claims she was from Germany
I watched her from the balcony as she swam in the pool and tanned herself all day
And spying her from hotel windows when she played tennis with her mum and dad
I would try and impress her with my sensitive side by being unusually affectionate to my wee brother When she passed us in the lobby
There was a royal wedding, I dunno which one
But the hotel was having a fancy do, some sort of celebration thing
She sat at the table she usually sat at at dinner just across from ours
It was the first day I’d had a drink in the four of us
A champagne on ice cocktail affair
Later when there was a dance and all the parents were drunk
And her dad tried to make me dance with him in this conga
I wasn’t into it so I went outside and stood on the patio, staring at the night sea trying to look deep
She came out and she stood beside me
Her naked elbow touched mine, she turned round and smiled…but I couldn’t say a thing

The Holiday Girl (Don’t Die Just Yet) (Remix By Arab Strap)

“Hi man, I was just gonna leave a little message to tell you about a story that I just read
It might be of some help to you in your present predicament
I just read about this Australian couple, I don’t know, I think they were newly weds”

Well, I guess they must have been fighting for two or three hours
Before she reached beneath the seat, pulled out the knife and stuck it in his throat
And the car they were driving just came off the road as he was grabbing her
Holding her down and stabbing her back

Out in the middle of nowhere
Slumped in their seats like a couple of stuck pigs
Hand in hand, smoking away their time
As they know they’re dying

And they left the hospital, arm in arm, not long after they came round
And they’re rescued by some trucker guy, who was still shaking by what he found
And the doctor shook his head and turned to the man and said
“Oh, don’t worry son, these two do this all the time”

Hand in hand, we’re together, man
Yeah, hand in hand, we’re together, man
Hand in hand, we’re together, man
Yeah, hand in hand, we’re together, man
And hand in hand, we’re together, man
Yeah, hand in hand, we’re together, man
Ah, hand in hand, we’re together, man
Yeah, hand in hand, we’re together…man

“I believe that’s a real strong love
And if you ask for my advice
If I could find love as strong as that
I think I could be satisfied”

Don’t Die Just Yet (Delakota Mix)

Don’t Die Just Yet (Mogwai Mix)





I’m not a great one for spending much time in the cinema, so the fact that today’s offerings come from a CD given away with a monthly movie magazine from back in 1998 is very unusual.

Neon was (and may well still be for all that I know) a magazine which focussed on new cinematic and DVD releases. The December 1998 edition also came with a free CD which will be the main reason I bought it – the other being that I was no doubt heading off on a long-haul flight and needed something to help keep my mind occupied while I ignored the in-flight movie(s).  I’ve every reason to believe that the magazine didn’t even make it off the plane with me, left instead in the seat pocket to be either kept or binned by a member of the maintenance staff.

It really was all about the CD. This was an era before I went down the mp3 route and so it was a wallet full of discs and a bulky player which always accompanied me to the beach and so the following would have formed part of the soundtrack to that holiday:-

01 : Pulp – We Are The Boyz (from Velvet Goldmine)
02 : The Cardigans – War (from A Life Less Ordinary)
03 : The O’Jays – Love Train (from The Last days of Disco)
04 : Marc Alamond – One Night Of Sin (from Mojo)
05 : D’Angelo – She’s Always In My Hair (from Scream 2)
06 : Morcheeba – Killer Hippie (from Psycho)
07 : Odyseey – Going Back To My Roots (from The Full Monty)
08 : Space – Lost In Space (from Lost In Space)
09 : The Sons Of Silence – Bobby Dazzler (from The Acid House)
10 : Grant Lee Buffalo – The Whole Shebang (from Velvet Goldmine)
11 : Pete Wingfield – 18 With A Bullet (from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels)
12 : Sunhouse – Monkey Dead (from Twentyfourseven)
13 : David Holmes – Rip Rip (from Out Of Sight)
14 : Fluke – Bullet (from Face)
15 : Madrid Symphonic Orchestra – Christmas 1970 (from Live Flesh)

The CD didn’t leave that much of an impression on me as I didn’t rush out to buy any of the full soundtracks although I would, a number of years later, pick up a copy of A Life Less Ordinary in a sale for £2.

But there are three brilliant bits of music on the CD which have subsequently been shoved onto compilation tapes and then onto the i-pod where they remain all these years later:-

mp3 : David Holmes – Rip Rip
mp3 : Grant Lee Buffalo – The Whole Shebang
mp3 : Marc Almond – One Night Of Sin

The first number is a real funky number that should get your toes tapping, your shoulders shaking and your head bopping in appreciation, It also contains dialogue from the film which starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.

The second is, I think, one that will surprise any Grant Lee Buffalo/Grant Lee Philips fans out there as it is quite unlike anything else the band/he has recorded.

And finally, that Marc Almond song is an atypical offering from the sleaze-meister, and quite brilliantly done.




Banging Heads and Banging Tunes

From the South West Correspondent : Whats in Your Box Part 19

Various Artists – ‘The Science Behind the Circle’.

You know when you get on a bus and there is always one joker at the back (baseball cap, tracksuit, sovereign ring) whose music you can hear above the sound of the engine – and its always techno or ‘happy house’ blaring out. That’s what listening to this weeks CD(s) sounds like. For today, I embraced dance music big style. Out of the box came a double CD of techno and house music from 1996 called ‘The Science Behind the Circle’ which features tracks by Secret Knowledge, Carl Cox, David Holmes and Andrew Weatherall. I however have no idea about the idea behind the CD or if it was released to tie in with a club or something like that. Further knowledge is scarce on the Internet as well.

The only problem is that today I am poorly, I have man flu. As you can image at times its been touch and go and I drift in and out of consciousness and I have the ambulance folk on speed dial. This CD is what I would refer to a ‘Bangin’ but only because I’m too lazy to think of any other words to describe music that involves the use of a 303 (again, I have no idea what a 303 is, or whether or not, these tracks actually do use a 303). What this CD has taught me is though is that someone out there is releasing records as Vinyl Blair, which is a frankly marvellous name. I await DJ Noel Edphones releases with baited breath.

Dance music sounds weird when you are too tired to listen to things properly, you miss things, the little bleeps and bips become annoying and the euphoria of doesn’t quite work when strongest drugs you have ingested is Lemsip. Normally when I am poorly I listen to things with acoustic guitars or I dig out Four Tet and play it until I fall asleep. It is impossible to fall asleep listening to this, and I have to say my headache got slightly worse whilst this was on – not because its terrible but because it does just bleep, whoomp and dof a lot.

The standout tracks for me as ‘Drive Me Crazy’ by Secret Knowledge (Secret Knowledge is the band formed by ex-journalist Kris Needs and I recommend them) and ‘Grumpy Flutter’ by David Holmes – which was the only track on here I’d previously heard. The Second CD is a little more laid back than the first one – although its still pretty uplifting stuff. It’s a good album, its got Andrew Weatherall on it, so it can’t be bad at all, its just a shame that right now I’m not in a place to enjoy it.

mp3 : Secret Knowlege – Drive Me Crazy

mp3 : David Holmes – Grumpy Flutter

Pass the Strepsils, see you next week.



If my maths is correct, today is Christmas Eve. So I’ve swapped my choices around. This was supposed to be a missive about Bis.  Instead it’s a little homage to the remix with a choice of track that I think will make JC happy (hopefully). See it as my Christmas present to you, JC.  Actually, thanks for giving me the chance to do this series, I’ve really enjoyed it. Rediscovering songs that you had forgotten ever existed is strangely, therapeutic. Remembering that the reason I gave up writing for a living was because my punctuation is at best shocking, is not so therapeutic.

Anyway – I was listening to my iPod last week and ‘Carmella’ by Beth Orton came on. Now I don’t like Beth Orton her voice grates me and I’ve never really got why a lot of people love her music (see also Muse, Blur and countless others). However, this version of Carmella was the remix version by Four Tet, who I love and will hunt down and buy anything that they /he do/does and argue to the death that Kieron Hebden is an unsung genius. The remix is so good it made me consider listening to Beth Orton a bit more – consider – I stress.

That is the power of a remix, some remixes are so good that they change a song completely (the dubstep remix of ‘In for the Kill’ by La Roux for instance). Some take the catchiest bit and loop it until its just a song featuring that catchy but (‘Come Home’ Andy Weatherall Mix perhaps) and some change it or cover it and call it a remix. Recently The XX did that with ‘You’ve Got The Love’ by Florence Griffith Joyner and the Machine. So it became a cover of a cover and the best of the bunch.

In 1997 David Holmes release ‘Don’t Die Just Yet’ a single which came from his ‘Let’s Get Killed’ album. This song in itself was a ‘reworking’ (read cover)of a Serge Gainsbourg record, the title of which I forget right now. What Holmes then did was remixed the buggery out of the song and invited others into the studio to do the same with it.

The best version of it was I think this weeks track remixed and called ‘the Holiday Girl’ by Arab Strap (although I also recommend the Mogwai version). This was my first ever experience of Arab Strap, another one of these bands that I don’t really get, yet somehow I was and still am enchanted by this record. I don’t know why, but just works. It I think it sounds effortlessly cool. It made me check out other works by Arab Strap and like I said I didn’t get it. I recently revisited ‘Philophobia’ just to see if it was an age thing – nope I still don’t get it. So I’m leaving Arab Strap for now. This however, I will play again and again.

mp3 : David Holmes – Don’t Die Just Yet (The Holiday Girl) (Arab Strap remix)

Merry Christmas.


Note from JC

Judging by the number of visitors and the comments left behind, S-WC’s weekly musings have proved to be hugely popular with everyone.  I’m personally quite touched that he switched things so that his Christmas Eve offering was related to one of my favourite acts, but believe me that I understand not everyone will ‘get’ Arab Strap.  It took me a while but I’m now more than ever convinced that messrs Moffat and Middleton are bona fide genii whose contributions to music will still be getting discussed, debated and disected many years from now.

Incidentally, S-WC also added a second mp3 to this week’s posting and said “There is a second track as well but if you haven’t heard it then enjoy, if you have it already, then you probably should have posted it already as its ruddy marvellous. :-)”

By jove, he’s right:-

mp3 : La Roux – In For The Kill (Scream’s Lets Get Ravey Remix)

Just to say that T(n)VV will NOT be closing down over the festive period.  Feel free to drop in tomorrow and right through the festive period.