With apologies for those of you who were expecting and hoping for the latest instalment of the XTC series. I promise it will return next Sunday.
It’s my 54th birthday today. For much of my life I had an irrational fear that I wouldn’t reach that number. I can’t explain why and I was quite nervous this time last year just in case I wasn’t totally crazy but in fact scarily psychic. But thankfully, it did turn out I was just crazy. My state of mind was helped midway through the year by SWC and Badger inadvertently finding the real reason #53 was significant in my life – it turned out it was to do with Billy Bragg and Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards
I thought I’d share another mix thing today. It’s based on something I did for an event a few weeks ago in Glasgow.
The folk who have been running Strangeways, a club night in which 90%+ of the tunes were from The Smiths or Morrissey, felt that, after more than five years, a wee change was needed. Thus was born There Is A Night That Never Goes Out.
As the poster above indicates, the idea was to go with The Smiths alongside the sort of stuff with which I tend to populate this place. The sort of night that I reckon dreams are made of. The first one was arranged for Friday 26 May but as it clashed with a number of gigs, including The Wedding Present just up the hill from the venue for Strangeways, it was decided to make it 9pm – 2am instead of the usual 8pm – 1am to allow folk to make the most of things.
I got in touch with a few suggestions, including what I thought could make for a decent 90 minute run of tunes early on in the night. To my absolute delight, I was asked if I wanted to take the slot from 9.30 – 11pm. Honoured and thrilled as I was, my overriding concern was that the date also coincided with my brother and his family being over here on holiday and I might have ended with an unavoidable diary clash. And to be perfectly honest, I was nervous about possibly making a mess of things and getting the evening off to a start that would be impossible to recover from.
So…the compromise was I’d supply the tunes on a memory stick. A full 9o minute mix in the preferred running order but with each tune in stand-alone fashion so that Robert, Hugh and Carlo from the Strangeways crew could take the temperature of the crowd and alter things if necessary.
The good news was that I was able to get along, in the company of Aldo with Comrade Colin also along for a bit of moral support. It was fascinating to stand and watch people react to the songs I had chosen and which Robert was cueing up and playing. Initially, there was a lot of smiling, nodding and quietly mouthing along to the tunes, but nobody seemed too keen to dance. It was blisteringly hot in the venue – Glasgow had enjoyed a day of scorching sunshine – and between that and folk still being sober there seemed a bit of reluctance to get on the floor. Not even a couple of Smiths songs for the regular crowd from the old format of the night did the trick.
And then, just after 10pm something just seemed to click. Almost as if everyone decided at the same time that too many good tunes were being passed up. Or maybe that’s the new witching hour. Anyways, it was a song by The Cure that was the trigger, which was great news as it provided the evidence that going with a wider selection of music than the previous Strangeways nights was the going to work out just fine.
The next four hours proved to be an absolute triumph. The crowd began to ask for requests, all of which were met. A smattering of tunes from the late 70s and the second half of the 90s were also sneaked in to keep folk happy. Everyone seemed very happy judging by the smiles on all the faces and there was a real and obvious buzz being generating; the subsequent feedback on social media over the following days only confirmed what everyone had been feeling on the night. It was an absolute triumph.
My only regret was that I had to leave just before midnight to catch the last train home as I had much to do over the weekend and needed a reasonably clear head. I’ve been asked to take part in the next night on a date yet to be determined. I’m delighted about that and incredibly excited. Never dreamed that I’d be doing such things at 54…..
The whole night contained 86 songs. I thought I’d shove up the first 43 of them in a single, downloadable mix. It lasts a handful of minutes over two-and-a-half hours all told. My set list goes from songs 9-31.
It was all predetermined before the crowd arrived; there was one addition thrown in on the night (at song #29) and another shifted from earlier in the set list to #30 as these made for better links from some goth tunes to the Postcard classic that I wanted as my closer. A couple of my initial suggestions were rightly dropped once it became clear what was going to work and what wouldn’t click with the crowd which meant in the end my ‘turn’ came in at a shade under 85 minutes that for the most part was bang on and helped set things up nicely for the main DJ acts as the space filled its 200 capacity.
1. Ceremony – Galaxie 500
2. Oblivious – Aztec Camera
3. Obscurity Knocks – Trashcan Sinatras
4. A Better Ghost – Butcher Boy
5. Round and Round – New Order
6. Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
7. What Difference Does It Make? – The Smiths
8. Everything Counts – Depeche Mode
9. Let’s Dance – David Bowie
10. Don’t Talk To Me About Love – Altered Images
11. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side – The Smiths
12. Take The Skinheads Bowling – Camper Van Beethoven
13. Talulah Gosh – Talulah Gosh
14. Bye Bye Pride – The Go Betweens
15. Still Ill – The Smiths
16. Blister In The Sun – Violent Femmes
17. Driver 8 – R.E.M.
18. In Between Days – The Cure
19. Age Of Consent – New Order
20. Girl Afraid – The Smiths
21. Waiting For The Winter – The Popguns
22. Our Lips Are Sealed – Fun Boy Three
23. A Song From Under The Floorboards – Magazine
24. Speed Your Love To Me (extended mix) – Simple Minds
25. Pretty In Pink – The Psychedelic Furs
26. I Want The One I Can’t Have – The Smiths
27. Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie & The Banshees
28. This Corrosion – Sisters Of Mercy
29. April Skies – The Jesus and Mary Chain
30. When All’s Well – Everything But The Girl
31. Blueboy – Orange Juice
32. Sparky’s Dream – Teenage Fanclub
33. Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? – The Wedding Present
34. Here Comes Your Man – Pixies
35. Ask – The Smiths
36. It’s The End Of The World…. – R.E.M.
37. Rise – P.I.L.
38. Street Life – Roxy Music
39. She Bangs The Drums – The Stone Roses
40. Connection – Elastica
41. Homosapien – Pete Shelley
42. Enola Gay – OMD
43. The Cutter – Echo & The Bunnymen
Feel free to recreate Strangeways in the comfort of your own home or garden.
mp3 : Various – Studio 54