A guest posting by Fraser Pettigrew


 [An Elvis Costello fan struggling to re-fold his copy of Armed Forces.”]

Aside from the music, one of the chief pleasures of vinyl records is the variety and artistry of their physical format and packaging. From the moment Andy Warhol placed his peelable pink banana on the cover of The Velvet Underground with Nico and The Beatles commissioned Peter Blake to design the cover of Sgt Pepper, the LP became more than just a disc of recorded music and presented a challenge to every marketing department’s art director to come up with novel twists in sleeve design that would catch the attention of press and public.


[“Geogadi, three discs, five sides, double pocket sleeve, Jesus wept…”]

The unintended consequence of this creative compulsion is that anyone with a decent-sized record collection will possess LPs whose packaging fails the most basic test of a mass consumer product – usability. In their quest for gimmick, record companies have delivered discs that frustrate their owners in any number of ways, and some of the most common I will now illustrate with items from my own collection, and some others.


[“Armed Forces, harder than stripping and reassembling an AK-47.”]

For starters there are the numerous examples of pocket sleeves, or other unconventional wraps that require more than a simple tug or tilt to release the vinyl. This is definitely not a recent contrivance confined to such as Stereolab‘s Emperor Tomato Ketchup or Geogadi by Boards of Canada (beware: also features an unplayable side 6). In my shelves I have elderly examples such as an Australian pressing of Tommy by The Who, Roberta Flack‘s Killing Me Softly, and excellent Brit-disco album Four From 8 by The Real Thing. Elvis Costello‘s Armed Forces came in a famously complicated five-flap fold-out like a two-dimensional Rubik’s cube, containing a poster, four postcards and a bonus single as well as the actual LP itself, but none of that made it any easier to get at or put away again safely in your collection without the neighbouring LP getting jammed against a protruding flap as you tried to replace it. Good job Ballistic Bob wisnae a record collector.



[“Copping flack for nuisance value”.]

The envelope sleeve is the next nuisance to be dealt with. My original UA label British edition of Can‘s Tago Mago is a good example. Worth a bob or two to collectors, but fragile and prone to wear and tear with repeated use, to the point where the closure tab doesn’t really do its job any more, reduced to a flabby puff of frayed paper that won’t fit in your letter-box never mind the tiny slot it was designed for.


[ “No can do”.]

Inconvenience of format rather than packaging brings us to albums that are not played at the conventional 33rpm but consist of two or three 45rpm 12 inch discs. If you have a turntable with a speed selector switch this is hardly any issue at all, but if you have invested in some higher-end hi-fi equipment you may have to lift the platter off its spindle and manually move the rubber band to a different position.

Welcome to my world, in which cracking good albums such as Cabaret Voltaire‘s 2×45 (the clue is in the name) or Spiritualized‘s Laser Guided Melodies don’t get the turntable time they deserve because I find it all too much effort.

mp3:  Cabaret Voltaire – Breathe Deep
mp3:  Spiritualized – You Know It’s True

This of course is nothing to those (not me) who may have been tempted to buy the 1980 single Buena/Tuff Enuff by Joe ‘King’ Carrasco and the Crowns (I know, why would you?), issued by Stiff Records in a 10 inch 78rpm version. This is the point at which gimmickry becomes pure perversity.

mp3:  Joe ‘King’ Carrasco and The Crowns – Buena

The multi-disc 45rpm album became more common with the advent of the CD era. The Rough Trade version of Ultramarine‘s Every Man and Woman is a Star, as well as the Spiritualized debut just mentioned, date from the time when a 12 inch 33rpm disc simply couldn’t accommodate the 60-70 minutes of music that had become the norm for CD albums without loss of signal volume. For convenience, however, this format quickly gave way to double-vinyl 33rpm sets where the sides were simply a little shorter than normal.


[“Howie B, don’t get comfortable.”]

Even then, things could get out of hand. Sly and Robbie‘s Drum & Bass Strip to the Bone, mixed and co-created by Glaswegian hip-hop artist and producer Howie B, is quite a nifty, grinding rhythm work-out by the legendary Jamaican duo. But the ability to get a good sense of it as a whole has been severely hampered by pressing it on no fewer than FOUR pieces of vinyl. There’s about 75 minutes of music in there but the longest side only just manages to graze 11 minutes before you have to get up and flip it. Most of them are more like seven or eight. I mean it’s quite funky in parts so you MIGHT not want to sit down, but it’s definitely not one to stick on while you do some knitting.


[“Transparent vinyl, it’s all or nothing.”]

Coloured vinyl may be attractive but it can be a pig if you’re trying to pick out a particular track. The darker and more solid the colour the better – a judiciously placed light source can help you see the division between tracks. But if the vinyl is transparent, like my RYKO re-press of Bowie‘s Hunky Dory, then forget about it.

mp3:  David Bowie – Life On Mars

Everyone will have examples of records whose packaging discourages frequent playing on account of shoddy manufacture. Machine Says Yes by FC Kahuna is my example, whose two pieces of vinyl hide in woefully under-sized inners and are impossible to remove without gripping the rims tightly between thumb and forefinger, violating all the rules about contact between greasy skin and the playing surface.

On the plus side of that equation, my copy of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane was picked up about 20 years ago in an Amsterdam back-street pop-up shop for the princely sum of 3 Euros. It’s an original 1973 UK pressing that I suspect had never been played on account of the fact that the inner sleeve is too big to fit into the outer, and I think it had languished for years in the back of a record shop, unsold until it found its way into my hands. Three cheers for printers’ errors.

Plain silly packaging is not the unique preserve of vinyl, of course. One needs only think of the 12xCD ‘pharmaceutical’ blister pack edition of Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. It’s one of the truly great albums of the 1990s, but the pill-pack concept renders it nigh-on unplayable. Even if you ruined it as a collector’s item by opening the blister pack to get at the CDs, could you really be arsed popping each single-track disc into your player, especially disc 7, all 2 minutes 22 seconds of it? Seriously, fuck that for a game of soldiers.

mp3:  Spiritualized – Home Of The Brave

But frankly, nothing beats The Return of the Durutti Column for plain silly. First released by Factory Records (who else?) in 1980, its sleeve consisted of two sheets of heavy duty number 1 glass paper, specially designed to utterly ruin whatever sat next to it in your record shelves. The concept was nicked from situationist Guy Debord‘s book “Mémoires”, and was originally contemplated the previous year by PiL for their second album. Nothing could be less abrasive than Vini Reilly‘s delicate, jazzy guitar pickings contained within. I have a later reissue of the plain, black-sleeved edition that came out after DIY enthusiasts snapped up the first pressing. (Discogs notes: “All sandpaper copies were stuck together and sprayed at Palatine Road by Joy Division to earn some extra cash – although Ian Curtis did most of them as the other members were watching an adult film in an adjoining room.”)


[“Colonial crimes – NZ pressing of Tommy, polythene bag AND pocket sleeve”.]

My penultimate pet-peeve is the half-moon polythene inner sleeve, mercifully rare in the UK and America, but regrettably common here in Australasia. Trying to slide such bags back into the outer sleeve without the tops crumpling up into a bulging blob of plastic is like the proverbial effort of pushing jelly up a hill with your nose. Combined with the pocket sleeve as in my copy of Tommy, it was calculated to kill music much faster than home taping ever would.

Metal Box

And finally, to the mother of them all, an LP that manages to combine at least three of the above design defects and yet still holds a prized place in my record collection. Yes, it’s Metal Box. A tarnished tin film can that doggedly refuses to release the three 12 inch 45s inside, however much you tilt and shoogle it, vainly trying to keep your fingers off the surfaces as you winkle them out.

After I’ve hoiked the platter off my deck and flipped the speed regulator I can finally play it.

Ten minutes later and I’m up again changing sides, or trying to coax another disc out of the can.

The main reason it was originally pressed in this format was to give full rein to Jah Wobble‘s bowel-shaking bass, and the amplitude of the groove is so physically large it used to literally throw the needle into a jump on my old turntable. Even now I turn up the tracking weight on the arm when I play Albatross.

mp3:  PiL – Albatross

And yet for all this it’s the music that wins. It’s simply one of the greatest and most uncompromising albums ever released, and worth wrestling with on a regular basis. I could buy a CD version, or even the 2xLP ‘Second Edition’. But, well, you know… it just wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?




As is now the tradition on the first day of each month.  60 minutes of music that should allow you to shake your bodies down to the ground, before it all ends with a different type of anthem.

mp3: Various – Out In Clubland (Having Fun?)

Pet Shop Boys – Shameless
Placebo – Teenage Angst

Interpol – Slow Hands
Lush (feat Jarvis Cocker) – Ciao!
Arab Strap – (If There’s) No Hope For Us
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Messages
Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
At The Drive-In – One Armed Scissor
Soft Cell – Bedsitter (12″)
De La Soul – Eye Know
Oui 3 – Break From The Old Routine
The Hardy Boys  – Wonderful Lie
The Specials – Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)
Gorillaz (feat. Mark E Smith) – Glitter Freeze
Wire – Fragile
Aztec Camera– The Red Flag

Finishes just in time to allow you to catch the last bus home.




mp3: Various – You Always Went Too Far

Beastie Boys ft. Q-Tip – Get It Together
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

Hifi Sean ft. Crystal Waters  – Testify
Steve Mason – Travelling Hard
Rhianna – S.O.S. (Rescue Me)
Soft Cell – Seedy Films
Leftfield ft. Toni Halliday – Original (Radio Edit)
Joy Division – Atrocity Exhibition
Bjork – Big Time Sensuality
Urusei Yatsura – Glo Starz
Wire – Three Girl Rhumba
British Sea Power  – Remember Me
Tracey Thorn – Babies
Honeyblood – Bud
The Wannadies- Hit
Ash– Burn Baby Burn
The Wedding Present – Gone

Comes in at 18 seconds over the hour.




This month’s offering is sort of over the place.  A few risks have been taken, not least an eight-minute version of a song early on and the later inclusion of Sting.

All tunes included in this month’s mix comes from a bygone era.

mp3: Various – Just Fooling Around

Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug
Echo and The Bunnymen – Nocturnal Me
This Poison – Poised Over The Pause Button
Curve – Fait Accompli (12″)
Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria (12″)
Prefab Sprout – Bonny
Jens Lekman – The Opposite Of Hallelujah
Allvays – Adult Diversion
The Police – Message In A Bottle (7″)
Fun Boy Three – Our Lips Are Sealed (single version)
The Rakes – Retreat
The Drums  – Let’s Go Surfing
The Clash – Rudie Can’t Fail
Bodega  – Jack In Titanic
Hi Fi Sean and David McAlmont – All In The World
The Goon Sax – Till The End

Comes in at 13 seconds under the hour.




The last, for now, of this mini-series as next week will see the unveiling of a new feature that is set to dominate these pages for a period of time.

October 2014.   All these arrived in one package.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark : Media and Sleeve graded as VG .  Cost – £2.00
Associates – Perhaps : Media Graded as VG, Sleeve Graded as VG+. Cost – £1.00
The Fall – Free Range (12) ; Media and Sleeve graded as VG+.  Cost – £3.00
The Go-Betweens – Spring Rain (12″); Media and Sleeve graded as VG+. Cost – £3.00
Everything But The Girl – Love Not Money; Media and sleeve graded VG+. Cost – £1.50
The Go-Betweens – Spring Hill Fair; Media and Sleeve graded as VG.  Cost – £10.00

It’s a purchase I remember well as I had gone into the seller’s Discogs site on the basis of Spring Hill Fair, an album I had long owned but was now virtually unplayable as a result of the scratches, skips and jumps.  I was a bit apprehensive about buying something graded only as VG as I had learned from bitter experience that what some sellers believed to be ‘VG’ turned out to be more akin to unlistenable as far as I was concerned.  But as the feedback from other purchasers was that this particular seller was very conservative with his gradings, I gave it a whirl.  And yes, I found the condition of the vinyl to be far better than described in the sales pitch.

As always, I couldn’t resist not browsing to see what else was on offer, and was really surprised at how low the prices were, which is why three more LPs and two 12″ singles were added.  The cost of vinyl added up to £20.50, on top of which I was charged £5.00 for P&P.

I’m sure the seller was, for whatever reason, just getting rid of his vinyl.  I recall, having been very satisfied with the condition of the records and the sleeve, going back a couple of months later to see if there was anything new listed only to find that the account had been closed.

It’s probably as good a bargain as I ever got on Discogs, and there’s no likelihood given the way that old vinyl is now traded, be it through that particular site, e-bay, second-hand shops or charity stores, I’ll ever get that lucky.

Here’s the going rate today, all based on UK sellers and the same condition.

OMD album : £4.50
Associates album :  £3.00
The Fall 12″ : £8.00
The Go-Betweens  12″ : £10.00
EBTG album :  £4.95
The Go-Betweens album :  £44.99

It all comes to the grand total of £75.44.   And there would need to be about £25 in P&P given there would be five different sellers.

Leaving aside the P&P, the rise in the cost of the vinyl is 342%.

mp3: Everything But The Girl – Ballad Of The Times




Squeeze have been around since time began. OK, not exactly, but it’s fast approaching 50 years.

The two principal songwriting guitarists, Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook, first worked together in 1974. Their debut EP came out in 1977 on an indie-label part-financed by Miles Copeland, and was produced by John Cale of Velvet Underground fame.

They were soon signed to A&M Records for whom they would record five albums between 1978 and 1982 as well as enjoying a dozen singles reaching the Top 50, of which three went Top 5.

After a short break up, during which time Difford and Tilbrook recorded and toured as a duo, Squeeze got back together in 1985 and stayed together until 1999, albeit band members came and went at regular intervals. There were seven studio albums in that period.

The early part of the 21st century saw the two principals embark on solo careers, all the while remaining close friends who would occasionally show up at one or the other’s shows and perform alongside one another.

Inevitably, Squeeze came back into being, reforming in 2007, since when there have been spells where they have toured as a full band and times when it’s been down to just Difford and Tilbrook.  There have been just three new albums since the latest reformation.

All told, Squeeze can boast a discography of 15 studio albums and 49 singles/EPs, along with 4 live albums and 14 compilations.  It’s a highly impressive body of work.

This ICA, however, is going to focus, with one exception, on the initial period from 1978 to 1982, simply as I’ve loads of material from that era and very little beyond, other than one studio album and a couple of ‘greatest hits’ type efforts. Oh, and it’s singles heavy…….


1. Take Me I’m Yours

The debut single which reached #19 in May 1978 and can be found on the eponymous debut album released the same year.  It’s a fine introduction as the vocal talents of both Difford and Tilbrook are to the fore, as too are the keyboard skills of Jools Holland, whose look and sound were hugely important in making the band stand out that bit from many of their contemporaries.

2. Another Nail In My Heart

A #17 hit from March 1980. One of the main strengths of Difford and Tilbrook as songwriters was their ability to marry up catchy music with lyrics that told stories.  In this instance, Tilbrook came up with the tune, making use of a moog synth all the way through as well as a classic ‘tennis racquet’ guitar solo straight after the first chorus, while Difford sings of a failed romance while putting all the blame on himself.

3. Cool For Cats

The first of the huge hits, reaching #2 in April 1979.  This is one of the rare occasions when Tilbrook took lead vocal on a Squeeze single, but his voice is the one best suited to a tune which gives as good an indication as any of the band’s London and pub roots in the working-class south-east of the city.

4. When The Hangover Strikes

A flop single from 1982 and a track on the album Sweets From A Stranger.  It’s an album which sold well enough to the fanbase to reach the Top 20 on its week of release, but which was panned by the critics on the basis that it sounded nothing like the Squeeze whom everyone had a soft spot for.  Tilbrook has said he was inspired the 50s albums from Frank Sinatra when he came up with the tune, while Difford remains, rightly, proud of a lyric that captures that morning-after feeling rather perfectly.

5. Piccadilly

From the 1981 album, East Side Story, which was mostly produced by Elvis Costello and Roger Bechirian.  Lyrically, it’s a sort of throw back to some of the earlier material, telling the tale of a date night in the posh west end of London, but the music had advanced a great deal in a short period of time.


1. I Think I’m Go Go

An album track from 1981’s Argybargy.  One in which both Difford and Tilbrook take turns on lead vocal.  It’s a personal favourite as it just sounded so different and unusual from anything else they had written to this point.  The songwriters have since revealed it’s about the rigours and unpleasant nature of constantly being on tour to promote your new record.

2. Up The Junction

Here’s what I said about this song back in 2014.

“A soap opera story in just over three minutes. The boy about town gets caught out with his trousers down. He can’t cope with the fact that he has to grow up and take responsibility. The woman of his dreams soon moves on and all he has left are bittersweet memories.

1979. A massive hit and one of my favourite songs of all time, albeit as a 16-year-old I didn’t quite understand the full nuances. But now I’m 51 and I’ve seen it this story play out in real life far too often over the years.

Tears and saying sorry are just not enough. But the male side of the species just never learn.”

Other than the fact I’n now nearly 60, every word from 2014 is just as relevant today.

3. Last Time Forever

The band broke up after Sweets From A Stranger.  They got back together in 1985, with the surprising news that Jools Holland, who had left the band in 1980 after the third album, Argybargy, was back in the fold having decided he could combine his television work with recording and touring.  This was the comeback single, one that is as close to an epic as anything they have ever recorded, with the full length version coming in at six-and-half- minutes, complete with sampled dialogue from the film, ‘The Shining’.

4. Labelled With Love

Two years after Up The Junction came another ‘some songs make great short stories’ effort, with a tune Tammy Wynette and George Jones would have been proud of. Sad songs say so much…….

5. Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)

A tribute to the joys of holiday sex only reached #44 in the UK Charts back in May 1980. It’s long been one of their most popular and enduring songs, cheered to the rafters whenever it gets aired in the live setting.  I can only imagine that the folk at the BBC weren’t fooled by the song’s subject matter and more or less banned it from the airwaves on Radio 1, which perhaps explains why it sold so poorly.

As with most of the ICAs I come up with, this doesn’t consist of the ‘best’ ten songs that Squeeze recorded in the period concerned, but it’s my effort at pulling together a cohesive album that makes for a consistent and interesting listen.




Maybe not everything is better……you can make your own mind up.

All tunes included in this month’s mix comes from a bygone era.

mp3: Various – On A Nostalgia Trip

New Order – Thieves Like Us (instrumental version)
Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – Burn The Bastards
Orange Juice – I Can’t Help Myself (7″ version)
Everything But The Girl – Each and Every One
Elastica – Waking Up
Echo and The Bunnymen – All That Jazz
Pop Will Eat Itself – Touched By The Hand of Cicciolina
Paul Quinn & The Independent Group – Stupid Thing
The Chesterfields – Ask Johnny Dee
Pixies – Wave of Mutilation
Echobelly – Bellyache
The Fall  – The Man Whose Head Expanded
James Kirk – Felicity
The Popguns – Waiting For The Winter
The Cramps – Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?

I reckon it’s worth an hour of your time.




The thing is……

If you like this month’s hourly mix, then I’ll take credit for being such a great DJ.

If you don’t like it, then you can blame SWC as all the tracks were part of his Top 40 Best of 2022 over at No Badger Required.

mp3: Various – Get Sett Go!

Slowly Seperate – Crows (#18)
Angelica – Wet Leg (#31)
Trouble – The Big Moon (#22)
Ballerina (Norma) – VEPS (#16)
New York, Paris & London – HighSchool (#10)
Earth Worship – Rubblebucket (#25)
Molly’s Got A Brand New Haircut – Ghostbaby (#37)
Men On The Menu – Flossing (#3)
This New Will – Scattered Ashes (#29)
Second Thought – MEMES (#19)
New England – Kid Kapichi feat.Bob Vylan (#17)
Circumference – Working Men’s Club (#8)
A55  – English Teacher (#13)
The Hard Part – Album Club (#12)
Statuette On The Console – Bodega (#23)
Untethered – PVA (#5)
Qurantine The Sticks – Yard Act

A couple of tracks from the NBR rundown have been left off this mix as they have appeared on previous mixes. Quarantine The Sticks has been included instead of The Overload, which was #6 in the rundown.

The running time is just under 61 minutes.




(Our Swedish Correspondent)

Hi Jim,

It’s once more into the bleach – my summary of last year in Swedish music. For different reasons, pandemic mostly, some of my usual sources of finding new music were delayed so last year actually saw me discover music that rightly should have been included in my summary already last year. Therefore, this year (to save me from tears) I included a bonus 12″ with overlooked (on my part) Swedish music from 2021. I hope this “deluxe” version of the Swedish Annual is accepted.

2022, side A (a bit more guitars):

A1 Beverly Kills – New Berlin.
A Sunday morning I was offered a free ticket to a small venue the same night with 2 Swedish bands on the bill I had never heard of before. An offer I guess based on limited ticket pre-sale, and as I have been there several times before I’m on their mailing list. Better people come and buy something in the bar at least… First I felt too lazy and was about to skip it, but then I pulled myself together; better alone at a gig than alone at home, so I went there – very luckily since both bands were actually great! Gothenburg based indie kids Beverly Kills were second band out, they played their just released debut Kaleido from start to finish. A great ending to a great evening!
A2 Sahara Hotnights – Vertigo.
All female indie rockers Sahara Hotnights are back after an 11 years hiatus with an album slightly more pop than usual. The album, Love In Times Of Low Expectations, has received a bit mixed reviews being more low key than what they did 11 years ago. More mature, more self assured, less aggressive. Given a bit of time the album has grown on me, and live they still have great energy on stage.
A3 Shout Out Louds – As Far Away As Possible
The new album House is short, it clocks in at about 32 minutes (compare to their Our Ill Wills album that has about 57 minutes on the vinyl!), but it is concentrated and effective. The first single, Sky And I, surfaced by the end of 2021 while the album was released early May. When I first started listening to them, in 2007, they were recording their second album, the just mentioned Our Ill Wills, and I remember reading that they had Disintegration playing on repeat in the studio. I guess it never left the CD player, the influences are still here.
A4 Many Voices Speak – Nothing’s Gone.
First band out on that Sunday evening, Many Voices Speak is the moniker for singer/songwriter Matilda Mård. In the studio she does almost everything herself but live she brings a small band on stage. Dreamy, guitar based, indie-pop in the veins of Victorialand Cocteaus or maybe Daughter. I really enjoyed her set, and left with both her and Beverly Kill’s albums under my arm.
2022, side B (a bit more electronic):
B1 Göteborgselektronikerna – Sänk Frekvensen.
Last year Göteborgselektronikerna dropped new music pretty much out of nowhere and in September a new album was released. Less obvious in their Kraftwerk influences, more playful and accessible on this their second album.  Very electronic this one.
B2 Badlands – See You Get Hurt.
Third album from Badlands, I had her included also last year with the epic Fantasma I & II. This album, Call To Love, is more dreamy, less darkwave-ish than the last. Still very emotional, this time dealing more with (lost) love than loss of life.
B3 Little Jinder – Joy Division väder. (väder means weather)
Another artist that has “matured” over the last few years and released an album a lot more low key than her previous outings. If the earlier albums have been more of young adult snapchat type lyrics about (lost) love, feeling outkast and alone this new album sees an artist reflecting with some experience on pretty much the same topics. It’s in Swedish so most of you won’t make much of it, but with this track title you might get a knack anyway…
B4 Annika Norlin – Alien.
Annika has earlier released material in Swedish under the moniker Säkert! and in English as Hello Saferide, so when she now makes her debut under her real name she does it with one side in Swedish and one in English… Mostly rather quiet songs, especially the Swedish side, lyrically slightly less direct and to the point than earlier. Leaving a bit more to the listener to work out what she is singing about. This track taken from the English side then.
The lost 2021 bonus single-sided 12″:
A1: Linn Koch-Emmery – Hologram Love.
Linn released her debut full length album in 2021, having released 2 EP’s a few years earlier. Guitar-laden indie I would love to experience live.
A2: Duschpalatset – Ford Festiva.
They opened up for The Wannadies at a small club gig I attended in April last year, I had never heard them but was impressed and picked up their 2021 debut album from the merch stall afterwards. Quirky indiepop, in Swedish.
A3: Maja Francis – Anxious Angel.
Maja has been around the Swedish music scene for some years now, and I have seen her joining First Aid Kit on stage a couple of times. I completely missed the release of her debut album in 2021 until late last year, but have since played the album repeatedly. At times her voice reminds me a lot of Jolene version Dolly Parton. Fragile, angel-like, and just lovable.
With hopes for a better 2023, all the best.


JC adds..…As I say every single year, I always look forward to Martin’s end of year round-up as there’s inevitably something in there that is of huge appeal, and this year is no different. These tunes are well worth a listen.




JC writes…..

Before I hand over to SWC, a little bit of explanation. One of his previous posts over at No Badger Required, in which he offered up the views and opinions of his daughter, made me laugh so hard that I asked if a future instalment could be offered up to TVV.   He’s been a as good as his word….in fact, he sent this over just prior to Christmas and I’ve had to sit on it waiting for the blog to get up and running again.  Given that yesterday saw a somewhat sad but brilliant post about the passing of Alan Rankine, I thought this made for the ideal way to try and put a smile on our collective faces.

Here’s SWC……

“For those of you who haven’t ventured over to my little corner of the Internet, which is more commonly known as No Badger Required, this is the fourth instalment in a series that I am calling ‘Kids, Eh’. It is a series in which I randomly pick three songs from my music library (or rather an algorithm picks them for me), give my daughter a pencil and some paper and tell her to write what she thinks about them.

“We started this series when she was nine, and I have learnt four things, firstly that she is a harsh critic, no song has yet to score more than eight out of ten.

How Did This Happen! – Bodega

“Secondly, she hates shouty, angry records that “Don’t say anything”. Thirdly, she has a knack of being able to bring some form of creature into every review she does, so far we’ve had hippopotamuses, toucans, crocodiles and cats and fourthly, now aged ten, and armed with her own Alexa, my daughter has developed a love of music by bands like Air, Four Tet, Boards of Canada and Massive Attack (but only the album ‘Mezzanine’, the rest are a bit “meh” apparently). She, dare I say it, has cool taste in music, so this might be quite interesting.

“All the songs today are randomly picked from an iPod Playlist that I called “Another Playlist” when I compiled it. There are over 4000 songs in this playlist and as we sit in the lounge five days before Christmas, armed with paper, pencils, custard creams, a half-eaten box of Roses, and some Wasabi Peanuts (they are mine) I’m ready to press the shuffle button.

“Will there be Christmas songs?” my daughter suddenly asks. I tell her there might be. I know that the Fucked Up version of “Do They Know Its Christmas?” is definitely on there, but I don’t tell her that, because she will definitely hate it. “I hope its not that stupid song that talks about the “the bells ringing out” J (name changed of irritating boy in her class) in my class keeps singing it to annoy the teacher”. That isn’t on there, I tell her. I finally press the play button and I have to say I grinned when the first song came on because it was this absolute banger.

Soon (Andrew Weatherall Mix) – My Bloody Valentine

Now in reality, this is one of the greatest remixes to have ever grace anyone’s stereo, full of loops, samples, twists, “Here We Go’s” and “Ahhh’s” it is extraordinary, outstanding, a proper floor filler. My daughter catches me nodding my head along to it and I tell her that the man who remixed this, was a genius and that in a perfect world he would have been Minister of Culture. She looks at me blankly and frantically scribbles on her pad.

About four minutes in she tells me that she likes the little “Ah ha” bits and then she puts her pencil down. I type verbatim the bits in italics are my interjections.

“It keeps saying the same thing, ’Here We Go’ but doesn’t tell you where they are going, they might be going to the zoo to see the giraffes [ ooh, she’s gone early on the animals] or to the shops. It’s quite good I suppose but it just does the same thing over and over again. I like the ‘Ah Ha’ bits but it is not as good as ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’”. [I might confiscate her Alexa, if she keeps up that nonsense]

‘Soon’ gets a six out of ten. Which on the Kids, Eh scoreboard makes it the fourth-best song in the world. So Far at least.

Next Up

Dead – Pixies

It’s the version from the ‘At the BBC’ album so it’s slightly faster and slightly rawer than the album version but all the same it’s still a bloody marvellous ninety seconds or so if you quickly skirt over the biblical violence backstory. Although I think a certain ten year is about to disagree with me and tell me off for playing a song which has the word ‘crapper’ in it.

“He said a rude word, I don’t like it [now thankfully, my daughter hasn’t grasped the full concept of a swear word, but thanks to Howard from the Big Bang Theory she knows that “crap” is a bad word. She hasn’t noticed, yet that someone has written ‘FUCK’ in red pen on the bench at the park, but she knows that is a very rude word], the singing is all weird and he keeps repeating the rude word. He sounds like he is going to have a sore throat in the morning, he should try singing a bit quieter, or let someone else sing, I’m glad actual Pixies don’t sound like that”.[She used to have a pixie living in her playhouse when she was five, only she could understand it because it spoke ‘half German and half Italy’]

That my friends, is all she has to say about it. She could be right about Black Francis letting someone else sing though. ‘Dead’ scores one out of ten. Which still places it higher than ‘Husbands’ by Savages, which was erm, savaged when my daughter reviewed it.

Finally, we come to the last song of the day, well actually I skipped one because Pixies came on again

Here Comes Your Man – Pixies

The last song of the day is this, which might go down quite well

Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis

Which, if we are all absolutely honest with ourselves, is one of Britpop’s finest four a half minutes, from the piano at the start, through Noel’s singing about “Starting revolutions from his bed”, the brilliant drumming and the way the song all moulds together rather excellently. ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ is definitely in the top five Oasis tracks.

“Who’s Sally, and why is she waiting, what’s too late, is she being dumped?” my daughter asks me. I tell her I’m not entirely sure. “Well, he shouldn’t tell her to wait, that’s rude and its rude to be late, Uncle Bill is always late, my chips went cold the last time he was late”. I nod in agreement, so did mine as it happens. “It is a nice song though. I like the singing, much better than the last one. I like this one best today. Can I add Oasis to my playlist please.”

With that she scores ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ a relatively unheard of seven out of ten and goes off to play Minec.




I wasn’t sure if I’d find time to do this.  Spent a few days in bed with the flu over Xmas.  Santa’s actual arrival in Villain Towers was delayed 48 hours, and I still wasn’t really myself until the end of the week.

But I was determined to deliver a bonus posting today, and to maintain the practice of one of these appearing early on in every new month.

mp3: Various – All Is Quiet

Dancing Is Not A Crime – Affleck’s Palace
Dare – The Wedding Present
Widow – Woking Men’s Club
N95 – Kendrick Lamar
Saints – The Breeders
Action Hero (Marc Riley Session) – Spare Snare
Pale Shelter – Tears For Fears
Midnight On The Murder Mile – Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Gangs – Do Nothing
Found Love In A Graveyard – Veronica Falls
Firewater – Django Django
Little Fix – Sprints
This Poison – Magazine
Sorry For Laughing – Propaganda
God Forbid – The Wild Swans
Might Be Stars – The Wannadies
Grand Final Day – Ducks Ltd.

Got my timings a bit messed up. Could have changed the last song for something else and kept it to around the hour mark.  As it is, you’ve an extra 90 seconds of music to endure this month.




At last.

A series that began back on 10 July comes to its conclusion.

I want to offer my thanks to those of you who dropped in so regularly to cast your votes. Let’s face it, the ICA World Cup 2022 would have been a monumental flop without audience participation, but I’ve been genuinely and pleasantly surprised and delighted that it proved to be popular from the outset and stayed that way through to the final.  I’ve an idea to do a similar type of event in 2023, based on a much smaller scale than ICAs, that I’m going to work on over the festive period to see if it will work.

Here’s a couple of immense contributions in respect of the final.

Chaval : Takes me back to teenage years in 79-80 taping JD sessions off Peel by night, grinning along to Blondie chart smashes by day.

Blondie’s imperial phase from 78-80 coincided with JD’s entire span of existence.  In the end, I think Debbie Harry was a more benign influence on the youth of the day (although Ian Curtis was probably a better dancer). 

In short, Blondie.

Bagging Area (aka Adam) : Changing the rules while the tournament runs – a ruse even Gianni Infantino might have thought too much, but then the actual World Cup has been besmirched and despoiled, so I suppose it had to happen here too.

Joy Division clearly.

Isolation, Shadowplay, Decades and The Eternal are the back four of post- punk. Hannett, Gretton, Saville and Wilson the midfield, Curtis, Sumner, Hook and Morris the wide players.

‘Some of the crowd are on the pitch, they think it’s all over…’

The final was a fascinating affair.  Blondie swarmed all over the Mancunians at the start, picking up six successive votes to establish a 7-2 lead just three hours after voting began.  The Joy Division fans were obviously having a lie-in on Sunday as they then cast the next six votes and at 2pm, just as the coverage of the actual World Cup final began on the BBC, the score was 8-7 to JD.

By 7pm, it was still very tight, with JD enjoying a 13-11 lead, while there had been one person to admit they couldn’t split the duo and suggested the trophy be shared. 

Midnight on Sunday.  40 votes had now come in.  Two folk had now suggested a shared trophy.  But the JD fans had clearly been raised from the slumbers as their votes had given their favourites a lead of 23-15, which, based on what had happened in earlier rounds, was looking decisive.

Very few votes came in between Monday and Wednesday.  I’ve no doubt folk were distracted by the sad news of the deaths of Terry Hall and Martin Duffy.

The final score, by midnight on Wednesday, was:-

Joy Division 29 Blondie 16

So, the ICA World Cup trophy stays in England, and for the second time, a band whose name beings with the letter J takes the honours.

Wasn’t sure which song to offer up today.  Do I go back to the ICA and pull something from there, or do something different?  This kind of does both.  The best known version was on the ICA:-

mp3 : Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Peel Session)

Recorded on 26 November 1979 and broadcast on 10 December 1979.

Which led me to also want to include this:-

mp3: Joy Division – Sound Of Music

A version of this song was also part of that same Peel Session.  It was a brand-new song at the time.  Joy Division would record a version in the Pennine Sound Studios in Oldham in January 1980 during the same sessions as they worked on Love Will Tear Us Apart as a potential single.

As it turned out, they decided against that particular version of LWTUA, and they reconvened in Strawberry Studios in Stockport in March 1980 where they came up with the take for what would prove to be their best-known song.

Sound Of Music was only given a posthumous release, as part of the compilation album Still, issued in October 1981.

Thanks again




Before turning to the actual final, let’s get last week’s results sorted out.

Sadly, it became clear within a few hours that one of the semi-finals was turning out to be a mismatch, with Blondie thoroughly dismantling Orange Juice.

Blondie scored the opening 9 goals before my young brother, all the way from Florida, put Orange Juice on the board.  Now, it might have been a different outcome if, say, the final track on Side A had been involved as Simply Thrilled Honey v Fade Away and Radiate would likely not have been so one-sided, and indeed might have seen Edwyn & Co actually make the final. The final scoreline reflects the fact that OJ picked up a few later votes…..

Orange Juice 12 Blondie 34

To begin with, Joy Division v The Jam was a much tighter affair but by the end of the first day of voting, the team from the north-west of England had a comfortable 17-9 lead over the team from the south-east. As the week went on, things began to swing the way of Weller & Co. By Wednesday evening, the gap had been halved with the score standing at 21-17, but with The Jam now picking up two out of every three votes that were coming in, the trend was suggesting Thursday and Friday would deliver the ultimate comeback.  Indeed, at one point the gap was down to just two…..but JD did recover enough on Friday to hold on.

Joy Division 24 The Jam 21

And with that, it’s a Manchester v New York final.

It wouldn’t be any sort of World Cup without controversy, and what is being proposed for the final may appal or anger many of you.  But please, hear me out.

I had always intended that the final would be decided by the closing track on the ICA, and with Blondie running away with things so early on, I looked at what Walter had chosen as B5 as part of ICA 198.

“Ring Of Fire (from Roadie Soundtrack)

Blondie made another cover version in Alan Rudolph‘s movie Roadie, with the first starring role by Meat Loaf. Never thought that even a song by Johnny Cash could fit to their sound.”

My spirits sank, somewhat.  While not denying that every ICA author can do whatever they like when pulling a piece together, and there’s no doubt Walter had really wanted to do something completely out of leftfield with this one….which was fine as these things go, but it now felt as if the ICA World Cup final would have a novelty song lining up on one half of the field.  A quick look at the Joy Division and The Jam entries showed it would be either Decades or Move On Up – neither entirely regarded as either band’s finest moments, but in all likelihood probably far too strong for the Blondie effort.

So…. to the controversy.

Instead of asking you to determine the final on the basis of one song versus one other song, I’m asking that you consider all the remaining songs from the ICAs that hadn’t yet featured in the competition, as a collective body of work.  That means four in all from both finalists, these being the final song on Side A and tracks 3-5 on Side B

Joy Division : Isolation; Shadowplay; The Eternal; Decades

Blondie : Fade Away and Radiate; The Tide Is High; Call Me; Ring Of Fire

You are, of course, free to call the outcome as a drawn match. There’s nothing in the rules to say the trophy cannot be shared!!!!

Worth mentioning that The Jam, the winners of the ICA World Cup 2018 did make a great run to the semi-finals in 2022 despite the fact the neither of their competing ICAs contained a song that had been released as an a-side of a single.  Talk about strength in depth……

The other bit of controversy is that I’m asking you to get your votes in a bit earlier than usual.  The closing time is Wednesday 21 December at midnight UK time.  I’ll announce the result the following morning.

Thanks again




In football talk, I’m over the moon that so many of you are voting with each passing week.  The 2022 ICA World Cup has been a bigger success than I ever imagined, to the extent that an idea came to me on holiday for a spin-off tournament for 2023, the details of which I’ll outline in early January.  It’ll hopefully continue to make Sundays a bit of competitive fun.

The quarter-finals, on paper, looked intriguing, but ultimately, three of the four ties had been settled by Tuesday evening which, because of being on holiday and then either travelling or jet-lagged, was the first time I’d had a look at how things were progressing. 41 votes had come in by Tuesday, and by Friday night, nine more votes had come in.  No matches attracted a full house, and the final outcomes in those three matches turned out to be:-

Television 5 Joy Division 43

John McGeoch 15 The Jam 28

The Go-Betweens 19 Orange Juice 25

The final match was a thriller.  It had to go to three recounts. At the end of the first day of voting, Blondie had 17-10 advantage over Human League.  Monday was a good day for the Sheffield synthpop idols with the lead narrowing to four, with the score standing at 20-16.

Just eight votes arrived between Tuesday and Thursday, of which one wasn’t interested in this particular tie.  The New York new wavers were getting anxious as the score stood at 22-21 as we went into the final day.

The Human League then pulled level for the first time in the tie when JG cast a vote at 2.05am.  Aldo and DAM restored the 2 point lead for Blondie by 6.36pm.  Just under 30 minutes later, amd made it 24-23. 

The last word most weeks has gone to hamirthehermit as he usually comes out of his hiding place quite late on a Friday.  This week it was 10.17pm.  And yes, this was the final vote to be counted.

Human League 23 Blondie 25

Every bit as nail-biting as the Argentina v Netherlands match in the FIFA World Cup.

The interesting thing about the four semi-finalists is that two of them were huge commercially back in their time, while the other two were part of the indie scenes in their home cities who enjoyed only fleeting chart success but would later be accorded all sorts of critical acclaim. It’s also fair to say that all four semi-finalists have featured regularly over the years on TVV, and the posts have usually been well received.

It was prior to the start of the tournament that I decided which song from the ICAs would represent the singer/band at any particular stage.  For the semi-final, it was always going to be Track 4 on the A Side. Have fun choosing between these……

Joy Division (ICA 160) v The Jam (ICA 152)

mp3 : Joy Division – Dead Souls v mp3: The Jam – Private Hell

Orange Juice (ICA 219) v Blondie (ICA 198)

mp3: Orange Juice – L.O.V.E. Love v mp3: Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear

Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 16th of December.





The FIFA World Cup has delivered some drama, shocks and last-minute goals that have changed the fortunes of the participating teams.  You could argue it is merely mimicking the ICA World Cup, especially the knockout rounds.

A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to vote on the eight ties brought to you last Sunday. The comments revealed that a number of you had real difficulty choosing one song over another, and this led to a higher number of draws or non-committals than previous weeks.  A couple of the ties were more or less decided quite early on, but nobody was on the end of a thrashing a la Costa Rica at the hands of Spain.

I reckon that the other six ties saw changes of leads on at least one occasions, while two matches swung back and forth to the extent they were only decided with the last couple of kicks of the ball.  46 sets of votes came in…..only one game was voted on by everyone.

Human League 29 Iggy Pop 16

Television 24 Terry Hall 17

Lloyd Cole 20 The Jam 24

Orange Juice 23 Soft Cell 16

John McGeoch 21 Cinerama 19

Joy Division 28 David Bowie 17

Siouxsie & The Banshees 20 Go-Betweens 22

Cocteau Twins 21 Blondie 25

It’s straight into the quarter-final stage. The songs will be Track 2 of Side A of the relevant ICA

Television (ICA 248) v Joy Division (ICA 160)

mp3: Television – Foxhole v mp3 : Joy Division – Transmission

John McGeoch (ICA 259) v The Jam (ICA 152)

mp3:PiL – Home (live)* v mp3: The Jam – The Place I Love

*ICA 259 is a compilation featuring John McGeoch on guitar – this track is taken from a performance on Whistle Test on BBC2 back in 1986

The Go-Betweens (ICA 200) v Orange Juice (ICA 219)

mp3: The Go-Betweens – To Reach Me v mp3: Orange Juice – Lovesick

Human League (ICA 228) v Blondie (ICA 198)

mp3: Human League – Being Boiled (Peel Session) v mp3: Blondie – Rip Her To Shreds

Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 9th of December, with the results and the semi-final draw appearing next Sunday.

NB: If Siouxsie and her motley crew had got through, it would have been Hong Kong Garden v Lovesick in the third tie above…..but if Soft Cell had beaten Orange Juice, (and Siouxsie had also won), then it would have been Hong Kong Garden v Bedsitter.  We should maybe collectively be grateful that it didn’t come to that……..




Well, it is the first day of a new month.

mp3: Various – Going Stupid Once Again

Christmas, It’s Not A Biggie – Say Sue Me
Flaming Sword – Care
Jilted John – Jilted John
Alive! – Steve Mason
Inferno (Brisbane In Summer) – Robert Forster
Let Forever Be – Chemical Brothers
Cloudbursting – Kate Bush
Metal Guru – T.Rex
All On You (Perfume) – Paris Angels
Human Behaviour – Bjork
Black Tambourine – Beck
Truck – Hi Fi Sean feat. Fred Schneider
Steven Smith – The Organ
Here Comes Comus – Arab Strap
Sugar Kane – Sonic Youth
Piece of Shit – Wet Leg
Blackpool Rock – Chumawamba

It all lasts about an hour, give or take a handful of seconds.



icaworldcupBack on 3 July, when I announced details of the 2022 ICA World Cup, I did recognise in advance that Sunday 27 November would be the pinch point as it marked the busiest day with all 8 matches of the latest round being scheduled.

I hadn’t however, fully appreciated that I’d be thousands of miles away from Villain Towers (not that I’m complaining), or factored in that something could very well go wrong with the laptop or internet access, thus bringing the whole thing crashing down.  But if you happen to be reading this, then my fears have proven to be unfounded.

I also didn’t factor in that one of the match-ups in the final set from Round 2 would prove to be the biggest nail biter of them all.

The Cure’s ICA, on paper, was one of the strongest.  The group stage saw them pick up 40 votes out of a possible 46, and the 87% hit-rate was the best of anyone in that stage.  In Round 1 of the knockout stage, they trounced The Chameleons by 33-8.  By Monday night of Round 2, a point in time when most of the votes have usually been cast, they held a 17-13 lead over Terry Hall, who was being represented by a Colourfield song.  A further eleven votes came in on time between Tuesday and Friday night.  Eleven absolutely crucial votes……

Match M : The Sweet 11 Orange Juice 32

Match N :  Soft Cell 23 The Breeders 18

Match O : David Bowie 25 Elvis Costello 18

Match P : The Cure 20 Terry Hall 21

I’ll add that Bill turned up to vote 90 minutes after the deadline having, unsurprisingly, fallen asleep after the England v USA match in the actual World Cup.   His vote was for Terry H, and so wouldn’t have affected the final outcome, but if he’d been in on time, the draw for the last 16 would have been slightly different…….

No rest at all for last week’s winners, as they join the previous twelve who came through the rigours of Round 2 to take their place in the last 16.

I long ago decided that the draw for this round would see the act with the highest number of votes last time out take on the act which came through with the least votes and so on… (1v16, 2v15, 3v14……..7v10, 8v9).

The song in each instance will be the first song on Side B of the ICA.

(1) Human League (ICA 228) v (16) Iggy Pop (ICA 183)

mp3 : Human League – Black Hit Of Space v mp3 : Iggy Pop – Gardenia

(2) Television (ICA 248) v (15) Terry Hall (ICA 277)

mp3: Television – Call Mr Lee v Nearly God – Bubbles *

*ICA 277 was a compilation of songs on which Terry Hall had a vocal

(3) Lloyd Cole (ICA 300) v (14) The Jam (ICA 152)

mp3: Lloyd Cole – Half Of Everything v mp3: The Jam – In The Street Today

(4) Orange Juice (ICA 219) v (13) Soft Cell (ICA 156)

mp3: Orange Juice – The Artisans v mp3: Soft Cell – Frustration

(5) John McGeoch (ICA 259) v  (12) Cinerama (ICA 296)

Propaganda – P-Machinery (beta)* v mp3: Cinerama – Wow (extended version)

*ICA 259 was a compilation of songs on which John McGeoch played

(6)  Joy Division (ICA 160) v (11) David Bowie (ICA 284)

mp3: Joy Division – Disorder v mp3: David Bowie – Looking For Water

(7) Siouxsie & The Banshees (ICA 258) v (10) The Go-Betweens (ICA 200)

mp3: Siouxsie and The Banshees – Painted Bird v mp3: Go-Betweens – Head Full Of Steam

(8) Cocteau Twins (ICA 195) v (9) Blondie (ICA 198)

mp3: Cocteau Twins – Bluebeard v mp3: Blondie 11:59

If Bill’s votes had counted, Orange Juice would have been the #3 seed and Soft Cell would have moved up a slot to #12.  Three ties would then have been different – Orange Juice v The Jam; Lloyd Cole v Cinerama; and John McGeoch v Soft Cell.  So it goes……

Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 2nd of December. I’ll be coming towards the end of my holiday, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be still be sharp enough to bring you the results next Sunday, along with the match-ups for the quarter-finals.

Please note, the quarter-finals will be an all-in draw, rather than anything based on this week’s results.




I’m now in the habit of having a check on the scores at the end of Sunday night.  There were 23 votes in by midnight, as compared to 30 at the same time the previous week, which perhaps was an indication that the four ties hadn’t quite grabbed everyone’s attention as others.  Further evidence for this being the case was that none of the ties had been voted on by all who had dropped by, and indeed one tie had seen four of the initial visitors choosing to abstain.

It was also clear that two of the outcomes were going to be foregone conclusions, and to use some boxing parlance, the referee really should have stepped in early to prevent further punishment.  The votes did continue to roll in over the rest of the week (and, as ever, a huge thanks to all concerned), but compared to the previous week, it all felt like an anticlimax…..not that any of the victors are complaining!

Match I : Go-Betweens 26 Neil Young 15

Match J : Human League 37 Beastie Boys 5

Match K : Suede 15 Siouxsie & The Banshees 27

Match L : Lloyd Cole 32 The National 7

Today’s quartet features the four who got through from the seventh and eighth weeks in Round 1.  A reminder that the song up for consideration in Round 2 has always been the third track on Side A of the ICA in question.

The Sweet (ICA 313) v Orange Juice (ICA 219)

mp3: The Sweet – Alexander Graham Bell v mp3: Orange Juice – Bridge

Soft Cell (ICA 159) v The Breeders (ICA 173)

mp3: Soft Cell – The Art Of Falling Apart v mp3 : Breeders – Bang On

Elvis Costello (ICA 284) v David Bowie (ICA 284)

mp3: Elvis Costello – Hoover Factory v mp3: David Bowie – Cactus

The Cure (ICA 157) v Terry Hall (ICA 277)

mp3: The Cure – Doing The Unstuck v The Colourfield – Cruel Circus*

*ICA 277 was a compilation of various acts in which Terry had been or is involved

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 25th of November.  I’ll be away on holiday in Barbados, and will be counting the votes while sipping some sort of rum-based cocktail, while panicking that I can keep the whole shebang going just as it gets to the busiest stage!




Last week’s pairings delivered a match-up for the ages, along with another tie that was close throughout for the most part.  The other two games, while not exactly being blow-outs, saw a couple of substantial early leads that were never in much danger.

At 10pm (UK time) on the Sunday evening, just 16 hours after polling had opened, I did a quick count for all four games. Television and John McGeoch both held identical leads of 20-10 over their opponents.  Only a further 18 set of votes came in through to Friday night, and the gaps never closed (not everyone cast four votes!)

Match E : Television 33 Buddy Holly 13

Match F : Beatles 16 John McGeoch 31

It was Northern Ireland v Scotland in Match G.  Ash v Cocteau Twins, and at the first count, it was a 15-14 lead for Scotland.  The next few days saw Northern Ireland slowly run out of steam, giving a final result of:-

Match G : Ash 20  Cocteau Twins 27

And so, to Liverpool v Leeds.   The Bunnymen had racked up the most points in Round 1, and with a singles-heavy ICA to fall back on, could very much be regarded as one of the favourites.  But in this round, a live cover version was the song for consideration, and as DAM observed in his comments (he was 26th to cast his votes)

“Looks like the Bunnymen have done the equivalent of playing the under 23s, assuming that they will need the big guns later. But on this showing, they could be heading for a fall.”

Cinerama‘s effort had a bit of the continental flair about it, and was picking up a fair few votes….but given they had initially qualified in 6th place from the same group the Bunnymen had won, and in Round 1 had got through by 26-7 when the Bunnymen had triumphed 33-4….it seemed an awful lot to overcome.

Sunday night.  The score was tied at 15-15.  24 hours later, it was 20-19 to Liverpool.

By the time I woke up on Tuesday morning, two more votes had come in.  It was now 21-20 to Leeds.  Tuesday itself saw it move out to a 23-21 lead for Cinerama. No votes arrived on Wednesday or Thursday, but I was waiting on the final flurry on Friday with a great amount of anticipation.

Both picked up one vote each while I was asleep, meaning it was soon 24-22.  The next vote came in at 12.42pm and made it 24-23.

Hamirthehermit dropped by  5.50pm.  As ever, he offered up a commentary on each of his selections. As far as the nail-biter went…..

‘Have a lot more favourite songs by Cinerama than the Bunnies. And I’m not a fan of the Stones.  But a good cover of a good song takes it this round.  Echo & The Bunnymen’.

That made it 24-24

Earlier in the day, thinking that there might eventually be a tie, I had come up with a possible way out of any such impasse.

I made good on a long-time commitment to meet up with Comrade Colin on Friday afternoon.  At one point over our second coffee/diet cola, I mentioned the Bunnymen v Cinerama match-up and asked him that in the event of it finishing in a tie, which of the two songs he would have voted for.

In effect, I was appointing him as the VAR, if required.

But would it come down to that? Midnight came and went……..

Match H : Echo and The Bunnymen 24 Cinerama 24

Cinerama won the penalty shoot-out…….courtesy of Comrade Colin’s preference.

For what it’s worth, if I had been voting, I’d have gone for the Bunnymen on the basis of me seeing them play a storming version of Paint It Black at the Glasgow Barrowlands back in 1985 that has long-lived in the memory. But having decided how the call should be made, my huge thanks to the Comrade for helping out.

After all that, it’s time to turn our attention to today’s quartet, featuring the four who got through from the fifth and sixth weeks in Round 1.  A reminder that the song up for consideration in Round 2 will always be the third track on Side A of the ICA in question.  Will there be any drama?

The Go-Betweens (ICA 200) v Neil Young (ICA 259)

mp3: The Go-Betweens – The Clock v mp3 : Neil Young – Sugar Mountain (live)

Human League (ICA 228) v Beastie Boys (ICA 285)

mp3: Human League – Sound Of The Crowd (complete) v mp3 : Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise

Suede (ICA 209) v Siouxsie & The Banshees (ICA 258)

mp3: Suede – The Big Time v mp3: Siouxsie & The Banshees – Playground Twist

Lloyd Cole (ICA 300) v The National (ICA 243)

mp3: Lloyd Cole – Weeping Wine v mp3 : The National – I Need My Girl

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 18th of November.



icaworldcupI thought away back when pulling this thing together that the really close contests might start to appear by the time we got to Round 2, with us being down to the last 32 standing.  Were my instincts right?

The first 20 sets of votes (50% of the final total) had arrived by 2pm on Sunday afternoon, just nine hours after polling had opened.  Three of the ties already looked done and dusted, while the other would have required a sizable comeback from the Edinburgh band to overcome the man born as James Osterberg Jr.

But here’s the thing…..the team from Edinburgh mounted that comeback, and by Wednesday night, the lead had been reduced to just one.  It was turning into the game of the tournament.

Match A : Iggy Pop 19 Ballboy 18

Match B : Blondie 26 Stevie Wonder 13

Match C : Edwyn Collins 15 The Jam 22

Match D : Joy Division 29 Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry 10

Yup…..nobody came in with late votes this week – the last was cast at 11.11pm on Wednesday – and so Iggy was able to hold on and take his place in the last 16, the details of which are still a few weeks away.

Today’s quartet features the four who came through from the third and fourth weeks in Round 1.  A reminder that the song up for consideration in Round 2 will always be the third track on Side A of the ICA in question.

Television (ICA 248) v Buddy Holly (ICA 285)

mp3: Television – Marquee Moon v mp3 : Buddy Holly – Peggy Sue Got Married

The Beatles (ICA 244) v John McGeoch (ICA 259)

mp3: Beatles – I Should Have Known Better v mp3 : Siouxsie & The Banshees – Spellbound*

*ICA 259 was a compilation of tracks on which McGeoch played guitar

Ash (ICA 190) v Cocteau Twins (ICA 195)

mp3: Ash – A Life Less Ordinary v mp3: Cocteau Twins – Carolyn’s Fingers

Echo & The Bunnymen (ICA 225) v Cinerama (ICA 296)

mp3: Echo and The Bunnymen – Paint It Black (live)  v mp3: Cinerama – Lollobrigida

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 11th of November.