Monday, 2 February 2009

87. Cilla Black, Ringo Starr and Basil Brush, The Snowman Song (1971)

ITSSNOWINGITSSNOWINGITSSNOWING. It started yesterday morning, gently and almost apologetically. Then, around seven thirty, it started to properly whirl. Overnight, about six inches of it has settled in Hackney. I don't know what to do with myself I'm so overcome.

This afternoon I have sat on one of the deep-frosted sun loungers in my garden, watched kids making an igloo in my square, thrown several snowballs at grown-ups I've never met, and made my very first snowman at the grand old age of thirty. He looked a bit simple, but some nice young men took pictures of it, so at least he felt loved. It also made me remember this video I saw years ago starring Cilla, Ringo and Basil. God bless them all.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

86. Piney Gir, Greetings, Salutations, Goodbye (2006)

I'm off to Piney Gir's house this afternoon to listen to her new album and drink some pink booze. It will be lovely. Here's an old song of hers, and one of my favourites.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

85. Harold Faltermeyer, Axel F (1984)

I'm going to a fancy dress party tonight where the theme is films from the '80s. I am going as a Ghostbuster, obviously, but for some reason Harold Faltermeyer's theme to Beverley Hills Cop has been in my head all bloody day rather than Ray Parker Junior's for Bill Murray and his friends. Perhaps it's because I loved this track as a child, but God, doesn't it sound antique now?

Friday, 30 January 2009

84. Speech Debelle, Searching (2009)

After a great week for great new music, suddenly this single came in the post and my world turned golden. Speech Debelle is a young, female MC signed to Big Dada, home to the amazing Roots Manuva, who tells her stories against the softest, sweetest instrumentals imaginable. A video to this single is at her website, and there's some lovely interviews on YouTube too. Thank God for music.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

83. John Martyn, Small Hours (1978)

I *love* this song. RIP, my lovely.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

82. VV Brown, Leave (2009)

*This* is why VV Brown rules. I saw her at the Brits launch last week and not only she did remember that I'd interviewed her and bounded over to tell me how lovely I was (I'm a cheap date), she was also wearing 5-inch heels which made her an approximately 7 foot 15 pop goddess. (Yes, I am a little bit in love with her.)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

81. Little Boots, Stuck On Repeat (2008)

Turned the radio on today to hear this being played on Radio 2, of all stations, and it sounded incredible. And I know that there are MILLIONS of young kooky women making electronic records at the moment but LB is the best. And VV Brown is the best new pop lady. So there.

Monday, 26 January 2009

80. Teitur, The Singer (2009)

Thank God – after weeks of disappointment, a new record that I've picked out of the bulging Rogers postbag that I love, love, love. Paul Lester at The Guardian (hello, Paul) reckons he sounds like Frank Spencer. He does NOT, Paul. He sounds wonderful, and this song is a sliver of gorgeousness.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

79. New Kids On The Block, I'll Be Loving You Forever (1989)

Firstly, a disclaimer. I am 30 years old. I was born in 1978, and got to that strange stage of life that we call adolescence around 1988 to 1989. While those of you ten years older than me were wearing neon overalls and necking fistfulls of whatever-knows-what, I was sitting in my room, writing in my diary, the walls behind me absolutely bloody plastered with posters of Jordan, Joe, Jon, Donnie and Danny.

Last night, I went to see New Kids On The Block – or The Block, as they amusingly like to call themselves these days – in London's roomy O2. I am working on a big project about boy bands, and this was to be the first leg on my "journey".

I had a problem, however. My cynicism. Having endured some old songs by the band I used to love at a hen night last year, I knew their songs were largely terrible. Now, I was going to destroy my primary-coloured, Smash Hits-fuelled dreams by seeing them live, and then all my excitement for anything at all in the future, ever, would puff away forever.

So I don't know if it was the enthusiasm of my friend Lucy, who came to the gig with me, or whether it had something to do with succumbing the persuasive power of being in a stadium with 80,000 screaming women, but something strange happened. I loved every bloody moment. And when they played this song, the song I used to swoon over as a crimped-haired eleven-year-old, I blubbed. Like a girl.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

78. Lord Tanamo and The Skatalites, I'm In The Mood For Ska (1965)

The first dance at Bryan and Anna's wedding – the blissfully happy couple had a routine and everything. Enough to make this cynic's hard heart melt like butter, it was.

Friday, 23 January 2009

77. Billy Idol, White Wedding (1982)

My lovely friend Bryan is marrying his very lovely missus, Anna, this afternoon in Woburn. I am reading in the wedding. I intend to arrive on the back of Billy's motorbike. I haven't told them yet, but I'm sure they won't mind.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

76. Modern English, I Melt With You (1982)

I heard this coming booming out of a car stereo in Hackney today. Quite an unusual thing to happen, that. I was reminded how much New Order's Temptation, released the same year, reminds me of it, and how it always puts a spring in my step regardless. And indeed it did.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

75. Franz Ferdinand, Ulysses (2009)

I don't care if people go, ooh, this is their new sound or, ooh, no-it's-not, it's their old sound all over again for the fuggin' third time. I don't care. This song rocks and Alex Kapranos' sexy voice still makes me go hakjfghskjfhgfkjhkjk. Which is foreign for swoony.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

74. Sam Cooke, A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

I wanted to avoid the obligatory fromage-filled Obama post, but I just heard this on Radio 2, and I nearly fell over. Less with the emotion of the day – although I'd sure as anything like to be in Washington DC now and not in a rather cold Hackney – but by Sam Cooke's voice. God damn it, Jesus Christ, and a thousand hallelujahs: Sam Cooke is the GREATEST SINGER OF ALL TIME, you hear, and if you argue with me, then you're just WRONG.

Monday, 19 January 2009

73. Sunny Day Sets Fire, All Our Songs (2009)

My favourite new band. They're from London, but their singer is Italian, and they sound Swedish. They are insanely joyful, but also quite, quite mad. Just the thing you need when you're doing the tax return. Oh, and that CHORUS! Their album's out next month – get busy.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

72. Madonna, Burning Up (1983)

Anyone know why I woke up singing this little beauty this morning? Me neither. Eat this, Lady Gaga.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

71. Tony & Tyrone, Please Operator (date tbc)

Yet another reason to love Sounds Of The Sixties. Heard this Northern Soul belter this morning and can't get it out of my mind. The "WHAAAAT?" at the beginning is the greatest thing EVER.

Friday, 16 January 2009

70. Emmy The Great, We Almost Had A Baby (2008)

Last night, I went to see Emmy The Great at the 12 Bar club in Central London – a gorgeously tiny little place, with a stage that can barely fit three people, as it just about managed to last night. For 40 minutes I stood still, utterly captivated, thinking, Jesus Christ, this girl is really good. And I can't remember the last time my mind didn't wander during a gig, but it didn't last night. Not even once.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

69. R.E.M., We Walk (Live at The Pier, Raleigh), (1982)

It's R.E.M. again. Sorry. YouTube has seem to have gone crazybusy with early footage of my boys, though, and I'm still reviewing this Murmur reissue. Ahhh, I love them.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

68. Monie Love, It's A Shame (1990)

While writing this morning, I used the phrase "it's a shame", which suddenly got me singing this fantastic tune. What the hell happened to Monie Love? She was fantastic. According to Wikipedia, she's only 38 too. If anyone knows what she's up to, let me know – I'd blahdy lahv a cup of tea with her.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

67. R.E.M., Pilgrimage (1983)

I love this song. I love this band.

Monday, 12 January 2009

66. Dead Or Alive, You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (1984)

From the sublime to the ridiculous we go. I went to a pop quiz tonight, hosted by Rough Trade Records, in a lovely new pub called the Lexington, next door to the marvellous offices of The Word. The final round was Celebrity Big Brother themed, with the host playing songs by former contestants on a keyboard in a rather amusing manner. This was one of them. I am also reminded, through a fug of drink, that Jessica Simpson covered this too. Cower here if you're interested.

Oh, and we came fifth out of 25 teams. Not bad work, I thought.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

65. Paul McCartney, Pipes Of Peace (1983)

Twenty five years ago today, my father died. He was 33. I am 30 now, and the older I get the shortness of his life keeps growing in my mind, like a shadow under dim light. I have written about Dad before, and this particular piece says so much about the effect he had on my life, and the love of music he had that I somehow inherited.
This was the song I wrote about when I last wrote to him in early January 1984. It may not be Paul McCartney's finest work, but to me, it means everything.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

64. Erasure, A Little Respect (1988)

Today, he started to move out. This evening, I went to a party. Here, I danced to this song near a man in a sailor suit and a cowgirl in a pink hat, in front of a window that looked right onto the Thames. A Dalek birthday cake was also present. There's nothing like simple pleasures.

Friday, 9 January 2009

63. Neil Young, After The Goldrush (1970)

I thought this song was mine. It isn't any more. It's theirs.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

62. Nino Rota, The Godfather Theme (1972)

I have realised something significant these last weeks. It sounds overblown to say it, but it's true: I have fallen out of love with everything. It's as if I have lost all those romantic bones in my body; all those nerve-endings that tingled and burned every time I heard the first bars of a favourite song, read the first lines of a T.S. Eliot poem, or remembered something special, something sacred, from the past. They've all gone.

Tonight, I think I might have felt the first signs of life in me again. I went swimming, with four female friends, in the Oasis Centre in Shaftesbury Avenue, in the heated pool on the roof, under a sky thick with a pea-souper, the air swirling with ice. The moon kept peeking through like a sly cat, and as I watched it, swimming slowly on my back, I remembered the misty sensation of what it felt like to be alive.

It's a less romantic ending to the story to say that we went for pasta, then, us four girls, two heavy with pregnancy, and ranted and raved about subjects from the sublime (having children within marriage and without) to the ridiculous (whether Carrie from Sex And The City needed a sharp word). But as The Godfather theme played as the pasta was scooped up and the cranberry juices were sunk, I felt hope again, strangely enough. Honestly – truly – I think that I'm ready to let that in.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Normal service will soon be resumed

Entertaining my parents in London, a long trip to the North of England, and a few days readjusting to the new year have meant that normal service has been disrupted – by the lack of a computer in some cases, or the excess of events in others. Be prepared, everyone: normal service will resume soon.