Castaway Tunes

So the BBC is asking members of the public to nominate their own 8 choices for Desert Island Discs, no doubt so they can see how the tastes of we plebs differ from those of the celebrity guests. It seems like the perfect excuse to list my choices here as well. In no particular order beyond as I think of them, here are mine-

1. Echobelly – I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me

1994 belonged to Oasis but, though I do have a soft spot for the mono-browed brothers, it should have been Echobelly’s year. Better songs, more interesting sound and vastly more attractive and interesting singer. I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me is a perfect piece of ego and joy, it can’t fail to make me happy.

2. Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5

I could have chosen the raw blast of Joe, my introduction to the band, or Sackville, which has the added interest of being about the street I used to study on. But there’s a power to this one. And apart from Sleeping Satellite, how many other pop songs have been about the lapsed glories of the space race?

Bonus Sackville and Joe videos-

3. Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – Say It With Flowers

I used to have After The Watershed as my Carter song because I pulled to it once and there’s something so wrong about the juxtaposition of the song’s subject and memories of getting laid. And Only Living Boy In New Cross was one of the songs which kept me going in 2001. But Say It With Flowers gave me the title to Sounds of Soldiers, and every radio show needs a plug.

Bonus videos-

4. James – Sit Down

James made many damn fine records. But, really, there was only ever going to be one choice from them wasn’t there? It’s an anthem and it’s beautiful.

5. Camper Van Beethoven – Life Is Grand

Because it is. If I ever make a film I want this song over the closing credits.

6. 10cc – I’m Not In Love

It gives you shivers. Glorious.

7. The Wonder Stuff – Ruby Horse

Another song that gave me a book title (Ruby Red, I’m not mercenary, it really is an excellent song.

8. Frank Sinatra – New York, New York

Many many great nights have wound down to Ol’ Blue Eyes’ anthem. It seems appropriate for it to be the last song on the list.

38 Line Poem

When I lay night,

you know I feel alright,

and there’s a reason why.

And my reasons why,

I feel so high,

I’ve got the flying five.

And no I wouldn’t sing,

just to gather hoards,

that would only bore.

My reasons why

I’m with the flying five,

they’re worth so much more.

And no they didn’t come,

just to sing you pop,

or to join the rot.

You know they didn’t come

to hear the words

“Forget Me Not”,

‘cos they’re just like everybody else.

38 Line Poem – Wonder Stuff

And it's you girl, making it spin

I’m so Dizzy, my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it’s you girl, making it spin
you’re making me dizzy

The first time that I saw you, girl
I knew that I just had to make you mine
But it’s so hard to talk to you with fellas
hanging ’round ya all the time

I want you for my sweet pet,
but you keep playing hard to get
You’re going round in circle all the time

I’m so Dizzy, my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it’s you girl, making it spin
you’re making me dizzy

Finally got to talk to you,
and I told you just exactly how I felt,
Then I held you close to me,
and I kissed you, and my heart began to melt

Girl you’ve got control of me
‘Cause I’m so dizzy, I can’t see
I need to call a doctor for some help

I’m so Dizzy, my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it’s you girl, making it spin
you’re making me Dizzy, my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it’s you girl, making it spin
you’re making me Dizzy

I’m Dizzy

I’m Dizzy

Like a whirlpool




(repeat till end)

Dizzy – Vic Reeves and Wonder Stuff

The super popular song request one year (’91 or ’92 I think).

Me and Ruby Red, we never went to bed……..

Ruby Horse I know of course, that it’s you,
Ruby Horse I ran your course, and I’m blue.
(black & blue)

I spent friday night with a fly-by-night,
she said, hold on tight,
she said, “Hold on tight”.
I’m a son of a gun, I’m a son of a gun
It’s a bad thing I’ve done….
Me and my mother’s only son.

Remember us? I do,
Funny me and funny you.
Oh the sun shone down like marmalade
and covered us like glue

Then she turned on me
with all honesty, me and Ruby Red,
We never went to bed.
That’s the truth of course
me and Ruby Horse, she
left too soon….
Underneath a bright new moon.

Ruby Horse I know of course that it’s you,
Ruby Horse I ran your course and I’m blue.
Oh Ruby Red I know you’re dead and I’m through.

Ha, ha, ha.

Ruby Horse – Wonderstuff

I’m revisiting “Ruby Red”, a story I wrote in 1992, to probably publish it through Lulu. It’s an odd experience, talking to myself when I was fifteen years younger.

The story was written because of, but not about, a relationship. It rolled out in three weeks of intensive typing in the summer. I was using Wordwise, a word processor on a ROM that slotted into the BBC Model B.

At the moment I’m just skimming through the files, taking out some of the formatting so I can apply styles to it later. I don’t know how much editing I’m going to do after that, I don’t really want to push aside my 22 year old self, no matter how stilted some of the descriptive passages sound to me now (I’ve always been quite good with dialogue, I think).

There are one or two things that have gone since I wrote the story. It’s been over a decade since I canoed and I can’t feel so carefree about just getting in a car and going for a drive any more. But there’s an awful lot that’s still recognisably me. I have a couple of near indestructible Ned’s Atomic Dustbin “Kill Your Television” long sleeves, and I still love the song. The music from the early nineties has stuck with me and the 90s revival is making me a happy man. Most of all I still have an, as yet unrequited, thing for short redheads.

Beat me with the pumice stone, eight to the bar

My lavatory has been my sanctuary
And it’s easy for you to laugh at me
‘Cos I been 30 good years in the bathroom, baby
Rubadubdub one man in a tub and it’s me
Always me

And now the time has come to share the joke
That the latch on the bathroom door is broke
And now it’s time to let you know
That it’s only the beat of my heart that is slow
Who’s fault is this? I deny that it’s mine
I been stuck in here since 1959
That’s 30 good years in the bathroom baby
But it’s okay, yeah it’s okay
Cos when they come to take me away
I will be clean, I will be clean

30 Years in the Bathroom – Wonderstuff

Silent Bob listens

Kevin Smith’s previously unpublished celebrity iTunes playlist. It’s time to do as he demands and put together my own playlist with explanations. However, to keep the usual suspects from surfacing, this is going to be based upon the year just gone.

James – Sit Down/ Oasis – Live Forever/ Stone Roses – I am the Ressurection

The Manchester Passion was one of the big events of the year, with something for everyone whether they were religious or not. My video of it can be found here.

Fun Loving Criminals- Scooby Snacks

Because there’s something so satisfying about a crowd full of people in a mill town shopping square on an overcast Sunday all bawling “Any of you fucking pigs move, I’ll execute every last motherfucking one of you!” Flickr photos tagged with “Oldham Festival”. More photos here.

Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5/ The Wonderstuff – Welcome to the Cheap Seats

Tom Hingley and the Lovers opened their set at the Blackburn Arts in the Park event with a belting version of Saturn 5 and then went on to play an Inspirals nostalgia set when they noticed how the old farts at the left side of the stage loved it so. I can’t remember whether The Wonderstuff played Welcome to the Cheap Seats in their set, but it seems apt for a free festival. Photos here. Buy Abba Are The Enemy by Tom Hingley and the Lovers. Wonderstuff stuff. Inspiral Carpets stuff

Liam Frost – The Mourners of St Pauls/ Aim – Demonique

I saved Dpercussion. I even had a sticker that said so. Liam Frost does damn fine melodic songs. Everyone else was hot for the Pipettes, but I wasn’t that impressed. Far better music, and a much more attractive front lady, was provided by Aim. I don’t remember whether they did Demonique, but I chose it because it’s one of the scariest pieces of moody music I’ve ever heard. Dpercussion photos here.

REM – At My Most Beautiful/ Alice Cooper – Poison

Key songs from the two weddings I attended this year.


Songs to get buried to
Music to get laid to
A short favourites list

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Songs to get buried to

Following on from Monday’s post about the top ten funeral songs, I thought it would be worth drawing up a list of alternative funeral songs. Leave your own suggestions in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me – Echobelly
The already mentioned brisk two fingers to death and a call to enjoy life.

Life is Grand – Camper Van Beethoven
After an album of songs about death and drugs the Beethovens turn around and say, “The hell with you miserable bastards, we quite enjoy life.”

The Only Living Boy in New Cross – Carter USM
You can never be sure with Carter, they hide some dark subjects under their pop-punk. This song seems to be about the pressures of touring and I adopted it as the theme tune to a hellish period on the road in 2001. In keeping with the memorial theme it does have a dedication-

Goodbye Rudy, David and Rosie
Abraham and Julianne
and everyone that knows me

The gypsies, the travellers and the thieves
The good, the bad, the average and unique
The grebos the crusties and you and I

Wonderstuff – Give, Give, Give, Me More, More, More

Well I hope I make more money than this in the next world.
I hope there’s a lot more in it there for me.
I’d like my trousers pressed and my shoes
shined up by a rich girl,
who’s only care in the world is me.

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong or Joey Ramone
Because it is a wonderful world, and perhaps people need reminding.

Previous musical lists-
Music to get laid to


Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python
So obvious I’m surprised more people don’t choose it. Best if you can be sure a choir of friends and family will get up to perform it.

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Blackburn Arts in the Park

As promised, photos from Blackburn’s Arts in the Park festival-

The first band we saw who were worthy of the name (there was a dire cover versions duo on the main stage when we arrived) were Story One. There should definitely be more fiddles in indie music. Their new album is being released online on 1st August. Well worth checking out.

Next up were Polytechnic who, I’m afraid, didn’t impress.

Tom Hingley and the Lovers, one of the three bands we came to see for nostalgia reasons. After an excellent opening with Saturn 5 they went on to play a great set of mostly Inspiral Carpets classics.

As noted earlier, there should definitely be more fiddles in indie music. When they’re played by Erica Nockalls- 9th and 10th legs of the Groove Machine- even the most guitar centred indie boy would agree. An excellent set of Wonderstuff nostalgia. I started out quite close to the front and edged ever closer as the area behind me became a drunken mosh pit. I spotted two young boys right by the barrier, one of them only just able to see over it, with no-one around to protect them. I did my best, but ended up being unable to resist one of the surges and the smaller kid got pushed against the barrier and burst his nose. Security helped me lift them over to safety after that, but I feel bad I couldn’t protect them better.

Finally, the headliners, the Lightning Seeds. I’ve always liked their music but for some reason not got round to buying any of their albums. Despite the songs beiong more laid back the mosh pit seemed to have grown. This may just have been an impression formed by being on the side of it, and able to see the chaos, rather than in front of it this time.

Apart from the idiots who kept trying to crush children, this was an excellent (and free, I like free) gig. There’ll be another one next year, so look out for that.

On Amazon-
Story One
Tom Hingley
Lightning Seeds

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It's a popular misconception, that says we haven't seen anything yet

It's a popular misconception, that says we haven't seen anything y et
It’s a popular misconception, that says we haven’t seen anything y et,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Tom Hingley and the lovers performing at Blackburn’s arts in the park festival. Also on the bill were Wonderstuff and the Lightning Seeds. More pictures and a review in the next few days.
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jesus loves you more than i do

jesus loves you more than i do
jesus loves you more than i do,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Went to see war of the worlds last night and it was far better than i expected. I should have had more faith, really, because this was spielberg after all. The Terminal was a bit poor, but most of his other output has been solid. He even got the scientology dwarf to do stuff that looked a lot like real acting.

A recent post on world changing pointed out that the original novel was an attack on imperialism. No matter how watered down the message gets that makes this, rather than RoTS the big anti iraq war/bush movie of the year. The message is still there if you look- one character opines that occupations never work and cruise’s character tries at first to keep his son from joining the resistance and finally, when all hope seems lost, makes the desperate decision to become a suicide bomber. (he lives, of course, because he’s the hero)

there are failings, such as the feel good resurrection at the end, but overall very good.

Only one thought on what’s happened in london- when tony tells up it could have been prevented by identity cards it’ll just be final proof that he’s lying manipulative scum.

Update Title lifted from Donation, by The Wonderstuff, off the Never Loved Elvis album.

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Never Loved Elvis

Actually, what I’m going to admit is probably a greater sin than dissing the King. I hated The Smiths. Specifically, I hated Morrissey’s miserable moaning vocals and self importance. (I was at sixth form during the height of their fame and I admit that part of it was a reaction against the wankers who were Smiths fans). Their songs have always sounded better when covered or mixed to remove the quiffed ones voice.

Having alienated masses of people, there’s an interview with Morrissey in the Guardian.

(Never Loved Elvis, The Wonderstuff)

Music to get laid to

Title and idea lifted from a conversation last Friday.

I’m in a list making mood again, and with the concept of Music To Get Laid To rattling around inside my head it’s time to go through the songs that are sexiest, most romantic or have the most horny memories attached. Plus, of course, it gives me the chance to do some referal pimping.

Slow Song (live version) by Joe Jackson. A song all about the joy of listening to romantic songs and why the DJ should play at least one snogging slowdance number in their set. It’s also over eight minutes long, so I’d only have to put it on repeat four or five times.

38 Line Poem by The Wonderstuff. I only got to see the ‘stuffies live once, at Preston Guild Hall. It was the night before I lost my virginity and they played an early version of this song. So obviously it’s tied to a special moment, but it’s also a fine song, all about knowing there are people you can rely on out there.

After the Watershed (Early Learning the Hard Way) by Carter USM. Not what you’d consider a sexy song really, given the subject matter. But I pulled to it once so it has a special place in my groin heart.

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah. Nothing else to say really, just a lovely song even if the last verse is all about losing her. (Where does a blue eyed boy go to find himself a brown eyed girl?)

There She Goes by The La’s. It may be all about drugs, but it’s still sexy if you don’t think too hard about the lyrics.

Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer. Just the right side of too sweet. Their version of the previous song’s not bad either.

The whole of Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. I still only have this on tape, but on repeat on cd this would be the soundtrack to a long lazy naked Sunday in bed with your lover.

I’m sure there are more, and I’ll add them to the comments as I think of them, but now it’s time for you to nominate your bedroom ballads and sexy singalongs.

The radio's on, but I don't hear a song

I never got dance music, at least as far as the clubbing scene went. Right at the start of the Nineties there was a raver meme that they were destroying the cult of personality that had formed behind rock singers and now it was all about the music. To prove this they went off and created a cult of personality around star DJs and mixers. Some artists and some songs are excellent, but I could never bring myself to pretend that I’d enjoy a narrativeless night of BPMs and beats. So I’m quite happy to see that the whole scene is collapsing in on itself.

The Wonderstuff, Who Wants To Be The Disco King?

(Note on the lyrics thing- It’s no longer mandated that all titles must be from songs, but I am going to pimp referrals whenever possible.)

Last of the Big Time Drinkers

Rummaging through old floppies to find something to stick drivers on, I found one with a single file on it- a Word document with this text-

There�s a line in an old Wonderstuff song, I think it was Ruby Horse- �The sun shone down like marmalade, and covered us like glue.� I�m seeing just that. The sun�s just cleared the mountains and the light is being gathered by the old Conker tree, turning the leaves golden green [which is another Wonderstuff song, but I won�t go off on that tangent]. What isn�t supercharging chlorophyll escapes as beams made tangible by the light reflecting off dust motes, pollen and other things that are the bane of hayfever sufferers. Then, to top this off and add a little sheen, there�s the fact that my eyes are too apathetic to focus properly, my mind is a fraction of a second behind my body and there�s white noise from my brain as it re-routes its functions round the brain cells I killed last night. Weirdly enough, this hangover on a summer�s morning in the countryside is one of the most beautiful things I�ve ever experienced.


Inspired by this Observer article, itself inspired by a Nick Hornby essay collection, I’m throwing open a Team Spinneyhead challenge to name and explain favourite and important tracks from our pasts. They don’t have to be ranked, mine are going to tumble out in the order they occur to me.
Stupid Girl by Garbage. An all time favourite for all the right reasons- excellent song, great lyrics, nastiness as pop perfection- and all the wrong ones. Suffice to say there’s a tale, but it’ll make me look all spiteful, childish and bitter. Check out this for art imitating life, so I don’t have to elaborate.
Stress by Jim’s Big Ego (Flash video) The summer of 2000, sitting in a little office downloading songs on company time, doing the bare amount of work and no-one noticing. Little did I know this song was about the year to come.
After The Watershed, Say It With Flowers and The Only Living Boy In New Cross by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Let’s see. I pulled to Watershed (another event recorded for posterity, but less vividly, in fiction), Flowers gave me the title to Sounds of Soldiers and New Cross was a mad bastard driving song for 2001.
I Can’t Imagine The World Without me by Echobelly. Just brilliant. This lot arrived in 93/94 and were only overshadowed by Oasis. As great as the Burnage boys were, Echobelly deserved far more attention than they got.
Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) by The Buzzcocks. Pretty much sums up my relationship with the subject of Stupid Girl.
Small Blue Thing by Suzanne Vega. Ah, first love. So sweet, so innocent, so utterly, utterly embarassing. Dedicated to Amy Hunter, who I had the biggest unrequited crush on when I was seventeen.
I’m Not In Love by 10cc. Because I’m just a disgusting, soppy romantic.
Don’t Let Me Down Gently by The Wonderstuff. Loud, loud, loud, fun, fun ,fun.
Let It Be by The Beatles. September 13th 2001. I was living with a guy who knew people who worked in the WTC, but I was far too fucked up by work to be any use or comfort. The radio alarm went off and I hit the snooze button, but got up anyway. When the radio came back on it was this song and I just stopped what I was doing and cried.
There are more, but I think I’ll save them for another post.