Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Monday, December 30, 2013

Why I'm Going Dry

Over on the top left you'll see a link to My DryAthlon Page. This isn't anything to do with new faster processors for computers, nor an ad for a new cleaning business in which I am the silent partner. I am taking part in a month-long fundraising effort by Cancer Research UK. All I have to do is go without the booze for the entire month of January. What you guys can do for me, if you'd be so goodly kind, is to sponsor my efforts. How can you do this? Well, I'll tell you.

  1. You can donate by clicking on the button top left that says "Sponsor Me". it'll redirect you to my page where you can donate using a credit or debit card. If the button doesn't work, just go to and you'll be there.
  2. Alternatively you can use your mobile phone (if you are on a UK network) and text the code JEFY48  and your amount (£1, £2, £3, £5 or £10) to 70070. Standard network rates apply.
  3. You can come up to me in the street or at my place of work and fill in my sponsor sheet which as of Jan 1st I will have on me at all times. You can even give me the money at the same time if you like so I don't have to hunt you down on Feb. 1.
Why am I doing this? 
  1. Because it's a worthwhile cause. The sooner we as a species can eradicate cancer the better.
  2. Because I need to lose weight, and swearing off booze has been shown to have that effect. I need to lose weight for my own sake, and for the people I love. I want to be around for a long time.
So there you have it. That's what I'm up to, why I'm doing it, and why you should care. Now don't just sit there - press that button! Or, why not join me in my efforts, either as an act of moral support or as a way of raising money yourself. Thanks guys! I know you can help!

Hilarious Ad of The Moment

I know I rave about terrible commercials that air on our terrestrial networks here in the UK, but every so often a little gem pops up. The one I am about to show you is from supermarket chain ALDI, whose ads usually have a person comparing a name brand product with a comparable quality version of their own, with a witty remark at the end. The current one for champagne starts out like a Calvin Klein ad, all moody sepia tones and opera, but then after 20 seconds you are laughing your conkers off. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013's Best Ad

I wrote the other day about rubbish commercials. Here is my absolute favourite ad from the past year. This is the original, 2-minute version. Enjoy.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Crap Christmas Ads Roundup 2013

And once again here we are at Christmas, when the ad agencies pull out all the stops to make crap ads for your delectation and despair. So let's have a look at this year's dung-pile, shall we?

Irritation. Aggravation. Consternation. EXTERMINATION!!!

"Cause you're the fattest - I mean fittest girl in year 10".

ShuUUUaaaaaUUUuuuuUUUUeeeeUUUUTttt UP!!!!!!

OK, Tesco. Let's talk. First, you can't age someone 50 years just by putting a white streak in their hair, it doesn't fool anyone, period. Secondly, by using Rod Stewart you have just alienated anyone under 40. Thirdly, and I think this is perhaps the most important point, what the heck is this ad supposed to be selling? Nostalgia?

WTF??? Does that make ANY sense to you?

And lastly, this one. A lot of people love this and think it's cute. I hate it with a passion.

 More crap next year...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Puzzler: Stinky Britches

If you recall, many moons ago on The Puzzler I asked the question: "What was the name of the song that was written by Chef on South Park that was performed by Alanis Morissette that Cartman could not get out of his head?"

Well folks, the answer, if you are at all interested, was Stinky Britches. In the Chef AId episode, Alanis records the song and Mr. Garrison sees the video for the song on TV, which looks very similar to the video for Ironic. Chef is furious as he didn't receive the writing credit, and decides to sue, subsequently losing everything and hence the need for a benefit concert. However, in a later episode, Marilyn Manson is shown covering the song....

So now the next question... Marilyn Manson made several appearances on, and provided his own voice for which animated MTV show?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kids Today: They Don't Get Jokes

Yes folks, Jeff the old fogey is going to have another rant about Kids Today!

Remember those days back in the late 90s/early 2000s when Amanda Bynes was just a cute funny little girl on All That and The Amanda Show and not a complete bark-at-the-moon bona fide train wreck? Yes? OK. Well, she used to have a recurring sketch on her show where she and co-star Josh Server (what happened to him?) were dressed as hillbillies on the front porch of a mountain holler cabin, wearing overalls with no undershirt, teeth missing, freckles, ear of grass in the mouth, like a total yee-haw cartoony representation of backwoods rednecks, and she'd tell a knock-knock joke that made no sense and ended up with her hitting Josh in the head with whatever it was she said in the joke, i.e.:

AB: Knock knock!
JS: Who's there?
AB: Fire extinguisher!
JS: Fire extinguisher who?
AB: Imma hit you in the head with a fire extinguisher! (WHOMP!)

 Yeah, not terribly funny, but it got a laugh from the child-filled audience. But it was this kind of thing that I believe led to the state of things we have today, where anyone under the age of 25 does not get the kind of jokes that people of my age used to find funny (and, in my case at least, still find funny today). What I am talking about is the kind of kid jokes that, on the face of it, made no real sense, in that the events described within the joke are patently ridiculous and impossible, which is what makes them amusing in the first place. I'm talking about Doctor Doctor jokes, Waiter jokes, and especially Elephant jokes. Not with me? Let me explain with a quick example or two.

Man: Doctor! Doctor! I think I'm invisible!
Doctor: Who said that?!

How can you tell if an elephant's been in your fridge?
Footprints in the butter.

Man: Waiter! What's this fly doing in my soup?!
Waiter: Looks like the backstroke, sir.

What's the difference between an elephant and an aspirin?
I don't know.
Well, in that case I won't ask you next time I have a headache!

These jokes are funny because of the ridiculousness of the situation. These events could clearly never take place in real life. No-one would ever mistake an aspirin tablet for a full sized pachyderm, which is why it makes us laugh. But the Amanda Bynes joke actually makes more sense to today's kids. Why is this?

I don't have the answer. But I cite as evidence the following...

Pretty much every time one of our young'uns has friends over, I make jokes on the level that I enjoyed (still enjoy) as a 12- or 13-year-old, which not only include elephant jokes and the like, with their wacky and surreal situations (i.e. comedy gold) but also some fabulous puns. I can remember a particular instance when one of these young lads said to me after the aspirin joke above, "But that's ridiculous. Surely you'd know the difference between an elephant and an aspirin, I mean they're totally different!" to which I replied, "Yes - that's why it's funny!"

It's not only teens that do this. Even my co-workers (all in their early 20s) have trouble understanding my jokes, and believe me, it's not in the telling, it's not because they're obscure, it's not that they are too young to get the references (although they occasionally are), it's simply because they don't understand the format of a joke, or they find the situations too ridiculous to even entertain the possibility that perhaps an elephant might park his trike outside or that a bowl of custard might be shark-infested.

It is refreshing, therefore to see a show on TV such as Gigglebiz on the CBeebies channel, a sketch comedy show for preteens, hosted by Justin Fletcher in various guises in the sketches, and telling jokes with young kids inbetween.  There is hope for zany humour after all. Good to know that not all young people are so gosh-darn analytical.

Justin, as you can see, dons many guises, but by far my favourite is the Geordie fitness expert, Keith Fit. Here's Keith in action.

Hooray for silliness! Long may it live.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Guest Blogger Month

Greetings, sports fans and other types. Just a little note to let you all know about my Guest Blogger project.

It'll be taking place throughout the month of January and already several of my friends have signed up for it, so be warned. If you follow my blog and /or you're a blogger yourself and you'd be interested in writing a piece or two for Guest Blogger Month on The World Of Jeff!, then drop me a line or add a comment at the bottom of this post.

Now, where's my coffee?

Monday, November 18, 2013


Well, since we have once and for all finished with 100 Records That Shook the World, I am now pleased to invite some of my blogging buddies and other non-blogging friends to contribute guest spots to my blog. I have done some guest pieces on others' blogs and it's a lot of fun, so I figure I'll repay the favour. If anyone out there reading this feels like supplying something for my "Guest Blogger" spots, feel free.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #1

Well, we are finally there. The final entry on this list. You may or may not agree with this one, but even if you don't regard it as groundbreaking or influential in any way, you gotta agree with the fact that it's (a) a classic; and (b) a helluva groove.

Back To Life

Soul II Soul

I think it's better I link to this article where Jazzie B and Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul discuss the track and what it meant for British music.

'Nuff said.


100 Records That Shook The World, #2

The Stone Roses (LP)

The Stone Roses

Since the Stone Roses were the nominal leaders of Britain's "Madchester" scene -- an indie rock phenomenon that fused guitar pop with drug-fueled rave and dance culture -- it's rather ironic that their eponymous debut only hints at dance music. What made the Stone Roses important was how they welcomed dance and pop together, treating them as if they were the same beast. Equally important was the Roses' cool, detached arrogance, which was personified by Ian Brown's nonchalant vocals. Brown's effortless malevolence is brought to life with songs that equal both his sentiments and his voice -- "I Wanna Be Adored," with its creeping bassline and waves of cool guitar hooks, doesn't demand adoration, it just expects it. Similarly, Brown can claim "I Am the Resurrection" and lie back, as if there were no room for debate. But the key to The Stone Roses is John Squire's layers of simple, exceedingly catchy hooks and how the rhythm section of Reni and Mani always imply dance rhythms without overtly going into the disco. On "She Bangs the Drums" and "Elephant Stone," the hooks wind into the rhythm inseparably -- the '60s hooks and the rolling beats manage to convey the colorful, neo-psychedelic world of acid house. Squire's riffs are bright and catchy, recalling the British Invasion while suggesting the future with their phased, echoey effects. The Stone Roses was a two-fold revolution -- it brought dance music to an audience that was previously obsessed with droning guitars, while it revived the concept of classic pop songwriting, and the repercussions of its achievement could be heard throughout the '90s, even if the Stone Roses could never achieve this level of achievement again.


100 Records That Shook The World. #3

Paradise (LP)

Inner City

OK folks, I know this may not seem earth-shaking, but please bear some things in mind when it comes to this (and the next couple) of entries.
  1. This list was not compiled by me.
  2. This list was compiled in 1990, so they were kind of running short of 'world-shaking' records.

Now, let's talk about this record. The reason it's listed is because of its influence on later house/dance records and because it was of a new subgenre - Detroit Techno.

In the 1980s and '90s, a lot of dance music spotlighted female singers with thin, weak voices who seem on the verge of death. But house music has often been a home to expressive, big-voiced divas who can truly wail -- a fine example being Paris Grey of the duo Inner City. Along with producer/composer Kevin "Master Reese" Saunderson, Grey was responsible for some of the most rewarding dance music of the late '80s and early '90s. Inner City's debut album, Big Fun (titled Paradise in the U.K.), is full of house gems that enjoyed extensive dance club exposure, including "Good Life," "Do You Love What You Feel," "Ain't Nobody Better," and the title song. While Saunderson's production is decidedly high-tech, Gray's warm, passionate singing is mindful of dance music's heritage and underscores its soul and gospel roots in a delightful way. Unfortunately, Inner City never crossed over to the R&B or pop markets as Virgin Records hoped -- an irony considering that Big Fun is so much more individualistic and soulful than most of the generic efforts that dominated black radio in 1989.


100 Records That Shook The World, #4

Three Feet High And Rising

De La Soul
De La Soul's debut album has long been seen as an instant classic, but it's now sitting in something of a vacuum. The reason being that it's a so incredibly original that it paradoxically led the band down a creative dead end. Its message of positivity (shared by others such as A Tribe Called Quest), was originally seen as an answer to the world of rap, which had become increasingly misogynistic and violent. But take a look around today and it seems to confirm that while their message was both intelligent and deftly put, it fell on deaf ears. But for a moment , it looked like De La Soul had shown the direction that hip hop should take.
The LP is still sparklingly different. Prince Paul's use of samples from sources not usually associated with the genre (Steely Dan? Hall And Oates? The album's title was taken from a JOHNNY CASH song!) may seem ordinary now, but at the time it was groundbreaking. Ironically it was also what led to the legal minefield that such snippets provide for each new hip hop album as The Turtles sued for the use of 'You Showed Me' on 'Transmitting Live From Mars'.
And what of the subject matter? Here the issues addressed are hippie philosophy (Tread Water), first love (Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)), drug abuse (Say No Go), body odour (A Little Bit Of Soap), and, amazingly for a rap record, self-doubt (Can U Keep A Secret). It was all delivered in that self-deprecating style with oodles of humour. And while the 'hippie' tag bothered the band for years, it was a palatable blend that could have taken rap beyond material gain and gang problems. If only.


Friday, November 15, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #5

Yo! Bum Rush The Show

Public Enemy

They didn't have a chance of, or the intention of, crossing over. Raw. Confrontational. Designed to irritate and yet infuriatingly good.


100 Records That Shook The World, #6

Well folks, I said I'd finish this list today, and finish it I will, despite the fact that there are six records remaining. Here goes.

Graceland (LP)

Paul Simon

Paul Simon's musical career was at something of a low ebb. Hearts and Bones had been a disappointment. The Graceland album was originally inspired by Simon's listening to a cassette of the Boyoyo Boys instrumental "Gumboots." He described the Boyoyo Boys track as "instrumental music with an accordion, electric guitar, bass, and drums.", and that it reminded him of "a certain kind of fifties rock 'n' roll." Simon later wrote lyrics to sing over a re-recording of the song, which became the fourth track on the album.

Graceland features an eclectic mixture of musical styles including pop, a cappella, isicathamiya, rock, and mbaqanga. It was strongly influenced by South African musicians Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu, and the Zulu-Western pop cross-over music realized in their band Juluka. Juluka was South Africa's first integrated pop band. Much of the album was recorded in South Africa, and it features many South African musicians and groups. Simon was accused by organisations such as Artists United Against Apartheid, anti-apartheid musicians such as Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and Jerry Dammers and the then Ghanaian Ambassador to the United Nations James Victor Gbeho that he had broken the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa, which was in its final years at the time. Although supported by the United Nations Anti-Apartheid Committee, as the album showcased the talents of the black South African musicians while offering no support to the South African government, even the ANC protested the collaboration as a break in the cultural boycott. However Simon also received praise for encouraging South African music from Hugh Masekela, one of South Africa's most prominent musicians and an exiled opponent of apartheid, who subsequently toured alongside Simon and Miriam Makeba. The worldwide success of the album introduced some of the musicians, especially the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, to global audiences of their own.

Here's the one you all wanna see. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #7

Walk This Way

Run-DMC feat. Aerosmith

Well well well. Whatever next. Rap meets metal. Well, this combination of genres is pretty common these days, but this is the one that not only started it all, but the one that took rap from being just a flash-in-the-pan fad to another level. Simple concept really - take a well-known Aerosmith song, sample it, mix in hip-hop beats and shouty rappers, then get Aerosmith to sing it with you, along with the accompanying hi-larious video, and you have a hit, gentlemen. Revived Aerosmith's flagging career and bolstered their own career at the same time. Everybody wins. Instant classic. Rap rock is born.


100 Records That Shook The World, #8

Psychocandy (LP)

The Jesus And Mary Chain

I first saw JAMC on The Tube in early '85, performing "In A Hole" and "Never Understand " in what appeared to be a dank cellar of some sort. Aside from the sound of feedback upon feedback upon feedback and vocals barely intelligible below the surface of all that noise, with dull thuds of drums mixed in, what got me was the spotty angst of these floppy-haired ne'er-do-wells, who seemed barely able to stand up, let alone string a sentence together. I thought, "This is great! What an insane sound!" It seemed like this was the second coming of punk rebellion, and I had to have it. I next heard them in session on John Peel's show, and was even more enamoured by their stark refusal to sound like a real band and more like fifteen anglegrinders and a mumbler. Because below it all, there was actual musicianship, real tunes, pure rock n' roll devilry. And so I went out and bought "Never Understand" and "Just Like Honey".

Rock on.

100 Records That Shook The World, #9

Into The Groove


No matter what your opinion of our Madge may be, you have to concur with this one undeniable fact - this is a great dance tune. Amazing bassline, double-tracked lead vocal, lyrics that are simple when taken at face value, but with a hint of being dragged into a subterranean paradise when you read between the lines. Sexy, infectious, and the first 12" single to go gold since 1981's "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adver(t)se Reactions

There are some bizarre commercials around. The one above annoys me. Because around the 12-second mark, the son, who is presumably either at school or at the local pool, texts mum to say he's mislaid his swimming trunks. And then we see the mum coming out of a room (presumably the boy's bedroom, but possibly the laundry room?) holding said trunks and smirking inanely. She's found'em. Great! Or perhaps she was hiding them and the smirk is saying "That'll show the little git who's boss!", but the point is, unless the pool (or the school) is next door, she's not really going to say to herself  "I know what I'll do. I'll drive to the school, and once I get past security and the school secretary and have the boy paged to come to school reception and collect the trunks himself, he'll still have PLENTY of time to get back and swim.", is she? Not unless it's double P.E. that day.

Who knew Patsy Kensit was ever fat? Ever? OK, so you were married to Liam Gallagher, we all make mistakes luv. Boo hoo. Get a grip.

This is actually an actual tune by a band called The Molloys. However, what appears to be a folky video becomes a crap ad for sausages (which aren't all that good, really). Particularly loathsome is the bit at 32 seconds where the young man smiles at his mum and she does an impression of a squinting cat.

Oh come on Nicole. As if you eat.

Alright, where to start with this one?

"C'mon, more stylish..." What the hell is wrong with that room, lady?

"More like it!" "No. Way."  What the hell is wrong with that room, dude? Because it's too girly for you, ya curly-mop-white-afro-haired nob?

"Is there a pool?" She says. And he says, almost in surprise, "Tcheh, there is!" I have never stayed at a hotel, even a budget one, that didn't have a pool of some sort. Don't act so shocked.

P.S. I realise that in the USA you had the exact same ad but with Americans doing the voice overs. But did you know there was a German version?

Much better.

Then, lastly (actually I could go on and on, but let's not get too boring) there's this little nugget.

and this...

All of these make one thought resonate around my brain...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #10

You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

Dead Or Alive

Dead or Alive was a British dance-pop group which found fame thanks to the antics of androgynous frontman Pete Burns. Formed in Liverpool in 1980 after Pete's stints with The Mystery Girls and Nightmares In Wax, they debuted with the Ian Broudie-produced Doors soundalike "I'm Falling." "Number Eleven" followed, but just as the group was gaining momentum, they were swept aside by the emergence of the New Romantic movement, with Burns subsequently charging that fellow androgyne Boy George of Culture Club had merely stolen his outrageous image.

Burns reworked the Dead or Alive lineup including future Mission U.K. guitarist Wayne Hussey and bassist Mike Percy. Over the course of the next couple of years the group evolved into a true dance band and ultimately landed with major-label Epic. A series of singles appeared during 1983, including "Misty Circles" and "What I Want"; Hussey left for The Sisters Of Mercy, and the lineup comprising Burns, Percy, keyboardist Tim Lever, and drummer Steve Coy scored their first major hit, a 1984 cover of KC & the Sunshine Band's classic stomper "That's the Way (I Like It)" which made the British Top 30.

Sophisticated Boom Boom was the group's full-length debut and it fared well with audiences, but it was  in early 1985 with the Hi-NRG smash "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)," the first number one hit for the production team of Stock, Aitken & Waterman. The succeeding LP, Youthquake, was also a smash, yielding further hits in the form of the singles "Lover Come Back to Me," "In Too Deep," and "My Heart Goes Bang."

The success was never repeated, although "You Spin Me Round" has been re-released several times and made the charts on each occasion, especially during Pete Burns' infamous stint on Celebrity Big Brother.


P.S. You've all probably heard about Pete Burns' ongoing cosmetic surgery. Here's what he looks like now...

100 Records That Shook The World, #11

New Year's Day


The lyric had its origins in a love song from Bono to his wife. It was subsequently reshaped, inspired by the Polish Solidarity movement. The bass part stemmed from bassist Adam Clayton trying to figure out what the chords to the Visage song "Fade to Grey" were.

Bono said of the song in 1983, "I think the fact that it made the Top Ten indicated a disillusionment among record buyers. I don't think it was a pop single, certainly not in the way that Mickie Most might define a pop single as something that lasts three minutes and three weeks in the chart. I don't think we could have written that kind of song."

The song was "New Year's Day". It was the band's first UK hit single, peaking at #10 on the singles chart, #11 on the Dutch Top 40 and charting on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States for the first time in their career. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine placed the single at #435 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of  All Time.

U2 - New Year's Day from Kurt Damon on Vimeo.

According to The Edge's biography, the four horsemen seen riding away in the video are not the band, but four young women. Evidently it was so cold while filming that the band could not complete the horseback shot. Not only that but because of Bono's refusal to wear headgear, he had difficulty mouthing the words. Rock and roll is a tough gig.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretty Darn Unbelievable

Just in case there are some of you out there that read this blog (all four of you - yes, you! I can see you! Don't pretend to be asleep because I know you read this - or at least you pretend to. Pretty good at pretending there aren't you, actor boy!! They should call you "The Great Pretender"!! Oh, they do?? Really? Well, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'll just pick up where I left off, shall I? And once again, sorry about, well, you know. Because that mask sure is convincing. I mean, I didn't know there was a medical reason for it. I just thought it was... sorry. Forget I even mentioned it. It really is quite lifelike. You sure had me fooled. Very good. ... ... aaanyway..)

Where was I?? Ah yes. Just in case there are some of you out there that read this blog but don't read The Unbelievables, here on HIS blog my good friend and writing amigo Clark Brooks (who wanted me to call him The Great Clarkito - he's got some sort of unfulfilled magician fantasy, but I'm not going to pander to it - I mean, he's good but he's no Doug Henning. But then again, who is?) describes succinctly the many and varied reasons why The Unbelievables ought to be your comedic-blog-of-choice. If you don't believe him, then neener-neener-boo-boo.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Now folks, I'm going to have a little rant here, and it's about fashion. Those of you that know me personally may think that perhaps I have no room to talk, since there have been times when I have willingly and on purpose dressed like this...

That is me on the left in the pink denim jacket.
...but all I can say is 'bite me'.

The other day there was a teachers' strike. In fact, there was a day when kids did not go to school because the principal knew about the proposed strike and told all the parents, who then told their kids there was no school and had to make alternate arrangements no doubt, but the teachers (for the most part) turned up because they weren't all that fussed about joining the strike. Anyway, as is usually the case when there is no school, the town was awash with teenagers.

We went to Tesco, and there is an area outside Tesco with benches and bike racks and is essentially a good area for skateboarders, and we all know how annoying they are. There were a bunch of young males drinking energy drinks and scarfing choccy bars down, and one skateboard and one BMX bike. While we were sitting outside Tesco eating our recently purchased snackage (shopping is a chore that makes one somewhat esurient) watching the teens trying to pull off their fakie ollies and whatever other words there are for jumping about on a plank on wheels, certain questions came to mind.

1.Why do young people find that BMX bikes are always better when there are no gears or brakes? Essentially, to me, those are absolute requirements on a bike.

Fig. 1 -  Deathtrap.

 At least, if you are going to ride one on a road. Which I guess they would have to have done to get it to Tesco. But then they wouldn't look cool by standing up on the pedals and putting their foot on top of the front tyre in order to stop it. You don't know how much I was willing them to either get their feet stuck in the front forks or go arse over tit over the handlebars when they did this.

2. Why is it that the fashion that seems to signify rebellion these days is to look like a member of One Direction? The hair gelled and sprayed into highly unnatural bouffant styles,

Hairy Styles. Geddit? By the way, if no hair salon owner has called his place Hairy Styles yet, do. You're welcome.

 a pair of glasses of which any 1950's B-movie scientist would be proud,

or a kitchen nerd, of course.

 a Kurt Cobain-style flannel shirt,

the stupid baggy woolly hat (worn year-round for extra street cred)

 and those infuriating skinny jeans with the saggy butt.What is that about?

Seriously, you look like you've pooped yourself.
3. Then there was the dude with the long-sleeved T-shirt under the sleeveless hoodie with the screenprinted logo of some punk band on it even though these kids' parents were probably not even born when the Ramones or The Pistols had their heyday. It'd be like me wearing a Paul Robeson T-shirt.

All I can say is...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #12

This Charming Man

The Smiths

Jangly guitars, references to Keats and Yeats, mutant choirboy vocals... doesn't sound like much of  a recommendation for a band, does it? Yet when The Smiths second single This Charming Man was released on Rough Trade Records at the end of October 1983, it ushered in a new age.

The song is defined by Marr's jangle pop guitar riff and Morrissey's characteristically morose lyrics, which revolve around the recurrent Smiths themes of sexual ambiguity and lust.

Morrissey deliberately used archaic language when composing the voice-over style lyrics for "This Charming Man". His use of phrases and words such as 'hillside desolate', 'stitch to wear', 'handsome' and 'charming' are used to convey a more courtly world than the mid-Eighties north of England, and evoke a style that has, in the words of the music critic Mat Snow "nothing to do with fashion".

Allmusic's Ned Raggett noted that "Early Elvis would have approved of the music, Wilde of the words", and described the track as "an audacious end result by any standard".

The song's lyrics features dialogue borrowed from a cult film. The line "A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place" is borrowed from the 1972 film adaptation of Anthony Shaffer's 1970 homoerotic play Sleuth, in which Laurence Olivier plays a cuckolded author to Michael Caine's 'bit of rough'.


Monday, October 14, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #13


Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Originally, it sounded like this....

But after a certain producer and ex-Buggle got hold of it....

it sounded like this.....

...and after the intervention of a certain outraged BBC Radio 1 DJ...

the rest, as they say, is history.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #14

Blue Monday

New Order

The record. The one that said "We are no longer Joy Division". The one that showed that 12" singles actually had a purpose beyond pointless extended versions of three-minute songs. The one that plundered from Moroder, Klein+MBO and Kraftwerk and influenced the geniuses of Detroit Techno. The one that still sounds like the future even though it's thirty years old. That record. This record. Crank up the speakers on your machine and enjoy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Love Whitechapel

So what's the deal with Whitechapel?

I don't normally review TV shows (or anything really) but this show Whitechapel on ITV has gotten under my skin more than other shows do.

It's kinda hard for me to do a concise review as the show now appears to be in its fourth series, which begs the question: how did I miss the other three? Dunno, can't say for sure, but it's probably something to do with the fact that most dramas on ITV I tend to disregard. Downton Abbey? Never seen it, don't want to, don't care.

So anyway all I can tell you is that despite its flaws, Whitechapel is a cracking police drama. I love the storylines and the characters, but I must admit the first episode I watched kind of annoyed me. Here's why.

Remember that piece of crap movie Stigmata with Gabriel Byrne and that Arquette woman that wasn't the one in Desperately Seeking Susan? Remember how much that film relied on spooky atmospheric shots and extended sequences of slo-mo drops of water backwards? How much you thought if they'd left all that stuff out the film would only be half an hour long? Yeah, Whitechapel can appear to be like that, on the surface. There's lots of that sort of thing, but this is because the characters are all a bit odd. They all have so much personal baggage they could fill a couple carousels at Heathrow. For example:

DI Chandler suffers from OCD, which means he's a total germophobe, is frequently nauseous at crime scenes, and tends to use the cleanest loos available in the police station to change his shirt in (which he does at least once an episode). During these bathroom scenes he obsesses about the taps dripping and has weird little inexplicable flashbacks (about what, I do not know).

Miles, Chandler, Buchan - three weirdos who solve grisly murders.

DS Miles is an older, seasoned veteran with little tolerance for timewasters. He also keeps hearing footsteps coming down corridors when he's on the way to his office and is convinced he's being stalked by some sort of phantom.

DC Megan Riley has for some weird reason been nursing a boil on her hand and making it worse. Other than that she's pretty normal.

Ed Buchan  is a nerdy, bookish (i.e. smart) Ripperologist who fancies DC Riley and has been a bit jittery since being kidnapped in a recent episode by a man who flays people and cuts their faces off to use as masks. Understandable.

DC Mansell is a bit of a laddish joker type who keeps getting phone calls from persons unknown and just got dumped by his girlfriend and tried to kill himself.

Dr Caroline Llewellyn is the police pathologist, who appears to be fairly normal apart from the fact that she is apparently 400 months pregnant and the size of a houseboat. Oh, and she just lanced Riley's boil. Nice.

DC Kent is the youngest member of the team and is a bit of a suck-up to Miles and a total dick to Mansell. Mansell is a dick to Kent in return.

The police station itself is poorly lit. Even with all the lights on it seems eerie, dark and the sort of place you would be more likely to see in a horror movie as the abandoned house by the side of the road where the killer is hiding in the basement with nipple clamps, an assortment of medieval weaponry and farm machinery, and plenty of duct tape. They really need to get a good electrician in.

In fact, everything in the series seems to be filmed in the half-light, which is supposedly atmospheric, but tends to be annoying, if not for the superb plots, writing and acting.

You might be forgiven for thinking that I hate this show, but I love it. If you haven't seen it, I strongly suggest you do so. Now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #15

Murmur (LP)


 It was Rolling Stone's Best Album of 1983, beating Michael Jackson's Thriller, The Police's Synchronicity and U2's War.

Murmur is the debut album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in 1983 on I.R.S. Records. Murmur drew critical acclaim upon its release for its sound, defined by singer Michael Stipe's cryptic lyrics, guitarist Peter Buck's jangly guitar style, and bassist Mike Mills' melodic basslines.

Murmur's sound characterized the quieter, introverted side of the first wave of alternative rock in the United States. The sound was new at the time, though not stepping beyond the constructs of traditional rock music. The guitars have a bright, ring-like chime that brought on comparisons to The Byrds, and the bass guitar has the bright punchy sound of the Rickenbacker favored by Mike Mills. Mills carries much of the melodic element of the music on the bass, contributing to the moody sound of early R.E.M. albums. Also contributing to this sound is the distant singing of Michael Stipe whose obscure lyrics, sung indistinctly, lend to the mystery and depth of the music.


100 Records That Shook The World, #16

The Message

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

This song is credited as the catalyst for the conscious Hip-Hop or political sub-genre of Hip-Hop music. It is a social narrative that details the struggles and difficulties due to living in poverty in the inner-city. In addition, it embodies the distress, anger, and sadness an individual experiences when confronting these inequalities. The description of various social and economic barriers followed by the mantra “don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head” exemplifies that it is not just the disparity in opportunity that is oppressive but also the emotional response that is debilitating. It is frequently referred to as the greatest record in hip hop history and was the first Hip-Hop record ever to be added to the United States' National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings.

As you can see from the label above, the two artists featured on the song are Melle Mel and Duke Bootee. This is because Bootee provided the music while Melle Mel rapped over it. The other members of the band, while credited on the disc, did not perform on it, nor did they want to have anything to do with it because of its political nature. However, the song proved to be the band's biggest hit and opened up a whole new world for hip-hop.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What's Up?

On November 15th 2009 I began to inject into this blog a series called 100 Records That Shook The World!, a list originally published in 1990 by the short-lived VOX magazine. The regulars amongst you will have noticed that I have done several of these in the last few days, and may have wondered what's up. Well, to tell the truth, I'm getting a bit tired of doing it so I'm trying to get the last few done before the 15th November rolls around again. I'll publish the last one on or around that date just because I am a little OCD like that.

When I think about it it is almost incomprehensible that I have been blogging for four years now. Where has the time gone? Maybe I should have an anniversary party. Ha! That'd be fun. It'd have to be a 'virtual' party or a Skype party because I think most of my regular readership comes from overseas, or at least a long way away.

Anyhoo... back to the motley.

100 Records That Shook The World, #17

Release The Bats (EP)

The Birthday Party
The Birthday Party (originally known as The Boys Next Door) were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983.

In 1980, The Birthday Party moved from Melbourne to London, where they were championed by broadcaster John Peel. Disillusioned by their stay in London, the band's sound and live shows became increasingly violent. They broke up soon after relocating to West Berlin in 1983. Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party's influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called one of "the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s." In his lyrics, Nick Cave frequently used Old Testament imagery, combining "sacred and profane" themes. Their 1981 single "Release the Bats" was particularly influential on gothic rock, a tag which the band rejected.



100 Records That Shook The World #18

Joy Division

Love Will Tear Us Apart

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a song by the British post-punk band Joy Division. It was written in August 1979, and debuted when the band supported Buzzcocks on their UK tour in September and October 1979. It is one of the few songs in which singer Ian Curtis played guitar (albeit somewhat minimally). The lyrics ostensibly reflect the problems in Ian Curtis's marriage to Deborah Curtis, as well as his general frame of mind in the time leading up to his suicide in May 1980. The title is an ironic reference to the song "Love Will Keep Us Together". Deborah Curtis had the phrase "Love Will Tear Us Apart" inscribed on Ian Curtis's memorial stone.


Monday, September 16, 2013

100 Records That Shook The World, #19

Cous Cous

Last time on the Puzzler I asked what Meat Loaf's original stage name was, according to the South Park episode in which he appeared? The answer, which I am sure you knew, was Cous Cous.

Next question!

In that episode of South Park "Chef Aid", what was the song that Chef wrote and Alanis Morrisette stole and recorded? Cartman couldn't get it out of his head.

Clue: it's not this.

100 Records That Shook The World, #20

Entertainment! is the debut album by English post-punk band Gang of Four, released in September 1979. This album was released on EMI in the UK and on Warner Bros. in the US.
The music on the first album shows clearly the influence of punk, yet also incorporates funk and less-obvious influences of reggae and dub, similar to other bands at the time such as Public Image Ltd., Pere Ubu, and The Pop Group. As with these other influential post-punk bands, the bass is mixed much more prominently than it typically is in rock or punk.


100 Records That Shook The World, #21

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oreo Bandwagon

There is an ad currently on TV that infuriates me to no end every time it comes on screen. It is an ad for Oreo cookies wherein an annoying little girl shows her dad how to eat an Oreo. You know the whole stupid drill - twist, lick, stick it back together, dunk, eat. But don't let Daddy have any!! Vile. Repellent. Eww.

 Why do I say this? Because the girl and Dad in question are English. Oreos, and the stupid twist lick thing are American, and I found that bit of cookie culture horrible enough when Americans indulged in it. To see two English people assimilate American culture on TV in this way makes me want to gag. Why? you ask. Why? I'll tell you why. And yes - this is a rant.

Firstly, Americans seem to be obsessed with the idea that dunking cookies in  ice cold milk is a wonderful, gleeful thing for all ages to enjoy. If you don't dunk your Toll House or your Chips Ahoy in chilled moo juice you are un-American, apparently, and to be shunned.

Here in the UK where I was brought up, you dunk cookies (actually, biscuits - that's what we call cookies over here, in case you didn't know) in hot tea, hot coffee or hot chocolate if you are planning a massive myocardial infarction. And I will explain to you why.

Dunking a cookie as hard as an Oreo in ice cold cow extract results in what? An Oreo with a thin layer of wet cold stuff on it. Eww.
Dunking a biscuit such as a Digestive or a Custard Cream into a steaming mug of hot coffee results in what? Moist, warm, melt-in-the-mouth cookie deliciousness infused with coffee flavour. What's not to like?

But when I lived in the States and dared to dunk in the manner of my forefathers, people looked at me like I was a bit touched.

I mean, can we just examine this little ritual that has somehow become a hallowed part of American pop culture? First, let's look at the Oreo. What the hell is so great about two hard little biccies that taste vaguely of chocolate with some synthetic sugary icing between them?

The only reason to twist them apart in my experience was so that you could twist another one apart and then sandwich the two with the icing attached back together to make a mega-Oreo, but frankly, I'd take a Pepperidge Farm cookie or a Nutter Butter over an Oreo. It's no good using the Oreo for the hot-dunk method either. It does not make it taste any better. Kinda ruins the coffee too.

But to twist the two halves apart, lick the icing, and then sandwich them back together, what the heck is that all about? Do you not have enough saliva in your diet, is that it?

So you've got your slobbery cookie, and now you want to dip it in milk? Well, thanks but no thanks, Jack. I'll take my Chocolate Digestive and a piping hot cuppa, cheers all the same.

Even famous Irishmen love to dunk.
Not to mention wacky top chefs.

Oh, and what the hell kind of grip over her father does this girl have that he's not allowed to eat any? Who the heck does she think pays for the damn things?

And what's with this bastardisation?

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

Alright, rant over.

P.S. I do quite like Oreo McFlurries, though.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Farnsworth Moment

You might remember a while back when I bemoaned the lack of creativity and skill of this town's young'uns when I stumbled upon this paean to disaffected youth:

I have since discovered that I was wrong. In fact, the young people of Tenterden (those in possession of markers or spray paint, anyway) have a LOT to say about the world and their feelings and that, innit, blud. Take this example:

Seriously? In one of the whitest towns I know? Lil' Wayne, you have a lot to answer for.

Then there's this one that I am sure we can all relate to.

Well, who doesn't? And finally, the one that says it all...

LOL indeed. I have only one thing to say to this...

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