Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Superstar D.J.

A couple of weeks ago I was pondering what to do for a New Year's post. Annual reviews and predictions were already beginning to pop up across the blogosphere.  People seemed keen to get started on looking back.

I enjoy reading those kind of posts but my memory is so unreliable I can barely recall what happened last week let alone twelve months ago so the thought of composing a retrospective of my own fills me with dread. Then I had an idea.

If there's one thing I associate with the turning of the year more than any other it's music. I think it's a legacy of Eighties' partying combined with decades of New Year's Eve music specials on TV, from Jools Holland's inevitable Hootenanny to Darlene Love on Letterman. Okay, that's Christmas but I have a habit of watching it on YouTube at New Year's. We never got the Letterman Show on broadcast T.V. in the U.K., more's the pity.

Anyway, it occurred to me that the three constants throughout the lifetime of this blog have been MMORPGs, screenshots and music. When I started this thing back in 2011 I had the idea I'd include a song and a link to an audio file in every post.  That turned out to be a straightjacket that didn't fit so I shrugged it off but I still try to shoehorn in as many musical references as I can manage.

This year, like every year, I've used a lot of song titles and snatches of lyrics as titles for posts. I always hope someone will comment and occasionally someone does but mostly I have to take it on trust that the pitch is landing.

So I thought how about dragging the whole thing into the light for a New Year's post. I have a YouTube channel, after all, even though I don't make much use of it. I've never made a playlist but how hard could it be?

Not at all. The hardest part was choosing the versions. I'd always rather link to a live performance or a video than a static image but sometimes there wasn't a live version that did the song in question justice. The first one is a still image, unfortunately, but I did them in the chronological order of the posts.

More awkward than that there were a few times where I'd picked a title that's been used for more than one song and I couldn't always remember which I'd had in mind when I wrote the post. Then there were the handful of post titles I'd unadvisedly let slip past quality control without due consideration as to whether I really wanted to associate myself with the band in question. I ended up leaving one or two off the list - I am really not prepared to put my name to anything that features The Eagles...

In the end I was left with forty-two songs and here they are. It makes for an incoherent playlist and there's way too much old stuff on there for my liking. My tastes these days run far more to music made in the last decade or two than this playlist suggests but the unfortunate fact is that, when I rack my brain for titles and quotes to run at the top of a post, it's the ones that got burned into my brain when I was younger that pop to the surface most readily.

Regardless, it is what it is and I stand by everything on this list. Yes, even Kylie.

There's a full listing, in order, below and the little widget on the top left of the YouTube panel opens a drop-down so you can select anything you fancy. If you just let the whole playlist run then I'm not responsible for the effects on your sanity. And the post title was Mrs Bhagpuss's idea!

So here you are - a bit early but who cares?

Happy New Year!

Buzzcocks - Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
The Style Council - My Ever Changing Moods
Cat Power- Keep On Running.
Genesis- I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Chubby Checker - Pony Time   
Tyrannosaurus Rex - King Of The Rumbling Spires
The Bluetones - Slight Return
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Brand New Friend
P.J. Masks - Ready. Set. Go!
Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel - Don't Give Up
Snowpony - Easy Way Down     
My Life Story - You Can't Uneat The Apple
Pizzicato Five - Magic Carpet Ride
Johnny Cash - I See A Darkness
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Welcome Back My Friends
Captain Sensible - Glad It's All Over    
The Beach Boys - Busy Doin' Nothin'
New York Dolls - Stranded In The Jungle
Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare - Here Comes Summer
Kate Bush - The Big Sky
The Jam - This Is The Modern World
The Smiths - A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours   
The Shangri-Las - Past, Present, Future
Desperate Bicycles - The Medium Was Tedium  
The Mighty Wah - Come Back
Manfred Mann - Blinded By The Light  
Prefab Sprout - Lions In My Own Garden
Seers - Sun Is In The Sky
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark — The Punishment Of Luxury
Yardbirds  - Over Under Sideways Down 
Television Personalities - Psychedelic Holiday
Sandy Denny - Let's Jump The Broomstick
The Barons - Hitchin' A Ride
Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice
Dolly Mixture - Side Street Walker
Roxy Music - Remake / Remodel
Buck 65 - Super Pretty Naughty
Belle and Sebastian - Photo Jenny
The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard
The O'Jays - Give The People What They Want
Dolly Mixture - Winter Seems Fine


  1. For whatever it's worth, quite a lot of my titles and sub-headers are references as well (not always musical), and nobody ever seems to get those, either. Or they never say anything if they do.

    1. I always think of the Lenny Bruce routine about The Lone Ranger, where he wonders if anyone is ever going to give him a "thank-you, masked man". You have to assume no-one is going to notice and even if they do they aren't going to say anything, so your satisfaction has to come from the deed itself.

  2. I tend to use song titles and lyrics when writing as well - fiction, primarily; blog posts, secondarily.

    Let noone doubt your excellent taste in music: that Kate Bush appears twice would be enough to cover for the Doodlebops. I've been revisiting Family Snapshot by Peter Gabriel on repeat as of late. That saxophone hook has me in its thrall.

    Happy End of December 2017 and may your bags be ever full of things to sort through.

    1. I took a long time to warm to Kate. A schoolfriend was obsessed with her at the start of her career and given his general musical taste it was hard to take her seriously. I came round to her around the time of Hounds of Love, which is a superb album and I've liked her ever since.

      Peter Gabriel is an odd one. I had a brief fling with prog when I was about 13-14 but the only genesis album I ever liked was Trespass, which I still like even now. His solo career is something more to be respected than enjoyed, I feel. I do like to see him doing his ridiculous mimes, though. And to watch Phil Collins' face as he endures them.

  3. This is great! this is the best year-end retrospective - I pick some of your title references, but by no means all.

    I must have missed the post referencing Belle and Sebastian, because I'd be mortified if I didn't recognise it, and seeing Captain Sensible on that list brings back very fond memories!

    1. The Belle and Sebastian one was tricky. It was half a line from Photo Jenny - "They got the drugs I can use". It goes on "but then, I don't want any", which I felt summed up the point of the post, which was about lootboxes, but I left that part out. I am often far too tricksy for my own good, I think...

      I like The Captain a lot but Dolly Mixture, who back him on Glad It's All Over and his big hit, Happy Talk, are my favorite band of all time. Before I had a blog I had a website dedicated to the Dollies. It was only around for a year or two but I got some very interesting feedback from it, including some live tapes and an email from one of Sleater-Kinney I forget which one. I still have the source code for that website on floppy disc somewhere...

  4. Wait so "Begin as you mean to go on" is a song lyric? Because it is a very musical line and still my favorite blog header. Inquiring minds need to know!

    1. You had me for a second there but I think you might mean Start as you mean to go on"", which I uses as a post title in January 2015. That's from a wonderful song by Black Box Recorder, featuring Luke Haynes, ex of The Auteurs, who I like a lot.

    2. That's the one! Well thanks for the origins, although up until now you've been getting credit for that little gem. Keep up the great writing in 2018!


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