Posts from 31st December 2004

31
Dec 04

In December 2004 Blog Seven was a weblog about Christmas.

Blog 7Post a comment • 168 views

In December 2004 Blog Seven was a weblog about Christmas.

The London Pub

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 637 views

The London Pub

I have made no secret of the fact that I’ve wanted to go to the London Pub (on Southampton Row I think, though I’m not totally sure) for AGES. Anything that brazenly named has to be worth a look.

It’s as strange and awful a place as I suspected. Another pub that feels like a hotel lobby, which in fairness it might actually be, the London Pub is festooned with pure honest London Tat – badly drawn beefeaters, red phone boxes, bobbies on the beat, et al. The decor is 1980s to the extent that you feel the place should almost be given listed status, so total is the ambience of bygone naffness. Someone called it a ‘generic pub’ but in truth no pub looks remotely like the London Pub. The beer on the other hand is exactly what you’d expect.

(No, that’s not quite true – English pubs in minor European cities look like it.)

The pub was busier than you might have thought, but the clientele were a strange lot. Orphans of the London storm, they were mostly harried-looking forty- and fiftysomethings, quiet, well-heeled and thoroughly despondent looking. They were drinking in singles and pairs – this was not a pub used to large groups. This was not a pub at all, except in name. What was it? A theme park restaurant, a bad TV set, a corridoor – take your pick.

PETER AND GORDON – “A World Without Love”

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#167, 25th April 1964

The Beatles fallout continues: Peter here is Paul McCartney’s girlfriend’s brother. Gordon is Peter’s schoolfriend. Public schoolfriend, which makes this record a touchstone of social flux for some – the class system dissolving in the white heat of the popnological revolution.

I find it interesting because it’s a glimpse at a world where the Beatles didn’t make the step up from national to global phenomenon. In this alternate universe the surges of band creativity don’t neccessarily happen, because there’s no immense cultural pressure to see what the Beatles will do next. Instead they ride the wave of British fandom until it breaks, and pursue a profitable sideline and afterlife as a superior pop songwriting team, doling out pleasantly ‘Beatle-esque’ pop songs to the likes of Peter and Gordon who sing them as if Merseybeat never happened. Pop drifts back to its early 60s status quo.

You can hear this potential drift in “A World Without Love”, which is a rather earnest exercise in Everleys-style spooning. In fact the first few seconds, with a lovely echoing bass and a shard of jangle, are by a distance the most interesting. By the time a sedate Hammond organ solo appears you know that the game is pretty much up.

What WERE We Thinking?

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What WERE We Thinking?

What’s coming up next year, then?

i) The Freaky Trigger Top 100 Songs of all Time. Determined on Wednesday night using our impeccable scientific method, this should surprise, delight* and prove a handy source of low-imagination updates through the first half of next year.

ii) On January 27th our Freaky Trigger Disco returns for 2005 with a special themed “00s retrospective” night. With half a decade under our belts it’s time to celebrate the best pop music of the last 5 years. DJs for this will be the usual mob with no guests currently confirmed – normal service resumes in February and then in March – fingers crossed – we’ll be celebrating a regular gig in the same venue for a year, the first time this has happened. We have very special plans for that one. The 00s night is happening at (of course) The Chapel Bar in Islington, on Penton Street, 7 to 12 or possibly a little later. Special 00s drinks prices! Free entry! We can neither confirm or deny the rumour that this entire night is an excuse for us to play “2 Faced” by Louise.

*if you’re a fan of the Awesome Toys.

THE BEATLES – “Can’t Buy Me Love”

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#166, 4th April 1964

“I don’t care too much for money”, they sing sweetly as they conquer the world. By accident or design, this feels like a slight nod backwards for The Beatles – a solid, skiffley strumalong married to some earthy good sense (was “money can’t buy me love” even a saying before they said it?). The song takes off halfway through with a satisfyingly jangling solo and the band performance is as impressive as ever but this is still the least thrilling of their early hits.

BILLY J KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS – “Little Children”

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#165, 21st March 1964

It’s fair to say time hasn’t smiled on this record. The first verse sets up the singer as a dirty old man – keep the secret, don’t tell on me, etc. But then comes the twist – he’s a teenager trying to cop off with the children’s sister and just wants them out of the way. Well, okay, less promising material has been spun into gold – but even if the nudge-wink child molester stuff was just a bit of fun in the 60s, it sounds decidedly queasy now the gap between comedy pervert and national bogeyman has been narrowed.

If the Dakotas put in a great performance, of course, you might hardly notice the lyrics. But they don’t. “Little Children” lumbers grotesquely, an electric piano mixed unpleasantly high and telegraphing every poor joke while the seasick band rolls along. The intent, surely, was to make a charming record with all-ages appeal, but the clumsy execution turns this into an embarrassment.