Posts from November 2007

Nov 07

SWEET SENSATION – “Sad Sweet Dreamer”

FT + Popular59 comments • 10,126 views

#358, 19th October 1974

Rueful soft soul comforted by great pillowing banks of Philly-style orchestration, industrial quantities of it: never mind the quality, feel the gloss (and enjoy the louche brass while you’re at it). The production on “Sad Sweet Dreamer” lacks a sureness of touch when it comes to scale and smothers any emotion in the chorus until it comes out mostly as a shrug. Marcel King’s quavering, boyish vocals give the record some needed character but in the end this drifts pleasantly out of pop history having made terribly little impression.

Blog ’92: THAT’S WHAT I AM

FT3 comments • 1,033 views

8. 2 Unlimited – The Magic Friend

I have a terrible confession to make. Much as I love 2 Unlimited, I have never rated Ray’s rapping.


Carry On Girls Aloud

FT7 comments • 758 views


The last Girls Aloud album, Chemistry, came with an excellent bonus disc of Christmas songs, including originals like “Not Tonight Santa” and “Christmas Round At Ours”, stuffed with goodwill and mild naughtiness of the “pull a cracker” variety.  They felt, somehow, like the most English things the Girls had ever done, at least until “Fling”, from the new record. “Just a fling baby, fling baby – ding-a-ling baby!” – on paper these lyrics make you cringe but they’re sung with music hall relish: this is one of the band’s spiciest* and strongest vocal performances, a brilliant predatory holler. The theme – inasmuch as you can pin Miranda Cooper lyrics down to a theme – is casual pick-ups, and the simple joy of the record is how it keeps shifting gears from generic Ritzy’s disco to a turbocharged new-wave mosh, catching you unawares with the aggression as the Girls spot a catch and pile onto the metaphorical dancefloor. The Lex, a man with a tin ear for vulgarity, absolutely hates it, but this is an awesome combination of seaside postcard brassiness and binge-drink-Britain shamelessness.

*If Geri had had songs like “Fling” back when she split the Spicers, that ‘female Robbie’ thing might have actually worked.

Popular Special Announcement

FT + Popular16 comments • 1,609 views

Regular commenters might have noticed a certain absence from the boxes lately – mainstay Marcello seems to have gone AWOL. I’m delighted to announce that this is not, in fact, due to legal proceedings by the representatives of Clodagh Rogers, but is because he has gone and GOT MARRIED to fellow Popular commenteer Lena (though they didn’t first meet here). Hearty congratulations to the pair of them!

Nov 07

JOHN DENVER – “Annie’s Song”

FT + Popular26 comments • 5,862 views

#357, 12th October 1974

Versions of “Annie’s Song”, in order of preference:

1/ The “Greasy Chip Butty” song, which effortlessly out-poetries Denver in the content-meets-form sensory hit of its images and hence taps directly into the spirit of the song. Not that I’ve actually heard it in a terrace setting, but it’s a thing of wonder anyhow.


Nov 07

CARL DOUGLAS – “Kung Fu Fighting”

FT + Popular27 comments • 5,971 views

#356, 21st September 1974

One two do the kung fuLightning-fast moves, uncanny tricks, kids picking up on a craze hip-first and sparking a frisson of establishment fear – no surprise that the song cashing in on the Kung Fu fad was a disco one. Of course Carl Douglas in his headband looks like a big jolly bear, and the track’s been long embraced as a beloved novelty, but it wouldn’t have got that far if there hadn’t been a genuine sense of wonder – and kinship – in the famous chorus. You could argue that “Kung Fu Fighting”, more than the Kung Fu series itself, set a long-term tone for Western reception of martial arts – less a mix of spirituality and violence, more the wide-eyed (though still enormously impressive) foolery of Jackie Chan. “It’s an ancient Chinese art”, handwaves Douglas before getting down to boogie-ing business. The balance has recently tipped back, of course – for my tastes there is not enough disco in the beauty-soaked Crouching Tiger school of Serious Fu, though as long as Stephen Chow films are finding an audience here the spirit of Carl Douglas lives on.

Poptimism – Lesson Forty Eight

Poptimism PodcastPost a comment • 446 views

Fling – Girls Aloud

Sweaty – Muscles

Guilty Pleasures – Cobra Starship

Clumsy – Fergie

Dat Girl Right There – Usher ft. Ludacris

This Summer Night – Bertrand Burgalat w/ Robert Wyatt

The Question Is What Is The Question – Scooter

Hutch – Rob Gibson


The Sponge Fear Of Fearne Cotton

FT4 comments • 2,095 views

cluedo12.JPGIts true you know, Fearne Cotton is afraid of sponges.

But that is nothing compared to the complexity of the Cluedo characters fictional history. Material gathered for last nights Lollards, but unused, uncovered the following salient facts: which may be useful in your future sleuthing in the house with no toilet:

The murder of Dr Black (Mr Boddy / Snr Caddaver) took place on Saturday June 5th, 1926.
Miss Scarlett studied at Madame Puce’s School For Girls (like a badly painted Chalet School one assumes)
Mrs White’s real name is Blanche Chaulkley.


How To Rig A Taste Test

FT + Proven By Science + Pumpkin Publog5 comments • 872 views

Imagine you are an unscrupulous Market Research* company who enjoys both Pepsi and Coke as clients. They both ask you independently to conduct a taste test** on consumers, each in the knowledge and expectation that their superior product will win. How can you run tests that will keep both of them happy?


overgrown doorways 2: “his dark materials” no spoilers update

FT + The Brown Wedge//////10 comments • 2,185 views

belvedereso this is about semi-unintended portals, and this is one — because at one point will and lyra run for safety to a BELVEDERE and this explodes a bunch of ideas in my head PP maybe didn’t mean bcz

i. belvedere just means a place that is good to gaze from
ii. belvedere is a suburb of shrewsbury where i grew up, where my school (aged 8-12) was, and the art college my sister went to, and my dad’s current GP, and the place i had my first grown-up job — i don’t know why, as it is NOT a good place to gaze from
three worlds
iii. this escher picture is called BELVEDERE (click for full size)
iv. the only lectures i went to in my third year maths at oxford were by ROGER PENROSE = the guy (with HIS dad) who developed the optical illusions escher turned into these (to me) utterly evocative lithographs
v. my great friend dr vick is related to escher which is awesome!
vi. all of which amplifies PP’s precise intention only glancingly, to be sure, except that it’s about travel between worlds, and the power (and mortal peril) of imagination, and our own ability to connect
vii. and plus also THREE WORLDS dude, which is an even better escher picture (also click)