Posts from June 2010

Jun 10

Summer Party Blend!!

FT2 comments • 176 views

Peter Baran and Roger BozackResonance FM 104.4 in London has been airing our breathless coverage of every Pop World Cup match since it started way back in whenever it was, and the last half-hour roundup goes out this Saturday at 16:00. Peter Baran and Roger Bozack will analyze this year’s global pop fandango, and we’ll hear some bonus tracks from Matt DC’s Nigeria, who clearly had more in reserve should their championship match with Andrew Hickey’s Germany have gone into a penalty playoff thingie.

But you don’t have to wait til then to hear it! We’ll be posting up the episode here at some point tomorrow. And if you feel like catching up on the previous episodes, you can do so here, where there’s also a link to subscribe to the podcast.

In the meantime, why not download this 1hr+ mix of Nigerian party tunes? It’s called SUMMER PARTY BLEND and it’s by DJ Ennie Billie-ons.

There’s also an unreal number of Nigerian jams on this constantly updated blog by DJ Wolf. See you on the radio!

Jun 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Nigeria Crowned Champions!

FT15 comments • 798 views

Nigeria 3 Germany 1

The Pop City Stadium in Johannesburg is awash in white and green tickertape; the team jog around the perimeter bearing manager Matt DC aloft upon their shoulders; a continent rejoices as for the first time an African nation has won the Pop World Cup. The Germans sit in the centre circle, head in hands: boss Andrew Hickey has taken them far and can be rightly proud, but his side simply couldn’t overcome a Nigerian outfit brimming with confidence. Some said hubris, but on the night this side had destiny in their DJ booth. A late consolation goal for Germany restores some pride, but this is Nigeria’s night.

Click through for a review of the team’s winning campaign and an exclusive lap of honour track from the side your votes have nominated Pop Champions 2010.


Jun 10

WET WET WET – “With A Little Help From My Friends” / BILLY BRAGG ft CARA TIVEY – “She’s Leaving Home”

Popular47 comments • 8,028 views

#609, 21st May 1988

As I hinted last time “Little Help” showed up, it’s probably the most inappropriately covered Beatles song. It’s such a strong sentiment and such a rousing tune people can’t seem to resist it, but it only really works for me when Ringo takes his best sturdy shot at it on Sgt.Pepper’s. Everyone else sounds too confident, Marty Pellow certainly included. Pellow starts humble enough here but for the second half of the song he begins to showboat, borrowing phrasing from the Joe Cocker version (“ooh I get BAH widalittle help from MAH FRENDZ”), then ‘cutting loose’ to put some of that studied throatiness into the tune on the “love at first sight bit”, the 80s soul man’s vocal version of designer stubble. Though that’s also the only bit this perpetual smoothie sounds sincere on, since it strongly implies ditching those gooseberry “friends” forthwith in favour of Hot Pellow Action. Who needs them anyway? A little help can’t beat a whole lot of lovin’!


Jun 10

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? The Results, Round By Round.

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops15 comments • 660 views

Before we get to the final rankings for our six decades, which I’ll be posting in the next couple of days or so, here are the final totals for each round.

Round One: The Number 10s.

246 points, average score 4.82: Kelis – Acapella (2010)
“Great to have her back- a pop star with character seems a bit of a novelty these days” – crag

231 points, average score 4.53: The Undertones – My Perfect Cousin (1980)
“I have a massive soft spot for some of the more absurd rhyming couplets” – jeff w

173 points, average score 3.39: MJ Cole – Crazy Love (2000)
“I am transported via teleportation to a wine bar!!!” – JonnyB

171 points, average score 3.35: The Family Stand – Ghetto Heaven (1990)
“The remix has retained its power via the potent combo of orchestral and vocal grace with street beats” – Steve Mannion

139 points, average score 2.73: The Move – Brontosaurus (1970)
“You can tell the “progression” here is slightly forced” – punctum

111 points, average score 2.18: Steve Lawrence – Footsteps (1960)
“Steve sounds chipper enough but I wouldn’t want those backing singers following me around all day” – pink champale

A strong opening selection made this one of our most well-regarded rounds, quality-wise. It was also our most popular round, attracting 51 sets of votes. Kelis provided 2010 with an early lead, with only The Undertones giving her any cause for concern. “My Perfect Cousin” aside, the rest of the votes in Round One stacked up in exact reverse chronological order, suggesting that maybe – just maybe – pop music has been steadily improving over the past fifty years? It was a nice thought while it lasted.


Jun 10

Childwickbury (cheesy lover #85)

FT + Pumpkin Publog/5 comments • 610 views

A pasturised goats cheese from Hertfordshire, bought from Neal’s Yard Dairy.

Childwickbury always makes me think of the moon; it’s a round of pure white, incredibly young cheese. It’s damp and crumbly, an adolescent creature existing in some hinterland between fresh curd and a grown-up cheese.

In the mouth it’s both creamy and acidic – first off, the sweet, milkiness appears, and then it opens out into a huge bright zesty lemonish explosion, reminding me of really tart lemon curd. It sparkles, almost fizzes, in my mouth. There’s a tiny, hidden sniff of grass and herbs somewhere in here as well, lurking deep below the lemon.

Cheese-eating chum says it has a wonderfully fresh mouthfeel. In a fit of hypocrisy, I laugh at his using the word mouthfeel. But he’s right! This cheese is like fresh green grass and bright warm sunshine after a spring shower. It’s delicious, and refreshing, and incredibly cheerful, and it always makes me grin when I eat it. I’m grinning now just thinking about it.

(We made a lovely cheesecake from this once; cornmeal and oregano base, covered with a mixture of childwicksbury, lemon juice and icing sugar, and topped with a slice of sugared lemon. And it’s my number one top cheese for eating with figs.)

The age of consent

FT7 comments • 495 views

One of the unfortunate results of having grown up in a world where MySpace existed while I was still underage* is that my previous internet selves occasionally rear their ugly heads and bite me. I had the revelation several years ago that I ought to delete my fifteen-year-old self’s livejournal but while looking for something else, I accidentally stumbled across my rockist seventeen-year-old avatar resolving that I had better stop watching The Hits all day or else I’d “accidentally” start liking McFly. Fortunately, I have no will power.

Nevertheless, by the time I hit the world of internet pervs and weird goth manga, I was of an age where I’d already sufficiently twisted my own brain by buying a Staind album that no further significant damage could occur. My mum can use email and has a Flickr for sharing photos on the SpringWatch feed but she’s never had a MySpace, so there’s no risk of me accidentally finding emo pictures of her on That I’m aware of, anyway.


Pop World Cup – Weekend Update – THE FINAL

Pop World Cup PodcastPost a comment • 221 views

Tom Ewing joins Peter Baran and Roger Bozack in the broadcast booth for the simulcast of the championship match between Germany and Nigeria and gets raked over the coals about this year’s voting irregularities. Well, not so much raked as politely questioned. Did I say irregularities? I meant thoroughly vetted processes that ensure equitable results for all! Voting is open until midnight Monday. So go vote! We also take a look at this year’s third-place playoff between Cameroon and Honduras. Your hosts return in a week for a wrap-up and look back at this – it must be said – amazing competition.

Produced by Elisha Sessions.

Jun 10

Kabuki at Sadler’s Wells

The Brown Wedge2 comments • 1,096 views

It took me a while to get the hang of my first kabuki show. A lot of it is very alien. The music is drums, very loud clappers and samisen, which sounds like an out-of-tune banjo, which is clearly my problem with their very different scales rather than suggesting anything wrong about it. The singing is very strange – sometimes high and wailing, sometimes guttural and forceful, never remotely familiar in style or tone. It also took a while to get used to the simultaneous translation over a headset, essential as that was for me.

The opening storyline was ludicrous, too. It starts with Yoshitsune telling his famous girlfriend that it is too dangerous for her to accompany him, as at this point he and his small band are on the run from a pursuing army. She refuses to leave him, so he ties her to a tree at the edge of the road down which the pursuing army are chasing him. Yes, that is how best to ensure her safety… The last sentence of the synopsis offered online proves this isn’t just an opening aberration: “A group of comical priests enter with the intention of capturing Yoshitsune, but the fox defeats them with his supernatural powers and joyfully flies off with the drum.”


Surely It Starts With Chris

FT + Proven By SciencePost a comment • 661 views

Ah controversy. So many people court you but when is the wedding? I have always found the ideas of religions advertising to be a bit odd*, though even I cannot help but smuggle a small smile when I think of cheap posters saying Carpenter Seeks Joiners (flocking Eastern Europeans not wanted – pah). Nevertheless the teacup tempest caused by this ultrasound poster campaign for Christmas** does seem to flap around the resemblance this poster has to those used by anti-abortion campaigns of recent years (of course no-one really minds pro-lifers using Christianity for their own ends but I digress). This poster however is so staggeringly bonkers that it cannot help raise a large number of secondary thoughts, a number of which are pro-choice. I mean Mary didn’t really have a choice about harbouring Jesus in her womb, and honour that I daresay it was, it probably put Joseph’s back up a bit and she didn’t even have the benefit of a quickie with a swan that she might have got from a different pantheon.

Anyway it made me think:
a) That halo must be a bit uncomfortable.



Popular123 comments • 8,763 views

#608, 14th May 1988, video

This record really enrages me without my being easily able to work out why. It’s not the tune – when I’m not listening to it “Perfect” bops around my head quite pleasantly, or at least the “beey-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee” hook does. Of course, that in-head version lacks Eddi Reader’s stridency, which really surprised me when I listened to the track again: I had this memory of it as a very breezy, light, record, a sort of skiffle Bobbie Gentry deal, and it might have been but her blaring voice buckles the song, and she makes her romantic idealism sound a little smug.