Song of the Day – 2/10/2010 – Turning Japanese – The Vapors

In honor of 14 year old Rebecca Flint from the Isle of Man who has become the latest internet sensation in the land of the rising sun. That’s the world we live in folks, one minute you can be sitting behind a webcam posting videos of yourself singing along to Japanese pop songs, the next minute you are about to release an album tipped to go to #1, 6000 miles away. Check her story out here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/isle_of_man/8506664.stm

The Vapors, of Surrey England, tried a lot harder and had nowhere near as much impact. Their biggest claim to fame was this song and the fact that their manager was Paul Weller’s dad.

Alternative version

Look on the bright side, at least she did it all with no involvement from Simon Cowell.

-george underwood

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‘If at first you don’t succeed…’ Welcome FAC251! – The Hacienda Legacy

A bit of news from my side of the pond now. This weekend a brand new club opened in Manchester, England; but this isn’t just any old nightclub and some may be surprised it ever opened at all!

The story goes back to 1978 when a Manchester journalist & TV presenter Tony Wilson set up a record label called Factory Records, shortly afterwards this record label gave us Joy Division and later Happy Mondays but a series of bad business decisions, a reluctance to draw up proper contracts for the bands and a general ideology of doing things for the ‘right’ reasons eventually took it’s toll. Tony Wilson never denied this and famously said “We made history, not money” and that they did. The story of Factory records is a historic one in British music, one of trial and tribulation, not one I can do justice on a short blog, well worth checking out!

So in 1982, out of this label came a nightclub which changed the face of music in Manchester, and of the UK in fact, the club was called The Hacienda, like everything Factory released, or in fact owned, the club was given it’s own catalogue number, FAC51 (other FAC numbers were given not just to releases but to objects, a roll of selotape (FAC 136), a bucket on a restored watermill (FAC 148) even the club’s cat (FAC 191)!) The club was financed by the struggling label Factory Records, it’s owner Tony Wilson and the band New Order, which were formed by the remaining members of Joy Division following singer Ian Curtis’ suicide…not a lot of real outside investment then.  As usual with Factory projects, they wanted it to look revolutionary but also be accessible to everyone, their bar prices were cheaper than surrounding pubs and as long as you paid membership of £5 you got cheap drinks and half price entry to see all the best bands around at the time (who weren’t particularly cheap to book!)

The club was at the centre of the newly created Madchester scene and as soon as the clientele cottoned on to the rave and acid house scene of the 80s it’s fate was sealed, growing drug use amongst the clubs patrons meant even less money was being spent at the bar and the club rarely broke even. Heavy debts and increasing violence in and around the club led to it closing it’s doors forever in 1997.

Peter ‘Hooky’ Hook, bass player of New Order and Joy Division had lost a lot of money both through his involvement with Factory and the Hacienda and last year wrote a book, The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club. So you’d think this experience would put him off wouldn’t you? Not so…. A bit older and hopefully a lot wiser , Hooky has got together with original designer Ben Kelly to open a brand new club in the building which once housed Factory Records, FAC251 in Manchester complete with the original (expensive) flooring and with a large photo of the late Tony Wilson who died in 2007.  That club opened this weekend with Peter Hook playing songs from his career including Joy Divison’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and Transmission and New Order’s Blue Monday in a band made up of Mani (Stone Roses, Primal Scream), Howard Marks and Rowtta of Happy Mondays.

As Manchester’s music scene moves away from the guitar-led Britpop days of the 1990s and looks back to the 80s with bands such as Delphic and Hurts, the time is probably right for a new music venue in the city. Providing the right decisions are made this time the club’s heritage could make it one of the most exciting venues in the UK and if it helps give us another band who’ll become as influential as this lot then it can’t be a bad thing:

http://www.factorymanchester.com/

-LndnCalling

Song of the Day 2/5/2020 – 22 Grand Job – The Rakes

In honor of banker David Keily who will get to keep his job after being caught on Australian TV looking at semi naked photo’s of model and fiancee of Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr.

Common sense prevailed…..I don’t care of the whole square mile is awash with filthy email, as long as they don’t drag us into another miserable recession, that was a real downer.

– georgeunderwood

Superbowl XLIV – The Who

It’s finally here, my Cowboys didn’t make it, but a bunch of fellow Brits did. As I am sure you are well aware by now The Who will be doing the halftime show on Sunday. They are planning a medley of the following tracks:

Baba O’Reilly
Pinball Wizard
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Tommy
Who are You

There is no appearance fee for the Superbowl show but given the size of the audience it’s a very shrewd move for an act like The Who, especially if you have a Greatest Hits Album and tickets for a tour to peddle.

Before I go on I need to make it very clear that I love The Who, if you ever happen to be in my toilet you will find a picture on the wall stolen from my old man’s Live at Leeds album.

However as much as I am looking forward to it, I can’t agree with the league’s decision to give them the halftime slot. The Who haven’t written anything new in 4 years, they are pretty much a karaoke band these days. They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988….. 22 years ago! So why not give that slot to someone who needs a break, an up and coming act? So what if no-one has heard of them, that’s the point, sometimes people don’t know whats good for them until you shove it down their throats. My vote would have been White Denim, great song writers, talented musicians and American………what a great opportunity it would have been for them.

I wonder what Keith Moon would make of it all, here is a gratuitous video of him blowing up his drum kit on Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The story goes that he bribed the stage hands to insert extra explosives, hence the look on Roger Daltrey’s face when it goes off.

Song of The Day 2/4/2010 – Archie Bronson Outfit – Dart For My Sweetheart

First new record for 4 years released last month. This one is going to rattle your Ossicles, tittlate your Eustachian tube and whirl around your Cochlea like a son of a bitch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, it’s right there in black and white.

Our forgotten son from over the pond has just been to see them, if we are lucky he’ll tell us what he thought.

-georgeunderwood

Writers Block, Suede and Some Newspaper Clippings

Writers block happens to the best of em, even J.D. Salinger god rest his reclusive soul.

It fell upon my old man to pull me out of it. Hidden in the monthly stash of music magazines he sends over from the UK, were a collection of cuttings he had lovingly gathered from various English newspapers. One of these cuttings happened to be a short interview in The Guardian with the former lead singer of Suede, Brett Anderson. The interview itself was uneventful, somewhat cliched (Anderson at one point expects me to believe that being a rock star is not at all glamorous), but the timing struck a chord.

Suede fought with Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Therapy and The Levellers for airtime on the casette player during my early teens. 1993’s Nude, was a huge hit with punters and critics alike going gold on it’s second day of release in the UK. Despite attempts to replicate that succes over here, the band didn’t really have the heart for it and they never received the level of backing that they got from the music press back home (they toured the US with and were outshone by the Cranberries).

Nevertheless I wanted to let them have their moment again through media giant thecockandrabbit. Seems fitting to leave you with “So Young” from Nude. In different circumstances Salinger’s chief protagonist Holden Caulfield would probably have had this one in his collection .

-georgeunderwood

Song of the Day 1/24 – Cry Little Sister aka The Lost Boys Song

Written by Gerard McMahon, Gerard McMann, G TO MAC or simply G, this song featured on  the soundtrack for the original motion picture “The Lost Boys”. McMahon is a prolific songwriter in the world of TV and Movies. His creations have featured in the cult classic “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (the film that launched Sean Penn and Vans into popular culture) and also “All The Right Moves” featuring Tom Cruise. McMahon is originally from Birmingham, England later making the move over to the USA where he made his name.

I picked the soundtrack up on cassette last week for 30 cents in Value Village, Capitol Hill. Daylight robbery!! Life time of respect for anyone that can tell me the name of the Seattle band that covered this for the sequel. I might even post you the cassette if I can bear to be parted with it.

-georgeunderwood