Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #12

The pile of 7″ singles in my music room continues to grow.  They arrive from all manner of sources, in various conditions, and wait patiently for me to spin them.  It’s a never ending task – like that old cliche, painting the Forth Bridge.

But it’s fun – making my way through the collection of random vinyl goodies; having a few drinks and enjoying the music.

I play both sides, A then B, and then move onto the next single in the pile.  All manner of tunes could be heard, from the classic to cheesy nonsense.

Here’s the latest batch:

  1. The Fatback Band – “(Are You Ready) Do the Bus Stop” / “Gotta Learn How to Dance”
  2. Earth, Wind & Fire – “That’s the Way of the World” / “Africano”
  3. Tom Jones – “Letter to Lucille” / “Thank the Lord”
  4. Belinda Carlisle – “Little Black Book” / “Only a Dream”
  5. Betty Boo – “24 Hours” / “24 Hours (Instrumental)”
  6. Jan Hammer – “Miami Vice Theme” / “Miami Vice Theme (TV Version)” / “Miami Vice Theme (12″ Edit)”
  7. Survivor – “Burning Heart” / “Feels Like Love”
  8. The Kinks – “All Day and All of the Night” / “You Really Got Me”
  9. Roxy Music – “All I Want is You” / “Your Application’s Failed”
  10. Owen Paul – “My Favourite Waste of Time” / “Just Another Day”
  11. The Simpsons – “Do the Bartman (7″ House Mix/Edit)” / “Do the Bartman (LP Edit)”
  12. Edelweiss – “Bring Me Edelweiss” / “Kitz-Stein-Horn”
  13. Roy Orbison – “You Got It” / “The Only One”
  14. The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Summer in the City” / “Bald Headed Lena”
  15. Elton John – “Song for Guy” / “Blue Eyes”
  16. Ohio Players – “Fire” / “Together”
  17. Kool & The Gang – “Cherish” / “Celebration”
  18. Diana Ross – “I’m Still Waiting” / “Touch Me in the Morning”
  19. The Real Thing – “You to Me Are Everything” / “Keep An Eye (On Your Best Friend)”
  20. David Soul – “Don’t Give Up On Us” / “Black Bean Soup”
  21. Kelly Marie – “Feels Like I’m in Love” / “Shattered Glass”
  22. Dusty Springfield – “I Just Don’t Know What to do with Myself” / “My Colouring Book”

I really enjoyed that Singles Night session.  There were a fair few out standing funky numbers, as well as songs by my favourite pop babes ever, Belinda and Betty.  Lovely.

Plus – how great is that Kinks single?  An all time classic couple of tracks – and a great record for my collection.  Along with a few other legendary rock tunes, this was a great evening of music.

Horrible Histories Playlist

My daughter Eloise had her 8th birthday last weekend.  At the moment, she’s a big fan of the BBC children’s TV series, Horrible Histories, and requested a party based on that theme.

If you’re not familiar with Horrible Histories, let me tell you it’s well worth checking it.  Both funny and informative, the show makes history appeal to kids (and adults) by illuminating some unusual – and sometimes gross – facts from various periods throughout the past.

We’ve all become big fans in our house, actually.  So the party was going to be fun – everyone could dress up as historical characters and entertainment geared to the theme.

Only one thing remained – some music suitable for days gone by.  Not having much music in my collection that was actually from previous ages, I had to dig out some tunes that could fit the bill.  Here’s what I came up with…

  1. Hanna-Barbera – “(Meet) The Flintstones [Main Title]”
  2. The Bangles – “Walk Like an Egyptian”
  3. Mikis Theodorakis – “Zorbas”
  4. Iron Maiden – “Alexander the Great”
  5. ABBA – “Waterloo”
  6. Chuck Berry – “Roll Over Beethoven”
  7. Boney M. – “Rasputin”
  8. Clutch – “Abraham Lincoln”
  9. Trio Guadalajara – “La Bamba”
  10. De Danaan – “The Cameronian Reel/The Doon Reel”
  11. Iron Maiden – “Ghengis Khan”
  12. Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa – “El Jarbe Tapatio (Mexican Hat Dance)”
  13. Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers – “Egyptian Reggae”
  14. Madness – “Night Boat to Cairo” 
  15. Sweet – “Alexander Graham Bell”
  16. Rodrigo Y Gabriela – “Vikingman”
  17. Iron Maiden – “Invaders”
  18. The Kinks – “Victoria”
  19. Boney M. – “Ma Baker”
  20. Sweet – “Wig Wam Bam”
  21. Mikis Theodorakis – “Varka Sto Gialo”
  22. Bananarama – “Venus”
  23. Tom Jones – “Delilah”
  24. The Beatles – “Roll Over Beethoven”
  25. Christina Aguilera – “Candyman”
  26. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra – “The Raiders March”
  27. Eric Rogers – “Carry On Cleo”
  28. Eric Rogers – “Carry On Up the Khyber”

Ok, so some of those tracks are less scraping the barrell and more like digging the dust on an archaeological dig, but it did the job.  Basically, without Iron Maiden I’d have been screwed…

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #15

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 22nd June 2018

The mixed grill on my plate was a massive meal, and I tucked in with ravenous glee.  For I knew that I would need my strength tonight; this would be Vinyl Night unlike any previous.  Tonight, I would test the mettle of all of us in attendance.

Otherwise, it was business as usual for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at the Queen’s Head in Mold.  Beers, goods company and the opportunity to play whatever you liked during a fifteen minute set.  Vinyl only, mind!

Although I don’t always run with a theme, this evening I had a definite plan.  Ever since I’ve first attended one of these events, put on by the brilliant Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music, there was one song n my collection I really wanted to play.  It would inform the rest of my set and provide a connection between all the songs.  I decided to leave that track till last, and put together a collection of songs to accompany it.

The question was: How would my star track be received by the audience?

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

To start the set, a classic Beatles song written by George Harrison and needing no introduction.  Of course it’s from “Abbey Road”, and I love it as it instantly makes me think of summer days, sitting in the sun on the beach.  It’s a perfect song; beautifully written and with such an uplifting feel.

Nancy Sinatra + Lee Hazlewood – Summer Wine

Next up was this gem; a duet between Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood.  I have the album with this track on it, however this version was a 45rpm single that my friend Colin lent to me for the event.  “Summer Wine” reminds me in some ways of a Bond theme, it has a little of that drama, but somewhat more relaxed.  A wonderful song that brings back memories of holidays abroad and cocktails.

Black Sabbath – Laguna Sunrise

A brief interlude on side 2 of the absolutely essential “Volume 4 album”, here’s yet another tune that demonstrates just how versatile Black Sabbath were.  A beautiful relaxing instrumental that effortlessly conjures up an appropriate image, this shows perfectly the genius of Tony Iommi.  As good as any song you’ve ever heard.

The Cult – Sun King

After that, the tempo was raised with a full on turbo charge rocker from my old faves, The Cult.  This was the 7″ single version, edited down from the album track.  One of my preferred songs on the massively successful “Sonic Temple” album from 1989.  With a title referencing French King Louis XIV, this is a great fun fists-in-the air macho rocker that reeks of burning up desert highways in a hot rod.

Johnny Griggs/Simon May – When You Go Away (Eldorado Theme – Instrumental)

Could you tell what the theme was, reader?  All leading up to this final cut, I wanted to play songs related to summer and sunny days.  I used to be a huge fan of hyper naff BBC soap Eldorado when I was a student – so bad it was good, and the Spanish setting used to cheer me up on dreary wet days.  Sadly that amazing programme was canned, but I found the single in a Woolworths bargain bin (for 29p, I think) back in the day.  Along with my VHS cassette of “The Best of Eldorado”, that’s all the merch from this class show that I have.  I played the instrumental B-side here, but cocked up by playing it on 33rpm at the very start.  Years of planning, bollocksed. 

So there you have it – my summer sun themed set.  Although I was ridiculed for the Eldorado song – and quite rightly too – I loved playing it.  I managed to ruin my cool reputation with one song, though.

Never mind – as she was leaving, one old dear told me she enjoyed my set very much.  I’ll take that as a win.

She must have been an Eldorado fan as well.

Nice one Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music, yet another great Vinyl Night – more soon please.

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

Sci Fi Weekender 2018 – Part 2

Sci Fi Weekender 23th – 24th March 2018

Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli

Right back at ya with Part 2 of my report from Sci Fi Weekender 9.  Apologies for the delay, I’ve had some issues with memory banks getting wiped.

Day 2 of the festivities began with a monumental shock for our crew.  One of our team, Ensign Davies, had succumbed to a strange, planet borne virus.  When we awoke, there was no sign of our comrade.  He soon made contact however with news that he had beamed back up to the ship to recover.

Never the less, yet again the crew were falling prey to illness.  We would need all our stamina to see this campaign through.

First Mate Adam was up and out on patrol early; he went to view the new film from Tom Paton: “Black Site”.  Tom’s work had been witnessed before at SFW, and expectation was high for this new production.  Adam was happy to confirm that the movie was, indeed, excellent and well worth viewing (along with the cast and crew Q&A).

Myself, I took a local planetary transport omnibus to the nearby settlement of Porthmadog in order to feed my vinyl craving.  Crew members Greeny and Kurt remained in the static exploration cabin; monitoring visual communications.

Upon my return, the crew and I ventured out for further reconnaissance of the SFW9 event.  This involved in depth examination of merchandise for sale and photographing some of the unusual and impressive costumes on display.

Saturday evening was all set up for a big entertainment explosion in the Main Void, with the Imaginarium in full swing.  The action began with the Area 51 dancers disrupting visual scanners with fire eating and other astounding acts.  There was also Merlin the Escapologist, who managed to escape from a giant fish bowl on his head.  Or something like that, I was quite far away and it was packed out.

Whilst chilling with my crew and imbibing some refreshment, I managed to completely miss the highlight of the whole weekend: the Cosplay final.  I as absolutely horrified to realise I’d missed this, as it’s always a genuine highlight of SFW.  Luckily I was still able to capture some images of many of the guests; to my shame this was not enough however.

Instead I enjoyed the brilliant BBC Radiophonic Workshop, who performed live a veritable feast of electronic sci-fi sounds.  Chief among these of course were themes from Dr Who, a real treat that brought back some fond memories.  I’d missed the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on previous excursions, so I was delighted to hear their evocative experimental ear-worms properly.  Fantastic stuff.

I then made my exit from the Main Void, as the next feature wasn’t to my taste.  I appear to be the only person at SFW – out of hundreds – who doesn’t dig The Dark Room.  I’d seen the start of the previous night’s show and wasn’t into it.  It was just Peter Stringfellow with a bad temper.

Maybe it’s because I’m not into computer games, or maybe – for once – I’m just not geeky enough.  Either way, I’m in the minority as far as The Dark Room goes, and that’s fine with me.

So off I went to see Blues Harvest, a multi talented rock band with a penchant for all things nerdy.  They put on a great show, including Star Wars themes (performed by a rock band, remember) that were simply superb – all set to a cool visual edit from the movies.

Funnily enough my memory banks appear to be somewhat fried at this point, but I do recall Blues Harvest playing a storming Bowie tribute (“Life on Mars?” and “Magic Dance”, I think!).  Their final number was the Huey Lewis and the News chestnut “The Power of Love” – rounding off a fabulous set that combined rockin’ goodness with nostalgic treats.

The night was played out by the living legend that is DJ Level Up Leroy, who did a fine job of spinning a pulsating mix of tunes.  The sci-fi theme was continued nicely with come choice cuts and awesome visuals!

And that, ladies and gentle beings, was that.  Sadly for another year, the spectacular Sci Fi Weekender was at a close.

Before I leave you, some thanks: to all the Cosplayers, you were fantastic!  Fun and friendly, everyone of you was a joy to behold.  Yet again your talent and creativity were mind boggling to see.  Well done all!  I’m sorry I didn’t get more photos, but my sincere appreciation to all of those I took pics of.

Finally, to all the Sci Fi Weekenders, from across all known worlds and galaxies: THANK YOU!  You make this event the success it is.  Sci Fi Weekender is all about camaraderie and celebrating the things we love as one big tribe (to borrow Professor Elemental’s words).  It was a pleasure to meet you again or for the first time; long may it continue.

Epic group shot

Look, I’ll tell you what.  This blog is a monster.  To save delaying posting it any longer, I’ve got no choice other than to do a Part 3.  So the final batch of photos (don’t worry, I’ve run out of ramblings) will be soon.  Stay tuned!

The Sci Fi Weekender website is here.

Cats Playlist

Cats!  I love ’em!

They’re crazy, cute, playful and lovable.  They’re agile and graceful and beautiful.  But most of all, they are loyal little companions who, despite their reputation, are full of affection.

To honour my furry feline friends – past, present and future – I collated another one of my themed playlists.  This collection of songs all have a connection to cats in some way, and create an eclectic compilation that crosses categories.

You can compile a similar list, and I hope you and your cat enjoy!

  1. Mongo Santamaria – “El Pussy Cat”
  2. The Cure – “Love Cats”
  3. Johnny Cash – “Mean Eyed Cat”
  4. Barney Kessel – “Something for Cat”
  5. The Presidents of the United States of America – “Kitty”
  6. The James Taylor Quartet – “Faster Pussycat”
  7. Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut”
  8. Hanna-Barbera – “Top Cat (Main Title)”
  9. Howlin’ Wolf – “I Ain’t Superstitious”
  10. Tom Jones – “What’s Ne w Pussycat?”
  11. Marty Paich – “The Cat”

    My cat, Jenna

  12. Ted Nugent – “Cat Scratch Fever”
  13. Primus – “Tommy the Cat”
  14. Jacknife Lee – “Here Kitty Kitty”
  15. Rolling Stones – “Stray Cat Blues”
  16. Pete Moore & His Orchestra – “Cat Walk”
  17. Alice Cooper – “Gutter Cat vs. The Jets”
  18. Beyonce – “Kitty Kat”
  19. Hanna Barbera – “Top Cat (Underscore)”
  20. Devo – “Pink Pussy Cat”
  21. Danzig – “Wicked Pussycat”
  22. Celia Vaz/Friends from Rio – “Francisco Cat”
  23. Roni Size – “Mad Cat”
  24. R.E.M. – “Star Me Kitten”

Bonus points if you know why the Howlin’ Wolf track is included…

Sadly, I forgot to add Nina Simone’s “Feline Good” to the list…

Till next time: ciao, cat lovers!

Bizarre Magazine Playlist

The most recent issue of that misfit of British publications, Bizarre magazine, was sadly the last.

Over the years, Bizarre magazine featured articles that astounded, amazed, and entertained as it explored the fringes of popular culture.  Sometimes gross, sometimes weird, always entertaining – each issue offered content that would never be published elsewhere. Biz

Amongst the counter culture oddness and thought provoking investigations, I found many an interesting film to track down in their review pages.

Bizarre also covered many musicians/bands that strayed from the familiar paths.  Whether in the regular monthly review section or in the excellent “Bizarre Albums” features, I found a few favourites and some new treasures.

This playlist is comprised of just some of the bands featured in the magazine over the years, in some form or other.  As a sort of tribute (hell, I’ve even got the first issue lurking around in the garage…).

Bizarre Magazine Playlist

  1. Christopher Lee – “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)”
  2. Fantomas – “One Step Beyond”
  3. The Moog Cookbook – “Basket Case”
  4. Mr Bungle – “Chemical Marriage”
  5. Jean Jacques Perry – “E.V.A.”
  6. Lord Sitar – “I Can See For Miles”
  7. Alice In Chains – “Heaven Beside You”
  8. Yma Sumac – “Malambo #1”
  9. Spike Jones – “Power House”
  10. Hanna-Barbera – “Tra La La Song (Banana Splits Theme)”
  11. Christopher Lee – “Act V: Starlight”
  12. Zombina and the Skeletones – “Punk Rock Vampires Destroy!”
  13. Electric Eel Shock – “Goodbye Peach”
  14. Ween – “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)”
  15. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Stagger Lee”

There are tons more bands I could add to this list.  Many more covered by the magazine can be found in the catacombs of my iPod.  But this will do nicely for now.

Thanks and goodbye Bizarre magazine.  In particular for the wonder of Christopher Lee’s albums; not to mention Zombina and the Skeletones and Electric Eel Shock – two of the best live bands I’ve ever seen!