I took my wife to see Take That at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. It’s not something I would have chosen to do but I have to say that only the most cold hearted, joyless cynics would not enjoy Take That live. From the first song to the last through all their greatest hits it was a fantastic night. I even found myself dancing and clapping along. The circus themed entertainment that intertwined the songs was phenomenal. Sometimes you just can’t beat good, old fashioned entertainment. 86000 people, four nights in a row can’t be wrong. C’mon, c’mon, c’mon Take That and party!!!!
Just need to mention Lady GaGa who supported Take That, one word; WOW!!!

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Every year when I take my family away for our annual holiday I annoy them silly in a way only a Dad can by singing Cliff Richard’s “Summer Holiday”. Well this year I’m taking my wife and 4 boys, 22, 16 and 12 year old twins to the Reading Festival. In celebration I have rewritten Cliff’s lyrics. (Yes I am annoying everyone yet again, it’s my fatherly duty you know)

 

 

Reading Festival (Summer Holiday)

 

We’re all going to the Reading Festival,

No more washing for a day or two,

Lots of music at the Reading Festival,

Biffy and The Editors for me and you,

And Bloc Party too.

 

We’re going where the bands play loudly,

We’re going where you shit in a hole,

We’ve seen it on the telly,

It’s time to rock ‘n’ roll.

 

Everybody loves the Reading Festival,

Seeing bands we’ve always wanted too,

So we’re going to the Reading Festival,

To make our dreams come tr… ue

For a day or two

 

We’re hoping that the sun shines brightly,

We’re hoping that the music is loud,

We’ve seen it on the telly,

Now we’ll be in the crowd.

 

Repeat verse 2

 

These lyrics are the sole property of David Ross and are not to be be reproduced without his permission.

 

Big Macs for the fat, lo-cal wraps for the call centre battery hens,
Japanese snacks for the choice-spoilt citizens, caviar kickbacks for the citadel denizens.

Airport shoeshines servicing the suits among the little silver stereos and hand-rolled cheroots,
First class passengers file on last after the scum are packed in with their tax-free loot.

Checkout calamity, you’re cheated out of loyalty points, ten more years at this joint you’d be home & dry,
Beggars beat round the cash machines but you just slip between them with the usual lie.

Terrible tales of kidnapped kids keep you focused on the family and filling up the fridge,
Neighbourhood watchers shop dole dodgers, stick their semis on the market & start racking up the bids.

Should you stand and fight, should you die for what you think is right
So your useless contribution will be remembered?
If you’re asking me I say no, surrender.

Constant growth the cancerous cure, a swarming race of profiteers ensure
Cheap cars for the rich, cheap lives for the poor, cheap weeks in the sun, free drinks at the door.

Puerile propaganda plugs up the TV, keep folk following the money so they’ll never be free
Keep them swallowing the swill, the celebrities, the paedophiles, the immigrants invading from the
camp over the hill.

War talk, the big debate, footsoldiers in the capitol liberating new kinds of hate
Cum-shots of human dots caught in the spotlight’s glare; he dies who dares.

Fatuous fast-trackers sneering at the shelf-stackers, little Middle-Englanders can’t stand the backpackers,
Fortress Freedom, come on in, take your chances-you might win.

Should you stand and fight, should you die for what you think is right
So your useless contribution will be remembered?
If you’re asking me I say no, surrender.

Sunset beaches security patrolled, keep out the undesirables who won’t accept the code
Equal opportunity to live in total poverty, execute the ignorant incarcerate the slow

Car caressing managers choking up the avenues, brain dead patriots standing in salute
Paperwork raining again and again so that billionaires can claim there’s an enemy to shoot

Pill pushers, doorsteppers, personal goal shoppers, lifestyle trendsetters, meditating mindbenders,
Hare-brained share sellers pumping out stocks til you’re choking on a chain-letter avalanche of dross.

God squads crawling through every country tracking down fools who are bullshit hungry
Blinded by divinity followers fall into the man-traps set along the Wailing Wall.

Athletes compete in grand charades while tanks flatten streets and a nation laughs,
Visa holders gape at the changing guards while creeps bribe bums to take their photographs.

Film fans flock to the latest schlock, blockbusters block out even the vaguest thought
Bankrupt schools grind out fool after fool then feed them to a system where idiots rule.

Polling booths, phone votes, bogus questionnaires, you get a say as if anybody cares
Joe Public doesn’t want to play so liquidate his life as he looks the other way.

Don’t get sick, don’t get wise or they’ll gut you with a jistice where everything is lies
March down Main Street, complain if you want but it’s twenty years straight for the losers at the front.

If you’re asking me I say no, surrender

 

Picture the scene if you will, 1 week before my twin boys 12th birthday and I have no idea what to get them for their birthday. Like most 11 year olds these days they have everything they need and more. So in desperation more than hope I type ” Foo Fighters Tickets” into e-bay. I find there are four tickets for the Birmingham NEC at more than double face value £ 89 for a pair £ 35 face value. On the up side the gig is the day before their birthday so what do I do? I check the NEC web site just to check where the seats are, if they’re decent I’ll go for it.

Now the the piece of luck that all parents need, on the NEC website the magic words “Stop press Foo Fighters tickets available”. They’ve opened up two blocks and I order 4 tickets before they all sell out, in minutes! “Boys we’re going to see The Foos”.

Anyway they were of course amazing, I don’t have the vocabulary to fully describe how wonderful it was. Thank you Dave Grohl, and the rest of the Foos. My wife was particularly taken with drummer, Taylor Hawkins and I can see why to be honest.

So my twin boys have a 12th birthday they will NEVER forget and I for a short time am the best dad in the world. In honour of this week of weeks I will post a video of Foo Fighters from the MTV Awards when they segway “Pretender” into The Sex Pistols “God Save The Queen”

What a band , what a performance, what a week!

  

 There are some songs that however many times you hear them they just sound as good as the first time. Driving to work this morning my Ipod picked out “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths, I listened to it 3 times in a row and thought I would write my own eulogy to this timeless classic.

Part of Morrisseys genius was to write lyrics about real life but in a completely unique way. Basically this song is a love song of unrequited love and the singers inability to deal with possible rejection. The song begins with Morrissey asking his paramour to take him out anywhere, “I don’t care I don’t care”. Which of us haven’t experienced those feelings when just being in the presence of an object of desire is enough. That feeling in the pit of your stomach that you just can’t act on?

The chance comes “In a darkened underpass” and is missed thanks to a “strange fear”. Of rejection, of the unknown or just plain  shyness, you are left to decide, ambiguity is a Morrissey trademark.

The song reaches it’s peak with perhaps the greatest lines from any love song, certainly they’re my favourites. “And if a double decker bus crashes into us, to die by yourside is such a heavenly way to die. And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side well the pleasure; the privilege is mine”. Morrissey is saying that his emotions and inability to deal with them leave him with death along side his loved one as the perfect escape. Has any love song ever put so succinctly?

The song finishes with the title repeated almost as a form of self harm, the repetition a constant reminder that this unrequited, unfulfilled desire will never leave his tortured soul.

Enjoy the lyrics, enjoy the video and take your chance when it comes along.

Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s people
And they’re young and alive
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one
Anymore

Take me out tonight
Because I want to see people and I
Want to see life
Driving in your car
Oh, please don’t drop me home
Because it’s not my home, it’s their
Home, and I’m welcome no more

And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure – the privilege is mine

Take me out tonight
Take me anywhere, I don’t care
I don’t care, I don’t care
And in the darkened underpass
I thought Oh God, my chance has come at last
(But then a strange fear gripped me and I
Just couldn’t ask)

Take me out tonight
Oh, take me anywhere, I don’t care
I don’t care, I don’t care
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one, da …
Oh, I haven’t got one

And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure – the privilege is mine

Oh, There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out
There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out

Let me make something clear, I have just watched Jamie T do “Sheila” on the Jonathan Ross Show and it was great. It is new and exciting, but I couldn’t help thinking it reminded me of something. In the 1970’s Ian Dury produced a style of music very similar, he spoke the lyrics rather than sung them and spoke of real life. I guess the closest to it was “Billericay Dickie” which you can see here. Jamie T wasn’t even born and I would love to know if he’s ever heard Dury and what he thinks of him. Musicians have always been influenced conciously and sub-conciously this is  musical evolution and I love it.

 

 My life can be followed chronologically via music. There are a few anomallies along the way, but at most stages there is a band or artist that has that evocative effect of taking me back.  In this blog I will cover songs and bands that have or do mean something to me. This is a brief history of my musical life.

I can still see Englebert Humperdincks huge sideburns and eyebrows staring at me from the cover of my mums favourite album in the late sixties and “Please Release Me” is one of the few things that I remember clearly from my pre school life. The next would be my elder sisters Monkees obsession and the album “Headqurters” the song “Forget That Girl” evokes sounds and smells and memories that would be lost forever without it. My first purchases were The Scaffold single, “Lilly The Pink” and The Archies “Sugar Sugar” both songs Top of The Pops performances are forever etched in my minds eye. A breif flirtation with glam rock, The Sweets “Blockbuster” and Slades “Cum On Feel The Noize” brought me to my first real album interest Ian Dury and The Blockheads “New Boots and Panties”. Thanks to my older brother I was introduced to Dury at an early age and I still listen to his music now. A lyrical genius and completely unique I will cover him more in a later post. Elton Johns ” Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy” came next and only goes to emphasise the tragedy that is Elton Johns music, at it’s best as on “Captain Fantastic” he touched genius and then you have the dicotomy of the rubbish that he produced in the eighties.

In 1978 something very special happened I was now 13 and ripe for real influence and thanks to my older brother again I was introduced to The Jam.  For the next 3 years I listened to nothing else devouring every single and album as soon as they were released. My appetite for lyrics was fed by everything Weller wrote from “In The City and “Art School” to “Going Underground” and “Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero?” My first musical obsession and one that lives with me still.

Following The Jam split the gap was filled by some great early eighties Scottish bands. Orange Juice, “Rip It Up” and The Associates with the remarkable and sadly lost to us Billy MacKenzie. “Club Country” remains firmly in my top ten songs of all time. Aztec Camera’s album “High Land Hard Rain”was and remains a complete musical treat. How Roddy Frames genius was largely ignored by mainstream radio is one of life’s mysteries.  Aztec Camera were great and should have been one of THE great British bands. 

Echo and The Bunnymen, “The Cutter” and “The Back of Love” inspired me to see my first live acts and The Bunnymen at The Shakespere Theatre in Stratford on Avon and The Royal Albert Hall still live long in the memory. Then watching Top Of The Pops brought Morrissey and The Smiths to my attention. “This Charming Man” started a passion that burns as brightly today, there really is a light that never goes out! The Smiths music has inspired everyone since from The Stone Roses and Oasis up to Fall Out Boy and The Kooks today. The Smiths will be a recurring theme through this blog.

As the Smiths folded so my life changed, and a different group of freinds saw me discover jazz funk which I endured more than enjoyed and I even flirted in the late eighties with the hugely under rated A Ha (Morten Harket is still the only man who has ever made me question my sexuality). With Duran Duran and Stock Aitken and Waterman it was a musical wasteland but it matched my decadent late teens and early twenties when getting drunk and getting laid was the order of the day.

One song got me back on track to guitar music with lyrics that mattered and it coincided with the time I met my wife. Del Amitris “Nothing Ever Happens” ensured that from that day until now Justin Curries lyrics and voice would keep me going. From “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” up to “Learn To Cry” Del Amitri push The Smiths very close as my most listened to band. Curries beautiful lyrics on life and love matched my married life perfectly. There really is a song for every mood more on Del Amitri in later posts.

Having children again changed my musical out look, I just didn’t have the time to obsess. I liked Oasis, I liked Pulp, and many other 90’s britpop acts but they didn’t mean everything to me. My kids did. I continued to follow Wellers astonishing career as he continued to keep up and set current trends.  It was my boys love of the WWF as was that brought about my last real obsession. Hulk Hogans entrance music was “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix, I needed to hear more and over the next couple of years I bought every piece of Hendrix music I could find and read everything I could about this completely unique individual. The fact that this stuff was written and recorded over 30 years ago is staggering I am so glad I picked up on this later in life it is a constant delight each time I discover another new piece of the Hendrix genius.

Now my kids are older and starting with Green Day they keep me in touch with whatever is important. It is with great pride that my boys ignore the drum and bass culture and imerse themselves in guitar music. We are all off to see Muse at Wembley Stadium and my house is full of the sounds of Kaiser Chiefs, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco and The Fratellis.

So that brings us up to date, quite a journey and one I look forward to writing about in more detail.