Something for the Weekend

Tony Christie must be thinking to himself “What the fuck am I doing in this dump?” He was too good for Wheeltappers, what a voice.

School’s Out For Summer

My kids finished school for the summer two weeks ago. The little buggers get nearly three months break here which is just insane, that’s a quarter of the year. We “only” got two months in England when I was a kid and even that felt too long. We pay for ours to go to a camp for most of the summer which keeps them busy and entertained. When I was their age our mum left me and my sister with a woman who lived around the corner that “took in” kids during the holidays and after school. We spent all our time playing in her back yard and tiny kitchen and weren’t allowed in the rest of the house. All I remember her doing is reading the paper and smoking, but I assume she must have fed us at some point.

When we were a few a years older — around 11 and 12 I think — our mum let us stay home and fend for ourselves while she went to work which was pretty bloody magic as you can imagine. As is usually the case with nostalgia I remember it being hot and sunny all the time though, this being England, it can’t have been. Great though the summer holiday was, we did get a bit bored and restless by the end of August. Not that we wanted to go back to school but we were definitely running out of things to do, even in London. There’s only so many times you can play football, go to the adventure playground, the swimming baths, the museums, or get shouted at by a scary old person.

But at least we had some good telly to watch in the mornings when the BBC would show old serial dramas like Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin, Robinson Crusoe, and Champion The Wonder Horse which riveted us all summer. Then the good old paternal Beeb would encourage us to get off our behinds by ending the morning with an episode of Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead? which was all about creative things you could do with your spare time.

I used to love Why Don’t You? and think I actually wrote a letter to them once. Now it looks so innocent and the kids are so charmingly awkward with their stamp collections, pet ants, and terrible jokes. Hard to imagine a show these days telling kids to turn off their televisions, but we didn’t have a lot of choice back then because kid’s programs were only on at certain limited times and the BBC would often close down completely for periods during the day. We didn’t care though because we could always catch a bus, go to the pictures, buy a Jubbly on the way home and still have change out of 50p. Try telling kids today that and they won’t believe you.

Not going with the obvious Alice Cooper track, instead here’s the famous theme music to the aforementioned Robinson Crusoe. This tune might not mean much to some, but all over the world there are English people of a certain age clicking on this link and having a massive flashback.

Download: Theme From Robinson Crusoe (mp3)

Serenity Now

Only a couple of weeks ago I was saying I still felt positive despite the ongoing parade of depressing news. While I haven’t quite revised that opinion, I must admit lately it does make you want to close your eyes and check out of reality for a while.

Here’s a perfect record for doing just that.

Download: Willow – Joan Armatrading (mp3)

Photo: London, June 1942

New Monday

I shouldn’t group artists together simply because of their gender but it seems to me that female acts are just bossing it over the men at the moment. Maybe it’s just a personal preference — I like female voices more — but most of my favourite albums of the past few years have been made by the fairer sex.

Japan-born, Brooklyn-based Mitski is another name to add to the list. Her fourth album Puberty 2 is a terrific indie-rock record which sounds like St. Vincent with fewer arty trimmings and more crunchy guitar attack. Highly recommended.

Come on boys, you really need to up your game.

Something for The Weekend

With Britain being wrecked by two old Etonians this song is now more documentary than allegory.

Haven’t watched any live Jam videos for a long time and it was a pleasure to be reminded how bloody great they were. I made the right choice of favourite band when I was a teenager.

I Have Twelve Inches

Looking around my iTunes library for a suitable track to go with the previous post I found this which I recorded off my 12″ vinyl copy a long time ago but never posted for some reason.

Remixed in 1982 from an earlier b-side, this a sleek Euro-disco groover that glides along on Mick Karn’s rubbery bass playing and some honking sax. I was never a huge Japan fan but this does make me want to suck in my cheekbones and go pose outside a Berlin nightclub. Hopefully I’d be allowed back in England after.

Download: European Son (Extended Remix) – Japan (mp3)

Anarchy in The UK

Well, this is a fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

I’m all for people rebelling against the establishment, and I understand the impotent rage people feel against the forces of globalization wrecking their lives, but all the Brexit result will do is hand power from one bunch of rich toffs to another, ones who have since been shown to have lied about their promises and have no plan for what to do next. If voters outside London think those wankers are going to invest in them as much as the EU has they’re in for a rude awakening. I wish I could feel some schadenfreude over that but I’m too fucking angry.

As there seems to be some buyer’s remorse setting in, and with the economic consequences of Brexit already apparent (not to mention the potential break-up of the UK) some think that the next PM will bottle out of going through with it. But that will only enrage the hardcore Leavers and lead to a surge in support for UKIP from them — violence against immigrants is already on the rise. And just when you need a strong opposition to provide an alternative, the fucking Labour Party goes and implodes.

I really don’t see a good way out of this at the moment. Thanks Cameron!

Download: There’ll Always Be An England – Vera Lynn (mp3)

Something for Le Weekend

I’m posting this before the final result is in, but this clip is proof that Britons are better in Europe than out.

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com





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