It’s the 4th of July here tomorrow — actually, it’s that date everywhere but it’s also Independence Day in America. Sadly we won’t be getting an England-USA game this weekend for a chance for us to rewrite history and teach those colonials a lesson. As I’m sure you know, England broke our hearts again, going out of a World Cup in a way that was even more gutting than a penalty shoot-out. Now we have to play the bloody Germans again. That never goes well either.
I just got back from a long weekend in New York City with the family. It was the first time the kids have been so we did a lot of touristy stuff I hadn’t done in years — Empire State Building, Central Park, Staten Island Ferry — which reminded me what a wonderful, exhilarating city it can be.
I haven’t counted them or anything but I’m pretty sure more songs have been written about The Big Apple than any other city in the world. A lot of them are great too, but if I had to pick one it would be this beauty from 1977.
Download: Native New Yorker (12″ version) – Odyssey (mp3)
I doubt anyone’s noticed (or cares) but I haven’t posted my Best of 2014 list yet. What with Charli XCX and (shockingly) D’Angelo putting out new albums in only the past week it seemed a bit previous to do it any sooner, and to be honest I’ve just been too busy and lazy to write the bloody thing. I shall hopefully be doing that over the Christmas holiday while eating, drinking, and loafing.
This Proggy track from 1971 isn’t actually about a sleigh ride (apparently the title is an old whaler slang term) but it’ll do nicely instead of the usual Yuletide song fare. Brits of a certain age may recognize parts of this from it being used as the theme music for Weekend World.
I’m signing off for the year now, hope you and yours have a great festive season. See you in 2015.
Download: Nantucket Sleighride – Mountain (mp3)
Here’s an early Christmas present from you, a terrific new holiday song from Dum Dum Girls. Even better, you can download it for free, just use the button in the little player widget below.
They recorded it as part of an Xmas compilation put together by Converse, and unusually for them it’s a synthpop tune.
It’s Thanksgiving here in American today. It took me years to get used to having a festive roast turkey dinner in November instead of December but now I like having the extra holiday which makes up for the fact that most Americans only get one day off for Christmas.
I will, however, never get used to the fact that they have their big holiday meal with mashed potatoes instead of roast. I love mash but I always associate it with after-school tea when I was a kid (usually with sausages or fish fingers), and it just doesn’t seem special enough to serve with a roast bird, stuffing, gravy etc. Times like this I think I will always be a stranger in this country no matter how long I live here.
Anyway, happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers. Why not give roast potatoes a try this year?
I posted this song before many years ago but it’s great enough for a repeat.
Download: Thank You – Pale Fountains (mp3)
Image: Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell.
Back (sadly) from our holidays in Rhode Island. Had a great time, though as you can see from the above photo, the wife had to go catch our dinner every night.
Seized by a bout of nostalgia for late-90s club music I took on the trip the CD Beach House, one of the many, many Hed Kandi compilations I bought back then — just looking at the distinctive sleeves they had sends me back in time.
The first track on the album is “Music and Wine” by Blue 6 which originally came out on Naked Music, another label I bought a lot of back then with equally distinctive sleeves. Naked specialized in smooth and soulful dance music and “Music and Wine” is one of the most sublime, summery House records you’ll ever hear. It was my favourite single of 1999 and still sounds wonderful.
Download: Music & Wine (Original Funkaphonic Vocal) – Blue 6 (mp3)
Give me a few days to get back up to speed here.
By the time you read this post I shall be on my holidays, sitting on a beach in Rhode Island, getting some sun and reading my own Beezer Summer Special.
Back next week at some point. With a tan, hopefully.
Download: Here Comes The Sun – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (mp3)
Photo: Holborn Oasis Open Air Swimming Pool, London 1956.
Right, that’s my lot for the year. I’m staying home this Christmas and my new job gives me a whole week off (unlike the one day most Americans get) so hopefully I’ll be doing lots of nothing in between eating, drinking, watching football, and trying to keep the kids entertained.
So wherever you are and whatever you’re doing I hope you have a wonderful Yule. See you in – bugger me – 2014.
Here’s a lovely present you can unwrap now.
Download: Feeling Like Christmas – Margie Joseph (mp3)