Auto Eroticism


Unlike a lot of men I’m not really a car person. Living in London I didn’t need to drive and didn’t learn how until I was 30 and had moved to Florida where you have to if you want any sort of life. As a result I don’t really equate them with freedom or girls like in the Springsteen songs and see them mostly as things to get you from A to B. Not that I don’t appreciate a beauty of a classic car like an E-type or Mustang (and wouldn’t say no to owning one), but I don’t get erotically aroused by them like the bloke in Queen’s “I’m In Love With My Car”.

There are a lot of pop and rock songs about cars but few make them as blatantly sexual as this. Written by drummer Roger Taylor, it’s hysterically over the top but there’s something gloriously ecstatic about it that I’ve always loved. With its lines about “pistons a pumpin'” and “my hand on your grease gun” it’s almost, um, Ballardian in its erotic fetishization of cars.

I first heard this when it was the b-side of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and kids at school would sing “I’m In Love With My Bike” to it. We knew all the girls loved a nice Chopper.

Download: I’m In Love With My Car – Queen (mp3)

Drama Queen


This is an old photo that belonged to my Dad of him working with the great Beryl Reid. I had to do some internet detective work to find out when it was taken, and best I can tell it’s from rehearsals of either the Italian comedy Il Campiello or Edward Albee’s Counting The Ways, both of which she starred in at the National Theatre in 1976 where my old man was a Stage Manager. I’ve a feeling it’s the latter.

As you can see she’s written something on the photo but, like the note my Dad got from John Osborne, it was hard to decipher what it was. So I did some Photoshop jiggery-pokery on the blue pen and figured out that it says “To John, I’m not the tallest partner but you’re lovely – Beryl Reid” which I assume has something to do with the rehearsals. But who knows, apparently Beryl was quite the saucy old bird.

Of course none of this would be a mystery if I’d asked him about it when he was alive, but he never told me any stories about Beryl either so I’ve nothing there I’m afraid.

I had a hard time thinking of a song to go with this post so here’s a track from a favourite album of my Dad’s that came out the year before the photo was taken. I don’t hate The Eagles anymore — don’t love them either — but this is rather nice Country-Rock.

Download: Hollywood Waltz – The Eagles (mp3)

Luxury Pop


It didn’t take Spandau Ballet long to ditch the hard electronic stomp of their early singles for a sound that better reflected their roots as Soul Boys. Their musical evolution also reflected the trajectory of the 1980s, a bit heavy and intense at first then becoming more glitzy and aspirational. They started out with the style and sound of underground London clubs but later provided the soundtrack for wine bars, double-breasted suits, and Club 18-30 holidays in Magaluf.

I liked their early stuff but Tony Hadley’s big voice made them sound a bit Teutonic at times and he was better in lighter musical surroundings. One of my favourites of their later singles was “I’ll Fly For You” from 1984 which wasn’t a huge hit like some others of theirs — you know, the one we all slow danced to at cheesy discos — but it’s cut from the same expensive cloth with a smooth, gliding surface and crisp, ringing guitar. And of course it has a creamy saxophone on it, the instrument that Spandau (and “Careless Whisper”) helped make synonymous with 80s pop.

Download: I’ll Fly For You (12″ mix) – Spandau Ballet (mp3)

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.

Tees Up


Introducing the Music Snob collection, perfect for the smug hipster in your life — or maybe yourself. As usual they’re only $14 for a very limited time so buy one before everyone else does.

Download: Music – John Miles (mp3)

This 1976 hit is the Cecil B. DeMille of pop records: an overblown Pomp Rock epic that’s a bit stupid but also kind of glorious.

Something for the Weekend



This is pretty much the Platonic Ideal of Rock Music: Chunky riffs, long hair, tight jeans, guitar solos, bluesy vocals, dancing groupies, and a song about “doing it”.

Whatever happened to white singers with voices like Paul Rodgers?

Something for the Weekend



You’d think having a hit record would mean he could afford a shirt with buttons.

This is a classic example of the 1970s AM pop which sounds glorious blaring out of the radio of a big old American car when you’re driving to the beach on a sunny Florida day. It really does, I know from personal experience.

Something for the Weekend



Never thought I’d use the words “Toto” and “rocks” in the same sentence but this really does.

I bought this single when it came out in 1978, I know I probably should have been buying something by The Clash instead but we can’t all be so hip in our early teens.

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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