Tuesday, 31 March 2009

15. 10 Songs of Consolation

Be Not So Fearful - Bill Fay
From the Morning - Nick Drake
Don't Worry Baby - Beach Boys
Oxygen - Willie Mason
Sad Eyes - Josh Rouse
Hey Jude - The Beatles
Stop Your Crying - Spiritualized
Don't Be Sad- Whiskeytown
Cry Baby - Janis Joplin
He's Simple, He's Dumb, he's the Pilot - Grandaddy

Goodness, these are some of the best songs going, these ones. I'd particularly recommend the Grandaddy song. He sings "Are you giving in, 2000 man?" I guess it's a companion to "Waiting for a Superman" by the Flaming Lips, but that's a song which really offers no consolation at all.

Anyway, I always preferred the idea of respite to consolation. Who wants consolation prizes? Consolation often seemed too phony as an idea. But maybe you've got to take what you can get.

So, i just shamelessly nicked the heart from Be Not So Fearful, and played around with it with my own words. I've really just tried to write more and more verses to the same song. Tried to make it mostly two or under syllable words. Didn't quite manage.

So here are some of them

This time is selfish
selfish and sad
children are fighting
a different breed
the harmonising
is frail and weak
my ears are straining
to hear you speak

the noise is endless
be not afeard
i know it's threatening
i know it's hard
i know i'm selfish
lord knows, it's true
i'd still do all that
i can for you

these times are restless
to no avail
we long to save but
we're doomed to fail
time is beyond our
most awful power
life slips from us all
every hour

but do not listen
to my despair
life still explodes defiant
life still exceeds my wishes
be not afeard to live
as you may

don't seek to quash
the joy of pain
be sure your suffering
is all in vain
be not so downcast
accept defeat
our days are numbered
let them be sweet

you won't escape from
your skin and bone
don't scorn and envy
that not your own
be not so careworn -
we all endure
we'll find no answer
and no true cure

be not so eager
to doubt your friends
don't always trust you can
make amends
be not so angry
each time you fail
in graceful failure
we shall prevail

be not so sorry
for every thought
facile contrition
counts for nought
don't scorn the words of
those who console
be not so fearsome
be not so cold

Bit fatuous, really, and rather unnecessarily gloomy. Funnily enough, I was listening to 'Float On' by Modest Mouse as I was typing. Now there's a proper joyful song of consolation - OK!

Monday, 30 March 2009

14. 10 Songs for Bob Dylan

Song for Bob Dylan - David Bowie
Song to Bobby - Cat Power
Like Dylan in the Movies - Belle and Sebastian
American Pie - Don McLean
Dylan - Emmy the Great
Blonde on Blonde - Nada Surf
Talkin' New Bob Dylan - Loudon Wainwright III
Mr Jones - Counting Crows
Bob Dylan's 49th Beard - Wilco
Diamonds & Rust - Joan Baez

Bob Dylan, eh?
I guess this whole endeavour is in the spirit of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, where he plays lots of old themed songs people pretend to like because it's Bob Dylan playing them.
Bob Dylan's a crazy man these days. There's nothing he's not doing. I went to see his art exhibition and reallly enjoyed it, safe in the knowledge I know nothing about art.
But does he have anything left in the tank musically? Really, really? The new song i heard today suggests perhaps not. We'll see soon.

This was written before the last one came out and I can't say I feel the same about the forthcoming one.
Bob Dylan's crept into a lot of the things I've written, When I was younger I tried to write like him, but his slightly bullshitty stuff like Desolation Row, not his supercool beautiful stuff like To Ramona and Idiot Wind. My attempts were so hideous, they embarrass me more than leaning on the alarm handle on a tube station by mistake - which is embarrassing.
But here is a brief thought on Bob Dylan's last new album

I'm not sure what lies are being told here
Summer in the city's so different these days.
Anger has aged it - it's gaudier and colder,
Spitting out new forms of rage at random
so I say, for my solace, who gives a fuck
about anything but Bob Dylan's new album?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

13. 10 Songs which skilfully insert sections of other songs

I'm not just talking about covering or sampling, it's when the other song is explicitly referenced as being a different song, almost like an ekphrasis

Our Mutual Friend - Divine Comedy (The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore)
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space - Spiritualized (I Can't Help Falling in Love)
Chinese Cafe - Joni Mitchell (Unchained Melody)
Reminisce - Dexys Midnight Runners (I'll Say Forever My Love)
A Case of you - Joni Mitchell (O Canada)
First Love - Emmy the Great (Hallelujah)
I'm a Cuckoo - Belle and Sebastian (Boys are Back in Town)
Holes - Mercury Rev (I don't know, when it goes "How does that old song go?")
Tom Traubert's Blues - Tom Waits (Waltzing Matilda)
Young Americans - David Bowie (A Day in the Life)

This is a supercool thing to do in a song, probably my favourite example being I'm a Cuckoo, where Stuart Murdoch sings I'd rather listen to Thin Lizzy-O and the guitars play a bit from Boys Are Back in Town and at the second he actually manages to sound like Phil Lynott, even though their vocal styles couldn't be more dissimilar.

I tried to think of a clever way of doing this with words, but of course I'm borrowing words and referencing phrases all the time, it hardly seems worth pinpointing it, and borrowing a phrase or quoting a phrase isn't quite so powerful for me as quoting a song, tune and all.

So, I will just mention the most brazen example of all, from Borrowed Tune by Neil Young
where he sings

I'm singing this borrowed tune
I took from the Rolling Stones
Alone in this empty room
too wasted to write my own.

I always imagine the reason he included "alone" and "empty" in the same line is to show just how ill-equipped he is at this stage for the songwriting process.

I might add to this post if I can think of a clever way to do so, but it's an excellent list of songs, so i thought I'd put it up at once.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

12. 10 Songs about Badasses

Stagger Lee - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Joey - Bob Dylan
Sonny Could Lick All Them Cats - Chuck E Weiss
Theme from Shaft - Isaac Hayes
The Boy With the Arab Strap - Belle and Sebastian
King of New York - Fun Lovin' Criminals
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Pinball Wizard - The Who
Rudie Can't Fail - The Clash
Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie

So, I guess there are a different types of badasses - the true badass, the hardest bastard alive who literally doesn't care about a thing, Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, the mean motherfucker named Stagger Lee etc
And there's the different type of badass, the tragic badass, the Sonny Liston, the big man who falls - in a sense the archetype of the tragic hero. The harder they come, the harder they fall, I heard a man say.
And the fall of these men is very hard to watch.

This is about big men falling, but it's quite scattergun. It mentions someone I went to school with. He wasn't a badass, as such, but he was a big man with a big, occasionally fragile ego which was interesting to watch. And I guess, on a personal level, I was thinking about the rivalry we had, of sorts, at school, and how I was in a no way a badass and wasn't a big man but that wasn't always necessary a bad thing and I had one or two other tricks.
I was also thinking about the delicacy you see at the side of a boxing ring, and just that generally hard bastards are quite often people you'd count on in a crisis, the people who'd know how to do first aid, stuff like that ...
It takes a detour into Mean Streets-y Christian imagery in the middle. The relevance of that is how Gangster Films used to be my favourite, stories of big bad men, their occasional humanity, glimpses of redemption, and their downfalls, and then they began to bore me and cared more about normal people, and how that kind of mirrors the near total erosion of my competitive edge.
I'm not sure it all makes quite enough sense, and rereading it, it's clearly just a slightly unhinged conversation with myself, but hey, what's wrong with that?

I scarce remember the names of the fighters
who made my eye twitch and lip quiver
But, Sam, sentences seem to be reforming
bold to sneak a relative clause in;
or not - the blood's running into your eye
and I've not the touch tender to wipe away.
Watch me, tho, spin this cricket ball
and I dare erase my self-mocking nickname -
that's touch, power of the hand over flame.
"You don't make up for your sins in the church" -
oh, I lost patience with believers
and cruelty's infected my gentle teasing.
I flinch at their mildest inquisitions
as if I am the Lord and God of all reason.
Herol Graham and Wayne McCullough -
look, I recall crying at Matthew Harding,
for fuck's sake, halfway through a pilgrimage
so don't tell me I've not had some lives.
Carl Thompson and Danny Williams -
look, I wept at the death of the Emperor,
so, yes, it's tininess that touches me now
and the creeping futility of off-kilter lives
but tell Sam I still flinch when a big man falls
and still well up when a big man stands tall.
And my sentences, which cost me my brutish aggression
are reforming, ready to do their own battle
and Sam, you and I were never that subtle
and I'll be upfield for one last competition.

Friday, 20 March 2009

11. 10 Songs Sung Blue

Blue - The Jayhawks
Blue - Lucinda Wiliams
Blue - Joni Mitchell
Blue - McAlmont and Butler
When the Stars go Blue - Ryan Adams
The Blues are Still Blue - Belle and Sebastian
Powder Blue - Elbow
Way to Blue - Nick Drake
Weaker Shade of Blue - The Pernice Brothers
Bluetonic - The Bluetones

Blue is the pre-eminent colour in rock'n'roll, for obvious reasons.
Everyone ever has had the blues, apart from Holly Golightly, who had a serious case of the reds, but that didn't become a trend.
All these songs are about blue - rather than blues.
I don't think, of all the tapes I'll list here, there'll be another ten songs so beautiful, or bluetiful. Even The Bluetones one has a wry melancholy, tho is somewhat at odds with the rest.
I love the Bluetones though. Not love, but rather, still think they were pretty good. They're kind of my benchmark for overhyped music. If a world is going crazy for a band and you know it's phony, you say "It's ok, but it's not as good as the Bluetones" and it turns out to be true.

Anyway, here is my thing about Blue, a self-prophesying, self-referential little thing written a fair while back.
It is called


I'm making a night of it, a night in
Nineteen ninety six, I reckon, with twists
A night where foxes' screams are drowned out
By a sony walkman playing a tape
I made, of Songs Called Blue
A night where I don't just imagine
the abandon of inapproriate singalongs
with a quiet smile on the tube
as voices crack and words fail
At the end of Grace ... the end of grace.

I'm making a tape - called Songs Sung Blue
it's for before iTunes and before
I figured out all my current truth.
It's a word play, you understand,
you're amused, perhaps, delighted, perhaps
where this ain't a list, not even a litany
but a poem called LITANY, goes
Lucinda Williams goes Joni Mitchell
goes McAlmont & Butler goes Jayhawks
goes BLUE so BLUE.
I'm making a night of numbers and figures
with fingers and thumbs at all angles
I'm building a tower of song so high
it dares to touch the dark blue sky
and sends the years spinning, spinning back.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

10. 10 Songs about Africa

Africa - Toto
Rock the Kasbah - The Clash
Sunset Coming On - Damon Albarn
Marrakesh Express - Crosby, Stills and Nash
Mozambique - Bob Dylan
Free Nelson Mandela - The Specials
Afrika Shox - Leftfield
Liberian Girl - Michael Jackson
Redemption Song - Bob Marley
Do they know it's Christmas - Band Aid

Of course, these are all songs about Africa from an outsider's perspective - none of your Fela Kutis and Amadou and Mariams from me. This 10 is bookended by a couple of songs of almost irredeemable naffness, but I knew I had to include them, sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus over the Serengeti.
Talking of terrible verse, I have loads of words about Africa funnily enough, probably because of trying to tap into the very few parts of my memory which aren't fairly monochrome.
These are quite bland words, but I like them because they do actually remind me of some of the sheer weirdnesses of some of the time when I was in Kenya

Dogs are sleeping in the valley
'neath the bitter burning forest
Some they say the rains are coming
with the changing of the council
There's a funeral on the west slope
for the man who guards the schoolyard
He looked like Morgan Freeman -
couldn't speak a word of English
There's wailing 'cross the hillside
which sounds like a rehearsal
grief always seemes so cliched
till the moment that it strikes you
Snakes are crawling from the forest
Dessperate and endangered
Boys are sleeping with their knives out
trying hard to feel like grown men
Teeth are grinding in the bedrooms
of the blinkered unbeliever
Fire will bring the rain upon us
with the changing of the spirits
The preacher's voice gets louder -
the good book takes a beating
Drowning out the ululating
at this raging god of hatred
Blessed fresh water's getting scarcer
Fingernails are getting dirtier
The cane becomes less fruitful
Just a minor inhibition
Lightning streaks across the valley
and I do believe in nothing
but dancing in the rainstorm
I watch the fire extinguished.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

9. 10 songs about Emilys

A Rose for Emily - The Zombies
Emily - Joanna Newsom
See Emily Play - Pink Floyd
Emily - Stephen Fretwell
Emily - Barbra Streisand
For Emily, Whenver I May Find Her - Simon and Garfunkel
Emily - Adam Green
Emily's Pine - The Bluetones
Emily - Manic Street Preachers
Emily - Kelly Jones

I have no words of my own for anyone called Emily, apart from Hello Emily if you're reading this, so I'll take these lush words from 'Emily' by Joanna Newsom, about her astronomer sister

"And, Emily, I saw you last night by the river
I dreamed you were skipping little stones across the surface of the water
Frowning at the angle they were lost, and slipped under forever,
In a mudcloud, mica-spangled,like the sky'd been breathing on a river

Anyhow, I sat by your side, by the water
You taught me the names of the stars up overhead that I wrote down in my ledger
Though all i knew of that rote universe were those pleiades loosed in December
I promised you I'd set them to verse so I'd always remember

that the meteorite is the source of the light
and the meteor's just what we see
and the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee
and the meteorite's just what causes the light
and the meteor's how it's perceived
And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee"

I don't know if this is all strictly true, but it's quite fun

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

8. 10 Songs about Wolves

Wolves - Josh Ritter
Raised by Wolves - Voxtrot
When We Were Wolves - My Latest Novel
Wolf among Wolves - Bonnie Prince Billy
Wolves (act I and II) - Bob Iver
Werewolf waltz - BC Camplight
Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog) - Iron and Wine
Let the Wolves Howl at the Moon - Super Furry Animals
Werewolves of London Town - Warren Zevon
Wolf Like Me - TV on the Radio

Have you read The Tenderness of Wolves? Very good
I'm not sure wolves are terribly dangerous. Werewolves on the other hand ... you wouldn't mess with Michael J Fox, would you?
Anyway, wolves ... traditional symbol of fear ...

The mistake we made, when I look back at it
is thinking the wolves needed keeping at bay.
God, we're such suckers for myth and excitement -
all that energy wasted and time thrown away.
Talk in basement bars that vengeance was coming
must have been planted by enemy agents.
God, we're such suckers for outrage and gossip
Protection and panic became the contagion.

The hills of the north were just teeming with furies,
The dales of the south overrun by the ghouls.
God, now us idiots are staring at bootstraps
Asking what plague came and made us such fools.
The air filled with whispers ricocheting off windows
and the witchdoctors gave it a million new names.
God, we're such suckers for motives and syndromes,
ducking and wildly misapportioning blame.

The word went around that the wolves were a-circling
The lookouts had seen and had pictures for proof.
Diseases they'd bring and their fierce teeth would strip skin
From the wisdom of age and the fountain of youth.
God, we're such suckers for horror and bloodshed
Snakes starting sneaking over rooftops, down drains.
The city of centuries' care and construction
Turned into a jungle in a matter of days.

The wolves dissipated, though little we knew it -
their howls lingered on in our terrorised ears.
God, we're such suckers for own destruction,
Imprisoned by freedoms and stabbed through with fears.
The gates kept us in and the wolves kept truth out -
Where the wolves are now the sky alone sees
Little they know and even less would they care
that their very existence brought us all to our knees.

It's like a fable, woohoo!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

7. 10 Songs which are about trains

The Engine Driver -The Decemberists
Night Train - James Brown
Siffler le train - Richard Anthony
Downtown Train -Tom Waits
Rise - Josh Rouse
Whistle of a Distant Train - Ed Harcourt
Midnight Train to Georgia - Brook Benton
Waiting for the Ghost Train - Madness
It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry - Bob Dylan
Madame George - Van Morrison

I love trains, In particular the East Coast mainline. I love it. It's part of the holiday. Get drunk in the buffet of the East Coast mainline staring out at Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne and The Angel of the North and the North Sea. It's awesomeness..
Not all these songs are totally about trains, but trains are pretty key to them. I didn't include Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat from 'Cats'.
Here's something which isn't really about trains, though it's also called
The Engine Driver
It's a sad story about a face I recognised in a hospital waiting room and then a name I recognised in a newpaper a while later.

The engine driver felt something he didn't wish to feel,
a pang of bliss, the pain of loss for life he almost lived
of wild abandon, borders crossed, packets pushing pockets,
waved through to further exploits seen but not believed,
as he drove the train to Brighton and dreamt he drove the line
way down South where music began and lived on in his mind
but he drove up to Victoria, not such a handsome scene
as the glorious high and lonesome of a purer, deeper time.

The engine driver saw some things which made his colleagues blush -
superstars in waiting and shoulders brushed with legends
"Lads, I'll tell you stories of life I dared to live
beyond the boundaries, off the tracks - ever burning engines"
as he held the dead man's handle and let his spirit wander
"but, sure, this is a life and line not to be idly sniffed at
I see some beauty, feel some life that many sure would envy.
I've been through that, I've come to this, brain and soul intact."

The engine driver felt some thing he didn't wish to feel
which took him 'cross from Victoria to nearby London Bridge,
impatient in crowded waiting rooms with aged and infirm
who grimace and grin and condescend to tell him Life's a bitch.
"Life is brutal - what you mean - utterly fucking brutal.
What right have I to this position of sympathy unwanted?
I am almost a rock'n'roll star and I am an engine driver
and I am so many things to come in life I've barely started.

I am the engine driver and I had a million lines in me,
I am more than just three paragraphs across the country's press
I am artist and artisan, I am shaman and servant
I walk out of this colourless room and no one could care less."
The engine driver saw something he couldn't bear to see
He saw his train driving away without him at the wheel.
And is that it, this brutal life where lessons learnt are worthless?
The engine driver felt something he could no longer feel.

It was sad. I hope that comes across.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

4. 10 Songs for Doing Nothing

Don't Just Do Something - Spiritualized
Busy Doing Nothing - Brian Wilson
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
Let it Be (or Tomorrow Never Knows) - The Beatles
Lazy - X-Press 2 & David Byrne
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
The Summer Wasting - Belle and Sebastian
Watching the Wheels - John Lennon
Can't Get out of Bed -The Charlatans
Lazy Sunday - Small Faces

Doing nothing - highly underrated. I think it's the closest I have to a philosophy on life, and it's beautifully expressed by the above Spiritualized song. I certainly realised from most of my early attempts to do good in life that they were doing more harm than good, so "don't just do something, sit around instead"
Almost as good as Doing Nothing is Feeling Nothing. Harder to manage, but still a very valuable tool. Toot-toot, he breaks into song ....

Sometimes it's kinder not to care
as the cameras glare and flash.
Indifference is respect -
to disregard the crash,
It's kinder not to care about
each last ebbing ideal,
not to feel a thing
if you don't know what to feel.

6. 10 Songs about Teaching and School

The Teacher - Super Furry Animals
The Art Teacher - Rufus Wainwright
Another Brick in the Wall -Pink Floyd
The Headmaster Ritual - The Smiths
Teachers - Leonard Cohen
I'm not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend how to Dance - Black Kids
Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III - Cornershop
Don't Stand so Close to Me - The Police
School Days - Loudon Wainwright
School's Out - Alice Cooper

Teaching - very important and wonderful. Not for everybody, though. This is what someone who found himself teaching and being hopeless at it might think. St Cassian is an early martyr, murdered with writing implements by his vicious and unruly class. Happy Days!

Into the heart of darkness
I've peeked and scarred my eyes
And in my clouded mind I see
only weakness, battling lies.

Just south of the river
I stepped out of the shallows
and flapped and flailed but would not
cry for rescue from my perils.

And in the sun-drenched darkness
my sweat clung like a shroud
And now I wish I'd never dared
to drown, so bold, so proud.

And in the wonder of the night
I clung to bright escape
But morning came; I swam in vain
for any saving shape.

The vicious sun has stripped my skin
and inside lies a mockery.
The laugh grows louder every hour,
as sharpened points attack me.
Cassian saw the heart of darkness,
I see the joke in Cassian.
I see the base of my ideals,
the abortion of this mission.

I wish that I could take this darkness,
hold it and embrace it,
but every time my blood arises
my muddled brain can't face it.

Beyond the heart of darkness
may lie a misted marshland
but bring it on, with tickertape
bring on the braying brassband

For I'll take grey uncertainty
I'll take dirt and squalor
to flee from darkness my green eyes
were rash enough to follow.

In the melodramatic and overblown spirit of Prudentius' 'Liber Peristephanon' as you've no doubt noted.

5. 10 Songs for Jesus

I Want to be a Christian - The Proclaimers
Sweet Jesus - James Yorkston
O Happy Day - Spiritualized
The Sexual Loneliness of Jesus Christ - Jackie Leven
Jesus Was a Crossmaker - Judee Sill
Corpus Christi Carol - Jeff Buckley
Jesus Christ - Big Star
Jesus Walks - Kanye West
Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam - Nirvana
Check Out My New Jesus - Joy Zipper

A lot of the best songs are about Jesus. Rock'n'Roll of course has religious roots but more often than not Jesus is just as likely to be used in secular songs. It's a strong word.
I might have used Jesus here, but I didn't, but I guess this is about Jesus

Brother, please recall
the grey chapel
which saw me running round in circles
eyes, clasped tight to see
some trinity
of tricks & lights & silence
See, the day is passed,
the one he gave -
spinebent books with golden letters
and chords so sad and strong
the oldest song
could make the worst day so much brighter
and I, I used to pray
five times each day
make five different times of promise
for peace, till end of days
the old cliches
on the cusp of being honest.
I recall
the holy ghost
the Dorset Coast
now i'm running round the island
to escape my wildest mind
so long confined
by hangovers and minefields
as the priests
cast shame on me -
is an ever-present menace
to their grip,
the fellowship
of fresh grace and sweet communion
lost so long, even their ghosts
aren't even close
to disrupting frozen freedom.
Please, just let me be,
running free
you won't catch me on the island.

Monday, 2 March 2009

3. 10 Songs about Sport

This Sporting Life - The Decemberists
When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease - Roy Harper
I Wish - Skee-Lo
Piazza, New York Catcher - Belle and Sebastian
Waltze of the Tennis Players - Meg Baird
Hurricane - Bob Dylan
Snooker Loopy - The Matchroom Mob
The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner - Belle and Sebastian
Three Lions - The Lightning Seeds
Ice Hockey Hair - Super Furry Animals

I love Sport. It's the best thing in the world. To prove it conclusively, I draw upon these overblown words. They trundle along in imitation of Derek Pringle running into bowl

When I'm feeling low, when I'm feeling insipid
When I've no noble notion within me to share
When all that is fine about me is crippled
by the grinding motion of going nowhere
When my days turn to night and the nights have no fire
When the drop is straight and straits are dire
I watch sport
Oh yes .... I watch sport.

When I'm sad and blue, when the deck is stacked
When the clouds don't break for the summer's length
When I'm sucked dry of temper and tired out of tact
and no god I could muster could just give me strength
When my words turn to dust and the dust coats my room
And no lamp will serve to lighten the gloom
I watch sport
That's right .... I watch sport.

When the symphony's silent
When the chords clang and clash
When the filmmaker's art's
Lost in longing for cash
When the poet's derided
for losing all touch
When a soul needs supporting
and art is no crutch

For the simplest of pleasures
The truest of joys
For fair separation
of men from the boys
For battle less bloody
than Plataea or Culloden
For the apex of cultures
both ancient and modern
For humanity's rising, triumphant, surprising
Federer, Henin, Wilkinson, Ambrose, Gebrselaissie, Woods and Calzaghe
Giggs and Habana, Le Tissier, Gower, Bolt, Flintoff, Lara
I watch sport every time.

So there we have it. The final word on the matter

2. 10 Songs about Dead Film Stars

Here's my second list. I'm trying to make nearly all the songs on all the tapes songs I really like. I haven't quite managed it here:

The Right Profile - The Clash
Vogue - Madonna
Matinee Idol - Rufus Wainwright
Judy - The Pernice Brothers
Grace Kelly - Mika
Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
Candle in the Wind - Elton John
Steve McQueen - Lambchop
Just Like Fred Astaire - James
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John

Montgomery Clift
River Phoenix
Judy Garland
Marilyn Monroe
Judy Garland


and last summer I wrote about a film star a month or so before he died
I was thinking about the cool hand
on the hottest day of summer
I was thinking about the blue eyes
staring down the vicious sun

I've been thinking about Paul Newman
how there'll never be another
how he'll leave his life so truly lived
no one else should even bother

I've been thinking about the old man
with the twinkle of a killer
I've been thinking about the airman
from an era lost forever

I've been thinking about Paul Newman
and how much Paul Newman matters
I've been praying for this new world
getting colder, grayer, sadder

101 Tapes - the beginning .... songs about Music

After a few teething problems, I think I've hit on the appropriate format for the blog. In the spirit of the original idea - listing music - but in a more user-friendly, shorter-listed way, I will seek to produce 101 separate tracklists for themed compilation tapes.
Back in the day, I used to make tapes all the time for myself and for my friends, but of course it's now a defunct form. Sites like muxtape have tried to keep the dream alive, but I tend to find them rather unsatisfactory, so this is my own little mixtape haven.
Ideally, I'd have links to the songs etc, but I think I'll keep it simple and tidy and stick to dry words.
For added value, I will also include some extra words underneath the tracklisting, whether my own or borrowed from somewhere, hopefully on the same theme.
I'm sure this has been done a million times before, but I'm pretty enthusiastic about this - I've already come up with over 10 ideas for tapes, and we'll see what kind of silliness I can come up with to accompany them.
So, here we go, Tape 1: 10 Songs which ... celebrate or mock Music and the Music Scene

Sweeping the Nation - Spearmint
The Late Greats - Wilco
Heard about your Band - Brakes
Garageland - The Clash
Geno - Dexys Midnight Runners
Creeque Alley - Mamas and the Papas
Glamorous Indie Rock'n'Roll - The Killers
I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well - Pooh Sticks
Fake Takes of San Francisco - Arctic Monkeys
C30 C60 C90 Go - Bow Wow Wow

As Wilco say
"The best song will never get sung
The best laugh never leaves your lungs
So good, you won't ever know
I never hear it on the radio
Can't hear it on the radio"

so here's a song which doesn't have a tune about a band which doesn't have any members or has never produced any music.
They are my favourite band of all time - they're called The Turkletons

Let's go see The Turkletons playing
Everyone's saying they're the next best next best
I hear they're like The Smiths on acid
or maybe that was The Shins on speed

Have you got the new Turkletons single
It's a blast of sun-drenched punk
The Beach Boys meet the Sex Pistols
Al Jardine gets beaten up

I really like your Turkletons t-shirt
classic indie merchandising
you could do with losing some pounds
indie fashion's unforgiving

My mate's met the Turkletons drummer
in the loo at Koko, I think
He said their album'll be a classic
but i think they're already past it

So that's the story of The Turkletons, the greatest band that never lived, and that's how it works - themed virtual tape, silly words of some sort. 101 times. Yippee