Singles of the year: #10 (NMC)

10. F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back) – Eamon

1999: Turn Your Lights Down Low – Bob Marley & Lauryn Hill
1994: I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
1989: Promised Land – Joe Smooth
1984: Holiday – Madonna

F**k what I said, it don’t mean shit now, f**k the presents, might as well throw em out, f**k all those kisses, it didn’t mean jack, f**k you, you ho, I don’t want you back…

For all the perceived “scandalousness” of this blog – the bursts of should-he-really-be-saying-that? confessionalism, the coy, veiled references to buried-safely-in-the-past misdemeanours – an altogether different set of dangerously unhinged impulses seem to be snapping at my feet these days, tempting me into committing ill-considered indiscretions which I might later regret.

For now that my Inner Party Monster has been more or less safely tethered, it is my Inner Middle Aged Daily Mail Reader which is rattling the cages and struggling to break free. All this Colonel Blimp-ish disapproval of modern manners and mores – from where has it sprung?

Warily threading my way through the city centre on a Saturday night not so very long ago, I caught myself eyeing up a screeching gaggle of severely under-dressed young binge drinkers, clacking their way up Pelham Street on their way to the Hockley pick-up joints, and thinking – actually, truly thinking, without any discernible level of redeeming irony – do their mothers know they’re out dressed like that?

Sneaking a semi-interested peek at Top Of The Pops last Spring, I caught 19 year old Eamon performing the UK’s Number One single – a song with the word “f**k” actually in its title – and found myself thinking: OK, that’s it. The barbarians are at the gates. It’s the death of Empire, the end of civilisation, the dawning of a new Dumbed Down Dark Age of unfettered coarseness and brutality.

I mean to say: this was Top Of The Pops! The programme I used to watch before bedtime with the family, hoping that Clive Dunn or Rolf Harris or The Scaffold or Mary Hopkin might be on! And here was this callow, insolent youth, miming to an absurdly “cleaned up” version of the track which merely involved the surgical removal of the rude words in question:

What I said, it don’t mean – now – the presents, might as well throw em out – all those kisses, it didn’t mean jack, – you, you – I don’t want you back…

And this from a year where the UK singles chart contained one record with the sampled word “motherf**ker” repeated over and over again, and another record which described the consumption of poor-quality ecstacy tablets in forensic detail, to say nothing of the “answer record” which succeeded Eamon at Number One: a charming little ditty entitled F**k You Right Back. I mean, what’s coming next?

“It’s the Nation’s Favourite Song! Straight in at Number One, it’s Give Me Back My F**king Gear, C**t Face!”

What’s more, nobody but me seems to be in the slightest bit bothered by any of this. It’s like I’m the only one who has even noticed. Did I miss a meeting or something?

Compare and contrast with the wholesome innocence of the Top Five from the particular week in Summer 1971 when, aged nine, I first started “following the charts”. Tom Tom Turnaround, Me And You And A Dog Named Boo, Co-Co, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep … and a record by Atomic Rooster called Devil’s Answer, whose title I didn’t dare to speak out loud in front of my parents, because it had the word “devil” in it.

Aged nine in 1971, I would be told off for saying “Damn”, “Oh God”, or even “Good Heavens”. Aged nine in 2005, I would be expected to collude in the flimsy fiction that the Number One song onTop Of The Pops actually went: “– you, you – I don’t want you back“.

Aged nine in 1971, I had never even heard of the F-word. That came a year later, when one of the cooler kids in my class faux-casually dropped it into conversation on the way home from school.

“Oh, bloody f**k.”

I can still hear – and see – him saying it (and repeating himself, for effect) and wondering what it meant, but not daring to ask, because I already had a reputation for being comically naive about these things.

(So naive, that I spent a year or so thinking that sexual intercourse took place between a man’s “little thing” and a lady’s nipple, because the nipple was the rudest part of a lady’s body that I could think of, and besides, if milk could get out, then surely the other stuff could get in. “Down there” never occurred to me, because “down there” was simply where a willy wasn’t. Nothing to see here; please move on.)

(Although, when I thought about it, sex must be an awfully uncomfortable business. How did the man manage to balance his “little thing” on the lady’s nipple without it slipping off? Perhaps you could buy double-ended plastic funnel things, to help things stay in place. Also, wouldn’t the lady have to bury herself halfway down the bedclothes, and wouldn’t that get a bit hot, and she might suffocate? I really didn’t like the sound of any of this, so why did grown-ups get so excited about it?)

(But I digress.)

Aged fourteen in 1976, I brought home Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Derek And Clive comedy album; unaware, despite the warning message on the cover, of just how staggeringly foul-mouthed it was. Seeing the warning message, my father snatched the record from me, and demanded to listen to it before I took it up to my room.

Sitting at the head of the family dinner table, the rest of us all seated for lunch, he solemnly placed the record on the family hi-fi, and solemnly donned the family headphones.

An uneasy silence descended, as my father’s face grew redder… and redder… and redder.

After five minutes or so, with a great show of dignified self-control that (as so often was the case with my father) bordered on the farcical, he solemnly removed the headphones, and addressed me with one of his quiet, steady, only-just-keeping-it-together voices.

“Michael. There are … words … on this record … that I didn’t even know existed until I joined the army. You are to listen to this on headphones ONLY, in your bedroom ONLY, and you must promise me that you will NEVER let your sisters hear it even for a SECOND DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?

Within the week, he’d nicked it. Late one night, I could hear him playing the track Winkie Wanky Woo to his friends downstairs, and them all falling about laughing.

His vocabulary was never the same again. Seriously. Swore like a trooper after that. And they say that these things don’t deprave or corrupt.

Aged 42 in 2005, I realise that the word “f**k” has virtually lost all of its power to shock. They’ll be using it on Children’s TV by the end of the decade, I reckon.

“Hello, and welcome to Blue Peter! We’ve got a f**king good show for you today!”

You just mark my words and see if I’m wrong.

Back to Eamon, then. So how did a song which initially repelled me end up as my tenth favourite single of 2004?

Because I actually sat down and listened to it, that’s why.

And realised that, rather than being the puerile exercise in lowest-common-denominator Gonzo Capitalism of my imaginings, (“Tee-hee, he said f**k, I’m buying it!“) Eamon’s single fits easily into a tradition of classic teen rejection ballads which stretches all the way back through to Atlantic soul and Fifties doo-wop. He’s hurt, he’s betrayed, and as the pain hardens into bitterness, so the anger comes flowing out, nullifying everything that he thought was good and pure. From “Baby I love you” to “f**k you, you ho”.

Great pop.

Fucking great pop.

The faces of K. (NMC)

My, what fun there is to be had with the St Andrews University Face Transformer!
Presenting the faces of my Life Partner K:


Verily, ’tis the stuff of nightmares.

And what a SHAME there wasn’t a decent sized full-face photo of myself to play around with.

Update:Oh, very well. It’s only fair, after all.


While Elderly Mike terrifies me (the whiskey-soaked bottom-pinching scourge of Harpenden Conservative Club), I think that Caucasian+ Mike (middle manager, keen gardener and church warden) possibly represents a truer articulation of my fears.
Whereas East Asian Mike is Bert Kwouk.

(Thanks to Gina Snowdoll for the link.)

Singles of the year: #11

11. Through The Wire – Kanye West

1999: Once Around The Block – Badly Drawn Boy
1994: The Most Beautiful Girl In The World – Prince
1989: Keep On Movin’ – Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
1984: Let The Music Play – Shannon

Kanye West? It’s rap music for people who don’t like rap music“, they say. Well, that can’t possibly apply; I’ve been enjoying rap music for the past quarter of a century, and I’ve got the Kool Moe Dee 12-inchers to prove it.

Then looking down the rest of this year’s list, I realise that – Kanye West aside – there’s scarcely a scrap of rap to be found. So what changed there then?

Singles of the year: #12

12. Millionaire – Kelis featuring Andre 3000

1999: You Don’t Know Me – Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden
1994: The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get – Morrissey
1989: Tell Me When The Fever Ended – Electribe 101
1984: William, It Was Really Nothing/How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths

It’s got a catchy tune and a good beat to it, and it’s one of those tunes that can buzz around inside your head all day long without you minding too much. What else do you want to know?

Oh, and it’s got thingy out of Outkast on it. You know, him who did the one that sounds a bit like Prince. Not the rap one with all the swearing on it; the other one, with Hey Ya! on it. Yeah, the nice one, with all the jokey bits and stuff.

Milkshake? No, that was in my Best Of 2003 list actually. Yeah, I know!

Those Number Twelves from Yesteryear are a stronger bunch than usual, aren’t they?

Are we nearly there yet?

Singles of the year: #13

13. Your Cover’s Blown/Wrapped Up In Books – Belle & Sebastian (from the “Books” EP)

1999: Northern Lites – Super Furry Animals
1994: Incredible – M Beat/General Levy
1989: Dirty Blvd. – Lou Reed
1984: Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown


…and exhale.

Gosh, are we nearly into the Top Ten already?

Singles of the year: #14

14. Blinded By The Lights – The Streets

1999: Unpretty – TLC
1994: Stay Together – Suede
1989: Say No Go – De La Soul
1984: Song To The Siren – This Mortal Coil

Because even grossly overrated and hugely disappointing albums like A Grand Don’t Come For Free can still contain a couple of tracks of such luminous brilliance that you remember why you fell so heavily for the artist in the first place. As I said very recently: The Streets’ Weak Become Heroes was my Nineties. But just as every shiny, brilliant surface has its dull, matted underside, so every Weak Becomes Heroes should have its Blinded By The Lights.

For this too was my Nineties. And just as Weak Becomes Heroes never fails to make me dewy-eyed with nostalgic fondness and a certain sense of longing (“if only…“), so Blinded By The Lights never fails to pull me up short with a shudder of sharp recall and a tangible sense of relief (“thank God…“).

Besides, there just haven’t been enough songs about being monged out on shite eckies in the UK Top 10.

Singles of the year: #15

15. Heartbeats / Heartbeats (rex the dog mix) – The Knife

1999: Flowerz – Armand Van Helden featuring Roland Clark
1994: Girls And Boys – Blur
1989: Eye Know – De La Soul
1984: Unity – Afrika Bambaataa & James Brown

The fifth Swedish act to make an appearance on this God-will-it-NEVER-end list, and the third single in which dance music’s man-of-the-moment Rex The Dog has had a hand. Like JC Chasez before it, this was first recommended to me last April, as part of the reader-compiled CD project, with the remix not coming my way until several months later.

Which, to be honest, is how I like it with remixes. To my mind, one of the great wrong turnings that dance music took in the early 1990s was when remixes started getting included on the original releases of tracks. Which is all well and good from a value-for-money point of view, but all wrong from a timing point of view. To enjoy a remix properly, you need to have spent at least a few weeks gaining familiarity with the original track, before being hit with the “bloody hell, what have they done to it?” shock of the new version. Now, back in my day, we…

…no, not going there again for a while. What is this: Grumpy Old Men? Let’s get straight back to the competition instead.

So, who has snatched the lead from Ben’s eager grasp? Why, if it’s not David: my original Blogdaddy, and former host of the still much-missed Swish Cottage. (Yes, I tried; no, he’s not, not never ever.)

Don’t forget (as if you could): the person who makes the closest guess to my favourite single of 2004 wins a self-compiled triple mix CD: 2004 – The Year In Song. Keep ’em coming, kids!

Already listed:
#15 Heartbeats – The Knife (Swish David) · #16 Trick Me – Kelis (Ben) · #19 Babycakes – 3 Of A Kind (dave) · #29 Girls (rex the dog mix) – The Prodigy (Waitrose David) · #32 Toxic – Britney Spears (Angus) · #36 I Believe In You – Kylie Minogue (Joe) · #38 Love Machine – Girls Aloud (Alan) · #49 The Show – Girls Aloud (Paul) · #64 Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters (Chig)· #85 Matinee – Franz Ferdinand (timothy)

Not (yet?) listed:
Tits On The Radio – Scissor Sisters (Todd) · Filthy/Gorgeous – Scissor Sisters (asta) · Common People – William Shatner & Joe Jackson (Gary F.) · Dry Your Eyes – The Streets (dave again) ·Real To Me – Brian McFadden (Alan again) · Music Is My Boyfriend – Hidden Cameras (timothy again) · Double Drop – Fierce Girl (Chig again)

Singles of the year: #16

16. Trick Me – Kelis

1999: Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child
1994: Loser – Beck
1989: Manchild – Neneh Cherry
1984: Slippery People – The Staple Singers

Right then. Somewhat in the manner of a desperate Endemol executive, I’m going to introduce a SURPRISE NEW RULE into the Exciting Blog Game! That Everyone Is Playing!

(Because, frankly, this game is slowly dying on its arse, and we’ve got to ratchet up the tension somehow.)

From now on, if or when your guess is knocked off the top of the leader board (but NOT before), you will be permitted to GUESS AGAIN.

As Ben takes over at the top, this now leaves dave (and everyone else below him) free to take another stab.

As it were. Oh, behave!

(Yes, I’m even playing the Sauce Card. As I said: Desperate.)

Already listed:
#16 Trick Me – Kelis (Ben) · #19 Babycakes – 3 Of A Kind (dave) · #29 Girls (rex the dog mix) – The Prodigy (Waitrose David) · #32 Toxic – Britney Spears (Angus) · #36 I Believe In You – Kylie Minogue (Joe) · #38 Love Machine – Girls Aloud (Alan) · #49 The Show – Girls Aloud (Paul) · #64 Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters (Chig) · #85 Matinee – Franz Ferdinand (timothy)

Not (yet?) listed:
Tits On The Radio – Scissor Sisters (Todd) · Filthy/Gorgeous – Scissor Sisters (asta) · Heartbeats – The Knife (Swish David) · Common People – William Shatner & Joe Jackson (Gary F.)

BOO HOO HOO IT’S THE END OF AN ERA. A Local post, for Local people. (NMC)

The last remaining outpost of true Bohemia in Nottingham, George’s Bar on Broad Street, closes its doors for good this weekend, with a farewell bash scheduled for Saturday night.

Whatever shall become of us all without it? For where else will we be able to glide seamlessly between considered discussions of World Cinema with published authors, spare-me-no-details accounts of skanky blow-jobs with the too-cool-for-the-scene-queens, and choreographed whirls around the tables with the impeccably togged-up trannies, all to the strains of the Chicago soundtrack and Ethel Merman’s Disco Album?

We stand on the edge of a precipice, staring into the void.

But then, that’s next week.

Saturday night it is, then. George’s bar, Broad Street, from about 9pm. Miss Mish will be there, MovieBuff will be there, K will be there, I will be there – and so, if you’re anywhere near local, should you be. Even if it’s your first visit. We’ll be down the far end – either sitting at the bar, or else arranged around the Algonquin-style Round Table, with Mish dispensing Dorothy Parker-esque bon mots as we sip and chuff ourselves into (oh go on, say it) divinely decadent oblivion.

Singles of the year: #17

17. Needy Girl – Chromeo

1999: At The River – Groove Armada
1994: 100% Pure Love – Crystal Waters
1989: Express Yourself – Madonna
1984: Hip Hop Bommi Bop – The Incredible T.H. Scratchers starring Freddie Love

Pure retro, this. A flawless pastiche of exactly the sort of smooth 1980s US soul/funk which rocked my world back in the day, no doubt made by people who were barely out of nappies at the time.

If you’re the sort of person who reads Dazed And Confused magazine and hangs out in London’s trendy Shoreditch (it is still Shoreditch these days, I take it?), then you’ll probably be able to detect, ooh, a good five or six additional layers of artful post-modern so-far-In-that-it’s-Out-which-makes-it-back-In-again irony. (Because in certain circles, irony is always, always In.)

However, as someone whose bleeding-hedge-zeitgeist days are receding faster than his hairline (look, it’s a HIGH SIDE PARTING, okay?), I have finally attained that blissful state of grace which puts me above and beyond such transitory considerations. Meaning that I can simply enjoy this as nothing more or less than a quaint piece of Olde Tyme Dance Musick.

My parents’ generation probably felt the same way about Showaddywaddy.


Singles of the year: #18

18. High Come Down – Junior Boys

1999: Hey Boy Hey Girl – Chemical Brothers
1994: Boundaries – Leena Conquest
1989: Voodoo Ray – A Guy Called Gerald
1984: Give Me Tonight – Shannon

I spent the first nine months of 2004 not liking The Junior Boys because they reminded me of wet Tuesday afternoons.

I spent the last three months of 2004 enjoying The Junior Boys because they reminded me of wet Tuesday afternoons.

This suggests that I have reached some sort of accommodation with wet Tuesday afternoons. Does this count as Personal Growth?

Singles of the year: #19

19. Babycakes – 3 Of A Kind

1999: Windowlicker – Aphex Twin
1994: Ghetto Day – Crystal Waters
1989: Express Yourself – N.W.A.
1984: You Think You’re A Man – Divine

My great blogging regret of last year was that I never put together a decent tribute to one of the very few true “hero” figures I have ever had in life: the late John Peel. For although “somebody famous has died” is right up there with “today I had a cheese sandwich“, “Blogger ate my post“, “aren’t spam commenters ghastly?“, “Googlers search for the darndest things!“, “look what I just found on Boing Boing!” and (embarrassed cough) “isn’t it amazing what you can do with” in the pantheon of Blog Postings We Never Want To Read Again Unless There’s A Very, VERY Good Reason, I felt that there was much that could usefully be said about the powerfully benevolent influence that Peel exerted on so many of us in our formative years – to say nothing of the cultural legacy which he has left behind.

On the other hand, the sheer number of well-worded, insightful and affectionate tributes which poured forth on seemingly every weblog within my orbit over the ensuing weeks was a source of both astonishment and delight. I simply had no idea that so many of us related to the man in such an intensely personal way, and that there was so much shared ground between each of these individual relationships. As time went on, the urge to pen my own tribute slowly dwindled. Everything that needed to be said had already been said, to the point of saturation.

(Or even beyond it, as some testily observed. Given the overall mood of National Grief which briefly prevailed, it’s a small wonder we haven’t ended up with a Memorial Garden.)

However, a point which I only saw being made once or twice, and a point on which I have since reflected upon at some length, concerns the particular nature of Peel’s preferred musical aesthetic. Just why did he continually favour the new over the established, the debut single over the third album, the rough over the slick, the barely “musical” over the practised and accomplished?

To some, this indicated a fickleness, a shallowness, an inverted snobbery, an unseemly arrested development. But the particular observation which struck me as being closest to the truth was this: that Peel’s primary aesthetic was that of the Primitive. Once you start to apply this guiding principle, then a lot of Peel’s seemingly baffling eclecticism begins to add up and make sense. The thrash metal, the nosebleed techno, the dub reggae, the English folk, the Southern African hi-life, the low-budget early hip-hop, the dour indie miserablists, the original punk rockers, the assorted outsiders and refuseniks… nearly all of them shared something of this unifying primitive quality.

But what the f**k has any of this to do with Babycakes by 3 Of A Kind: a massive overground chart hit in the UK, which could be heard blaring from every other car window in town over July and August of last year? To most of my generation of former Peel fans (who actually stopped listening years ago, provoked beyond endurance by some newly favoured “call this music?” genre; for me it was the thrash metal), this could easily be held up as a prime example of the sort of gormless commercialised pap that Peel had fought against all his life.

Except that in this instance, I beg to differ. To these ears, there’s something of that essential primitive quality in Babycakes: a stuttering, clattering piece of four-years-out-of-date two-step UK garage which sounds like it was recorded in a back bedroom in East London on a budget of tuppence by a bunch of Nike-ed up no-marks whose only other pleasure in life is to get strung out every night on super-skunk and carry-out Breezers in the car park of the local Burger King.

(All of which is an unnecessarily roundabout way of avoiding the use of one snide, smug, hateful little word which became an unavoidable part of 2004’s cultural currency. Four letters, begins with C, ends with V: class hatred in a single syllable.)

Indeed, it’s the very gormlessness of Babycakes which appeals: that disaffected, detached vocal delivery; that take-that-gobstopper-out-of-your-mouth diction; that fumbling emotional inarticulacy; that accidental quality, which has you seriously wondering whether 3 Of A Kind will ever be heard of again (at least beyond the confines of the promo racks in their local vinyl store).

You see the problem here? For someone like me – pushing 43, second home in the country, nice collection of contemporary ceramics on the leather console table – to appreciate somehing like this, which comes from a place well outside of his experience or even his imagination, the temptation to apply the patronising and ignorant critical aesthetic of the “noble savage” becomes almost overwhelming. We’re a heartbeat away from Henry Higgins territory here.

And maybe that’s the same problem which some suspicious commentators had with John Peel: this privately educated bourgeois boy with the dry, self-deprecating wit and the singular blend of cynicism and idealism, who shed his posh accent and comprehensively re-invented himself (several times over) as a classless, class-blind Everyman.

But, ahem, let’s not get too carried away here. Shall we crack on with The Big Competition instead? Yes, I think we’d better.

As Dave Spellcnut thought that Babycakes would be my favourite single of 2004, he takes over the leader board from Waitrose David (whom I forgot to credit earlier, when his prediction for The Prodigy came up). Remember: the person who makes the closest prediction wins a copy of my Best Of 2004 triple mix CD. So keep those guesses coming!

Already listed:
#19 Babycakes – 3 Of A Kind (dave) · #29 Girls (rex the dog mix) – The Prodigy (Waitrose David) · #32 Toxic – Britney Spears (Angus) · #36 I Believe In You – Kylie Minogue (Joe) · #38Love Machine – Girls Aloud (Alan) · #49 The Show – Girls Aloud (Paul) · #64 Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters (Chig) · #85 Matinee – Franz Ferdinand (timothy)Not (yet?) listed:
Tits On The Radio – Scissor Sisters (Todd) · Filthy/Gorgeous – Scissor Sisters (asta) · Heartbeats – The Knife (Swish David) · Trick Me – Kelis (Ben) · Common People – William Shatner & Joe Jackson (Gary F.)

See also: Tuesday October 26, 2004.

2005 Bloggies Finalists. (NMC)

Update: As the Bloggies site is back online, I’ve deleted the previous post (which was an incomplete list of this year’s nominees, as cobbled together via Technorati).

Special congratulations to my old mate Londonmark, for his nomination in the “Best Writing” category.

Amongst this year’s finalists, I’m also particularly pleased to see the following blogs, all of which I nominated in the initial stages. Which, frankly, is a bit of a Result.

In the Best GLBT category, for which Troubled Diva is nominated, it’s good to be up against Francis Strand’s evergreen How To Learn Swedish In 1000 Difficult Lessons, which was one of the first weblogs I ever discovered.

And hey, what’s the prize this year? Why, it’s a Prisoner Cell Block H DVD, as donated by none other than Peter @ Naked Blog!

That settles it, then. If a prize from Peter is at stake, then I fight. I fight to win.


Because, frankly, there just aren’t enough Antipodean lesbo-erotic DVDs in my life.

Singles of the year: #20

20. Nature Boy – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

1999: Praise You – Fatboy Slim
1994: Saturday Night – Whigfield
1989: That’s The Way Love Is – Ten City
1984: Cockney Translation – Smiley Culture

I was walking around the flower show like a leper
Coming down with some kind of nervous hysteria
When I saw you standing there, green eyes, black hair
Up against the pink and purple wisteria
You said, hey, nature boy, are you looking at me
With some unrighteous intention?
My knees went weak, I couldn’t speak, I was having thoughts
That were not in my best interests to mention…

Finally, after all those long years of tortured Sturm und Drang, music’s Mister Misery Guts pops some Happy Pills and releases a jolly, bouncy, genuinely funny out-and-out pop single – complete with a knowing musical nod to Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’s Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me). Next thing we know, he’ll be smiling. Are there no certainties left in life?

The I Love Music 1000 UK Number Ones Poll.

I had a lot of fun yesterday afternoon/evening on the I Love Music messageboard, presenting a live countdown (simultaneously with Radio One’s weekly Top 40 show) of the board’s 100 favourite UK Number One singles of all time.

The full results thread can be viewed here. As you’ll see, it’s noticeably short on loud electric guitars, and noticeably long on Big Fat Gay Anthems. But then, as the Manic Street Preachers used to say: All Rock And Roll Is Homosexual.

Update Here’s the final corrected Top 100, all nicely laid out on a separate page.

Continue reading “The I Love Music 1000 UK Number Ones Poll.”

What’s up with the Bloggies, then? (NMC)

Oh, the excitement! Oh, the frustration!

The finalists for this year’s Bloggies were announced yesterday (although in UK time, I think they were actually announced in the early hours of this morning).

Since then, I have had 13 direct referrals to this site from Which would strongly suggest that Troubled Diva has – bugger me sideways! – been voted as a finalist in at least one category.

However, it is currently impossible to check this, as the site has now exceeded its bandwidth limit. Nothing’s coming up in the Google cache, either.

So, did anyone actually see the list of finalists – and if so, is Troubled Diva one of them?

Maybe I’d better start shopping for frocks.

Or maybe it’s time to hire a stylist. Someone to fend off the scrum of designers that will even now be beating a path to my door, clamouring to loan me their latest creations.

Not that any of this will change me in any way, you understand.

Update: JonnyB tells me that I’ve made the final cut in the Best Gay/Lesbian category. All I can say is that if the amazing Joe. My. God. isn’t in there too, then there will be blood. BLOOD, I tell you!

When you start to fancy yourself as “above” doing memes, then you KNOW you’ve jumped the shark.

Before we get into the Top Twenty (because, you know, it would be a shame to hurry things), a brief intermission, in the form of the hot new musical meme that’s sweeping all of Blogland etc etc. This comes via Mr.D. of Aprosexic.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

At home, it’s just under 40gb. Which is bothersome, as I have a 40gb iPod and am going to have to start making tough decisions. (That’s just under 8000 tracks, mostly encoded at 160, and NO, of COURSE it’s not enough.)

At work, I had a massive purge; just 117 songs remain. The rest all found their way onto the iPod.

2. The cd you last bought is:

Tekitoi by Rachid Taha, an Algerian rai-rocker who I’ll be seeing in Leicester next month, as part of the African Soul Rebels package tour (also featuring Tinariwen from Mali and Daara-J from Senegal). Most (if not all) of the tracks are musical collaborations with Steve Hillage (formerly of Gong and System 7), although you’d never guess it, and there’s a great, spirited cover of Rock The Casbah, recorded as a tribute to the late Joe Strummer (who credited Rachid Taha as an inspirational figure).

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

Remember To Forget by Dani Siciliano, from the Likes album. It’s on my Best Of 2004 triple mix CD, which (handy cross-promotional tie-in coming up) YOU COULD WIN, by correctly predicting my favourite single of last year. Hurry, while there’s still time!

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine, which I wrote about on Uborka.

The Only Way Is Up by Otis Clay, for sheer euphoria; it always feels as if the credits should be rolling during this one.

Goodbye To Love by The Carpenters (particularly for the guitar solos, the second one being my favourite of all-time).

Weak Become Heroes by The Streets – this was my Nineties.

Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks – the very essence of poignant, this always provokes a certain ocular pricking.

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

Ben of Silent Words Speak Loudest, because he’s a good sport and should enjoy playing along.

Eric of evijhserf, because I don’t think he’s done a blog meme before, and I think they’re a kind of rite of passage. And also because I’m still in awe of his I Touched Madonna’s Bum story.

Jamie of Jamie4U, because she’ll be fierce, girl.

Singles of the year: #21

21. 1980 – Estelle

1999: She’s In Fashion – Suede
1994: Sour Times – Portishead
1989: Can’t Be Sure – The Sundays

File alongside Jamelia, in the box marked “Superior UK urban music which could show those damned Yanks a thing or two if only they’d care to listen”.

(Forgive me, my American chums. I’m still reeling from the double whammy of George Bush’s hideously chilling inauguration address and being passed over for Best British Poof at the QueeriesTant pis, as they say in Freedom Land.)

Singles of the year: #22

22. All Day Long I Dream About Sex – JC Chasez

1999: Beautiful Stranger – Madonna
1994: Love Is All Around – Wet Wet Wet (yeah yeah, get over it)
1989: Losing My Mind – Liza Minelli

This was first brought to my attention by Zbornak last April, when I was assembling my reader-compiled “Songs You Have To Hear” CD. It was then used as part of the backing track for my “Squint” performance piece (still available for download, and possibly my favourite piece of work on the blog last year), where its combination of full-on chorus and unexpectedly reflective middle section suited one particular part of the narrative to a tee.

To my great surprise, this then turned out to be a complete flop as a single, despite being the follow-up to a #13 hit, Some Girls (Dance With Women). I’m not even sure it even made the Top 75, and in these depressed-market days you have to make quite a serious effort of will to avoid making the Top 75. I was therefore pleased to see that at least Stuart Hydragenic hadn’t forgotten about it, singling it out for a mention in his long-awaited Best Albums Of 2004 round-up.

The Smash Hit That Never Was, then. You’ve always got to have at least one of those in your list.

Singles of the year: #23

23. It Hurts – Lena Philipsson.

1999: Comedy – Shack
1994: Supersonic – Oasis
1989: Me Myself & I – De La Soul

Following Pay TV, The Concretes and Alcazar, Lena Philipsson becomes the fourth (*) Swedish act (**) to make my Hot Ninety, with a cheeky ode to taking it up the jacksie that stormed last year’s Eurovision in Istanbul. (OK, it actually came sixth. But for anyone who saw just how suggestively Lena worked that giant microphone stand, it was a moment to treasure.)

(*) But will she be the last? Eh? Eh?

(**) And there have also been two entries by Annie, from Norway, which is sort of Sweden isn’t it?