They’re changing the guests at Troubled Diva Palace…

Time once again to pipe out the old and ring in the new, as Guest Week Three prepares to launch.

First of all, who could forget my dear, big-hearted, irrepressible, jam-tastic Auntie Cyn, over yonder in Liechtenstein? I regret to say that disturbing news has reached me this week, from well placed sources on the Liechtenstein Mail & Herald, that Cynthia’s days in the kingdom may soon be numbered. Something about export shipments of Auntie Cyn’s Special Herbal Preserve, Made To A Unique Recipe And Guaranteed To Cure A Wide Range Of Ailments & Maladies, and a team of over-zealous sniffer dogs. This is clearly a terrible misunderstanding. However, it does rather explain Cyn’s somewhat hastily announced “Big European Jolly” (see below). Auntie dearest – wherever you are – your loving nephew sends you his heartfelt gratitude for being such splendid company over the past week.

Thanks also to Mac, whose virtual acquaintance I have enjoyed making. What with all my pop-culture Anglicisms, I don’t always do a terribly good job at nurturing an overseas readership, so it’s good to form bridges across the water. I’m equally grateful to Quarsan for waxing lyrical about one of my favourite periods in music – the post-punk era – and for maintaining some directly music-related content on this site.

And then there was John, who I’m sure has endeared himself to us all over the past week. I’m not sure which part of “you should be prepared to make a minimum of five posts, spread reasonably evenly over the week” he failed to grasp, but never mind. I blame the falling standards in our educational institutes, obviously. “I’m just like Jack from Will & Grace, only hotter“, he claims. Clearly no twink, then! Hope you enjoyed having your URL at the top of the page all week, and all that FABULOUS extra traffic, John!

On to next week’s guests, then. They are, in alphabetical order:

Buni, loyal old mucker, confidante, partner in crime, and my stalwart companion on the podium at NG1 on Wednesday nights, when the R&B section kicks in. Many of you have asked me how to pronounce his name: does it rhyme with Bugs Bunny, or George Clooney? The answer is, of course, neither. It’s pronounced Boo-NAY.

Fiona is a twenty-something database administrator for a global internet company, who can still remember the wet paint smell of the Web from the early Nineties. She has written for various sites in various guises, and under too many pseudonyms to list, without ever settling down to blog in one place.

London Mark should need no introduction. Founder member (and indeed sole member) of the self-appointed Blogging Z-List – as he will remind you at every conceivable opportunity – Mark is perhaps best known for his exemplary “The Art Of…” series. For a master-class in The Art Of Guest Blogging, keep ’em locked on Mark’s postings over the next seven days. (I haven’t over-sold him, have I?)

Melodrama is a web mistress and self-confessed drama queen, currently living in Calcutta. Judging by the number of referrals which came my way following her endorsement of this site on her blog – the most referrals I have ever received from a single weblog – she is quite a force to be reckoned with.

Hello India, with your thriving and constantly expanding IT industry! Got any vacancies for a washed up mainframe systems developer? Also, could you tell me more about those Ayurvedic Spas of yours? It’s just that K likes the sound of them, and is considering coming over for a week in November to avail himself of their delights.

Zena is an international woman of mystery, currently residing in London. That’s all she wants you to know for now. Yes, that makes five guests this week. Yougottaproblemwiththat?

Guest Week Three starts….NOW.

quarsan has left the building

Well, it’s been a blast. May I leave you with a link to wfmu the world’s greatest radio station where many tracks that will educate young people are broadcast. Indeed almost every show’s playlist is archived and available to listen to. It is an awesome treasure house.

They also think I have a footnote in musical history for ‘helping to define Post-Punk”

Well, what can I say. It was a wet Wednesday and someone had to do it 😉

Goodbye to all that

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

Hello, my dears. It’s me, Cynthia, again. I’m still here – although not for much longer.

This is my last post on Mike’s site and, you know, this week on the web has got me thinking. Meeting all you gorgeously thrusting young bloggies and bloggettes – even if only through the computer screen – has made me remember all the people out there in the extended Troubled Diva family whom I haven’t seen for some years (because of – well, you know – my colourful past). Great Uncle Boris, who we used to call Great Uncle Bulgaria because he lives in – aha! – Bulgaria; he’ll be about 103 now. The Russian branch of the family – the Divasnikovs – out there in Kiev. And my long lost artist cousin, Pierre, who sealed himself up in a Paris attic almost twenty years ago in pursuit of his artistic vision. The last time any of us heard about him, he’d decided to go one better than his hero and chopped off both his ears. Poor, poor Pierre. Oh, and I mustn’t miss out Cousin Bettina either, who’s still doing her act with the snake and the performing dwarf in Hamburg, even though she must be nearly 70. Bless!

I’ve remembered all these people, and I think it’s time I visited them. So I’m about to embark on Aunt Cyn’s Big European Jolly. Oh yes! I’m not going alone, of course – my driving skills have failed me somewhat since the incident when I ran into a lorry load of plastic garden gnomes. Friedrich, my extremely smooth and muscular German handyman, has agreed to accompany me, to drive the 2CV and regularly service the engine. He’s such a good boy.

I’ll let Mike know how I’m doing and – well, you never know – he might even be able to report my progress here occasionally, with a few photos. “There’s Aunt Cyn in front of the Eiffel Tower, there’s Aunt Cyn drinking beer at the Oktoberfest, there’s Aunt Cyn getting arrested for procuring young men in – ” Ahem.

Oh, and a special message to Mike and K – I’m coming to see YOU too!! Yes! That’s right! You must be overwhelmed with delight! Expect me around Christmas – I’ve already loaded the car with twenty-three jars of jam (Prune & Melon, because I know it’s your favourite!) We shall have SUCH fun, shan’t we? In particular, I want to see the garden – because, ooh I shouldn’t really tell you this now but I’m just SO excited! – because I’ve been making something special for you in my evening sculpture class. It’s your very own p*ssing cherub, painted in gold. Wonderful, isn’t it? I just KNOW you’ll love it. So put the kettle on, Mike, and make sure you’ve got some teacakes in!

Fire up the 2CV, Friedrich – I’m on my way!

Big kisses to all my readers; it’s been lovely knowing you,
Auntie Cyn

Tracks to educate young people with (Cynthia’s version)

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

That young Quarsan fellow has quite enlivened my musical listening in recent days. I’ve thrown my walking stick to the side as I’ve fair pogo-ed round the Parker Knoll to the sounds of the Buzzsocks, Joyful Division and The Runts. How did I miss these golden oldies in the 70s, when I was a comparatively spritely young lady in my early 40s?

But I do feel it’s time that I did a little musical education of my own. And I like nothing better than spending a sedate Saturday afternoon pulling the heads off flowers while listening to my Flanders & Swann collection (on vinyl, of course). Rich Tea biccie, anyone?

Auntie Cyn sniffs out a problem

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

Thanks to Mike for alerting me to the problem, detailed below.

Well, Opie, I think it’s a sign from Cupid that you and your wife are destined to be together, and you should stop dipping your wick with these other bits on the side immediately. They obviously don’t share the same (whirl)Wind of romance as you and your darling lady wife do. Although these other young nymphettes may flatulate – sorry, flatter – your wilting male ego, only Mrs Opie knows the true pleasure of your passionate trumping, and the breath of (un)fresh air you bring to your romantic liaisons. Return to the marital bed invigorated, and promise her your undying farting – sorry, I meant love.

Failing that, lay off the All Bran.

lots of love,

Calling Liechtenstein…calling Liechtenstein…Liechtenstein, can you hear me?

(posted by Mike)

I see from one of the comments boxes that my Aunt Cyn has finally been given a personal problem to solve. The problem in question is, I think, worthy of being plucked from its box and placed on full display.

Dear Aunt Cyn,

I hope you don’t mind if I submit a letter for your attention to the comments section.

While visiting Scotland several years ago, I was invited to a party at a country house. Arriving slightly early due to an error on the invitation, I discovered the hostess and her daughters busy with preparations. I gallantly offered to help.

Unaccustomed as I was to the local cuisine, while bending down to lift a heavy rack of glasses, I broke wind with astonishing force. The hostess emitted a muffled snort. This in turn distracted her youngest daughter, who dropped her rack of glasses, tripped over an untidy garden hose and fell into a small decorative pool.

As a result of this incident, I made the acquaintance of the now drenched daughter. We subsequently fell in love and have now been happily married for several years.

It transpired that our mode of acquaintance was more important than I had initially surmised, however. My wife is uncontrollably aroused by male flatulence during the act of sexual congress. To please her, I eat vast quantities of roughage and drink copious volumes of the fine local ale. Her ardour has had a very nearly Pavlovian effect on me; small toots and flutters begin to slip from me at the mere sight of her, and our lovemaking has become a windy Rabelaisian revelry.

Recently, however, with the renewal of hunger that attends on long marriage, I have discovered the pleasures of dalliance. And therein lies the problem.

For inevitably, as I begin to achieve a thrilling intimacy with a new lover, the whirlwind of my passions is, as it were, aroused. The beast my wife has awakened inside me will not be tamed. I will soon be unable to count my assignations on the fingers of two hands, yet only one brave combatant has stayed the course.

I have tried changing my diet but the response is too ingrained. I am at wit’s end, Auntie Cyn. What can I do?

Yours & c.,


Whatever can he do, Auntie? Whatever can he do?

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Eleven Nobody’s Scared – Subway Sect (wav file)

One of the first punk bands and one of the most iconoclastic. Subway Sect, and especially Vic Goddard, stood out from the crowd. From their debut, and their long awaited follow up – Ambition, they were street smart but had their sights set higher than the others. Indeed, they were the thinking spikey’s punk band.

When many people jumped on the bandwagon and the image of punks became one of loud yobs, it was people like the Sect that represented what it was all about. They were, shock, horror…. literate. Their second single was a perfect piece of post-punk, a song that remains as fresh and as enigmatic as the day it was released

Vic’s first LP, What’s The Matter Boy (photo) struck me as being full of ideas and tunes. It charmed and intrigued me, and I spent many hours playing it as a backdrop to my life.

And then he did Songs For Sale a selection of songs in a swing style – including the divine Hey Now I’m In Love.

Vic Goddard had such a clear and interesting talent as a songwriter it is nothing short of criminal that he has underachieved by so much. In fact, this towering genius is, according to this interview working as a postman.

That’s a national disgrace.

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Ten In A Rut – The Ruts (mp3)

Some records just hit you between the eyes. When I first heard this I wondered if my record player could handle the deep dub bass that drives this track. One aspect of punk was it’s appreciation of reggae, indeed the punk explosion brought reggae into the public eye.

Sure, the Clash played around with it, but it was The Ruts who merged the two to make something new and fresh. This heavy dub bass and screeching punk guitar is topped with the blistering vocals of Malcolm Owen.

Sadly it is another smack track. Malcolm often sang about his struggle with heroin, a battle he lost in the summer of 1980. That was a great loss to us all, for Malcolm wasn’t filled with self pity or posing as the punk Keith Richards. He desperately wanted to stop, he knew he had his precious music, but it wasn’t enough.

After a short career of some of the finest singles to come out of the era, and believe me choosing which one to feature was difficult. So, I went for their debut. It could so easily have been any of the others. But it also showed what was to come, as did the B-Side, H Eyes.

I remember interviews with the other Ruts after his death (and here’s one) where they described their efforts to help him as he slowly dissapeared into himself. Heroin isolates you until, even you, are just not there anymore.

And Malcolm isn’t here anymore and that’s just so damn sad.

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Nine You Say You Don’t Love Me – Buzzcocks (Audio) (Lyrics)

The Pride of Manchester. In the early days, punk was a Northern thing, and more specifically, a Manchester thing. We used to go down there, or to Liverpool almost every week. We’d save money by hitching and sleeping in train stations or anywhere we could doss down for a couple of hours.

We saw the Buzzcocks so many times, and they never failed to provide a great night out. They were different to the other bands, in that they had great catchy melodies (I nearly chose the wonderous Walking Distance) and a nice line in self depreciating lyrics. They were one of the few groups who weren’t to cool to sing about failed love affairs. To be honest, that was pretty much all they sang about.

One word describes their music: bittersweet. The genius of Pete Shelly was that he could wrap a sad tale of unrequited love in the honey of a tune that stayed in your head. These guys made songs you could whistle. Most people smile when they think of the Buzzcocks.

But there was an aura about them also. You just liked them, they were not aloof or arrogant. They were ordinary, down to earth guys who treated their fans with kindness and courtesy. I tried to start a school magazine so I wrote off a list of questions to New Hormones and got a handwritten reply from Steve Diggle, with long answers. He’d clearly taken an hour or so to do this. That impressed a very young quarsan.

To this day, they remain a group I feel a great deal of affection for. If the world was fair they would be millionaires and they would sing happy love songs. But the world, they and we lived in wasn’t fair, and our love lives weren’t working out. and they sang about that, and they sang about it in a way that helped us get through heartbreak and have the optimism to risk it all over again.

Go to hell…

Posted by Fantastic Amazing John

Yo niggers!

Michael of the Midlands (the troubled diva in question) has been sniping at me for not posting. Well here it is. Why is he of the Midlands you cry? Because all the middle-aged homo-gays live in Blandshire. I’m sure I will when I’m 50 too. Anyway, enough compliments for one day – I’ve got proper stuff to do!

I’m making excuses for not posting more frequently – I’ve been busy. Good things come to those who wait anyway…

Since you’re either somone whose job is so yawnsome you read blogs all day, sat in your office, or you’re somone whose entire life is so boring you read about other people’s boring lives all day long, my narrative should buck you up a little. God has smiled on one of us at least.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in hospital, healing the sick. Really, someone should beatify me…the old men and women on the wards LOVE me!!! The fact that I posess excellent inter-personal skills are a test to my perfect upbringing and pedigree parentage. Mummy and Daddy always taught me to be nice to the poor, elderly and the stupid. Combine these qualities with the fact that I’m a walking Oxford Textbook of Clinical Medicine and Integrated Surgery, and you have an excellent doctor-to-be. Only 4 years and I’m let-loose! They’ll probably turn it into a saint’s day or something.

I saw a fantastic case of pulsatile hepatomegaly (enlarged liver with a pulse) – a sure sign of left ventricular failure. It’s a sign you don’t encounter very often as it develops fairly late on in cardiac failure and the patient has usually died by this time. This old dude didn’t have long left bless him… He couldn’t lift his legs onto the bed from sitting so we helped him and as I took my hands from underneath his legs, they were covered in smelly goo. His legs were so oedematous (swollen from fluid build-up) that the interstitial fluid (tissue fluid) was actually being forced out of his skin and dripping off. I couldn’t wait to Ayeleffe my hands… I felt dirty all day. Not in a good dirty way – like you’ve given a hot guy a blow job in a train station toilet; but in a bad dirty way like the toilet guy wanted to piss on you and now you smell. You see what I mean?

Today I was meant to go and visit my eldery patient but I couldn’t go. We’re doing a community health study on patient’s over 65 yrs, who are taking 4 or more medications. We see him every few weeks and just have a chat and ask some questions about his drugs. Called up to arrange a time to visit but his siter had just died so he was a bit up in the air. I gave him my sympathy ‘cos he’s a nice old guy.

But, every cloud has a silver lining (for me anyway). It meant I could go to the matinee performance of Whistle Down The Wind at the Liverpool Empire. I saw it with friend Emmeline – my crazy drunken friend, and we loved it. We do love our musical theatre. We’re going to a mutual friend’s house party tomorrow night and I’ll be drunk and so will she. When we’re drunk, we resembled Jack and Karen of Will and Grace TV show fame. Except I’m hotter and she has smaller titties. We’re a fab team. I love us!

John’s Tip Of The Day: Take life with a pinch of salt.

Drowning one’s troubles, isn’t one?

(posted by Aunt Cyn)


Oopsy-daisy. Hic. Auntie Cyn has a confesssshion to make.

Auntie Cyn ish an ickle bit tipshy.

You shee, I was cooking a nice meal for that nice German handyman I mentioned before – he’s had a verrrrry hard day being handy, you shee – and I was adding some cooking sherry to the sauce. An ickle drop for the sauce. A glass for Cyn. An ickle drop for the sauce. A big glass for Cyn. Oh dear, bottle’s nearly finished. Better finish bottle. Ooh my dear, I do feel slightly odd.

My German handyman wasn’t impressshed when I came in to sherve the meal, tripped and landed in his lap, spilling the sauce all over his shirt. Oops. I even offered to lick it off. Yesh, ooh dear my head.

BUT BUT BUT – Auntie Cyn has good news too.

I have my first internet crush. Oh yes. Come to me, big boy. I was reading shome of the commentsh on this here weblog earlier, and a rather wonderful chap called PETER said, “I’m almost a hundred”. My kind of age. Then I went to visit his site and it turns out that he’s naked!!! I almost passssshed out at this point, but had a nice strong cup of Breakfast Tea and felt much calmer. But really, Peter, if you fancy shome of this mid-60s auntie who’s seen the world and isn’t shocked by anything (well, almost) then do get in touch . . . mmmm. Be still Cynthia’s beating heart, be still!

Ooh, I’ve jusht dishcovered that I have another bottle of sherry in the larder …

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Eight : Theme – The Banana Splits (mp3 file)

James Brown is, unquestionably the Godfather of Soul, but who is the Godfather of Punk? Lou Reed? Iggy Pop? Alice Cooper?

Nope. It is the Banana Splits. This wild and untamed theme song is one of the finest punk tracks ever recorded. It is the sound of joyous anarchy. It is a myth that punk was miserable and apathetic, it was the opposite. The punk spirit was saying you can do this too. Sniffing Glue’s famous page showing an E, A and G chord with the instruction “Now form a band” said more about it than any number of learned articles or sullen poses.

The Banana Splits have something with real energy, and something more valuable. You just want to jump about and join in whenever you hear it.

So, listening to Mac’s suggestion that we form a band, let’s try our first track. Listen to the mp3 file above really loudly and sing along:

The Troubled Divas Theme

One Diva, two Diva, three Diva, four
Troubled Divas make a bunch and so do many more.
Over hill and highway the four bloggers go
Comin’ to bring you the Troubled Diva show
Makin’ up a mess of fun, makin’ up a mess of fun
Lots of fun for everyone

Tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la

Four Divas, three Divas, two Divas, one
Troubled Divas playin’ in the bright warm sun.
Flippin’ like a pancake, popping like a cork
Auntie, John, quarsan an’ Mac


Two Divas, four Divas, one Diva, three
Postin’ like a bunch on monkeys, commentin’ for free.
Hey there, ev’rybody, won’t you come along and see
How much like Troubled Divas ev’ryone can be


Makin up a mess of fun
Makin up a mess of fun
Happiness for ev’ryone
Tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la

I’m with the band

[posted by Mac]

With all Quarsan’s talk of music and bands, it got me thinking. The Troubled Diva guest poster’s for week two need to start their own band.

We could be one of those awful Vegas lounge acts and name ourselves The Troubled Divas. We could wear a lot of velvet and say things like “You’re beautiful, people! Don’t ever change!”

Of course, I don’t really know the other guest posters. I can only take a guess at what their roles might be in such an endeavor. I am talentless when it comes to music, so my only options are groupie or the hack who plays the triangle.

Everyone else around here seems much more talented than I. I think Aunt Cyn would be the lead singer and song writer. She’s lived life. She’s seen stuff. She knows things. I imagine her lyrics would be gritty, but her voice would be buttery smooth, much like her excellent jam.

And John, well….John is the young buck among us. The reckless one. The idealist. I see him as the wild drummer type. He would be the guy who destroy the show with his scorching drum solos and then go to his hotel room and trash it due to his unexpressed angst.

That leaves Quarsan. I see him as the guitarist. He’s the guy who holds the band together and carries us all through with his exhaustive devotion to the band. He’s the one with common sense.

Am I wrong?

I have no idea where that came from…I am loopy this morning.

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Seven : 12XU – Wire (mp3 file)

Lyrics: Saw you in a mag, kissing a man, I’ve got you in a corner (cottage)

It’s got to be said that Wire were smash and grab artistes. They did what they wanted and got out of there asap. Their monumental debut LP Pink Flag has 21 tracks in under 40 mins. But this was no artifice, they gave you the trimmed down essentials and not one second more. Like Hemingway, there is not one wasted word, nothing that wasn’t vital.

Wire were the band that made us want to form a band. And we did. Often derided as being arty, at that time the ultimate put down from the dizzy heights of NME, I just couldn’t see it. I thought they were smart not art.

When we did get our band together, it wasn’t this track but Surgeon’s Girl that we put in the set. Listen to all of Pink Flag and Chairs missing and enjoy.

Aunt Cyn loves the internet

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

One thing Mike never prepared me for when we discussed taking my first nervous steps onto the internet was how wonderfully joyous a thing email is. I now have my hotmail account – to which none of you, I hasten to add, have chosen to email me with any of your highly amusing deeply sensitive personal problems for my Agony Aunt column – and already I have about twenty emails. I never knew you could buy so much on the net! I was bewildered by the vast array of Viagra on offer, but have bought £150 worth from an address in Germany, because – well, because I’d like to try it on my new German handyman, if I’m honest. Seems like a nice boy, and he believes that I’m 43 when I tell him too. Which makes him a very nice boy indeed.

Order made, I suddenly had a message pop up on my screen. Seems that a man on the East Coast of the USA wanted to ‘chat’ to me about having a ‘good time’. I was about to describe to you some of the immensely colourful words he used, but I’m just checking Mike’s instructions again and apparently I’m not supposed to use words like that in case the site gets ‘Googled’.


He was very nice anyway, this chap. We were getting on so well, chatting away about my gardening habits and how I need a new pair of rubber gloves. Then he went and spoiled it all by telling me that he wanted to **** my ******* **** off. (I censored that, because I have a feeling some of the Liechtenstein Ladies’ Circle might be looking in for a read – I told them that I’m now ‘online’ and ‘surfing’ and ‘chatting’ and they were very impressed. I’ve even got some search requests to do for them tonight, although I’m not sure whether surgical stockings are available in leather. Oh well).

Don’t forget: if you need to get in touch and share your woes, ills and peculiar perversions with me and the rest of the internet community.

I must go feed the squirrels. Night night.

Cynthia (Cyn to my friends, which I’m not convinced you are).

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Six : Thief of Fire – The Pop Group (lyrics) (Wav file)

The Pop Group were one of the most original sounds to come from the punk explosion. A mixture of wild jazz, deep funk and a raw, burning anger. This band were out there on the edge. They stood for revolutionary political values whereas The Clash just adopted a posture.

I remember seeing the album cover and just wanting to hear what was inside. I got home as fast as I could and put it on the stereo, lit the blue touchpaper and stood well back.

From the first howl, I was entranced. This was something overpowering. I sat open mouthed in front of the speakers, my mind running in a hundred different directions as I tried to work out just what on earth was going on here. The influences came from a myriad of sources brought together into something almost unlistenable, so wild it seemed that the band would lose control of what they were creating.

I later found this was the case, there having been a bumper crop of magic mushrooms in the Bristol area at the time of recording. Mark Stewart once told me he had no recollection whatsoever of making the album, or indeed which studio they used.

But this was the start of their assault on capitalism. Not for them the misery of Crass, but a wild joyful and cacophonous anger. Their single ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ had on the B-side the catchy titled ‘Amnesty International Report into the Torture of Irish Prisoners by the British Army’.

The single was released in a plain sleeve adorned by the lyrics.

On stage they were chaotic, putting everything they had into each moment of every performance. The Pop Group burned with a fire and a passion that just isn’t seen today.

Mr. Sandman

[posted by Mac]

You know how Disneyland is often described as The Happiest Place on Earth? If the neighborhood in which I live were to be made into a theme park, it would be described as The Freakiest Place on Earth…and it would be named Mulletland.

I live in a small neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania called Fishtown [at least until the end of the month, when we shall flee for the comfort of our own home in a better neighborhood]. Such a pretty name. In historical context, it’s called Fishtown because in the early 20th Century the main street that runs through was lined with fish markets and all the dock workers and fishermen lived in the neighborhood. Now it’s filled with cretins sporting the mullet haircut and assorted mouthbreathers.

Mr. Fish and I moved in three years ago to take advantage of the dirt cheap rents, amid adamant warnings from all our friends. We would be killed, they said. They don’t like strangers, they told us. There have been no torch bearing mobs storming the house yet, but we have certainly been regarded with suspicion by the locals since the day we moved in. In fact, no one would even speak to us until late last year. I consider that a blessing.

Next to our house is a bar called the Starboard Side Tavern. We are treated to bar clearing streetfights at least once every week. It’s not uncommon to leave the house in the morning to find blood and teeth on my doorstep. It’s also not uncommon to be rudely awakened in the middle of the night by some bar patron who has staggered outside and is now violently vomiting on the side of our house.

Last night the bar closed at 2am [as usual], and a passel of drunk women decided to perch on our stoop and serenade the neighborhood with a slurred rendition of a Britney Spears medley. It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

Or so I thought.

Fifteen minutes into the whole thing, they suddenly stop and start discussing sexual technique. The very thought of a woman with three teeth in her head giving pointers on fellatio was enough to give me the shakes.

I didn’t sleep a wink.

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Five: Another Girl Another Planet – The Only Ones (lyrics)

Probably the finest heroin song of all time. Yes, I know the Velvet’s got there years before, as did many others, but there is something about this song that get’s to somewhere the others don’t.

What is it about heroin that inspires such a dogged determination. It’s not just the fact that it is addictive – cigarettes are a harder vice to give up – but heroin answers a need, and it is this need that is the core of this track. junk is another girl, another all consuming passion, the most demanding lover in the world and it does put you on another planet.

A planet where pain, of the physical, and metaphysical kind is far, far away.

The music epitomises the junk experience better than anything. The hypnotic, trance inducing melody, the dizzy little guitar riffs. for if it wasn’t so appealing, why would so many fall under it’s spell, for this is one commodity that doesn’t need to advertise.

And it was central to the Scottish experience in the early eighties. Suddenly it was everywhere and a generation discovered a hunger. It gave people an identity, a club they could join. A way of waving two big fat fingers at the whole world.

And then people started dying. Not just of overdoses, but of strange diseases. Hello HIV. And nobody cared. Long after people were being lectured about condoms there was a complete antipathy to needle exchanges. No, the poor junkies were the expendable minority group. They had no celebrity spokesmen, no charity galas. Nobody cared.

After a safe interlude, a film appeared. Trainspotting. It took place a good decade later – indeed it showed my old flat and made a reference to an earlier generation. This did show a picture of addiction close to what I saw, but it was sanitised. I remember watching it with a friend, one of only a handful that survived the eighties, we looked at each other in the darkened room and he just sighed and said “lightweights”.

This beautiful song is the saddest by far of the ones I will chose, but it is the one I find hardest to talk about. For me it is about poor forgotten and despised people, sitting in squalid flats, waiting to die. Waiting for an agonising, painful and squalid death.

And nobody cared.

Stop your worrying you schmuk, John’s here! Thank God.

Posted by John

Bloody hell, what with apparently demented old aunties, some Q Magazine wannabe and a fallen cheerleader (the worst kind), I can see that my debut around here is most timely… Better late than never, I say! It’s time for John to bring some o’ the ole’ razzle dazzle to Trub Div’s site! I expect you’ve had a little trouble containing your excitement at seeing my first guest post, so I’ll give you a little chance to go get a new Tena Lady pad to replace your now urine-sodden one….



Better now? I thought so!

I have a friend visiting from Holland so spare time has been short on the ground. She’s leaving tomorrow though, so posting will increase in frequency from then on.

Until that exciting hour, I’ll leave you a link to a favourite site of mine. It’s where I take my coolness lead from.

In all seriousness, I’m loving the other guest bloggers. I feel weirdly young and silly in the light of their not inconsiderate blog experience. Hopefully I can learn from them.

See y’all tomorrow!

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Four: Help Me Somebody – David Byrne Brian Eno (lyrics)

Well, where do we begin with this one? As in all my other selections, the actual track isn’t always significant. The album it comes from, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is a coherent whole, and should be taken as such.

There are few recordings that are as truly groundbreaking and ahead of their time as this. It was one of the first to use world music, to synthesise cultures to produce something new, something that couldn’t be placed in a geographic context.

It also presaged the house/techno sound and all of those young pop music people, with names that look like SMS messages owe so much to this recording. If only one of them could match it…….

The title comes from a story about a young boy wandering through the African bush, where the real and spiritual world are indivisible and the album’s soundscape is something that evokes this. Trust me I’ve heard this album sitting in the bush at night with hyenas howling in the near distance.

There is an interesting tale of Jung visiting a tribe of bushmen in the Kalahari. During his extended stay he was invited to join a magical ceremony, where the music and dancing went on all night. At some point Jung fell under the spell of the music and went into a semi trance. As he was going under he saw the bush filled with ghosts and he had some kind of major freak out.

That’s what this sounds like. after you’ve spent time in the bush, in a strange and unknowable environment, listening to this can push you over a psychic edge.