And the winner is…

After the Brits debacle, Mick Fleetwood insisted on choosing his next co-host personally.

Congratulations to Richard and thanks for the big laugh I had when I read that. Send me your address and I’ll get a magazine out to you.

If you don’t know what the joke is all about read this.


New Monday Tuesday*

Singer Lana Del Rey refers to herself as “a gangsta Nancy Sinatra” which pushes all the right buttons for me, as does her voice and face (not sure about those lips though), and this song is so gorgeously atmospheric you could sink into it. I think I’d like it more if it had a snappier tune but I’m just being picky, me like it a lot and the video is fantastic.

*Bumped from its spot by the Amy Winehouse news.

Amy Amy Amy

Look at this beautiful young girl, brimming with promise and talent at the start of her career. If only you could go back in time and warn her.

Of course we don’t know what killed her yet but we can guess. A lot of people have been saying they saw this coming but I’m with Davy, it was still a big shock as I thought she’d get her shit together in the end, that the daughter of a London cabbie would be tougher and more sensible. So I’m stunned and sad and, I have to say, a little angry with her for pissing so much promise away — but that’s just me being selfish. What a tragic bloody waste.

Download: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Amy Winehouse (mp3)
Download: You Know I’m No Good (Live) – Amy Winehouse (mp3)

Shock Horror Probe

Unless you’re British and of a certain age the chances are you’ve never heard of the bizarre story of Joyce McKinney which dominated the press in 1977 — when they weren’t frothing at the mouth over the Sex Pistols, that is. It’s a real doozy, involving an American beauty queen who became obsessed with a Mormon missionary, followed him to England where she kidnapped him and handcuffed him to a bed (with mink-lined cuffs) in a Dorset cottage for three days while she forced him to have sex with her (according to him anyway, McKinney always claimed it was consensual). He eventually escaped, she was arrested but skipped bail, fled the country, and was found in Atlanta a week later hiding out disguised as a nun.

It really doesn’t get much more perfectly tabloid than that so it’s no wonder Fleet Street had a collective orgasm over it, especially when at the centre of the story was a colourful, curvy blond given to statements like “I loved him so much that I would have skiied naked down Mount Everest with a carnation up my nose if he had asked me to.”

But perhaps the most surprising thing about McKinney is how forgotten she is. Despite the lurid, you-couldn’t-make-it-up nature of her story she vanished down the memory hole pretty soon after she left England (though she continued with her highly eccentric behaviour, as recently as 2008 causing the surreal headline Dog Cloner Joyce McKinney Sought Over Burglary To Fund Horse’s Wooden Leg), even people who were around in England in 1977 might have a hard time remembering what she was infamous for. That’s how things were in the old-media world of the 1970s, only one cheapo book was published about the case and yesterday’s tabloid sensation quickly became tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.

She obviously picked the wrong decade (wrong century, actually) to kidnap a Mormon missionary and chain him to a bed. Today there are plenty of ways for a person to milk their Warholian fifteen minutes for all they’re worth and even people who don’t seem to actually do anything can become world-famous and rich, so the sky should be the limit for a character like Joyce to turn her notoriety into money and celebrity: hire a PR agent to keep her in the papers, appear on a reality show, “write” a tell-all autobiography, her own line of fitness videos, shoes, perfume, and probably her own brand of fur-lined handcuffs to sell on QVC too.

Download: Sunday Papers – Joe Jackson (mp3)

Hooked On Radiophonics

The great Delia Derbyshire at work. Maybe I’m weird but there’s something vaguely erotic about seeing such a well-spoken young lady playing with heavy audio equipment like this. JG Ballard could write a novel about that.

This is Delia’s most famous production. An obvious choice but it’s still fab. Composer Ron Grainer was so amazed by what Delia had done to his tune he said to her “Did I really write this?” to which she replied “Most of it.”

Download: Dr. Who theme – BBC Radiophonic Workshop (mp3)

Lucky Dip

This record only got to #43 in the charts in 1975 and is something of a forgotten classic, at least I’d forgotten all about it until it popped up on my iTunes the other day and the second I heard the first few notes the whole song came back to me. I love it when that happens, it’s like discovering an old photo of yourself that you haven’t seen for years and some long-lost section of the past is suddenly coloured in.

Download: Shoes – Reparta (mp3)

(Photo: Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes but you knew that, didn’t you?)

The First “Punk” Number One

There is a persistent urban legend that the “Establishment” did some mucking about with the sales figures to prevent The Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” from getting to number one in the charts during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 — can’t have these spotty oiks insulting Her Majesty, can we? — but whatever the truth behind that it was to be another year before the first so-called (by The Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles anyway) “punk” number one single. Blondie had made it as far as #2 with “Denis” earlier in 1978 but were held off the summit by the double-team of Brian and Michael (the horror, the horror) so the first to finally reach the top and plant a flag for the new generation were The Boomtown Rats with “Rat Trap”.

Of course it’s not a punk record at all, and if I was being unkind could be described as Bruce Springsteen’s first number one so shamelessly does it pinch from his “Jungleland” right down to the big sax solo. But I love it anyway and great lines like “Deep down in her pocket, she finds fifty pee” give it a kitchen-sink feel that made it more relatable to us kids in the UK than Brucie’s Hollywood-sized epic. No barefoot girls and soft summer rain in this town.

Punk or not, The Rats were at least a “New Wave” band which meant something, a sign that the citadel had been stormed and “our” side was winning, especially when they went on Top of The Pops and Bob Geldof tore up a photo of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John whose “Summer Nights” they had just toppled from the top after seven weeks. The following year The Rats had another number one with “I Don’t Like Mondays” and Ian Dury, Blondie, The Police, and Gary Numan all hit the top slot (with more to come from The Jam, The Specials, and Dexy’s) as the charts entered something of a golden era that lasted several years. If you were a particular age back then it would have forever shaped/warped your expectations of how great the pop charts can be which is why we’ve been doomed to disappointment ever since, we were spoiled.

Download: Rat Trap – The Boomtown Rats (mp3)