Chicks dig swimmers

I’m teaching my son to swim at the moment. I might have to show him this very informative film from my youth so he realizes that aquatic ability is just as important as good hair and a motorbike when it comes to impressing the ladies.

Download: Ha Ha I’m Drowning – The Teardrop Explodes (mp3)


Bums on walls

The famous “Tennis Girl” poster sold two million copies in the UK in the 1970s and 80s, becoming as iconic a bedroom-wall hanging of the era as Farah Fawcett-Majors’ red swimsuit poster (though that sold 12 million), and has been much parodied and imitated, including by another well-known bum.

Tennis Girl did for naked bottoms what Farah did for nipples, providing a respectable way for teenage boys to get rude bits on their bedroom walls without being embarrassed in front of their mums. And while the Farah poster is all-American — bursting at the seams with teeth, hair, and have-a-nice-day vitality — Tennis Girl couldn’t be more British: It’s saucy rather than than dirty (cheeky, even!) and is really just a naughty seaside postcard given the soft-focus and gauzy lighting of upmarket “artistic” erotica like the movie Emmanuelle which was also a big mainstream success back then.

I didn’t have one on my wall (or Farah either) because even back then I thought it was a bit naff. Marilyn and Kate Bush were my choice of bedroom-wall totty, and I kept the naked bums hidden in my closet where my mum couldn’t find them.

Download: Pictures Of Lily – The Who (mp3)

I’m Set Free

“Without Lou there is no Bowie as we know him. Me? I’d probably be a maths teacher” – Lloyd Cole

Brian Eno’s famous line about the first Velvet Underground album only selling 30,000 copies but “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band” may have been a very quotable exaggeration but was a tidy way of expressing their oversized influence. I wouldn’t even want to hazard a guess at what British music would have sounded like for the past 40 years if it hadn’t been for the Velvets and the literate, envelope-pushing songs Lou Reed wrote for them and in his solo career — from Glam Rock, Punk, Post-Punk, and Goth through to jangly-guitar Indie, his fingerprints are all over it.

But only seeing him through the lens of his influence on other people does him a little disservice when his own records were often – and with the Velvets, nearly 100% – brilliant in their own right, no matter who formed a group because of them.

Download: Sad Song – Lou Reed (mp3)

New Monday

It only took one listen of “Playboy Girl” for LA-based duo Holychild to become my favourite new band. It’s sharp, smart, and sassy pop that makes me feel warm and happy all over. The other tracks they’ve put out so far are pretty damn great too, and you can download most of ’em for free to boot.

They don’t have record label yet, but methinks that will change very soon.

On The Beach

Here’s another gem I dug out of the old box o’ 12″ singles. Like the Soul Family Sensation record this is from 1990 and has a trippy, blissed-out vibe but is driven by a euphoric House beat. With its ocean sound effects and the lovely spoken-word sample of actor Rod McKuen whispering “I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back” it’s all very sunkissed and Balearic, perfect for dancing on a beach with a thousand other people on Ecstasy all waving their hands in the air.

I never went to Ibiza but did once go to an insane all-night club in a warehouse outside Alicante where everyone seemed to be out of their heads on something or other and the music was brain-meltingly loud — it was quite an intense experience that didn’t end until the next morning. Some Spanish kids I knew took me there and I don’t think they went to bed the entire weekend I spent with them. I was only in my late 20s but they made me feel old with my quaint notion of things like getting some sleep. Crazy kids, those Spaniards.

A Man Called Adam were a British duo who I think are still making music in one form or another. I used to have their debut album The Apple but couldn’t tell you if it was any good or not as I don’t have it anymore — which I guess means it probably wasn’t.

Recorded from the vinyl so forgive any imperfections, I haven’t done that for a while.

Download: Barefoot In The Head (12″ version) – A Man Called Adam (mp3)

New Monday

Actress Jane Horrocks is probably best known for playing the ditzy Bubbles in Absolutely Fabulous and for the movie Little Voice. She’s also known for her brilliant vocal impersonations of divas like Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey, but now she’s singing in her own voice on what is planned as a series of cover versions of Post-Punk classics, starting with Joy Division’s “Isolation” which features Rat Scabies on drums. Very good it is too, I might go so far to say I prefer it to the original but that could just be because I prefer female voices.

Buy it at iTunes.

(Discovered over at Paul Gorman’s blog.)