Instagram Sam

I’ve decided not to try and get back on Twitter again. With Elon Musk wanting to buy it (though he could be bottling out) and saying he’ll give Trump his account back I thought fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Instead I’ve moved to Instagram (or “the ‘gram” as I believe the kids call it) where so far I mostly posting design stuff like old magazine covers. So if you’re in those parts give me a follow here and I’ll follow you back if I like the cut of your jib.



I hope you don’t mind all the repeat postings of the past couple of weeks, believe me they are way more interesting than anything new I could write at the moment. I’m just not feeling the blog muse right now so the repeats will continue for a while. Lucky I have 11 years of old drivel to draw from.

Here’s some sublime Philly Soul from 1969.

Download: Here I Go Again – Archie Bell & The Drells (mp3)

Ten Years of Tears

Many happy returns to this here blog which turns ten years old today. That’s a whole decade of writing bollocks sentimental musings. Who’d have thought it would last this long when I published the first post on December 12th, 2006? Certainly not me.

The idea for all this came about because I’d been reading a lot of elegiac books about Britain like Lost Worlds, The Likes Of Us, The Village That Died For England, and even Bollocks To Alton Towers, that had me feeling wistful about the country of my youth and all the things that had vanished since then. So I decided I wanted to write about that, but not in any cheesy “I Heart The Seventies” way. I didn’t care if anyone else but me was interested in things like what records my mum listened to or who I fancied when I was 12, and had no idea I could get a decade of mileage out of it. The original title was going to be England Made Me but there was already a (now-defunct) blog of that name, but I think the alternative I came up with (in a moment of inspiration on a train to New York) was much better anyway.

A decade is a lifetime in internet years (even longer if you add the three years I did my previous blog The Number One Songs In Heaven — sadly lost in Blogspot limbo somewhere) and things have changed a lot in that time. When I first started, mp3 blogs were the hot new thing and I got mentions in The Guardian, USA Today, Word magazine, and The Boston Globe which often caused a surge in traffic that used up all my monthly bandwidth and took the site down for days (remember that?) But with the warp-speed things move on the internet blogging has lost its youthful buzz. Now all the kidz are Snapchatting, Tumblring, Facetiming, and Instagramming instead, and the web landscape is littered with the ghosts of abandoned blogs. To couch it in terms more relevant to this site, blogging has become the vinyl records of the internet: an obsolete medium superseded by more convenient formats but still beloved by sentimental oldsters.

It’s a shame really, I think the internet has become a less interesting place since it was consumed by social media which has created more of a herd mentality than the individualism which existed before (Facebook might even be bad for democracy). I miss the frontier days when services like Geocities and Tripod (where I first learned HTML) provided a platform for anyone with a hobby or obsession to express themselves — usually with blue type on a purple background and lots of animated gifs. It was often bizarre and amateurish but it was more alive. Blogging was an extension of that, giving exposure to a multitude of new voices and opinions, but now that expression has been reduced to a “Like” button or 140 characters.

I’m no saint, I’m just as bad as anyone at tearing myself away from Twitter and doing something more useful like writing this blog or playing with my kids. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought this place was on it’s last legs and running on fumes, but I still have things to write about so hopefully next year I’ll still be keeping the blog flag flying high, even if it’s not cool anymore. Doubt if I’ll make another ten years though.

Lot of songs I could have picked to go with this post, but Pauline Murray is one of the few artists I’ve written about enough times to earn her own tag.

Download: Time Slipping – Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls (mp3)

Between now and Christmas I’m going to be republishing some of my favourite posts from the archive. Then hopefully I’ll have my 2016 review written (if I can bear to think about this God-awful year), and then… more of the same I guess.

Bloody Vikings

I was having some technical issues last week which is why there wasn’t the usual Friday post and the comments function wasn’t working. Comments were being flooded by Spambots which sucked up my allowed server space so my ISP disabled my ability to publish new posts or comments.

To get back up I’ve had to block a load of dodgy IP addresses (hello China and Ukraine!) and add more aggressive spam filtering. Hopefully that will zap the bastards and I won’t have to use a Captcha on the comments page to stop them. Hate those bloody things.

Download: Hey! (Rise of The Robots) – The Stranglers (mp3)

While I’m here does anyone think I should make the blog more mobile-friendly? I haven’t bothered yet because I think it’s pretty easy to just scale up the main column and read on a phone.

Mr. Popularity

This little blog of mine usually potters along with about 200-300 visitors a day, but last week an old post about Roxy Music album covers got mentioned on another blog from where it was picked up by BoingBoing, then tweeted about by the radio station WMFU, and re-tweeted by several people including Danny Baker. The result of this chain reaction was that on Friday my small nook of the web had nearly 20,000 visitors. Good job I made extra sandwiches that day.

It felt like old times in a way. When I started doing this lark a decade ago, mp3 blogs were the hot, new thing and my old site The Number One Songs In Heaven got mentions in The Guardian, USA Today, and The Boston Globe which often caused a surge in traffic that used up all my bandwidth and took the site down for the rest of the month. But now that the kidz are all Twittering, Tumblring, and whatever-ing (I think Facebook is considered for old people now) the “buzz” train has moved elsewhere leaving me with the feeling that blogging had become the vinyl records of the internet — a quaint medium for old farts that like to read more than 140 characters about things no one under 30 cares about anymore. Least that how it looks from where I’m sitting.

But that doesn’t bother me and I rarely look at my site stats, I wouldn’t have even known about the sudden flood of visitors if Davy hadn’t given me a heads up about being on Twitter. I know that the internet is a fickle mistress and today’s hot link is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper (or whatever the correct metaphor is) and I’ll soon bore all the new visitors away.

But if you are new here, welcome, and I hope you stick around. Things aren’t always that interesting these days because I’ve been at this a long time, but wait until you see my upcoming gallery of outtakes from Mrs. Mills album covers.

Download: Move The Crowd – Eric B & Rakim (mp3)