Thursday, 30 December 2010

Indiepop Mansions: Yeah Yeah Noh

A much-thumbed copy of The Bumper Book of Yeah Yeah Noh.
The third part of the strangely popular Indiepop Mansions series arrives (and I think it can be called a "series" now that there are three), this time featuring the much-loved Yeah Yeah Noh.

Yeah Yeah Noh (or "Tick Tick Cross", as they sometimes styled themselves) were a group of ex-students from Leicester, active between 1984 and 1986, who wanted to "put the Delia into psychedelia". Their peculiar brand of English Midlands home-made psychedelia has proved to be a stayer in this house, at least. Although, with less than 1,700 listeners on Last fm, they are nowhere near as popular as they should have been. Having said that, they did intimate during their lifetime that they would be recognised as one of the all-time great cult bands "in twenty-five years time" (I quote from memory, so that may not be strictly accurate). I think that less than 1,700 listeners counts as a cult, so in that respect, they have been successful.

So, now that a quarter of a century has passed since the release of their truly fab Cutting The Heavenly Lawn... LP, I hereby declare that they are indeed one of the all-time great cult bands. Hands up for happiness if you agree!

But the point of the Indiepop Mansions series is to find out where my favourite bands of the Eighties lived whilst they were recording their happening sounds. So, where did Yeah Yeah Noh reside? Let's take a look:

View Larger Map

A terraced street in Leicester's northern quarter is the answer. They lived just a few doors down from a Post Office - very handy for posting out all their records, Bumper Books (only 50p!) and Printhead fanzines. Opposite the Post Office is a florist, specialising in funerals. Various restaurants and newsagents are just around the corner on the main road to Leicestershire's northern towns.

All-in-all, it reminds me very much of Portsmouth, my home city. Tightly-packed housing, slightly down-at-heel shops; a proper, honest, hard-working area. A good place to live for these Paul Weller-hating champions of the every day and ordinary.

Who will be the next Indiepop Mansion dwellers? Tune in soon to find out!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Catalogue Quiz: Orange Juice

It's an Orange Juice song.
With all the pre-Christmas jobs, I haven't had time to produce a Mascot Match-Up for Boxing Day (boooo!).

However, I did make this quick quiz:

The two items in the illustration above were cut out of the current Argos catalogue. Together, they make the title of an Orange Juice song. Can you guess which one?

I'll post the answer after Christmas.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mascot Match-Up: Exeter City v Sheffield Wednesday

Watch out Grecian! He's behind you!
A second attempt to predict the result of a random football match by comparing the teams' respective mascots...

This week's mascot match-up features Exeter City's Grecian The Lion and Sheffield Wednesday's Barney The Owl. Match time: 3pm, Saturday 18th December 2010. (If you are in the St James's Park area tomorrow morning, go along and help them to clear snow from the stadium so that the match can go ahead! If there is no match, then the atmosphere at Exeter will resemble the Cage Against the Machine song, except it will last for 90 minutes instead of 4'33").

Apparently, Grecian The Lion replaced Athena The Goddess as club mascot a couple of years back. Athena was a young, buxom blonde woman in revealing Greek robes. She was more "one for the dads". Mascots are supposed to exist to entertain feckless children, for which Grecian is far more suitable. Thus, he scores a GOAL!

However, looking at him in the picture, I suspect he's been out drinking Blackthorn cider with one or two dads before the match. Looking at his eyes (a surefire way of counting how much alcohol has been consumed), I would suggest he's had at least five pints. For his undoubted bar-room bonhomie and joviality, I award him a second GOAL! (I bet he's a terrible singer when imbibing though. If I hear he's been trying to sing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, he may well lose a goal...)

Barney The Owl seems to be one of several owls that appear as Wednesday mascots - another is named Ozzy, and um, there's at least one other that I've seen in pictures whilst "researching" this piece... Barney looks handy with a football at his feet - he's taking aim at Grecian's backside in the picture. Can't see him missing that target, so there's a GOAL! for SWFC.

Going by his name, I'm assuming Barney is a barn owl (despite having completely the wrong plumage). The largest barn owl babies in the nest tend to eat all their brothers and sisters through boredom (I'm starting to wonder where Ozzy and the others have gone in the picture now. Oh dear). Being the last owl left out of his siblings would make Barney nice and strong - probably stronger than a drunken lion. With strength being a much-prized commodity in the third tier of the English league, I'm going to award another GOAL! to The Wednesday.

So, Barney has mad ball skillz and strength; Grecian is great with kids, and enjoys a cider or two. I can't separate these two, which means that my official prediction for the match is...

Exeter City 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday



The final score in Devon yesterday was...

Exeter City 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday

So, I  got that one completely wrong! I can only surmise that eating your brothers and sisters is considered a VERY BAD THING INDEED, and that Barney was severely punished for doing so.

I shall attempt another prediction for the Boxing Day fixtures. The random match-up will come from the second tier of the English leagues. I'm just hoping it won't produce a second tear for my predicting reputation.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mascot Match-Up: Rotherham United v Aldershot Town

Aldershot Town's Phoenix (left) takes on Rotherham United's Miller The Bear, today at 3pm.
Here's an idea: predicting the result of a random football match by comparing the two team mascots, and deciding which one I like the best.

The first in what could be a very short series: Rotherham United versus Aldershot Town, taking place at the Don Valley Stadium this afternoon.

The home team's mascot is Miller The Bear, who is new for 2010/11, replacing a rosy-cheeked Yorkshire miller in a flat cap, who in turn, replaced the Rotherbird a few years ago. Miller The Bear looks quite cuddly - a proper big teddy, for which I'm going to award RUFC a GOAL. On the other hand, real bears are omnivores, which means they eat pretty much anything, including humans (okay, not all bears, but don't go too near a polar bear in the wild if you value your life). However, I can't see Miller noshing on anyone any time soon, which makes him a nice friendly mascot. Another GOAL for RUFC.

Aldershot Town are represented by The Phoenix. Now, I have a problem with phoenixes in general: any business who like to think of themselves, or a product, as new and exciting (or rising from the ashes, zzzz) will invariably turn to the phoenix as a great big cliché. ATFC have a phoenix on their club badge - boring and uninventive. No goal. The other big problem I have with phoenixes in general is the common mis-spelling - phEOnix (which would be pronounced FEE-ON-IX). This makes them sound like a second-rate Pokémon character. Again, no goal.

As for the actual mascot...well, he's just plain scary. There's not a cuddly feather on his entire body. He looks like he'd peck you to death as soon as look at you. And imagine looking down his throat if you were brave enough to get up close. If the human inside was wearing a red balaclava, he would look like a bloomin' great  tonsil with eyes staring back at you. Again, no goal for ATFC.

So, based on the clash of the mascots, I predict that this afternoon's result will be:

Rotherham United 2-0 Aldershot Town.

Mind you, if they had a fight, I reckon the phoenix would win every time. Poor old Miller.


Deep joy for football bear.
Well, the final score was 1-0 to Rotherham, so I was nearly right. It may be that giving a goal for both cuddliness and friendliness was one goal too many, or perhaps I should have deducted one for Miller squatting in the centre-circle in the top picture - he might have been having a poo (although, to be fair, his shorts are pulled right up, so he probably wasn't).

Another random match-up to follow soon...