Monday, 30 December 2013

Scared To Get Happy Disc 7

Part two of my theoretical additional discs for the Cherry Red Scared To Get Happy five CD box set of 1980s UK indie pop artists. As previously, the Youtube playlist above consists of 28 artists who missed the cut for the box set for one reason or another. The running order is approximately in release date order, although there may be some inconsistencies due to not being able to find the songs I wanted on Youtube and having to replace them with others off of different releases from different years. Harrumph, but at least this will be more complete than a Spotify playlist.

Play it if you want to whilst browsing the 'net...or not! I don't mind :-)

Tracklisting for my theoretical Disc 7, which runs from 1986-1989 (103 minutes):

  1. THE BELOVED - A Hundred Words
  2. THE SMITHS - The Queen Is Dead
  3. STUMP - Charlton Heston
  4. A WITNESS - Red Snake
  5. THE BLUE AEROPLANES - Tolerance
  6. HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT - All I Want For Xmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
  7. THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD - A Peck On The Cheek
  8. BOGSHED - Champion Love Shoes
  9. MIAOW - When It All Comes Down
  10. ROTE KAPELLE - Sunday
  11. THE VASELINES - Dying For It
  12. MY BLOODY VALENTINE - Drive It All Over Me
  14. MOMUS - Hairstyle Of The Devil
  15. I, LUDICROUS - We're The Support Band
  16. THE MEKONS - Ghosts Of American Astronauts
  17. HEY PAULETTE - I Really Do Love Penelope
  18. JANE POW - That's My Girl
  19. THE CANDY DARLINGS - That's Where Caroline Lives
  20. BENNY PROFANE - Hey, Waste Of Space
  21. BOB - Convenience
  22. BAND OF HOLY JOY - What The Moon Saw
  23. THE MOTORCYCLE BOY - Big Rock Candy Mountain
  24. FAT TULIPS - Where's Clare Grogan Now?
  25. THE FAMILY CAT - Final Mistake
  26. KITCHENS OF DISTINCTION - The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule
  27. THE MAYFIELDS - World Of Your Own
  28. THE SUNDAYS - Can't Be Sure

Friday, 27 December 2013

Scared To Get Happy Disc 6

I had the Scared To Get Happy 5 CD box set of 1980s UK indiepop for Christmas. Of course, it's terrific - 134 jolly pop songs - just what I always wanted - but as ever with these things, you get to thinking what was missed off, whether it was because bands were too popular, or too obscure, or too goth, or too punk, or because of licencing problems (and they admit that they couldn't agree terms for some of the big names - The Smiths and My Bloody Valentine stand out in particular).

So, I've just had a day off from everything else (bar fixing the back gate and piling up the wood from a storm-damaged fence - oh, and doing the washing up and a few other chores...). A day dedicated to thinking about what a disc six would have sounded like with all the missed artists. My favourites. After all, I was 15 on New Year's Day 1980, so this was my decade. The underground pop scene was all mine like it had never been before or ever has been since.

Inevitably, the bands piled up and I couldn't decide who to leave off, so I had to have a disc six and a disc seven. I've just created a 28 track Youtube mix for a theoretical disc six (theoretical partly because it's 90+ minutes long and wouldn't actually fit on a CD, but hey ho...). I'm going to play it whilst I'm browsing other web pages and enjoy it. If you wish to do so too, be my guest. "Disc seven" will follow when I've created a Youtube mix for it in a day or two.

Tracklisting for my very own Scared To Get Happy disc 6 (1980 - 1986):

  1. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - The Puppet
  2. MO-DETTES - Foolish Girl
  3. THE CHEFS - 24 Hours
  5. FAMILY FODDER - Debbie Harry
  6. ASSOCIATES - A Matter of Gender
  8. FAD GADGET - Fireside Favourite
  9. WAH! HEAT - Seven Minutes to Midnight
  10. YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS - Wurlitzer Jukebox
  11. THE ONLY ONES - Oh Lucinda (Love Becomes a Habit)
  12. THE PASSIONS - The Swimmer
  13. B-MOVIE - Remembrance Day
  14. ALTERED IMAGES - Real Toys
  15. ORANGE JUICE - Consolation Prize
  16. THE UNDERTONES - Julie Ocean
  17. THE THREE JOHNS - English White Boy Engineer
  18. TWA TOOTS - Please Don't Play 'A Rainy Night in Georgia'
  20. THE VERY THINGS - The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes
  21. THE PASTELS - A Million Tears
  22. COCTEAU TWINS - The Spangle Maker
  23. THE MEMBRANES - I Am Fish Eye
  24. GEE! MR TRACEY - The Day the Shoes Bit Back
  25. GRAHAM FELLOWS - Seven Pints and a Suicide
  26. FELT - Ballad of the Band
  27. THE HOUSEMARTINS - Get Up Off of Our Knees
  28. THE FALL - Shoulder Pads

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Last Train to Eastleigh!

Possibly the worst picture I've ever made. Sorry Rich!
What a lovely surprise I had this morning! I woke up to find a fanzine on my doormat! A paper one at that, just like it was the 1980s all over again and I'd taped a 20p to a piece of cardboard and sent it off with a stamped addressed envelope to Claire Wadd or John Robb or Everett True and they'd sent me back an A4 pamphlet full of badly typed, but essential ravings on the latest Bogshed record. With hand drawn cartoons.

Last Train To Eastleigh! is written by my pal Rich, who lives in...Eastleigh. It's a folded leaflet, like a pizza advert but without the pizzas. Instead, he writes about the local indiepop scene - the gigs that he's been to, the places he's spun his headspinningly great tunes at for his "The Sun Shines Here!" indiepop/girl group nights. He pretty much plays my own record collection at these nights, so I'll be sitting on a comfy sofa at The Cellar in Southampton, drinking beer and tapping my toes to Dolly Mixture, Veronica Falls, The Shangri-Las, whilst chewing the cud with similar-minded friends. Happy times!

In this latest edition, Rich talks about his love for Blondie, reviews some of the latest indiepop releases with his usual enthusiasm, and says nice things about his friends! One of the regulars at The Sun Shines Here! was Sam (along with the other members of The Notes). Sam has since moved back to London after completing his course at the local uni and has formed a new band called Flowers. I love Flowers! Here they are...just the sort of music that Rich raves about!

If you want a free copy of Last Train To Eastleigh!, contact Rich at:

17 Oak Tree Way
SO50 4JN

Or e-mail him at:

He'll be pleased to hear from you!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Alderney Butterflies

Alderney train and lighthouse.
I've just come back from holidaying on the Channel Island of Alderney. It's an island that hasn't suffered from excessive use of insecticides, and therefore it was alive with insects - bees and butterflies being especially abundant. Of course, I had to take some photographs, and here they are, in the form of a quiz. Get your Butterfly Guides out and see if you can identify all five...

Rusty old crane/train - puts my non-league rusty rollers to shame.
Butterfly number 1 was abundant all over the island, mostly in meadows. This is the female of the species. This is possibly a local colour variation:

Alderney butterfly 1.
Number 2 is a species I've never knowingly seen on the British mainland. It rests with its wings shut. When it flies, it is a glorious orangey-yellow with black markings:

Alderney butterfly 2.
Number 3 was possibly the most widespread of all the species on the island. It turned up just about everywhere:

Alderney butterfly 3.
Number 4 was another common species. It particularly liked the brambly and ferny areas, of which there are many on Alderney:

Alderney butterfly 4.
Number 5 is another of the brown species. When I heard that there were Glanville Fritillaries on the island, I became especially excited when I saw these - until I noticed the black spots on the upper wings:

Alderney butterfly 5.
That's enough butterflies. I'll post the answers in the comments in a week or two.

Alderney's football ground.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Garden Wildlife (Summer)

A late stag beetle (male).
I've recently been attempting to take photos of insects in the garden, sometimes successfully, usually not. The most successful photo shoot involved this male stag beetle, who obligingly stayed still long enough for me to get the camera set up properly in order to take a decent shot. Stag beetles usually appear in the garden in early June, but presumably because of the cold Spring, they were a month late this year. Three males and one female have been spotted so far. I doubt if there will be any more this year, as they only survive in their adult stage for around three weeks. It's mate, lay eggs and die for the adult beetles. I'm not even sure the males are able to eat. Impressive beasts though.

A hard-working bee.
Flying insects have proved particularly tricky to photograph. They rarely stay still long enough to be able to point the camera, get focussed properly and SNAP! It took many attempts to produce the picture of this bee feeding upon blackberry flowers (above). Got it eventually! I might invest in a macro lens when I have some spare cash. Do it properly.

Some sad catnip.
Whilst I'm here, I have to report that the two catnip plants that were planted in the garden earlier in the summer have suffered terribly. The one above has started to grow back, but the other one is just a mass of brown sticks - so beautiful when it flowered as well. No idea what happened to the catnip plants - some disease or other, I suppose...

An innocent face.
It couldn't possibly have had anything to do with this innocent-looking fellow. Could it?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Three Scottish Football Grounds: Cathkin Park, Third Lanark FC

The story of Third Lanark in the Scottish Football Museum.
Five weeks since my working week in the Glasgow area. My memory isn't great, but I do remember visiting Cathkin Park...

Views of Cathkin Park, number one.
I had a few hours to spare before my plane took off from Glasgow Airport on the Friday, so I decided to visit the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park (a bargain £10, which included a tour of the ground), and then try to view as many football grounds as I could before returning home. I had grand plans: I was going to see Cathkin Park, then Clyde's old ground at Shawfield, Celtic Park, Firhill Park (Partick Thistle), Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, St Mirren Park and Johnstone Burgh.

Number two.
It didn't work out like that. Firstly, the museum was far too interesting, so I ended up spending over two hours at Hampden. Secondly, I was hungry, so I went to the city centre, missing out Shawfield and Celtic. Thirdly, I couldn't resist visiting the Monorail record shop to see if Stephen Pastel was working there that day (he was). Fourthly, the traffic was at a standstill heading west, so it was goodbye to my Dumbarton/Vale of Leven plan. Fifthly, I couldn't find Johnstone Burgh's ground for ages, so by the time I did, it was too late to visit St Mirren (and when I did find Johnstone Burgh's ground, it was hammering down with rain, so I didn't even get out of the car - it looked great though!)

Number three.
The grounds I did see properly on my last day were Hampden, Firhill Park, and Cathkin Park. The latter was the home of Third Lanark FC, who folded in 1967, due to shenanigans by the owner. Incredibly, the ground is still there, ten minutes walk from Hampden Park, minus the big old stand on the north side, which was demolished in the 1970s.

And number four.
Cathkin Park is open to the public, so I just went in and walked around the bowl of terracing, accompanied only by two old men, out walking their dogs around the path at the top of the stadium. It was so quiet, despite being in a busy part of one of Britain's busiest cities. Ghostly. It wasn't hard to imagine the terraces packed with fans (Third Lanark were quite a big club in their day).

The crush barriers and the surrounding wall have had a lick of paint, but otherwise, the stadium has been left to crumble with dignity. It's a beautiful place to visit in the big old city. Peaceful, like an old cathedral. A football cathedral.

SPL shirts.
To finish off, here's a pair of little quizzes from the Hampden museum:

Above are the shirts of all the clubs in the Scottish Premier League 2012/13. Have a go at naming them all if you wish.

SFL shirts.
The shirts of the Scottish Football League clubs are in the display cabinet above. Again, name as many as you can (but don't expect definitive answers from me, as I haven't written them all down! The blue shirts are particularly difficult to distinguish from one another).

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Three Scottish Football Grounds: Tinto Park, Benburb FC

Kickaround at half-time for Benburb's young fans.
It's three weeks now since I went to Benburb. It all seems like a dream, but then it seemed like a dream whilst I was actually there. So much history, so many bygone ghosts of matches past. The Brylcreem, the Woodbines, the laced up leather footballs soaked with freezing Glaswegian sleet...

There were around 50 fans watching The Bens v Greenock.
My second Scottish Junior match of the week, chosen because of its location in Govan, not far from the city centre, which is where I met up with my workmates afterwards. This time, it was a Central District League Division One match (effectively three levels below the Scottish Football League). There were tempting matches on at Pollok and Arthurlie on the same evening, but beers and curries were calling at 9:15...

I've never been to a ground like Tinto Park - the English FA would never allow football to be played at a ground like this. Built in the 1930s for crowds of up to 10,000, the only changes since are the trees growing out of the terraces.

One of many holes in the roof of the stand.
Around twenty rows of cinder and sleeper steps beneath a huge busted roof, extending the whole length of the pitch on the west side. Terraced steps alive with plant-life circling around the south side. More terraces literally buried beneath years of weeds on the east...

Tinto Park's overgrown South Terrace.
But its not all ancient and broken. The north side of the ground has a new, small concrete terrace, and the east side has a length of new hard standing leading to the away dugout (being Scotland, the dugouts are on opposite sides of the pitch). Extraordinary ground.

Sunset at Benburb FC.
The match was Benburb v Greenock Juniors, who had already won the league title (Benburb were mid-table). I don't remember much, and what I do remember may be from dreams or reality - I get the two confused so often. Greenock took an early lead. The Bens equalised with an overhead kick a few minutes in to in the second half. Were they The Bens? Or The Cheeky Hens? Did I mishear one of their fans call them The Cheeky Hens? May even have been The Cheeky Wee Hens....either way, what a superb nickname!

A few minutes later, and the sun is still setting!
Was I hallucinating, or did the home linesman throw his flag to the ground and refuse to carry on when a Greenock player bawled him out for not giving a throw-in? (He was right not to give it - the ball never crossed the line). The away linesman gave up soon afterwards as well, leaving the young ref to give offsides as well as everything else. He did well though.

Sat on the hump on the east side of Tinto Park at a quarter to nine.
All this, and they also produced the best programme I've seen all season! If I lived in Glasgow, The Cheeky Wee Hens would be my team, no doubt about it. I could watch match after match here and never tire of it. So much to see, so much to imagine.

There were photos of the game on Flickr, but they have been removed. The dog featured in one of the photos above is also on Non-League Dogs here. Benburb's superb website WAS here, but appears to have gone in the last couple of weeks :-(

Friday, 10 May 2013

Three Scottish Football Grounds: Castle Park, Blantyre Victoria FC

The castellated entrance to Blantyre Victoria's Castle Park ground.
Firstly, I'm lucky enough to have a job. Secondly, I'm fortunate that sometimes I get to travel to places with my work. Nowhere too glamorous! In the last few months, I've been to Bristol, Manchester, and a hotel in the middle of Leicestershire where it rained solidly for 24 hours and I couldn't work out how to open the boot of my hire car.

Watching the match from the railway sleeper terracing.
My latest assignment was for four days in East Kilbride, just outside of Glasgow. I worked hard all day long, then come the evening, it was time to party! Monday evening's party destination was a West of Scotland Cup match at Blantyre Victoria, five miles from my hotel...

The noisy youths were just beyond this cover. Smoke was dissipating at this point after they set something on fire.
The Juniors broke away from the Scottish FA in 1931 - I forget why, but I'm glad they did. Most of Scotland's best non-league clubs play in the Junior set-up (they're actually adult teams - "Junior" is just a name to distinguish them from the "Senior" clubs admistered by the Scottish FA).

The ramshackle cover.
Rules regarding ground grading seem to be non-existent at Junior level, which for someone used to the sterile, anodyne grounds produced by the English FA's overbearing ground grading rules ("Despite only having 25 regular fans, you must have a fully enclosed ground; you must have 50 seats even though no-one sits in them; you must kick off at 3pm on a Saturday and must therefore have floodlights; you must have this; you must have that, blah blah blah, or we shall relegate you forthwith..."), is utterly brilliant and made for a relaxing, fun-filled atmosphere.

The results of the raffle were displayed on this chalkboard at half-time (£10 for the winner, £5 for the runner-up).
Blantyre Victoria v Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, separated by three divisions, with the underdogs at home - it was already set to be an interesting match, but the stadium and the fans made it a night to remember! Castle Park is ramshackle, cinders and sleepers for terracing, homemade cover, patched up only when needed. The gents toilet was just a brick wall with leaves to soak up the liquid and a bright orange traffic cone for something to look at whilst doing your business.

This dog cowered when the firecrackers went off.
There were two different sized dugouts, one of which (the home dugout) wasn't used as a group of around thirty youths were standing on it during the match, including the obligatory kid with callipers, waving them in the air. The same youths set fire to something during the first half, and let off at least three firecrackers at various points. Nobody batted an eyelid. This must be normal for Blantyre, and for all I know, normal for Junior football.

Blantyre Vics in blue, Rob Roy in white - note the youths on the dugout.
The same youths were banging a drum throughout and singing and chanting and swearing loudly at the opposition. The sort of atmosphere you just don't get at Wessex League matches! The only problem I had with them was that I was a little hesitant to walk past them to take a photo of a roller at the far end of the pitch...just in case they let off another firecracker as I was creeping past. Never did get a close-up view of the magnificent rusty Beast of Blantyre (or, the groundsman's roller, as it's more commonly known).

These are all the seats I saw at the Junior grounds which I visited! If people wanted to sit down, they brought their own camping chairs! English FA, take note...
Oh, and the match? Kirkintilloch Rob Roy took an early lead, Blantyre equalised half a minute into the second half (cue pitch invasion and conga by youths), but then gave away a penalty a minute later, which Rob Roy converted. The away team then scored again a few minutes from the end to win 3-1. And then had a player sent off for calling the referee a *censored*

Brilliant night out! My kind of party!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

September Girls, Sweet Baboo, Veronica Falls

Three great songs that are rocking my world right now!

September Girls are from Dublin. Shangri-Las + Jesus and Mary Chain = The Perfect Pop Recipe! Every time!

A new tune from Sweet Baboo. Daniel Johnston has written hundreds of great songs, but he's only got six. This is one of them!

This Veronica Falls song has been out for quite some time, but I never tire of hearing it:

Thank you and goodnight!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Pointless Bingo!

Latin phrases aren't my strongest suit, and the two I knew have gone, but I'll have a stab in the dark...
Here's a new game you can play with all the family whilst you're watching BBC1's Pointless on a weekday evening! It's called Pointless Bingo, and was invented by my son.

Print out the list of phrases below that are commonly used by the contestants on Pointless. Cut them out and give each of the people watching the programme with you an equal number of phrases. So, if there are two of you watching, take five each; if there are three, take three each, and so on.

Whenever one of the contestants utters one of the phrases, whoever "owns" that phrase calls out "Bingo!" (or "Yay!" or something similar). At the end of the show, count up the number of Bingos from each person watching. Whoever had the most is that episode's winner! Simple!

Here are your cut-out-and-keep Pointless phrases (feel free to add your own if you can think of any more):

  • They took my answer
  • I'll have a stab in the dark
  • It's a complete guess
  • I'm going to play it safe (double points if they play safe and then get the answer wrong!)
  • I'm going to go for a punt
  • I was happy with this subject until I saw the board
  • I did this subject at A level (or university), so I ought to know (double points if they get the answer wrong!)
  • It's before my time
  • There's only one I know
  • This isn't my strongest subject (or suit)
  • The two I knew have gone
  • The other board was better (or, I knew two/three, etc, on the other board)

Good luck and enjoy the game!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Cats in the Snow!

As the snow gradually thaws from the south of England, I thought it would be grand to look back at last weekend, with some pictures of cats in the snow!

At the top, it's Tommy running to the back door after relieving himself by the compost heap. This is a rare picture indeed, as I've never seen him run before!

Minty wasn't keen on the snow. Again, this is a post-scraping pose, whizzing through the garden towards the house.

I told my friend Lou that I would be posting these photos, and she kindly sent me some of her cats from last weekend. Above, it's the adorable Nappy, sheltering beneath a snow-laden bush.

Here's Nappy again, creeping gently across the cold cold snow, one paw at a time...

Daisy looks as though she has a snowball on her head! This is, apparently, an optical illusion!

And finally, it's dear old Napkins again, trying to keep dry under a table in his back garden!

That's enough cats in the snow! Something more esoteric next time!