Feb 092015

A friend of mine recently lent me a copy of some old Madness Greatest Hits. It got me thinking about the first Madness song I heard when I was a wee lass visiting my English family during the summer of 1982:

I have a soft spot for that track and even more so, for their earlier, more ska-inflected sound. (My sister had a great ska compilation that mixed “Night Boat to Cairo” into The Specials’ “Friday Night, Saturday Morning,” a one-two punch I always think of when I hear either of those songs. But I digress.)

Fast forward ten years or so to the next great Wave of English Working Class Rock, and you get songs like this:

In the early Aughts you can hear a semi-distant refrain, these guys taking the piss:

Help me connect the dots. Choose a band a decade earlier than Madness, one that celebrated the rich life of the English prols. Or can you think of their distant echo in, say, 2012 or beyond?

Oct 042010

One could make a strong case that Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange has had a significant impact on the literature scene (vocabulary, style, etc.). And I think many of us would agree that Stanley Kubrik‘s movie also has lasting cultural significance. But what about that novel’s impact on music? As recently mentioned in a recent RTH post, Heaven 17 is the name of a band referenced in the novel and in the movie. Other bands have also acquired their “eemyas” from characters or vocabulary in the book (see “Devotchka,” “Moloko”). The Echo and the Bunnymen label out of Liverpool was named Korova, in reference to the club, Milkbar. And The Libertines have a song called, “Horrorshow.” Blur also referenced the look of the movie in their video, “The Universal.”

Can you think of other A Clockwork Orange references in music? Are there other novels that have had an effect on Rock (eg, J. G. Ballard’s “Crash.”)?

*chepooka = nonsense in the Nadsat argot.

Jun 302008


You may recall a thread from a couple of weeks ago about my latent appreciation for the craft and catchiness of ’90s Britpop sensations Blur. A group I know well, a group of which I’ve long been a member, The Bad Attitude Club, needed more evidence of the band’s relative goodness. I supplied some live tracks from a bonus disc that came with the initial pressing of their Best of… collection. I doubt that either of my posts had any effect on the nasty old dudes who compose The Bad Attitude club, but more than a few Blur-loving Townspeople requested the posting of additional tracks from that live CD. To you, young at heart and open of ears, I say, Enjoy!

More from Blur at Wembley

“She’s So High”

“To the End”


“Charmless Man”



Jun 132008

The Blur Best of CD referred to in our recent Old Dude’s Guide to Blur originally was issued with a bonus live CD. This is a good thing, and I’m glad I have it. As the older Townspeople who constitute the Bad Attitude Club have been intensely sampling and studying the studio tracks and videos posted, more than a few of them have come back to me with a variation on the following question:

Thanks for sharing these studio tracks, Mod, but to accurately pass judgment on this band I ignored 15 years ago, I need to get a sense whether they could play live. We all know how any kid with a Mac these days can make a killer record, but only a real band can do it on stage.

So, as a service to our hard-working, dedicated, and open-minded members of the Bad Attitude Club, I’m posting some Blur tracks performed – not just live – but live at Wembley Stadium. That’s bigtime, for those of you who haven’t been watching reruns of early ’80s concerts on VH1 Classic. Listen to the roar of the crowd! Sing-along with the English masses, already! Enjoy – or better yet, analyze!

“Girls and Boys”

“End of a Century”


“No Distance Left to Run”

Jun 122008

Stop your sobbing!

For those of you who, like me, spent much of the ’90s bitching and licking wounds inflicted from musical battles fought throughout the ’80s – and who therefore missed most of the output of Blur when they appeared as part of that Britpop movement that I don’t think caught on much beyond stinking Oasis in the US – I’d like to kick off work toward an An Old Dude’s Guide to Blur. This is especially meant for the consideration of fellow crotchety, old Townspeople as well as further enlightenment from the younger generation, for whom the band that gave Fox Sports broadcasts the “whoo-hoo” soundbite may mean something more. If you’re so cool that you straddle this issue as an older dude who was tuned in enough during the ’90s to have appreciated Blur in their time, bear with us. You too may be of use in this discussion.


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