Posts Tagged ‘dress down Saturday’

Touch my dirndl


All eyes this weekend will be on Germany where there are elections tomorrow and where last weekend the Munich Oktoberfest started.  At the start of the election campaign it looked like Chancellor Angela “Angie” Merkerl and her CDU/CSU party would get enough votes, as would the pro-business FDP, for them to form a government.   A Report in the German media on Wednesday showed that despite what has been called one of the most dull elections it was now looking much closer and that after the German result may see another left/right grand coalition.  This would be something of a success for the leader of the SPD, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who had been all but written off.(And has gone from being seen as something of a bureaucrat to having his own version of the Obama Girl.):

One of the things which has been picked up has been the growth of the Pirate Party.(here, here, and here)  After the success of the Swedish Pirate Party in the European elections where it polled enough to gain an MEP, people are questioning whether it might happen in Germany too, or are they a small, very well organised, noisy minority able to get people to a flashmob when Angela Merkerl is speaking but not to get out the vote?  Certainly, in the first round of a by-election in France their Pirate Party managed just over 2% of the vote.  Elsewhere there (and here) has been interest in how well the left party will do.  I might just be sad enough to watch the results come through on German TV tomorrow.

At the same time in Munich the annual Oktoberfest has been taking place.  Here’s Der Spiegel’s quiz about it and here a photo gallery of it.  If you look at the pictures you’ll see women wearing traditional Bavarian dresses (called Dirndl) which is my excuse to show this, “touch my dirndl”:

A season in Hull


On arrival in Hull I was asked if I would work on a special programme which meant working 40 hours a week rather than the 30 I had been contracted to do.  As I am away from home working anyway, so it didn’t matter how much I worked as it would not be keeping me from my home life, and there was an offer of overtime to cover the extra hours.  So the last three weeks its back to working as hard as I did more than five years ago.  All that is pretty much an explaination as to why posts have been few and far between.  After work, and preparing for the next days work, I just want to relax and go away from the site or sleep.

Following the Ashes I was pleased with Lancastrian James Anderson’s heroics which meant we didn’t lose the first test.  I was disappointed that England seemed to play without the intensity of 2005.  I am even more concerned now that, having got on top of the Aussies we have not turned the screw psychologically and made them follow-on.  I know England have not been great at getting the total needed in the fourth innings to win and that the pitch seemed quite benign, however I would have expected England to enforce to follow-on.  It is being said the ‘Freddie’ might not be up to bowling a second innings now and that’s why, but then why hamstring your side with  someone whose clearly not up to the game now?  I write as a big fan of Freddie.

I can’t let the incident of the interview on BBC Radio Berkshire with the newly selected Reading West candidate pass by without posting it here or anyone who might want to see the modern equivalent of ‘bair baiting’.  Anyone who read anything about ‘Naz Sarkar’ befrore the selection could see he would be a rubbish candidate.  Now he has confirmed it with this interview:

You really have to wonder why he was selected when there were many more applicants who would have been beter for the job.  Could it be that the outgoing MP, Martin Salter, didn’t want anyone selected who would show him up in a bad way and got his organisation in the seat behind the most hapless possible candidate?

Dress Down Saturday

As I’m in Hull it’s only appropriate that I pick for this weeks section of the memories of great bands from the 80’s the fab fivesome, the Housemartins.  They burst onto the scene in 1986 with the song ‘Happy Hour’:

and together with their other big hit, Caravan of Love, and their album, London 0 Hull 4 they were a part of the soundtrack to my post-graduation summer, where the sun shined, I fell in love but was spurned, and with a group of friends that I had a great time with.  I’m sure it wasn’t seen quite so golden at the time.  They split in 1998 and spawned a number of gropus and artists.  Here’s ‘Caravan of Love’:

Monsters of Love


On the way between lunch today chez Jacques (see below, the pork was just wonderful today.) and the record store where I P1030595had espied the Jacques Brel 30th anniversary of his death tin box 3 DVD set, ‘Comme Quand on Etait Beau‘ (7 hours 15 minutes of fantastic Jacques Brel filmic entertainment.)  I just happened upon this store front/side redesign taking P1030588place.(see below)  The ten days up to tomorrow has been the parcours du design in Strasbourg organised by one of my employers, CCI (Chambre de Commerce et d’Industie) which has seen design type events happening all over Strasbourg.

For today’s DDS I’ll feature another band that were on the legendary tape made for me by a then girlfriend.  The reason for featuring Momus, apart from being very good, is that he/they released an ep of Jacques Brel songs titled ‘Nicky’ and here he is singing Don’t go away, which as everyone knows is ‘Ne me quitte pas‘:

I got my next taste of Momus on a compilation LP for the record label el, 1986 which featured the same song, ‘Paper wraps rock’ which was the first time I had known of a reference to the game in popular culture.  I next came across them was when I bought the single of ‘Murderers the hope of women’:

I next bought the ‘Don’t stop the night’ album from which there isn’t a video available but the next album I bought was ‘Monsters of Love’ a compilation of their singles 1985-90 which included ‘The Hairstyle of the Devil which was almost a hit for him:

He now writes a blog to be found on his site.  To end, or as an ‘and finally,’ here’s something for the weekend for the Lay-deees:


Driving away from home


For two of the four years I lived in Liverpool I lived over the water in the woolyback land of Birkenhead.  The relevance of this will become clear later.  Today’s DDS band, It’s Immaterial, (also here and here and facebook) also hail from Liverpool and their biggest hit, Driving Away From Home talks about the leaving of Liverpool, through rather than as an emigrant, off to the brave new World, it’s in a car down the M62 to Manchester, or off further:

The next track, as a comment I’ve seen before on it, is one of the best songs to play when you’re getting ready, it was also on a shit-hot compilation tape given to me by a previous girlfriend.(Which I lost in a move.)  It was only recently that I realised it was the same group who recorded both tracks, ‘Ed’s Funky Diner’:

Both the previous tracks were on their first album, ‘Life’s Hard and then you Die‘.  Finally a track from their second album, ‘Song‘, about New Brighton, the end of the Liverpool tube line which took me under the Mersey for the two years I lived there and somewhere I only visited late on in the two years over the water from Liverpool:

[hat-tip WAS for pointing me to the new release of the ‘Girls at Our Best‘ (more) Album which led me to find, and order, Song.]

The return of Dress Down Saturday


It’s been two months since the last DDS, as a reminder it is somewhere for me to post about bands I thought were wonderful from the 1980’s to argue that there was great music being made in the decade, despite the fashions, despite the hair and despite the politics.  Dress Down Saturday?  But people don’t work Saturdays so how could people be allowed to dress more casually then?  Oh yes they do, up to a third of the working population work shifts which include nights and weekends.  As society shifts and things are always open and always available then people have to work at nights and at weekends.  So I celebrate the contribution of our fellow chaps working to provide us leisure.  Doing it with music via a feature called DDS is something I was inspired by the fantastic Harry’s Place, where they often had a Dress Down Friday, which usually featured a YouTube clip of a great song from the 1970’s.  It’s back.

I last posted about two of The Crucial Three, Julian Cope and Ian McCulloch who went onto other things as Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen respectively before solo careers, reforming in the case of the Bunnymen etc.  So, that’s two but to have a The Crucial Three another person is needed, Pete Wylie.  I first heard of him via Wah! Heat with the excellent single ‘Seven Minutes to Midnight’ on the Peel show and the album ‘Nah = Poo! – The Art of Bluff’ which a very good friend bought me as a present.  Wah! hit big with “The Story of the Blues” which got to No. 3 in the charts:

By now I’d moved to Liverpool and the music of Wah! was so much of the place and his next hit in 1984, Come Back, was made single of the year by John Peel:

The third of his great hits of the 80’s was in 1986 and came as Pete Wylie and was Sinful, I just love filming it in the former swimming baths:

and the cartwheeling nuns are good value.  Pete had a serious accident in Liverpool in 1991 and took a while recuperating.  He has continued recording and releasing music and featured in the show to launch Liverpool’s Year as City of Culture, including Heart as big as Liverpool:

Talking of football I’m off to watch the Cup Final.

Bring on the Dancing Horses


Woke up late after a late night dvd session with ‘Studio 60’, does anything suggest JTO might be away in the quiet of the Vosges?  Good news from le Racing with victory 2-1 away at Troyes, the fourth  win on the trot, seeing them consolidating in the second, and promotion, place in Ligue 2.  Because of the subject of yesterdays post, the NATO summit, there will be a shortage of police next Friday so the match against the players of Ajaccio from the island of Corsica has been postponed to 17:00 on Sunday.  It’s going to be strange going to a match, and seeing all of it, in the daylight again.  Later I’ll be cleaning, eating and then watching the Tudors before completing Studio 60.

Whilst typing this I’m listening to Chrome Dreams.  A Neil Young album recorded in the seventies which was never released and a number of the songs appeared on other albums, Rust Never Sleeps, American Stars and Bars and others.  I do not usually download pirated music as I believe the author and artist of the work should get recompense for it.  This is an exception as it originally featured on Neil Young’s own blog.  Hat Tip to the excellent One Heck of a Guy for pointing me to it.  To quote from the site featuring the download, repeated by One Heck of a Guy:

Probably the best Neil Young album… Unfortunately Neil never released it. I found this particular gem on on his blog a couple of years ago. Now, you all know that his blog was deleted a lot of things are now lost to us and I feel that Chrome Dreams is something you just cannot miss.

Neil Young was on a creative high in 1975. By the end of the summer, Zuma was finished, though still not released.  Yet Neil carried on recording his new songs. Sometimes he recorded solo and sometimes with Crazy Horse. Lots of these songs would remain unheard by the public until quite a while later, but by late ‘75, Neil had already written and recorded versions of such future classics as Like A Hurricane, Powderfinger, Sedan Delivery, Pocahontas and Ride By Llama.

He carried on recording in 1976. More great songs were put down on tape, such as Will To Love, Stringman and Campaigner.  Some of us may feel that the Long May You Run album with Stephen Stills robbed us of the natural successor to Zuma, but Stills always suspected that Neil was holding back his best stuff for his solo album.

That solo album was a work in progress throughout this period. Titles were reported in the press: Ride My Llama, In My Neighborhood, American Stars ‘N Bars, Chrome Dreams. When American Stars ‘N Bars was released in 1977, Neil had scrapped most of the material he had been recording since late ‘75, replacing much of it with a series of rough hewn cowboy songs.

Fun stuff to be sure, but had Neil committed the latest in a series of difficult to explain career suicides? Who else, except maybe Bob Dylan, would sit on a stash of such quality songs and not let the public hear them?

What might have been….. leads us to..

Dress down Saturday

Last week saw us look at one of ‘The Crucial Three’, the second of whom, Ian McCulloch formed Echo and the Bunnymen.  The band were in their pomp at the same time as I was a student in Liverpool and I have warm memories of seeing them play home town concerts a number of times.  Echo came from the drum machine they used early on but by the time the first album, Crocodiles, was released it had been replaced by a real live drummer, Pete de Freitas.  This Rescue from it played at Sefton Park:

The next album, Heaven Up Here, features a track that has long been a favourite, here performed at the Albert all:

I had the poster of the next album, Porcupine, on my wall for a couple of years as a student.  It was released in my first year in Liverpool and featured a couple of hits including my favourite track from the album:

The next album, Ocean Rain, was considered to be their masterpiece, not least by the band themselves, and they have been playing it through in full on a number of occasions of late.  My favourite from the album, and probably from the band, Killing Moon, from the TV programme, The Tube, although a bit of a weak version compared to the full symphonic splendour of the track:

They released another eponymous album before splitting in 1988 and drummer Pete De Freitas died in a road accident in 1989.  The band refo0rmed in the late 90’s and have been touring and recording since to some critical and popular acclaim.

Elegant chaos


Good news to start the day from ‘down under’ where the election win by ALP’s Anna Bligh not only sees the return to power of the ALP in the state but also the election of the first woman to any form of government in Australia.  Now I just wait for the news from ‘down under’ tomorrow where the England women’s cricket team are playing the New Zealand team in the final of the World Cup.  Having beaten them once I am hopeful that by the time I wake up tomorrow our captain, Charlotte Edwards, will have her hands on the cup.  No game yesterday for le Racing as they play in the second vs third match on Monday to be televised by Eurosport.  Both teams below Angers & le Racing won to replace them, on the podium, so the outcome of Monday’s match is even more important.  Elsewhere it seems the Prime Minister of Hungary has done tthe decent thing in order for his country to have a chance of recovery and the rulers of New Jersey seem to have come to their senses.

There is evidence of the fracture which runs through Turkey about its history and relations with Armenia.  At a time when Congress is considering again the genocide of Armenians during the First World War and there has been discussion about the promise Obama made to officially recognise the genocide.  To which Turkish leaders had said these would be unhelpful at a time when there is hope if improvement in Turkish/Armenian relations.  So, having schools play a video which reportedly demonises the Armenians and said the genocide was their fault for assisting enemies at the time of war cannot be helpful at this time either, but has been done.  It was the Armenian genocide which encouraged Hitler to commit the same crime against the Jews from the 1930’s onwards, saying, “Who now remembers the Armenians?”

Dress down Saturday

Early on we had three bands from Manchester and more recently there were three from ‘down under’.  Now’s the turn of the city where I lived for almost half of the 1980’s, Liverpool.  A band which will feature large over the next few weeks is the Crucial Three although they hardly existed, didn’t record anything and are believed to have never played live.  Their importance lies in what their members went on to do.  Today’s band, The Teardrop Explodes formed around Julian Cope were one of the bands to come out of the Crucial Three.  Their first hit, Reward was not originally on their first Album, Kilimanjaro, but put on subsequent versions after it was a hit:

The military look was a big look in Liverpool at the time as we’ll see next week. Treason, which was on the album was a follow up hit, also making the top 20.  I bought the next album ‘Wilder’ which yealded this hit:

They broke up before completing the next album and Julian Cope went on to a solo career almost immediately releasing the Album ‘World shut your mouth’, although it would be two more albums before the song with the same title which went on to be a hit.  Here’s ‘World shut your mouth’:

He’s never stopped releasing music and keeps up his own site.

Heaven don’t tear you apart


A busy week and no posts.  On Monday it was my birthday so we took an

I'm just a little boy again when it comes to going on these German ICE trains.

I'm just a little boy again when it comes to going on these German ICE trains.

early train to Heidelberg for a day out.  The weather wasn’t great – cold wind with rainy/sleet seemingly always in your face, I’ll post further about it tomorrow.  The end of February beginning of March were school holidays here and so a number of students were away so my level of work has fallen off.  I’ve spent the time seeking additional work to bring me back up to full time and on Tuesday had an interview with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and have been offered some work with them.  As always seems to be the case when you have to do anything in France the bureaucracy has been endless and I’ve spent most of the week, when not working, carrying out various administrative tasks in order to be able to

We often take photos of JTO copying statuary, here's one I think works, probabkly because of the more human scale.

We often take photos of JTO copying statuary, here's one I think works, probably because of the more human scale.

start work this week.  For example I was working to eight one evening in order to complete a CV in French which was a requirement, it wasn’t a great CV, and the French wasn’t great, but they had a box to tick saying I had given them a CV in French, so they got a CV in French.  Pleasure later in the week a the result for City against Aalborg and largely good results last night for le Racing, with leaders Lens being beaten at home, ahead of their game on Monday.

Today I’ve been watching the excitement of the Paris-Nice race and following Liverpool’s demolition of Manchester United whilst writing this, who says men can’t multi-task?  It is good to be living in a country where cycling is given the respect it should have.  It does make me wonder why French people have a difficulty with cricket, particularly the test form being played over five days, when a cycling race takes much longer, the tactics can be just as subtle, and understanding what’s happening requires attention for quite a long time.  What I’ve also failed to understand is why it has been so difficult to get a British race going.  As well as the cycling fans, people love it when it goes through where they live and turn out to watch it and then there are the wonderful places the race goes through – there are a few places added to my I’d love to go to list from following the coverage of this race.

Dress down Saturday

Another band I came to via John Peel were Psychedelic Furs.  After hearing them playing ‘Into you like a train’ on his show I went out and bought the album it was off, ‘Talk Talk Talk’ although I lost the poster which came with it.  There seems to be no video for that but there is for the original, and better version of ‘Pretty in pink’:

That version is rightly described as darker, more snarling, than the version re-recorded for the eponymous film starring Molly Ringwold.  From their next album in 1982, ‘Forever Now’ here’s ‘Love my Way’:

The next album came out when I was living in Birkenhead and my landlord had said my room could be decorated if I helped.  I had just seen them at the University on the tour to promote the album so I’m now sorry for the local decorator who I helped do the decorating, who had to listen to this on rotation with, er this.  Here’s ‘The Ghost in you’ from the ‘Mirror Moves’ album:

They admit the next album was rushed to capitalise on the success of ‘Pretty in Pink’ following its use in the film and was also more commercial.  I lost interest with that and missed the next couple of albums before they broke up in the early 90’s.  They all did other things before reforming earlier this decade and have been playing live at festivals etc.  To end, appropriately, ‘Heaven’:

The multitasking man


The sun is out and it’s another nice spring day again which makes up for the two previous days where it has rained non-stop.  This made going to see le Racing last night a rather damp affair but the spirits were lifted by the 2-0 defeat of Clermont.  This afternoon I’m indulging in a bit of multi-tasking, watching the F A Cup semi-finals on television, blogging, applying for summer school teaching jobs in Spain and the UK and following the England vs West Indies and Australia vs South Africa cricket.  Who said men can’t multitask?

Dress down Saturday

After three entries from Manchester, for my look back at some of the great music which came out in the 1980’s, and two from Australia today it is the turn of a third from down under.  Whilst Nick Cave (and wiki) was active before the 1980’s in Australia it was in that year the band he was in called themselves the Birthday Party and moved to London, so for me that’s when it started.  I really got interested in Nick Cave after the Birthday Party when he added other sounds to his repertoire.  I was given his first album which had a cover of Elvis’ ‘In the Ghetto’ released as a single and, after missing the next album, I fell in love with the following album, ‘Kicking against the Pricks’  which contained some great covers and introduced me to some wonderful songgs I didn’t know.  I came to it via the single, a cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘The Singer’ with a brilliant version of the Roy Orbison song, ‘Running Scared’ on the other side.   I cannot put up links to any of the tracks from these on YouTube as they have been removed.  So, I’ll start with ‘The Ship Song’ from 1990’s album Good Son:

The next one is something of a mix with what was being done with the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds, ‘Loverman’ from ‘Let Love In’:

One of the better known albums the group did was of a series of murder ballads called ‘Murder Ballads’.  It featured two duets.  The best known one with Kylie Minogue ‘Where the wild roses grow’ even made the charts getting as high as 11 in the UK and 2 in Australia.  Here they are performing it on the former UK chart show, ‘Top of the Pops’:

Also he did a duet with P J Harvey on ‘Henry Lee’:

The last from the nineties is ‘Into my arms’ frmo the 1997 album ‘Boatmans call’:

Now for two more recent tracks from the brilliant Abatoir Blues Album.  These are both such up joyous tracks.  The first is ‘There she goes my Beautiful World’ featuring the wonderful lines, “So if you got a trumpet, get on your feet, brother and blow it.  If you’ve got a field, that don’t yeild, well get up and hoe it,.  I look at you and you look at me and deep in our hearts we know it.  That you weren’t much of a muse and, but then I weren’t much of a poet.’.  The film is recorded at the Brixton Academy, just across the road form where I used to live:

I used to listen to this album whilst walking to work and the previous song, followed by this both tebnded to be around the time I arrived at work, meaning I would get there bouncing in such a joyously happy mood.  ‘Nature Boy’ also featuring wonderful lyrics, ‘ I was walking around the flower show like a leper.  Coming down with some kind of nervous hysteria. When I saw you standing there, green eyes, black hair.  Up against the pink and purple wisteria.  You said, hey, mature boy, are you looking at me with some unrighteous intentino?  My knees went weak, I couldn’t speak, I was having thoughts that were not in my best interests to mention.1  the has a chorus ‘And she moves among the flowers, and she floats upon the smoke, she moves among the shadows, she moves me with just one look.’  Enjoy:

Dress Down Saturday


The last day of February and a gorgeous Spring day.  A delight to have the light and warmth of the sun returning after the darkness of the Winter.  The second of the Australian bands from the 80’s, the Triffids, (wiki) from Perth also largely have sunshine running through them.  I first came across them in the Summer of 1986 when I found their second album, ‘Born Sandy Devotional’.  It was in some respects an idyllic Summer having just graduated, not having to get up too early, walking to work in a pub at lunchtime then enjoying the sunshine by the River Thames in the afternoon and then out with friends in the evening.  I fell in love and we shared these and other things, including a strong love of similar music, theatre, books and things happening at the time.  One of my favourite songs off the album was ‘Stolen Property’.  Here is a version of it from the TV programme, the Tube:

The next album Calenture received a big production and push from new label, Island.  Here’s the video for ‘Bury me deep in love’:

There would only be one more album ‘The Black Swan’ before they broke up in 1989.  Unfortuantely the lead singer and main mover, David McComb, died in 1999 from a heart transplant in 1996 that did not fully take and the toll the use of heroin had upon him, according to the coroner.  The track from the first album I heard that had the biggest impact upon me was ‘Wide Open Road’.  At the time it drew pictures in my head of the sunshine, big space, big sky and a long road off into the distance that I would find in Australia.  Well it took nearly ten years before I went and found it and it was on subsequent visits that I spent time driving along roads up or down the coast and experieinced what I had felt listening to this song:

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