dirty martini

old music for new people

the hit factory October 25, 2008

if you are too young to remember the late 80s, or young enough not to question, you might be under the illusion that stock, aitken and waterman were cool. they were never cool.

almost no one over the age of 13 would have admitted to liking any of their music, apart from the artists who glossed over their involvement – princess, i do mean you.

all of saw’s artists had a story. kylie and jason were aussie soap stars who denied being an item, sonia was from liverpool and had starred in bbc comedy ‘bread’, rick astley had been a teaboy…etc

some of the music, surprisingly, stands up 20 years on. the reynolds girls, the twins and stefan dennis did not make this list. funny that.

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bananarama – venus

big fun – can’t shake the feeling

brother beyond – the harder i try

dead or alive – you spin me round

jason donovan – nothing can divide us

kylie minogue – je ne sais pas pourquoi

lonnie gordon – happenin’ all over again

mel and kim – flm

pepsi and shirlie – goodbye stranger

princess – say i’m your no1

rick astley – whenever you need somebody

sonia – you’ll never stop me loving you

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songs to make your ipod melt in shame… July 1, 2008

i have bad taste for miles. is that ‘music’ in inverted commas?

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britney spears – you drive me crazy

less gothic sounding than baby one more time. god i can’t believe this is nearly ten years old…shit…although i can when i see a pic of britney now.

deeelite – groove is in the heart

i’m not saying deee-lite are shit. i love them but this song is all most people know and its played out. but you have to have it there. i don’t have to have ‘love shack’ though, i will so survive…

divinyls – i touch myself

i probably only like this cos its rude, since its a style of music i usually don’t care for. yeah that must be it.

emf – unbelievable

emf are one of the worst examples of early 90s madchester, baggy, whatever you want to call it…at the time though, there may not have been a distinguishable difference between them and the happy mondays.

5ive – slam dunk da funk

5ive were your archetypal wannabe r&b boy band who were more chesterfield than atlanta. so, they were fab in a way only a british boy band can get away with.

four tops – loco in acapulco

the four tops were way past their prime when this was recorded and it was included on the soundtrack to phil collin’s buster, a terrible movie. it’s summer 1988 in three and half minutes, however.

inner circle – sweat

top class cheesy summer reggae. no doubt a purist’s nightmare, but hey, i’m no purist.

joey lawrence – nothin’ my love can’t fix

yes that’s joey from blossom. the one who had a mullet well into the 90s and was endearing for being thick, like so many other joeys before and since. uk people of a certain age – ‘joey!’ hands up who didn’t even know the origin of that insult when they used it?

kylie minogue – better the devil you know

this was covered by steps, and i’m not quite tragic enough to have them on my ipod. kylie is definitely better than steps…i think. yeah, lisa scott-lee is in steps and she’s the epitome of desperation. agreed.

nkotb – step by step

the main reason i love this is the bit in the middle: ‘step one! we can have lots of fun.’ wait – was that sung by a donkey? well, danny wood was a donkey, horse, camel, depending on who you asked. this was obviously before jay-z and just about the same time as tony adams, so any of the titles were up for grabs.

pulp – disco 2000

i should hate jarvis cocker for so many reasons. he’s dandy – i don’t get that, i really don’t get the russell brand thing. oh and he should really have given us another ten years – this was only released in 1995, five years before we were supposed to be fully grown. fat chance, i’m not even there yet.

wiley – wearing my rolex

my only real objection to this song, as with countless other bassline tracks, is that i love it. hear me out. i’m getting on, i did speed garage (for that it what this is, kids) the first time round in my uni days. you’re making me feel old…

A history of my one woman campaign for people to listen to what the hell they want:

once i admitted to having bad taste..

…i then found myself unable to stop

…and ended up sharing too much…

then tv made guilty pleasure ok again

 

eurovision: a history of crime May 23, 2008

a few years ago, the bbc stopped trying to make eurovision cool. thank god. now we can start enjoying it again.

they’ve streamlined the voting which is quite annoying and has contributed to a decline in my ability to count to 20 in every european language and to verbalise the words ‘united kingdom’ in 25 different languages. 

they used to spend about four hours trying to connect by cb radio to gruff foreign presenters floating somewhere off the coast of depressing old finland, and that was half the entertainment…

you could get the atrocious and frankly superfluous singing out of the way early and settle in for the real event. playground politics implemented at nationwide level – all prejudices, past, current and future grudges displayed for all to see and guaranteed to have your dad hopping mad in front of the tv. jingoism, disguised as patriotism, at its very best.

1981 – bucks fizz – making your mind

well, jay left early on and was replaced some faceless woman. mike nolan had a car crash, cheryl baker became a tv presenter and bobby g, who knows…none of their subsequent achievements matched the then risque ripping of skirts to reveal…shorter skirts. bucks fizz are one of my earliest memories and this may explain a lot.

1982 – bardo – one step further

wait – the girl was a crackerjack presenter? never knew that. god i love this footage – its eurovision, the fast show’s channel 9 and 70s spanish holidays (which you could still go on until about 1990) all in one. love how standing back to back and a few badly timed power grabs passed for a dance routine back then. oh and the obligatory leg in air ending.

1983 – sweet dreams – never giving up

i didn’t realise i remembered this until i saw it today. carrie grant from fame academy! i’m assuming she had a makeover by the time she met david. apparently the blonde girl still sings and the limahl lookalike is now a welsh radio presenter. sooo smashie and nicey.

1984 – belle and the devotions – love games

i forgot this one too. thanks to the football hooligans that ruined most of the uk’s european activities throughout the 80s, this lot were booed offstage. back when that used to be an insult, kids. i’m sure for no other reason…cough…no actually they had some other hits. umm…

1985 – vikki – love is

she was channelling princess di back in 1985, but now is called aeone and writes tv and film scores. she looks kind of nuts now. she did also almost get flattened by meatloaf once but i’m sure there’s a lot of people with that particular claim to fame…

um…lots of hair rock…and then…

1990 – emma – give a little love back to the world

really cheesy effort for 1990 by a 15 year old welsh girl called emma booth. she looked exactly like all the older girls at my school at the time, who also had backcombed hair par excellence. but, significantly, they spent their spare time working out whether thunderbird or super strongbow got you pissed faster, instead of swaying around in shoulderpads singing about the environment with people two or three times their age.

1991 – samantha janus – a message to your heart

yeeeeeowch. it was a good job she could act wasn’t it? i suppose she slunk back to sylvia young’s theatre brat camp for a few years after this – its terrible what they get some of those kids to do in the name of celebrity. thankfully, a few years later she was surprisingly funny as mandy in fab 90s sitcom game on, and her career was back on track. until that ended. but now she’s in eastie, which let’s face it, is as good as it’ll get.

i can’t bear to include michael ball, sonia and frances ruffelle….

1995 – love city groove – love city groove

ok, at the time we thought this was going to win. all of a sudden, the 70s were over because lets face it, in eurovision world they got a 15 year extension. cool britannia was in full swing, britpop (which i admittedly hated) was all over the place, and we dared to enter a song which wasn’t sung exclusively by and for white people. it fell on its arse. eurovision was not ready.

1996 – gina g – just a little bit

this is not as bad as i remember. its terrible what nostalgia can do to you.

 

guilty pleasures March 9, 2008

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ok so i’ve just been watching z list music acts covering their ‘guilty pleasure’ songs.

i’m not sure how embarrassing liking terence trent d’arby is, i mean he’s not exactly milli vanilli, but i enjoyed craig david the most. of course thanks to bo selecta many people now in fact feel embarrassed to listen to craaaaaig daaaaavid.

anyway, here are mine. none of them fit with the rest of my music collection. i make no apologies.

further proof of my bad taste can be found in the songs i turn down on my ipod, songs i use to annoy people on the tube and songs i used to taunt old people on the bus.

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a-ha – you are the one

well, back in junior school you didn’t like certain type of music, you either like it or you didn’t. perhaps unsurprisingly there was something melancholy about the norwegian boys. good job they weren’t from finland.

belinda carlisle – i get weak

MOR rock has never been my thing but there’s something i like about belinda. this has always been my favourite of hers.

billy joel – tell her about it

one of my first tapes was billy joel, except my mum kept nabbing it. i love how steve in sex and the city is a billy joel fan and i love how he asks the russian if he ‘knows any billy joel’ to play on his thousand dollar piano.

kylie minogue – hand on your heart

most girls my age were kylie fans but lets face it this was more to do with neighbours than her singing voice, which is terrible. like a cat singing through a funnel.

lisa loeb – stay

sensitive 90s twanging bypassed me, mainly, but i loved reality bites. its so worthy and look-at-me-i’m so-understated…but i love it.

phil collins – two hearts

the soundtrack to buster featured the four tops and this song was written in a similar vein to ‘loco in acapulco’. but they had to let phil sing it cos he was the main character. liking phil has never really been cool but loads of people do, anyway.

robbie nevil – c’est la vie

sunny ‘things aren’t so bad’ pop that was huge in the late 80s. i usually hate these songs but this really reminds me being about ten.

talk talk – it’s my life

sounds like it should have been in a john hughes movie. just sounds so 1985.

talking heads – once in a lifetime

back in the good old days on mtv europe, this used to be part of the intro for mtv’s greatest hits, along with inxs. i loved the early 90s mtv – 3 from 1, pulse with swatch, party zone, yo mtv raps, soul of mtv…fruit of the loom ads and ads for frightening german techno compilations…

soup dragons – divine thing

i can’t relate to wanting to be the indie girl the soup dragons are singing about cos she was probably had that mousy hair gone pink from trying to dye it red, doc martens and lumberjack shirt. so not me. but i almost wish i could stand to dress like that for the sake of this song.

stone roses – she bangs the drums

a friend who was into the whole madchester scene pointed out that it was all quite dancey. so i listened again. i now have a grand total of 15 baggy anthems on my ipod. well they did play them at the hacienda.

whitesnake – is this love

80s hair rock is the staple playlist of o’neills and chicago rock cafes the nation wide. i hate it. but not this.

 

you better work it girl October 27, 2007

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for all the chilly nights in student houses, and a diet consisting mostly of bagels, my overriding memory of my student days in london is of the glitz and glamour of the handbag house scene.

every saturday night i transcended my student status to dress in fluffy boots, satin skirts and babydolls dresses in subzero temperatures. in those days, cabs were not an option, at least not on the way into town. no we braved the cold and the disapproving or amused stares of more sensibly dressed tube passengers. oh we had the figures for it then, we didn’t care…

we shopped in big apple in covent garden and hyper hyper on kensington high street, we wore love hearts jewellery and dressed like giant sweets. we sucked on lollipops and took feather boas out clubbing that we would drape over the nearest person who wasn’t dancing.

these were great clubs for girls who wanted a hassle free night out. most of the male clientele were gay, and fabulous. the whole scene was borne out of an appreciation of the supermodels, house music and er, rupaul. it was colourful, flamboyant and more than a little cliquey. 

perhaps the ultimate downfall of the scene was that the clubs – malibu stacey, puscha, miss moneypenny’s, love to be – were so focused on aesthetics that there simply weren’t enough good looking customers to meet their exacting standards.  or enough girls willing to dress up as hello kitty.

still, it was fun while it lasted and on the nights we were dressed ludicrously enough to gain entry. we posed on podiums, sashayed and pretended we were in a george michael video.

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corona – baby baby

yosh – it’s what upfront that counts

20 fingers – short dick man

livin’ joy – don’t stop movin’

e-motion – naughty north sexy south

happy clappers – i believe

loveland – don’t make me wait

outrage – tall and handsome

tin tin out and espiritu – always something there to remind me

new atlantic – sunshine after the rain

mozaic – sing hallelujah

nush – u girls

baby d – let me be your fantasy

alex party – don’t give me your life

strike – u sure do

 

more songs to turn down on your ipod: guilty pleasures October 21, 2007

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 do sound isolating earbuds also mask what you’re listening to?

i can barely be bothered to create an illusion of cool whilst i’m sat on the tube at 8am. lets face it, if i was that concerned then i probably would apply my makeup at home. after my last post – songs you turn down on your ipod – i realised that i have quite a lot of bad taste.

if you like something, why wouldn’t you listen to it? i don’t care what some suit with his legs wide open and a paper in my face thinks anyway. so these days i turn up my more embarrassing selections. at the very least someone will get a laugh out of it and god knows there’s not much to smile about if you commute into london.

unless sweat, delays and idiotic tourists with backpacks the size of a small shed are your thing, in which case…this playlist will seem tame by your standards.

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abba – that’s me

think ‘dancing queen’ is cheesy? have you heard the rest of ‘arrival’? the campest (best) abba album, dealing with such pressing subjects as kissing your teacher, your boyfriend preferring his violin to you, and being a tiger. and this – about being a bit of an old slapper and not someone to take home to the parents.

barry manilow – copacabana

the first line gives it away. ‘her name was lola. she was a showgirl.’ this camp classic by the hook nosed one actually wasn’t a big hit, but everyone knows it anyway.

betty boo – 24 hours

in 1990, betty was not cheesy and her west london twanged rapping was not ludicrous. i think world cup euphoria must have addled our brains…and this is the most credible track i could find on boomania. ‘doin’ the do’ and ‘where are you baby’ are so bad even i don’t listen to them.

billy ocean – get outta my dreams

if billy had been a poor man’s lionel richie to date, this track didn’t change much.  actual car noises at the start of any track mentioning a car should give you a sorry indication of what’s to follow.

deacon blue – chocolate girl

deacon blue are late 80s scot pop-rock and do not fit in my collection. they now inhabit the MOR scrapheaps of capital and virgin radio. probably. i never listen to either. i might be tempted if i thought this would be played…

gloria estefan – get on your feet

latin numbers are party and party equals cheese. the ‘sort your life out’ lyrics add to the worthiness of the proceedings but somehow this is still an enjoyable listen. or is it just me?

janet jackson and cliff richard – two to the power of love

no that isn’t a typing error and no i’m not pissed. in 1984, janet recorded a duet with the pop dinosaur (even then) that only ever saw the light of day on her ‘dream street’ album. of course, if she was pregnant at the time as claimed, we can put it all down to hormones.

kylie minogue – shocked

preteen girls are fickle and after ‘better the devil you know’, most of kylie’s fanbase had delusions of adulthood that led them to aspire to an appreciation of such musical luminaries as er, color me badd. SAW was over. but you taped this off the radio, just in case.

nick kamen – each time you break my heart

levi’s model nick was a bit too pretty. but pretty boys worked in the late 80s, and his madonna association didn’t hurt much either.

paula abdul – opposites attract

the cartoon cat – mc skat kat for those that care, top cat with a cigar basically  – actually sang better than paula. i looooved this, and ant and dec turning up to an american idol audition and singing this to a confused paula, simon and randy was genius.

toto – hold the line

oh god, if ‘africa’ wasn’t bad enough, once my mum heard this, toto was firmly entrenched in her playlist. and now it’s got to me as well.

wilson phillips – you’re in love

big hair? check. record deal via nepotism? check. singing in unison as voices not strong enough individually? check. gratuitous use of white chiffon? check. for all that it should have been a disaster. and oh, it was.

it doesn’t end here…

or even there…

 

the soundtrack to any spanish holiday between 1977 and 1983 September 30, 2007

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if you went on a family holiday to benidorm, torremolinos, majorca or anywhere on the costa brava between the late 70s and mid 80s then this post is for you.

disco produced some enduring classics, yet most of the tunes that endured once the initial fad died down were the novelty tunes. these formed a staple musical diet for spanish hotels, wedding receptions and church hall discos until about 1990.

we used to go to the same hotel in majorca every year until i was about 8. it was the hotel flamingo in c’an pastilla, an area now overrun with germans. it was at this very hotel that i was introduced to the german-towel conundrum. my dad used to just chuck them in the pool. i loved sitting by the pool with my feet dangling whilst drinking chocolate milkshake with lots of ice.

i loved the hotel. it had shiny marble floors and the decor was brown and orange, well into the 80s. i used to gaze at the spanish kids tv – they looked like the muppets, but i couldn’t understand a word they were saying. i used to play donkey kong in the bar until we went out at night, where i would sit drawing until my parents were pissed.

when we would get back to the hotel, the disco would usually have started. and this was the inevitable playlist. i would jump around in my rara skirt, and wish i was allowed to wear makeup.

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baccara – yes sir i can boogie

bee gees – night fever

cliff richard – we don’t talk anymore

earth wind and fire – let’s groove

gonzales – i haven’t stopped dancing yet

ian dury and the blockheads – hit me with your rhythm stick

liquid gold – dance yourself dizzy

kelly marie – feels like i’m in love

ottawan – hands up

rod stewart – do ya think i’m sexy

taste of honey – boogie oogie oogie

tina charles – i love to love