dirty martini

old music for new people

burn baby burn November 1, 2008

i had hope that the shock exit of disco week would be be overstyled, overindulged irish brat eoghan. can’t see him doing too well on mariah carey week, can you? yes, it would even be worth cringing through another week of shameless opportunist daniel trying to parlay his loss into a career. just. as long as we can finally get shot of him the week after.

my retrospective wishlist for disco week. note, these are based on what would actually do the contestants justice, not the limited x factor playlist based on the paranoid assumption that every brit is too stupid to vote on the basis of a good performance. and only recognises a performance as such if the song in questions is a wedding reception or car advert staple and they already know all the words.

oh, and they’re actual disco numbers. not just songs from the mid-late 70s which some idiots equate with disco. of course the usual american idol/pop isdol/popstars faves were wheeled out…

download disco

jls – should have sung ‘heartache no9’ by delegation

but, good song choice for them tonight and nowhere near as predictable as i was fearing (more than a woman, relight my fire). i really want them to win – i think in terms of the credibility of the show and its future, they are the most likely to do well. leona ensured its relevance a few years back but its time for another real winner.

alex – should have sung ‘you know how to love me’ by phyllis hyman

what is it about that ‘on the radio’ song? it’s ok but it’s a nothing song. no opportunity show off her vocals, a complete waste.

rachel – should have sung ‘got to be real’ by cheryl lynn

you can’t help but like rachel. she’s coping admirably with her mentor, considering that given her background, a spoilt, childish and desperate woman like dannii must seem twice as irritating. tonight’s song choice was as ridiculous as ever. sack your mentor, rachel!

ruth should have sung ‘more more more’ by andrea true connection

should have been in her element next week as spain loves it some disco. still. another disco week another donna summer track. simon really needs to put some cash behind those song rights so we don’t have to endure the same tired old numbers next year. it’s like a pub jukebox that never gets refreshed.

laura should have sung ‘street life’ by crusaders

she sang jocelyn brown in the auditions, i thought they used to criticise contestants for that…anyway it was good but i think her days are numbered now that she has been revealed to cavorting with an itv insider.

diana should have sung ‘heart of glass’ by blondie

come on, blondie is only borderline disco, you could have chosen one on the fucking line. ‘call me’ is a rock track. one week, diana will actually sing something from the required theme.

austin should have sung ‘rock with you’ by michael jackson

he probably was always too much of a gypo to win. i don’t know what it is about him. at first he just looked really dirty and unhealthy, and now he’s channelling pale and gaunt, but cleaner looking, 80s popstars.

daniel should have sung ‘instant replay’ by dan hartman

perhaps that should read ‘daniel should be able to sing if he’s been put in final 12 of the x factor, instead of wasting a spot that could have been given to someone with talent’. there.

eoghan should have sung – in tune

are the judges deaf? it’s like they were preprogrammed to ignore how resoundingly crap he would inevitably be. he’s been shit every week but this week was atrocious. get him out, now, i refuse to choose a song for him.

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the other side August 3, 2008

 

you know all those bonus tracks that surface once an album is released? we used to get them as b-sides. occasionally an instrumental would be bunged on there, or a remix, but in the 80s, you were pretty much guaranteed at least an album track if not something which didn’t make the cut.

for kids with only a few 7 inches to entertain them throughout the summer, this could mean that you were as familiar with an artist’s rarities as you were their hits.

some b-sides i miss:

karyn white – language of love (superwoman)

sister sledge – hold out poppy (frankie)

download here

five star – love gamesb-side to rsvp

janet jackson – he doesn’t know i’m aliveb-side to what have you done for me lately

madonna – pretenderb-side to material girl

mai tai – rules of love – b-side to body and soul

mel and kim – systemb-side to showing out

michael jackson – can’t get outta the rainb-side to billie jean

new edition – jealous girlb-side to popcorn love

nkotb – valentine girl – b-side to step by step

pepsi and shirlie – dreamingb-side to heartache

prince – 17 daysb-side to when doves cry

whitney houston – moment of truthb-side to i wanna dance with somebody

wham – where did your heart gob-side to edge of heaven

 

from disco to disco August 2, 2008

 

there’s something reassuring about all the disco sampling in house music…

download here

carol williams – love is you, sampled on spiller – groovejet

cerrone – look for love, sampled on bob sinclair – i feel for you

chic – soup for one, sampled on modjo – lady

chicago – street player, sampled on bucketheads – the bomb

damaris carbaugh – what about my love, sampled on shapeshifters – lola’s theme

earth wind and fire – boogie wonderland, sampled on stretch and vern – i’m alive

gary’s gang – let’s lovedance tonight, sampled on soulsearcher – can’t get enough

jackie moore – this time baby, sampled on freemasons – love on my mind

musique – keep on jumpin’ – sampled on todd terry – jumpin’

patti brooks – after dark, sampled on inaya day – he’s my music

rare pleasure – let me down easy, sampled on david morales – needin’ you

sister sledge – thinking of you, sampled on eclipse – makes me love you

 

teenage love affair July 10, 2008

before t’internet, there were magazines. ok there still are magazines but i now buy two per month – heat and glamour – whereas back in the day i used to get about ten.

just seventeen was good for horoscopes and those little free books that taught you to be a total stalker, in a completely non-harmless way of course…’close your eyes and think of a question. stick a pencil down anywhere on the page. find the symbol you land on and the answer will be revealed….’he thinks you’re too good for him’. well, durrrr.

more! was of interest primarily for the problem pages, which went slightly beyond that of the other titles. there was no ‘shoud i kiss him or not?’ boys at school would pore over these pages in great detail, before checking position of the fortnight. ‘oh yeah…done that already.’ ‘who with?’ ‘you don’t know her…i met her on holiday…’

mizz dealt in hardcore compatibility charts. so if you were an aries and you liked a pisces you were basically screwed. question: did anyone actually look a compatibility chart, see that their intended target was suitable and then march up to them at school the next day? no. it made no difference except if he turned you down…’we weren’t compatible anyway, he’s a fucking leo, i can’t be doing with it…’

minx ruled. it dared to take the piss out of gormless celebs like ‘louise out of eternal’ and the spice girls, much to the anger of their PRs, as I remember. i have no idea why it disappeared so suddenly, everyone i knew loved it.

download here

alicia keys – teenage love affair

amazulu – too good to be forgotten

aaliyah – age ain’t nothin’ but a number

beyonce – my first time

chairmen of the board – since there were pigtails

cool notes – you’re never too young

erykah badu – back in the day

hot chocolate – it started with a kiss

ryan leslie – used to be

shanice – i love your smile

sister sledge – frankie

slick rick – teenage love

 

say my name: d to i April 21, 2008

 

 

 

 
love-is.jpg

funnily enough, esmeralda never caught on as a baby name. ’emma’ by hot chocolate was released in 1973…there are a LOT of 25-35 year olds called emma. at least two in every class during my school days.

download here

another bad creation – iesha

blacknuss – dinah

charme – georgy porgy

de la soul – jenifa taught me

hot chocolate – emma 

lloyd – hazel

prince – the ballad of dorothy parker

ryan leslie – irina

william bell – eloise

le gamby – esmeralda

sade – frankie’s first affair

sister sledge – frankie

 

meeting in the ladies room September 16, 2007

makeup.jpg

surely the best part of most nights out is getting ready. as soon as you start drinking it all goes downhill, and once you’re in a sweaty club its all over. but the damage can be limited with the following:

  • waterproof mascara
  • hairspray on slippery soles to stop bambi-style entrances
  • proper underwear for graceful cab exits
  • copious amounts of lee stafford dehumidifier spray on straight hair before you go out
  • mark hill anti frizz serum
  • tesco makeup powder foundation – matt without being cakey
  • cotton buds to get the blobs of eyeliner out of the inner corners
  • nars orgasm / laguna – yes its £££ but it will last forever
  • clinique touch tint eye mousse – does not budge
  • marc jacobs splashes unless you want to asphyxiate everyone  i love rain, orange, amber and cucumber
  • wear your shoes with thick socks for an hour before you go out – trust me on this one!
  • liz earle skin tonic
  • fresh breath drops

you’re going to need to share or take a very large handbag…

download here

amy winehouse – fuck me pumps

that’s right, amy wants us to believe that she is sometimes coherent enough to make conscious fashion choices. she has, however, been spotted in camden without any footwear whatsoever. surely one of the worst places in the world to do that in…

beyonce – freakum dress

oh so that’s how she hooked er, super rich and fugly joe camel. i’m guessing she doesn’t really wear house of dereon – how ghetto is that name? it looks like the stuff you get in fenwick in brent cross… no i actually like jayonce. it would be really boring if she was with someone like usher.

india arie – i am not my hair

india may not be her hair but i bet it pisses her off when she gets caught in the rain. or in humidity. or too near central heating. god hair is a pain in the arse. but if it looks crap, you feel crap – fact.

jade – out with the girls

much as i like this track, it would be far more authentic if the girls sounded as if they had polished off a bottle or three of cherry lambrini in the cab.

jay-z – change clothes

proof that money can buy style, jay-z tries to get in on the act. i thought all most men did was shit, shower and shave?

klymaxx – meeting in the ladies room

a very 80s restroom hookup – i can just see the plastic earrings, smell the exclamation and picture the rimmel lipgloss.

lamont dozier – take off your makeup

a midtempo disco soul cut from a man better known as part of songwriting and producing trio holland-dozier-holland, who worked with most of the motown stable.

lil mama – lip gloss

has far too much makeup for someone her age. at that age i wore the same makeup to college, nights out, weekends, family gatherings, shopping….

missy elliott – let me fix my weave

what is the big deal with weaves anyway? it seems to be the ultimate insult to point out that someone has a weave. so what? most people have fake something these days.

patra and aaron hall – scent of attraction

i’m being won over by lighter scents these days. if other girls can identify you a mile off, that can’t be right…marc jacobs and gucci are getting it right. sjp’s covet isn’t bad either. if this track was a perfume though, it would probably be obsession by calvin klein.

sister sledge – il macquillage lady

makeup has come a long way since the 70s. even in the early 90s we were subjected to pink rimmel foundation, too much shimmer and way too much pearl. eyeshadow was brown or ivory. thank god for sephora, which they have now closed in the uk. thanks a lot!

vanity 6 – makeup

well, of course they did a song about makeup, prince wore a ton of the stuff. all of their songs were cute and this is no exception.

 

the summer of 1985 June 8, 2007

if there’s one summer from my childhood that i remember fondly, it’s the summer of 1985. not just because it was an actual summer, with sun and heat (not humidity – there’s a difference). before global warming screwed up the weather and i had to get on the year round sauna they call the london underground, summer was anticipated as an enjoyable season.

if the weather was like it is today – that’s torrential rain and dismal temperatures, for non-brits – the summer holidays were spent inside or shopping. but for most days, we had a beach hut, and every day I would get up early to watch tv-am with roland rat, and most importantly, the weather forecast, to see if we’d spend the day at home or go down to the beach.

i’d put on my jelly shoes, grab my jelly bag and we’d set off. not in a car, that would have been too easy. we had to walk for about 30 minutes to the right bus stop, then get a hot, sweaty bus to the seafront. back then children didn’t rule the world, so I’d probably have to stand or some miserable old bag would literally glare you out of your seat.

on arrival, we checked who else was there. the hut was only really big enough to house a kettle, a portable radio, some folding chairs, a windbreaker and a hula hoop. why we sacrificed valuable space for a kettle, in the height of summer, i’ll never know. why do parents panic at the thought of not being able to drink tea every five minutes? mine were always making excuses not to do something because they ‘hadn’t had a cup of tea yet.’ and still do.

so if no other kids were there, I would cut lonely figure, playing with my little ponies, hula hooping, and trying to catch butterflies in a fishing net. my mum would lie there in the blazing hot sun, with her cup of tea, listening to radio victory and tuning me out. me and my friends wandered pretty much wherever we wanted, across the road to the beach, to the lake, the playground, the fair. you could do things like that, back then.

i suppose these days most kids would get bored going to same place about four or five times a week. in the 80s there really wasn’t much point staying at home unless you wanted to watch why don’t you… all summer.

so this is the soundtrack to those hot sunny days at the beach. yes, there are dance routines to all of these songs which i am often tempted to break into when i hear them. it was probably the same dance routine for nine year old girls all over the UK.

now that’s what i call the summer of 1985…download here

amazulu – excitable

the 7″ single was a cool transparent blue vinyl, which looked a frisbee. amazulu were a pop/reggae band who had a string of hits in the mid 80s, their biggest was a cover of ‘too good to be forgotten’ originally by the chi-lites (although I was completely unaware of this at the time).


cameo – single life

cameo, before they became infamous for ‘word up’ and that red codpiece, made quality 70s and 80s funk. cameo always did have some humour, it just wasn’t as outlandish earlier on. i can’t believe this hasn’t been sampled yet?


cool notes – in your car

the cool notes had already been lovers’ rock legends and post-disco soul stars by the time the mid 80s arrived but this incarnation as jheri curled poseurs proved their most successful yet. i remember hearing this song on the top 40 and deciding it would be the next single i bought. five star – love take over

god i loved five star…i saw past the dodgy matching catsuits, crispy fried hair and scary eyeliner. and that was just the boys. in this video they danced poolside before piling into a jeep, no storyline. didn’t need one.


madonna – into the groove

this was the moment, for me, when madonna became the biggest star of the 80s. this song gave me a clue as to what the older kids were doing. drinking and dancing in smoky underground clubs. the dance she did in this video, with her hands clasped above her head, was immediately imitated by millions of precocious pre-teen girls. mai tai – history

mai tai were a german soul trio who sang all together and so had a fairly unique sound. bananarama did the same, for a different reason. they sounded like a cat scratching a tin individually. this track, like many uk tracks, doesn’t feature in many round ups of 80s soul classics as it’s not by a us artist. travesty.

prince – raspberry beret

possibly my most favourite prince song ever, but definitely the one i’ve loved for the longest. i like how the lyrics aren’t trying to be clever, they just tell the story. there’s no hidden meaning and unlike a lot of other 80s songs, I don’t understand it differently now that I’m older.

princess – say i’m your no.1 to this day I don’t know how a cheese factory like stock aitken and waterman managed to produce this classic. it’s a shame they didn’t focus on making more music like this, alongside the hugely successful pop conveyor belt.

sister sledge – frankie
this song was just made for little girls. how old was frankie though? we hoped he was 15, and sister sledge were 12, as per the lyrics, but there was a strange old man in the video….and the sisters were pushing 30.

steve arrington – feel so real

steve arrington was the lead singer of slave but i didn’t know of them at the time. this song just sums up that summer as far as, it was just everywhere. it wasn’t necessarily my favourite song but i always think of the beach when i hear it.

tears for fears – everybody wants to rule the world

you couldn’t move for this song in 1985. safari suits and mullets, hmmm…

whitney houston – how will i know

pastel knitwear and pixie boots whitney, while stylistically challenged, was a lot more fun and made better music than crack addict whitney in her velour tracksuit. i remember arguing about the lyrics to this song with an unbearable kid called sally who thought she knew everything. I was right.