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APOLOGIES!!!

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Sorry for the lack of a posting today.  Been a bit busy at work and things on over a few evenings recently that I couldn’t quite keep on top of things.

I’ve been in Birmingham today on work stuff and will soon be boarding a train back to Glasgow, during which time I will do a bit of catching up including posts for the rest of the week and hopefully reading and enjoying all the stuff that other bloggers have been posting at their place.

Just one thing to add.  Was lucky enough to see The Pixies at Glasgow Barrowlands last Friday.  They were, as the saying goes, the dog’s bollocks.

Late addendum at 11pm

I got reasonably near the front at one point last week….

LET’S GO TO THE OTHER EXTREME TODAY

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I’ve subjected you to a couple of songs these past two days that have extended out to ridiculous amounts of time.  I’ll make it up to y’all by delving into the i-tunes and finding some really short stuff with the qualification that they need to be full songs and not just extracts. Oh and they also need to be of quality:-

mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Vatican Broadside
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Old Mother Reagan

Both clock in at just 30 seconds.

mp3 : Wire – Brazil

You’ll need your full powers of concentration to get through its 40 seconds.

mp3 : Elastica – Annie
mp3 : Talulah Gosh – Break Your Face
mp3 : The Style Council – Mick’s Blessings
mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Let Her Go Into The Darkness
mp3 : The Vaccines – Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)

All at less than 80 seconds.

Enjoy.

SNATCHING A VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT

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This a true tale, the revealing of which was inspired by Badger‘s revelations of ‘humiliation’ while singing on stage.

It’s 1990. I’m out with Mrs Villain (Rachel) to see the new stage show that has been put together by the outrageously camp and very funny Julian Clary. The venue is Glasgow Pavilion and the show is being performed in front of a sell-out audience of 1,500, the majority of which it is safe to say are either female or gay. Mrs V adores Julian – she’s always had a thing about camp/glam blokes dating back to her love for Bowie and Bolan as a teenager. She warns me before we leave that, if possible, she is going to get on stage with her hero during the section when there will be the inevitable audience participation – she’s certainly dressed for the occasion wearing an incredibly tight t-shirt and skinny jeans combo and looking as great as I’ve ever seen her.

The show is very funny. Julian is as outrageous as you’d hope – full of OTT one-liners and tales that were too risqué for television. He then tells us that it is audience participation time and it’s going to be a live version of his TV game show, Sticky Moments, that had aired on Channel 4 back in 1989 and 1990.

I say game show….but as wiki states:-

the questions, answers, challenges and cheap prizes were deliberately off-centre, and rife with gay innuendo and double entendres, played for laughs rather than actual competition.

Julian tells us that the competition is to be a shoot-out between a straight and gay couple. He asks if perhaps there are any gay couples in the audience and if so to raise their hands. He then spends a few minutes wandering up and down the aisles within the stalls, wise cracking his way through as to why he was ruling willing participants out until he finally finds the two blokes he most fancies. They take to the stage to huge applause.

Julian then announces that he’s already decided who his straight couple are going to be….and immediately I know what’s coming next. Mrs V had already made all sorts of eye-contact with him as he strolled through the auditorium while I had made the cardinal error of trying to look wholly disinterested. He grabbed Mrs V by the hand and said something along the lines of her being so gorgeous that her other half will have no choice but to follow….

There are loud cheers and a few wolf whistles…which Julian is keen to explain are very much for me. He admires my t-shirt which is emblazoned with The Wonder Stuff on the front….he askes me what it means…I foolishly try to explain its the name of a band….he makes a biting retort about it being some sort of gay sex position. It’s clear my role tonight is to be the fool whom the audience laughs at….

To be honest I don’t mind at all. Mrs V is in heaven right now, a smile lighting up her face as she gets up close to an idol.  Julian explains that he will ask one half of each couple three questions, all to do with the likes and habits of their partners, and the couple who comes up with best matching answers goes home with the prize. Of course, I’m not to answer the questions – they are to be about me – and so while I’m blindfolded and made to put on headphones to listen to music, Mrs V and one half of the gay couple get talking and answering.

I can sense that the audience is rocking during this section and that the piss is being ripped royally out of me. I should also have said that Julian, when asking my name and being told Jim, said there was no way he could go with anything as common as that nor could he use Jimmy as that would just pander to stereotyping men from Glasgow. I was going by my proper name of James and he was revelling in delivering that word in as camp a fashion as he could.

“Right James. Here’s your first question. Rachel says that you’re very much a boxer shorts sort of man and so I#m not going to ask you what type of underwear you have on tonight….if any. But if you are, can you tell us the colour please?”

“Red and White stripes”

“Are you sure? Rachel is certain she saw you in black before you left the house….”

I pull up the waistband of my boxers to show that they are indeed red and white. We are now 1-0 down.

“Question Number 2 James. I think this one is quite easy. What was it that first attracted Rachel to you? Was it you larger than life personality, your larger than life pay packet or your larger than life penis”

I look at Rachel. She is trying hard not to laugh out loud. I’m trying hard to work out what answer she would have given. Surely she didn’t want to add to my humiliation……

“Julian, I would say it’s my larger than life pay check as after all my other half is a bit of a Material Girl”

“No James….It seems you have a big dick”

The audience at this point is ending itself collectively as I look at Rachel who is smirking. We are now 2-0 down.

“Final question James. Now I know you can’t win and that really is such a shame.  But you can go home with a consolation prize if you get this one right.  And you should do as it’s about music and we all know you love music what with your fabulous t-shirt. So the question….what did Rachel say you would sing if you were on a karaoke stage?”

Ya beauty! I’d only ever at this point in my life once done karaoke and it was for a laugh at a works night out. I had performed one song very badly and I distinctly remember telling Rachel about it.

“That’s easy Julian. My karaoke song is I Will Survive.”

More laughs from the audience and Rachel looks over to me in a bit of shock.  WTF?  Does this mean we are going home empty-handed and all this has been for nothing??

“James, are you sure you and Rachel aren’t on a blind date? You don’t seem to know one another very well.. She told us it would be something by Morrissey or The Smiths.”

I genuinely don’t know what to say. The idea of a Morrissey or Smiths song being an option at a karaoke night back in the early 90s just didn’t seem possible. They would have been the last answer I’d have given.

Julian turns to me and says: “James. I can tell that you don’t want to disappoint Rachel, so I’m going to give you one last chance to pick up a prize. Would you care to sing your karaoke number for us here on stage?”

I hesitate. The audience cheer and scream. Rachel looks at me imploringly. I have no choice……

As Russell Churnley, the long-time musical collaborator of Julian Clary hits the distinctive opening notes on the piano, I close my eyes and go for it. Big style.

I don’t know if I was any good or not…I don’t even know if I got the correct words out. But I gave it my all and the crowd loved it, clapping along in whatever sort of time I was keeping. One verse and one chorus and that was it. Thankfully.

Julian gave us the prize which was a plastic replica of Fanny the Wonder Dog (Julian’s pet whippet who had been part of his earliest stage and TV shows) and a bouquet of flowers. But Rachel also got a kiss and I got a hug. We went back to our seats and within seconds I realised I was shaking thanks to a ridiculous rush of adrenalin that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced again.

And that was that. Or so I thought.

Firstly, Julian sang a song in the second half of the show and dedicated it to me (see below)

Secondly….the next day, I boarded my usual 7.30am train from Glasgow to Edinburgh where I worked at the time. I sat down in the my usual seat up in the very front carriage. Another of the regular commuters looked across at me and smiled. She got out of her seat, walked towards me and leaned in close whispering ‘red and white boxers….I wouldn’t have imagined!’

With a wink and a wave she went back to her seat.

Fame, fame, fatal fame….

mp3 : Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
mp3 : Julian Clary – The Leader of The Pack
mp3 : Morrissey – Get Off The Stage

Enjoy

BONUS POST FOR THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND

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I’ve messed about a bit with some tunes and come up with this:-

mp3 : JC presents – The One Hour Indie Disco

Confession time. It actually lasts 63 mins and 39 seconds, but in my defence, the crowdfilling last tune commences before the hour is up, so everyone’s dancing as the empty and not so empty glasses are cleared from the tables.

I think it works well if you download it and give it the full listen. Equally, you could skip through the songs you don’t like:-

LET’S MAKE THIS PRECIOUS (Dexy’s Midnight Runners)
ASK JOHNNY DEE (Chesterfields)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME (Talking Heads)
WALKABOUT (Sugarcubes)
LENNY VALENTINO (Auteurs)
PING PONG (Stereolab)
TRIPLE TROUBLE (Beastie Boys)
SHADY LANE (Pavement)
HEY LUCIANI (Fall)
LAST OF THE FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS (Morrissey)
CRASH (Primitives)
THIS LOVE IS FUCKING RIGHT (Pains Of Being Pure At Heart)
FOXHEADS (Close Lobsters)
IT’S A GAS (Wedding Present)
TAKE THE SKINHEADS BOWLING (Camper Van Beethoven)
BLUE BOY (Orange Juice)
GIGANTIC (Pixies)
LE PASTIE DE LA BOURGEOISIE (Belle & Sebastian)
OBSCURITY KNOCKS (Trashcan Sinatras)
CEREMONY (New Order)

 

CALLING ALL READERS : HELP REQUIRED

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The sleeve above is of a 1992 single, on Go! Discs, by a band called Anna.

I won’t go into details, but I’m urgently looking to source an mp3 of the song Masonic Youth.

Anyone able to help?

If so, please pass it on via thevinylvillain@hotmail.com

Cheers

JC

CHEMIKAL UNDERGROUND COMPETITION : IMPORTANT INFO

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There’s been a great level of interest in the competition to win £50 of merchandise from the on-line shop of Chemikal Underground and I’m thrilled, honoured, delighted and excited by the fact that company MD and ex-Delgado, Stewart Henderson, has agreed to make the draw next week.

BUT…..some of you may have submitted an entry but not, as yet, have been put into the hat.

I’ve learned from three different folk over the past 48 hours that e-mails which had been sent to the hotmail address at various times haven’t reached me. I’ve no idea how widespread the problem was – the original emails were never re-directed to spam and none of them had content that would have caused an issue. Indeed, one of them was from someone entering the competition who I happened to bump into the other day. I mentioned that I was surprised he hadn’t entered only be told he had!

(one of the other missing e-mails I now know about was from Italy offering something for use on the blog while the other was someone responding to an e-mail I had sent them….so there’s no obvious rhyme or reason as to why things weren’t getting through)

The thing is, everyone whose name I’ve already put in the hat will have received a reply e-mail from me by now.

If however, you have sent in an e-mail with the answer to the question asking for the names of the members of Aloha Hawaii but haven’t yet heard back from me, then please, please, please re-submit as and when you’re able and certainly no later than 29 February as that is the closing date.

Cheers folks

HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY WEE BROTHER

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The left hand photo was taken when Stephen Clark (born in Glasgow, Scotland on 19 February 1966) was around 21 years old – he’s in the middle flanked by two of his best mates – Gerry on the left and Paul on the right – all clad in identical U2 t-shirts.  One of the very few photos that none of them happen to be holding lager.

The right-hand photo was taken much more recently, and he’s with his son Liam who is resplendent in his Raith Rovers replica strip and Orlando City FC scarf.

I suppose like many other siblings, we weren’t hugely close as we grew up.  The three years age difference felt like a huge gap at times, and it wasn’t really till Stevie reached the age of 18/19 and I’d done my four years at university and was away working in Edinburgh that we really began to bond properly.  By this time, he’d become a dad at the age of 17, devoted to his son (also called Stephen) although he and the kid’s mum were far too young to ever stand a chance of staying together.

In the very early 90s,  he decided that there was little happening for him in his home country and so he upped sticks and moved to seek a better life in the USA, landing in Orlando where he ducked and dived for a bit, doing all sorts of work like cleaning out swimming pools, working in bars and driving distribution trucks, all the while financially looking after his son back in Glasgow.

In due course, he would meet a lovely Welsh lass who was also living and working in Orlando.  Adele had used her nursing qualifications to launch a career in healthcare in the States and they first got together soon after she had arranged for Stevie to be treated in hospital after the daft bugger had done himself an injury playing football.  Romance blossomed and in due course they would end up getting married in 2000.

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That’s the Reservoir Jocks on the day of the wedding in Florida. My late brother Davie is on the left and I’m on the right on one of just two occasions that I’ve donned a kilt. Stevie is in the middle flanked by his very bald mate Paul (who you can see with the full head of hair in the U2 photo above) and his son Stephen who by this point in time was 16 years old.

Adele and Stevie now have two incredible kids of their own….one of whom was born a matter of months after Stevie’s first grandchild was born here in Glasgow.

My wee brother has really made a great life for himself, becoming a fairly successful self-employed floor fitter and also obtaining American citizenship. He’s also not changed a bit in all the years….not withstanding the hair loss…..and he’s still the laid-back, easy-going bloke who’ll always put others well before himself at all times. A genuine all-round good guy.

We of course don’t see each other all that often nowadays but we speak plenty enough and all these years on, he’s my best mate and as well as my only surviving brother.   And I can’t quite get to grips with the fact that he turned 50 today.  These are for him, all from bands I know he’s loved over the years:-

mp3 : U2 – Two Hearts Beat As One
mp3 : Del Amitri – Kiss This Thing Goodbye
mp3 : Spear of Destiny – The Wheel
mp3 : Hipsway – The Honeythief
mp3 : Hothouse Flowers – Don’t Go
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Rattlesnakes

Have a great day young ‘un.  Hope to see you soon.

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