The Very Temple of Delight

Starland Vocal Band
Well, someone had to do it – I was rather expecting it to be fp but it seems that it’s been left to me to bring some special joy to The ‘Spill in the shape of the awesome Starland Vocal Band (not Starlight as some idiots seem to think). Yes, it’s Afternoon Delight for your personal delectation.

Next up is the first of two contributions from Jonathan Richman to the afternoon theme: Sunday Afternoon from the recent album Not So Much To Love As To Be Loved. Very short, very instrumental, very beautiful, very Jojo.

Most of us probably know the Crash Test Dummies from their 1993 hit, the wonderfully-titled Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. Afternoons & Coffee Spoons was the UK follow-up and although it wasn’t such a big hit over here, I remember liking it at the time and I think it’s aged well. I particularly love the lines:

Someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline,
Someday I’ll wear pyjamas in the daytime.

We’re all heading that way, boys…

Two more tracks to finish with. First of all, it’s The Cardigans with In The Afternoon and finally I present to you this week’s second Jonathan Richman track. It’s simply called Afternoon and it’s taken from one of my favourite albums – Rock ‘n’ Roll with The Modern Lovers. This was recorded at a time when Jonathan was evidently keen to distance himself from the early Modern Lovers’ sound – it’s about as far away from She Cracked, Pablo Picasso and Roadrunner as you can get. The good news is that you’re allowed to like both sounds – and I do…

Edit: I have a question for you all. Although I love the Crash Test Dummies track, I have to admit to feeling just a tad irritated by the guy’s voice – there’s something ever so slightly annoying about his vocal style – and I can guarantee that there are some singers that grate on your nerves every time you hear them. So my question is, which singers sound to you like finger nails on a blackboard? I’ll start things off with the obvious (to me anyway) Bob Dylan, and follow that up with one that I know some of you will find an odd choice; namely, Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays. Over to you…

61 thoughts on “The Very Temple of Delight

  1. I’m so curious as to what Maddy will do with this one. So wrong and yet…so right in many ways. It’s been donded to within an inch of its life over on the Mother Ship. EVERYbody seems to love this song. And yet it’s so unremittingly cheesy. It’s flapping its seventies flares as I speak. And would certainly make it onto the playlist for the Rare Groove snack bars. We could even invent a desert called an ‘afternoon delight’. Genuinely curious to see if Maddy dares… Or if indeed she sees what we see in this song. Your list is shaping us nicely for a Sunday afternoon, Toffee. Am chilling after our strenuous efforts yesterday (see above).

  2. Personally, I don’t see how you can leave it out – but I’ve noticed that Maddy often seems to steer clear of the obvious – which is not necessarily a bad thing.It does indeed have cheese coming out of its ears but what surprised me most about listening to it from a grown-up perspective is how how gosh darn rude it is.Rubbing sticks and stones together,Make the sparks igniteCoo ur gosh!

  3. I have to confess I'd forgotten Afternon Delight and, on being reminded of it thanks to TB, it's not a tune I remember ever hearing with any fondness. But,FP, sprinkle the magic words "rare groove" on a situation and I find myself growing a new set of ears. So donds to the idea of having an Afternoon Delight dessert. I'd interpret this as something that should be happening at night taking place in the middle of the day so, translating that to the sweet trolley…can you flambé a rum baba?Meanwhile, "which singers sound to you like finger nails on a blackboard?"I have the same reaction to the Crash Test Dummies singer, ToffeeBoy. Also, a couple of old ones: Simon Le Bon & Cerys Matthews. And a couple of very new ones: Katy Perry (ugh! fingernails on a blackboard partly covers it but it's also like when I go barefoot into my kitchen at night and a slug's made its way inside from the back yard and I step on it) and one of the new X-Factor finalists my family inflicts on me every Saturday – the young blonde hippychick girl everyone keeps saying has got a "very now" voice with its halting, Dolores O'Riordan phrasing (her as well), which is just mildly annoying in its own right but it's the fact that she sounds like Cilla Black when she's doing it that gets me. And not even Cilla singing. Cilla presenting Surprise Surprise and foghorning her way through a family reunion. And God knows I'm not arsed about what X Factor finalists sound like but this one's clearly being groomed for a lengthier floaty folksy career making records that advertise mobile phones.

  4. Sweet Trolley!! My two favourite words in the seventies!! Do restaurants still do them? It was literally wheeled to your table as the height of culinary sophistication on the seventies. and our Rare Groove seventies snack bars should certainly offer this commodity. And the Afternoon Delight dessert could indeed be a panaché of those seventies sweet stalwarts: arctic roll, cheesecake and rum baba. May, you just hit gold!!!

  5. To cover the gamut of seventies-appropriate puddings, you’d need a well-upholstered sweet trolley. Maybe a sweet charabanc. Let us not forget Brown Derby, Knickerbocker Glory, Banana Split (all Wimpy staples), Bird’s Trifle, Syllabub, Angel Delight (butterscotch or peach, natch), Baked Alaska, Pavlova…maybe there should be a meringue station. And flambé the lot of them in a Towering Inferno hommage.

  6. It’s the butterscotch angel delight that got me. I used to eat sooo much of that as a kid. Thanks for yet another Proustien moment. And that’s the sweet trolley sorted. I think next week if I have time I’ll do an official opening post of the virtual Rare Groove Seventies Snack Bars – just to resume all the splendid executive decisions taken so far.

  7. Oh, tremendous call on the Battenburg. For an haute cuisine flourish, try ramming the swirly pointy ends of some iced gems into the marzipan.

  8. Blimey, but I’m having another wet blanket session this evening … … it’s a toss-up as to which I hated more way back when: Afternoon Delight or Angel Delight. Time has NOT mellowed me! On the subject of the latter, I was firmly in the Instant Whip supporters club. Angel Delight always seemed to be dangerously close to blancmange to me. Then consistency made me gyp; I still can’t eat trifle or vanilla slices for similar reasons. Re voices that produce the same reaction: my aversion to Dylan is well-documented on these pages. I also can’t abide the vocals of Mick Jagger, Patti Smith, Pete Townshend, Marianne Faithful, Robert Pollard, Kylie, Finlay Quaye etc etc. Over the years I’ve really gone off Stevie Nicks’ warble too.

  9. Geddy Lee. It’s not just the high pitched nasal thing but the way he mirrors the bassline.Whitney Houston. It’s the melisma. Ah-eee-Iiii-eee-iiii etc. I just hate glossy lipstick and wobbling uvula singers.

  10. This is all too painful. My very first holiday job, at the age of 15, was waitressing in a Wimpy bar and I could probably still assemble a Brown Derby in my sleep. As someone who actively dislikes tomato ketchup, sweet drinks, jelly, custard, blancmange, trifle and ice cream, (though I changed my mind about ice cream when we moved to Newlyn and I discovered Jelberts), it was not a match made in heaven. On the other hand, it paid for my first copy of Sketches of Spain.FP, if you crave the sweet trolley experience, next time you are in London head for Oslo Court. It’s a time-warp experience in its clientele as much as its food. I would only go if someone else is picking up the bill but one of my friends thinks it’s the best restaurant in the world.

  11. Quick office poll revealed Neil Young Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell to be cuticle/ blackboard interface offenders. Can’t agree with any of these, but wait. Plus Geddy Lee, the guy from the ‘Dummies…?They’re all Canadian aren’t they? If someone nominates the singer from Martha and the Muffins we’ll KNOW there’s a conspiracy.

  12. I liked Instant Whip better than Angel Delight, but butterscotch anyway……whoever the bloke was who sang The Voice: we were living in a poorly-soundproofed house when this was current and the neighbours used to play it all the time (no exaggeration) and they were not the sort of neighbours whom you could politely ask to desist. But I think I would’ve hated his voice anyway. Or anyone who overdoes the vibrato – I would mention Patti Scialfa, except you’d think it was sour grapes. I can sing very well myself and once got an offer to turn semi-professional but I was doing my O levels at the time and my mum said I couldn’t.

  13. Rufus Wainwright, ditto. Y’see? Canadians. Conor Oberst doesn’t ring the quease alarm for me but I can see how that might happen.Jay Kay. There’s so much not to like but I’ll start with the tonsils.

  14. With DsD on finding both delights too sickly for my taste I'm afraid – the rest of the playlist was perfectly fine. Given some of my favorite "vocalists", I'm not really in position to be picky. Am with Proudfoot on the warblers. Someone dug up Patti LaBelle for the Phillie ballgame last night for Star Spangled and she did a Whitney warble so OTT it could have been a parody. Can't stand male falsetto unless it's done well al la Bronski. Also have a problem with Indy boys & rappers with nothing new to say. If the lyrics are good &/or delivered with conviction, will always forgive imperfect singing.

  15. shoey: "Also have a problem with Indy boys & rappers with nothing new to say. If the lyrics are good &/or delivered with conviction, will always forgive imperfect singing."True words. There's differences between "don't rate his/her voice" and "hate the music" and having grown up with music like punk, hip-hop and jazz, where well-intentioned bum notes can be cherished, I've no problem with flawed but gutsy. Then there's the voices that would be classified as "like drinking a swig of milk that's turned" (I mentioned the likes of Katy Perry earlier; forgot to mention the Field Marshall of please-stop-it-now grating voices, James Blunt). With the culprits shoey mentions, I'd say it's more a deadening, bleak groan from the pit of my stomach (Fiddy Cent, for starters, and I'd add lumpen R&B drones like Usher or Mario) rather than a gag reflex.

  16. Isn’t this what the ‘Spill does best – starting out with a few songs with an afternoon theme and somehow working towards the twin topics of Usher’s lumpen drones and Kunzl cakes in the RRare Grroove Cafe.Thanks for all the comments so far on both sidebars. What fascinates me about annoying voices is the question of why I can sometimes get beyond them (e.g. Edwyn Collins, Dean Friedman, Brian Molko, Neil Hannon, Michael Stipe) but others, who, I recognise have just as much worth, give me the screaming abdabs.Oh, and ToffeeGirl would like Wagon Wheels to be available in the Cafe.

  17. Yes to Kunzl cakes and almost anything butterscotch flavoured. I have had a sudden memory of small round biscuits with mint top and chocolate coating but I can’t remember what they were called. Anyone help out there?

  18. @may1366. Yes, that girl is astoundingly irritating. They keep saying how ‘different’ she is, not just her sound but ‘the whole look’. Look, she’s short, hair and mascara from 1967 and she sings barefoot.The panel must have signed a contract to airbrush Sandie Shaw out of history to perpetuate this nonsense.

  19. Ditto me. I read Mnemonic’s post – saw, literally saw that biscuit in front of me (green foil wrapping) and thought “aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgh! Who can I ask?” Nice one Darce. Great call on Wagon wheels too. French restaurants now do a “café gourmand” after your meal. That’s an expresso plus a few sweet bits and pieces so you feel as if you’ve had a dessert. The RG70SB equiv will be a cup of mellow birds (to make you smile) with a yo yo and half a wagon wheel (well they were big buggers as I remember).

  20. Yo-yos, oh yes. There was a toffee one and an orange one, as I recall. Washed down with a Jubbly.In the Leonard Cohen BBC documentary, back around the time just after I’m Your Man came out, he recounted going by limousine with his lawyer to Carnegie Hall for a first concert there, and saying to his lawyer how nervous he was, especially as he “couldn’t sing”. “Leonard, don’t worry” said the lawyer “none of you guys can sing”.Other than Rufus Wainwright, I can’t think of any male vocalist I like who has an absolutely pure – trained – voice. Early Neil Young, for one, wouldn’t have got far in opera; Tom Verlaine, for another, probably wreaks havoc on canine auditory senses: but the material and the voice fit in a kind of discordant harmony where the sum is greater than the parts.

  21. No love for Jaffa Cakes? Also seem to remember something called a Carmel – a wafer, glued together with toffee & covered in chocolate. If it didn't break your teeth it would yank out your fillings.

  22. @ shoegazer – yes, for some reason, the concept of ‘caramel’ was invoked in association with what was, in fact, rock hard, brittle toffee. Talking of tough bites, is there a word, probably in German and probably coined by Nietzsche, to describe the relationship between hype and experience regarding Texan bars. Having been promised a “mighty long chew”, enough to stave off a tribe of Native Americans who’ve tied you to a totem pole, in reality they tended to last 45 seconds – 1 minute. Yet we would chalk that up as an achievement by us, not the nature of the bar itself, and buy more in order to set a new record. A kind of self-fulfilling prophesy of false memory.

  23. Shoey, you’re not by any chance referring to Tunnocks Caramel Wafers, are you? made in Ulverston and now featuring a plain chocolate version? because if so, it must’ve been very old stock or something.

  24. You’re right about the wafer biscuit, tfd – still very much with us, as are Tunnock’s tea cakes. A bit like Tom Jones, it seems, Tunnock’s. Playing to a new young audience having skipped a couple of generations since its heyday.However, I think there’s a bit of a Mexican stand-off going on in the collective memory between Tunnock’s Caramel, Cadbury’s Caramel, Nestle’s Caramac, the perhaps apocryphal rock-hard Carmel bar and the crypto-caramel, equally teeth-chastening Dime bar. I’m also feeling a bit sick.

  25. I can’t remember yo-yos, but I’d have said the equation is:Green wrapper + mint topping + chocolate coating = ViscountThe last time I saw Nouvelle Vague, one of the singers was channelling the spirit of Josie Lawrence, and frankly it was not the time or the place for it.

  26. When I was at the Scottish Museum of Childhood back in the summer, they had some books in the shop, featuring individual decades. Each one simply consisted of pictures (I’m talking really high quality photographs) of products (foods, games, magazines etc.) from the relevant decade. The 70s one was an absolute treat – it had a double-page spread dedicated to sweets and chocolate from the 70s – all the stuff we’ve been talking about and more.Stupidly, I didn’t take a note of the titles. Ring any bells with anyone?

  27. Gareth’s also correct re Viscounts. LOATHED Caramac! Was *very* car sick after stubbornly eating a whole Easter Egg one once. Ugh. Tunnock’s TeaCakes are a staple at our house, thanks to DarceysMam. Personally, I preferred my marshmallow a little firmer as a kid; those ones you could pick the chocolate off the outside and then the biscuit off the bottom to see how much jam had been used as glue!

  28. Mine were definitely yo-yos. Incidentally I had my very first Tunnocks caramel wafer only last month at the End of the Road festival.

  29. My Granny was famous (in our family anyway) for producing cake tins full of chocolate biscuits whenever we went to see her. I’m sure there were more but I particuarly remember that Penguins (of course), Blue Ribands and Taxis featured high in the list.We need all of these on the menu, fp.

  30. DsD, I think we should explain that Tunnock’s teacakes are the chocolate-covered marshmallow jam and biscuit thingies, not the other kind of teacakes (which are buns).

  31. fp, while you’ve got your pencil out, there probably ought to be a line in snacks and desserts that were short-lived rivals to enduring brands. For example, King Cone (which wasn’t Cornetto) and Break-In (which wasn’t Breakaway). Item #653: We’ve got Babycham for the wine list, haven’t we? Cydrax for the designated drivers.

  32. I’m surprised how many of the tooth-botherers from our childhood have survived. My local still stocks Wham bars and Dip Dabs and the Odeon’s pick’n’mix still has most of the usual suspects (coconut logs, flumpy bananas, candy necklaces, drumstick lollies, raspberry bootlaces etc)Some things are best left unmourned IMHO. Outer Spacers (99% rice paper, 1% amphetamine sulphate), pink shrimps…

  33. Has no one mentioned Club biscuits yet? Came in a wide range of flavours, at least at the time I was eating them, most notable for the fact that, because of their construction, you could eat the chocolate off all four sides, and in cold weather occasionally from the top and bottom as well, before consuming the biscuits and filling.

  34. Quite a art, ‘clubbing’,wasn’t it. Quite often the chocolate on one side was much thicker than the other.Have noticed, since having kids, that you can give an Orio or Custard cream to a child who has never tasted one before and they will automatically prise it open and gnaw the filling. (Adopts awed/hushed Attenborough voice) No-one has taught them how to do this, it’s just animal instinct.

  35. Likewise the TUC cheese sandwich things that were possibly repugnant but granted the thrill of that ever so gentle twist to displace one of the outer crackers without placing a blemish on the rectangle of moulded reconstituted cheese-flavoured paste. The aged Stilton of disgusting teatime snacks, to paraphrase Lily Allen’s hapless PR (has anyone read this? – – it’s hilarious!).Mind you, proudfoot, while it's fair to say that oral biscuit deconstruction is an instinctive response to Custard Creams, Clubs, Bourbons and Treets (precursor to M&Ms but with a looser shell so you could retrieve the peanut without it having first entered your mouth), Oreos are now overly marketed on a twist-separate-dunk basis and the way my kids eat them is consequently a learned process.My, but we filled our life with crap growing up. Can't remember any of the French or Latin I learned at school but this goo…?

  36. @ abahachi – Club Biscuits are still doing the rounds (or rather thr oblongs). It’s probably just my ageing taste buds but they just don’t taste the same these days. Raisin and orange are still my favourites though…

  37. Most of my childhood sweet-related memories are to do with making stuff – peppermint creams, fudge, cornflake cakes, flapjacks, ginger beer etc. Commercial products like Club are forever associated with visits to my grandparents (who still bring out such things when I visit), and my mother’s scarcely hidden annoyance that we were being fed such stuff. I find them all far too sweet these days; yet another reason for making your own.

  38. May you are cracking me up! Babycham! Oh yes. And what was the series of adverts with Leonard Rossiter and Lorraine Chase? Was it Campari? He always ended up with the drink on him. We need some of that too…..

  39. Cinzano Bianco, fp – and for the men (this is the 70s, so I’m allowed to be sexist!) we’ll have to have Double Diamond…

  40. … and it was Joan Collins in the Cinzano adverts with Leonard Rossiter. Lorraine Chase was in the Campari ads.Were you truly wafted here from paradise? Nah, Luton airport…

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