Writing for fun and profit …

How do you actually spell “aesafarae“? Is that right? It’s not a term I’ve really embraced for some reason. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, I want yours. Specifically, I want from each contributor who has the time to play –


No links or mp3s wanted, but I do want your best killer justification for your choice.

“Why, DsD?” I [hope I] hear you ask.

Well, because I have the answers to the ‘Future of RR’ questions some of you are anxiously posing to RobF over on the mothership.

I’ll explain later, but in the meantime I need to put together the aforementioned list of songs, and could also do with reminders (with examples) of why we have loved RR so much in the last five years.

Sorry to be a bit obtuse, and very rushed, but bear with me, and I’ll elucidate this evening.

Come on, bring on them RR A-list glaring omissions …

142 thoughts on “Writing for fun and profit …

  1. Hmm, i haven’t been on RR for too long, but i have quite a few. But i’m an optimistic sort, and i figure that for a lot of the oft-nommed, never listed to date ones, their time will come for the right topic so long as RR manages to continue.
    Slightly more worrying is the feeling that some classic and oft-nommed songs will never get listed as they are disliked by whatever guru is at the helm. Girlfriend in a Coma comes to mind.

    • I forgot to say why i love RR so much. It’s the people, but it’s the music too. My own laziness / lack of time keeps me from listening to new music as much as i did when i was younger, so i’m grateful for all of the music that others post that i wouldn’t have known about otherwise. And i especially like that it’s UK based, you have a lot of great music over there that doesn’t make it to these (USA) shores. Big shame, really, but RR and the Guardian correct that imbalance a bit for me.

  2. Mine is Tam Lin by Fairport Convention. It’s a very old song, and I like those; the story is set quite near where I live, and I like that. It’s an old ballad form, but updated a bit – the reason for the line “I am your baby’s father” not rhyming with “snake” is that the original line ended with “make” (meaning ‘mate’ as in sexual partner) and FC couldn’t make the line understandable to a modern audience so they just changed it completely.

    I love the repetition, which again is part of the form of a Border ballad. In fact there should be more than there is – Tam Lin gives Janet instructions in 3 verses for freeing him, and then the song just says “she heeded what he did say” – which by itself must be a first for Janet – but really there should be 3 more verses where she carries out the instructions. However. That would’ve made it REALLY long.

    I love Janet’s father, who is kind and supportive to his daughter even though she’s disobeyed him; and most of all I love Janet herself who, having been told not to do something, immediately goes and does it but then a) takes the consequences and b) fights to get everything sorted out. (To her own satisfaction. Well, why not?)

    A word of warning. Do not listen to this song (the Fairport version, I mean) sung by anyone other than Sandy Denny. I have two versions sung by other Fairporters and both serve to illustrate, had illustration been needed, what a wonderful singer Sandy was.

    Why do I love RR? Mostly for the people on it. I do listen to the music, honest, but – also honest, you know – I mostly don’t like it. With a couple of outstandingly amazing exceptions.

    • Come to think, DsD, I have nominated Tam Lin again this week, so it just occurred to me: as you seem to have Rob’s ear, how about a little whisper about how very happy it would make me if he picked it? For Christmas, you know?

    • I love “Tam Lin”, as well, and it has to be said that the Fairport Version is utterly splendid. I haven’t quite got around to ‘collecting’ other versions of this song as I did “She Moves Through the Fair”, but I still seem to have a few versions of it here and there.

      The story (fit to tell in prose); the characters; the poetry and the repetition; and the music. All gel so well.

  3. There is one song that I have nominated on several occasions on RR that has never even been B-listed and that song is “Exiles” by King Crimson from their 1973 album Larks’ Tongues in Aspic .

    LTIA is my favourite KC album, by the best KC lineup, and “Exiles” is the last in a line of great KC epic “ballads” stretching back to their first album. I call it a ballad, but that isn’t really the right word but, as with so much of KC’s work, getting the right word is difficult.

    “Exiles” is one of those songs that sticks with you, it has some killer playing, but that isn’t really its appeal for me. It is more about it being the culmination of what the proggie side of KC was all about. The LTIA version of the band was moving off into new waters, leaving behind the ’60s prog roots of the band and cutting away the mystical trappings of the Pete Sinfield era lyrics.

    The song has one of the most poignant melodies that Crimson ever recorded, its roots lie back in the early days of the band but the introduction of David Cross on violin allowed the song to fly. It is the last time that Robert Fripp ever played acoustic guitar on a KC record too.

    The song open with some discordant stuff from the mellotron and with vague noises from Jamie Muir and then unfolds into a sumptuous melody. John Wetton’s bass line is what holds the song together and his vocals have the wistful edge that the lyrics demand. There are questions here; who is this exile, what has driven him away, why can’t he return? The song is an elegy. It has a feel that reminds me of Jan Morris’ brilliant book Last Letters From Hav.

    After LTIA, KC would change again, becoming louder, tougher, leaner. They would go on to produce some breath-taking music, but nothing ever again that matched the beauty of “Exiles”.

    As to why do I love RR? Well, tricky, although I only play the game fitfully these days and I abstained for a long time, I keep coming back. I love reading the column every week, even when I don’t add anything, I never miss it and I like seeing what gets picked.

    I think that the thing that appeals, the hook if you will, is all about trying to get a song selected that really sums up what I like as well as what fits the topic. I have only had six (I think) A-listings and a couple of B-listers, but each of those songs are ones that I love deeply. I’d hate to get a song listed that I didn’t like, even though it was a perfect fit for the topic.

  4. Oh god, I’m always using the asaferae term, but can I remember a single track I repeatedly nom? Can I buffalo. When do we have to reply by, DsD? I will rack my brains…

  5. Can’t help on this because I don’t think I’ve repeatedly nommed anything. I’d like to see more Aretha Franklin and Ry Cooder in the Marconium but I’ll only nominate them if they really fit the theme and that doesn’t come up too often.

  6. It’s “afaserae,” I must insist on the original nonsensical spelling!! It was coined by Lambretinha.

    I have soooooo many, how can I pick just one?

    What a good idea, DsD.

    • What Steenbeck said: Here was a concept in need of a word to describe it, I just offered a random bunch of keystrokes with my left hand and voilà. It wasn’t even a suggestion of a possible name, but it stuck…

  7. I can think of two songs that I’ve repeatedly nominated without success.

    Mogwai’s I Choose Horses; made it onto the B-list for Mumbled Songs or whatever the theme was, so maybe that excludes it from this. Why this one? Well, I discovered Mogwai through RR – they emerged just as I was abandoning rock, pop etc. for jazz, so it was only when I returned, partially at least, to listening to rock, pop etc., and especially the recommendations of people whose taste I’d come to trust, that I realised what I’d been missing. This is probably my favourite track of theirs: strange, moody, magnificent, simultaneously heavy and delicate.

    AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock: the first song I ever nominated on RR, for songs about music genres. Everything that’s great about AC/DC – and that era of AC/DC, since it’s much looser, blusier and (whispers nervously) less formulaic than most of the Brian Johnson era.

    As to why I love RR, well, for me it’s become all about the people and the community. Sometimes it’s fun to think of songs that fit the theme and have a (miniscule) chance of selection, sometimes it’s fun to think of songs that fit the theme and don’t stand a hope in hell but I think people ought to listen to, and sometimes the themes drive me up the wall, but I keep coming back for all the different characters, the banter, the way that we genuinely care about each others’ ups and downs, new children, cats and everything else.

    I should probably have saved writing this until this evening, when I’ll have had a beer or two and can shamelessly lapse into my usual “you’re all my besh mates you are” spiel…

  8. Have now noted that you asked for just one song. I think it probably has to be the AC/DC: never even B-listed, after all. Offers a potted history of the birth of rock’n’roll in a manner that is, so I’m informed by literary critical acquaintances, essentially performative.

  9. And of course mention should be made of a track that quite a number of us have tried time and again to get into the A-list: the wonderful E2-E4 by Manuel Goettsching, something that almost all of us discovered only because of RR…

  10. since working weekends I don’t get to play so much, but it always used to be:

    Eddie And The Hot Rods – “Do Anything You Wanna Do”

    It seemed to fit topic after topic in a row. Can’t remember them all now, but Freedom was definitely one of them!
    It’s just a song that I love so much and would love to see on an A-List one day.

    I didn’t discover it until I was about 25 years old, but it was one of those songs that seems to have been written directly to you (well, ME,….erm…i’m getting confused here!) and it spoke to ME. I wouldn’t go so far to say that it gave me the courage to pack up my bags and emigrate to Japan, but the underlying message may well have sent out some kind of subliminal message.

    I read a lot more RR passively than I contribute to these days due to working all the time, but it’s definitely the people (that’s you lot!) that keep me coming back and I just love music so much, that any forum that lets me talk about it and interact with others of a similar mind has got to be a great thing.

    p.s. I used to have a party trick at University where i’d challenge people to give me a word and i’d find a lyric with that word in it! I wasn’t very good at it, but I like to see it as the start of my RR days, before RR existed of course!

    • Definite donds to this one. Not only is it a magnificently uplifting song – it also features, possibly one of the worst drum breaks ever comitted to vinyl. Rock on …

  11. Mine has to be Carlos Gardel’s “Volver”

    I first nominated it for Songs About Coming Home just over a year ago, with what I think was my best justification (and probably its best topic fit). I’ve since tried to shoehorn it into a number of topics and now for the life of me can’t figure out why I didn’t give it a go this week!

    Rereading my justi I can see that it was perhaps a little too personal and can understand that Gardel isn’t really what RR is about (Paul did B list him once to my delight).

    Anyway, this is what I wrote:

    And now to justify Gardel (as if he needed my help!)
    Volver (1935) is a tango about returning home, to where it all started. Where everything happened for the first time – including of course that first love! It’s about having to go back – because that’s what you do. It’s about going back and not really knowing if you want to. Twenty tears have flown by for you and you’ve changed beyond recognition – maybe by going back you can find the things that will take you back to your youth, but probably it’ll all have changed and returning will only confirm the passing of time.
    My father-in-law used to sing this a capella. He was a great tango singer. Unfortunately for him he had exactly this experience on trip back to Salamanca, where he had been incredibly happy as a young man, just before he died. The place had changed as much as he had and he went back to place he thought he belonged to and that belonged to him and found… nothing. A feeling that many of us who live far from our roots can identify with.

    Intriguing post, DsD. Awaiting news with bated breath!

  12. Why do I like RR?

    I like the “friends in a pub chatting about music and just about anything else that pops into their heads” analogy that others, including you DsD, have used. Apart from that it gives me a strong link to the UK which I really appreciate as I’ve been away for 20 years now. The idea that in a couple of weeks I will be sitting in a pub chatting about music with a group of friends (you lot) just seems so right and is something I’m really looking forward to. That would not be happening if it weren’t for RR. Of course I learn a lot from all of you about music and artists that I would probably never have discovered for myself – my wish list after listening to the festive twos and threes is already an economic impossibility! – but it’s the warmth of the place and the friendships it engenders that really do it for me.

  13. Dunno DsD –

    Thinking about picking an oft-nommed song and writing a justification –

    I write justifications tailored to the topic at hand, as i’m sure many others do too. So songs that are nommed a lot have many different meanings and interpretations. For one that’s nommed a lot, it’s hard for me to write a generic justification here. (It’s hard for me to write anyway.)

  14. Afaserae I think was a mixture of several words, filtered through the RR community esperanto of several languages (English, American, German, Spanish, Canadian, Welsh….) spoken after several decent ales/fine wines/crisp ciders/cheeky rums/single malts/tinnies of lager/cups of coffee. And that’s what makes RR so good; everyone’s different, but we’re all prepared to go along with it, even when we’re making up a new language, fergawdssake. The innate good-humouredness, tolerance of other points of view, and preparedness to try other peoples’ suggestions of the average RRer is (are? I got a bit lost there!) remarkable, especially in comparison with other blogs.
    Plus, of course, you get to show off some of your knowledge; important to a smartarse like me. Sometimes I even tell Mitch things, or make ,
    Tincanman laugh. Posting is like making an off-the-cuff speech at a mate’s birthday party; everyone wants you to do well, and even if you get it wrong, no-one will beat you up for it. They’ll point it out and maybe remind you about it a few times, but without malice.

    My afaserae is for sure Lola, which is odd, considering Mitch’s offering below. I think it’s an example of great songwriting in that natural style that sounds like it could be someone just talking, telling a story. Ray Davies was/is the master at that, hey? It’s a knowingly-innocent sideways look at the traditional ‘First Love’ song, plus it touches on a contoversial topic (transvestism) in a non-judgemental way. A (younger!) friend of mine was astonished when I introduced him to the song that bands were writing on such themes ‘way back then’ in 1970.

    Oh yes, and I still say the last verse leaves Lola’s gender uncertain…

  15. Don’t do well without a theme to work with. If, however, the theme is RR, how about “Lee “Scratch” Perry – Yes My Friends”. At 7:00 minutes, probably goes on way too long, but you don’t care as it’s so much fun. Being a Perry tune it has that added RR ingredient of craziness.

    Lost causes to keep fighting for: anything from On-U or the poor old Skids.

    Am actually quite hopeful that now there is no article end-game it will be more about the music. A lot of the so-called A-listings were interesting to read about; not so much to listen to.

    • And the breaking of the link to the article theoretically means no weekly deadline, no MFF (i.e. new topic doesn’t have to be at midnight) and no difference between A and B lists.

      DsD, do tell! We’re all in suspenders, here.

  16. Thought of one!

    With almost alarming regularity, I nominate Sinead O’Connor’s “Troy”. And here’s why…

    In the mid- to late 80s, as a cash-strapped, music-obsessed teenager, I entered every competition going to win free tunes. Not for us the option of the illegal download. Oh no. Everything cost – and cost big-time to someone on 50p-a-week pocket money… From Simon Mayo’s Radio 1 show, I won a cassette copy of U2’s “Rattle and Hum” (gash of the highest order); I managed to persuade Mike Reid to send me a 7″ of Wah!’s “Story of the Blues” (still one of my favourite records of all time); and, most pertinently to this tale, in 1987 I won a vinyl copy of Sinead’s debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra”, in a competition on Oracle, launched by short-lived ITV competitor to Top of the Pops (RIP), The Roxy.

    Sinead had appeared on the show singing “Mandinka” and I was blown away. Here was someone who made sense to me, even if not everything she sang did; someone I understood: damaged, furious, androgynous, beautiful… When I won the album, I was beside myself with excitement. And it didn’t disappoint.

    If the first side excited me – the grief-stricken lament of “Jackie”, the funky, punky howl of “Mandinka”, the pop perfection of “Just Like U Said It Would B” – it was the second side that broke my heart. And no song did it more – or more exquisitely – than “Troy”. That opening of sighing strings, lulling you into expecting a song of tender reminiscence: “I remember it, Dublin in a rainstorm”. So far, so real. Before long, an ominous note strikes: “We were so young then, we thought that everything we could possibly do was right.” This isn’t going to end well…

    And gradually it builds, moving from the prosaic pain that I understood so well to the poetic transcendence that I yearned for: “You will rise/You’ll return/The phoenix from the flame”… What is this song about?

    And eventually it comes: the confessions, the pleading, the jilted lover’s enquiries after her replacement: “Does she hold you like I do?”, Sinead howls. And it would take a hard-hearted man not to find he had something in his eye.

    One minute, she surprises even herself with her tenderness: “God, I love you”. The next, she turns avenging angel: “I’d kill a dragon for you”. And now we get it: the rage. And boy, is it something to behold. As the strings scythe, she rants and rails at her lover, caught in flagrante with another – and she does so with the intensity that only an adolescent can understand, even if all he has ever done is ache from a distance for someone he will never have.

    Even now, 23 years later, the song sucks me in, thrills me senseless and spits me out again, gasping for breath. PaulMac B-listed it for me once (for Songs About Resurrection, noting: “Quite stunning to think this was self-produced by a 20-year-old”), but a song this perfect, this painful, this powerful deserves an A-listing. If not two.*

    *And this from a member of the zedding police!

    • And I love RR (and the Spill) because only here could I write something that nakedly personal (yet still pretentious) and know that no-one will rip the piss!

      *crosses fingers*

      • Brilliant post – but I’m also wondering whether – quite unconsciously – we’re both working on the assumption that Darcey’s Dad may be responsible for choosing the next A-list, and so we’re picking artists like Sinead and, yes, Bon Scott-era AC/DC, for which he has a known partiality…

    • And, with almost alarming regularity, I dond virtually evverything that [I see that] Bishbosh suggests…

      This is certainly an incredibly powerful song and is one that I, too, am very fond of.

  17. Not sure where you’re headed with this DSD but as with most things RR & Spill I’m willing to buy the ticket & take the ride. My first real dive into the fray was exactly 1 year ago and over the course of a 2 week span (the xmas break) I found myself absorbed into this amazingly diverse & joyful community & I have had an incredible amount of fun since. One of the greatest joys of all this is combing through my collection & coming across a little gem or 2 I’d forgotten about. As was said above (kudos to Maki’s & WB’s takes) it’s the perfect ‘local’ you can wander in & jump into the conversation or just sit back & marvel at the knowledge flying ’round the room. I’ve seen wonderfully exhibited humor & support offered on a continual basis that would shame most the day to day world were they to lift their heads from the trough long enough to see. If I could buy you all a glass right now would make me happy.
    As far as afasarae (or any of the dozen or so spellings I’ve seen or tried) mine would have to be The Marvelettes Don’t Mess With Bill. The first time I tried with this one was Impressive Intros that first long session. It’s terrific finger wagging bass line makes me smile every time. I probably tried another 5 or 6 shoehorns with it before deciding to wait for the perfect topic (girl fights?)

  18. Oh, so that’s what it means! Mine is probably Jack Straw by you-know-who. I’ve punted it for travelling, crime, dialogue and a few others, I’m sure. I love the structure of the song, both the exchange of words between the protagonists and the musical changes of pace. It’s a rare example of a Hunter/Weir song, so you get Hunter’s imagery and obfuscation plus Bobby’s dyslexic approach to chord sequences.
    The first line may appear sexist (‘We can share the women, we can share the wine’) but, as it’s sung by a rough-arsed outlaw on the run, it’s quite in context. And the follow-up (‘We can share what we got of yours, ’cause we done shared all of mine’) is perfect as a line spoken by the more enlightened outlaw (Jack himself) to the greedy, dangerous one.
    The chorus makes it clear that Jack is a killer (‘Jack Straw from Wichita cut his buddy down’) but his companion’s reckless actions indicate Jack is simply trying to make sure at least one of them survives the law’s pursuit.
    [This is my reading of the words, of course, and others think that Jack is cutting his friend’s body down from the scaffold. Hunter doesn’t say.]
    Another thing that pleases me about the song is that there is no GD studio recording of it: they only ever played it on stage, so there isn’t a definitive version (although the Europe ’72 recording is a great template).

  19. Come on, DsD! Spill the beans! “Writing for fun and profit…”? Is the Grauniad gonna pay us each for taking a turn as Guru? Are you first up and do you get to decide who goes next? Am I living in a fantasy world? Enquiring minds – or at least, mind – need to know!

  20. I absolutely agree with Maki about the ‘friends in the pub’ aspect of RR, and the strong link to the UK – BUT this has led to utter fruistration on my part at not being get to gigs by the likes of Bellowhead or King Creosote (or indeed any other bands I’ve only heard of thanks to RR).

    What makes RR special is the (almost!) complete lack of one-upmanship. OK, there’s a certain amount of rivalry on the A-lister front, but it’s seldom that anyone criticises other people’s taste or knowledge.
    RRers are prepared to listen outside their comfort zone! We even get the occasional foreign-language song on the list, which I think is truly incredible – the lyrics of a song are soooo important to so many people, it can be really difficult to appreciate a song when you don’t understand the words.
    RR is about sharing your love of music, not showing off how much you [think you] know.

    I don’t have an asathingy, but I often look at the Marconium to see whether or a not a certain song has already made the list and every time I’m surprised that the band I’m thinking of has never had a song selected. But my mind has now gone blank as to the names of any of those bands….

  21. As for suggestions, as someone said above (Panthersan?) it’s hard for me to recommend a song without a proper topic, that’s like asking me what’s my favourite song ever!!!

    There are songs that are open-ended enough, or have a target soft enough to fit several different topics. That helps matters, but it’s still not enough to recommend just one.

    So, the way I see it, to fulfill DsD’s request, there are only three sensible options for me:

    1) Songs many of us, at some point, have tried to add to the list (i.e. the “Stargazer” songs) Of course “Looking For Lewis & Clark”, but also “Message To The Messengers”, “Ernie…”, “Let There Be Rock” as Aba suggested, etc.

    2) Songs that I think should have been zedded at some point, but weren’t… Not as a putdown on Gurus, who are entitled to their own opinion, and make the lists they want to, as they should, but as a vindication of the songs themselves. How the hell Okkervil River’s “Plus Ones” didn’t make it in “Songs About Numbers”? or “Common People” in “Songs about Social Class”. How could we have and A or B list of “Euphoric Songs” without a single Jackie Wilson song? He’s euphoria on vinyl, ffs! Well, if it’s time to right some wrongs, we could start here…

    3) Songs, or acts, I’m the only one championing. On one hand, this is what makes more sense. On the other, though, it feels a bit like cheating, doesn’t it? I still think I’ll have a song from Chris Whitley’s “Dirt Floor” zedded one day, no matter how long it takes. Using some sort of wildcard for it feels wrong.

    Not 100% sure of anything I’ve just said, I’m still thinking about it. Hey, DsD, do we have a deadline or something????

  22. In the spirit of friendship, I’ll add Everclear’s Wonderful to DsD’s pile. I’ve nominated this so many times and never had a comment, which is a bit weird. Its one of those songs like What’s The Matter Here and Tears In Heaven that you can’t listen to as a parent and not get goose bumps.

    Promises mean everything
    when you’re little

    They were a quite good band with above average songwriting, and quite highly regarded by critics. Why they haven’t caught on with RRers yet is beyond me, but what I like about RR is I know if I keep dropping them long enough they’ll click – as has happened for me with so many other bands. I now listen to quite a few bands I didn’t like the first, second or even 10th time I heard ’em, but it’s a case of so-and-so keeps touting them and I respect their judgement so I’ll keep on listening.

    RR lets you hear from someone in just the right context, finally. It’s format and social structure make it unique that way.

    • You’re not alone on the Everclear camp, though. At least, not as far as “Sparkle & Fade” is concerned, that’s one hell of a rock record.

      My knowledge of other records of them is a lot more spotty, but I like “I will Buy You A New Life” and, yes, “Wonderful” too

  23. There’s an aesafaraes folder in the box now. Dunno if DsD meant for this to go that way, so its case of the blind leading the deaf.

  24. Brakes – no return

    I love it so much – it has fitted so many themes (but also- I have tried to shoe horn it in)
    Why should it be in the RR hall of fame:
    well- it says more to me about my life than blurredlyblur…

    “I was searching throught the record section of a shop in …….” (it could be anywhere – here we have Birmingham – but wereever I go – I will find that shop)

    it continues..
    “trying to forget the news…”

    “no return – was it’s title”

    “came across a compilation called blues in a minor cord”
    why saneshane? are you privvy to compiling the odd list — did RR fill that need when holding a tiny baby in your arms insteed of being in the pub, subjecting the masses to your playlists – or doing artwork – thinking how the bands would line up. saneshane, didn’t you come in at three A.M after crewing for bands and hold said baby in your arms and need to take your mind off the messyness of your life… an lo, into my life was a column in a newspaper.. wanting what’s that – they need a mixture of songs…

    I know this great song about a compilation…

    “I turned it over to read the credits and sleeve notes…”

    “the pain of being together is more than being apart”

    co-insidence or deja vu..
    why so special – it all began when tracyk nommed it – I didn’t even get in first for it … and a ping went off in my head going “THAT”S WHAT”S IN MY HEAD RIGHT NOW” and at 4 A.M I took it out of it’s sleeve and rocked my little boy to sleep – thinking.. I’m not leaving you ever…..

    …and my life changed.

    …and as I type, baby two – grizzles on my shoulder in perfect RR symmetry..
    “…it’s a New Year start”

    • baby two helped with typing and spelling – (and that shows why I have so few a’s and b’s)

      (the timeline may be shot on that explanation too.. but it’s the internet – I can make up reality as I go along – you get the idea though)

      I’d not long moved up to Norwich away from all my friends and had driven past a banner With Natalie’s Party scrawled on it and I instantly thought of DsD – that night we chatted about it on RR and it meant so much – weird connections – that’s what I like about this place.

  25. I’ve nominated 1st Transmission by Earthling a few times to no effect whatsoever. (Although I think someone donded it once).

    Its a tune I first heard on Jools Holland’s Later (I’m not ashamed). Is this what they call “trip hop” I mused briefly before deciding that I couldn’t care less.

    I love the silliness of the images,

    the playing around with macho and camp

    “I’m a big bloke when I smoke I don’t choke” “Oh gosh oh gosh, I’m Juliet Binoche”,

    the punk references in a song about being black and British.

    “London is my city, Jamaica’s my country, Africa’s my history”

    “I used to kill worms when I was a kid, I’m Mr. Mclaren, so did I kill Sid?”

    Yeah, I like this one and I know who I am (I’m not who you think I am)

    • Sorry, forgot to say why I like Readers Recommend. Well, quite frankly, I don’t.

      It keeps me up far too late on a Thursday night, my family groan when I start to tell them about this week’s topic, I sense an atmosphere of long suffering restraint when I casually mention that I got a song playlisted this week and I deeply resent not being as articulate as some of the other participants.

      To be honest, if it wasn’t for the sometimes startling musical choices, the warmth and sense of humour of the members, the rather quirky and bizarre results some weeks, the chat that goes on after the deadline, the recipes, the blast you get when somebody donds your nom, the fact that I can now type a phrase as peculiar as “donds your nom” and the general friendliness of the site I doubt that I’d even bother.


      • Innit. I wish i was articulate too, i thought i was the only one who had aphasia. It’s kind of painful to have the gestalt feeling of what you want to say, but no be able to put it ito words.

      • So true. There is nowhere else on Earth that you could write “donding your nom because I want XXX to get zedded” and anyone would understand you.

  26. It used to be Einstürzende Neubauten I always nominated and never got in when Dorian was our guru and dropbox, spotify and last.fm were just twinkles in the internets eye, but now they’ve been listed twice, the next song I think I’ve most nominated, by a band I’ve always flown a flag for is probably Nico’s Children by Jack.

    The reason I love it is partly for the desperately ruined glamour, lush arrangement and lyrical artistry, but even more for the voice of Anthony Reynolds, rich and beautiful and so under-appreciated by the world at large it should qualify as some kind of crime.

    I hope I only suggest Jack songs when they are relevant and I know there are a few other fans here, but to when a band that are so dear to me might be discovered by a new audience with a listing, it spurs me on to keep recommending them whenever appropriate.

    I love Readers Recommend because of the interesting people with a passion for music I have met here and because of the non-judgmental nature of other commenters, it’s a friendly place for people of all ages to share their excitement about music, which is often infectious, even if the music isn’t always something I’m going to love forever.

  27. Ok – the following is my attempt at a killer justification for ‘Don’t Mess With Bill’

    From the moment the classic Motown bass line starts up like it was in time with lead singer Wanda Young’s wagging finger you know this hit means business. Some more pop genius from Smokey Robinson the lyrics tell the tale of a girl’s guy , a little prone to wander, who’ “put tears in my eye” but make no mistake not only is he “mine all mine” she’s got the confidence & maybe a little more to make sure her man stays that way. I love the way the single xylophone notes accentuate the background singers lines while Wanda builds her case over the top. And as if that’s not enough there’s a glorious sax solo in the bridge to send you into waves of exhilaration. This is sixties soul at it’s best.

  28. I love Readers Recommend because I’ve made friends with lovely people who love to talk about amazing music, endlessly.

    I’ve thought as RR as a canon that becomes more and more full and complete (yet can never be finished) which is why I’ve always looked for opportunities (and failed) to get in Seinfeldesque “songs about (vaguely) nothing” – mainly from one of my favourite genres – Shoegaze.

  29. I love the company and the fact that I can disappear for a while and drop back in, and the camp fire is still burning. I can write gibberish about rubbish and have it politely overlooked, and occasionally come up with something apposite and get virtual thumbs-up and recognition. And most of all, it’s got me listening to old music I’d ignored for too long and new music I might never have heard.

    As for my never A-listed favourite, I don’t think I’ve any really persistent repetitions, and I tend to quote a few relevant lines and say a few words, my justification skills aren’t so well developed. Having said that;

    I’ve nominated Curtis Mayfield – We People Who Are Darker Than Blue a few times, most recently for “famous last words”. “Pardon me brother, I know we’ve come a long long way / But let us not be so satisfied / For tomorrow can be an even brighter day”; then, on the album “Curtis”, segueing into “Move On Up”.

  30. BLOODY HELL! I knew my phone had been buzzing a lot with incoming emails, but fercryinoutloud!!!!!!

    Gimme twenty minutes to read through this lot, and I’ll try to respond to everyone . . .

  31. Leaving aside the obvious (All Bow Low by Big Point Mississippi springs instantly to mind!) I suppose my biggest afaserae is an artist rather than a particular song – namely Dean Friedman. I’m particularly proud of scoring a B-lister with The Deli Song – but this is Dean’s only appearance on RR to date and it’s simply not good enough.

    However, there’s no one song of his that really fits the bill here so I’ll put forward my other ‘lost cause’ instead, in the shape of Gilbert O’Sullivan and his stunningly, achingly beautiful song Alone Again, Naturally.

    If this song had been written by one our more respected miserabilists (Morrissey or Leonard Cohen for example) it would be universally hailed as a classic and would appear on lists of seminal songs. As it is, largely, I suspect, due to a marketing malfunction, Gilbert was mis-cast as a Leo Sayer-style bubblegum popster with vaguely comedic undertones and everything that was great about him as a songwriter became sidelined.

    I’m sure I’ve nominated Alone Again, Naturally on a number of different occassions and it would certainly fit a variety of topics – loneliness, suicide, death, separation, failed relationships – all those wonderfully inspiring, uplifting themes which are so appropriate for this time of year! But the song also displays a wealth of sensitivity and understanding – not at all the sort of thing most people would expect from a funny little man with big hair and a cloth cap.

    And it’s not just the lyrics – musically, the song is highly sophisticated but manages that difficult trick of making a complex chord sequence sound simple and melodic.

    His first two albums hint at the talent that was waiting to be unleashed – Nothing Rhymed and We Will are also gems – but it wasn’t to be and Gilbert’s success was short lived. But it’s not too late – surely it’s time that we at RR Towers should recognise the talent that never quite was.

  32. Oh, and I love RR because you guys are all so great (apologies to Abahachi for borrowing his famous words) but I love the Spill even more.

  33. OK, first of all, an explanation.

    As last week’s RR news sank in, a germ of an idea began to grow in my mind, and I ended up emailing an enquiry to the powers-that-be at Grauniad Towers.

    Michael Hann replied. As well as answering my enquiry – which is thus defunct and no longer relevant – he also offered up quite a reassurance about GU’s plans for using our expertise. Some of it is longer-term thinking and still very fluid, so I don’t feel it fair to … er … spill the beans on that, but I can report back the following.

    1. We still have an unchanged format for RR online. There are no plans to change the blog launch/cutoff times; the rules of engagement; or the format of the final column and list. We continue as before, but without Friday morning inky fingers.

    2. We have a new permanent guru: a Guardian staff journalist (i.e. not a subbie or freelancer) who apparently specifically asked for the RR job (so, OK, that maybe does cast some doubt on his sanity, but let’s give the guy a chance, eh?! ;o} )
    Most of you know I’m NOT a Guardian reader, and 90s indie wouldn’t be an ace up my sleeve in a poker game, so I’ll admit I know nothing about JD other than what MH told me, but nonetheless I’m happy enough at this stage.

    3. To keep our community’s profile high – because they ARE going to use our enthusiasm & expertise in a heightened form – I’ve been asked to put together a short piece about why RR has become so important to us. If I/we get it right, it may get published, hence this Spill thread.

    4. Finally, in my email to Michael, I mentioned the – hang on, where’s Steen’s comment? Here it is, let’s spell this right – afaserae thing, and Michael has asked that I supply an A-list of our own of those songs. No idea what he intends to do with it, but I’m not going to turn him down now, am I?!?!?!?

    Right, back to reading your fifty-odd comments . . .

  34. Are we on a deadline?
    Yes. We are on one. I have to have emailed Michael Hann anything I want him to consider by noon on New Year’s Eve.

    @ Abahachi – excellent thought re E2-E4. Completely agree.

    @ panthersan – Do Anything You Wanna Do is zedded, and I’m not falling into that trap!!

    Is The Grauniad gonna pay us each for taking a turn as Guru?
    Sorry, bish, alas not. But the longer term plans DO include much more from us across the Music Blog as contributors, with payment not being completely out of the question. But I’ll repeat: that is still at the one-possible-route-of-many stage, so I’m not going to put words in Michael Hann’s mouth.

    @ saneshane – I remember that Natalie’s Party exchange! Or rather, I remember having it; buggered if I can remember any OF it.

    @ severin – LOVE your reverse psychology angle: can I nick it for my submission to MH? (Credited, of course)

    @ tincanman – Thanks for starting a ‘Box file. I didn’t ask for it, but I’ll definitely take it if people want to add their one song each.

    Oh, and one final thought: I know that our new guru is not, repeat, NOT on tonight, because Michael CCed him in his reply to me, and I got an Out-Of-Office Autoreply saying he’s not back at work until the night of the Chester Social. Logically then, we may NOT have a new topic posted over on the mothership in an hour.
    Put it this way, if there isn’t a post-it-and-run topic from RobF by half past midnight, I’m off to bed.

    Cheers, everyone.

  35. OK – I’ve just worked out that the thread picture is Darcey’s sister. Is the whole thing her work? If so, much respect – it’s amazing what you can do with one of them computer things these days …

  36. It is indeed Jess.

    One of her classmates had a birthday party at a studio in Halifax. Over two hours they had all the usual party games & food that any venue would do for a bunch of 9y.o.s, but they also did a big make-up and photoshoot session, with the results available for purchase. This faux-mag-cover is one of theirs. I was very impressed with the whole set-up – good responsible attitude to make-up on younger girls; age appropriate props and poses, etc.

    Expensive party, mind, but all ten girls loved it.

  37. Hey…I’m getting comments on my e-mail again, and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any of my efforts. It started with some Toffeeboy comments. Toffeeboy made it all better! It’s a Christmas miracle!!!

    DarceysDad…I think you’ll remember, (don’t we have it in writing somewhere)…the arranged marriages, my sons, your beautiful daughters…

    • Glad to have been of festive service steen – I’ve always thought that I should play the James Stewart role in a future remake of It’s A Wonderful Life…

      Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

  38. Afaserae for me would probably have to be “Shorley Wall” by Ooberman, though there’s a lot to choose from (St Etienne’s “Avenue” at no.2 maybe, though I haven’t managed to shoehorn that in for a while). And it neatly sums up one of the things I love about RR: it’s a song (and band) I discovered through RR, and my life would be much poorer without it – and there’s many more songs and bands in that category.

    But it’s also unique in being a blog where people don’t feel the need to show off about their taste and obscure musical knowledge (though many have both in spades), or explicitly or implcitly put others down – the kind of thing that makes most other music blogs almost unreadable.

    And I love the cameraderie, the post-deadline puns, knowing that Mark68 will join me in the lost cause of Animals That Swim, that Fuel will probably nominate Okkervil River’s “The War Criminal Rises and Speaks” (or “Plus-Ones”)just as I’m about to, that I’ll learn something about contemporary Europop from SV80, that I’ll love several things I’ve never heard before on any Saneshane playlist… I could go on. As well as discovering new music, it’s a great way of rediscovering, reevaluating and sharing enthusiasm for your own record collection, old favourites, forgotten gems, new discoveries.

    And of course I love the Spill and the genuine, if entirely virtual, friends I’ve made here.

    DsD – if your own afaserae is “Dixie Drug Store”, then donds from me.

    [and I know it’s a made-up word, but it irks me that we use afaserae for the singular – surely one afasera, two afaserae…?]

  39. Thought she looked familiar – nice one, Jess.

    & good work too, Dad. Will sling something from On-U in the box with some kind of justi. It may be Mr. Perry, although Mark Stewart is much more likely (so apart from me, probably only Mnemonic will like it).

    If the assembled MFFers are thumb twiddling, I can probably launch the “ones” on request?

  40. Wow you go off and do a David Bowie gig and come back shattered at 2pm and it’s all gone haywire all over the Spill with comments from all on a variety of topics and I couldn’t sleep for coughing so now I’m too damn tired to even be witty or anything.
    Wow I repeat.
    Afaserae = a favourite album song every ( no lost it ).

    People I’d like to see more of on the A-list = Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Al Green, Earth Wind and Fire, Donny Hathaway, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin.

    But I have to champion someone whom no one else does, with the honourable exception of thewinslowboy who doesn’t tend ot appear on the Spill. So.
    Mine would be Todd Rundren. I’ve nommed him dozens of times and there’s still nothing on the A-list which is of course a scandal. Although Never Never Land has made the B-list twice (for fictional places and er fantasy)
    Todd’s own strange below-the-radar status in music is a puzzling conundrum for his many loyal fans who only hear sweetness soul and glorious pop melodies in his music. Many lesser songwriters and singers have far greater fame and idolatry. Us Toddniks have no easy answer since the Isley Brothers covered his first song Hello It’s Me and he then charted with I Saw The Light and years later produced Bat Out Of Hell, but the riches of his music are manyfold (use of which prompts the thought that surely “Ernie” is someone’s afaserae ? Gordonimmel ? DsD ? ) and I won’t go on forever.

    So mine will be Todd Rundren. A musical giant who evades the spotlight both in his career and on RR. “Black and White” – ‘I’ll believe it when I see it in Black and White’
    The Dad of Darcey = you’re gonna love it !

    Black and White – Todd Rundgren :

  41. My afasarae would probably be The Fall’s ‘A New Face In Hell’, which I will attempt to box anon. I remember nomming this on a fairly regular basis when I started contributing to RR. Mark E narrates a little tale of urban paranoia over a stumbling guitar, and there’s a great kazoo (or possibly comb and paper) riff in the chorus. As the saying goes, what’s not to like?

    As to what RR means to me, well all of the above really. I enjoy being able to share my musical obsessions with (a small section of) the world, even though some fall on stony ground. It’s a great way of discovering new music – my most listened to album this year has been Midlake’s ‘Van Occupanther’ which was an RR or Spill discovery (thank you whoever) – and rediscovering old stuff.

    I enjoy the (generally) friendly atmosphere, and the times when it’s not so friendly can also be quite fun. I definitely feel RR is a community, I’ve made friends, some of whom I’ve met, others only virtually so far.*

    I realise it’s early in the day to be getting too sentimental, and I assure you I’ve not been hitting the egg-nog over breakfast, but RR has been a bit of a lifeline for me this year. The more observant may have noticed that my posting on RR and the Spill has been pretty sporadic over the last twelve months (I never got round to posting the final Anniversary playlist I promised way back, for example) but I have been popping in and lurking. It’s been a tricky year – huge pressures at work, and in the early summer both my parents died within a very short period of time, so I’ve spent the last few months dealing with all aspects of that – emotional, physical, legal, financial. I’ve also just moved house. I’ve felt this year that I was shot out of a cannon some point back in the spring and have yet to land. In amongst all that popping into to the Spill and RR has been a welcome break, and the atmosphere, the chance to catch up with people I consider friends and the opportunity to obsess over music have all been a huge boost.

    Anyway, here’s to next year, which should be good – a new house, a change of career direction and a return to academia all beckon. I hope to be back on the blog more often, and feel we can happily live without the newspaper column – although seeing one of your tracks listed in print is a bit of a thrill.

    Seasons Greetings to all.

    * I’ve heard mention of a Chester social. If someone can let me know the details I may be able to make it.

    • Exodus,

      Really sorry to hear about your parents. Can’t even begin to contemplate how that must have been.

      Maki’s flying back to Spain on Wed 5th Jan, so on Tues 4th evening, he’s booked into a B&B in Chester, and we’re having a mini social. Tin, webby, DaddyPig and me are I think the only other confirmed attendees. It’d be great to see you … both of you, even?!
      No drinking venue organized yet, but I’ll make sure I let you know when I (actually, when my Chester-resident brother) have found one – The Falcon on the lights at the top of Lower Bridge Street is a possible, but is a bit of a walk from both bus and train stations.

    • Sincere condolences, Exodus. Having lost one parent, I can barely imagine losing both in such a short space of time. I hope that 2011 is kinder to you.

    • Certainly wishing you a much better 2011, Exodus. And huge condolences on the loss of your parents, that must be just awful. I’ve lost one and dread the time when the other goes, i can’t imagine how wrenching it must be to have both gone at once. Seasons greetings to you too, and I hope you enjoy your new home.

    • Hey Exodus.

      So sorry to hear your year has been such a tough one. Hang on in there, fella – and here’s to a better 2011.

      bish x

      PS You too might like to check out John Grant’s “Queen of Denmark” album – I believe Midlake act as his backing band on it.

  42. Well, late for the party, as usual.
    My choice would have to be a song that is so significant to me as to be practically my notional anthem. It is one, however, that I have, more or less, given up nommin, mainly because it doesn’t seem to fit into the category but also because it became apparent that there is little interest in “outsider” music among the sane.
    It is, of course, Tangela Tricolli’s Stinky Poodle, the song upon which Phoebe ( out of Friend’s) song “Smelly cat” is supposed to be based.
    It’s not just about the song though, it’s about the spirit. This is the song that really made me prick up my ears and start to investigate the world of the outside more.
    There was no going back. Once you have your ears tuned to the World of Strange then “normal” music begins to pale in comparison.
    I liken it to the difference between a McDonald’s burger and a plate full of Hakarl . The first is available everywhere, easily accessible and takes no effort to eat. The second will make you gag , at first, but you get used to it eventually and, maybe, develop a taste for it.

  43. and briefly – I’ve got things to do today !! – but this blog is important to me…
    what I love about RR

    the enthusiasm for ALL forms of music (come back operadame!)

    and very simply – the consideration of others.

    It’s why I live in Brighton, it’s what I DON’T like about living in London, it’s why I love going to certain foreign countries where they do it a little more than the English, and it’s what the internet doesn’t do very well.

    We do it, to the extent that I feel guilty about Not Having Time to read everyone’s contribution, let alone listen to their nomination, let alone prepare a dond list every weekend. I feel guilty when I don’t consider you lot, the RR community out there, with enough consideration. I like that that feeling is encourages. We have the occasional spat – hey it’s a family out down the pub, people get hurt occasionally, but there’s always enough love to hug it all better.

    merry Christmas everyone.

    I’ve got loads of stuff to do !

  44. I hope those that read my ‘end-of-an-era musings’ on last week’s RR will already understand why I like the thing. It is definitely that shared feeling that music is one of humankind’s greatest achievements and the common evangelical desire to tell others about the songs/artists they love. I’m a lazy bugger with no ambition, so I tend to leave all the work to others (hence why I’ve never kicked anything off on here) but I do appreciate the effort and enormous amount of time that so many of you contribute. I may not like a lot of the music you do but I respect your right to like it and tell the world why it’s brilliant. Thank you for doing so.
    I can echo exodus’ sentiments: my life has changed direction this year and I’ve been glad of the warm undercurrent of RR flowing along, week in and week out, whether or not I wanted to jump in.
    DsD: I don’t know what kind of piece the Graun wants but I got involved in RR to try and redress the prejudice against the GD shown by Dorian and, later, Mr Hann (I fondly remember one of my occasional rants against his words). I think many others joined on a similar crusade on behalf of their own faves.

  45. It might be expected that my asferae might be an All About Eve song, and, as that was my expectation as well as anyone else’s that might have taken the trouble to consider such a proposition, then I found that it was so.

    From my own, imperfect recollection, it seems that I have nominated:

    All About Eve, “Farewell Mr. Sorrow”

    for a number of topics (at least two).

    This one actually surprises me slightly. I’ve never counted it as one of my favourite AAE songs – it was a single from an album that I preferred a couple of album tracks – but it seems to have insidiously sneaked into my sub-consciousness.

    Some of this is, of course, down to a personal relationship with the song and its subject matter (which are not, of course, the same thing).

    The song was the lead single from the band’s third album. It wasn’t until after the second album was released that I realised quite how much I liked the band, and so there was that wonderful anticipation as I awaited subsequent releases. Of course, back in ’91 there was no Internet, and AAE weren’t the most written about outfit in the music press, so my main way of determining whether or not there was any new stuff out was to go into a record shop and scour the ‘A’s. Back then, I was a student living in Brighton, so I had both time and opportunity (least said about money the better, mind).

    I got terribly excited when I found this record. I bought it on vinyl, and I couldn’t resist buying it on limited edition CD as well, even though I didn’t have a CD player.

    But none of that explains why it keeps popping up as an asferae.

    Part of the reason is the resonance of the lyrics:

    Six o’clock, all the closing shops
    And the rainbows on the pavements
    Of a sleepy town

    Doesn’t that conjure up a strong image?

    That first line transports me back in time to family shopping trips to Nottingham on Saturdays; we’d park at Broad Marsh, walk up to Victoria (these are both shopping centres) and it seemed as if our return to Broad Marsh was always just as the shops were closing at – yes – 6 o’clock. I always wanted to go into the big WHSmith near Broad Marsh – the triple whammy of stationery (possibly including art equipment), books and records was just heaven! – but there was a risk that it would be shut…

    Then those rainbows – to me, that’s the oily puddles in the car park adjoining the local shops of my childhood.

    But that isn’t what the song is about. That’s just setting the scene.

    The song is actually about the end of a relationship (is there a sort of ‘bath tub curve’ for relationships? Lots of songs at the beginning, curving down to a lowish plateau, then back up again at the end… ).

    But, despite the October leaves, it’s actually very positive. She’s out the other side – evidently he could be a miserable fellow at times (look at the title) – and now she’s free!

    Tomorrow is my own

    So: we’ve got endings and saying goodbye right there. We’ve got looking on the bright side. As the song unfolds, we find out more. There’s a bit about how she made a ‘vow’ to only sing along with his guitar, but:

    I’m sure I lied

    (I love the way this rhymes, unexpectedly, with fireside.)

    Now we can add deceit and broken promises. And at the very end…

    So this is how a Judas kisses
    Well, this is my kiss.

    which sounds very much like some form of betrayal. And which comes as some kind of surprise.

    Quite a lot in there, really. But, while there are quite a few specifics in there – the early evening / autumn setting (but not Nottingham – that’s just me), the cosy fireside promise, the guitar, and, of course, the incontrovertible farewell – there’s a few open ends that allow the listener to add a few details of their own, to imagine themselves into the song.

    Of course, I am biased. I love All About Eve’s music; I love the guitar lines; I love Julianne’s stunning voice. But I also think that she’s a pretty good songwriter – not only does she write intelligently and (mostly) without cliche, she also seems to know when not to write – when to leave things out, and when to give the music some space.

    • All About Eve have been zedded – once – for the slightly atypical ballad “Martha’s Marbour”. That’s their best known song, but it’s a relatively simple one, and doesn’t demonstrate all of their strengths. The topic was The Sea, I think; it came up during one of my non-RR periods (I may have been too busy having a baby or something). I seem to recall that Barbryn stepped in to nominate it.

  46. Cor, that was a bit long. Sorry.

    Why do I like RR?

    The geeky song-subject aspect drew me in, the community made me stay.

    I was impressed to be remembered (cheers GordonImmel) on my return after my maternity leave, and the community spirit seems to have grown and grown.

    I love all the knowledge and passion about music; I love that it doesn’t matter if you’re not an expert (I’m not; in fact, I’m nigh on tone deaf. I like music for what I hear in it, and nine tomes out of ten that’s something to do with the lyrics, so that’s what I focus on). I love that we can move from being music geeks to other subjects almost seemlessly. I love that everybody is just so darn nice! The one time someone (not a regular) dissed me for a nom, in stepped Darcey’s Dad with a chivalric riposte to the offender.

    I rarely read all the comments; I hardly ever listen to all the musi. I’d like to… but there just isn’t time. It’s enough just to lob an idea or two in, join in a discussion if possible, and chuck a bit of dondage at other folks’ noms.

    It’s fun. I’ve even got my husband ever so slightly involved – enough that he occasionally joins in under his own nom-de-blog.

  47. Ahah! I’m in the panther camp here. As tfd has been a regular user of asaferae, I had assumed it was some Gaelic word in more common circulation north of the border. From the contexts, I had thought it was a close cousin with angst and longing. Wiki didn’t help me (but it’s not a googlewhack). I’m glad to be put out of my misery. This needs another learned etymological article, like nilpferd’s treatise on donding.

    Anyhow, like everyone, there are artists we carry a torch for, and songs we feel have to get in someday. I have tried several times to get deeply unfashionable folk like Mary and Frances Black in; I’ve also championed Lesley Duncan who was a great singer/songwriter back in the day when female singer songwriters weren’t the thing. A particular regret was that ‘Earth Mother’ (boxed) didn’t make the cut for Environment, with one of the most powerful laments for what we have done to our planet – and from the 70’s to boot.

    Other artists I’ve regularly nommed that aren’t represented enough are old skool bands The Allman Brothers, and Steve Miller Band.

    And there are other songs that were a stone cold certainty for a topic, but somehow got overlooked, like ‘Space Girl’ for Fantasy. And I asaferaed like crazy that after months of preparation, I didn’t get anything into the Handclap list, and I missed Trains (having worked half my life for the railway, and having collected train songs like anoraks collect train numbers).

    As for RR, I love the fact that semi-detached lurkers like me are tolerated. I have learned a huge amount ABOUT music and musicians from the RR fraternity, and I don’t feel I know enough about most genres/artists to contribute very much knowledge – as opposed to songs I like. I am not able to participate to the extent of many others due to time constraints either. So I watch and listen in wonder…And of course, hugely enjoy the banter, erudition, good-natured comradeship, and sense of belonging to a like-minded crowd (politically, as well as musically).

    Long may RR continue, in whatever shape or form, even if – as now – we are self-curating.

    P.S. And what’s happened to the real Guru’s book on protest songs – the masses need it today like never before.

    • Yeah, how on Earth did “Space Girl” miss out for Fantasy? I love that song – that version, at least. And I’m all for ‘unfashionable’ artists – Mary Black being one in particular I’ll approve of right here and now.

    • Thanks Zalamanda

      Meant to mention I’ve boxed a couple of others implicitly referred to – Eveready (handclaps); I Misunderstood (Mary Black); Don’t be a stranger (Frances Black).

    • @GFE – sorry I’ve been busy otherwise I could have helped you before about Dorians book… (hope you get this still)

      pop over here:


      that’s his blog (been meaning to link to it as well) as ever he is a very good read.

      under his photo is the launch dates and links..

      now if only we could get DsD working on a March tie in social – (paid for by his publishers) and we could be sorted!

  48. Why do I love RR? Because of you. Because of your enthusiasm for songs I don’t know, because you’ve introduced me to genres of music I never knew even existed, because you’re so friendly, because every Thursday at midnight I sit at my PC waiting to hear what you have to say,waiting to hear songs that will open new vistas to me, because I know that will happen, because we can talk about these things without fear of retribution, and because you’re my friends.

  49. Looking back over the years, I think my assfairy is The Raincoats’ version of ‘Lola’ (apologies to RockingMitch and williamsbach). I’ve nominated it a few times just because I think the song is way more interesting when a woman sings it. And it’s the definitive version, as far as I’m concerned.

    In terms of artists, I really wish I’d gotten Lisa Germano in the Marconium. Her music is so wonderful, she’s the one I regret not persuading more people to listen to via an A-listing.

  50. Ok, i’ll try to stumble through a justification, only because i can’t ignore a clear cut opportunity to fly the flag. There are tones of oft-noms, passed around a lot, and hopefully will have their day to hit the jackpot. But to me the most glaring omission on the A-list is (surprise!) anything from Exile on Main Street. I’ve nommed (usually more than once) Rip This Joint, Happy, All Down the Line, Rocks Off, Sweet Virginia, Torn and Frayed, and i did manage to get a B-lister for Shine A Light. Others have nommed Tumbling Dice a few times.

    But to pick just one song from this seminal, sweaty, drug addled, yankified, beautiful mess of an album? At the risk of Lambre’s very valid Wild Card caveat, I’ll go for Let It Loose – Which I’ve nommed at least twice, once for Bars and Pubs and once for Special Guests (Dr. John on piano, and Nicky Hopkins on mellotron).

    Rolling Stones – Let It Loose

    Gorgeous song, and maybe strikes a chord with me because i’m one of the few on here that is still single (also Bish, Catcher, Chris? if not, congrats!).

    Tough to pin down the actual meaning / intention of the lyrics, but sounds to me like someone looking for love, going for pickups, but yet another one doesn’t work out –

    In the bar you’re getting drunk, I ain’t in love, I ain’t in luck.
    Hide the switch and shut the light, let it all come down tonight.
    Maybe your friends think I’m just a stranger,
    Some face you’ll never see no more.

    But it’s the music that makes it, from the piano and mellotron, Bobby Keys’ mournful sax, and the gospel tinged backing vocals, leading to a full on repeated choir at the end. Transcendent.

    Let it all come down tonight.
    Keep those tears hid out of sight, let it loose, let it all come down.

    But i guess i should leave the final word to Mick –

    “I think Keith wrote that, actually. That’s a very weird, difficult song. I had a whole other set of lyrics to it, but they got lost by the wayside. I don’t think that song has any semblance of meaning. It’s one of those rambling songs. I didn’t really understand what it was about, after the event.”

    Hmm, shoehorn for the Absence topic – absence of meaning?

  51. Just catching up with this after it was mentioned in the RR blog. I really should check out the Spill more often. I’ll try and hop in here more often in the future.

    If I read DsD’s note correctly, the columns and B Lists will continue under the direction of a staffer he declined to mention (but who he let slip that his/her initials are JD). I believe in the past, Dorian and Paul were staffers. Maddy and Rob were both free lancers.

    This is exciting news as I do like the bit of competitiveness that the listings entail (all in a spirit of good fun, of course). Which means that the Marconium will continue to be updated.

    As far as an asaferae is concerned – (could it stand for “a song ah frequently excitedly recommend at everyone”, there are three I have often listed for various topics:

    Germaine by Garolou – it is up there as one of my favorite songs of all times. Why? It is an epic, running 10 and a half minutes long. It is constantly changing musically. It is a narrative that can be listened to as a mini stage play with an interesting story. And it is by a Canadian group and sung in French. I love the voices of these guys and their musicianship is brilliant.

    Beyond the Blue Horizon by Michael Nesmith – I’m an unabashed Nesmith fan. He has an interesting country rock style and this song is replete with sound effects and a low key style that give a mood of cheery optimism.

    I Will Be Released by Bette Midler – I’ve been a huge Midler fan since I was introduced to her by a gay couple I met in Santa Barbara while on a vacation trip with my sister in the 70s. A strange story which I won’t go into right now. This song, a Bob Dylan cover, is from her early work and is full of power and emotion. Whenever I play it in the car I siong along with it and it always leaves me teary eyed, it is so intensely emotional.

    I love all of the above songs intensely but if I can pick just one asaferae, it would be the Midler.

    PS: So sorry to hear about your tough year, Exodus. Hope 2011 is much better for you.

    Oh yes – why do I love RR? I joined the RR community because I liked the idea of making playlists of songs based on a theme or topic. But over the last two or three years I have been following it, I also have developed a tremendous respct, admiration and affection for all the wonderful people who populate the blog. I love the good will and friendship of the community, the wit and humour of tincanman (the only RRer I’ve had the good fortune to meet in person) and the astounding knowledge of RockingMitch which never ceases to amaze me. I feel a certain affiinity with Mitch and Fintan because we have some similarities in taste of music. And RR has certainly exposed to a wonderful panapoly of musical knowledge. As a trivia buff, I have enjoyed this tremendously. It has also broadened my horizons by getting me to listen to music I had not heard of before, though I should listen to more than I do. I tend to listen to music primarily while driving to and from work – which is about an hour and a half a day. And on a lark I decided to launch the RR Index which has been a lot of fun.

    Whew! Sorry for being long-winded!

  52. Dear all,
    Happy Christmas!
    And just to further Darceys’ Dad’s explanation upthread:
    RR wil continue fully online from January 7. There’s no change, it’s just moving from the paper. It will be curated henceforth by Jon Dennis, who works on guardian.co.uk, and whose band Blab Happy once supported Radiohead. He’s excited to do it, and he realises it’s a responsibility, too – to you lot.
    The RR slot in the paper will be replaced by a Readers’ Reviews column, which will at first consist of your comments on reviews threads, but which we hope – as the Guardian websites evolve – will grew to include your reviews of stuff we missed. Which will, at the very least, be good news for Kalyr and friends.
    We all know how much you lot add to the Guardian’s music coverage, so forgive me when I get snippy on threads after being told yet again that I’m a ginger idiot. I hope you’re reassured that RR’s future is safe, it just has a new home, and that we’re looking to expand readers’ contributions, not curtail them
    With very best wishes to you all for a merry Christmas and a happy new year,

    • Sounds good, Michael. Thanks for taking the time to pop in (on Xmas Day!) to update us on plans. The Readers’ Reviews column sounds a particularly fantastic idea: there are so many brilliant and passionate writers who contribute to Readers Recommend – great idea to make the most of them!

    • merry christmas mr. Hann.
      it all sounds good – and while you are here I’d like to thank you for pointing me in the direction of E-music many years ago on an early RR
      (I’d been seaching for a Bongwater album for ages – but they’d aways been too expensive to replace) it was right there and 50 free tunes later – I was a very happy listener.

      (shame they can’t come to an agreement with 4AD – beggars group – but hey ho)

      gingers safe here too.


    • Hi Michael –

      Thanks for getting back to us, and a very Merry Christmas to you too. Welcome and thanks for accepting the mission to Jon Dennis, and although you may get some contention for the final listings, you certainly won’t get any for anything comparable to being called a ginger idiot. (We don’t play that way). Looking forward to the New Year and New RR, (and fingers crossed that you’re Stones, grunge, and metal friendly!)

    • “It will be curated henceforth by Jon Dennis, who works on guardian.co.uk, and whose band Blab Happy once supported Radiohead”

      Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it hasn’t finished me off yet.

      Leicester late 80s/early 90s – is this not SOURPUS’ stable?

    • Thanks for taking the time to come on here and let us know what is going on. Much appreciated. The plans sound interesting. Don’t know if you’re really going to want any reviews from Madrid but if you ever do…

  53. Yes, it sounds good to me too!

    Thanks for taking the time to post here Michael.

    I am glad that RR is continuing and that the people who have all helped make it the funny, interesting and vibrant place won’t be left without it.

    I hope that everyone has had as nice a Christmas Day as I have.

  54. Cheers, Michael.

    Wasn’t sure how much of what you told me was not yet shareable, but hey-ho!

    Hope to get down to work over this keyboard tomorrow night, TMS allowing!!

  55. @ debbym – yeah I thought that about sourpus too. I emailed Jon to ask that very question, and that’s how I got the auto-reply to know that he’s on hols til the New Year and we wouldn’t have a RR topic til then. Looking forward to meeting new Guru and getting an answer to the question.

  56. Thanks to all for your kind words.
    DsD – I’ll have to decide nearer the time about the 4th, but it’s a definite possibility (or a possible defintely…)

  57. @DsD – thanks for taking the initiative and contacting Michael. And as for your awesome responsibility of submitting a piece by NYE, I’m sure many of us will feel happy that you just write what you want, without feeling you have to quote any of us, or give name checks. You write so well, and I’m sure your submission will work best if it’s just what you want to say, with no pressure, no baggage…good luck, Carruthers

  58. My shout.

    I have 2 problems with the concept of afaserae (is that the plural of afasera? I think we should be told…) One is that I can’t pronounce it. The other is that I’ve got – probably – about 3 dozen of the little sods, which I’ve Recommended 3-5 times over the years, to no avail. Each time I’ve done me level best find something new to say about each of them and each time I’ve just about managed it, by the skin of my teeth. But it’s quite a dilemma to choose just the one. So (deep breath) stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood – Geronimo!

    The Saints: “Know Your Product” – everybody who hears this thinks it’s wonderful. Problem: few do hear it. So, some context: we’re in 1978, and everybody is in love with the evolving buzzsaw riffs of the punk diaspora. The Saints have A Name Of Sorts; they’re based in Brisbane, Australia and appear to have followed a parallel evolutionary path to the US and UK new-era bands without necessarily having heard them first. Their songs “(I’m) Stranded” and “(This) Perfect Day” – the latter a minor UK hit – have impressed. So far, so cool. Then…

    “Know Your Product” is an exhilarating, foetid, blast. Why? Because, for the first time in a decade or so, it uses aggressive horns to carry a monster tune. Not just the jazz-rock brass of the early 70s, but the exuberant full-on sound of the Stax/Atlantic house bands at their peak. And there’s a superbly snarky vocal declaiming the seductions of the advertising copywriter, a la “Satisfaction”: “…our new soap that’s peachy keen, saves your soul and keeps you clean – it’s recommended, used by The Queen… gonna improve your IQ, help in everything you do… cheap advertising, you’re lying, never gonna get me what I want…” And the cherry on top is a series of jive-hipster interjections over the main riff: ” Come on, soul man… let’s shoot the professor… alright…!” It’s social commentary; it rocks out; and it’s colossal fun.


    if you don’t know it as a result of my regular huckstering…)

    Just to add: lots of RRers have tried to bottle smoke by saying what the column and the community mean to them. I’ll tell you what it means to me: it means that I can spout off about stuff that only interests me and an elite handful of others; I can enjoy reading others doing the same in eloquent fashion; and we all have the freedom to make complete arses of ourselves without anybody holding us up to lasting judgment afterwards. And there’s small army of leading wits concealed in our ranks; the RR blog is a minefield of buried humour. Love it all.

    Bests, DsD. You have a heart the size of Santa’s sack.

  59. Thanks for all the nice comments, people.

    I notice the DropBox is getting close to bursting at the seams.

    I’ve copied the assfairy folder out, and for me it can be deleted now anytime someone wants, to make room for the ever expanding Absence thread. I’ll offer this as a reminder to anyone who hasn’t yet either put in or copied out; I’ll check it tomorrow, then delete it.


  60. DebbieM alerted me to this Blab Happy question. Sorry I didnt pick it up before – its been quite an eventful Christmas for me.

    Its very interesting, excellent news that Jon is to take over RR and I join you all in welcome. We share a lot of minor connections Jon and I – difficult not to if you ever been part of the Leicester ‘scene’. I saw the Blabs play many, many times down the years and although Jon and I have exchanged but few words and he certainly wont remember my face or name, I was always a fan. When I got back home from Goldsmith’s College in 1988, Blab Happy were the talk of the town.

    One other unlikely thing we have in common is that the band I joined shortly after coming home to Leicester (Storyville) also supported Radiohead (in 1991) at the Princess Charlotte. More importantly, we also have one very good mutual friend in common, a massively talented songwriter who I happened to be at school with, named Andrew Sharman – ive posted some of his work here at the Spill in the past. In fact, I went to school with and share many connections with Andy, Karl and Stu from the band HMB (Andy’s most fondly remembered outfit). As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago, I put on a big here in Budapest by his current band; the second one ive arranged for them out here. Andy was a close friend of Jon and they got on famously. If you’re reading this Jon, I know Andy would be well chuffed to hear from you.

    I’d also just like to add that I enjoy being part of something with RR. It feels like at truly international community of intelligent, witty, charming and like-minded sorts, who welcome all comers and who care enough about music to take the time and effort to share it. Its particularly valuable to me, living as I do, far enough from home in a rather unadventurous musical landscape. I learn new and interesting stuff all the time from everyone involved and I very much appreciate everyone including me in their number, despite occasional absences and/or half-cocked offerings made each week. Long may she continue!

    • Seen this?: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2003/may/02/artsfeatures.radiohead

      I know I actually owned a Blab Happy album (and possibly some EPs) on vinyl, but they’re either buried in the attic or I lost them in the Great Sidecar Towers Flood Disaster a few years back. (The water decimated the artists B-C section of my LP collection…). I think I was put on to them via the Deep Freeze Mice/Chrysanthemums folks, who I used to buy mail-order stuff from… Can I remember what Blab Happy sounded like? I cannot… but they were presumably reasonably recherche for me to have been interested…

      Jon, if you’re scanning this thread for clues, look forward to making your acquaintance.

      • Shiv, yes I remember this article. Storyville supported them in the autumn of 1991. To be honest, at the time, I didnt quite see what all the fuss was about. I only really understood how good they were much later on. I cant even remember much about the show, although I do remember the soundcheck and seeing RH standing in a line at the back of the room watching us running through a couple of songs. I also recall them asking us if they could go on first so they could get back home to Oxford. I dont think they were that keen.

      • Ah, Barbryn, that blog is rather good, isn’t it (even if MIdway Still are, actually, coming back)? I think I found it when I was looking for info on The Parachute Men.

  61. Not sure if I’m already late to the party, but just in case I’m not:

    There’s many songs I think I could be recommending, but the first one I am really aware of having tried to shoehorn into a topic was Wolf Parade’s “I’ll Believe In Anything”

    IBIA is about second chances. In this case, the second chance would be spent in becoming somebody else, starting someplace else where you can peel off this thin layer of bullshit that covers you and it’s getting a little bit thicker every day, to the point you can’t hardly breath anymore. A place where

    “nobody knows you and nobody gives a damn either way”

  62. sorry about that – was in a bit of a hurry. What I intended to write above was the following re. Andy Sharman:

    “…a few weeks ago, I put on a GIG here in Budapest by his current band”

  63. EXODUS – I haven’t come across your initial post yet, but from its responses I’m getting the idea. My sincere condolences.

  64. Torn Between Two Livers

    But that’s just the effect of finishing a bottle of Grand Marnier; surprising how little you need to actually use for cooking a festive Duck a l’Orange.

    If you google “Philip who? Jeays”, complete with speech marks you get a single page which contains a comment from the blessed Fourfoot, of ancient memory and deep veneration, concerning artists much nominated but seldom selected.

    I am the progenitor of this comment, the UrPapa of that piquant pith, which I took in good part, persisting with my patchy promotion of dear Phil as topics permitted. A lone voice, bleating in the Philderness, remaining Philosophical throughout, never Philandering but with scarcely a dond or a kind word to sustain me or give me courage. Well, Philistines the lot of you! If you think I’m going to waste my Christmassfairy on you, you are soooo mistaken.

    The other artiste and song that has been the victim of my lone hand of gloom needs no introduction. Daughter of a famous father, soon lost to infamy, addiction, fame and timpani. A single album and a year or so of performances hold the gleaming gem of what might have been and remains secreted in the sacristy box of my soul.

    This Will Be – Natalie Cole

    As for RR, what does it all mean? The chance to blether, brag, barney, bluster, bond, bend, blind, blend, boast, baste and bask in an occasional B lister in the company of fools in love with music.

  65. Why RR?

    1) Enjoy the nature and diversity of people, backgrounds, locations, musical interests and styles. The humour, eloquence and the unbelievable serendipity of the place (most memorably the fact that Catcher actually lives in a place I have long regarded as the most perfect spot on the planet) are all compelling.
    2) Enjoy the banter and the unpredictable paths that the blog takes and the balm often offered. Can remember vividly being cheered or even elated by conversation about birds, who, in the great scheme of things, rarely enter my thinking.
    2) Enjoy being introduced to, or reminded of spine-tingling music with Clap Hands Say Yeah and Lisa Germano notable stand-outs of the last several months.
    3) Enjoy the sense of competition and certainly have enjoyed being A Listed from time to time.
    4) Enjoy the stimulation: having songs march or plod into my consciousness over the course of a weekend.
    5) Enjoy the sheer self-indulgence as I always listen to the songs I nominate, and always with a bottle of wine in the early part of friday evening. Very much part of my ritual of the week.
    6) Like the sense of community. Things that matter to me mattering to others.

    Song that I would have liked to see A Listed. Has to be Tiny Goddess by Nirvana. It’s a song that is gentle, plaintive and haunting formed from fragments of thought and expression that I can easily recognise as symptom of deep personal loss that is certain, imminent and unbearable. Have listened to it at least once a week since 1967. Pop perfection.

  66. Nommed many times, never zedded (TonNL’s asaf-whatevers):

    the Triffids – Trick of the light

    Calexico – The ballad of Cable Hogue

  67. I might be too late, but I couldn’t not mention Caetano Veloso’s Os Argonautas, inspired by portuguese sea shanties, for the line “To sail is essential, to live isn’t”, which when sung so honestly, leave me speechless and gives me goosebumps. But it’s not just the chorus, it’s not just the rolling guitars that manage to give me the exact feeling of being on a caravelle on the high seas, it’s not just the climactic crescendo just before the chorus. It’s the way he communicates the feeling of the sea
    “The ship, my heart cannot stand such torment, 
such joy,
    My heart is not content

    Day, the buoy: my heart

    The port: No

    Horizon, dawn:

    The port: nothing”

    Now I’m no seaman, but that, my friends makes me want to join the navy.

    Why do I love RR? Because of you all first and foremost, and apart form seconding scepticusually, I can say that throughout the years RR has been able to accommodate my moods, wether I’m looking forward to meeting up with my friends every thursday at midnight, wondering why it bothers me that I didn’t convince a man or woman I’ve never met to include a song I mentioned on a playlist, when it doesn’t really affect how I listen to and enjoy my music. Still, credit to RR for making it seem like it matters.

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