King Size

Eric Cantona turned forty nine a couple of days ago. He was, as far as we’re concerned in this part of the world, the King. In modern football terms, as they said about The Clash, Eric is the only footballer that mattered.

King Tubby’s productions are rightly the stuff of legend, the work of a man who re-shaped music. Ideally some of the dubs he cut in the 1970s should be listened to alongside the A-side, running together. This one from 1976 has the lead side of Johnny Clarke’s Don’t Trouble Trouble and then at 3.27 Tubby’s Ruffer Version from the flip. Phased horns, machine gun fire, underwater sounds, sirens, the odd snatch of vocal and the sublime bass of The Aggrovators original rhythm track.


Upon Westminster Bridge

Upon Westminster Bridge is a poem by William Wordsworth. In said poem he did not ponder a difficult decision to be made regarding Motley Crue. Nigel Blackwell did, in the Half Man Half Biscuit song of the same name. In the HMHB song we also get a new version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas sandwiched in…

‘Spoiling Good Friday my ex-love sent to me
Twelve drummers singing
Eleven chairmen dancing
Ten mascots whinging
Nine stewards flapping
Eight christening invites
Seven cows a-barking
Six vicars strumming
Nick fucking Knowles
Four boring words
Carphone Warehouse and Matalan
And a pulled up at Bangor-on-Dee’

Nick fucking Knowles. Merry Christmas.

The song has many, many other delights- dry stone wallcharts, Ken Hom wok sets, iron age hill forts, low cost school trips, Ladbrokes and the return to earth of Jesus Christ and the resulting use of No Need For Nails. It is almost the quintessential Half Man Half Biscuit Song.

Upon Westminster Bridge

The other alternative version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas familiar in this household is The Twelve Days Of Cantona (the only modern footballer that really mattered).

Are you a farmer?

At this time of year, during duller passages of play, a romp through the whole song is always entertaining at the match. ‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me an Eric Cantona’ and so on…

‘Five Cantonaaaaaaas
Four Cantonas
Three Cantonas
Two Cantonas
And an Eric Cantona’

Dull is the game that goes all the way up to twelve.

I finish work for the Christmas holidays today. Halle-fucking-lujah.

Meetings With Footballers 3

It is 19th May 1995. It is my 25th birthday. We go into town and have beers and tequila at Ten Bar. We meet the man. We go to Home, in retrospect a very dubious nightclub. We drink more bottled beer. In the bar area above the dancefloor, flanked by two minders in black MA 1 bomber jackets, is Eric Cantona. Eric is serving a long ban for attacking a Crystal Palace supporter as he was leaving the pitch, still one of the most extraordinary things I’ve seen take place at a football match. We shake Eric’s hand. Things are a bit messy now all round. A queue forms. We go up to shake his hand again, reasoning he won’t remember our faces. Eric takes all this with good grace, despite us clearly being worse for wear. I drag the soon-to-be Mrs Swiss off the dancefloor, so she can meet Eric. She asks Eric if he minds being hassled by drunken/gurning idiots in nightclubs. ‘No’ he replies, ‘Not really’.

In 1995 The Stone Roses disintegrated. They lost Reni, the finest drummer of his generation. They released Ten Storey Love Song as a single, the only song off the Second Coming that sounded like the work of the same band that made the first album six years earlier. On their singles to support the first album the B-sides were as good as the A-sides- Standing Here, Mersey Paradise, Going Down… By the time they came to finding B-sides for Second Coming singles the quality was dipping. The 12″ of Ten Storey Love Song had two B-sides- Ride On, a Brown/Squire number, slow, stoned, dirgy, and Moses, a pile driver of guitar riffs and heavy groove, with a breakdown and the riff tumbling back in. Credited to Squire/Mounfield/Wren you felt it was a warm-up, practice tune that had never gained vocals. Heavy and a long way from waterfalls, sugar spun sisters and her banging the drums.

RVNG of the NRDS Pilooski ‘AAA’

A bit of recycling here- I got this track from North Country Bhoy a few weeks ago, and I hope he doesn’t mind me reposting it. It’s one of the best things I’ve heard for ages, and my 12″ vinyl copy from ebay turned up yesterday, and it sounds even better than the mp3 I’ve been playing on a loop for the last 2 weeks.

RVNG of the NRDs is a series of re-edits and remixes by folk like Tim Sweeney, Optimo, Lovefingers and Greg Wilson, and in this one, the last in series, French Discodeine hero Pilooski, my second favourite Frenchman *. Pilooski’s done some fantastic re-edits in the last few years, but this is something else. He takes reggae singer Nora Dean’s Angie La-La and monkeys about with it sending it towards the ten minute mark. We start in a tropical jungle, parrots screeching, birds taking flight, then Pilooski adds a big kick drum, the funky looped guitar riff or two, and then the amazing eerie vocal ‘Where have you been all my life boy?’. A breakdown, extra drums, riff comes back, more and more, onwards and upwards. Perfection. Transporting. I like this a lot. Get it now people.

* Eric Cantona is my favourite Frenchman, obviously. For a year or so I’m guessing he was North Country Bhoy’s as well. Heh heh.