>What She Came For

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While in Helsinki the other day I tried to find a record shop. Stupidly I’d forgotten to research this before going to Finland. Eventually, with the help of several passersby, I ended up in Antilla, a department store with cds and – shock, horror- a fairly random selection of vinyl. I ended up with the recent e.p. of cover versions of Franz Ferdinand songs (only 9 Euros) and a nice re-pressing of The Ramones’ Rock ‘n’ Roll High School album. The Franz Ferdinand e.p. features Debby Harry with the Franz boys, LCD Soundsystem, Peaches, Stephen Merritt, and ESG. ESG’s cover of What She Came For is the pick of the bunch, their skeletal post-punk funk still rocking and bouncing thirty years after the Scroggins sisters first picked up instruments, paid for by their mother to keep them out of trouble and off the streets.

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>Suomi

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While channel surfing Finnish TV one night this week a (actually the only) pop channel had a video of a Scandinavian duo doing a cover version of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood’s Summer Wine. The cover version was, um, interesting, and not a patch on the original. But it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could improve on this.

Finland is beautiful. The people are friendly and welcoming. Helsinki is a cool northern European city. The Finns have no word for please but are very polite- they flypost using sellotape, but wouldn’t dream of removing a poster from a phonebox (as I discovered when I undid a Screamadelica live in Helsinki poster, and a bus driver shook his head). Beer is expensive- a three-quarter of a pint of Koff is over six Euros. Buying four Koff provided me with amusement though, despite the price. All in all, a wonderful place, and one I’d definitely go back to. Even though the bastard baggage handlers didn’t put our suitcases on the return flight.