I’m a tea drinker. I drink multiple cups of tea a day- since giving up the cigs I think it’s only the tea that keeps me going sometimes. But there aren’t any songs about tea on my hard drive. Coffee on the other hand is well represented. Coffee is cooler than tea, more sophisticated- to us Brits coffee is the continent, pavement cafes, and frothy milk. Now the high street is littered with coffee shops selling a bewildering array of coffees all served by your expert barista who’s happy to stamp your loyalty card. Our first cup is served by Lalo Shifrin, an unsettling instrumental from the film Bullitt (hence the picture of Steve McQueen at the top).

Just Coffee

The caffeine is kicking in now. The Bullitt soundtrack can be a bit jittery even without a shot of the black stuff. In 1994 James Lavelle put out a double vinyl ep called The Time Has Come, a bunch of remixes from Howie B, Portishead and Plaid. Plaid did this, breakbeat- jazz- trip hop that isn’t a million miles from Lalo Shifrin..

Coffeehouse Conversation (Plaid Remix)

In 1989 Edwyn Collins released his Hope And Despair album, a lovely collection of songs. This one, drum machine led and with a lovely circular guitar riff, builds for nearly five minutes as Edwyn croons. Gorgeous.

Coffee Table Song

Blur’s 1999 album 13 was a reaction to the Britpop thing. Graham Coxon sings and wrote it, describing his battle with alcohol over a chirpy indie-pop tune with a sqwarky, string-bending guitar solo. A bit of an ear worm.

Coffee And TV

To finish before the barista chucks us out for nursing one cup for an hour, here’s Wild Billy Childish And The Musicians Of The British Empire, from the magnificent Thatcher’s Children album, and a three chord rush tirade sung by Nurse Julie…

Coffee Date

That Old Town

While in London we took the students to the O2 arena to see the Museum Of British Pop Culture. As soon as you put rock ‘n’ roll in a museum it seems to lose some of its charm in some ways but some of the exhibits were good. There were large projections playing in slow-mo (The Smiths, Wham and The Stone Roses on Top Of The Pops in the 80s, The Clash and Sex Pistols from 70s TV), different rooms for different periods, a room full of guitars and drum kits to play on and a rather nifty touch screen virtual record box which tried to tell the story of dance music (a good selection of tracks although I tutted and shook my head at what I thought were a couple of factual errors). In the rooms, as well as some touch screen stuff, there were various pieces behind glass- some Bowie costumes from the early 70s, a Small Faces bass drum, a royal flush of Spice Girls outfits, dresses belonging to Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield, a pair of Rickenbackers- Weller’s pop art guitar and Mani’s abstract expressionist bass (John Squire’s handiwork, along with Mani’s paint splattered clothes from that NME cover, visible in the left of the second pic).  Art-rock crossover. I was hoping for a Cubist drum kit but left disappointed.

It transpired that two of my 6th form students’ Dads were present at Spike Island along with me, a quarter of a century ago. They say working with kids keeps you young- it can also make you feel very old. I then spent some time racking my brains trying to think of when Weller and Mani might have played together and came up with this 7″ single from a few years back, a super sharp slice of Mod pop, recorded with Graham Coxon.

This Old Town

And here played live on the gogglebox- Weller, Mani, Coxon and Zak Starkey on drums.

They probably played together on a Primal Scream B-side too (‘Til The Kingdom Comes, XCLTR era, sounds like The Who) which I have posted before. In fact having just searched the blog, I’ve posted This Old Town before too.


En Vacances

By the time you read this we should be on the road, off on our summer holiday. Having read Drew’s description of his French debacle last summer we thought long and hard and decided… to drive to France. We’re staying in a small house in the village of Chateauponsac, north of Limoges. It’s about three quarters of the way down France, in the middle. You can’t miss it. So, off we go, Dover today, ferry tomorrow morning, various letters in two languages to explain the large quantity of medicines we’re carrying from one country to another (for our eldest I.T., who has a variety of medical issues), a shops worth of car sweets (which will probably be gone by Knutsford), hundreds of Earl Grey tea bags (Mrs Swiss likes a cup of tea), many multi-bags of prawn cocktail crisps (I.T. again, limited diet, God knows what he’ll eat in France once the Walkers run out), several cds I’ve made for the long road trip which will contain next to nothing young E.T. will like, and as many clothes as we can fit in what’s left of the boot space. We’re not ones to pack lightly, but will most likely bring back half of it unworn. I’m really looking forward to it- the last few weeks have been a bit heavy for one reason or another and getting away to a small French village with plenty of sunshine should be great. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

After tomorrow night’s rockabilly post there won’t be any action here at Bagging Area until the middle of August. Here’s a song to send us on our way- in 2007 Paul Weller and ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon released a one-off, limited 7″ three track single. The A-side was this song, a rollicking guitar tune with Coxon on vox and making the best of both men’s talents.