8

Morning. If it is morning when you’re reading this. Hope you’re feeling alright. On January 1st 2010 I published my first post here at Bagging Area. Today, 3441 posts and 9727 comments later, the blog turns 8. Thank you to all of you who read it, thanks especially to those who comment, and here’s to a few more. I never really set a deadline or expiry date when starting out. I’ll keep going as long as there is something to write about I  suppose. Like this…

Songs with 8 in the title aren’t numerous. This is a 1985 R.E.M. song about a passenger train running through the southern states. The chorus goes ”and the train conductor says ‘take a break driver 8, driver 8 take a break, we can reach our destination but we’re still a ways away”. In 2008 Michael Stipe introduced Driver 8 live by saying ‘this is a song that represents great hope and great promise, a song that represents the dream of the United States of America’. So it’s about that too.

Driver 8

This is from 1990’s still stunning 90 album this is a song that pays tribute to a drum machine. An attention grabbing intro followed by rave synths and beats with a great breakdown section.

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In the days when football teams were numbered 1-11 number 8 was always a central midfielder- not the flash captain figure of the number 7 shirt and not the centre forward of number 9 but in between, a gutsy, hard tackling midfielder, someone who did the simple things well and chipped in with the odd goal. In the 90s Paul Ince and Nicky Butt were the number 8 shirt wearers at United. In the 80s the shirt belonged to Gordon Strachan and Remi Moses (and for a season apiece Ashley Grimes and Ray Wilkins). In the picture below Remi is to the left of Diego Maradona in a European Cup Winners Cup second leg at Old Trafford, one of the greatest games I’ve attended. Diego barely got a look-in all night. The first leg had finished 2-0 to Barcelona. The return leg was won 3-0 by United, with goals from Bryan Robson and Frank Stapleton, but the end to end performance of Remi was behind it. In the next round he marked and tackled Michel Platini of Juventus out of the game. Injury forced him to retire in 1988, aged just 28.

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Sometimes These Words Just Don’t Have To Be Said

I read, skimmed more likely, an article recently about albums that are 30 years old this year- REM’s Document, The Smiths’ Strangeways, Here We Come and The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Darklands were the three guitar led biggies. It also included George Best by The Wedding Present, a record Dave Gedge and his band have been touring all year.

George Best is a superb album. Released in October 1987 George Best is the sound of four men plugging in and playing. There is no sense of production to speak of, no studio presence or tricks, just two guitars, bass and drums, recorded as they sounded live. Low budget, no frills. The cover shot picture of George Best and the green frame look like they could have been knocked up in minutes (and what a great shot of George it is). From the moment the needle hits the vinyl (or the cassette tape starts to spool) the 1987 indie kid then got twelve snapshots of Dave Gedge’s gruff northern voice over indie guitar rock. Gedge’s conversational lyrics and delivery were easy to identify with, a kind of northern (universal) poetry.

The album included a new version of the single that preceded it, My Favourite Dress. It opens with crunchy guitars, a two chord riff, and then the band come in. Gedge’s first verse deals with jealousy (‘am essential part of love’) and then comes the resigned ‘there’s always something left behind- nevermind’. In verse two a drunken Gedge describes the ‘scent of someone else in the blanket where we lay’. And then we get the best bit, the change, and a list of painful reminders of her- uneaten meals, a welcome ride in a neighbour’s car, getting soaked walking home, falling asleep waiting up for her to come home- building up to him seeing her kissing someone else and his hand on the dress. A growl as he delivers the final line ‘that was my favourite dress you know’. Love and loss in your late teens/early twenties skewered.

My Favourite Dress

I Can’t Stand By, See You Destroyed

What happened here on Monday night and what we woke up to yesterday morning defies belief in so many ways and it’s difficult to know what to say, especially in a music blog. Equally, it’s hard not to take something like this personally when it happens so close to home. My family and my workplace knew several people at the Ariana Grande show at the MEN on Monday night.

Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse, multi-cultural and inclusive cities in the country. As Dave Haslam said on Twitter yesterday ‘You’ve got the wrong city if you think that hate will tear us apart’. We don’t do small mindedness, racism and intolerance. One deluded, indoctrinated, murderous little fucker does not prove anything about the people we know as our neighbours. Anger and hatred and rage are understandable reactions to the deaths of twenty two people, including children, on a night out to see a gig, but the minute we give in to hate we have lost. We stand together, we feel anger but we love life, we love love and we hate hate.

This song by Doves came to mind and the opening line which gives this post its title. And also this part…

‘We don’t mind
If this don’t last forever
See the light
But it won’t last forever
Seize the time
Cause it’s now or never baby’

Pounding

At times like this football seems like a very small thing in terms of importance but it’s also a massive part of this city’s history and traditions. With any luck tonight United will bring home a European trophy, with a multiracial, multicultural team of young black British Mancunians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Equadorians, Dutchmen, Italians, Belgians, Armenians and more besides. United we stand.

Last Rose Of Summer

Yesterday was lovely, largely. The sun shone all day, in the morning I had a great cycle ride round High Legh and through Tatton Park. Later on we wandered round Knutsford town centre, poking around a few pricey antique shops, went for a cup of tea and some cake, sat in the sun for a bit. Some idiots* in Leicester town centre spoilt it a little but you can’t have everything. The late September sun was making me wonder whether this would be the last really nice day of the year, as a sunny day at this time of year always does.

Then this song was linked to somewhere by someone- Last Rose Of Summer by North Lanarkshire’s Delgados. A beautiful, fragile and quietly-noisy song. The Delgados made a bunch of fine records and were named after Pedro Delgado, Tour De France winner in 1988 and the 1985 and 89 Vueltas. No bandwidth so no download. This was from a Peel Session.

* Those idiots would be, in no particular order 1) Referee Mark Clattenburg 2) United’s panicky, under equipped defence 3) Leicester’s thug-in-chief Vardy 4) Dutch ‘genius’ Louis van Gaal who has splurged £160 million quid without noticing we have a somewhat leaky back four.

Back…

Back home, back to work, back to the blogging…

I’m a bit pushed for time having driven from the Kent coast to Manchester yesterday so you’ll have to wait until later in the week for any tales of adventures in the garden of England.

This is a picture of Darrow Fletcher. Before leaving for Kent I chucked a few homemade compilation cds into the car, one of which had a long run of northern soul songs on it (acquired from the usual suspects). This song really sounded good. Darrow was a child prodigy who had a massive run of singles in the late 60s through to the late 70s. The Pain Just Gets A Little Deeper was released in 1966 and was apparently a favourite at The Twisted Wheel. Listen to this and it’s easy to see why.

The Pain Just Gets A Little Deeper

Darrow Fletcher is not the Manchester United and Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher. But for us United fans as this season has gone on the pain has gotten a little deeper. Rumours abound that David Moyes may lose his job today. I think it’s the right thing if he does- it’s not really worked out has it?

 

Post 1999

These blog anniversaries keep coming- this is my 1999th post. And this is from Big Audio Dynamite II, a live release called Class Of ’92, with Mick and the boys covering Prince’s famous end of millennium song.

1999 (live)

Class Of ’92 is coincidentally also the name of a recent film concerning the class of 1992- Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary and Phil Neville, David Beckham- of whom it was famously said ‘you’ll win nothing with kids’. Bloody kids. They did win something though didn’t they? United could do with some of them kids right now.

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.