Martika, Jona Lewie and “You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties”

Well, I seem to find myself with a few spare hours so will attempt a little light blogging. As regular visitors to this place know, the soap opera that is my life seems to get played out on these pages and this post is very much in that vein.

Until this week I was a “new kitchen” virgin as somehow I have always been able to make do and mend with whatever kitchen was in place when we moved house. A few things happened towards the end of last year however that meant time was definitely up on our much-loved, brightly painted cabinets and obsolete appliances. (I used to be a great fan of the telly show Changing Rooms and threw myself into “upcycling”.)

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First of all, after returning from our only weekend away last year, we discovered that darling daughter had somehow managed to render the oven door hinges effectively bust. Luckily we are quite good at problem solving and worked out that my mum’s spare walking stick could be used as a prop to hold the door shut, but not a long-term solution obviously. The second thing that happened was that one of the worktops developed a little hole that was letting in water, causing the woodchip inside to bulge. This time Mr WIAA used some of his modelling putty to plug the hole but not being an exact colour match it always looked as if a pesky bit of carrot had been left on the surface (not very attractive). Finally, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, after the little button that ignited the gas hob decided to give up the ghost and crumble to nothing, Mr WIAA’s temporary solution meant that a trip to the kitchen showroom was very much on the cards. Yes, when asked to find something round and brown in colour that could work as a button to press, he came up with the item shown below, found amongst DD’s old collection of joke shop purchases – He thought it was funny, and functional, but not something you would want visitors to see if they casually sauntered in to check on culinary progress!

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And so we ended up doing the rounds of the many outlets who offer up fancy pants new kitchens. Anyone who replaces their kitchen often will be an old hand at all this but as newbies we were first of all aghast at just how much choice there is out there in terms of the various components (so many decisions to be made), and also of course shocked at how a set of cabinets costing around £4k leads to a grand total of about £12k after installation, but hey ho, god willing we won’t be doing it again for a very long time. With any luck, in another week or two we will end up with something as shown in this fine aerial plan done in minutes on the company’s wizard computer system. In the meantime a makeshift kitchen has been set up in the living room and the temperature, having plummeted of late, means that the garden is like one giant fridge/freezer so no problem keeping the milk fresh at all.

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I read earlier this week that Donald Trump’s diet consists mainly of takeaways from McDonalds as he is wary of being poisoned from eating food prepared elsewhere (as if!) – Having given in to hunger the other night and gone out to pick up such fare, I am not convinced he’ll last the distance. Morgan Spurlock made the excellent film Super Size Me back in 2004 and all the doctors were shocked at just how much his health deteriorated in the 30 days he consumed nothing but McDonalds’ food. Fortunately for us this was a one-off that won’t be repeated for some time, but for people like Donald who appear to be frequent consumers, they need to watch this film. Might be better to stick to that original fast food pre-packed by Mother Nature – The humble banana.

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Something I’ve been trying to shoehorn in for some time.

Anyway, no-one wants to hear any more about my renovation project but of course it has got me thinking about songs that refer to kitchens in their titles. The first that came to mind was Martika’s Kitchen sung by none other than the lady herself, Martika. Although this song came along in the early ’90s, long after I had lost interest in what was happening in the current singles chart, I do remember her popping up several times on those Saturday morning TV shows made primarily for kids, but also watched by those of us who might have been slowly recovering from the night before. Looking back, the show I must have spotted her on could only have been Going Live which ran from 1987 to 1993 and was presented by Phillip (after The Broom Cupboard but before This Morning) Schofield and Blue Peter’s Sarah Greene.

Having just listened to this song again for the first time in decades, it turns out that it’s probably not the kind of ditty that should have been anywhere near a kid’s telly show and not even really the kind of fodder I usually feature here at WIAA. It was written by Prince (that explains a lot) as Martika was one of his many dark-haired female protégés who were around at that time. Somehow, unlike my good self, I don’t think Martika ever got an aerial plan of the kitchen she’s singing about in this song.

But what other songs have been written about honest to goodness kitchens and not ones that were euphemisms like the one Martika sang about. Well back in 1980, ahead of the release of his perennial Christmas hit Stop The Cavalry, Jona Lewie gave us You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties. Unlike in the early ’90s when I seemed to be busy watching telly whilst nursing hangovers, at the start of the ’80s I was still keeping a close eye on what was in the charts and I remember this song well. Jona Lewie, I have just discovered, used to go by the name Terry Dactyl (as in pterodactyl, hmm…) and along with his backing band the Dinosaurs (what came first, the dinosaur or the terry dactyl?) had a hit in 1972 with the song Seaside Shuffle. Don’t know if it’s just me, but it has a definite Mungo Jerry sound to it.

You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties by Jona Lewis:

An interesting snippet about this song is that it was the first time Kirsty MacColl sang as a backing singer for Stiff Records. The daughter of folk singer Ewan MacColl, Kirsty went on to record several pop hits from the early ’80s to the mid ’90s but is of course best remembered for the Pogues song Fairytale of New York on which she dueted with Shane MacGowan. Kirsty sadly died in 2000 as a result of a tragic accident whilst on holiday in Mexico.

So, “What’s It All About?” – Like Jona Lewie I have done my fair share of spending time in the kitchen at parties. It can be a tough gig breezing it out with people you barely know in the main venue, so to retreat with a few others to the more relaxed environment of the kitchen can be just the ticket. I hope my new kitchen (once we manage to source a table that fits in properly) becomes a relaxed hub where people can hang out during parties should they wish. Whether I will actually have the time or energy to host any parties in the near future is another topic, for another day, but in the meantime I’m just glad for once that the temperatures are very low indeed as I’m about to pop out to the giant fridge that is our garden, for a cold beer and a pint of milk!

Until next time….

You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties Lyrics
(Song by Jona Lewie/Keith Trussell)

I’m no good at chatting up and always get rebuffed
Enough to drive a man to drink, I don’t do no washing up
I always reached the stuff piled up, piled up in the sink

But you will always find him in the kitchen at parties

Me and my girlfriend we argued and she ran away from home
She must have found somebody new and now I’m all alone
Living on my own, what am I supposed to do?

That’s why you’ll always find him in the kitchen at parties
You will always find him in the kitchen at parties
You will always find him in the kitchen at parties

Then I met this debutante, I said that I like new wave rock
She was into French cuisine but I ain’t no Cordon Bleu
This was at some do in Palmer’s Green, I had no luck with her

You will still find him in the kitchen at parties
You will still find him in the kitchen at parties

At last I met a pretty girl, she laughed and talked with me
We both walked out of the kitchen and danced in a new way

And now I’ve done my time in the kitchen at parties
I’ve done my time in the kitchen at parties

He’s done his time in the kitchen at parties
He’s done his time in the kitchen at parties
He’s done his time in the kitchen at parties
He’s done his time in the kitchen at parties

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

13 thoughts on “Martika, Jona Lewie and “You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties””

    1. We hung to our one for years as we knew that there was no point getting a fancy new stove/cooker for an old kitchen. Sometimes Neil the time comes for a replacement though, so maybe your wife is right!?

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    1. As you say blogging can be a great stress-buster! You do know your labels CC – As for me I just know about food labels on jars etc, at present all packed up in the garage!

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  1. Oh no, seeing this post come up on my Reading List with just that first picture in the preview I was trying to work out what on earth the connection could be between plastic dog poo and your new kitchen. I had all sorts going through my mind I can tell you but, erm, I would never have guessed about the gas ignition button! Brilliantly resourceful whatever the aesthetics, I must say…
    Getting our old one replaced (very cheap early ’80s units that had obviously been fitted by someone with no DIY skills) was the first time we’d embarked on such a thing too, and it all seemed terribly grown-up! Wishing you lots of luck with it, hope it’s nearly done.
    I have lovely memories of Going Live, by the way – bring back Gordon the Gopher and Trevor & Simon – far too good for just kids!

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    1. Yes, that’s the picture coming up on my reader as well and not really how I would have planned it but makes for a cryptic post. As for the resourcefulness, it did work well. As for the aesthetics, awful and why that prompted the big change. A few days away from being finished but will look nice I’m sure – Didn’t really want to do this whilst DD was still living with us as she is a bit careless with things (probably because she hasn’t had to save up to buy them) but had to happen.

      Glad you mentioned Trev and Simon – I had a friend at that time who often came round on a Saturday morning and we of course ended up watching them on telly. Whenever we meet up we still “swing our pants” (remember that one?) and do the convoluted back-patting if we’ve done well at something. No they were never just for kids.

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  2. A kitchen refurbishment has been on our agenda since we moved in 7 years ago, but it keeps slipping down the list as ever more urgent problems crop up. One of my elderly Aunts often asks me if we’ve finished sorting out the house yet and it’s my job to gently tell her that this house will never be finished in my lifetime, it’ll just be patched up and put up with. From the aerial plan, it looks as though your kitchen is going to be the envy of the neighbourhood – very swish! Your ham & banana Trump is genius by the way!
    (Your post also reminded me that I had a thoroughly random dream a couple of weeks back, that Jona Lewie had started following me on Twitter – I blame it on having to hear ‘Stop the Cavalry’ 20 times a day at work over the festive period!)

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    1. I had no idea my kitchen themed post would strike a cord with so many of you. It is indeed the trickiest room of the house to refurb and as the tradespeople have just gone home for the weekend it will be into next week now until we are up and running. As we’ve pretty much just done the cosmetic stuff since we moved in 18 years ago suddenly all the big stuff needs done at the same time but as you say, probably won’t be finished in my lifetime!

      I commiserate with you having to listen to the same festive songs over and over during the festive period. It was a great sounding song back in 1980 but just a tad over-familiar now.

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    1. That was funny reading through the Top Ten prompted by your own refurb. I also hate disruption which is why it’s taken us so long to bite the bullet but not turned out as bad as I thought. The pressure is off having to come up with interesting meals every night as we are having to either eat out or microwave something – I’m off the hook for a while.

      Your thoughts on Martika and Jona Lewie were pretty much the same as mine but a lot of other kitchen songs I hadn’t thought of. Funny that the Lemonheads album featured at No.1 as I see it’s just popped up at your place today.

      It bothers me that whenever I look back at older posts on long-running blogs like yours, that the names of people commenting are all different from those who visit now. You’ve been going a long time but hard to sustain for most people. It was only my blog’s 2nd birthday yesterday but already I’ve gone from posting daily to twice-weekly to weekly and now to perhaps twice-monthly. A great stress-buster as you all say though, so keen to keep going.

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