Northern Soul, Frank Wilson and “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)”

One of the loveliest things about having a blog, is that you just never know when a particular post from your archive is going to go viral, but that’s just what’s happened around here over the last couple of days because of a particular drinks advert. If like us you’ve been trying to avoid all the political programming on telly (we already know who we’re going to vote for and just feel depressed whenever we see the runners and riders in action), you might have caught some of the popular prime time shows that still attract a fair few million viewers of an evening. They’re not for everyone I know, but with no guests in the holiday hideaway and no-one ordering Christmas gifts from Mr WIAA’s website, we seem to have more time on our hands than is realistically good for us, and they do offer a bit of light relief of an evening.

The other night, in between watching celebrity campmates do things no human should ever have to do (eating kangaroo anus for entertainment comes to mind) we were treated to multiple showings of one particular seasonal advert, and it leapt out of the screen at us because it featured the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons song, The Night. A couple of years ago I had written a post about that very song after watching the film Northern Soul (link here) and it seems I was not alone in enjoying the ad, as later that evening my “viewing stats” for the post really started to ramp up and it looks as if it will continue that way for the duration of the campaign. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to share such things around here but if you haven’t yet caught it, here is that very stylish ad.

The Night by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons:

Always pleased when I find myself at the top of a search engine results page after the YouTube clip and the wiki entry, as I often experience “blogger’s guilt”, feeling I should be spending my time working on something more lucrative. Finding your blog in amongst the big boys makes me realise, like many others around here, I have quietly and anonymously built up quite a database of “stories and songs”, way beyond anything achieved at college or in the world of work.

You will notice there are a fair few party-goers dancing “Northern Soul style” in the ad. Despite not charting first time around, The Night became one of the most popular tracks on the northern soul circuit, becoming a hit in the UK in 1975. As often happens around here, a strange coincidence has occurred, as even before the ad aired I had already been revisiting my original post to remind myself just how great some of these lesser known American soul records from the mid ’60s were, and all because of another popular Saturday night telly show.

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It’s apparently been running for 17 years and along with the various X-Factor formats and the crazy jungle show, I’ve kind of forgotten what people used to watch before they came along. It’s a show that really seems to draw in the viewers though and although we have never been fervent devotees of Strictly Come Dancing, if you have the telly on whilst you’re preparing Saturday night’s dinner, it’s inevitable you will catch some of the performances.

The other week I think the “celebrities” had to pick a song or style of dancing which was personal to them and Kelvin Fletcher (a soap star and fantastic dancer as it turns out) picked Northern Soul, as his dad had been a fervent devotee back in the day. Since becoming fascinated by the movement a couple of years ago, my ears pricked up, and the song they danced to, Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson formed an earworm for the following week.

Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson:

This song was new to me so of course I had to find out more. Although it became popular at Wigan Casino and the like in the mid 1970s, it was originally recorded in 1965 on the Motown subsidiary label Soul. But here is the really interesting bit, it was Frank Wilson’s only Motown single and is a prized item amongst collectors as all but 5 of the original 250 demo singles were destroyed. Berry Gordy had apparently given the vocals a lukewarm reception and Frank himself decided he would rather focus on production, which has led to the crazy scenario where some of these original copies are changing hands for over £25,000 each.

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Every time I hear about the phenomenon that was Northern Soul, I regret not having been in the right place at the right time, as the dancing would have been perfect for me. In the mid ’70s we only had our local youth club’s disco, but it was there I discovered my passion and was never, ever to be seen dancing round my handbag. Oh no, we had the space so I made full use of it and watching the genuine afionadas of Northern Soul (the dance above was more a stylised version for the show), I reckon I could have given them a run for their money. As a form of exercise, it looks as if it would be much more fun than a workout at the gym. Time to look out the talc, some very wide trousers and get practicing.

Until next time….

Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) Lyrics
(Song by Frank Wilson)

Here I am on bended knees
I lay my heart down at your feet
Now do I love you

All you have to do is ask
I’ll give until there’s nothing left
do I love you

As long as there is life in me
Your happiness is guaranteed
I’ll fill your heart with ecstasy, forever darling

Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Indeed I do Indeed I do

The very thing that I want most
Is just to have and hold you close
Do I love you?

From early morning until late at night
You fill my heart with pure delight
Do I love you?

whenever I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord your soul to keep
And bring you home safe to me, for ever darling

Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Do I love you?

Indeed I do, sweet darling, indeed I do

Now whenever I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord your soul to keep
And bring you home safe to me
for ever darling

Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Indeed I do, little darling, indeed I do

Sunrise, Sunset #2 – Trees, Tequila and A Bunch of Desperados

A bit of a picture post this one, as really into my new series where I intend to share pictures of sunrises and sunsets (accompanied by a relevant featured song of course). This morning I could tell there was going to be a beautiful array of orange and yellow in the sky as when I came through for breakfast, the colours were dancing across the obscure glass in the back door. I quickly grabbed my new iPhone (which has a much improved camera) and this is what I got. Sadly, most of my sunrise pictures will involve next door’s garage wall which kind of blocks our views down the hill into town. It was built before we bought the house, so we knew what we were getting, but at times likes this it would be nice not to have that big block of grey getting in the way. No matter, a fine sunrise shot whatever.

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A Scottish Sunrise, 3rd Dec 2019

I think I’ve mentioned this around here before, but back in 2009/2010 I set myself the task of taking a picture of something from the natural world, every day, for a whole year. Called my 365 Project, I ended up with a great set of pictures that recorded the seasons during the period from November 2009 until the following November. I had thought it would be a good idea to revisit the same locations a decade on, to compare the scenes, but of course that requires a fair level of commitment and so far I’ve been found wanting. What I have been able to record however makes for sobering viewing.

Exhibit A: On the 1st December 2009 I somehow managed to record the amazing sunrise on the left. Deep purple this one, with oranges so bright they looked like flames. Last Sunday was the 1st December 2019 and from the same vantage point I took the picture on the right. Not as impressive and I hadn’t even noticed before but it seems the cottage down the hill has lost its chimneys in the intervening years. Even worse is that the large tree in its garden has been chopped down, and there are now stumps instead – It used to look spectacular in summer when in full leaf, but now only one left. This got me to thinking about what else has changed so radically, and it didn’t take long.

Exhibit B: Some of the roads leading up the hill to our house were originally farm roads. Many were lined with very old Scots pines which could potentially have been there for hundreds of years. I took this fine shot on the left on a nice sunny day in November 2009. Sadly, a few years later the local council decided to cut down all but one of them, for health and safety reasons, and the shot on the right was the one I took on Sunday. Only one pine remains of the original four, and I don’t know about you, but to me it now looks really sad and lonely. Only two pictures in and already so much of the natural world had gone. Just think how I felt when I pulled into our street last week to be met with our next exhibit.

Exhibit C: The first house in our street has always been blessed with a tree that come springtime is covered in blossom. Our Japanese cherry flowers a bit later, and the blossom lasts longer, but the tree on the corner always flowers first and ends up producing a beautiful carpet of pink on the pavement. For some bizarre reason they have decided to get rid of it, to provide more light for their conservatory we suspect, but again just so sad to see yet another tree go.

But this is a music blog, and I have become side-tracked by trees, or rather the lack of them. This series is supposed to be all about songs relating to sunrises and sunsets so might as well get this one in early doors, as they say – Tequila Sunrise by the Eagles. The song wasn’t actually about the drink of the same name (that unmixed concoction made up of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup which does look remarkably like a sunrise), no, it was written for their 1973 album Desperado where all the songs were based on themes of the Old West. The band even appear on the album’s cover dressed like an outlaw gang.

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Tequila Sunrise was one of the first songs where Don Henley and Glenn Fry collaborated and when Glenn came up with a guitar riff that sounded “kinda Mexican”, Don suggested the title, as they had been drinking straight tequila all night and now the sun was coming up. As for the line “take another shot of courage”, they called tequila “instant courage”, as without it they didn’t have the nerve to go and talk to women (but trust me, not always the best way to woo the opposite sex).

Tequila Sunrise by The Eagles:

So, “What’s It All About?” – A fine picture at the top there, but having revisited my pictures from ten years ago I am sad that in the town anyway, we have lost so many long-established trees.

As for the Eagles, they are one of the many bands that seemed to do just a little too well for themselves and lost their kudos along the way, becoming a tad corporate. Personally I still love listening to their songs but more because of that sense of nostalgia, remembering where I was, and who I was with, when I first discovered them. Growing up in the 1970s, if you were lucky enough to hang out at the house of a friend who had an older brother, there was usually an abundance of Eagles albums.

Just in case you don’t remember what a tequila sunrise drink looks like, here is it – The one we are most familiar with originated in Sausalito, California and those gradations in colour certainly do resemble a sunrise. One of the first alcoholic drinks I remember consuming at our local nightspot was indeed a tequila sunrise and probably because it looked and tasted like a soft drink – An expensive 1970s alcopop.

sunrise

Until next time….

Tequila Sunrise Lyrics
(Song by Glenn Fry/Don Henley)

It’s another tequila sunrise
Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky
Said goodbye
He was just a hired hand
Workin’ on the dreams he planned to try
The days go by

Ev’ry night when the sun goes down
Just another lonely boy in town
And she’s out runnin’ ’round

She wasn’t just another woman
And I couldn’t keep from comin’ on
It’s been so long
Oh and it’s a hollow feelin’
When it comes down to dealin’ friends
It never ends

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It’s another tequila sunrise
This old world still looks the same
Another frame

Another Lunar Foible, Wings and “C Moon”

Since discovering that all full moons have a name (given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar), I have written about each one as they appear in our skies. To accompany the post I always include one of the numerous songs that have been written about the moon and its many foibles.

Well, I really need to get back onto safer blogging territory where I don’t bare my soul in public and fortunately for me there is to be a full moon in our skies on Monday night. Regulars around here will know that I wrote about every full moon for a whole calendar year (and more) but then put the series into retirement when I thought I had exhausted my list of moon-related songs, and could find no new snippets of information about the moon that had not yet been shared. I was however wrong.

Harvest Moon Rising

Last month I shared a second Harvest Moon song as the Harvest Moon, I erroneously thought, was the only one that could occur in either one of two months (September or October), it being the name given to the full moon that lands closest to the autumnal equinox. Interestingly, the Hunter’s Moon is not tied to a specific month either. The Hunter’s Moon is the name of the full moon that lands directly after the Harvest Moon, which means it may occur in either October or November. The way things have worked out, Monday night’s sky will therefore showcase a Hunter’s Moon as opposed to the alternate used for the month of October, the Travel Moon, Sanguine Moon or Dying Grass Moon.

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As for a song choice, here is one that also missed the cut first time around, but because of all the hoopla of late relating to the anniversary of the release of the last Beatles studio album Abbey Road, perhaps time to share something by Sir Paul McCartney. The song C Moon by Wings was released in 1972 as the B-side to Hi Hi Hi which ended up being banned in Britain. As a result C Moon got all the airplay which meant it reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. Paul explained that the song’s title is the opposite of the ’60s expression L-7, meaning a square or an unhip person. A C Moon forms a circle, which is said be cool.

C Moon by Wings:

As for the band Wings, although they never graced the walls of my bedroom in the early ’70s, they were a staple of my teenage years, and I loved pretty much everything they released. The album Band On The Run remains one of my all-time favourites. I had been too young for Beatlemania, but right at the time I was spending most of my free time listening to music, along came Wings, and from the Lennon & McCartney songwriting partnership I was always fondest of the McCartney-led songs anyway (although I only realised that in later life).

I imagine everyone who wanted to, has seen it by now, but I do love the edition of Carpool Karaoke that starred Sir Paul. He may have written a song about people who were “cool” in 1972 but now he is the one who sometimes comes across as a bit “uncool”. He is aged 77 however, and a legend, so I will give him a pass. If you watch until 16:00 you will see the surprise on those pub-goers faces when the curtains pull back – What a day they must have had.

Look out for that full moon on Monday night.

Until next time….

C Moon Lyrics
(Song by Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney)

C Moon C Moon C Moon Is She.
C Moon C Moon C Moon To Me.

How Come No One Older Than Me
Ever Seems To Understand The Things I Wanna To Do?
It Will Be L7 And I’d Never Get To Heaven
If I Filled My Head With Glue
What’s It All To You?

C Moon, C Moon, C Moon Is She
C Moon, C Moon, C Moon To Me

Bobby Lived With Patty
But They Never Told Her Daddy
What Their Love Was All About
She Could Tell Her Lover That He Thought But
She Never Was The Type To Let It Out
What’s It All About?

C Moon, C Moon, Oh C Moon Are We
C Moon, C Moon, C Moon Are We

How Come No One Older Than Me
Ever Seems To Understand The Things I Wanna To Do?
It Will Be L7 And I’d Never Get To Heaven
If I Filled My Head With Glue
What’s It All To You?

C Moon, C Moon, C Moon Is She
C Moon, C Moon, C Moon To Me

SAMCRO, Audra Mae and “Forever Young”

I imagine I’m not alone in finding that we are living in a bit of a golden age for television drama – What with streaming and on-demand services, as well as the mainstream channels, the discerning viewer is rarely stuck for something great to watch. I am noticing however that cinema audiences are down (around here anyway), and both our local venues have recently slashed their prices. Good news for those of us who still like the excitement of watching our films on the big screen but probably not good for the art form long-term.

This last year alone we have watched Peaky Blinders, Carnival Row, The Boys, Catch-22, Keeping Faith, Summer of Rockets, Years and Years, Killing Eve, Black Mirror, Chernobyl, Gentleman Jack and Les Misérables to name but a few. Seems like all I do is watch telly, but no, our habit is to finish up whatever we’re doing by 9pm, after which we reconvene in the “living room” (the least-used room in the house nowadays, so no longer a very apt name) and settle down for our nightly fix of the goggle-box, as it used to be called.

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This week we seemed to be all caught up with everything that had been recorded and nothing new to tickle our fancy on Netflix or elsewhere, so we decided to revisit a series we have already watched, Sons of Anarchy, which follows the lives of a close-knit, outlaw motorcycle club (SAMCRO), operating in a fictional town in Northern California. I’ve written about it around here before, as I became really fond of the theme song This Life performed by Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers. As I said last time, probably like most fans, I live in law-abiding “nice-world” where the worst crime I ever commit is to park illegally, or perhaps accidentally speed in a built-up area. Our modern day lives are so controlled and safe that it is sometimes necessary to experience something a bit more edgy from the other side of the tracks, albeit from the comfort of our sofas.

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In the penultimate episode of Season 1, a particularly poignant scene was accompanied by a fine version of the song Forever Young written by Bob Dylan, and I was immediately smitten by it. The singer this time was American Audra Mae, who it seems is a great-niece of Judy Garland which might explain the fine pipes. Here is the non-acapella version of the song, but in the show the alternative version was used.

Forever Young by Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers:

Forever Young was originally recorded by Bob Dylan with The Band in November 1973 and first appeared on his album Planet Waves. Dylan had four children between 1966-1969, including his youngest Jakob, and the song was intended as an uplifting message from a parent to a child. The song has endured as one of Dylan’s classics.

As for the show Sons of Anarchy, it took me quite some time to realise that the lead character, played by Charlie Hunnam, was a graduate of British kids telly, first finding his feet on the BBC show Byker Grove along with fellow Geordies Ant & Dec! He next popped up on the award-winning Queer as Folk along with the now seemingly omnipresent Aiden Gillen. Perhaps to those across the pond his accent still has a tinge of Geordie, but he seems to have made the leap from Byker to biker very successfully. I am convinced, and as the anti-hero of the show I have become quite smitten with him, as well as the song featured above.

So, “What’s It All About?” – Having so much great telly around at the moment, means that whenever we want to side-step the real world for a time it’s right there at our fingertips, and with so many great soundtracks, always something for the discerning music-lover as well.

Until next time…

Forever Young Lyrics
(Song by Bob Dylan)

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

A Bit of Cathartic Blogging (with Denis Lavant on Accordion)

For anyone who stumbled upon the original moany and whingey post here, apologies. I need to move on and have now realised that with all that is happening in the world at the moment, we are much more susceptible to negative thinking and it can get out of hand.

The great thing about having written the original post was that it helped put everything into perspective – I have now given myself a good talking-to and come to realise that negativity breeds negativity. With all that is happening politically, environmentally and economically at the moment, it’s tough to remain upbeat and optimistic, but we must. To have been born in the latter half of the 20th century (tail end of the baby-boomers), I have had a charmed life. How dare I feel sorry for myself.

Time to draw a line under the moaning and whingeing around here and start again. This blog is supposed to be the place where I revisit the tracks of my years so time to get back to that aim. I am perilously close now to having published 300 posts around here and I want to reach that milestone.

I have a bizarre music clip up my sleeve that I’ve long wanted to share but never had an appropriate time to do so. It was billed “The Interval” and came right in the middle of a French fantasy-drama film called Holy Motors starring Denis Lavant. As this post is in effect my interval before I get back to normal blogging, quite apt really. In case you are wondering, yes that’s Denis Lavant on the accordion. Hope you enjoy it as much as I always do.

Until next time…

Communing With Nature, Bill Withers and “Lovely Day”

Well, I find myself lost for words, which is not the ideal situation for a blogger to be in. Looking up the phrase “lost for words” in the dictionary of idioms, I find it defined as such:

Unable to speak or articulate a coherent thought, typically because one is in shock.

I’m pretty sure my fellow bloggers here in the UK will know how this mental state has come about and the way things are going it might be some time before anything resembling normality returns. Speaking of normality, I have almost forgotten what that feels like, as for the last few years our successive governments have been in a state of disarray and the chaos has now ramped up to a whole new level. Yes, David Cameron was looking for a quick fix to a particulary nasty itch, and his solution hasn’t done the country any favours. Where is he now, as Danny Dyer asked on Saturday night telly. About to publish his memoirs apparently – It beggars belief.

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The Prorogation Ceremony – A new one on me

Anyway, it’s been too long since I last posted anything, so all the ideas I’ve been mulling over have expired. I still have the long list of “posts pending” to tackle, but they all require a fair bit of research, so for another day. To kick start the blogging juices, it’ll have to be another picture post. It’s been a bit of a wet summer with us but this morning was lovely, both sunny and still, so for the first time this year I had my breakfast outside.

What with next door’s apple tree hovering over me, the second flowering of the patio rose (I’m so suburban, I know) and the pots of begonias (written about here before) giving us their final flush of flowers, I could almost forget about all that is going on in the news. It was last week that I first cottoned on to the calming influence of nature, as I ended up having two early morning forest walks in a row. Unlike this morning those days were not quite so lovely, but rather drizzly and a bit windy – Something bracing though about being out there facing the elements and definitely good for the old mental health.

My final pictures come from our trip down to The Cairngorms this last weekend. Mr WIAA had to return his repaired windsurfing board to the place where it usually resides, and by a stroke of luck, Saturday also turned out to be a “lovely day”. Not sure what came over me but on the way home I developed a craving for some good old fashioned fish ‘n’ chips. Last time I partook of that national delicacy it didn’t end well, but lo and behold, once we hit Aviemore we discovered that the Happy Haggis offered High Tea, complete with mushy peas, bread ‘n’ butter, mugs of tea and ice-cream for afters. We’ve driven past that shop for years never realising it also had a great wee traditional fish ‘n’ chip restaurant. It might be some time before we go again, as I’ve now had my quota of carbs for the year I think, but would thoroughly recommend.

But as I often say around here, this is supposed to be a music blog, so which song should I feature this time. The term “lovely day” has cropped up a fair few times in this post, so what better song to include than Lovely Day by Bill Withers. The most notable aspect of this song is that Bill sustains that note, towards the end, for a full 18 seconds, one of the longest ever recorded in a song. Lovely Day was first released as a single in late 1977, reaching No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1978 but has since been re-released at least twice and appeared in several television commercials.

As for Bill Withers, he is also responsible for one of my all-time favourite songs Ain’t No Sunshine which won him a Grammy in 1971. It was used for that great scene in the romantic comedy Notting Hill where lovesick Hugh Grant encounters all four seasons in the three minutes it takes Bill to sing the song.

Lovely Day by Bill Withers:

So, “What’s It All About?” – Last time I wrote about the band Madness, and how the term Night Boat has passed into cockney rhyming slang as a term for a giro, or unemployment benefit cheque. To use another bit of rhyming slang, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, and at the moment I can’t see the situation improving any time soon.

I remember suffering badly at the time of the 2008 financial crisis, as at one point it did seem as if the big four banks would go under and I anticipated all sorts of fallout. Some of the people I worked with were not in the slightest bit worried however, as they apparently “used another bank”, not realising the far-reaching effects of such an event. Similarly, there are plenty of people going about their daily business at the moment, not interested at all in what is going on in the Westminster bubble, as it “doesn’t affect them”.

As happened in 2008, nothing cataclysmic will probably occur on the 31st of October, and this cliff edge they talk about might turn out to be a gentle slope – At the moment we just don’t know, and there lies the problem. I wish I didn’t absorb all the negativity around at the moment but it’s pretty hard to avoid. What I am realising however is that a bit of communing with nature works wonders, so if you find yourself waking up to a “lovely day”, and you get the chance, I thoroughly recommend getting out and enjoying it. Works for me.

Until next time….

Lovely Day Lyrics
(Song by Bill Withers/Skip Scarborough)

When I wake up in the morning, love
And the sunlight hurts my eyes
And something without warning, love
Bears heavy on my mind

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
… lovely day, lovely day, lovely day …

When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day…..

When the day that lies ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day……

Madness, “Night Boat To Cairo” and The Nutty Boys, Forty Years On

Three years ago, back in the early days of this blog, I wrote a light-hearted post about the band Madness and the whole 2 Tone movement (link here). It coincided with Glastonbury (where they had just performed), and was supposed to form a bit of respite ahead of all the political upheaval about to come our way after the divisive disaster that was the EU Referendum result. I don’t even think the word Brexit had even been coined yet, and there is nothing I hate more than a stupid-sounding new word created from two other words. In linguistics it’s called a portmanteau, which ironically has a French etymology. Oh how the French must be loving us now!

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But here we are a full three years and more on from that post, and the political upheaval is still with us and has ramped up to a whole new level. Talking of new words, I have just discovered one that has apparently been around forever, but for good reason has never before entered our personal vernacular – Prorogation. Yep, that’s the latest trick up the government’s sleeve, so The Madness continues. Getting back to Madness the band, last Friday they came to our town, and down to a bit of luck I managed to see them.

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Madness – Promotional pic for the 2019 tour

I’ve now hosted 25 sets of guests since acquiring the holiday hideaway so it’s been a busy old summer, and the downside is I haven’t really been able to commit to much, as I’m either greeting people or getting ready for the next set of people. We did have a free evening last Friday however so I persuaded Mr WIAA to head into town with me for a bite to eat. On the way home we swung by our very central Highland Games stadium (yes, we have one), as I knew Madness were going to be playing there that very night. As luck would have it, there were tickets left, so it was a no-brainer we would join all the other locals of a certain age who fancied a trip down memory lane.

Night Boat To Cairo by Madness:

What a great night we had – It was dark, but warm and dry, and Suggs and the boys were in tip-top form, closing the show with a very rousing performance of Night Boat To Cairo (complete with tea towel). If you owned the album “One Step Beyond” back in the day, and played it on repeat as I did, you will always remember Night Boat as being the third track on Side One after the Title Track and My Girl. We just don’t consume our music in that way nowadays so Sides and Track Numbers are largely irrelevant. Bit of trivia, the term Night Boat has passed into cockney rhyming slang as a term for a giro, or unemployment benefit cheque but you’d have to be British to get that one I imagine.

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Last week I wrote nostalgically about the year 1978, but this week it’s all about 1979, as that was the year I discovered Madness. The thing I enjoyed most about the concert however was the comforting thought that despite the political upheaval, and all the changes to how we live over the last 40 years, one constant has been those Nutty Boys from Camden Town. They look older close up, but the songs are the same, the band members are the same (although they are now missing Chas Smash), the clothes are the same, and the saxophone solos are the same. Suggs, aka Graham McPherson, still has that very unique, staccato-style way of speaking, … and moving. Yes, somehow all very comforting, and at the moment I think I would rather have the Nutty Boys run the country than BoJo (another portmanteau?) and Walter from The Dandy.

Until next time….

Night Boat To Cairo Lyrics
(Song by Mike Barson/Graham McPherson)

It’s just gone noon
Half past monsoon
On the banks of the river Nile
Here comes the boat
Only half-afloat
Oarsman grins a toothless smile
Only just one more
To this desolate shore
Last boat along the river Nile
Doesn’t seem to care
No more wind in his hair
As he reaches his last half mile
The oar snaps in his hand
Before he reaches dry land
But the sound doesn’t deafen his smile
Just pokes at wet sand
With an oar in his hand
Floats off down the river Nile
Floats off down the river Nile

(All aboard, night boat to Cairo!)

(Night boat to Cairo!)