Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Morning Advertiser should have asked ME....

One of the many debates at Beer Towers is the Big Party Music Debate.  Mr PBBB is self-appointed Important Pants Music Czar and by his own admission is an extreme music snob.

Our debate goes something like this:

Me: I'm putting MY party mix on this time.
Mr PBBB: No you're not I've done a new one and it's really good.
Me: No it's not. It'll be all complicated and dischordant and people's ears will bleed.
Mr PBBB: No they won't.
Me: Is there any disco on it?
Mr PBBB: No.
Me: Are there any female singers on it?
Mr PBBB: Yes, Lisa Gerrard.
Me: She doesn't count. What about Abba? [watches the special spluttering and arm waving Mr PBBB reserves for any mention of Abba]
Me: What about Erasure? [at this point only dogs and bats can hear him]
Me: What about Mika? [This is purely for my own entertainment.  Mika was actually devised by a focus group to specifically make Mr PBBB combust. Fact.]

Anyway, when asked to contribute his Pub Juke Box selection by the Morning Advertiser, you could see by the glint in his beady little eye that he was going to have quite a lot of fun creating a list.  He even chuckled as he was writing it, which always makes me nervous.  It's been published in the magazine but there's not a link I can post.  However, although I have to grudgingly admit it's quite good, I felt the need to create the Beer Widow's version that I can sneak into the jukebox when he's not looking.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Freebird - When I did my underage drinking at the Nag's Head in Monmouth, surrounded by rock stars who were recording at the nearby Rockfield Studios (aging rockstars, in a pub full of 17-year old pissed schoolgirls? Surely not?), this was on permanent repeat. I can taste the cider and black from here...
Odyssey: Use it Up (Wear it Out) - I can still remember the maroon drop-waisted dress with a gold lurex stripe running through it (please form an orderly queue) that I wore to this school party. I don't think I used it up or wore it out as I was probably trying to seem very cool leaning against a wall, squinting and, if photographic records are to be believed, looking like a 50-year old suburban housewife. Ah, the 80s...
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit in the Sky - I booked the unheard of Doctor and the Medics at Swansea Uni in 1986 simply because I loved the original track on the Student Union Bar jukebox.  By the time they played in the Union, they were No. 1. in the charts.  Result.
The Special A.K.A: Nelson Mandela - the soundtrack to my year as union activist, complete with dungarees, pixie boots, scarves in my hair and HUGE hoop earrings.  Think Bananarama then take it down a notch or two, factor in a Welsh upbringing, some of the suburban housewife we talked about earlier and you get the picture. Not really much like Bananarama at all, if truth be told.  During my tenure as Union Treasurer, I argued with Keith Joseph about student loans, was charged at by mounted police outside South Africa House and, like every student union, council and local authority at the time, oversaw the change in name of the Student Union building to 'Nelson Mandela House'. With hindsight, renaming concrete eyesores after the greatest living activist of our time may not have overthrown apartheid, but he'll always have somewhere to call his own when he's over on his holidays.
The Pogues: Sally MacLennane - I lost a huge chunk of my 20s to The Beaconsfield in Haringey which at the time really was 'the greatest little boozer' mentioned in the song. There was a dog track opposite, where Sainsbury's now stands, and a ramshackle market on Sundays, providing a constant stream of Irish regulars, visitors and ne'er-do-wells. This song distills the atmosphere perfectly.
Stone Roses: Sugar Spun Sister - from my desert island album. One of the most compelling reasons for ALBUMS not just iTunes. Every note in this album is there for a reason, and listening it to all the way through, in order, is how it's meant to sound.
The KLF: 3am Eternal - I lost the White Room cassette years ago but every note is etched into my head. It's a long way from that to Dylan Thomas's boathouse at the (wonderful, you must go) Laugharne Weekend, but I finally 'met' KLF frontman and conceptual artist Bill Drummond there this year. The conversation I had with him will forever reside in the drawer marked 'Embarrassing Encounters With Celebrities; Will You Never Learn, Woman?'. Others include Stephen Berkoff, Stewart Lee and Mick Jones of The Clash.
1 Giant Leap: My Culture - Embarrassing moments aren't confined to slightly tipsy evenings in pubs.  Oh no. On honeymoon in Zanzibar, staying at the wonderful Shooting Star, owned by the charming Tanzanian host Eli, I managed to create an entirely sober embarrassing moment. 'Gosh you speak VERY good English', I gurned patronisingly at him. 'Good,' he replied drily. 'I was at North London Poly for 4 years.' If it had been cold enough for a coat, I would have got mine and left. This was playing in the background.
Tom Jones: What's New Pussycat - when Mr PBBB's out, I crank this up on repeat and imagine I'm on stage at Wembley Arena doing a duet with the great man himself (Mr Tom Jones, not Mr PBBB who, although great in his own way, isn't allowed to dance - not even a little bit - as it gives me the fear.) In fact I did sing this on stage at the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand one night, at full pelt, complete with imaginary microphone. Luckily it was at about 2 in the morning (it's a long story) and the theatre was entirely empty apart from me and my mate Marian.
Fuck Buttons: Sweet Love for Planet Earth - this is my smartarse track ( a la Pete's Godspeed You Black Emperor choice). I discovered this band when I saw them on the line-up for this year's Green Man and fell in love with the part-Mogwai, part-Chemical Brothers sound I downloaded on iTunes. They were even better live, with a big sweaty tent full of pulsing, wild-eyed festival-goers, fuelled by scrumpy. Magic.

So, Mr PBBB, put that in your iPod and smoke it.  And at our next party, I'm in charge of the music.