Gaming Music Parenting

Too Busy To Blog

Hi, remember me? I’m the guy who hasn’t given you a non-stunt post since early May. It’s probably time I caught up.

Learning songs

I’ve got a couple of party gigs coming up in July, one for my regular band, and one wedding gig for an irregular, ad-hoc band formed expressly for the purpose. I’ve been learning a lot of new cover versions. *Brown-Eyed Girl* is in both sets.

Watching television

Since December, Karen and I have discovered How I Met Your Mother and Hustle, and also embarked on a project of watching Friends and The West Wing “cover to cover”. We’ve actually been watching less television than last year.


Towards the end of March, I started reading the books in the Earth’s Children series by Jean M Auel. I’ve been finding them interesting, hence getting through them at a rate of one book every 2 or 3 weeks. That’s quick, by my standards – I’m a fast reader, but I don’t tend to devote much time to reading. I’m now very close to finishing the fifth (currently the last published) book.


Not much of this actually. I haven’t had as much enthusiasm for it this year. There seems to have been quite a lot of rainfall in the last couple of months, which deters me somewhat. Last year I think that I cycled a lot because the regular exercise helped my mood, but this year my mood seems to be (mostly) just fine without it.

Playing Zelda III

One of the greatest games of all time, in my opinion, was *Zelda IV: Link’s Awakening* on the Game Boy. It’s been a source of sadness to me that there was never a sequel. I once bought a game called Quest For Camelot that looked like it might be similar, but it fell far short. In fact, one of the reasons why I disliked it was that the main character’s sword did, literally, fall far short. She had about half the reach of Link (the main character in *Zelda IV*) which led to much frustration.

Anyway, thanks to the wonder that is emulation, I’ve started playing through *Zelda III* which is the SNES predecessor to *Zelda IV*. Seems to be incredibly CPU-hungry on my computer, but we can live with that. UPDATE: I’ve fixed the CPU problem by experimenting with different display resolutions, and I’ve also improved the sound quality by using the sdl audio driver.

Chilling with the boy

Yesterday we went to Legoland for the afternoon. It was awesome. As you can imagine, not many people go to Legoland on a grey Thursday during term time. As a result, we managed to get on more rides in 3 hours than we usually do in an entire day. Also, packed lunch + annual pass = incredibly cheap day out. I quite wanted to take Bernard onto his first rollercoaster, but he preferred to just watch it go round. He doesn’t like fast rides yet, but he assures me that he will when he is older. Of course, when he’s older, we won’t be able to go to Legoland on grey Thursdays during term time, so we won’t be able to enjoy the benefit of being able to board the rollercoaster without queueing, but I didn’t want to pressure his decision by burdening him with this information.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 21 – Further Complications

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

This week we have been listening to Jarvis Cocker’s recent album, *Further Complications*. It’s a great step forward from his previous album, which I have to confess, failed to impress me. Having lived in Paris with his wife for the last 5 years, he’s now single once again, and free to write an entire album about wanting to get into the knickers of girls who are half his age.

Generally speaking, the music on this album falls into two separate genres. There’s his noisy, brash, punk-rock material (which bears resemblance to what he did with *Relaxed Muscle*) and his mellower, thoughtful, clever-lyriced material (which bears resemblance to what he did with *Pulp*). Personally, I prefer the latter, because to me, it’s what Jarvis excels at. The loud stuff tends to sound the same after a while, and doesn’t sit as well with his voice. But he’s earned the right to indulge his fancies. It makes me wonder what direction he’s going to go in for the next album. One thing is almost certain though – I don’t think we’re ever going to hear anything like *Different Class* again.

Album closer *You’re In My Eyes (Discosong)* is a (slightly imperfect) throwback to those 8-minute Pulp epics of old, songs like *Sheffield: Sex City* and *Seductive Barry* and *My Legendary Girlfriend*. It sounds far cheesier than any of them ever did, and I can’t see myself getting absorbed by it in the same way, but it still serves as a kind of comforting familiar landmark.

The next week’s playlist

Karen’s selected Animal Collective so we’re going to listen to their most recent album, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 20 – Nick Drake

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

1. **Hazey Jane II** from Bryter Later – the only thing I knew about Nick Drake was that he committed suicide by overdosing on antidepressants at the age of 26, so I was expecting something incredibly dark and brooding. Imagine my surprise when presented with this song, which sounds exactly like Belle and Sebastian, which is not a band that I associate with moodiness. It must have something to do with the jangly guitars, trumpet and skippity drums.

2. **Poor Boy** from Bryter Later – it wasn’t until I looked up the lyrics that I realised that the female vocalists weren’t singing “a bubble” but actually “oh, poor boy.” How can those two phrases sound anything like each other? Having got that very important message out of the way, this is a fairly pleasant bossa nova song with a sax solo. I like the way that Mr Drake’s voice fits this song.

3. **Cello Song** from Five Leaves Left – found this fairly dull actually, it doesn’t seem to reflect Nick Drake’s status as a renowned songwriter.

4. **At The Chime Of A City Clock** from Bryter Later – another song with a latin feel to it. Especially nice chorus, I like the bass and the violin in it. Another thing you notice when listening to this song is how dynamic Nick Drake’s songs are – he was evidently strongly opposed to excessive use of compression – the quiet bits are actually quiet. It’s something of a shame that this is worthy of remark.

5. **Sunday** from Bryter Later – this one’s the instrumental. It’s got lots of flute in it. Apparently my son is going to be a flautist, according to Karen’s mum. Something to do with the way he purses his lips. For this same reason, I think he’s going to be a professional raspberry-blower. His raspberries used to be quite subtle, but these days they’re very wet and very in-your-face. That’s not the way you play a flute, boy.

6. **Way To Blue** from Five Leaves Left – big strings. I have to confess, I found the lyrics to this song to be painfully hackneyed.

7. **I Was Made To Love Magic** from Time Of No Reply – conversely, I found the lyrics to this one to be quite interesting. Nick Drake confesses (not that he really needed to) that he can’t cope with people, but finds love in music. Are all the best songwriters depressed? Discuss.

8. **Strange Meeting II** from Time Of No Reply – a fairly miserable song that doesn’t do much for me. That said, I’ve barely listened to the lyrics, so I feel like I’m only reviewing half a song, if that. But, you know, that’s just the way that my brain works. If a song sounds interesting, I listen to the lyrics. If it doesn’t, then I allow my mind to wander. I could change, if I really wanted to.

9. **One Of These Things First** from Bryter Later – another song that shows me exactly how unoriginal Belle & Sebastian are. My whole world has been turned on its end. I can’t possibly review this song.

10. **Northern Sky** from Bryter Later – I’m very keen on this song, especially the way that the crescendo rises out of the instrumental. It’s a really nice love song, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the only love song that he ever wrote.

So, in conclusion: a mixed bag, but I’m glad that the playlist was selected by the Randomonominator, as Nick Drake is one of those artists that I probably should have exposed myself to sooner.

The next week’s playlist

We’ve decided that for the next few weeks, we’re going to change the format slightly. There’s a very good reason for this – we’ve got our tickets for the Green Man festival at the end of August, and so we’re going to use the stunt as a way of researching the various acts that will be playing. We’ll be using this Spotify playlist for material, but for the first week, we’re going to be listening to, and critiquing, Jarvis Cocker’s new album, *Further Complications*.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 19 – The Band

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Didn’t think much of this playlist first time through, until I got to the final track, which really woke me up. I’ve listened to it quite a few times since, and am really getting a lot out of it.

1. **Caledonia Mission** from Music From Big Pink – I love the slight brokenness to the vocalist’s delivery, and the verse to this song reminds me of *One With The Birds* by Bonnie Prince Billy. The chorus is much more jaunty though. Piano and guitar really fit together nicely. And I like the way that in the bridge, the organ and backing vocals sort of merge together and become whole. Great bassline. Reminds me of the sort of basslines that I write.

2. **Up On Cripple Creek** from The Band – I love songs that tell a story like this. But who is Bessie? Is she the narrator’s mistress? A prostitute? Or a metaphor for alcohol? Quality singalong chorus. And it’s got yodelling. I’m considering suggesting this as a cover version for my band’s set list. Great bassline. Reminds me of the sort of basslines that I write.

3. **Whispering Pines** from The Band – not the most infectious song on the playlist, but undeniably a fine demonstration of songwriting, with a very restrained performance by all of the musicians which leaves the song with the right feeling of spaciousness.

4. **W. S. Walcott Medicine Show** from Stage Fright – it’s a good, fun song, but doesn’t strike me as exceptional in any way. Another very groovy bassline.

5. **Chest Fever** from Music From Big Pink – this song is massive. Immense organ intro, earth-shaking drums, soaring vocals. Hey, remember how I used to complain about hard-panning? Yeah, I’m going back there again. Bass and lead guitar both panned hard-right. It’s fucking awful through headphones. The chorus should have been more climactic too. It’s a bit of a shame, because I want this song to be perfect.

6. **King Harvest** from The Band – there’s not much wrong with this song at all. Oodles of different ideas all mixed together nicely, and with great coherence. Jazzy rhythms that make you funk along in your chair. Guitar solo is short, ending is a bit damp.

7. **It Makes No Difference** from Southern Cross – it’s a fine ballad, but it’s still just a ballad. I’ve heard so many ballads in my life, and this one just blends into the crowd. It’s drawn out to 6 and a half minutes by dint of lengthy guitar and saxophone solos. Why?

8. **The Shape I’m In** from Stage Fright – this one’s a sort of country ditty, fairly simple but singalongable. It can’t be denied that it achieves what it sets out for, though I’m not sure that it necessarily needed this many guitar and organ solos. Maybe they had a contractual obligation to make it 4 minutes long.

9. **Don’t Do It** from The Last Waltz – I’m not sure that I have the words to describe how much I like this version of this song. Great bass, piano, brass. Superbly co-ordinated. Exquisitely paced. It’s not a complex song, exactly, but it’s so well formed. It’s like the perfect omelette. It’s just eggs and milk and stuff, but when they are put together in exactly the right proportions, it’s a whole new experience. It’s originally by Marvin Gaye but there are also versions by The Who and The Small Faces. This one could beat all three in a fight, simultaneously.

10. **All La Glory** from Stage Fright – the first time I listened to this playlist I was barely listening, because I was so immersed in the book I was reading. But this song wrenched me out of it. It’s utterly beautiful, and the frailties in Levon Helm’s voice just make it all the more endearing. The last time that I was this overwhelmed by a song’s beauty was *When You Dream* by Barenaked Ladies. It’s quite a rare occurrence for me.

So, in conclusion: here’s the Spotify playlist because I really think there’s too many great songs in there to not share it. The last two songs, especially, are, in my opinion, unmissable. And The Last Waltz is now on my FILMS TO WATCH: URGENT pile.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 102
Only one playlist on this page – Nick Drake. The book says:

> The ultimate cult singer-songwriter, Nick Drake’s idiosyncratic brand of reserved British folk-rock melancholy went virtually unheard in his brief lifetime – but that cult just grows and grows.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 18 – Flying Nun

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Sometimes, on a playlist, there are one or two songs that are just playlist-filler. It turns out that this phenomenon propagates to the next level up, too. This entire playlist is book-filler.

1. **Nothing’s Going To Happen** Tall Dwarfs – perhaps I’m just very suggestible, but I felt like nothing happened in this song.
2. **Point That Thing Somewhere Else** The Clean – guitars playing the same thing over and over and over again. I feel like it’s playing fast and loose with the definition of the word “song”.
3. **Pink Frost** The Chills – cheery, upbeat lyrics about rabbits and kittens and no, not really, it’s about death. Start to finish, uninterrupted death. Not in a profound, inspiring or humourous way. Just in a really 6th-form, “hey isn’t death depressing” kind of way. The first 20 seconds seems to be a different song entirely. I wonder what happened there.
4. **Death & The Maiden** The Verlaines – it seems strangely ironic that a punk band from New Zealand, who can’t sing or play their instruments, would write a song that references a 19th Century French poet, a Munch painting, and a Schubert composition. It’s like putting a pile of gravel onto a plate and then christening it Raymond Blanc. If you called it gravel, no-one would be disappointed. “Yes, that’s gravel” they would say, and they could appreciate it for the gravel that it is. But if you try to dress it up as something higher, they’ll say “no, that’s not Raymond Blanc, now leave me alone, you lunatic.”
5. **Not Given Lightly** Chris Knox – the highlight of the playlist, for me. It’s friendly and light, clearly written with the intention of being excessively sappy (the author confirms it) but I’d rather listen to cheesy lyrics about love than four minutes of miserabling about death, and so to me this is more than just a novelty. It’s actually a very complete song.
6. **Nude Star** Garageland – very loud wall of guitars and ignorability in spades. I’ve been finding that I tend to tune it out until the last few seconds, at which point I notice that it’s finishing.

There were 10 songs on the playlist, but I have a certain “effort threshold” for obtaining the songs for this stunt, and obtaining the other 4 would have caused a violation of said threshold.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 17
Only one playlist on this page – The Band. The book says:

> Psychedelic songsmith Robyn Hitchcock has been called the human jukebox for his ability to play any song, any style. For this book, he sent in an entry for The Band: “In Levon Helm, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson had three great character actors to sing his songs. Garth Hudson was the alchemist who found melodies on keyboards and horn that hadn’t ever been found before. Though Levon contends that the songs were not Robertson’s as much as Robbie claims, no one could accuse Robbie of overplaying.”

Doesn’t give much away, does it?

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 17 – Tindersticks

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

It’s been quite a busy week, with fewer listening opportunities than usual. So far, with these stunt posts, I’ve reached the end of the week and been happy to move on to the next playlist, but with the Tindersticks playlist I actually want to listen to it some more! So I’m going to keep it on my MP3 player, I think.

1. **A Marriage Made In Heaven** from Donkeys – a nice song, but not the best on the playlist. We can get an idea very early on what to expect – nothing flashy, lots of strings, crooning male singer whose vocal technique is not the most tuneful, but definitely effective. I love the brass that comes in half way through the song – surprises me every time.

2. **Rented Rooms (Swing Version)** – the transition from the non-swing first half to the swing second half feels a little clumsy and really reinforces the fact that this is a song that has been swingified as a bit of a joke, really. I can understand where the desire to do this came from, but it still feels like a silly drunken gag that got taken too far.

3. **Kathleen** from Live In Amsterdam – this is great, very moody, very minor key, very Nick Cave. The urgency ramps up as the song progresses, and your pulse rate rises alongside. Nice execution.

4. **Her** from Tindersticks (The First Album) – lulls you in with some Spanish guitar and then goes all Misirlou on you. Very intense.

5. **Tiny Tears** from Tindersticks (The Second Album) – it’s got a chorus that has hooked itself onto my train quite tightly. It’s at about this point in the playlist that I realise that the vocalist is more or less incomprehensible. If you listen to this song with the lyrics in front of you, it’s actually hard to stifle a chuckle.

6. **She’s Gone** from Tindersticks (The Second Album) – I once wrote a song with the same title, but I don’t think it was as good as this. It was more of a “Hooray! She’s gone!” than a song which is, as far as I can see, about the sadness you feel when your child grows up and leaves home. Musically, this song doesn’t really stand out as anything special.

7. **Patchwork** from Tindersticks (The First Album) – pleasant, but by the standards of this playlist, it feels like 4:40 of filler.

8. **Can We Start Again** from Simple Pleasure – quite a bit bouncier than the preceding songs, this song pulls me along nicely. It doesn’t have a chorus, as such, just a great hook that occupies the last third of the song. It all feels like it’s over very quickly.

9. **People Keep Comin’ Around** from Can Our Love – a fairly groovy soul song, but fairly dull too. Check out the repetitive bass line. It’s not too bad as background music, but that’s like saying “it’s okay if you’re not listening to it”.

10. **Travelling Light** from Tindersticks (The First Album) – hmmm, it seems that if you take a man with a semi-tuneless vocal style, and pair him with a similarly-equipped female, you get a pretty rough end result. The chorus on this song annoys me fairly effectively too. But I love the sentiment behind the lyrics, with the male part trying to portray himself as someone who lives in the now, and isn’t weighed down by nostalgia, and the female part saying “sorry, fella, you’re full of shit, and you know it.” At least, that’s how I interpret it.

So, in conclusion: there are a couple of nothingy songs that don’t really have anything to make them stand out, but all things considered, this is probably one of my favourite playlists so far. It seems to have roughly the right balance of factors which is required the kind of music that I like to enjoy. It’s funny, I never realised that I had such fussy taste in music, but this stunt seems to be highlighting my criticalosity.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 133
Two playlists on this book – Flying Nun and “Folk-rock (1): English & Irish”. Coin toss favours the airborne Sister. The book says:

> Famously feted by the late John Peel as a model independent record label, Flying Nun took punk’s DIY ethic (also a defining feature of New Zealand culture) and nurtured the “pop primitive” sound that defined Kiwi music from the early 1980s.

I’ve managed to find 6 songs online, but the other 4 only appear to be available by buying the albums, and they probably wouldn’t arrive within a week anyway, so FTFAGOD.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 16 – Ska

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Most of this was utterly uninspiring, though I think I did quite like *Simmer Down* by The Wailers. I guess Ska just isn’t my thing. I can’t think of anything even remotely interesting to write about this.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re thinking of some witty comeback which plays on the “doesn’t usually stop you, Pete” motif. Heard them all before. You’re going to have to bring something sharper than that if you want to burn me.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 381
Two playlists on this page – Thrash Metal and Tindersticks. Tindersticks won the coin toss. This is probably for the best. The book says:

> Nottingham’s kings of soul-tinged, booze-drenched melancholy.

Music Gear

Bass Rig Evolution

Click on the image thumbnails for larger versions.

Stagg BA20

Stagg BA20

December 1997 – Present
Output: 20W
Speaker: 8″
Weight: 10kg

This was my first bass amp, and was used at a fair number of quiet pub gigs. I’ve never attempted to use it “against” a drummer, and I don’t think that it would cope. I have used it for rehearsal a couple of times in the last year or so, but on the whole, it’s not very satisfying to play through as there isn’t any decent bass response.

The control panel is a little peculiar – the EQ section has the knobs in the order Treble, Middle, Bass whereas convention normally puts Bass on the left.

Peavey Nitrobass + 2 x Peavey 115BX BW

My old Peavey Rig

August 2001 – July 2008
Output: 450W
Speaker: 2×15″
Weight: 92kg

Initially just a head and single cab, I got the second 115 cab in August 2002. This spent most of its time in the bedroom, only getting taken out for 3 gigs. Fantastic to play through – power in droves, trouser-flapping bass. Unfortunately it’s not very transportable – to just take the head and a single cab to band practise required me to lower the back seat on my Astra, which becomes a bit of a chore when you also have a toddler’s car seat to uninstall/reinstall each time. That said, when I did eventually sell it, the buyer managed to fit the whole lot in his Micra.

Ashdown EB12-180

Ashdown EB12-180

June 2008 – Present
Output: 130W (180W with an additional 8Ω cab)
Speaker: 12″
Weight: 27kg

I replaced the Peavey rig with this, as it fits into the boot of my car with no fuss, yet still goes loud enough to meet my present needs. Unfortunately, carrying 27kg in one hand over long distances is no fun (in fact, I generally need to stop periodically to change sides), and so this year I decided to start thinking about furnishing myself with my dream rig.

Hartke LH500 + Barefacedbass Compact

Hartke LH500 and Barefaced Compact

April 2009 – Present
Output: 380W (500W with an additional 8Ω cab)
Speaker: 15″
Weight: 25kg

This, in the words of Alex Claber ((owner/designer of Barefacedbass)), is a “righteous rig”. That’s no ordinary 15″ speaker in there, either – that’s a lightweight, high-sensitivity Eminence Kappalite 3015. The cab weighs less than half of one of those old Peavey 115BX BWs, and is roughly the same size as the Ashdown combo, so will fit in my car’s boot easily. I’m looking forward to gigging this little beaut.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 15 – Fleetwood Mac

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Usually I write my stunt post (and select the following week’s playlist) on Tuesday evening, but this week I completely forgot. Partly because I’ve had other things pressing on my attention (Bernard’s been poorly, and I’ve also been anticipating the arrival of my new bass rig) and partly because this week’s playlist has actually bored the shit out of me, because I knew half of the songs already, and the other half didn’t impress me much.

1. **Albatross** from English Rose – it’s a fairly pleasant song, but I think that I’ve heard it so many times that it no longer does anything for me. It’s passed the limit.

2. **Black Magic Woman** from English Rose – at the end of the day, it’s just a blues song. A particularly notorious one, yes, but not a particularly good one.

3. **Oh Well** from Then Play On – the first bit is a fairly short and spiky rock thing, which segues into a long and rambly quiet bit that develops at a snail’s pace.

4. **Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)** from 25 Years: The Chain – long and wanky, it reminds me of the lovechild of Cream and Spinal Tap.

5. **Hypnotized** from Mystery To Me – I really enjoyed this song, it’s got a nice summery vibe. It’s got a drawn-out ending, but I suppose that’s unavoidable for a song from this genrera ((portmanteau of genre+era)).

6. **Rhiannon** from Fleetwood Mac – I know that this song holds some significance for Karen, as she included it on one of her three “scrapbook” compilations. For me, I don’t know whether I like it or love it. But I definitely don’t dislike it.

7. **Go Your Own Way** from Rumours – I think I really, really like this song. It’s probably one of my favourite Fleetwood Mac songs. There’s passion in the vocals, and the guitar solo serves the song.

8. **You Make Loving Fun** from Rumours – despite having heard this song countless times, I still like it. Especially the chords in the bridge.

9. **Sisters Of The Moon** from Tusk – it’s all minor key and moody and despairiful. It’s not bad, actually, but I can’t think of anything specific that I like about it.

10. **Brown Eyes** from Tusk – the arrangement is fairly good, the whole song sounds complete and well-formed. But the tempo seems to drag, and it goes on for a fair while.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 338
Only one playlist on this page – Ska. The book says:

> As Independence fever swept the island at the start of the 1960s, ordinary, working-class Jamaicans rejected US R&B, or what was fed to them on the BBC-based national radio, in favour of a vociferous homegrown sound. This was ska – and as an intrinsic expression of Jamaican-ness, it is music that is always going to be hard to beat.

Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 14 – Sam Cooke

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*


1. **Any Day Now** from Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers – I sense that I’m supposed to be reviewing this song based upon his vocal performance. It’s fairly good, but there’s lots of note acrobatics, which has been taken to excess in recent decades. So Sam has a lot to answer for. Other than that, I found this song fairly dull.

2. **Wonderful** from Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers – if I was a devout Christian then maybe I’d get this, but I’m not, and so I just find it rather annoying.

3. **Jesus, Wash Away My Troubles** from Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers – stop expecting Jesus to clean up your shit, and take some responsibility for your own life. He’s been dead for years. The only use he’ll be now is if you spill some petrol on the forecourt and you need something sandy to soak it up.

4. **Nearer To Thee** from The Great 1955 Shrine Concert – I couldn’t find the “epic eight-and-a-half minute” version described in the playlist blurb, so my review is based on incomplete knowledge. But the version that I did find was quite dull.

5. **You Send Me** from Portrait Of A Legend – Sam realised that gospel was a dead-end genre and decided to dabble in some easy listening instead. It’s an improvement, but I’m not particularly impressed. I think I’ve written better songs.

6. **Wonderful World** from Portrait Of A Legend – I don’t know what a slide rule is for either. I do rather like this song. The Levi’s advert that it (or, an inferior version of it) was used in was the one where some dude climbs into the bath with his jeans on.

7. **Twisting The Night Away** from Portrait Of A Legend – I’m fairly keen on this song too. It’s actually a song that is in my current band’s repertoire, though our version doesn’t come close to the original, partly because we’re missing a piano and horn section. And Sam Cooke on vocals.

8. **That’s Where It’s At** from Portrait Of A Legend – probably the best song of this week’s playlist, it’s a beautiful soul ballad, and I love the way he practically screams the chorus.

9. **Bring It On Home To Me** from Portrait Of A Legend – this is just the same song again, though with an annoying “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain between Sam and Lou Rawls; which, according to Neil Foxlee, who compiled this playlist, is the “icing on the cake” of this song. Yeah, if the icing smelled of wee.

10. **A Change Is Gonna Come** from Portrait Of A Legend – I can’t help but be moved by this song, because I know that it dates back to a time when black people were genuinely seen to be inferior in the eyes of the law in the US. Okay, there’s still a lot of racism in the world, and maybe we’ll never be able to completely eradicate it, but things are undeniably better. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder that the human race has some capacity for improvement.

So, in conclusion: underwhelmed, but hey ho, that’s how it goes sometimes. His wikipedia page makes for an interesting read though.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 132
Two playlists on this page – at the coin toss stage, Flaming Lips concede to Fleetwood Mac, though I would have been happy with either. The book says:

> Around the eternal nucleus of Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass), Fleetwood Mac have battled through since 1967. Their story has been described as the ultimate rock soap opera, but even the most imaginative scriptwriter would struggle to dream up such a litany of success, failure, love, hate, alcoholism, disappearance, sex and drugs. And that was just 1971.