The Saturday Shuffle – Week 5

Good Afternoon, everybody! It’s another scorching day in the Shire, and I’m sure you’ve been waiting with baited breath for this next instalment! ‘Will there be more sodding Beatles tracks’, you’re possibly wondering…

  1. One of the 38 – Nick Harper. No, not the character from My Family played by Kris Marshall, this is the son of sixties/seventies folk rock stalwart Roy Harper (who happened to be mates with Led Zeppelin, so you can imagine the upbringing Nick had). He’s a genius with a guitar – if you get the chance, see him live. You’ll be falling over yourselves to thank me. This is a fairly recent song, and enjoyable at that.
  2. Sexy Sadie – The Beatles. It’s the greatest band ever. Again. Allegedly written by John about the Maharishi from their time in India (it was definitely written by John, the allegedly relates to the subject matter). Rumour has it that the spiritual leader tried it on with a lady when he’s supposed to be above all that sort of thing.
  3. Song 2 – Blur. Woo Hoo! Two minutes of dirty, heavy rock from the ‘Blur’ album that was such a massive departure from what went before. Let the head banging commence!
  4. If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next – Manic Street Preachers. A long song title. If my memory serves me correctly (which it sometimes does), this was about the Spanish Civil War. Which is nice.
  5. St Louis Slim – Seasick Steve. A bit of blues to finish off this week’s shuffle. Seasick Steve shot to UK fame off the back of an appearance on Jools Holland’s show and hasn’t looked back since. This is from the ‘Best Of’ album I purchased recently, because, sometimes, you need some Seasick Steve in your life.

And so ends this week’s shuffle. See you next week!!

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 4

It’s that time of week again!!

  1. Buddy – De La Soul. Ah, Buddy. Billed as De Le Soul, but featuring some ‘friends’ – Jungle Brothers and Q-Tip (if you haven’t got a clue, just Google it, or ask my brother). Not surprisingly, I have my brother to thank for this one!
  2. I Just Don’t Understand – The Beatles. Yes, I know. The Beatles again. But this is a cover from the first Live at the BBC album.
  3. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – Bob Dylan. A recent winner of the Nobel Literature prize is Mr Zimmerman. Unlike him though, I probably won’t give a lecture using suspiciously familiar web content!! This is from the ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ album, which is the landmark album where he moved from the folk genre into the electric folk genre (he took plenty of stick for that). This is from the acoustic ‘Side 2’ (for those who still work in vinyl). It’s also seven and a half minutes long…
  4. Stop The Clocks – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. From the more talented Gallagher’s first solo record. If I’m honest, it’s probably one of the weaker songs he’s written. Definitely an album filler along the lines of ‘She’s Electric’ or ‘Magic Pie’.
  5. Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles. Not the finished version you hear on ‘Revolver’, but the work in progress first presented on the Anthology albums (the second one, to be precise). You can hear the basic track and rudimentary loops going on in the background, and the slight distortion of John’s vocal which he apparently wanted to sound like monks singing from the top of a mountain…

And there’s your five for today. I think we’ve all learned something…

Donald Returns

Donald And The Incompetent Theresa

Poor Donald was struggling. He was being talked about as the worst ever to hold his position. He knew this because he hid around corners when his staff were chatting in corridors, in toilets, or by the coffee machine. They didn’t know this, which accounted for the freedom of their speech. Whether it was his humorous hairstyle, his remarkably small hands, or the way he wore his tie stupidly long, they really didn’t hold back.

And so, he was incredibly overjoyed when he got a call from Theresa, who was new across the pond. She had taken over the huge clusterfuck of a company last year, and was having trouble imposing her will on the folks. Donald had called her to provide advice – ‘you gotta stop new people coming in until you work out what the hell’s going on there’. He’d also sent her an email following a particularly bad savaging she’d received in the press.

“Dear Theresa, (it read) I saw what they writ about you the other dayy. No matter how bad the press covfefe-”

His small hands had mistyped and he had sneezed at the wrong moment, causing his finger to accidentally click the mouse button, sending the incomplete and unchecked message to Theresa, and somehow, everyone in his email contacts. He quickly received a reply from his secretary, Michaela (it was Mike really, but Donald was incredibly sexist and refused to entertain the idea that a man could be a secretary) admonishing him for sending an email without being proofread first. He also got a reply from Theresa asking what the actual fuck a ‘covfefe’ was. He decided to front it out and so ignored both emails. Instead he went to the drinks cabinet and poured himself a chocolate milk.

The next day, he heard a couple of the women talking about his email in the toilet. It was difficult to make out exactly what they were saying because the toilet flushed and caused the wiretap to overload. He really needed to speak to his security guys about the placement of wiretaps in bathrooms. They had already made a hash of the peep-holes, making them too big. He had somehow managed to explain it away to Mike and Donald Junior in such a way they laughed it off. His other conversation with security was going to be about putting the spy-holes in the ladies bathroom. The talk was not good, anyway, so Donald decided to do something about it. He asked Mike/Michaela to place a call to Theresa.

“Donald,” came the voice at the other end. “Hello,”

“Hey Theresa,” Donald said. “Wow, your voice is quite different on the phone. Almost masculine.”

“Actually, it’s Mike, your Secretary.” Came the reply. “I’m just patching you through now.”

“I knew that, just kidding,” Donald blustered. Mike sighed, and the he heard the sound of a phone being put down.

“Donald, hello,” said a definitely female voice.

“Hey Theresa,” Donald greeted her.

“Ah, no. I’m her Private Secretary.” A brief pause. “I’m afraid she is in a meeting that has overrun slightly.”

“Right, no problem,” Donald laughed. “I can hold.”

“Are you sure? It might be a while,” came the reply.

“I’m sure,” Donald assured her. “I have nothing else to do,” he explained, looking straight past the huge pile of papers stacked in his ‘In Tray’ and the countless unopened emails on his computer screen.

“Alright then,” the Secretary told him, and then his ear was filled with the sound of some godawful classical music that could have been played by a three year old.

He was on hold for what felt like hours, but what was in fact two days. He was getting pretty mad by this point – he’d missed two rounds of golf and a massage with the hot Russian babe at the spa. Finally, as Donald was nodding off, the music stopped and he heard a female voice speak.

“Donald, I’m so sorry,”

“You fricking well should be you prissy little madam!” Donald yelled. “I’ve been on hold for two fricking days waiting for some dumb broad to patch me through to her boss.” There was a silence at the other end. “You giving me the silent treatment now, huh?”

“Certainly not. I will pass your feedback on to my Secretary once we have finished our conversation. I’m sorry about the delay, but we had a minor emergency in the office and in our hastiness to evacuate the building, Amber totally forgot about you.”

“Huh?” Donald was confused (which wasn’t difficult).

“This is Theresa. To whom you have been waiting to speak.”

“Umm” Donald fumbled and stumbled over his words.

“If you’re finished?” Theresa sounded pretty pissed off.

“Hey, no. I just called to let you know you have my support.” Donald said, yawning.

“That’s most kind,” Theresa thanked him, a slight softening of her tone. “I could certainly do with some support.”

“How come?” Donald asked.

“Well, I made a bit of booboo the other day. I was concerned that the board weren’t fully behind me, so I called for a vote of confidence.” Theresa sighed. “I lost.”

“That’s a shitter,” Donald commiserated. “When I hold board meetings, I go round the table and let everyone tell me how great I am.”

“You do?” Theresa sounded surprised.

“Yeah, they love me. And if they don’t,” he paused, “I fire their sorry asses!”

“An interesting approach.” Theresa said. Donald thought he could hear the sound of pencil on paper.

“Yeah, so anyway, I gotta go,” Donald said. “I’m meeting a couple of the guys at the golf club for a quick round before I meet the Head of Security.”

“That sounds like you have a busy day.”

“Yeah,” Donald agreed. “But I always play golf before I fire someone!” He laughed himself silly and put the phone down without the usual farewell etiquette was observed.

He got up from his desk, straightened his tie and strode out of his office, past Mike’s desk (where he was struggling under the sheer weight of work that Donald had ignored for the past two weeks) and out to the lift.

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 3

Another Saturday afternoon comes round again. Which means more musical randomness and waffling from yours truly! On with the show…

  1. I’ll Be Back – The Beatles. The Beatles. Again. A nice song from the Hard Day’s Night album that wasn’t in the film.
  2. I Feel Fine – The Beatles. Is this shuffle thing working?!! It seems it is. The first mainstream pop/rock track to feature feedback. Some say it was an accident, others suggest it was deliberate. I don’t care, because it’s the Beatles and it’s brilliant.
  3. My Ever Changing Moods – Paul Weller. Ok, so it’s actually a Style Council song, but it was on a Paul Weller compilation that featured his Jam and solo hits too. Quite appropriate for me these days as I can change in the blink of an eye.
  4. Watching The Wheels – John Lennon. A song obviously written about his five year break from the limelight, where he gave up music and being famous to bring up Sean. He was quite happy to do so, and I guess others were confused by it. I sometimes wish I could take a break from being me.
  5. Cry For Love – Iggy Pop. I downloaded the best of Iggy Pop after watching the second Trainspotting film (who doesn’t love ‘Lust For Life’?) and this is on the album. I obviously copied the whole album to my phone without listening to the songs first because I don’t remember hearing this song before! It’s not bad though, if you ask me.

And there it is for another week. Maybe there’ll be no Beatles songs next time, who really knows?!

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 2

It’s Saturday afternoon people. Which means only one thing – shuffle time! So, without any further ado, here we go…

  1. A Boy Like Me – Cast. Remember Cast? Unbelievably good band from Liverpool that were big in the 90’s? Well, they went away for a bit, and then came back a few years ago with a pretty damned good album called ‘Troubled Times’. This is from that record and it’s still got the classic Cast formula.
  2. Peacock Suit – Paul Weller. The Modfather. This was one of those songs I knew about but never really listened to it much. Then I bought one of his ‘Best Of’ collections and that was that. Does anyone know what a ‘Peacock Suit’ is? Do you have to kill the peacocks first?!
  3. Twist And Shout – The Beatles. With the large selection of Beatles songs on my phone, there was a pretty good chance a Beatles song would come on. Would everyone in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you can just rattle your jewellery. A classic Lennon line from the Royal Variety Performance before blasting this gem out. This is the album version that apparently shredded John’s voice after a long day in the studio.
  4. Swanee River – Hugh Laurie. Hmm. An interesting track. I can’t remember where I heard that Hugh Laurie had recorded an album, it may have been on Jools Holland’s show. But to be fair, it’s not bad.
  5. Paradise City – Guns N Roses. I was first exposed to this as a fresh-faced 7 year old boy thanks to my brother. He had the ‘Appetite For Destruction’ album on cassette (remember those?) and as a result of having neighbouring bedrooms, I tended to absorb a lot of his musical taste. There wasn’t much option!!

That was painless. Same time next week?

Song Title Short Story #13

Redondo Beach – Morrissey

“I don’t need this bullshit,” Clare yelled. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m the man who brought you here to try and help you relax,” Mark yelled back. “Some thanks this is!” He reached over for his phone and stood up to leave. Clare stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Mark stood in the hotel room, seething. He looked around for his shoes.

He was just finishing tying the laces on his shoes when Clare came out of the bathroom. She sat down on the bed next to him, but he ignored her, studiously looping the lace and wrapping the other one round before finishing with a deliberate motion. Just to be sure, he double tied it as he had with the other shoe. Clare cleared her throat as if to talk, but before she could start, Mark stood up and walked to the door. He stopped for a moment, then turned round.

“Actually, why am I going?”

“What do you mean?” Clare asked, a little puzzled.

“I paid for this room. Maybe you should go instead?” Mark almost sneered. “Go on, take your things and go.” Clare looked at him in a state of shock. Without a word, she stood up, grabbed her bag off the bed and stormed out. Mark threw himself down on the bed and buried his head in the pillow.

It was about two and a half hours later, Mark was half-watching something on television, and he felt bad. He couldn’t even remember what had set off the argument. He picked his mobile off the bed next to him and dialled Clare’s number. It rang out for a bit and then went to answerphone. He left a grovelling message and begged her to come back. He went over to the window and looked out at the sea view he had paid extra for. His attention was drawn to a crowd just by the water’s edge. An ambulance was there. He felt sorrow for whoever was in trouble, but he couldn’t get Clare off his mind. He turned away from the window and headed for the door, swiping the room key off the table as he passed.

He came out of the lift into the hotel foyer. He went over to the reception desk and asked the young girl if Clare had come past. The girl listened to his description and gave a shrug of her shoulders.

“It’s been busy.” She told him. Mark thanked her and went out through the front entrance. As he walked, a group of elderly ladies hurried past. He heard snippets of conversation – ‘poor girl’, ‘troubled soul’ and ‘pretty’. He saw the ambulance drive off down the street and an inexplicable feeling of dread came over him. He ran back to the hotel and spoke to a different receptionist who was just removing his coat. Mark described Clare to him. The guy looked at him with sadness in his eyes.

Mark went up to the room again and threw himself on the bed, tears streaming down his face.

Song Title Short Story #12

Just Pretend – Elvis Presley

Something was wrong. I had walked away too soon. We were both heartbroken at the time, and we’d kept out of each others way for over a month, trying to let the emotional scars heal. This was easy enough considering the geographical distance between the two of us. I often wondered if you were doing okay, or if you were suffering just as I was.

Then, one day, I stopped and thought to myself – ‘what was I doing?’ It was blatantly clear to me that I needed you, and I hoped you still needed me. I took a huge leap of faith and I keyed your number into my phone and pressed the ‘call’ icon. The phone rang out, and just as I was about to give up, I heard the click and your familiar voice. We talked, awkwardly at first, but then the familiar old ways came back and soon we were laughing like we used to.

As the conversation tailed off, neither of us wanting to address the elephant in the room, for fear that the feelings might not be mutual, I wondered if this was it, which scared me more than anything, so I took a deep breath, and went for it.

“I made a huge mistake, leaving you like that,” I admitted. “You said that if I needed you, I’d know what to do. Does that still stand?” There was a momentary silence, then a quiet sound that could have been a sigh, or a sob.

“What do you think?” She replied.

“Okay then,” I sighed. “I’ll pack some stuff, and I’ll be with you very soon.”

“I can’t wait,” she said, a happy tone in her voice now. “Until then, I’ll just pretend you’re already here.”

“This is going to be brilliant,” I shouted, both of us laughing now, the sadness completely forgotten. “I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again,” I told her.

“Well, we’ll just have to pretend you never left,” she suggested.

That was the longest three hour journey of my life! The weather was truly awful, rain lashing down on my windscreen, requiring the wiper blades to be on full speed, and me, peering through the darkness, trying to see the road ahead. But all along the way, I kept telling myself this was totally worth it. As I got closer to your house, the stress of driving was replaced by that familiar feeling of butterflies and nervousness. But when I did finally arrive at your doorstep and rang the doorbell, you opened the door and I knew it had been completely worth it. We embraced there and then, and I promised you as we stood in the rain, that I was where I belonged, and I would not be leaving your side ever again.

Once I was dried off, we cuddled up on the sofa and watched some dodgy television show and that was where we fell asleep – in each others arms.