Rearranging The Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #7

(When the everything falls into place and the truth is revealed.  Probably.)

When I was sixteen I went to the police station to rat on a guy called Geoff who was handling all manner of stolen goods in exchange for various types of narcotics and cash.  If you needed say a car stereo (and back then you did need a car stereo) or a dozen bottles of paracetamol, then Geoff from the estate was your man.  Sadly for Geoff his little brother Alfie threatened to kick my head in after a particularly controversial game of Pom Pom. So I grassed his brother up.  The police told me that I would remain anonymous.  A week after his door got kicked in, an envelope full of dog turds got posted through my front door and my dad’s Renualt’s tyres got slashed.  I’ve always been wary of telling the Old Bill anything since then.

Don’t Tell Anyone – Colour Me Wednesday (2016, Doveton Records, Taken from ‘Anyone and Everyone EP’)

After the message from my wife I went home and sat there on the sofa not quite knowing what to do.  I idly picked at a sausage roll from the fridge and mulled the events of today over in my mind.  After a good hour or so or debating this I decided to write everything down.  Firstly I drew a mind map, I seen some boffins do this on in an episode of NCIS and they solved a twenty year old murder just by doing it, so I did that and when I finished it looked like I sneezed on a bit of paper and then scribbled on it.  

Where’s Your Head At? – Basement Jaxx (2001, XL Recordings, Taken from ‘Rooty’)

Then I wrote up my notes and left then on the kitchen table.  I sent my wife a message, asking her when she would be home (about eight she said).  I decided to tell her my story, from the bit where I was stuck on the roof, right up to the bit when I found out that Veronica had no idea that Kevin had a set of keys to Angela Finch’s house.  I was then going to deliver the note to the police station, as long as my wife thought it was a good idea.  I didn’t want more bags of dog poo pushed through the letterbox, saying that my letterbox is at the edge of my drive, so it would matter that much.

When I’d finished I slumped back on the sofa, exhausted and then glanced up at the clock it was a quarter to seven in the evening.  It was then I realised I had to return Angela’s keys to Kevin so that he could apparently feed the cats.    I grabbed my car keys and Angela’s keys and then left the house.

It is about a three minute drive to Kevin’s house.  He lives in a small thatched cottage about three doors up from the pub.  It has a massive cherry tree at the front and in the summer he sells bags of cherries for a pound a bag.  He has a noticeboard erected outside his house in which he usually advertises local events that the church is running.

I parked in the small car park at the back of the church and wandered down to Kevin’s.  I said a deliberately cheery “Hello” to an old guy called Eric who lives nearby and was unloading shopping bags from his car, just in case Kevin bludgeoned me death with a spanner.  Eric asked me “How I was diddling?” and then went back to his over packed Marks and Spencers bag.  One of them had a split in it and I feared for his pork roast.

If I Die – Biff Bang Pow (1987, Creation Records, Taken from ‘The Girl Who Runs the Beat Hotel’)

It was a nice evening, the sun was beginning to go down and there was some warmth in it, the rain of earlier had all gone.  I stopped just outside Kevin’s gate and took a few deeps breaths.  I sent my wife a quick text asking her if she could pick up some milk on her way home from the hospital (she is a nurse) and left a kiss and then I opened the gate and walked in.

I got about five paces, when Kevin opened the door and waved at me.  He was holding a drill at the time and I had several quick flashbacks to my mate Dean’s lounge in the mid nineties and us scaring ourselves stupid aged thirteen watching his dads stash of video nasties. 

I pulled the dinosaur keyring out of my pocket and as I did, my phone rang.

It was my wife.  I held my hand up to Kevin and turned my back.  Which I thought was a daft thing to do considering I thought he was a killer and he was armed with a battery operated drill.

“Hey” I said to my wife. 

“Hey” She said, “Can’t talk for long, it’s bedlam here, but just quickly.  I’ve just been talking with Angela Finch, her sister’s been taken in with a gastro…”

“What, hang on say that again” I said interrupting, and my wife repeated what she said, I span round and looked at Kevin, he was pretending not to listen on his doorstep.

 “Oh thank god” I whispered. 

“Her sister is very ill, darling” my wife snapped. 

“Oh, yes, I mean, doesn’t matter, carry on”.

Fresh Feeling – Eels (2001, Dreamworks Records, Taken from ‘Souljacker’)

My wife in her duties as a nurse had bumped into Angela Finch on the Ross Kemp Ward at the hospital and had a brief chat with her.  Her sister has been taken seriously ill with some sort of stomach issue and after all the pleasantries, she had reminded my wife that I had promised to sort out a wiring problem in her kitchen and that if I was going to do it tomorrow then I could get a key from Kevin, whose feeding the cats and let myself in.  I was also told that I could help myself to the ginger cake in the breadbin.  

Kevin walked past me and went and stuck something on his little noticeboard and I walked towards him. I looked at the notice as he stapled it to the board.

The Friends of St Andrews Church Present “Agatha Christie Night” was what it said. 

“Agatha Christie” I said and looked at him, my voice wobbling largely out of relief.

“Yeah, we are doing a version of ’Murder at the Vicarage’, I’m playing the killer.  All a bit of fun.  We were practising our lines today at the church.  Jean is playing my accomplice and my Ronnie is playing Miss Marple.  All a bit of fun.  You’ll come along won’t you.  Tickets are a fiver…?”

Oh Me, Oh My – James Yorkston (2019, Domino Records, Taken from ‘The Route to the Harmonium’)

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow. And I promise never to do this again.

Thanks – The Wedding Present (1989, RCA Records, Taken from ‘Bizarro’)

Rearranging The Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #6

(Let’s recap, our hero has hotfooted to Angela’s house to find evidence of her demise, and the phone has just rung)

When I was fifteen I found myself alone in my friend Dean’s house.  He had to nip to his grans for dinner and he told me that I could stay and watch his video of 101 Great Goals (this was 1989 by the way because the last goal featured is Keith Houchen’s diving header for Coventry against Spurs in the 1987 Cup Final).  He would only be an hour or so.  Anyway there I sat on his mums sofa, eating their crisps and supping their lemonade, when the phone rang.

Dean’s Room – Allison Crutchfield (2017, Merge Records, Taken from ‘Tourist In This Town’)

It was his dad on the phone – and he thought he was speaking to Dean.  So I pretended to be him so that Dean wouldn’t get into trouble for letting his mates loose on the snacks.  It worked for about two minutes until the dad twigged and he shouted down the phone at me and told me to buggr off out of his house.  I was never invited back to that house ever again.

Anyway, there I stood in Angela Finch’s sitting room with two options, firstly I could ignore the phone, which in hindsight is what I should have done, but in reality I took the second option and answered the phone.  My reasoning is that I thought it might be her sister and I could get some vital information

But it wasn’t her sister. 

There was an awkward silence when I answered, and a female voice said “Oh”.  Then there was another awkward silence.  So I spoke and said that I was in the house fixing a cupboard and that Angela wasn’t in at the moment.  Could I leave her a message.  The voice said she was Veronica Chambers and she was call back later, before I could say another word, she hung up. I wrote the name down on a cat shaped post it note and stuck it on the phone and decided to continue with my looking round. 

I Found A Reason – Cat Power (2000, Matador Records, Taken from ‘The Covers Record’)

But my mind was whirring a bit more.  The name Veronica Chambers meant very little to me but I was sure I had seen the name somewhere before in the village, and it played on my mind as I looked for the address book.  If Veronica was a close friend, she would be in the book I thought. I also sent my wife a message because if she was local then my mother in law would definitely know her,

 “Can you ask your mum who Veronica Chambers is please?”

It didn’t take me long to find the address book.  It was on the second shelf of the bookcase tucked in between a big copy of the Bible and an Illustrated Guide to Horses. It had a flowery cover, but I didn’t open it because something else on the shelf caught my eye.  There was a printed picture left on the sideboard and I picked that up instead.  It was a photo of Angela standing in a group with four people.  They are standing in the church in front of the font and a huge basket of flowers.  Angela is in the middle of the group and she is flanked on the left by the vicar and to the right by a religious looking man who is shaking Angela’s hand.  To right of the religious looking man is Kevin and to the left of the vicar was Mrs Checkley.  Kevin is just about smiling but Checkley looks absolutely furious, murderous you could say.

Hideous Heart – Ichabod Wolf (2018, Adult Teeth Records, Taken from ‘Carry On Crow’)

Angela was holding something in her other hand, but the photo was blurred – but I have seen this photo before somewhere, very recently.

I popped the print out back where I’d found it and took the address book over to the small coffee table, which had a half done puzzle of a farmyard on it and sat down to read it.   I looked at my watch, it was twenty past four, and I needed to be somewhere else.

Get A Move On! – Mr Scruff (1999, Ninja Tunes Records, Taken from ‘Keep It Unreal’)

Then my phone buzzed just as I was turning to C in the address book.  It was my wife. 

“Veronica Chambers is the partner of Fat Kevin the bloke who fixed her boiler for free last summer, those are her exact words.  Does she need some work doing?”.


Bad Feeling (Demo) – Veronica Falls (2011, Slumberland Records, Taken from ‘Veronica Falls’)

League Two Music – #11 – Crawley Town

Charlotte Sometimes – The Cure (1981, Fiction Records, Taken from ‘Faith’)

Before 2005, Crawley Town were a pretty uneventful non-league side.  Between 1984 and 2005 they spent twenty seasons in the Southern Division finishing no higher than 8th and no lower than 15th in that time.  In 2005, they finally achieved some success by winning promotion to the Conference.  Then they turned professional and in 2007 they appointed well known fat bastard Steve Evans as their manager.  In 2010, the club received substantial financial backing from ‘overseas’ (that is what it says) and spent heavily so that they could achieve promotion to the football league.   They were rumoured to have spent £300,000 on a single player and close to £1 million in a single transfer window.  

The expense worked and in 2011, after a highly lucrative FA Cup run (where Crawley lost 1 nil to Manchester United in the fifth round at Old Trafford – United were lucky as star striker Richard Brodie (the player that Crawley paid £300,000 for) – hit the cross bar from three yards out in the 93rd minute.

Crawley spent heavily again in their first season in league football and were immediately promoted to League One, where they spent three years before being relegated back to League Two where they have remained since 2015.

In April 2022, the strangest chapter of Crawley Town started, they were bought out by WAGMI United Ltd, who earnt their money by investing in cryptocurrency.  The new owners promised a new approach and talked about dominating football in ten years.  Within a month their manager had been sacked (and subsequently banned for 18 months) for racial abusing his own players.  By October 2022, under the stewardship of Kevin Betsy, the club were bottom of League Two (its ok, Gillingham soon replaced them at the bottom).  In November Betsy was sacked and replaced by Matthew Etherington.  In December 2022 they sacked Matthew Etherington after 32 days in charge of the club and their chairman a man called Preston Johnson appointed himself co caretaker manager with ex pro Darren Byfield.  Johnson didn’t understand how substitutions worked and by January 2023 a man called Scott Lindsay became the clubs fifth manager since April.

There maybe hope for Gillingham yet (who have just been bought by an American property magnate and is currently investing heavily). 

The most famous musical act to have come out of Crawley is The Cure, Robert Smith was born in the town, and this lyric from ‘One Hundred Years’ was apparently written whilst waiting in the queue at Crawley Job Centre (that isn’t true but I like the imagery of Smith clad in black waiting in line to collect information about a bus drivers job that he doesn’t want).

 “It doesn’t matter if we all die. Ambition in the back of a black car

One Hundred Years – The Cure (1982, Fiction Records, Taken from ‘Pornography’)

Elsewhere San Francisco indie rock band The Pleased qualify for the freedom of Crawley under the BRMC South Devon Clause, as guitarist Rich Good originates from Crawley.

Already Gone – The Pleased (2003, Big Wheel Reception Records, Taken from ‘Don’t Make Things’ )

Also from Crawley is Kingslee James Mclean Daley – or Akala as his fans know him.  Akala is a rapper and political activist who now spends most of his time writing excellent books on race and the empire.

Shakespeare – Akala (2006, Illa State Records, Taken from ‘It’s Not A Rumour’)

All of which brings us to this week’s previously unheard of band, who are Young Fatigue.  A band who describe themselves as a sleepy punk band who are inspired by 90s grunge. 

Love/Them – Young Fatigue (2022, Self Released, Single)

Nearly Perfect Albums – #49

Definitely Maybe – Oasis

Rock N Roll Star – Oasis (1994, Creation Records)

The first time I heard ‘Definitely Maybe’ I was sold.  I listened to it again on repeat just to make sure.  Yup, utterly sold.  From the era defining first line of ‘Rock N Roll Star’

Live my life in the city, there’s no easy way out

and its reverb heavy guitars and the way Liam frankly snarls all over it in a way, that we came to realise and adore, only he could (despite many trying, failing and vanishing).  I was sold on the way the drums sounded on ‘Columbia, I was sold on the way that Noel’s guitar playing sounded like nothing, absolutely nothing, that I had ever heard before (face facts Johnnys Marr and Squire).  I was even sold on the frankly ridiculous lyrics about “living under waterfalls” and the soppy, drippy sentiment that ran though songs like ‘Slide Away’, but most of all I was sold on the fact that ‘Live Forever’ was one of the greatest songs ever written.

Live Forever – Oasis (1994, Creation Records)

In 1994, Definitely Maybe’ was pretty much everything and right there and then, it, Noel, and (especially) Liam convinced me that the only life for me was that of being a rock star that had a seemingly endless supply of cigarettes and alcohol and a girl with whom I could literally live forever.

Cigarettes and Alcohol – Oasis (1994, Creation Records)

I saw Oasis live pretty early on into their career, not at the Water Rats or the 100 Club but at a fairly large London venue when the secret was out, and they were about six months away from being the greatest band on the planet (for three years at least).  I remember being fairly close to the front and being totally mesmerised by Liam.  By the way he stood so close to the microphone that he looked like he was going to headbutt it.  You know that look, arms behind the back, chin stuck out, swaggering back and forward with a stare that told you it doesn’t matter a jot what he was singing, it was how he was singing it that mattered and for a while at least, he was totally 100% spot on.

Columbia – Oasis (1994, Creation Records)

Of course, there are nowadays about a million reasons to lampoon Oasis, the fact that every album they did after say, 1997, was rubbish, watered down post Beatles slop.  The fact that Liam became a bit of a knobhead, that fact that Noel shat all his legacy into a rather large dustbin when he formed the High Flying Birds (and whilst I’m on the subject Liam did an even bigger dump of his legacy with Beady Eye).  The fact that they are (probably) singlehandedly to blame for the rise and almost total takeover of guitar music by mindless bloke rock designed to cater solely for men who drink in Wetherspoons pubs and think that Next is height of fashion. Like I said, a lot of reasons.

But. There are several million more reasons to love Oasis – Every Oasis single and album up to 1997 at the very least should be a mainstay in any music catalogue and to be honest you are all kidding yourselves if you think anything different, you loved them when they mattered.  Admit it.

I’ll take you back up to the top of this piece and the thing I said about being sold by the soppy drippy sentiment of a song like ‘Slide Away’.  ‘Slide Away’, with the possible exception of ‘Live Forever’ is the greatest moment of Oasis’s entire career and it was their ability back then to firstly write songs like this and then go on stage and get Liam to deliver it, that made ‘Definitely Maybe’ so essential in the first place. 

Slide Away – Oasis (1994, Creation Records)

Rearranging The Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #5

(In which our hero has a good idea or so he thinks)

Five years ago I got made redundant from a firm of builders that I had worked for since I was about nineteen.  Seemingly thrust onto life’s scrapheap at the relatively young age of 43 I decided to start my own business and since then I have never looked back.  Since the pandemic I have been able to scale things back a bit and I am now pretty much the man to call in this village and three neighbouring villages if you need something fixing – there are not many kitchens in a five mile radius that I haven’t fitted cupboards into or patios that I haven’t helped lay.  One old lady paid me £200 last Christmas to build her a table that her granddaughter can build Lego on. 

Busy Earnin’- Jungle (2014, XL Recording, Taken from ‘Jungle’)

It was about five minutes after Mrs Checkley told us all that Angela Finch was staying with her sister that I had my first brilliant idea (well I thought it was brilliant).  The fuss of the broken vase and the possible missing person had, if you excuse the term, died down a bit. Taking my cue I asked Kevin, who, was unusually quiet, a question.

Plan A – Letters & Colours (2007, Mother Tongue Records, Taken from ‘Gaunt’ Single)

“Kev” I said, trying to appeal to his chirpy London demeanour, “A few weeks ago, Angela asked me if I could fix a cupboard in her kitchen for her, I said I’d do this week.  Do you mind if I do it when you pop round to feed the cats?  Shouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes, it was just a bracket that needed rehinging.”

Silence.  So I continued.

“Or you could just give me the key and I can go and do it now, its on the way home after all, I’ll drop the key back when I’m done. Be nice for her for it to be done when she gets home.  Her tins of rice pudding keeps falling out of the door you see”.

I’m usually a rubbish liar but I think I’d sounded pretty convincing, almost as convincing as Mrs Checkley I would say. Although I might have been pushing it a bit with the rice pudding.  Angela Finch would make her own rice pudding for sure.

Lies – Deap Vally (2013, Island Records, Taken from ‘Sistronix’)

Kevin stops sweeping the floor and, after the briefest of glances across to Mrs Checkley, who I am absolutely sure nodded her head, reaches into his pocket, and produces a set of keys.  They are dangling off a pink dinosaur keyring which has ‘Dinosaur World’ stamped on its belly. 

“Can you drop them back to me before 7 tonight please, as the cats will want their dinner”,

and with that he lobs the keys through the air and fall on the pew next to me with a clunk and I pick them up and literally run out of the church.

Don’t Look Back – Teenage Fanclub (1995, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Grand Prix’)

I went the long way round to Angela’s house, and I parked my van in yard by the farmers barn, phoned my wife to tell her where I was (in case I never returned) and then walked the couple of hundred metres down to Angela’s house.  I stopped twice to check that I wasn’t being followed by Kevin or Mrs Checkley and then let myself in the back door.  

The first thing that greeted me was Matthew, one of the cats, a big noisy brown shorthaired who leapt off a sideboard and meowed loudly at my feet and scared the life out of me.  I gave him a quick stroke, popped my bag down on the floor, and told myself that despite not knowing Angela’s sister name I should look for an address book.

Where Do I Begin? – Chemical Brothers (1997, Freestyle Dust, Taken from ‘Exit Planet Dust’)

I walked into the small sitting room, there was a big bookshelf on the wall by the door and a wall cupboard containing crockery and a series of framed photos on my left.  I had just picked up a photo of Angela with her arms around two small children when the phone on the table behind me rang.

Rearranging The Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #4

(Where is Angela Finch?  Come to think of it, Who is Angela Finch?)

After Mrs Checkley has spent five minutes apologising to firstly the vicar for dropping his vase on the stone floor and then to God for causing damage to his house.  She then spent a further ten minutes helping me, Mrs Figgis, the vicar and Kevin mop up the water and sweep up the broken glass. 

“I’m so sorry Vicar” Mrs Checkley said, dabbing her eyes with a lavender scented hankie that Mrs Figgis had produced from her tweed skirt. “It just slipped out of my hands”, I glanced her a look from the pew that I was sat on. She smiled a sad little smile at the vicar and as diversions go, smashing a cheap vase on the floor was a stroke of genius.

Everybodys Under Your Spell – The Duke Spirit (2011, Fiction Records, Taken from ‘Bruiser’)

“It doesn’t matter, my dear” said the stupid vicar, obviously distracted because as it had gone past three he had missed his daily lesson in Roman Wrestling with Mrs Figgis.  “It was a cheap vase and no one is hurt”.  Apart from Angela Finch I nearly mumble. 

I stood up, ready to seize the opportunity to get out of this place which seemed to be full of murderers, adulterers and war criminals that have had extensive plastic surgery.  But Mrs Figgis pipes up before I have the chance to leave.  “Geoffrey” she said. I realise she is talking to the vicar, as no one else in the room is called Geoffrey. “Ms Finch” she said looking at her watch.

Angela – Bill Callahan (2019, Drag City Records, Taken from ‘Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest’)

Angela Finch is your classic God fearing spinster.  A seventy three year old former librarian who lives alone on the edge of village in a rambling old three bedroomed cottage with only a radio, several hundred books and four cats (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) for company.  She goes to Bridge Club on a Monday night, does flower arranging at the church on a Wednesday and the Knit and Natter club on a Thursday morning.   She likes the novels of Catherine Cookson, and is an armchair fan of West Bromwich Albion Football Club.  I only know this much about her because I fixed her fence out the back of her house last summer and she told me all this I forced down a large piece of her homemade gooseberry cake as she made parsnip soup for her tea.

Them Changes – Thundercat (2015, Brainfeeder Records, Taken from ‘The Beyond/Where Giants Roam EP’)

Apparently, she recently broke off her friendship with the retired colonel who lives next door to the vicarage because he tried to hold her hand after too many glasses of wine at the local Toby Carvery.   “People will talk, Gerald” she snapped at him.  I only know this because my father in law is the head carvery chef at the Toby Carvery and he overheard her say it on his way back from the Gents.  

I like Angela.  She makes excellent cake.

But now, Angela is missing.   Not seen since the end of Bridge Club, where she was last seen strapping a head torch to her hat and striding off into the darkness without a single clue that something wicked awaited her.

Something Wicked (Hamilton Vocal) – Sea Power (2003, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘The Compleat British Sea Power Vol. 1’)

I look over at Kevin who is tipping some broken glasses into my bucket and I stand up and I am just about to tell the vicar that I will go and look for her when Mrs Checkley starts to talk again.

“Oh she’s not missing, she’s gone to stay with her sister for a couple of days, she lives in Bovey Tracey, near the Cromwell Arch and the delicatessen, she told me after Bridge Club that was where she was going.  Her sister is poorly and needs looking after.  Kevin is feeding her cats for her.  Aren’t you Kevin”?

And with that I sit down back down again and try to not look too worried as Kevin nods whilst sweeping the remnants of the glass vase into my bucket.

Worst Case Scenario – Stanford Prison Experiment (1996, Word Domination Records, Taken from ‘The Gato Hunch’’)

Rearranging The Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #3

(Will the sneeze prove fatal for our hero?)

I must have looked pretty odd when the vicar (accompanied by Mrs Figgis) eventually opened the roof door about ten minutes after I sneezed.  I stood there gripping my trowel.  I was prepared to, well, trowel someone to death if I had to. 

Clubbed to Death – Rob Dougan (1994, Mo’Wax Records, Taken from ‘Annie On One’)

Mrs Figgis held the door open as the vicar walked across the roof towards me.  I lowered the trowel and tried my best to look at the very least, sort of sane.

“Whatever’s the matter man?” said the vicar, “you look like you’ve seen a ghost” and he put his arm around me and lead me to the small wooden stairs that lead from the tower to the rood.  As we reached the doorway I felt the first drops of rain fall onto my head.  I looked back, my bucket sat all by itself over by the air vent and I broke free from the vicar and told him that I’d forgotten my bucket. 

The rain splashed on the reinforced roof of the tower as I trudged back over to get my bucket.  I took in a few deep gulps of air and then turned back around and grinned at the vicar,

“Vertigo” I said to him, “Sorry, makes me a bit, erm, forgetful”. I don’t know why I said that.  I figured that it was more believable than telling him I was shaken up by two of the flower arrangers conspiring to murder an as yet unknown person.

Vertigo – The Libertines (2002, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘Up The Bracket’)

We walk back down the stairs, I collect my bag from the office and head on out of the church.  As I walk through the aisles I see Mrs Checkley and Kevin standing by the door and putting a big tub of brightly coloured flowers in a tub.  They both stare at me as I walked down the church towards the exit.  I eye them suspiciously and quicken my step.  Kevin suddenly steps out in front of me and for some reason my legs sort of wobble and then just stop working. 

Paralyzed – Ride (1990, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Nowhere’)

I should fancy my chances in a straight up fist fight with Kevin.  For a start, I’m a lot younger than him.  I’m also in much better shape and I’m armed with a trowel.  He has what looks like a bunch of aspidistras in his hand.  I shouldn’t be worried about him.  Then again, on other hand, I haven’t poisoned someone, filled their pockets with rocks and then dumped them in a reservoir.

“Make you a cup of tea?” Kevin asks me in his chirpy Cockney drawl, “As a thank you for fixing the roof”, he looks towards Mrs Checkley who has a look on her face that could curdle any milk she touched.

God Help Me – Jesus and Mary Chain (1994, Blanco Y Negro, Taken from ‘Stoned and Dethroned’)

I shake my head and decline his offer, making an excuse that my wife is expecting me home so I can fix the dishwasher.  What I want to say is that I don’t want to be their next victim.  I’m sure I read somewhere that the sap from aspidistras is poisonous to humans.  I step to one side to pass the bulky figure of Kevin and as I do, a door opens from behind me and the vicars voice calls out.

“Kevin have you or Jean seen Angela Finch?  Apparently she has not been since she left Bridge Club last night.  Her neighbour has been round to her house and she is not there and her bed hasn’t been slept in”.

Have You Seen Her Lately? – Pulp (1994, Island Records, Taken from ‘His N Hers’)

And with that Mrs Checkley dropped a vase on to the cold stone floor.

Rearranging the Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #2

(Let’s recap, a man is stuck on a church tower roof, he is fixing some bricks when he hears a man called Kevin tell a seemingly an unknown person, that he had poisoned someone)

It wouldn’t surprise me if someone in this village had done away with someone.

Gosh – Jamie XX (205, XL Recordings, Taken from ‘In Colour’)

About six months ago, a man called Kieran, who owns the converted barns opposite the church was busted by the cops after an extensive CCTV system was found in his attic that relayed pictures from the bathroom and bedroom of one of his younger female tenants.  So like I said.  It wouldn’t surprise me.

Creep – Arlo Parks (2020, Transgressive Records, Single)

Kevin has lived in the village for as long as I can remember.  He is a likable enough chap, in his fifties, on the larger side of fat and he speaks with a distinctly London accent.  I’ve never met his wife – although I have seen her every now again pruning the dahlias in her garden. Kevin always seemed so nice, he fixed my mother in laws boiler once, and didn’t charge her a penny.  

The person he was speaking to soon revealed themselves as a female voice floated up the air vent.

“Good Man, she won’t trouble us again”.

It was the voice of Mrs Jean Checkley, the chair of the local Bridge Club.

Mrs Checkley, is an evil old cow.  I’ve had an intense dislike for her ever since she drove through a massive puddle and soaked me to the skin about six weeks ago.  I caught her eye in her mirror and she was laughing as the muddy spray engulfed me.  She has probably killed hundreds of people.  It wouldn’t surprise me if she worked for Khmer Rouge and has had loads of plastic surgery to transform herself into an ordinary old lady.

Muddy – Jamila Woods (2019, Jagjaguwar Records, Taken from Legacy! Legacy!)

As I stand there and popped the trowel back into bucket, I kind of give a little laugh.  I’m overreacting I tell myself.  I have only heard a snippet from a conversation.  Kevin may of course have been talking about some Japanese Knotweed that he had found growing in his garden.  He had taken advice from Mrs Checkley who could be for all I know a world renowned expert on the matter and I have heard one snippet and leapt to the wrong conclusion and I’m almost certainly wrong about Mrs Checkley being a former Khmer Rouge agent of death.

Sweet Little Jean – Cage the Elephant (2015, RCA Records, Taken from ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’)

As I pick my bucket up I have another listen down the air vent.   I can hear some shuffling and a tap running, so I guess I must be directly above the small closet that is on the small landing halfway up the tower.  The room they use for storing the vases and pots for flower arranging.  Then there is a cough and a female voices strikes up.

“What did you do with the body?  Did you take it to the reservoir at night, like I suggested, with rocks in her pockets?”

Jean’s voice.  Distinctly hers as she likes to think she is posh even though she drives a Hyundai and shops almost exclusively at Tesco’s. There is a short silence. Then Jean can be heard again.

The Sound of Silence (Acoustic Version) – Simon and Garfunkel (1964, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘The Lost BBC Sessions & More’)

“Is that a Yes?” More silence.  Then a short sinister sentence.


Then I do the worst thing that I can possibly do.  I sneeze, not once, but twice, not quiet little a-choo’s but huge, massive elephant sized honks that would rouse a bear out of hibernation.  It’s the concrete dust that does it.  The sneeze makes me drop my bucket.  There is a heck of a racket as the metal bit of trowel bashes the air vent.

 Jean’s voice is back.

“Is there someone on the roof Kevin?”

Rearranging the Flowers – A Pointless Whodunnit with musical interludes and 7 chapters – #1

(So, I’m going to see how this goes down….Take notes, you might need them later….But let me introduce something that I probably won’t ever do again – something which I think is a first for a music blog – a murder mystery with musical interludes.   Yes.  You read that right.)

I was stuck on the church roof when I first heard the news. 

Now, I know what you are thinking.  It is one of two things.  Either you are looking back at the first line of this and wondering what news I had heard.  Or you are wondering what I am doing on the church roof in the first place.  Or you might be one of these people who think ahead and right now you are thinking about both things, why is he on the church roof and is it connected to the news that he had just heard?

Let me try to explain. 

Long Story Short – Taylor Swift (2020, self released, Taken from ‘evermore’)

The reason I am on the roof is because Dave the church caretaker had asked me to go up there and sort the concrete on a couple of loose bricks from the turret.  It is a ten minute job at best and as Dave the church caretaker has a heart problem he can’t possibly climb up all the steps and carry a bucket of concrete at the same time so he asked me to do it.

Dave’s Song – Whitney (2016, Secretly Canadian Records, Taken from ‘Light Upon The Lake’)

Although of course the real reason that I am stuck on the church roof is because the door slammed behind me and rather stupidly it only opens from the inside.   The vicar definitely told me before I went up the tower steps to make sure that I wedged the door open with the handily placed rock, because due to a dodgy builder from the 17th century – the door only opens one way and despite him telling me this little more than 15 minutes ago.  I still forgot.   I stepped up on to the tower roof, took a deep breath. (You know a proper lung full), of the clean countryside air, stretched my arms up over my head, took in the view and then cursed as the wind blew the door shut behind me. It felt odd cursing on a church roof, but right now I have no sensible way of getting down.

God! Show Me Magic – Super Furry Animals (1996, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Fuzzy Logic’)

I also realised two other things up there on the tower roof, well three if you include the fact that sky to the west had gone a very dark colour and it looked like it was going to absolutely chuck it down.  Firstly, my phone, was in my bag, and my bag was down in the church office or the vestibule as I think it’s correctly called.  I had obviously just shrugged when the door slammed and thought I’ll just call Dave, he’ll help get the vicar to open the door, but I can’t do that now.  The second thing was that this concrete was rapidly going off so I might as well sort the brick problem out.  The vicar was bound to come and check on me if I am not back in an hour because he wants me gone by three as he has to take a Bible Class and needs ‘total quiet’ for that.

What Took You So Long? – Courteeners (2008, Polydor Records, Taken from ‘St Jude’)

Of course, literally everyone in the village, with the possible exception of Mr Figgis from Oak Cottage, knows that in reality the vicars Bible Class usually consists of him and Mrs Figgis from Oak Cottage going at it like a couple of springtime rabbits in the vestibule whilst the flower arrangers’ fuss about with the hydrangeas in the main church. 

Springtime – Leatherface (1991, Roughneck Records, Taken from ‘Mush’)

But surprisingly enough that isn’t the news that I heard whilst stuck on the church tower roof.  That  news I heard just as I set the second concrete brick back onto the turret.  It came from inside the church via a small air vent that pumps out onto the tower roof.  It was a Kevin’s voice, he is one of the flower arrrangers.  I knew it was him because of his Cockney accent, even though he tells everyone he is from Whitley Bay.  It was clear as anything and it sounds like he was talking to someone else.

“It’s done.  She’s dead.  I poisoned her just like you said”.

League Two Music – #10 Grimsby Town

Inspired By – The Brightlights (2007, Distiller Records, Single)

In 1907, Grimsby Town played a match against Glossop Town, in the football league.  The score is not recorded and it’s not really that important, what is important is the fact that on the day Grimsby Town set a record that it unlikely to ever be beaten.

The recorded gate receipts for that league game in 1907 is the lowest ever recorded by any football league club in England (so the gates were open and people had to pay to get in).  The amount taken that sunny afternoon was the princely sum of £32.   Thirty Two quid.  Even if a premier league side for some reason recorded an attendance of one, it would still beat that.  Even back in 1907 when football was a relatively cheap experience (ticket, pie and diphtheria sweets at half time, bus fare home, six bob) and £1 then is roughly worth £100 today, would have mean that the crowd would have been a little more than 200 if my maths is right (which it probably isn’t).  I bet it was a nil all draw with one shot on target all game and that was when the opposing goalie booted it the entire length of the pitch.

Like Colchester United before them, Grimsby Town have also had success in an obscure football competition.  In 1982 the team triumphed in the very short lived Football League Group Cup.  In fact they may well be the only ever winners of it.

It replaced something called the Anglo – Scottish Cup after the Scottish League side refused to take part.  Grimsby were one off 32 league side who took part, they were placed in one of eight, four team groups.  Grimsby cruised through the group winning every game without conceding a goal and eventually got to the final where they beat Wimbledon 3 – 2, a crowd of just 3,500 roared The Mariners home and an open topped bus parade around the town a week later, drew a crowd of 19 people (but that might have due to a sale at the local fish market).

Musically, it’s fair to say that Grimsby doesn’t really have a massive pedigree.  The most famous band I can find from the town are an indie band called The Brightlights who were coveted by Richard Branson and were used to promote the V Festival back in 2007.  The band looked set for success but due to some silent struggles with mental health they imploded in 2008.  Twelve years after the release of the debut single ‘Inspired By’ the bands debut album was released and its pretty good.

Elsewhere, qualifying under the BRMC South Devon clause, it would appear that TRex are from Grimsby on the basis that one of the band Steve Currie was born and raised in the town.  That at least gives us a reason to listen to a bit of this boombastic glam rock.

Children of the Revolution – TRex (1972, EMI Records, Single)

Also from Grimsby is the actor Thomas Turgoose who some of you will know starred in the This Is England films and TV Series.  Whilst he is not a singer or in a band, it does allow me to pick something from the This Is England Soundtrack – and bring a new clause into proceedings – The Turgoose Clause – which can be called upon when a towns musical heritage is so appalling that I have to resort to picking songs from a soundtrack from a film in which an actor or actress born in the town was in however briefly.

Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade (1984, Korova Records, Taken from ‘Strawberry Switchblade’)

All of which brings us to this weeks previously unheard of band who are the ridiculously young upstarts Revivalry.   They have been making music since they were 14 and they only formed in 2019.  They are, on a first listen at least, very good.

Regret You – Revivalry (2021, Unknown label)

Next Week Crawley Town