A Month all about Names – #15 – Annie/Anne

Annie – Elastica (1994, Deceptive Records, Taken from ‘Elastica’)

When I was 12 my school for its end of year production did a performance of the musical Annie.  A show that I was persuaded to take part in.  I was persuaded to take part by a girl called Claire who lived down the road from my Nan who was a couple of years older than me and who I had, it is fair to say, something of a crush on and I think she probably knew it and used to her advantage knowing that the choir (some of whom doubled up as random orphan children) were a couple of short. I was awful in it, the music teacher (the aforementioned Mrs Allington from a couple of weeks ago) recognised my complete lack of singing voice shunted me to the back of the stage where my voice would be drowned out by the music and other more tuneful voices.  Claire, by the way, played the part of evil Agatha Hannigan, the boozed up manager of the orphanage where Annie lived before she was adopted by billionaire Daddy Warbucks.  Claire, was excellent in this role, unsurprisingly.  This was my first and last ever performance in a musical.  Claire hooked up with a blonde haired kid called Gareth about six weeks into my second year at school.  Gareth also lived down the road from my Nan and my brother gave him a dead arm once during a game of it. 

I have always found the premise of the musical Annie, a bit concerning.  Even more so these days.  A billionaire whose nickname is ‘Daddy’ sends his secretary into an orphanage and randomly chooses an orphaned vulnerable child to live with him for a week.  There are no criminal background checks made, no one raises an eyebrow as to why a reclusive billionaire, might suddenly want a child (a massively ginger female chid at that) to talk to.  No one even checks that Daddy Warbucks is actually a billionaire like he says he is.   Dodgy.

There are quite a few Annie songs (none from the Musical or the utterly terrible remake starring Jamie Foxx – actually whilst I am here, the original Daddy Warbucks was played by Albert Finney, but he was the second choice for the role.  The original choice was Sean Connery.  Also film fans, Sean Connery was the original choice to play Gandalf but turned it down because he thought ‘Lords of the Rings’ was far fetched. 

Anyway I digress.  Here are four more songs from the music library with Annie in the title, starting with some post rock brilliance from Quickspace.

Death + Annie – Quickspace (1998, Kitty Kitty Records, Taken from ‘Precious Falling’) – ‘Death + Annie’ is the opening track of ‘Precious Falling’, which was an ‘album I played in the run up to my finals when I was University, it is a wonderful blend of Krautrock, post rock and sweeping cinematic soundscapes.  Next up, the Boo Radleys

Annie & Marnie – Boo Radleys (1998, Creation Records, Taken from ‘C’Mon Kids’) – ‘Annie & Marnie’ was originally one of the B Sides for the ‘What’s In the Box’ single.  A single that saw the band roundly stick up their middle fingers to the more commercial sound that their previous album ‘Wake Up Boo!’ had.  It was a good move because the album that followed ‘What’s In the Box’ – ‘C’mon Kids’ was all sorts of excellent (unlike ‘Wake Up Boo!’).  Next up, some lofi indie from Mac DeMarco.

Annie – Mac DeMarco (2012, Captured Tracks, Taken from ‘2’) – ‘2’ is the second album from Canadian singer Mac DeMarco and is according to him an album that he recorded entirely in only his underwear.  Finally, vintage transit pop from the greatest French band of all time (face facts Daft Punk).

Without Annie – Les Thugs (1986, Closer Records, Taken from ‘Radical Hystery’)

Tomorrow – Julie, who whoa whoa loves me truly.  Probably.

A Month all about Names – #4 –Barney

Barney (….and Me) – The Boo Radleys (1992, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Giant Steps’)

Fred Flintstone is a complete idiot.  Every night he puts his giant sabre toothed tiger out for the night.  The tiger then jumps back into the house through the gap where a window should be (this being the stone age (of sorts) glass seems not to have been invented, even though drive in cinemas, cars and according to one episode, cigarettes all have).  The tiger then picks Fred up and puts him outside instead. 

Fred is apparently totally oblivious to the fact that he doesn’t have any glass in his window and stands there hammering on his door shouting for his wife to let him back in the house.  Fred, mate, look to your left, there is a massive hole in the wall big enough for a tiger to get in.  What makes this even worse and pushes Fred up the Grand Order of Idiocy to the Top Three idiots ever, is that the sabre toothed tiger that he is putting out for the night, isn’t even his tiger.


Fred’s best mate however, is a diminutive little dude called Barney Rubble.  Barney Rubble is the Sheldon Cooper of prehistoric men.  He is a genius (compared to Fred at least).  Not only does he work as a top secret spy but he also invented the worlds first (and possibly only) human powered helicopter, an advanced sports car, is an accomplished pianist and talented drummer (yup the prehistorc folk of Bedrock have pianos and drums, but not, glass).

This, folks, should I need to give you a reason, is why, we are featuring songs that feature Barney in this series, and not Fred.  That and ‘Barney and Me’ came up on the random playlist shuffle this morning and I don’t own any songs that have Fred in the title (apart from this one, obviously), but I prefer my reason.

‘Barney (….and Me) was the third (second?) single to be taken from the all-conquering and recently featured Nearly Perfect Album ‘Giant Steps’ by the Boo Radleys. It is a terrific song with choppy, jangly guitars, a perfect flute bit, and a mad bit that brings about a massive chorus.  Brilliant, all of it.  Most of you already knew that I would imagine.

There are two other songs in my music library that feature the name ‘Barney’ in their titles.  Neither of them are the theme tune to a programme featuring a huge slightly phallic looking purple dinosaur.

First up, rather fittingly is this stomping piece of guitar pop from Birmingham’s The Twang.

Barney Rubble – The Twang (2009, B- Unique Records, Taken from ‘Jewellery Quarter’)

My music library tells me that I have played this track precisely once in the past.  Having listened to it again, I’m not massively surprised.  The Twang have rather sullied the great Rubble name here (Rubble is rhymed rather sixformishly with “Double” and “Trouble” in the chorus) .   If you are interested in The Twang they released a ‘Best Of’ album (who knew..?) back in 2017 which contains ‘Barney Rubble’ and several other of their songs, none of which I actually own or remotely care about.

Finally for today a bit of long forgotten excellence taken from ‘Workshy’ the debut album from London’s much missed Animals That Swim.  An album that some shite student reporter once called “intellectual brass led indie pop for people who have badges on the straps of their record bags….”.  Workshy’ comes highly recommended by the way.  Animals That Swim may also feature in another series later this year, if that’s not giving too much away.

Barney – Animals That Swim (1994, Elemental Records, Taken from ‘Workshy’)

Up tomorrow – Charlie

Counting Up from Two – #8 – Nine

Upon 9th and Fairchild – The Boo Radleys (1993, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Giant Steps’)

In 1984, just after my ninth birthday I joined a football club.  That club the imaginatively named Rainham 84, grew out of the ashes of two other boys teams that folded a few months earlier.  The supremo behind the club was a man called Paul, a chap who so he told us, used to play for Fulham and drove around in a Rolls Royce.

On the first training day which involved a hastily arranged match between about 25 lads, I played for the first time on the right wing.  Normally I played right back, but another lad called Tony had pretty much staked his claim on that position on the grounds that his dad was one of the training staff.  So I stuck myself out on the wing.  Where I flew up and down for the majority of the match, occasionally stepping inside, but by and large I caused havoc for the other side’s defence, because I was quicker than they were. 

A week later I was told by Paul that I’d made the team for Rainham 84’s first ever match.  This would be a friendly against a side from nearby Sittingbourne called Swale Magpies.  On the Sunday we all traipsed down to our home ground, and Paul gave us all a lecture about the time he played his first game for Fulham (he played left back and got subbed at half time because he didn’t listen to the boss) and told us we should keep the ball on the ground – which seems as a good reason to post this

Give Him A Ball and a Yard of Grass – Sultans of Ping F.C (1993, Rhythm King Records, Taken from ‘Casual Sex in the Cineplex’)

It was of course a bit of thrashing, we at Rainham 84 were woefully underprepared and by half time we were 4 goals down.  My marauding runs down the wing were becoming pointless, and all my crosses were not being met by the big lad in the middle as they were being easily dealt with by their big lad in the centre of defence. 

It was only a friendly Paul told us at half time as we wiped the orange juice from our mouths.  We’d be better by the time the season started.  Which was true, I mean we were awful right there and then and couldn’t get much worse.   We lost 7 nil a result which was made worse by Tony who was made captain, firing a penalty over the bar.

Two more friendlies had followed, a narrow 5 -1 loss to a team called Pegasus and an even narrower 3-2 defeat to a team called Parkwood United, so Paul was right we were getting better.  The first game of the season arrived and predictably it was chucking it down.  Which makes this a somewhat an ideal choice.

Nine Million Rainy Days – Jesus and Mary Chain (1987, Blanco Y Negro, Taken from ‘Darklands’)

The first game was against a team called Spartac (which I’ve thought would be a good name for a band).  They were already, based on their Under 11s side, the favourites to win the division.   None of them looked nine or ten.  Their holding midfielder had a beard that Brian Blessed would be proud of.   Thirty minutes before kick off, our goalkeeper cried off sick, leaving us with a distinct problem.  That is until my dad persuaded Paul to rip up the Kent County Football Rule Book.  

My dad wandered over and whispered to Paul.  Who in turn whispered in my brothers ear and walked over to me “If anyone asks, you two are twins”, he said with a nod.  My brother is eighteen months older than me and played in goal for the Under 12s.  He was back then a very good goalkeeper and made diving at the feet of strikers look undaunting and a lot of fun.

Oh” said, Paul, “your Dad says you should play centre forward – so here you go”.  With that he handed me the Number Nine shirt. 

9 – Planningtorock (2011, DFA Records, Taken from ‘W’)

Final score two each, a penalty saved by my brother, who singlehandedly kept us in the match and a last gasp equaliser scored by yours truly (bottom left hand corner, keeper stood no chance).  It genuinely felt like we’d won the cup.  The jubilation would not last, but it was great whilst it did.

Nearly Perfect Albums – #38

Giant Steps – Boo Radleys

Wish I Was Skinny– Boo Radleys (1993, Creation Records)

Before ‘Giant Steps’ I had written the Boo Radleys off as a second division shoegaze act.  I’d physically laughed at my girlfriend one afternoon in her room at university when she pulled the album off the shelf (on tape!) and stuck it inside the forty quid cassette player that she’d bought in the Woolworths sale a couple of months ago. 

65 minutes later, my tea had gone cold, my jaw was still dropped open and I was re-reading the album notes for lie the third time.  It is an astonishing record and if how a good a record sounds on a cheap cassette player is ever held up as a genuine way of scoring albums, then it’s the best record in the entire world.

It sounds like what would happen if all of your favourite bands made you a personal mixtape and then recorded it for you.  You get chiming indie brilliance, you get dub, you get jazz, ambience, dance, electronica, shoegaze and psychedelica.  That’s just the music.  You need to add humour, wonky synthesizers, bonkers interludes, backwards counting, giraffes hidden on the cover, references to Faye Dunaway and an actual plane crash to that as well and still you are nowhere near listing everything that occurs on this record. 

All that in 65 breathless minutes.  It is a record that is as ambitious as it is incredible and as its hugely incredible that gives you some idea of the scope, imagination and depth that this record has.  Last week I spent four hours listening to it over and over again and it still feels and sounds like a new record.  Ah, let’s talk about the actual music.

The album opens with the excellent ‘I Hang Suspended’ I say opens, it is more of a reluctant sigh and a tickle of a drum before a guitar finally wails and Sice’s vocal kicks in.  If that first wail doesn’t make the hairs on your arms stand up then you have probably lost both of your arms.

I Hang Suspended – Boo Radleys (1993 Creation Records)

Almost as good as that is ‘Barney (….and Me) which bursts with energy and a driving melody before is suddenly just stops.

Barney (….and Me) – Boo Radleys (1993, Creation Records)

It has so many highlights, ‘Butterfly McQueen’ is for example brilliant, a hazy psychedelic adventure that is underpinned with the simplest of dub basslines which is then reinforced by trumpets that sound like they are being played in a smoky Deep South ballroom.  But then they all fall away under the sort of guitar feedback that the Reid brothers would literally fight each other for. It’s very nearly the best thing on the whole record.

Butterfly McQueen – Boo Radleys (1993, Creation Records)

I originally wrote this review back in May and it opened like I do with the majority of these reviews with the best track on the album, that is of course ‘Lazarus’.  It turns out that ‘Lazarus’ finished at #25 on the One Word Countdown and as such it is due to feature on Monday, where it will have a post of all its own. 

The Ramshackle Brilliance of the Chart Show Indie Chart -#5

This week 17th August 1996 and going up at Number Seven

Becoming More Like Alfie – The Divine Comedy (1996, Setanta Records)

In August 1996, I had just past my 21st birthday and was on the cusp of moving to London for the first time. We’d found a flat to rent in Plumstead, South East London and had gone to look round the area. It must have been sunny or we had too much cider at lunch, because we took on the flat, despite Plumstead being full of knuckle dragging racist bellends who struggle to walk and clap at the same time.

The flat itself was quite nice, a stones throw from Englands highest security prison, Belmarsh, two stones throw from the biggest local authority housing estate in Europe and three stones throws from a relatively decent Woolworths.

Next door to Woolworths was a shop called We Selfridges. The ‘We’ being really small so it looked like ‘Selfridges’. It just sold fridges. It was a joke that got less funny every time I saw it.

One the highlights of our ten months in Plumstead was a Sunday afternoon walk to Woolworths. Once we walked past a blazing row between a clearly jilted man and his former squeeze, which ended with him telling me as I walked past that the lady in question “had slept with half of Plumstead.” If this lady had found more one man in that place even worth having a drink with, she would have done well.

Anyway, in that branch of Woolworths I once found a copy of ‘Cassanova’ by The Divine Comedy for £1.99. Which was a bargain. Even if it by no means their finest work.

Elsewhere in the chart – at six – a record I remember being sent an advance copy about four months before it actually came out

Trash – Suede (1996, Nude Records)

At five, possibly the worst track I’ve ever encouraged you to click on

Mouse In A Hole – Heavy Stereo (1996, Creation Records)

At three, a record that somehow never got to be the theme for ‘Deal or No Deal

What’s In the Box (See Whatcha Got) – The Boo Radleys (1996, Creation Records)

At two, was this nugget of tremendousness. A record I’d never heard before today.

Encyclopedi-ite – Sammy (1996, DGC Records)

But at number was something even better, possibly one of the best records that I have posted on this here blog

Phasers On Stun – Urusei Yatsura (1996, Chemical Underground Records)