A Month all about Names – #16 – Julie

Julie – The Levellers (1993, China Records, Taken from ‘Levellers’)

There is a very old Alexi Sayle joke about Stoke Newington.  It goes something like this (although he will tell it better than I ever will, because he is funny and I am not), Alexi is on tour and he finds himself playing a small comedy club in Stoke Newington (which is in London for those of you who live in Boondocks).  He arrives a few hours before the gig and decides to take a walk around the area and take in some of its sights, this he says takes three minutes.  He finds a small tourist kiosk but it is shut but it does has a small glossily printed brochure entitled” What’s On in Stoke Newington” in a box on the windowsill.  Alexi pockets a brochure and decides to go and grab a drink and read the brochure – he then talks about needing a shit anyway.  He gets to the pub orders a Guinness and open the brochure at page one and tell us that all it says on every page of “What’s On In Stoke Newington” is the words “Fuck All”.

Like I said, an old joke, but when Alexi does it in his broad scouse manner it is brilliant.  In 1994 I found myself in Stoke Newington for the day, it was the one day in the year where there was something more than fuck all going on.  It was the day of the Stoke Newington Free Festival and a bunch of bands were playing (Shelter the homeless charity had persuaded a bunch of bands to turn up) and I was going to review for a small record shop sponsored fanzine that I was writing for at the time. 

The line up was quite eclectic, a mixture of small indie bands, new or emerging singers, some dub and reggae acts and a band labelled as ‘Secret Guests’.  The writing for the words “Secret Guests” was exactly the same font and style as the writing on the most recent Levellers album ‘Levellers’.  So it wasn’t that much of a secret and as such the Stoke Newington Free Festival was over run with Crusties and their dogs on strings.   At the time The Levellers were huge and could very easily sell out Brixton Academy and charge fifteen quid for a ticket so them playing a free festival was quite cool

The Levellers came on around three pm about midway on the line up (perennial festival favourites Chumbawamba were headlining by the way with Banco Da Gaia and Zion Train also on the bill) – oh go on then –

Last Train to Lhasa – Banco Da Gaia (1995, Mammoth Records, Taken from ‘Last Train to Lhasa’)

The Levellers were great but for some reason only known to them, at the end of their set they decided to totally kill the vibe.  There we all were expecting a rousing version of ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ or a venom filled version of ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ but no.  The entire band with the exception of singer Mark Chadwick left the stage and Mark stood there with just his guitar and played the song ‘Julie’ which I think they had just released as a single.  Its not your typical Levellers track, it’s slow and it’s a sort of lopsided love song and it ends with a substantial bagpipe solo and as Mark finished wailing about Julie’s troubles, a man with a set of bagpipes wanders on to do the solo bit, Mark leaves the stage and that it is appears was that.  

It was very underwhelming and it reminded me instantly for some reason of Alexi’s joke.

There are three other ‘Julie’ tracks in music library and we start with another track from rocks greatest Stephen (do keep up we had this debate when we discussed Jack).

Juliefuckingette – Stephen Malkmus (2020, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Traditional Techniques’)

Next up a track I only own because it featured on a free CD that I found in a charity shop in St Neots about a year ago, although it is pretty good as it happens.

Julie – Francois and the Atlas Mountains (2021, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Banane Bleue’)

Finally some good old fashioned indie rock.

Julie’s Place – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (2017, Sub Pop Records, Taken from ‘The French Press’)

Tomorrow – Bobby who is in a busted flat in Baton Rouge waiting for a train

A Month all about Names – #12 – David/Dave/Davey

David Byrne’s Bad Side – Courting (2020, Nice Swan Records, Single)

I’ve never met David Byrne so I cannot possibly say why you wouldn’t want to get on his bad side.  Maybe he dishes out really bad Chinese Burns or something.   However, I was, as older readers will know, once punched (or rather slapped) by the old singer of Mercury Rev because someone (definitely not me) called him a fat bastard outside Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone.  He is not the only famous person that I have managed to get on the wrong side of….In chronological order.

In 1985, when aged ten, a football that I kicked, hit the TVS ‘Coast to Coast’ weatherman, Ron Lowbeck on the back of the head, whilst he was doing a ‘schools thing’ at my primary school.  It was a good shot considering I was aiming for fat Mark from 4W class.   I said sorry and Ron Lowbeck gave me a signed photograph of himself to show that there was no hard feelings.  My friend Daniel drew a moustache on that photo in class about twenty minutes later, a moustache that was in addition to the cock that had been added by class idiot Karl.

In 1988, aged thirteen, whilst on holiday in Camber Sands my brother and I both told ‘chirpy Scouse TV funnyman’, Aiden J Harvey that his impressions were rubbish.   My brother actually said it to his face, and I laughed so hard that I had to be slapped on the back by some lad called Matthew that we had befriended about twenty minutes earlier, because I was coughing so much afterwards.  We then went off and watched ‘The Cat From Out of Space’ in the Pontins Club Kids Room.

In 1991, aged fifteen I was nutmegged by a Gillingham footballer (who shall remain nameless because he is very famous now) during a school photoshoot that he was doing as part of the clubs commitment to the local community and people laughed at me.  During the five minute match we had, I managed to kick him twice on the back of the ankle and as we walked off the pitch at the end, he called me the C Word, which on reflection, I probably deserved.

In 1992, aged sixteen, was the Mercury Rev slap thing, although that wasn’t my fault.

In 1992, at the Reading Festival I’m fairly sure I trod on the foot of one of the Milltown Brothers during a Revolver gig.  I might be wrong about that one.

In 1995, in their dressing room downstairs at the London Astoria I accused the singer of excellent indie band Puressence of stealing my wallet, only to find it a minute or so later in my coat pocket.

Finally, for now at least, in 1996 in the Lower Bar of the Students Union at Surrey University, a very drunk me knocked over a pile of CDs stacked by Steve Lamacq, as he DJ’ed to the indie cognoscenti of Guildford.  Two minutes later he said over the mike

“If you are drunk and an idiot, please stay out of the DJ Booth, but yes I will play China Drum but only because they are brilliant.  Unlike you.” 

Quite a few David, Dave and Davey tracks in the music library, here are a bunch of them

David – Courtenay Barnett (2013, Mom + Pop Records, Taken from ‘A Sea of Split Peas’

David Comes to Life – Fucked Up (2010, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Couple Tracks’)

King Dave – Anderson.Paak (2018, Lavaflow Records, Taken from ‘Unreleased’)

Dirty Davey – The Levellers (1993, China Records, Taken from ‘Levellers’)

Tomorrow – Jack who may or may not be naming the planets after you,

Counting Up From Two – #2 – Three

Three Friends – The Levellers (1990, China Records, Taken from ‘A Weapon Called the Word’)

My dad told me a few years ago that I had my first birthday party aged three.  I was so excited about having all my playgroup friends around that in the space of seven minutes I wet myself and was sick all over my new jumper.  My new jumper was blue and was hand knitted by my nan and it had two feet in pink on the front, so it looked like someone had walked over my jumper and then puked on their own feet.

I don’t remember this party.  According to my dad I had three friends over, two boys and a girl and we played with my new train set until I was sick and then the parents scooped up their little ones and went home.  Six months later, aged three and a half I tripped over that train set in a rush to get a Matchbox mini car out from under the cupboard and fractured my fibia as I landed in heap on the cold linoleum floor. 

Three Decades – The Horrors (2008, XL Records, Taken from ‘Primary Colours’)

I was woken up at two thirty AM on my thirtieth birthday by some people singing ‘Happy Birthday’ really loudly.  Sadly I didn’t know any of them, and they were not singing it to me as they were singing it in Flemish.  This was because I was in Brussels and the hotel we were staying overlooked a square which for some reason had about 30 drunk people dancing around a fountain singing well wishes to an unknown person.  My wife turned in bed over looked at the clock, realised that I had just turned thirty and sleepily said “What they said” and fell back to asleep.  I eventually fell back to sleep again and then woke up and promptly went (temporarily) deaf in my right ear.  Old age had apparently arrived.    

For a slap up birthday meal we had a takeaway pizza from ‘Toni’s Pizzeria ‘and cherry beer purchased from tiny off licence in an area of Brussels called Louise.  The pizza remains to this day one of the greatest takeaways pizzas I have ever had.   The following day we were stopped from going within one hundred feet of some government building that we wanted to look around because Tony Blair was visiting so we sat in a coffee shop on Luxembourg Square and ate cake instead.

#3 – Aphex Twin (1994, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol 2’)

My daughters third birthday was spoilt by a giant spider.  It wasn’t real but it was a massive plastic one hung from the ceiling of the tiny café that is tacked ono the tram station at Colyton, East Devon.  It was part of their decorations for their forthcoming ‘Ghostly Tram Ride’ that tram company were running in about two weeks (my daughters birthday being in Mid October).  She took one bite of her ‘Special Birthday Sandwich’ looked up saw the giant spider, and as she was already shaky from the skull with its eyes hanging out (they were painted marbles on a pipe cleaner) refused to sit in the café for another second.  The crappy plastic gravestones didn’t help either nor the fact they were playing the sodding Monster Mash on repeat.

We’d been having fun up to that point.  My daughter whooping and cheering as the tram hurtled through the East Devon countryside at 10mph “Its really fast now, Daddy” she would yell every two minutes or so.  Despite the fact that I could at times literally have ran faster, whilst carrying my daughter on my back. 

Next Week – The Number Four.

…..ing Bands #3 – The Senseless Things

Homophobic Asshole – The Senseless Things (1992, Epic Records)

This is a story about a guy called Dan.  I met Dan whilst I was at college, he was in my A Level English class.  He was the most popular guy in the class.  Largely because he was pretty cool, really funny and just had this knack of being about to talk to anyone about anything, every time I saw Dan outside of college he would have a different girl on his arm, so he had the looks to match the personality. 

I used to socialise in the same pubs at Dan, a really old run down pub in the centre of Maidstone, it was frequented by the towns alternative crowd, had a landlord that turned a blind eye to people buying alcohol at 17 and had a free juke box that was filled with decent music.  Including as it happens the first album by Adam and the Ants

Catholic Day – Adam and the Ants (1979, Do It Records)

It was for a about a year, the greatest pub on the planet – before we discovered that there were better pubs within walking distance that would serve us as well.

One evening, a bunch of us were sitting at a table in the pub, there were four or five of us, including Dan who had ambled over to say hello.  We were talking about an upcoming Levellers gig and we’d all arranged to meet up in the pub before the gig.  It was a nice evening.

Belaruse – The Levellers (1993, China Records)

Which is when Mandy walked in.  Mandy was my friend’s sister and there’s loads of things you need to know about Mandy, including that she cooks a great breakfast, once got thrown off the Kilroy show for dropping the C Bomb live on TV and she worked behind the bar in another pub and was very liberal with her measures. But for the sake of this story, all you really need to know was that she used to be called Lee.

Mandy came over and sat with us – because, well she’s our mate – and the conversation continued.  Mandy was sat down next to Dan, and she introduced herself and Dan uttered these words

 “Don’t t speak to me you freak

Which is when Mandy punched him square on in the face.  Oh yeah there was another thing you needed to know about Mandy, when she was Lee, she worked on a building site heaving bricks all the over place.  She may look dainty and slight in a gold lame dress and matching size 11 shoes, but she packed a punch.  Just ask Kilroy. 

The punch sent Dan flying off his chair and on to the cold floor of the bar, which is where he remained for a good ten minutes.   Mandy meanwhile just idly continued the conversation.  In that short fifteen minute period my entire shallow perception of what constitutes being cool changed for ever, because Mandy, decking a homophobe and then casually turning round, as if she did this sort of thing every day (she probably did) and saying

 “I saw Stu from the bakers yesterday….” Like it was the most natural and obvious thing to say to a room of open mouthed half drunk teenagers, made her the coolest person on the planet right then.