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.

Retrospective Musical Naval Gazing – #14 (2004)

It is not two men kissing and even if it was, would there be a problem with that?”. 

The office pinboard has got me in trouble again.  You see with Christmas double issue of the NME this year (the Christmas NME always used to be a tremendous read, end of year charts, quizzes, special features etc) you got a free rock n roll calendar.  Twelve glossy colour photos with some dates shoved on it.  It was actually very good indeed and useful as the ‘Castles of Devon’ one that I had for 2003 (a present from an aunt who I hadn’t seen for like twenty years) had conveniently run out of use.

So I stuck it on the pinboard and there it sat in space vacated by the Jarvis poster, which had miraculously vanished whilst I was on leave in October.  January showed Peter Doherty and Carl Barat on stage at the Tap n Tin Pub in Chatham.  The gig being Pete’s infamous ‘Freedom Gig’, played the night he was released from Sheppey Prison for burglary (Pete in the depths of his ‘heroin hell burgled the flat of Carl).  The picture shows the two of them singing into the same microphone, their lips are very close, so close that they must be able to see what each other had for tea (Pete – porridge, Carl, probably a quinoa sandwich).  So close that someone, thinks that I have deliberately stuck up a picture of two men kissing to be provocative and disruptive.  The calendar arrived on the first Tuesday in January and someone had complained about it by the first Thursday.  But there it stayed.  February didn’t help much, as it was filled by the imposing figure of Brody Dalle, the singer in the Distillers who had a massive tattoo on her arm which read “Fuck Off”.  Brody Dalle for those in the dark, was at the time, the girlfriend of Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age and could therefore do what the hell she wanted, even if her band kind of sucked.

Pete as it happens featured heavily on the song that I put at the top of my chart rundown, but I fully accept that it wouldn’t be there if I ever re did these charts, marvellous as it is also for some reason Songwhip doesn’t have ‘For Lovers’ right now, which is odd. So the link will take you to the You Tube video, hope that’s ok.

For Lovers – Wolfman ft Pete Doherty (2004, Rough Trade Records, Single)

I was its fair to say a bit of Pete Doherty fan boy back in 2004, not that I condone the heroin abuse, burgling your mates houses or the general fuckwittery that seemed to follow him around, but between 2003 and 2005 he wrote better songs that 95% of the people who were writing songs in the same period.  As shown by the fact that 2004, saw a Pete 1 and 2 at the top of charts

Can’t Stand Me Now – The Libertines (2004, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘The Libertines’)

It’s also worth noting that I had a Babyshambles song somewhere in the Top Ten as well but we will skirt over that lot for now. We’ll also skirt over The Killers whose ‘Mr Brightside’ managed to find itself in my Top Five at the end of the year.  I haven’t listened to The Killers debut album in such a long time that it seems strangely nostalgic now. Like Snow Patrol (also here with ‘Run’ at number ten).

Anyway, at three in my end of year chart was this thrilling piece of guitar slinging rage from the coolest member of Blur.

Freakin’ Out – Graham Coxon (2004, Transcopic Records, Taken from ‘Happiness In Magazines’)

There was little else but guitars on display at the end of 2004, maybe it wasn’t a good year for rap and dance music, or maybe I just listened to a lot of bands this year.  Who knows?

At seven was this

C’mon C’mon – The Von Bondies (2004, Sire Records, Taken from ‘Pawn Shop Heart’) and at eight

You Can’t Hurry Love – The Concretes (2004, Licking Fingers Records, Taken from ‘The Concretes’)

Retrospective Musical Naval Gazing – #12 (2002)

In 2002, I bought my first house.  A modest little two bedroom cottage on the edge of Exeter that was in walking distance of a train station, a decent Chinese takeaway, a chemist and a fairly average pub.  We moved in on the last day of May.  We owned very little furniture (our last place had been furnished) and around an hour after moving in Bill turned up with some deckchairs and takeaway pizza and there we sat happy with our lot, and watched Senegal beat France in the opening match of the 2002 world cup.  

A week later we relieved the Exeter branch of Habitat of most of it’s decent furniture and wall units and then a week after that we did the same at Ikea in Bristol and came back with CD racks, rugs, and various other things I didn’t realise we needed (I still have my Ikea Potato Ricer, but I’m fairly sure that it doesn’t get used that often).

It is not often I wait around in a shop until a song has finished and then go up to the desk and ask what was playing, but towards the end of the summer of 2002, that is exactly what I did.  I had wandered into one Exeter’s cool clothes shop and as I browsed the second hand skinny jeans and retro tshirts that advertised garages in Detroit something amazing blared out into the store. As it finished I strolled up to the desk and asked the cool young thing behind the counter (which was a old table with a 1980s style till stuck on it) what it was.  He didn’t know and I left the store empty handed as I decided that £60 for a second hand pair of jeans was a ‘bit much’.

That song by the way, was, I found two days later by going into HMV, ‘House of Jealous Lovers’ by The Rapture and in 2002 it sounded like the future and I was totally hooked by them and their disco punk yelpings.   Little did I know that about a month earlier, LCD Soundsystem had released the even better, even more addictive and even more essential ‘Losing My Edge’ a track that was missing from Top Ten and probably would have booted The Rapture off the top of the charts had I known about it then.

House of Jealous Lovers – The Rapture (2002, DFA Records, Taken from ‘Echoes’)

At number two that year was another band that promised so much and even promised, how ever tongue in cheek it seemed at the time to be “Your New Favourite Band” – and although I already had one of them in the Rapture, I believed them.

Hate To Say I Told You So – The Hives (2002, Poptones Records, Taken from ‘Your New Favourite Band’)

Three other new bands appeared on my end of year lists, at numbers four, seven and ten respectively. 

What A Waster – The Libertines (2002, Rough Trade Records, Single)

NYC – Interpol (2002, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’)

Santa Cruz – The Thrills (2002, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘So Much for the City’)

Judging by the rest of the list guitar music seemed to have made a bit of comeback – at three were Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, at five were Doves, at six, The White Stripes.  The only real respite from guitars coming at number eight (The Streets) and Number Nine (Ladytron).

Great Number Twos of Our Time – #3

Because Sometimes a Number Two is Better than a Number One

Can’t Stand Me Now – The Libertines (2004, Rough Trade Records)

A few weeks ago, The Libertines, co-headlined the ‘Cider and Sausage Festival’ on Plymouth Hoe.  The first festival in Britain that could have been named after a Carry On Film. It seemed to me, to be a bit of a fall from grace from a band that once played to about 40,000 screaming fans in Hyde Park.  Then again back then The Libertines were adored by the press, and Peter Doherty, despite his penchant for drugs, burglary and general hedonism was considered to be one of the finest songwriters of his generation.   The love hate relationship of Pete and Carl hooked thousands of impressionable indie kids in and for a while they were one of the biggest and best bands around.

‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ is a fine example of everything that the band went through.  A track apparently written just after or just before Pete burgled Carl’s flat.  He burgled the flat because he was angry that Carl hadn’t turned up to a guerrilla gig that Pete had planned a day or so before. – I’m aware I’ve massively simplified that whole sorry saga.  It was the second release from the bands second (and best) album.  It reached Number 2 in the charts, the highest position the band ever reached.  They were kept off the summit by garage trio 3 of a Kind and their memorable track ‘Babycakes’.  Which we all remember fondly obviously.

Never Never – The Libertines (2004, Rough Trade Records)