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Choon Choosday: Gorillaz – DARE

The best ideas are the simplest. An animated band. Brilliant. Damon Albarn is a ludicrously talented and shape-shifting artist, and he is the voice behind Gorillaz, the band he created with artist collaborator Jamie Hewlett.

A feature of Gorillaz has been the use of guest vocalists alongside 2D (voiced by Albarn) and on this one, it is the legendary Happy Mondays and  Black Grape frontman Shaun Ryder. How can you not love an animated band collaborating with Shaun Ryder? It’s genius.

And musically, it’s a corker of course, driven (as so many tracks featured in this series are) by a fiere, floor-filler of a bassline. But that’s not all there is.  The contrast of Damon’s melodic alto voice and Ryder’s Manc shouty stylings also conspire to make this a





Choon Choosday: Ray Charles – Mess Around

I first heard this tune on the radio in the car that John Candy is driving through the night in Planes Trains and Automobiles. I love that film, and I love this choon.

Obviously it’s all about the relentless, irresistable boogie-woogie piano from Ray Charles – the strongest left hand in the business – but the drumming doesn’t let up for a second and oof! that sax solo too. It’s impossible not to dance in your chair while this is playing, and it’s impossible not to play along on the air piano. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a




Choon Choosday: Badly Drawn Boy – Once Around The Block

Oops! Sorry there wasn’t a Choon last week – I got my dates wrong and scheduled this one for today by mistake. Sorry. But it does include a bonus track so I hope that makes up for it…


There hasn’t been anything from BDB for a while, or nothing that has reached me anyway. His first album The Hour Of Bewilderbeest came out in 2000 and was a brilliantly innovative folky/indiey/a bit electronicky selection, and I thought we had found an immense new talent. He hasn’t reached those creative heights again, but that album still remains one of my favourites.

This track in particular is a stormer. I like tunes you can deconstruct and listen to well-made individual parts, and the two guitar lines in this are brilliant. There’s the quieter, subtler lead part which follows the melody, and then the strength of the strumalong wah-wah line. Perfectly matched. And then Gough’s wonderfully casual vocal style. All in all?



Oh, and as proof that sometimes there is a cover which does justice to the original brilliant song, here is the Kings Of Convenience version. Also a



Friday Facteer

Life is pretty full this week,  Camp Nano amongst other things has ensured I don’t have time for a FriFic this week, or even a FriFic intro. So I bring you instead a FriFact, a story of an real-life event from this week.

Be warned though Ted readers, it contains scenes of me talking to a girl and not securing a date.


GAW had a day off this week. She let me know the day before so that I would know not to leave a mug of tea on her desk. “You doing anything nice?” I asked. “Getting a spray tan,” she said, “I’m going to a christening on Saturday, I want to look my best.” I nodded and smiled, hoping she would not come to work the following day plastered in that unsubtle shade of orange that a fake tan often creates.

I didn’t need to worry. When she walked in the day after, she looked stunning, the prettiest  since she spent two weeks in Florida a couple of summers back and came home with a deep tan. Plus she was wearing a red top, her best colour, with tiny straps that showed off her fake-sun-kissed shoulders. Delicious. My head was telling me to let her know she looked gorgeous, but my mouth could only manage to form the word “hello” before it stopped working.

The day passed, it came time to go home. “You haven’t mentioned my tan,” she said with a mocking pout.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, laying a hand on her bronzed arm, “I think you look beautiful.”
Because she did.



Friday Fictioneers – Tree

The applause died down, the conjuror bowed. He called for a volunteer and I stepped forward.

“For my next trick,” he announced, “I will read this gentleman’s mind! Think of one word, sir, any word, and I will look into your thoughts and find that word.”

He closed his eyes, placed a hand on is brow in concentration. Seconds later, a pained expression filled his features.

“I said just one word,” he cried in anguish, “I can sense 100 words in there.”

“Sorry,” I said, “It’s Friday, I’ve just been writing my FriFic based on Rochelle’s prompt.”





Decades after my family had left these grounds, I returned for one visit. I was saddened to see fences erected, attractions, a Gift Shop. I had trailed this land as an infant but it was alien to me now.

“Can you direct me to the Tree of Reverence?” I asked a teenage greeter.

“Tree of what?”

“Reverence. My people shared this land with the elk, co-existing in respectful harmony and peace. At midsummer we came together at the tree to give thanks.”

A puzzled look, then a slow nod. “Oh, you mean the skull tree.”

“I know what I mean.”



The outdoor life

I have decided to become a camper!

I’ve been thinking about doing Nano this November and I thought that as a warm-up I would set myself a 35000 target on Camp Nano and see how I get on. I have no idea what I’m going to write – I have a title and a first line, and I know it will be first person. Other than that, I am going in completely cold.

Camp Nano begins on Tuesday, which means that my involvement in FriFic may be patchy during the month of July.  If I have time or energy, I will Fic, but it may not be every week. Oh, and of course I have just begun the Fiction Rally with Joanne. And I still need to learn more Icelandic phrases before September, so time will be pretty short for the next month. Don’t worry though, the Choons will keep coming every Choosday!

Happy July everyone!

Choon Choosday: Propellerheads – Velvet Pants

Propellerheads are one of those bands that only had one album, but they made it count. They emerged from the late 90s Big Beat genre (aka “electronica”, although this word has since come to be used to describe the wider genre of electronic or computer/sampler based music), and their brilliant work Decksanddrumsandrockandroll is slammin hit after slammin hit.

My particular favourite is Velvet Pants, with its rolling rhythm section and cutesy American vocal samples. The piano riff is addictive too, but the stand-out part for me is the tight drum line. The cymbal-centric fill after each breakdown on its own would make this funky little number a




A lemon once saved my life

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