THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY, 2017

We’ve reached that time of year when we are halfway through the year and it is time to do the Top 50 songs of the year so far.

There’s no scientific formula to it. I just went through The Friday Five, and tried to assemble them into some sort of order.

If you love pointless stats, there are three former “The Sound Of …..” winners in the chart.

Remember, it can all change by the time of the main chart in December.

It could even be a Gallagher brother duopoly.

1. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Closer
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
6. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
7. Royal Blood – Lights Out
8. Blondie – Long Time
9. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
10. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
11. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
12. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
13. Lorde – Green Light
14. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
15. Beth Ditto – Fire
16. Dagny – Wearing Nothing
17. Haim – Want You Back
18. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
19. Haim – Little Of Your Love
20. The XX – On Hold
21. Coldplay – Something Just Like This
22. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
23. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
24. Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
25. Rag n Bone Man – Skin
26. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
27. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
28. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
29. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
30. Liam Gallagher – Bold
31. Muse – Dig Deep
32. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
33. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
34. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
35. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
36. Black Grape – Pop Voodoo
37. Imagine Dragons – Believer
38. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
39. The Courteeners – Don’t Look Back In Anger
40. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
41. Ryan Adams – To Be Without You
42. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
43. Cast – Faith
44. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
45. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
46. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus – Don’t Dream It’s Over
47. Rory Lavelle – Poor Pride
48. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
49. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
50. Paul Draper – Things People Want

THE FIRIDAY FIVE – 17.3.2017

1. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
2. John Hassall and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
3. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
4. Sister Sledge – Frankie
5. Sheppard – Keep Me Crazy

You may have noticed that today is St Patrick’s Day. So, i’m doing a couple of themed charts. One for Northern Ireland, one for Republic Of Ireland, and one for the musical Patricks (and Paddys and Pats) out there.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

1. Wonder Villains – TV
2. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
3. Silhouette – Can’t Keep Up
4. Snow Patrol – Signal Fire
5. Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

1. U2 – The Fly
2. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
3. Heathers – Remember When
4. Sinead Lohan – Whatever It Takes
5. Kodaline – High Hopes

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS WITH SOMEONE CALLED PAT, PATRICK OR PADDY

1. Prefab Sprout – King Of Rock n Roll
2. Train – Drops Of Jupiter
3. Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia
4. Hue and Cry – Labour Of Love
5. Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 10.3.2017

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
2. John Hassall and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
3. Rory Lavelle – When The Crazies Come Out
4. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
5. Coldplay – Something Just Like This

In gig news, Erasure have hinted that they’ll be doing a UK tour in 2018. At least that’s something to gt hopeful about.

Hoped to see The Pigeon Detectives doing an instore gig at HMV Belfast last Friday but it was a meet and greet rather than an instore gig, which was a bit rubbish.

The announcement of the full CQAF line-up is near, but The Divine Comedy and Rich Hall (not a singer, but a bloody hilarious comedian) are definitely worth getting excited about.

Culture Night Belfast has been confirmed for Friday 22nd September this year. Slightly annoyed, as I wanted it to be on that weekend last year. I missed the 2016 night as I was in Liverpool and was desperately hoping they would make it the weekend after. Missing it last year makes me look forward to this even more. A half day has already been applied for.

Oh, and i’m still on the lookout for a Ryan Adams ticket.

THE FRIDAY FIVE- 3.3.2017

1. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
2. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
3. Ryan Adams – Streets Of Philidelphia
4. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
5. Ray Davies – Rock N Roll Cowboys

In gig news this week, it’s all about people not coming to Belfast. The Kooks are already on a Greatest Hits tour which bypasses Belfast, but now they’ve announced a European tour with Blossoms as support. It would be brilliant if that line-up came to Belfast. That said, i’m going to see Blossoms on Wednesday night as a headliner, having already seen them support Paul Weller. Regular readers will know I think Blossoms are brilliant.

Erasure have announced a new album and tour for May which has no Belfast gig. I’m staring expectantly towards the organisers of Belfast Pride. Outdoor show, Custom House Square. You know it makes sense. Go on go on go on go on. That’s just me hoping and wishing rather than any inside info by the way.

Shed Seven are back with their first album since 2001 and are touring in December. It gets better, they have Cast as support. Guess what? No Belfast gig. Seeing as Cast have been to Belfast the last two years, i’m hoping John Power has a word in Rick Witter’s ear and rectifies this.

Ryan Adams is coming to Belfast in September. Unfortunately, it had sold out by the lunchtime of the day it went on sale. So, if you know anybody selling a spare standing ticket, get in touch.

On Monday lunchtime, I chanced my arm by going to the Venue Box Office during my final ten minutes of lunch. I was third in line, and manage to spend all ten minutes queuing. The person at the front couldn’t make their mind about about what seats they wanted for whatever show they were booking for, then proceeded to pay with a credit card that wouldn’t work.

The next person had a complaint about tickets they had recently purchased and were referred to Ticketmaster but then proceeded to argue that the problem had to be dealt with by the Venue Box Office Staff.

Seriously, how the fuck do people get out of the house and be so fucking stupid?

Also announced in the past week was the line-up for Party At The Palace in August at Linlithgow Palace. If you’re wondering where that is, it’s near Edinburgh.

Regular readers will know I go to Edinburgh every August. Very tempted to make this the weekend I head over.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS APPEARING AT PARTY AT THE PALACE

1. Lightning Seeds – All I Want
2. Razorlight – America
3. Ash – Oh Yeah
4. Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God

Finally, I spotted an article wondering whatever happened to the mythical and mystical place in music history called 3 Alveston Place. 90s kids will know what i’m talking about. You can read the article here.

This Wednesday, is International Richard Herring Being A Sneering Dick On Twitter Day. Or, if you prefer, International Women’s Day.

If it’s just another day to you, or if you’re doing something to commemorate it, enjoy yourself. Except if you’re planning on sitting in front of the computer screaming “IT’S NOVEMBER 19TH!!!!” all day. You’re a bit of a weirdo and you need help.

This blog will be commemorating it in the only way it knows, by having a series of charts of songs by and about women

FIVE SONGS BY WOMEN

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
2. Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You
3. Madonna – Rain
4. Taylor Swift – Ours
5. Laura Branigan – Self Control

FIVE SONGS BY GIRL GROUPS

1. Girls Aloud – Biology
2. Eternal – I Wanna Be The Only One
3. Bananarama – Cruel Summer
4. The Saturdays – Up
5. All Saints – Pure Shores

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS WITH FEMALE SINGERS

1. Chvrches – Lies
2. Paramore – That’s What You Get
3. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
4. Echosmith – Cool Kids
5. The Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. The Beatles – Dear Prudence
2. Bastille – Laura Palmer
3. Cosmic Rough Riders – Melanie
4. Glasvegas – Geraldine
5. Britney Spears – If You Seek Amy

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE PRONOUNS IN THE TITLE

1. Oasis – She Is Love
2. James – She’s A Star
3. U2 – Hallelujah Here She Comes
4. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
5. Shed Seven – She Left Me On Friday

FIVE SONGS WITH GIRL/WOMAN IN THE TITLE

1. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
2. Kate Bush – Rubberband Girl
3. Ash – Girl From Mars
4. Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
5. Simple Minds – Chelsea Girl

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : Q – FEBRUARY 1993

A shirtless Brett Anderson is the cover star of Q in early 1993, accompanied by the headline “The band of 1993”

Oliver Reed feels the wrath of Q’s “Who The Hell Does …..” column a few pages in.

In news, Later With Jools Holland has got a new series and an earlier timeslot, now going out at 10pm on a Friday. Nicky Wire got into trouble after yelling “I hope Michael Stipe goes the same way as Freddie Mercury” at a gig, prompting some fans to give him a mouthful after the gig.

Meanwhile, The Edge’s dog ran away from home.

In other news, the tree that Marc Bolan hit when he died has shown signs of decay and might have to be chopped down. Factory records has collapsed under £2m of debt

The Levellers, having had a successful year, are the subject of a three page feature.

1992 gets a 12 page review, looking back at the events of the year, a year when U2 and Nirvana went big in different ways.

Shane MacGowan gets a five page interview, which stereotypically takes place in a wine bar.

In adverts, British Waterways are advertising Countryside Holidays, promoting the value of water based activities.

Bryan Ferry is on the comeback trail and doing his first interview in five years, and doesn’t react well to jibes about him being a country gent, saying “I lived in the country for a bit but I was never a fully paid-up Land Rover driver, though I have Wellington boots, both green and black”

Q gives four pages to cover stars Suede, stating that they are doing for Haywards Heath what Paul Weller has done for Woking, describing Suede as “Britain’s sexiest band, bringing back glamour not seen since Roxy Music”, nicely linking in with Bryan Ferry’s interview a few pages earlier.

There is then a double page feature on how the music scene in 1993 resembles the scene in 1973, while jokingly pointing out that some of 1973’s biggest stars are still going strong in terms of album sales in 1993.

In reviews, Ian McShane has brought out an album. Yes, that Ian McShane, Lovejoy. Or Deadwood, if you prefer. Q only gave him one star.

Riding high in the album charts this month were Cher, Erasure, Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan, Genesis and Simple Minds.

After Neil Young went on the warpath against digital music the previous month, John Bauldie meets musicians who still record using analogue.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 12.2.2016

1. James – Nothing But Love
2. Halsey – New Americana
3. Suede – Like Kids
4. M Ward – Temptation
5. Ok Go – Upside Down and Inside Out

The weekend, is Valentine’s Day, and this blog is going to get in the mood, as I like to cater for everyone, even people who “get in the mood” for Valentine’s Day, with a chart of songs with “Love” in the title.

DISCLAIMER : May no actually be love songs.

FIVE SONGS WITH LOVE IN THE TITLE

1. Erasure – I Love To Hate You
2. The Feeling – Love It When You Call
3. Lulu – Love Loves To Love
4. Bryan Ferry – Slave To Love
5. Soft Cell – Tainted Love

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 11.9.2015

1. Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck
2. Duran Duran – Pressure Off
3. Erasure – Sometimes 2015
4. The Staves – Teeth White
5. Hot Chip – Dancing In The Dark

As if you didn’t know, U2 are doing two concerts at The Odyssey in November, their first in Belfast in 18 years. Yours truly will be spending Monday morning trying to get a ticket. Wish me luck.

To get you in the mood, here’s a U2 Top Five.

FIVE SONGS BY U2

1. The Fly
2. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
3. Hallelujah Here She Comes
4. Wild Honey
5. Discotheque

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : Q – JANUARY 1993

1993 begins with U2, voted World’s Best Act, on the cover of Q, fronted by a topless Larry Mullan.

Feel the wrath of Q, in their monthly “Who the hell do …….” column are Status Quo, never the darlings of the music press.

In news, Beverley Craven has announced that her forthcoming tour will be sponsored by Tampax, Tom Jones was appearing as himself in The Simpsons,

Sony have launches the Minidisc at a ceremony, where the musical entertainment was provided by Paul Young, after George Michael pulled out, having issued a writ against Sony to have his record contract cancelled, stating “Sony appears to view artists as little more than software”

The Shamen get a double page feature after having their first Number One in 1992, and denied that Ebeneezer Goode was a pro drugs anthem, instead, labelling it a parody.

Neil Young gets interviwed by Q, and is on the warpath …… against digital music, describing it as “It’s like sensory deprivation”

There’s a Led Zeppelin reunion of sorts, as the three surviving members and Jason Bonham accept a Merit Award at the recent Q Awards, attended by stars such as Wendy James and Jesus Jones.

Seven pages are dedicated to an interview with U2, where Bono declares that his biggest surprise of their Zoo TV Tour came ……… when people turned up to see them.

In the Album Chart, it’s a compilation battle, as Erasure’s Greatest Hits album beats Cher to the top spot.

Gig listings that month included B-52s, Jason Donovan, Beverley Craven (sponsored by Tampax), Del Amitri and Status Quo.

U2 announced stadium gigs in London, Leeds, Glasgow and Cardiff.

To finish, Shakin Stevens, now known as Shaky, is subject to a brief Q and A. He thinks Bob Dylan is a very good songwriter, can’t remember the last time he was drunk, can’t leave home without his golf balls and he would have liked to have met Elvis.

2014 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November began for me with a road trip to Lurgan, to Mourneview Park, to see Linfield take on Glenavon in what could be described as an eventful game.

The following week, it was back to Windsor Park, for the home game against Dungannon Swifts.

The week after that, it was Windsor Park again, for the visit or Glentoran.

Back on the road the week after, to Warrenpoint, to see Linfield do their standard go behind but win it late thing they do up there.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, on the final weekend of the month, I headed to Manchester for a short break, where I got loads of Street Art photos, went to two football matches and two concerts.

That, was my November.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Manchester

Manchester Photo Album

Accrington Stanley v Exeter Stanley

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 1

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 2

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute Photo Album

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo Photo Album

ERASURE – LIVE AT MANCHESTER APOLLO 30.11.2014

I’d always liked Erasure, it was only when I was researching for 50 Years Of Top Of The Pops that I realised how much I liked them. They’re just a constant hit machine.

I’d tried to get a ticket for their Belfast gig at the start of November, but it was sold out within 90 minutes (I know this because I called at the Ulster Hall at 10.30am on the day they went on sale) so I couldn’t believe my luck when Erasure were playing on the Sunday night of the weekend I was in Manchester, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

They entered the stage with Vince Clarke playing the opening bars to Oh L’amour. You could hear Andy Bell’s vocals but couldn’t see him.

Eventually, you saw him, dressed in a sparkly t-shirt, sparkly hat and sparkly leather trousers. He was very, um, sparkly.

Dancing his way through Oh L’amour, the dancing soon stopped afterwards, as he declared himself to be “Stuffed” after eating a Yorkshire Pudding.

The Manchester crowd, long over the War Of The Roses, didn’t boo the reference to their neighboring county.

They weren’t solely plugging their hits, there was new stuff, such as new single Elevation.

Vince Clarke spent most of the gig in the background, pulling the strings. Or rather, pushing the buttons, but sometimes plucking the strings, venturing out to play guitar on songs such as Stop! and A Little Respect.

Clarke got some more attention, as Andy Bell introduced him as “The most beautiful man in the world” before giving him a big kiss.

By this point, Bell had a change of outfit, now wearing a pair of silver hotpants. Guess what? They were sparkly.

More hits followed – Victim Of Love, Love To Hate You and Chorus.

They left to cheers but came back for an encore, featuring two more of their biggest hits – Sometimes and Always, with someone in the crowd throwing a teddy bear at Andy Bell.

The venue is a bit away from the City Centre, so I got a bus back to Picadilly. The 203 to Picadilly became an unofficial Party Bus, with fans singing Erasure songs. When one man wanted to get of he shouted “DRIVER!!! STOP!!!” and then sings the chorus to the Erasure song Stop!, with everybody else on the bus joining in.

I think that’s what you call a good night.

Photo Album