50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : APR 18 – APR 24

Hope you’re all in a dancing mood, as this week, Bez hits the big 50. Here’s one of Happy Mondays more bizarre (even by their standards) performances, covering Thin Lizzy in 1999.

Someone whose 50th birthday was a while ago is Iggy Pop. I think he might be miming here.

Robert Smith’s 50th was a few years back, not as many back as Iggy’s though. The only birthdays he enjoys are ones that fall on a Friday, as it’s his favourite day of the week. His 55th birthday was last Monday.

And an interview from 1988 where he discusses Top Of The Pops.

Sad anniversary now, and it’s a year since the death of Chrissie Amphlett of The Divinyls.

Peter Frampton was 64 this week. The best tribute? A Reggae cover by Big Mountain, not to be confused with Big Country or Big Fun.

Paul Carrack of Mike and the Mechanics was 63 this week. I remember when I had just started the big school, this song was always on Atlantic 252.

Every week of the year, a former member of Sugababes celebrates a birthday. It’s Amelle’s turn this week. Here she is in 2006 performing “Red Dress”, ironically, not wearing a red dress, or even a dress of any colour.

Captain Sensible turns 60 this week. I think this will be the only song on this series that is a cover of a song from a musical by a member of a Punk band. Also note, he’s wearing a The Dammed t-shirt.

And where do you go from there? To the very first winner of American Idol of course.

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THE FRIDAY FIVE – 25.10.2013

1. Franz Ferdinand – Evil Eye
2. Arlissa – Into The Light
3. VV Brown – The Apple
4. Lucy Rose – Movin On Up
5. Keane – Won’t Be Broken

And so, X-Factor continues, with yet more vague themes. Last week – Love and Heartbreak.

So, here’s five songs that the performers would have been better off singing.

FIVE LOVE SONGS

1. James – Just Like Fred Astaire
2. Erasue – Always
3. Billie Piper – Day And Night
4. 10CC – The Things We Do For Love
5. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

FIVE HEARTBREAK SONGS

1. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
2. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
3. Paloma Faith – New York
4. Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
5. Blink 182 – I Miss You

2012 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Amazing to believe, but we are now officially at the half-way point of 2012.

As is tradition, this halfway mark is commemorated by a half-century of the best songs of the year so far.

Enjoy

1. Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care Of Our Own
2. Coldplay ft Rihanna – Princess Of China
3. Emeli Sande – Next To Me
4. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
5. Little Boots – Headphones
6. Ren Harvieu – Open Up Your Arms
7. Fun ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
8. The Shins – Simple Song
9. Black Keys – Lonely Boy
10. Keane – Silenced By The Night
11. Mayer Hawthorne – The Walk
12. Ladyhawke – Sunday Drive
13. Can Bonomo – Love Me Back
14. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
15. Thea Gilmore – London
16. Lloyd – Dedication To Me Ex
17. Hot Chip – Day and Night
18. Paloma Faith – Picking up The Pieces
19. Amy MacDonald – Slow It Down
20. The Maccabees – Pelican
21. Cher Lloyd – Want U Back
22. Gotye – Eyes Wide Open
23. Michael Kiwanika – I’m Getting Ready
24. Ben Howard – Only Love
25. Ed Sheeran – Small Bump
26. Alex Clare – Too Close
27. Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
28. The Big Pink – Stay Gold
29. Eugene McGuinness – Lion
30. Dappy ft Brian May – Rockstar
31. Rita Ora – RIP
32. Taylor Swift – Ours
33. Will Young – I Just Want A Lover
34. Nicola Roberts – Yo-Yo
35. Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna
36. Lana Del Ray – Born To Die
37. Professor Green – Never Been A Good Time
38. Maroon 5 – Payphone
39. Jedward – Watermark
40. Marina and the Diamonds – Power and Control
41. DJ Fresh – Hot Right Now
42. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
43. Foster The People – Don’t Stop
44. Alyssa Reid – Alone
45. Lawson – When She Was Mine
46. Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
47. Miles Kane – First Of A Kind
48. Horrible Histories – Flame
49. Gemma Ray – Rescue Me
50. B.O.B – So Good

Half-Term Half Century 2011

Half-Term Half Century 2010

Half-Term Half Century 2009

Half-Term Half Century 2008

Half-Term Half Century 2007

THE SOUND OF 2011 : 61-80

61. Jessie J ft B.O.B – Pricetag
62. Far East Movement – Rocketeer
63. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Dream On
64. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Stop The Clocks
65. Florrie Arnold – Sunday Girl
66. U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Jacques Lu Cont remix)
67. The Saturdays – My Heart Takes Over
68. Florence and the Machine – What The Water Gave Me
69. Kelly Clarkson – Mr Know It All
70. Hayley Westenra – World In Union
71. Caro Emerald – The Other Woman
72. Charlene Soraia – Wherever You Will Go
73. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks
74. Nickelback – When We Stand Together
75. Martin Solveg – Hello
76. Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar
77. Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum
78. Getta Jaani – Rockefeller Street
79. Beady Eye – Millionairre
80. Wretch 32 – Don’t Go

THE FRIDAY FIVE

Long-term readers may remember, that when I used to blog on Bebo, I would post up the five songs i’d been loving the most over the past week.

Since moving to WordPress, i’ve never done that, apart from a Top 50 of the year so far, and a Top 100 in December, as well as periodic “The Sound Of …..” blogposts.

So, i’ve decided to start doing a Top 5 blog each week again, the Friday five. Enjoy.

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Bird – AKA What A Life
2. Scala and Kolacny Brothers – With Or Without You
3. Hayley Westenra – World In Union
4. Snow Patrol – Called Out In The Dark
5. Kelly Clarkson – Mr Know It All

FIVE QUEEN SONGS

Seeing as this week marked what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday, I thought I would take my role as a self-confessed Queenologist to give you five Queen songs you need to listen to.

1. Innuendo
2. Seven Seas Of Rhye
3. Let Me Live
4. Save Me
5. Play The Game

2010 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February saw me head to Manchester for a weekend at the start of the month.

I was going to see United take on Portsmouth. but I took the opportunity to go to St Andrew’s the following day to see Birmingham take on Wolves, and see Kelly Clarkson in concert, at the Manchester Apollo that night.

I’d been to Old Trafford many times before, but i’d started to find the trips tedious, always going by coach, and never getting to see the city itself.

So that sowed the seeds of that weekend, wanting to go to a United match a different way, and make a weekend of it.

I also managed to take advantage of other things happening in nearby cities to make a proper weekend of it.

The United match was pretty routine, with United winning 5-0. Portsmouth were so bad, United could have won 10-0 if they really went for it.

The following day’s game was a lot more fiesty, and I was surprised that I was able to turn up on the day and get a general sale (at a reasonable £20) for the West Midlands derby between Birmingham and Wolves.

It was enjoyable to watch a football match without having a vested interested (I was in the Birmingham end, so I suppose I did have to cheer them on) and the atmosphere was brilliant and I learnt some funny tunes at the expense of Wolves from the Birmingham fans.

On my way home from the watch, I stumbled across some heartwarming graffiti, paying tribute to a cup of tea.

After legging it to New Street Station, I managed to get to Manchester for the Kelly Clarkson concert, which was excellent.

Later on in the month, I managed to get some photos of a new mural in Sandy Row paying tribute to the Northern Ireland football team, featuring Warren Feeney and local lad Grant McCann

Sandy Row Football Mural

Kelly Clarkson Photos

Birmingham v Wolves Photos

STLFTEM UPDATE

As regular readers of this blog will know, 2010 has been the year when I have implimented a new life ethos, STLFTEM, or “Something To Look Forward To Every Month”

It’s very self-explanatory, as I always aim to make sure that I have had something to go, do or see every month to look forward to.

There are only two rules :

1. There can be more than one STLFTEM in a month.

2. It has to be seen or taken part in. For example, the World Cup, in June and July doesn’t count, as it was a TV event, rather than something I actually went to.

So far, every full month this year has been catered for. September, October and December have also been sorted. That leaves November to be sorted, but thankfully, there is still plenty of time to rectify that.

I’m already looking to get the first half of 2011, with a hotel booked for Dublin on the date of the UEFA Cup Final.

I’m also looking at going on a short break in February.

I did the same this February when I went to Manchester, and it was great to have it on the horizon, during the freakishly cold winter.

My criteria, is somewhere cheap to get to, with a half-decent football team to go and see, and ideally, not in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

So far, i’ve got my heart set on Munich, and hope to get this sorted within a week.

So, STLFTEM for 2010 looks like this so far :

January

Neil Delamere at Island Arts Centre

February

Manchester trip (United v Portsmouth, Kelly Clarkson concert)

March

Glentoran v Linfield Irish Cup tie
Ocean Colour Scene at Mandela Hall

April

North of England trip (James in concert, Blackburn v United, Sean Lock live)

May

Irish Cup Final
Echo and the Bunnymen at Custom House Square
Marina and the Diamonds at Mandela Hall

June

Tegan and Sara at Mandela Hall

July

Adam Hills at Mandela Hall

August

Edinburgh Festival
Stereophonics at Belsonic

September

United v Liverpool

October

United v Spurs

December

Boxing Day (If you don’t know, Linfield v Glentoran, which is actually on December 27th)

So, can anyone suggest something for me to go and/or see in November?

EVERYONE LOVES A CUPPA

It’s written on a wall in Brimingham, so therefore, it must be true.

I’ll get to how I ended up in Birmingham later. Anyone who has been following me on Twitter will have known how excitable I was about going to Manchester for the weekend.

Why Manchester?, I hear you ask, especially in February, it’s hardly a winter sunshine break.

I don’t know myself really. It had got to early October and I was getting down about the summer being over and the nights getting darker, and earlier, I just wanted something to look forward to, to see me through the winter months.

It had only been a couple of weeks since I was at the Manchester derby, and i’d grown tired of the long bus trips to watch United, and wanted to fly over to a game, and have enough time to actually explore Manchester, rather than getting a few hours on the day of the game.

So, that was it, mind made up. Off to a United game, early in the new year. Pick a game that is easy to get tickets for, on a weekend when Linfield have an away match which is more than missable.

With United at home to Portsmouth, and Linfield away to Distillery, at a ground with no parking, and no good views wherever you are, ticked all the boxes.

Booking this trip, as something for me to look forward to during the long winter nights, soon morphed into my “Something to Look Forward to Every Month” mantra i’m having for this year (and hopefully beyond), being the February event.

So, after all the waiting, I arrived bleary-eyed at Belfast City Airport and thinking to myself that it was not what I had in mind when I was planning this glorious weekend.

It was my first time flying from Belfast City Airport, and the flight was the best flight I have ever experienced, mainly because I slept the whole way through.

Arriving in Manchester, the first thing you notice is how much better the train stations are on the mainland. Self-service ticket booths and shopping to kill the time, compared with the depressing hole that is Central Station.

After arriving at my accommodation, it was straight into the City Centre, and most importantly, Empire Exchange, which was at the top of the street where I was staying.

For anybody who has never been to Empire Exchange, it’s basically like Video/DVD/Book/Magazine shopping in a Tardis. So much stuff you just want to buy, you really have to control yourself from going on a spending spree.

Managed to purchase a couple of old Shoot and Q magazines for £1 a pop. It’s really funny reading these magazines with the benefit of 15-20 years of hindsight.

If I get access to a scanner, i’ll post up a couple of the best parts of the magazines. Any magazine which has an advert for shinguards where Bryan Robson, Ian Rush and Gary Lineker parody Goodfellas deserves to have the piss ripped out of it.

From there, I headed to Urbis, an exhibition centre which will become the National Football Museum in 2011. One of it’s main purposes, is as a studio for the flagship news programme of Channel M (Think of it as NVTV, but with a budget), presented by Andy Crane.

Having decided against stalking Andy Crane, I headed in to view the exhibition looking at 50 years of television history in Manchester. It’s well worth a look, if you happen to be passing.

With the early start, I was knackered, and retired to the room for a powernap before dinner, but I overslept, and basically had to write-off Friday night.

But anyway, Friday night wasn’t the main highlight of the trip, Saturday afternoon was.

With my sleep pattern, gradually getting back to normal, I was up ridiculously early on Saturday morning, so headed into the city centre.

I was meeting a friend for lunch before heading to the game, so I had a bit of time to kill, and headed to the Arndale Centre.

I’d been there the previous day, but managed to find some of Manchester’s hidden pleasures, such as the Arndale Market, which is hidden at the back of the Arndale Centre, amidst all the major chain stores.

I managed to browse into a independent bookstore, which had perhaps the best thing i’ve ever seen.

It was a collection of Tom Baker Doctor Who greetings/message cards (Happy Birthday, Get Well Soon, etc)

It would be the best card ever if you sent it to a friend, but you would hate yourself for actually using them.

From there, I headed to Picadilly to meet the only Man United fan on Merseyside, and we got a train to Old Trafford.

The first thing we had to do was check our GPS that we were at the right stadium, as the amount of Yellow and Green scarves seemed to suggest that we had accidentally ended up at Carrow Road.

You may have seen the scarves at the recent League cup tie with Manchester City. At the Portsmouth, there was far easily more scarves sold and worn. Those wearing Red and White, were in the minority.

We decided to head to the famous Trafford Bar to catch the end of the Merseyside derby. After we queued up, we were surprised to see that the match wasn’t being shown.

It really shows the hardcore anti-Scouse attitude of the regulars that their matches aren’t even shown on TV, to give regulars the opportunity to cheer on the other team

We headed on into the ground for the match, which was an expected routine win for United against a very poor Portsmouth team. If you think they looked bad on the edited highlights on Match of the Day, you had to see it in person for 90 minutes to really see how bad they are.

Heading out, I checked my mobile, and the day got even better with the results from home.

From there, we headed to a bar in the Oxford Road region, which was converted from a public toilet.

Come Sunday morning, I decided to head to Birmingham on a cheap return ticket, to see the city for a day and go to City’s match against Wolves.

I decided to chance it and wait until the day of the game to get my ticket, and I managed to get one with no trouble, which was a bit surprising, bearing in mind it’s a local derby.

St Andrew’s is a strange ground. From the outside, half of it looks no better than an Irish League ground, while the other half looks like the identikit new modern stadiums that have poppoed up in England over the last 20 years.

Inside, the stadium was fine, and I had an excellent view. It’s always good to experience a matchday experience from a different point of view.

The ticket was £20, which is twice the admission of a Linfield home match, so the game had a lot to live up to. It was a good game, but not twice as good as a Linfield match though.

It was a brilliant atmosphere and I especially loved the songs the Birmingham fans were singing to taunt their opponents. So childish and immature, but straight to the point.

There were some strange goings one which had me baffled. At St Andrew’s, all of Birmingham’s substitutions are sponsores, for example “Substitution for Birmingham, brought to you in association with ……..”

I dread to think if this was to catch on at Windsor Park, all of David Jeffrey’s substitutions could be sponsored by Specsavers.

As well ast he substitutions, all of Birmingham’s goals are sponsored as well. Very bizarre.

Back to Manchester, and headed over to the Apollo to see Kelly Clarkson in concert.

It’s a wonderfully strange venue that you really have to go to. A former disused cinema (and an old style one at that), someone just decided to turn it into a concert venue, whilst doing mininal rebuilding work to the interior.

If only someone had decided to do that to The Curzeon, what a venue that would have been.

It was an absolutely brilliant concert, with Clarkson managing to mix a collection of covers and acoustic version of her hits together, even though at times, she was relying a lot on her backing vocalists, which was a shame for such a fantastic vocalist.

Despite spending three days in Manchester, I can’t help but feel that there is still so much more to see. Thankfully, I will be heading back in April (along with trips to Sheffield, Liverpool and hopefully Blackburn) as part of my STLFTEM for April.

The only real disappointment was the lack of celeb spotting. When spotting Brian Laws at the airport is the most high-profile person you see, you know it was a poor show in terms of celeb spotting.

Oh well, at least there’s Ocean Colour Scene next month to look forward to.

Pictures

See Also