One guy's life

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Give them a damn good kicking

I found myself yelling at Radio 5 earlier today. In response to the Ted Heath story people were calling in to say "Why did people wait until he's dead to come forward?" as if that is proof that the claims are false.

When Heath, Britten, Smith et al were alive they were protected. The establishment closes ranks to protect itself.  Calls are made and investigations are dropped. Dossiers are given to the Home Secretary that mysteriously go missing. Someone threatens to expose Heath if charges in a different case aren't dropped and purely coincidentally those charges get dropped.

I don't know whether Heath was involved in child abuse or not. My gut instinct is that he probably wasn't, but may have been aware of certain people and their activities (though I have no evidence to back this up). But there is mounting evidence that in political circles there was organised child abuse, and there is good circumstantial evidence that it was covered up by the Thatcher government. Any investigation into Heath would have risked exposing the wrongs of others, even if Heath was personally innocent of any direct involvement.

The establishment has long-standing expertise in closing ranks to protect its own. This expertise crosses party lines and involves politicians, police, judiciary and the press.

I remember how the BBC was hauled over the coals when the Savile affair broke. In 2012, Tory party Chairman Grant Shapps said "It seems unimaginable that the people in the BBC didn't know.” Well Grant, it seems unimaginable to me that Margaret Thatcher, Ted Heath and just about anyone of note in your party in the 70s and 80s didn't know what sordid and illegal activities were going on. To cover them up you must first have knowledge of them. Where are the 114 missing Home Office files? It seems to me that leading Tories of that generation are due the sort of public kicking that their heirs so joyfully gave the BBC, and they are due it in spades because they had the power to stop the child abuse and didn't. Likewise anyone else who put their party before moral and legal obligations is due a kicking. The only person being prosecuted is an old man with dementia. One gets the feeling that he has been chosen as the whipping boy for the establishment, and while he may deserve what's coming, I suspect that the establishment will once again protect its own and consider him collateral damage.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fading like a photo

I once had a colleague whose dad had been suffering from Alzheimer's. When he died I expected her to upset but she needed no consoling. There is of course no 'right way' to grieve, but in this case she seemed indifferent to her dad's death. At the time I didn't understand how this could be. I knew that Alzheimer's was a cruel disease, stealing memories from people, but I didn't understand how it could make a child seem unmoved by a parent's passing.

A few years later and it's me with the father with Alzheimer's. My mum is the one who bears the brunt of the decline on a daily basis, thrust unwillingly into the role of carer at a point in her life when they both should be enjoying the fruits of a lifetime's labours.

We, their children, only see the edited highlights of this most brutal of second childhoods. Often we see him at his best, in much the same way as a child can be on best behaviour in company and be a nightmare at home. But more and more he is unable to put on the act of normality. He is unaware that this role even needs playing.

Alzheimer's doesn't just steal memories it changes personalities. The person you love isn't simply losing the ability to remember what happened yesterday, they change into a different person. A mild mannered person can become prone to anger. A confident person can become riven with anxiety.

In the process of helping one of my brothers to compile a memory book for my dad I have been going through photo albums. In these photos are reminders of a life, a family, hopes and dreams. But also of the cruelty of this disease. You can't help but juxtapose the man of yesteryear with the man of today. The photos themselves provide a metaphor for his decline. At first the colours fade, reflecting the subtle changes to his character. Still clearly the same man but off-colour. And then the sharpness of the image goes. The clarity of old no longer there. After the sharpness, the details start to fade, until you are left with a dad shaped image devoid of the character and colour he once possessed. You can tell it was him once, but all you can see is what isn't there any more. The person you are left with is little more than a silhouette.

When all of the colour, all of the sharpness and all of the detail goes from his life you have lost everything that made dad dad. What is there left to mourn?

So now, painfully, I understand why my colleague reacted as she did. I don't know how I shall react when my time comes to bury my father. I suspect I shall be less phlegmatic than my colleague. It will be one final goodbye after a succession of goodbyes. And then I shall try to remember the man he was before the disease took hold. A man of colour, of detail, of sharp edges.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's the most cynical time of the year

Marketing is a cynical profession. It is your job to do whatever it takes to promote a product or service so that it stands out from the masses and people choose you. At this time of year, marketing often relies less on unique selling points and more on tugging heart strings. Decisions taken based on emotions are by definition less rational and people are therefore more likely to make a choice they otherwise wouldn’t. There is no time like Christmas time for manipulating people through marketing.

There's John Lewis's Monty the penguin advert for starters. Before we’d seen it the ground was already laid in the press. We were told it was going to be emotional. We were told a million pounds had been spent on it, so it was bound to be special. John Lewis went straight for the heart strings, and to be fair it’s a nicely made ad with a cute pay-off. That’s all it is artistically, but this is where the marketing genius kicks in. John Lewis have already sold out of cuddly Monty toys at £95 a time. And if you take a step back and realise that £95 for a soft toy that you neither wanted nor needed before seeing that advert is a bit steep, then you can salve your conscience in the knowledge that thousands of Montys have been donated to the WWF to help them raise funds. 

Of course the next phase has already kicked in. Cuddly Montys will be back in stock before long, and Monty cufflinks and other trinkets are also on offer. Marketeers are laughing at the British public right now, but the British public are complicit. They love getting swept up in such things. Penguin mania will hit the nation, and while we are in the store getting our Monty ties for Dad and socks for Grandad, we will probably convince ourselves to buy other things from John Lewis. It’s a classic bait and switch. 

While Lidl’s advertising campaign focuses on their products and their USP (‘we are cheaper than the others but still good quality’), Aldi has tried to tug more at the heart strings but comes up on the wrong side of cheesy. Sainsbury's, on the other hand, have produced an advert that is not about them at all, and is instead about the WW1 Christmas Day football truce. Many people are lauding it. They are finding it moving, and they are applauding Sainsbury's for paying tribute to the soldiers of WW1. But let’s not kid ourselves; this advert is every bit as cynical as the John Lewis advert. Let’s examine why:

1, Subject matter and timing. While the other major supermarkets launched their campaigns in the preceding week, Sainsbury's launched theirs on the 12th of November. The day after Armistice Day. All those poppies at the Tower of London, all of the WW1 centenary tv programmes, the Remembrance Day services and media coverage built up an appetite for the Sainsbury's advert. Subconsciously Sainsbury's has become a part of all that. Right now, we are at our most vulnerable to this ad pulling at our heart strings, and it tugs at them with gusto. 

2, Low profile. By not being about Sainsbury's itself this advert actually draws more attention to Sainsbury's. By being so emotive it goes directly up against the John Lewis advert, and now people are talking about which advert is better. Don’t get me wrong, if the advert had ended with British and German veterans bumping into each other in the confectionery aisle and recognising each other it would have gone down as the most tasteless advert in history. But by leaving Sainsbury's out of the advert it has gained much more coverage than its Jamie Oliver led predecessors ever garnered.

3, The chocolate bar. Guess what you can buy in Sainsbury's? It’s the penguin all over again, and of course once you are in the store you are at the mercy of the in-store marketing.

4, The charity. If people have lingering doubts about the good taste of using the war dead to sell turkeys, nuts and crackers then have no fear: the Royal British Legion are supported by Sainsbury's through this campaign and the sale of the chocolate bars. Ok, so they weren’t supported by adverts and chocolate bars in advance of the 11th November when just about every remembrance poppy was sold; their backing is just in the run up to Christmas. All the shareholders of Sainsbury's care about is what is best for the shareholders of Sainsbury's. The RBL endorsement lends legitimacy to the campaign, but if it wasn’t good for business Sainsbury's would be running a different campaign.

The marketeers knew what they were doing. They knew this advert would touch on people’s genuine sentiments. It has created a buzz. It has got people talking about Sainsbury's in a way that puts the store alongside the country's most prestigious store (John Lewis) in people’s minds. The marketeers eschewed the obvious family dinner table, Christmas sweaters, celebrities, special offers, tinsel and baubles and came up with something unique and memorable. It is a brilliant advert. Fantastically well made and utterly utterly cynical. And the fact that most people won’t even notice that they are being emotionally manipulated shows that it is a stroke of marketing genius. But the only reason it is on our screens is because Sainsbury's think it will make people spend more in their stores.They are using long dead soldiers to sell stuff.

It will be interesting to see whether Sainsbury's have supplementary advertising up their sleeves of a more traditional nature, to carry them through the Christmas period. But if nothing else they have ensured that Monty won’t get things all his own way this Christmas.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A man found dead in woodlands....

"A man found dead in woodlands..."

Scroll back to the 22nd October 2012. I was checking facebook after work and in my news feed was the following comment from my friend Andy (paraphrased out of respect for those involved):

"For the past year I have been having a relationship with someone. Today she told me that it is over. I now have nothing left to live for."

If 99.9% of my friends posted that I would have thought they were being over-dramatic. But not Andy. He had been in and out of the secure unit at the local hospital, and I knew he had tried to end his life before. I knew that his wife had died a few years before. I knew that he was a schizophrenic. I knew that he suffered from physical pain so crippling that he could no longer work.

He was a talented artist and one of the funniest people I've been lucky to meet. Along with my friend Neil we made quite a tight trio during my mid teen years. Andy was 5 years older than us, and I guess we looked up to him. A big, 80s mulleted, heavy metal loving softy with opinions that were always worth listening to.

When we first met him he drove a Vespa moped. We jokingly called it a chicken chaser but secretly we envied the freedom it gave him. Then he got a car that he called Betsy. This became our main source of liberation from the confines of village life until we too passed our tests. Even back then he had his troubles. He had unresolved issues around being adopted. He also had the ability to flip if someone pushed him too far, though I don't think Neil and I ever bore the brunt. He was our mate. Friends forever...or at least until Neil and I went to University.

I saw him a few more times after I went to University but very quickly our lives took us in different directions. I always regretted that. So some years later, when we were able to reconnect via Facebook, I was very glad. We chatted infrequently, but when we did we talked in depth. We talked about meeting up but never did. Why was that? Were we both really so busy? I shall never know.

When I saw that Facebook status I knew I just couldn't sit there and do nothing. I sent him a message immediately, asking him to call me. I got no reply. I phoned the Samaritans for advice on what I should do. They were of no help. I rang the local Mental Health service, knowing that Andy would be known to them. After much effort (it was after hours), I found someone to speak to. They refused to acknowledge that they knew of Andy. They certainly wouldn't commit to doing anything.

"I know you cannot tell me that you are working with him, even though I know you are. Please just send his caseworker round."

I don't know if they did anything.

Then I tried the police. The first battle was to convince them to take me seriously. After all, people put over-dramatic posts on Facebook all the time. When I finally got through to them that there was a genuine and very pressing risk to Andy's life they asked me where he lived and what his phone number was. The truth was I knew neither. They didn't take me seriously, but eventually committed to sending a police officer around.

All of this took over an hour.  Something is wrong with the system if it is this hard to try to save a life.

The next day Andy's anguished status had gone, to be replaced by:

"Thanks for all your concern. I'm fine. But I'm going to go off the grid for a while to sort myself out. See you later."

I was relieved.

I was wrong.

That evening he was found dead in a tent in some woodland near his Mum's house.

I didn't find out about his death until New Year's Eve when in response to a happy birthday message posted on his Facebook page, one of his friends contacted me to give me the news. The truth was that both Andy's physical pain and his mental illness had got so severe that he could take medication for one but not the other. So he either had to live with excruciating physical pain, or be tormented by the voices in his head. While he had something to cling on to it was worth the pain. With that love gone, he saw nothing but torment ahead. He made a rational choice to end his life, and to be honest I can't really blame him.

That was the prevailing view of his friends too. He had quite a community of friends, linked to him by his love of music and LARP (live action role playing). Through talking to these people who had remained close to him while I had drifted away, it became clear that they thought it was always very much a case of when, and not if he would kill himself.

When you listen to him on this radio interview you hear a lucid and likeable chap, but more than that you gain a real understanding of what schizophrenia is really like. I remain sad that I could not help him when he was at his lowest ebb. I am angry that the system seemed to fail him. I regret that I was not closer to him in those last years. But do I think he was right to do what he did?

I think maybe he was.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

10 - 1 (my top 100 tunes)

You will note that my top 10 is unchanged from 2010. The truth is, when you get to this point it is incredibly difficult to rate one song above another. Depending on my mood any of them could have claimed the top spot.

10 A New England - Kirsty MacColl 10
It's not just the additional verse or the gender swap that makes this version of A New England very different from Billy Bragg's. The silky voice of the sorely missed Kirsty MacColl, the musical arrangement and the tempo give this version real oomph. Better than Bragg's version? Different, and brilliant. I will settle for that.

9 The Glorious Day - Amsterdam 9
There was a section of my friends at Uni who loved a band called Pele. Indeed at one point it felt like Pele were the house band of Rutherford College Junior Common Room. I never really got Pele, but when I saw Amsterdam (formed from the wreckage of Pele) support Billy Bragg I was won over. Even more so when they played The Glorious Day. There isn't a particularly good version of this song on the internet. Skip to around 40 seconds in on the link above to get a flavour. Then perhaps listen to Billy Bragg's The Warmest Room, the song on which this is based. With Bragg you get a love song, but with Amsterdam it is an ode to revolutionaries. It's a great track but sadly I think for you to appreciate it you will just have to buy their album.

8 Panic - The Smiths 8
I think this may be the first Smiths song I remember hearing. It was certainly the first to capture my imagination, even though it breaks my 5th Law of Pop: "Though shalt never have a choir of children singing backing vocals" or the Excerpt From A Teenage Opera Law as it is otherwise known. Only the Smiths and Pink Floyd are exempt from this Law. Anyway I digress. Do I really need to justify how brilliant Panic is? I don't think so.

7 I Useta Love Her - Sawdoctors 7
In my first year at University the jukebox in Keynes College bar was a new fangled CD jukebox. It was really very novel, but it also only had a small number of CDs. Fortunately one of those CDs included this song which would get played pretty much every night. I get a big goofy grin every time I hear this song. Partly due to the brilliance of this Irish band's songwriting/performing, and partly because it transports me back to some happy and formative years.

6 I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing - Pet Shop Boys 6
Despite the deadpan delivery this song is fantastically life affirming song. Every now and then we all need to cut loose. For no reason, just because. We all have the right to be a-typical once in a while. The emotions stirred by this song are summed up by  "I feel like taking all my clothes off. Dancing to the Rite of Spring. And I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing."
5 Beat Surrender - The Jam 5
There was a time in the mid 90s when the soundtrack to me getting ready for a night out was a Jam cd. Invariably this was the last song I would play before heading out. It got me in the perfect positive mindset. Shouty vocals, great lyrics, blaring horns and a driving beat. It has all of my favourite ingredients. "Fill my heart with joy and gladness. I've lived too long in shadows of sadness." Succumb to the beat surrender!

4 Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards - Billy Bragg 4
In many ways I suppose it's odd that the top Billy Bragg song in my list is impossible to sing along to live. And yet curiously it's a highlight of his show.Over the years pretty much every line has changed to reflect the topical issues of the day. This original version was written before the fall of the Iron Curtain and muses on the lot of the political singer/songwriter. It gradually gains momentum over the course of the song, through a succession of one liners, into the final glorious shouty refrain. (If you listen very hard you can hear Phil Jupitus shouting amidst the backing vocals towards the song.)

If you want to see how radically Bragg screws with the song check out later live versions:
Live on the Henry Rollins Show 2007
Live at Keele 2011

3 Mr Blue Sky - ELO 3
When I was little, my brothers had the ELO album Out Of The Blue on which was my favourite song of the time: Mr Blue Sky. Were they being mean or were they being principled prog rockers? I don't know. But whenever I wanted to hear Mr Blue Sky I was forced to listen to all of the preceding tracks. I couldn't fully appreciate the song you see, unless I heard it in context. Well that's what distinctly remember them telling me. The only problem being that Out Of The Blue was a double album and Mr Blue Sky was at the end of side 3. Despite this, I still love ELO, I still love Mr Blue Sky and I still talk to my brothers. This is a sublime piece of orchestral rock. I can't listen to it without feeling good. It is 4 and a half minutes of spellbinding genius.

2 Something  - Beatles 2
Frank Sinatra, who knew a thing or two about music, said that Something was "the greatest love something of the past 50 years". Who am I to disagree? From the moment that the drum roll ushers in the mournful guitar riff you know this is a truly special work of art. The song just drips with lush gorgeousness. It oozes class. It is remarkable to think that only 6 years previously they had been bashing out mersey beat tunes like I Want To Hold Your Hand. Has any other band in history changed so radically over such a short lifespan and with such high quality control? 

1 Yes - McAlmont and Butler 1
I used the word lush in describing Something. It applies equally to this gem of the britpop era. Bernard Butler of Suede, and David McAlmont of the impossibly high voice, combined to produce a masterpiece. It is a sweeping, embracing and intoxicating song. I was introduced to Yes by my friend Corinne when I lived in Sheffield. I don't remember the games we played on the Sega Megadrive on that boozy night, and it has been 15 years since I saw Corinne. But 16 years on from that night I can remember the thrill of hearing it for the first time. It sounded like nothing else. Timeless and contemporary at the same time. Is it my favourite song of all time? Maybe not. Can I think of anything that would decisively knock it off top spot? No. 

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Monday, August 12, 2013

20 - 11 (my top tunes)

20 Flight Of The Wild Geese -  Joan Armatrading 20
Another song on the list with a movie connection. The fact that it also has an African connection also works in its favour. This song drips with pathos, and there is a piano run just after the line "There were promise made" that for some reason I adore. The song really has very little to do with the film and would be better suited to a more political movie than an action one. It doesn't matter to me though. I love the film and I love the song. It's not as good as Love and Affection but it means more to me and for that reason it is high on this list.

19 God Only Knows - Beach Boys 19
Having previously said that it is really hard to write a song about being in love that is as good as unrequited love, this song is the exception, and it is exceptional. Its ruminations on what life would be like without his love is surely something everyone in love can identify with. It is beautifully understated, and a genuine classic.

18 Me And The Farmer - The Housemartins 18
Hull's finest may have had bigger hits, but I will fight to the death (metaphorically) to defend my view that this is their best song. The video has a wonderful home-made zero budget feel to it, and when you look at Norman Cook you do have to wonder whether he has a painting stashed in his attic.

17 Marlene On The Wall - Suzanne Vega 17
As I write this list it is becoming increasingly apparent to me how influential my brothers have been on my musical taste. My eldest brother gave me his vinyl copy of Vega's debut album. I played that album to death, it being my first real experience of a female singer songwriter. Above all, I loved this song and played it over and over. It still sounds fresh to me all these years later.

16 What's Going On - Marvin Gaye 16
I'm a big fan of Marvin Gaye, and I could have happily picked a half dozen of his songs for this top 100 list. I feel bad not including a duet with Tammi Terrell, but you can't include everything. This  plea on behalf of the planet is a wonderful moment in time. It stays on the right side of cheesy. A classic song from a classic album.

15 This Is How It Feels -  Inspiral Carpets 25
The second appearance of the Inspirals on my list and it sees this song rise 10 places from 2010's list. Harking back to my time at the Warehouse in Preston, it is amazing that a song about despair can actually be so uplifting when sung by a couple of hundred sweaty clubbers.

14 Last Of The Famous International Playboys - Morrissey 14
I find this to be a grand and swaggering exhibition of mock hubris from a killer. I like it a lot.

13 Absolutely Everybody - Vanessa Amorosi - new
We all know that until July/August last year the 2000 Sydney Olympics were the best Olympics ever. Such a wonderful celebration of sport organised with the light and enthusiastic softness of touch that we were later to also see in London 2012. I would stay up late into the night and wake early in the morning to catch the latest action. It was the first Olympics I really bought into beyond the high profile events. As I watched the closing ceremony I was a little bereft. Then a girl came leaping onto the stage to sing this positive bouncy life affirming anthem. The music, the athletes smiling, dancing and gurning for the cameras.... even 13 years on I can't hear this song without smiling and remembering what a fabulous job Sydney did of hosting the Olympics. The second best ever in fact :p

12 Whatever - Oasis 12
There was a time when Oasis were writing so many good songs that the b-sides of their singles were littered with would-be classics. Whatever was a stand alone single, never appearing on an album until their 2009 greatest hits album. How can you have such a good song and not include it on an album? Though admittedly What's The Story Morning Glory didn't exactly suffer from its exclusion. Later in their career they would go OTT with orchestration and overly long songs, but here they got it just right. Simple yet strong lyrics, pleasing melodies and an orchestra that accompanied without overpowering or being overpowered.

11 For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield 11
Uneasy and sinister, but rippling with defiance. This is more than a protest song, it is a social commentary and a snapshot of a time when the young were making their voice heard politically. The slow rhythm, the pinging guitar,  the lyrics and the overall vibe combine to create a 60s masterpiece.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

30 - 21 (My 100 top tunes)

30 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd 29
I've never bought into the whole 'Dark Side of the Moon is the greatest Floyd album ever' nonsense. I much prefer The Wall, and have done for as long as I can remember. Sometime in the 90s however I started to really appreciate Wish You Were Here (the album). It was a toss up between Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Wish You Were Here as to which song to include on this list. It is possible, though I would not admit it to his face, that my University housemate Jamie may have indoctrinated me by playing this song over and over. Whatever the truth is, this is a fantastic song that glides majestically like a swan on a river over honey. And this, despite the memory of Jamie singing "We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl" being burned forever on my mind

29 2 Of Us - Beatles new
I only 'discovered' this song a couple of years ago. It's a lovely little song. It's very simple, with a delightful melody and pleasing harmonies. It is a perfect nugget of whimsey, and what sealed it for me was the clip of Lennon before it starts saying "I dig a pygmy by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids. Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats." (not on this video clip though) Errant nonsense but somehow appropriate.

28 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen 28
This is quite possibly the greatest song ever written. So why, I hear you cry, is it languishing at number 28?  It is glorious, subtle, brash, understated and over the top in equal measure. But I am so familiar with it, that though I haven't tired of it, it doesn't quite pack the same punch it once did. I still love it though.

27 Kashmir - Led Zeppelin 27
The guitar line is an intimidating brute that is juxtaposed with the high fragile vocals of Robert Plant. The instrumental chorus is epic, and with the return to the verse you have the feel of an impending crescendo supplemented by the introduction of luscious strings. It builds and builds, even with a segway into a new verse structure, but it never does reach that climatic end. 

26 Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan 26
Don't you just love Dylan? Strip away the innovative video that has been aped more times than I can count and this song stands on its own two feet. This is a supremely confident song that subverted the songwriting conventions of the day. It chugs away with the verse and chorus blurring together, and then in little over 2 minutes it is gone. It may not have had the immediate impact of The Times They Are A Changing or Blowin' In the Wind, but it still resonates today.

25 Rise - Public Image Limited 24
I love the hints of the old Johnny Rotten that you get in this song allied to a controlled and classy backing track. Lyrically there are beautifully succinct phrases: "I could be wrong, I could be right", "Anger is an energy", "May the road rise with you".  Getting more pretentious than usual for a moment, the repetition of these phrases reminds me of Handel and his use of repetitive phrasing in oratorios such as the Messiah. It is certainly effective in Rise.

24 Senses Working Overtime - XTC 15
It starts off a little weird, like a post-punk curiosity. It builds in intensity over the course of the bridge and explodes into a wonderful chorus. Get in! During the course of the song we learn that the world is both football shaped and biscuit shaped. I am still trying to resolve this apparent paradox.

23 Alison - Elvis Costello 23
Songs about unrequited love or lost love always seem to reflect the reality of life more accurately than songs that revel in the glow of being in love. With a song like Alison you feel both the love and the aching disappointment of a lost love. It is beautiful and delicate while at the same time being pointed and edgy.

22 Walls Come Tumbling Down - Style Council 22
I am amused by the fact that the opening line in the video has been changed. The 'c' being removed from "We don't have to take this crap". Those were such innocent days! This is an energising call to action from the darkest days of the Thatcher ("public enemy number 10") era . "You can actually try changing things". "Unity is powerful". Where are the political songwriters in the mainstream nowadays? Anyway that aside, any song that starts with a Hammond organ and blaring horns is always onto a winner with me. Fortunately it never lets up that pace and this is a ramraiding slam dunk of a song from the guy who also brought us The Jam.

21 Don't Stop Moving - S Club 7    21
It doesn't happen very often, but every now and again I am not only on trend but slightly ahead of the curve. The first time I heard this song I was in my car and just about to drive to London to see my friend Sara. As I switched the engine on the radio burst into life with this tune but I had I missed the start so I didn't know the act. But from very early on I knew it would be a hit. Not in the "dumb kids are going to love this piece of xxxx" kind of way, but in the "wow this song is great and will be number 1" way. Pretty much the first thing I said to Sara when I got to her flat was "I have just heard a future number 1". It's a high quality party tune. Forget that S Club 7 were manufactured for the teeny bop market, this is a great pop song. Is it a better song that Bohemian Rhapsody? Of course not. Can I listen to it over and over? Oh yes. Of course my defence is blown out of the water by those who know I also rather like other songs by S Club.

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