“I’m just permanently agitated by everything and everyone.”
Trying To Do Better
Hello again and welcome to what might be my favourite thing to write about currently, Music & Insomnia, the two make such a lovely couple.
It’s been a period of sickness and recovery for me recently and unfortunately I have retreated into my old self. I’m practically locking myself in my room for fear of embarrassing myself, I almost burst into tears not so long ago just walking to a friend’s house to celebrate MY birthday.
I think what brought a lot of this on is the fact that upon visiting my family in Wales recently my father had a stroke while I was there and then upon my eventual return my partners father was rushed into hospital with a perforated bowel and I just sorta broke.
But anyway, through all that horridness we also rescued a cat! We named her Zelda cos we are nothing in not Nerds in this house.
So yeh, a bit of a mixed bag these past couple of months, but I am trying to push through it and be better in general. I want to keep this site a bit more updated, try to get a bit more social and venture outwards more. But despite all the nastiness and negative thoughts, one of the few things always guaranteed to put a smile on my face is music, specifically Punk Music.
I believe I have mentioned before how my father was an old school Punk when he was a teenager and he still pretty much is (thankfully a lot of the attitude is gone now). I grew up with a lot of music in my house (as old good houses should have) from Bob Dylan, Meatloaf, my mother’s strange undying love for A-ha and Stereophonics. But the mainstay was Punk music and not this pretty boy thing we get nowadays, I’m talking old school British “Smash The System” Punk and I absolutely loved it and still do.
The plan for this article is to stay in that Genre so I can talk about it a bit and do some reminiscing (you know the drill). But even as I sit here writing this I realise that the nature of The YouTube Trail is that it’s random and I’ll probably end up at ABBA again 😛 .
For those of you who don’t know the rules of the YouTube Trail, I shall reiterate.
- Pick a song on YouTube (preferably one you like)
- Once it’s finished, pick another song from the recommended section on the right
- Keep going till the trail runs dry or you get bored/sleepy (or until I hit 15, otherwise I’d be typing forever)
- Make sure you are in Incognito Mode so your cookies/history doesn’t influence the Trail too much
So without further ado at 2:42am (yay Insomnia!) the first song is…
Song 1: The Damned – Video Nasty
I thought I’d start here as if there are any fans of British comedy out there you might remember this song from the TV show “The Young Ones“. The song itself is about the British Film Board banning loads of so-called “Video Nasties” in the 80’s but it didn’t stop people gathering in front of their TV sets and watching them and catching “the Horror Train”.
Song 2 (Not That One): The Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love
This song will always hold a special place for me as The Buzzcocks were the first band I ever saw live (that weren’t a local cover band or something), I was 15 and very very drunk and at one point I jumped off the stage only to be ignored by the crowd and it was fucking awesome.
Song 3: The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
Probably one of the most iconic Punk songs of all time and was so awesome it is still the only song to ever be played twice in a row by Radio DJ John Peel saying “It doesn’t get much better than this”. In fact he loved the song so much that in an interview in 2001 he said that he would like the opening line of this song engraved on his gravestone.
Song 4: The Only Ones – Another Girl Another Planet
I couldn’t tell you when I first heard this song, but I’m guessing I was around 4 days old as the vinyl it was on was always just there in our house and always got played every Saturday for years. That is until my sister poured tipex all over it and ruined it. I also just realised that three out of the four songs I’ve talked about so far have modern covers, but we do not speak of them here…
Song 5: The Stranglers – No More Heroes
This song will always be special to me for one very important reason, it was the first song I ever heard. There is a home video of me being brought home from the hospital as a newborn and my father has this turned up ridiculously loud in the background, so unless they had something on the hospital radio that I didn’t know about (I wasn’t exactly “with it”) then this is the first song I ever heard and I love that.
Song 6: Tom Robinson Band – 2-4-6-8 Motorway
Oh my god I love this song so much, I don’t know what it is about it. It’s so punchy and easy to sing along to you can just lose yourself. I’ve seen many a “Best Driving Songs” type things and this song never seems to make the cut, but for me it’s number 1.
This song is on my “Driving Game Playlist” and I probably couldn’t count the number of times I’ve caused a pile-up in American Truck Simulator cos I’m just dancing between lanes singing “Me and my Radio trucking on through the niiiiight!” while this blasts in my headset, now if you don’t mind I’m gonna do a John Peel and listen to that again.
Song 7: Tenpole Tudor – Swords Of A Thousand Men
Again another song I can just sing along to and lose myself in, it’s also what my old man would call a perfect “pogo” song, you don’t dance and you don’t mosh… it’s kinda somewhere in the middle but it’s hella fun.
Edward Tudor-Pole (the singer) also presented The Crystal Maze back when I was a kid and I think he was channelling the 8th Doctor while doing it…
Okay new headcanon, The Doctor retires one day and gets people to run around inside his Tardis doing puzzles. How else do you explain the four different Time Zones? Checkmate.
Song 8: The Ruts – Babylon’s Burning
Another tragic tale of the music industry that many people will know about. The Ruts were a phenomenal Punk band that got cut down when their singer, Malcolm Owen, died of a Heroin overdose. The band reformed in 2007 (27 years later) to do a few benefit gigs for the guitarists, Paul Fox, family since he had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. They only released the one (proper) album “The Crack”, who knows what would’ve come next?
Another great song to shout out loud while civilisation burns around you, cos sometimes shouting at it is the best thing you can do.
Song 9: Sham 69 – If The Kids Are United
See this is the thing I love about Punk, it’s not just a list of songs you can sing along to as usual, but songs you can shout along to (though I won’t as it’s half three in the morning 😛 ). Punk wasn’t always about smashing the system (it was about ancient armies doing battle earlier) but it is at its best when it is. This is another one of those songs that gives me a bit of hope against a seemingly bleaker and bleaker world, we outnumber the 1% thousands to one and maybe if we could be united then maybe we could fucking do something about this mess.
Song 10: The Cockney Rejects – I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
Now I just want to say that I don’t like football and don’t support any team, if I had to say anything it would have to be Cardiff City as my old man would make me say it. This song for those who don’t know, is the anthem for West Ham. The Cockney Rejects, as the name may have clued you in on, are a group from east London and have always been avid supporters of West Ham and have quite a few songs about football and football fandom in general and I would recommend looking into them if you like that sort of thing.
Another reason I chose this song over the others that were available is because it also represents something else I love about Punk Music and that’s its covers of “normal” songs. If you’ve ever heard some Punk Covers (even if you don’t like them that much) you have to agree that they inject a new kind of energy into what could be a mundane song. In fact that may even be a future post so keep your eyes peeled.
Song 11: UK Subs – Stranglehold
Not quite as special as The Buzzcocks up there but The UK Subs was the second gig I ever went to, again with my father. It was another memorable night of jumping around and drinking, but the thing that will always stick in my head as one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was when a bloke, who must’ve been about 20 stone easy, got up on the stage and bounced around with the singer a bit then when security came to get him he jumped off and landed straight on my old man.
Song 12: Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster
I unfortunately have never had the privilege of seeing this band, but my brother (the bastard) has seen them on three separate occasions. And every time he rings me up afterwards, just to rub it in.
Song 13: The Jam – Going Underground
The Jam may be one of my favourite bands of all time, every song is on point and some of them are irresistible to move to (looking at you Town Called Malice). Definitely up there on my list of “Bands I would love to see before it’s to late” but alas due to Paul Weller leaving the band it seems that dream will never come to be.
As a side note, this song is played after all the comedians have finished their sets in London’s Comedy Store.
Song 14: Madness – Baggy Trousers
Okay okay, I may have veered off from “Punk” with these last couple of songs but honestly I couldn’t resist. Baggy Trousers is just an awesome song and I couldn’t help but click it and it’s my list so 😛 . If you want to know how much people in Britain love this band then just load up the clip of them singing “Our House” at the London Olympics and listen to the crowd, pure joy.
Another song responsible for an awesome memory of mine, we were down the local pub one night and my old man had had more than his fair share. He was sat in the corner, head slumped down and ready for bed I’m sure. All of a sudden that playground bell rang on the jukebox and my old man suddenly awoke and sung every word perfectly (no easy feat when your pissed) and me and my brother couldn’t have been prouder.
Also, these guys got ticked off my “Bands I must see” list last year and it was amazing.
Song 15: The Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant
Who else could I have ended this list with really? You think British Punk and you think of The Sex Pistols, despite those damn butter adverts Johnny Rotten is still something of an icon to me. He was never afraid to speak his mind and didn’t give a fuck what other people thought of him and I can think of no better song to end on than this one.
Punk Might Be Dead, But The Corpse Will Rot Forever
Yes Punk may have changed its face now and is so corporate that it’s founders would probably whip the critics with a bicycle chain if they could (like Sid Vicious once did) for even insinuating that some of these modern bands are Punk but oh well.
The thing is, Punk is whatever you wanted it to be, it was never meant to be mainstream and big money, Punk is about going your own way and forging your own path success be damned and as my father once said to me “Punk might be dead, but the corpse will rot forever”.
Here is a Spotify Playlist of this entry 🙂 .
As always thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys next time, Leigh.
A while back Tory MP Andrew Rosindell said that the BBC should close every night by playing “God Save The Queen” as a mark of patriotism. BBC Newsnight was more than happy to oblige, proving that maybe Punk isn’t quite dead yet.