Eurovision 2022! Hurrah!

It’s one of my favourite times of the year. A time when I sit down and spend an entire night listening to potentially terrible music

The normal rules apply… Refresh this page to hear my thoughts on a particular song…

I’m already looking forward to “Give That Wolf A Banana”… In a perfect world, the best song will win, but we all know that Ukraine are going to win…

Here we go! Well, if the intro songs are to go by, this isn’t going to be too bad. No idea what they were (and I’m not referring to that “Give Peache a Chance” crap), but I quite liked them. Laura Bazini, or someone. I’ll probably look her up later.

Oh good lord, there’s a parade of the flags now. I think I’ve started this a bit early. Still enough time to nip for a piss before the real action starts

Oh no! Apparently, there’s going to be a load of “emotional ballads” this year.

Czech Republic: We Are Domi – Lights Off

Here we go! Bit of an 80s vidbe to it, not much of a tune. The flashing effects aren’t really doing much for the compression, considering I’m watching via iplayer. It’s definitely been the best song of the contact so far, but I’m sure there’ll be better.

Romania: WRS – Llámame

Well, the crowd are clapping. Nil points for whatever the bloke’s wearing, however. the intrumental bit’s pretty catchy, which isn’t great, seeing as this is a song contest. I’d probably prefer this over the first one if I’m honest.

Portugal: MARO – Saudade, Saudade

“Harmonised introspective ballad”. says Graham Norton. I don’t know what to make of it. Oh wait, yes, I do. It’s dreadful. I genuinely disliked everything about that. NEXT!

Finland: The Rasmus – Jezebel

Always amuses me when actual bands that I’ve heard of enter this competition. It’s certainly more uptempo than the last one, and that’s probably all I can say about it. Oh, wait, there was a nice little key change there. It’s improved it somewhat.

Switzerland: Marius Bear – Boys Do Cry

The question that Mr. Norton asked was “Will it stay in the memory?” I can guarantee it will NOT. this is pretty much everything wrong with music these days. Has there been a shortage of drumkits? He’s got a whiny voice like a mile Adele. Naaaaah.

“Boys do CRAAAAAAAGH”.

France: Alvan & Ahez – Fulenn

Ooh, I like this one. Well, I did until they started singing. Don’t know if it’s me, but the verse bit sounded ever so slightly out of time? La la la le li lo, lu, lm, lx, etc. Saying that, it’s one of the few that I’d listen to again so far.

There now follows a human sacrifice”. Hahahah.

Norway: Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana

I do love a good novelty song. And this is probably my favourite so far. SOMEONE GIVE THAT WOLF A BANANA. And they repeated the word “Yum” 90 times.

Armenia: Rosa Linn – Snap

Oh, it’s another ballad, but this one’s not too bad. I’m thinking KT Tunstall? I do actually really like this one. I’d say this is my favourite so far. I’d definitely listen to this one again. Deux points.

Italy: Mahmood & Blanco – Brividi

TO TERRY! Up to 9 songs already. Is it a ballad in Italian? well, I don’t understand, but the crowd appear to be loving it… I, however, do not. Now, where did I put that beer…

Spain: Chanel – SloMo

A song originally written for J-Lo, did he say? oooh, I’m sorry, I’ve totally zoned out of this song, she has a lovely bottom. I might have to watch this one back later. Good lord. That’s one way to be memorable.

Netherlands: S10 – De Diepte

“Something completely different”. Yeah, not amazing, but I’ve just noticed how much the backing scenery looks like the old “Taito” arcade games booting up…

Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra – Stefania

Well, this wasn’t what I was expecting. I have no idea what the guy’s wearing (it’s like when you put a lampshade on your head when you’re a kid), and I have no idea what he’s singing, but… it’s actually OK. When I read “Orchestra”, I was expecting another ballad, but this is a folky / rap crossover thing. With flutes. Not bad. Not bad at all.

It’s probably going to win.

Germany: Malik Harris – Rockstars

Oh, god. It’s that style of singing again. instead of “fast”, it’s pronounced fhaaaaaruuust”. “Rhhhockstaaaaaus”. I can’t get past the awful vocals. there’s a rap section that is a carbon copy of “Headlights” by Eminem and that guy off Fun. It’s a shame, because the song has got better as it went on, but, that style of vocal is just…. no.

Lithuania: Monika Liu – Sentimentai

Oooh, old style Eurovision I have a feeling I like this…. Well, it’s certainly got a disco vibe, but it just doesn’t get going. It’s like a slightly faulty kettle that never gets to boil, just sits there almost bubbling away. Still, it gave me a chance to go and fix some spelling errors.

Azerbaijan: Nadir Rustamli – Fade To Black

You think he’d have got dressed up. Shame that it’s another ballad. Nope, it’s a nil points for me. I take it there’s not a break between the songs because I need a wee again now.

Belgium: Jérémie Makiese – Miss You

Well, Graham Norton was right when he said the show was “toploaded”. Some of the best songs at the start, and the rest towards the end.

Greece: Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die Together

Hh no, “a batch of ballads”. If this was on CD I’d have skipped it after the first few seconds. Eventually, it got going. hmmm, I thought she was going to have a Bjork moment there.

Iceland: Systur – Með Hækkandi Sól

It’s a ballad, but I like it. It’s as if the Corrs attempted country. Out of all the ballady ones, this has been my favourite so far.

Moldova: Zdob şi Zdub & Advahov Brothers – Trenulețul

The ballads are done. Hurrah! YES! this is brilliant! This is what Eurovision is all about. After sitting through all of those bloody ballads, this is exactly the antidote to them. I think whoever owns the rights Blitzkreig Bop could sue them for copyright though… I absolutely loved that.

Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

Swedent are often my favourite, with “Invincible / Evighet” by Carola, being one of my favourite songs of all time”, and that Stormvind one from 1990, also by Carola. this one’s got a good instrumental. Vocalist sounds a bit like a drunk nanna on a karaoke though

Australia: Sheldon Riley – Not The Same

His face looks like the front door of a butchers. Did not like that one bit.

United Kingdom: Sam Ryder – Space Man

Here we go. The first time I’ve heard this song, at least I think so anyway. Yep, I like that one. Bleepy backing music. Guitars, and that overproduced percussion that’s been sadly lacking all night. That was great. Definitely not nil point this year.

Poland: Ochman – River

Three songs left. Mike made a balls-up and just caused Poland “holland”. Oh. Now if we had a nanna doing a karaoke earlier, now we’ve got the over-confident bloke doing karaoke. that’s a little unfair. I’ve heard worse tonight, but I’m certainly not going to rush out and add this to my CD collection any time soon.

Serbia: Konstrakta – In Corpore Sano

This will forever be known as the “Meghan Markle” song (or however it’s spelt). I think this one is the worst one of the night.

Estonia: Stefan – Hope

Awww, I’m actually gutted that it’s over for another year. 24 songs, 1 to go. Acoustic guitar, bit of whistling. Ennio Morricone would be turning in his grave, he’s totally ripped off “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”… and I really like it. A decent one to finish the night on…. It could have done with a key change, but that was great.

Another year, another charity shop run…

Happy new year! Yeah, there hasn’t been a post so far this year, and in fact, I think the last one was November? anyway. I went charity shopping again the other day. I thought I’d do a video of what I got, instead of just typing about it… So here it is!

Oh, look. It’s a link!

Oh look, more records!

As promised, I thought I’d do another update on my charity shop purchases and days out. This week, there weren’t really that many. I didn’t do much on the Saturday. in fact the only place I went, was to Tesco to pick up a ready-cooked chicken, Therefore the rest of the day was spent with my face covered in the product of the rotisserie oven. Not much happening there.

Sunday was different, however.  There was a record fair in Durham… I’d remembered about it only a couple of days before, and Chris offered to give me a lift there. Woo, and indeed hoo.

The Durham record fair is never a big affair. I think I’ve mentioned about it before, there’s just a small section of a sports hall that’s netted off, while the rest of the place still is still used for badminton…

There was one stall that had quite a few boxes singles on it, at £1 each. It’s more than I normally like to pay for a single, but well, I thought I’m only here once, and there were some classics in there, such as Trevor and Simon (yes, THAT Trevor and Simon) covering a Donovan song (can’t remember which one off the top of my head) “Sky High” by Jigsaw… “I was made for Dancing” by Leif Garrett, and a couple of others that don’t spring to mind. I might edit this into a list later on… If there’s no list, then I couldn’t  be bothered. (EDIT: I couldn’t be bothered)

The Jigsaw and Leif Garrett songs are ones I’ve only just became familiar with in the last 6 months, thanks to an online “radio station” that I listen to quite regularly. Surprised I didn’t know them, as they were relatively big hits, reaching no. 4 and no. 9 respectively.

Also picked up another copy of the “Auf Weidersehen Pet” series 1 soundtrack. This wasn’t the one I had on tape as a kid, but instead contains the incidental music from the program. Been after a cleaner copy of “The Fire” from the final episode where the “hut borns doon”

So, onto Durham itself. This was a warm, if overcast Autumn day. There were only two charity shops open, so I think we only spent about half an hour there. I didn’t end up getting anything from there, except for a nice photo or two.

It was still incredibly early at that point, so on the way back, we made a detour to Peterlee. Despite being only a small town, it has its fair share of charity shops. There’s a huge Sue Ryder shop there. It’s pretty expensive too, so once again, I came out empty handed. There’s a large “Home Bargains” store next door, and I managed to pick up 5 of these for a quid.

You might notice there’s slightly more than 5 there. Turns out they’re absolutely brilliant for cleaning the muck, mould, shite and usually, for some unknown reason, dried blood, off the CDs that come from the charity shops. In fact, they’re so good, I went to the Hartlepool shop and picked up another 10 cans, and I might pick up more tomorrow. For that price, you literally can’t go wrong, and I’ll always need CD cleaning products.

Onto the main shopping precinct in Peterlee. It’s a depressing sight. This shop (which, until a couple of months ago used to be a British Heart Foundation) pretty much says it all.

I did notice that there’s a “Farplace” charity shop opened there too, which is great – they’re rapidly becoming my favourite chain of shops. It was closed, however, so I might have to make a detour there at some point.

The YMCA was open here, and I picked out a few singles from this batch. They were very well thumbed, and the covers were all an absolute state, but the vinyl itself didn’t look too bad.

Last stop in Peterlee was the “other” British Heart Foundation… Now, Peterlee is the same as most towns… Or at least it was. Two BHF stores. One that sells your standard charity shop clothes and bric-a-brac, and another, often much larger one that sells furniture only. Now, probably because the smaller shop had closed down, this larger shop had a very small selection of CDs. They had £1 stickers on, but the bloke out the back said he’d do three for a quid. Obviously, the person behind the till didn’t get the memo, as he tried to charge me £3…nah mate, I advised him to have a word with the guy out the back, and indeed, he then only charged me £1. Now I await the barrage of 0 comments calling me a greedy fecker.

Last stop of the day was another YMCA… The one in Hartlepool. I’ve had good results from this shop in the past… The items don’t get sorted as much as some other shops, so you can end up with some quality finds….

Something that I’ve been collecting for a little side project, are “knock-off” CDs. Take the songs from a famous artist, get someone else to record them in the style of the original singer, and sell them for much cheaper. These have been around since recorded music became a thing

A prolific manufacturer of these is/was Prism Leisure. I have no idea if they’re still in business, but, like this one, they released CDs along the lines of “Hits of {artist} as performed by Studio 99”

I have a couple of these now. Corrs, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, to name but a few, and they’re all absolute garbage! I have others too, the collection is coming along quite nicely.

And finally, I bought this.

I don’t think this needs explanation!

Happy 21st birthday to this blog!

21 years. That’s a lot to take in. I’d have been sat in a very similar position this time on Sunday, 4th November 2000, behind a keyboard with my legs underneath a desk, as I open my Blogger account, and begin typing about my day, my dreams, my banal, inane life as a 20-yr old Hartlepudlian. At 41, however, the world is a completely different place, and I’m a different person. Everything electrical has a blue LED in it…. Back then, they’d have only been invented 7 years ago. Blogging is a completely different scene too I had friends with blogs, but they’ve all come and gone. the rise of Myspace, and Twitter, then Facebook and Youtube quickly put paid to spending hours toiling over a keyboard. You could allow your audience to have small chunks of your mind without committing reams and reams of text to the ether.

As you know, I don’t really post much on here now. I used to joke about my “both of my readers”, but it’s ofrficially down to zero. I’ve not had a comment on a new post for years now. the only comments that come in now are hits from Google. I suppose I have to type something for people to read, but when I spend hours and get no feedback, it seems such a waste.

Privacy is also an issue. It’s naturally not a good idea to post stuff about myself in as much detail as I used to. I genuinely would have liked to post a lot more about the struggle I had with my foot, but maybe not a good idea to post *everything* in a public forum.

I know I say this every years, but I do have plans. Maybe go into more of a “Charity Shop Shit” type vibe, and start talking about the crap I’ve picked up in charity shops. Make that the permanent fixture. At least after 21 years of doing this bollocks, the bloody site will have a theme of some sort.

I’m sure you’ll be interested to know (lie) that I still do “blog” now, it’s it’s all private. I like “photo hoarding” where I take hundreds of photos when I’m out somewhere, and then add the details to the photos themselves via the IPTC information… Here’s an example from last Saturday…

A day out to the charity shops around Guisborough, Stokesley and Redcar. A particularly cold October day, there was definitely autumn in the air. Another decent haul of CDs, especially from the Herriott charity shop in Stokesley. An amusing part of the day was in the first charity shop we visited, “Frade” in Guisborough. I asked for a carrier bag, got given the pinkest, most floral “carrier bag” I’ve ever seen. Couldn’t have got rid of it quicker, but at least it made a good photo opportunity.
Might put it as my facebook profile pic.

Right, so that’s the celebration over with. I can’t believe I’ve kept it going for so long… here’s to another 21 years! There’s a chance I might have received that fucking Desmonds record by then…

Your order has been dispatched…

It’s taken nearly 5 months, but today I received confirmation that my vinyl copy of the Desmonds theme is on its way…

“Hey!

Just a quick note to say that Happy People Records shipped your order and it’s now on its way:

Norman Beaton – Don’t Scratch My Soca (Desmonds TV Theme Tune) 7″: Ltd. edition coloured 7″, by Happy People Records
Record/Vinyl”

I can’t believe this is literally the only thing I’ve had to blog about for the past 6 months (lie: there’s been loads of stuff, but the only hits on this site now are from bots, so what’s the fucking point?) but even this could be coming to a close! I shall, of course, do an update when it lands through the portcullis of Mercuryvapour Towers.

Desmond still hasn’t arrived yet.

You may remember in my last post (if you don’t, just scroll down a little), I talked about getting the theme tune to Desmonds on Vinyl, and how excited I was at this particular series of events… you may have also noticed that I haven’t updated you with anything since then… and that’s because there’s nothing to report. As you can guess by the title of the post, it still hasn’t arrived. I’ve bugged the vendor who have said there’s been difficulties in manufacture, and the latest date they have is September 15th.

I did hear back from the producer of the record, which is nice, so I’ll include a bit of that if and when the record arrives, as it gives a nice little insight into the origin of the theme.

In other news, as I haven’t really been blogging much, I had another operation on my foot a couple of months ago (I don’t think it was long after I bought that Desmonds record), and my foot is healed. I just hope it stays that way.

I didn’t really do a blog about it… initially I intended to, but it literally was about as uneventful as things go. Of course, I did talk about the operation, so in order to pad this out a little, let’s flash back to the start of June…. (cue wibbly effects)…

Oh, and if you don’t like reading about operations, just skip bast the bold section below…

Strap yourselves in, folks, as things are about to get graphic. No photos thankfully. I don’t think they’d have liked me updating Facebook with photos.

Anyhoo. There I am, in the theatre, flat to the boards, with my left leg in the air. My only view was of the three ceiling lights, and a load of pipes, presumably for oxygen and stuff.

In goes the cannula. A device whose name escaped me until just now.

My leg was smothered in KY Jelly. Trying to take my mind off things, I wondered if that was a brand name, or just a general term. I never bothered looking it up, but by the time this goes “to print”, I’m sure I will have. (EDIT: I didn’t.)

There was talk about arteries, and I could feel some device pressing on my leg. I’m guessing this was some type of ultrasound. Dunno for certain, as my view was still of the ceiling.

It was then that the injections started, obviously for the anaesthetic. Pretty much felt like I was a dartboard at that point. I could feel each one going in, followed by a strange sensation I can’t describe, sort-of like everything was going tight.

The anaesthetist would be verbally confirming how much he was giving me, millilitres by millilire, and I guess he wasn’t allowed to just bung the whole lot in one go.

I still had sensation in my feet, like I could acknowledge when the specialist prodded something, but there was no feeling. They tested it with cold spray. Nothing. It was so weird.

Then, the operation itself began. It started with a few crunching noises. It initially sounded like he was cutting my big toenail. Whenever I get that particular nail done at the podiatrists, it always makes a satisfying crunch. Not this time, however, he was more than likely breaking my toe in order to be able to fuse it. Lovely.

It was at that point tried to think of anything other than what was happening around me… My music collection come to mind, and I thought of a way to improve my personal MP3 database (I have an SQL database with the details of my CD rips in them. it should be trivial to include a link to the music files themselves, to save me having to copy and paste the filename each time… In case you were wondering).

In a vain hope to take my mind off the noises even further (and the fact the specialist was now clearly using a screwdriver on my foot) I had a brief conversation about my music collection. I mentioned I had a copy of Manuel from Fawlty Towers singing “Shaddap You Face”. I’m not sure if the guy was impressed or just feeling sorry for me.

At this point, my view changed. They adjusted the bed so I was no longer starting at the ceiling. This was a bit more comfortable.

Now, obviously, I still couldn’t see exactly what was going on, as they had a screen up… Oh, wait. I could see exactly what was happening

Now, you know those big operating theatre lights? (These ones were manufactured by a company called Getinge, which made me think of someone saying “Get In” whilst pissed) Naturally, you can’t see anything in the reflection of the lights, as they’re all concave, but the reflection of the white shiny arm that connected the lights to the ceiling gave me the PERFECT view.

Thankfully, it was pretty much over at this point, but still, they had to sever the tendon and sew everything back together. It’s one of those things were you can’t NOT watch….

I could either just stare straight ahead at the blue cloth, or I could look to my top right and watch all the action. “Oooh, that’s a lot of blood”. I can’t even watch anyone get injected, I nearly snap my neck away from the telly every time a COVID story comes on the telly, so exactly why this proved so fascinating shall remain a mystery. Maybe I was “getting high on my mortality” as Sinead Lohan once sang.

In record collecting news, I’ve been out buying lots more CDs. Seems quite a few places have had a glut of CD donations and are therefore getting rid of them pretty cheaply. I haven’t had that much luck with the boot fairs – obviously my access to these has been limited too, but I did pick up The World of BBC TV Themes for 50p. This is the only known release that includes the full length theme to “Rockcliffe’s Babies”, performed by Paul Hart, Joe Campbell and the children from the Corona Stage School. Who’d have thought they’d have became so famous over the past two years? Oh, wait.

So, yeah. That’s been a very quick life update. Esentally, nothing’s happened for months…. nothing’s new there, then.

The theme tune to Desmond’s

Waaay back in the late 1980s, there was a comedy show called “Desmond’s”, following a family running a barber’s shop in Peckham. It aired from 1989 until the death of the lead actor, Norman Beaton, in 1994.

It would come to no surprise (to both of my regular readers anyway) that I was a fan of the theme tune, and of course, it’s one of the things that stood out to me. I loved it, and it was one of my favourite parts of the programme. It was one of those theme tunes that should have been released as a single, but it wasn’t.

Every year or so, I’d do a quick Google to see if a proper copy, or even an extended version of the theme had been leaked anywhere. Nope. The only things that ever turned up were just off-air, or off DVD recordings. Nothing more than the 45 seconds used at the start of the programme, and the instrumental bit used in the credits at the end. I came to the conclusion that it was only ever used on the programme, especially as it was co-written by the creator, Trix Worrell.

I think I went though one of these search things most recently anout a year ago, when for absolutely no reason, the theme started to be used in an advert for butter. This rekindled my love for the theme, and got me thinking, there had to be an “official” version. As the show ended in 1994, it’s unlikely that it would still exist some 26ish years later, and it certainly sounded better quality than it just being ripped from a copy of the programme.

Once again, I searched high and low (or rather, I searched Youtube), and found nothing. What’s even weirder, is that the full episodes that had been uploaded to Youtube now had the theme tune removed. How very, very odd. Considering that its only use outside of Desmonds was on a butter advert, it seemed very odd that it would just suddenly disappear like that. Obviously someone still owns the copyright to the song, so it could have just been that they didn’t want it on youtube, but why would they object to the theme being on there, but still allowing the rest of the episode to survive? It seemed clear that someone else had the rights to the song now, than what they did when Desmond’s was recorded. Were they planning a re-release?

Again, the trail went cold. No song, no videos on Youtube (except for poor quality versions), no more butter advert, and no release. I put it to the back of my mind. It was never going to see the light of day. A quarter of a century had gone by.

Now, I’ve been holed up for the past 4 weeks, thanks to an operation on my foot. I’ve barely been able to move off the sofa for a month, so I’ve became acquainted with an old friend called “Television”. Tonight (or yesterday by the time this makes it “to air”), I was watching The Chase, and the butter advert made a reappaearance. Just out of complete boredom, I flung “Don’t Scratch My Soca” into Google. Up came a result for Bandcamp. It was 3 minutes long. I didn’t expect much, just a fan remix or something like that. Imagine my surprise when, not only was it the proper version used on Desmond’s, it had a second verse! This was the moment I’d waited over 30 years for. All of the bits were there… the main theme, the bit they fade out when the episode starts, the end theme, and of course, that never-heard second verse. Daddykins, who happened to be enjoying The Chase, didn’t quite understand my excitement, as I fumbled with the remote, pausing his enjoyment of the afore-mentioned tea-time quiz show.

The track was released on June 21st, so only 9 days ago. Not only was it available as a free MP3, it’s possible to actually purchase it on vinyl (at the time of typing). A very small number were produced. 100 in colured vinyl, 200 in black vinyl, and a few white label test pressings. Well, I had to go for the coloured vinyl. I only ordered it today, so obviously, it hasn’t turned up yet. Might be a couple of weeks. Might be sooner. No doubt I’ll update when I have the record in my grasp.

Should you wish to hear the full theme, or even chance your arm at getting a vinyl copy, you can click here. Now, to give my fingers a rest, as typing this all into my phone hasn’t been the most comfortable experience.

EXTENSION: The theme was also written and produced by John Collins, and released under his “Local Records” label, which explains how / why the master recording survives. And, of course, it’s also available on Spotify

I asked some of the questionson the Local Records website too, such as when it was recorded, why it wasn’t released until now, etc.