Musical tastes.

We are getting new uniforms for the Secret Ninja Cleaners. They’ll be black again, naturally. Still no sword though. As it is, we are to be found in polo-shirts or pullovers and any old black trousers we can find.

The new stuff will provide trousers (with creases!), proper shirts and ties. Ties? Ties? The manager wears a suit and tie but then he’s a suit and tie guy. Assistant managers don’t and neither does anyone else. Ties just get caught in things and dangle into horrible messes while you’re trying to clean them up.

I never wore a tie when working as a scientist. My argument was that they employed me to use my brain, so cutting off the circulation to it with a decorative tourniquet was a bad idea. There was also the matter of the pigs. To keep pigs entertained in the otherwise dull environment of a piggery, they get a few toys to play with. One of these is a strong leather strap hanging from the ceiling. They like to bite it and swing on it. Lean over the pen with a dangling tie and you might find 80 kilos of pork suddenly attempting to tighten it.

So, proper smart black trousers, crisp black shirts and (probably green) ties. We are going to have to practice ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ while looking like Kraftwerk.

(monotone) – ‘Zey come a runnin’ just as fast as zey can ’cause every Fraulein crazy ’bout ein sharp dressed man’ (then a sound like a drum kit dropped into a lift shaft onto a nest of cats, followed by two hours of synthetic steam train noises, then the chorus again). I think we have a hit here.

The previous post brought out a lot of opinions on rock music. Which are valid? All of them. What you like in music is entirely personal, and it can change. On the other hand, the bands you like can change to the point where they no longer fit your tastes and you move on.

I liked early Kraftwerk. The first two albums were an entirely new experience in noise, even for someone brought up on Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream. They continued the theme with Ralf und Florian and Radioactivity. Autobahn was good, Trans-Europe-Express was very good, The Man Machine was… okay. Then they went into synthopop and I lost interest. No more tracks that sounded like they kicked the orchestra down stairs. This was the stuff of clubs and of little kids pretending to be robots.

As for Nickelback, yes, I know they are not comparable to Black Sabbath or Deep Purple or Nazareth or a host of bands from my youth – but compared to what’s generally available today I think they are good. Even ten years ago, when smokers were still allowed in pubs, there was an incident where I was drinking with a friend and one of the cloned girl-singers was on the TV. We could not decide which one it was. They all look and sound the same. As with boy bands, they might as well be die-cast and rolled out on a production line somewhere. It has only become worse since.

And yet those cloned girls do well. Many people buy their records and go to their concerts although I note they usually don’t show the audience in photos and clips. There are probably too many dirty raincoats and pebble glasses present.

The Daily Mail keeps going on about Miley Cyrus. Two or three stories a day. I have never heard a song of hers on Kerrang or BBC Six or Planet Rock radio at work so I have no idea what she sounds like. I do know what pretty much all of her skin looks like and I know her tongue doesn’t fit inside her head but as foir her singing… no idea.

There are other radio stations at work. I don’t much care what’s on, the hourly news is a time-check for me and the rest is backround filler unless it’s something I like. It depends who is running the stores because they control the radio. The Indian guy puts on Indian music, okay with me although it does give me curry cravings. Then there’s a Londoner who likes Gilbert and Sullivan style showtunes. I prefer the Indian music. The only one that irks me is the guy who wants the football coverage on. I have no interest in football at all.

My record collection has Beethoven and Captain Beefheart. Rossini wasn’t the one from Status Quo – I have both The Barber of Seville and Piledriver here.The Barber of Seville has more chords and less total hair.

Tangerine Dream and This Is York (yes, it is a vinyl LP of nothing but train noises from York station and it’s even more terrifying than Kraftwerk at full volume). I have Otway and Barrett in here, Ian Dury, lots of Sabbath and Floyd, Tenacious D, Peter Gabriel,. Mozart, and you just know I have Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Every horror writer has that one.

Lately I bought the download version of AwolNation’s album because I really liked the ‘Kill Your Heroes’ track and its official video. I don’t buy much music these days, the stuff I like most is all on YouTube because it’s old. Awol is not ‘rock’ by any definition but the band look like they are having a lot of fun singing their stuff and that is part of the old school. Black Sabbath and Otway and Barrett and Elvis Costello and the Ramones and Squeeze (some of the few I was lucky to see live) all looked like they were having as great a time up on stage as we here having watching and that matters. It really does.

I met John Otway when I was a student. Very nice man. He signed my copy of DK50/80 in the bar after his concert and he did it with a big smile. I still have it. We were both very drunk and both smoking.

Some of that punk music was very good and some was total shite. The Sex Pistols I didn’t really rate at all but when Johnny Rotten formed Public Image Limited I thought he was much improved. He wasn’t just going for shock value any more. Much more complex and interesting.

I could bang on about this until the sun comes up and until it goes down again. Even though I have already answered the post’s question in paragraph six. What you like is what you like.

So Nickelback aren’t really hard rock. I agree, they aren’t. They have done some songs trhat I’ve thought ‘Bah. Shite’ but my all time favourites, Kraftwerk, have done whole albums I’ve thought that about.

The Coral have some songs I think are great and some I think are awful. Same for absolutely every band ever. Even Mozart had his shit days.

My father still recalls the day when Tom Jones played his working men’s club in Wales in the late 1950s. He was paid off and told to piss off after his first set. The Welsh mining audience, mostly male. did not appreciate all that hip-thrusting stuff. As my dad said, he was told ‘You will never play the Ynysddu Prog again’ and do you know, to this day, he never has. They don’t mess about in Ynysddu.

At least I can console myself that I have never bought anything by Tom Jones or Elvis. Not one song.



33 thoughts on “Musical tastes.

  1. Now that I’m fifty, I no longer feel the need to mention that I have heavy metal records in my collection from my youth, but I remember being 30 and my similarly aged friend said that his wife (black leather jacket and trousers and long black hair) had been impressed to discover that I had these LPs.

    I can’t remember what age I was when I decided to come out the closet and admit that my record collection also included Abba, Barbra Streisand and Steeleye Span. I had no street cred anyway.

    I bought every Beatles’ LP and EP between about 1985 and the early 90s, but perhaps have more Jethro Tull albums than by anyone else.

    Of course, the music industry is so highly controlled, if you’re not ‘right’ to subvert the youth and society at large, you’re generally not given a contract.

    Tull probably didn’t play by all the rules, so didn’t reach the heights of success that Anderson’s genius deserved.

    As my gramophone (ahem) has required a new needle for the past decade, I too listen mostly to YouTube.


    • The modern music industry seems intent on pumping out plastic clones, all singing the same stuff while wearing three bits of string and a hanky. I suppose that’s why I like bands like Nickelback, at least it’s not quite so modern-mainstream. It was good to see Pixies firing up again though. They seem to be operating independently for the most part.

      I only ever had one Jethro Tull album, the one with ‘Thick as a Brick’ as most of the album. I found out later it wasn’t their best.


  2. Off Topic Leggy but I thought it might amuse both you and your readers….although when I say ‘amuse’ I mean ‘weep bitter tears for the youth of this country’! It is an email to Norman Lamb MP from my youngest (20-something) , in the original version, that I was asked, this morning, to check for any “possible spelling mistakes” [sic]. If anyone ever doubted that Blair’s education-education-education was a total fucking mistake, then doubt no more!

    Names have been removed to protect the illiterate:

    “Dear mr lamba

    I have been try to apply for insurance for my disable brother

    For 6 months now and they keep telling me no bescues i have a in10 wich mean i have been court

    Driven with out insuercn on my car wich was back in 2012 and they give me 6 points aswell but no

    Ban i talled mobility about my convion and they still keep saying no but they sayed if

    My convicon was 6points for drink driven or speeding or any other offence they would of

    Insure me on my brother car wich i think is out of oder beauces they never talled me that when my brother oder the car at the start i care for my brother 6days week and he has a nother p.a that covers me when im not there i realy wish the mobility combany would listen to me but they wont

    Becues when i applied last time i talled them that im the close family around him that can care for his needs and i have a small hach back car wich is hard to put a wheelchair in has its a small car but the think that upset me most is that i hardly can take my brother out and about and shoping that i uslly do it all by my selaf has my brother cant get in my car and he has a bran new zafria setting out side that cant be used wish upset him as much as it does me so im ask bealf of me and him that if you could help us to get me inured on the car”


  3. Krautrock and no mention of Amon Düül II!

    I was given Amon Düül II’s Dance of the Lemmings (1971) album because the guy who had owned it thought it was very weird and rubbish. I thought it was weird, but listened more than once because little phrases were quite melodic. .I now have most Amon Düül II albums and an incarnation of the band is still playing today.

    Declaration: I only have one Jethro Tull track. ‘We Used To Know’ on the sampler album ‘Nice Enough To Eat’. The chord progression on that song has some resemblance to the Eagle’s ‘Hotel California’.


  4. Not to mention Welsh metal grand-daddies Budgie…

    They were (thank God) last minute replacements for Medicine Head at a mid 70’s gig at my Ag College (Sutton Bonington). Happier days


    • Crikey corks alors! I went to school with Budgie. They used to play our school dances (Cathays High). Most of us hated them because they were crap back then; we preferred Memphis Bend instead.

      As you may know from my witterings at other places, I used to be a rock journalist (Sounds, NME, Melody Maker) Leggy, having been infatuated with rock music since I accidentally saw the Beatles live when I was eleven.

      I have seen every band and artist that anyone here can possibly name. Lost count of the number of Zeppelin and Floyd concerts, the Stones, yep Jethro Tull and Tangerene Dream too. Met and interviewed a lot of them as well. Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia… met ’em all. Some like Mick Green and John Martyn became friends. I’ve had a pretty good time of it all in all. But the trust of my message here today is that it is possible to be objective about music even in such a subjective realm (well he would say that wouldn’t he?) Some stuff is shite and derogatory immitative shite at that. Others are sublime and original and will shine on down all the centuries their recordings exist for. And I can explain the difference, I really can.


    • There was a group called Man who were fading away just as I took an interest.

      I wonder if Amazon have their CDs? Heck, I wonder if their stuff even made it to CD!


      • Oh good god yes Leggy! Man are hard to find on Spotify but You Tube has them. They ran on for fuckin decades with forty or so different members. The Welsh Grateful Dead. I was actually at the two day debauch when they recorded “Christmas at the Patti” in Swansea. My mother was frantic (no mobile phones then). My mum actually called the police when I didn’t come home for two days, and as one of our closest friends was the head of South Wales CID… She was advised… Listen Mrs B I’m sure he’ll be home shortly. If we send officers in there right now, the riot may burn down half the town.

        I have lived a very louche, libertine, Libertarian, and very enjoyable life, and I intend to keep on goddam doing it till the end. 🙂
        Here’s Man…


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  6. My wife tells me that when it comes to music, I have no taste. In fact I like everything from Joan Baez through ZZ Top, Beatles and Stones through Daft Punk, and lately I’ve rather got in to Maximo Park.

    Johnathan is remarkable. I saw him when he was in that talent contest thing whose name I immediately fail to recall. He has a great voice and a great future. Right up there with Placido Domingo and Jonas Kaufmann in my view.

    See. Told you my taste was eclectic.

    Back in the sixties I played briefly with John Mayall so I still have a hankering back to electric blues music. As a result of which I have immense admiration for the playing skills of Eric Clapton but you’re quite right, Leggy – artists and bands evolve and you go off them. Your taste changes too, of course.

    Captain Beefheart? Safe as milk, eh? Follow the yellow brick road!


    • Playing with John Mayall +1, you drive a fast car too 🙂

      btw there is a link between Amon Düül II and John Mayall, the late, Keef Hartley. Keef played with Amon Düül’s bass player Lothar Meid on the album ‘Mensch, dieser Klaus!’ and also with John Mayall


    • Ah, the Captain. I like to introduce people to Beefheart by loaning them Bluejeans and Moonbeams first.

      Then… Trout Mask Replica. That one tends to get returned a lot faster than the first one.


    • That’s an easy one. It has a vowel in it.
      Most likely, nobody has asked because nobody wants to go there. It does have a very nice pub – well there were two pubs and a working men’s club there. They might all still be there, it’s been a while. Not bad for a town that consists of two streets and a derelict railway station.

      There are two local pronunciations depending on who you talk to and how drunk they are. The Y is pronounced either as I or EE – that’s not quite right but I’m not good at phonetics. Nearest I can get is –

      Een – ees -thee. Or in-is-thee

      DD is one letter in Welsh, sounds like TH. LL is also one letter, sounded as if you are having your throat forcibly cleaned with emery paper wrapped around a wire brush. F sounds like V, FF sounds like F… there is an entirely different alphabet which, superficially, looks like everyone else’s but isn’t.

      It’s a good thing it wasn’t in Ynysybwl. We used to love getting lorry drivers from Birmingham asking for that one.


      • I heard an announcer on the good old Beeb a while back (they have a pronounciation dept on the back of our licence fee/tax you know, to get these things right) pronounce Ynysybwl… Inisibble… Boy did I laugh!

        Brum? Yow awlright Cupcake! God I hate that advert worse than even the Brummies must do.


        • One of the best lorry drivers was the one looking for Why Strad My Natch.

          It took us a while to work out where he wanted to go, only solved when he showed us his paperwork.

          The lucky ones were sent to find Pengam or Nelson or Blackwood, but I’m sure that when some left the depot, the whole place fell about laughing. ‘Look where we sent this poor bugger!’


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