Thursday 19 May 2022

My 100 Favourite Songs - Part 5: The Top Twenty

  It's Top 20 time!

Welcome to the final part of My 100 Favourite Songs - it was so difficult to decide on my Top 20.  Some I thought were in it turned out not to be when I listened to them again, and vice versa.  I've also managed to narrow down my Top 10 - I would have liked to do a proper top twenty countdown but the order would have changed from week to week.  

I hope you have enjoyed listening to some of my favourites, and perhaps they've brought back some memories of your own, too.


Part 1 HERE

Part 2 HERE

Part 3 HERE

Part 4 HERE

Street Fighting ManThe Stones (1968)

  Chiquita - Aerosmith (1979)

Blowin' Free - Wishbone Ash (1972)

 Public ImagePublic Image Ltd (1978)

Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

Heroes - David Bowie (1977)

Wait Until Tomorrow - Jimi Hendrix (1967)

This was the best I could find - stacks of cover versions on YouTube; this was the only actual one with Hendrix singing!

Sweet Home Alabama  by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)

Found A Job - Talking Heads (1978)

I remember having this album on a lot when my then-boyfriend bought it, and I kept thinking, oh, there's that really good one again, before I worked out which one it was. You know how certain tracks kind of steal into your brain almost before you know you love them.

Movin' Out - Aerosmith (1973)

The Top Ten

In no particular order....  

Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973)

Was my number one favourite song for ages - still love the musical outro soo-oo much.

Family Affair - Sly and the Family Stone (1971)

(I'm A) Road Runner - Junior Walker & The AllStars (1966)

My Old School - Steely Dan (1973)

Civilian - Wye Oak (2011)

I discovered this beautiful song when it was featured on The Walking Dead; I like this acoustic version of it best. I never tire of listening to it.  Walking Dead  below!

Hangman Jury - Aerosmith (1987)

One Way Street - Aerosmith (1973)

How do you pick your favourite song from your favourite band?  It's a toss up between this and Hangman Jury.  This was from a set they did on the MTV Unplugged series in about 1989.  Hangman Jury featured too, but I couldn't find a decent video of it.


 Gimme Shelter - The Stones (1969)

Just a shot away...

No one Came - Deep Purple (1971)

Just brilliant.  The instrumental bits are sublime. 

Black Water - The Doobie Brothers (1974)

If I had to choose one favourite song ever, it would probably be this one.  Loved it since I bought the album in the late 70s.  I'd like to live in it.  That violin.  

Lately I've Been Watching...

 The latest in my series of mini TV and film reviews, with trailers and 'where to watch'.  If you have trouble finding where any show/film is available in your country, this is a good site: Justwatch.  Just put the name of the show into the search, and choose your country further down, from the drop-down menu.  It shows where you can stream, buy or rent.  

However... I've found it to be not absolutely up to date at all times.  Sometimes I've had better results simply putting 'where can I watch ***' into the search engine, or going to the programme's own site, if it has one.

If you would like to see more posts, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  If you get as far as the bottom, 'Older Posts' will take you to more.

Series: Coyote - Season 1

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


This was just terrific.  The always excellent Michael Chiklis stars as Ben Clemens, a Border Patrol officer who has reluctantly retired, but accidentally becomes involved with the Mexican mob.  The scenery is breathtaking, the story is a cracker, and this is the best acting I've seen from Mr Chiklis (we are not worthy).  It would have been so easy for him to play this as yet another fearless action man, like Jacks Bauer or Reacher, but when he finds himself in a dangerous situation, Ben Clemens actually looks like he's crapping himself and feels totally out of his depth.  Like, how any real person would.  Not that he hasn't got many tricks to pull out of the bag - this is the man who brought us Vic Mackie, after all.

Only six episodes, and whether or not there is going to be another season has not yet been confirmed.  I remain hopeful.  Watch it anyway, it's great.

(ps, guest appearance of Jose Pablo Cantillo - Martinez in TWD.  I thought, I bet he's going to be in this, and he was!)

Miniseries:  WeCrashed

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


True Life drama about entrepreneur, silver-tongued charlatan and general narcissist Adam Neumann, who started the company WeWork with his totally-out-to-lunch wife; together they expressed their desire to 'elevate the world's consciousness', without actually explaining, when asked, what this actually meant, aside from facilitating a relaxed office atmosphere.  Wallowing in luxury and every extravagance imaginable, they paid their staff a pittance and frittered away billions from investors.  

It's real edge of the seat stuff, and Jared Leto is excellent in the role of Neumann.  Wife Rebekah is played by Anne Hathaway, who usually gets on my nerves, but she is perfection in this.  Her conversation and ideas are made up of buzz-phrases and t-shirt slogans; she gives 'superficial' a whole new meaning, without a care for the lives she disrupts in the execution and inevitable failure of her barmy ideas.

It's really, really good.

Article in the New York Post about the Neumanns.

....and I also watched this:

Documentary: WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Hulu, Virgin, or rent from Amazon or Apple)

Interesting to see the real people in action, but this lacked something.  I felt it skirted the surface of the subject, probably because there was too much material for a documentary of this length; much of the subject matter was just touched upon.  Hadn't got quite enough meat to it, somehow.

Series: 12 Monkeys - Seasons 1-4

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, Now. US: Hulu, or buy on Amazon or Apple)

Based on the film, this version is wildly more complicated - it's not one to watch while you're doing something else, as it dips in and out of many, many time periods as, in a post-apocalyptic 2043, Dr Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa) uses her time machine to send James Cole (Aaron Stanton) back to 2015 to stop a viral outbreak that wiped out most of the world's population.  Only thing is, it turns out to be a lot more difficult than they'd thought, with the man who they think is responsible being only a minor player.

It's one of those epic shows that I missed when it had finished.  Special mention to the ever-fabulous Kirk Acevedo as José Ramse, Cole's best friend - I found the relationship between the two of them a lot more moving than that of Cole and his love interest, a beautiful doctor who somehow managed to have amazing hair and delicately applied make-up even when the world was crashing down around them.  Also the awesome Xander Berkeley (who played a character not unlike TWD Gregory), and Emily Hampshire as the eccentric Jennifer Goines.  It's completely ridiculous in parts but so good that belief was 100% suspended throughout!

Film: Stalin: Reign of Terror
(also called Within The Whirlwind)

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon, Virgin)

One of those if-it-was-fiction-you'd-say-it-was-too-far-fetched true stories based on the memoir of Yevgenia Ginsberg - she was falsely accused of anti-Stalin activity in 1934, and sent to a forced labour camp.  Stars Emily Watson.  Excellent stuff.

Series: Ozark - Season 4

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Well, what a belter of a final season this was.  Best since the first one.  Loved the very end, though I was gutted about two of the deaths this season - if you love this show too, you'll be able to guess which ones, I should think.

If you've never seen it, I recommend most highly - Jason Bateman is terrific as the deceptively mild accounting maestro whose family become involved with the Mexican mob, and Laura Linney as his highly-strung, ambitious wife.  Also, a round of applause to Julia Garner, who plays Ruth Langmore, a member of a local hillbilly crime family.  Set in the Lake of the Ozarks region of central Missouri - some of the scenery is to die for.  And I'd live in a trailer like Ruth, if it meant waking up to the view over that lake every morning.

Series: Outer Range - Season 1

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Starring Josh Brolin, set in small town Wyoming.  Ranchers and family secrets and drunken bar fights - and strange happenings that cause time shifts, out on remote parts of the land.  It's quite slow and low key, but this makes it more realistic and atmospheric.  Also stars Imogen Poots as a hippie traveller girl who turns up at the Abbott farm, and Lily Taylor as Josh Brolin's wife.  Liked it a LOT, looking forward to Season 2 - they'd better not cancel it!!

Film: The Northman

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(US and UK: Rent from most channels.  UK: stream Virgin TV G0)

Two Hollywood Producers sitting in a bar.

Producer #1:  'You know how Vikings with Travis Fimmel was, like, hugely popular?  Well, I'm making a film in the same vein, but with Alexander Skarsgård and Björk, which is better 'cause unlike Travis Fimmel they are real Scandinavians.  And it will be dirtier and bloodier with more fire and quite long, so we can market it as an 'epic'.  And I'm getting Anya Taylor-Joy 'cause everyone wants her in everything at the moment.'

Producer #2: 'Sounds good.  Whassit about?'

Producer #1: 'Well, Ethan Hawke is the king and everyone loves him, and he is married to Nicole Kidman.  They have a young son called Amleth.  But the king has an evil brother, later to be known as Fjölnir The Brotherless because he kills Dad Ethan Hawke in front of Amleth, takes the crown and abducts Nicole Kidman—'

Producer #2: 'Does the son escape and flee across many lands, returning years later to wreak revenge on the evil brother, free his mother and claim his rightful place as king?'

Producer #1: (looks confused) 'Y-yes.  How did you know?'

Producer #2: 'smirks) 'Wild guess.'  

Producer #1: 'Yes, but it's got a great twist.  The son—Skarsgård—will find out that the, like, tropes are turned on their head.  And the audience will be like 'what the fuck, that was brave and controversial,' bearing in mind that everyone loves Ethan Hawke and nobody can stand Nicole Kidman.'

Producer #2: 'Sounds like a great twist, man.' (bites lip trying not to laugh)

Producer #1: 'It so is.  We're going to make Skarsgård and Fjölnir have a naked sword fight to tick the homoerotic box.'  (Sits back, satisfied)  'Anyway, Alexander Skarsgård and Björk.  Real Scandinavians.  And we've got runes in the titles.  They never thought of that in Vikings.  So there.'

Series: Snowfall - Season 5

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, BBc iPlayer, Disney+, Virgin. US: Hulu, Fubo, FXNow)

The standard of this series doesn't falter - it's about how the CIA engineered the crack epidemic in the 1980s, to amass funds for the Nicaraguan Contras, though it centres around young drug entrepreneur Franklin Saint (played outstandingly by Damson Idris).  In S5, he's trying to go legit, and get into property.

This season was particularly interesting, as it shows Franklin having qualms about what he's doing, and the impact on those around him.  It really is excellent - highly recommended if you haven't seen.  The 6th season will be the final one.

Miniseries: Joe vs Carole

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, Now.  US: Peacock)

True life drama adaptation about the degenerate oddball zoo owner (now convicted felon) who calls himself Joe Exotic, or the Tiger King, and his long-running feud with big cat obsessive and animal rights activist Carole Baskin.  Totally addictive binge-watching stuff.  Eight episodes.

Afterwards, we watched...

Documentary Series: Tiger King - Seasons 1 and 2

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


I'm late to the party with this one, I know - I might not have watched it had I not seen the 'docu-drama'.  I was disappointed to find that in real life, Carole Baskin is not a charmingly eccentric Agnetha Falksög lookalike, but manipulative, definitely a bit bonkers, and with a highly suspect past.  And that the real life Howard Baskin is nothing like the endearing version played by Kyle MacLachlan.  And that Joe Exotic was fatter and older-looking, his husbands drug-addicted rednecks rather than the moderately attractive young men featured in the fictional version.  

Some of the secondary characters were fairly accurate representations, but whereas Joe vs Carole was definitely designed to make the viewer see the Baskins as the good guys, I'd say the truth seemed more like six of one and half a dozen of the other.  Highly entertaining, though.

Film: Morgan

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(US: Fubo, Directv.  UK: Disney+, Virgin)

Entertaining sci-fi thriller romp about a secret project to raise an artificial being with nanotechnology-infused synthetic DNA named Morgan, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Queen's Gambit, Last Night in Soho, The Northman).  All goes horribly wrong, of course.  Also stars Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti (Chuck Rhoades in Billions), Toby Jones (The Detectorists), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rose Leslie (Ygritte in Game of Thrones) and a ton of other people you'll recognise.  Worth watching.

Miniseries: The Virtues

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: All 4, britbox.  US.  Topic - buy only)

Four episodes starring Stephen Graham as an Irishman who grew up in Liverpool, with a few serious issues that have set his life on a downward course.  Child abuse, divorce, family separation, losing children, drink and drug abuse, psychosis, anxiety attacks, religious hypocrisy - it's got the lot.  It's extremely good, and Graham's portrayal of the alcoholic whose brain flicks a switch with the first drink was masterful - coupled with the regret, the self-hatred, and the usage of severe emotional problems as a reason for drinking rather than an excuse - but boy, was it depressing.  Most heartrending of all was a beautiful, charismatic young woman called Dinah (Niamh Algar) whose life was ruined by her devout Catholic mother.

(Niamh Algar plays Sue, partner of Travis Fimmel's Caleb, in Raised by Wolves - I didn't recognise her.)

Documentary: Will Young - 
Losing My Twin, Rupert

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK - All 4)

45 minutes long, Will talking about his relationship with Rupert, who killed himself a couple of years back.  It's extremely moving, and Will is so open and honest about all the emotions he has gone through.  Shows film of them as children, and scenes of Will and his parents talking about his brother, also his meetings with a former alcoholic and a woman who began an art project for the families, in Yorkshire.  So worth watching.

Can't find a trailer to it, but here's a bit about it:

Series: The Syndicate - Seasons 1-4

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(US: Acorn, britbox, freevee, Hoopla.  UK: britbox, Virgin, Acorn, Sky)

I mostly quite liked this.  Each season is about a different syndicate of lottery winners and the fortunes that befall them.  For some reason they're all working class people living in Yorkshire, which I didn't get.  Also, each character was incapable of resolving conflict without creating a huge drama or going into a silent strop and refusing to tell anyone what the problem was.  They all yelled a lot, whether happy or angry, interspersed with phrases like 'this don't 'appen to the likes of us' and 'my giddy aunt'.  Kind of like cartoon Yorkshire people, some of whom managed to buy palatial houses within about a week of receiving their winnings, and half of whom carried on working in their mundane jobs despite being multi-millionaires

However... it was fun.  I liked the 2nd season best, which was about a group who worked in a hospital, and featured excellent actors such as Alison Steadman, Jimi Mistry and Mark Addy.  I also quite liked Season 3, about the staff of the crumbling country seat of Lord something (Anthony Andrews), though it became a bit too ridiculous as it went on.

Comedy Series: Ten Percent - Season 1

3* ⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Amazon, Virgin.  US: Amazon, AMC+ and others)

About dramatic talent agency Nightingale Hart, based on French series 'Call My Agent' and following the 'Extras' model of having a moderately well-known face playing themselves in each episode (Helena Bonham-Carter, Emma Corrin, etc), except it's nowhere near as funny.  Mainstream kind of humour, a bit slapstick, over-the-top chaos and misunderstandings.

Stars Jack Davenport (wife played by Natasha Little, who was with him in 'This Life', nearly 30 years ago), Jim Broadbent, Tim McInnerney and others you'll recognise.  The only character I liked was Stella Hunt, played by Maggie Steed.  Lots of ghastly Californians buy out Nightingale Hart and take over; they are meant to be ghastly but it isn't as clever and well-observed as, say '2012'.  

The sort of programme that's quite entertaining but you can watch whilst doing hard level sudoku puzzles and not miss anything.  In fact, have some handy.

Film: Pandemic (Parts 1 and 2)

2.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(US: Roku, Hoopla, Film Rise.  UK:Freevee, Apple (buy))

B-movie type film about the spread of a virus from Australia to the US, that becomes concentrated in Los Angeles.  Pretty mediocre, but worth watching (just) if you're into this sort of thing.  Features a few recognisable faces, including Faye Dunaway and Tiffani-something who was in later seasons of Beverley Hills 90210, so I expected it to be better, but it's like something off those A Bit Crap Afternoon Movie channels that I used to watch 20 years ago.  

Wednesday 18 May 2022

~ May ~



For my father, if he is following my blog up in heaven, because May was his favourite month.

I'm glad the local council appears to be doing the rewilding thing; in previous years these spaces would have been mown to half an inch all over.  Or perhaps they just haven't got the staff. 

Tuesday 10 May 2022

My 100 Favourite Songs - Part 4

Part 4 of my Top 100 Favourite Songs, the first 80 of which are in no particular order.  

I didn't intend for this to be about my own memories, just the songs themselves, but a few have crept in here!  Hope that works okay - enjoy!

Part 1 HERE

Part 2 HERE

Part 3 HERE

Part 5 (top 20) HERE

 Jealous Again The Black Crowes (1990)

Seen them a few times ... Donington 1991 and Glastonbury 1993 stand out.  Below video: me at each one!!  

Simone, on the right in the Glastonbury picture, was Italian, and pronounced them 'The Black Crow-ez' , i.e. as two syllables, with the 'Crow' bit to rhyme with 'vow'.  Don't know why that popped into my head!

Just Like Paradise - David Lee Roth (1988)

My sister, when we were on the way to see DLR at Wembley, on March 1st 1991 (St David's Day!!).  These days, our tube journeys are somewhat less rock 'n' roll.

Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)

The Doobie Brothers (1975)

Reminds me of a pub called The County Tavern in Northampton.  Was a good rocker/biker pub.  It's now a soulless place with varnished floorboards and menus on the tables, of course.

 Trampled Under Foot ~ Led Zeppelin (1975)

 Tired of Being Alone - Al Green (1971)

  I'm Not The Man I Used To Be - Fine Young Cannibals (1989)

When I bought this I was living with a friend who loved it too; that was in the days of vinyl singles, and we used to have it on repeat.

Might Just Take Your Life - Deep Purple (1974)

Skewiff (Mend The Fuse) - The Faces (1973)

One day the 14 year old me decided to play the B side of 'Cindy Incidentally', and was blown away.

Get up (I feel like being a) sex machine~  James Brown (1970)

 Free and Easy - The Almighty (1991)

Reminds me of the Lupus Club, a biker hangout in an old warehouse in Northampton.  It didn't have a licence, so there was a notice up saying that all drinks were gratis but you could donate a pound per beer to the club for expenses.  Awesome place, had some good bands on and it was open until everyone had gone home (in the days before 24 hour opening).  

The whole area was razed to the ground in the early noughties, including the winding cobbled streets behind, and now boasts a car park and lots of nasty shops like Aldi.  

Not so much 'Everything's so free and easy.  Everything's so free and wild'.  More 'Everything's so safe and neutral.  Everything's so cloned and bland'.  Kind of sums up the second half of the 20th Century versus the 21st.

The Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (1967)

 8 Ball - Underworld (1998)

I particularly love 4.30 onwards - so beautiful

Cloudbusting - Kate Bush (1985)

Warszawa - David Bowie (1977)

Run Run Run - Jo Jo Gunne (1972)

 Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan (1974)

Seagull Bad Company (1974)

Was there ever such a summery summer record?

Join TogetherThe Who (1972)

Never was a Who fan, but I love this.