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Johnny & The Self-Abusers had the perfect punk trajectory, releasing one single in their eight-month career. Then they became Simple Minds.

There have been plenty of soul singers whose parents were church ministers but Lyn Collins earned herself the title of the Female Preacher. (more…)

RIP Vangelis (1943-2022)

27th May 2022 · 2022, Music

Farewell prog pioneer, electronic music maestro and Oscar-winning film soundtrack composer Evangelos Odyssey Papathanassiou (yes, that really is his middle name)… better known as Vangelis.


Here’s another barely remembered and barely played single from my dusty shelf of 45s. It’s a pretty typical example of lower-league punk. (more…)

RIP Ray Liotta (1954-2022)

27th May 2022 · Film

Ray Liotta (1954-2022)

Farewell then Henry Hill from Goodfellas, one of the screen’s immortal creations.

I only met Ray Liotta once, at the Golden Globes in 2003, and I made a bit of a fool of myself. (more…)

I never get tired of this song. It’s probably my favourite by Elvis Costello – certainly up there with Oliver’s Army and Accoidents Will Happen. A miniature film noir in song, it’s brimming with tension, musically and lyrically. And Nick Lowe’s production gives it the element that all the best songs exhibit. Space. (more…)

999 – Emergency

25th May 2022 · 1970s, 1978, Music, Punk

Back in 1977, one of the hardest-working bands on the live circuit was 999. They also had some of the best tunes. And Emergency was the best of the lot. (more…)

Here’s another one from my dusty singles collection, most of them released between 1977 and 1980. It sounds startlingly similar to Styrofoam, by The Tyla Gang, which was one of the first singles on Stiff Records. It’s also got a similar jerky vibe to Richard Hell & The Voidoids. (more…)

John Cooper Clarke was the poet laureate of punk. Along with Linton Kwesi Johnson he was everywhere, filling in at gigs as a kind of cross between an MC and a support band. (more…)

It was hard to know what to make of XTC; they were certainly unlike any other band of the punk era – and still sound unique today. (more…)