The anthem of the Paris branch of the NUJ. It was written after a couple of French trade unionists wandered up to our freshly-unfurled NUJ banner at a Parisian demo (I can’t remember which: perm one from 157) and enquired of our assembled horde of perhaps four: ‘mais, c’est quoi le Nooj?’ You can almost hear the Gallic shrug. The song attempts to answer this excellent and surprisingly complex question.
Video by the seriously talented photographer Nigel Dickinson, who also wields a mean smartphone. Recorded in Paris at the Balbuzard, a very fine Corsican resto near République in December 2017.
This is a strange song which I rediscovered half recorded and finished.
Possibly inspired by a real incident, probably influenced by 10CC, certainly not one of those ditties that you can simply strum, I suspect this song began with the smallest of ideas, a simple guitar effect (guitar effect, guitar effect). Must have been out to lunch.
Poor technique means slow songs are a challenge for me. But this tune about loneliness feels right for a freezing February. Please Please Me was apparently a slow song sped up to become a classic. Looking For a Light tries the opposite. It’s based on a far faster tune originally written in the 1980s slowed right down. Some way short of The Beatles’ standards to say the very least but I quite like the result.
1976 was the year of punk which means that 2016 is the, gulp, 40th anniversary. Way too many musicians have died too young and the great Joe Strummer, voted greatest human being for seemingly years on end by readers of the New Musical Express, is no exception. Do you remember where you were when you heard that he’d died? This song started out as a song about, would you believe, ‘girl power’, which shows how old it is, reworked and vastly improved with Joe’s inspiration.
Diana Ross released her first album for nearly a decade last month which is an excuse to post this song which namechecks her. Touch Me In the Morning was a fave last dance at our middle school disco and still turns my stomach to jelly. The song mentioned here though is Doobedood’ndoobe, Doobedood’ndoobe, Doobedood’ndoo – chosen because, as you’ll hear, I was desperate for a rhyme: the one moment where you can see the joins in a tune which otherwise felt like it wrote itself.
Thanksgiving this month so another song inspired by the USA. I suppose we’re all a little obsessed with the US and how it represents the best and worst of us. But also I think that a certain style of guitar pop just conjures up the American suburbs. From the Rubinoos to the Fountains of Wayne, it’s bubblegum, soda pops, kooky girls and a cool complacency that we suburban London kids envied enormously.