heard on the wire

You don’t have to be Prince if you want to dance

Peel Warhol

I talked in my last post about BBC Radio 2’s poll to find the most popular number two records ever. Although their selection was restricted to the popular chart and thus based on the crudest of metrics, it wasn’t without merit. The rundown of 40 tracks chosen from a shortlist of 100 would make a listenable compilation, albeit with finger poised over the skip button.

But what of the best number two records of all time, the ones chosen by the discerning listener? I am, of course, referring to the legendary (ie. relatively obscure) festive fifty, the chart that John Peel compiled every year from 1982 to 2003, the chart based on listeners’ selections of the best three records of the year.

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I don’t want no cream or sugar

Elektra coffee machine

Tea or coffee? It’s one of life’s eternally important questions. Get the start to the day wrong and everything feels out of kilter.

I’m a coffee-in-the-morning, tea-in-the-afternoon person, preferring something strong and black before noon, something strong and a deep, rich shade of brown in the afternoon. The evening is reserved for beer.

What does popular music have to say on the subject? Not a lot, it would seem, save for hackneyed references to lipstick marks and coffee cups.

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I have never loved you more than I do right now

Darren Hayman has made many great records in his various incarnations, from Hefner’s jawdropping Hymn to the Cigarettes to 2008’s hymn to the Underground, Dirty Tube Train, by his short-lived folk outing, Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee.

But in August 2000 Hefner, his first band, recorded a live set for John Peel at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios. Subsequently released as an LP, the 10 songs show the band at its very best. And they come no better than this song-from-each-year-of-my-life.

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