heard on the wire

You can’t beat a boy who loves New Order


There are some bands who get a free pass, whose new records will be bought without a second thought, who even manage to survive the occasional indiscretion.

The Fall, Half Man Half Biscuit, Nick Cave, Helen Love, the Wedding Present and Cinerama are definitely on that list, but top of it are New Order. That they’re top is odd in some ways, since of them all they have perhaps committed the worse indiscretion — the mediocrity that was their last full LP, Waiting for the Sirens’ Call whose low points, the title track and the Scissor Sister-accompanied Jetstream, are such an execrably bad records that I stopped buying every version I could find, something I’d been doing since I bought Temptation on seven- and 12-inch.

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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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The kids are solid gold


No-one has a more impressive indie pop CV than the former chief economist and senior director of mergers for the Office of Fair Trading, Amelia Fletcher.

The current professor of competition policy at the University of East Anglia has fronted Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, Marine Research and Tender Trap, sung backing vocals for the Wedding Present and Hefner and been guest vocalist for several other bands. She’s also played keyboards for Sportique.

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I have tried to break unbroken chords

Singer songwriter is an odd label. You might think it it applies to anyone who writes songs and sings them, but it’s not so. Without the requisite degree of plaintive acoustic strumming or over-earnest entreating, you’re just a singer, or a songwriter.

Thereby excluded, I can claim allegiance to Bragg, Cave and Weller without ever having to admit to a penchant for the singer-songwriter genre. This worked fine until 2004 when I first heard Langhorne Slim — inevitably it was on the genre defying John Peel show.

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