52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Friday, November 23, 2007

is that the kind of thing that you think you might be into?

Well, it's been a great day for me so far. I can trace my woes back to that innocent moment in last night's game of football when I put my foot down to block a shot. Unfortunately for me, instead of putting it down between the ball and the goal, I actually put it down resting against the side of the ball just as my opponent kicked it. The result was that the power of the shot passed straight through the ball and into my ankle. I hopped around for a bit, thought idly that I'm supposed to be going skiing in January, went in goal for a bit and then played the rest of the match trying to "run it off". I iced it when I got home, but it basically felt alright.

Sadly, when I woke up this morning, I could hardly walk. My lovely neighbour Hen was kind enough to drive me to the doctor who took one look and referred me for an x-ray at the hospital. At the hospital, I was informed (after the x-ray) that I would get the results from my doctor in the next seven to ten days. Pardon? Now, so far today, all of the healthcare attention I have received today has been free at the point of access, which is the brilliant part about the National Health Service, but I can't walk, so a ten day wait isn't going to be much good to me. Right. Hm. You'd better go to Accident & Emergency then. More waiting. It's not broken. Good news. Apparently I've torn a ligament, most likely the anterior talofibular ligament. That all sounds very serious, but I think the nurse was being nice to me and tarting it up a bit. If you call it by its more common name, it's a sprained ankle. Not such a big deal. The treatment? Ice it up baby, rest it up and don't do much on it for a few days, perhaps a week or two... maybe even three months. Skiing should be alright, but odds on when I can get back out running? I'm going to target next Saturday and see how I go. A week without exercise? I think it will be the death of me.

I'm also supposed to be day-tripping to London tomorrow for some shopping. I'm planning on going, unless something equally serious like a hang nail or a particularly painful spot persuade me I should just stay in bed....

Anyway. To more important matters: this week's Guest Editor has graced this spot with his tuneless dirges twice already, but I just can't get enough of him. Fresh off the back from the qualified success of his shuffleathon disc.... ladies and gentleworms, without further ado it is my great pleasure to introduce for your earworming pleasure.....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #74 - Ben

My third bite at the Earworms cherry. Thanks for inviting me back, Toni – very kind of you, given that what usually happens is I turn up, wax lyrical about some bands most of your readers have never heard of, drink all your wine, steal all your Twiglets and make off into the night…

10. ‘Bend Over Beethoven’ – !!!

Not happy with choosing a name that makes their albums harder to find in your local record shop than Osama Bin Laden (if that makes sense – I’m not suggesting that the Oxford branch of HMV is the nerve centre of Al-Qaeda’s operations), mischievous gibbons !!! – the commonly agreed pronunciation is “Chk Chk Chk” for ease – here shamelessly steal part of the bassline from The Killers’ ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’ and the “Don’t stop!” mantra from Junior Senior’s genius pop hit ‘Move Your Feet’ for an eight-minute-long punk-funk odyssey that’ll have you shaking parts of your body you didn’t know you had. Note: I do not condone the necrophilic sodomising of German composers.

9. ‘Sweet Love For Planet Earth’ – Fuck Buttons

Aww! Fuck Buttons – don’t they just sound cute? Don’t you just want to pinch their cheeks and ruffle their hair? And ‘Sweet Love For Planet Earth’ certainly starts off cute – but then the celestial twinkling of the keyboards is buried beneath an avalanche of noise. Truly the loudest thing I’ve ever heard live. I still have no idea how it didn’t blow out the glass wall of the room they were playing in. What’s that? It’s not music? Sorry, I can’t quite hear you…

8. ‘Blue Line Swinger’ – Yo La Tengo

Last time round I’d not long been blown away by my first experience of Yo La Tengo live, but it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I finally got round to investing in Electr-O-Pura, the 1995 album thought by many to be their best. ‘Blue Line Swinger’ is the luxuriant, sprawling wig-out that brings the record to a close – and it was also the song loudly requested by Tom of Los Campesinos! (there, you knew I couldn’t get through without at least one nod in their direction) at the Cardiff gig immediately after they’d played the equally lengthy and blissfully noisy ‘I Heard You Looking’. Ira Kaplan’s response? “Are you fucking insane?!”

7. ‘Paradise City’ – Guns ‘N’ Roses

Up until last weekend, I’d never seen anyone attempt to breakdance to ‘Paradise City’. That said, it wasn’t really recognisable as such – more like a couple of fully-grown men rolling around on their backs on the floor like oversized, disoriented, very drunk beetles. Seasoned Rock City goers are used to that kind of behaviour, though, so no one batted an eyelid.

6. ‘Red Weather’ – The Duke Spirit

Everyone always bangs on about “that difficult second album”, but an attendant problem is that difficult second set-list. When everything has been pretty much set in stone for maximum tried-and-tested impact, how exactly do you then go about rearranging it, dropping some songs so others can be inserted, rejigging the running order? It’s a problem scuzz-fiends The Duke Spirit are currently grappling with. When they played in Oxford on Monday, traditional set-closer ‘Red Weather’ found itself usurped – but, as if taking on a life beyond the control of those busy playing it, nevertheless asserted itself as the rightful monarch, showing up the songs that followed as mere pretenders to the throne.

5. ‘Mason City’ – The Fiery Furnaces

Last Friday night, I saw The Fiery Furnaces put being rudely snubbed by Birmingham behind them and set about showcasing their brand new album. Over the course of an hour and a half they probably played in the region of fifteen or twenty songs, some mashed up and spliced together. At no point, though, did they play ‘Mason City’. So how on earth did I end up earworming it for days afterwards? These things move in mysterious ways…

4. ‘Johnny Cash’ – Sons & Daughters

Judging by their gig at the same venue a week and a half earlier, Sons & Daughters are going the same way as The Duke Spirit – more “streamlined” and less “rompy”, as the editorial team of Plan B magazine put it in their recent review of new single ‘Gilt Complex’. For all the charms of the new material, with its 60s pop influences, debut single ‘Johnny Cash’ was what people really wanted to hear: the sound of a bar brawl between pissed-up Midwest hillbillies and Glaswegian crackhead punks. On this occasion, they slowed its rambunctious broken-bottle-to-the-neck thrust to slip briefly into ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ – an unexpected treat.

3. ‘If You’re Into It’ – Flight Of The Conchords

I’m hardly watching any TV these days, but if I was I’d be taking in a lot more of these two. ‘If You’re Into It’ is a romantic duet / serenade of sorts – with the emphasis on the “of sorts”…

2. ‘Chinese Rocks’ – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers

The DJ at the Duke Spirit gig on Monday seemed to have a CD to play between sets which was comprised of a grand total of five songs. One was Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited’, another was ‘Doggie Where’s Your Bone’ by The Eagles Of Death Metal – and a third was this gem. Written by Dee Dee Ramone and then-Heartbreaker Richard Hell but made famous by ex-New York Doll Johnny Thunders (much to Dee Dee and Hell’s annoyance), in my book it’s as compelling a piece of evidence as there is for American punk’s superiority over its transatlantic cousin. It’s very openly about smack, of course (that was the reason The Ramones decided not to record it themselves), and is also notable for being one of only two songs I can think of that refers to things being “in hock”. And the other is?

1.‘Sweet Girl’ – Ringo Deathstarr

In many ways youthful Texan quartet Ringo Deathstarr (see what they’ve done there?) are entirely redundant now that both The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine have exhumed themselves. But come now, don’t be so curmudgeonly – you can never have too much of a good thing. Especially when that good thing is screamingly loud blitzkrieg pop and laser-guided shoegazery melodies, brought to British ears by Simon of Spoilt Victorian Child. (There’s no YouTube footage but you can hear snippets of ‘Some Kind Of Sad’ here and ‘Swirly’ here.)

Thanks again for having me back Toni.


It's always a pleasure Ben.... especially when I think you may have dropped in a reference to the mighty Jovi in there somewhere. Am I right? Nice. You've also made me think that I haven't been clubbing at Rock City for a long, long time....and I knew there was a reason why. Anyway, thanks for playing. Oh, and you know I was joking about the whole dirge thing, right? Right?

Next week: we'll see.

Have a good weekend y'all.

Incidentally, in spite of the best efforts of my ankle to block the shot.... it went in. Pah.

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II, Sweeping the Nation, Aravis II, Olympian II, C, Planet-Me, Mike, Michael II, Eye in the Sky II, Charlie III, The Great Grape Ape, asta]

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  • At 7:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ben, so what's the trick for earworming only songs you like. I'd like that skill, please.

  • At 8:00 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    yeah Ben - what gives? Unless you spend your time with a massive pair of headphones on, plugged into your MP3 player, never watching tv, listening to the radio or otherwise engaging with anyone or anything.

    Oh.... hang on.

    Actually, you can't even read a book. I'm reading one at the moment about the shipping forecast. You'd think that would be safe, but it has been the direct cause of me earworming the shitty Euro hit "Life is Life".

    Go figure.


  • At 8:30 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    Asta: ST has it. I don't listen to the radio at all, and hardly ever watch TV these days. Simple, really! Give it a go...

  • At 8:30 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    And yes, ST, well spotted on the Jovi front...

  • At 8:33 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    And sorry to hear about your ankle. Sounds very nasty. A wonder I haven't done myself a footballing injury yet, given how unfit I am and how little I loosen up beforehand.

  • At 8:34 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    oh, I'm so ashamed at knowing that reference.

    *checks under "B" in the alphabeticon and discovers a copy of "New Jersey"*

    ah, perhaps I'm not so ashamed after all.


  • At 8:36 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    and I've just taken my first ibuprofen since it happened, and not surprisingly it's made me feel a whole lot better about myself. It's either that or the Leffe I'm now drinking anyway!

  • At 4:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Swimming with a pull-buoy??!?

  • At 10:44 am, Blogger Stef said…

    Bummer about the ankle, oddly Sherry sprained her ankle last week as well...

  • At 3:30 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Massive sympathies about the ankle. I've had both a sprained ankle and a broken toe this year, so I can really sympathize with your frustration.

    And a hint: physio is excellent for sprains. I was back in full exercise mode after only a week when I sprained my ankle and doctors were expecting me to be off my feet for over a month.

  • At 10:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've sprained both my ankles many times and guess I now have an inherent weakness there. In fact for football I wear strapping on both ankles otherwise I'm likely to roll over on them as if shot by a sniper.

    I got the strappings from Argos and they do help a bit so might be worth checking out.

  • At 1:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, those Argos support thingos aren't so great. You're better off actually strapping your ankle with tape. Or you can get these boned support doodits which lace up and aren't elasticised. They support it pretty well as well if you can't be bothered with the tape.

    I used to sprain my ankles pretty constantly when I was a gymnast in my teen years. Once you've developed the weakness (I think you can actually stretch the ligament if you sprain it often enough?), even a slight roll can lead to another sprain.


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