Mixtape Monday – Shenanigans in the 80s

Another Monday, another mixtape…

And another themed mixtape. This one was suggested by a friend and I could think of no more eighties way to start an eighties-themed mixtape than with the Grange Hill theme tune. Except maybe with the sound of workers going on strike…


  1. Alan Hawkshaw – Chicken Man (The “Grange Hill” Theme Tune)
  2. Paul Young – Love of the Common People
  3. Alphaville – Big In japan
  4. Five Star – Rain or Shine
  5. Duran Duran – Notorious
  6. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
  7. Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals
  8. INXS – Need You Tonight
  9. Pointer Sisters – Automatic
  10. Junior – Mama Used To Say
  11. Curiosity Killed The Cat – Down To Earth
  12. Rock Steady Crew – Hey You!
  13. MARRS – Pump Up The Volume
  14. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  15. Depeche Mode – Everything Counts
  16. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam featuring Full Force – I Wonder If I Take You Home
  17. Scritti Politti – Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
  18. Herbie Hancock – Rockit
  19. The Belle Stars – Sign Of The Times
  20. Bananarama – Only Your Love
  21. New Order – True Faith
  22. Blue Mercedes – I Want To Be Your Property
  23. Rick Astley – My Arms Keep Missing You
  24. Yazoo – Situation
  25. Adam Ant – Ant Rap
  26. Adamski – Space Jungle
  27. Krush – House Arrest
  28. Def Leppard – Animal
  29. Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)
  30. Sabrina – Boys Boys Boys
  31. The Jets – Crush On You
  32. Freeez – IOU
  33. Stephen “TinTin” Duffy – Kiss Me
  34. Hue and Cry – Labour of Love
  35. Five Star – System Addict
  36. Double Trouble and the Rebel MC – Just Keep Rockin’
  37. The 49ers – Don’t You Love Me
  38. Rick Astley – Together Forever
  39. Bananarama – I Want You Back
  40. Bros – I Owe You Nothing
  41. Martika – I feel The Earth Move
  42. Five Star – The Slightest Touch
  43. Duran Duran – The Reflex
  44. Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
  45. Wham! – I’m Your Man
  46. Man II Man feat. Man Parrish – Male Stripper
  47. New Order – Blue Monday

Prince – The Nude Tour 1990 Spotify playlist

July 1st 1990 was a momentous date. For the first and only time, I got to see one of my idols live. Except, I didn’t. Well, not much. Because I missed it to watch the England vs Cameroon game in the World Cup.

From around the time of 1999/Purple Rain, Prince had been one of my idols. When the chance came round to go to see him at the Birmingham NEC with a friend, I jumped at the chance.

What I didn’t realise when we booked the gig months in advance was that the match would clash with one of the World Cup quarter finals. As luck would have it, it was the colossal clash between England vs Cameroon.

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Song of the Week #1: Steps, "Story of a Heart (radio edit)"

Every week, or at least as often as I can be bothered, I’ll be taking one of the tracks recommended by Spotify via either the Release Radar or Discover Weekly playlists and reviewing it. This week, it’s the new Steps’ single, “Story of a Heart”.

This is not going to come as much of a surprise because as regular listeners will know I’m something of a pop tart, but I fricking loved Steps V1.0. Well, not “5-6-7-8” quite so much because line dancing is one of those things that should have been consigned to the great pedal bin of life a long time ago. But every other Steps single, and most especially the singles from the first two albums, are just about perfect as far as pop goes. So when Spotify pushed “Story of a Heart” at me (and having just recently watched the Steps Reunion thing on YouTube – such shade!) I decided I would make this my first weekly review. And I decided I would do it in the manner of the great Guardian MBMs and OBOs, because this is my blog, and not yours.

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Deconstruction Records

A Spotify playlist of some of the greatest hits (at least, the ones that are on Spotify) from Manchester’s own Deconstruction Records.

Deconstruction Records was one of my favourite labels during my working DJ life. Based in Manchester, they were home to some of the most credible dance acts to come out of the UK in the 1990s – acts like M People, Republica, and Kylie Minogue (while she was a bit shit).

I joke, of course. According to DJ Magazine it is “best remembered for marrying underground credibility and diversity with an open-minded attitude towards pop” and probably M People is the best way to sum that approach up. For every Radio 2-friendly single edit, you got a couple of very credible club-oriented remixes. If you can get your elastic bands on a copy of the Hed Boys Post-Op Mix of “A Sight for Sore Eyes”, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

And actually, Kylie wasn’t really shit at this time. I actually think all her strongest post-SAW stuff came out via Deconstruction, and a lot of it was quite bravely experimental for a seven-inch tall pretend mechanic. Look:

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The Blue Anthology

You want sad songs? We got sad songs. You want melancholy? We got melancholy. Like Sally Sparrow said, sadness is just happy for deep people. This is a frequently updated Spotify playlist of sad songs, love songs, ballads, quiet storm, tearjerkers and general musical melancholia.

Why do we listen to sad songs?

In a recent study at Tokyo University of the Arts, researchers asked 44 volunteers (musicians and non-musicians) to listen to both sad and happy music and then “rate their perception toward the music and their own emotional state.” The results suggested that sad music elicited “contradictory emotions” because participants found the sad music “to be more tragic, less romantic and less blithe than they felt themselves while listening to it.” In other words, the sad music they listened to was sadder than their own lives, which in turn made participants feel not so sad about their own state.

~ Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/valley-girl-brain/201510/why-we-cant-stop-listening-sad-songs

Why do we listen to sad songs?

Smeg knows. We just do. These are the songs that I listen to when I’m feeling blue, hence the name. Some are actually heartbreakingly sad, some are just a bit downtempo, some sound upbeat but have sad lyrics, and one of them sounds sad but is actually about weapons-grade casual rumpy-pumpy (we’re looking at you here, Farrah Moan-lookalike Christina Aguilera).

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The Dance Anthology – Spotify playlist

An enormous Spotify playlist with daily updates featuring all types of dance music, with an emphasis on house and Hed Kandi styles – EDM, house, trance, deep house, disco house, twisted disco, techno, trance, US garage, and good old-fashioned pop dance. Shiny disco balls ahoy!

I started off life as a pop music fan, no doubt as a result of all the illicit listening to Radio Luxembourg I used to do under the covers when I should have been asleep (check out the ‘WTF’ section of the menu, top right). As a moody teen I slathered myself liberally in both Depeche Mode and adjectives like “pervtastic” until one day in 1987 when a school chum played a rather weird record for me. Sounding much like a technical fault with a Speak & Spell machine, that song was “House Nation” by House Master Boyz and the Rude Boy of House (catchy name).

I told my friend it was stupid and so-called “house music” would never catch on. Ten years later I was warming up for Gatecrasher’s Matt Hardwick, so I guess that showed my friend who was right!

Anyhoo, what you get in this Anthology mix are all things dance. Except Gabba. Fuck Gabba. I like 4/4 drums, piano loops, wailing divaz, feather boas and shiny disco balls, and this playlist has them in spades. This playlist is the one that I add all my favourite dance records to, whether they’re 30 years old or coming out next week, and I update it most days so please subscribe and tuck in.

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Minor Victories in Concert

Q: What do Minor Victories, Syntax and the Bloom Twins have in common?


A: I didn’t go to see them in concert, but I came away glad that I had.

Supporting Placebo at Nottingham Motorpoint Arena recently (see Return of the Black Pencil Liner part 2) were Minor Victories, a band that Wikipedia calls ‘a British alternative rock supergroup’, which I guess they are in the sense that they’re made up of parts of other bands. Consisting of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite plus James Lockey of Hand Held Cine Club providing visuals (more here).

I’d never heard of them before the Placebo gig, which is one thing that they have in common with Syntax and The Bloom Twins; the other is that when I left the gig, I immediately went out out to find more about them. I don’t like to miss support bands, generally. Yes, regular readers will point out that I wilfully skipped The Cure’s support recently, but I did at least check them out on YouTube first (to see whether I would like them (I didn’t)) and instead I spent the time most profitably (eating).

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