Sunday, January 05, 2014

Fickle Friends frolic with 'Swim'

Every now and then His Grace likes to dip into the pop scene - either in an attempt to revive Sir Cliff's flagging career or to illustrate the complexity of theodicy. Occasionally it is an endeavour to dispel demons, rise above the pervasive gloom and kick the black dog. A few years ago, the Spectator's Coffee House used to run 'Spotify Sunday' which was invariably uplifting - His Grace was even asked to contributed his slection. With floods and tempests, doldrums and despair, it is good to be positive at least one day a week.

We're so used to being spoon-fed plastic music and predictable pap by Simon Cowell's Instant-Factor machine that it's easy to forget that there are some really talented singers and musicians out there who are tenaciously working the bars and clubs, honing their techniques and building a firm professional foundation. They don't need to be judged by Nicole Scherzinger for the obscene sum of £3million, firstly because nobody's opinion is worth that much, and secondly, it's far better to build up your own authentic fan-base so that when Mr Cowell decides to dump you you've got something to fall back on.

'Swim' is the debut single of a Brighton band called Fickle Friends. It's a jaunty, playful injection of feel-good into the dank and dreary winter blues. It's redolent of certain 80s curios, with just the right amount of triteness and twee (available on iTunes). If you're seasonally affected or on a post-festive downer, this is a certain antidote. Enjoy:


Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Hey I like HG's cool Christian persona.Very cute bop music that conjures up images of summer,sea sand and surf which I am enjoying at the moment.There is a place for trite and twee and also karioke.

You are right one needs lightening up regularly. We are supposed to enjoy our life here on earth. Catholics are instructed by the Catechism to do this and I have always done my Catholic best in this regard.

Thank you for this post makes a pleasant change from the last post starring the depressing atheistic golden boy delivering his usual toxic and insulting rhetoric. A Happy New Year to HG and everyone,even the deadlies!

5 January 2014 at 10:05  
Blogger Nick said...

A cheerful piece of music, and enjoyable to listen to. I wish more contemporary music was able to express unashamed happiness and joy like this.

As to driving out the post-Christmas demons, I find nature a great help. A stroll with my wife in our local country park reminds me of the wonders of nature and the beauty of Creation. What a wonderful gift we have

YG, I hope you drove out the Winter blues. I would be a bit wary of statements like "kicking the black dog": the RSPCA probably informers in your area too.

5 January 2014 at 11:16  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

I like the idea of Spotify Sunday.

5 January 2014 at 11:36  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace,

I'm with you in rejecting the ever present gloom and doom mongers.

The Christian message is above all, one of hope and joy, rebirth and new beginnings, all of which is focussed through Christ our Saviour. Cressida has the right approach. Good on the Catholic Church"s Catechism too I say.

But as I'm in mid-winter UK, so there's no Californian Beach Boys type sun, sea and surf about, I'm join with Nick above and his walk, with his wife (I "took" mine, not his ! ) and we too, after church, had a scamper through our nearest wildlife water park, which was a delight to behold. New life was bursting from the ground and the water birds were amusing as well as beautiful. I too feel closest to The Almighty not in a church, but in God's creation, where his miracles are to behold.

5 January 2014 at 12:59  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

What a damn racket !

5 January 2014 at 14:25  
Blogger Johnny said...

That just my tinitus worse.

Surely a military band would do the trick? Stars and Stripes forever!

5 January 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack enjoys musicological expressions of joy and happiness. God inspires people in different ways to express the privilege of life. We should always find time to dance and sing and make music - even the Calvinists and Puritans amongst us. *chuckle*

Jack enjoyed the funky guitar in this and the thumping backbeat. The harmonies were enjoyable and the lady singer has a cool voice. Pure feel-good vibes, reminding us that summer is on its way.

5 January 2014 at 14:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

One struggles to find the proper adjective. 'Annoying' is accurate but too understated. 'Cloying' just doesn't fit at all as implies too much of something otherwise acceptable. I am looking for a word that conveys 'effervescent emptiness.' Like the sound made by carbonate as it escapes from a soft drink. Repetitive. Unchanging. When we are free of the unrelenting hiss, we find we are left with nothing but a bad-tasting drink.



5 January 2014 at 15:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


We should always find time to dance and sing and make music - even the Calvinists and Puritans amongst us.

That's what Mozart's Requiem is for.


5 January 2014 at 15:12  
Blogger matt zx said...

Sorry your grace but if you think S. Cowell is the real problem with British music scene then maybe you should sit and have a listen to the all powerful BBC radio 1 they are th real problem !

5 January 2014 at 15:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack thanks you for the best laugh he has had so far in 2014.

*loud guffaw and chuckling*

5 January 2014 at 15:36  
Blogger Jim M. said...

@ carl:

One struggles to find the proper adjective.

I don't know if you're old enough to remember the terrible cruelty visited upon young children in the 1970's, but your analogy of a pallid and tasteless soft drink of 'effervescent emptiness' reminded me of "Cresta", with the tag-line "It's frothy, man!"

I would thus suggest "frothy" as your desired adjective.

5 January 2014 at 15:45  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Broad taste here in music, I was happy enough with the offering.

One of my favoured remedies against Winter blues of a medium intensity is to play "faith can light a candle" by Greg Long 3 times over. By the end of the 3rd play life feels more hoopeful.

No doubt s.o. will say "yuck, I don't like that" but then that is music for you, we all like different things, even different things at different times.

For if you have the radio on and the right song comes on that is a soundtrack to what you are doing at the time it has something like a transcendent quality. For me it was "I'm on top of the world..." when I was high up looking down on a city in the sunshine. At other times the same song might not seem too much!!

Happy New year to all!!

5 January 2014 at 16:18  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jim M

Hrmmmm. 'Frothy.' See, the problem is that I consider 'frothy' a good thing. When I was growing up, my parents always made us kids "Black Cows" on New Year's Eve. To make a Black Cow, you 1) put vanilla ice cream in a glass and 2) add Root Beer. When you pour Root Beer onto cold ice cream you get froth. If you aren't careful it will quickly overflow the glass. These are all positive associations in my mind.

I grew up in the 70s but I don't remember Cresta at all. I don't remember the commercial or the product. Was it a UK product, or perhaps a regional product? As far as I can remember, your mention is the first I have heard of it. So I don't have the negative association that you possess.


5 January 2014 at 16:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack recommends Arthur Brown's 'Fire' for you.

Here are the opening lines:

"I am the god of hell fire and I bring you:
Fire, I'll take you to burn.
Fire, I'll take you to learn.
I'll see you burn!"

Jack is sure you find it a joyful little ditty.

5 January 2014 at 16:21  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Archbishop, a fellow has just returned from his Sunday constitutional, and feeling that he’s been rather peevish by decrying your dreadful taste in music without at least making an attempt to educate you that their is more to inspirational music than todays pap.

So, this man gives you one of his favourite ‘pick me ups’. Google ‘Cast your fate to the wind’ and it’s the ‘Sounds Orchestral’ version you need.

You will not be disappointed...

5 January 2014 at 16:45  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Ah yes. The Cresta Bear singing Elvis Presley. Was it ‘All Shook Up’ by chance ?

Anyway, it was top stuff for a thirteen year old. Is it still available ? Am prepared to leave country to get some...

5 January 2014 at 16:55  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace,

I have now listened to this music kindly recommended by you. This communicant will not be in competition with you for listening rights, but thank you for the thought.

I shall continue with my appreciation of many forms of "Folk", especially Celtic in all its forms.

5 January 2014 at 17:02  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Just googled ‘Cresta Bear Advert’. It was ‘Teddy Bear’. Note that one of the backing singers is none other than the Inspector’s Aunt Gerty. Other adverts there too, including ‘New’ Blackcurrent flavour. What a scream !

5 January 2014 at 17:08  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

My teenagers told me to turn it off!


5 January 2014 at 18:07  
Blogger non mouse said...

Goodness, Your Grace! Couldn't listen to it all as it was enough to send my dear little black dog into a fit of the screaming hab-dabs! We need melody, intelligible diction, and less of the overwhelming drumbeat.

And the young people pictured look very drugged up - as most do these days. They can't hide it, even if they wanted to.

So I'm with Mr. Jacobs and OIGO** on this - though one realises the damage done to both Elvis and Johnny Cash by Col. wotsit and his drug/"be bad to be interesting philosophy." But both those stars had benefitted from our still thriving culture: they had beautiful voices and knew how to use them - to make more than noise.

**Just checked youtube - Elvis is still up there, "All Shook Up," "Teddy Bear," et al. So are those lovely videos of things like "The Lord's My Shepherd" or "Lead Kindly Light" - both of which have helped me in the absence of said little dog.

Btw- that dog was absolutely 'the goodest' -- not a bad hair in her coat: I always said she was God's little messenger. And when, in old age, she was on her way Home, and white hairs appeared among the ebony: then we knew it was that she no longer had the strength to stop the brilliance shining through!

But isn't that partly how God's goodness works? Doesn't the darkness of evil, misery, false gods, etc. contrast with their opposite --- helping to highlight and define Goodness, Beauty, and Truth? If the total effect makes us long for that Home Country YG mentioned in the previous thread ..... Amen.

5 January 2014 at 19:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 January 2014 at 20:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I quite like it, derivative though it is.

There's echoes of Kajagoogoo - Too Shy [1], Orange Juice - Rip it up [2], and a touch of Lilly Allen or Kate Nash.



I love the Orange Juice track, there's one to cheer people up. Perhaps we ought to have that for Blue Monday (the 20th January, not the New Order song).

5 January 2014 at 20:10  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Would be good if we could have heard all the words, a very similar style to that of Lilly Allen who has much clearer diction but sings tripe.

5 January 2014 at 20:19  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Greetings non Mouse, one was just remembering a character from around the time ‘Cresta’ was on sale. She would be found riding a bicycle in the vicinity with a shopping basket up front, and some small dog inside. A peek into the basket would have revealed the thing was sat or standing on a cushion. Tiny dog though, probably one of those Mexican whatevers. More cushion than dog in the basket, if you can imagine. Said lady would never be seen without a scarf around her head.

A contemporary of Mr Hedges, or possibly Hodges, who would walk around with his metal pail and pair of heavy duty canvass tan coloured gloves half in half out of the pail. He performed an essential public service in Alstone, Cheltenham – he drowned unwanted kittens. Never-the-less, a cheery fellow...

One suspects both gone now – God bless and keep them both...

5 January 2014 at 21:04  
Blogger non mouse said...

Ah - mine was a Corgi, IGiO. Never rode a bike, however :) She was very proud in the Scottish winter, though, to wear a 'wee tartan' coat!

Sorry about the drowned kittens in one way --- but one understands they might have been better off out of what mankind is so often pleased to call 'life'!

5 January 2014 at 22:52  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Can they sing 'Nearer my God to thee'?

5 January 2014 at 23:29  
Blogger Flossie said...

Ooh, Carl, I don't think Mozart's Requiem would make me dance and sing. Beautiful though it is, I think it is very dark, especially as it was composed just before he died and as you probably know was completed by Sussmayr.

Sorry, YG, but ten seconds of this was enough for me.

My idea of happy music is the Hallelujah Chorus (or similar).

6 January 2014 at 08:59  
Blogger Len said...

You just gotta sing those blues out.

Rory Gallagher - I Could've Had Religion.

6 January 2014 at 15:08  

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