1996. Knebworth, Britain. "This is History! This is History!"

Liam Gallagher was always a bit of an idiot.

But! This is History. Or rather, this is Hobart Paving — a gentle look back at the Britpop years. It's something of a received opinion these days that Britpop was a mad delusion that we all suffered under for a few years, and now we can look back and laugh at our awful taste. Like similar opinions about the 1980s and 1970s, this is a short-sighted dismissal of an era; sure there was plenty of rubbish about, but there was also greatness. And this site is an attempt to document that, especially some of the bands and songs that either have been forgotten, or never managed to make it big in the first place.

My definition of Britpop is rather broad, even compassing some bands that aren't British, but I hope you'll find my choices interesting. For the most part, I'll be concentrating on singles, but there'll probably be a few albums covered along the way, as well as concerts, magazines, radio, and other gubbins that seem appropriate. I probably won't be putting MP3s up, but if a song is out-of-print and difficult to obtain, I might put a copy online. Otherwise, each entry will have links and suggestions for where you can get the song.

And having got all that out of the way, let’s begin…

"Get To Bed!"

After two weeks of listening to Mark Radcliffe’s new Radio 2 show, I’ve come to a rather unsettling conclusion:

I miss the Radio 1 playlist.

Don't get me wrong; I love turning on the radio to hear The Mighty Wah!'s "Sinful", New Order's "True Faith", and many more, but I miss the variety. I want to hear these songs mixed with Richard X/Rachel Steven's "Some Girls" and OutKast. Not Norah Jones (I'm placing my belief in the idea that although Mark doesn't have a playlist as such, there's still a few songs that they suggest he should play each week. I refuse to accept that he plays Jones and Sheryl Crow out of his own free will). I would also like the moon on a stick, if that's possible.

Strangely, I don't miss Lard all that much. There seems to be a guest in the studio every night, so Mark still has somebody with him to banter with and discuss wheeliebin arrangements. Thursday's show with Noddy Holder was very funny, and I look forward to them paring up again next fortnight, but it did highlight one problem with the show: it's too short. As it only runs for an hour and a half, by the time it gets going, it's midnight, and time to hand over to Janice Long. Longer hours, please!

A reserved thumbs-up, then. And here's the song I promised yesterday, which I heard earlier this week on Radcliffe's show. It's a little odd, but rather pleasant. Have a listen:

Stina NordenstamLittle Star

(he also played a French cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" that I will put up when I manage to track down the group's details)

currently playing: Phoenix — If It’s Not With You

Friday Vacant

Spam is annoying, but I do get a nostalgic glow when I receive a spam email from the Kenickie Yahoo/eGroups mailing list. As you can imagine, we don’t have too much to talk about anymore, so the only time I’m reminded of its existence is when somebody sends a message advertising time machines/Russian mail order brides/the possibility of a closed universe. I suppose I should unsubscribe, but it’s very low-traffic, and there’s always the possibility that it’ll spark back into its toast-talking ways one day…

I do have a song for the weekend, but I'll be putting it up tomorrow along with some comments about the new Mark Radcliffe show. I would do it tonight, but I'm feeling a little run-down tonight. Back tomorrow!

currently playing: Kate Bush — Running Up That Hill

Back To Normal…Almost

Well, you should be able to get the MP3s again. Fedora Core 2 is a throwback to Linux installations of yore; I haven’t had to recorrect Master Boot Records and tell the system how many heads the hard drive has for a long time…

currently playing: New Order — World In Motion

Intermittent Servers

The MP3s will be offline for a few hours or so, while I upgrade my server to Fedora Core 2. Wish me luck!

currently playing: France v. Croatia

Stellastarr*, anyone?

This is probably of more interest to those in the Oxford area (although all are welcome if you’re willing to fly 4,000 miles for a concert. Now who would do something as silly as that, though?): is anybody interested in seeing Stellastarr* at the Oxford Zodiac at the end of June (the 29th?

currently playing: Neutral Milk Hotel — In the Aeroplane Over The Sea

A Cynical Stab At The Online Market

The iTunes Music Store has made it across the Atlantic! Unfortunately, discussions with the independent labels have broken down, so you can buy Franz Ferdinand tracks if you have a US credit/debit card, but not if you only have a UK billing address.

I suppose that we have to be thankful that Apple didn't do a 99¢ — 99p conversion when setting prices, but the UK store is still the most expensive of the four. A handy comparison, converting the three different price points into US dollars:

iTMS US: $0.99
iTMS France/Germany $1.20
iTMS UK $1.44

Germany and France both have higher rates of VAT than we do, so I'm at a loss to explain why we have to pay more than anybody else. Mind you, it's a lot cheaper than spending £3 for a ringtone…

In other news, I've finally got around to making the photolog site look like this one, fixing a few other things along the way. The photos now have their own dedicated index page, so you can see all the pictures at once, if you desire. It still looks a little plain, but I think it'll do for now. It looks okay at my end, but due to NTL's transparent proxy nonsense, I can't tell how it looks on the site, so if you see anything that seems weird, let me know.

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me — Rowboats

Old School Rampacks Are Much Better

I’ll probably put something up on Friday as well, but I wanted to share these songs with you here and now (also, I’m likely to forget about them otherwise)

Young Heart AttackStarlight

America discovers Slade (okay, that might just be my brain losing it again). And adds a female vocalist. Anybody who knows anything about me is probably shaking their head in sad recognition now. But trust me, this is good, and I promise there's no ethereal section in sight. Not that you'd see an ethereal section, unless you were a bat. Which might confuse them. I wonder if anybody has done a study on the effects of Enya on a bat population. I sense a grant proposal!

MJ Hibbett Hey Hey 16K

This song will be largely incomprehensible to Americans, for which I apologise. Anybody younger than a certain age may also not understand why "Then five minutes fingers crossed hoping not to witness the terror of R: Tape Loading Error" resonates so well with all the people in the their twenties. For this song is a celebration of the Little Computer That Could, the Sinclair Spectrum (sure, it namechecks inferior machines like the Commodore 64 and the Amstrad CPC, but references to Jetpac, Jet Set Willy, and Manic Miner mean that the writer grew up with a humble Speccy. Plus the intro is sampled from a Spectrum's tape loading signal. And yes, that sound is burnt into my memory). Listen, then, to the geekiest song of the year, and reminisce about typing RANDOMIZE USR 32768 to get a game to load, how 128K seemed enough for anybody, and Impactor's tragic death in Transformers #88. That last one might just be me and Brem X Jones, though…

(Oh, and the video is quite amusing)

currently playing: Madonna — Borderline


The Programme Code requires that all factually-based programmes should be characterised by “a respect for truth”; that in Personal View programmes the opinions expressed, however partial, should “not rest upon false evidence” and the “facts should be respected”. To ensure fairness, programmes which contain a damaging critique of any individual or organisation should normally offer those criticised an opportunity to respond.

Even taking into account that this was a ‘personal view’ item, the strength and number of allegations that John Gibson made against the BBC meant that Fox News should have offered the BBC an opportunity to respond.

Fox News was therefore in breach of Sections 2.1 (respect for truth), 2.7 (opportunity to take part), and 3.5(b) (personal view programmes - opinions expressed must not rest upon false evidence) of the Programme Code.

Read the Ofcom decision here. The best bit is where Fox News admits that their evidence for the anti-American bias of the BBC came from putting the phrase "anti-American BBC" into Google…

currently playing: Manitoba — Crayon

Poor Old Johnny Ray

“Come On England” may in fact be the worst pop travesty of the past thirty years. I have graphs and figures to back me up. How can you possibly get rid of a line like “moved a million hearts in mono”?

Also, if anybody wants to teach Steven Gerrard which direction to kick a football before the next England match, I'm sure people would be most grateful…

currently playing: Nick Drake — Pink Moon