Ten Songs by Darren Sant

If you asked me to name my top ten songs again in twelve months I’d probably picked a totally different ten, such is the nature of my ever shifting love of music. It would have been easier to name a hundred tracks. Here goes, in no particular order:

Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Quite simply, this song exudes funk. So much so that it makes a bald, fat old git like me want to dance. It makes me feel alive – that is why it has made my top ten.

Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack
I first heard this track on the soundtrack to the Tarantino film Jackie Brown. I like songs that talk to me about reality and there’s a very hefty dose of that in this track. Funky as hell too.

Sometimes by James
You can hear the rain. You can feel the desperation. A track that is exceptionally well produced and album that would make my top ten every time.

The Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young
A song that oozes melancholy by a master song writer. Young’s plaintive vocal is a warning so heartfelt it’s impossible not to take notice.

Waterfall by The Stone Roses
With my friend, Shaun Kelly, I saw the band at the height of their powers at a small venue in Paris. Full of cheap red wine we felt like kings of the world and as this track washed over me I felt that anything was possible.

Kelly’s Blues by The Triffids
In the early days of CDs I happened upon their album Calenture. Every track is a gem and the concept of Calenture stays strong with several of the tracks. The album was so different to anything I’d heard at the time. I still play it, often.

Brain Damage by Pink Floyd
Stoned off my gourd having ingested a large chunk of cannabis I lay in bed and although it may be a cliché I played Dark Side of the Moon. As I grew increasingly light headed this album took on a life of its own. Classic album and I’m not ashamed to be clichéd now and again! A good friend of mine lost his Father to a brain tumour and it was his Dad’s wish to play the track at the funeral. The dark humour (and bravery) wasn’t lost on anyone.

Northern Sky by Nick Drake
Because no top ten of mine would be complete without a Drake track. Rest in peace you melancholic genius. You left us too young.

Karma Police by Radiohead
An influence from my late brother. With the release of OK Computer I finally “got” Radiohead. Check out the video to this track and if you’re feeling flush splash out their DVD 7 Television Commercials. You won’t regret it

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition was In) by Kenny Rogers
Another track I love because of a film. This song could have been written for the dude. Treat yourself and watch the Big Lebowski


Darren Sant is originally from Stoke but now lives in Hull, he is the editor of hard-hitting fiction site http://www.close2thebone.co.uk/, and he is the author of several books and collections, most notably Tales From The Longcroft Estate. You can check him out at his website http://darrensant-writer.yolasite.com/, and follow his tweets @groovydaz39 & @longcroft_tales


The Monkeys on Their Backs…. By Martyn Taylor

Many bands work for their entire careers trying to get a signature sound or score a big hit single that they will always be remembered for. It might not be a sound that makes them well known, it might be a gimmick, memorable music video or their fashion sense. Slash had his top hat, Iron Maiden have ‘Eddie’ and Kiss have their over the top outlandish make-up. Once a sound picks up its own personal sound, they will more than likely find them selves stuck with it, no matter how far they try to remove them selves from it. Their future releases will always be compared to the debut, and they will always be stuck with this monkey on their back.

1. The Bluetones. These fellas were your typical post ‘Brit-pop’ era groups who hit the big time when their debut album ‘Expecting to Fly’ hit the shelves in early 1996. It sold bucket loads and went platinum in the U.K. The first single release off the album was ‘Slight Return’, and with the help of a re-release made it to number 2 in the charts (It was kept off the top spot by Babylon Zoo’s ‘Spaceman’) This brilliant song was their signature, but the whole album (although overlooked) was a cracker. ‘Slight Return’ is more than likely the only song off The Bluetones most people will know, despite them releasing 6 studio albums and 20 singles.

2. Supergrass. Ok, Ok, I know, another ‘Brit-pop’ band, but get used to it ‘cos it’s all I know! Supergrass were a bloody brilliant band, their debut album ‘I should Coco’ made us dream of a carefree life, and our silly youthful ideals made more sense when we listened to it (basically, it rocked!) Many great albums followed containing catchy tunes like ‘Moving’, ‘Grace’ and most memorably for me ‘Late in The Day’ The problem once again with Supergrass (as it was with The Bluetones) is that people couldn’t see past their biggest hit ‘Alright’, with its memorable chorus, guitar solo, and its, ‘of the time’ video, people would always favour and associate them with it.

Supergrass. A photo that proves that Charles Darwin was right.

Supergrass. A photo that proves that Charles Darwin was right.

3. Chumbawamba. Chumbawamba were a group made up of many colourful characters. Their career spanned over 3 decades, where they played punk influenced pop (if there ever could be such a thing) anarchistic music. Their songs often tackled subject matters such as animal rights, feminism and anti-fascism. Unfortunately writing songs about gay liberation and class struggles wasn’t paying the bills. They released their biggest mainstream hit ‘Tubthumping’ in 1997. Unfortunately, their hardcore fans didn’t favour them turning ‘face’. The millstone around their necks was the fact that they had seemed to have ‘sold out’, but they still protested against government, most famously at the 1998 Brit Awards where they changed the lyrics of their biggest hit to protest against the Labour Party’s treatment of the Liverpool Dockers, then going on to throw water over the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

4. The Boo Radleys.
Here is an example of a hit single totally obliterating all of a bands previous good work. The Boo Radleys plodded through the early 90’s releasing typical northern guitar music (which isn’t a bad thing) but when they released their 1993 album ‘Giant Steps’ NME magazine awarded 9/10 and hailed it as “…an international masterpiece…”. They then went on to rank it second on their albums of the year (topped only be Bjork’s brilliant ‘Debut’). So things couldn’t have been rosier for the boys from Merseyside. Still relatively unknown , they released ‘Wake Off Boo!’ in the spring in 1995. Unfortunately for these guys, this would be their only hit single, and catchy as it was, it wasn’t a patch on the offerings on ‘Giant Steps’ and became a proverbial albatross on their careers. Things never really picked up them after the summer of 1995.

The Boo Radleys: "They want to use one of our songs in an advert you say? Cool... which one?"

The Boo Radleys: “They want to use one of our songs in an advert you say? Cool… which one?”

5. The Stone Roses. Now please wait for a minute while I big up these guys, after all, they are in my top 3 bands of all time. They were one of the most pioneering bands of my time. The Stone Roses released only 2 studio albums, but oh what albums they were. Their debut album was and still is considered as one of the greatest openers to a career, and ‘Second Coming’ their follow up, was a change up in style, but always tainted from the off because of the success of their debut (as I have noted previously in this blog here http://wp.me/p38ZXT-cE) The only thing that winds me up about these guys, is the fact any time you talk about the band with others, and ask which is your favourite song of theirs. 9 times out of 10 people will say ‘Fools Gold.’ For me ‘Fools Gold’, great as it is, would barely make it into my top 10 Stone Roses song. People probably say they favour ‘Fools Gold’ because it is played mostly on the radio these days.

No funny comment. Still one of the greatest bands of all time.

No funny comment. Still one of the greatest bands of all time.

I do hope that when listening to music, you don’t just listen to bands biggest hits. You might just find that you are missing out on the next ‘Giant Steps’ album or ‘Late in the Day’ song.

mart questionsMartyn Taylor is a 31 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.


Be Careful What You Wish For… by Martyn Taylor

Some people say ‘be careful what you wish for’, and in my experience, those people are sometimes right.

Now, I’m not thinking about the big things in life that you have no control over, or even the events that you always wish would come true, but are unlikely to occur. For example winning the lottery. If you are fortunate enough to score the jackpot and win an unimaginable amount of money and fuck it up, you deserve all the shit that comes with it (Michael Carrol springs to mind.)

The sort of things that I’m thinking about here, are the daily or weekly decisions and wishes that we make all the time that effect our lives in ways that you do not even realise.

To start off with, a dream of many a young man is that his beloved football team could be promoted to the Mecca that is, the Premier League. The problem here is that, as many teams in the past have proven, promotion can bring many pitfalls! I’m not just talking about the ‘small fish, big pond’ syndrome here that can bring the predicted poorer results. There are other downside as well. Other ‘fans’ jumping on the band wagon, egotistical players signing on for over inflated contracts, the over spending and eventual slip into administration, which results in the dreaded relegation. So is promotion worth it in the long run? I just have to say, be careful what you wish for!

A personal wish of mine that actually came true (to my joy :-D) and eventually caused problems for me, is the re-union of your favourite fractured band. I know what you’re thinking, the reforming of Steps was truly a great day (trying not to sound sarcastic ;-)) I’m actually thinking of the highly anticipated revival of the ‘baggy’ ambassadors themselves ‘The Stone Roses’. We all used to listen to their acclaimed album that set the standards back in the day, and hope that one day they could get over their problems and treat us fans to an intimate one off gig. Be careful what you wish for! what we got was the Heaton Park gigs which were a phenomenal success, but were an obvious money spinner for all concerned. While on the subject of music, How many times have a band released a classic debut album (just like The Stone Roses) which leaves us fans chomping at the bit for their second release? after much hype and anticipation their second album arrives at the shops you rush out to buy it, get home, play it, and it leaves a sour taste of disappointment in your mouth. So, be careful what you wish for! (By the way, I actually like The Second Coming)

While on the subject of disappointing sequels, you watch a film at home, it blows your mind and leaves you wanting more? A year or so later, a sequel is shot and rushed onto our cinema screens. It tempts you out to the pictures, you spend your hard earned cash on over priced popcorn and watered down Pepsi, you take your seats and endure two hours of disappointment. Be careful what you wish for!

Your career is an area where your hopes and dreams are regularly tested. You could have a simple job with a low pay, low responsibility and low expectations that keeps you happy, but poor. Then an opportunity arrives on your doorstep. A promotion or a better job at the company of your dreams, what do you do? Push your self, or settle for your easier, problem free position. As anybody does, you go for it, you become the supervisor or team leader. Then the problems roll home. Your work mates become colleagues, you get stressed and over worked. You take your problems home, take it out on the dog and upset your wife. You sit there and think ‘be careful what you wish for!’

A relationship between a man and wife can be a minefield if he choose his words incorrectly. His loving wife cooks him a lovely dinner of steak and eggs and he compliments her on how nice it was. She then proceeds to prepare it for him every Tuesday and Friday without fail, until he is sick of the sight of it. Does he risk upsetting a hormonally challenged woman by telling her that you can have to much of a good thing, or does he go along enjoying the meal? Be careful what you wish for!

A man and wife’s sex life can be difficult to discuss. They are happily married having sex twice weekly (and on special occasions, but its the same sex every time. Some gentle kissing, followed by a quick grope in the dark, one position change, then finish. She sits on the toilet while he cleans his knob! He wants to spice things up, so he tells her. She tells him to go to work as normal the following day, come home, go straight upstairs, get showered then go to the bedroom.

So he does. He goes to work, excited all day about the impending carnal activities planned, rushes home, skips upstairs, hops in the shower and shimmies across the landing in his best robe. He knocks on the door, His wife suggests that he puts on the blind fold thats tied to the door handle, so he does. He enters and carefully makes his way to the bed. She tells him to remove his robe and pass her the bottle of lube that’s on the bedside table. He does so excitedly, he hears the squelch of the lube bottle and hastily whips off his blindfold. To his disgust, the wife is stood there with a 8″ strap on dildo preparing to mount him.

He should’ve kept quiet about the steak and eggs!!!

The moral of the story is, be careful what you wish for…… because you might just get it!!!

Martyn Martyn Taylor is a 31 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.