Omdat



Bloem was a Dutch band who had their greatest hit with a somewhat corny song a couple of years before this one, a true one hit wonder. I stumbled across this one on one of those nostalgia tv channels; it’s been years since I last heard it. Only a minor hit, a darkly cynical pisstake off the inferiory complex of Dutch language pop singers, “because French is so much more romantic and English more mature”, at a time when the Nederpop boom was just gathering steam. The eighties were a time when a new generation of Dutch musicians, inspired by punk and its d.i.y. ethos no longer wanted to imitate English or American pop but went to sing in their own language. But sadly for Bloem it was too late. A couple of decent songs, two albums and lack of support from their record company meant they called it quits in 1983.

Kill Me (Ce Soir) — Golden Earring



As a kid growing up in the eighties Golden Earring was just one of those old pop bands that had been around forever, who had a couple of hits everybody knew and of course there was that deeply scary video they did in 1984. It’s only later I knew how influential they could’ve been had they been British or American rather than Dutch. Even so, no one other than Iron Maiden covered this song; it turns out Steve Harris is a fan.

Vuurwerk Vijftig!


Jingle Vara's Vuurwerk (by Vengeance) by Vara's Vuurwerk on Grooveshark

Whoa. Nostalgia. Back when I was a young metalhead, in the long ago days of the late eighties/early nineties, every Tuesday night I would listen to the one radio show that actually played metal, Vara’s Vuurwerk, presented by Dutch singer and media personality Henk Westbroek, with occasional guest presenting by the network’s big boss Marcel van Dam. Hearing that jingle for the first time in years brings back memories, especially of the programme’s annual Top Fifty Metal Songs, broadcast over Christmas and chosen by the listeners. The 1990 edition especially, extended to 65 songs because that was the network’s 65th anniversary year, molded a lot of my tastes in metal. Now, thanks to some enterprising soul, a selection of Vuurwerk programmes, mostly from 1987 but with excerpts from that 1990 list, are available on Grooveshark.

For Hugh, but you weren’t listening

Robert Wyatt talks to the Grauniad about the Soundtrack of his Life:

When I’m not watching Russia Today, obviously, I’m watching pop TV. Even my son’s embarrassed by the infantilism of my tastes, but there’s some good stuff out there now. Pharrell Williams’s Happy– that’s absolutely fucking knockout. Williams is as good as any 60s soul singer and the song is brilliantly put together. It’s a great drum track, and there are only four chords or so, but they’re just enough. It’s really subtly done, absolutely spot-on. My granddaughter tells me I should totally disapprove of that other song he did, though. With someone else… something lines? Blurred Lines! That’s the one. Take it from me that I don’t like that one at all.

Cult prog rock hero, Robert Wyatt was of course one of the founders of Soft Machine as well as part of ur-Canterbury group the Wylde Flowers before that. He has the sort of sense of humour that left him to call his own group after leaving the Softs Matching Moles, as a pun or play of words by way of the French Machine Molle. Not to mention calling his first solo album after having become paralysed from the waist down after a nasty fal out of a window dead drunk, “Rock Bottom”. That sort of humour explains why his one and only brush with hitdom was with a Monkees’ cover:



Wyatt is no rockist snob:

There was a bit of mischief there, too. I didn’t like the fact that hierarchies had developed between what people thought was “serious” rock music and pop music– that was all rubbish. I was very uncomfortable with that. That was exactly the kind of situation I thought our generation had got rid of. I’ve always admired pop music, because I think it’s the modern post-industrial folk music. Everybody can join in, you don’t have to be a specialist. You can sing along with it. But there’s not much room in pop music for all the things I want to do. It’s a bit like food: I like all kinds of interesting food, but in the end, I can just sit down with an egg sandwich and really feel great.

Wyatt actually reminds me a lot of Alan Moore, carving out a similar uncompromising career in writing and with some of the same concerns and interests in magic and parascience, as well as magnificent bushy beards. In Wyatt’s case, there’s pataphysics:

Wyatt was introduced to ‘pataphysics in 1967, when Soft Machine—already established, alongside Pink Floyd, as darlings of the London underground scene, and about to tour the States with the Jimi Hendrix Experience—performed a live soundtrack to Ubu Enchaîné at the Edinburgh Festival. By the time of their second album, Wyatt was introducing the band as “the official orchestra of the College of ‘Pataphysics,” going on to prove these credentials by singing the letters of the alphabet in reverse.

Though sometimes the idea of Wyatt’s music appeals more to me that actually listening to it, at his best he’s brilliant, both solo and with groups like Matching Mole:



It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry




I’m still here, but yet I’m gone
I don’t play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you ’til the end
You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna to miss you.

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” is Glen Campbell latest and last ever song. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in 2011, he embarked on his farewell tour which finished 2012. Now checked into a long term Alzheimer’s care facility, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” is his farewell song to his wife in the knowledge that the disease is taking away his memories of her.

Not a video you can finish with dry eyes.