Counter Valentines Playlist

It may be that you have a bah, humbug! or meh! attitude to Valentines Day. It may be you are single and fed up with the hullaballo. It may be that you simply cannot take another power ballad or naff soul song. It might just be that you’re a contrary sod like me. Anyhow, here are some songs that are cynical about love, explore its dark side or deal with its aftermath.

I Think I’m in Love (Spiritualized)

From Spriritualized’s classic Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space. A wonderfully cynical song about how self delusional we can be when we fall for somebody:

Think I’m in love  / Probably Just Hungry

Think  I’m your friend / probably just lonely

Think that I can fly / Probably just falling

And so it goes on, in spiritualized’s fantastic spaced out groove.

You’re So Vain (Carly Simon)

A song from somebody who has come out of the other side, and has no delusions at all about her former lover. Allegedly about Warren Beatty, this song drips with venom in a very satisfying fashion for those who have ever been left embittered after a love affair. Chapeau to Becky for suggesting this track.

When Love Breaks Down

Referencing a Prefab Sprout song might not be the coolest thing to do (unless eighties retro has come around again, I find it hard to give a sh!t about what’s trendy these days), but I’ve always had a soft spot for this band. It has a beautifully melancholy melody and lyrics; it’s perhaps not the best choice track to listen to if you’ve just broken up with somebody and don’t have plenty of tissues to hand. A moving account of how a couple can drift apart:

My love and I, we work well together but often we’re apart

Absence makes the heart lose weight, until love breaks down

Love Letter (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)

This song is quite romantic in its own way, but get’s a place because Nick Cave is a lyricist of genius, and the song is in a suitably plaintive minor key. This one’s about a love letter to a love the singer fears is lost, and all the hopes bound up in it. Another tear jerker.

I press my lips against the cold white envelope, I press my lips against her name

Two hundred words, we live in hope, the sky hangs heavy with rain

A Fool in Love (Ike & Tina Turner)

How could a playlist like this not include a track from these two, with Ike infamously being a complete bastard towards Tina. The lyrics seem to say a lot about Tina’s plight:

He’s got me smiling when I should be ashamed

Got me laughing when my heart is in pain

And a Bang on the Ear (The Waterboys)

A little non PC perhaps (bang on the ear:  domestic violence?). With a each verse,  Mike Scott recounts past loves who messed with his heart, sometimes is a decidedly caustic fashion, and sends each of these  ‘all of my love, with a bang on the ear’.

Deborah broke my heart, and I the loving fool

~ also~

The home I made with Bella became a house of pain

We weathered it together, bound by a ball and chain

It started in Fife, and it ended up in tears

I am a rock (Simon and Garfunkel)

Running out of time now, some things are gonna get brief. This is the ultimate celebration of the solitary life:

And a rock feels no pain

And an island never cries

This song gave me a fair bit of solace as a lonely teenager, but who was I kidding?

Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye (Kitchens of Distinction)

This band is one of my all time faves, as well as being one of the most splendidly named outfits in the history of man. The overall sentiment is ‘sod you, I’m off':

I’m looking forward to living alone

Now’s it’s time to say goodbye

I won’t hang around to be hurt by careless words

Calculating Bimbo (Belle & Sebastian)

Often dismissed as being fey, their lyrics are often distinctly barbed. The prettiness of this tune belies its lyrical spite:

You calculating bimbo

I wish you’d let the past go

Any more for any more?

I could go on for a veeeery long time(bitter and twisted, moi?), but it’s time to hand over to you; feel free to suggest further tracks by leaving a comment and / or adding to the collaborative Spotify playlist : Counter Valentines Playlist

Public Libraries Should Get More, not Less, Funding

The government should invest, in public libraries, some of the money saved by withdrawing the EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance, which supports disadvantaged kids in FE). Why? Because of the role public libraries in the education of those not able to pursue formal education beyond the legal minimum, and indeed as a valuable supplement to the education of children even when they are still at school. For example, see the testimonials on the Voices for the Library site.

Does this role not meet with the traditional Tory idea of enabling people to fend for themselves rather than depend on the state? Then again this not a traditional Tory government, but a cabal of plutocrats hell bent on dismantling the state regardless of the social cost.

So, the barbarians are at the gate, but what can we do? Organise, and fight back. If you are a twitter users I suggest you follow @UKpling, and there’s lots of info on the Voices for the Library web site, including a listing of campaigns you might wish to support. Facebook users might wish to take a look at http://www.facebook.com/voicesforthelibrary. Remember, evil is what happens when good men stand idly by!

New Years Geeky Resolutions, part one

Didn’t quite get the googlewhack for ‘scruffian’ last year – the top two hits are taken by an impostor, Ben Dwyer. To be fair his domain pre-dates mine; that adds to the googlewhack challenge as Google respects long-standing domains in its ranking algorithms. Determined to get that top spot though. Yes, I know it’s petty, but it’s just a little fun and something to motivate me to make more use of this site.

Life, the Universe & everything, or thereabouts

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