Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

The law of the internet is very clear on this matter. All bloggers must have a "Fifty things about me" page that is several years out of date and hosted on dreadfully inappropriate free web space. Present and correct. All bloggers must also present a list of their favouritest things in the world, no matter how sad and embarrassing they are. Ah.

TV's Mr Biffo has finally succumbed and published a list - with a detailed justification - of his favourite things, and I didn't even laugh at his love of Marillion, for I have much worse. And now I realise I am blogging illegally, as my published works contain no such list. Here we go, then. Over the next couple of days, my shame knows no bounds*:

Arsenal FC: I never set out to be an Arsenal fan. I was born in Fulham to a Chelsea supporting father, with a West Ham granddad and a Tottenham uncle. I went with the old fella to see Chelsea once or twice, but deep down I knew it was a terrible club, with a terrible ground and absolutely no class, an opinion I hold to this day. I drifted away from football until my late teens, where I was taken to see Reading play at Elm Park, and stayed for five years.

David Rocastle, mayherestinpeaceIt was only when I was dragged to Upton Park to see the Arsenal humped by them Hammers that I was hooked, and Arsenal became my first love. I hardly missed a match - home or away - for several seasons and arrived just in time to see a team full of future stars at the start of something very special. Paul Merson, Michael Thomas, Tony Adams, the late David Rocastle. And ...err... Charlie Nicholas.

I've been through bandwagon-jumping highs - the 1989 and 1991 titles; terrible, terrible lows - knocked out of the cup by Wrexham in 1992, the G. Graham bung scandal.

I've seen some of the worst football ever played (hump it up the pitch and Ian Wright'll do the rest); not to mention the greatest team the nation has ever seen, ever (the 2004 Invincibles).

Confession: I once ran an Arsenal website. It's not there anymore.

God, I love the Arsenal.

And a Champions League final? Why, yes!

Ultravox: My sister used to have this dreadful knack of buying both me and my brother the wrong presents at Christmas, and we'd surreptitiously swap the inevitable wrong LPs behind her back. One year, however, she mistakenly got me Ultravox's Rage In Eden, and I liked it so much that Nige was forced to make do with something by Genesis. I went out and bought Vienna, and eventually Quartet, before realising they had a history before Midge Ure came along.

John Foxx - Cathedral Oceans III artworkThe first, eponymous album was all art school, the second all punk rough edges, but the third - Systems of Romance - was a clue as to what the band would eventually become, not to mention a taster for the future career of their then singer, John Foxx.

Foxx was one of those great enigmas in the industry. Wrote some great songs (some awful ones, too), but when he was good, he was very, very good. Unfortunately he cared not one jot for fashion and fame, and disappeared into the background, leaving the way open for his padowan learner, Gary Numan.

I paid good money to see Ultravox, and they were absolutely brilliant when they toured the Lament album. Then I paid good money to see them again, when they toured the fucking awful U-Vox album (known as the pink monstrosity amongst fans, who have disowned it), and it was the worst concert I have ever attended. They all hated each other by then, and Midge dragged The Chieftains along and it sucked greatly.

Midge is still out there being folky, as is Foxx, who turns up every now and then with the odd rather bazzin', yet criminally overlooked album. They must never reform, Human League-style. It wouldn't be the same.

Get these:
Ultravox! - The Island Years
Ultravox - Vienna
John Foxx and Louis Gordon - Crash and Burn
Billy Currie - Transportation

Confession: I once ran a John Foxx website. It's not there anymore**.

God, I love Ultravox.

* No. No it doesn't
** Actually, it is. Aaaaargh! No, I'm not ashamed. Not ashamed at all

Also: The Campaign to Save the Grandstand Boooooing. This is important, ppl!

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