Hints & Tips
Well. La Glasto is over for another year and what a line-up it was. Chic were at their most chic and funky with Nile Rogers giving it everything he’s got… including asking the audience a lot if they wanted to party… I assume they did…why else go to Glastonbury? It’s hardly educational.
Barry Gibb proved that he has written every song in the world that wasn’t written by Paul Mccartney. Stormzy stormed it and Craig David made a surprise comeback. The Foo Fighters won. Radiohead played Creep for the first time in years while Jeremy Corbyn won over a few more young people who might now vote for old people.
Plus, Coldplay did their usual crowd-pleasing set, Emile Sande proved that you can’t always find your key when you want to and Ed Sheeron proved…well…he proved that he’s a pretty decent singer songwriter who must be so happy he found that battered old lamp in the bazaar and gave it a rub.
So. Glastonbury is done and the summer is here. It’s time to give that barbecue another wipe-down, make sure your lawn is in fine fettle – give it a snip, make sure it’s watered – and invite some chums around for carefully cooked meats and mostly unwanted salads.
But who’s in charge of the music. ME! That’s who. In tribute to the summer of music, and to the fact that I couldn’t make Glastonbury and was trapped here in this great city (I love it, but sometimes…) and threw my first barbecue for a couple of lovely friends, here are some of my all time summer favourites that set my pulse racing during these longer languid, lovely days. These were all featured the other night. From the cool to the hot to the sweltering, from various decades and in various guises, in chronological order, my seven super sunny summer singalongs.
- Summer In The City – 1965 The Lovin’ Spoonful: A super sixties song that extols the difference between the summer days and the summer nights, days of sweaty hell and evening of cool summer delights. That’s all very well but, let’s be honest, last week the nights were as sweaty as the days and, in fact, there was at least one night when the barometer went UP at night not down. I know because I was in the fleshpots of the west end trying to keep my temperature down with cold white wine. Phew. What a scorcher!
- Sunny Afternoon – 1966 The Kinks. Ah yes. A fine piece of seemingly searingly self-satiriising summer fun from the pen of North London’s pop poet ray Davies and a UK number one single. In my mind when I first hear it, I had an image of him in a crappy deckchair in the slightly overgrown garden of a huge mansion, wearing a top hat, wondering what to do next and rather revelling in the fact that he isn’t actually doing anything. Mr Davies himself has said that he imagined himself as some aristocrat with an old family who had lost his money and the general consensus seems to be it was a bit of a mona about the high rates of tax wealthy pop stars and the like were paying to Mr Wilson and his government of the time. Either way, I love it and it makes me smile.
- Summer Nights 1977 – John Travolta, Olivia Newton John and The Cast of Grease: More on the theme of what happens when the sun goes down, this sweet ‘n’ sassy catchy toon is a favourite at hen nights and karaoke bars everywhere. The song is a conversation between Danny and his old mates and new kid in high school Sandy and her new friends and makes the most of the difference between how these boys and girls perceive (or brag about) their dates. Dany and Sandy met ove rthe summer and their versions of events make the current James Covery and Donald Trump differences look like an agreement. Danny makes the date sound like a sizzling sexual triumph for Mr leather-clad Quiff whereas Sandy makes it sound like a particularly anodyne episode of the Great British Bake Off only without the buns. It’s a top song though and my favourite part has to be Danny’s ‘ooohhh’ on the last line, where he he shows that deep down he has the soul of Charles Hawtrey .
- Cruel Summer – 1983 Bananarama: Another song that speaks of the oppressive heat that can build up in cities, hot pavements stuck to your Gucci leather sandals and tutti-frutti ice cream running down your hands threatening to ruin the new linen top. This is one of those gloomy songs that still makes you feel good, easy to sing which is handy for Bananarama, it cruises along like the Fresh prince in a benzo, nicle groove and that Oh-So-Eighties synth bassline it was top ten hit in the UK and was featured in the 1984 blockbuster The Karate Kid. …LOVE IT. And talking of Fresh Prince…
- Long Hot Summer – 1983 The Style Council. Another synth bass spectacular, you have to love this sultry song if only for the video featuring paul Weller in a stripy blazer and straw boater in a punt on the rive Cam. Another classic eighties song, that summer turned out to be very hot indeed, breaking hot summer records itself so Mr Weller and Bananarama must have had very good instincts. Much has been made of the alleged semi-homo-erotic content of the video but there is little Mr Weller does that isn’t well thought out and intellectually valid so he, or the director, would have had their reasons. It’s a nice lazy sound and just right for listening to while lying in your garden with a cold glass of something and letting the summer sky drift by.
- Summertime – 1991 Fresh Prince & Jazzy Jeff. Yeah. This seriously groovin’ (no g) Grammy award winning slice of Summer Pie from Will and his vinyl spinning, knob twiddling beatmaster is just the thing when it’s hot. Like iced tea it slides down easy and cool, and just sums up the sensation of cruising down some boulevard in Miami, LA or suchlike in an open topped car, well-dressed, looking good and, as the wonderful Kraftwerk once pout it “checking all, the men”. I have done this along the strip in LA and I can tell you, it’s great. It’s not quite as cool when you try it on Chiswick High Street, but it’s still worth having a go. This is one of my absolute favourite summer tracks.
- Happy – 2013 Pharell Williams. OK. I know it hasn’t got Summer or sun in the title, I know it was released in November 2013 BUT (and it’s a big but Kim) it absolutely screams SUMMER at the top of its voice, dancing around as it does so in shorts and tee-shirt and flip-flops. This song makes me want to go outside and dance in the street, it banishes any blues that might be hangiung around and tells them to go on holiday until at least December, it’s as light and bubbly as the very best prosecco and as intoxicating as a tall, chilled, long island iced tea (quick note – there is no tea in this, it only looks like tea, if you order it don’t make my mistake and assume it is an iced tea with a touch of alcohol. It isn’t it’s 90% alcohol with a splash of cola.)
And that’s it. Seven great songs and spot on for the summer. There are mire of course bhut it’s hot and I’m weary. Time to pop into the garden for a glass of something down I’d say. The lawn is looking fine now my friend Brody has had a bit of a clean up.
And hey, while I think about it. Don’t forget that MowDirect carry a huge range of everything you need to make your lawn look great. And if you need advice, just call our top product team on 0345 4588 905 (9am-5pm Mon-fri – 10am-4pm Sat)
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See ya. Holly