[16] The Jam, ‘That’s Entertainment’

The Jam

By now firmly settled in the pantheon of Britain’s great sub-/urban chroniclers – a line stretching from Ray Davies through Tilbrook, Le Bon, Ryder and Doherty (in his Arcadian dreams), right down to Lily Allen – Paul Weller was knocking out the sure-eyed classics with spittled ease. ‘That’s Entertainment’ makes you feel awfully jolly about your lot as you watch the telly and think about your holidays, as it pisses down with rain on a boring Wednesday, as you decide – Jesus – let’s get right out of Dodge. Controlled aggression slips its moorings and soon a ditty turns into an anthem.

Junior strums her imaginary acoustic, bearing a look of fierce Wellerian concentration. She tells me that she doesn’t like it, but that’s difficult to believe and soon she breaks into a smile: “I was only joking!” Just like our Paul? Some chance.

[4] Happy Mondays, ‘W.F.L. (The Vince Clarke Mix)’

Happy Mondays, WFL

Look at the video for this, the Vince Clarke mix. With his floppy hair, tatty hoody and pissholes-in-the-snow eyes, Shaun Ryder set a template for a generation of teenagers who wanted to achieve that blissed-out E’d-up look. Trouble was, we were buzzing off our nuts on a combination of Woodpecker cider and Fisherman’s Friends. We had breath that could cut dry ice, and our love for our fellow man bordered on the surly.

You had to get the correct hoodies too. Hanes had the best texture and weight, but they cost 20 quid and the cider was soaking up most of the cash. Top Man did some thin versions with self-consciously trippy patterns. These would ride up to make you look like a bellydancing Bez. Who’d defected to Candy Flip.

So we were never quite right, but the music was. Until this point, I’d always felt as if I was catching up, picking up on bands and movements as their time was passing. Whatever you want to call it – baggy, Madchester, indie dance – we were watching it unfold this time. Strands of house, techno, Balearic, acid, rock and pop mixed into a heady potion that could even make white schoolboys dance.

As a girl, Junior’s not afraid to dance, and this had her rocking. She threw in a maniacal cackle at the start. Maybe she’s seen pictures of that purple Aztec-design hooded top.

[3] Black Grape, ‘Reverend Black Grape’

Junior was agog as her dad performed the Bez dance with a finesse hitherto unexpected. The inflatable ring is the perfect vantage point for appreciating both music and performance. She slapped her hands on the sides and gave panda a quick spin to the rumbustious verses; they’ll be happy memories if she’s not scarred for life.

This record is more bananas yet more direct than anything the Happy Mondays released. Ideas fly all over the shop, Kermit declaims like an acid casualty possessed, the lyric is hilariously crazed. There is a message, mind you. Beyond the tangents and flights of fancy, there are irreverent barbs at the corruption of organised religion, with TV evangelists and the Vatican getting it in the neck. What happened to fat lady wrestlers, Shaun?

Unhinged ad libs, bellowed choruses and frantic harmonica see the song to a close. The head’s spinning; time to bring it down a notch.

Laura Nyro, ‘Wedding Bell Blues’/Kelis, ‘Milkshake’

I thought we could compare ’60s girl and ’00s girl, and I could have palpitations about how Junior was going to turn out. If you know Nyro’s song, it’s likely to be from a cover version. The Fifth Dimension, or something. A somewhat desperate lyric now I think about it, but the yearning for the wedding day is nicely old-fashioned. Kelis, of course, is dispensing with formalities.

‘Wedding Bell Blues’ swings by at skipping pace, and Junior can’t help but sing along. This involves a brief hum every couple of bars but it’s more than, say, Shaun Ryder can manage. For ‘Milkshake’, we’re occupied with dad’s patented Leg Seesaw. This is more of a challenge for the old man now that missy has passed six months and weighs in at over 17 and a half pounds. One should never disclose a lady’s statistics, naturally, but we’re proud of the little baby rice guzzler.

Kelis has never again hit the peaks of her first album, but this song is nagging enough to be impossible to ignore. I hadn’t heard any Laura Nyro records at all until a couple of years back. Always assumed that she was a bit Uncut/Mojo po-faced and dull. Taking the plunge, I found her records brimming with blue-eyed pop soul. Go get some.

Did Bill ever marry the girl in the song? It all sounds dashed uncertain, and I’m not sure he’s a chap you can hang your hat on. Come the 20s, I’m going to be the scourge of Bills everywhere.