New from Xenomania – Florrie

It’s no secret that I like a girl in a band. I like it even more if they’re the only girl, and even, even, even more if they’re the drummer. Although role of favourite girl drummer in the world falls to Cherisse Osei, there’s a new challenger in the form of Florrie.

Florrie is a songwriter and part of JFK, the in-house band over at Xenomania towers. I saw her perform as the backing band to all the artists at the brilliant Xenofest showcase the production ‘outfit’ held over the summer but now she’s just released her first piece of music via youtube. Complete with a trademark Xenomania style rap and the gorgeous swooshing club beats of a Fred Falke remix, it reveals her to be perhaps an unexpected new pop starlet for this year. That’s if they don’t insist she hands it over to Mini Viva to release instead.

Prepare to make this dreary Wednesday morning feel like Friday night.

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p.s. what the hell has happened to Jessie Malakouti, please Xenomania?

Worried About The Boy

Ever since meeting Simon Hobart, getting involved with Ghetto and hearing his stories of the club scene of the 80s, I’ve had fascination with the decade. Ashes to Ashes helped bring that along even further and I’ve loved delving back in time and so far merely scraping the surface of all the brilliant electro pop that came out of that era. I always say that if I had a time machine I’d love to go back to 1980s London and see what it was like. I was here a hell of a lot, but as a child who didn’t really see much.

It’s very exciting to read then about the BBC’s 80s season which is the already made part of the now dropped Decades TV season the corp were planning. The first programme to be announced is 90 minute drama Worried About The Boy which revolves around the life of Boy George. He’ll be played by Douglas Booth who’s only really known at the moment for being the male face of Burbury. Joining him are Mark Gatiss as Malcolm McClaren, Marc Warren as Steve Strange, and Matthew Horne as Jon Moss. I’m a bit face scowly at the idea of Matthew Horne, but we shall see. Excitingly as Worrapolava noticed, it’s being made by Red Productions who are most famous for making Queer As Folk. The Blitz club will be central to the plot and who knows, maybe even Simon’s Kitkat club might get a mention. Boy George is a figure who has his own little role in my life who as a friend of my dad once showed up to my fifth birthday party and gave me a red soap in the shape of a heart. This was in 1987, hopefully it’ll play a central part in the programme.

Scream S for Streisand

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Sometimes you hear a song and you’re not entirely sure what it is. You’re aware it’s a classic and asking would make you look a bit daft. Shazam has gone some way to solve these issues and I have an almightily brilliant Spotify playlist that I keep up to date with everything I’ve shazam’d in the last year. It’s mainly populated by soul and jazz from many a Saturday night spent holding my phone up in the Dalston Jazz Bar.

I don’t actually care though, hence showing you that list. Yes I didn’t know for a fact what Bob Dylan ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ was. Big deal. We all have different music specialities and learning about new stuff (even if it’s old) is brilliant. That’s part of the reason Absolute Radio is a preset on my car radio. I like listening to the station because it’ll play me some classic songs I’ve never heard before. It’s as much education as it is entertainment.

This is all a big preamble to me horrifying Jack by admitting to not really knowing what Jacques Brel – Ne Me Quitte Pas was before Christmas. As the Dusty greatest hits album is my standard ‘BOYS SUCK. I NEED TO WALLOW’ album, I must have heard Dusty’s version a billion times but never quite clocked it. The reason I’ve gone back and found Jacques though is because Barbra Streisand has covered the song on her latest album ‘Love Is The Answer’. Apart from the fact that it makes you want to tear your heart straight out of your chest I think I’m particularly into this song because of all the quiet then LOUD (probably a good technical term for this somewhere) bits.

Once upon I time I didn’t know much about Barbra. In fact I was once asked ‘Name three Barbra Streisand songs’ as the first question in a job interview last year. Way to throw me off. After this Christmas though I feel like I could go on Mastermind with her as my specialist subject. After Christmas I drove back down from the North to London and challenged myself to listen to Radio 2 all day. I would have listened most of the day anyway but for once I wanted to avoid me being flick happy when I don’t like a song. It was a very strange day on air. Cilla & Tony Blackburn presented the Great British Songbook and Dave Pearce brought Dance Anthems to the station. In between those two came an extremely intense interview with Babs presented by chart god Paul Gambaccinni that lasted for 2 hours and incorporated performances from her recent intimate show at New York’s ‘Village Vanguard’. I heard about 28 Streisand songs in a row and learnt everything from her relationship with the Academy to the lack of love in her life. Did you know that she’s never sung ‘Woman in Love’ live because she couldn’t relate to the lyrics? Did you know that she once went to see Jacques Brel in concert in France and he didn’t sing ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ even though he knew she was there? She even went backstage and begged. Now you do.

Anyway here is her version albeit a roping recording. Just buy it. Amazatronica. There are so many versions of this song out there though – which one is your favourite? I’d advise skipping the Belinda Carlise one.