Tuesday, July 18, 2006

When You're Young

Yes, yes, I know, you're all dying to hear about this past weekend's Vancouver Folk Music Festival. You'll get your sordid tales of mung beans and macramé, I assure you. Just not today.

The latest Contrast Podcast is now out and I urge you ALL to download it here or subscribe to the RSS feed here this week's theme of "When I Was 16 I Liked..." means it's chock full of raging hormones, delicious fashion disasters, teen angst, and snotty attitude. I also encourage all of you who've toyed with the idea of contributing to the podcast to STOP MUCKING AROUND AND JUST DO IT!!


That was rude.

You see, it's really easy. Just pick a song in keeping with the next podcast's theme, record a short spoken intro and send it along to the nice man wot curates Contrast. It doesn't need to be polished, it doesn't need to be witty, it just needs to be you.

Yes you.

We love you just the way you are.

And we want to hear you.

Next week's theme is simply "who," so get thinking. Tim (the nice man) is giving preference this week to those folk (Aaargh! Granola! Mung beans! Helicopter dancing!! Sorry, flashback.) who've not contributed before. Et je sais qu'il parle francais, alors c'est pas exclusivement pour les rosbifs et les amerloks, hein??

Anyway, my Contrast offering this week is 'Thick As Thieves' by The Jam. That bloody fantastic band provided the soundtrack to my teen years, and every song evokes a memory. The fab songs call forth burningly intense friendships and incandescant ideals. The few crap songs summon excruciating awkwardness and promise unfulfilled. From the angry, modpunk rants of the early albums to the darker, more introspective, almost post-punk middle albums to the Stax & soul influences on their final outings, it's all magical stuff to me.

Truth be told, for the past few years The Jam had been more or less packed away in an old suitcase somewhere in my subconscious. But of late serendipity has been prodding at the latch; an old cassette copy of 'Sound Affects' resurfaces and finds its way into the car stereo, Jam albums appear in the second-hand CD section at Zulu, the lovely Colleen Crumbcake posts an amazing pic of the young Paul Weller in full flow. And finally, Dear Friends, the case has sprung open and Messrs Weller, Foxton, & Buckler have popped out into my conscious, all sharp suits, white shoes, and scissor kicks.

So I give you tonight a selection of the finest Jam, taken from across their catalogue. The tunes on offer are those that I remember blasting out of my boom box on hot summer nights all those years ago.

The Jam - In The City
The Jam - All Around The World
The Jam - A-Bomb In Wardour Street
The Jam - When You're Young (This one's for Rachel. Happy Birthday, my dear!!)
The Jam - Saturday's Kids
The Jam - Boy About Town
The Jam - Precious
The Jam - Beat Surrender

If you're out shopping, the studio albums are In The City, This is The Modern World, All Mod Cons, Setting Sons, Sound Affects, and The Gift. The Direction Reaction Creation box set is a definitive, if pricey, "Best Of." But if you're looking for a quick intro with the key singles (many of which were standalone or on EPs, not the album), The Very Best Of The Jam is very good indeed.

Extra special treat: The Jam doing 'In The City' live at the Manchester Electric Circus, 1977