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The Indie Top Ten Songs about Dads

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally supplies the narrative.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs about Dads

Fathers, eh? Where would we be without ‘em? Same place we’d be without mothers, to be fair. The Indie Top Ten Songs About Dads was launched on Fathers’ Day. For the grammar pedants amongst you, I’ve put that apostrophe there on purpose, to represent the day belonging to all fathers, even though I wished my own particular dad a happy father’s day, as the day I was expressing my hopes for referred to him.

I didn’t get my grammar specificity from him; much more likely it was from my English graduate mum. I did suggest to EIO40HQ that we do a Mothers’ Day Top Ten but of course being a man, by the time I got round to suggesting it the moment had gone. Maybe next year. A significant proportion of the EIO40 community appear to be men, but in case you’re reading this and you’re not a man then I promise to try to be less tardy next year.

Anyhow, with all of the above in mind it is only natural that proceedings should commence with Weddings Parties Anything’s song ‘Father’s Day’, as suggested by @chumpski


What makes a father? As anyone who has watched a soap opera for a few weeks will be able to testify, there will always be a difference between the biological and the sociological aspects of fatherhood. Sometimes both roles are carried out by the same person; sometimes they are not. Whichever, this Top Ten is dedicated to the male person in your life who has filled the role you have most desired them to fill. It may indeed also be dedicated to you; as Welsh indie heroes Gorkys Zygotic Mynci noted, ‘Sometimes The Father Is The Son’, which was @tfdefence nomination. This title in itself could quite easily be the seedy storyline to a soap opera. However, I’d like to think it refers to those members of our community who are, like me, both father and son.


My own father was born in Ince, near Wigan, and started his career as a tailor’s cutter. When he retired a few years ago his employment was as an embalmer. There was a quiet satisfaction that he had managed to maintain his sewing skills throughout his working life, even if the things he was sewing together changed a little in between times. This year was the first time in over twenty years I got to wish him a Happy Father’s Day in person. His own dad (and therefore my grandad of course) died climbing down a mountain in the Lake District at the ripe old age of 79 in the early 1990s. It seemed quite old then, less so nowadays.

Anyway, in tribute to my dad’s dad, and all the other dads my own dad helped to look their best once they’d passed into wherever it is they have passed to, here’s the suggestion made by @rs1334 ‘Daddy’s Gone To Heaven Now’ by The Mission.


In a tale I have often bored readers of my writings with, it was down to my dad that I ended up indie. I suppose I may well have ended up there anyway eventually, given my mum’s propensity for the alternative, but it was a chance encounter with The Mighty Lemon Drops on the radio in the car as I travelled home from a Bolton Wanderers match that drew me into the circle of friends and their musical tastes that was to shape my record-buying future.

At the time my dad’s car was a blue Vauxhall Cavalier. I was fifteen, and it was the first car we’d had since I was six when, to help afford the new house my parents had bought, he decided it would be more cost effective to get the train to work and sold our dark turquoise Hillman Avenger.

Luckily for me I didn’t grow up with The Divine Comedy. If I had, then their excellent song ‘Your Daddy’s Car’ – the one put forward for inclusion by @call_me_cynical – might have been about my daddy’s car which would mean it coming to a rather unsavoury end decorating a local Oak or Sycamore.


My own children can also rest assured that it wasn’t written about their father’s car either. I don’t own one; indeed, somewhat controversially, I have not only never owned one but have never even driven one anywhere ever. The closest I have come is revving the engine in the garage to keep the battery ticking over when my dad was laid low with an abscess once.

I have often been asked why this state of affairs has come to be. It is only recently that I realised perhaps the lyrics of Half Man Half Biscuit have been a subliminal influence: “Dad can I have another pear drop/Dad can I have another drink/Dad how deep d’you reckon that is/Dad are we nearly there yet?” is the breathless questioning of a child in the back of a motorway-travelling car in the song ‘M6ster’.

I cannot begin to imagine how distracting that must be for a father who is trying to avoid being squeezed between a horn-blaring petrol tanker on one side and a caravan of caravans on the other. Although ‘M6ster’ does not qualify for this Top Ten, HMHB’s later single ‘Look Dad No Tunes’ most certainly does, so thank you to @bringitonskippy for suggesting it.


Next up in our Top Ten is Pavement, with ‘Father To A Sister Of Thought’, which was the choice of @cjl_73. By way of an aside, this song will forever be the song that made me realise that the pedal steel guitar was not exclusively the remit of those willing to bring the musical world into disrepute. It also made me wonder how it could remotely be relevant to a narrative about my dad. I love my sister dearly, but I am sure she would be the first to agree that she is not one of life’s great thinkers.

She and I are very different; despite sharing the same parents, same family home and same small northern hometown for 20 years we have very different tastes in food, music, humour… we don’t even have the same accent, bizarrely. Then I realised maybe it is I who is the father to a sister of thought.

Nocashette Jr, about to head off into the world of Higher Education to study sociology, is the very same three year old who looked out of the train window as we approached a dank and drizzly Manchester and said unrehearsed “Dad, what does ‘grim’ mean?” (This philosophical outlook wasn’t a one-off. Later in her life, and still before teenage years, she handed me a slip of scrap paper as I worked on school reports amidst the general chaos a houseful of young children brings. “What does ‘exasperated’ mean?” it read. I’ve still got that scrap of paper, lest I ever forget…)


Those of us who have chosen to become fathers will of course be familiar with the trials and tribulations which accompany being a responsible adult. These are often counterbalanced by the simple pleasures that can be brought about by our offspring. Their first word (‘mama’), the emergence of their first tooth (detected upon the edge of an index finger) and of course the first steps. “Come To Daddy” will be the pleading request of the father trying desperately to impress the relatives who have dropped in to say hello.

The reality of course is that the child will make a beeline for mummy. It’s just one of those crosses we men must bear. Conveniently enough, ‘Come To Daddy’ is also the title of a song by Aphex Twin, brought to our attention by @preservation76.


 

The role of father is often attributed to the presence of authority. The ‘father’ in the Christian church is the ultimate authority for those who believe: there is to be no messing with him, although he is supposed to be quite big on forgiveness if you do transgress.

There is similarly no mucking about with Old Father Time, unless of course you are Marty McFly but even that doesn’t necessarily end well. ‘Time waits for no man’, is the rather gender-specific old saying, and those 1970s working men’s club comedians amongst the readership of this site can insert their own punchline. There is plenty of muck in London’s famous river though, colloquially known as ‘Old Father Thames’. I’m not sure why fathers are always old, but there you go.

Anyway, with the role of authority figure comes the necessity to command attention and respect, usually through a deep, booming vocal presence. ‘Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice’, suggests Morrissey in the song offered by @daznixon1989.

My children don’t make fun of my voice, I’m pleased to say. They do however mock my flat northern vowels. “Dad, say rarft” they implore in their southern accents. “RAFT”, I reply to smirks; the fatherly freakshow never fails to amuse.


I referred earlier to my dad’s dad, my grandad, who everyone knew as Billy. We did too, but not to his face. I remember his look of incredulity on seeing I had had my ear pierced whilst in my first year at University. It was still fashionable then, although I had to reassure him that just because I had a bit of metal in my lobe didn’t mean I was going to start throwing bricks through windows.

I did not confess, however, to an earlier life of crime which I am sure would have been an affront to his Methodist sensibilities (not that they ever stopped him enjoying a pint, mind). And whilst my answer to the question – posed in song by Dear Mr. President and nominated by @Clive_Stringer – “Hey Daddy Have You Ever Been Arrested?” would be an honest ‘No’, I still occasionally feel pangs of guilt for my part in the heist of a bag of plastic 5p pieces from the school maths cupboard, the entirety of which was used to fleece the village shop of the contents of its bubble gum machine. The owners sold up not long afterwards; I hope they didn’t go bankrupt.


On that bombshell, it is perhaps time to bring this Top Ten to a close. If I carry on writing who knows what other controversies and outrages might reveal themselves? I’m well aware that we all have skeletons in our closet but rest assured, at least I have never run through fields of wheat. Not knowingly, anyway. So, whether biological or emotional, living or dead, good or bad, there is no escaping we all owe our existence to a father, and what better way to bring proceedings to a close than this titular tribute suggested by @Axels96 and @clanofginger: here’s Stump with ‘Our Fathers’.


John Hartley

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed

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Listen out on Twitter for further Indie Top Ten themes. We need your help.

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Meet The Community – Doug Jack

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

In this edition – DOUG JACK

Doug Jack

It’s seems kind of obvious that Doug should be our inaugural subject, being very much an original member. We were just a fledgling Facebook group with a mere half a dozen members when Doug came crashing into our world. Up to that point we were sharing fairly formulaic indie tunes (Smiths, Madchester, Britpop, Shoegaze etc) and then suddenly Doug joined the group bringing with him his own very dark and heavy brand of indie.

His first post was Fugazi’s Waiting Room which was a perfect statement of intent for what was to follow regularly. It would be fair to say that everything that did follow was not likely to ever appear on a Shine compilation album. We’ve had the delights of Oxbow, Pissed Jeans, Ministry, Kildozer, and Godflesh. Doug’s posting of King Missile’s Detachable Penis is the stuff of EIO40 Facebook legend. As for Butthole Surfers. If it’s a Butthole related post, you can bet your bottom dollar Doug is the source.

So without further ado, let’s meet Doug Jack

1) Where did you grow up?
Scotland, Northwich and Rayleigh

2) What first got you into “indie” music?
Watching Top Of The Pops with my parents. Anything they objected to generally was good indicator. Seeing punk and New Wave and thinking “Wow!

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?
New Order “Blue Monday”

4) What was your favourite record shop(s)?
Golden Disc, Southend and Honest Johns, London

5) What music magazines did you read?
Melody Maker was my bible

6) What was your first “indie” gig?
Stump at a pub in Southend

7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?
Lots but probably the first time I saw Nirvana and was totally blown away. No one knew who they were and they were bottom of the bill at the Astoria supporting Mudhoney and Tad. It was also my first stage dive. I went on to see them quite a few times before Nevermind came out and ruined everything as everyone found out about them

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?
Nirvana Unplugged, Aphex Twin Ambient Works and R.E.M. Automatic For The People

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?
John Peel, who I did meet very briefly once. He was a massive influence and I listened to him obsessively. If we have to go with living, it would have to be Bjork as she is just so eccentric

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?
That’s a tough tough tough question. Guess The Butthole Surfers and Human Cannonball. I always loved their unique chaos and random approach to life. It has elements of Zappa, Beefheart, Sabbath and punk, It’s devious, it’s weird but it’s about enjoying music and not taking yourself seriously. Would of been this or Frank Sidebottom

A huge thank you to Doug for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into the indie-ness of Doug.

You could be next.

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