Saturday, 4 August 2007

There's nothing like an English summer

And like a long-lost friend who suddenly texts out of the blue, a giant golden orb thing called 'the sun' appears in a cloudless sky to remind everyone in England that it is, in fact, August, and summer! Hurrah! And, more predictably, out come the noisy neighbours. How come warring couples choose to argue at the tops of their voices and a flat full of been-up-all-night-on-pills choose to make their presence felt and heard. In our neighbourhood we've even got an R&B star wannabe: it's a girl who fills her weekend days with renditions of Rihanna, Beyonce and old skool Motown. She's actually amazing, and I feel quite lucky to catch her snatches of vocal gymnastics now and again. But the open window syndrome means summer in a big old city like London is never peaceful. In some ways this is how it should be, but in other ways, having to put headphones on to drown out the summer noise is the necessity that goes against the grain.

And so I segue into the summer tune. Like Christmas, (doesn't that word sound so foul in the middle of a heatwave), the songs of the holiday season become timeless classics. Actual summer tracks referencing the season are great examples, Banarama's Cruel Summer despite the doom laden lyrics, is the perfect accompaniment to cracking pavestones and The Lotus Eaters' First Picture of You ("the first picture of summer") is a joyous, bright and breezy affair which always pleases (even with that very 80s winsome line: "Seeing the flowers scream their joy"). But it's the songs which are hits in the summer, or have a summery vibe that are the surprising classics. Spandau Ballet's Gold will always remind me of a summer spent in a Scottish highlands cottage surrounded by golden cornfields and I.O.U. by Freeez summons up images of hot balmy city nights in Newcastle with girls tottering down cobbled streets in white court shoes singing "A.E.I.O.U." waving a bottle Babycham.

So why am I sat indoors then? Dur!

Anyhoo, this summer, there are two tracks playing on my iTunes which are hitting exactly the right tone in this red hot summer sun. And, funnily enough, they hail from the Sunshine State. First up is Goldspot, an LA-based band who sound very English...

Friday - Goldspot (mp3 Download)

And the very "Weird Al" Yankovic-sounding cyber phenomenom Kennedy with a gorgeous slow disco track about getting off with 'your mama'. *quietly throws up in the corner*
Your Mama - Kennedy (mp3 Download)

I.O.U. - Freeez (mp3 Download)

The First Picture of You (Extended Mix) - The Lotus Eaters (mp3 Download)

Gold (Extended Mix) - Spandau Ballet (mp3 Download)

Cruel Summer - Bananarama (mp3 Download)

And this is the ultimate English summer song for me. Forget the Dorset cottages and clotted cream. This is summer, UK inner-city stylee. The first Eurythmics album, In the Garden, was nothing like the Sweet Dreams electro or US stadium rock of later years. And this track epitomises their sound at the time: contemporary for 1981 (!!!) especially during the middle eight where the wildtrack of a summer London street kicks in...

English Summer - Eurythmics (mp3 Download)


DanProject76 said...

Thankyou very much for the musical flashbacks.

God I feel old now. But I like it.

Tricky said...

I echo Dan (and his project).

Cruel Summer is my favourite though. That's summer in the city for me. It makes me yearn to wear dungarees.

Phil said...

Dan, it's a pleasure, and Tricky, no one except Bananarama looks good in dungarees. ;)

xolondon said...

I love that Spandau song! Am downloading the ones I don't know now.

That was cruel to a desperate Anglophile. A summer in cottage in Scotland?! le sigh.