Years ago, our old Ford Fiesta swallowed an ancient Billy Connolly tape; a mixture of his greatest stand-up ‘hits’ (The Crucifixion, The Jobby Wheecher, When The Circus Came To Glasgow….. all the really brilliant stuff) and a handful of songs, one or two serious, the others daft and sweary. It was a great tape and from the day it became jammed in the car, it became jammed in our heads. On any journey, we could recite the entire compilation, over and over and over again, word by word, welly by welly and willie by fucking willie.
It soundtracked many a memorable trip to Ikea – unbelievably, perhaps, the one near Newcastle as there wasn’t one in Scotland at that time. All that way and back again for a pine coffee table and a hi-fi unit, soundtracked by Billy Connolly and our increasingly adept impressions of him. The coffee table didn’t survive the big flit a dozen or so years ago, but the hi-fi unit has been, to use the parlance of the day, upcycled with a coat of hip to drip Annie Sloan chalk paint and still does the job to this day. I’m looking at it right now as the unit inside it plays Weatherall’s incendiary mix of My Bloody Valentine’s Soon at a volume too loud for this time of night. It’s part of a Creation playlist I’m putting together for the weekend, but more of that perhaps next week.
One of the dafter tracks on the Connolly compilation was entitled ‘Bastard Fly’. It consisted of Billy plucking his banjo on a creaky porch in some imagined mid-west state or other while an annoying fly buzzed around him. There was no visual to go along with it, but that was the premise. It went something like this;
At this point a string breaks on the banjo. There’s a slap. Brief silence. Another creak. Then Connolly’s voice, relaxed yet full of whispered menace.
(fade to end.)
And that was it. Not one of his better-known moments. Almost surrealism, in fact. But it made me laugh every time. I’m not so sure my co-pilot felt the same way, but she laughed at me laughing in the way you do when you’re young and carefree and the owners of a honkin’ coffee table. It’s a shame that tape left us when the car did. I can’t find an mp3 of it anywhere.
Another ‘Bastard Fly’ track is surely Hot Chip‘s Over And Over.
It’s a fantastic track, nervy and twitchy and running on paranoid rhythms, goosestepping techno off-set by fuzz guitar and fuzzier analogue synths. The vocals are disciplined and repetitive – “over and over and over and over“, even offering a clipped, robotic spelling lesson in the refrain.
That annoying wee electro wobble that comes in on the back of the tinkling music box percussion and clip clopping Talking Heads polyrhythms that introduces the song and flits between the notes like a hopped-up dragonfly in mid summer though – it’s the return of Billy Connolly’s Bastard Fly, remodelled for modern times. Listen up!
Hot Chip – Over And Over
It’s the kinda track that New Order should’ve been making in the mid 00s instead of falling out and in and releasing substandard fare that does nothing but dilute an imperial back catalogue. It’s the equal of the best parts of LCD Soundsystem and Underworld, techno for folk who don’t realise they’d like techno. For me, it’s Hot Chip’s defining moment. Watch this video clip over and over and over and over…