The Snow In The Summer or So-So

06/19/2006 - 06/25/2006

Mon 19 Jun 2006

Two Songs a Week, number 5

Born in Savannah in 1909, Johnny Mercer moved to New Amsterdam at the age of 19, and worked as singer and lyricist for Paul Whiteman's band. Quickly abandoning his singing career, Mercer concentrated on the attraction of a good lyric, regardless of whether it advanced the plot of a stage show. At the time, the theatre fashion was to have songs advancing the plot, so Mercer moved over to Holly Wood in 1935.

Mercer worked with many leading popular songwriters, including Hoagy Carmichael, Henry Mancini, Jerome Kern, and Jimmy van Heusen; his most productive work was with Harold Arlen. He also co-founded Capitol Records in 1942, But his roots in the deep south came through Mercer's work, from the use of "Huckleberry" in the lyrics to Moon river, to the entire feel of songs inspired by trains.

I'm going to eschew the two most obvious of Mercer's works. Maudlin drinking song One for my baby (and one more for the road), a product of his work with Arlen, has been covered by such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Gretchen Peters. And the aforementioned Moon river, music by Mancini, has been covered by everyone from Andy Williams to Morrissey to Kathy Hepburn, whoever she was.

To-day's song is dedicated to all those people from the UK who are travelling westwards at this time. Particular apologies to Säde; though we can correct the title easily enough, changing the lyric of the song might be more difficult. Anyway, the song is

Here Come the British. Lyrics, Johnny Mercer; music, Bernie Hanighen; performance, Mora's Modern Rhythmists.

On Thursday, a song that just oozes the optimism of the post-war years.

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posted 19 Jun 2006, 19.29 +0100

Two Songs a Week
Do something useful

One bright light in an otherwise gloomy assessment of the Millennium Development Goals: micro-credit is flourishing. "Banks make large, well-secured loans. Microlenders advance small amounts (as little as a fiver) with no collateral required. Banks demand lots of paperwork. Microlenders accommodate illiterate borrowers. Banks prefer male clients. Microlenders target their services at women. Banks expect borrowers to come to them. Microlenders go out to villages."

For a few years, this site has been proud to support one micro-credit organiser, Opportunity International. If you're minded to give, that is a good place.

From to-day's Indescribablyrubbish media section: "I" is the fourth of six letters spelling Magic.

Crime Is Falling, says Roy Hattersley. "The populist approach to crime and punishment, far from resulting in a more law-abiding society, only makes things worse. Britain needs a politician with the courage to tell the country to calm down. Otherwise the ghastly competition in who can be toughest on crime and the causes of crime will continue, with profound damage to the fabric of civilised society."

Almost as profound a shock as this headline: Home Office Minister Admits Mistake, Apologises.

More shocking refereeing in the France - Korea (South) match yesterday evening. A perfectly good goal was disallowed because the ref didn't see the ball had crossed the line. 1:1 is grossly unfair to France, and the referees need to be taken off and replaced by some old men in white sticks. Too many matches at the self-proclaimed showpiece event are being ruined by inconsistent or just plain incorrect interpretations of the rules. Switzerland beat Togo 2:0, and Ukraine breezed past Saudi Arabia (the best argument for awarding Europe an extra place next time) 4:0.

Finally, The ISO standard cup of tea.

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posted 19 Jun 2006, 20.30 +0100


Tue 20 Jun 2006

I'm talking - are they listening?

Our policy is not being led by the media, claims Alan Johnson, who (apparently) is the current education secretary. Mr Johnson was reacting to the claim by Terry Grange, the CEO of Dyfed-Powys police, who has pointed out that interior minister John Reid is slavishly following the agenda of the News of the Screws sleazepaper, by announcing that sex offenders will not be housed in hostels within a mile of a school. This will have very little actual effect on the incidence of sex offences against children, but a great deal of effect on letting Rupert Murdoch think he can still dictate Labour policy. But wait - when did John Reid, the government's resident attack dog, need other people to fight his battles for him? Particularly a non-entity like the current education secretary, whoever that is.

But this brings us to the chipmonk's latest cheek-filler, entitled Let's talk - crime and civil liberties. Here are model answers to the four questions posed.

Question 1 - Do you feel the law is on your side? No, the law is being dictated by the selfish interests of powerful people, who wish to protect their position of power for the forseeable future. It creates distractions from the real injustices in society. The government fails to address the fundamental cause of crime, the imbalance between the haves and the haves-not; instead, it continues the Calvanist / capitalist myth to the detriment of us all.

On a more mundane level, there are many, many questions left hanging by the actions and inactions of the security service, the police, and others in last July's events. How was it possible for the intelligence branches to miss such a plot? Why was there such a breakdown in communications surrounding Sr de Menezes? Indeed, who authorised the police to use lethal force in this or any other case? Why does the government persist in its claims that there was a viable plot involving sarin when the claim was proven false in a court of law last year? A full, wide-ranging, and public enquiry is needed to restore faith in the police.

Question 2 - Does the criminal justice system provide the correct balance between the protection of civil liberties and the rights of the victims of crime? Enshrining the European Convention on Human Rights was a symbolic act, but it was a powerful symbol to send. Nothing new was granted, but it felt like human rights were real, they could be enforced in a domestic court. Now, we find that the government is prepared to abrogate its treaty responsibilities, restricting people's movements on the say-so of whoever happens to be home secretary this week. Speeches by senior politicians treat the ECHR as a negotiable document. It's not; it's a bare minimum standard that the UK is failing to meet. The implicit dichotomy is a false one: there is no balance to be struck between basic human rights and those of victims of crime.

On the greater question of civil liberties, it's clear that Labour has set its mind on removing as many rights as it can - the right to protest in London, the right to travel without let or hindrance from the government, the right to a speedy and fair trial by one's peers. This would be bad enough on its own, but Labour has done nothing to increase the self-esteem of those who fall victim to crime. The sensible approach is to review the myriad of criminal justice legislations passed in the last nine years, and find out what is actually working, and what is making the position worse.

Question 3 - Do the police, courts, probation service and prison service work in favour of the decent law-abiding majority? I note that the chipmonk is not asking if the security services (MI5, MI6) work in favour of the decent citizen; these organisations need to be held accountable to the public they claim to serve.

The original question boils down to: does the justice system work? To which the correct response is: what is the aim of the justice system? If it's to discourage the incidence of crime, then it does appear to be having some effect. If the aim is to make the populace feel safer, then the current storm in a teacup proves that it is failing, and failing badly. If the aim is to prevent crime occurring in the first place, then the justice system must be considered with education, social security, health, every other aspect of the government's work.

The scientific way to test if the justice system works would be to run a double-blind experiment upon it. I'm not aware that this has ever been tried in Britain, or that such an experiment is possible. There's no reason to ignore evidence-based research, and I'll call into the argument a talk by Don Weatherburn on just this subject.

Question 4 - What changes do you think should be made to the criminal justice system to better protect the public? Rather pre-supposing an answer to question 3, there, aren't we...

The public enquiry I mentioned in question one. Research into why juries take the decisions they make, an area that's been completely neglected in the past. Research into what policies actually work, what doesn't work, the confidence to turn this evidence into action, and to stick with the repercussions when the press tries to use emotive prejudice. Evidence must beat prejudice. Clarification of the actual aims of the justice system would help - there's nothing wrong with having "making people feel safer" as an objective, and stating it clearly would concentrate efforts.

Ultimately, though, changing the justice system is only addressing the symptoms, not the disease. Crime isn't an end in itself, it's indicative of a fundamental problem in society. By reducing inequality, by ensuring opportunity for all, crime will become less attractive.

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posted 20 Jun 2006, 19.03 +0100

News of the day

The main sports news is the victory of the Hartford Whalers in the NHL championships. Being from the deep south, they're not eligible to win the Lord Stanley-Cup trophy, but beat the Cup winning Edmonton Oilers 3:1 in a series that went to all seven games. Hartford will now receive an open invitation to play European champions Dynamo Moscow; if previous experience is any guide, the Yankees will chicken out of this chance to decide the greatest ice hockey team on the face of the planet. Let us award the city of Moscow a further Fifty Credits, and Dani Behr a further Fifty Millimetres On Her Dress. (Ah, Ice Warriors jokes, a mere eight-and-a-half years late.)

The BAA championship match, between the Dallas Fort Worthys and the Miami Blowaways has descended into farce, after the governing body decided to suspend some Worthys for no adequately explored reason.

Football, and one of the week-end papers ran a stats piece on the difference between "being fit to play" and "being match-fit". Apparently, the best performance (significant at 5%, though barely) comes in a player's first match back, and they revert to their mean after about five games.

As for why everyone's being so negative about Mr Crouch and Mr Robinson, it's because they're threats to the established order of Mr Potatohead and Mr Owen Owen. The football world is a Trotskyist hotbed of permanent revolution; the tabloid press is reactionally conservative and wants the main players to be preserved in aspic. Witness their perpetual harking back to glory days of two generations ago, or the implicit expectation that the England side has a divine right to an appearance in the final two, even though neutral observers agree that they should not progress beyond the final eight.

On the field, we were rather cheering for a 2:2 draw between Spain and Tunisia last night, as that would have caused Motty many headaches. Instead, Spain won 3:1. In to-day's matches, Germany dominated Ecuador 3:0 to top Group A For Orses, with Poland beating Costa Rica 2:1 in the other match.

Fans in Birmingham will find that their big screen has blown over in to-day's light winds and slight drizzle. Fans hoping to see the game on a television are asked to bring their own.


Italian magistrates have laid charges against a FARCE occupying soldier in Iraq over the death last year of an Italian. It's believed to be the first time that a national of country A has been charged in country B for an action committed in country C, and raises all sorts of legal uncertainties.

Meanwhile, life in occupied country C remains bleak. Here's the report from country A's envoy there.

Deposed Liberian leader Charles Taylor arrives in Den Haag for his trial on a number of war crimes charges.

The broadcasters are pre-occupied with the news that Top of the Pops will come off air at the end of next month. The move to Friday nights in 1996 was the death-knell for the format, let's be honest. The Beeb now needs to find a decent vehicle for popular music, the courage to book acts on their quality not whether they've got anything to promote, and the wit to schedule it in prime-time. Let the people behind Record of the Day put together a 25-minute show, and see what happens.

No, the main television news to-day is that ITV will stop making its own children's programming. Does the leading commercial broadcaster have no shame? Does it take its public service responsibilities seriously? Is the Pope going for tea at Ian Paisley's?

This comes a short while after we hear that the 18th series of Byker Grove is to be the last. Mixed feelings about this: Byker was always a bit too close to the longer-established Grange Hill to be compelling viewing, and the use of lots of real children (as opposed to stage-school mini-luvvies) did ensure the acting quality was a bit ropey from time to time. But the programme showed that life didn't revolve entirely around London, and was decent enough drama.

If it were to be replaced by something else with a clear northern (including Scottish) bias, I'd be fine. But the Beeb says that the replacement is going to be aimed at children under about 10. This age group already gets an awful lot of output, compared with very little drama aimed at the mid-teens. Furthermore, the BBC doesn't have (or there's no evidence of it having) any programming strategy - coherent or otherwise - for the 13-18 age group. Byker was a useful plank for the children who have outgrown Blue Peter and didn't like the younger GH.

More from the bad design department - both Birmingham Neustraßebahnhof and the subways at Centre Point in London have been included on CABE's list of the worst designs in the UK.

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posted 20 Jun 2006, 19.52 +0100


Wed 21 Jun 2006

Insanity is doing the same thing twice, expecting different results

In which former Livejournal insider Mark Kraft spills the beans on Brad Fitzpatrick's treachery. Back in the days of the dotcom boom, Mr Fitzpatrick created an online polling site, and sold it out to a bunch of dotcom shysters who defaulted on payments, causing the service to let it run down (spot the lack of difference from two years before) before pulling the plug in late 2003. Says Mr Kraft,

It makes you wonder whether LiveJournal's fate will really be all that different from that of Brad's other baby, FreeVote... and whether things like permanent accounts are really all that permanent, despite the best intentions of the many people who did their best to help make LiveJournal a success, while keeping the faith with the users.

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posted 21 Jun 2006, 18.18 +0100

Six Apart Is Useless
State of failure

It is, of course, a fact that the collective nation proposed by our North American Colonies is a failed state. The individual provinces are generally working, roughly in proportion to their proximity to Lake Erie, but the attempt to pool sovereignty is a blatant failure. Noam Chomsky has reached similar conclusions in his book Failed State. The Observer, the Sunday wing of Het Grauniad, and no friend of Mr Chomsky, has slammed his work. Correspondents to the ObsBlog have filled a very, very long page with their comments. A more sober (and briefer) meta-review comes from the unlikely place of Lenin's Tomb, short enough to read in less than a day.

Speaking of failed states, Simon Jenkins has something to say on how Catalonia could provide a blueprint for British devolution. Alice Thompson's proposal - to end the Barnett formula by which England bribes Scotland to remain in the union - has a clear logic, but it's only a baby step down the path to true democracy. Seperate UK and English parliaments would be better; seperate parliaments for the true regions of England would be even better.

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posted 21 Jun 2006, 19.39 +0100


Thu 22 Jun 2006

Two Songs a Week, Number 6

Back to 1944 for to-day's song, written for the oft-forgotten Judy Garland / Angela Lansbury motion picture The Harvey Girls, which told of the westward expansion of Fred Harvey's on-train restaurants. The thrusting young businessmen are held in check by their proper young waitresses. It's very much a period piece, selling to an audience that was tired of war and wanting to regain the carefree days before the conflict; the song oozes optimism, a can-do attitude, and everything that the southern provinces in general (and Carolina in particular) held dear.

There are recordings by the film cast led by Judy Garland; by Johnny Mercer; by Bing Crosby; and more modern versions by the likes of Harry Connick-junior. Perhaps the best-known instrumental performance is by Tomcat in The Cat Concerto. The version I've picked, more from convenience than anything else, is a 1945 cover by the Andrews Sisters.

On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe; music, Harry Warren; lyrics, Johnny Mercer; performance, Andrews Sisters and Bill Elliott.

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posted 22 Jun 2006, 18.34 +0100

Two Songs a Week

World cup update: Portugal was unconvincing in their 2:1 victory over Mexico, and Iran were worthy of a point against Angola. Portugal progress to the second phase with three wins, but surely won't get past their opposition.

Argentina and the Netherlands had a frustrating goal-less bore draw, with both sides just going through the motions. The Argies get a chance to knock six bells out of Mexico on Saturday, the Dutch should breeze past Portugal the following night.

With the promised classic not materialising, I jumped ship just before half-time to the Cote d'Ivorie - Serbia and Montenegro match, which was stunningly good entertainment in the way that a match played for pride alone can be. CIV had trouble defending, but pressed home their man-advantage and secured two penalties en route to their well-deserved victory. The match finished with another period of possession football, with CIV stringing together twenty-odd passes before shooting just wide. Code d'Ivorie seems to have been the Alistair Griffin of this tournament - any other group would have seen them through to the last 16.

The Mexican ref had a shocker, and deserves to be going home even before his country's side. It's a sad end for Yugoslavia; this was the last ever match for Serbia and Montenegro, which inherited the achievements of Yugoslavia after that country disintegrated in the 90s. The Euro 08 entry will be for Serbia alone; Macedonia will make her debut for the 2010 cup.

Thursday's matches are Czechia - Italy and Ghana - FARCE; we were looking for wins for Ghana and Czechia, so that Italy go home and the Ghanaians top the group and hence avoid Brazil. Instead, Italy beat the Czech, Ghana bettered the Yanks, and will now meet Brazil. Again, the Ghana match was ruined by pernickety refs.

To-night, Australia - Croatia and Brazil - Japan. Someone will care to explain why the more interesting matches are stuck away on digital channels.

On a side-bar, two cheers to the Division I organisers, who have paired off Liverpool and Newcastle for the 23 August fixture. Liverpool will certainly be involved in Euro-League action, and Newcastle hope to join others in the UEFA Cup. Arsenal's involvement means that Wigan get to sit the mid-week fixture out. The League Cup draw pits future European champions Accrington Stanley against former winners Nottingham Forestnil; Cheltenham against Bristol City, and Birmingham versus Shrewsbury also look tasty.

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posted 22 Jun 2006, 19.39 +0100


Sat 24 Jun 2006

In Town To-night

So, into the city centre. A few thoughts:

The Committee for the Promotion of Public Transport and Prevention of Car Use has painted green lines on the platforms, to indicate where the train will stop. Most trains on the cross-city line are three coaches long, but some are double that length, and knowing where to stand is useful.

Having the on-board radio-with-pictures proceed in vision only is fab.

There's a display about Brum's twin city, Chicago, in the centre. Wonder if the people of Chicago get a corresponding exhibition about us.

Upcoming will be reviews of The Sportsman and the New Spectator.

Too early for the summer sales, too late for the May sales. That makes it ... Pirate season! Some buxom wenches and cutlass-handed scallies were roaming the town, complete with obligatory West Country accents. When did all pirates come from Devon; surely there must have been the odd one or two who roamed the high seas speaking in a thick Welsh accent... Anyway, these pirates were clearly imposters, as they wanted to hand out leaflets so that they could attract people to their show and fleece them there. As anyone knows, pirates is only interested in one thing. A training day.

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posted 24 Jun 2006, 12.55 +0100

Our results said:

Ten thousand clichés ago, we gave some guesses about who would progress from the world football cup of soccer. How'd's'do?

Group A of Horses: Germany, Costa Rica, Poland, Ecuador

We said: Germany, Costa Rica. Actually: Germany, Ecuador. The South Americans gained a lot of confidence by beating Poland in their opener, and Costa Rica lost theirs by losing the opening match, which was also the best of the group.

Group B of Unwatchable: England, Sweden, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago

We said: Sweden, England. Actually: England, Sweden. Best match? This was not a good group.

Group C of Good: Netherlands, Argentina, Cote d'Ivoire, Serbia and/or Montenegro

We said: Netherlands, Cote d'Ivoire. Actually: Argentina, Netherlands. I'm convinced that Argentina are not as good as they looked against SeM; those who are bigging up their 23-pass goal haven't seen the 28-pass movement from CIV, spoiled only by poor finishing. The best match was that nominally-dead rubber between Cote d'Ivoire and SeM.

Group D of Piss Easy For Portugal (But Remember Last Time): Mexico, Portugal, Iran, Angola

We said: Mexico, Iran. Actually: Portugal, Mexico. Well, it makes the path to the quarters easier for the Dutch.

Group E of Death: Czechia, Italy, United States, Ghana

We said: Czechia, FARCE. Actually: Italy, Ghana. At least we got the Match To Watch (Czechia - Italy) right.

Group F of Blimey That's Good: Brazil, Japan, Croatia, Australia

We said: Brazil, Croatia. Actually: Brazil, Austraila. In our defence, we did say that it would be tight, and that Cro-Aus would be a classic, and it was end-to-end comedy thanks to the clown in the middle.

Group G of Gary Lineker: France, Korea (S), Switzerland, Togo

We said: Bring a pillow. Actually: Switzerland, France. Unconvincing stuff from all teams.

Group H of Interesting: Spain, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine

We said: Spain, Tunisia. Actually: Spain, Ukraine. The last round of matches was duller than Group G.

That's that. Australia for the final looks a decent bet.

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posted 24 Jun 2006, 13.04 +0100


Sun 25 Jun 2006

Top 8

1, Gay musicians. 2, France. 3, Tourist traps. 4, David Millibrand. 5, Stirring up trouble. 6, Brig bother. 7, World cup. 8, Upcoming politics. Begin!

1. Metafilter discusses gay musicians. If you're a recent convert to a religion that deliberately misinterprets historic documents to fit some mortal's agenda, this is the part of your music collection you'll want to toss.

2. In a desperate attempt to distract attention from his insult to the opposition parties, the French PM has launched ... a plea for school uniforms. Yes, the entire socio-economic problems of the society will be banished if youngsters would just wear the same clothes. Teachers and parents are generally against the move, pointing out that there's no causal effect between identikit kiddies and a winning football team, and besides, it's a bit of an English idea.

3. Het Grauniad lists some places best avoided. Stonehenge, the London Eye (try the Monument instead), Modern Tat, the Eden Project, Edinburgh Castle, and Madam Tussaud's. All ones to steer well clear of, say the writers.

4. A poor and disorganised ramble from David Milliband tries to twist logic into places it just won't go. According to the minister for ruining the countryside, Conservative leader David Cameron wants to withdraw from the right-wing group in the European parliament. (This is debatable.) Such a move shows hostility to Europe. (Another unfounded assumption.) And it would throw out environmental policy. (A claim based on one person's point of view, not anywhere near party policy.) Oh, and opposing the Destriction of Parliamentary Democracy Bill means withdrawing from the EU. (Yes, Millibrain really did say that.) In short: David Milliband is a lying incompetent.

5. A thought. Do barristers have to take some sort of oath to uphold the law? Would it be possible for a barrister who brings the profession into disrepute - say, by assuming the guilt of everyone, without regard to evidence - struck off?

On a similar line, we hear claims that people wanted to blow up landmarks in London, including a tower at Canary Wharf, and similar landmarks in Chicagou. In the absence of independent, corroborating evidence, we must treat these as unsubstantiated claims, lending them more ridicule than credence.

6. Brig wonders if JK Rowling should open up a chain of everything-for-a-pound shops called Quidditch. You know, like Redditch, except a shop where everything is a pound, and owned by JK Rowling. The only flaw with his argument is that Redditch is already used for a game of competitive allergies.

And what are the probabilities of hearing a song twice in a seven hour session? So high as to almost be certain, even given 12,000 tunes to pick from. But this does remind me of an interesting little article on how rating tunes affects the probability of random-play. (Further discussion.)

7. World cup blog. Judging from the highlights, Germany was all over Swindon, and a 2:0 scoreline flatters the Wessex defence. Mexico had the better of normal time against Argentina, but couldn't quite finish the game off. The fair result would have been 2:2 and penalties.

The draw unwrinkles like this: The top half has Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and France. The bottom half does have Italy and the Netherlands, but then we're down to journeyman teams like Switzerland, Spain, England, and Australia. Not really a balanced draw, and someone who is better at this betting lark than I could make a killing.

8. There are a couple of Westminster by-elections this week. In Blaenau Gwent, Betfair is unable to choose between Labour and an Independent, but there's absolutely no money traded so far. In Bromley, the Tories are 1.14 to retain Eric Forth's old seat, with the Lib Dems around 7. It's worth noting that the LD and ancestor parties were second in this area, ahead of Labour, from 1970 to 1992. Labour slipping into third place should worry the Thames Estuary MPs.

Before then, Charles Not In Charge Of Anything will talk on Newsnight. And on On the Ropes. And he'll be talking about his sacking from the government (though not as a constituency MP) last month. D'Ancona reckons this could be the Howe Moment.

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posted 25 Jun 2006, 11.52 +0100

Music in week 25

Most-heard ten.

keane             6
feeling           5
depeche mode      3
automatic         3
kooks             2
loletta holloway  2
zutons            2
pink              2
lightning seeds   2
nerina pallot     2

No surprise to find Depeche Mode doing very well in their strongholds - John the revelator is number 1 in Denmark, top ten in Poland, and top 20 in Germany and Finland. Leader in the Nordic countries at the moment is Boten Anna, a dance track by a group called Basshunter. It's number 2 in Denmark and Sweden, and top 10 in Norway. Also be aware of Milk Inc's dancefloor version of Tainted Love, of two Brainstorm tracks (Digitally bright and Veter) in Latvia's top 5, and of Shayne Ward in Lithuania's top 20. Sorry, everybody.

Germany's chart has gone football crazy, as one might expect; Herbert Gronemeyer's Zeit dass sich was dreht holds the top spot, ahead of Sportfreunde Stiller's 54 74 90 2006. Ill Divo and Toni Braxton's official song, Where's the remote? is at number 17, one place behind those Teutonic schlagermeisters David Baddiel, Frank Skinner, and the Lightning Seeds. Yes, Three lions really is in Germany's top 20, for reasons I'll go into to-morrow...

North Europe's Top Twenty

*20 NE Raconteurs - Steady as she goes
 19 re Pakito - Living on video
 18 20 Texas Lightning - No no never
*17 NE Automatic - Monster
*16 NE Depeche Mode - John the revelator
 15 12 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani california
 14 11 Sandi Thom - I wish I was a punk rocker
 13  4 Snow Patrol - You're all I have
*12 14 Nerina Pallot - Everyone's gone to war
 11  8 Beatfreaks - Somebody's watching me
 10  9 Annoying Thing - We are the champions
* 9 18 Infernal - From Paris to Berlin
  8  7 Primal Scream - Country girl
  7  6 Mary J Blige / U2 - One
  6  2 Lordi - Hard rock hallelujah
  5  3 Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
* 4 10 Keane - Is it any wonder?
* 3 15 Feeling - Fill my little world
* 2  5 Nelly Furtado - Maneater
* 1  1 Shakira - Hips don't lie

The Raconteurs are slowly gaining ground across the continent; Automatic are only hitting in their native UK.

Nelly Furtive retains the top spot, with Shakira advancing past Sandi Thom for second place, albeit on just 20,000 sales. Pub rockers Muse have the biggest hit of their career, Super massive black hole storms in at number 4, two places ahead of the latest Black Eyed Peas rubbish. Lostprophets are up to 8 on full release with the shout-a-long Rooftops, with the Zutons recording a slightly lucky top ten hit with Valerie. The Pussycat Dolls and Kooks land in the top 15 on downloads alone.

Main news of the week is the clear-out of the football songs - Three lions is now the highest-charting track, but it's at 15, so only slightly better than it's doing in Germany. Embrace's official anthem drops to 17, Tony Christie doubles his position by falling to 24, and there are 20 place drops for Sham 69, the Crazy Frog, Stan Boreman, and the Tonedef Pillocks. Has the Grate British Public realised that the quality of the side's performances is directly proportional to the quality of the average song in the charts? Placebo and the Yeahs fall short of the top 40, which rather bears out the point.

On the albums front, Fatboy Slim's singles collection lands at number 2, beating out the Automatic. Good climbs for the Kooks, Zutons, and Shakira; the hits of Danniiiiii Minogue and the live of Madonna barely scrape the top 20. Sergio Mendez, Trinity, the Divine Comedy, and Hope of the States enter lower.

Here's the good stuff on the singles listing:

 1  1 Nelly Furtardo - Maneater
 2  3 Shakira - Hips don't lie
 4 46 Muse - Supermassive black hole
 5  4 Automatic - Monster
 8 39 Lostprophets - Rooftops
 9 41 Zutons - Valerie
10  7 Pink - Who knew?
14 NE Kooks - She moves in her own way **
16 16 Feeling - Fill my little world
19 14 Keane - Is it any wonder?
23 24 Beatfreaks - Somebody's watching me
25 19 Fratellis - Henrietta
26 32 Kooks - Naive
35 23 Primal Scream - Country girl
38 NE Young Knives - She's attracted to
39 NE Editors - Blood
40 38 Orson - Bright idea
42 NE Placebo - Infra red
45 49 Orson - No tomorrow
46 37 Nerina Pallot - Everybody's gone to war
53 NE Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Turn into
55 56 Snow Patrol - You're all I have
58 36 Lordi - Hard rock hallelujah
60 54 Sunblock / Robin Beck - First time
62 NE Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway **
63 62 Raconteurs - Steady as she goes
66 53 Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats
71 50 Paul Simon - Father and daughter
72 42 Sugababes - Follow me home

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posted 25 Jun 2006, 19.14 +0100

Weather in week 25

A cooler week, northerly winds have been the order of most days. There's not been much rain, and a warm front on Friday brought more humid westerlies.

19 Mo cloud, showers      14/18, 1.0
20 Tu sun to cloud        11/21, 1.0
21 We sunny spells, wind  10/17, 0.5
22 Th sunny spells        12/17
23 Fr sun to cloud        10/21
24 Sa cloud               13/21, 2.0
25 Su mostly cloudy       16/25

Degree cooling days are at 81, compared to 67/237 after a sweltering week last year, and 57/184 two summers ago.

The forecast: It's Wimbledon to-morrow. There's a low pressure system moving in from the Atlantic. Guess where it's going to rain; further north, winds will be nor-easterlies. Tuesday is looking reasonable for the whole country, but from Wednesday fronts will try to move in from the West. It's not clear how far across the Irish Sea they'll get, or how quickly. It's possible that there will be some continental storms drifting up to the south-east, but that's the only chance of rain there. Getting a little milder from Wednesday, but there will be no heatwave, so do wrap up.

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posted 25 Jun 2006, 19.15 +0100


older writing... write to