Thursday, 4 August 2011


#20 Herb Alpert: A Taste of Honey
I like honey well enough but its consistency troubled me as a boy, so I preferred jam on my toast. These days, the only time I consciously consume honey is when I have it with lemon and paracetamol to ease a sore throat. Although, on holiday in Istanbul recently, I became fond of yogurt with walnuts and honeycomb on top for breakfast.
The Tijuana Brass had the big hit with this, in 1965, but it was originally written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow five years earlier for the Broadway opening of Shelagh Delaney’s West End stage hit.

#19 Dean Martin: That’s Amore
Martin (born Dino Crocetti) first sang this in a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy called ‘The Caddy’ in 1953. It was nominated for the Best Song Oscar but lost out to Doris Day with ‘Secret Love’. It’s in this list because of the repeated food references, to a big pizza pie and to pasta fazool.
I adore pizza but it has to have a proper thin, crusty base. I have no patience whatsoever with ‘deep dish’ or ‘stuffed crust’. Last time I was in Italy, Stu and I ate pizza for breakfast every day. In my case, it was always anchovy-strewn Pizza Napoli.
‘Pasta fazool’ is a Neapolitan dish of pasta with beans, called ‘fagioli’ elsewhere in Italy and ‘fasule’ in Naples. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it.

#18 Millie: My Boy Lollipop
Don’t much like lollies. Never have. Did see some interesting ones with insects and worms inside them in Fortnum and Mason not long ago. I loved this song as a kid. Its essential rudeness quite passed me by. This 1964 recording was reputedly the first international ska hit and the first big moneyspinner for Chris Blackwell’s nascent Island label.

#17 Beastie Boys: Intergalactic
"If you try to knock me you'll get mocked
I'll stir fry you in my wok
Your knees'll start shaking and your fingers pop
Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock"

Was I not just recently lamenting the absence of lyrics about the glory of the stir fry? Then I thought of this, courtesy of a Joe My God reference. I love a stir fry. Excellent Atkins-friendly meal if you up the meat content, miss out the noodles or rice, and substitute beansprouts.
The Readers Wifes play this at Duckie regularly and that has tweaked my interest. Not particularly fond of these homophobic prep school co-opters of rap otherwise.

#16 Barnes & Barnes: Fish Heads
Barnes & Barnes were Robert Haimer and Billy Mumy. Mumy was the little boy in ‘Lost in Space’ (Danger, Will Robinson!) and later the Minbari ‘Lennier’ in Babylon 5. This song and this video are both gloriously barking, although the video takes a wee while to get going. Might want to jump ahead to the middle. Fish heads are disgusting but they make great stock for bouillabaisse or chowder. Eat them up, yum!

#15 The Searchers: Sugar And Spice
I’m more Frogs and Snails and Puppydogs Tails, myself, but I remember this with affection from my youth. The Searchers coasted the Merseybeat wave in the wake of the Beatles and I really liked their Needles and Pins.

#14 Lieutenant Pigeon: Mouldy Old Dough
Wikipedia tells me that this is the only UK Number 1 record to feature a son (Rob Woodward, who co-wrote the song) and his mother (Hilda Woodward on piano). I assumed they were singing about stale bread all these years but have just read that they were commenting on the recent decimalisation of the currency. I remember £sd and pennies with Queen Victoria’s head on them. Thrupenny bits! Silver sixpences!
Dough is great stuff. I’m sure it can’t be good for you but, as kids, we loved to lick the spoon and the bowl when my mother was baking something and Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough is my favourite ice cream.

#13 The Stones: Brown Sugar
Nothing to do with Muscovado or Demerara sugar and all to do with the sexual abuse of young black female slaves and with cunnilingus. Gets us all shaking our beary booty on the Duckie dancefloor though.

#12 Hot Butter: Popcorn
An early Moog synthesiser tune that was a hit all over the world in the early 70s, even behind the Iron Curtain.
I’ve never been particularly fond of popcorn but I munch a bit when Stu buys a big carton of it at the cinema. I have occasionally popped my own and that is always dripping with butter and salt. I gather that you can buy it in foil packs and put these in the microwave. I have seen people do this. Takes all the fun out of popping it surely. Partner also buys Marks and Spencer’s chocolate covered popcorn. That’s good.

#11 The Strangeloves: I Want Candy
This is the original. Groovy, baby. Bow Wow Wow’s cover is great too.
‘Sweeties’ sound much more appetising than 'candy'. My grandparents called them ‘boilings’. I was thinking about ‘soor plooms’ or sour plums the other day. What exactly were those? There was a little flat, flowerless plant too that grew in the grass and we would chew it as kids, thinking it tasted of ‘soor plooms’ too.

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