Only a year late, but I found the album Angles by Dan le Sac v Scroobius Pip at the weekend for a snip and decided to take a punt. I loved the single Thou Shalt Always Kill – as much for the bleepy silliness as Pip’s post-millennium Howl!/The Revolution Will not be Televised rant – and was pleased that the album was of a similar quality and actually much better than the ‘new Streets’ reviews that people were lazily banding around. It’s got more in common with the work of Abdominal and DJ Format, with clever lyrics bonding with interesting and diverse beats in a way that makes you question why it’s not more popular.
One track in particular, Tommy C, made me appreciate someone with fresh ideas who doesn’t feel that they have to talk about the same old shit all the time. It’s essentially a tribute to how funny Tommy Cooper was, set against an argument that casually using the word ‘beautiful’ just leads to it being devalued. It describes the audience’s reaction to the (almost) true story of Cooper’s death of a heart attack on stage in 1984 (they laughed and applauded) with Pip challenging ‘Now tell me one fucking thing that's more beautiful than that... Cos' I’m sure I can’t think of one.’
I’m always up for a list, especially one that can’t be disproved or have any genuine purpose, but I just ended up reminiscing about nice moments in my life, and frankly it was all a bit sweet and gushing. That said here are a couple of times when the right thing just seemed to happen and my heart (and those of a few other people) was lifted:
Pulp headline Glastonbury (1995): my missus went to Glastonbury in 1993 where the headliners included Midnight Oil, a reformed Velvet Underground, Robert Plant, The Black Crowes, Lenny Kravitz, The Kinks and Van Morrison. You get some sense therefore of the beauty of the seismic shift that occurred in just two years that led to Jarvis standing before 50,000 people telling people that ‘if this lanky git can make it then you can too’ before launching into one of the finest renditions of Common People you’ll ever see.
Dennis Taylor beats Steve Davis: bizarrely this was the first sporting memory that came into my head when I thought of beauty, despite Dennis Taylor’s memorably style-free upside-down glasses. Taylor won the 1985 World Snooker Championship with the last black of the last frame against Steve Davis, who was then the all-conquering Manchester United robot-man of snooker. Taylor’s cue-aloft, finger waggling celebration and fucking HUGE smile still makes me tear-up. And it’s snooker!
Maxine McKew wins John Howard’s seat in Bennelong Elections suck. Great idea in theory but the bad guys always win. Some might say that they’re all bad guys, but there will always be those who care more about the people they represent than others. McKew’s victory in Howard’s backyard was all the sweeter because it had been said that if she won then so would Labor, and so it was. In the end Howard actually looked relieved, but not as much as the rest of us. See also UK Election Night, May 1997 and the US Presidential Election 2008. However history has these things ending up, it doesn’t take away the joy of how it started.
Sunderland 4-1 Chelsea, December 1999 After winning the Championship in 1998/1999 with a record number of points, Sunderland’s first game back in the Premier League was away to Chelsea. It’s fair to say we got twatted, 4-0, and were immediately listed amongst the favourites to get relegated (this is in the days before our very presence in the Premier League made us favourites to go down). Beautiful then to gain revenge four months later at the Stadium of Light and not just win, but play Chelsea off the pitch so comprehensively that it was 4-0 at half-time. Beautiful that the goals came from Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, whose goals had got us up from the Championship, and beautiful then that SKP’s second could still win Goal of the Year.
Arriving with the coffin at my Grandpa’s funeral to a guard of honour by the remaining few men from his army regiment. This is nothing to do with glorification of war. I don’t believe in it, and neither did my Grandpa. He didn’t talk about bravery or causes or military might, just the friends and comrades who made up his regiment and who he met up with once a year. He attended their every funeral, and when it was his turn, they were there for him. I don’t know what I felt that day; pride for him I suppose, pride for all of them, pride to be there as a member of his family. I don’t even know if I was entitled to feel pride in something I had nothing to do with, but I did, and it was beautiful.