Cope, Arrowsmith & McLaren: Selection Box Shows 128, 129 & 130

After a false start a little while ago, Brigadeer Phillip Agnostin D’Argtanian Tannoy Gargle Pissflap Cope III plonked his posterior into the guest chair for Selection Box 128.  I continually say that I am not going to keep noting the number of the show we’re on, as its something I only mark out for my own probably-autistic filing purposes.  And yet I continue to announce how many of these by-the-seat-of-the-pants produced pillock presented programmes we’re up to now.  Still, worth noting that in around four months we’ll (and that’s very much the royal “we”) be up to 147 shows.  Perhaps I’ll have a snooker-themed special to celebrate.  Chas & Dave have retired now, so that’s them out the window as potential session guests, but no doubt referee Len Ganley knows how to tap a triangle on cue, so that’s a part of the rhythm section sorted.  Actually, he’s probably dead now I think about it.  I do know that Steve Davis is a prog rock aficianado, so perhaps this isn’t as daft an idea as it first seemed.  The only problem I foresee is that personally I find the majority of prog a bit too, well, shit to play on air.

Yours truly (right) and Phil Cope clearly have nothing in common.

Yours truly (right) and Phil Cope clearly have nothing in common.

Speaking of shit, the aforementioned Mr Cope decided that his opening choice for his first solo appearance on our occasional feature Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed & Something Blues (or SOSNSBASB as the cool kids have resolutely chosen not to call it) would be the horrors of Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder’s Ebony & Ivory– apparently the first record the young pre-bearded Phil ever bought.  The simile of a perfect world where black and white live happily side-by-side like keys on a piano is spoiled not only by the fact that the white keys have full range of the spacious playing area with expansive views out to the surrounding furniture whilst the black keys are pushed off into small cramped inner keyboard enclaves, but also the fact that the record is thoroughly ghastly.  Herr Cope’s defence that “it isn’t McCartney’s worst record by a long way” is a bit like saying you should be acquitted of murder because your previous killings were far more brutal.  I note that he hasn’t played said abomination on his show, yet he felt in appropriate to use 3 minutes 45 seconds of my precious airtime with it.



Thankfully his next choice – also 3 minutes 45 seconds – turned out not to be a reprise of Ebony & Ivory, but the new offering by The Fall; Bury! Parts 2 & 4, which was released as a single on Record Store Day.  Having redeemed himself partially with this, he then brought Jimmy Brown by Ken Parker as his Borrowed track and we finished the show with Elmore James’ It Hurts Me Too as his Blues track, so it wasn’t necessary to send him away with flea in ear and arse cheeks viciously flayed.

Selection Box Show 128

Transmitted 5/4/2010

Yo Majesty: Wikipedia describes them as Dirty rap.  Ill have me some of that, then.

Yo Majesty: Wikipedia describes them as "Dirty rap". I'll have me some of that, then.

1.  The Breeders – Cannonball
from: Last Splash

2.  Gene Criss – Hep Cat Baby
from: Stomper Time 7 (various artists)

3.  Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony & Ivory
from: Tug Of War

4.  Don Cavalli – Cherie De Mon Coeur
from: Cryland

5.  The Fall – Bury! Parts 2 & 4
from: Your Future Our Clutter

6.  Yo Majesty – Blame It On The Change
from: Futuristically Speaking…Never Be Afraid

7.  Antony & The Johnsons – For Today I Am a Boy
from: I Am A Bird Now

8.  Ken Parker – Jimmy Brown (The Three Bells)
from: Jimmy Brown

9.  Port Arthur Jubileers – Jeep’s Blues
from: Country Classics – Slick Chic Boogie (various artists)

10.  The Jackson Sisters – I Believe In Miracles
from: I Believe In Miracles

11.  Elmore James – It Hurts Me Too
from: The Final Sessions New York – February 1963

One person who will be categorically immune from any kind of Thornton-inflicted buttock flagelly (well, unless there’s sizeable payment in my direction) is folk singer Wendy Arrowsmith, who kindly took time out en route to her gig at the Topic Folk Club to pop into BCB to record a session for us.  Originally from Glasgow, Wendy now plies her trade from a base in Northallerton, a place about which I know nothing except its where The Artist Formerly Known As Gazza appeared this week on charges of driving under the influence of Terry Venables.

I opened the cupboard under the stairs and found a folk singer in there.

I opened the cupboard under the stairs and found a folk singer in there.

Releasing her first album in 2007, opening track The Visitor won the Keith Marsden songwriting award at the Saltburn Folk Festival, with further acclaim and gongs coming with the follow-up long player Seeds Of Fools, released last year.

In the spirit of Selection Box’s mixed bag playlist, Wendy attempted a sort of Revels setlist for the session (though thankfully avoiding the ruddy awful coffee-flavoured one), starting with the lilting folkese of The Lass O’Gowrie, moving later onto the light-hearted Are We Nearly There Yet? – provided, I suspect, as a warning to those of us who are new parents that long car journeys are set to be the bane of our lives.  Unless you’re a whacking great thicko I dare say that the title rather gives you all the explanation of that that you could possibly need.  The session was completed, post string substitution, with Midas Men, an apparently rare toe-dip into political song writing.  The string was a G, naturally.  Obviously, I am far too gentlemanly and demure to have pointed this out at the time, and certainly didn’t snigger in the spirit of cheap innuendo neither at the time nor now.

To hear and/or download all three songs recorded for us, all you need to do is venture below and click in the appropriate manner.  For those who are of a sensitive disposition, you will be thankful to know that, unlike my journey to the Topic Folk Club, you will not need to bypass a handful of prostitutes and at least one pimp in order to hear these wares.  Though if you do want to slip me a couple of quid for the service without a word to the tax people, I’m sure my wallet could force its leathery flaps apart to force your wad in.

Wendy Arrowsmith in Session on Selection Box, BCB 106.6fm by PatrickSelectionBox

Download as mp3:

Lass O’Gowrie

Are We Nearly There Yet

Midas Men

Selection Box Show 129

Transmitted 12/4/2010

1.  Cocteau Twins – Bluebeard
from: Four Calendar Cafe

2.  Public Image Ltd – Fodderstompf
from: First Issue

3.  Wendy Arrowsmith – The Lass O’Gowrie
from: Live session

4.  Jeanne & The Darlings – Hang Me Now
from: The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968 Volume 9 (various artists)

5.  Scotty Moore Trio – Have Guitar, Will Travel
from: Stomper Time 7 (various artists)

6.  Wendy Arrowsmith – Are We Nearly There Yet?
from: Live session

Rufus Wainrights new single is so good a bit of wee comes out every time I hear it.

Rufus Wainright's new single is so good a bit of wee comes out every time I hear it.

7.  Rufus Wainwright – Who Are You New York?
from: All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu

8.  Vichan Manceechot – Dance, Dance, Dance
from: Thai Beats A Go Go Volume 1 (various artists)

9.  Softboiled Eggies – Only Loved At Night
from: Try It Again

10.  Yo Majesty – Blame It On The Change
from: Futuristically Speaking…Never Be Afraid

11.  Swift Jewel Cowboys – Bag Scuffle
from: Western Swing: Hot Hillbilly Jazz & Blues – 1935 – 1947

12.  Laurence Arabia – Dream Teacher
from: Chant Darling


The irony that I was playing Public Image Ltd just as it was being announced to the world that Malcolm McLaren had succumbed to a rare form of cancer was not lost on me.  These pages seem to be disturbingly sparse of tributes to McLaren, whose commitment to delicious organised chaos is something a vibrant artistic society needs to be given the required jolts to the status quo from time to time.  In a world where musical sales are being determined by the latest blandly pretty face(less) deemed suitable by Simon Cowell, we should mark the passing of an alternative svengali with some great sadness.

Malcolm McLaren: 1946 - 2010

Malcolm McLaren: 1946 - 2010

The comparison between McLaren and Cowell is not an empty one, as the former understood just as Cowell does now that control of his charges was absolutely essential to the success of his brand.  Punk was supposed to be the DIY artistic movement – the you-can-have-a-go-too paper and glue held together with safety pins knee-in-the-balls to the proficient self-indulgent noodlings of Prog Rock and indeed any other genre which required head down dedication and competency.  It’s not a million miles away from the Anyone Can Be A Star fake ethos of shows like X Factor and the erroneously-titled Britain’s Got Talent.  Anyone who bemoans the continuing glut of manufactured groups should remember that not only were The Monkees and pretty much every group from the peak of Motown created by musical management, but also The Sex Pistols were effectively the creation of a man in a suit – albeit a suit made by Vivienne Westwood.

McLaren’s brilliance laid in the recognition and embracement of the contradictory nature of his approach.  Anarchy without direction is not only oxmoronical but also plain moronic.  If you smash down the walls you’re ultimately left with nowhere to live and nothing to feed off.  In Julien Temple’s 1980 film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, McLaren plays “The Embezzler”, who claims to have created and manipulated The Sex Pistols to his own chaotic plan.  It’s not a far cry from the truth, and McLaren understood that Punk, the unbranded brand was arguably the biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll sham of all time – an unstylised victory of style-over-content, a chaotic scattergun painting of a movement where the messy splodges had actually been neatly placed with steady-handed brush strokes.

Sid Vicious couldnt play and was a nasty piece of work, but McLaren - like Motowns Berry Gordy before him and Simon Cowell today - knew that image was key to success.

Sid Vicious couldn't play and was a nasty piece of work, but McLaren - like Motown's Berry Gordy before him and Simon Cowell today - knew that image was key to success.

However, McLaren’s role as manager was not necessarily one as artistic dictator or even as financial ligger.  Moreover, his approach was that of a cultural sponge – soaking up what was fresh and then squeezing out the necessary juices to make his artistic vision work to its fullest potential.  In The Sex Pistols he had sucked in the joyous  abandon of Punk’s rip-it-up-and-start-again misadventure, and spat out an act who seemed to perfectly match the ideal.  With latter charges Bow Wow Wow he embraced new technology and pre-empted file sharing by 20 years with C30 C60 C90 Go! which he co-wrote and produced, nabbing Adam & The Ants’ twin drum sound (not to mention personnel) along the way.

It is with the tracks he put his own name to, however, where this cultural osmosis is demonstrated to best effect.  Whilst 1984’s Madame Butterfly mixed an appreciation of opera with the new soundscapes of electronica, earlier releases such as Buffalo Gals and the extraordinary Double Dutch – both from the 1983 album Duck Rock– took rap and hip hop concepts and blended them with African melodies before British audiences had even started to accept hip hop to their collective bosom.  It still sounds astonishingly fresh today.

Malcolm McLaren will be buried today (Thursday) in the appropriately-diverse and wonderful setting of Highgate Cemetery.  His family have requested that fans observe a tributary minute of mayhem in his honour.

Selecttion Box Show 130

Transmitted 19/04/2010
1.  Malcolm McLaren – Double Dutch
from: Duck Rock

2.  Roy Brown – Mighty Mighty Man
from: The Very Best of Roy Brown: Rockin’ at Midnight

3.  Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For?
from: Avi Buffalo

4.  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Faith Healer
from: Next

5.  H.B. Barnum – Heartbreaker
from: The Golden Age of Northern Soul Vol 2: The Golden Torch (various artists)

6.  Midlake – The Children Of The Grounds
from: The Courage of Others

7.  The Divine Comedy – At The Indie Disco
from: Bang Goes The Knighthood

Friend of the show Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy.

Friend of the show Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy.

8.  The Wanderers – Tiger Rag
from: Country Classics: There’ll Be Some Changes Made (various artists)

9.  Band of Horses – Compliments
from:  Infinitie Arms

10.  Billy Dimarco & Count Dracula – Drac’s Back
from: These Ghoulish Things : Horror Hits for Halloween (various artists)

11.  Shit & Shine – Shit No
from: 229-2299 Girls Against Shit

12.  Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation
from: Wake Up The Nation

13.  The Glens – Oh Love
from: Doo Wop From Rome Records 1960 – 1962 (various records)

14.  Gypsy Toes – Checkmate
from: Rumours CD single

Patrick Thornton presents Selection Box on Mondays at Midnight.


7 thoughts on “Cope, Arrowsmith & McLaren: Selection Box Shows 128, 129 & 130

  1. avatarAlbert

    Remind me nearer the time to lend you Weedbus by The Stairs for your 147th show, rhyming, as it does, 147 with heaven.

    One reason I didn’t write anything about Malcolm McLaren, despite writing about Mark Linkous and Alex Chilton when they died, was that I didn’t really know much about him, simply thinking he was Punk’s Simon Cowell. So I’m glad you have found the time to write about him and fill me in; good work.

  2. avatarPhil

    Thanks for printing those two pictures together . You looking all angular and new wave cool in your leather jacket and me looking like a blind, tranvestite womble. The mod Little and Large!

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