Yes, the one about the bus

Whilst perusing the message board over at, I noticed a reference to an instrumental version of ‘The Booklovers‘, the legendarily bonkers track from ‘Promenade‘ featuring a gargantuan list of authors read out with ad-libs and affectations linked to each person. Subsequent rummaging provided the information that this had come from an American promo CD designed to get airplay and soundtrack appearances for said band. Also on there are instrumentals of ‘Sticks and Stones‘ (one of only a few highlights on his career nadir, ‘Absent Friends‘) and ‘Here Comes The Flood‘ (one of only a few lowlights, as t’were, on ‘Fin De Siecle‘). In addition, this promo features a delightful cherry picking of all sorts of bits and bobs from Neil Hannon‘s work. Plus, oh no – I’m going to say it again – it looks pretty. Damn, won over again. A copy is winging its way over from the US as I type. I shall report in further detail upon its arrival.
Anyhoo, it’s directed me back to the many many joys of The Divine Comedy. I’ve just noticed that I can finally download the ‘To Die A Virgin‘ 7″ b-side, ‘Long Slow Suicide‘ from iTunes. Not that I can’t play the 7″, nor that I couldn’t wire it all up and record it through the pooter, but I’m a lazy bastard and it was much easier to do it this way. It’s up as part of iTunes Plus, which is nice, if expensive. This has allowed me to bring together my ‘complete b-sides’ set for the ‘Victory For The Comic Muse‘ album. Yes, I’m a sad bastard – I know this, and there’s nothing you can say that can hurt me. (Perhaps, ‘that man over there thinks Kelly Jones is an excellent singer’ might do it, but there’s very little else) Anyway, it got me thinking about what an excellent period for Neil that campaign was. I adore the album. From start to finish it is beautifully produced, played and arranged. Neil’s voice is sounding superb and the ten original songs are right up there with his past glories. ‘A Lady Of A Certain Age‘ is rightly revered amongst the critical fraternity, but I’d add to that ‘Light Of Day‘, ‘Snowball In Negative‘ and ‘To Die A Virgin‘. If you’ve ever had a passing interest in the band, treat yourself to that last album; it’s a delight.
The b-sides were pretty decent too. The version of ‘Lili Marlene‘ on the 7″ only release of ‘ALOACA‘ was quaintly charming, while the aforementioned ‘Long Slow Suicide’ is one of his finest cast-offs. ‘Pamplemousse‘ is great fun and ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages‘ is a romp of the ‘Casanova‘ vintage. ‘Absolute Power‘ never quite managed the transition from beguiling live tune to vintage recording, but it’s still a belter of a track.
Not a great deal of point to today’s witterings, other than continuing to try and get everybody to give The Divine Comedy a go at least once. You might surprise yourself.

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