Tag Archives: Stuart Turner

A Medway Christmas Alphabet: The Full Story


You can blame a chap called Philip Kane for this. Back on 1 December, he posted on Facebook the social media version of the old chain letter thing that went as follows:

“So the idea is to fill facebook with music, breaking the monotony of nasty, divisive headlines and images on our news feeds.

If you ‘like’ this post, you will be assigned a letter for a musician, band, artist, song, track or dj to post to your time line with this text”.

I liked it. He came back to me with the letter R. I came up with Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A.’s ‘Santa Domingo’ – as you do – and before you know it I’d committed myself to the idea of stealing the whole concept and coming up with some music of Medway origin (or, if you will, MOMO) for each letter of the alphabet.

26 blogs later and I can finally move on with my life.

It has actually been fun – not least because there’s been the opportunity to focus on individual songs in a way you might not otherwise. Being an alphabetical list, there’s been less need to focus on continuity and history.

One day we’ve had a song by Balance Lost (a current band), the next we’ve had a song that’s had two outings: once in the early 1990s and then just a couple of years ago. Then, the day after that, we’ve had a song from 2010 which expresses its boredom with Medway bands from the 1980s.

It’s meant there’s been a wide variety of styles and sounds which all goes to show what an amazing melting pot of ideas this small collection of towns in the north of Kent is.

If you missed any of the blogs, not to worry: here they all are listed for your convenience – in alphabetical order, obviously.

A – The Singing Loins – ‘Alien’

B – Funke and the Two Tone Baby – ‘Bella’s Kiss’

C – Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society – ‘Call Me Dave’

D – Brigadier Ambrose – ‘Decembered’

E – Thee Headcoats – ‘Every Bit of Me’

F – Wheels – ‘Forget It’

G – The Dentists – ‘Gas’

H – Bob Collins and the Full Nelson – ‘Holy Man’

I -Theatre Royal – ‘I Believe in Father Christmas (Don’t Get Me Socks)’

J – Wolf’s Head and Vixen Morris – ‘Jump at the Sun’

K – Frau Pouch – ‘Krakthulu’

L – The Claim – ‘Losers Corner’

M – Broken Banjo – ‘Might As Well Be Hell’

N – Hand of Stabs – ‘The Night Had No Terror For Us’

O – The Daggermen – ‘One More Letter’

P – The Prisoners – ‘Pop Star Party’

Q – Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire – ‘A Quick One – Pete Townsend’s Christmas’

R – The Ambience – ‘Rome’

S – Balance Lost – ‘Shield Against the World’

T – The Kravin’ “A”s/Suzi Chunk – ‘Tripwire’

U – The Love Family – ‘Up in the Air’

V – The Flowing – ‘The Voyage’

W – Lupen Crook – ‘World’s End’

X – CTMF – ‘X-Craft on Tirpitz’

Y – Bear vs. Manero – ‘YRANYRBYM’

Z – KILL RPNZL – ‘Zombie Midwife Afterbirth Squad’

Find out more about many of these bands and artists – and many, many more, in my book: Do it Yourself: a History of Music in Medway.

A Medway Christmas Alphabet: C is for ‘Call Me Dave’

‘Tis the festive season of advent calendars and countdowns to Christmas. To mark the occasion, what better way than to have a completely non-festive A-Z of Medway songs.

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society - Art and Science

A strangely apposite offering today – in the light of the vote cast in the House of Commons last night.

‘Call Me Dave’ comes from Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society’s 2014 album The Art and Science of Phrenology. Having resolved many of the band’s internal frustrations documented in the previous album, 2012’s On the Brink of Misadventure, The Art and Science… sees Turner direct his attention to the wider world.

Today’s featured song is one of the most obvious examples of Turner as social commentator. There are no prizes for guessing who the ‘Dave’ of the title is. And with lines like “I’ll kiss your ass but understand all this will pass”, it’s not too difficult to work out who the song’s narrator might be.

I don’t care for you at all
I’m so tired of feeling small
One day I’ll put you through that wall
I don’t care for you at all

runs the chorus (and, in fact, opening few lines) of the song. It’s followed by allegations of the song’s villain being “a liar and that’s the truth” and “you’re never as good as your word”.

Against a magnificent background of banjos and detuned pianos, the song’s narrator is left feeling like  “it’s getting hard staying alive/since you stole my self-belief”. In fact the whole song is a tirade directed against the powerful from the manifestly powerless.

And on a day when many will be scratching their heads over what has been decided in parliament – and what it might now mean for our country and the world – I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society find themselves revisiting the song in the days and weeks ahead.

There are, after all, quite a few people who are “tired of feeling small” at the moment.

Find out more about Stuart Turner, Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society and many other Medway musicians in Do It Yourself: a History of Music in Medway.

You can buy The Art and Science of Phrenology, from which ‘Call Me Dave’ is taken directly from the Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society website  or iTunes.