JukeFox Journey! No.5 – Shinji Okazaki chooses Prince

John Sjoberg. Mike Stringfellow. Theo Zagorakis. Each and every golden era of the Foxes has its own totemic Scrabble winning stalwart. Few though come close to Shinji Okazaki’s mammoth 40 points – in itself, enough to avoid relegation.


“It’s got to be Alphabet Street then hasn’t it?” he grins archly. “Prince was always at his best when he seemed to be parodying himself. If you’re going to sing lyrics like ‘I’m going to talk so sexy’ you’ve either got to take yourself completely seriously or with a massive pinch of salt. Prince managed both. It’s a difficult trick to pull off.”

That’s all well and good. But back to the Scrabble. Surely Muzzy Izzet is unassailable in this respect. “Ah!” replies Shinji inscrutably anticipating my question. “You’re forgetting his full name is Mustafa. I think you’ll find I still have a clear five point lead”.

Much like the Foxes since Christmas then.

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JukeFox Journey! No.4 – Marc Albrighton chooses Supergrass

A constant presence on the left side of midfield this season, Marc Albrighton’s quiet diligence surely brings to mind that other tenacious centre leftist Tony Blair and his Cool Britannia. “What, the shopping centre in Hinckley? ” quips the man born on Watling Street.

No surprise then that Marc is partial to a bit of britpop. “Supergrass were a victim of their own image” he lectures. “Beneath the monstrous sideys and knockabout videos lurked a refined songwriting talent. Top up your Sunny D?” he offers generously.

“In It For The Money is the album where it all came together – not a weak song on there. Going Out is the one I keep coming back to though. It’s fun but feels regretful somehow. The perfect 90’s hangover number. ” he ends wistfully.

You’re not wrong there, me duck.

JukeFox Journey! No.3 – Danny Simpson chooses Rhianna

Growing up on the mean streets of Salford, the rude boy lifestyle was always a temptation for Danny Simpson.

No surprise then to find him seeking solace in the arms of Barbadian temptress and all round bad girl Rhianna. “Can’t be doing with all this Kanye West gubbins, but ‘Pon de Replay’ man, single of the century!” gushes Danny unapologetically.

“Just think if she’d retired after that one record. What a career she would have had. She was 17 when she recorded that. 17! You can really hear the teenage sneer in her voice. Like she’s about to give you a hard time in the Arndale Centre. And it’s hypnotic like voodoo – dancehall for shoegazers. Know what I mean?”

Reading you loud and clear brother. Loud and clear.

JukeFox Journey! No.2 – Leonardo Ulloa chooses the 13th Floor Elevators

It’s been a tough season for Leo Ulloa. “It can be hard to maintain concentration on the bench” he confides. “You need to be prepared to come on at a minutes notice but your body just can’t keep up the necessary adrenalin levels when you’re sitting on the sidelines. Still, firemen have to do it every day” he admits stoically.
No surprise then to learn that psychotic Austin scenesters the 13th Floor Elevators form an integral part in Leo’s warming up routine. “Nothing you’ve heard before quite prepares you for Tommy Hall’s jug sound, does it? ” queries Leo with just a slight hint of a threat in his rich baritone.

Right with you on that one Leo.

JukeFox Journey! No.1 – Wes Morgan chooses Jackie Mittoo

We take a break from imagining my bid for rock’n’roll immortality by delving into my equally unlikely, yet bizarrely imminent, fantasy, that of Leicester City winning the premier league title.
To accompany the run in to the final game of the season I’ll be revealing exactly what the authors of this fairytale season (copyright pending) listen to in their spare time. If, of course, their universe was moulded by Kid Slender. All the following facts are absolutely true and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Honest.

Harry “Arry” Redknapp recently complained about Wes’s omission from the England squad. A problem not about to concern the Jamaican football association for whom Wes has turned out on 25 occasions. It comes as no surprise then that a man so familiar with Orange Street should like nothing better after a hard day crushing the dreams of oppposing forwards, than to settle back with a comfortably tart mint julep and dig a bit of Studio 1. “Jackie Mitto’s my man” says Wes, fictionally speaking. “Get Up & Get It is just righteously funky and you can connect the dots between the Skatalites and, say, the Meters in the Big Easy. Which adds up of course to hell of a cross-Caribbean brew”.

We’re right there with you Wes.

Sneakin’ Around

With the recent death of Keith Emerson it’s maybe a good time to take stock and ponder one of life’s eternal conundrums. Exactly why did prog suck?

I have to make a confession here. There are, I’m ashamed to say, prog skeletons in the Slender closet. 568261819a7d110975072871486c5751Navigating the 1970’s was not always plain sailing and for every Jam album there were the bloated stormclouds of the Yes back catalogue hovering menacingly. Every riotous moment of Dr Feelgood was balanced by the dolorous self importance of Genesis.peter-gabriel-outfits And even the presence of mind that recognised Joni Mitchell’s “Hissing Of Summer Lawns” as a lifelong friend is brought into question by the former ownership of a Judie Tzuke LP. That’s not to say that there’s nothing good about prog. I still maintain that Jon Anderson had a great ear for melody. Without Rick Wakeman, ¬†Bowie’s “Life On Mars” would be a bit of pleasant strumming on an acoustic.¬†And an entire generation of Slender siblings have been grooving to Leicester’s criminally overlooked mavens of country-prog-folk-madrigal-blues, Family.

Revisionist historians would have us believe that punk was necessary to banish the idea that musical skill was crucial to good songwriting. I never bought this. Nor the supposed democracy of punk which claimed that anyone could do it – Lenny Kaye? Mick Jones? Viv Albertine? Tom Verlaine? – clearly not everyone was up to their standard. What was needed however was rock’n’roll kryptonite to rid us of the head-nodders. And it was this that was prog’s greatest crime. The feeling that fans of prog felt they were the guardians of proper music. The willingness of so many prog musicians to foster this belief. The suffocating joylessness of so much of the music. I’m happy to be a bit of a nazi about this – music should be a celebration. Craft and learning by all means but there MUST always be the eureka moment of a bunch of kids singing on a street corner and finding they can hold a tune. Even Joy Division managed that. Music at some level should always have the ability to enhance your euphoria or help you make sense of, or just wallow in, despair. To landmark your youth and to soundtrack love affairs. And here’s the litmus test. What kind of damaged individual would celebrate getting off with someone by spinning a bit of Wishbone Ash?

Has anyone ever stopped their car because they really needed to hear a Gentle Giant number? NO! Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas mind you once forced me to park a very large lawnmower. It was a Ransome. They’re made in Ipswich. The song was “Sneakin’ Around”. It rocks like an alp.

Once you get to your fifties (and believe me, I have), those moments when you have to stop what you’re doing and listen/dance/bellow tunelessly become few and far between. I know very little about Billy J Kramer but am forever indebted to him for providing one such unexpected moment well into middle-age. At the time I was parking the Ransome in the middle of a cemetary I knew nothing about him. Or them. Aside from the execrable “Little Children”. I now know that they were reliant on unused Lennon & McCartney numbers. billyjkramerthedakotthebillyjkramerhitsep92150I know that George Martin complained about the limitations of Bill’s voice which he frequently attempted to mask by punctuating each Kramer syllable with a single, and loud, piano note. I don’t care. George Martin, quite rightly, was concerned with quality control, with producing the best possible product for his clients. Not with directing an entire career towards birthing one, just one, faultless, sublime moment. Like a Saturn 5 blasting off from Cape Mediocrity we can forgive Billy J all his shortcomings just for giving us these beautiful, primitive, peerless 164 seconds.

And seriously, how do you expect me to resist the temptation to bark, in my baritone mumble, the words “You’re messing around with TNT”? Unfortunately it seems that Billy J Kramer did, as I have now discovered that my dodgy hearing has once again deceived me. Nevertheless, I shall plough on regardless, cocooned in the belief that I can improve upon perfection – I mean, “Tears, tears”? No wonder Sir George was so sniffy.

So there you have it. Prog versus Mersey Beat. A clear victory for the ramshackle scousers. ELP? They’re just Chelsea 2003 -2011. Never out of the top three, but really, who outside of a small group of Russian oil plutocrats will remember them with any fondness? The Dakotas? They’re Leicester City, mate. 2015-16. Sure, we’ll probably be struggling against relegation again next season. But just for a brief moment, us and Billy J, we’re top of the world.ransomes_parkway_2250_sf06mdj_002-1600x1200