Monday, 1 August 2011


(Originally published two minutes earlier on my Freethinking blog.)

Given the subject of this post, the title would have been a clever allusion to a Del Shannon hit of the early 60's but as my name isn't Sue (it's Ian) and I'm not writing about my wife, it isn't clever, it's just pointless. But bear with me, there is a punchline to all this.

I get out of bed just before six (yes, in the morning), see to Josie the cat in the living room I'm fostering, let the cats out who want to be out and in who want to be in (the all-night stop-outs) and they all want feeding. An hour and a half later and it's off to the Raich Carter Leisure Centre where I renew my swimming card for another year (£250.00) and go swimming. From there it's to the post office to post four items I've sold on Amazon which nets me £22.00 after I've paid the postage and then home (to make a couple of phone calls about a cat I'm fostering and keeping in a cage in the garage).

But not for long.

I'm heading over to Castletown on the north side of the river to pick up some donations for the shop. Much to my surprise it's a modern and very tasteful close. It's a surprise because Castletown is one of the most deprived areas of Sunderland. Back the way I came to the other side of Sunderland to drop off the stuff at the shop, cash an Animal Krackers cheque at the bank opposite so I have money to buy cat food for all the cats Carol is looking after for us for the next four weeks. I immediately spend a quarter of this at Asda and while I'm there I empty the donated pet food bin we put in there. Next stop is Morrison's superstore at Doxford Park which is approximately due east of me where there's another bin to empty. And on to the busy A19 heading back to Castletown.

At this point I start playing music in my head and on song it particular. It's one of the greatest pop songs of the 60's which is to say it's one of the greatest pop songs ever. It goes like this.

Duh! Duh! Duh!
Dum! Dum!
Duh! Duh! Duh!
Dum! Dum!

It also features one of the best guitar breaks of any pop songs of the 60's which is to say of all time. It's spiky, man. Indeed this particular version could almost be called proto-grunge. The reason I'm playing it in my head is because a few days I played  an entire album devoted to cover versions, rip-offs, sequels, the original version, and songs which sound similar but pre-date it like Chuck Berry's Havana Moon.

Oh, all right it's The Kingsmen's Louie Louie (pronounced: Loo-ee   Loo-eye) and the CD is Love That Louie which opens with Richard (no relation to Chuck) Berry & The Pharaohs   distinctly West Indian-tinged original. The CD from the brilliant Ace Records itself is a mixed bag, some of it quite good (The Sonics) though never approaching The Kingsmen's truly demented original. Quite ordinary is the Kinks version which is ironic considering that Ray Davies ripped it off for their first two hits. I've got a version by Motorhead which you would expect to be brilliant but just when you expect them to let rip -around the 2.50 mark- they stop. And I'm sure I've heard a good version by Patti Smith though I might be imagining that. But really, the only way to play it is to turn the amp up to 11, scream/slur the lyrics, have a berserk guitar solo, and play it fast and it still won't be as good as The Kingsmen.

So I picked up the donated food from Morrison's at Castletown and went to deliver it. As I arrived a kitten was going out, the first cat/kitten to be homed in nearly three weeks. Good sign. After playing with an assortment of kittens including Ugly Betty, the ugliest kitten in the world, I loaded the van up with about twenty black sacks containing soiled cat bedding and used wood chip cat litter and take it to the council tip. I drive with the windows wide open.
Ugly Betty

I'd just got home when I was summoned to the shop to take some excess stuff to the Barnardo's shop in the city centre.

Eventually I get the afternoon to myself. At 5.30, Susan takes me to the Barnes Hotel carvery for a meal. Other than the meat, it's serve yourself which in my case means piling on the roast potatoes with small token portions of peas and broccoli. I have mine with a pint of Stella Artois. Usually if I'm drinking beer, I'm a real ale or draught Guinness man but with the recent warm weather I've turned back to the pleasures of chilled lager. We're only out an hour and not long after we get back, Nick and Viv (brother and sister in law) call round. I try in vain to convince them that they need Josie the people-loving cat. Before they leave they give me a card and a present.

Oh yes, I did have an alternative title to this post. It's-



As my good friend Barry has just pointed out to me in an email, Runaround Sue was by Dion not Del. Though I take issue with his statement that the Kingsmen copied the arrangement of the Wailers for Louie Louie.

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