Tag Archives: yasmin

If popstars were… runaways

Salsoul Orchestra & Loleatta Holloway – Runaway

Where are we? There’s a funky bass, some parping brass, swooning strings, bongos, and the vibes solo by which all other vibes solos must be judged. We have arrived in the golden age of disco.

What are we running away from? You better not hesitate! Loleatta warns us to get running because she’s going to mess around (that’s the way she wants to be), she doesn’t want our love (it’d just slow her down), and she can always find another clown if she changes her mind. What a cow.

Where shall we run to? To be honest, after hearing that big gospel & honey voice we’re going to be running straight back into her arms to be mistreated. :(

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

Where are we? A classic wandering bassline pumping up and down the octaves, the best keyboards that the early 80s had to offer, and Jimmy Somerville’s unearthly wailing over the top of it all – it is the golden age of synthpop.

What are we running away from? Disowned… disowned… You leave in the morning with everything you own in a little black case. We are fleeing small towns full of small minds and their prejudices, especially — according to the video — swimming pool-related homophobia.

Where shall we run to? We will be running to a bedsit in London and hanging around in Soho, on this occasion.

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

Where are we? We are anywhere in the world, but definitely in the golden age of earnest, angsty rock.

What are we running away from? How on earth did I get so jaded? Life’s mystery seems so faded. The lyrics are as vague as anything, but I guess the band would say ‘universal’. For the video showed a montage of actual missing person appeals, and was released in a variety of locally-relevant versions around the world.

Where shall we run to? Well some of the real life runaways came home after seeing the video. It didn’t always work out for the best and there are some awful horror stories, but there you go. It’s only music.

Devlin (featuring Yasmin) – Runaway

Where are we? We are in the golden age of have-a-go rap. I’m not a big fan of Devlin’s, but there are some nice timpani rolls in this one and getting Yasmin on the track immediately adds a certain class.

What are we running away from? Pain on all the faces of multi-cultural races! According to the lyrics, Devlin’s got a theory that urban violence will end if he leaves the slum behind, and Yasmin’s a bit bored with her job. So it’s a fair swap.

Where shall we run to? There’s talk of of being free and just being yourself, of a path of rediscovery, of the fruits from the lost garden of Eden. They also mention a train from Victoria and the English Channel so I guess it’s a ferry to Calais then.

Kanye West – Runaway

"Your girlfriend is really beautiful." "Ha, thank you." "Do you know she's a bird?" "No I never noticed that."

Where are we? We’re in the depths (or the heart) of Kanye’s twisted fantasy now. The plinky-plonk piano of doom, those gorgeous big rich synthesiser lines, jagged pain coming out as a robot voice, all that territory. And in the video we’re at a surrealist feast with ballerinas, where there’s a terrible misunderstanding involving Kanye’s avian new girlfriend and a roast turkey on the dinner table.

What are we running from? FROM KANYE HIMSELF. Because lyrically we’re back where we started with Loleatta; we should save ourselves because the singer’s full of shit and scared of intimacy. But while Loleatta had an imperious surety about her, Kanye’s just in the mood to squat in his own self-pity and toast his own douchery.

Where shall we run to? As Kanye keeps finding out on his recent albums, there’s nowhere to go when it’s yourself that you’re trying to outrun. We can only run, as always, to music.

This post was never meant to be a tribute to anyone. But Loleatta Holloway died, in-between my writing the text on Monday and sorting out the pictures on Tuesday. So GOODBYE NICE VOICE LADY, I’m sorry I called you a cow, and you’d better have the last word:


Tied up with string: February


I’ve been enjoying the third series of Being Human a lot: less of the boring vampire politics and back to funny, creepy stories about ordinary people in odd worlds. Annie’s runaway train segue from Stop All The Clocks into the lyrics for Fight For This Love was a career highlight. But nothing compares to the best thing I’ve ever seen on CBeebies, the wonderful Rastamouse. We just have to establish why there are so many orphans in Mouseland and which trouserless mouse we fancy the most (Zoomer for me, cheers) and then we can all get on with our music and our cheese.


Never Let Me Go. Well that was as bleak and unsettling a film to be released for Valentine’s weekend as I can remember. (Spoilers ahead)

We’re used to seeing these sorts of worlds in films, the dreary paradise that’s maintained at a terrible cost. And if you start thinking about, say, Logan’s Run or The Truman Show, then you start rooting for our heroes to expose the terrible truth at the heart of the system, to make things better. But there’s no terrible truth to expose, because everyone knows and accepts what’s going on already. And the only rebellion is a polite enquiry as to the spirit of the world’s rules. The sense of resignation is devastating and the film makes us think hard about how, within a generation or so, unthinkable attitudes can become endemic.

Mind you I may as well be talking about Kazuo Ishiguro’s source novel with all that. As for the film itself, as well as the lovely subtle performances, I liked the way all the design choices — windswept, half empty seaside towns, NHS corridors, claustrophobic boarding shools — combined to suggest a world in stagnation.

SOME songs

Jamie Woon’s Lady Luck and Yasmin’s On My Own are both amazing. They’re picking the bits they like from the best of pop, dance and urban music to make something new. I’m looking forward to the albums – Jamie Woon in particular, on the basis of this and the beautiful, swampy ‘Night Air‘ from last year, could have me all a-cream.


I’ve been obsessed with urban foxes for a long time, and it’s making me excited that they seem to be getting bolder. I’m seeing them now in daylight, on quite crowded streets, and closer than ever before. Salute these mangy, scavenging creaturess, who make the best they can out of a rubbish world – they are us.

Here’s a picture of Romeo, the new folk hero, the fox who climbed the Shard.