The Thing I Miss


Is (almost?) never being surprised any more

I have thousands of wonderful tracks that I know and love that I can listen to

But I’m almost never surprised any more

I’m watching Jools Holland – I saw the Macabees about whom I know nothing and care less, then the Stereophonics who seemed understandably popular but unsurprising then a slightly funky lady called Izzy Something who was ok but unsurprising, then Richard Thompson who was as absolutely lovely and tasteful as he always is

But not in the slightest surprising

Maybe someone could creep up behind me and shout loudly?


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

23 thoughts on “The Thing I Miss

  1. I was thinking about being surprised. In the early 1990s Acid House and the Bristol lot (Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky) surprised me. I really liked the Bristols. In recent years I loved Amy Winehouse but it wasn’t exactly a surprise. I can put up with the aches and pains of old age. But I wish I could still be surprised.

  2. I thought Liam Bailey was ok.

  3. Last week Rikki Lee Jones was great, especially with Jools’ musicians backing her. Also the Foals were good.

  4. I’ve always loved The Holy Modal Rounders, and believe Peter Stampfel is a damn genius. On Saturday I promoted a show featruring the Jeffrey Lewis& Peter Stampfel Band. Stampfel wasn’t there… he’d fallen and broken his hip, and is in hospital in Derry (not Londonderry – it’s DERRY..) He’s 76 years young and still amazing. HOWEVER… Jeffrey Lewis and his band the Jrams were absolutely wonderful. Jeffrey Lewis – a brilliant songwriter on acoustic guitar and vocal, Heather Wagner on snare drum & vocals, Mem Pahl on bass & vocals and Franic Rozycki (from U.K band The Wave Pictures) on mandolin. A bit like a totally manic Reet Petite and Gone! Jeffrey is a superb cartoonist, and at one stage projected images on the stage – in this case part of his history of the world project – “TheCuban missile crisis”, over which he recited a piece. he’d written. Check him out. You’d love him Dave! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUkREr_4w0M

  5. Here’s Jeffrey Lewis with Peter Stampfel!!!!

  6. Good fun – but not surprising – not like that FIRST encounter with Howlin Wolf or Captain Beefheart or indeed Bob Dylan or John Coltrane or Jimi Hendrix or Ian Dury or Madness – and for folks slightly older than me, hearing “Heartbreak Hotel” for the first time – or perhaps going to see Rory Gallagher and encountering the unknown Roxy Music as the support act which forces you to face all your prejudices and figure whether they’re ok …

  7. I was surprised when I first heard Portishead. First heard them on a TV series “The Vice” For me their first album was the best. Glory Box later covered my John Martyn. Another chap I’ve only just discovered who really did surprise me is Chris Whitely. I must have missed him first time round. Also I’m still surprised when listening to Tom Waits. Matter of fact was listening to him on YouTube last night. I really don’t want to get old and cynical.

    • Yes indeedy……Chris Whitely , one of those talents that ‘pop up’ from time to time. He’s been on my radar since 1971 (Living With The Law) .I have a few of his C Ds in the collection , and some strong names getting session credits…..Well spotted mate….

      “Surprise Surprise”…….As I run lights at Womad every year , I regularly get a musical surprise but never know what part of the world it might come from……………….Here’s a link to this years ‘most exciting’ for me…..Beautiful 30yr old talent from Israel . who has been around for a while it seems

      I would also like it known that I have a complaint about the person that decided to label whatever it is that’s included in the current music genre of R & B……………..Not in my book buddy !!!!

  8. I’m not bothered about being old – I am, it’s just a fact. As for cynical, well I wouldn’t be doing Pompey Pop, running the Skiffle Orchestra, rehearsing another newish band, and listening to music constantly if I was cynical. I’m not cynical at all (other than about the Tory Government). I’m just not surprised.

  9. Actually there is one other thing I am cynical about – and used to care about deeply – professional football, especially at the top level.

  10. I had a pal in the 1960s whose dad used to play us lots of jazz so I heard Basie (even saw Ellington etc) as a teenager. It surprised and delighted me then but it doesn’t surprise me now – it’s familiar

  11. I used to be surprised at all sorts of things in music
    I was surprised when standing in the ‘Cage’dressed in my favourite mohair suit I first clapped eyes on Pink Floyd even though I was already into Hippy drugs!
    I was surprised when I first heard Doctor John The Night Tripper
    I was surprised when I heard the Slits version of’I heard it through the grapevine ‘
    These days I am surprised that young people are prepared to accept the shit that’s served up to them !
    Also that Sam Smith has won Grammys and Brits and is referred to as a Soul singer !
    At how deluded X factor contestants are!
    Also the lack of rebellion among the trendy bearded ,tight suited mini Kafkas of Hoxton and Shoreditch!

  12. Well the older I get the more I cease to be surprised at anything but must confess that some of the music I have searched for following you guys mentioning it on the blog has been very pleasant and surprising to me. It is so easy to miss artists completely and when you finally discover them you go and listen to more of their music. I never heard The Specials until a few weeks ago but really enjoyed them What really surprised me and found very enjoyable was a couple of years ago stumbling upon André Rieu. Proof that you can really have fun with that kind of music. Just great.

  13. not a surprise,but buried among Lonnie Donegan’s chewing gum and dustmen is some lovely stuff to compare with any of the blues greats.(i,m.h.o.) What about the haunting “aint no more cane on the Brazos”?

  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye_Wi8RAAX0 A good opportunity I think to see if anybody else ever heard these guys……
    Just another one of those should’ve but didn’t bands…………..albums….C STAGE /DOUBLE A /INDIA /BULLETS THROUGH THE BARRIER /MOTOR MOTOR…………………THE MOVIES…..rated high in my book….

  15. Here’s a nice surprise

  16. I was surprised when I first heard Thelonius Monk courtesy of Nick Stoneham’s brother. Still am.

  17. Have you really tried to get into classical music, Dave? Maybe some surprises there! The last time pop/rock ‘surprisd’ I had was the Go-Betweens.

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