Simian Substitute Site for June 2023: The Infinite Monkey Theorem
Simian Substitute Site for July 2023: Monkey Pub

The Civil List

I do.On this day, June 14th 2023, The Belated Birthday Girl and I are marking twenty-two years of doing that thing we do. Regular readers may well be aware of that anniversary, and wondering if we’ve planned anything special for it.

Well, on this day, June 14th 2023, The Belated Birthday Girl and I have entered into a civil partnership, because it’d be too much admin to have to maintain two different anniversaries a year. The ceremony was held in one of our favourite places of worship, the Lexi cinema in north west London, in front of a small audience of friends and family.

You probably have questions at this point, and I’m here to answer your most pressing one: what was the party playlist like?

Actually, there were three of them.

The BBG and I had ground rules, obviously. The big one was that any music we played during the big day had to be by artists that we'd seen perform live during our twenty-two years as a gig-going unit. We appreciate that for some people, combining this with a strict one-song-per-artist policy would be limiting. In our case, we started putting together a spreadsheet of people and bands we'd seen in concert, and had to grudgingly stop writing down names once we'd hit two hundred. The BBG insisted on a second rule: no songs based around misery and/or heartbreak, as we're trying to have fun here. It made things tricky in parts - do you know how hard it is to find a nice Elvis Costello song? - but we managed it. (I added a sub rule to this: no songs by acknowledged wifebeaters. Sorry, Dizzee.)

We banged them all onto Spotify, carefully balancing intros and outros so that the whole thing flows really well once you've configured the app to do a five-second crossfade between tracks. Try it for yourself...


The music to be played while people were entering the venue, before all of the serious admin started. Quiet, noodly vibes, including a couple of our mushier favourites. FYI, the actual walk down the aisle was accompanied by The Living Sea from Monkey: Journey To The West, Damon Albarn's Chinese opera from all those years ago.


With said admin out of the way, we can crank up the tempo a little bit. This list accompanied the first post-partnership rush to the bar, so everyone could get a drink prior to our Surprise Film screening. Hey, we'd hired a cinema for seven hours, so why not show a film? Sure, the 'surprise' aspect of this made a lot of people very suspicious as to what sort of atrocity we were about to force them to watch. Well, surprise!


And then it all seriously kicks off. We built a deliberate rise and fall into this three-and-a-half hour set: a slow build at the start because the first hour would be accompanying the construction and consumption of a buffet (provided by the brilliant people at Parlour), and a distinct winding down at the end because we had a strict curfew at the venue. In between, it's the proverbial All Bangers All The Time, at least by the measure of what The BBG and I both consider to be bangers. The transition between Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Nick Cave just might be some of our finest work together so far.

Anyway, sorry if we didn't invite you: we only had a limited amount of space to play with. And sorry if you were thinking that this site's 25th birthday was going to be the biggest thing we celebrated here this year.



Thoroughly pleased to see both YBBB and Carter on the list, as we saw both with you.
I was wondering who did the Floyd cover. Interesting.
... and you've seen Cybill Shephard ...?!


Shine On You Crazy Diamond was a late addition. We've seen Christy a few times, thought it'd be nice to have a tune of his on the list, dug through his back catalogue on Spotify, and that was the first time we found out he'd recorded a cover. There's a lot of Floyd in my teenage years, so it got around the problem of us not having been at the one gig they've played since 2001. As for Cybill, she did a cabaret show years ago at the Pizza Express in Soho. We think it was a fun night, more for her personality than her singing.

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