How Chas and Dave ended up on an Eminem track

Gertcha lugs round this

Some sniffy reactions to Chas and Dave's appearance on the Today programme this morning, but I don't care (I don't care, I don't care if he comes round here …) The doyens of pub rock can do little wrong in my opinion. And if you don't trust that, maybe you'll trust the opinion of Eminem. He sampled their work for his first hit ‘My Name Is …'

How Chas and Dave ended up on an Eminem track

Or rather he sampled Labi Siffre's work, in the form of the track I Got The ... from Siffre's 1975 album Remember My Name. But who are two of the session musicians on that track? None other than Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock, in the days before they teamed up and consigned their surnames to obscurity. Chas played guitar, Dave bass.

Chas confirmed the story when I checked it during research for my book The Importance of Being Trivial. The first he heard of his connection with rap royalty, he told me, was from his son. ‘He came into the room and said, “I can't believe it - my dad's on a worldwide hit!"' What about royalties? ‘We ain't had any yet,' said Chas, ‘but someone's chasing it up. We've signed something, anyway.'

You can hear the track in question here (the relevant section starts at 2'08"). And once you have, you'll never listen to Rabbit in the same way again ...

 

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Big Ben

On a visit to Big Ben, I was told that if you stand at the bottom of the tower with a portable radio and listen to the chimes on Radio 4 (they still transmit them live), you hear them on the radio before you hear them ‘for real’. I couldn’t believe it – but was intrigued enough to try it for myself. And you know what? It’s absolutely true. The bongs come out of the radio a fraction of a second before they reach your ears from the top of the tower. It’s something so silly, so counter-intuitive, that you have to tell people. (Well, I did.) Researching the explanation, I found that it’s because radio waves travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) rather than the 700 or so miles per hour at which sound waves travel. The signal travelling down the wire from the microphone to the BBC goes at the speed of light too. Hence the radio version overtaking the real one.

I realised that this would be the perfect way to teach the principle in school physics lessons. Instead of a boring teacher droning on that ‘radio waves travel at the speed of light’, illustrate it with this beautiful and quirky little fact. The kids will remember it then. I certainly would have done if my physics teacher had taken this approach. As it was I had to wait until I heard a piece of so-called ‘trivia’ in my thirties.