Chart for stowaways – May 2021

May saw some reissues piling into the album chart – here’s the chart for 22 May:

  1. Erasure – Chorus
  2. The Human League – Octopus
  3. The Future Sound of London – Cascade 2020
  4. New Order – Education Entertainment Recreation
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Discovery
  6. Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune
  7. Air – Love 2
  8. Pet Shop Boys – Concrete
  9. Erasure – Tomorrow’s World
  10. Voodoo Child – The End of Everything

Chart for stowaways – April 2021

Some very old oldies clogged up the chart in April – here are the singles from midway through the month:

  1. Tiësto – The Business
  2. Riton/Nightcrawlers/Mufasa – Friday
  3. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  4. Morrissey & David Bowie – Cosmic Dancer
  5. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Enola Gay
  6. William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio for Strings
  7. Alesso & Armin Van Buuren – Leave A Little Love
  8. White Town – Wanted
  9. New Order – Blue Monday
  10. Moby – Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

Stowaway World Cup – Week 4

Well, what a week that was. If you cared, which you probably didn’t.

Throughout May, we’ve been playing the Stowaways World Cup, an entirely pointless contest in which we pitted 32 of the most-mentioned artists on this blog against one another, based on a mixture of randomness and their past credentials, with a very unhealthy dose of biased refereeing.

There were disappointments right from the start – Sparks could have easily progressed to the latter stages, but never managed to win a single game. The Beloved repeatedly lost their only player due to fouls (that was, in retrospect, a little unfair, so the rules were changed for later rounds). Even Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark failed to progress beyond the group stages due to performing slightly less well than Röyksopp.

The group of 16 saw surprises too, with two group winners and blog stalwarts being knocked out by group runners-up. By the last few matches, the finalists were increasingly closely matched. Erasure suffered a run of games ending with penalty shootouts, Pet Shop Boys, who had had a fairly clear run to the final, snuck an extra goal in at the end of extra time, and won the final, taking away the not-coveted Stowaway Cup. For the record, these were our final top four:

  1. Pet Shop Boys
  2. Erasure
  3. Depeche Mode
  4. New Order

Which is a pretty respectable result. We’ll take a short break on this blog now, but we’ll be back in a week or so with the regular schedule of posts.

Stowaway World Cup – 3rd & 4th Place Runoff

Here we are at last, at the battle for third and fourth place, where Depeche Mode meet New Order. Both slipped out of the semi-finals by the narrowest of narrow margins, and both have a similar pedigree, so this could be anybody’s game. Let’s see how things look after the first half.

  1. 3+3. No goal.
  2. 5+1. No goal.
  3. 1+1. No goal.
  4. 5+2. No goal.
  5. 1+2. No goal.

Well, it seems there isn’t a lot of enthusiasm to go out and win this game – both teams are playing defensively. Hopefully the second half will give us a little more drama!

  1. 3+3. No goal.
  2. 1+2. No goal.
  3. 1+6. No goal.
  4. 3+3. No goal.
  5. 5+2. No goal.

Still nothing! We’ve only had a couple of goalless matches in the whole competition before now, so now we have to go to extra time.

  1. 3+1. No goal.
  2. 4+2. Finally! Goal for most single releases. Depeche Mode have 55, while New Order have 44, plus 5 EPs. Goal for DM. 1-0.
  3. 6+5. Things are hotting up. Goal for most impressive haircut. Easy goal for some of Depeche Mode‘s eighties looks. 2-0.
  4. 2+3. Goal for highest number of views of a post on this blog. That would be the Beginner’s guide to Depeche Mode, with over 600 views. 3-0.

So, finally, after extra time, an exhilarating 3-0 win for Depeche Mode. They take third place overall, pushing New Order into fourth.

Stowaway World Cup – Semi-Final 2

In the second semi-final, Pet Shop Boys take on New Order. Both have won all their games to date, so this really is a battle between two giants. Each has particular strengths and weaknesses which could make all the difference in this game. Let’s see what happens in the first half.

  1. 3+5. No goal.
  2. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. So much for dice throws – this seems to have come up nearly every game since it was introduced after the group stages. In this instance, it does little good – neither team has had any particular struggles, so the referee rules that this is no goal.
  3. 6+4. That’s a foul. 4+4. The referee was a bit confused, so no penalty.
  4. 1+2. No goal.
  5. 1+6. No goal.

For the first time in the last couple of rounds, the game is scoreless at the halfway point. There was a bit of fumbling during the second and third rolls, but nothing much happened otherwise. Hopefully there will be a bit more offensive action in the second half.

  1. 1+6. No goal.
  2. 1+3. No goal.
  3. 5+1. No goal.
  4. 6+3. Goal! Finally! Goal for most innovative recording. That has to be Blue Monday, so New Order take a very late lead. 0-1.
  5. 2+6. Goal for percentage of members who have remained. Pet Shop Boys equalise. 1-1.

So, after a couple of late goals, we’re still on level pegging. Maybe extra time can help decide this one.

  1. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. Pet Shop Boys have 65, while New Order have just 44. So PSB lead 2-1.
  2. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Little could ever top Music Complete, so New Order equalise. 2-2.
  3. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). There’s one more goal chance after this, but it might be the decider. The referee is struggling, as neither has a lot of onstage presence. He rules no goal.
  4. 3+6. No goal.

There’s little change in the score after extra time, so this match goes to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

  1. Pet Shop Boys: 1+2. No goal.
  2. New Order: 6+5. No goal.
  3. Pet Shop Boys: 3+1. Goal! 3-2.
  4. New Order: 6+6. Goal! 3-3.
  5. Pet Shop Boys: 1+5. Goal! 4-3.
  6. New Order: 4+5. No goal.
  7. Pet Shop Boys: 3+1. Goal! 5-3.
  8. New Order: 6+1. No goal, and New Order can no longer catch up.

So that’s it, decided by penalties. Pet Shop Boys advance to the final to play Erasure, and New Order take on Depeche Mode in the decider for third and fourth place.

Stowaway World Cup – Quarter Final 4

Now we reach the last of our quarter finals, where David Bowie meets New Order. Both teams walked the group stages, and both teams led their last stage match by three goals. So both are very strong contenders – which of them will progress? Here’s the first half:

  1. 2+5. Early goal attempt. Goal for best artwork. The referee rules that this has to be Music Complete. 0-1.
  2. 3+4. No goal.
  3. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Music Complete again. 0-2.
  4. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. 1-2.
  5. 2+5. Foul. 5+2. Penalty and a chance to equalise for David Bowie, which misses.

So, an aggressive first half for goal scoring, with New Order slightly ahead at half time. Let’s see what happens now in the second half:

  1. 5+6. No goal.
  2. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). Tough. Very tough. I think we have to hand this to Bowie. 2-2.
  3. 1+4. No goal.
  4. 5+2. No goal.
  5. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. This one keeps coming up, and will decide this match. The referee rules that it’s New Order, who scored considerably fewer goals in the group stages, while conceding only one less.

Was the referee biased? Maybe. New Order progress to the semi-finals, where they will meet Pet Shop Boys in a couple of days’ time.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 3

After the relative excitement of Erasure versus Kraftwerk yesterday, this seems a good time to take a quick breather. The last week has seen us work through the group of 16 and half of the quarter finals, so we now know half of our semi-finalists. We’ve had a number of shocks and surprises, and there are two quarter finals left:

  1. Pet Shop Boys versus Air, which will be played tomorrow
  2. David Bowie versus New Order, coming up on Wednesday

So this is what the semi-finals look like right now:

  1. Depeche Mode versus Erasure, which will be on Thursday
  2. Pet Shop Boys or Air, versus David Bowie or New Order, on Friday

Hopefully Depeche Mode‘s match against Erasure won’t involve another penalty shoot-out, as Erasure‘s last two games have been thrilling, nail-biting, events. Would have been, anyway, if this contest were actually of any interest to anybody.

Saturday will see the battle for third and fourth place, and the all-unimportant final is this Sunday. So let’s enter the last week of this “thrilling” competition, and see how it all pans out.

Stowaway World Cup – Group of 16 – Games 7 & 8

Game 7: David Bowie versus The Future Sound of London

Surely Bowie has to be the favourite – he decisively led Group G, and plays the runner-up of Group H here.

  1. 5+1. No goal.
  2. 3+4. No goal.
  3. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. 1-0.
  4. 2+2. No goal.
  5. 4+5. Goal for most hits on UK album chart. 2-0.
  6. 4+5. Foul. 5+3. David Bowie is awarded a penalty, and scores! 3-0.
  7. 5+3. No goal.
  8. 5+5. No goal.
  9. 3+5. No goal.
  10. 1+2. No goal. Bowie wins decisively, again, 3-0.

Game 8: New Order versus The Human League

Two behemoths of 80s music, the winner of Group H and runner-up of Group G.

  1. 6+2. Goal for best album. That’s probably Music Complete or Secrets. 1-0.
  2. 4+1. Goal for most weeks on UK single chart. Blue Monday helped a lot. 2-0.
  3. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. 3-0.
  4. 1+2. No goal.
  5. 3+3. No goal.
  6. 5+5. No goal.
  7. 5+6. No goal.
  8. 4+6. Goal for most weeks on UK album chart. Dare decides this late goal for The Human League. 3-1.
  9. 2+3. Goal for highest number of views of a post on this blog. That’s New Order, scoring again with the post about their 1988 Demos (590 views). 4-1.
  10. 3+1. No goal. Easy win for New Order, 4-1.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 2

So, we reach the end of the group stages, in this entirely pointless competition. There were a few surprises. Group A saw Jean-Michel Jarre and Madonna and Yazoo advance. Group B was led by Kylie Minogue and Depeche Mode, while Sparks crashed out without a single win. Group C was led by Erasure and Massive Attack, and Group D by Kraftwerk and Goldfrapp. Group E saw The Beloved knocked out, with Pet Shop Boys and I Monster leading the pack. Group F was led by Air and Röyksopp, with OMD and Enigma knocked out. Group G was led by David Bowie and The Human League, and Group H by New Order and The Future Sound of London.

So those are the Group of 16, with some tricky games coming up this week, and at the end of this week we’ll also enter the all-unexciting quarter finals. So it’s a good time for some tweaks to the rules for the remainder of the competition.

Going forward:

  1. You need an outright win – no more draws. We’ll have 4 throws of extra time, followed by penalties.
  2. 6+6 is no longer a foul. Instead, a repeated throw is a foul, but only if it was going to be a goal attempt. If it’s a pair, we’ll ignore it, but if not, the foul was committed by the higher-scoring side (left = left team, right = right team). If the sum of the dice is even, it’s a scored penalty.
  3. To reduce the number of goal chances, any double throws are no goal from now on.
  4. Most of the goal-scoring categories will change to a new set of spurious deciders.

Stowaway World Cup – Group Stages – Games 37-40

Game 37: Pet Shop Boys versus I Monster

  1. 5+6. No goal.
  2. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Easy goal for Pet Shop Boys. 1-0.
  3. 1+3. No goal.
  4. 1+3. No goal.
  5. 5+4. No goal.
  6. 4+6. Goal for total weeks on UK album chart. 2-0.
  7. 5+2. No goal.
  8. 2+4. Re-roll. 2+4. Re-roll. 5+5. No goal.
  9. 4+4. Goal for number of UK top ten hits. 3-0.
  10. 2+4. Re-roll. 5+2. No goal. Pet Shop Boys win 3-0.

Game 38: Röyksopp versus Air

  1. 2+2. Goal for number of studio albums to date. 0-1.
  2. 4+2. Goal for most years between first and last hit. Röyksopp can claim 2001-2014, and Air just 1998-2004. 1-1.
  3. 6+4. Goal for highest number of search engine results. Air cheat a bit by having such a common name, and I couldn’t really get the results down to a sensible number, so we’ll say no goal.
  4. 3+3. No goal.
  5. 4+3. Goal for highest number of remixes of another artist. Looks likely to be Röyksopp, so 2-1.
  6. 2+6. Goal for number of permanent members. No goal.
  7. 6+1. Goal for number of BRIT Award wins. No goal.
  8. 3+3. No goal.
  9. 1+6. No goal.
  10. 5+2. No goal. Röyksopp sneak a 2-1 win over the leaders of their group.

Game 39: David Bowie versus Leftfield

  1. 5+1. No goal.
  2. 1+6. No goal.
  3. 6+1. Goal for number of BRIT Award wins. 1-0.
  4. 4+2. Goal for most years between first and last hit. 2-0.
  5. 1+2. No goal.
  6. 5+5. No goal.
  7. 2+3. Goal for quality of first album. Easy goal for Leftfield. 2-1.
  8. 6+1. Re-roll. 4+6. Goal for total weeks on UK album chart. 3-1.
  9. 4+5. Goal for number of UK hit albums. 4-1.
  10. 1+6. No goal. Bowie, undefeated in his group, wins 4-1.

Game 40: New Order versus The Radiophonic Workshop

  1. 6+2. Goal for highest estimated total sales. 1-0.
  2. 2+5. Goal for best artwork. New Order, for Music Complete and probably various others. 2-0.
  3. 1+3. No goal.
  4. 1+5. No goal.
  5. 5+2. No goal.
  6. 4+2. Goal for most years between first and last hit. 3-0.
  7. 1+2. No goal.
  8. 1+2. No goal.
  9. 2+6. Goal for number of permanent members. Since The Radiophonic Workshop has been something of a revolving door, this is likely New Order, but it would be near-impossible to verify. Since it won’t make a difference to the result, we’ll rule this to be no goal.
  10. 6+1. Goal for number of BRIT Award wins. New Order, with one. They win 4-0.