You may have noticed in passing that the final of The Great British Bake Off was on yesterday. And what a feast of friendship and skill it was. Or, if you’ve been visiting the darknet - or Murdoch empire and Daily Mail as it’s more commonly known - what contrived PC-gone-bonkers rubbish. If you’re in the latter camp, Amanda Platell would like to invite you round for tea. I’d take your own cakes, if I were you. For everyone else, this week’s Six Picks brings you six songs about cake, the makers of cake that bake them, and their cake-making premises. Jó étvágyat!
Crowded House - Chocolate Cake
Is it a good idea to start with Chocolate Cake? Not always, it seems. In 1991, that’s exactly what Crowded House decided to do, putting the song right at the start of Woodface. It became their best-selling album, but not everywhere. In the US it barely made a dent.
Chocolate Cake, in hindsight, may well have undone us. It started off as a live song, which was tremendous fun to play. But as a first single a lot of people were put off by it. It was confrontational, which was good in a sense — people either loved it or they hated it. But maybe it gave an impression of the album which was quite remote from what the album actually was.Neil Finn
Tori Amos - Baker Baker
Pretty sure this isn’t about actual baking.
baker baker baking a cake
make me a day
make me whole again
and i wonder what’s in a day
what’s in your cake this time
The Auteurs - Chinese Bakery
Number 42 with a bang, one below previous single Lenny Valentino. At the time, Luke Haines was at odds with the prevailing Britpop winds, today similarly placed compared with the joy and happiness of The Great British Bake Off.
She’s going downtown
But she comes from uptown
Where the brokers and the dealers socialize
She’s going downtown
‘Cos shes a poet
And the Chinese bakery’s open all night
Small Faces - Song of a Baker
For their 1968 album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, Small Faces went for the full conceptual psychedelic treatment, including side two’s cycle of six songs narrated by Stanley Unwin, in his playful Unwinese style. Side one was more conventional, and contained the splendidly bucolic-rock stylings of Song of a Baker.
There’s wheat in the field
And water in the stream
And salt in the mine
And an aching in me.
I can longer stand and wonder
Cos I’m driven by this hunger.
So I’ll jug some water, bake some flour,
Store some salt and wait the hour.
Arctic Monkeys - The Bakery
Recorded during the Favourite Worst Nightmare sessions, The Bakery was in contention for a place on the album, but ended up as a b-side to Fluorescent Adolescent, the album’s second single. Not a lot of actual baking going on in this one.
I wish I’d seen you in the bakery
But if I’d seen you in the bakery
You probably wouldn’t have seen me
Razorcuts - Big Pink Cake
And back to whimsy, in the form of 1980s bedroom indie-pop. Razorcuts were Luton school friends Gregory Webster and Tim Vass; they named their band after a Buzzcocks bootleg, and recorded two singles for Subway (Big Pink Cake and Sorry to Embarrass You) before signing for Creation.
The Kinks - Village Green
Because GBBO ends outside the marquee, with a gathering of friends and family, in the spirit of the good old summer fete. In the grounds of a country house it may be, but the spirit evoked is very much that of the village green.