Posts Tagged ‘80s’

These are just some of the films that were on telly all the time when I was a nipper–I haven’t seen them since…..it’s like they’ve disappeared off the face of the Earth…

1.Zoltan,Hound of Dracula

Vampire dog eats unsuspecting American campers…what’s not to like?

2.Harvey

Starring James Stewart,this is the one about the bloke with the imaginary friend in the shape of a 6-foot rabbit,funnily enough called Harvey.I saw it once during the 70s,and that was my lot.Honestly….when was the last time you ever saw or heard this film even being mentioned?? (It’s a terrible film,anyway…but well,it’s the principle of the thing…..)

3.Harold & Maude

Bud Cort plays Harold,a teenager obsessed with death who drives a hearse and regularly fakes his own death by staging increasingly elaborate suicide attempts..He meets Maude,played by Ruth Gordon,and an unlikely love affair unfolds.This film was on television pretty much weekly when I was young.It’s an emo’s wet dream,as goth as can be…..time for a remake,think of all the pale young teenagers it could inspire.

4.The Tenant (Le Locataire)

Another cinematic one-night-stand,directed by and starring Roman Polanski (not exactly Mr.Popularity right now,but he has made some of my favourite films),it tells the tale of a chap who moves into an apartment recently vacated by a woman who committed suicide by jumping from the apartment window.Gradually he comes to realise that everyone around him is trying to drive him to take his own life in exactly the same way.A great film for the paranoid.

5.Paris,Texas

Back when Channel 4 was a proper channel that showed programmes and films that people actually wanted to watch,this Wim Wenders film was on telly every month without fail.Starring Nastassja Kinski (who was a source of much comfort to me in my lonely teenage years) in a fluffy pink jumper,and Harry Dean Stanton as her father who is looking for her,Paris,Texas is another film that has been lost down the TV company sofa.(Also worth a mention is the twangy Ry Cooder soundtrack….you know the one I mean even if you’ve never seen the film)

6.Sleuth

The original with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine this film is rarer than rocking horse doings…although throughout the 80s it was the only film the BBC had.

7.Walkabout

Starring a young Jenny Agutter,the actress single-handedly responsible for the boom in VCR sales during the 80s (but that’s another story),it tells the tale of a schoolgirl and her young brother lost in the Australian outback.Our Jenny “loosens her clothing” (well it’s hot in Oz) quite a lot…this film definitely DOES NOT feature any steam trains.You might think that there is a perfectly logical reason for all this wanton “nuddiness” …when you’re a teenage boy,you don’t need a reason.The BBC clearly needed no justification for showing this every Friday night on BBC 2.

8.The Anniversary

Official legend Bette Davis plays the eye-patch wearing,manipulative matriarch to three sons who come to her house for an annniversary party.One of the sons likes to wear women’s undies,another takes his missus to bed only to discover his mum’s glass eye waiting for them on the pillow.Our Bette is the ultimate bitch….she has to be seen to be believed.

9.The Incredible Melting Man

The title says it all,really.There’s this man……….and he melts.It’s excellent.

10.The Appointment

There are quite a few films with this title…the one I’m thinking of stars the late,great Edward Woodward.Unable to attend his doting daughter’s violin recital due to a business appointment,Ed experiences malevolent forces whilst driving to the meeting,brought into being by his psychic daughter.As you might expect,it ends badly.The boy Woodward never had much luck in films…

TTFN!!

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Bigmouth Strikes Again!

Posted: July 31, 2009 in Music
Tags: , , , ,

I chuffing love The Smiths.

But I never used to…

I’m like that with bands….I only start liking them 20 years after they’ve split up.

I don’t follow trends…I create them.Every 20 years my clothes come back into fashion.

In my school there was ONE Smiths fan..although “fan” didn’t really sum her up.

She was fekking obsessed…

A quiet,brainy,sensitive sort by nature (perfect Smiths fan),she would only come to life when pressed about her fave subject.She was often to be found comparing Morrissey’s lyrics to Shakespeare.

This would amuse us greatly,because even though we all hated Shakespeare,The Smiths were only a pop band…weren’t they?

Only a certain type of person followed them.

Those quiet,arty,sensitive types who society just didn’t understand…today we would call them Emo.And we would want to kill them…if they hadn’t already done it themselves,of course.

Smiths fans were Emos…but with better taste in music.

Maybe it was because they were so damn miserable. You had to be as miserable as them to be allowed to like them….being a fan was something you had to earn.You got the impression that all Morrissey wanted was to get his leg over,just once would do,he’s gagging for it,bless him.

Poor sod.

My first and most vivid memory of The Smiths was on Top of the Pops when Morrissey performed with a bunch of flowers in his back pocket.Everybody was talking about that the next day.

They were the ultimate indie band…and in my social circle indie,quite simply was a polite term for crap….and I was too busy listening to Duran Duran anyway.

I had a fairly extensive music collection in my tender,disillusioned teenage years.

NOTHING by the Smiths….not even a 7-inch… (stop sniggering at the back)

Until they released “Panic.”

Suddenly I was a fan…and so was everybody else.Cries of “Hang the DJ!” could be heard echoing through the city streets.admittedly it is a great song,but I soon realised I’d missed out on so much.

The classic jugga jugga (proper musical term) of  “How Soon Is Now?”,the despair of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”,the how-can-you-call-a song-that shock of “Girlfriend In A Coma” and “Shoplifters of the World Unite.”

“Last Night I Dreamed Somebody Loved Me”…been there,readers…been there.

Now a confession….I did actually turn a bit emo in the early 90s due to my new-found Smiths infatuation.

I even had a Cure record…Disintegration to be exact…and I did have a lot of black clothes…

I am not ashamed.I am no longer emo,but am often miserable as buggery…so I am still a fan.

If you are a lifelong fan,or if you are new to The Smiths,I shall leave you with this…

subliminal advertising...

This blog in no way endorses the excellent products produced by Apple

I have absolutely nothing to blog about today,so please forgive me if I make random shit up.

Ooh I know…seeing that this blog has been going for about a fortnight,how about a few updates to previous blogs with some funny photos that i’ve spent all bloody afternoon finding because I have no life?

No?

Sod ya then….because you’re getting it.

First up…a gross error of judgement.

Calendar fail…Alkie-Neighbour’s birthday party is TONIGHT.

The grannies have been ominously massing since midday.Worse still,they all know which house I live in,and I swear I saw a few of them look lustily in the general direction of my front door.

My life is in great danger…I saw the Octo-Drunk making sausage rolls earlier.

I fear the aged,wrinkled face at the door…the hideously gnarled hand upon my knocker.

I got her a card…stuck it through her box earlier,then legged it.I’ll pretend to be out for the rest of the evening,that should do it.

On a related not,I still have no light in the living room or landing.I haven’t been able to psych myself up to go and buy bulbs…although this may help me out this evening…hmmm…nice coincidence.

Talking of dolphins,I received a brochure in the post today about Community Education Courses.As I was about to funny-pictures-hermione-cat-knows-all-the-answersrecycle this delirious tome,I paused…and decided to give it a cursory glance.And I’m mightily glad I did because I am now going to sign up to a £50,ten-week course to teach me how to sell on eBay,while squeezing in a bit of pilates,yoga and introduction to massage…and perhaps a bit of lacemaking.

Ooh and belly-dancing…I need a bit of that.

On a more sobering note,it appears my last post caused a bit of a stir.Aspersions were cast on The Blog Dog’s kind and loving nature.

In short,that The Blog Dog was,in no uncertain terms,a “Bad Arse.”

I know,I know…I’m shocked too.

These accusations are completely false…The Blog Dog is NOT a “bad arse” of any kind,but would like to point out thatfpfanimal0 the extremely handsome young man who types out his blogs,known only as sabbathdei,is a complete and utter “bad arse” but nice with it.That is all.

And to bring this swiftly to a close because I fancy a cuppa,I’m still not married,still can’t drive,still love Duran Duran and am still totally single.

I thank you.

Next time…I’ll think of something serious to write about,I promise…

The Dalek Invasion Of My Bookcase

The Dalek Invasion Of My Bookcase

10.Watch the episode entitled DALEK,from the 9th Doctor’s season.After the opening credits,there is a scene where the characters are walking down a corridor.See that handsome young fellow with the clipboard? That’s Twitter’s very own @dean_cummings.Follow him on Twitter,he’s been in Doctor Who,the jammy blighter!!

9.Begonia Pope was the fruitily named woman who had the job of knitting Tom Baker’s scarf for his role as the 4th Doctor.A large quantity of wool was supplied to her,but sadly no pattern.Undaunted,she knitted the lot,and the rest is history.When they went round to her house to collect it they had to talk to her through the letterbox,they couldn’t open the door for scarf.

8.Doctor Who,a programme about time travel,even managed to predict the future itself-

Terror Of The Zygons,a 4th Doctor story,first aired in 1975.In one scene the Brigadier takes a phone call from the Prime Minister….to whom he replies “Yes Madam.” Cue much hilarity at the thought of there ever being a female PM.

The Daemons,a 3rd Doctor story from 1971,features a reporter from BBC3.Cue even more hilarity at the thought of the BBC ever being able to afford another channel.

Colony In Space,another 3rd Doctor story from 1971,features a scene where 2 technician types discuss the colony’s all round handyman whose name is Jim.This gives one of the characters the chance to say “Jim’ll fix it” and giggle at their funny BBC in-joke.

BUT…

Jim’ll Fix It starring Sir Jimmy Saville didn’t start until 1975…

7.Many scary moments are seared into my synapses.My fear of spiders comes from seeing the final Jon Pertwee story Planet of the Spiders at a far too young age(3)…although it’s proper title is Planet of the Big-Arse Spiders That’ll Will Scare A 4yr Old For Life.Another fun memory is visiting the now sadly defunct Who exhibition at Longleat at a very young age.I’d made it through the entrance ok,cunningly disguised as the TARDIS,happily gasping and oohing at the exhibits,ooh look a Dalek,ooh look a Zygon,ooh look a Krynoid,ooh shit it’s moving…cue swift exit crying and screaming.That was damn scary with all its tentacles and things moving and all that,even behind glass…because,after all,what’s a glass cabinet to something I had seen eat a house?

6.1983 Doctor Who’s 20th anniversary bash at Longleat…my mother and I queued for 3 hours to get Peter Davison’s autograph on my novelisation of  The Visitation,only to have him give me an (admittedly polite) ear-bashing because I dared to ask for a signed photo as well…you couldn’t have both apparently.Anyway I was too dumb-struck with adulation and fear to argue.And while we were waiting in line,Anthony Ainley,who played The Master,sauntered past and said to everyone “I hope you won’t have to wait too long” causing my mum to have a bit of a hot flush.AND I saw Bessie AND Sarah-Jane AND got my photo taken with a Sontaran AND…oooh loads of things…

5.The companions,specifically the female ones,were a great comfort to me throughout my teenage years.

Moving swiftly on…

4.Theme music.The Doctor Who theme was composed by Ron Grainer in 1963,and arranged by Delia Derbyshire of the Radiophonic Workshop.She used magnetic oscillators,tape loops and reverse effects to produce a unique sound that was unlike anything heard before,and is one of the first television themes to be created solely by electronic means.Much of the Doctor Who theme was constructed by recording the individual notes from electronic sources one by one onto magnetic tape, cutting the tape with a razor blade to get individual notes on little pieces of tape a few centimetres long and sticking all the pieces of tape back together one by one to make up the tune. This was a laborious process which took weeks.

Retro,yet futuristic….like the Doctor himself.

3.Earthshock.This 5th Doctor story starts off happily enough with a bunch of space soldier types in unrealistic uniforms doing something in a cave and hiding from killer robots.You would have been forgiven for thinking that this was going to be just another typical Doctor Who story.

But you would have been wrong.Very bloody wrong.

As the first episode draws to a close,we get to see through one of the robot’s point-of-view…and we see who’s been watching all this time…

The Cybermen.

NOBODY knew this was going to happen…it was an awesome unexpected moment,although I had suspected it earlier in the episode,because I wore glasses.This would not be possible today,because all the big moments are revealed months in advance…just imagine if you can a world without the internet.From this moment on,anything could happen…

And Holy Jelly Babies it did….they killed off a companion.Adric was stone buggering dead.

I didn’t cry though.Not much,anyway.

2.Jon Pertwee.There have only been 2 men in the history of the planet Earth that have been able to pull off the ruffled shirt look…Jimi Hendrix and Jon Pertwee.He is the coolest Doctor ever (but not the best).In his first ever episode,he steals a car.He liked to beat up his enemies with Venusian aikido.He was in the “one with the giant maggots”.Pertwee was the toughest of the Doctors but also the most stylish-he was more concerned with what he was going to wear than with learning his lines.Second best Doctor.

1.”It’s the end…but the moment has been prepared for…” Those are Tom Baker’s last words in his final story Logopolis.The 4th Doctor,the best,boldest,biggest,brashest,most bohemian and let’s face it,most often drunk Doctor Who ever was dying,having fallen from a radio telescope.A flashback shows his former companions…it was like a flashback of my own life….it felt like a part of me was dying as well,and I was only 10.Tom Baker had been an integral part of my young life for the past seven years…and when you’re that young,seven years is a bloody long time.

Logopolis is his finest hour.He looks absolutely knackered throughout it…the pressures of being a living legend taking their toll…ready to hang his scarf up for good.It’s the best ever regeneration scene…only fitting for the best Doctor.

And the music during this scene makes me well up every time.

Every time.

10.OOPS – After failing to die in spectacular fashion in a yacht race,Simon Le Bon appeared on a Saturday morning children’s television programme to talk about his chilling ordeal.During a live phone-in,a child asked him what was the scariest thing he experienced whilst stuck in a capsized yacht in freezing water for hours.His reply?

“Seeing the cook’s arse at 8 o’clock in the morning.”

He was banned from kid’s telly for life.

9.Lyrics.

New Moon On Monday-Shake up the picture the lizard mixture/With your dance on the eventide

The Chauffeur-Way down the lane away,living for another day/The aphids swarm up in the drifting haze

Notorious-And who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit?/Don’t ask me to bleed about it

Genius.

8.They promoted and lived a lifestyle that most people couldn’t even dream of.They married supermodels when all we could manage was Sharon from the Co-op.And they were from Birmingham.

7.Warren Cuccurullo-Former “member” of the band,in 2001 he marketed the “Rock Rod”,a self-modelled dildo that sold through his website.Well if you’ve got it,flaunt it.

6.Nick Rhodes – I am not ashamed to say he was something of a role-model during my teenage years,due to him being so sodding arty.He hung out with Andy Warhol and his chums,and his parents owned a toy store.He did strange things to keyboards and quite frankly is THE sound of Duran Duran.

5.Pop Quiz – Duran’s superiority over Spandau Ballet was proven beyond all doubt on the field of battle,the celebrity music gameshow Pop Quiz.The scores were tied.It was a tense moment.It all hinged on whether the answer Martin Kemp had just given was correct.

It was not.

Of course it wasn’t Union of the Snake,it was New Moon On Monday,you fool.

The ‘Ran won.Spandau Ballet never released another record,and Martin Kemp had to hide in Eastenders due to death threats from distraught Spandau Ballet fans…both of them.

4.Princess Diana ‘s favourite band.This made a difference…big time.The only band with Royal Approval.Like HP sauce.They played at her tribute concert by special request of her family.

3.Arena – Quite simply the greatest live album ever.I bought this the day it came out.It never left the tape deck.It’s probably still in there.But they shouldn’t have put Wild Boys on it.

2.Career Suicide – Solo projects,Bond themes,doing a cover version of White Lines and 911 Is A Joke,marrying Amanda De Cadenet…time and again they’ve shot themselves in the foot but managed to hobble to the hospital and get patched up.The Arcadia album was the best album Duran Duran never made,A View To A Kill is the only Bond film theme to go to No.1 in America,and they don’t even care that everyone laughed at their covers album.And John Taylor even had the good sense to divorce Amanda De Cadenet…she was on The Word,you know….remember that?

1.Videos – They invented the music video.

Wild Boys was voted the Best Video in the Smash Hits awards 3 years running,even when it wasn’t in the charts.

Girls On Film had naked ladies in it.I didn’t even know what a naked lady was until I saw that.

The Chauffeur,likewise.Nobody knows what it’s about,but well,see above.

Hungry Like The Wolf had an elephant in it.

A View To A Kill features the band.At the end,a girl asks Simon Le Bon

“Aren’t you…?

“Yes…Le Bon…Simon Le Bon.”

This is a cringe-makingly awful moment,but he knows it.That’s what makes it great.

The Reflex- That bit with the water is frigging awesome

Save A Prayer – filmed on a beach.Probably in Barbados…I’d never got further than Blackpool….they were better than us in so many ways.

And finally,if you had to boil down Duran Duran’s greatness to one word,that word would be …

Rio

Next time-Does this look infected…?

Where’s my flying car?

Posted: July 23, 2009 in Stuff & nonsense
Tags: , , ,
State Of The Art...25 years ago.

Acceptable in the 80s...

The other day,I came across an online article about old technology,audio equipment specifically.It featured a cassette deck,which gave me a warm glow of nostalgia,memories of listening to the Top 40 on Radio 1 on a Sunday evening came flooding back.

The article went on to list the various features and functions of the tape deck such as Dolby Noise Reduction,High-Speed dubbing and Auto-Reverse…

Then suddenly I was gripped by a momentary clench of fear…

Why?

Because I couldn’t remember what Auto-Reverse meant.

This was a serious turn of events…because there was a time when such terms as auto-reverse were my ENTIRE life.

(For anyone reading this who has yet to start shaving,auto-reverse means that when the cassette reaches the end of one side,the tape deck automatically plays the other side without you having to physically take out the tape and turn it over yourself….look,it was all we had back then.)

Cassettes were THE listening/recording medium of the 80s.LP’s were still available of course but were not as convenient as tapes which could be listened to in your bedroom/ a car/on a Sony Walkman (ask your grandad)/recorded over almost endlessly.OK maybe they didn’t sound as good as CDs (ask your dad) but they hadn’t been invented yet.Well,they had but they hadn’t caught on.

I had hundreds of tapes…albums I couldn’t afford to buy I borrowed off my friends,made a recording on a blank tape (ooh just saying that…”blank tape” …makes me feel all funny inside…) I didn’t buy singles,I just taped them off the radio.And before you ask,yes, this was not entirely legal,and forced the record companies to print the phrase “home taping is killing music” on cassette versions of their albums at that time.Think illegal mp3 downloading,but retro.

I played them to death.

So why did i forget the very words I used to live by?

Because I’ve spent the last 5 years or so in thrall to the technology of the future.

Because we are living in the future,even though we’re all waiting impatiently for our flying cars,holidays on the moon and robot sex slaves….no wait that last one’s just me.

I vividly remember the release of a tape deck in which you could put 2 cassettes,play one and tape it onto a blank tape in the other slot.This was broadband…the future had arrived.I went through half a dozen such devices,wore them out.

Then…Sharp (yes I can still remember seeing the brochure…my friend sent away for it,we were so amazed) released IT.

It was a portable,2-deck cassette player….but the tape decks were BACK-TO-BACK….

SODDING WI-FI,I TELL YOU….we thought it had fallen through a hole in the space-time continuum,it was so futuristic.

(This was pretty much the highlight of my life in the 80s…but enough of that.)

Nowadays,I take such techno marvels as itunes and digital cameras and  in my stride,but I still expect it to work better than it does.I get stressed out if a webpage doesn’t load quickly enough,if my ipod crashes or the battery runs out on my iphone.The future is here…but it’s not quite here enough.

I have forgotten the time when I got pleasure from simple things like buying blank tapes,carefully writing the names of songs on the inlay cards and sitting poised over the pause button to begin recording a song on the radio without getting Bruno Brookes’ voice (try your mum for that one.)Space was at a premium then,a C90 cassette could hold 45 minutes of music on each side…that’s about 24 songs altogether…not quite up there with an iPod Touch.

Nevertheless the wave of bittersweet nostalgia  soon passed,and I went back to listening to the 10,000 songs I have on my iTunes…..because I love technology,adore gadgets.I don’t know how we ever got by without mobile phones,ipods,PCs,laptops and the like.Technology has its moment,and then is gone….replaced by something better.Only recently,we saw HD-DVD go to the Great Techno Graveyard In The Sky,to spend eternity with Betamax and 8 Track Cartridge.

We shall not mourn their passing…..because we now have something better,and better is always best.

Isn’t it?

Next time—Cocking A Snook