Posts Tagged ‘retro’


Travelling through the less reputable nooks and crannies of Sky telly late one night,I came across this little gem from the dim and distant days of the 1970s-

Return Of The Saint,starring hopeless Roger Moore wannabe,Ian Ogilvy.

It was awful….but I can remember watching every single episode back in the day,but my excuse is that I was young and impressionable.

I even had a Corgi model of The Saint’s Jaguar XJS—the coolest car on television at the time.I used to thrill to the exciting theme tune,marvel at the cutting edge special effects used in the title sequence (I have included this below so you can either laugh at it’s naffness or cringe because you remember it)

Running for only one series consisting of 24 episodes between September 1978 and March 1979 (I looked it up,I’m not THAT sad),Return Of The Saint was an updated version of the original series starring Sir Roger Moore,with the international man of mystery Simon Templar now played by Ian Ogilvy.He would fight crime and dodge the fashion police on a weekly basis,whilst simultaneously doing what I now recognise as being a very bad Roger Moore impersonation.

He’s GAGGING to be Rog….but he can’t quite pull it off.Funnily enough,our Ian was hotly tipped to replace Rog as James Bond,but luckily that never came off.

He just ain’t got it.Granted,he’s got a BIT of something,but not a very big bit.

He knows how to wear a roll-neck sweater though.And flares.

The overall impression you get from watching tv shows from this era is how totally,utterly,sodding depressing Britain was in the 70s.The locations are depressing ,the actors are depressing-compare Return of the Saint to Starsky & Hutch or something similar-that show is exotic in comparison.

I lived through those depressing 70s without really knowing it-only looking back with modern eyes do you see how much crap we put up with back then.

I used to think that my Eagle-Eyes Action Man was state of the art.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

I shall leave you with this-and kids,if your parents say they don’t remember this,they are LYING!!!


Any Old Iron?

Posted: September 4, 2009 in Life, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

picsteptoeandson2Recently,I have discovered the joys of Freecycle.

This is a system made up of local groups whereby people offer stuff they no longer want in the hope that someone else will want it,the ethos being that it will save it having to be thrown away.

Today I managed to offload my old computer desk,which,as you can imagine,has had quite a lot of wear since I bought it over 10 years ago,but the chap who came to collect it was very happy with it.It was still standing and in one piece,and I suppose if you’re getting something for nothing you can’t be too picky.

Other stuff I’ve managed to “move on” include–my son’s tub-load of Lego,my old Hornby train stuff from back in the day,an old DVD player…I can now actually get into my spare room and even walk to the window.

Now you may be wondering how one decides who to give the item to…after all,something like an old television or a computer still has value even if it’s old and a bit battered.Well,Freecycle operates a policy whereby you can state in your post that you will wait until you receive several emails from people who want your item before you make a decision on who will get it.OR you can give it to the first person who replies.It’s entirely up to you.

You’d be surprised by how many replies I had for my DVD player.I have never heard so many sob stories…and I suppose some of them did turn it on a bit when saying why they should have it.The man I eventually gave it to had a disabled wife who liked to watch DVDs during the day as she was housebound…but I wasn’t to know this for definite,he could have put it straight on eBay,but he seemed nice enough.The lady who came for the Lego brought her little boy with her and his face lit up when he saw the mountain of bricks,awww.

It’s great—you can get rid of stuff,and make someone happy at the same time.

It’s like Swap Shop without the actual swapping…or Noel Edmonds or Posh Paws.

Next up may be my humungous collection of Doctor Who videos…yes,you read that right,videos.Obviously they are obsolete,now that they’ve started to release them on DVD.So,I’m thinking,I’ll offload them on the old Freecycle…but what’s obsolete to me is obsolete to everyone else too.I have every story released on video,took me about 10 years to collect….now I don’t know what to do with the bloody things.

Maybe someone would like them….a Doctor Who fan who doesn’t like DVDs.

I shall keep you posted.


My son often turns to me for advice and to tap my vast bank of knowledge and wisdom.I’m a role-model.

At the weekend,he asked me,whilst we were listening to Queen-

“Is Bohemian Rhapsody the best Queen song ever?”

I replied without hesitation.


“Why?” His favourite word.

Again,I did not hesitate.

“Because Bohemian Rhapsody is the best song ever anyway.”

But is it really?

It certainly has a special place in the hearts of the nation…No.1 for 9 weeks when that actually meant something,3rd biggest selling British single after Do They Know It’s Christmas and Elton John’s Candle In The Wind.One of the first songs to have an accompanying video…it was spared the Pan’s People treatment. (Ask your grandfather) It was too much for even them to interpret….and that’s saying something.

It is impossible to explain why it is so good to someone who doesn’t like it or hasn’t heard it,like trying to explain why the Mona Lisa is the most celebrated painting in the world.

It’s the British Mona Lisa.

Some things are beyond criticism.Get over it.

Bohemian Rhapsody is totally brilliant simply because it shouldn’t be.

There are six distinct parts or sections in the song,which are totally different but fit together perfectly…like a BLT sandwich or Nicole Kidman.There’s the obligatory guitar solo and hard rock bit…there’s even a bit of opera,thanks to Sir Frederick of Mercury.

It doesn’t appear to be about anything…oh yes it’s about 6 minutes 😉 (that’s pathetic—The Blog Dog.)

But of course,it doesn’t need to be about anything when it sounds like this.

Bohemian Rhapsody had a second lease of life thanks to the film Wayne’s World,which also helped Queen finally get recognition in America,something they’d never been able to achieve.This sequence is the most memorable from the film…in a sense it is what makes the film.The film and the song exist in a kind of symbiosis…they have become  inseparable.People immediately think of Wayne’s World when they hear Bohemian Rhapsody…which is fine because it is a very good film…it’s just as well it wasn’t used in Legally Blonde 2 or something.

Who hasn’t had a bit of a headbang at that bit of the song? It’s as if it’s always been standing up for the Hallelujah Chorus,and it’s the best bit of the whole song…this is what it’s been building up to.

If Bohemian Rhapsody was sex it would be the orgasm.

And it lasts for nearly a minute.

Not bad.

And it also includes the line “Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard.” (it doesn’t actually,you nutter—The Blog Dog.)

So…Bohemian Rhapsody is the greatest song ever…but if you beg to differ,and have your own greatest song ever in the history of ever,please justify your selection in the comments box,which I will read and,if I get enough responses I will compile them in a future post.

Next time-I change my mind and claim that Hey Mickey by Toni Basil is the greatest ever song ever…because it is actually..


Bettany Hughes...again!!!

Hello history fans! Bettany Hughes here again with another in my series of dodgy,poorly researched and painfully unfunny histories of different stuff!

This week-DOCTOR WHO!!!

To chart the history of Doctor Who one must first tell of the origins of the BBC.

The BBC was established in 1850 and has been stealing money from us ever since to make their wonderful TV shows like Hole In The Wall and to give John Barrowman something to do.

In 1963 somebody clever had the idea of Doctor Who,and it wasn’t long before it became a big hit with pale,speccy,spotty boys who would never have sex.A few weeks after the first episode,the Doctor came face to plunger with the fearsome Darlicks!!

Shit-scary robot mad buggers on wheels from another planet,the Darleks had a fearsome multi-functional sink plunger,borrowed from their Mum’s kitchen,which they used to unblock the toilet after they’d been,and an awesome laser zapper thing so they could kill all the extras in the episodes who didn’t have any lines.



All the Darlicks were operated by one-eyed pygmies from Belgium who were paid 1 shilling per week. (This wage was later increased to 5p and a Curly-Wurly after may not sound a lot by today’s standards but remember,this was when Curly-Wurlys WERE Curly-Wurlys.)

But it was to be in 1965 that Doctor Who really took off…when some clever scientist types in white coats with loads of biros stuffed in the pocket and really thick-lensed glasses invented an amazing  invention…

Robot Women.

These could be used as the Doctor’s female companions as they were found to be less stroppy than real women.

Woman Automated Neural Controller...the W.A.N.C.

Woman Automated Neural Controller...the W.A.N.C.

They came in all shapes and sizes,but the ones that worked really well on the show were the ones that were made without many clothes on.They were remotely controlled by clever boffin types using a great big machine with wires and tubes and things sticking out of it,called the Woman Automated Neural Controller (or W.A.N.C. for short.) So successful was this machine that a toy version of it was released in time for Christmas so every geeky,greasy little 13 year old boy could watch the pretty girls on the show and have a W.A.N.C. of his own…*

*(The Blog Dog would like to apologise for the poor quality of this joke.The unfunny slacker responsible has been sorted out,and no mistake.)*

The robot women were totally obedient at all times and could be made to adopt various facial expressions and poses.These poses usually involved bending over in very short skirts and tops because this was found to add greatly to the drama of the episodes.Female viewers (real ones) often watched from behind the sofa,fearing for the brave companion as she tried to run away from the monsters in a bikini and high heels.

Barking mad Doctor Who fans high on jelly-babies at a convention

Barking mad Doctor Who fans high on jelly-babies at a convention

Doctor Who fans are the most loyal in the world of Sci-fi.In fact,some of them are madder than a handbag full of owls.Not content with collecting every single book,video,DVD,Dahlikk toy and Peter Davison underpants they can get their hands on,some of them even congregate in large buildings and argue about the most irrelevant details of the programme.Some of these fans try to outdo each other by boasting about the things they’ve done,like owning all the “lost” episodes,meeting Tom Baker in Argos and actually taking a trip in the TARDIS back to the 12th century to witness the discovery of Cup-A-Soup.

Others talk of the time they actually spoke to a girl…but nobody believes them.

Doctor Who,after lots and lots of years,is still going strong and is soon to have it’s 11th actor in the title role.Casting the part of  The Doctor has always been a big problem for the makers of the programme,so in 1993,after the TV Movie starring one of those McGann brothers who’ve been in everything but not the one you’re thinking of from that thing on telly,one of the other ones,it was decided,for the 9th,10th and 11th Doctors,to get any old twat with an Equity card.

Here’s to the next shedload of successful years for Doctor Who!!!


Bettany Hughes

Hello,I’m Bettany Hughes…historian,brainbox and all-round babe,and I’m here to tell you about the history of Cup-A-Soup.


The very name resounds throughout history like a great big resounding thing.But it’s story has never been told…until now.

It’s very origins are shrouded in secrecy…some say it came to Earth in a meteorite when dinosaurs walked the planet.

Others that it was dug out of the ground around Stonehenge by druids in the 12th century.

We will never know for sure.

But luckily,thanks to historians throughout the ages,we can piece together the impact of Cup-A-Soup from the Stone Age right up to today.

The very first recorded appearance of Cup-A-Soup in history was during the Roman occupation of Britain.Vast mines were dug across the country to mine raw instant soup in a cup.Many people lost their lives doing this dangerous work due to the fact that Cup-A-Soup,in it’s raw unprocessed form,is highly explosive.

The Romans,besotted with the hug-in-a-mug,held wild Cup-A-Soup parties,especially in the city of Aquae Sulis,now known as Bath.In fact,to this day,all the inhabitants of Bath are addicted to Cup-A-Soup.

But it is not just its importance as a leisure drink that marks out Cup-A-Soup in history.


King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth (possibly)

During the Battle of Bosworth Field,the Plantagenet King Richard III,after a bloody defeat by the hands of Henry Tudor,could be seen wandering the battlefield crying “minestrone,minestrone,my kingdom for a minestrone!”

But he was doomed never to get any.

The Tudor dynasty ruled for quite a bit after this.Henry VIII,who had his first wife,Catherine of Aragon,executed due to her preference for Pot Noodle,declared himself Head of the Church of England and announced that Cup-A-Soup would take the place of wine during Holy Communion.This,historians believe,is in honour of The Last Supper,where Christ served Cup-A-Soup and croutons….the “blood and the body.”

But it was his daughter,the virgin Queen Elizabeth I,who really took the consumption of Cup-A-Soup to new levels.It is

Elizabeth I pictured with her Cup-A-Soup pot and stirrer

Elizabeth I pictured with her Cup-A-Soup pot and stirrer

said she went to war against the Spanish for a laugh after enjoying a box-full of tomato soups in one sitting,and had her sister,Mary,Queen of Scots,beheaded after she secretly finished off the last of the chicken and blamed it on Shakespeare.In fact,it is rumoured that Shakespeare himself did indeed have a fondness for the powder-based snack,and was believed to have slipped references into his plays,such as Macbeth-“Double double,toil and trouble,fire burn,and golden vegetable bubble.”

In more recent times,Queen Victoria,named her 9 children after Cup-A-Soup varieties,and it was also instrumental during World War II when it was used as fuel for Spitfires.

Long-haired hippies high on Cup-A-Soup,yesterday....

Long-haired hippies high on Cup-A-Soup,yesterday....

During the Woodstock festival in the 1960s,long-haired hippie students,eager for that extra kick from Cup-A-Soup,took to snorting it straight from the sachet.However,some festival goers suffered ill effects due to a certain type of inferior “soup-in-a-cup” that was circulated through the crowds.This was later analysed and discovered to be Tesco’s own brand.

Of course,Cup-A-Soup has survived into the modern age,thanks in part to the discovery in 1969 that the moon is made from it.It is rumoured that this is the source of the snack,and that a government conspiracy exisits to cover up the existence of extra-terrestrial Cup-A-Soup miners.

Do aliens mine Cup-A-Soup on the moon?

Do aliens mine Cup-A-Soup on the moon?

Whatever its origins,one thing is for sure,Cup-A-Soup is great,(especially tomato) and is enjoyed all over the world  (but especially in Bath) for its tastiness and not-exactly-rocket-science preparation requirements.Because of this it is particularly popular amongst single men from Wales,and is made by the company Bachelors to this day.

Next time–I try not to be so easily led and get back to more important issues ;)p

Dalek Invasion 2nd Phase-Operation Kitchen

Dalek Invasion 2nd Phase-Operation Kitchen

10.Katy Manning

In 1978 Katy Manning,who played companion Jo Grant opposite Jon Pertwee,posed naked with a Dalek for Girls Illustrated magazine.


That’s it really…

9.Peri’s Tits

These were twin companions to the 5th/6th Doctors,rumoured to belong to actress Nicola Bryant who played companion Peri Brown,who spent much of her time on Doctor Who poured into life-threateningly tight outfits in an attempt to get more men to watch the programme.Not that her face was ever seen,with cameramen preferring to zoom straight down her cleavage at every opportunity.This was a blatantly sexist move on the part of the show’s producers and I would have written a strongly worded letter of complaint if I’d had any feeling left in my right hand due to-…..umm that time I sprained it playing rugby…

8.I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek by The Go-Gos

Nothing to do with Belinda Carlisle’s first group,this was a 1960s novelty record realeased to cash-in on the Dalekmania craze.It contains the following verse-

I’m gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek

And hug him underneath the miseltoe

And if he’s very nice,I’ll feed him sugar spice

And hang a Christmas stocking from his big left toe.


7.Beatrix Lehmann in The Stones Of Blood

This veteran actress played Professor Amelia Rumford in this 4th Doctor story and is remembered for one overriding characteristic….she is barking mad,and when you’re sharing a studio with Tom Baker,that’s some achievement.Indeed,Baker spends most of their scenes together in a state of bemused befuddlement because he’s finally found someone madder than he is.He met his eccentric match…Beatrix Lehmann out-Tom Bakered Tom Baker.

No mean feat.

6.The Moment My Son Saw The Light

Watch the episode “Dalek” (yes,the @dean_cummings one…read his blog,The Other Place,the link is over there).Rose,feeling sorry for the captive Dalek,allows it to escape and start bringing the pain.At one point  it sticks its plunger into a pc screen to suck up some juice from the mains.And why is this moment on this hallowed list?

Because this is the precise moment that my son became a Doctor Who fan.He exclaimed “This is cool” and came to snuggle up to me on the sofa.The torch had been passed.When I was his age I never dreamed that one day I’d be watching Doctor Who with my son.He made an old man very happy,and now he’s a confirmed Tennant fan,but despite that he’s a good kid.

5.My biscuit barrel is in the shape of the TARDIS.

Garibaldi Of The Daleks (yes I know they're custard creams)

Garibaldi Of The Daleks (yes I know they're custard creams)

4.Target novelisations

Imagine if you can a world without youtube,dvds,digital tv,even videos.

Welcome to the 1970s.

Repeats of Doctor Who were extremely rare,so how were we,the dribbling bespectacled fans,ever to get a glimpse of the hallowed early years?

By reading about them,in the paperback novelisations from Target books.

Usually only about 150 pages long,usually written by Terrance Dicks,and usually with a totally scary cover.



The best cover EVER

The best cover EVER

Virtually all of the original series’ stories were novelised in this way,and are as much a part of Doctor Who history as the programme itself.The book enabled the anorak-wearing masses to discover the stories shown before they were born.

Many fans will tell you of the near-orgasmic excitement of finding a rare Target book in a charity shop or jumble sale…it is a well known fact that all Doctor Who fans can spot one of these slim & sexy volumes sitting on an Oxfam shelf even if it’s crushed between a couple of Barbara Cartlands….it’s the white spine and Target logo,you see (see the top right of the books in the pics)…it means only one thing.Spot it a mile off.

153 different novelisations were published between 1973-1994….and I’ve got the bloody lot.

Every single buggering one…and they’re all arranged on my bookshelves in chronological order,as the stories were shown on television.

It’s a fan thing.

3.The Big Finish audio drama -“Red”

This is No.85 in the series of original Doctor Who dramas made by Big Finish.It stars Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor and is in 4 parts.

And why is it on the list?

Mine’s signed by Bonnie Langford!!!!!!

2.The New Adventures

Nuttier than squirrel shit,The New Adventures were a range of original Doctor Who books released after the proper series ended between 1991 and 1997 by Virgin Books (who better to publish books for spotty,bespectacled Who fans…how did they know??)  Russell T.Davies wrote one called “Damaged Goods” which is one of the best…not sure what happened to his writing skills after that…? To give you a complete rundown of the utterly barking stuff that went on in them would take a blog of its own,and you’d have to be able to think like a hardcore Doctor Who fan….not something that one should enter into lightly.Once described as like “selling a dead horse to gullible anoraks” ,the books introduced Who fans to the most horrific,terrifying,smelly,scary,sticky monster the Doctor ever met…


And lots of it.And sometimes between two people of the same species.

I’ve got every one of them,too…

1.Jon Pertwee-Who Is The Doctor?

This is a 1972 single recorded by Jon Pertwee,and released on Deep Purple’s record label.Pertwee narrates  lyrics to the Doctor Who theme.

Oh wait…I forgot to tell you how totally,utterly,gob-smackingly,trouser-troublingly,effingly,completely and utterly sodding excellent it is.ONLY Jon Pertwee could have pulled this off…it’s the best version of the Who theme that never was.I could listen to it all day….and very often do.It sums up what Doctor Who is all about.

And here,for your viewing and listening pleasure,is that very same audio orgasm.

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.


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.


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


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 …


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…


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