Friday, 19 December 2008

Waddingtons Big Horn






Another game that I used to play circa 1962 to maybe 1964. A wonderful game too. Based on the lunacy of General Custer. The madcap American military man leads his brave troops into the Big Horm basin and then, amid a thunder of hooves and a storm of arrows, he finds himself surrounded by Sitting Bulls Sioux Indians. The nature of the game was to cheat history and have Custer and his men beat the foul fiendish redskins.
Trouble was for me that, even back then, I always wanted the Indians to win!



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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.






Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Telegoons

Too young to remember the original Radio Goon show, this for me, was my first introduction to the genius of the Goons. Far darker perhaps than the audio version but still a must see in its day.

The TelegoonsScript Editor: Maurice WiltshireProducer: Tony YoungSeries 1 Broadcast: 05 October 1963 to 20 December 1963Series 2 Broadcast: 28 March 1964 to 01 August 1964
Three years after the last Goon Show series ended, the BBC broadcast 'The Telegoons'. Television scriptwriter Maurice Wiltshire shortened and re-worked 26 original Goon Show scripts to 2 series of 15 minute puppet films.
Wiltshire had co-written some of original Goon Shows and was well placed to adapt the scripts. He edited the scripts and added a good amount of visual humour to suit the TV medium.
The Goon characters to were brought to life by string and rod puppets, which combined with traditional cartoon animation and library footage gave the programmes a unique look. The puppets' visual characteristics were based on Spike Milligan's doodled impressions of how they might look, creating a somewhat grotesque but worthwhile visual interpretation.
The sound tracks were freshly recorded by The Goons, which brought them back together again for the first time in several years.
The Telegoons was not particularly successful with its adult audience. However, it was popular with the younger television viewing generation which led to regular Telegoon comic strips in 'TV Comic'.
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mAMmArY pOOoL.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Chas 'N' Dave


A festive treat for you all - well, some of you maybe! I love Chas 'N' Dave and forgive them the dreadful cockney caperings and "Stars On 45" type medleys they do but at the heart of their music is a great musicianship and a refreshing use of the local venacular without stooping to affect a mid Atlantic drawl like so many seems to do for some reason. They write good catchy songs too as their many hits denote.
"The Sideboard Song" "Margate" "Gertcha" to name but a few.
Here is a radio show from the 80's or maybe 90's when they were at their height. Full of Xmas cheer and jolly good up kneesing- cor blimey guv!

Victorian Poster











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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Bert Jansch


Bert Jansch was born in Glasgow in 1943, but brought up in Edinburgh. As a teenager he began playing the folk guitar, enjoying the music of such artists as Pete Seeger, Big Bill Broonzy and Woody Guthrie. He also met and shared a flat with Robin Williamson, with whom he travelled to London in 1963.
Between 1963 and 1965, he travelled around Europe and beyond, hitch-hiking from place to place and living on earnings from busking and playing in bars and cafes. Then, in 1965, he met engineer and record producer Bill Leader at whose home they made a recording of his songs on a reel to reel. Leader sold the tape for £100 to Transatlantic Records who produced an album, called Bert Jansch, directly from it. It went on to sell 150,000 copies. One of those copies was mine.

I loved it and, along with John Wildash, who introduced me to Jansch’s music, it formed the basis of the folk guitar style that I still use. I remember listening to his version of Davey Graham’s Angie and thinking – but how can he play all those different things at once? (With the bass line and the tune – it sounds like two guitarists playing – at least it did to me then.) Angie is still great fun to play – in its day it was the folk equivalent of Stairway to Heaven, played by aspiring folk guitarists everywhere. It was definitely an album for teenagers featuring tracks such as Running From Home, and the influential Needle of Death, about drug addiction. Many of the songs on that album were covered by others such as Donovan, and it’s an album I often return to for a folk fix.

I saw Bert Jansch play in Coventry Cathedral with Pentangle in the early seventies. That was a magical night. And he’s still going as strong as ever with around thirty or so albums to his credit. In 2001 he received a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC 2 Folk Awards.

If you like folk music and are unfamiliar with this man’s work, do yourself a favour and look him up. .
Here's Angie...http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RqjUWJtH88c&feature=related
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A Victorian Tobacco Jar






Another antique from the Victorian era. This is a Tobacco Jar. Not a lot of good to me for that purpose but I quite fancy the idea of having one and keeping Imperial Mints (no irony intended) in it. I could wear my Victorain Smoking Hat and read whilst sucking upon the odd mint.


Spiffing Wot?



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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.



Monday, 24 November 2008

Ken Dodd


Whilst in Llandudno a couple of years ago besides visiting Portmerion ( where the cult TV serial The Prisoner was made ) we also got see Ken Dodd perform live, another long held ambition. We weren't disappointed. The Happiness Show started at 8 p.m. and went on until 1 in the morning with just a 30 minute interval to relieve those aching bladders! What a genius the man is - in his 80's now and still as funny as ever. The packed theatre was rolling in the aisles - tears running down their faces. The majority of the audience were over 50 and poor Archie, who is 16 now, felt like he was part of some terrible Darby & Joan Club outing!
I imagine most of the audience , like me, grew up with Doddy when he was on the radio in the 60's and 70's and became hooked on that mad world of Knotty Ash, the jam butty mines, the Diddy Men etc. The last of the great variety performers.
After the show Hazel insisted on waiting round at the stage door to get our programmes and tickling sticks ( bought in the foyer ) signed by the great man himself. Sadly he was too exhausted to come to the stage door but his secretary or assistant took our things for him to autograph which he kindly did.

Below is a short extract from The Good Old Days which was popular on BBC television throughout the 60's and 70's. and gives you just a hint of Ken's marathon stage act.

Ken Dodd - Good Old Days 1970's

This SendSpace files is available for seven days or until exhausted.

DaDs Army






Without a shadow of doubt, this is my all time favourite TV comedy, sorry, SITCOM. Oh, there have been comedy programmes that I have enjoyed over the years that have been nearly as good but nearly isn't good enough, is it?

The characters of course are what made this terrific series. Aged, Grumpy, soft around the edges, curmudgeonly and wonderfully idiosyncratic. All of them, apart from Ian Lavender, were of course actors near the ends of their careers and this seemed to give a relaxed and natural performance to the show. The scripts were delightfully silly and yet, one suspects, far nearer the truth than anyone would like to admit.
The overly pompous Captain Mainwairing and his ever brow beaten number two, Sargeant Wilson. Corporal Jones whose memory of previous wars and battles burnt ever bright. The Scottish undertaker who always had a rum tale to tell. Each character uniquely different to the other. So very British and so very funny.
They don't like it up 'em and they don't write 'em like this anymore.
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.



A Victorian smoking hat




Here we have a lovely Victorian smoking hat. Not that I am a smoker, nothing against people who do but not for me thank you very much.
However, all of that to one side, I can visualise my self wearing one of these magnificent hats, along with a smoking jacket and settling down, not to smoke but to read. Yes, I can see me now in my velvet jacket, hat and a pair of niffty carpet slippers (never wear those either) sitting down with a good book while my family do the things that they do.


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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.



Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Michael Bentine


Find more videos like this on OPEN Fluxus

Michael Bentine was actually even too zany for The Goons where he appeared for the first few shows on the radio back in the 50's. He went off to do his own thing like The Bumblies , a weird puppet show for kids featuring some rubbery aliens and It's A Square World which was a popular series on BBC in the 60's.
Also I remember him in a show for children called Potty Time with puppets and Bentine overseeing the procedings like a smart blazered giant.
This dodgy film clip is pretty typical of his anarchic and inventive style- using only a piece of chair to conjure up the possible uses it may have and creating many variants of the one theme. Tommy Cooper did a similar sketch using a box of hats which he dived into to create characters of a long and involved story. Sadly this type of physical humour has almost vanished and a distant memory along with the music hall and variety theatres where they were spawned.

Discover more about Michael Bentine HERE

Monday, 17 November 2008

Legerdemain

Here is a word that I only recently learned and then from a fellow blogger. A fantastic, archaic word but one that has a wonderfully romantic quality to it.


legerdemain



1. Sleight of hand.
2. A show of skill or deceitful cleverness: financial legerdemain.

[Middle English legerdemayn, from Old French leger de main : leger, light (from Vulgar Latin *leviārius, from Latin levis; see legwh- in Indo-European roots) + de, of (from Latin dē; see de-) + main, hand; see mortmain.]

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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Gazebo




A gazebo is a pavilion structure, often octagonal, commonly found in parks, gardens, and spacious public areas. Gazebos are freestanding, or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides; they provide shade, basic shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest. Some gazebos in public parks are large enough to serve as bandstands.


That, however is not why I like the word Gazebo. The reason that I am fond of it is that many years ago, when reading out loud to my wife, I pronounced it as a Gaze Bow.


Some thirty years on I still have not been allowed to forget it.




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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mUrkY pOOoL FuLl oF MUtanT TaDpOleS aNd FiSh.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett



I enjoyed John Otway and Wild Willy’s Barrett’s mega-hit Really Free in 1977 – a kind of half spoken, half sung punk record. (Hitting 27 in the charts) And I enjoyed glimpses of Otway on TV being eccentric. Then we (The Wrong Brothers) supported him at the Tramshed in Woolwich in the 80s and I came to love him and to appreciate what a total loony he was. I particularly liked the way he used microphones as percussion instruments. (In fact a rider at the gig stipulated he had to bring his own microphones as microphones generally aren’t made for whirling through the air and bashing into things. )
Jill and I then saw him at a festival a few years back – highlights a double right and left-handed guitar and body percussion – with a very funny set. He’d just had his second hit – Bunsen Burner – voted and brought into the charts by his fans making a concerted effort (it was written to help his daughter with her chemistry homework).
Most recently we saw him at the Edinburgh Festival reunited with Willy. Best bit for me was Willy’s amplifier situated in the bottom of a wheelie bin. For solos he opened the lid. And opening and closing the lid gave it a wah-wah effect.
The B side of his single was House of the Rising Sun, featuring about 900 of his fans, all of whom were credited on the single’s sleeve.
What a warm, eccentric and very, very funny performer he turned out tlo be. If you ever get the chance go and see him.
See a version of House of the Rising Sun here.




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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGgIE mIMiCkrY pOOoL.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Spike Milligan


Ofcourse I grew up listening to the Goons on the radio and loved the daft records they made. One of my first purchases was an EP with The Ying Tong Song, I'm Walking Backwards To Christmas, Bloodnok's Rock 'N' Roll Call etc.
Later he was doing Beachcomber on the telly and then the wonderful series Q6 and all the other Q's which greatly influenced Monty Python et al.
Also he wrote very funny verse for kids and fantastic comical books like Puckoon and Adolf Hitler; My Part In His Downfall , his war memiors that went on for about 8 books I think? He was in plays like the Bed Sitting Room and films. A talented and tortured genius who suffered for many years with manic depression among other things.
Here's a poem and comical prose from a great compilation called "The World Of British Comedy" that came out on Decca in the 70's.


Spike Milligan - Cold Porridge

Spike Milligan - Pontius Kak

The Goons - Eeh! Ah! Oh! Ooh!


These Send Space files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band


Bob Kerr and His Whoopee Band from a radio show back in the 80's or 90's on a cassette that someone sent to me a while back. Not much info on it unfortunately. Bob is now touring with the re-formed Bonzo Dog Band of which he was a founder member in the 60's.

Bob Kerr continued where the Bonzo's left off after their first couple of albums. The Whoopee Band stayed true to their British Dance Band roots and old scratchy 78's and played lots of novelty songs from the 20's and 30's. I remember them on a kids programme on TV where they dressed up and had silly props to enhance the visual side of their act. Like the Temperence Seven and The Alberts etc, they were steeped in nostalgia for those far off days of the music hall, variety and a weird victorian sense of the absurd.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Revolver

Roger: I bought this on the Saturday morning - the week it was released. It came after Rubber Soul - which on first hearing was very sparse and very different from The Beatles earlier albums. The two things that hit me right away were - 1 - how clean the sound was. Very bright! And -2- what a happy and uplifting album it was. I still absolutely love Good Day Sunshine. And then, of course, the depth of the Lennon numbers - And Your Bird Can Sing, the backwards guitar - learnt by George in reverse. Wonderful. Many regard this as their best album. And I have to say - they have a good case.

Later that day we went on holiday to Folkestone. I was in my early teens I guess. I couldn't wait to get home to play it again.




CJ: I was just twelve but it struck me as almost other worldly in that it sounded as if they had just kicked down some dusty old door to reveal the way that the future of pop should sound. It was quite remarkable. Very uplifting as Roger says and so very innovative too. It felt and still does like a perfect band effort. A great shame that they didn't allow George to ever have more than one or two songs per album again as on this he has three and all of them are equally as good as anything that either Lennon or Macca produced.
Simply wonderful. Still the best album ever and far better for me than Pet Sounds.

Roger: Pet Sounds? Poo!



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Saturday, 25 October 2008

The Mersey Sound

I loved this book. At school we studied Wordsworth's The Prelude. And read about all those daffodils that he came across whilst wandering. And we read Chaucer... yeah, I know... important and all that! And TS Elliot, Byron... all great and wonderful poets... But here were three poets that actually said something to me - a teenager in the late 60s. Roger McGough - today still producing lovely work, Brian Patten and the quirky Adrian Henri, sadly no longer with us; three outstanding poets withstanding the test of time. Accessible - probably paving the way for "popular"poets like Wendy Cope and John Hegley - funny, frank, sad and unpretentious.

They sold over half a million copies of that first edition - not bad for a book of poetry. You can still find the book in second hand bookshops and on amazon. Re-read your copy today! And if you've never read it - well, obtain a copy as soon as possible.



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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Miniatures


Fabulously eccentric LP I found at Brick Lane market in the East End of London some year ago. Compiled and initiated by Morgan Fisher who asked many of his friends and associates in the music and arts to donate a track of not more than 60 seconds. The resulting cornucopia of different genres and sounds is a joy to behold- ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous and involving such diverse talents as Ivor Cutler,Ollie Halsall,Neil Innes, The Residents and Henry Cow. 51 artists in all.


Here's the first 16 tracks-

1. ollie halsall & john halsey / bum love
2. the residents / we're a happy family + bali ha'i
3. roger mcgough / the wreck of the hesperus
4. morgan fisher / green and pleasant
5. john otway / mine tonight
6. pete challis & phil diplock / my way
7. robert wyatt / rangers in the nightst
8. stinky winkles / opus
9. mary longford / body language
10. andy 'thunderclap' newman / andy the dentist
11. david bedford / wagner's ring in one minute
12. fred frith / the entire works of henry cow
13. maggie nicols / look beneath the surface
14. joseph racaille / week-end
15. the work vwith wings pressed back
16. neil innes & son / cum on feel the noize

Masticate




Sadly, at fifty four and a half and fast approaching fifty five BUT with a twelve year olds mentallity I love this word and for all the wrong reasons...it sounds like something sordid that little boys and girls do when they are on their own!


mas·ti·cate
Pronunciation: \ˈmas-tə-ˌkāt\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): mas·ti·cat·ed; mas·ti·cat·ing
Etymology: Late Latin masticatus, past participle of masticare, from Greek mastichan to gnash the teeth; akin to Greek masasthai to chew — more at mandible
Date: 1562
transitive verb
1 : to grind or crush (food) with or as if with the teeth : chew
2 : to soften or reduce to pulp by crushing or kneading
intransitive verb

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Skiffle


A track called Gamblin' Man by the great Lonnie Donegan who spearheaded the skiffle movent in the 50's and made lots of spotty teenagers realise they could make music too. All you needed was a cheap guitar to strum a few chords on, a tea chest bass, a washboard, an old mangle and various household implements. Skiffle was the first DIY music phenomenom - way before Punk came along. John Lennon and Paul McCartney met whilst John was playing in The Quarry Men, a skiffle group he played in. Most of the pop groups of the 60's started out in skiffle groups. I used to watch them of Tv shows like 6 : 5 Special and listen to them on Saturday Club with Brian Matthew.

Discover more about Lonnie Donegan HERE.

Waddingtons Test Match





I have no idea where my Dad got this game from. All I know is that it was second hand and therefore probably came from someone he worked with.


"Give it to the boy Ralph, if he's like you, he will love his cricket."


Sadly, I am nothing like my dear old Dad. Not at all sporty and I don't follow the 'Hammers' either. As for cricket...someone please explain, I mean, cricket? What is it all about? Bloody dangerous if you ask me.


I remember playing it once at school and being told to bat. This hulking brute of a boy came hurtling at me and then bowled a fierce ball at me which nearly took off my head. I, being a bit of a rebel at school, certainly wilful, threw down my bat and walked off the pitch declaring that they were all barking mad to be playing such a game and why couldn't we play football. The PE master, less than impressed with my cowardice in the face of a flying cricket ball, made me run round the track for the rest of the lesson!


This Waddington game was good though even if I didn't, and still don't, know what Silly Mid-Off is nor what a googly might be. I did know that Ted Dexter was the dogs doo dah when it came to playing the game and therfore always took his name whilst playing it.




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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again


Number one in ongoing "Wonders Of The Wireless" series featuring old comedy shows from the hey day of the Beeb. Most are repeated now on Radio 7 thankfully so we can enjoy them all over again.
ISIRTA was on in the mid to late 60's and last show was in 1973. It featured the comedy talents of John Cleese, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie ( before he got his comedy by-pass operation and turned into a grumpy old twitcher ) David Hatch, and Jo Kendall.
It was a cross between the Goodies and Monty Python and was very funny. It still makes me laugh now.

Friday, 10 October 2008

SKA


Ska is the jazz tinged R&B that was popular in Jamaica before it transformed itself into Rock Steady and Reggae in the late mid 60's. I used to pick up Ska Lp's and singles at Brick lane market in the 80's for next to nothing and it was certainly this kind of music that Madness and The Specials and the whole 2-Tone brigade were influenced by in the late 70's and early 80's. I loved the whole home grown ska sound but even more fascinated by the originals such as the Skatalites you can hear here playing a side from their LP cunningly entitled "Ska - Authentic".

Actually not a second hand record atall but one I bought in a sale from a shop in Soho in London back in the 80's during the ska boom when the Specials and Madness were just getting some big hits. This is a jamaican import and a very bad pressing and probably why it was cheap but some great instrumentals on here obviously influenced greatly by New Orleans jazz and R&B.

"The Skatalites is a Jamaican music group that played a major role in popularising ska, the first truly Jamaican music created by fusing boogie-woogie blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, mento, calypso, and African rhythms. They recorded many of their best known songs, including "Guns of navarone", in the period between 1964 and 1965, as well as played on records by Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists.
The members of the group were Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Jackie Opel, and Doreen Shaffer. Trombonist Drummond's composition, "Man In The Street", entered the Top 10 in the United Kingdom. He was not only the Skatalites' busiest composer, but was the most prolific in all of Ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965.
On January 1, 1965, Drummond was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood, and in August that year, the Skatalites played their last show. The break-up resulted in the formation of two supergroups, "Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors" and "Tommy McCook and the Supersonics". Drummond died in the Bellevue Asylum on May 6, 1969 at age 37."
Tracks are-

1. Four Corners
2. Scrap Iron
3. Feeling Good
4. Royal Flush
5. Ball of Fire
6. Christine Keiler

The Crunchie Bar






Being diagnosed as Diabetic in 1957 meant I had a wonderful childhood full of times spent in hospital where any visitors always paid homage to the poor wee lad with copious amounts of Marvel and DC comics, hence my love of that genre to this day.

But, I hear you cry, as nice as the CJ history lesson is, what on earth has it to do with the famous Crunchie Bar? The answer as you might have guessed is quite simply nothing. I just thought it might get the sympathy vote and some more free comics.

As a diabetic though, and with a Mother who ruled my condition in a similar way to that used by Stalin in communist Russia, rigidly, I was glad that every Friday when my good old Granddad (Albert Thomas Diamond Jubilee Doughty - an Irishman t'ru and t'ru) brought home a box of Maltesers for me Mum and a Crunchie bar for me. One of lifes great joys was the Friday Crunchie bar and even now, some forty eight years on, I confess I still have the occasional munch. (I also sometinmes eat a Crunchie bar too!)



Tuesday, 7 October 2008

What really happened to Cherry B.





Good evening, Gentlemen. It's charming of you to invite me to join you in this pipe-fumed Snug. I only stumbled into The Shilling and Ha'pence hoping to use the powdering facilities. I was on my way to a Tufty Club Reunion. I must confess, since Willy the Weasel's demise, it's never had the same draw.

Now I find myself amongst such a select gathering, I rather think I might stay and warm my soul for a while. I've been listening to your conversation whilst waiting for the barman to blow the dust off a Babysham. I asked for Cherry B initally. Apparently my mother drank the reserves dry during the Great 1980 Divorce Disaster.

I do wonder if I should be sitting outside in the carpark eating crisps, drinking Coca Cola through a straw from a waisted bottle, the little blue packet of salt torn in two beside me on the sticky plastic seats of the orange Opel Manta.

I must confess that I have no concept of the subjects of which you speak. This is because all of them, with the exception of the wondrousful Withnail, preceded my actual conception.

My life references commence with Twinkle, the Bay City Rollers, Pinky & Perky, Anglo Bubblies ( which I was never allowed to have - so I stole one, leading to a harrowing half hour - there are scars still visible to this day of which I may speak later).

I am a fully-paid up member of The Famous Five, identifying strongly with George at an early age although in later years I feel much more akin to Anne and have had to take out a restraining order on Julian. Timmy, the Dog growls whenever he approaches. I never quite got along with The Secret Seven, too many Chiefs. I'm amongst the Mallory Towers alumni and intend to find out exactly what lacrosse is all about just as soon as I'm hard enough.

Would it be permissible to meet with you on a regular basis?




Monday, 6 October 2008

George Formby


George Formby was more my parents era than mine. His gormless northern wit and chirpy songs , all accompanied on the ukulele or banjolele is what cheered up the troops in the second world war. Eee by gum! His father George Formby Senior was a big star of the music halls and george followed in his footsteps and became an even bigger star of the 30's and 40's- selling millions of records and filling variety halls all over the land. His films too , which seem crass by today's standards, were big hits and cheered up the populace during those dark days between the wars.

"With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song."

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Withnail and I




This film has become something of a cult in recent years. One of those films that never made it on the box office register but has somehow slipped into the public consciousness by stealth. It is one of, if not THE best British film of its, or any one elses, day. As British as a black cab and as mad as the proverbial. It features some great performances by Richard Griffith's and Paul Macgann but a truly inspired performance by the incredible Richard. E. Grant who acts his veritable socks off.








It comes from the same stock of films as The Long Good Friday, The Time Bandits and the hugely succesful Life of Brian. All of which were produced by George Harrisons short loved Hand Made Films.



It is without a shadow of a doubt among the top ten of my favourite films ever made and I regulary go back to watch it again. I especially enjoy the scene with the chicken.

I didn't get to see this film until this year, 2008, so it certainly isn't something that I fell in love with in my youth or even younger years but it is still up there with all the things that are.

Terrific film and so British.





Friday, 3 October 2008

Bubble Gum Cards


These were a great collectors item for kids back in the 50's and 60's and probably still are today. I bought this one - The Brain Destroyer - as part of a set called The Outer Limits , based on a TV show that was popular in the early 60's (1964. Daystar-Villa Distefeno- United Artists TV.) Made byBubbles Inc. and Printed In England. The garish colours and weird subject matter of aliens and monsters was attractive and timeless. Other cards in the 20 or so I have have titles like Invade Earth and Night Of Terror - collect all 50 in the set. I'd love to have the rest and will continue looking at boot sales and flea markets- you never know!

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits." — Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1960s

For more info. on The Outer Limits series go HERE<.a>.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Pellucid




What a fantastic word! A word that simply sounds as lyrical as it is beautifully rounded. A pebble of a word that drops with a soft splash that resounds with a musicality all of its own. A lemon drop of a word that I intend, in a very Stephen Fry (or maybe Will Self) way to liberally slip into all conversations!

Adjective
Literary
1. transparent or translucent
2. extremely clear in style and meaning [Latin pellucidus]








Monday, 29 September 2008

The Monkees


It was nineteen sixty six, I was twelve and each and every Saturday I would sit glued to my TV watching this bunch of lunatics. Often described as the 'bogus' Beatles; they were anything but. Influenced by them obviously but as different to the Fabs as The Beatles were to The Crickets. Funny, funky and great entertainment. Even the Pistols liked them, covering the B side of 'I/m a Believer', 'Not Your Stepping Stone'.




Frank Zappa was another fan and appeared on the show as Mike Nesmith whilst Nesmith pretended to be Zappa.

Oh what fun we had. 'I'm a Believer' is still one of my favourite singles.