Xmas – The aftermath

Firstly, let me start off by apologising to the people who I normally speak to on Xmas day. Unfortunately, this year, I’ve been mega-ill with some type of chesty-flu type thing. Gah.

I woke up on Xmas day on,y to find that someone had sneaked into Mercuryvapour Towers during the night, and poured molten lava directly into my trachea, which means when I finally woke up, I had a pair of lungs that were on fire with every breath. Well, that is, if I could get a decent breath in between the coughing.

So, the whole day was spent, moping around the house, feling sorry for myself. There were good parts to it, however. As Daddykins was having dinner somewhere else, he got me a lovely piece of pork, which I demolished. I didn’t watch much telly, just caught up on a few things, and by something like 10PM, I was in bed, after only managing 1 can of lager. I must have been ill.

I fell asleep, knowing that things were only going to get worse. Indeed it did. I remember some pretty crazy dreams ‘n’ shit

I awoke, still coughing like a maniac, but this time part of my inner ear had been removed, as I could barely stand up straight. Everything hurt. I went for a piss. The afore-mentioned lava had now made its way out of my lungs, and was being drained out of my bladder.

Literally, the entire day was spent on the couch, drifting in and out of sleep, with only the coughing keeping me awake. The highlight of the day was the epic tea Daddykins cooked, which included his first liberal use of cayenne pepper. Delicious!

It’s now 3:25AM on the morning after Boxing day. Dare I say I’m feeling a bit better? Every so often though, I know my lungs are going to collapse into spasms, and I’m going to be rolling around the floor, coughing them up…

Merry Xmas!!

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? I’ll tell you exactly what I’ve done. I’ve copied and pasted an introduction to a post I first used back in 2003. And, in fact, those previous two sentences are an exact copy and paste from last years’ blog. Now who said I wasn’t one of the laziest people on the planet?

I’ll tell you what, I’m even lazier than I was last year, as the whole of the above paragraph was copied and pasted from last years’ blog entry, and I’m sure that this trend will continue, expect to see this paragraph in the introduction for the 2011 Xmas blog entry too…

Unforuntely, unlike last years blog entry, I don’t have a draft ready to publish, nor do I have a a long string of drunken text I’d written several months earlier on the subject of Cliff Richard. Instead, you have me, sat at home, after the most pointless shift at work ever, drinking from room-temperature cans of Fosters, waiting for the TV to vacate, so I can put something I want on.

I’d like to wish both of my readers a very merry Xmas, and if I don’t get chance to speak to them personally before the new year, all the best for 2011. In fact, why do we say that? Why do we wish them best wishes for 20xx? Why not wish them all the best for every year of their lives and just get it over with?

It’s also time to break out this classic…

EDIT: Clearing out my comment spam queue (which is still growing in size, annoyingly, but at least the emails have stopped being sent), I found this corker of a joke… “I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.”.

And on that note, what type of motorbike does Santa ride? A Holly-Davidson.

Merry fucking Xmas…

The music of 2010… was terrible.

Well, it’s usually around this time of year and take a look through my extensive music collection, and see if I can find any music from this year which I’ve actually enjoyed. You may remember 2009 was a pretty slim year for me, with me only managing to blather about 2 songs. Unfortunately, this year, I’m probably going to struggle to get two.

It’s personally been an appalling year for music. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Mine is that it was dreadful.

One song I did like was “Famous” by Scouting For Girls…

(VIDEO REMOVED)

Unfortunately, I can’t embed official video link. I first heard this song somewhere in the Great Ayton area, after winning an ebay auction for many 80s LPs.

Thankfully, I have jst remembered another song from this year that I liked, namely “Choices” by The Hoosiers. It’s another horrible video rip-off I’m afraid…

The official videos don’t like being embedded, unfortunately.

Overall, there’s one piece of music that’s had an impact on me this year more than any other, and although it was released in 2009, it deserves a place in this posting. I posted about this in April, so instead of duplicating it, I’m just going to link to the post…

The Golden Age of Video

A stunning piece of work.

It’s time now, for my “guilty pleasures” – the songs I’d never actually buy, but wouldn’t reach for the dial if they suddenly came on the radio. The first is ‘Alejandro’ by Lady Gaga. Yes, I know, I feel like scraping out my own eardrums for this, but I’d heard the song at least 20 times before I knew who sung it. I’d actually convinced byself that Ace of Base had reformed. For those of you who know the Lady Gaga song, take a listen to this and tell me they’re not the same song…

(VIDEO REMOVED)

My other guilty pleasure is “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. I probably shouldn’t like it, but I do. Sorry.

So, that’s it. My music purchases this year have been many and varied. Very little of it has been from this year.

BBC REH 387… Yes, it’s more theme tunes!

It’s a while since I’ve done a theme-music oriented post. This time it’s not from a CD, it’s from an LP, but not any old one, this one is from the 1980, and it’s as far as I can tell, it’s called “BBC Comedy themes”. Now, this record isn’t mine, unfortunately. Instead, it was thrust into my sweaty palms by Andy the Iridium Fan, and span on my turntable for approximately 38 minutes…

01. THE GOODIES THEME – The Goodies (1975, Bradleys, BRADL 1010)

I don’t particularly like this theme. I didn’t really like The Goodies. I was too young for them, and they haven’t been repeated for decades. (Note, hoewever, that they’re getting repeats on BBC2 this month). It’s just one of the tunes with sets of words that grate on me. Not listenable. Sorry.

02. FAWLTY TOWERS – The Dennis Wilson Quartet

There’s no release / catalogue data for this one, so presumably, it was never released “officially”. It’s a happy tune, then dark, then happy, then dark again. Slow. I have a feeling it’s one of those themes where a short piece of music was recorded for the show, then when the show becomes popular, the theme is extended to fill the space on a record. Rather the reverse of library music. If this was a piece of library music, I’d expect a bit more information on the sleeve.

03. THE LIKELY LADS (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO YOU?) – Highly Likely (1973, BBc Records, RESL 10)

These types of “theme” send shivers down my spine, as I absolutely love them. A proper song, written by the writer of the actual series itself. Famed for it’s chorus, “oooh, what happened to you, whatever happened to me, what became of the people, we used to be”.

This theme was remade many years later by the punk rock band “Snuff”, released under the title “Christmas Single”.

04. SOME MOTHER’S DO ‘AVE ‘EM – Ron Grainer (1978, Polydor, 2384.107)

Here’s a fascinating fact for you. Did you know that the theme tune for this show actually spells out “Some Mohters Do Ave Em” in morse code? Apparently, it does. Ronnie Hazelhurst, you absolute, but slightly dead, legend.

This particular track, however, is the perfect example of non-library filler music. According to this recording, the SMDAE theme is 18 seconds long. Unfortunately, after the end of the famous 18-second piccolo intro, the theme is transformed into some ungodly abomination of ‘jazz’, roughly based around the theme, complete with painfully out-of-place glockenspiel.

Originally, it was recorded for the 1978 album “Sixteen Small Screen Greats”. This album is still in existence somewhere, and this is what it looks like.

05. Q. 8. THEME – Spike Milligan + Ed Welch (1979, UNITED ARTISTS, UAG 30223)

I’m totally unfamilar with the show, but am in love with this theme. Ed Welch is one of my heroes. If I could shake his hand, I would. I didn’t even know this was one of his while the record was playing. One day, I’ll do a blog post about Ed Welch. This theme, apparently, is the main theme for the show, left to loop a couple of times, with Mr. Milligan providing some ad-libbing during the theme’s quiet parts.

06. STEPTOE AND SON (Old Ned), The Ron Grainer Orchestra, (1962, Pye 7N 45141)

This is the “famous” version of the theme, meaning that this is the version most likely to turn up if anyone mentions this particular theme. I didn’t realise it was particular recording was so old, but it is – conicidentally, ATIF brought round a Steptoe + Son soundtrack LP from 1962, and it was used on there too.

07. MONTY PYTHON (THE LIBERTY BELL) – The Band of The Welsh Guards (1971 BBC RESL 121)

As far as I know, this could have been the version used on the programme. It is, after all, released on the BBC record label. It’s the full thing though, therefore it doesn’t have the fart noise as the end. Not the same without this.

SIDE B

08. THEME FROM MASH – The Mash (1970, CBS 8536)

Accodring to the sleeve notes, the instrumental version of the theme was never officially released, therefore they’ve resorted to including the version released as a single. Thankfully, they didn’t go with the version listed on the Ronnie Hazelhurst album listed above.

09. DAD’S ARMY (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE KIDDING MR. HITLER?) – Bud Flanagan (PYE 7N 17854)

Timed at just over a minute long, yet still one of the most recognisable themes on the album. It was recorded in 1969, and was the last recording from Bud Flanagan before he died. It’s not actually a war song. Play a few seconds of it to anyone, and it’s instantly recognisable. This is the “full” version, with the extra couple of lines worth of lyrics.

10. GOING STRAIGHT – Ronnie Barker (1978, EMI 2768)

The spin-off from Porridge, with its own sotry-telling theme tune. I’ve never seen the show, so not sure how much of it got used in the programme itself. It’s a jolly, rather humorous number. On a separate note, I was asked a quizzical question by someone at work… “what was the show that came after Porrige?” Not only could I give the title, I could sing the theme tune. I believe the personconcerned thought I was rather odd for knowing this, and he’d be right.

11. LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE (1978, POLYDOR 2384.107)

Oh dear. It’s another one from the afore-mentioned Ronnie Hazelhurst album. This is one of the few programmes I can think of, that for each episode, they just re-recorded the theme, along with the incidental music. Here’s an odd question I’m not expecting an answer to… did any other school “sing” this theme around the harvest festival time, as in, someone gave it lyrics? Something about eating bread…

12. THE LIVER BIRDS (ON A MOUNTAIN STANDS A LADY) – The Scaffold (1969 EMI PARLOPHONE 5812)

This particular recording formed the B side of the single “Gin Gan Goolie”, and only reached #38 in the charts. I know of the show, and know that it had the laaa-la-laaaa-laaa bit in it, but after checking youtube, it would appear this isn’t the version used in the programme – it had different lyrics, and a whistly bit at the start. No doubt, though, this was the base of the theme, but this recording is just a song, later adapted for the programme.

13. THE FALL AND RISE OF REGINALD PERRIN (1978 POLYDOR 3284.107)

As the album plays its penultimate track, I must admit to hating the last two themes. This one has the sickening combination of a show I don’t particularly know, awful 70s flutes, hideously twangy guitar, and a catalogue number of 3284.107. Yup, Ronnie Hazelhurst again. Now you may think I don’t like this guy. You’d be wrong, it’s just unfortunate they chose poor recordings for this album. I’m tempted to trawl ebay to see if I can get an original of the album, just to hear how bad the other tracks are.

14. IT AIN’T HALF HOT HOT MUM (MEET THE GANG) (1975 EMI EMC 3074)

By the time the show ended, I wasn’t even 2 years old. I can’t say I remember seeing a complete episode. I do, however, remember the “variety show” opening of the show. It’s the song they used to sing on that. It’s just not great.

So, there we are, 14 tracks. Some good, some bad, some I’d rather carve out of existence. It seems to follow the path of all of the other theme albums I’ve had the chance to listen to.

Pat Sharp, Mullet extraordinaire.

It’s not often I get set challenges to write on this blog. I believe the last one may have been about a Rice Krispie square. It’s buried in the archives somewhere. Anyway, I was having a discussion with a certain Mr. Dick Brown. you may remember him from the infamous website dick-brown.com. I’ve actually linked to the website, because, honestly, at the moment, the site looks better than its done since its inception.

Anyway, I’d like to say this was a drunken discussion, but unfortunately, no, we were both sat in Employment Palace. As the boredom took hold, he looked at me and said (or rather, emailed me) those infamous words…

“Was pat sharpes mullet the greatest hair cut ever? Please explain your answer and show your working out. ”

YES, is the answer to this, for Mr. Patrick Sharpin, was without doubt the king of mullets. Note, how I say, was, as in recent times, he has ditched the trademark mullet, and has since disappeared into obscurity. Imagine if Hitler Charlie Chaplin had shaved off his famous toothbrush moustache? Would he be as famous? I am quite sure the answer is quite simply no.

To prove this, we just have to take a quick look at “Fun House”. Mr. Sharp’s tea-time extravaganza, featuring all of the things important to an adolescent, watching telly on a friday afternoon whilst on a complete sugar rush that is expected to last all weekend. Yes, those things are go-karts, mess, people falling over, a huge padded obstacle course (which I would often dream about going into) and above-all, a presenter with a wacky hairstyle and a jolly personality.

It would be wrong of me to think of Mr. Sharp as simply just the presenter of Fun House. During the late eighties and early nineties, who can forget this foray into the pop charts, with such classics as his remake of “Use it up And Wear it Out” – a duo with Mick Brown. I actually owned this particular single. I use the past tense there, as it was so indescribably bad, it ended up getting thrown out. I do remember, however, that the cover featured Mr Sharp’s mullet. The label was an embossed silver colour, and I have no idea what the B side was.

Mr. Sharp was last spotted in an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, unfortunately sans mullet.

In conclusion, I am happy that Mr. Sharp brought the mullet back to the publics attention. I never had the chance to grow one. That’s probably a good thing.

EDIT: Thanks to c64glen for finding a video on Youtube with Mr. Sharp, and Melanie + Martine…

Hard to believe the twins are nearly in their 40s…