1980s ITV Athletics theme… (The Heat – Richard Myhill)

Some of you may remember this. Many of you won’t. I could probably copy and paste the following from many other articles I’ve written about my love of obscure themes, but I won’t.

Back in the days when ITV actually had some athletics coverage, they used a guitar/piano type theme, which as a kid, I adored. I instantly knew I was in for an afternoon / evening of… erm, athletics.

ITV revamped their coverage for the 1990 European Championships in Split, and this awesome theme was dropped. Unfortunately, no video exists of the introductions that use the theme on youtube, or anywhere else for that matter, except for a realplayer video I have. It’s 35 seconds long, and 655K in size. You can imagine the quality.

I’d never heard this music anywhere else (except in an advert played once on the radio when going down the A19 when I was about 7 or 8).

In a series of mind ramblings involving Shazam (that mobile phone app that attempts to guess which song you’re listening to), and its inability to name this particular track, I typed into Google, “ITV Athletics theme”. The first few results were for the newer theme (which I’ve already got), but one hit was from Amazon…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ITV-Athletics/dp/B002X3LOB6

I took one look at the ‘CD cover’, and the generic name / artist of this track, and thought “Yeah, Okay. This is going to be an awful re-recording of something”.

I pressed play on the sample. The wallet flew out of my pocket quicker than what a Shearas Punjabi Wrap flies out of my body the morning after a night out. It’s amazingly the very same track!

For anyone with access to Spotify, here’s the link to the full track:-
Spotify Link

For the record…
00:00-00:30 seconds was never played
00:30-01:00 was the main theme
01:00-01:10 was the bit Jim Rosenthal used to talk over.

NOTE: The timings above are entirely wrong, as I failed to notice a subtle edited loop in the original theme, despite listening to the track constantly for around an hour.

The rest of the track was rarely played, but occasionally edited for random purposes such as viewer competitions, etc.

I thought for many years it was by Argent/Van Hooke, as they knocked out many themes for ITV around this time, but no, it’s actually by the same guy who did the famous 1970s-2000s Grandstand theme, Keith Mansfield.

EDIT 2: It’s not Keith Mansfield, it’s Richard Myhill, and is entitled “The Heat” from his record “Out Front”. the confusion probably came about by whoever released this, because it was featured on the KPM record library.

Right now, I want to be stood in the middle of an athletics track, in the pouring rain, looking slightly pissed off and uttering those immortal words… “Hello, from Brussels”…

The Unknown Song, still ongoing

Anybody who has been in contact with me in any way, shape or form over the last 15 years of internet usage will know one thing. I have been after the name of a particular piece of music since the mid 90s. With technology moving on as fast paced as it has, I never thought I’d be after the name of this particular melody for literally half of my life. Unfortunately, this is the case.

The tune, in question, as I’m sure you’ve all heard before, is here:-

c64glen retweeted the above link (cheers man!), but at the time of typing, there was no response. Therefore, I’m asking on here, vainly, if anyone knows the above track. Here’s a copy ‘n’ paste segment from a ‘deleted’ I made back in 2007…

Way back in the mid to late 90’s, a guy called Tom Davies used to host a talk-in show on TFM, imaginatively titled “Tom’s Talk-In”. After ad breaks, etc, he used to play bits of music, usually announcing the telephone number to ring in and other bits of information like that.

All (or at least most) of these tracks were edited versions of different songs from the 80s and 90s (including my much-loved “Downtown” by One 2 Many). I knew a few of the tracks, but not all of them. There was one particular one I loved, and didn’t know the name of. At some point in 1998, I got Chris to phone in and ask its name…

“You can’t buy it”, was Tom’s 4-word response.
“What’s it called, then”? Chris asked.
“It doesn’t have one”.

I didn’t quite believe this, and still don’t obviously. A few people had rang up in the past, and asked what a certain piece of music is. Sometimes he’d help, sometimes he’d say it didn’t have a name, despite the fact I knew what it was.

At some point after this, Tom crashed his car into a field after swerving to avoid a fox, and the minidisc containing the show’s music was lost or destroyed. Some of the original music returned, but this particular track didn’t, and I never heard it again.

Luckily I found an old C90 with this particular tune on, and I was able to ask a few people whether they knew it. Unfortunately, nobody did. To this day, I still call it “The Unknown Song”.

(snip)

If you do find out what it is, for god’s sake, leave a comment or something.

Needless to say, nobody did leave a comment. Technology has moved on, Shazam is now “free”, as in, I hope it as an app on my phone which is sponsored until the end of the year. No matter what aangle I point my phone at, it just will not name it.

I have got to the point where I’ve relied on Youtube’s “annoyingly fucking accurate” music spotter. If you have even a twinge of a song in a video, it’ll send you a snotty email saying that “XY owns the copyright, be careful, you peasant”. One of my videos got blocked in Germany because someone at [CENSORED] was dancing hilariously to the Pussycat Dolls. Another got ‘marked’ because I was on a walk with Gary, and I happened to be filming out of the car window while he had the radio on.

I thought I’d use this technology to my advantage, and upload the video you see above. Maybe it could give me some information on who owns this recording. Sadly not. It’s been a few days and their automatic system hasn’t triggered.

Jean Bennett Sings

UPDATE: March 2017 – Jean’s nephew David has posted a couple of comments, thanks to him for taking the time to comment and post her obituary, sadly she passed away in 2003. The mystery about the attire is also solved, thanks again for clearing that up!

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Who She?” The answer is, I don’t know. I just happened to be flicking through my records in order to catalogue them, and this one appeared…

5481226499_f35243ca30_o

It was part of a bag of records given to me by a friend. As you can see, at some point during its life, it has been used as a chew toy by a mischeivous puppy, which means the vinyl really doesn’t fare much better. Due to its condition, and the fact I’ve never heard of Mrs Bennett, it almost went into the big green charity shop in the sky (aka, the wheelie bin), but something’s made me keep hold of it. There’s a mystery surrounding it. I can’t find anything about her. At all. A few places have this record for sale on the internets (no, I’m not on the lookout for a replacement copy), but there’s no information on the lady, at all. the record doesn’t have a date on either, so I’m not even sure how old she would be now. If she’s still alive, that is, which I hope.

Somewhere in this terrace of unassuming, yet incredibly expensive houses, is number 76, the registered address of Nevis Records. Doesn’t really look like the type of place to be churning out platinum discs by the skipload, but let me give you the spiel on the back of the record…

This album by Jean Bennett has been made in response to the many demands from her fans. It contains many of the songs for wich Jean is known so well.

Lancashire born and living in Blackpool, Jean’s popularity is nation wide.

The expert opinion of Nevis Records producer Jim McLean and the musical direction by Nicky Welsh has combined to make this a Jean Bennett Classic.

Right you are, then. I’ll take your “expert” word for it. Now, the stylus on my record deck is broken anyway, so I’m going to play myself a couple of tracks. I’m not too bothered if I hit a canine-induced crater. Track 1, “On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep” is a no-go. the teeth marks are too deep to even attempt it, so let’s start with Track 2, “Bless This House”…

One thing that strikes me straight away is that this record is badly manufactured. It’s off-centre, which means everything’s wobbling about, making it sound off-pitch.

I played that side to the end, and although not my cup of tea, it was acceptable. There are probably worse ones out there. Either way, I’d love to know what happened to old Jeano, and if there are any fans of hers still out there… and can anyone explain those clothes she’s wearing?

Here’s the track listing for this album…

A
1. ON MOTHER KELLY’S DOORSTEP
2. BLESS THIS HOUSE
3. MARTA
4. IF I WERE A RICH MAN
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE
6. MATCHSTICK MEN

B
1. PEOPLE (WHO NEED PEOPLE)
2. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE
3. IT MUST BE HIM
4. LOVE IS ALL
5. SALLY
6. FOR ALL WE KNOW

UPDATE 4/2/2017 – 2016 imagery for the houses, couple of typos fixed

Music was my first love…

Judging from many of the posts on the site, you can’t fail to notice that I’m a bit of a collector when it comes to music. I’ve mentioned how it all began quite a few times. I was 11 years old. Daddykins came into possession of an old record player, and gave me a few old record to play on it. Really old records.

I obviously wanted something more “my style”. A fun day was held at the now-demolished Queens pub. One of the stalls was selling records. I bought one. It was “Secret Garden” by T’Pau. I also bought an album, but I won’t tell you what it was.

No siree, I will not mention, at all, that the first album I ever purchased was “Ten Good Reasons”, by Jason Donovan. No, I’ll never do that.

Anyway, since those fateful purchases, I have allowed my music collection to grow massively, to the point where it can barely be contained in the walls of Mercuryvapour Towers. Something I have always struggled with, is the ability to actually *tell* what I have, never mind know which tracks are on which CDs / albums / records.

I’ve made attempts in the past. Firstly, these were on paper, and pretty pointless, as I only had about 20 records. I probably did one on my Amiga, definitely did one on my old green screen 8086 PC, using Dbase III. I promptly forgot the password for the database, however.

My record collecting started to grow during the 1990s. I began to earn my own money, and promptly discovered the flea market and car boot sales. I collected a lot.

The internet was the “next big thing” when it came to my record / CD collecting. Ebay opened up new opportunities of “collecting”, and I’d often buy boxes of CDs / records, just to get a couple of songs I wanted. This may look like a false economy, but it really wasn’t. Every single time I bought a “batch”, there’d be CDs in there I didn’t know I wanted (as in, tracks I didn’t notice the name of), and ones I could resell to make the money back.

Someone in Italy paid £17.50 for a CD single I paid the equivalent of 20p for. Woooo, etc. I think I spent it on booze the very same night.

My collection grew, and it became clear I had no actual idea what I owned anymore. On 26th December 2005, I started the gallery. I took photos of every CD I could lay my hands on, uploaded them to the gallery, and added track listings. It was, however, just a gallery. It’s not designed to be a music collecting tool. Although it was functional, it was messy. I still have it online here, but its days are numbered.

OK, so I at least had a temporary way of cataloguing CDs, but what about records? By this time, I was in a similar situation with the vinyl. It was unorganized, and all over the place.

Whilst on jury duty in 2008, I set up plans for a database. There really was nothing better to do. I tapped my ideas into my phone, and within a few hours, had a working template for it. It’s still in use to this day, and looks a little something like this…

5430627506_910bfcc441_o

Bigger picture on clicky-to-flickr, naturally. I didn’t realise I had that many Diana Ross singles either. Even I raised an eyebrow when I noticed that.

I’m 573 words into this, and I haven’t even explained why I’m telling you all this… I’ve started cataloguing it all again. In what could only be described as a moment of fever-induced insanity, I bought the “Music Collector Pro” software from collectorz. It has some useful features such as the ability to look up bar codes, cover scans and generate listings of what CDs and records you have. You can even run graphs on them…

5430104871_5b87c61912_o

Of course, as you can see, this list is nowhere near complete. I have a stack of records to go through, as well as over 1000 7″ singles. I have no idea how it’s going to cope with that.

I’m also sure you’ll want to see the collection as it stands now. Here’s a HTML view of the collection as it stands. There are a number of empty images. I’ll correct these as time goes on.

I’m also sure that somewhere in Japan, Chad’s just lost the contents of his testicles after reading this utterly fascinating post.

Polydor 2384 107! I has it!

OK, I haven’t even started the blog, and I’ve already confused at least one of my viewers. What the hell is “Polydor 2384 107”, I hear you cry? You may remember a few months ago, I did one of my “Theme Music Appreciation” posts, where I reviewed a “BBC Themes” album I’d borrowed off Andy The Iridium Fan.

Some of the worst tracks came from another album entitled “Sixteen Small Screen Greats”, with the “Polydor 2384 107” catalogue number. I commented on how I’d like to get my hands on a copy just to hear the rest of the tracks… well, thanks to a case of finding a virtual needle in a haystack, I now have a copy right in front of me.

ATIF recently acquired a large collection of records and CDs, and I was invited over to Iridium Mansion to have a flick through and take what I wanted. The records were located in the attic, which was only partially lit. Now, for most people this would be a problem, but not for ATIF. He came upstairs to the attic, carrying a Phosco P678 streetight. It was plugged into the wall socket, and the CD/record browsing commenced…


The first photo contains streetlights, records, CDs, and a packet of Maynards Wine Gums. All this photo needs, is a pint of beer, a vindaloo and a pair of tits, and I’d had been in heaven.

Very quickly after a short flick through the CDs and records, I found that the original owner of the records and CDs was an avid theme music collector, which means that there was a lot of old 1980s TV theme vinyl in there, and some of them were brilliant. There was a load of the re-recorded variety, but several were the “genuine article”

Aside from the afore-mentioned Ronnie Hazelhurst LP, I pulled out a number of different albums, including “The TV Hits Album”, released on Towerbell Records, volumes 1 and 2. I had downloaded these particular albums (naughty naughty) as horribly compressed and scratched MP3s, so I knew the tracks included were genuine. The vinyl on these, as with all of the records, is mint, so I now have a copy of Su Pollard’s “Starting Together” to call my own… that is, if my record player’s stylus wasn’t running low on sharpness.

Speaking of Stylus, there was one of the theme albums released under the “Stylus” record label. I’ve had ‘bad’ records from this company in the past, where the tracks are either edited down, or re-recorded, so I wasn’t expecting much. I slapped it on the turntable, and played Track 1, the “Cagney And Lacey” theme. It’s a piece of music I like, but have never been able to track down the version used on the programme. I pressed play. The turntable sprang into life. The sax intro plays…. it sounds almost genuine. The main theme kicks in, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s the exact version used on the programme, even down to the seldom-noticed xylophone / glockenspiel / whatever percussion instrument it is, barely audible, 40 – 52 seconds into it. Any re-recording would have lost this entirely. There’s also the piano buried back there too, just like every good 80s TV theme.

Er, anyway. there is a reason why the C+L theme is almost impossible to track down on CD… it’s because it was recorded in mono, and it’s 1′ 15″ in length. Every version commercially available on CD is re-recorded, made longer and recorded in stereo. Don’t tamper with the classics, eh?

My plastic-browsing was brought to a temporary, yet abrupt halt, when the streetlight providing our illumination, suddenly went phut, and plunged the entire attic (and the rest of Iridium Mansion) into darkness, with the only illumination coming from the red-hot, yet slowly cooling arc tube. Within seconds, bellows of “ANDREW!” came from downstairs… Now, there could be a couple of things that caused the leccy in his house to trip. His parents seemed to think he was toying with something, but at the time I knew he wasn’t, he was sorting some photos at the time. My opinion wasn’t asked, so I kept out of it. Should it be needed in the future, when the lights went out, ATIF was looking at photos. I was looking at CDs, Neither of us were holding screwdrivers. Bit late now, but still, Awwwwkward.

For the first time ever, my phone came to the rescue. I thought its “flashlight” feature was a jokey gimmick. Honestly, it’s not. It’s not the brightest thing in the world, but my word, it’s worth its weight in LEDs.

The visit to ATIF’s ended as usual, with the obligatory photo of me holding a streetlight. This time, I went for the SOX variant of the GEC Z567x series…

Yes, I’m quite aware my hair needs cutting…

Music from the Thomas Cook advert

Wow, starting as I mean to go on, eh? This is my hundredth blog post so far this year… or at least it feels like it. anyway, this is a very quick update, mainly for my own benefit, but the music on the current Thomas Cook advert, with its wispy guitars, is “The Sea”, by Morcheeba.

I know it from something else, or at least I know that guitar riff. I probably have it on CD somewhere, I’ve bought a load of chillout albums over the years.

The humble art of the mixtape…

I’m sure that calling it a “mixtape” is some type of American colloquialism, therefore I feel slightly dirty using it on my blog, but sod it, that’s what I’m going to call it. Those of you around my age will remember these, and the joy they used to bring you.

You give a friend a C90, it returns several days later, filled with questionable music. It was like the Napster of the Nineties. Or the eMule of the Eighties. And possibly the WinMX of the Sev… wait, that one doesn’t really work.

Andy the Iridium Fan is someone who still embraces the analogue era, and likes nothing more than to slap on his walkman, and ride around the streets of Hartlepool listening to his compilations of C120s, entitled “Music for the Weekend”.

You may know that I’m currently borrowing it a tape recorder of his, in the vain hope of getting the majority of my decaying tapes onto some type of digital media. This is a job not for the faint hearted. In payback for the loan of the tape deck, he thrust a C120 tape into my hand and DEMANDED I fill it with shit. OK, a little bit of artistic license there, I just had to fill it. Now, for obvious reasons, such as I don’t particularly want to be sued, I can’t divulge the contents of the afore-mentioned tape (Dear Lawyers, for all you know, it’s actually 120 minutes of me gargling in the bath), but choosing the tracks to go on there was extremely difficult.

I started the tape about 6 weeks ago, and only finished it two days ago. What was odd, is the complicated procedure that some of the songs…. no, sorry, sounds of me gargling in the bath, went through… it would have started life on record, recorded via USB turntable, compressed to MP3, written to CDR, played on CD player, recorded onto tape…. in fact, this tape…

It did drive one thing home, how much I missed the whole “mixtape” idea. With archives of entire music catalogues at our disposal at the click of a mouse, it seems that a once fine art is dying out, replaced with faceless playlists, on third-party websites. I still have tapes recorded for me by Chad, and I’m sure I’ve blogged about them in the past. As much as I hate to say it, these were my greatest influence when it comes to music I listen to 20 years later. In 2nd place, are the tapes Daddykins used to get from the petrol station. In fact, I’m listening to “No Regrets” by The Walker Brothers, which I first heard on one of those tapes.

And, for those of you of a nosey disposition, here’s a little behind-the-scenes look of me taking the above photo, courtesy of ATIF…

Resting my camera on a mug half-full of tea. Quinticenstally British. For those who have been following, I named my tape “Music For the Weak End 1”. I have no idea if there’ll be a followup.