Saturday, 28 July 2012

Sixth Sense

is a Sense of Humour.

Much like opinions (or a***holes) everyone has got one, they're just different

A sense of humour is one of those things that can't necessarily be explained - something either tickles your funny bone, or it doesn't.  There's not really any middle ground with it - its Yes or No, Black or White, On or Off.  It's a proper binary emotion. *
* There are 10 types of people in the world - those that understand binary, and those that don't

See what I mean? I think that joke is funny, a lot of people I've said it to look at me like I'm some sort of loony.

And so to a whistle-stop tour of my definition & opinion of comedy:

Not Funny:
Benidorm (Duty Free without the jokes)
Mrs Browns Boys (thats half hour of my life I'm not getting back)

Funny, but Not Funny:
The Royle Family (when you have spent time in a household EXACTLY like the Royle Family, you will understand.  It was difficult for me not to view it as a documentary)

Universally Funny:
Blackadder (at least one series (usually 2 or 4))
Only Fools & Horses

Pretty much universally Funny (with some exceptions):
Carry On
Fawlty Towers

Niche/Cult Comedy (ie not everyone "gets it"):
Monty Python (with the possible exception of Life Of Brian which has a far bigger appreciative audience then the TV shows)
League Of Gentleman

Alternative Comedy:
Did Alternative Comedy kill off the archetypal 1970s Club Comedians?
Much like the 'Punk killed Prog Rock' argument, the answer is:
No, it didn't.  It just changed the direction that people were looking.
For every episode of The Young Ones, Russ Abbot would be in his Madhouse on a Saturday night.  For every Comic Strip there was an episode of To The Manor Born etc

The world had moved on a a short time - people were no longer tolerant of the casual racism and sexism put across on shows like 'The Comedians' and 'The Wheeltappers & Shunters Club' - oh, and not forgetting the advent of Political Correctness (possibly a media invention, but certainly a step forward in the tolerance and integration of the country).
John Thompson, in the guise of comedian Bernard Righton, updated the 1970s Club Comic standard joke thusly:
"An Englishman, an Irishman and a Pakistani walk into a bar. What a perfect example of racial integration."

Indeed, the club comedians returned in the early 90s with a spate of videos (led by Mike Reid) doing their stage act, this time committed to magnetic tape.
Alternative Comedy (which is a terrible name - comedy is comedy) had sort of run out of legs, and the rennaissance of the club comic filled the wilderness.
Problem was after 2 or 3 of the videos, they all got a bit samey (same jokes, same punchlines, same f-bombs dropped at the same point in the conversation etc)
Although the re-discovery of Bob Monkhouse as the premier gag merchant was a welcome diversion.  Most of my generation only knew him as the smarmy game show host.  We didn't know that he was possibly Britains greatest living joke teller.  We soon did, and Bob's career took off again (and rightly so)

Staddling both the Club Comic and the Alternative Comics stood two comedy geniuses (and you may disagree, but that is my opinion) - Billy Connelly and Victoria Wood.

From winning New Faces in 1974, through the novelty act on Thats Life, Vitoria Wood As Seen On TV graced the screens of the BBC in the 1980s.
In 1998, she wrote and starred in the sitcom dinnerladies - just as The Royle Family came along, changing the rules and expectations of what sitcom was all about.
She will always be remembered for two things: Acorn Antiques (now a Stage Musical) and the song "Lets Do It".
If you've never heard it - here it is for your enjoyment (if you have heard it - here it is for another listen):

Billy Connelly is responsible for quite possibly the funniest TV stand up show I've ever seen.
Broadcast in 1985, behold two of my favourite excerpts from "An Audience With Billy Connelly"

National Anthem:

Incontinence Pants:

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Songs For Sports Day

Unless you have been living on another planet for the past couple of months, you will more than likely noticed that a huge great Sports Day is about to take place in London, and other selected areas of the country.

So what musical treats of will we be bombarded with from the impending televisual feast?

I am expecting to hear (and be thoroughly bored of hearing after 3 weeks) the following in constant rotation:
  • Spandau Ballet - Gold
  • Take That - Rule The World
  • Sterophonics - Have A Nice Day
  • Pet Shop Boys - Winner
  • Status Quo - The Winner
In reference to the last two, is it just a coincidence that these songs have been released just before the start of the Olympics?  Coincidence or cynical marketing strategy?
The sporting montages, a commonly used tool to either (a) kill time between links and events, or (b) close down the days coverage are likely to be awash with Coldplay, Elbow's "One Day Like This", and probably The Clash's - "London Calling" (unless British Airways have an exclusive rights deal)

And if anyone with any authority over these things is reading this, can I please put a vote in for "Go For It" by Stiff Little Fingers.  It just sounds like the ideal track for a sporting montage.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Q Magazine

12 issues for £12.
I have read that Q Magazine (with ex-Word Editor Andrew Harrison at the helm) is taking a definite upward turn.
Well, we'll see about that? But at 12 quid for 12 issues it would be churlish not to give it a go.
(Offer available until 27 July)
Here's hoping that the reports I'm hearing are true, and Q is making a return to its heyday before it all went a bit rubbish (or at least stopped covering the stuff I wanted to read about).

So in the spirit of Mike Mansfield *: Q The Music

* I realise that not everyone will get this reference - this may explain

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A Whole New World

No, this isn't about a post regarding the musical offering from Peter Andre & Katie Price - although if you ever need cheering up, read the reviews on Amazon:
A Whole New World - Amazon Reviews

I have just returned from 5 days in windswept, rainy and internet-free Norfolk.  When you go away from home for a week or so, the chances are that when you return not much has changed and you (or maybe just 'I') bumble on through our existence.

I did find some sporadic connections to keep in touch with the 21st Century - I took the opportunity that was presented and created a couple of Fantasy Football teams for the new season, checked the progress of a couple of Amazon orders, looked at a couple of things on wikipedia (Dadaism and Pop Art (ooo, hark at me looking at fancy artistic movement stuff on the internet)) and logged on to the Word website

As mentioned previously, The Word Magazine is closing.  When I logged on I was presented with a message informing me that as of 9am Tuesday 17th July, the website (and all other online accounts (Twitter etc) would be closed.
Fortunately, there are a few more savvy, organised and capable people than me about.
A new site has been built by a member of the previous community, and is being administered/sorted by a couple of others (chaps, take a bow - you know who you are).
If you're interested in music, films, TV, books, indeed any form of popular culture then please come and have a look, join in and be seduced by the general good nature of it's contributors, the breadth of subjects covered, not forgetting food-based puns applied to film and song titles, interspersed with liberal dollops (oo-er) of schoolboy humour and general irreverence
"Gentle Musings On The Byways of Popular Culture" - that's its byline, and a pretty good summary of what it's all about:

The Afterword
(link also on right hand side under 'Other Places I Visit On T'Interweb') ----->

Come in, have a look around, and if you like what you see register and join the newest, previously existing web community.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


The Beatles Movie Medley was the single that properly introduced my ears to The Beatles.
A mix of "Magical Mystery Tour", "All You Need Is Love", "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away", "I Should Have Known Better", "A Hard Day's Night", "Ticket to Ride" and "Get Back" is a pretty good way to first hear The Beatles within the confines of a 7" Single.
So, with this single and a copy of 1962-66 (The Red Album) purloined from my parents LP collection, I very quickly became an expert on all things Fab (despite never having heard anything recorded post-'Rubber Soul').
The Beatles Movie Medley

The Beatles Movie Medley was released in March 1982, and was in the tradition of the medley/megamix single which had been doing swift business in the previous year, most notably (to my memory) "Stars On 45" and "Back To The Sixties" ("Back To The Sixties" was another mix of songs that after hearing it, and a bit of background reading I was an instant expert on 60s music)

Even Chas & Dave got in on the act releasing "Stars Over 45" - medley including "When I'm Cleanin' Windows", "Any Old Iron" and "Run Rabbit Run" (to name but three) - in short a pub singalong committed to vinyl.

Two of my favourites from the glut of medley singles were:

Squeeze - "Squabs on Forty Fab" (B-Side to "Labelled With Love"):

Captain Sensible - "Damned On 45" (B-Side to "Glad Its All Over"):

Even The Sex Pistols had entered the fray as early as 1980 by including a medley of their songs in the film The Great Rock n Roll Swindle, performed in a disco/funk type styl-ee by The Black Arabs (I won't post a video link because I think it is truly awful, and the world will remain a better place without me imposing that on people) 

And so we reach the high point (low point?) of the medley single.
Jive Bunny first troubled the world in the summer of 89 (sounds like a cue for a Bryan Adams song?) with "Swing The Mood" - a novelty single combining Glen Miller with 1950s Rock n Roll.
A novelty of minor interest, but in 1989 that sodding rabbit wouldn't go away returning in October with another single, and then again in December with another single AND an album.
The album was a DJ's dream - just pop on the record and disappear to the bar for the next 40 minutes.
Job Done!
(That's my excuse for buying the album anyway)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Discovery at CERN

Today marks the culmination of 45 years of research - they have apparently discovered a bassoon at CERN.
Whats next?
a clarinet at NASA?
an oboe at the Royal Observatory?

we need to be kept informed of these unexplained appearances of woodwind instuments