dirty martini

old music for new people

tv heaven November 9, 2008

zammojackie

tv and music were once an unholy alliance. you didn’t get leona lewis, you got bonnie langford. actors who thought they could sing and songs used in adverts and tv themes populated the charts.

old skool tv tracks

babylon zoo – spaceman

once used in a levi’s ad, forever lodged in a nation’s consciousness. you’d forgotten it? well in 1995, people had forgotten about the jeans. each new ad was notable for the soundtrack and model, with jeans rapidly disappearing off the radar until flat eric and destiny’s child revived them complete with sequins and glitter a few years later.

five star – stay out of my life

a rework of this five star track moonlighted as the theme tune to citv game show ‘how dare you’, variously presented by playschool’s floella benjamin and bucks fizz alumni cheryl baker. it’s a hazy memory but i do remember a lot of gunge being thrown around.

brown sauce – i wanna be a winner

cheggers and soon-to-be but now ex-wife maggie philbin wrongly assumed that their presenting roles on saturday morning tv show the multicoloured swap shop implied any kind of musical talent. so, those of you who thought his career low point was baring his arse on ‘naked jungle’ were wrong. thank god for ‘cheggers plays pop’. i loved that, always wanted the yellows to win and they never did.

marlena shaw – california soul

kfc as soul food? genius. it’s not quite momma cherri’s but as close as a lot of people are going to get. soul food, like mexican and swiss cuisine, is way underrepresented in the UK.

dennis waterman – i could be so good for you

forget little dennis waterman in the little britain sketch, funny though it is. in the 80s, in ‘minder’, dennis was cool. this fell apart roughly around the same time as we found out that minger laura from eastenders was his daughter. you remember, the one who was married to ian beale, and in her 40s, played by someone in their 20s. yep, that minging.

dexy’s midnight runners – because of you

became the theme tune to popular 80s sitcom ‘brush strokes’ featuring the actor who has appeared in mr muscle adverts for the last ten years or so, as jacko. elmo putney and his pink wine bar…what happened to wine bars? in my not very legal drinking years the last few were dying out. this, and the one in ‘only fools and horses’ that del fell over in, are places I would have liked to frequent…for the kitsch value, naturally…

grange hill – just say no

yes, just a few years later on ‘the word’ the cast collided with the early 90s rave scene and undid all that good work…one of my favourite things about watching old grange hill episodes, apart from jackie and zammo, is the accents. no one speaks like that now! i’m not even sure they did then. they’re supposed to be cockneys!

v capri – haunting me

thought angry anderson was bad? this song featured in an episode, i think, where scott and charlene had split, but he raced to a bus station (always a bus station) to stop her moving to brisbane. cue lots of flashbacks of them playing on swings, slides, roundabouts..in other words the cheesiest bit of tv you’re ever likely to see. look it up on youtube.

cathy dennis – irresistable

used in a 1992 sky campaign. pretty sure the only reason it’s embedded in my memory is the fact that i – literally – watched cable for 20 hours a day back then. studs and full house on sky one, on the air with clive pearse on super channel, most wanted with ray cokes…good times.

joey scarbury – believe it or not

possibly the most 80s theme tune ever, from ‘the greatest american hero’. inspired later efforts for ‘cheers’, ‘the golden girls’ and ‘my two dads’.

robin beck – first time

everyone in coke ads was cool. even if they were in the middle of falling over, their first kiss, being hit by a tidal wave, whatever, because they were a) in slow motion and b) had a coke in their hand, the object of their desire still fancied them and they were unflappable. no wonder 80s kids are all in therapy now…

savage garden – truly madly deeply

ah yes, melted chocolate voiced savage garden, were a perfect fit with wet blanket dawson and the other improbably sensitive and articulate river kids. can’t remember if the song actually featured in the series or was just a channel 4 hookup.

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eurovision: a history of crime May 23, 2008

a few years ago, the bbc stopped trying to make eurovision cool. thank god. now we can start enjoying it again.

they’ve streamlined the voting which is quite annoying and has contributed to a decline in my ability to count to 20 in every european language and to verbalise the words ‘united kingdom’ in 25 different languages. 

they used to spend about four hours trying to connect by cb radio to gruff foreign presenters floating somewhere off the coast of depressing old finland, and that was half the entertainment…

you could get the atrocious and frankly superfluous singing out of the way early and settle in for the real event. playground politics implemented at nationwide level – all prejudices, past, current and future grudges displayed for all to see and guaranteed to have your dad hopping mad in front of the tv. jingoism, disguised as patriotism, at its very best.

1981 – bucks fizz – making your mind

well, jay left early on and was replaced some faceless woman. mike nolan had a car crash, cheryl baker became a tv presenter and bobby g, who knows…none of their subsequent achievements matched the then risque ripping of skirts to reveal…shorter skirts. bucks fizz are one of my earliest memories and this may explain a lot.

1982 – bardo – one step further

wait – the girl was a crackerjack presenter? never knew that. god i love this footage – its eurovision, the fast show’s channel 9 and 70s spanish holidays (which you could still go on until about 1990) all in one. love how standing back to back and a few badly timed power grabs passed for a dance routine back then. oh and the obligatory leg in air ending.

1983 – sweet dreams – never giving up

i didn’t realise i remembered this until i saw it today. carrie grant from fame academy! i’m assuming she had a makeover by the time she met david. apparently the blonde girl still sings and the limahl lookalike is now a welsh radio presenter. sooo smashie and nicey.

1984 – belle and the devotions – love games

i forgot this one too. thanks to the football hooligans that ruined most of the uk’s european activities throughout the 80s, this lot were booed offstage. back when that used to be an insult, kids. i’m sure for no other reason…cough…no actually they had some other hits. umm…

1985 – vikki – love is

she was channelling princess di back in 1985, but now is called aeone and writes tv and film scores. she looks kind of nuts now. she did also almost get flattened by meatloaf once but i’m sure there’s a lot of people with that particular claim to fame…

um…lots of hair rock…and then…

1990 – emma – give a little love back to the world

really cheesy effort for 1990 by a 15 year old welsh girl called emma booth. she looked exactly like all the older girls at my school at the time, who also had backcombed hair par excellence. but, significantly, they spent their spare time working out whether thunderbird or super strongbow got you pissed faster, instead of swaying around in shoulderpads singing about the environment with people two or three times their age.

1991 – samantha janus – a message to your heart

yeeeeeowch. it was a good job she could act wasn’t it? i suppose she slunk back to sylvia young’s theatre brat camp for a few years after this – its terrible what they get some of those kids to do in the name of celebrity. thankfully, a few years later she was surprisingly funny as mandy in fab 90s sitcom game on, and her career was back on track. until that ended. but now she’s in eastie, which let’s face it, is as good as it’ll get.

i can’t bear to include michael ball, sonia and frances ruffelle….

1995 – love city groove – love city groove

ok, at the time we thought this was going to win. all of a sudden, the 70s were over because lets face it, in eurovision world they got a 15 year extension. cool britannia was in full swing, britpop (which i admittedly hated) was all over the place, and we dared to enter a song which wasn’t sung exclusively by and for white people. it fell on its arse. eurovision was not ready.

1996 – gina g – just a little bit

this is not as bad as i remember. its terrible what nostalgia can do to you.

 

let’s get physical October 10, 2007

one of my first memories is watching ‘the kids from fame’. i don’t think i really understood that the ‘kids’ (most of whom looked well into their 20s, as per hollywood convention) were  just training to be stars. i thought they just liked to leap about in legwarmers and leotards, like me.

aerobics.jpg

 

photographic evidence exists of me in my little grey marl fame sweatshirt with matching burgundy skirt, circa 1982. the aerobic craze carried through to the mid 80s, with fame the movie, flashdance and a teenage sarah jessica parker in girls just wanna have fun. any colour pastel with grey marl and you were good to go. to date, these remain my favourite colour combinations.

the arrival of tv-am in the uk in 1983 meant that bored housewives no longer needed to warm up for the day unaided. lizzy, in her curly slightly unbalanced glory would encourage you to shake it, not sit in front of jeremy kyle sneering at those less fortunate. in the 80s, those less fortunate could dance their way to a better life, in any case.

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bucks fizz – making your mind up

yes, despite the drugs and sex scandals of the 60s and 70s, a dance routine in which long skirts were pulled off to reveal – gasp – shorter skirts, was the controversy of the 1981 eurovision song contest. and cheryl baker is living proof that the phenonenom of carving an entire career from the simple act of wearing a particular outfit on one occasion was not created by the parasitical liz hurley.

bardo – one step further

like bucks fizz, but a boy-girl duo who wore even shorter skirts. don’t worry, i mean the girl…although if gaydars had been invented in 1982 then they would have been on red alert for the other half of this cheesy pop act.

cyndi lauper – girls just wanna have fun

pop punk cyndi looked a bit too out of shape to be the poster girl and soundtrack provider to one of the 80s most prominent legwarmer movies. like most of the hen night casualties who now kill this on karoake down their local yates.

deniece williams – let’s hear it for the boy

footloose was the ultimate good over evil movie. what? a town where dancing is banned. did they know it was 1984? well, seeing as the town in question was in utah, probably not.

michael sembello – she’s a maniac

memories of flashdance have now been replaced by two skinny men with taches in jogging gear…and a very memorable ad campaign for a directory enquiry service of all things.

irene cara – fame/flashdance

its not clear whether irene had a career outside the realm of soundtracks to high energy dance movies. i don’t think she did. what a strange way to get pigeonholed.

kids from fame – hi fidelity

the kids had several successful albums and i was so tempted to post the schmaltzy ‘starmaker’. that’ll be in ‘songs you turn down on your ipod’ the sequel, i suppose…

maria vidal – body rock

grabbed the crown from irene cara – who must have been v pissed off – with this big 1985 hit. never seen the movie, much the same as no one has ever seen vision quest but has ‘crazy for you’.

pointer sisters – jump

everyone must have been forced to jump around to this during school PE lessons at some point. you could tell our PE tarts loved the 80s, they still looked like extras from fame well into the 90s.

toni basil – mickey

35 year old cheerleader toni had a huge hit with this when i was little. what is it with america and cheerleaders anyway? uk girls are more likely to hold their boyfriends fags while he has a kickabout with his mates…and thats about as far as it goes.

whitney houston – how will i know

whitney apparently hates this video, and finds it embarrassing to watch herself prances about in pastel jumpers and headbands. yes, i can see why that would be infinitely more cringeworthy than all of those clips from ‘being bobby brown’ doing the rounds on youtube…