dirty martini

old music for new people

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.

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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.

download here

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memories of flashdance have now been replaced by two skinny men with taches in jogging gear…and a very memorable ad campaign for a directory enquiry service of all things.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

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songs you turn down on your ipod… August 12, 2007

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..in case the person next to you hears and it shatters your illusion of cool. you know what i’m talking about.

past a certain age, these things are retro, but if ipods had been invented when i was 20, i wouldn’t have even dared to have these mp3s on mine. once you hit 25, crap music from your childhood is acceptable, and of course the girl/boybands you cried over are wheeled out again once they run out of cash and need to make a comeback.

those 100 worst songs ever shows they have on vh1 are always required viewing. one man’s trash another man’s treasure and all that. i’ll take these cheesy masterpieces over a radiohead gloomfest anyday.

don’t play these out louddownload here

kid creole and the coconuts – i’m a wonderful thing baby

kid creole and his coconuts were a tropical, clashing inclassifiable group who made comedy records with some credibility. i did say some, they were funky novelty records at the end of the day. post benny hill political incorrectness, but positively chaste compared to today’s r&b bootyvideos.

mark morrison – crazy

he needn’t have made this list but for the fact that he’s an absolute tosser, and for that reason alone you feel slightly dirty listening to his music. when he’s not banged up for the usual drugs/gbh/theft, mark likes to parade around london nightclubs with two ‘bitches’ on his arm. classy.

mc hammer – u can’t touch this

in 1990, everyone loved mc hammer despite the fact that each and every one of his songs was a blatant ripoff. once we caught on, after our indignant parents played us the originals to demonstrate how crap he was, his career sunk faster than his dancing. everyone ignored his attempt to drop the ‘mc’, and soon his trousers were out of fashion and so was he.

michael bolton – how am i supposed to live without you

michael bolton looked like an ageing chippendale and sang power ballads that were oddly compelling. for a 14 year old girl, the curly mulleted one shouldn’t have resonated, but did, because it sounded like he had loved and lost a few paperboys in his time as well. i was over it in a week.

vanilla ice – ice ice baby

where to start. well forget the proto eminem, pretty-fly-for-a-white guy persona, and the fact that he looked like he’d been brought up on crisps. and gloss over the fact that every other song he ever put out was shit. this tune still rocks a yates wine bar on a friday night, for those of a certain age, and you know it.

milli vanilli – girl you know its true

that miming incident and the ensuing revelation that milli vanilli didn’t sing their own songs was puzzling to me. from the outset, there was clearly a woman singing in the background and rob’n’fab were german not american. the idea that the braided ones couldn’t sing was slightly less shocking to me than their shoulder pads and odd wooden puppet style dancing.

mn8 – i’ve got a little something for you

a boyband song i liked when i was just about too old to like boybands, ie of legal drinking age. i think one of my university flatmates pulled the lead singer one night. she didn’t sell the story – we had grants in those days. plus we were only just realising the phenomenom of being able to carve a whole career from a one night stand or by being a celebrity girlfriend who wears a dress fashioned from safety pins.

spice girls – say you’ll be there

i hated the spice girls. every boy i knew was obsessed with them, and baby spice was my age and had millions in the bank, while i was a student. an anti-student who shopped in harvey nicks, nonetheless. i liked this song and hated myself for it. now i really couldn’t give a shit. i promise many of you will feel the same way about girls aloud in a decade’s time.

vanessa paradis – joe le taxi

again, vanessa was dislikable for the very fact that boys liked her so much. still, you could sing along to joe le taxi without being expected to know the correct lyrics, which was a bonus. ‘ampoule day ash’ anyone? apparently she was singing ’embouteillage’. she needs some elocution lessons. perhaps johnny can buy her some *hisssssssssssssssssss*

nkotb – i wanna be loved by you

this track, from their debut album, way before they were famous, sounds like an old creme egg advert. but instead of listing what they liked to do with creme eggs, they boys introduced themselves, their starsigns and somewhat unnecessarily pitched themselves as possible boyfriends to millions of teenage girls. red flag, bull. has to be heard to be believed.

wham – young guns

george michael encouraging people to be unemployed and play the field? imagine such a thing from such an upstanding citizen. more criminal was possibly the worst (best) rapping ever. if you haven’t seen the george michael episode of star stories, you need to. now. ‘we’re wham boys, and we’re on the dole. ooh yeah!’ classic.

will smith – getting jiggy with it

we’ve since established that jazzy jeff was the talented musician, but will had the charm and the character. this tune was a favourite for women in white stretch lace in branches of time and envy up and down the UK. i defy you not to sing, dance, or both.