What’s Left But To Wallow In Nostalgia?

Hi there.

These days it seems to be the usual thing for me to apologise to you for not blogging sooner.

Well, I’m sorry.

Also,  Twitter seems to do it for me these days. 140 characters, wham, bam, thank you mam. What other medium forces you to critise the health secretary in only one sentence. There seems to be a lot of this about at present. Critising the government, I mean. The one in the UK, to be exact. I don’t even want to imagine what it must be like to be an U.S. American these days. As Charlie Brooker said: “I think there is something wrong with my television. It’s showing me images and sounds from a universe I don’t recognise.” Consequently, for old social liberals of the continental sort there is not much to celebrate these days. If I ever meet Francis Fukuyama I will certainly I have a few choice words for him: ‘The End of History’ my arse. With society around us becoming coarser, more polarised and all together more unpleasant, it’s to time to switch off the news, unsubscribe from the political twitter feeds and focus on the pleasant things in life, such as 12″ remixes from the eighties.

Huh?

Indeed. I personally wouldn’t have come up with the topic myself (though admittedly I do hear a few of these), but my favourite corner of the internet, the UK’s ‘Guardian’ news paper last week asked its readers for the best 12″ remixes of the eighties. The response was impressive, with over 750 entries by old people like myself. As befitting the Guardian, the choiced ranged from the daft (early Kylie, The Goodies, Italo Disco) the so-so (T’Pau [who names their group after an old fictional alien. tsstss], Soft Cell, Peter Gabriel), the rare (Kariya, Act, Barrington Levy), the irrestible (Sister Sledge, Mantronix, Thompson Twins) to the sublime (Matt Bianco, Frankie goes to Hollywood, David Bowie, Prince, Freeez).  To make a point, let’s just remind you of this lovely example how to make an (at times hilarious) 12″.

So, instead of losing (even more) of my hair by worrying about the world turning into some populistic hell hole, I’ll rather work on my perfect, 10 hour Spotify playlist of amazing eighties 12″ tracks. Suggest some via Twitter!

Here’s Johnny

I remember it quite vividly: it was 1985, and I was sitting in the only pub of a tiny coastal village on the North Sea, nursing a small beer and staring out the window, enjoying the sunset. The pub had one of those small CRT TVs sitting on the bar, and because I was the only customer, the bar keeper asked whether he could turn it on, switching the channel to a clip show showing the latest music videos (remember those? Big thing in the eighties, especially for countries who didn’t get MTV yet [when they were still playing music]), of course presented by a person with big hair. Between the usual Michael Jackson, Madonna and A-Ha there was suddenly the most enormous big band sound filling the pub and an amazingly catchy tune made both the barkeeper and me look up and check out the clip. On the small screen where 4 obviously British chaps with a large big band doing their thing, miming away with vim and vigour and 3 minutes and 24 seconds later they were gone. I couldn’t quite understand the presenter afterwards, but I caught the word ‘idlewild’, though I didn’t know whether this was the band’s name or the song title. A few days later I tried to find the record at my various local record shops (all of them history), but nobody had heard of the track and that was that. Over the years I tried to find the record from time to time, but all I could find was stuff from the Scottish band ‘Idlewild’ which was definitely not what I was looking for. But just a few days ago, I stumbled over a link on youtube, and there they were: the same video as in 1985, with the same 4 chaps with their funny eighties pop star hairdos and the big band sound. Have a look:

 

Weren’t they glorious? Isn’t the song amazing?

They were called ‘Here’s Johnny’, from Liverpool and unfortunately dropped by their record company after only a few singles, not even having a single album under their belt (or a wikipedia entry – how sad is that).  There is an comment under an (excellent quality) soundcloud entry of the song by Colin McKay, their songwriter:

That’s me . . . Still can’t believe nobody bought it!

True. Nevertheless, I now bought the 12″ off ebay, and while my little contribution unfortunately will not find its way into Colin’s pockets, I can blast the song now, 31 years later, through the house while I dance through the living room like a complete idiot, yelling ‘I start to shake, I start to tremble’ .

Mission accomplished, Colin.

P1040007

The Hansard. Britain’s funniest website?

From yesterday’s debate in the commons on NHS funding:

Mr Speaker: Emulating Strangford brevity, perhaps, I call Mr Greg Mulholland.

Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD): Thank you, Mr Speaker. On 22 June, the Life Sciences Minister said in a written answer:

“The decision on the interim funding of Vimizim…will be made by NHS England by the end of June 2015.

”The families involved, and also families affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy and tuberous sclerosis, were then told that there would be a decision on 30 June and 1 July—

Mr Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman will resume his seat. It is a discourtesy to the House to be long-winded, especially when exhorted not to be. The hon. Gentleman has got

—[Interruption.]

Order. Do not argue the toss with the Chair, Mr Mulholland. Don’t shake your head, mate. I am telling you what the position is: you were too long.

[Interruption.]

Leave, that is fine—we can manage without you.

[Interruption.]

You were too long and you need to learn. That is the end of it. I call Mr Peter Bone.”

 

HC Deb 7 FJuly 2015, cols 178-79