Have mercy on our remembrances…

Sunday 1 May 2011, 4.54am HKT


First of May — May Day’s the name, Labour Day’s the game, or Divine Mercy Sunday for the tame.

Nearly half the year’s gone. Time to bitch and sound off about being old enough to remember things or too late to die young.

They didn’t say life wasn’t a gamble…

* * *

R E M E M B E R   W H E N …

… all the best movie or TV themes were from before the mid-80s?

Like “Mannix” or “The Streets of San Francisco” or “Miami Vice.” Or movies like “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever,” including “Terminator” and “Star Wars.”

Anything. Please.

Modern stuff is awful, and many classic themes were ruined in the ’90s by ‘watering’ the original down to try and update it. Terrible.

* * *

… you could do a TV science programme with actual science in it?

Like “Tomorrow’s World” and “Horizon.” Now everyone’s so thick they can’t even understand the concept of a test tube. Unless its got “environmentally friendly” written on it…

* * *

… you had courtroom drama on TV with real law in it?

On every midday, just after court hearings break for luncheon

Like “Crown Court” on BBC every midday gave us painstakingly, laboriously authentic dramatisation of typical English Crown Court trials of the 70s and 80s.

Why have they never released this programme on DVD or ever repeated it on Gold TV stations (or anywhere else on this planet, for that matter)?

This TV courtroom drama series was way, way, way f@@king better than most being made today.

* * *

… you really thought phone calls with video really were for business purposes?

The General Post Office in the UK actually made promotional videos about videocalls back in the 1960s and ’70s, set for widespread home use by the 1990s.

(Yup, they said the same thing about flying cars — so where the bloody hell are they?)

Instead of “Hello Miss Jones, please send me over the the plans for XYZ,” as soon as any technology get into the hands of the plebs and the common man, it ends up “Hello Miss Jones, please take off that blouse and jiggle a bit.”

* * *

… you got to see real up-and-coming new musical acts on telly, and had places to go to, to see them perform?

★ The world’s greatest TV music show ★

The Old Grey Whistle Test” came on BBC2 at midnight, presented by Annie Nightingale plus a few others.

(Annie’s now 69 and STILL DJ’ing on BBC Radio 1 — f@#k…).

And you thought the Beeb was fuddy-duddy. We watched a stream of incredible talents on OGWT (and paid no attention to) more times than the sum of indie/alt/whatever music everyone now watches or listens.

The OGWT theme is “Stone Fox Chase” by a Nashville band called Area Code 615. (Val Doonican and Charlie McCoy played it live in 1978.) The theme must surely be the meme that defined a generation.

★ The world’s greatest gig venue ★

The Marquee Club on 90 Wardour Street, London … well, every major rock band of note played on the tiny stage there from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

(Above) When it was still around in the mid-80s. Buildings and site now demolished.

(Below) The pub across the street called The Intrepid Fox.

Trivia: There used to be a Letraset retail outlet about two shop spaces from The Marquee.

Yeah, I got no excuse. I was born lucky, so deal with it. At the Marquee, we got to see (in addition to listening the music):

  • punk rock (incl. garage rock, protopunk, Nazi punk)
  • skinheads with their rude boy look of pork pie hats and too-short Levis jeans
  • New Wave
  • Teddy boys already in their forties and fifties then
  • Mods
  • Quadrophenia hangers-on
  • blues
  • hard, metal, goth and whatever rock groupie chicks (lots of!)
  • New Age hippies
  • Mother Earth hippies
  • ex-‘Nam “Death From Above” vet hippies
  • dodged-the-draft hippies
  • acid hippies
  • clean-body-clean-mind-Born-Again-Christian hippies
  • Hillybilly rock
  • Metal biker rockers
  • Greaseball rock n’roll
  • disco, frisko, be-bop, soda pop, pop, funk rock, glam rock, pub rock, surf rock, dandy rock jock
  • Beach Boys
  • Lynard Skynard and “Sweet Home Alabama”
  • African-American soul
  • Raggae
  • Jamaican ska
  • rocksteady
  • electro-eklectro
  • Country & Western, and a bit of C’untree & We’t-at-the-Stern (geddit???)
  • f@#king gigantic bouncers with big hands and bald heads
  • blacks who can speak tone-perfect Cantonese as backup bouncers after finishing their kitchen shifts at the Chinese restaurants
  • dada, dada, dada … enough said.

All we have now are just rap, hip-hop, emo and goth. Bollocks.

Into indie/alternative music? Gimme a break! Talk to the hand!

For f@#k’ sake, we had music show like this one — what’ve we got now?! Huh!

* * *

…a horror film scared you, a thriller set you on edge, and an action film had panache?

Like “The Exorcist” really scared you fartless for nights on end.

Like “Dirty Harry” made your day instead of Harry’s.

Like “The French Connection” had a believable car chase.

Like “Reservoir Dogs” was surreal yet with a storyline that doesn’t ask for a Ph.D.

Like “Mulholland Drive” was surreal enough that most Ph.D.’s don’t get it (but the rest of us do).

Today, it’s like…

“Vampires used to suck blood. Now they suck cock.” — (A friend)

Well done, sire, well done. Noble victory.

* * *

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.

Images:
Crown Court via Wikipedia
OGWT indent via iOffer
Marquee Club (private collection)
The Intrepid Fox Pub (private collection)
Dirty Harry poster via Posters.ws

2 Responses to “Have mercy on our remembrances…”

  1. Woman said

    I was trying to understand some of these new terms and to simplify to for me he said, “rap is for those who like to sing in their normal voices but sing in rhymes having never passed kindergarten. Hip hop is for those people who are pure bred Americans but think they are from Africa while showing off their knickers. Emo’s are for the emotional putzes and Goth are for those that feel so much that they are depressed.”

    I still do not get the emo thing.

    But most of the flicks you mentioned are from England… so not so familiar with them. But I grasp your meaning. And it is true. Quality programming of past has made way for “Station 5” mentality, or so many of those silly reality-esqu TV shows. I mean when a decent show gets cancelled because of something like who can dance?

    Stupid programing people.

    Like

    • I reckon you’ve got the rap, hip-hop, emo and goth thing down pat. Nobody understands the emo thing anyway.

      The shows aren’t anglocentric – they just happen to have happened in the UK. The shows were just a hair’s breadth away from being invented anywhere else. It’s just that the UK in the 60s and 70s had the right mix of programming people and programming culture to get those shows off the ground.

      As to The Marquee Club, it could’ve been the Indra Club or the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg for all we care. Or any umpteen number of venues around the world. But the Indra and Kaiserkeller quickly fizzled out in pop culture innocence whereas the Marquee just kept going and going until its lease petered out in 1999.

      Like

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