30 April, 2007

Your Hundred Best Tunes with Alan Keith

Five years ago Creamguide decided to undertake an audit of a previously uncatalogued and largely unclear inventory. Sure, the programme had been on the radio since before Britain joined the gold standard, but what precisely were Sir Alan Keith's 100 "best" tunes - or rather, "our" 100 best tunes as introduced by Sir Alan Keith?

The results were, unsurprisingly enough, somewhat surprising, and were disclosed in what was then called the Radio Cream Times in sets of two for the best part of twelve thankless months. Never before reproduced in its entirety, here is the full list reproduced in, well, its entirety:

1 'Here Come The Germans (Kuntz)'
2 '(My Uncle Ernest's Climbing Rose Is) Climbing All Over My Baby'
3 'Norfolk 'N' Chants'
4 'Cop Killer'
5 'One On A Scooter, Blowing A Hooter, Smoking A Big Cigar'
6 'Confidential Detachable Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form'
7 'Football Results (Read At Dictation Speed)'
8 'They Call Me Mrs. Snowman'
9 'The Glipton Grasshoppers vs. The Churwell Lions'
10 'Oh My Dear (Aunty Bess' Toenail Is) Ingrowing Again'
11 'I Said My Pajamas (And Put On My Prayers)'
12 '(How'd You Like The Feel Of) My Aryan Sweater?'
13 'Tom Fleming Says (I Wonder If Those Pigeons Can Talk?)'
14 'My Old School Teacher Said (It's Christmas Not Xmas)'
15 'I've One Foot In The Algonquin Hotel (The Other's At The End Of My Leg)'
16 'A Gun Ends A Life But Starts A Race'
17 'A Mango For Your Hand, My Dear?'
18 'Sitting On Julian Lloyd Webber'
19 'Twenty Four Minutes From Tulse Hill'
20 'Cumquat'
21 'Last One Out Pays Window Tax'
22 'Anymore Of Those Steve Wright Quotes Left?'
23 'Two Sods Of Topsoil'
24 'Barging Into The Presence Of God'
25 'Acting Up Like I Shouldn't Wonder'
26 'They've Just Called Time At The Stable Bar (Joseph's Too Pissed To Finish His Jar)'
27 'Everybody's Doing It (Matriculation)'
28 'A Voice From The Grave? (No, Merely A Grave Voice!)'
29 'I Was Dickie Henderson's Fag (The Boarding School Bosun)'
30 'Liquid Dreams'
31 'He Said It Was An Interesting Position'
32 '(Alison Graham) I Just Don't Know What To Think Anymore'
33 'Keeping Nicholas Brett's Chair Warm'
34 'New Kids On The Block Wish You A Funky Funky Christmas'
35 'Sparking Up With Noele Gordon'
36 'Well, Come On (The Telly's On At The Moment)'
37 'I've Cum-, You've Cum-, Everybody's Cum-, Cucumber!'
38 'Sealed With A Glasgow Kiss'
39 'Sorry To Hear Your Teeth Fell Out In The Arndale Centre'
40 '"Quelquefois Pour L'Argent, La Foi, La Reconnaissance Et Le Succes Mais Surtout Pour L'Amour, Le Moment Ou L'On Rencontre Une Autre Galaxie", Don't You Think?'
41 'Clever Dick Head of Scotland Yard's Finest'
42 'You Should've Put A Clip On That'
43 'I Want A Roger Royle For Christmas'
44 '(Geoffrey Palmer Drinking Out Of A) Beer Can'
45 'The Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til' Bedtime)'
46 'Look At His Face! Just Look At His Face!'
47 'They Scraped Him Off The Tarmac Like A Lump Of Strawberry Jam'
48 'That's Not What I've Got Written On The Card'
49 'Don't Do That, You'll Frighten The Fish'
50 'Hock The Clock Yer Cock'
51 'I Was Talking To A Tightrope Walker The Other Day…'
52 'We're Saving Them For The Credit Suisse Group's Office Christmas Party'
53 'A Big Star From The 1960s, And An Even Bigger Star Of The…Er, It's Cathy McGowan!'
54 'Doing The Pot Shrigley'
55 'Oodles Of Noodles'
56 '175g Sugar, 210g Margarine, 500g Oats, 6tbs Sugar!'
57 'Leap Up And Down (Wave Your Knickers In The Air)'
58 'To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap)'
59 'Go Gay With Thames'
60 'No Running, Jumping Or Petting In The Shallow End'
61 'In The Grotto With DJ Spoony'
62 'Ignoring Triangles That Differ Only By A Rotation Or Reflection, There Are Eight Different Designs'
63 'Foster Clark's Soups (Feed - Warm - Nourish)'
64 'Booker Table And The Maitre D's'
65 'Ride Around Sally'
66 'Let Sleeping Bags Lie (Where Golden Showers Fall)'
67 'Well, We're Always On The Look Out For Enormous Boons'
68 'How Slowly Do I Have To Speak (Before The Emergency Record Kicks In)?'
69 'French Kiss'
70 'He Was Saying His Future's In The Balance.'
71 'This Is The 55th One Of These'
72 'Pump Up The Bitter'
73 'A Strict Vegetarian Diet - For Both Of Us!'
74 'It's No Use Blaming The Cistern'
75 'Anne Aston Is Appearing In Mother Goose At The Townswomen's Guild, Mansfield'
76 'Does Anybody Here Remember Evelyn Laye And Frank Lawton?'
77 'You Carry On With Your Flintlock Cocked!'
78 'Oratorio For Rediffusion (Associated And London)'
79 'Then I Transferred The Signal Onto A Five-Inch Magnetic Tape (Just Get To The Clips)'
80 'Jammy Chamois'
81 'Thighs High (Grip Your Hips And Move)'
82 'The Photosynthesis Shuffle (Chlorophyll Clap)'
83 'May The Wind At Your Back Always Be Your Own'
84 'Pass The Toilet Paper (Andi Peters Remix)'
85 'Yellow Stripe (Bee Sick)'
86 'Number 79 Was The Best'
87 'Would That It Were (Would That It Were)'
88 'All Wind And Water'
89 'A-Lying A-Larry The Lid-Flipper'
90 'The Trial Of Hissing Sid'
91 'I Left My Heart In Schleswig-Holstein'
92 'Wainscotting Blues (The Paint's Dun Chipped)'
93 'If You Like Wet, Wet, Wet, You'll Be Coming, Coming, Coming!'
94 'This Never Happened To The Other Fellow! (Lazenby's Lament)'
95 'I'm An English Teacher, Not A Homosexual'
96 'What Do They Know Of Andrew Duncan (Who Only Andrew Duncan Know)?'
97 'Overblown Tart (They'll Never Show That One Again)'
98 'Not Meant To Be Listened To'
99 'Adam Singer Says Blueyonder Customer Service Is Crap (He's Right)'
100 'Is That It? (I Only Started Reading The Radio Cream Times Last Week)'

27 April, 2007

Photo clippage #15

Shirley Williams and her nancies: Simon Cadell, Robert Powell, Steve Race, Barry Cryer (with beard!), Denis Quilley, Richard Attenborough and Bamber Gascoigne.

26 April, 2007

Competition tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

Hello, I'm Lovejoy, of Lovejoy Antiques. I've broken off from doing a bit of "divvying" to introduce this fantastic quiz, all about BBC drama series of the early 1990s.

You'll already have read about this if you subscribe to the Digi-Cream Times weekly mailout. Below you'll see 10 extracts from contemporary promotional blurb put out by the Beeb to publicise their, ho ho, wares. The idea is to identify as many programmes as you can, using the kind of skills I put to good use every week when tracking down yet another old women's misplaced inheritance, some stolen Nazi loot, or simply Lady Jane for another undignified fumble.

There's a prize for whoever gets the most right. And because it's me, I'm going to give you a few clues!
a) I'm not one of the answers (for shame!)
b) They are all BBC1 dramas.
c) One of the answers is Trainer.
d) One of the answers was "written" by Jeffrey Archer.
e) My dear friend Adam Faith appeared in one of them.

That's it. For now, at any rate. If nobody gets any of them right, or nobody enters the competition at all, maybe I'll be pressed to revealing a little more. As I said to Joanna Lumley one balmy Sunday afternoon amidst the Norfolk broads.

And believe me, she was ready to reveal more than most other Norfolk broads I know.

Anyway, onto the questions:

1) "But the biggest bombshell is the return of Sir Edward Frere, with a scheme that threatens to tear Tarrant apart."

2) "'We have a man in a wheelchair strumming a banjo, an officer of the law who looks like he belongs with destitute winos, and a convicted felon! What sort of a pisspot outfit is this?!'"

3) "Convinced that her country-singer husband has been framed by former band member Fraser Boyle, she elicits the help of the Glasgow Evening Echo's food and wine correspondent, a sometime philosophy student, whose declared love affair with the 'Wulk' and secret passion for her prove an explosive combination."

4) "In the new series, his determination to go straight and earn an honest crust leads him into property development, rock group management and arms dealing."

5) "Returning home to the domesticity of his family after the combat and excitement of military action, Frank Dillon is presented with real problems as he tries to make a new start in civilian life."

6) "Wealthy but shady American financier Harvey Metcalfe perpetrates a share fraud on four unsuspecting victims leaving them virtually penniless."

7) "This second series finds Arkenfield's future in jeopardy and held in the hands of merchant banker Alex Farrell - but does she want to preserve Arkenfield or further her personal ambitions with Mike Hardy? Can he retain control or will his rival, Hugo Latimer, triumph?"

8) "Melnik can provide Buzzard with the necessary contacts for financial success, but equally has the power to destroy everything Stephen has live and worked for."

9) "Here is the good life. Here Peter will finally write the great novel. Fame and Hollywood beckon on the glorious Luberon horizon."

10) "Tessa is Director of the Baumblatt Foundation and determined to stay on, Frank still does deals. The arrival of their baby brings more chaos to their lives."

Send your answers to digicreamguide@tvcream.co.uk - and the best Lovejoy luck to you all!

25 April, 2007

The Macca Video Jukebox: part five


Paul goes disco. Wings go to pot. Literally.

a) It was a top 5 hit in April 1979.
b) It wasn't available on any album until the cheerily-titled late 80s compilation 'Paul McCartney: All The Best!'.
c) The song is the same four chords over and over again.

a) The performance seems to be taking place in some kind of colonial tea room-cum-Oriental dance hall.
b) Macca looks about 17.
c) Linda's entire contribution is going "oooh-ooh".
d) There's some fantastic guitar jousting a third of the way through, done in a rather amiable "after you" "no, after you" fashion.
e) Paul is in seventh heaven playing the slick-haired dickie-bowed crooner, doing silly grins, mincing, pretending to acknowledge someone in the audience and, best of all, attempting some lower limb robotics.
f) Something weird happens halfway through when proceedings turn into a wig-out on massed percussion, with Paul looking like he's stoned, all bug-eyed and freakish, pounding a pair of tom toms.
g) At the end the entire stage revolves a la Blankety Blank.

Don't say it...

23 April, 2007

Fanfare for a hoofer doofer

The London Marathon on Sunday afforded a rare and welcome sighting of that once all-conquering beast, the Epic TV Signature Tune.

The BBC seems to have used that same stirring, rousing piece of orchestral pomp every year since the race began. Back then it was but one of many similarly uplifting and spirit-stirring themes which resounded across the nation. Now it's more or less the only one of its kind, and only trotted out once a year at that.

Whither the triumphalist tunesmithery of yesteryear? The sparkling reveille that was BREAKFAST TIME...the all's-well-with-the-world symphony that was ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL...the urgent call-to-arms that was WHICKER'S WORLD...even the full-kitchen-sink carnival that was the closing theme to HOWARD'S WAY.

All blood-stirring, spine-tingling epics. All echoes of a distant, diminished age.

21 April, 2007

The Dimbleby Dozen

Ahead of this year's round of elections, a swingometer-arced doff of the hat to the lord of results night raconteurs, David Dimbleby:

1) 1987

David continually interrupts his guests to eulogise effusively about the BBC blimp. "Let's leave Northern Ireland for a moment and go up into our airship...that's a beautiful view...trees green...we're on our magic carpet...there are the buildings of the city of London...some of them graceful, some of them not...where the yuppies live."

2) 2004 (US elections)

Ohio proves to be a problem, in more ways than one. "I'm standing on it now," explains Peter Snow, "though it could be Nevada." "Could be Nevada?" queries David. "I thought for a minute you were saying 'it could be nirvana', such was the pleasure you were taking in it all!" A visiting pollster then struggles with David's references to "Ohio turnout". "No, a higher turnout," he frets, "excuse me - it's my English."

3) 2003

David has trouble with his Sky package. "Interactive features are available, if you're fortunate enough to watch satellite - unlike mine, which keeps breaking up."

4) 1992

David refers to Gyles Brandreth as "the quiz show host in the cardigan," and pronounces his name Gyles Brand Reth.

5) 1987

David gets on the wrong side of Robin Day, observing that the great behemoth, slumped in his chair, is "already sound asleep." "I'm not asleep, I'm not asleep," barks Robin, "I'm just waiting until you finish rabbitting on."

6) 2005

David has trouble with local geography. "There are so many seats in Birmingham I don't know how they don't get them all confused."

7) 1997

"In case you missed it, Labour won."

8) 2004 (US elections)

David moves things hastily along: "We'll have some entertainment - the Black Eyed Peas!"

9) 2005

David discusses Tony Blair's post-victory visit to Buckingham Palace with his man on the spot, Nicholas Witchell. "We're not sure why the Prime Minister is taking so long," wonders Nick. "Perhaps he's having a job interview - or second thoughts!" jokes David. The mood becomes more uproarious when the PM finally emerges and his car has to take a very tortuous roundabout route out of the Palace grounds to avoid mowing down some soldiers. "Tony Blair's first U-turn of this new parliament!" cracks David. But he's not done yet, as he returns to the subject of whether Nick managed to ask the PM a question. With immaculate timing the correspondent replies: "You can get yourself into terrible trouble doing that!" leading David to speculate whether the PM might have been muttering "That bloody man Witchell - what's he doing here?!"

10) 1979

The BBC cameras catch an unexpected glimpse of ITN's Anna Ford. "There's a lady from a television channel I won't mention," snaps David. "I don't know where our chap is."

11) 1992

As John Major begins to speak at Conservative Central Office, the BBC's picture quality starts flickering between full colour and grey. "A slight element of Spitting Image entering our screens," David quips.

12) 1983

"I'm in the middle of eating a Mars bar. Let's go to Sheffield Brightside while I swallow it."

20 April, 2007

Photo clippage #14

"...they surely do!"

17 April, 2007

The George Harrison Video Jukebox

As Troy McClure cried: "SPIN-OFF! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?"

By way of a break from rifling through the promotional back catalogue of James Paul McCartney, Chris Hughes suggested a brief diversion down the sonic side street of the Other One. It's best typified by this, his late 80s tribute to the Fab Four - that's George, Ringo, Jeff and Elton - wherein everything vaguely Beatles-related gets stirred up in a whiny, slide guitary stomp:

If that's not shameless enough, try this piddly late 70s business filmed in the gardens of his massive fuck-off house, with Eric Idle behind the camera and George, Neil Innes, someone looking like Graham Chapham, the dummy Princess Margaret, tons of extras in pointed hats and Pete Townsend in front of it.

15 April, 2007

Ten Lord's A-Listings

Currently vying with Sir Alan Sugar for the role of the nation's favourite craggy curmudgeon, Andrew Lloyd-Webber hasn't always had it so good.

Ill-advised musical marriages with Conservative Central Office, de facto youth training schemes for recalcitrant royals, unseemly spats with purveyors of topical piano-led whimsy... Yes, it's been a rough old climb to the towering heights of sharing a prime time TV show with Denise Van Outen and Graham Norton.

On reflection, it seems the path to barony, not to mention getting to sit in a pretend throne every Saturday night, involves:

1) Taking credit for coming up with the theme for the Tories' 1992 general election campaign, which in reality involved "arranging" a piece of classical music from over 300 years ago, which in reality involved adding a bit of percussion and having the trumpet play a bit louder;

2) Taking credit for coming up with the theme for The South Bank Show and The Book Tower, which in reality involved "arranging" another piece of classical music from over 300 years ago, which in reality involved adding a bit of electric guitar and synth drums;

3) Sacking Richard Stilgoe. An unforgivable crime in any circumstances, even if the reason for the dismissal, Phantom Of The Opera, was itself criminal;

4) Hiring Prince Edward. An unforgivable gesture in any circumstances, even if the organisation for which the regal layabout was contracted to work was called (a thousand Spitting Image writers sharpen their pencils) the Really Useful company;

5) Taking out the highest ever mortgage in British history (to pay for the purchase of a dozen London theatres in order to stage ostensibly lauded musicals like Sunset Boulevard);

6) Enjoying the biggest economic failure in theatre history (when the ostensibly lauded musical Sunset Boulevard lost 25 million dollars);

7) Working with Ben Elton (on The Beautiful Game, one of Tony Blair's favourite musicals);

8) Working with Timmy Mallett (on Bombalurina, one of Anthea Turner's favourite musical acts);

9) Releasing a Euro-dance hit record under the nom de plume Doctor Spin ('Tetris', reaching number 4 in October 1992);

10) Releasing a pissed Pete Waterman to roam loose around his estate in order to kill a few rabbits ("When I got back to his house," recalls Pete in his autobiography, I Wish I Was Me, "Andrew got his French chef down and made him cook rabbit fricassee").

13 April, 2007

Small earthquake in Chile; not many dead

Here it is; the first, and perhaps only, self-evident purpose of this blog: correcting all the errors in last night's Digi-Cream Times mailout.

Chris Wright writes:

"I think you'll find that there is already a tube station called Wood Green. It's on the Piccadilly Line and it's been there quite a while. The name you were groping for was 'Wood Lane' which, if you think about it, you probably even know the postcode of (W12 8QT)."

A few others the reader(s) might have missed:

- Alison Graham does not, in fact, spend her evenings running a small rag-and-bone business with Gill Hudson
- Obesity is, in fact, genetic and not caused by people stuffing their faces with crappy food dawn to dusk while slumped in front of internet mailing lists and not doing a single second of exercise
- It is, in fact, St John Ambulance
- There is, in fact, no I in TEAM
- There is, in fact, a house in New Orleans

Photo clippage #13

"I could never resist a photo opportunity."

09 April, 2007

Have you met the wife?

Following on from this, ten instances of bands boasting both half and other half.

1) "I got Paul McCartney out of Wings" "You idiot! He was the best one!" Not, however, when it came to standing glumly on one side of the stage shaking a self-consciously non-miked tambourine while crooning 'Cooking In The Kitchen Of Love'.

2) "John! John! Let's pray for peace! Aaaaeeeeeiiiiiiieeeiiiii!" Cornering the market in screaming dirges inside giant bags, it's professional Lennon marketeer and self-appointed guardian of the world, Mrs Winston O'Boogie. "I know John would be very proud," commented Yoko - yesterday, and every bloody day.

3) Talking Heads, or as Dale Winton studiously refers to them, The Talking Heads, featuring sticksman Chris Frantz and bass-wielding missus Tina Weymouth.

4) Esther and Abi Ofarim. Purveyors of rose-tinted 'Cinderella Rockafella'.

5) Peters and Lee. Purveyors of glass-tinted 'Welcome Home'.

6) Ricky Ross and Lorraine, er, Ross off of Deacon Blue, picking up where Macca left off in having him do the business up front and her stand just to the right with assorted percussion and occasional harmonies. Ditto...

7) Prefab Sprout. When Wendy didn't show up for one recent tour everyone thought she'd been kicked out. She was, in fact, busying having a baby. The lead singer's.

8) Eurythmics. One sister did it for herself while the other one prodded three-dimensional keyboards and wore Elton John glasses in the background.

9) The Style Council, or as Dale Winton stupidly refers to them, Style Council, where Paul Weller hitched up with "backing vocals" soulstress DC Lee for a bit, then dumped her along with the rest of the band and his career.

10) Lastly, not so much the Posh and Becks but George and Mildred of their day, Brett Anderson and Justine Frischmann. She helped him form Suede. He claimed to be "a bisexual who'd never had a homosexual experience". A nation shrugged. She ran off with the bloke from Blur. He released a song called 'We Are The Pigs'. A nation went out and bought 'The Great Escape'.

07 April, 2007

"Very well! I'll have some kippers! I'll have some kippers!"

Chris Hughes has mailed Creamguide with his recollections of the 1992 general election:

"BBC Parliament's forthcoming re-run has already brought back grim memories of that grim era, not least a rather downbeat inquest into the result during one politics tutorial at university. 'I genuinely think we're in for a thousand years of Tory rule!' declared our eminent tutor. Of course, if I was Mark Steel, at this point I'd triumphantly say, 'and that prediction is still holding good!'

"See also: getting disproportionately annoyed at someone anonymously putting up Conservative Party posters in the TV lounge at our halls of residence, and me anonymously tearing them down so I didn't have to watch Netbusters while surrounded by sheets of A3 smugly decrying something called 'Paddy's Roundabout'."

I was still at school in 1992, but had the privilege of voting all the same thanks to a Newsround-endorsed mock election, the like of which hadn't been tried before and assuredly was never attempted again.

Labour stormed home, with the Greens in second place ("think global, act local!") and the Liberal Democrats third, all helped by boasting candidates who were either everyone's mate or who everyone fancied. Somebody stood as an Independent, which was as good as saying they'd been too late to sign up for any of the other parties, and who subsequently polled in single figures. The Tories were fourth, helmed by a professional geek whose dad was in local government or something, and who delivered his hustings speech at our weekly assembly with his head buried entirely in a piece of crumpled paper promising "tax cuts for all!"

The day after the real thing, our science teacher was so pissed off she gave us all double homework, as it if were somehow our fault.

Still, the official fightback wasn't long in coming, with Stephen and Hugh leading the charge. "Brandy and soda?" "Good God no, far too early in the day for...for soda..."

05 April, 2007

"Is it still there? It is! It's still there!"

Ahead of Monday's screening of Election '92 on BBC Parliament, a few choice images from "the dirtiest campaign in history" (copyright every political commentator ever):

1) Soapbox and SupaSnaps in Luton

2) A big "how're you doing" to Dr Geoffrey Clements, leader of the Natural Law Party

3) Do you see what they've done there?

4) Edwina and Mr Currie place a bet

5) "We're all right! We're all right!"

03 April, 2007

Deserves some Bach, not barbershop

The fact Paddy McAloon is once again going through the wars thanks to illness is unwelcome news indeed. Aside from essaying numerous candidates for the greatest pop song ever written, he marshalled Prefab Sprout into producing one of the finest LPs of the entire 1990s - 'Jordan: The Comeback', released, for any Gambo-ites taking notes, mere weeks before that other decade-defining album, the Pet Shop Boys' 'Behaviour'.

Here's the band barnstorming their way through 'Looking For Atlantis', the lead single off 'Jordan: The Comeback', which flopped (inevitably) as did everything the group ever did after 'The King Of Rock'n'Roll'. The clip wins bonus points for a) hailing from an edition of Wogan b) retaining Tel's introduction c) Paddy's dapper white suit d) Paddy's dapper none-more-early-90s hair e) his other half Wendy looking lovely as ever and f) a tantalising snippet of Wogan going on to introduce "a remarkable writer of science...".

02 April, 2007

Photo clippage #12

"Take Emlyn Hughes. Please."