26/03/2017

Where exactly is Electric Avenue?



By the time his single `Electric Avenue` was released in 1983, Eddy Grant had already had a long career which began in the Sixties when he was a member of The Equals who had several UK hits including `Baby Come Back`. He was also a songwriter for artists such as Prince Buster. After leaving The Equals in 1971 he began a solo career during which time he also worked as a producer. `Electric Avenue` arrived after a string of hits including `Walking on Sunshine`, `Do You Feel My Love` and `I Don’t Wanna Dance`. The sound on these is unusually sparse for a successful artist of the Eighties when bigger and bigger production was the order of the day. `Electric Avenue` is especially tightly produced- in fact there’s a sound that could easily be a piece of elastic stretching that re-appears several times! The controlled, minimalist feel of the song enhances its lyrics which reference life in the London area of Brixton. However when he declares “we’re gonna rock down to Electric Avenue” where are they going?

22/03/2017

Kong Skull Island



With a King Kong movie nowadays the issue of whether the giant ape itself can be convincingly rendered is no longer relevant because of course it can. The question is – what do you do with a brilliantly realised enormous animal? Peter Jackson had a fair go at it a while back but his film was overlong and took half an hour to even set off to sea. Kong Skull Island is brasher, less arty, certainly more tongue in cheek but definitely more to the point. Our first sight of Kong is within five minutes of the start and after half an hour we’ve made landfall on the lost island after getting through the perpetual storm that surrounds it. This intensity is maintained throughout with thoughtful reverie kept to bite sized exchanges and no character safe. Ones you think will obviously make it to the end don’t and vice versa.

Raaarrghhhhh Spoilers will bite your head off after this point! 

20/03/2017

Does Twitter now do more harm than good?



The recent case in which journalist Katie Hopkins was successfully sued by food blogger Jack Munroe after a Tweet making false allegations has again raised the issue of the impact social media in general- and Twitter in particular-has on our society. Of course anyone is entitled to their opinion – as advocates of social media keep reminding us – but the problem with Twitter is that followers of someone automatically seem to believe whatever the celebrity they are following says. The problem may be as much with the format as anything else. Being limited to so few characters means that any sense of nuance is impossible resulting in a form of communication that more often than not eschews any diplomacy or tact. . However many emojis you may deploy is still difficult sometimes to tell if someone is being humorous, sarcastic or just plain nasty. And often followers simply believe it- or else misinterpret it -meaning it is very easy to defame someone without any recourse to those little things like `fact` or `context`.

19/03/2017

Mrs Tyrrell and the huge block of cheese



Mrs Tyrell grew increasingly grumpy at the prospect of having to carry a large heavy wedge of cheese to work each day. Her husband did not even offer her a lift as he travelled to work early by gyrocopter leaving his wife to struggle with the cheese on public transport. This was in the 1950s when cheese was of course much heavier than it is now. She did try to use a taxi but in those days cheese was banned from taxis so unwilling to jostle for position on the tram and risk the cheese falling on the floor, Mrs Tyrell started to walk to work. Accompanying her were two friends Mavis and Alma who would each take it in turns to lug the block for a while. 

30/01/2017

The Best of This Way Up Book

The Best of This Way Up 2002 -2014
Articles, features and episode guides from the archives of the acclaimed fanzine/ blog This Way Up are collected together in a unique volume.
Includes: Classic children’s TV: The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Watch with Mother, The Feathered Serpent, Sky, Tom Grattan’s War, Richard Carpenter, Children’s and post Watch with Mother serials. Telefantasy: Strange, Firefly, Invasion Earth, Out of this World, Virtual Murder, 1990s telefantasy. Films: Alien, Handmade Films, Jaws, Duck Soup. TV: Nigel Kneale,  Second Coming, Phillip Saville, The Comic Strip Presents, Lives & Loves of  a She Devil, Adverts. Theatre: War Horse, The Pillowman, RUR. Miscellany: Pluto, La Machine, The end of record shops and much more.
Written by Tim Worthington, Sean Alexander, OJ Wake, David Rolinson,
Matt Salusbury, John Connors

Available in print or Kindle ebook formats from Amazon
 

29/01/2017

Top of the Pops 21 & 28 Jan 1982



Watched by Chris Arnsby
21 Jan 1982
David "Kid" Jensen: "Hi there. David Jensen here welcoming you to another Top of the Pops. Mike Read can't be with us, but we do have an excellent line-up and records for you to listen to, and watch as well. And we're going to kick of with Gillan. Restless."
What's wrong with Mike Read? Is he ill? Why -after his no show here- does he only present three episodes of Top of the Pops in 1982? Has he fallen out with Michael Hurll? Or, could the BBC be worried about overexposure? In addition to Top of the Pops Mike Read also has the Monday to Friday Radio 1 Breakfast Show, and on BBC1 Pop Quiz and, later in the year, Swap Shop's replacement the weekly Saturday Superstore; oh and in March a one off called The Battle Of The Bands which he co-hosts with rock goddess Rula Lenska.  Is it possible that someone at the BBC wanted to minimise his hosting of Top of the Pops to stop him becoming the BBC's face of pop music.
Gillan: Restless [36]. Top of the Pops has a new set element. The programme logo has been rendered in neon. It looks expensive. Thunderflashes abound when Gillan starts to play and the stage is showered in sparks like the bridge of the starship Enterprise when it's attached by Romulans. This song has no connection to Rebel Rebel by David Bowie but every time Gillan sings "Jimmy Jimmy," I expect the next line to be "you've torn your dress."

27/01/2017

Donald and the Wall



“If you build it, they won’t come
I had a vision the other day (and I imagine President Trump says this regularly) that for some reason the specifications of the famed wall to keep out Mexico were incorrect and when it was finished the thing turned out to be only two foot tall! Or perhaps the ground is not really suitable for the construction of a wall (isn’t it semi desert?) meaning that a decent push would send part of it falling over. Will this wall – or as it’s now called “large physical barrier” -be the symbol of Trump’s Presidency? 
A wall, yesterday

20/01/2017

Top of the Pops 7 Jan 1982



As watched by Chris Arnsby

Peter Powell: "Hello and welcome to the first Top of the Pops of 1982! We've got a show stacked full of good stuff including the number one band in the studio! But right now, for starters, new at 25 Philip Lynott and Yellow Pearl!"

Phil Lynott: Yellow Pearl [25].  Philip Lynott? That seems very formal. Anyway, never mind that because here's Zoo to whirl like dervishes and at one point execute a complicated manoeuvre which looks weirdly like the first ever sighting of a human centipede on prime time television. It's a terrific energetic performance. Peter Powell joins in with the Top of the Pops cheerleaders -who line the podium behind the dancers- with a simple arm swinging routine which he manages to carry off without ever a)losing his place or b)looking massively self-conscious. Oh and new for 1982, here are the Top of the Pops bodybuilders who grunt and strain and strike assorted poses. I'm not sure how I feel about the Top of the Pops bodybuilders. Whenever the pair of oiled up muscle men slide across the television screen I suddenly feel more aware than normal of the top deck bus passengers who keep passing by my window.