TV & Radio Times w/e Jan 13th – Everly Bros, Vangelis, Father Ted

A personal and in no way comprehensive or objective list of some good music-related stuff on the idiot box and the wireless this week.

Huey Morgan – Radio Two, Friday

What a superb show this is. Loads of great old stuff and a smattering of cool new stuff – an hour-long segment taken at random from a recent show went – Tinariwen, Chuck Berry, Derek & The Dominoes, Koukie, Kate Bush, The Chi-Lites, Gabor Szabo, The Who and Smashing Pumpkins.

The moral is, in the post-God’s Jukebox era, the best music shows on Radio Two are to be found at midnight at the weekends.

Sound Of Cinema – BBC4, Friday

In a series celebrating the art of the cinema soundtrack, the heart of a BBC-wide season playing on radio as well as TV, Neil Brand explores the work of the great movie composers, and demonstrates their techniques.

Neil begins by looking at how the classic orchestral film score emerged and why it’s still going strong today, then traces how in the 1930s, European-born composers such as Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold brought their Viennese training to play in stirring, romantic scores for Hollywood masterpieces like King Kong and The Adventures of Robin Hood. But it took a home-grown American talent, Bernard Herrmann, to bring a darker, more modern sound to some of cinema’s finest films, with his scores for Citizen Kane, Psycho and Taxi Driver.

Among those interviewed are Martin Scorsese and Hans Zimmer, composer of blockbusters like Gladiator and Inception.

This is Vangelis’s beautiful, haunting theme to “Chariots Of Fire”, the only film ever where I’ve come out of the cinema feeling proud to be British. And that includes Zulu and Escape To Victory btw.

See also Saturday Night At The Movies on Classic FM (below)

The Everly Brothers: Songs Of Innocence & Experience – BBC4, Friday

The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert – BBC4, Friday

Its one of THOSE nights on BBC4. Neil Brand’s superb three-part series on music in cinema followed by the Everly Brothers reunion documentary and concert, both an elegy for a bygone rock’n’roll era as the brothers made up their differences and got back together for a couple of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Saturday Night At The Movies – Classic FM, Saturday

Odd title for a show that goes out at 5pm but when you look at Classic FM’s demographic – my 87-yo Mum is a devoted listener – I suppose by the time this programme ends at 7pm, much of the audience will in fact be ready for bed. This week’s show carries the geektastic theme of Space, including Star Trek, Armageddon and 2001:A Space Odyssey. The theme to the latter has been described on Youtube as “A less moody version of the Red Dwarf theme tune”. I love Youtube, me.

Jackie Brown – Channel 4, Saturday

Appropriate late-Saturday-night slot for Tarantino’s blaxpoitation homage / ripoff film, which may have dated more than somewhat, but the 70s funk soundtrack never gets old, right from Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street” which plays over the credits.

Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour – 6 Music, Sunday

I’m not the world’s greatest Elbow fan but frontman Guy Garvey’s 6 music show is always a joy, last week featuring Laura Veirs, dEUS and Broken Social Scene, among others.

Tell you what, I’d like Elbow a lot more if their music showed a few of those influences.

Guy’s delivery is perfect for late night on a Sunday, though, so I’m still scratching my head as to why the show was moved to Sunday afternoons.

Father Ted – More 4, Sunday

The one where Ted and Dougal enter the Eurovision Song Contest with “My Lovely Horse”.

Play the f***ing note, Dougal !

Sounds Of The 80s, Radio 2 – Friday

Sara Cox has always been one of my fave radio presenters right back from her days on Radio One in the 90s where she added a welcome left-field and slightly disturbing tone to the prevailing lad(ette)-ish radio culture.

On the face of it, a DJ with a track record of playing dance music with the occasional indie track is an odd choice to introduce an 80s show but until such a time as Radio Two reaches “Sounds Of The 90s” (which in any case you can hear most days throughout 6 music’s programming) it’s good to have her in a regular radio slot again.

This week’s guest is the superb and underrated Marc Almond of Soft Cell and subsequent lesser solo hits, who at least hails from the Good Eighties (pre-84).

Love ya Sara, and I can hear the desolation in your voice when you have to say “Starting off the show there with Journey”.

To be fair, the show mixes and matches and provides as acceptable a mix as you can manage from the decade that music forgot.

One day soon, Sara, the 90s will be retro and you can play stuff you like again. As the hair-metal stadium rockers so rightly put it, Don’t Stop Believin’.

Danny Baker’s Rocking Decades, BBC4, Monday

Danny Baker takes an hour-long look at the Seventies in music, which some would say was about nineteen hours too short a time to do justice to the decade in which we moved from bubblegum to electro and New Romanticism via acid folk, punk, funk, prog, reggae, 2 Tone and stadium rock.

The suspicion that this show may be weighted towards the latter part of the decade is strengthened by the panel of Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, Slits guitarist Viv Albertine and Loyd “I was in a punk band you know” Grossman, the latter a top bloke but a very odd choice indeed.

Still, it’s Danny’s show and the man is always worth watching – and since he spent the 70s first as a a teenager, then a record shop assistant and finally the funniest and best journo ever to write for the NME, his is a voice worth listening to.

There’s Danny’s selection of archive clips at 10.30 too, in which the links will undoubtedly be even better than the music (which will be great, obviously). Continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Eighties and Nineties.

The Life Of Rock with Brian Pern, BBC4, Monday

Splitting the two sections of the Baker seventies retrospective, and redressing the balance a little in favour of the early seventies, prog legend Brian Pern – unfairly neglected by most scholars of music in this era – presents this alternative take on the history of rock.

Brian has done it all in a long career, and this documentary series looks unmissable.

Monday – Lauren Laverne, 6 Music

Temples have been getting a lot of positive attention in the run up to their debut album, which comes out this week. They play a live sesh with Lady La-La which despite being on at a time when wage slaves are all toiling away at t’mill, will be available on Listen Again.

I will take any excuse going to play Temples. This was their debut single.

Tuesday – I’ve Played In Every Toilet, Radio 4

The excellent John Harris mourns the decline of the UK’s toilet circuit – a network of crappy, cheap and cheerful venues where up and coming bands learn their trade and spread the word. Inluding, I’m pleased to note, the Forum in that legendary rock and roll hotbed of Tunbridge Wells, which is an actual converted toilet 8=)

From where I’m standing, I’d say venues are still surviving well if not actually thriving – a good example being Joiners in Southampton which has gigs on most nights. This is a nice clip of local boy Frank Turner returning to play one of the places that helped him on the way up.

Thursday – Johnnie Walker’s Long Players, Radio 2

David Hepworth and Johnnie Walker discuss a couple of classic albums. The format is a good ‘un, but it does pretty much live and die on whether you like the records they pick each week. This week’s is a cracker, featuring Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” and Elvis Costello’s first LP with the Attractions, “This Year’s Model”.

Should be something there for most tastes. Haven’t mentioned regulars like the Charlie Sloth show on 1Xtra and Marc Riley on 6 Music, both excellent all the time. This is a clip of Charlie’s visit to an old peoples’ home to perform a rap (as MC Gravedigga)

I Got 99 Problems But Me Gran Ain’t One


Pete And The Pirates

October 4th, Scala London

After years of managing to miss Pete And The Pirates through bad luck, sheer indolence, a bad cold, and simply being in the wrong town or, in some cases, the wrong country, I got to see them twice in two months.

Pete And The Pirates gigs are like buses. You wait ages for one and then when you get on its all crowded and sweaty.

“Its 1979 and Heart Of Glass is playing…”

I take a look around the mosh pit. The cheerful, heterogenous crowd ranges from teenage kids through balding 30-something men who can’t quite kick the gigging habit to, well me. I can’t see too many people who would be likely to even have been alive in 1979 when Blondie were in their pomp, let alone attending the Scala…

This place has memories for me.

I used to go come here often back then with my first serious girlfriend Tessa. She got me into a lot of good stuff art and culture wise.

The Scala was a cinema then, showing art films that triumphantly straddled the line between art and porn.

We saw Jubilee there, Derek Jarman’s legendary punk film which featured a cameo from a young Adam Ant, and a plot involving a just-around-the-corner future Britain in which anarchy reigns and Buckingham Palace has been converted into a giant recording studio. The support bill was a selection of homoerotic porn shorts by the cult film-maker Kenneth Anger, including “Scorpio Rising”, which certainly opened my 17-year-old eyes to another side of biker culture.

Back to the present and a packed and enthusiastic crowd greets Pete And The Pirates. They’ve been around for a couple of years now, touting their brand of tuneful indie, and they’ve built up a devoted following.

They’re from Reading. In their early days they used to go to the Reading Festival every year as punters and plant a Pirate flag in an appropriate location. They would then proceed to play an impromptu acoustic sets and hand round flyers to people. Gotta say, that’s a fantastic marketing idea for any bands reading this.

Unassuming to look at, maybe even a bit reticent to talk to the crowd much, they play a fantastic set comprising much of their two albums. “Come To The Bar” is an obvious highlight. Lyrically they have a way with the wry one-liner lyrics – “Get out of bed, its the wrong one” for starters.

(NB – Incidentally, a quick scout round that Interweb reveals that the Scala I attended back in the day was in fact in a completely different London location. Funny how the memory plays tricks. I’ll never forget “Scorpio Rising” though. And if I ever come across a biker with no trousers on, I always give him a wide berth)

November 22nd, Buffalo Bar, London

The more recent gig was to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Buffalo Bar, and I have to be honest, although the band were great, the crowd were not up to much at all.

Gig etiquette surely dictates that if you get to a gig early enough to take up a position at the front, the least you can do is dance. Or move. Or react in some way to what’s happening on stage, not just stand there in silence.

Don’t get me wrong, each to their own and I know some people like standing and watching quietly. Fair enough. But FFS do it at the BACK of the gig, will you? In the case of the excellent Buffalo Bar, the back of the gig is still pretty close to the stage anyway.

That’s where me and my mate Craig are. Craig is only a couple of years younger than me and another ageing punk. He’s recently come back from four months unpaid leave in LA trailing his missus, looking after their young kid during the daytime and checking out the LA scene in the evenings.

He tells me a great story about his first pilgrimage to the legendary punk club The Roxy.

A large well-dressed man sidles up to him and says “Hey, are you on your own?” “Yes” says Craig. “Well, do you want to come to the bathroom with me?” “No!” he replies. The guy goes to the bathroom anyway and doesn’t come back. Craig spends the rest of the evening digging the bands and not going to the bathroom, ending up having to piss on the wall outside the club. Which I suppose is quite a punk thing to do.

He professes outrage at these events, but I think he’s secretly kind of pleased that he’s still got it. This sort of thing never happens to me, although I did have my bottom squeezed by a woman at the Scala – not in its porn cinema phase but during a Broken Family Band gig – but I suspect she was just trying to annoy her boyfriend.

So, the gig is enjoyable and the band are playing their hearts out but there’s not much to be done about a lot of the crowd. There’s a few people making an effort at the back though.

Afterwards we notice the guitarist outside chatting to a girl. They’re very polite about being interrupted by two large middle-aged men telling him how great the band is. We complain about the audience but he won’t have it and says something like “they were enjoying it in a different way”, which I think shows a tremendous amount of class.

Pete And The Pirates. A great band, and a great bunch of lads.