28 June 2008

Glad to be...

I've just been to Asda for the 'big shop' with the Natural Blonde. As you may know, I hate it. But we got through it largely unscathed on this occasion.

At the fruit 'n' veg counter, something rather disturbing happened. Two men were happily walking with a trolley. Their lovey-dovey smiles and collective debate about what items to buy made it quite clear they were a co-habiting gay couple doing their own 'big shop'. One then slipped his arm into the other's, confirming my thoughts.

Behind them was a father and son. Dad in early 40s, shaven head, tattoos, shirt of local rugby team only just shrouding his unpardonably huge gut. Son was ten or eleven.

Dad spent the period of time we were in the greengrocery section sniggering, nudging his son and pointing at these two men. "Look son, a couple of queers. Look, they're arm in arm, choosing stuff together. Look son, isn't it funny? Well, isn't it? Eh?"

I've always known such attitudes still exist, but that doesn't make them any less appalling when you are confronted with them. I don't think the gay couple overheard, and I suspect, sadly, they've dealt with a hell of a lot worse. But I do despair for mankind sometimes. And how will that impressionable young lad end up if his dad, the most influential person a growing lad can have, is so offensive (to hear and look at) in public? It makes my heart sink.

27 June 2008

Great forgotten songs of the 1990s - #9

"A glass of wine, and the lights down low..."

"Penalty, ref!"

Before you click the link below, you should know that Hull Kingston Rovers (in red) had already lost three players thanks to the savagery of their touring opponents Queensland (magenta-type hue) within the first half hour.

So, prop forward Mark Broadhurst, a New Zealand ex-boxer playing for Rovers, decided to take matters into his own hands as niggling hooker Shane Bernardin squared up to him after a tackle...

Listen out for the crowd reaction and the bloke shouting "Beautiful!" over and over again - it's my favourite bit. Watch the ref too.

The clip dates back to 1983. I don't condone it but, well, it is really rather good...

26 June 2008

"Well, slide over here..."

I've just played Lucky Stars by Dean Friedman and Denise Marsa on the radio. It's one of those songs that people either adore or detest. I'm in the former category.

For the last couple of years the song has reminded me of the organised karaoke night I attended in London with loads of other TV Cream staffers and associates, including the owners of this blog, this one, this one, this one, this one and this one. Oh, and this one.

In its more familiar surroundings, karaoke is an abomination, but if you book a private karaoke party at designated premises rather than just wail Tears Of A Clown while pissed up at your local, it can be enormous fun. This is what we did, at a place which also trebled up as a bowling alley and general amusement centre.

I have photographic evidence of two of our blogging heroes singing the aforementioned Lucky Stars. With or without photos, the memory of that still makes me howl with laughter. I have a photo of Clair and I duetting on Don't Go Breaking My Heart. I have a pic of F-C impersonating Kate Bush's dancing. There are plenty of others. Start the bidding.

At one point I could have sworn that Kevin Rowland was in the room, such was the accuracy of Steve's impersonation during Geno. My favourite memory, however, remains the attempt by Phil at singing the seminal Atmosphere by Russ Abbot without knowing any of the melody at all, hence his switch to Songs Of Joy and Tears Of Laughter during the first verse.

Can we do another one soon, please?

In the mood for more than dancing

I despise that Loose Women programme, but I couldn't half go for that Nolan sister.

Viennese faults

Like the rest of the football-watching world, my enjoyment of the Euro 2008 semi-final last night was rudely interrupted by an Austrian storm which did for the power supply to the broadcast nerve centre and removed all trace of the pictures and commentary. Though the game was in Basle, the nerve centre was in Vienna and all the television feeds came through from there.

Fair play to the BBC then for quickly adding the Five Live commentary to the 'apology' still which they'd been forced to place on our screens.

Eventually we got a compromise job - the pictures returned but Messrs Green and Waddle maintained the commentary, although a glitch with the satellite speed meant that the commentary slightly pre-empted the pictures, which was disconcerting.

Then in the 87th minute, Messrs Motson and Lawrenson returned. Frankly, I'd have preferred it if they'd kept the radio chaps on. The BBC have an option for you to select the Five Live commentary (or no commentary at all) instead of the telly commentary via the red button but they never greatly publicise this fact.

I'd be interested to know if they can measure just how many people choose to watch the game without the designated telly commentators, especially when Motson and Lawrenson - last night's pairing - are on duty, given their status at the moment as the most heavily criticised duo. Both get it in the neck when together or working with someone else - the line is that Lawrenson is a dreary joke purveyor with little real insight and Motson's started to lose his old knack for saying the right things at the right time.

Either of them ahead of Clive Tyldesley and David Pleat though.

I felt sorry for Motson towards the end, as he kept apologising for the lack of pictures even though they'd returned. Someone with their fingers on the talkback button was not doing their job properly.

The game - what we saw of it - was entertaining, symptomatic of the football on offer throughout the tournament, which I've really enjoyed. The lack of England and the inevitable emotional outpourings closely followed by bitter defeat has made it easy to observe properly the football on show. An entertaining match doesn't necessarily equate to a technically high-value game (some of the performances from individuals have been embarrassing) but ultimately sport remains an entertainment and that's what we're getting.

A pal of mine, who happens to double up as one of the top football writers in the country, told me yesterday that the lack of England means that even the hacks have been able to watch football at the competition - which is their job, really - rather then revolve every single event round England's next game or some guff spouted by Wayne Rooney at the press conference. I'd go along with that.

Spain v Russia tonight. Spain should win it, but Hiddink is a genius, so I can't call it and don't really feel any urge to. Just make it another good one, and if the electrical storms return, don't be afraid to leave Mike Ingham and Graham Taylor on...

24 June 2008

"Hello darling, yes I love you darling....!"

Oh go on then, if you insist, have the setlist for the 70s Night we did tonight...

Slade "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me"
Glen Campbell "Rhinestone Cowboy"
Stranglers "Duchess"
Argent "Hold Your Head Up"
Nicky Thomas "Love Of The Common People"
Ram Jam "Black Betty"
LaBelle "Lady Marmalade"
Herbie Hancock "I Thought It Was You"
Jackson Five "Mama's Pearl"
Abba "SOS"
Miracles "Love Machine"
David Bowie "Sound And Vision"
First Class "Beach Baby"
Exile "Kiss You All Over"
Donna Summer "I Feel Love"
Ace "How Long"
Gary Lewis and the Playboys "My Heart's Symphony"
Andy Williams "Can't Help Falling In Love"
Frantique "Strut Your Funky Stuff"
Rolling Stones "Brown Sugar"
Pete Wingfield "Eighteen With A Bullet"
Clodagh Rogers "Jack In The Box"
Yvonne Elliman "If I Can't Have You"
Wings "Live And Let Die"
Generation X "King Rocker"
Billy Ocean "Love On Delivery"
Melanie "Brand New Key"
Harry Chapin "W.O.L.D."
Gary Numan "Cars"
Silver Convention "Get Up & Boogie"
10cc "Donna"
Bread "Make It With You"
Suzi Quatro "She's In Love With You"
T Rex "I Love To Boogie"
Olivia Newton John "Banks Of The Ohio"
Cliff Richard "Devil Woman"
Foreigner "Feels Like The First Time"
Adverts "Gary Gilmore's Eyes"
Sonny and Cher "All I Ever Need"
Doobie Brothers "Listen To The Music"
Gloria Gaynor "Never Can Say Goodbye"
Bee Gees "Too Much Heaven"

Next week's edition is a feedbackreport production. Shame for him that Level 42 didn't start having hits until the 80s, then...

"I'm not here to tell you how to do your job!"

The great Dan O'Day, one of the world's most in-demand radio consultants, has started his own blog here.

I've been devouring his mailouts for years. Even if you're not in the industry, the stuff he says about how radio works (and how it should work) is fascinating.

Goodbye, or just au revoir?

I'm thinking I should give this blog up. I'm struggling for things to say and certainly struggling to presume many people are reading.

22 June 2008

Great forgotten songs of the 1990s - #8

"We finally sold the Chevy when we had another baby, and you took the job in Tennessee..."

Endless summer days

June 22nd. Summer solstice. Stonehenge. The longest day. Nudity. Etc.

Except ... surely as we've had a leap year this year, it was the longest day of the year yesterday...?

Slap my supersize top

Alex is back in America again, driving another convertible, staying in more motels and charting his travels here. A must-read.