I’m beginning to wonder if this blog is in fact chronicling some kind of nervous meltdown. First I set myself an impossible task to conduct in the most public arena possible (were anyone actually reading this). Then my attention flutters away, embarking an on a string of utterly pointless posts, mixing pop and politics among other briefly flirted-with topics; then I spend time dissecting the General Election with ever growing depression and resignation, before attempting to lighten the mood by writing a post which started off about about a 7″ single I bought back in 1982 and which descended into a rant against press bias and paedophilia.
Still, could be worse. Could’ve been a rant in favour of press bias and paedophilia, I suppose. Which would have made me the sort of person to be a whole lot happier about the election result.
So, a further attempt to inject some levity into proceedings, and a return to a post theme I touched on briefly once before: the Friday Night Music Club. And my apologies that absolutely none of you will get to read this on a Friday Night, unless you abstain for a further 7 days. I decided to rewrite my last entry a little (well, quite a lot, as it turned out) before I did this, which took a fair bit longer than intended.
Anyway, you’ll recall I mentioned that when doing these mix cd’s/playlists/call them what you will, I often strung a sequence of songs together with a bit of a theme to link them. Well, I’ve gone a little further this time – an entire play list based around one theme.
Now, I love a bit of comedy. I appreciate this may not exactly have been terribly evident around these parts recently, but trust me. I like to think I’m quite a funny chap, but blimey-O-Reilly, sitting here and writing the stuff is an entirely different bag of bollocks. So I have nothing but respect for those who do comedy and do comedy well.
I was raised listening to radio repeats of Hancock’s Half Hour (if you only know The Blood Donor, I urge you to dig around a little, there’s much better, if less iconic episodes out there, specifically any of the ones featuring Kenneth Williams); of Round the Horne (specifically any of the sketches featuring Kenneth Williams (can you spot a trend emerging…?) as Rambling Syd Rumpole or with Hugh Paddick as Julian and Sandy – all characters whose whole raison d’etre were to be as innuendo-laden and utterly filthy as their polare would allow.) The influences of the latter in particular can easily be seen here: Betty Swallocks
Then there was the two original radio series’ of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (which my brother recorded onto cassettes and for which he made his own inlay sleeves), followed by the TV series (for which he didn’t), then the five books in the trilogy, followed, eventually, several years later, by the film. And Fawlty Towers. And The Young Ones. And Blackadder. And The Fast Show. And Father Ted. And Black Books. And The League of Gentlemen. And The Office. And Nathan Barley. And Phoenix Nights. And Peep Show. And The Inbetweeners. All of these box-sets line the dank, unblemished by daylight, walls of my blog-cave. Well, they would if I didn’t keep lending them to people. (Yes, I’m looking at you!)
I could go on. And I probably will, knowing me.
But in my opinion there hasn’t been a really great, new sitcom for a good few years now. “Pulling” was maybe the last one, I thought, which truly had legs. So of course it got pulled after just two series. So I was delighted when “Catastrophe” hit our small screens earlier this year, co-penned and co-starring the wonderful Sharon Horgan, who had co-penned and co-starred in “Pulling”. Basic premise: Irish woman meets American man in the UK; have a one-night stand (actually, spread over two or three nights), she gets pregnant, they decide to try and make things work. Apart from the whole having unprotected sex aspect, that’s quite a positive message to put out there, and joy of joy it’s done with such verve, wit, style and humanity that the six episodes were over in a blink. More please, Channel 4!
No sooner was Catastrophe off air, and I had sunk back into the fat-arse shaped furrow I have ploughed into my couch, then bugger me rigid Channel 4 only went and did it again with “Raised By Wolves”. Now if you’re reading this then then you already know about one of the writers, for it was The Queen of Twitter, and frankly as far as I’m concerned, Queen of Everything She Deigns to Touch, Caitlin Moran. If you haven’t ever read her utterly magnificent “How To Be A Woman” then I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist you go here and buy it before we can continue, even if that does mean giving those tax evading vultures at Amazon some of your hard-earneds. And buy a new copy, not a second-hand one, you cheapskate.
Bought it? Really? Show me. Hmm. Okay, good. Then we can carry on.
“Raised by Wolves” was co-written by Caitlin and her sister Caroline and tells the wonderfully odd-ball story of the Garry family, who were apparently based on their own childhood in Wolverhampton. I say apparently: it is perfectly clear which of the daughters of the family is based on Caitlin. The show’s an utter charm throughout, there’s never a dull moment, blink or laugh too long at one and you’ll miss the next in the machine gun rat-tat-tat of bullet-sharp lines. More please, Channel 4!
So there we were, mid April 2015, and we were already blessed with two utterly brilliant new sitcoms. That’d be our lot for the year, surely?
Well, since I haven’t mentioned the sitcom in the picture at the top of the post, you can safely guess that there’s at least one more for me to wax lyrical about.
Peter Kay’s Car Share is a joy from start to finish. Essentially that rarest of things – a two-hander (stop it, innuendo fans…), it simply relays six days when John (Peter Kay) and Kayleigh (co-writer Sian Gibson) travel to and from work at a supermarket in Lancashire, showing how they learn about each other, learn to communicate with and understand each other, learn to like each other and attempt to provide support to each other. It’s like a Chorley-based buddy cop movie, where the two main characters are thrown together in a mess of dislike and distrust at the start, before slowly earning each others respect, trust and compassion, only without one of them getting shot twenty minutes before the end. It’s six perfect slices of normal life, and it’s to the writers’ eternal credit that (SPOILER ALERT!!) the two main characters don’t end the series coupling up.
But while it’s largely a two-hander, it’s not just the two of them throughout: there are cameo appearances from the likes of Reece Shearsmith who puts in a staggering display as Stink Ray, the fishmonger who makes up his own nonsensical words to “Here Comes The Hotstepper” (Once seen, you’ll never be able to hear that again without singing “I’m a lyrical dance-flap”), and 70s Comedian (uh-oh….) Mick Miller (phew!), flashing screensavers of his topless Thai bride (if only his actual wife would take the hint…)
And there are references to Kay’s previous masterpiece: Archie Kelly ( “Phoenix Nights” Kenny Senior) pops up in one memorably hilarious scene, Gibson herself appears in three episodes of the earlier show, and of course there is an extra, unseen character: the whole thing is sound-tracked not by Chorley “Coming In Your Ears” FM but rather by the innuendo heavy adverts (“A Bamber sausage is a sausage the whole family can enjoy. Made with all our own natural ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Give your mouth a treat – try Ken’s Meat. Ken Bamber’s Old English Sausage”), the terrible DJ links (“It Could Be You: that’s what the National Lottery told us in this year, and I’ve only got one ball”…”It was the year that Freddie Mercury tragically died of AIDS while Julia Roberts was “Sleeping with the Enemy”, so I guess Freddie must’ve been too”) and, of course, mostly and most importantly, the cheesy pop songs of Forever FM.
Kay has of course got a bit of form in picking out songs previously considered a bit naff, featuring them in either one of his shows, or as one of his Comic Relief Campaigns, or both. (Interesting disclaimer at the start of that one, eh? It shows the level of idiocy of some people that it was thought it needed to be clarified that Kay didn’t cast Jimmy Savile AFTER all of the revelations)
And that, pop pickers, is where we came in. The tunes from Car Share form tonight’s Music Club. All 64 songs are in the folders below, all in the order they appeared in the show (well, they’re numbered as such), with a couple which are featured according to Wikipedia but which I’m buggered if I could spot – and including a couple that Wikipedia missed. I say that last bit with an immense amount of nerdy pride. Oh, and one special extra one, which was sung but not played in the final episode. I’m sure you’ll already know what I’m talking about. (Clue: it’s not “Orinoco Flow”. Or “Dizzy”)
Split into two folders due to size restrictions, I give you:
I’ll leave you to work out how many of the songs featured here I owned prior to making this mix. I think only one has featured previously; there’s two or three which would have done eventually, and around fifty or so that definitely wouldn’t have. But don’t let that put you off. In fact, judging by some of the things I did buy, you might want to take that as a good sign.
And of course, if you like any of the songs, go buy a copy.