Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hooray For Harold Lloyd

They don't show silent films on TV anymore. Which is a tragic shame, as I've been waiting decades for 'Hooray For Harold Lloyd' to be repeated. I've got about three hours worth on clunky ol' VHS but the video was 'lofted' a while ago - so that's that.

Laurel and Hardy always left me cold - those breathing spaces and built in silences allowing for audiences to guffaw themselves purple, just fell flat in the front room. And skits with stairs, pianos and tangling themselves into reef knots with each others jackets was just plain irritating.

No, Harold Lloyd was always the kiddie for me, with his energetic enthusiasm, unyeilding optimism, dynamic acrobatics (all performed with a thumb and several fingers missing), a kittenish eye for the girls and that fantastic haircut. Even the music in these made for TV comps was pitched perfectly in each scene.

Unfortunately these two clips, intact with the music have been dubbed in French so the broad Brooklyn accent supplying the narrative is gone.

'Hooray For Harold Lloyd' - Opening Titles

There was a scene in the closing credits of 'HFHL' of Harold stealthily blackflipping on a bridge and then leaping over a wobbly cyclist - I'd be eternally grateful if anyone could identify the films these scenes are from.

This is possibly the greatest of all Harold Lloyd's shorty films..

Harold Lloyd - 'Hey There'

Recommended Reading

The Harold Lloyd website

The definitive DVD box set - complete films, not the TV comps

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Shopper

Bennett Brothers Inc. BlueBook of Quality Merchandise 1970

I found these retrotastic scans as part of a set on Flickr recently, and after years of scouring, scanning and sifting - this the closest I've got to getting my mitts on a complete 1970s catalogue.

For something that seemed to achieve saturation on a massive scale during the seventies - it's almost impossible to uncover any 'vintage'catalogues. Boot sales, charity shops, libraries and ebay - I've tried them all, and not a sniff of these handbooks for home shoppers. It makes sense that'spring/summer' would have been lofted, boxed or binned when 'autumn/winter' arrived(with Christmas hampers and tinned hams at the back), but I'm boggled that so few of these scrapbooks of style have survived.

So, until I eventually track down one of these treats, I'll have to console myself with these catalogue scans and some sounds that may have been spun on a sterogram purchased in monthly payments.

It's All At the Co-Op Now - Alan Hawkshaw.mp3

Life of Leisure - Keith Mansfield.mp3

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm Only Sleeping

"How do you sleep ?" John Lennon asked of Paul McCartney shortly after The Beatles split. I don't know what Macca's reply was, but generally I'm a rock solid snoozer who can cruise along on six to seven hours sleep a night(does a catch up on the train count?). Five Centres had a rumble recently about how song snippets can nag away at night and stop him dropping off. For me it's certain red wines or random thoughts rattling around like dropped marbles that starts a wide eyed wakefulness which then sets in for a few nights.

My antidote used to be a quick blast of 'Melody FM' - Glen Campbell crooning 'Galveston' or 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix', Randi Crawford 'Tradewinds', or endless Carpenters, Helen Reddy and Sounds Orchestral tracks were dead cert's for getting back on the nod in no time. But since 'Melody' became 'Smooth' it's gone all soppy, stodgy and just doesn't work anymore.

This doesn't matter though, as I've developed a new sure fire snooze system so simple and effective that it works for almost everyone apart black eyed insomniacs. It's this...

Do an A to Z of something - films, songs, singers, places names, superheroes, animals..any category is up for grabs and so much the better if it's really boring. Having a subject matter focuses your thoughts, and the dullness of having to grind through an alphabet of anything will have you heavy lidded and yawning within a few shakes of a sleepy sheeps tail. Most people that I've recommended this to are back in the land of nod by or before reaching the letter M. In the unlikely event that you should manage to do the loop and return to A, try doubling up and duplicate two things that begin with a letter for example...

British Towns - Andover,Ashford, Basildon, Basingstoke..

It may sound crazy but it works, and as John Lennon sang..

"Whatever gets you through the night it's alright, it's alright"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Never Mind The Quality Feel The Bandwidth

Do you remember the snappy slogan from pie in a tin people Fray Bentos? “No fat, lumps or gristle - guaranteed".

Digital Radio broadcasters should chew over that phrase or perhaps adopt it as a ‘Mission Statement’ before dishing up any new digital sizzlers and spectaculars. Marvellous as it is having untold channels and choice, what’s the point in lending an ear to something that’s all stodge and no substance.

I had a recent grumble about rubbish radio on Sunday mornings, but yesterday after rescanning the frequencies to weed out the dead DAB stations I came across a couple of broadcast crackers that prove the world really has gone inane.

Traffic Radio
A station that provides non stop traffic news! Given that most cars aren't fitted with DAB receivers, Traffic Radio broadcasts 24 Hour rolling road news that you can only hear at home. What genius came up with that one?

Yes – that’s it nothing but birdsong for 18 hours a day.

The delivery of DAB seems to have become clumsy and wrong footed. I was all for it initially (I've got 4 digital radios at home) but the pattern of promotion seems aimed at specialist stations all doomed to digital failure within a year. The majority seem to be made for the wrong demographic - the elderly (Oneword, BBC7, Ourkind, Primetime, Saga) never the first to take up any new technology, or hopeless stations that I wouldn't listen to on analogue or digital. Stations like...

Planet Rock
'The Greatest Driving Albums In The World Ever' on 24 hour rotation

The Jazz
Jazz Fm was constantly in flux on FM, why should it work on DAB.

The key to success, like most musical formats is portability. Why not bolt DAB onto iPods and MP3 players or manufacture reasonably priced pocket size units this would instantly increase the potential audience.

Then we just need something worth listening to.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kissy Kissy

It doesn't get better than a bit of Bacharach for smoochy moods, add Herb Alpert and the muted toot of his trumpet as the cherry on top and it's almost too perfect.

Herb Alpert - 'This Guy's In Love''

Mai Oiu, a song and a smile from Sacha and Brigitte. C'est si bon. But you may need to lever le petit doigt dans le oreille when Brigitte steps up to the mic.

Brigitte Bardot and Sacha Distel - 'Tu es le Soleil'

Brigitte Bardot will be featured on Planet Mondo for tomorrows Funky Friday

Blimey - it's Bill Cosby getting his specs all steamed up.

Bill Cosby - No One Can Love.mp3

If you fancy something with a bit more raunch 'n' roll, why not get your fruity boots over to Planet Mondo for a bespoke 'Electric Blue' mondo minimix.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Reverse Randomizer

I’m all for the idea of the randomizer – shuffling your iPod/MP3 player and listing the first five tracks played, but these are five songs that definitely won’t be appearing on any of my randomizers. I can’t stand them, and wouldn’t let a single one within a mile of my MP3 player

‘Horse With No Name’ – America
Doesn’t it just grind along and drone on and on and on.

‘In the Year 25 25’ – Zager and Evans
Strip away the galloping urgency, the manic key changes and the dopey predictions - there isn’t really much of a song left.

‘Telstar‘- The Tornados
Not in anyway listenable. It sounds like the sort of music they’d shake a leg to on Tracey Island.

‘How Do You Do It’ - Gerry and the Pacemakers
This and the other one ‘I like It’ put me off discovering decent sixties music for years.

‘The Glory of Love’ – Peter Cetera
There aren’t many people I really could punch, but Pete qualifies with this song and that voice - so weedy and wimpy it makes Scooter from the Muppets sound like Lemmy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Phrases On Stun

There's a handful of phrases, sayings and statements so cliched, corny and plain baffling, that I would rather be fed my own ears on a skewer than have to ever hear them again. Instant shoulder cringers like....

"How goes it/the Battle?" - We're in the Digital Age, not the Dark Ages.

"Do the Math." - *shudders*

"Go Figure" - *gags like a cat with a furball*

"Surely." - as in "you surely can." What's wrong with "Yes"?

"Discuss." - When barked as an order at the end of some dreary theory.

"Back in the day."
- What day? When??

"Bailiwick." - As in "it's not my Bailiwick". I've only heard this wheeled out on one occasion, but it was used three times by a repeat offender during one meeting. Unforgettable and unforgivable.

"It was all I could do." - What was all you could do? They never say!

There's a few more cheesy nuggets on my list, but I'll have to stop before I go cross eyed and faint from the horror of it all.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Cillit Bang Award - No Ball Games

The first Cillit Bang Award (an occasional honour given out to the grim and the grotty) goes to a Grotbag Of The Week caught completely offside - Ashley Cole

Bright Ambassador has the perfect piece on why Pepe Le Puke is a CBA winner. Perhaps Ashley could regurgitate his carrot based bedroom technique into a book for all drunken fumblers to enjoy "The Joy of Sicks"

Sherbet - Howzat