Posts from September 2008

Sep 08

A Bite of Stars, A Slug of Time, and Thou – Episode 12

FT + Slug of Time Podcast + The Brown Wedge1 comment • 484 views

Magnus Anderson joins the Slug Lords to talk about Arsen Darnay’s short story, “Such Is Fate”. It’s about a gypsy, a sailor, a tank of liquified gas, and what we can learn from the past. Music comes via Olivia Newton-John and Prince, and Elisha reads the story at the front of the programme in case you don’t have your copy of the September-October 1974 “Worlds of If” to hand.

Produced by Elisha Sessions

Sep 08

THE POLICE – “Message In A Bottle”

FT + Popular85 comments • 4,088 views

#443, 29th September 1979

The number ones of 1979 look from one angle like a beauty parade – a line-up of ambitious talents sniffing a chance at genuine, lasting superstardom. Whether punk rock had actually cleared any decks, or whether disco had changed the market, or whether simply the enormous surges in singles sales led smart operators to look again at the medium’s potential for making names, there’s a feeling in the air of a brass ring up for grabs – for the first time maybe since Bowie and Elton’s early-decade breakthroughs.

Sep 08


FT7 comments • 1,093 views

17. Ratpack – Searchin’ For My Rizla

I am the magnificent! The most prettiest! The baddest Mexicano of all times!

A crackly Dave Barker successfully shouts down the echoing authority of The Bouncer, protesting Ratpack’s right to enter any nightclub they choose, guestlist spot or no. Pushing into the queue, MC Everson Allen rudely interrupts Barker’s ancient bragging for some of his own. “Now I
” Translation: Push off grandad!

“Stephen, what do you think of the whole man love thing?”

FTPost a comment • 172 views

Amanda Hamilton just asked of Stephen Gately on live sunday morning telly. Excellent stuff there.

(The context of the question, best forgotten, sadly is from plugging an unusually shit and unncecessary book by a DJ of similar qualities.)

Sep 08


FT + Popular68 comments • 4,581 views

#442, 22nd September 1979

“Here in my car I feel safest of all” – this is what marketers, bless us, refer to as a ‘consumer insight’ – one of the unspoken reasons people buy what they buy, do what they do, crystallised in a one-liner that seems obvious as soon as you’ve heard it. It’s no wonder this track enjoyed such a prosperous second life via advertising: the message is barely even subliminal. Okay, Numan is going out of his way to sound chilly about the prospect of Cartopia, but the gleeful clunk-click of the synths gives him away: compared to the messy, shabby confusion “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” left him in, “Cars” is pure liberation.

Sep 08

Let’s make our way to the Garden of the Night

Do You See + FT8 comments • 1,839 views

I’ve talked about In The Night Garden – one of the BBC’s current flagship childrens’ programmes – enough in the pub to justify a post focusing on it and its strange cosmology. The show is produced by Ragdoll, who are staggeringly wealthy thanks to the international success of Teletubbies. As FT coding guru Alan has pointed out, ITNG combines the ‘tubbies ethos – lots of nonsense talk, buckets of repetition, basic characters in a cosily unreal environment – with a heavy dose of old school, Oliver Postgate style Kids’ TV. The show’s “Pontipines”, for instance, are tiny clothes peg people who emerge from their tiny house to scuttle and squeak in a way that’s directly reminiscent of Bagpuss‘ mechanical mice.

Sep 08

CLIFF RICHARD – “We Don’t Talk Anymore”

FT + Popular75 comments • 4,310 views

#441, 25th August 1979

The strictures of the Popular project give Cliff’s career a sort of cometary aspect: he shows up around the end of a decade just to check on how British pop is doing. But of course he rarely stopped having hits – look at the Everyhit stats and his late 70s comeback doesn’t seem like a revival so much as a realignment, helping an established hitmaker get his bearings back at a time of unusual turbulence in the pop market.

A Bite of Stars, A Slug of Time, and Thou – Episode 11

FT + Slug of Time Podcast + The Brown Wedge6 comments • 1,001 views

Victoria de Rijke joins Mark Sinker and Elisha Sessions to talk about “Aye, and Gomorrah”, a tale of sexless astronaut prostitutes and the people who worship them. I’m not making that up! It was written by Samuel R. Delany in 1966 and Elisha reads it at the beginning in case you haven’t. Music is “I Blood Brother Be” by the Shock Headed Peters.

Produced by Elisha Sessions

Sep 08

THE BOOMTOWN RATS – “I Don’t Like Mondays”

FT + Popular68 comments • 5,164 views

#440, 28th July 1979

So, you’ve got a theatrical #1 record about teen alienation under your belt – how do you follow that? Why, more histrionics, greater alienation, and – the trump card – this time it’s all true! This wouldn’t be the last time Bob Geldof’s gut reaction to a news story made a mark on pop, but there’s no good cause associated with “I Don’t Like Mondays” and no good comes of it.

Sep 08

TUBEWAY ARMY – “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”

FT + Popular108 comments • 1,681 views

#439, 30th June 1979

“I don’t think I mean anything to you.”: it’s a sulky break-up song in android drag. But what drag! There’s a muscley, unpleasantly compelling crunch to the synthesisers on “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” – the song is built on awkward, thrilling mechanical lurches rather than Kraftwerkian glide or Moroderish thrust. It’s futuristic, but this future setting is audibly shabby, an exhausting and dispiriting time to live: you suspect it rains a lot there. Numan himself shifts from distanced scene-setter to hurt suburban boy – the everyday whine of his voice cutting through the future he’s trying to establish, its baffled pique reminding you what these robot worlds get built to cover up.