The short answer would be the Secret Vampire Soundtrack, but it would only be a superficial answer. Sure Secret Vampires makes explicit the link between vampirism and pop music, but you would be hard pushed to think that it is any particular clarion call for more vampires in the media. Except at this point of 1995, vampires were at a pretty low ebb. A couple of years after Francis Ford Coppola’s disappointing Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the poor Interview With The Vampire adaptation and the ropey Buffy film, vampires couldn’t be caught dead in the media. Which since they are undead is possibly the point but I digress.
The Secret Vampire Soundtrack contained Kandy Pop which was the track that broke Bis and was responsible for making them the first unsigned band on Top Of The Pops*. As such Bis not only made Vampires fashionable again, they toyed with the idea of vampires not being scary. If Manda Rin, chirpy chanteuse, was a vampire then suddenly the idea of the gothic immortal vampire was turned on its head. more »
It has been the question on everyones lips this week, which exactly is the Best Bis? We bring you the final of this hard fought battle below:
(Note: The department of Business & Information and Skills had a hard fought battle to third place, mainly by virtue of also having a Mandy in charge, but David Lammy is no Sci-Fi Steve. The British Interplanetary Society were also in with a shout but keep arguing about whether Pluto is a planet or not.) So over to our adjudicator Magnus Anderson:
In the late 90s, in Action and Drama, Bis cast themselves as meta-pop activists:
Pop music’s not gonna die / It just has no direction / We need a plan of action
But what was their plan of action? The accompanying track Eurodisco (a worry about pop stagnating into inward-looking genres) had its best mix by Stuart Price — an Erasure-ish version that omits Manda’s vocals. Where has Manda gone? Price went on to be the main producer of Madonna’s 2005 Confessions album and the non-more Eurodisco Abba-sampling “Hung Up”. more »
Often in scholarly discussions of the revolutionary impact of Bis on the cultural scene in the late nineties, little notice is taken of the trivial. Nevertheless to understand exactly how the Teen-C revolution came about, sometimes the trivial becomes a solid motivational factor. And a key question stands there in plain sight, staring us down with its obviousness. But as pointed out by no less that Garibaldi, many revolutions are predicated on trivial tipping points, and perhaps the blue touch paper of the Teen-C revolution stares at us from their name.
Ie, what did they like to eat with a cup of tea?
BIS WEEK: What is Bis's favourite Biscuit?
Iced Gems (39%, 7 Votes)
Johnny Disco Biscuits (17%, 3 Votes)
Garibaldis because Bis is 3/7ths of BIScuit and 3 garibaldis are 3/7ths of a long strip of Garibaldis (17%, 3 Votes)
The self publishing revolution was of course started by Bis in the 1990s with their Teen-C fanzines, so it’s only fair that we go back in time to 1997 and ask them their opinions on today’s rumoured launch of the Apple Tablet which seems set to transform modern day publishing in a similar way by selling loads of ebooks. Take it away, secret vampires!*
Sci-Fi Steve: “Obviously this is a major launch for Apple and should please the tech pundits. But I’m a little worried about the tablet’s robustness. What if I was holding one and wanted to jump excitedly up and down to the sounds of the Kandy Pop revolution? Might it not break?”
Manda Rin: “For a fanzine publisher this is a big step forward, however much depends on whether Apple will pursue the more open-access policy of iTunes or the heavily filtered content offering of the App Store. And how the screen reacts to glitter and shiny star stickers obviously.”
John Disco: “Tablet! Och, my favourite! Apple flavoured? Amazing! Oh, it’s a computer you say.”
*these are not real quotes from the actual Bis. they were made up by us. trigger legal dept.
Here at Freaky Trigger we have realised that January has been a bit slow with output. A new year can put new strains upon our writers and what with Tom’s Guardian column and me embarking on a year without cinema, pickings have been slim. What was needed was something that would galvanise all the writers, a shared passion, a subject with suitable artistic depth that that everyone young or old could contribute to. When framed in those terms there was really only one possible subject that in 2010 needed the kind of re-evaluation and celebration that only FT could provide.
Manda Rin, Sci-Fi Steve and John Disco’s manifesto for a Teen-C Revolution may now be generally forgotten in the merry-go-round of the British charts, but after BIS WEEK you will have no more illusions of the vital importance of this small Scottish band at the turn of the millennium. Ground breaking, historic and influential in fields that may surprise you, BIS WEEK will demonstrate the tendrils of Fake DIY which have infiltrated nearly every facet of the arts. From film, to books, to reality TV, to even the British food revolution of the 00′s, Bis can be seen to be the secret architects of so much that makes current life so interesting. (Hell, I believe one of us may even suggest that Bis basically invented the internet). more »