Posts from 21st February 2005

Feb 05

ROGER MILLER – “King Of The Road”

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#194, 15th May 1965

The beat boom tide has begun to recede, having changed root and branch the way music gets made, bought and taken seriously (as commerce, as art) in the UK. Its main players are changing their sound, its successors are plotting their various coups. At the top of the charts, though, this means a return to normality. Which is…?

Let’s imagine a kind of popular music that has a direct origin in youth subcultures (leaving aside the question of how to define those). This – we won’t try and name it – is fairly well-represented in a list of No.1s, but it’s obvious that it doesn’t cover most of the material on said list. Expand the definition to include music that is indirectly linked to those subcultures – that imitates or tries to exploit them – and you cover a lot more ground. But there are still plenty of enormous hit records which seem to have nothing to do with any history of pop that bases itself on what ‘youth’ does or listens to.

This is part of why I find the charts so interesting. As well as being a barometer of what happens when subcultural trends bubble up to the surface, they’re also a log of whatever whims happened to grab the occasional record buyer. Filtering out the whims pasteurizes the story. “Normality” in the world of No.1 hits means a stew of novelties, trinkets, and songs which history and her assistants have fished out and wiped down as ‘classics’. All of which give one another a kind of context.

Lecture over. Roger Miller’s charming “King Of The Road” must have won a lot of friends through the simple likeability of his voice. Perhaps it won others because in 1965 people had begun to like the idea of the free life, of “means by no means”, beholden to none.

I think – and honestly I have no basis for this other than a few old childrens’ books – that the British were once culturally (if not actually) friendlier to vagabonds and men of the road than they are now. And here is the lifestyle presented crisply, evocatively, romantically – with a sprinkling of US exotica. Trailers and stogies, far more other than caravan parks and fag ends. I’m still very impressed by the economy and poetry of the lyric (“pushing broom”) – and the warmth. If ever a song could have a glint in its eye, this does.


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Situations where the mean is useless. What do you think the average age of the a member of the audience to the Spongebob Squarepants movie is? Well, on yesterdays showing* I would say the average is about fifteen. However this average is broken down into two significant demographics.

a) Kids ages 2-10.
b) Their parents aged 22-45.
(There was also a much smaller, insignificant demographic of males in their thirties who quite like the cartoon and had the ready excuse of being -ahem- professional animators in case our, I mean their, presence was questioned in a cinema full of tinies.)

However key demographic not willing to be caught dead in a Spongebob Squarepants movies = your actual teenager.

Of the younger demographic very few would have known who special guest star Hasslehoff was. However that is okay becaus eth kids realised that he was a figure of fun, and was called THE HASSLEHOFF throughout. Excellent grow-up fun.

Clear your sidebars. The Real McCoy have a blog.

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Clear your sidebars. Via Troubled Diva (whose decades countdown is still going on and still well worth voting in), comes details of a blog by none other than THE REAL McCOY as in MC Sar and the Real McCoy, as in “Another Night”, as in mid 90s Eurodance legend. Well, sort of a legend.


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Watchmen official site. Good grief, it might actually happen.

Outfield Goalies

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Outfield Goalies

You don’t see them much these days, what with three subs being drawn from five named replacements. I have to confess it’s my favourite thing in football.

I like seeing an amateur goalie at the top level, the mixture of top class striker and rubbish goalie always a recipe for fun and comedy.

I like seeing how big goalies are, as the goalie’s shirt dwarfs the hapless outfielder who’s usually chosen because they’re the least rubbish outfielder when having a kickabout in training.

I like seeing them like frightened rabbiots in the headlights on onrushing striekrs. I like seeing them make the occasional save, which is greeted reptutously, becasue they aren’t expected to save anything.

I like the unorthodox saves, using any part of the body available and sod the textbook. It feels like what would happen if I went in the net, and a for a small part of the game, top-flight football has an anarchic quality more commonly seen on a public park.

I also like seeing a team owned by one of the world’s richest men, with stars-a-plenty, reduced to 9 men and a right-back in the net. No matter how much money you have, the rules in the rules, and long may it stay that way.

The trailer for Oscar nominated German film Downfall

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The trailer for Oscar nominated German film Downfall is very disappointing. At no point does the very starry (vor a German film) cast shake off the grimness fo a end of WWII Nazi flick and settle down to the Milton Bradley game of the title.

Of course all wars would be better off be sorted out by the leaders playing a boardgame. However bear in mind that there is not an MB Game that I do not know how to cheat at. That said, Battleships is just this principle taken to ridiculous extremes.


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JUDGE JOHN ROCKIST: apologies for neglecting my Dub Dob Deed blogging duties one and all, I blame my rotten old sodden alcoholic lifestyle, I’ve been dead in a bin for the past few days and have only just managed to drag my disgusting semi-cadaverous corps to a seedy interweb café on the Tottenham Court Road, where I mugged a tramp for interweb tokens. But enough of that! ON WITH THE SHOW.

Last weeks episode featured Adam “Breathe Again” Rickett as a Nathan Barley with a conscience TV producer in a REALITY TV SHOW called “Teh Dungeon”. Shockingly, it is revealed that contestants were chosen to clash off each other, and producers encouraged to provoke the “in the jargon, flakey” contestants are far as possible to get BIG UP ratings. So in the course of the programme we get a poverty stricken born-again Christian enterting the show so he can send money back to his village up against the MOST APPALLINGLY ACTED STEREOTYPE IN THE WORLD EVER: a gay N4zi Aryan race Marco!

“He’s a homophobe!!!”, GNARM (hey, nice!) shouts across the courtroom at PSB-AC.
“But you’re a racist, aren’t you”, says the case for the defence.
Case for the defence shows the court an MS Published pamphlet showing GNARM avidly soaking in the atmosphere at a BNP conference. ARF! How do we defend ourselves?


But anyway, along with “Teh Dungeon” plotline (can we hear the theme tune plz Auntie Beeb), we also have the ongoing “Judge John Deed BRINGS DOWN THE GOVERNMENT with the aid of Jenny Seabrooks”. Jenny Seabrook by the way, is the worst actress ever. She can’t even act A COMA. Nasty Lord Big Business decides he’s got to put an end to this meddling judge, and hires some form of hit man to “take care of business”. So throughout the episode, viewers are treated to what is basically an upmarket London based Where’s Wally, as Silly Hit Man strides MENACINGLY behind the unaware Dub Dob Deed in EVERY OTHER SHOT. At one point he wears a cravat. I think all killers should wear a cravat. In fact, I think the Killers should wear cravats, and I could possibly wrap them round their neck until they stop making such appalling crimes against my eardrums, but I digress. The final method of “taking care of DDD” comes in the form of a lethal injection IN DUB DOB DEED’s ARSE which is FOILED by missing it’s target and ending up embedded in DDD’s flippy man-purse thing.

The show finally concludes with the producers of the reality TV show being found guilty, DDD “encouraging” naughty journalists to “cover proper news stories” for ABOUT TEN THOUSAND YEARS WORTH OF SPEECHING and me wondering where on earth Jo Millses little adopted boyscrote went. I missed the last two episodes, did he kill himself out of sheer depression at being faced with Jenny Seabrook’s awful FACE?!

We shan’t know until August, as that was the last DDD. See you then, Judge.


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WHILST WE’RE ON AN OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN TIP, you really all need to listen to PWL Radio which is bloody fookin’ awesome. I have known this ever since a drunken Friday two weeks ago. I returned to the office a couple of bottles of Merlot to the wind, to find a link to Pete Waterman’s radio station and tune myself into Baltimora, the Pet Shop Boys, Mel & Kim and Girls Aloud. There is no better radio station.


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ULTIMATE POP STAR last night on Channel Four is just the type of Lists Programming I like – based solely on COLD HARD SALES FIGURES instead of the general poll of the Kate Thorntons of this world. Along with the sheer JOY that comes with the fact that scientifically Shakin’ Stevens are better than Oasis, comes the GUT WRENCHING AGONY that makes every part of my body scream out in pain, even my TONSILS that were removed when I was a wee slip of a lass at 8, when you find out that Oasis are better than DIANA ROSS. But yet, what can you do, apart from drink your red wine and feel that the gulf between you and humanity has slipped yet another inch?

I tell you what, you can sit through to the very bitter end, and then you’ll find out that Cliff Richard is the best pop star of all time. This came as a complete non-shocker to me, after all the sod won’t go away will he. Cliff’s appearance however was massively entertaining. I played a game with myself called “Oh No, Not the Millenium Prayer!”, which thankfully I won. The programme also played us Cliff’s original of “Livin’ Doll”, which I listened to for about 10 seconds being utterly confused as to why it didn’t sound like the Young Ones version. Tom, can this go up for a GLORIA please?

The best moment of the entire show howevever, was a 5 second clip of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John. What no Xanadu?!