Posts from 11th June 2008

Jun 08

The Freaky Trigger Top 100 Tracks Of All Time No. 44. The Selecter – On My Radio

FT/19 comments • 2,484 views

On My Radio disc The edition of Top of the Pops on the 8th November 1979 featured The Specials (A Message To You, Rudy), Madness (One Step Beyond), and The Selecter (On My Radio). UK pop buyers officially loved the “2 Tone” label. The distinctive checkered-strip logo was an instantly recognisable label of your pop allegiance — a simple design that was easy to pick out in tippex(r) on an army-surplus school-bag, or in the blocky graphics of home computers at the time (shift-S shift-S shift-S…). I was too young to care (or know) about labels, but I knew the music, and I knew there were special moves at the school disco.

The success of 2 Tone was rapid — their first release, by founding band The Specials, had only been in the summer gone of 79 when the band ‘The Selecter’ didn’t yet exist. They were the label’s first manufactured band, put together from Coventry’s ska scene and given the name of that first release’s (ambiguously attributed) instrumental B-side.


Comics: A Beginner’s Guide: War Comics

The Brown Wedge6 comments • 1,249 views

War is not among my favourite genres, but it has been the subject matter for some great comics over the years. It’s also been the genre for probably the most successful British comics over the years, the apparently endless Commando series, which have had some good stories here and there (the world-great Hugo Pratt drew at least one of these), but I’ve never really been interested in them.


EC was best known for the horror titles which led to the big crackdown on comics in the mid-50s, and for starting Mad magazine, but the originator of the latter, the wonderful Harvey Kurtzman, was also behind a couple of great war comics, Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. Kurtzman wrote and laid out just about everything, for an exceptional crew of artists to finish. This includes one of my favourite short stories ever, artistically, in which the great Alex Toth (my favourite comic artist ever) shows the difficulty of jet pilots in even knowing which way up they are while flying through clouds – the g-force of the engines overcomes the feeling of gravity. There are a fair number of dull, worthy stories here, especially ones based on real history, but everything is excuted with immense skill, and there are lots of winners too.


Len Deighton’s “Action Cookbook”

FT12 comments • 1,179 views

The cover shows Deighton stirring a pot of spaghetti while a woman runs her hands suggestively through his hair. He’s got a gun hanging loosely by his side and is looking out at the reader with the kind of knowing glance that’s usually accompanied by a wink.

As the preface says: “[S]erious food enthusiasts seized upon [his recipes] without being sure that this was the same man who spoke over the Soviet radio, talked with Hollywood lawyers and wrote the sort of spy thrillers that had to be submitted to the War Office before publication. It is.”.

Nigella could never make cooking look this shexay….