Monday, December 18, 2006

Yearender Pt. 1

The first of three compilations of the best things we've discovered, cogitated upon and brought to your attention over the year, starting with the visuals as who knows how long it'll be before these clips get deleted again.


20 The Associates do Party Fears Two on The BA Robertson Show in 1982. We suspect Alan Rankine is miming somehow
19 Fyfe Dangerfield finds the demo button on his expensive keyboard (and will later do it again)
18 Lord Rockingham's XI live! Look at that laughing drummer! The head nodding of the bassist! The excitable organist!
17 The great Ivor Cutler departed this year - here's his Shop Lifters from Whistle Test
16 80s dancing ahoy as REM perform Carnival Of Sorts on Nickelodeon's Livewire TV in 1983
15 Very deliberately pronounced at the start, Terry Hall joins Blur to cover Nite Klub for French telly in 1996. Put your back into it, Terry
14 Jake Thackray was subject to a small scale re-evaluation this year and Victor Lewis-Smith's production company uploaded quite a few rare performances, chief among which was On Again! On Again! on Neil Innes' Innes Book Of Records in 1979. As Danny Baker says, was there ever a greater opening line?
13 From last year, Baddiel and Skinner have as decent a go at the Fall's How I Wrote Elastic Man as a bemused ITV LE audience will allow
12 Anthony H Wilson's So It Goes always seems like the most magnificent of music shows with the benefit of hindsight and having grown up both too late and elsewhere in the country. Here's Ian Dury talking and reciting This Mule and The Bus Driver's Prayer
11 God knows where this is from, but what a thing to archive - Brian Wilson rehearsing Surf's Up alone at the piano in 1966
10 For all his posthumous outlaw credentials Johnny Cash didn't mind mixing it with the populist, nowhere more so than when he joined Big Bird for a carefully rewritten Don't Take Your Ones To Town
9 Simultaneously inventing New Wave and ripping it a new arsehole, Devo do Jocko Homo in a dark corner of the Saturday Night Live studio in 1979. Booji Boy was played by Mark Mothersbaugh himself, General Boy by Robert Mothersbaugh Sr. himself
8 The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's reformation for a 40th anniversary tour was one of the year's most cheering surprises. The best quality, and perhaps best, ver 'Tube has to offer of them? That'd be Canyons Of Your Mind on Colour Me Pop in 1968
7 Long before selling out to the Mail On Sunday Madness weren't averse to the cheap thrill of advertising capitalism, most notably by Colgate, giving them Baggy Trousers not only for the UK Blue Minty Gel campaign but also the fondly remembered Stateside Colgate Pump. Sounds like the original ad's vocalists too, but they change the bell!
6 BBC VT staff Christmas Tapes of the late 70s/early 80s are bloody weird, creepy things if you ever see one. We've seen two and have barely recovered. They're on UKNova every so often but bits have crept out further afield, not least Suzi Quatro somehow being cajoled into penning and performing Sports PA for the 1979 tape. (Easter egg: Legs And Co take to the edit suite a year earlier)
5 John Cooper Clarke. The Bard of Salford. Performance poet par excellence. Quickfire wordsmith to the punk kids. Cited by Alex Turner as a major influence. Occasional Honey Monster co-star. And again!
4 "It's like what people in, murderers from Strangeways get!" Back to the Fall, and the moment that should have been in all those TV Moments compilations this time last year, Mark E giving it some Tim Gudgin on Score Interactive.
3 Now he's one of the land's three greatest living cultural icons it's odder to imagine how much Morrissey played the young people's TV game back when the Smiths were in their pomp, or indeed a time when a band such as they would be allowed to play in the same fields as the teen-targeted outfits. In 1984 they were still getting his name wrong as he and Marr went to the former's old school (belligerent ghouls not pictured) on TV-AM's Datarun amid the puppets and Chock-A-Block style computerisms. The soundcheck footage has made this a holy grail among Mozites, but we must ask whether Reel Around The Fountain is the greatest choice for introductory music on a kids' show.
2 And more of the unsevered alliance, and from the very same month (April 1984). The Charlie's Bus clip (actually a segment of a show called S.P.L.A.T., but let's not split hairs) has been doing the rounds for a while but since we initially found it another enterprising poster has actually found the master tape. Everyone's covered "we're all going mad!", but we particularly admire his stoicness in the very first shot where he and Marr are standing atop the titular transportation unit. Still, he seems to be enjoying himself, and Sandie Shaw really did age well FWIW. Jeane, though? Again, hardly knockabout Saturday morning material.
1 "I don't want to be a potato any more!" Your unlikely appearances on kids shows are one thing, but real maverick genius comes under the aegis of the performers themselves. Presenting our favourite YouTube discovery of 2006, The Road To Oranges And Lemons - A Brief History Of XTC Puppet Show. Produced in 1988 as a Virgin Records promo for the named psych-pop album, while it confirms the whole mad genius bit about Andy Partridge it really does seem to have been made by him, Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory in Partridge's fabled shed, possibly without the aid of a structure or script having been constructed before.


  • We've written before about the sheer oddness of early 80s ideas of pop, but how about this - Taco made a brief name for himself in America in 1982 with a vintage electro cover of Puttin' On The Ritz, performed in full tails and including synth voices and a tap dancing solo (which in these post-Jamie Williams days is nothing of note but here just ups the bizarre factor). His follow-up? Singin' In The Rain!

  • One day we must bore you all at length about how great Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is, and while we may never see Jeff Magnum live again at least we have this unknown provenance solo version of Holland 1945.

  • This Beat Club Germany version of Roxy Music's Re-Make/Re-Model has long been a favourite 'Tube hit because of the sheer style and forcefulness of it, Ferry's dance moves and how it's only the drum solo that gets any sort of audience reaction.

  • Documenting long dead scenes in an earnest fashion is always good for a laugh, so while you get the New Rave gear in we'll be watching this clip of LWT's 20th Century Box where Danny Baker explores the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, which Bob Mills went on to skewer on In Bed With Medinner.

  • And then there are the clips that in their own way defy further explanation lest it all fall apart. So, Walsall fans perform One Step Beyond with full introduction,
  • Pete and Carl take up the Chas & Dave challenge and Bernard Manning sings the Smiths for The Last Resort.

  • And why not, we're named after one of their songs - Spearmint's A Trip Into Space live. There was a video too, wasn't there? Anyone?


    20 iLiKETRAiNS - Terra Nova (directed by Ashley Dean): Dean, the band's cornet player, has made some tremendous animated videos for much of his band's work - also see The Beeching Report
    19 The Maccabees - Latchmere (Hugh Frost & Samuel Bebbington): stop-motion goodness, and we're suckers for that floating-from-the-knees visual trick
    18 Klaxons - Magick (Saam Faramand): see, they say they have no truck with New Rave culture, then they start seeping the colour of glowsticks
    17 Mogwai - Friend Of The Night (Woof Wan-Bau): Mogwai videos are always elegant in an odd way, as in this very literal still life installation
    16 Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything (Matt Moroz): a confusing but impressively cinematographed slab of period detail
    15 The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health (Motomichi Nakamura): inevitably all Knife videos are illateral but wonderfully animated, this the best of the bunch
    14 Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before The Lights Come On (John Hardwick): a proper story, as befits the band's reputation, bleak, blackly humorous and starring the none more bleakly-blackly-humorous Paddy Considine
    13 Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy (Melissa Olsom): footage from Joseph Kittinger's highest parachute jump in history plus surfer stock footage equals sensory overload
    12 Flaming Lips - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (Traktor): essentially a grown-up version of a Bash Street Kids script. How come the band eventually turn against Wayne?
    11 Good Shoes - All In My Head (Saam Faramand): full of visual gags and lateral jump cuts even without getting to the zoetrope turning into real life
    10 The Presets - Are You The One? (Kris Moyes): no, it's meant to look that blocky in places. All-out carpet bombing on compression and post-production effects
    9 Psapp - Tricycle (Thorsten Levin): melancholia through claymation, as befits their sound. Are we soppy for finding the ending heartwarming?
    8 El Perro Del Mar - God Knows (Åsa Arnehed): and another one where you couldn't imagine the detailed line-drawn video working in any other way once seen
    7 Will Young - Who Am I? (Dougal Wilson): we can't imagine this had the most extensive explanatory treatment ever but it's subtly clever, if full of anachronisms
    6 Jeremy Warmsley - I Believe In The Way You Move (Ben Rollason): not the most expensive or flashiest video here but few work better at pulling at the heartstrings
    5 Gnarls Barkley - Smiley Faces (Robert Hales): they've been able to do this kind of fitting people into archive footage at the drop of a hat for years, but at least here some thought's been put into it
    4 Hot Chip - Boy From School (Garth Jennings): a proper slow burner, in that something's clearly going on but it's only right at the end that the full Neil Buchanan effect is revealed
    3 Justice vs Simian - We Are Your Friends (Rozan & Schmeltz): before Kanye West bursts into our house to complain, we should point out it's not just the set-ups, it's the way they're filmed that gives it the edge
    2 OK Go - Here It Goes Again (OK Go): yes, A Million Ways, but post-ironic dancing's been done in videos before and it'll be done again. Do the same with a hell of a setting twist, however, and the YouTube world is your oyster
    1 Field Music - In Context (Dan Lowe): the artist is photographer Chris Fenner, it would have been done in one take had the pen not run out and filming lasted 27 minutes. The first time we saw the result, we stood up and applauded with no sense of self-awareness at all.

    Mr Rossy said...

    I love that clip of mark e smith reading the football results, classic !!

    Also the Smiths clip with the kids is great !!

    Good work Sir !!

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