Friday, 18 August 2017
After 'Zulu', '20 Interesting Things About Fish' and 'Sharon's Overnight Visit to Goole', it;s undoubtedly the film I've watched more than any other, seeking, on each viewing, to gain a deeper insight into what exactly they're trying to say. Is it 'tear off the shackles of your oppression', 'you have nothing to lose but your chains', 'if the kids are united, they will never be divided' or is it 'if you go off on a European holiday with the lads you;ll definitely pull a bird like Una Stubbs'? I think I know what it is.
So for me the best song in the film is 'Dancing Shoes'. In a scene, which could otherwise be seen as terrifying, Cliff and a gang of 4 teenagers surround a Yugoslav peasant girl in a haystack, force her to dance and throw her around between them. With the volume turned off the images could be repulsive. The sheer horror on the girls face as she totally fails to understand what this gang of 'hands on' strangers even want of her. But whatever it is they're not letting her get away. in the end it transpires that what they want is 'bread'...but due to a hilarious misunderstanding they translate the next word in their 'Serbo-Croat Dictionary' which happens to be 'bride'. Suddenly everything's alright and the girl cheers up, rushes them back to her village where a bunch of Slavic tribesmen from a different century to the rather progressive 1960's of Yugoslav Communism, are waiting to throw a big party for their soon to be new relatives...until of course the young Balkanating Brits suddenly realise the horror of their situation and try to escape. At which point the Slavic types attempt to stab them with pitchforks, batter them with chairs and shoot them.
What better allegory for the eventual dissolution and catastrophe that eventually was to befall Yugoslavia.
But, for me, the failure of the writers was in the lyrical department. A wonderful swinging rock tune was spoilt by the totally meaningless juvenile lyrics inserting nursery rhymes rather than think fo actual lyrics. 'Do you remember little bo peep' 'let me tell you bout jack and jill, theyre the ones that went up the hill' etc.
So obfuscation no more....I politicised it.....it's what they would have wanted..or...deserved.
'Humpty Dumpty' no more, 'Bo Peep' no more, instead those working class martyrs Salvadore Allende, Joe Hill and Terry French.
Now, this version is from 2002 and done by the Red Smed band at the Monkton Heathfield Popodrome studios - although there's an even older version from 1986 done in a brickworks in Dunwear, Bridgwater, partially acoustically and totally fuelled by 2 bottles of Irish whiskey.....but I seem to have lost that one....
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
|"Now then, who lives in a film like this....?"|
Bridgwater looked very different in them days and yet, very similar. As did all my friends. Many of who appear in a film of the event made by lead vocalist of my band the Dangerous Brothers, Rod Jones, and which has lain dormant (well, in his cupboard) for more than 40 years. But now through the miracle of him agreeing to it, we can have a glimpse back to those blue remembered bastards we used to call students. We can see a Bridgwater with a Marks and Spencers and a Tescos in Fore street, the Admiral Blake statue in it's old place on the Cornhill side of the road and we can identify the total bastards who actually managed to get off with some girls in the debauchery pit known as the Blake street Annex, as they emerge looking very pleased with themselves while some of us had to resort to getting, well very pissed, by , say,10 am.
|"Why, if it isn't horror writer Kim Newman..."|
Look out for Sheep Worrying legends Kim Newman - first seen selling bottled water and hot cakes on the Cornhill to see which would sell like, er, hot cakes, and Eugene Byrne, wearing a forage cap bought from the Army Navy shop in St Mary Street, and roaming around with a michrophone interviewing people. Plus rare appearances from early Dangerous Brothers stalwarts Fat Bald Dave (when he was Thin Long Haired Dave) and Cold Buffet Bill when he was, well, a bit on the barmy side.
The song I've put to it is 'Clever Students', which seemed appropriate. I wrote this after spending just a month at University, but it could equally apply to us all at College. The song was recorded in 1978 in the White Hart, Eastover and the musicians featured include film maker Rod Jones on lead vocal, backed by Kev 'Nervo' Freeman on drums and chorus vocal plus Simon 'Supermeat' Gibbs on guitar and chorus vocal. I'm playing the rather simple Floydesque bass line on my old Hofner violin bass, which was held together by araldite and which I twattishly sold to Shrunken Duncan for £20, while the clever bit of keyboard/synth work featured is played by Neal Heckford in his mid period Bowie role of Cosmo DG Glissandoz.
"And here's Eugene Byrne and our schoolmate Liz Lee-
incidentally the first person to nominate me for Council in 1990.."
Monday, 1 May 2017
The Funbunnies formed in around 1998 and basically consisted of 3 singers - Elaine, Julia and Lorraine or Elaine, Julia and Heidi, and a backing line up of Red Smed (guitar) Big Barry 'Fowler' (bass) and Kevin 'Nervo' Freeman (drums). Gigs were frequent and always popular. Material was usually well known crowd pleasers. 'Brown Eyed Girl' featuring Julia, 'Shoop Shoop song' featuring Lorraine or 'Talking bout a Revolution' featuring Elaine or 'Happy Hour' featuring Heidi. But now and then they did a few originals...
|The Funbunnies (Elaine, Julia, Lorraine)|
Red Smed (who wrote the music and plays guitar on this track) wasn't available for comment this morning as he was busy soaping down the Cornish cliffs around Zennor before driving his minibus as fast as he could away from the bobbing and waving Czech students, now some yards off the headland.
|Lead vocals on 'I Hope You Die'|
were by Heidi Powell
The actual lyricist of the song , Kim Newman, is not a particularly bitter and twisted individual and his many books and film reviews can be found here.
The Funbunnies lasted maybe 2 years. At one point the mums (that they all were) let their daughters take their place and a 'Mini-Funbunnies with Cathy, Beth and Alice took the stage at the art centre and did a version of Edy Reeders 'Perfect'.