Dangerous Minds recently featured Wolfgang Buld’s Punk In England. Well, our good friends at See Of Sound have have made available Buld’s first documentary on British punk, Punk In London. This is from a re-mastered DVD and looks and sounds far better than my old VHS copy.
This acclaimed feature length music documentary comes to special edition DVD featuring incredible live performances from: The Clash, X-Ray Spex, The Jam, Boomtown Rats, The Adverts, The Lurkers and many more! Digitally remastered to the highest standard from the original 1978 negatives by BBC Post Production, this access-all-areas documentary really captures the punk phenomenon in all its raw power and energy. Featuring early live performances from The Clash, X-Ray Spex, The Jam, The Adverts and interviews with those who strived for anarchy in the UK, Punk in London is a unique and powerful record of punk life as it really happened in the late 1970s. Filled with stunning live performance and insightful interviews, this remastered DVD-9 release features incredible picture and sound clarity along with previously unseen bonus footage of The Clash in Munich. Also included is a retrospective interview with director, Wolfgang Buld and trailers for other Odeon documentaries.”
You may want to own this one. You can buy it here.
“Why don’t you want to appear in our movie?”
Jean-Jacques Burnel: “Because I’m not a prostitute.”
Yikes! Does anyone out there remember “The Banana Man” a guest from time to time on Captain Kangaroo? This guy used to creep me the fuck out. He was inexplicable to me and seemed… terribly sinister. His act would have been more appropriately part of a David Lynch film and not a kid’s show. I still have nightmares about this guy!
Even for a culture vulture like myself, the Internet is still, of course, one big teaming cauldron of “I did not know that” [said like Johnny Carson]. This morning, I stumbled across something that I simply must get my hands on: In 1970, pop impresario Don Kirschner (the man behind the Monkees and The Archies) teamed up with James Bond producer Harry Saltzman for a sci-fi rock film called Toomorrow. Today, this obscure film is most notable for starring a young Olivia Newton-John. It was directed by Hammer director Val Guest (who also helmed The Quatermass Xperiment) and easy listening great Hugo Montenegro wrote some of the music.
The film flopped badly-apparently it was only in release for two weeks before Val Guest got an injunction against it (he’d not been paid). Allegedly Don Kirschner hated it so much, he refused to allow the film to be screened during his lifetime (although it was shown at the LA Film Festival in 2000, with the only known print being flown in from BFI for the event). Needless to say, this movie is difficult to see. So far only a Japanese bootleg of Toomorow has turned up. Is it possible that it could be more shit even than Xanadu???
Here’s a description of the film, taken from the Only Olivia fansite:
“John Williams is an Alphoid disguised as a human being who has been on Earth for thousands of years. To normal humans his present occupation as an anthropologist has attracted no undue attention. But John Williams is unhappy with his work as an observer on Earth. He feels he is wasted on a planet that prays for peace and makes war to obtain it. A visit to an Alphoid space craft, hovering above the clouds, provides him with an interesting new assignment. A remarkable and powerful vibration has been discovered on Earth and become known to the Alphoid Galactic Control. Its power is curative, not destructive, and as a growing malady in Space is sterility of sound, Williams is given the job of tracking down the cure.
It is not easy, but Williams eventually tracks it to a tonaliser, a weirdly-constructed amplifier, that a young music student, Vic has built to his own specification. Vic is one of the group of four studying at the London College of Arts. They live in Chelsea where Olivia acts as “den mother” and chaperone to the other three, Karl, Ben and Vic. To finance their studies they form themselves into an amateur pop group called Toomorrow, but when it seems that they are making headway in their musical careers with a guest appearance at a Pop Festival at the Round House, personal problems beset the quartet. Turbulent days also exist at the College when the students demand participation in the administration. The students vote for a sit-in, but this develops into a dance-in owing to Toomorrow’s musical activities. Williams offers the group facilities to rehearse in the conservatory of his Hampstead home. After one groovy session, the group are just leaving when a beam whisks them up to the Alphoid space-craft. Complete with their musical instruments and Vic’s tonaliser Toomorrow learn that their task is to educate the space people, as Astral music has lost its potency. Emotion and soul is lacking in the Alphoids’ computerised music. For Toomorrow the environment is wrong something which the Alphoids soon realize and they allow the group to escape back to earth.
Matthew, a young admirer of Olivia and leader of the Student Action Committee, is instrumental in settling the differences between the students and the Administration at the London College of Arts. But the agreed compromise antagonizes the staff. They decide to use the same tools as the students, they organize a lock-out. This proves a great embarrassment to Toomorrow. With only hours before they are to make their important debut at the Round House, they discover their instruments are locked inside the college. Using his masculine charm on Dr Suzanne Gilmore, the attractive doctor of music and one of his many girl-friends, Ben instigates the retrieval of the instruments.
Time is short. A hectic car chase ensues across London to the Round House. By this time each of the group has attracted a road manager. Vic has the serious ballet student and pop convert, Amy as his road manager. Olivia has brought along Matthew, Karl has become attracted to Sylvana. And Ben? He has several girls in tow, including Suzanne and Francoise. Even Williams has got in on the act. Johnson, a beautiful girl he has conjured from Space and brought to Earth on a mission of seduction, partners him to the Round House. It is a splendid and fitting debut. The group soon have the place grooving and swinging. The environment is ideal. It is an unique situation that the Alphoids cannot resist. The Alphiods beam Toomorrow back up to space but has this all been a dream for the members of Toomorrow? No one is sure.
Aliens, rock and roll and a very pretty leading lady… how could this have been a flop?
Below, Olivia Newton-John and the group perform “Takin’ Our Own Sweet Time”:
The entire film, broken in to several parts, can be seen on YouTube. Here’s a scene with the aliens:
Cornershop are back, with a new album Cornershop and The Double O Groove Of, and a strangely hypnotic video of young men getting their hair cut for the track “Supercomputed”. The album has been 6 years in the making, with funds being cobbled together via the website Pledgemusic (even though the band self-released the album Judy Sucks On A Lemon in 2009).
Cornershop and The Double O Groove Of is a collaboration with the Preston-based Punjabi singer Bubbley Kaur, who takes the lead vocal on most tracks, and has never made an appearance on record before (bar the 2004 Cornershop single “Topknot/Natch”). This seems quite incredible as she is a great find. And according to music biz legend, it never would have happened were it nor for the interjections of a friendly London cab driver. Cor blimey guvnor!
Cornershop ft Bubbley Kaur - “Supercomputed”
Cornershop ft Bubbley Kaur - “Topknot”
Cornershop ft Bubbley Kaur - “Don’t Shake It”
It’s hard to fathom that his band have been around for twenty years now. I first remember hearing about them back in 1992, when they were then associated with the British arm of the Riot Grrrl movement, and openly took on Morrissey for the sentiment of tracks like “Bengali In Platforms”. It thrilled me that a bunch of young Asian men would adopt as their name the most hackneyed stereotype of Asian people then going. While their Riot Grrrl contemporaries faded away, Cornershop have stayed the course, finding commercial success later in the decade and critical acclaim with their dance side-project Clinton - even though they have been lumped i with various scenes over the years they have risen above it all. I have recently begun to compile a top ten list of great British guitar bands from the 1990s that excludes Britpop acts - Cornershop are definitely on that list.
There’s no absolute proof but brilliant Los Angeles pop culture historian Domenic Priore believes this 1966 commercial to be the work of a young pre-Monty Python Terry Gilliam. I say it’s true. (Oops, it’s not. See below…) Gilliam did after all attend high school in my beloved San Fernando Valley and worked at Carson Roberts advertising agency (along with Pet Sounds lyricist Tony Asher) in Los Angeles before finding his ultimate destiny in the U.K. There is unfortunately no official record or listing of Gilliam’s early TV commercial work, though there are doubtless many more such examples out there.
Update: Terry Gilliam’s co-worker at Carson Roberts, one Mike Salisbury has claimed creator-ship of this clip. He says: ”...Ed Ruscha worked there also. One of the first TV spots I did was there, for Baskin Robbins ice cream . Terry Gilliam and I worked on some things together but this one I created, wrote and animated. They gave us a lot of freedom. (it was a fun place to work—the in-house producer was the model for Mr. Magoo.)...” Also this from DM facebook friend Susan Pile: This direct from my pal TG: “...I had nothing to do with the commercial. And no idea who might have been the clever bastard. I’m up to my neck in my first opera: Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust. All foolishly backed by the English National Opera. Luckily I’m surrounded by real pros that are keeping me from drowning….” So there ya go !
What the hell?! How has this sailed under my radar for so long? And more to the point, how come nobody thought of this before? Tarantino and Rodriguez, I’m looking at you…
As the title may suggest, Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives is a very low budget exploitation flick about a group of transgendered, transvestite and cisgendered ladies who suffer a brutal trans-phobic bashing one night, and decide to take matters into their own hands. Knives, revenge and sheer-black catsuits ensue. Because it takes balls to get revenge. Of course, this isn’t some kind of modern masterpiece-in-waiting, but dammit, it looks like A LOT of fun! The premise is neat, the direction looks good, and the cast is very spirited. What more do you need out of an exploitation flick? Planet of Terror blog has this to say:
I know we all need another retrosploitation movie like we need a hole in the head. But writer/director Israel Luna is genuinely gifted and he has a knack for both the comedic as well as the over the top insanity which is needed to make these types of films work. ... It’s bloody, it’s gory, it’s howlingly good fun.
More on Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives at the official website (including DVD, screening and Netflix info)
Thanks to Dean Birkett for the tip off!