‘Stupid Club’: Thousands gather to grieve for Kurt Cobain in Seattle park, 1994
04.03.2014
12:24 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture
R.I.P.

Tags:
Kurt Cobain


 
As we near the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death—the Nirvana leader killed himself on April 5, 1994—this morning the Seattle Police Department released two new crime scene photographs that give gruesome glimpses at his final moments.  His body was found on the morning of April 8, 1994 by an electrician named Gary Smith who had been hired to do some maintenance work at Cobain’s Lake Washington home. One photo shows Cobain’s wrist with a hospital ID bracelet, while the other shows his lifeless Converse-clad foot beside a box of bullets:
 

 

 
If you are of a certain age, it’s likely you’ll recall where you were when you heard the news. Thousands of grieving young fans in Seattle felt the need to be together to try to make sense of what had occurred. In “Stupid Club,” this fascinating short documentary from 1994, we meet several of them and it’s pretty interesting stuff, historically, sociologically speaking, whatever. Some of it’s sad, some of it is just goofy.

Worth noting is that the title “Stupid Club” refers to something that Cobain’s mother said in the wake of his suicide:

“Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club, I told him not to join that stupid club.”

Conspiracy theorists at the time—well, at least the ones not claiming that he had been murdered by Courtney Love—speculated that the “stupid club” his mother Wendy was alluding to is the “27 Club” of dead rock stars who never made it to to the age of 28 (Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat’s Alan Wilson) but she was most likely referring to two of Kurt’s uncles, and a great uncle, who had killed themselves.
 

 
Thank you kindly, Reginald Harkema!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Boy George and Jerry Falwell talk androgyny on ‘Face the Nation,’ 1984


 
In the early ‘80s, the USA had a minor collective shitfit about blurred gender divisions. The subject emerged into the mass consciousness almost out of nowhere—all of a sudden, three mainstream movies had cross dressing as their central themes, and Michael Jackson and other androgyny-friendly musicians were experiencing huge pop chart success. Obviously, genderfuck had been a part of rock culture for a long time—it was a decade earlier that David Bowie and Lou Reed made career moves of conspicuous bisexual posturing, and then of course there were the New York Dolls—but MTV pumping Duran Duran, Haysi Fantayzee, and the Belle Stars into millions of Midwestern living rooms newly wired for cable was an altogether different level of cultural penetration.

The appearance of artists like Annie Lennox, Dee Snider and Pete Burns definitely startled a lot of normals, but the figure who, all by himself, racked up by far the high score of shat Middle-American underpants was Boy George of Culture Club. He was such a harmless and goofy figure, but 30 years ago, a lot of people found him genuinely threatening. DM’s Martin Schneider recently made a well-deserved poke at the Midwestern response to Culture Club’s Colour By Numbers tour. As I was a teenaged Clevelander at the time, I can personally vouch for the truth of that piece. A lot of “grownups” fully lost their shit about Boy George.
 

I still don’t get what the big deal was.

Of course, the national news media had to explore the issue for baffled masses in grave danger of seeing the totally artificial social construct to which they were accustomed fall slightly apart on a superficial level. Leslie Stahl, for one, explored “The Feminization of America” on Face the Nation in 1984.
 

 
I love how “the feminizing of society” is illustrated with clips of men doing laundry and caring for infants. Who, WHO I ASK YOU, will save this degenerate civilization from the horror of fathers acting like parents? But as the segment continued, I found myself astonished that the discussion was civil, adult, and not completely trivializing. Megatrends author John Naisbitt offers some perfectly sensible if perhaps simplified insights, and then JERRY FALWELL of all people is genial, respectful, and, though obviously faaaaaaaar from progressive in his views, he’s not totally insane and hateful. The way he was towards the end of his life, I honestly expected him to do some bonkers shit like blame a tornado on Yentl. Imagine a similar conversation as it would happen on Hannity, McLaughlin, or The Five today, and weep for what we’ve lost in just 30 years.
 

 
Apologies, by the way, for the huge glitch in the middle of Falwell’s comments. Not that it’s likely they were illuminating or anything, but I did try to locate an alternate video, and turned up nothing. It’s probably not that great of a loss—in part three, Falwell predictably, and in scripturally unconvincing terms, goes on to defend the American post-WWII gender status quo as God’s eternal and ineffable will, and is called out on his blatant cultural and class biases by co-panelist/actual smartest person in the room Benjamin DeMott. But the most intelligent and moving comments in the whole segment come from Boy George himself. The insights he proffers in his one-on-one interview with Stahl remain relevant today, and fully make up for my disappointment that he and Falwell weren’t on the live panel together. I generally dislike the Internet’s abuse of the adjective “epic,” but god damn, THAT would have been a valid use.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
‘Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Britpop’ with Oasis, Blur and Pulp
04.02.2014
10:04 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Pulp
Blur
Oasis
Britpop


 
I have always thought Britpop was a bit like another famous British institution, the Carry On… movies. Both had likable and identifiable characters: Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Joan Sims and Charles Hawtrey in the Carry Ons; and Damon, Jarvis, Noel and Liam in Britpop.

Both produced populist entertainment that was at once nostalgic and contemporary. The Carry Ons offered traditional music hall humor, poking fun at British institutions like the army, the National Health Service, education, unions and foreign holidays. While Britpop drew its influence from Sixties’ pop (Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks), and mixed it up with a punk rock swagger.

The Carry Ons came out of drab, gray, post-war Britain, while Britpop was more of a media construction, a handy (or possibly lazy) way to categorize the very disparate talents (Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Powder, The Boo Radleys, Menswear, Elastica, etc) that appeared during the drab, dull years of Conservative political rule during the 1990s.

Britpop was pitched as a nineties reinvention of the “swinging Sixties,” with two bands—Oasis and Blur—dominating the pop charts (much like The Beatles and Rolling Stones once did). There was a much publicized “fight” for the number one spot in 1995. Blur won with the single “Country House,” Oasis came in second with “Roll With It”—they may have lost the battle but Oasis eventually won the war.

If you have ever wondered what all the fuss was about, or why those days back in the 1990s were an exciting time to be young, British and full of hope for a better future, then this documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Britpop will explain all. It’s a wonderfully made and very entertaining film that brings together Noel and Liam Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, 3D (Massive Attack), Louise Wener (Sleeper) and artist Damien Hirst, amongst others, to discuss, pontificate and reflect on why Britpop was arguably the last great musical movement from the UK—which says much, as it is now twenty years ago. If you haven’t seen this documentary, it is certainly worth seeing, once. Enjoy.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
London Underground: Early counterculture doc with Paul McCartney, Allen Ginsberg, Pink Floyd


 
Granada Television produced this fascinating TV time capsule “It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down” as a special part of their Scene at 6:30 series. The program focused on the young counterculture / hippie scene in London and features Miles, the Indica Gallery and the editorial board of The International Times underground newspaper. Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti are seen at the International Poetry Incarnation and we are taken to The UFO Club where Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd are playing a live version of “Interstellar Overdrive” (Also heard on the soundtrack is an early version of their “Matilda Mother,” then called “Percy The Ratcatcher” and “It Can’t Happen Here” by The Mothers of Invention).

Paul McCartney is a talking head interviewee (although not framed as such) in the studio, intelligently discussing the nascent underground scene. Macca was an active part of the London underground, financially supporting the Indica Gallery and bookstore—he even built the bookshelves himself—and IT. McCartney, the Beatle who soaked up cutting-edge culture and avant garde influences long before the rest of them did, is seen in four segments during the show, and as a wealthy, intelligent and well-respected person representing the counterculture to people who might fear it, as you’ll see, he knocks the ball straight out of the park:

If you don’t know anything about it [the counterculture], you can sort of trust that it’s probably gonna be all right and it’s probably not that bad because it’s human beings doing it, and you know vaguely what human beings do. And they’re probably going to think of it nearly the same way you would in that situation.

The straights should welcome the underground because it stands for freedom… It’s not strange it’s just new, it’s not weird, it’s just what’s going on around.

“It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down” was broadcast in March of 1967, so it’s pre-Summer of Love. The time seems so pregnant with promise. This is the exact moment, historically speaking, when pop culture went from B&W and shades of gray to vivid color. If you put yourself in the mind of a kid from the north of England watching something like this on television during that era, it’s easy to see how this film would have brought tens of thousands of young people into London seeking to find these forward-thinking cultural movers and shakers to become part of “the happening” themselves.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Slavoj Žižek: The Pervert’s Guide to Abercrombie & Fitch Catalogs
04.02.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Advertising
Pop Culture
Thinkers

Tags:
Slavoj Žižek


From bed or from the tub, he will pontificate!
 
I’m not up to snuff on Žižek’s entire canon, but my favorite of his contributions (besides the time he told Occupy Wall Street not to fall in love with ourselves) is his insight into cultural capitalism—here’s an awesome little animated video where he lays it all out. I highly recommend it. The long and short of the talk is a sort of natural extension of Oscar Wilde’s socialist critique of charity. As Wilde points out that charity is used to atone for the fundamentally unjust system of capitalism, Žižek points out that we now try to atone for our consumerism by “voting with our dollar”—he uses Starbuck’s fair trade coffee and Tom’s shoes as two examples.

Basically, I’ve never been much on trying to evade the horrors of capitalism with “ethical consumerism.” For one, there’s just a dearth of “ethical” products left in this world, and two, you can’t dismantle a system simply by avoiding it. I usually say that telling a socialist to fight capitalism by not buying things is like telling an environmentalist to fight pollution by not breathing smog—both impossible and impotent. And I’m sure Žižek would agree. So this 2003 Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, featuring copy written by the Slovenian Marxist philosopher himself, comes as no surprise.

The work is a snide little reflection on lust and desire, and it’s a fucking riot—totally befitting the “Karl Marx meets Groucho Marx” style they requested, and certainly an idiom in Žižek’s wheelhouse. If you’re considering the possibility that he’s not totally fucking with you, rest assured, Žižek is a fan of absurdist humor. And in case you don’t believe me, I’ve included a video where he makes the “Lynchian” case for tulips as vagina dentata. Remember folks, there are no clean hands in a dirty world, and there are no clean minds in Marxism!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via DIS Magazine

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Chaos theory: What it might look like if 1500 people walked and texted at the same time


 
This Japanese ad, by mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo, purports that one in every five people who walk while using their Smartphone will experience some type of accident or injury. I believe it. They’ll probably also inflict many an injury on innocent people, too. (I witnessed a mother crossing a busy downtown Los Angeles street with her toddler yesterday smiling at something and texting and I wondered WHAT could be so important that she had to reply to it right then and there?)

Attention to the surroundings is neglected while walking around staring at your cellphone.

We decided to study the danger of texting while walking using a computer simulation.

We used a computer simulation to have 1,500 people text while walking at Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crossing where people can cross in every direction.

What actually happened? Chaos? Fear? Comedy?

See the numerous unusual movements resulting from texting while walking.

*Some of the numbers used in the simulation were based on the research results of Professor Kazuhiro Kozuka, Department of Media Informatics, Aichi University of Technology.

Okay, so it’s not exactly the infamous 1979 Who concert in Cincinnati, but it does show you how disoriented people get from walking and texting. And from what I can tell, a few animated people do get trampled.

 
Via Daily Dot

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Classic rock conspiracy theory: ‘Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon,’ the dark heart of the hippie dream


 
The standard modus operandi of a work of “conspiracy theory” is fairly straightforward. The author/researcher takes some commonly accepted historical narrative, and lavishes scepticism upon it, while simultaneously maintaining an alternative understanding of what “really” happened, one that ostensibly better fits the considered facts.

While Dave McGowan’s Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon : Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream, indubitably follows this approach, its focus is utterly unique. Not to put too fine a point on it, the book is no less than the Official Classic Rock Conspiracy Theory, with individual chapters tackling the unlikely subjects of Frank Zappa, the Doors, Love, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Gram Parsons and more, the careers of which are scrutinized for the fingerprints of the secret state.

What you make of McGowan’s criteria in and of itself (which ranges fairly widely, and at times wildly, from a “tell-tale” preoccupation with the occult to heavy military-industrial family ties), to my mind the virtue of Weird Scenes dwells in the ensuing atmosphere of incredible fairy-tale strangeness—not unlike Joan Didion’s own famous look at California in the late sixties, The White Album. On almost every page, movie-star mansions, knitted with secret passages, spontaneously combust; murders, suicides and overdoses spread through the celebrity populace; cults spring up peopled with mobsters and spies… and all the while, this timeless, intriguing music keeps on geysering away. I contacted McGowan about his bizarre book earlier this week…

Thomas McGrath: Hi Dave. Could you begin please by telling us something about your previous work?

David McGowan: My work as a political/social critic began around 1997, when I began to see signs that the political landscape in this country was about to change in rather profound ways. That was also the time that I first ventured onto the internet, which opened up a wealth of new research possibilities. I put up my first website circa 1998, and an adaptation of that became my first book, Derailing Democracy, in 2000. That first book, now out of print, was a warning to the American people that all the changes we have seen since the events of September 11, 2001 – the attacks on civil rights, privacy rights, and due process rights; the militarization of the nation’s police forces; the waging of multiple wars; the rise of surveillance technology and data mining, etc. – were already in the works and just waiting for a provocation to justify their implementation. My second book, Understanding the F-Word, was a review of twentieth-century US history that attempted to answer the question: “if this is in fact where we’re headed, then how did we get here?” Since 9-11, I’ve spent a good deal of time researching the events of that day and looked into a wide range of other topics. My third book, Programmed to Kill, was a look at the reality and mythology of what exactly a serial killer is. For the past six years, I have spent most of my time digging into the 1960s and 1970s Laurel Canyon counterculture scene, which has now become my fourth book, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon.

Thomas McGrath:  Am I right in presuming that you take it as a given fact that power networks are essentially infected by occultism? Are these cults essentially Satanic, or what?

David McGowan: Yes, I do believe that what you refer to as power networks, otherwise known as secret societies, are occult in nature. The symbolism can be seen everywhere, if you choose not to maneuver your way through the world deaf, dumb and blind. And I believe that it has been that way for a very long time. As for them being Satanic, I suppose it depends upon how you define Satanic. I personally don’t believe the teachings of either Satanism or Christianity, which are really just opposite sides of the same coin. I don’t believe that there is a God or a devil, and I don’t believe that those on the upper rungs of the ladder on either side believe so either. These are belief systems that are used to manipulate the minds of impressionable followers. In the case of Satanism, it is, to me, a way to covertly sell a fascist mindset, which is the direction the country, and the rest of the world, is moving. Those embracing the teachings think they are rebelling against the system, but they are in reality reinforcing it. Just as the hippies did. And just as so-called Patriots and Anarchists are. I don’t believe there has been a legitimate resistance movement in this country for a very long time.

Thomas McGrath: Tell us about Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon. What is this new book’s central thesis?

David McGowan: To the extent that it has a central thesis, I would say that it is that the music and counterculture scene that sprung to life in the 1960s was not the organic, grassroots resistance movement that it is generally perceived to be, but rather a movement that was essentially manufactured and steered. And a corollary to that would be that for a scene that was supposed to be all about peace, love and understanding, there was a very dark, violent underbelly that this book attempts to expose.

Thomas McGrath: How convinced are you by it and why?

David McGowan: Very convinced. It’s been a long journey and virtually everything I have discovered – including the military/intelligence family backgrounds of so many of those on the scene, both among the musicians and among their actor counterparts; the existence of a covert military facility right in the heart of the canyon; the prior connections among many of the most prominent stars; the fact that some of the guiding lights behind both the Rand Corporation and the Project for a New American Century were hanging out there at the time, as were the future governor and lieutenant governor of California, and, by some reports, J. Edgar Hoover and various other unnamed politicos and law enforcement personnel; and the uncanny number of violent deaths connected to the scene – all tend to indicate that the 1960s counterculture was an intelligence operation.

Thomas McGrath: You propose that hippie culture was established to neutralise the anti-war movement. But I also interpreted your book as suggesting that, as far as you’re concerned, there’s also some resonance between what you term “psychedelic occultism” (the hippie counterculture) and the “elite” philosophy/theology? You think this was a second reason for its dissemination?

David McGowan: Yes, I do. Hippie culture is now viewed as synonymous with the anti-war movement, but as the book points out, that wasn’t always the case. A thriving anti-war movement existed before the first hippie emerged on the scene, along with a women’s rights movement, a black empowerment/Black Panther movement, and various other movements aimed at bringing about major changes in society. All of that was eclipsed by and subsumed by the hippies and flower children, who put a face on those movements that was offensive to mainstream America and easy to demonize. And as you mentioned, a second purpose was served as well – indoctrinating the young and impressionable into a belief system that serves the agenda of the powers that be.

Thomas McGrath: One thing your book does very convincingly, I think, is argue that many if not most of the main movers in the sixties counterculture were, not to put too fine a point on it, horrendous, cynical degenerates. However, one might argue that a predilection for drugs, alcohol, and even things like violence and child abuse, does not make you a member of a government cult. You disagree?

David McGowan:  No. I’ve known a lot of people throughout my life with a predilection for drugs and alcohol, none of whom were involved in any cults, government or otherwise. And I don’t believe that a predilection for drugs makes one a degenerate. The focus on drug use in the book is to illustrate the point that none of the scene’s movers and shakers ever suffered any legal consequences for their rampant and very open use of, and sometimes trafficking of, illicit drugs. The question posed is why, if these people were really challenging the status quo, did the state not use its law enforcement powers to silence troublemakers? I do have zero tolerance for violence towards and abuse of children, which some people in this story were guilty of. But that again doesn’t make someone a member of a cult – though it does make them seriously morally challenged.

Thomas McGrath: You say in the book that you were always a fan of sixties music and culture. Weirdly, I found that, even while reading Weird Scenes, I was almost constantly listening to the artists you were denouncing. I mean, I found albums like Pet Sounds, Forever Changes, Return of the Grievous Angel,et al sounded especially weird in the context, but I still couldn’t resist sticking them on. I was wondering if you still listen to these records yourself?

David McGowan: Yes, I do. The very first rock concert I ever attended was Three Dog Night circa 1973 – a Laurel Canyon band, though I did not know that until about five years ago. To my mind, the greatest guitarist who ever lived was Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin was arguably the finest female vocalist – in terms of raw power and emotion – to ever take the stage. I don’t know that it is accurate to describe my book as “denouncing” various artists. Brian Wilson, who composed Pet Sounds, is described as the finest and most admired composer of his generation. The guys from Love, architects of Forever Changes, are presented as among the most talented musicians of the era. Frank Zappa is acknowledged as an immensely talented musician, composer and arranger. And so on. It is true that I believe that some of the most famed artists to emerge from Laurel Canyon are vastly overrated, with Jim Morrison and David Crosby quickly coming to mind. And it’s true that on some of the most loved albums that came out of the canyon, the musicians who interpreted the songs weren’t the ones on the album covers. And it’s also true that, unlike other books that have covered the Laurel Canyon scene, Weird Scenes doesn’t sugarcoat things. But the undeniable talent and artistry of many of the canyon’s luminaries is acknowledged. And the book also shines a little bit of light on some of the tragically forgotten figures from that era, like Judee Sill and David Blue, which could lead to readers rediscovering some of those artists and the talents that they had to offer.
 
Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream is available now in special pre-release hardback only from Headpress. The paperback is out next month, and should be available from all strange bookshops.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Beyond the Doors: Conspiracy theories about the deaths of Jimi, Janis and Jim

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone, this week on The Pharmacy


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program The Pharmacy is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week’s guest is the great Colin Blunstone, lead vocalist of the classic 60’s outfit, The Zombies. The Zombies carved their way into the history books during the British Invasion with hits like “She’s Not There,” “Time of the Season” and “Just Out of Reach.” Their classic album is Odessey & Oracle. The group will perform as one of the headliners at this years Austin Psych Fest.

- The recording of Odessey & Oracle using the Beatles’ Mellotron and equipment at Abbey Road Studios.

- Why The Zombies broke up in 1967 thinking they were unpopular.

- Life in postwar England and “Swinging 60’s” London.

- Coming to America and playing with the Shangri-Las on Dick Clark’s “Cavalcade of Stars” package tour.
 

 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Set List

Intro
Just Out of Reach - The Zombies
Around and Around - The Rolling Stones
Intro 1 / 2120 South Michigan Avenue - Rx / The Rolling Stones
The Zombies Colin Blunstone Interview Part 1
Indication - The Zombies
Talk Talk - The Music Machine
I Can’t Believe What You Say - Ike and Tina Turner
Open My Eyes - The Nazz
You Don’t Love Me, Baby - Junior Wells
Intro 2 / Get Up and Get It - Rx / Jackie Mittoo
The Zombies Colin Blunstone Interview Part 2
She’s Not There (cover) - The Black Angels
You’ve Got Me Uptight - Evie Sands
Contact - Brigitte Bardot
Green Light - The Equals
Indian Rope Man - Brian Auger and Trinity
Look For Me Baby - The Kinks
Intro 3 / Trampoline - Rx / Spencer Davis
The Zombies Colin Blunstone Interview Part 3
I Love You - The Zombies
My Little Red Book - Love
Reach Out (I’ll Be There) - Lee Moses
Bring Down The Birds - Herbie Hancock
Beggin’ - Timebox
Intro 4 / What’d I Say ? - Rx / Unknown
The Zombies Colin Blunstone Interview Part 4
Care of Cell 44 - The Zombies
Vacuum Boots - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
The Zombies Colin Blunstone Part 5 - Colin Blunstone / Rx
Intro 5 / Ambulance City - Rx / Pink Mountaintops
Outro

 
You can download the entire show here.

Below, a Dutch TV documentary about “She’s Not There.” In English with Dutch subtitles.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘Real-life’ Marge Simpson is jaw-dropping (and kinda terrifying)


 
This is truly something else. And before you all yell “photoshop” and “fake”—I monitor the comments here on Dangerous Minds sometimes so I’m accustomed to all the usual comment tropes—it’s very real. Moscow-based photographer Alexander Khokhlov captures these extraordinary images with super-talented make-up artists, designers and expert lighting.

While this “real life” Marge Simpson is simply fascinating to look at, she’s still somewhat unsettling and terrifying, right?!?

There’s a video below showing you how Khokhlov and his team created Marge. I highly recommend muting the music. It’s godawful and distracting.

 
Via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Morrissey vs. Phil Lynott is not as exciting as it sounds
03.24.2014
09:32 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Morrissey
Phil Lynott

yessirromttonyllihppop.jpg
 
The individual components to this TV show promised more than was delivered. The fact Phil Lynott and Morrissey were part of the two teams taking part in this Pop Quiz, would whet any appetite, but sadly the result is as bland and anodyne as the show’s host, Mike Read.

You may have heard of Read before, he was the BBC Radio One DJ behind the banning of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s single “Relax.”

While treating his listeners to a performance of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s thumping dance single “Relax,” Read idly scanned the record sleeve and began to read the lyrics to the song, which had been steadily climbing the charts.

Then, mid-broadcast, he lifted the needle, denounced the content as “obscene” and refused to play it again. The rest of the BBC followed suit, banning the song, with its veiled reference to gay sex, from all TV and radio airplay, with the curious exception of the top 40 show.

Within a fortnight the song had rocketed to number one, where it nested for four weeks. (As if to rub the Beeb’s nose in it, a few months later “Relax” returned to the charts, reaching number two.)

“Relax” eventually reached Number One on 24th January, 1984, and was the beginning of an incredibly successful year for Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The ban made the BBC and especially Read look prissy, out-of-touch and utterly ridiculous. With this in mind, one has to question why the Beeb thought Mike Read a suitable host for their Saturday tea-time entertainment show Pop Quiz? As anything the poor man touched was automatically rendered vapid, bland and unrelentingly dull.

Poor Phil Lynott, who looks here like a doorman for some low-rent strip club, tries his best to jolly things along, but is given little to no help by his fellow team members, some hairdressing experiment from Kajagoogoo, and a dull Derek Forbes from Simple Minds.

Morrissey, meanwhile, is teamed-up with aging glam rocker, Alvin Stardust (yes, the fellow who crooned “My Coo Ca Choo”) and Kim Wilde of “Kids in America” (Whoa!) fame. At first Morrissey looks almost keen (answering his early questions correctly) before the full horror of the show dawns on him. As he later told The Face magazine:

Pop Quiz was unbearable. I realized it was a terrible mistake the moment the cameras began to roll. … I just squirmed through the programme. I went back to my dressing room afterwards and virtually felt like breaking down, it had been so pointless. I felt I’d been gagged.”

I’m not sure Morrissey was gagged, but it is fair to say both he and Lynott were certainly under some sort of neutralizing presence that seems to emanate from Mr. Read. The only colorful thing about him is his tasteless shirt that looks like something Walt Disney puked up.

Now you know what made for popular television in Britain back in 1984.
 

 
Part deux of le quiz de pop, apres le saut…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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