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Vintage documentary charts the rise of the Superstar DJ

001jpdj.jpg
John Peel
 
Once upon a time, long, long before TV and computer technology made them all irrelevant, the radio disc jockey was the person millions turned to in order to hear the latest, hippest, grooviest tunes their earholes could handle.

Radio DJs were the arbiters of sound, music, information, gossip, jokes, fashion and news—a bit like the Internet, except far, far more cuddly—as some of those who got too close to them unfortunately found out.

In Britain during those promiscuous 1970s, millions of youngsters were shocking their parents by going to bed with John Peel and waking up with Tony Blackburn… and his dog Arnold. The sound of the DJs could be heard everywhere—from cars, shops, kitchens, homes, factories, schoolyards and those dinky little pocket radios that everyone and their Mom seemed to have, dangling from plastic wristbands.

The music revolution of the 1960s really began with the arrival of cheap polyvinyl chloride in the fifties which meant record companies could mass produce singles and albums. Previously record discs had been made of the far more expensive Bakelite. The PVC revolution tied in very neatly with the incredible flourishing of young musical talent—and so the Swinging Sixties were born.

Suddenly youngsters wanted to hear music before they bought it, or even if they didn’t buy it. This gave rise to Pirate Radio. At the time the BBC was the only organization in Britain with the license to transmit radio shows. However a small loophole in maritime law allowed DJs to broadcast from ships anchored just outside UK waters. And so pop-pickers Pirate Radio was born.
 
00kedj1.jpg
Radio genius Kenny Everett.

In 1967 the BBC admitted defeat and launched Radio One—a youth radio station for pop music. Radio One became the biggest and most successful radio station in the country with generation after generation of youngsters learning their love of music or finding their inspiration to form bands from listening to the station’s DJs.

This BBC documentary from 1970 looks at the rise of the Radio One DJ and features Emperor Rosko, John Peel, Kenny Everett and Tony Blackburn—a rum bunch of four very different radio hosts. Condescending in tone throughout, the documentary voice over even has the temerity to suggest that sex with fans was one of the perks of working for the BBC—-shurely not:

Radio One belongs to the taxpayer and doesn’t splash princely salaries around for men like Emperor Rosko. He accepts the BBC’s shop policy of paying low wages as both sides know about the big big perks that can accompany the adulation of this new empire—British teeny boppers.

The interviewer then grills one poor little teenybopper about her infatuation with Emperor Rosko:

“I listen to him and I like listening to his voice and I get carried away” says one young besotted teenager about the subject of her adoration DJ Emperor Rosko:

“What do you mean you get carried away?” says Ms. Prim from the BBC

“I just hear his voice and I imagine him…” says adoring young fan.

“When you say you imagine him…you imagine him doing what?” continues our interrogator.

“Talking and smiling and…all the actions with it. It’s just good.”

“And where do you do your listen to this?”

“In the bedroom.”

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Orson Welles’ Sketch Book,’ marvelous British TV series from 1955
01.14.2016
09:26 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
BBC
Orson Welles


 
By the mid-1950s the years of Orson Welles scrambling this way and that for some money to finance his cinematic and theatrical efforts were well underway. He hadn’t yet descended to the level of semi-literate frozen pea voiceovers, but he had begun his years defined by the endless process of trying to drum up some cash to make The Trial or F for Fake or Chimes at Midnight.

Anyway, in 1955 a young writer friend of his named Wolf Mankowitz (no, not Herman Mankiewicz, Pauline Kael will be happy to tell you all about their collaboration) in England hit upon the idea of an informal storytelling show featuring Welles, which he thought would work well on the BBC. At the time Mankowitz was best known for his novel A Kid for Two Farthings.
 

 
The show ran in 1955 under the title Orson Welles’ Sketch Book. There eventually appeared six episodes, each lasting 15 minutes, Welles would free-associate with a sketchpad, and every few minutes a sketch relating to the story he was telling would be shown to the home viewer. In the show Welles discoursed on bullfighting, his infamous 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, Harry Houdini, critics, a story involving an earthquake, and the Gate Theatre in Dublin, among others.
 

 
Welles’ stories always have an air of self-serving horseshit to them, but they are undeniably entertaining. In the show Welles is frequently shown using an actual quill to sketch with, which for some reason I find hilarious.

On the original conception of the show, Barbara Leaming reports in Orson Welles: A Biography:
 

Eager to work with Orson in England, Mankowitz made a deal with the BBC for a series of television shows titled The Orson Welles Sketch Book that would pay enough to keep Orson going until they put together something for the London stage. Mankowitz had created the television show to fit what he saw as Orson’s innate restlessness: “The problem with Orson,” says Mankowitz, “was to get him to stay i the same place in front of the camera for very long. So as he draws quite amusingly well, I had the notion that we could have him with his sketchbook, and that we would simply cut to the drawings when we wanted to get off him. You see, we simply needed a device to intercut so that we could lay his voice over and then when we had him back in the eye of the camera, pick it up from there.” The BBC programme turned out to be a big hit, and Orson was eventually offered a second series, titled Around the World with Orson Welles.

 
All six of the shows are on YouTube—and they’re all embedded here as well:

Orson Welles Sketchbook, episode 1: The Early Days

 
More of ‘Orson Welles Sketchbook’ and some of his sketches, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The real reason the BBC wanted to keep George Orwell off the radio
01.21.2015
10:27 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
History
Media
Politics

Tags:
BBC
George Orwell

orwellmicrobbc.jpg
 
When George Orwell died at the age of forty-six on January 21st 1950, he was considered by some of London’s fashionable literary critics as a marginal figure—“no good as a novelist”—who was best known for his essays rather than his fiction.

This quickly changed in the years after his death when his reputation and popularity as a writer grew exponentially. Over the past seven decades he has come to be considered one of the most influential English writers of the twentieth century.

This massive change in opinion was largely down to Orwell’s last two books Animal Farm first published in 1945, and Nineteen Eighty-Four published the year before he died. The importance of these two novels has enshrined Orwell’s surname, like Dickens, Kafka and more recently J. G. Ballard, into the English language as a descriptive term—“Orwellian”—for nightmarish political oppression, while many of his fictional ideas or terms contained within Nineteen Eighty-Four have become part of our everyday language—“Big Brother,” “Room 101,” “newspeak,” “doublethink,” “thoughtcrime” and so on.

Both of these books have become essential texts for radicals and conservatives in their individual campaigns against perceived invasive and totalitarian governments. After the Second World War Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were considered damning critiques of Stalinist Russia, and their subject matter limned the growing paranoia between East and West during the Cold War. When Edward Snowden exposed the covert surveillance by US intelligence agencies on millions of Americans, copies of the book were sold by the thousands. Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s flexibility of interpretation has meant the book has been used to condemn almost everything from the rise of CCTV and wind farms, to the George W. Bush/Tony Blair war against “the axis of evil,” the rise of jihadist Islam, the spread of capitalist globalization, Vladimir Putin’s political “grand vision”, and (rather laughably) “Obamacare.” 

But it wasn’t the meaning of Orwell’s writing that caused the BBC to sniff condescendingly about their employee during the 1940s, rather it was his actual voice which was considered by Overseas Services Controller, JB Clark as “un-attractive” as this secret internal BBC memo reveals:

Controller (Overseas Services)      19th January, 1943

GEORGE ORWELL                                 STAFF PRIVATE

1. A.C. (OS) 2. E.S.D.

I listened rather carefully to one of George Orwell’s English talks in the Eastern Service on, I think, Saturday last. I found the talk itself interesting, and I am not critical of its content, but I was struck by the basic unsuitability of Orwell’s voice. I realise, of course, that his name is of some value in quite important Indian circles, but his voice struck me as both un-attractive and really unsuited to the microphone to such an extent that (a) it would not attract any listeners who were outside the circle of Orwell’s admirers as a writer and might even repel some of these, and (b) would make the talks themselves vulnerable at the hands of people who would have reason to see Orwell denied the microphone, or of those who felt critical of the B.B.C. for being so ignorant of the essential needs of the microphone and of the audience as to put on so wholly unsuitable a voice.

I am quite seriously worried about the situation and about the wisdom of our keeping Orwell personally on the air.

JBC/GMG (J.B. Clark)

The reason Old Etonian Orwell’s voice may not have sounded attractive was that he had been shot in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. However, Orwell got his own back on the BBC by naming Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s infamous torture room after “Room 101” in Broadcasting House, where he had to sit through long, tedious meetings about political vetting.
 
orwellletterbbc.jpg
 
The only known footage of George Orwell (or Eric Blair as he was then) can be seen in this clip of him playing the “Wall Game” with fellow pupils at Eton—he’s fourth on the left and in the clip between a very young Melanie Griffiths and Grace Kelly.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
High as shit journalist giggles helplessly in front of a big pile of burning drugs
12.23.2014
11:37 am

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs
Media
Television

Tags:
BBC
heroin


 
Here’s something they don’t teach in journalism school: How to report on the impromptu disposal of high-grade narcotics while you have the biggest contact high on the planet Zartron-9. This exact situation happened to respected BBC reporter Quentin Sommerville four years ago while taping a report in front of a burning pile of “eight and a half tons of heroin, opium, hashish, and other narcotics.” As you’ll see in the video, his conduct was as professional as one could possibly expect under the circumstances.

On Monday he tweeted the clip with the following message: “Dear tweeps, it’s been a year of bullets & bloodshed. You’ve earned a xmas laugh, at my expense.” In the video Sommerville repeatedly tries to tape a news report on the burning drugs but can’t keep a straight face. He later took the video down, probably due to copyright issues, but the video has since surfaced elsewhere.

According to a BBC spokesperson, “The video of Quentin corpsing, which has now been deleted, was posted in the spirit of a blooper. ... It was filmed four years ago—it hasn’t been seen before and was never broadcast.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Fascist Groove Thang’: How the BBC banned Heaven 17 for ‘libeling’ Ronald Reagan
09.24.2014
08:57 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
BBC
Ronald Reagan
Heaven 17


 
In 1981, the BBC banned Heaven 17’s debut sinlge “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” on the grounds the song’s lyrics were possibly libelous to President Ronald Reagan.

The couplet that caused the Beeb’s legal eagles such wrinkled brows was contained in the song’s third verse:

Democrats are out of power
Across that great wide ocean
Reagan’s president elect
Fascist god in motion
Generals tell him what to do
Stop your good time dancing
Train their guns on me and you
Fascist thang advancing

Reagan’s president elect… A fascist god in motion?

Now, this may all sound like the kind of poetry exercise Rick from The Young Ones might have concocted in his overheated imagination—indeed try saying the lyrics in your best Rick the People’s Poet voice and you’ll see what I mean… Let’s not forget, this was the 1980s, when the drum machine was king and the fictitious “Rick” was far closer to how many on the Left actually behaved than most would care to admit.

Even the language of student rebellion had changed little since the late 1960s: everyone was a “fascist,” “the pigs” were in charge, “the man” had his finger on the a nuclear trigger and Armageddon was imminent. If you don’t believe me, just pick up any review, by say Angela Carter, from back then, and you’ll be hard pushed to get through more than a few paragraphs before the woe-is-me hand wringing fears of Baby Boomer nuclear annihilation is apparent.

“(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” was very much of its time, with the lyrics contain the expected tropes on racism, fascism, Adolf Hitler, nuclear war, cruise missiles and a call to “unlock that funky chain dance.”

And to a man the nation asked, “Why hadn’t we thought of this before? Unlocking our funky chain dance to stop nuclear war?”

Heaven 17 were formed after Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh split from the Human League and teamed-up with singer Glenn Gregory. Among the early songs they worked on together was “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang.” In an interview, Martyn Ware discussed how the song was written:

The lyrics of the song reference Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan and include a wry joke about cruise missiles. Ware recalled to us how the track evolved into denunciations of the UK and US political leaders:

“We started out jamming together loads of these cut up titles and coming up with ridiculous lines for the song, like, ‘Heart USA. I feel your power.’ What the hell does that mean? I mean, really, what does it mean? We just thought it was a comedy song. I know people will read meaning into it.”

Ware continued:

“Then, as we got more into writing the lyrics, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have some real world people in there?’ We were obsessed with Reagan coming into power and the specter of Margaret Thatcher coming into power and those were some very genuine concerns. The whole world was going to be blown to smithereens. It seems a little melodramatic now, but it was a genuine thing at the time if you remember. So we thought, ‘It’s time for action here. We’re all political people. It’s time to walk the walk.’ So as it evolved, the songwriting – it only took two days to write – it turned into this really bizarre hybrid of politics and dancing and comedy and black American soul influence.”

The BBC has always had a strange relationship with pop music. In 1969, they banned The Kinks’ song “Plastic Man” because it contained the word “bum,” (or “ass,” as you Americans know it). Just a few years later in 1972, they were happily piping out Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” with its lines about “giving head” to the Beeb’s Radio 2 grey-haired Daily Mail-reading middle aged listeners.  Now, they were quaking that The Gipper might possibly, maybe, well you just never know, sue the ass off the Corporation for some rather juvenile political pop posturing? What would Rik have said?

The single made number 45 in the charts and was a favorite of clubs at the time. In 2010 (almost thirty years later), Heaven 17 performed the song live on BBC Radio 6—as Reagan had been dead for six years the Beeb probably felt safe from litigation.
 

‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Horror Europa’: an excellent trawl through the history of European horror cinema


 
The Hallowe’en season seemed pretty drawn out this year. That’s fine with me though, ‘cos I love it! What other chance to do we get to celebrate all those freaky and ghoulish things we normally hide under our beds and in our broom cupboards?

If you want to keep the chills running down the back of your spine, check out this excellent, BBC-produced documentary looking back over the last century of European horror cinema, taking in works by major directors from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, the UK and Belgium.

Presented by comedian Mark Gatiss (of The League Of Gentlemen and Nighty Night infamy, and thus no stranger to the dark side himself) it is a follow up to his series A History Of Horror, which was originally broadcast on BBC4 in 2010.

Although Horror Europa has been liberated from behind the BBC server wall and uploaded to YouTube for all to see, here is what the official website has to say about the show:

Actor and writer Mark Gatiss embarks on a chilling voyage through European horror cinema. From the silent nightmares of German Expressionism in the wake of World War I to lesbian vampires in 1970s Belgium, from the black-gloved killers of Italy’s bloody Giallo thrillers to the ghosts of the Spanish Civil War, Mark reveals how Europe’s turbulent 20th century forged its ground-breaking horror tradition. On a journey that spans the continent from Ostend to Slovakia, Mark explores classic filming locations and talks to the genre’s leading talents, including directors Dario Argento and Guillermo del Toro.

I have to say that there are A LOT of spoilers in this show, but if you can deal with the ending of some films you might not have seen being given away, then this is a real treat for horror hounds:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Creep Out: Gary Glitter goes on ‘Jim’ll Fix It’


“We will haunt you in your dreams forever, luv!”

As Paul Gallagher has already comprehensively explained for Dangerous Minds readers here (and here), it seems that one of the BBC’s most popular family entertainment shows in its entire history, Jim’ll Fix It, might more accurately have been called Jim’ll Groom Ya, consisting as it did of a very widely alleged sexual predator and pederast, Jimmy Saville, granting special favors to an endless succession of children and teens…  some that he tried to extract favors from in return. They probably should have called the show Jim’ll Fuck It, but maybe not.

Why does it comes as no surprise that Gary Glitter, the English glam rock chart topper who enjoyed twenty-six execrable UK hit singles over three decades before his reputation was “irreparably tarnished”–as Wikipedia puts it in wry understatement–by convictions for child sex crimes both in the UK and Vietnam would have been a guest on the show? And, wouldn’t you know it, Mr. Glitter and Sir Jimmy coincidentally happened to be good buds. Indeed, they were so friendly that Saville gallantly stood up for Glitter in a 2009 interview (reportedly included in tomorrow’s ITV expose). Referring to Glitter’s 1999 conviction for possessing a computer full of child pornography, Saville boldly attested that his old friend “didn’t do anything wrong” because “he had not tried to show them in public or anything like that” (my emphasis).

Saville’s statement betrays a personal “philosophy” ideal for one leading such a quintessential double life: on the one hand, a light entertainer and philanthropic “saint,” and on the other a prolific sex offender (allegedly or whatever). The moral dimension, for Saville, apparently enters only in so far as what is or is not public, which is to say on television: if someone is abused and it isn’t on primetime – to paraphrase the old Zen adage – did it really happen?

Which is what makes the following excerpt from Jim’ll Groom Ya Jim’ll Fix It so uniquely disturbing, as it sees the two friends and former national treasures collaborate to make a young lady’s “dream” of being a singer come true. The lady in question, while not exactly the full ticket, is twenty-one, thank Christ (guests on Jim’ll Fix Itwere predominantly, but not unanimously underage), though this doesn’t seem to deter either sexual predator from getting their sleaze on.

Glitter’s actual performance is something else. I don’t think I’ve seen him in action since I was a kid and he was singing Christmas songs, but what must have at the time looked to any sentient observer like just a bloated parody of glam rock (meets rap?), has retroactively become something ten thousand times more sinister than Alice Cooper must’ve seemed in 1972. Glitter’s entourage – his “gang” – stomp about in bondage-wear for a minute, until Gary himself enters, prowling the stage and glowing bright red, for all the world an actual fucking demon (the tune is even called “Red Hot”). The manner in which Saville and Glitter enclose the half-witted woman at the end is pretty damn creepy too (”Shy, Gary?”). At least he didn’t perform “Do Ya Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!).”  Now THAT might’ve been too OTT.

All in all, it’s easily the scariest performance I’ve ever seen. Looking at this shit in retrospect, that tens of millions of adults considered this – and Jim’ll Fix It in general – good family entertainment blows my tiny mind.
 

 
After the jump, the presciently named 1974 Gary Glitter documentary Remember Me This Way…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
More John Lydon on ‘Question TIme’, this time sticking it to the banks


 
Marc has already posted some of this here on DM, but for those who would like to see more, here is the entire Question Time show featuring John Lydon (among others) which went out on BBC1 last Thursday.

We all gathered round the computer monitor to watch this broadcast last week, and I have to admit it felt like real event television. Having someone with the wit and stature (not to mention televisual infamy) of John Lydon sitting as part of a panel on a mainstream political show simply does not happen very often.

It was a mixed blessing. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the pro-drug decriminalisation discussion, which Marc linked to before, and I thought he could have handled that part better. I also found some of his showboating grating, but hey, the guy is a rock legend, so I guess a bit of attention grabbing narcissism is to be expected.

But where Lydon really shone was in the opening few minutes of the show, when the panel were asked about the current banking crisis, and how the UK government intends to investigate the LIBOR scandal. Perfectly cutting through the blame-throwing merry-go-round the politicians were spinning in an attempt to avoid giving any real answers, Lydon was loud and direct, and did what he does best - namely, a physical representation of righteous fury. Below is the entire episode, but the beginning of Question Time is worth watching just to see Lydon put Louise Mensch and her ilk firmly in their place, by reminding them that this is not some abstract argument or phiopsphical discussion. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Christians prove evolution is a lie, with help from the Loch Ness Monster


 
Via The Herald, Scotland (abridged):

Schoolchildren in Louisiana are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real in a bid by religious educators to disprove Darwin’s theory of evolution.

These private schools follow a fundamentalist curriculum including the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme to teach controversial religious beliefs aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism.

One tenet has it that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man then Darwinism is fatally flawed.

The textbooks in the series are alleged to teach young earth creationism; are hostile towards other religions and other sectors of Christianity, including Roman Catholicism; and present a biased version of history that is often factually incorrect.

One ACE textbook – Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc – reads: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur. It’s unclear if the movie Godzilla was the inspiration for this lesson.

Well, If you believe in the existence of one mythical being, why not believe in them all?

Perhaps one day the popular BBC kids show The Family Ness will be revered as gospels:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Cassetteboy vs. The Diamond Queen

cassette_boy_vs_the_diamond_queen
 
Celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of HMQ start this weekend in Britain, and the duo behind Cassetteboy have delivered a fine piece of juvenile piss-takery at the expense of Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Family, the British Prime Minister(s), the BBC and its presenter Andrew Marr.

Puerile, silly, and full of cheap innuendo, Cassetteboy have excelled themselves.  However, not everyone is happy, as allegedly the BBC has had this little gem removed form You Tube. As Cassetteboy explains:

‘If you’re interested, here’s what happened: Our video was removed by youtube after a copyright claim by the BBC. We then deleted the vid…’

Now you know, so, catch it while you can.

We say more power to Cassetteboy. And less to the killjoys.

Follow Cassetteboy on twitter.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Roxy Music live in 1972, the full BBC radio broadcast
05.12.2012
09:45 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
BBC
Roxy Music
live
radio
1972


 
Here’s a 35 minute recording of Roxy Music playing live at the Paris Theatre, London in 1972, which was broadcast on BBC radio in September of the same year.

Thanks to Vibracobra23 for the upload, and author and musician Stephen Thrower, who adds that:

[this was] previously available only on dreadful, tinny bootleg LPs but is now in pristine sound quality, and with an extra track - a fantastically intense version of The Bob (Medley.)


Tracklist:

1. The Bob (Medley)
2. The Bogus Man Part 2
3. Sea Breezes
4. Virginia Plain
5. Chance Meeting
6. Re-Make/Re-Model
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘HARDTalk with Alan Moore’: excellent interview with comics legend by BBC News
04.16.2012
02:20 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Media

Tags:
BBC
comics
Alan Moore
interview
news


 
HARDTalk is an in-depth interview program from BBC News, something akin to Larry King Live with a sit down, face-to-face, half hour format (perhaps there’s a better reference point here, but my knowledge of American news broadcasters is limited.) In this edition, which aired last week, host Stephen Sackur talks to Alan Moore, who may be a hero to many but is still a fringe presence in this kind of mainstream news setting.

Moore has nothing in particular to promote, so this isn’t a kiss-ass puff piece, and being a “serious” show there is no talk of magic and mysticism. Instead, Sackur picks issue with Moore’s characterisation of the comics industry as gangsters, and has pertinent questions to ask him about the subjects of his works Lost Girls and V For Vendetta. Moore responds very well to being taken this seriously, answering with an unusual frankness and striking honesty:

HARDTalk with Alan Moore (part 1)
 

 
HARDTalk with Alan Moore (part 2) is after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘The Joy Of Disco’: the music that changed the world


 
... as in The Joy Of Sex.

A special treat this Sunday for all our disco-fan readers outside the UK, The Joy Of Disco is a BBC documentary about that much derided music genre that seemed to come out of nowhere to change the world in the late 70s.

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries about disco, and this is undoubtedly one of the best. Featuring new interviews with many of the key players (Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Nona Hendryx, David Mancuso, Tom Moulton, Kathy Sledge, Nicky Siano and lots more) and some great, rare footage of top nitespots like The Gallery and Studio 54, this is a real treat for the disco fanatic.

But what really makes The Joy Of Disco so good (and well worth a watch, even if you are not a disco fan) is the placing of the music in its proper historical and social context. Disco was black, urban music that became the soundtrack to the gay liberation movement and, according to the program makers:

foregrounded female desire in the age of feminism and led to the birth of modern club culture as we know it today, before taking the world by storm.

All up to the (seemingly inevitable) racist and homophobic “Disco Sucks” backlash. That put paid to the faddishness of the genre, but ultimately, by driving it back underground to the gay and black clubs that spawned it, helped make it stronger than ever and actually did very little to kill the sheer joy of the music itself.

The Joy Of Disco explores these issues in the kind of detail they deserve. It aired on BBC4 on Friday night, and some industrious soul has already put it up on YouTube to share the love (yes, it’s another case of get it before it’s gone). This is highly recommended viewing - you won’t see anything this interesting, exciting or fabulously funky on your screens this evening:
 
The Joy of Disco, part one:
 

 
The Joy Of Disco parts 2 to 4 after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The BBC outs an Internet troll on television
02.09.2012
03:05 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
BBC
trolling
Troll


 
Like every blog, Dangerous Minds has had our fair share of trolls, and I’ve always been curious as to what these anonymous dickheads look like, where they live, what sort of abuse they suffered in childhood and all that…

But did the BBC take it too far by tracking down this disagreeable gentleman and publicly outing him? You guys weigh in the comments.
 

 
Via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Pop Quiz’ with Phil Lynott versus Morrissey, 1984


 
Here’s a little curio from the BBC’s back catalog, an episode of the early 80s pop music quiz show “Pop Quiz’, featuring Morrissey and Phil Lynnot on opposing teams, presided over by uber-cheesey radio DJ Mike Reid (I’m loving his shirt). Phillo seems quite relaxed and in good spirits on this program, while unfortunately the same cannot be said for Steven Patrick “Life Of The Party” Morrissey. From the Slicing Up Eyeballs blog:

In an interview with The Face published in July 1984, Moz said, “‘Pop Quiz’ was unbearable. I realized it was a terrible mistake the moment the cameras began to roll. … I just squirmed through the program. 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.”

Oh dear. Life is just so fucking hard for poor old squirming Moz. 
 
Pop Quiz, featuring Phil Lynnot, Morrissey & Kim Wilde pt 1:
 

 
After the jump Pop Quiz, featuring Phil Lynnot, Morrissey & Kim Wilde, pt 2…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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