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Doctor Who’s 1972 pop single on Deep Purple’s label
10.20.2017
09:54 am
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Jon Pertwee starred in the reruns of Doctor Who my local PBS affiliate started airing in the Eighties; perhaps the station decided to start with the color episodes. Ever since, when someone else is playing Doctor Who, even Tom Baker, I miss Pertwee’s lisp and Edwardian dress, his dandyish manner, the wild look in his eyes.

Doctor Who novelty records were born in 1964 on “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek” by the (Newcastle) Go-Go’s. They intersected with punk on the Art Attacks’ 1978 debut “I Am a Dalek” (“EXTERMINATE! KI-I-I-ILL!”) and reached their creative peak in 1988, when the Timelords’ “Doctorin’ the TARDIS” attained the unsurpassable zenith of excellence in the genre.

Pertwee, who had a long and colorful career as a recording artist, was the first Doctor to release his own single. On 1972’s “Who Is the Doctor,” recorded for Deep Purple’s label, producer Rupert Hine added rock drums to Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme, and Pertwee intoned some cosmic verse about how to love your Time Lord, or something:

Is your faith before your mind?
Know me
Am I the Doctor?

 

The 1985 Safari Records issue of “Who Is the Doctor”
 
Neil Priddey’s Purple Records discography explains Pertwee’s connection to the label and notes that one of the artists on Brian Eno’s Obscure label took part in the session:

Jon Pertwee was a personal friend of [Deep Purple manager] Tony Edwards, so he asked Rupert Hine and David MacIver to write and produce this project. They tried to get the BBC involved, but (according to MacIver) they were given the cold shoulder.

MacIver wrote the lyrics in 20 minutes and Hine produced the session. Simon Jeffes [of Penguin Cafe Orchestra], a good friend of theirs, also played on the tracks with Rupert playing his ARP 2600 synthesizer.

Time is a wondrous thing. MacIver’s 20 minutes of labor paid off again in ‘82, when BBC Records reissued the single with a different B-side, and in ‘85, when the synth-pop label Safari Records repackaged it with Blood Donor’s “Dr . . . ?” Hear its total extratemporal majesty below.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.20.2017
09:54 am
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Storyboards from ‘Aeon Flux,’ including the iconic fly-eye sequence
10.19.2017
01:28 pm
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The run of Aeon Flux on MTV in the early 1990s coincided with a period in my life when I was living abroad, but whenever I was stateside I would scarf down as many episodes as I could manage. The show looked and sounded like nothing else, something that continues to be true to this day, and seemed to resist regular plot continuity to an almost mind-blowing extent—at least I never watched it with any expectation that there was an intelligible “plot” that could be “followed.” Considering that all of the early shorts—seen initially on MTV’s experimental animation anthology Liquid Television—culminated in the eponymous protagonist’s repeated demise, it’s safe to say that narrative coherence was largely beside the point.

Aeon Flux (actually Æon Flux, right?) was the kind of show that was probably pilloried for being “pretentious” and self-serious but actually strikes me as a perfect expression of a certain variety of dry wit—if this sequence from “Tide” doesn’t make you grin at any point, you’re probably not paying close enough attention. One needn’t have been aware of the existence of the cyberpunk genre to intuit it from any random scene from the show, which also evinced an interest in fetishism and domination to an extent that was rare for a TV show in the 1990s. Every character looked like an emaciated Egon Schiele subject, and occasionally a spindly albino would materialize and lick someone’s earhole.

Aeon Flux was the brainchild of Peter Chung, a Korean-American CalArts grad who cut his teeth under Ralph Bakshi and also at Disney. A couple of weeks ago he participated an interview with The Art of the Title, in which he pointed to The Prisoner and the claire ligne style of Hergé and Moebius as key influences. It’s well worth a read. In the piece one of the items of visual collateral is the storyboard for the “Venus eyetrap” sequence, probably the most familiar visual element from the series.

On Deviantart, one can find nine further storyboards from artist Mike Jackson, who worked on “The Purge” and “A Last Time for Everything” late in the series’ run.

Having recently consumed several clips on YouTube, I’d like to offer the insight that dialogue almost always violated the show’s essence—the best sequences are as wordless as Harpo Marx. The entire series is available at Amazon for less than $20.
 

 

 
More production art from Aeon Flux after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.19.2017
01:28 pm
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John Peel asks original punks the Mekons, the Slits & others about ‘punk, publicity and profit’
10.16.2017
11:42 am
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The Mekons
 
On October 6, 1978, on BBC Radio One, John Peel touted a TV program on which he appeared, to air the next week, on October 12—exactly 39 years ago last Thursday, as it happens. Here’s what Peel said: “The UK Subs are on Omnibus on next Thursday evening on BBC-1 television, along with the Mekons, the Slits, Jim Pursey, Alternative TV, the Desperate Bicycles, and the playlist committee among other things, and my good self, seen heading a football with more skill than I bet you imagined I had.”

Omnibus was a popular arts program that was in existence from 1967 through 2003. Peel’s documentary was titled “The Record Machine.” Recently the BBC Archive Twitter feed dropped a fascinating supercut from the doc featuring prominent punk bands discussing, often with great subtlety and insight, some of the issues bands were facing as to the ethical status of promotion, publicity, and product.

As the punk movement moved past its initial impact, bands had to confront some basic questions about the meaning of touring and releasing albums—in short, adopting punk as a career—when the underpinnings of the movement included a rejection of established modes and a commitment to the community of downtrodden and frustrated youth. As astute in the interviewer’s seat as he is as a DJ, Peel consistently presses the bands to explain where their heads are at in terms of signing contracts, releasing “product,” touring, and generally balancing the conflicting aims of gratifying fans, preserving artistic integrity, and making some goddamned money!
 

The Slits
 
In Leeds, Mekons manager Mick Wixey snarks that “we’re not on the verge of retirement yet” and registers the injustice of having to make an impact in London in order to get signed to a label. Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 ruminates on the necessity of allying oneself with an established label in order to finance the process of touring before asserting that Sham 69 saved punk. Ari Up of the Slits whips a soccer ball at Peel’s head just when he’s trying to ask whether the Slits feel any political commitment to working with smaller labels (Viv Albertine says “nah”).

Mark Perry of Alternative TV—who earlier had put out one of the first punk zines, Sniffin’ Glue—relates how bummed out he was when the Clash signed with CBS and registers his disgust at the “two pound fifty” the Buzzcocks were charging for tickets at the time. The most epigrammatic of the bunch might be the UK Subs’ Charlie Harper, who reports that “we done a gig for fourteen pound—and we lost two quid.” Ouch.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.16.2017
11:42 am
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Robyn Hitchcock and Graham Coxon cover Syd Barrett’s ‘Octopus’ for new Philip K. Dick TV series
10.12.2017
02:08 pm
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Right now Channel 4 in the U.K. is running Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams—U.S. viewers will be able to see it once it gets on Amazon Prime next year. To my eye the series appears to be an almost slavish attempt to recapitulate the magic of Charlie Brooker’s dazzling Black Mirror, but really, any excuse to adapt ten early-period Philip K. Dick short stories with movie stars and high production values is A-OK with me.

The series was developed by Michael Dinner (Chicago Hope) and Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and features, in the various episodes, such familiar faces as Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston, Anna Paquin, Vera Farmiga, Terence Howard, and Greg Kinnear.

Episode list:
“The Hood Maker” (originally published in 1955)
“The Impossible Planet” (1953)
“The Commuter”  (1953)
“Crazy Diamond” (“Sales Pitch,” 1954)
“Real Life” (“The Exhibit Piece,” 1954)
“Human Is”  (1955)
“Kill All Others” (Published as “The Hanging Stranger,” 1953)
“Autofac” (1955)
“Safe And Sound” (Published as “Foster, You’re Dead!” in 1955)
“Father Thing” (Published as “The Father-Thing,” 1954)

In connection with the visionary themes of solipsism, madness, and unhinged reality, the series’ makers recruited Robyn Hitchcock and Graham Coxon of Blur, Kevin Armstrong, Johnny Daukes, and Jon Estes to collaborate on a cover of “Octopus,” by rock and roll’s most famous mental ward occupant, Syd Barrett. “Octopus” is the first song on the second side of Barrett’s first solo album, 1970’s The Madcap Laughs. One thing that sets “Octopus” apart is that this is the song in which the lyric “the madcap laughs” appears.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.12.2017
02:08 pm
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The story behind the infamous ‘Just You’ song from ‘Twin Peaks’
10.09.2017
11:58 am
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David Lynch has always had an ear for an arresting tune—indeed, they feature in just about all of his most appreciated works—think of “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)” in Eraserhead, “Blue Velvet” and “In Dreams” in Blue Velvet, the Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” in Mulholland Drive, and so on.

Angelo Badalamenti has been Lynch’s music collaborator ever since Blue Velvet. His brilliant, moody theme music for Twin Peaks catapulted him into public recognition, although it was actually Lynch himself who composed one of the most controversial musical pieces in the director’s oeuvre, ironically the one bit of music that may have made some fans curse Badalamenti—I refer to the creepy, doomy music heard in the lengthy “Pink Room” scene in Fire Walk With Me (which was unfortunately rendered well-nigh incomprehensible because the music drowned out the dialogue).

Those who stuck with the TV series through its second season were rewarded with one of the show’s most indelible and controversial moments in the second episode (titled “Coma”) when James Hurley (James Marshall) and two young women he’s involved with, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee, who also played the iconic Laura Palmer), convene in the Haywards’ living room to “work on” a new song. The song is purest 1957, right down to the downright peculiar falsetto work by James, and sparks fly when during the song, Donna notices the intensity of the interactions between Maddy and James and leaves the room. (Have you learned nothing, Donna? Never yield the field of battle to your opponent!)

This scene has probably resulted in more derision than any other scene in Twin Peaks—although a lot of Twin Peaks fans really dig it. It’s so artificial and over-the-top that it’s impossible to take at face value. But give Lynch credit—only he could come up with a scene as magnificently static and “off” and yet so wonderfully resonant. The sickly saccharine quality of the song matched to the all-too-real drama the characters are experiencing…. it’s so Lynchian it hurts.

How did the scene come about? Remarkably, it was the product of a hasty songwriting session on the set that took place quite shortly before shooting the scene. As James Marshall explained at the Twin Peaks Festival in 2013, “I play guitar a lot and I used to bring my guitar to the set. ... David Lynch heard about it and said, ‘Would you be comfortable doing a song on the show?’”

So Marshall and Badalamenti and Lynch met on the set of the Hayward home, where the scene would eventually be shot, to compose a Fifties pastiche on the fly, presumably while a million other things are going on around them. Here’s a loose transcription of Marshall’s account (some verbal filler removed, tightened in places):
 

The day rolls around and I go up to the set like he asked me to, Angelo’s standing there—it was the Hayward house because there was an upright piano in it, so we got to use the piano to write. So he goes, “What is the vibe that you want to do?” And I said, “Well, the vibe of the whole series is timeless? But it—we don’t want to go Fifties, but almost a little Fifties sort of feel? When I think of Fifties, we could do a doowop kind of feel, but make it falsetto doowop but almost Beatles falsetto doowop, we’re not going to “sha na na” or whatever, make it something etheric [prob. “ethereal”]. They go, “What song?” and Angelo starts messing around on the keyboards. I go, “No, not fast, let’s go slow.” All three of us have this banter back and forth of how the song should go. Angelo said name a song because David was stuck. ... So I go, “When I think of Fifties I think of ‘Only You.’” ... that real romantic, over-the-top, shredding keyboards almost to distortion. Bowie’s good at that, old Bowie stuff. Right? So I go, “It can’t be that, but that vibe.” And Angelo goes, “Got it!”

 
You should click on the video below and hear Marshall’s account for yourself, it’s very engaging (and starts around the 4:45 mark).

One of the more unexpected aspects of Twin Peaks: The Return was the prominence of the Renault family’s Roadhouse. In the final section of most of the new episodes (of which there were 18), the action would move to the tavern venue where (in completely random fashion, honestly) a remarkable array of prominent musical performers would appear and do a song, including such stalwarts as Rebekah Del Rio, Au Revoir Simone, Sharon Van Etten, and (most surprising of all) Nine Inch Nails.
 

Twin Peaks (Music From the Limited Event Series)
 
Just as the viewers had gotten used to all manner of musical stars improbably trekking all the way to southern Washington state for a special intimate gig, episode 13 surprised the Twin Peaks faithful by getting James Hurley/Marshall and two backup singers on the stage for a special rendition of Twin Peaks’ most cloyingly controversial song: “Just You.” You can hear it below.

One of the more glittering vinyl offerings this year is the 2LP soundtrack for Twin Peaks: The Return, which contains all of the songs played at the Roadhouse during the 2017 episodes, also known as “Season 3.”
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.09.2017
11:58 am
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‘Raquel!’: Kooky, camp, and kitsch TV special starring Raquel Welch and friends
10.04.2017
09:33 am
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0raqhair.jpg
Raquel Welch by Terry O’Neill.
 
In 1970, movie star Raquel Welch starred in her very own TV variety extravaganza Raquel! which was intended to showcase her talents as a singer. Raquel! featured Welch performing a selection of classic pop songs in different locales and hamming it up alongside the old-school talents of Bob Hope and John Wayne, and young buck Tom Jones.

In just over a decade, Welch had gone from cocktail waitress to A-list movie star. She first made her mark as a scientist in The Fantastic Voyage then knocked teenage boys (and dads) for six as a cavewoman dressed in a fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. The media made her name synonymous with the term “sex symbol.” But she was more than just a celluloid beauty, she could act. Welch co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement, proved her mettle by refusing to go nude in 100 Rifles , and confounded critics by starring in Gore Vidal’s tale of a transsexual Myra Breckenridge. Despite all this, Welch was still hailed by Playboy (who else?) as the “world’s most desirable woman.”

Billed as a “multi-million dollar” extravaganza Raquel! seemingly spared no expense (though it reputedly cost nearer the $350,000 mark).  There was a luxurious wardrobe by Bob Mackie with spacesuits by Paco Rabanne, some pop art and space-age set designs and a variety of exotic locations. Welch clocked-up her air miles performing songs to camera in London, Paris (where she sang “California Dreamin’” in view of the Eiffel Tower), Acapulco, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Yucatan, and Big Sur. Though Welch has a passable singing voice—one perhaps better suited to being heard in an elevator—Raquel! was a major success pulling in 58% in the Nielsen ratings. It’s a fine camp confection that has some strange and memorable moments—Welch and Hope (in Davy Crockett hat) singing the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon” being just one. 
 
Take a look after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.04.2017
09:33 am
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Ever wanted to play bass in Dinosaur Jr? In 1991, you could have applied for the job via fax
09.26.2017
09:34 am
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Finding new (like-minded) band members can be really hard. I mean, have you ever taken a look at the insane “Musician Wanted” fliers that people post at Guitar Center? Craigslist is even worse. What other options are there? Well, perhaps you could try national television.

If you dig deep into a lifetime of unnecessary pop culture references, you may recall the laughable, once-upon-a time reality series from 2005, Rock Star: INXS. After losing founder and vocalist Michael Hutchence to a potentially accidental, autoerotic asphyxiation death in 1997, the Australian rock group auditioned an oblivious group of starry-eyed randos in front of the entire world in hopes of “discovering” their new frontman. Competition winner JD Fortune really did become the new face of INXS for a number of years, and the group even recorded their eleventh studio album Switch with him. Fortune was eventually kicked out of the group (twice), in true rockstar fashion, all thanks to his newfound drug addiction.
 

INXS with their new replacement singer, JD Fortune
 
While an attention-seeking stunt like this may seem absurd to you, let’s take a moment to admire the time Dinosaur Jr. was a guest on MTV’s alternative music program 120 Minutes in 1991. The scenario was simple: vocalist / guitarist J. Mascis and drummer Murph joined VJ and series creator Dave Kendall on air to promote their newly-released fourth album, Green Mind. Not only was it their first to be released on a major label (Sire), but it was essentially a J Mascis solo album with him playing nearly every instrument on the record. Original bassist Lou Barlow had departed from the group years prior, in 1989, due to internal tension and they hadn’t quite replaced him in time for this major milestone.
 

 
Discontent and lacking a bass player for touring purposes, J and Murph utilized their MTV appearance as a humorous opportunity to round out their dynamic three-piece. After much withstanding and sarcastic deflection of Kendall’s prototypical interview questions in true Dino Jr. fashion, show producers flashed a fax number where one can reach out to try out for the band. According to the interview, the only requirements of the applicant was that they “had to rock” and, of course, all band members had to get along. I’m not sure if this was how replacement bassist Mike Johnson got the part later that year, but I would like to imagine Mascis choosing his application among the stacks of papers rolling out of their fax machine. The band eventually disintegrated in 1997, only to reform with the original lineup of Mascis, Murph, and Barlow in 2005.
 
Watch Dinosaur Jr.‘s hilariously awkward appearance on ‘120 Minutes’ below:
 

 

Dinosaur Jr. perform “Raisins” on MTV Europe’s edition of ‘120 Minutes’ in 1994
 

Posted by Bennett Kogon
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09.26.2017
09:34 am
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Monkee Python: Micky Dolenz directs Michael Palin and Terry Jones in ‘The Box’
09.21.2017
06:13 am
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Micky Dolenz directing the final episode of ‘The Monkees’
 
After the Monkees, after Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, after the stage show of Harry Nilsson’s The Point!, Micky Dolenz spent a few years working as a TV director in London. He nearly made a career out of it. Dolenz was behind the camera of the robot sitcom Metal Mickey (namesake of Suede’s second single), the British version of Fernwood 2 Night (LWT’s For 4 Tonight), and the Bill Oddie series From the Top.

Dolenz also directed the TV film of a one-act play by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. The Box was based on Buchanan’s Finest Hour, the second of two short plays that made up Palin and Jones’ Their Finest Hours. A footnote in Palin’s diaries gives these plot summaries:

Underwood’s Finest Hour is set in a labour room with a mother straining to give birth and a doctor straining to listen to a particularly exciting Test Match. Buchanan’s Finest Hour is about a marketing idea gone awry. The cast, including the Pope, are trapped inside a packing crate throughout.

Watch ‘The Box’ after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.21.2017
06:13 am
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H.R. Pufnstuf, Witchiepoo & other homages to Sid & Marty Krofft in the ‘Krofft Super Art Show’
09.19.2017
09:28 am
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A painting by artist Matthew Bone in the Krofft Super Art Show.
 
I’m pretty sure that most of our readers over the age of 40 are familiar with the work of Sid & Marty Krofft. The brothers were responsible for bringing strange, and sometimes psychedelic TV shows like H.R. Pufnstuf, The Banana Splits, and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters to the minds of impressionable kids back in the late 60s and early 70s. Now interpretations of the many colorful and weird TV characters the Krofft’s created for their television shows are on display at a show at the La La Land Gallery in Los Angeles.

The show opened late last month and featured work from over twenty artists including The Ren & Stimpy Show alumnus Chris Reccardi who had this to say about his childhood memories of H.R. Pufnstuf:

“It’s innocent.” People grow up, but I think the best people just grow layers around the child within them. Part of it is nostalgia, ‘Oh my gosh, this meant so much to me as a kid.’ I’ve worked in animation for 35 years and H.R. Pufnstuf—I’m not familiar with their other stuff—it’s a well-written show. Even though it’s pre-school, it’s not stupid.”

The various artistic expressions based on the characters created by the Krofft brothers that are featured in the show include paintings, three-dimensional works, and even a felt cereal box with H.R. Pufnstuf’s famous mug on it. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I’d highly recommend taking in the fantastic-looking show as it runs through September 25th. Images that are currently hanging on the walls of the La La Land Gallery below can be seen below.
 

“AhSidAndMartyWanna” by Oliver Hibert.
 

“H.R. Puf’n'Puf” by Chris Reccardi.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.19.2017
09:28 am
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Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson of ‘The Young Ones’ beating the shit out of each other on ‘Bottom’
09.19.2017
09:16 am
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Actors and real-life BFFs, the late Rik Mayall and Adrian “Ade” Edmondson from their other television show, ‘Bottom.’
 
If you love Dangerous Minds, then it’s a safe bet that you are also fans of the much loved UK cult-comedy, The Young Ones. If you agree with that, then you are truly one of us and also perhaps a fan of the much-praised comedy series from two of the stars of the show, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson that aired on BBC2 starting in 1991, Bottom. And if you’re not, you should be.

The premise of the show is sort of like a sleazier, down-low version of The Odd Couple television series starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. Both Edmondson and Mayall are confirmed bachelors who shack up with each other out of desperation and commit equally desperate acts of violence and trickery that often center around trying to get laid. Getting laid is something that according to the storyline has eluded Mayall’s character of “Richard “Richie” Richard” his entire life as he’s still a virgin. Edmondson’s character “Edward Hitler” is just as unhinged as his flatmate as well as being an accomplished boozehound and thief. Adding another layer of cool on Bottom is that apparently, the characters created by both actors was somewhat based on their long, real-life friendship that began back in 1975 when the two were just teenagers attending Manchester University. Mayall and Edmondson would get gigs doing stand-up and sketches as “The Dangerous Brothers” at The Comedy Store in their early 20s which would, in turn, help them get regular work on the long-running UK show, The Comic Strip Presents. Coincidentally, Edmondson would meet his future wife, Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous fame, on the set of the show. They have been married for 32 years.
 

Edmondson and Mayall performing at The Comedy Store back in the day.
 
The show is hysterically violent and pessimistically dark, and both Mayall and Edmondson did much of the slapsticky stunts in the series themselves—such as when Edmondson fell through a ceiling in the 1992 episode “Burglary.” Only eighteen episodes ever aired before the proposed fourth series was killed by BBC. After that, the duo took Bottom on the road as a stage play which according to all reports was even more tawdry and savage when it came to the vulgar displays of aggression between both Edmondson and Mayall in the name of comedy. Then in 1999 the sad-sack characters were once again brought to life, this time for the film Guest House Paradiso (directed by Edmondson) which centered around Mayall and Edmondson as the owners of the “worst” hotel in the UK. There was some talk of bringing Bottom back—in Edmondson’s words as old men who hit each other with “colostomy bags,” but that awesomeness never materialized.

Get to the ‘Bottom’ after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.19.2017
09:16 am
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