Top of the Pops 12 and 19 May 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. 12/05/83 - Tommy Vance: "Edition 1001 of Top of the Pops! Good evening and welcome!" Mike Read: "Great party record to start off with, Modern Romance's Don't Stop That Crazy Rhythm."Tommy Vance: "Woo!"
(Edition 1000: It's worth tracking down the few snippets of edition 1000 currently on Youtube. There's a lovely introduction with Richard Skinner and Diddy David Jacobs in which Richard Skinner comes across as a far more relaxed and natural broadcaster than he does when he's hosting Top of the Pops. He's sitting down for this introduction so maybe he should always be allowed a chair from now on when he's in studio.)

[26] Modern Romance: Don't Stop That Crazy Rhythm. Everything's different. New sets. New title sequence. Same pool of presenters of course which is one of the reasons BBC4 has jumped from edition 999 to 1001. Modern Romance are appearing on the main studio stage -the one with banks of raised rostra behind the performance area for the audience, or Top of the Pops cheerleaders- and a couple of wide shots reveal that the makeover is more superficial than it first appears. The geography of the set is the same. The black and white Eidophor screen is still on the left, and the neon Top of the Pops logo is on the right. The main difference is the replacement of  the large metallic arches with ranks of scaffold-like scenery. Bolted to the set are circular neon elements that echo the shape of the Top of the Pops logo, but have a diagonal line coming out of the bottom right that makes them Q-shaped. The most significant effect of the new scenery is to form a definite wall. The arches used to open onto a black backcloth which made it look like Top of the Pops was being broadcast from a formless black vortex. Now it's clearly located in a television studio. Joining Modern Romance is a middle aged dancer who looks like someone's uncle has rushed the stage; he's dressed in blue with a backwards red baseball cap perched on his head. He's named-checked by Tommy Vance as "Will Gaines," and a quick Google search reveals he's a much more significant figure in dance than his treatment here would make you think. John Bishop's direction excludes him and the audience at home don't get a good look until the instrumental. Maybe John Bishop intended the reveal of the tap dancer to be a surprise, but it comes across more as an attempt at exclusion. It's as if Modern Romance turned up with Will Gaines and insisted he perform with them, but the Director had other plans. If you really want to see Will Gaines strut his stuff then head over to Youtube and watch the clip of him dancing on The Arthur Haynes Show.


Could the Copyright Directive destroy the Internet?

Later this month the European Union will vote on changes to the Copyright Directive, a 2001 act designed to protect copyright holders in the digital age. However an amendment called Article 13 has crept into this vote and has repercussions for anyone online. With much of the current debate distracted by GDPR, data breaches and Facebook this seems to be happening under most people’s radar. I’d not heard about it till this week when some media outlets began flagging it up. The consensus amongst commentators is that, at best, these amendments are flawed and at worst could cause all sorts of repercussions from stopping memes to causing Wikipedia and YouTube to close or even as one site put it “destroy the Internet as we know it”.


Solo- A Star Wars Story review

Star Wars fans- like fans of many things- are never happy. They want new films that are almost the same as the original series yet when they happen they complain of lack of originality. Throw in a curveball and they don’t like that either “it’s just not Star Wars” they moan. This is probably why we end up with Solo, a perfectly serviceable big screen romp but one devoid of any particular purpose. Had it been populated by all new characters it might have been more impactful. Being a prequel though we know at least two of the lead characters and their spaceship will make it to the end so there’s a lack of jeopardy when it matters most. We’re also waiting to spot those throw forwards so we can tick off how Han got this, why he says that, etc. It makes for a curiously flat watch because about 40% of the aspects that can thrill us in a movie are just not going to happen. Whatever scrape Solo gets into you know he’s going to make it.


Maze Runner - The Death Cure review

Towards the end of this breathless movie a city is being attacked in as chaotic a manner as you’d expect. Vehicles exploding, people running, buildings collapsing and so on. Having been in the midst of all this our point of view is slowly yanked skywards allowing us to view the wider extent of it in a memorable tableaux. This is just one of a myriad of moments from director Wes Ball that propel what should be a simple action film into something better. It’s typical of how The Death Cure , the third and final part of the Maze Runner series, never stops moving in exciting and interesting ways pulling the maximum thrills from what is ostensibly a thin narrative. 


The Greatest Showman review

There are tales of people going back again and again to cinemas to watch this musical; in fact it’s still on at some of our local screens over five months after it first opened. This is rare these days even for some huge blockbusters. Yet some critics panned it on release last year – “big top baloney” was one of the comments made but it’s outlasted the movies released around the same time. The PT Barnum depicted in the film would surely approve of this turn of events. According to the narrative he welcomed criticisms which he felt helped promote the show and sell tickets- we even see him in a hat with word `humbug` written in gold lettering on it! Now its available to buy the rest of us can find out what the fuss is about….


Top of the Pops 28 April 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby: John Peel: "Live from Shepherd's Bush London it's Top of the Pops." David Jensen: "Gee, John this is the 999th edition. I guess it marks the end of an era" John Peel: "I don't think so. Not really. It is a special programme though, not only the European charts but also the Southeast Asian charts."David Jensen: "That's right, but to kick off something new in our chart from Galaxy, this is Dancing Tight." John Peel: "Is there any other way?"

[20] Galaxy: Dancing Tight. Galaxy are rhyming tight with night. We can't be far from follow up rhymes with right, sight, and trite. Still never mind that. Regardez! At the back of the stage. Behind the lead singer. One of the Zoo dancers is determinedly doing the robot dance despite the fact that it doesn't really match the song. Can he keep this up for the whole programme? (John –Perhaps he is actually a robot?)


The Gifted season one review

Of the many fantasy series currently playing on multiple home viewing outlets, The Gifted may well be the most traditional and straightforward. A spin off from the X Men universe it focusses on a disparate group of mutants struggling to survive during a government crackdown on their kind. As the authorities- in the form of Sentinel Services- employ increasingly inventive and ruthless methods, the so called `mutant underground` are forced to question their own tactics. After so many series- notably another X Men cousin Legion- doing their best to bamboozle with narrative or visual trickery it is refreshing to discover linear storytelling and characters we can root for and become interested in.


Yanny vs Laurel

So here’s the clip…..

Which name do you hear? This conundrum has been driving people crazy over the past week or so and this is just one of zillions of posts, Tweets and general online chatter as to which word is actually being spoken. It’s remarkable. I’ve seen footage of two people equally convinced of the word they heard but one of them quite categorically hears “yanny” whereas the other equally hears “laurel”. What has fascinated people is the fact that whichever word you hear there is no ambiguity about it and you cannot understand how someone else could hear a completely different word. Not since the gold dress / blue dress has there been such an online kerfuffle!


Ad Break #3 - Horses, cars and Arnie’s head!

Lloyds - “You’re not alone…..”
Sometimes an advert will have more than one version and after a few months a shortened edit will be aired presumably to acknowledge that people do get tired of seeing the ad again and again. Other times there is a longer version and in the case of the current Lloyds Bank ad this is being shown only in cinemas. Lloyds adverts seem aimed to position the bank as the dependable friend of the family, an enabler to happy developments. Their previous ad played on the emotion of big events with a large horse running through slow motion events like the birth of a baby, a marriage proposal and so on. Of course if a huge horse really started to run about in a hospital it would be a health and safety disaster. 


Deadpool 2 review

What makes Deadpool 2 work really well is that it still has the contours of a typical superhero film yet undercuts these constantly with dark humour and knowing asides. There was a risk that the first film’s tricks might not work again or at least seem over familiar but somehow this sequel manages a load of new tricks and if not quite as laugh out loud funny as its predecessor certainly hits the target time after time.

Spoilers ahead...


Top of the Pops 21 April 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Richard Skinner: "Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops."
Janice Long: "And we've got some great stuff for you tonight like The human League, Spandau Ballet, and the Thompson Twins." Richard Skinner: "Absolutely right, but first here's Culture Club, and my tip for next week's number one, the Church Of The Poison Mind."
[2] Culture Club: Church Of The Poison Mind. Richard Skinner's not much of a soothsayer. Church Of The Poison Mind has peaked. It's been blocked from number one by David Bowie, and now coming up behind it fast is a song that is going to be massive. 


Brad's Status review

A thoughtful film about a topic that might be easy to overdramatise, Brad’s Status is much better than it’s bland title suggests. Brad Sloan is 47 and, working for a non- profit making organisation, he seems to have a good life with socially conscious wife Melanie and well- adjusted son Troy. However he can’t help comparing himself to old college mates who seem to be doing rather better. All are richer and appear to have a bigger lifestyle not that he knows first-hand having picked most of this up on social media. These feelings of morose dissatisfaction grow as he takes his son on a visit to potential colleges which brings into focus his own teenage aspirations and how he views his life trajectory.


Time and Tides

Of all the alternative energy sources that are being tried around the world at the moment tidal energy seems like it should be the best option for at least a portion of our energy needs. While we do seem to have a lot of windy weather, it’s not every single day and as for solar energy you’re not going to be getting those long sunny days on a regular basis. Other alternative energies seem to require a more involved process. Tides on the other hand ebb and flow every day whether it’s wet, cold, hot or sunny. They come in, they go out and the basic principle of using the energy from water to power things has been around since the days of the water wheel. Plus when you’re an island nation it seems to be obvious to use a resource that is all around us.


Avengers- Infinity War review

Marvel’s latest mega -blockbuster is as bold as you’d expect from a franchise always willing to push at the restraints other blockbusters are hemmed in by. It takes what could easily be problems- an enormous cast from differently flavoured films and the need to invent an even more invincible all powerful enemy than the previous ones- and uses them to its advantage. It’s surprisingly lean when you consider the size of the cast and the two and a half hours running time. Yet there is still time for those smaller considerations and character beats that give the film a human touch.

Some spoilers beyond here…


Top of the Pops 14 April 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Andy Peebles: "Hello, good evening, and welcome to this evening's edition of Top of the Pops." Gary Davies:" We've got a great show lined up for you tonight and we start with our Eurovision song, I'm Never Giving Up, this is Sweet Dreams."
[41] Sweet Dreams: I'm Never Giving Up. Andy Peebles is late to the Top of the Pops party. He joined Radio 1 in 1978 but only started hosting duties in 1982; also, BBC4 have skipped his first three editions due to other unacceptable presenters. Sweet Dreams are the great hope of Eurovision glory for 1983. They boldly follow in the footsteps of Bardo by being bland Bucks Fizz wannabes. They don't win.


The Curious Arrival of Leo Sayer

There was a moment- and in terms of the size of pop music it really was only a moment- when Leo Sayer seemed like he was the new David Bowie. To the general public he arrived fully formed and a bit weird. His first hit `The Show Must Go On` spliced a music hall melody with raspy lyrics and was performed by the singer dressed as Pierrot (in a costume made by his wife) some seven years before Bowie himself sported this sort of look. As a package the irresistible song and image seemed to herald the arrival of a daring new artist.


Doctor Who blog is back!

I’m pleased to say that my specialist Doctor Who blog  - now called Space Time Telegraph-  is back online and can be found here www.spacetimetelegraph.blogspot.co.uk . I’ve been undecided for a while whether to keep a separate one or not (which is why it kept appearing and disappearing like a Tardis) and in the end it seems to make more sense to do so. It won’t be updated anywhere near as much as this blog but there’s plenty of stuff already there. This includes reviews of Peter Capaldi’s final series, look backs at some of the great 70s and 80s books about the programme, accounts of conventions across the 1980s and 90s, full season 14 reviews including clips from fan reviews at the time as well as commentary on developments such as the speculation over the next Doctor and Jodie Whitaker’s subsequent casting. Plus, as they always say, lots more. So if you like or love Doctor Who then please check it out and watch out for the latest posts in the Places to Visit box below. 
Renowned Universal vlogger Styreisnotonfire tells his followers Space Time Telegraph is back!


Top of the Pops 7 April 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Simon Bates: "It's exactly 7.25. Welcome to studio 3 for a live presentation of Top of the Pops. Now, all the bands are here, though some of them may be miming tonight." Peter Powell: "But we start off! For starters! Right! We give you The Celtic Soul Brothers! This is Dexys!"

[24] Dexys Midnight Runners: The Celtic Soul Brothers. Two weeks of data are missing from BBC Genome. Hold me. Radio Times went unpublished in the weeks of 2nd and 9th April due to industrial action. This is only relevant because I use BBC Genome to give me a heads up on what editions of Top of the Pops were broadcast live. I wouldn't normally rely on Simon Bates to tell me the time and yet here we are. This is the second time round for The Celtic Soul Brothers. It was first released just over a year ago and peaked at number 45. Now, in the wake of Come On Elieen, it's been given a second chance. Watch out for the mystery man who kneels down at the edge of the stage, just beyond where violinist Helen O'Hara, is standing. He's wearing a smart shirt and tie, so I guess he's a member of the production team, but what is his job? He's there for the whole performance. He's not holding a camera although there is a cameraman lurking in the same general area. Maybe his job is to stop the audience becoming tangled in the camera cable? Or, it could be a sighting of the elusive Floor Manager Tony Redstone. 


Ad Break#two V6, V10 and Commisery

Virgin Media- “That chick is a sick individual”

Virgin’s recent two ads for their latest stuff have been brilliant! First there was the idea that various characters and vehicles from very strand of television were charging together up the pipe which resembled a tunnel. The latest – called `Entertainment in Harmony` was launched at the turn of the year and created by BBH London. It is even better drawing in iconic modern TV types and then making them dance! It starts with the declaration “That chick is a sick individual” and the music - Missy Elliott’s 2005 track `We Run This` - kicks in. The premise is similar to the previous ad bringing instantly recognisable tv types together this time in dance. So it starts with Orange is the New Black, then The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and so on.  There’s even a detective and his team and when they start dancing so does the white outline of a body on the floor in front of them! 


Scott and Sid review

Most `true story` movies are about famous or well -known people written and directed by other people.  Scott and Sid is a film made by Scott and Sid about, erm, Scott and Sid. Scott Elliott and Sid Sydowskyj are/ were two Yorkshire based teenagers who aspired to ambitious plans and compiled a list of things they really wanted to do. Some of them were silly or puerile, others more ambitious. By the time they were 24 they had made large amounts of money via several business ventures and a little fortuitous happenstance along the way. It sounds unlikely and if you read the synopsis in full you’d think- no way could this have actually happened but it actually did. As you’ve probably guessed the latest addition to that hand scrawled list was to make a movie. And this is that movie.


Top of the Pops 31 Mar 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Steve Wright: "Good evening and welcome to another Top of the Pops. Sorry about the studio tonight. It's a bit messy, we're spring cleaning and we couldn't get all the scenery in. Richard Skinner: "But we've made with it with some excellent live bands in the studio. All of them. Kicking off with New Order. Playing live. Singing Live. With Blue Monday!"

[17] New Order: Blue Monday. Welcome to Easter 1983. Richard Skinner is very excited. Maybe it's the presence of the Easter Bunny (some poor audience cheerleader in a furry bunny suit, clutching a basket). Whatever the cause, Richard Skinner is peaking at approximately 0.75 Peter Powells (or 0.9 Cheggers for those of you who prefer imperial measurements). Despite his overuse of the word "live" it's not actually clear if this show is live. BBC Genome doesn't think so, and it seems unlikely that BBC1 would schedule two live editions back-to-back. New Order are definitely -and defiantly- live but they seem oddly subdued. You'd think they'd be over the moon at being allowed to sing and play live in studio but for some reason they seem almost embarrassed. Bernard Sumner is doing a remarkable job of hiding as much of himself as possible behind the microphone stand. Stephen Morris probably summed up this ramshackle performance best on Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1983, "we made the cardinal error of looking like we were miming but actually playing it live."


Ready Player One review

It’s easy to forget just how many great movies Steven Spielberg has made, not just the iconic ones but the more serious ones and those that are perhaps less well remembered but still a good watch. I’m not sure yet which category Ready Player One will slot into but as if it needed being said is yet another hugely entertaining, visually strong and well composed film. While I feel there is something lacking overall it is frequently as breathlessly exciting as the virtual reality world it depicts. If you see it- and you should- find the biggest 3D IMAX screen you can!

Spoilers from here…


Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool review

An unlikely sounding though true story of how Oscar winning actress Gloria Grahame fell for a younger actor from Liverpool called Peter Turner. Based on the latter’s book the film works up the slim story into something substantial by virtue of two excellent performances and some cinematic devices along the way. It’s the late 1970s and Turner is in London digs into which Gloria moves while starring in a play. Soon they become more than just friends, the large age difference seeming to make no difference as her zest for fun and his mischievous calm seem to meet in a perfect place. They bond initially over disco dancing and end up as lovers and more.


Top of the Pops 23 March 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. John Peel: "Well hello there fans and welcome to another Top of the Pops... sorry can we do that again Tony?" Tony [off camera]: "No". David Jensen: "No wait a minute, this is live. It's a live Top of the Pops tonight." John Peel: "Live?"David Jensen: "Oh dear... you know. Like we rehearsed it."John Peel: [mumbles]
David Jensen: "Across the nation tonight. Let's get on with it. Making their Top of the Pops debut tonight, never mind John, it's JoBoxers!"

[21] JoBoxers: Boxerbeat.  Yes Top of the Pops is live but on a Wednesday. The programme has been wrenched from its familiar Thursday night home and wedged unnaturally between A Question Of Sport and Dallas. Suddenly up is down. Ceilings are floors. Hats are shoes. I don't know what to think any more. Actually, Top of the Pops started on Wednesday 1st January 1964 and moved to Thursday in September of the same year. It was moved to Friday in April 1973, for apparently no better reason than BBC1 wanted to show The Virginian on Thursday night. Top of the Pops shuffled back to Thursday when that series of The Virginian ended in September 1973 and then moved to Friday again in September 1974 because BBC1 was desperate to show Chico and the Man to the nation. Evidently the nation didn't take to Chico and the Man because it was quietly moved to BBC2 in October and Top of the Pops returns triumphant to its ancestral seat where it stayed forever and ever and we all lived happily ever after (except for occasional moves to make space for the Olympics, or in tonight's case A Song for Europe). In summary; Top of the Pops has always been on Thursday except for the times it wasn't. Meanwhile, listen to the crowd chanting "beat, beat, beat," as the song starts. Surely The Look's lawyer was tempted to reach for his pen? And keep an eye on lead singer Dig Wayne. He is really chucking that microphone around. He drags it backwards. He pushes it forwards. He drags it backwards and pushes it forwards again. Each time it gets closer and closer to the front of the stage. Until finally, right at the end of the song, he lets it go and it tips forwards and tumbles off the stage.


We leave personal data everywhere

Serious though the personal data breach from Facebook is, it represents the tip of a very big iceberg. If you look into it the fact soon becomes apparent that our personal data trail is left everywhere. From what we search, log into, register on to our credit / debit cards, deliveries, purchases to wherever we go with our smartphones. It would be possible to build an hour by hour picture of what a person did all day.  If the so called Internet of Things takes off then this will intensify so that anyone who made an effort could find out what was happening in your home even if you weren’t there.  This cannot be re-boxed; all we can do now is find a way to ensure it is reasonably safe. What makes it more frustrating for the public is that we have to go through an increasing number of ever more complicated passwords and set ups supposedly to protect our data when in fact it doesn’t seem to. 


Call Me By Your Name review

The buzz about this film it is so loud that if, like me, you missed it at the cinema you probably have overly high expectations as to what to expect. It is true that the narrative- adapted from Andre Aciman’s novel- doesn’t really tell a new story but it does tell the most important story. It is simply about two characters who unexpectedly fall in love but whose relationship can never really pan out. Not a new scenario by any stretch yet rarely is it portrayed with a minimum of associated melodrama and overstated movie-isms. 


Top of the Pops 17 March 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Gary Davies: "Hello, good evening, and welcome to Top of the Pops. The last time I was with you was just a few weeks ago. Tony, when were you last with us?" Tony Blackburn: "The last time I was here Vera Lynn was at number one in the charts, Gary." Gary Davies: "Well at number five in the charts at the moment it's Bananarama." Tony Blackburn: "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."

[5] Bananarama:  Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. Gary Davies is trying to make a hilarious joke, but the boring answer is that Tony Blackburn last appeared barely six months ago on the 30/9/1982 live edition for the 15th anniversary of Radio 1. Before that he really had been off for a while having last hosted a show on 05/04/1979. Unusually Gary Davies and Tony Blackburn are standing in front of the projector screen (on the left hand side of the main Top of the Pops set) rather than in front of the neon logo (on the right of the set) where hosts usually start the show. The reason for this change seems to be so that the Director can set up a shot that pulls back from the hosts to Bananarama. It also means we get a better than normal look at the DJ's exit routine. Davies and Blackburn both turn, place their microphones carefully on the floor, and then leave via the side of the set. During the Bananarama performance a studio microphone is left on and at various points someone (Floor Manager, Tony Guyan?) can be heard shouting instructions. "Get your hands down, is yelled at one point. Followed later by the contradictory, "wave your hands in the air." Make up your mind. Later there's "let me see you clapping, hands in the air," as, presumably, instructions come down from the Director that the audience aren't pretending convincingly to have fun. (John- And they were always careful the viewers never saw the electrodes)


Ad Break #1 Dilly Dilly, Natalie Portman and U

An occasional series looking at ads of the moment.
Bud Light - “Dilly, Dilly”
The best thing for an ad campaign is that it contains a slogan or saying that sticks in people’s heads yet this can also be the worst thing if they don’t actually remember what the advert is for! Bud Light’s latest may be destined for such a fate as it’s tagline is much more prominent on the advert than the product. Though American Bud Light- a sort of weaker version of Bud – seems aimed at European markets with its medieval theme showing a banquet at which people bring gifts for the King in the form of packs of Bud Light. The King accepts these with a call of “dilly, dilly” which is then repeated by the assembled. However one man brings “honeymead” beer that he likes for which he is dispensed to the “pit of misery”. The campaign was created by the Wieden + Kennedy ad agency and launched last August to coincide with the season finale of Game of Thrones and there’s a second ad, not yet seen in the UK, that follows up the story in the Pit. A third ad set on a battlefield debuted at the Superbowl last month. 


Papadopoulos and Sons review

A feelgood movie about the recession sounds unlikely but this film, shot in just 40 days, is presented as such. Written, directed and financed by independent filmmaker Markus Markou it’s the story of millionaire entrepreneur Harry Papadopoulos whose plans to build a shopping precinct are derailed by financial woes to the point where he loses his fortune and even his mansion. His estranged wayward brother Spiros comes to the rescue with the idea that the family live and work with him reviving the fish and chip shop their parents used to run. Such a plot could be a serious –even tragic- film or a comedy of manners but Markou choses neither option. Instead he presents as realistic a scenario as he can on what is clearly a low budget. It’s more reminiscent of a TV drama than a big screen outing but has its heart in the right place.


The return of milk bottles!

It’s funny how we’re often told that such and such a thing will be obsolete by a certain date and yet somehow it endures. Vinyl was a recent one; a seemingly moribund format that has enjoyed quite a revival in recent years. Now one of the most surprising rebounds turns out to be….milk bottles! You wot? Yes, milk bottles. For the past twenty years people in the UK have increasingly bought their milk in plastic containers from shops. It’s cheaper and more convenient because you can just chuck the container away in the recycling bin afterwards. However it now turns out that far too many of these plastic containers end up in the sea becoming a pollutant. None other than Sir David Attenborough, the nation’s wisest man warned in Blue Planet 2 about the harm caused by disposable plastic products and this has helped fuel large numbers of people reverting to having their milk delivered in glass bottles. It’s not just Sir Dave of course, the trend back towards glass bottles was already underway due to an increased awareness of the environmental dangers of plastic containers. 


Top of the Pops 3 March 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. John Peel: "Hello again. We're the joy boys of radio." David Jensen: "Chasing electrons to and fro." John Peel: "Welcome to another Top of the Pops. Lots of treats again this week including the Top Ten Video Show." David Jensen: "Our opening melody comes from Icehouse and Hey Little Girl."
[17] Icehouse: Hey Little Girl. The David Jensen/John Peel double act continues to develop. Tonight the pair are wearing jumpers with the others name on the front. Rather unfairly John Peel's jumper reads "Kid Jensen," when David (that's Mr Jensen to you) dropped the Kid moniker ages ago. In case you were wondering, that "joy boys of radio" comment is a reference to Ed Walker and Willard Scott of Washington D.C. radio station WRC. (John- Is Chasing Electrons a band? It’s a good band name)


The Death of Stalin review

Armando Iannucci’s inspired reading of real life events following the 1953 death of the USSR’s legendary leader boils down the power struggles that ensued amongst his Central Committee colleagues to a level roughly equivalent to student politics. With killing. The portrayal of the committee members reminds me of those US films about student council elections where vanity and greed is as much drivers as power and with a cast well versed in this sort of comedy the film can’t go wrong. That the Russians banned the movie suggests it hit closer to the truth than they might admit. That neighbouring countries followed suit also suggests that some the apparatus of intimidation employed back in the 1950s is still standing.


American Assassin review

This 2017 film doesn’t actually do anything especially new when it comes to films about exceptional undercover agents with a chip on their shoulder that makes them take untenable risks. The genre presents people who are a breath away from being superheroes except it’s all down to training and bravery rather than strange powers. So Mitch Rapp is the `hero` of what I discovered is a 16 book and counting series of novels created and originally written by Vince Flynn in a somewhat random order. American Assassin is actually the origin novel but was written and published following ten other books set afterwards! 


Weather Or Not

So Britain is about to be hit by the so called “beast from the east”, a chunk of Siberian weather that will bring freezing temperatures, snow and ice. At the end of February! Who would have imagined it? Actually anyone would; it’s still winter and it was more unusual last year when we had very little wintery weather. Yet the imminent arrival of any weather other than calm, mild and settled seems to set off panic alarms amongst people while the country’s media fall over themselves to declare it as if they’re talking about the end of the world. Whether the weather is an “Artic blast” or a “tropical heatwave” one thing we can definitely be assured of is that it’s a “crisis” and – oh yes – there will be “chaos”.
An Arctic Blast. This bloke should be wearing a hat.


Top of the Pops 17 Feb 1983

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "Hi folks! Welcome to Top of the Pops! Gary just give me two names of any bands that are on the show tonight." Gary Davies: [talking over Peter Powell, in a very unprofessional way] We've got Madness, Fun Boy Three..."

Peter Powell: " And Tears For Fears! And Haysi Fantayzee! Gary Davies: "And we're going to get underway with Wham! and Wham Rap!" Peter Powell: "Yes!"

[8] Wham!: Wham Rap! Peter Powell and Gary Davies dash off through the recently revealed secret DJ exit from the Top of the Pops set. Peter Powell, being the old hand, knows how to do this off camera. Gary Davies isn't quick enough. His exit can be witnessed at the back of shot. It looks like he's moving a little too fast for the shiny studio floor. He stumbles a bit. This is a breakthrough performance for Wham! Andrew Ridgeley finally gets a close-up (about two minutes into the performance). Proof positive that Top of the Pops now considers him half as important to the band as backing singers Dee C. Lee and Shirlie Holliman (keep up, Pepsi won't replace Dee C. Lee until sometime after Club Tropicana); who get two close-ups. For those keeping score Andrew Ridgeley's got some way to go before he's considered as important as the Greek chorus who get to say lines like "D.H.S.S." and "yeah." They get a mighty seven close-ups. A feature in the Smash Hits Personal File must follow soon.