Category: Carry On Synthpop (Page 3 of 3)

Carry On Synthpop: And This is GARY NUMAN…

‘The Mighty Boosh’ was a surreal BBC comedy show focussing on the adventures of two zookeepers at Bob Fossil’s Funworld, the socially awkward, jazz enthusiast Howard TJ Moon (Julian Barratt) and the vain, fashion-obsessed Numanoid Vince Noir (Noel Fielding). In the eighth and final episode of series 1 entitled ‘Hitcher’ in 2004, Howard and Vince are tasked with transporting Ivan, a viciously aggressive bear to The Zoo For Animal Offenders.

They have a discussion about what to play on the truck’s stereo. Vince’s first choice is GARY NUMAN… Howard however has different ideas and insists on jazz funk!!! But Ivan The Bear makes his feelings known about jazz funk and actually prefers GARY NUMAN!

The hilarious scene will be resonate with any synthpop fan of a certain age who had to put up with the bully boys at school who thought that meandering sax solos and slap bass runs were the height of musical achievement as they posed in their Fred Perrys, cardigans and loafers!

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK can remember being presented with a smashed up, burnt copy of ‘Cars’ in a paper bag by these lesser forms of pondlife! Ironically after his farewell Wembley concerts in 1981, Numan began to use elements of jazz funk in his music, working with several of its leading exponents like Dick Morrissey, Joe Hubbard and Bill Sharpe!

Numan was referenced several times in ‘The Mighty Boosh’ and even made a guest appearance in the third series for an episode called ‘The Power Of The Crimp’. The dark circle was completed when Numan played ‘The Mighty Boosh Festival’ in 2008.

Meanwhile, GARY NUMAN’s ‘Dead Moon Falling’ Tour takes place in December 2012 and will feature some new songs from the forthcoming ‘Splinter’ album due for release in 2013, plus new reworkings of tracks from 2011′s ‘Dead Son Rising’ album by ALEC EMPIRE, THE DUKE SPIRIT, NINE INCH NAILS’ Alessandro Cortini, THE CHARLATANS’ Tim Burgess and GAZELLE TWIN.

‘The Mighty Boosh: Series 1-3’ DVD Box Set is released by 2entertain

GARY NUMAN 2012 live dates include: Southampton Guildhall (2nd December), Manchester Ritz (3rd December), Edinburgh Picturehouse (4th December), Norwich UEA (5th December – rescheduled from 7th September), Wolverhampton Wulfren Hall (6th December), London Forum (7th December), Nottingham Rock City (8th December)

Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th October 2012

Carry On Synthpop: Das Ist Die Ganze Sache

Comedian and proficient musician Bill Bailey is best known for his rambling post-modern humour and musical parodies.

The targets of his skits have included prog rock, rave, Billy Bragg, Gary Numan, U2 and Chris De Burgh who he famously referred to as “the axis of evil”. In 2011, he headlined the Saturn stage at Sonosphere. His album ‘In Metal’ featured a cover of ‘Scarborough Fair’ in the style of RAMMSTEIN! As well as his stand-up and send-up routines, Bailey is also a well known TV personality appearing in shows such as ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’, ‘Have I Got News for You’ and ‘QI’ as well as sitcom ‘Black Books’.

During his ‘Part Troll’ tour in 2004, he turned his attentions to German innovators KRAFTWERK for some kestral manoeuvres in the dark. Suitably attired and looking not unlike “a Klingon motivational speaker”, the electronic ditty was introduced as one of the Düsseldorf foursome’s “lesser known tracks”! The number is frighteningly realistic, complete with robotic deadpan vocals and ironically even sounds like a real CAMOUFLAGE B-side called ‘Klingklang’. Sung entirely in German, the Teutonic rant is not quite the technological themed tone poem it first appears to be though…“Ja! Das Hokey Kokey!”

For those from non-English speaking nations who are not aware, The Hokey Cokey (or Hokey Pokey as it is known in North America and Australia) is a participation dance with a distinctive if irritating accompanying song. It is often an embarrassing staple at family parties and involves the movement of limbs in a synchronised fashion! Appropriated by Bailey in his surreal manner, the practice is reconstructed to amusing effect.

Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo, Bailey’s tribute was part of a spoof band called AUGENBLICK who also featured Kevin Eldon, John Moloney and Martin Trenaman. The latter was also a member of a punk band BEERGUT 100 with Bailey. After the final gig of the ‘Part Troll’ tour on 1st January 2005, AUGENBLIK reappeared on stage to perform a selection of Bailey’s favourite rock songs!

‘Das Hokey Kokey’ was released as a CD single in 2006 and is now a highly sought after collectors item. So all together now: “Man streckt den linken Arm ein, den linken Arm aus…”

‘Part Troll’ is available on DVD via Universal Pictures UK

Text by Chi Ming Lai
27th August 2012

Carry On Synthpop: “You Can’t Sing, You Can’t Play, You Look Awful…”

Picture the scene…

A hopeless New Romantic styled pop band consisting of two boys and two girls, all suffering the signs of major hairspray abuse.

They sit excitedly as they play their not very good demo tape to a passively unimpressed corporate record company executive.

The song with its immortal couplet “Alien invasion… what on earth are we gonna do?” rather resembles THE HUMAN LEAGUE meeting GARY NUMAN down at the Crazy Dystopian Disco. The band’s leader suddenly proclaims “This is the best bit…” before a hysterical scream blasts from the ghetto blaster!

The bemused record company man, played by actor Gavin Richards who found fame as Terry Raymond in ‘Eastenders’, calls time with one of the UK’s favourite chocolate wafer snacks. He looks at the group and snorts: “You can’t sing, you can’t play, you look awful…YOU’LL GO A LONG WAY!” before allowing himself a wry smile. He poignantly gives off the aura of a modern banker who has just awarded himself a huge bonus despite having just run his organisation down to the ground!

This famous Kit Kat TV commercial entitled ‘Pop Band’ was produced in 1984 and a spot-on satirical observation of how modern fashion and popular culture was being perceived by the ordinary citizen.

All good skits have scarily authentic reference points so thanks to the flamboyant and aspirational (although many would say vapid and greedy) nature of the period, this amusing ad is still remembered and quoted whenever the latest pop wanabee steps into town.

Text by Chi Ming Lai
15th August 2012

Carry On Synthpop: LUFTHANSA TERMINAL Nice Video, Shame About The Song!

‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’ was a popular BBC musical comedy sketch show that ran between 1979 to 1982 featuring Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson.

Satirising current affairs and popular culture, the show often courted controversy with its frank and funny take on world events.

The New Romantic movement was always open to ridicule that was nothing to be scared of so in 1982, the ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’ team happily obliged with relish.

Featuring a spoof Romo band LUFTHANSA TERMINAL, the skit is a rather accurate parody of any number of DAVID BOWIE, VISAGE, ULTRAVOX and CLASSIX NOUVEAUX promo videos with the music replicating the syncopated 16 beat, swimmy synths and octaved bass runs so prevalent on the dancefloors of The Blitz and The Rum Runner.

Lyrically, the verse scarily recreates the dystopia of the period with references to “a honeymoon in East Berlin”, lemmings who “will never swim” and “citizens of sin” while the middle eight talks of a “river of blood where children cry” and being “ruined by an alibi” that “must mean something to me!”

So authentic is the send-up that as in order to confirm it actually is a spoof, the chorus goes all major key accompanied by a sax run that resembles the theme from cop show ‘Cagey & Lacey’!

The programme had many musical targets in its run including KATE BUSH (‘England My Leotard’), OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN (‘Bloody Typical’) and ALTERED IMAGES (‘Happy Nappy Cr*ppy Song’). But one of their best musical send-ups was one of ABBA entitled ‘Supa Dupa’ with the unforgettable opening couplet “one of us is ugly, one of us is cute”!

Rowan Atkinson later found more success with ‘Black Adder’ and ‘Mr Bean’, Mel Smith and Griff Rhy Jones had a long running sketch show ‘Alas Smith and Jones’.

Meanwhile after a stint in the US as part of the ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast, Pamela Stephenson retired from entertainment to become a clinical psychologist. Interestingly, she actually had a real flirtation with the New Romantic movement via an EP entitled ‘Unusual Treatment’ recorded with LANDSCAPE’s Richard James Burgess and John Walters!

However for many men of a certain age, she became their teenage crush after her part in the ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’ sketch parodying the American Express TV ads… kinda lingers!

.The Best of Not The Nine O’Clock News – Volume 1′‘ and ‘The Best of Not The Nine O’Clock News – Volume 2’ DVDs are released by 2 Entertain

Text by Chi Ming Lai
24th July 2012

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