Key Posts Category
THE BBC say it’s 60 million while The Guardian wrote that it was 120 million, The Scotsman, no doubt proud of the band’s Scottish roots, guessed 300 million.Whatever the amount was the Bay City Rollers certainly sold a lot of records although they still grumble to this day about how little they saw of the profits. Forty years ago the band was just about to become massive. The lead singer, Les McKeown, who was just eighteen when he joined the band late in 1973, had his name inked onto a million school bags and notebooks. He was the Harry Styles of the day, maybe even more popular – there was less music to go round in those days.
FOLLOWING the incredible box-office and critical success of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), the slasher film quickly became the go-to-format for up-and-coming horror filmmakers in the 1980s. These films had titles like Happy Birthday to Me (1981) and My Bloody Valentine (1981), and most of them concerned bloody massacres on holidays.
Although critics denigrated these slasher films as “dead teenager movies” or “knife-kill” films and slammed their apparent sense of misogyny, and formulaic story lines, the slasher craze of the epoch actually produced a number of great and memorable horror films.
WHEN eight-track tapes hit the shelves in the latter part of the Sixties, it was seen as a godsend. All of a sudden, you could listen to your music collection in your car, or out-and-about with the new boom-boxes. There were even rumors it would completely replace the vinyl record. Yet, just over a decade later, the humble cassette tape was able to drive it to extinction. Its heyday lasted from 1968-1975, and by 1980 the poor eight-track was in history’s dustbin, a sort-of laughable derelict from the Seventies.
So what happened? Here are 8 reasons for its untimely demise.
OTHER than a brief Capri pants fad during the early Sixties, women rarely wore pants in public. It was dresses and skirts only. Then the Women’s Liberation movement hit its stride in the Seventies, and the ladies started to get in on the pants action. Just as the miniskirt had been a proclamation of the youth culture, pants became a proclamation of gender equality. If men can wear hideous corduroy bell-bottoms, by God, the women can too!
WE need to talk abut Khat. We’ll begin with Khat the cat, the three and a year-and-a-half-old pet who attacked his human hosts. He clawed the face of its owner’s sister, tore into the arms and legs of its owner’s mother and gashed the legs of its owner’s young brother.
The owner says: “He’s never been an aggressive cat, he’s never been mean, he just flipped.”
The British State would argue that Khat is a product of nominative determinism, the process by which your name explains your actions. It would argue that Khat has been driven mad by the drug that last month UK home secretary Theresa May said would be banned.
Why ban it? What is khat?
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Sod the Big Allotment Challenge, bring on the Great British Moan Off
THE BBC seems intent on presenting Britain as a land of twee crafting-obsessed hobbyists whose interests differ only marginally from those of 1950s housewives and labourers making the most of their one day off before the moustachioed factory boss forces them to sever another figure in the lathe. Having only recently finished another bombardment from The Great British Sewing Bee and it’s less soporific sibling The Great British Bakeoff, BBC2 has once again reheated the format for the less boastfully titled Big Allotment Challenge.
A WHILE back, we covered some pretty peculiar games; however, there still remain board game curiosities which cry out for your attention. It seems there was no limit to the imagination (and debilitating insanity) of board game manufacturers. For every winner (i.e. Monopoly, Risk, Candyland) there were a hundred losers. Here’s a look at some of those losers.
No doubt, this board game is a staple in the NSA break rooms. “Video Village” has such a nice sound for a mass surveillance system; much better than London’s “Ring of Steel”. How fitting that it shows a woman behind bars.
THIS Easter, take care not to be left behind at the Rapture. It can, of course, happen at any time. It happened in 2011. Well, it could have done. And when it does, boy will they be right and you be wrong.
The Rapture is believed true. It is an end-times event when all believers in Christianity will be taken from the earth by God into heaven. The rest will be left behind (including the pets).
In preparation, we’ve compiled a library of Rapture Guide Videos. Study them hard. Questions later:
In 1952, Rapture film The Missing Christians hit the movie theatres. YouTuber Robert Smith tells us:
THE MISSING CHRISTIANS is set in the home of a devoted Christian widow and her three children. The story opens with the mother and two younger children leaving a tent revival meeting where a large number have responded to the invitation. At home, they discuss the meeting until after Norma, the elder daughter has returned from a night of pleasure. Norma ridicules the thought of revivals. Being tired and emotionally disturbed, she gets to her room, falls across her bed and is soon asleep and dreaming.
An angel appears and talks to her. In the dream the Rapture of the Church takes place. Her mother, sister and brother change, rise and join others who disappear in the clouds.
Her dream continues as she and Mrs. Store, a wealthy socialite, confer in the church office of Rev. Wise, pastor of a liberal church. Norma denounces him for his deceptive preaching.
The scene of the ten virgins with the pleading and remorse of the five foolish should sober any careless heart and mind. Norma awakens from her dream—recognizes her lost condition— confesses her sins—prays and receives Christ as her Saviour. The climax is thrilling as she realizes she is saved and thanks God for her new found joy. The film closes as she and her mother embrace while the choir sings “Softly and Tenderly”.
In The Blink Of Eye…. YouTuber WordNews has the details:
This is a trailer …the Movie was released 2009 about a vacationing detective begins to suspect that the Biblical apocalypse is at hand after being forced to relive the day of the Rapture time and again. Detective David Ramsey (David A.R. White, his wife, and their friends are cruising the Sea of Cortez in a luxury yacht when nearly everyone aboard vanishes without a trace. Confused, Detective Ramsey contacts his captain (Eric Roberts) and learns that the boat captain and his boss may have ties to the underworld. Suddenly, Detective Ramsay wakes up in a cold sweat. Initially determining that it was all just a dream, his relief turns to anxiety when the day begins playing out exactly as he had just envisioned it. What forces are dictating this strange occurrence, and what will happen if Detective Ramsay manages to solve the perplexing mystery before the cycle starts all over again….the moral of the movie is to be ready for the rapture …Jesus makes it clear in John chapter 3 how to go to heaven and to be ready for the rapture – you must be born again…To be born again is to admit to Jesus who is God and savior that you fall short of being perfect and need to be forgiven…right now let Jesus know you are sorry for anything you have done wrong meaning any sin and to come into your life as God and savior…..AMEN
Apocalypse: Caught in the Eye of the Storm. ChurchCinema has the blurb:
Army after army descends into the Valley of Armageddon in central Israel. Millions of people suddenly vanish. It’s the media event of the century and the entire world is glued to their television sets. At that very moment, a great charismatic leader arises and performs a miracle of astounding dimensions. Is he the long-awaited Messiah? The whole world is convinced that he is.It’s a time of great tribulation and only Bronson Pearl (Richard Nester)and Helen Hannah (Leigh Lewis), the two co-anchors of the World News Network, are in a position to uncover the truth. But as Helen discovers the true identity of this great leader, she is torn between her deep love for Bronson and her new-found knowledge about Christ and the antichrist.
Final: The Rapture
End Times laughs on Rapture-Palooza:
When the Apocalypse actually happens and a billion people are raptured up to heaven, Lindsey (Kendrick) and her boyfriend Ben (Daley) are left behind in suburban Seattle. The young couple try their best to lead a normal life surrounded by talking locusts, blood rain showers, and pot-smoking wraiths. But when the Anti-Christ (Robinson) makes his home base in their neighborhood, Lindsey finds herself the object of his affection. With the help of her family, friends, and a lawn-mowing zombie neighbor, the young couple set off to stop the Anti-Christ from taking her as his bride… and just maybe, saving the world in the process.
We survived the 1970s:
Sunday Morning Rapture
And Lights, Camera, Rapture!
If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971)
Based on the preachings of Reverend Estus W. Pirkle, this film warns what will happen to America if the citizens do not give up their depraved ways and turn to God and Jesus for salvation. Communist infiltrators, the “footmen”, will pave the way for an all out invasion by weakening our will through TV, dance, rock music and alcohol. Once the invasion begins, the new Communist government will proceed to round up all Christians, and either execute them or force them to undergo re-education. Only by putting their faith in the bible where it belongs, says Rev. Pirkle, can America resist the coming Red Menace.
A Distant Thunder. It’s 1978….
HAVE you seen Heaven Is For Real, the film about the boy who “had a trip to Heaven”.
Sony Pictures acquired had actioned its rights on the book Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip To Heaven And Back, written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent:
Burpo is a small town Nebraska pastor whose four-year old son, Colton, nearly died during an emergency appendectomy operation. As he recovered, Colton began telling his family that he went to Heaven, actually looking down at the doctors operating on him and his family praying in the waiting room. And he slowly began telling them details about his miscarried sister, and his long-dead grandfather, none of which he should have known about. He then revealed to his family what it was like during his visit in Heaven, before he was sent back to his family. He’s now 11.
THE Liberal Democrats claim they had no idea Sir Cyril Smith, the Labour mayor of Rochdale (his mother wash his mayoress) who became the town’s Liberal MP and that Party’s chief whip, was a pervert. In response to current Rochdale Labour MP Simon Danczuk’s book on Smith, Smile for the Camera: the Double Life of Cyril Smith, a LibDem spokesman says:
“Cyril Smith’s acts were vile and repugnant and we have nothing but sympathy for those whose lives he ruined. His actions were not known to or condoned by anyone in the Liberal Party or the Liberal Democrats.”
None of them?
THROUGHOUT cinematic history, our most beloved monsters — from Dracula and The Wolf Man to Freddy Krueger and King Kong — have returned again and again to haunt our nightmares, and our movie screens.
In any horror movie or monster movie sequel, the primary challenge is thus always quite specific: how do we get our beloved monster back after so thoroughly and completely defeating him at the end of the previous movie? How do we snatch defeat from what seemed like victory?
Some movie franchises have proven cleverer than others at threading this particular needle, finding fresh and inventive ways to get our beloved monsters stalking again.
WITH every fall season in the US comes another batch of TV shows doomed to failure. The history of American television is littered with roadkill – most of which we have collectively forgotten. Well, no longer. I have personally scooped up the scattered remains of nine TV shows to share with you. It won’t be pleasant, but you can feel good that it’s all in the name of historical preservation.
Co-Ed Fever (1979)
Animal House was such a big hit at the box office, TV networks thought they could translate that frat house magic for the small screen. They were horribly, horribly mistaken.
ABC’s Delta House was cancelled quickly, but that was nothing compared to Co-Ed Fever which was cancelled after one – count’em ONE – episode!
Turn On! (1969)
Of all the shows that bear the dubious distinction of being cancelled after one episode, the most infamous is the Laugh-In rip-off called Turn-On. It premiered a year after Laugh-In and was actually cut mid episode for being too raunchy. It is the shortest running TV show ever. Complaints poured in as the show was running, and the executives actually decided to pull the plug on the series within the first 17 minutes.
All That Glitters (1977)
Norman Lear (All in the Family, Mary Hartman, Good Times) once again tries to push the envelope. Here we have women who work for a powerful corporation, Globatron; meanwhile, the men are portrayed like 1950s housewives. Oh, so very controversial. Did I mention Linda Gray plays a transgender character?
I think the “testing the limits of convention” shtick had worn thin by the end of the Seventies. People got tired of being challenged, and just wanted mindless entertainment. Thus, All That Glitters was an abysmal failure, and the A-Team a triumph.
Perhaps the worst thing to come of this train wreck is Neil Diamond’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” When Norman Lear decided against using it as a theme song, Neil took it to Babs for a duet. Sadly, she agreed, and mankind has been haunted by this sapfest forever after.
What a Country! (1986)
Remember Yakov Smirnoff? He was the exceedingly not funny Russian comedian constantly pointing out the differences between the US and Soviet Union. His sitcom was the same miserable punchline repeated over and over of misunderstandings of American culture.
“At the grocery store: “Powdered milk, powdered eggs, baby powder . . . what a country!”
Somebody kill this man.
Bridget Loves Bernie (1972)
The production company, Screen Gems, had been churning out light-hearted sitcoms throughout the Sixties with great success (I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Hazel, Gidget, Hazel, Dennis the Menace). Now it was the Seventies – time to get serious and topical. Screen Gems put away childish things and tried for something akin to All in the Family. Bernie is a Jewish cab driver and his wife, Bridget is an Irish-Catholic. Hilarity ensues!
Not surprisingly, the show was a flop and Screen Gems folded and absorbed into Columbia. Even worse, American audiences had their feathers ruffled and Jewish and Catholic groups publicly panned it. The difference: All in the Family openly tried to be confrontational, and people were happy to take a ride through its hazardous terrain; whereas, Bridget Loves Bernie tried to act like Bewitched, like nothing was difficult to swallow, meanwhile playing the card of being “edgy” by having an interfaith marriage.
To add to the mess, the show wasn’t even remotely funny, and the characters were wholly unlikable. Ultimately, the show was doomed anyway. Bernie thought he was too good for television, and eventually Meredith Baxter would publicly reveal he was abusive to her. A disaster in every conceivable way.
I Had Three Wives (1985)
Unfortunately, they aren’t his wives all at the same time – that might’ve actually been interesting. Instead, we get a douche bag detective and his three hot ex-wives (who, let’s face it, never would have been attracted to this loser in the first place). Predictably stale hi-jinx ensue.
When the Whistle Blows (1980)
Synopsis: Unfunny construction worker misfits commit tomfoolery much to the chagrin of their even less funny bosses. Even copious amounts of eye candy in the form of Susan Buckner couldn’t save this dud.
Here’s an episode complete with original commercials entitled “Miss Hard Hat USA” guest starring Barbi Benton.
Shadow Chasers (1985)
Of the 106 shows on the 3 big US networks in the 1985-86 season, Shadow Chasers finished dead last. It was up against a couple heavy hitters, Magnum PI and The Cosby Show, so maybe it deserved better. The series was created by Brian Grazier (Imagine Entertainment co-founder and the man behind Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind). So, perhaps it had potential – although, this clip seems to prove otherwise….
The Two of Us (1981)
A single mother places an ad for a housekeeper, and who should answer but Peter Cook. What follows is an endless stream of jokes highlighting the differences between stereotypical British culture and stereotypical American culture. It’s so tiresome and predictable it’ll have you yearning for Yakov Smirnoff…. and I don’t need to tell you that if you’re yearning for Yakov, you’re in a very dark place indeed.
THE painter Pablo Picasso once asked who can see the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter.
Popular horror films and television programs have long highlighted all three possibilities, but focused most intently, perhaps, on the mirror.
EASTER is upon us. How will you celebrate? Chocolate and sweet treats are traditional methods. Let’s take a look at some of the worst Easter sweets for Jesus, which all taste of regret and guilt:
Easter Sunday Munchies
Jesus with the flip top head
An 8Bit Easter
Celebrate Easter and your childhood gaming memories at the same time. You used to search for a princess. On the first Easter, Mary searched for someone much more important. Please spread the word! Share on Facebook and Pinterest. Let others in your church know about this 8bit Easter shirt and help us raise funds for our church!!
The Real Easter Egg (from the UK!)
Inside is a 24 page Easter story book, a Belgian milk chocolate egg and pack of Swiss Chocolate organic Chunky Buttons. A charity donation is made from each sale. There are three crosses on the front and under the lid there is a quote from the bible – the resurrection text from Mark chapter 16. £3.99 each delivered in boxes of 6.
A special edition Real Easter Egg. Inside is an olive wood holding cross from Bethlehem, an Easter message an extra thick Belgian Chocolate gold foiled egg (180g) and Meaningful milk Chocolate bar with a hint of natural orange (100g). The box has gold foil highlights and Celtic crosses. £9.99 each delivered in single boxes.
Inside are 20 Midi eggs and 20 copies of the Easter story 8 page booklet. Midi-egg foil reads ‘The Real Easter Egg. Christ is Risen.’ Ideal for church services, assemblies or events where you have a budget of £1 per person. £19.99 each delivered in single boxes.
Spotter: The American Jesus
Spotter: Christian Nightmares
LADIES – no need to fight. There are shoes aplenty in this article, so there are more than enough for the both of you. Here is a cornucopia of retro footwear adverts that should keep everyone satisfied for a while. From hippy clogs to funky sidewinders fit for the most stylish of 70s pimps, they’re all here. Some of the advertisements are blatantly sexist, some are just plain odd, but there is much fun to be had. Enjoy!
Each Dexter shoe comes with a hotel coupon and a free condom. Plus, the shoes are highly durable and waterproof in case you’re going to move on from Casual Dex to Fetish Dex.
For much of the Seventies, no brand embodied the Black Power philosophy as much as Flagg Brothers and Eleganza. They offered the very best in pimpwear – I’m talkin’ ermine collars, big ass heels and pearl handle canes. African-American fashions were bold and flamboyant during this decade – if the jive-turkeys didn’t like it, they could kiss their black ass.
A completely nude woman hopelessly in love with a guy’s shoes. Is this advert pure genius, or pure sexist? I’d posit that it’s a lot of both.
It’s become a cliché to say that fashion is circular, but it is absolutely true. The 1970s clogs above would have been absolutely mocked and ridiculed in the 80s and 90s. In 1986, you would have been stoned to death and your entirely family imprisoned for sliding into a platform mule. Today, it’s the entirely fashionable…. although, embroidered fruit still hasn’t made a comeback. In due time.
At first this just seems incredibly odd; however, I guess there are stranger things than choosing to paint your shoes. Apparently, they even had “animal textures” – for instance, you could spray on lizard skin. (And at that point, I would start to question your mental condition.)
Amazingly, someone along the way thought having a nude middle-aged man on a ladder was a good way to sell slippers. But, before you start feeling too sorry for yourself for being subjected to this – just think about what a view those poor firemen are getting!
Very few people know this, but it’s a fact that Nostradamus actually predicted the arrival of the denim boot.
In the land with a climate opposite to Babylon there will be great shedding of blood.
Heaven will seem unjust both on land and sea and in the air.
Sects, famine, kingdoms, denim boots, plagues, and confusion shall rule the Earth.
– Century I, Quatrain 55
What significance it has remains to be seen, but the mysterious denim boot will no doubt play a major role in the apocalypse.
It says the footwear was designed especially for Pat Boone. I’m assuming that means it will never become unclean and remain for all time as pure as the wind driven snow. In this advert, Pat demonstrates the magic of Velcro – “the closure invention of the century”. There’s even directions for proper Velcro use: “to close, press together – to open, peel apart.”
These slippers come in a variety of colors: Spring Green, Royal Blue, Cocoa Brown, and Glowing Nuclear Waste Orange. All Minute Crochet Slippers are machine washable and stain resistant, except the orange, which may cause birth defects, tumors and long term environmental devastation.
The infamous “egg chair” was perhaps mankind’s greatest creation, yet it fell out of favor by the end of the 1970s. You were comfortably enclosed within this upholstered ovum, and some even had speakers inside…. a toker’s throne, you might say.
A guy in a leisure suit is framed by a ring of godawful footwear – Worst selfie ever.
This seems to be nothing more than a cheap and shameless ploy to grab our attention by having us look up this chick’s skirt. In a perfect world, all adverts would be this cheap and shameless. I’ll wager this particular shoe advert had more than its share of men examining it close-up for any glimpse of immodesty.
And speaking of cheap and shameless… ¡Ay, caramba!
FIVE weeks after the horrors of Hillsborough, when 96 Liverpool fans died at the FA Cup semi-final, the mighty Reds won the FA Cup. The final was a Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, played at Wembley Stadium, London, on 20 May 1989. Liverpool won 3–2 after extra time, with goals from John Aldridge and two from Ian Rush. Stuart McCall scored both Everton goals.
Liverpool were on for the Double. Kenny Dalglish’s team needed only to avoid losing the season’s final game by a two goal margin to win the League title.
That final match had been originally scheduled to be played on 23 April. However, the deaths at Hillsborough had caused the Liverpool-Arsenal fixture to be postponed, with no suitable date found until after the FA Cup Final.
So. On May 26, 1989, England’s dominant team hosted Arsenal, the team needing to win by that two goal margin, a result the Gunners hadn’t achieved in years. The title would be decided on a Friday night. The Gunners did it, of course, with Michael Thomas scoring the title clinching goal in injury time.
I was there. Indulge me. It wasn’t just the shock of seeing Arsenal win the title that made that warm night unforgettable. It wasn’t just the joy of being able to run on to the pitch and ruffle Paul Merson’s hair. It was the Liverpool fans. I had watched the match from the Main Stand at Anfield, me and one friend having lost a draw for tickets. While everyone else from the coach stood with the Arsenal fans, we were with the Liverpool supporters.
As that second goal went in, and we cascaded madly down the steps to the pitch, Liverpool fans congratulated us. As we stood at the pitch-side, no policeman shoved us back or grabbed us in a headlock. No truncheons were drawn.
Everyone seemed to stay in the ground. They sang Walk On. And we joined in. Fans mingled on the Anfield Road End. There was no trouble. Seats were ripped up as souvenirs. Liverpool fans helped.
Was this the game that a 1985 Sunday Times editorial had called “a slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums”? It was. But the Times was only right about the stadiums, neglected and inadequate. In May 1985, the Bradford City stadium fire in May 1985 killed 56 people.
In 1985, 38 Italian fans died following a charge by Liverpool supporters at the Heysel stadium. The dead were killed when a faulty wall collapsed.
So. Why were Liverpool fans given the Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough while their less well-supported opponents Nottingham Forest stood in the bigger end of the ground? Because that was how the police wanted it.
The deaths were accidental. But they were the result of a policy that portrayed and treated football fans as scum.
The elite never did understand football. They just use it – still do – to empathise with the working classes and sell TV packages. Anyone who blamed football fans for Hillsborough, should have been there that night at Anfield.
The elite will tell you how sorry they are for the 96 dead and that “lessons have been learnt”. Government and police will bow their heads in grief, sharing the mood with those who lost loved ones and survived the horror. And the elite will hope that the anger will melt away. They will tell Liverpool that its people are mawkish for holding onto the pain. See how we all lament your loss, say the powerful. You don’t need to sue for compensation and justice. We feel your pain. We’re all in this together. We got over it. So can you. Stop wallowing.
More lies. More control.
The 96 who died at the match were not killed by hooliganism. Their deaths were a result of those in power treating football supporters as a problem to be caged and whipped into line. The 96 who died were killed by police acting on Government orders to control the mob. Don’t help them. Just prevent a riot.
As the injured were being treated, the police stood guard lest distraught, shell-shocked and injured fans attack the dying.
As the fans were being crushed in their pens, police lined up military style and shoved them back into the wire cages.
As the fans tried to escape, the police didn’t send for the 40 ambulances parked by the ground. They sent for the attack dogs. They then let one ambulance drive in to help.
This was a result of football fans being used to test new methods in keeping order. Margaret Thatcher’s Government wanted fans – what one Tory called “the yob class” – to carry ID cards. Baron Peter Hill-Naugton, admiral of the fleet, said football was “a slum game played by louts in front of hooligans”. Football fans were the Untermenschen on which all new methods of control could be tested. One doctor present at Hillsborough said the only difference ID cards could have made that day was to make it easier to identify the young corpses.
The police will tell you that all-seater stadium and filming the fans with CCTV prevents another Hillsborough. That’s balls. It was the police treating the football fans as animals that created the deaths of so many. The police have just found new ways to control the mob. You can now be ejected for swearing or saying something offensive. The culture of fear and loathing continues.
Anyone who went to a football match in the 1980s will understand that the Liverpool fans who died could have been them. Amid all the guff about the “football family”, this is one truth that binds all fans.
ON August 19, 1975, the third England v Australia Test at Headingley was abandoned following vandalism. A man who said he was a supporter of the George Davis campaign telephoned BBC radio London and claimed the group was responsible. Slogans were daubed outside the ground and the wicket was vandalised with a bit of digging and poured oil.
The Test was declared a draw robbing England of the chance to win back the Ashes and the trophy.
THERE”S always a good time to be had touring through old computer books, especially if there’s lots to point at and laugh condescendingly. Technology has advanced so exponentially that a 1980s computer textbook may as well be ancient Sanskrit written on palm leaves. Suffice it to say, things have come a long way in just a short amount of time, and it’s a lot of fun to look back. So, let’s jump into Living With Computers by Patrick G. McKeown (1986).
“A complete computer system – user, software, CPU, internal memory, secondary storage, keyboard, monitor, and printer – is shown here.”
Admit it Guardianista Handwringers, You Love Game of Thrones For The Sex And Violence…Just Like The Rest Of Us
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Admit it Guardianista handwringers, you love Game of Thrones for the sex and violence…just like the rest of us
THAT irritating rubbing noise you can hear is the handwringing from British TV reviewers who love their restarted weekly dose of Game of Thrones but must make sure to tell their readers how appalled they are by the objectification of women and the gratuitous violence. That they remain surprised that the fourth season of the show for which the neologism “sexposition” was coined hasn’t suddenly converted to Guardian approved chin-stroking and Nordic knitwear covered leads is a little baffling.
NOT so long ago we covered the most depressing songs ever recorded, but there’s a big difference between depressing and sappy. A depressing song can actually be quite good; the artist intends to elicit sadness and it works. “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan is a fine example, as is Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle”. Things turn sappy when it becomes excessively sentimental. Maybe the lyrics are transparently gooey, or the notes are sung to exaggerate the emotion. Take, for instance, the Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt song “I Don’t Know Much”:
I don’t know much
But I know I love you
That may be
All I need…. to know, whoaohohohah
You all know this misty-eyed classic. You half expect Linda to break down into convulsive sobs at song’s end. Yet, it still doesn’t rise to the level of sap needed for a spot on this list. The reason: We can’t go calling every romantic ballad “sappy”. Just as depressing songs have their place, so do overtly romantic songs. Perhaps, the best way to illustrate sap at its worst is by example. So, here we go…
10. “All Out Of Love” by Air Supply (1980)
They may be all out of love, but there’s still plenty of cheese to go around. Indeed, Air Supply made quite a successful career smothering the early eighties in saccharine sincerity. Their tracks were perfect for couples skating at the roller rink, but that’s where their usefulness ended. To listen to an Air Supply album the whole way through is like passing through a cloud of schmaltz.
9. “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie (1984)
Lionel Ritchie (or as I like to call him, Sappy McSapperstein) left his funk roots behind when he departed from the Commodores in favor of a solo career drenched in sentimental slush. No doubt, Ritchie could craft a beautiful melody, but they are dripping with sap. It’s a shame he couldn’t add even a little unvarnished edge to his 80s schmaltzfests.
8. “Clair” by Gilbert O’Sullivan (1972)
This song is just so precious it’s impossible to criticize. It’s like a warm buttery blanket of sentimental lovey-dovey-ness. Gilbert wrote the song for his manager’s daughter, whom he babysat. How can I complain about such an innocent lullaby…. yet, it’s saccharine levels are so high, listeners are in danger of developing Type II Diabetes. You have been duly warned.
7. “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro (1968)
There’s nothing wrong with sad songs. “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian and “Ode to Billy Joe” by Bobbie Gentry are perfect examples of songs that had sad stories to tell, but they were also meaningful and even profound on some level. In stark contrast, “Honey” has nothing to say except just how sh***y it was that his wife died.
And speaking of songs about dead wives…
6. “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphy (1975)
My apologies to those who hold this song dear, but this is just dreadful. “Wildfire” is 4 minutes and 47 seconds of weepy drivel. Michael Martin Murphy makes Barry Manilow seem edgy and cynical.
And if you just can’t get enough of dead spouse music, I recommend “Daisy a Day” by Judd Strunk (1973).
5. “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond (1982)
There’s been just so many sappy songs over the years, it’s difficult to cherry pick; I could have made this a Top 100 list and still not scratch the surface. “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone, “Careless Whisper” by Wham, and “Send in the Clowns” by Judy Collins would all qualify. Then I remembered the saptastic “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Streisand and Neil Diamond, which led me to the frighteningly cheesy “Heartlight” – a song literally inspired by the movie E.T. It simply doesn’t get much sappier than this, folks.
4. “Don’t Give Up On Us” by David Soul (1976)
When Soul wasn’t starring in gritty TV crime dramas (Starsky & Hutch) or gritty cinematic crime dramas (Magnum Force), David Soul was dishing up one of the sappiest tracks ever recorded. Scientific studies have demonstrated that bees are actually attracted to the saccharine tones of this song. Indeed, chemical analysis of the 12” vinyl single of “Don’t Give Up On Us” was found to contain trace quantities of fructose. Sounds crazy, but it’s all true.
3. “There Will Be Sad Songs” by Billy Ocean (1986)
This one gets bonus points for being a sappy song about sappy songs. But, now I’m faced with a question: which decade excelled in sappiness the most? I would say the 1980s were the Golden Age of Sap. In the 1970s, soft rock flourished, but it only rarely had the sugary outer-coating that 80s artists dripped on their songs so lovingly. In other words, 70s soft rock was about getting high and introspective and taking it down a notch; whereas, 80s pop was a damn schmaltzapalooza.
2. Every Power Ballad Ever Recorded by Hair Metal Bands
I use “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” by Tuff to illustrate, but this could just as well be any hair metal power ballad. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison, “When the Children Cry” by White Lion, “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” by Cinderella, “I Remember You” by Skid Row… the list could go on forever. There was something very un-metal about these hair metal bands. Not only did they look like androgynous hookers, their music was more akin to Streisand than it was Maiden.
1. “Feelings” by Morris Albert (1975)
Is it any surprise that the Grand Poobah of sappy love songs makes an appearance on this list? “Feelings” combined the traditional cheeseball ballad with the corny flakiness of the lounge act and created a monster. Children of the Seventies well remember the horror of hearing this come on the car radio. Despite urgent pleas to turn it off, our parents would sing along instead. Oh, the humanity!
And on that note, I think the perfect ending for this list has to be “Feelings” as sung by The Bionic Woman. Enjoy.
FOUR movies strong, and spanning three decades (the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s), the cinematic Alien saga — consisting of Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) — is renowned for its titular creature, one of the most terrifying silver screen boogeymen of all time.
Given the nature of this franchise’s hostile (and perfect?) monster, it’s no surprise that the death scenes featured throughout the saga are frequently terrifying, bloody, and brilliantly-orchestrated.
Yet the truly memorable death scenes possess another quality as well. They’re shocking. These scenes strike with a combination of terror, disgust, sorrow, and surprise, leaving a permanent imprint on the viewer’s mind.
For a death scene to be considered shocking, it must be one that the audience can’t see coming. In other words, we expect that Colonial Marines fighting aliens by the pack are going to die, or that confused convicts running from a monster in a dark corridor will come to a bad end.
WRITING on Peaches Geldof in the Guardian, Hadley Freeman says ‘The Geldofs were Britain’s first celebrity family”. The article is called:
‘Beyond pain’: Peaches Geldof, Paula Yates and one family’s epic suffering”
Epic suffering? We don’t know the family any more than Freeman does, but we imagine their suffering at untimely deaths of loved ones – Peaches’ mother Paula Yates, her partner Michael Hutchence (whose orphaned daughter has been raised by Bob Geldof) and now the second oldest daughter of three – though terrible for the nearest and dearest are no more epic than what many families have endured. But it’s this family’s fame that attracts the hyperbole and acres of news coverage, not the individuals.
HERE are four albums which serve as starting points to murder stories. They range from factual to dodgy at best, but they are all interesting. The four stories include: (1) A Sonny Bono wannabe turned nurse killer, (2) an ex-stripper ventriloquist who witnesses the JFK assassination, (3) a fairy tale turned horror story, and (4) an urban legend of a screaming nude cover model that just won’t go away. Enjoy!
THE JON & ROBIN ELASTIC EVENT (1967)
Jon & Robin were your standard pop duo of the late Sixties, specializing in groovy bubblegum psychedelia. Jon’s dad owned the record label, Abnak Records; so, naturally, his son was first in line to a recording contract (big mistake). I suppose dear-old-dad wanted them to be the next Sonny & Cher, but, alas, it was not meant to be. “Do it Again a Little Bit Slower” (1967) reached #18 in the US, but proved to be their only whiff of success.
The duo split up shortly thereafter, and poor Jon tried to continue his music career resulting in one failure after another. This ultimately contributed to his mental breakdown and he was checked into Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. This is where fact and fiction intermingle, but the story goes that Jon starting getting it on with a psychiatric nurse. After he was released, they moved in together and started a new chapter in Jon’s life. Unfortunately, that new chapter is entitled “The Prison Years” because Jon murdered her.
.. so, there’s that information. Onward to the next murder.
ERICK & BEVERLY MASSEGEE – AMEN! (1974)
This Beverly Massegee LP has become something of an all-star in the world of bad album covers, but the biggest oddity surrounding this album is not the strangeness of the record, but Beverly herself. Many believe she is actually the Babushka Lady – the woman who filmed JFK up close at the very moment he was assassinated!
Beverly Oliver (maiden name) was once a friend of Jack Ruby, the man who shot Lee Harvey Oswald. Beverly was a singer (and possibly a stripper) at Ruby’s Carousel Club and the adjacent Colony Club. According to her own account, Beverly claims she accompanied Jack Ruby to New Orleans where she met Mafia bosses and was introduced to Lee Harvey Oswald, a friend of Ruby’s (!).
Beverly states that she was the infamous and mysterious Babushka Lady, the closest witnesses to the fatal shot that killed President Kennedy. Further, she claims that she filmed the event, but three days later two men who identified themselves as government agents confiscated her film and never returned it. Here’s an old video of Beverly breaking it down for us…
Unfortunately, much of this is considered nonsense by JFK assassination “experts”. However, it should be noted that Beverly married a pastor and found Jesus, which means all of this must be true, right?
CLAUDINE LONGET – THE LOOK OF LOVE (1967)
Claudine’s early years read like a fairy tale. She was a Vegas showgirl working for Barbara Walters’ father. One day, her car breaks down and she’s picked up by none other than Andy Williams. Marriage, wealth, a family, a recording contract, and an acting career soon followed. It would seem. Claudine Longet had everything a woman could ever want.
The couple were even good friends with Bobby Kennedy. In fact, they were supposed to go to a disco with him the night he was killed. Senator Kennedy told Andy and Claudine that he would make a “little hand gesture” at the end of his televised primary victory speech to let them know he could make it to the disco. The couple watched Kennedy’s speech from their Bel Air home, and when the gesture was made the two hopped out of bed to get ready to head to the disco…. then they heard the shots ring out. Three days later, Andy was singing at his friend’s funeral. The couple would name their 3rd child “Bobby”.
That was 1968…. by 1970 they were legally separated. Claudine and the three kids moved in with the famous Olympic skier, “Spider” Sabich. He was handsome, talented, and had become quite a popular figure. Robert Redford even played him in a movie (Downhill Racer). But this is where the fairy tale ends. The relationship became tumultuous and in 1975, Spider was fatally shot in the abdomen by Claudine.
Claudine claimed the gun discharged accidentally, and was charged with only negligent homicide. The fact that she was high on cocaine never made it into the trial, nor was the fact that their relationship had become hostile. Subsequently, Claudine spent only 30 days in jail.
THE OHIO PLAYERS – HONEY (1975)
The 70s funk band, The Ohio Players, weren’t exactly known for their family-friendly album covers. Their most notorious is the Honey album which featured a completely naked model (visible when you fold open the cover) shown from the side on the outside cover, and in a much more explicit position in the interior. Legend goes that this girl was brutally murdered and her screams can be heard in their song “Love Rollercoaster”.
Of course, urban legend debunkers have proved this to be complete bullshit. However, it’s a lot more fun to speculate, and you never really know, do you? As to exactly how she was killed and how the screams ever got recorded depends on who’s telling the story. One thing is for certain, the scream sounds completely out of place. It’s blood curdling – not something you’d expect to hear in the background of a lively funk song. The cherry-on-top to this urban legend is that the photography for the album cover was conducted by Richard Fegley, who had also photographed Sharon Tate (insert dramatic music)
One variation of the story goes like this:
The Ohio Players spot a runaway on the street corner and use her for on their album Honey. The album cover depicts the model nude and kneeling in glass while drizzling honey all over herself. The glass was actually fiberglass, and when it mixed with the honey caused the fiberglass to be bonded to the girl’s legs. She tried tearing it off of her legs, but only succeeded in tearing the skin off. She runs into the studio where the band was recording “Love Rollercoaster”. She was screaming at them, claiming she would sue them for everything they were worth. The band’s manager then dragged her outside the studio, and murdered her. Her screaming was audible, even outside the studio, and the band left the sound there as “a sick tribute”.
Sure, this is obviously bologna, but it’s a lot more interesting the much more probable claim that the screams are by the band’s bassist and the model is Ester Cordet. Cordet was a stewardess at the time and the October 1974 Playmate of the Month. Today, she is happily married to a smarmy motivational speaker and self-help author, Robert Ringer. Yuck. Sometimes reality is such a bummer.
WITH Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) shattering box office records this weekend, it is an opportune time to recall that this iconic Marvel superhero — and symbol of non-ironic Americana — has not always been treated very well by Hollywood.
In particular, the 1970s and 1980s proved a difficult span for the patriotic Cap, who had made a career in his Marvel comic-book of smashing Nazis and communists.
But first, the 1944 Republic serial, Captain America, created a new character and origin for the superhero.
IN 1903, The Commonwealth Publishing Company of New York City’s magazine Vanity Fair (no, another one; this one ran from February 1902 to April 1904) produced the article on The Bifurcated Girls: Gay Girls In Trousers.
Dian Hansen notes inHistory of Men’s Magazines:
While France had a well-established men’s magazine industry by 1900, America was just showing its ankles in 1903. A magazine called Vanity Fair (unrelated to the current incarnation) was the raciest thing around, and rooming house loozies the hotties of the time. In this New York, tabloid girls who drank like men might strip down to their petticoats and fall into bed together, exposing their corset cover and stockings to peeping male boarders. The famously loose morals of stage actresses made them popular subjects for these shenanigans, but the biggest thrill of all was bifurcation. “What?” one may well ask. Bifurcation, meaning “split in two”, referred to the contours of a woman’s legs revealed by her donning men’s trousers. Bifurcation was a regular and very popular feature in Vanity Fair, it’s popularity leading to Vanity Fair’s Bifurcated Girls.