Key Posts | Anorak - Part 32

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Your Official Guide To 1970s CB Slang

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THE INTERNET has created its own slang, saturated with efficient abbreviations and a constantly evolving jargon that only insiders know. As novel as this seems, just a few decades ago there was another trendy lingo sprung from a new technology: CB Slang.

Citizen’s Band radio had been around since the 1950s, but you had to be licensed and had to use a registered call sign. However, once the CB became widely used on the interstates throughout the US, all rules were thrown out the window. Truckers started making up their own handles and things got interesting.

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Posted: 27th, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Technology | Comment (1)

Mods, Rockers, Teds, Irish, Skinheads, Pikeys, Blacks And Jews: The People Banned From Anywhere Decent People Gather

FIFTY years ago, mods and rockers enjoyed the bank holiday weekend by fighting pitched battles at the seaside.




The skirmishes led to public vilification, and sociologists coined the phrase ‘moral panic’ to sum up the hysteria surrounding these modern delinquent ‘folk devils’.

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Posted: 25th, May 2014 | In: Fashion, Flashback, Key Posts, Reviews | Comment

All Broken Up Inside: The Five Most Shocking Character Deaths in Cult-TV History




WILLIAM Shakespeare once wrote that “the valiant taste of death but once,” while cowards die “many times” before their actual demise.

Audiences of cult TV classics might also be said to die many times too, especially if they watch and re-watch beloved characters die in their favorite genre programming.

Over the years, a number of beloved series characters have been unceremoniously offed by series writers, only to leave grieving audiences in shock at their passing.

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Posted: 22nd, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comments (5)

Luis Suarez: Liverpool Fans Can Relax – He’s Not Been Injured By An Act of God

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LOTS of chatter about Luis Suarez not being fit to play for Uruguay in the summer’s World Cup. On Talk Sport, jobbing controversialist Andy Durham says it’s all karma for his handball in the 2010 tournament. But to attribute Suarez’s poorly knee to karma is ignorant.

If the celebrated, talented, decorated footballer’s injury is the product of karma, he must have behaved brilliantly when young to have got himself in a World Cup team. If good moral deeds in a past life shape your place in this one, the wonderfully talented Luis Suarez must have a golden soul.

Karma is nothing to be dipped in an out of, as Durham suggests. If it exits, it’s an ever-present force on living things, like gravity.

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Posted: 22nd, May 2014 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment

The Top 15 Greatest Retro Sci-Fi TV Themes

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THE mission: To identify the top 15 science fiction television program themes from eons past. It’s a region of space many Internet listers have gone before… but those were just training exercises. This expedition is for real. Let the countdown begin.


1. UFO


Goes well with martinis, miniskirts and go-go boots. Truthfully, anything that conjures up memories of those purple haired Moon Maidens is going to be top of the list.



2. Star Trek (original series)


How could the Star Trek intro not be in the list? No matter what you think of the show, you’ll have to agree this intro captures the thrill of exploration about as good as can be done. We may spend our days in a cubicle behind a desk, but when this intro plays, the dashing and adventurous Magellan lurking deep inside all of us gets bestirred.



3. Dr. Who


The Tom Baker intro will always be my favorite. Nostalgia aside, for my money, the sound of this track captures the “sci-fi feel” (if there is such a thing) better than any other, and the making of it is an amazing story. Only Star Trek trumps it due to Kirk’s brilliant prose.



4. The Twilight Zone


Is there an intro to any show, science fiction or otherwise, more iconic than this? “Doo dee doo doo, doo dee doo doo” has become a part of our lexicon.



5. The Tomorrow People


Similar to the Dr. Who theme, it has that spine-tingling, creepy vibe, yet is unmistakably science-fiction in sound.



6. The Six Million Dollar Man



“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better…stronger…faster.”

Gives me goose bumps to this day.



7. The Outer Limits



“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture.”

Anyone who remembers those ominous words intoned across the airwaves can testify that this belongs on the list.



8. Lost in Space


There were a few versions, but the “countdown version” is the best.



9. Space: 1999


You can’t go wrong when you combine the distinctively Seventies “waka waka” with a Gerry Anderson groove.
However, when it comes to raw Seventies sci-fi vibe, nothing comes close to the next on the list…



10. Star Maidens


For all-around 70s sci-fi awesomeness, the ultimate is, without question, Star Maidens. It would be higher on this list, but the intro is just a boring narration. However, the funktastic closing credits and incidental music was solid 70s gold.



11. Logan’s Run


Catchy and corny, but a fun sci-fi intro nonetheless. Of course, Heather Menzies’ constantly fluttering micro-miniskirt may be contributing to my bias.



12. Sapphire and Steel



“All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned.”

By the same guy that did the Dr. Who intro, no less.



13. The Starlost


Didn’t think Canada could make a groovy sci-fi theme? Once you get past the sleepy narration, things get hopping.
Thankfully, the series starred a Canadian game show host (Robin Ward) who wasn’t a drooling sexual predator. No idea what the hell I’m talking about? See this post.

Quickly moving right along…



14. Battlestar Galactica


It’s unfortunate that so many sci-fi openers got muddied by lame narration. I suppose a lot of explanation was in order – we wouldn’t want audiences confused. However, unless you have Shatner reading the lines, the theme is in danger of being dull. In the case of Battlestar Galactica, the orchestral part is so sweeping and large sounding, that it washes away the bad memories of Lorne Green’s intro.



15. The Jetsons


Everyone knows the words to this iconic theme song; you simply can’t have a list of top sci-fi themes without it.

I’m sure there are plenty of glaring omissions. (For instance, I nearly included the profoundly awesome Quark theme song, but it’s just too damn similar to Star Trek’s). Please, drop a suggestion in a comment and let’s make this list grow.

Posted: 22nd, May 2014 | In: Film, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment (1)

The Five Most Underrated Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation




IFStar Trek: The Next Generation (1987 – 1994) did not have the words “Star” and “Trek” in the series title — or the good fortune to air on TV the year after the box office hit, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) — it may never have survived a few awkward, early seasons and come to achieve the reputation for greatness it currently enjoys with fans and reviewers.

The conventional wisdom — which happens to be correct in this case — is that Star Trek: The Next Generation did not really hit its stride until its third season.

The early seasons of the series re-purposed plots from the classic sixties series (“The Naked Now,”) played musical chairs with the Enterprise’s CMO, failed to introduce the series’ new villain, the Ferengi, in a way that made the race of “Yankee traders” seem menacing, and traded in preachy didacticism about the perils of nationalism (“Encounter at Farpoint,”) eating meat (“Lonely Among Us,”) and recreational drug use (“Symbiosis.”)

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Posted: 21st, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comments (10)

The Most Interesting Man In The World: Actor William Smith



THE Dos Equis guy has nothing on actor, William Smith.  No – I didn’t say Will Smith.  We’re not talking about the Fresh Prince here, folks.  I’m talking about William Smith the world’s biggest badass and Renaissance Man.

Never heard of him?   Although he’s been in over 300 movies and TV shows, William Smith was never much of a headline actor – usually playing a supporting role as the stereotypical tough-guy villain.  You may recognize his face since he’s played everything from Conan the Barbarian’s father to the Russian commander in Red Dawn.  But he’s by no means a household name.

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Posted: 21st, May 2014 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comments (16)

The UKIP Carnival In Photos: Pinko Jew Boy Nigel Farage Is Prig Of The Dump In Crap Croydon



SO. UKIP staged a carnival in Croydon. All carnivals are crap. This one was no exception.

In 2011, UKIP’s party’s director of communications and European candidate, Patrick O’Flynn, told Daily Express readers that London’s Notting Hill Carnival was a “propagandist message” and should be shut down. It’s not. It’s got no message. It’s just cramped, dull and full of people pretending to have al fresco fun. It rivals only Zurich for its cloying sense of civic pride. And that’s in neat and tidy Switzerland where they understand it if you want to kill yourself.

UKIP’s carnival would be a monocultural village fete on wheels. UKIP, the Party that dreams of Leni Riefenstahl directing episodes of Midsomer Murders (we all know who did it; just high time everyone else knew it, too), staged its carnival. The party booked a band of steel drummers (trad jazz for the ethnic vote), who left when they found out they’d be playing Yellow Bird for Nigel Farage and his supporters. But before the UKIPers had time to stick Max Bygraves singing Under the Coconut Tree on the gramophone, a gang of intolerant protesters turned up to scream that the UKIP party was intolerant.

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Posted: 20th, May 2014 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment

10 Ways The Football Association Turned The FA Cup From Magic To Tragic

THE Football Association had a rude awakening earlier this year, when chairman Greg Dyke’s blueprint for English football was unceremoniously snubbed by the powerbrokers of the Premier League.

The FA may be sidelined and neutered, but they can’t take away its heritage. For the simple reason that the FA itself has been doing the job itself.

Nowhere is this more obvious than at the FA Cup Final – the jewel in the association’s crown.

Of course, the days are long gone when it was one of the few live televised games, shown simultaneously on BBC and ITV, and most of the population sat down to watch.




Nevertheless, the FA have done their best to destroy as many of its USPs as possible, and in the process they have turned this stately landmark of the sporting calendar into an event that resembles a less classy and prestigious version of the Championship play-off final.

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Posted: 19th, May 2014 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment

The 5 Greatest Giant Monster Movies of All-Time



GARETH Edwards’ Godzilla opens this week in theaters, and the question remains: will the new film assume its place among the classics of the giant monster movie genre, or falter badly instead, much like the 1998 version of the same material directed by Roland Emmerich?

Perhaps the answer to that question will only be answered by the passage of time. How will the new Godzilla age, given advances in special effects?  Will the film’s central metaphor about Godzilla and nature prove as sturdy as the original Godzilla’s (1954) anti-nuclear message?

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Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2)

Listen As Nigel Farage Gets Vigorously Shafted By An Invisible Romanian On The James O’Brien Show

The mask slips

The mask slips


FINALLY! UKIPS’ one-man-band Nigel Farage is exposed by LBC’s James O’Brien to be the crap politician he surely is. His one mission was to destroy the BNP and EDL. Job done. Anything other than that, the man’s a dead duck.

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Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment (1)

‘We Go To The Gallery’: Enjoy Miriam Elia’s Twisted Spoof On The Peter & Jane Books

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‘WE Go To The Gallery’ is artist Miriam Elia’s twist on Ladybird children’s books Peter & Jane.

Miriam Elia cover

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Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment

The Top 10 Greatest Afros of Yesteryear

IN the 1970s, the glorious afro emerged into mainstream culture as an affirmation of Black African heritage and a rejection of Eurocentric standards of beauty. The popularity of this “natural” hair style among blacks is often traced back to activists Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael.  After their radical hair statement hit televisions screens across the US, it didn’t take long for it to become widely accepted. “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” sang James Brown, who had also adopted the look.

And “the look” actually had many variations.  We tend to think of the generic globe afro, but the styles in the 70s came in a dazzling variety…


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Make no mistake, the afro is still alive and well; however, it by no means is at the level of popularity it enjoyed in the 1970s.  So, in tribute to the Golden Age of the Afro, here are the top ten in no particular order.



Oscar Gamble

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Gamble was a decent baseball player, but nothing close to Hall of Fame level.  However, he is perhaps better remembered than most of the names lining the halls of Cooperstown.  This unique notoriety is due to a couple Gamble  legacies.

First, there’s the infamous quote: “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.”  Originally a reference to racism in major league baseball, it has become a successful meme and viral quotation on the internet.

Second, there’s the mighty afro which Yankee’s manager, George Steinbrenner, forced him to crop.  It was among the biggest in the sporting world, but it still doesn’t account for why he is so indelibly linked with the hairstyle.  Look up any article on the subject and you will undoubtedly see his name brought up.  And so, here he is again on Anorak, further cementing his status as symbol and spokesman for the mighty ‘fro.



Tamara Dobson


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After kicking ass and taking names in Blaxploitation flicks like Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975), Dobson (unlike her afro wearing counterpart, Pam Grier) faded into obscurity in the 1980s. But her fro will live on forever.

But wait, there’s another Tamara Dobson afro connection…



Cornell Traeger


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In the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century  episode “Happy Birthday, Buck” (Season 1, Episode 15), Tamara Dobson played a non-afro wearing “psychic courier” named Raylyn.   And while Tamara, herself, didn’t unleash her mighty ‘fro on the show, her co-star in this episode most certainly did.  The incognito assassin, Traeger (played by Peter MacLean), sports what may be the most insanely terrible afro to ever grace the small screen.



The Sylvers


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There was an embarrassment of riches of Afrotastic musical acts in the Seventies, so it’s hard to choose the best.  The Jackson 5 sported a worthy lineup of ‘fros, but the Sylvers kicked it up a notch and earns the prize.



Bob Ross


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Bob Ross’ show transcended painting – it was a life affirming stroll through inner peace.  It was a land where “mistakes” were actually “happy accidents”.  You could do no wrong in this world.  Bob’s soft tones lulled your mind into a state of tranquility only achievable elsewhere via an overdose on Benzodiazepines .

And then there was the Ross ‘fro where literally small woodland creatures would make their home.  His afro was as much a part of nature as the “happy trees” in his paintings.  Indeed, Bob Ross’ hair wasn’t as much a fashion statement as it was a living, breathing ecosystem.



Misty Knight


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Luke Cage (AKA Power Man) and Black Lightning were some badass black superheroes, but neither had an exceptional ‘fro.  So the honor should go to Misty Knight, a former police officer and kung-fu specialist with a bionic hand given to her by Iron Man.  She always played a supporting role in her various comic book appearances.  Her most notable moment came when she had an inter-racial relationship with Power-Man.

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In later years, her costume got a change, exhibiting a “cleavage window” made famous by Power Girl.   But while her costume may have changed,  her ‘fro mercifully remained intact.


 Angela Davis


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You can’t have a list of top afros and not name one of the main individuals responsible for popularizing it.  Whether or not you subscribed to her radical views and pro-Communist stance, her ‘fro was all over the airwaves, hurtling the style into the mainstream.



Billy Preston


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There may be a number of people who earned the right to be called the “Fifth Beatle”, but only one sports an afro big enough to engulf a small child.  As Stuart Mackenzie says in So, I Married an Axe Murder: “That’s a huge noggin. That’s a virtual planetoid… Has its own weather system.”



Leo Sayer


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I could have easily chosen Barbara Streisand, who had a grand Jew-fro in the 70s.  Conway Twitty, believe it or not, also wore a white-person ‘fro which was nothing to sneeze at.  But Leo Sayer wins based on both circumference and flair.  His was akin to Richard Simmons’, but without the male pattern baldness setting in.



Cicely Tyson


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Sure, this close-cut afro didn’t have the volume, but it was a groundbreaker.  Tyson donned the natural style on the TV show East Side/West Side long before it achieved mainstream acceptance.  Audiences were appalled and outraged, but it proved to be a huge stepping stone in the emergence of the afro in popular culture.  Sure, Cicely has tons of awards and accolades for her acting, but this little accomplishment deserves some kudos as well.

Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment (1)

Zoology Discography: 10 Records By Animal Named Bands

OVER the years, there have been a veritable zoo of musical acts with animal names: The Monkees, The Turtles, Three Dog Night, Gorillaz, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Eagles, The Byrds, A Flock of Seagulls, etc. We could go on all the live-long day.  And while that may be a fun mental exercise, there’s not much sport in it. We’re hunting rarer game – so, here are 10 records by lesser known musical species.





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Lions Breed ‎– Damn The Night (1985)


Mid-eighties heavy metal had quite the menagerie of animal band names: Whitesnake, White Lion, Glass Tiger, Great White, Def Leppard, Britny Fox… the list goes on and on. Please, by all means, drop some names in the comments section – we’d love to read them. (Take note: it doesn’t matter if the artist is named after an animal, only that an animal is within the name – in other words, both Cat Power and Cat Stephens will work!)







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Pop music is swarming with insect bands: The Beatles, Papa Roach, Iron Butterfly, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, W.A.S.P., Adam and the Ants, etc., but none compare to Bennet & Bee. Take a listen to their rendition of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got U Babe” and you can thank me later… Actually, you’ll probably curse my name with clenched fists and tears of rage, but let’s not split hairs.







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Las Gatitas ‎– Las Gatitas Cantan…, Argentina (1987)


Of all the feline named bands (Stray Cats, White Lion, Pussy Riot, El Tigre, Pantera, Faster Pussycat, etc.) Las Gatitas are my favorite. No, I actually have never heard any of their music. I just have a really good feeling about them.





The Bear Brothers – “Red Shoe Trucken” (1972)

The Bear Brothers – “Red Shoe Trucken” (1972)


The Bear Brothers earn extra points for not only having an animal name, but also having a tacky zebra print background. Brother Bear on the left has what may very well be the greatest haircut ever worn by man. Part mullet, part pompadour, this is a head of hair to be reckoned with.







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The only other Arthropod band I can think of at the moment are the Scorpions. Spider may be among the more obscure animal named bands, but still worth a listen..







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Perhaps the most well-known marine band is Phish, but there are plenty more: The Eels, Jellyfish, Great White, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. In the 1970s, prog rock bands went by names like Gong, Can, Rush and Yes. Cod seems a natural fit.







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Next to Sgt. Pepper, this may be the greatest album cover of all time. Yet, the Zebras never achieved the international recognition they clearly did not deserve. And while other hooved animal bands may have been more talented (Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young’s Crazyhorse, for instance), none made thumping baby-making music better than The Zebras.







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Snoop Doggy Dog, The Bloodhound Gang, Three Dog Night, Fleet Foxes, Bow Wow Wow (does that count?), Steppenwolf, Samantha Fox and Los Lobos are some pretty well-known canine acts. But what about the late-seventies Chicago band, The Hounds? They were like Loverboy crossed with The Cars; unfortunately, they never got on board the MTV gravy train and The Hounds became roadkill.







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Well, I certainly wish I had a video to share with you for the eponymous 1973 album by Wolf Moon. Alas, Wolf Moon is probably extinct – which is a shame because this is some serious booger-nosed funk, produced by the one and only Swamp Dogg (yet another animal artist). They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, folks.






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I can think of no better way to end this list than with a Soul Train line dance. Enjoy Foxy’s “Get Off” whilst the Soul Train dancers teach you what it means to Get Down. Enjoy.


Posted: 15th, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Music | Comments (2)

The 5 Greatest Godzilla Movies Ever Made




SINCE  his first silver screen appearance in 1954, Toho’s giant monster Godzilla has starred in more than two dozen epic movies.

The big green lizard has been featured as a terrifying villain, as a defender of the Earth, and, occasionally, even traveled to American shores to wreak havoc.  In this span, Godzilla has stood alone, acted as a tag team player (with friends like Anguirus and Rodan…), battled ancient threats to humanity, and even fended off alien invaders on more than one occasion (Monster Zero [1965], Final Wars [2004]).

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Posted: 14th, May 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2)

Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Coming Soon – Comedians Throwing Cash At Kids In The Congo

24 Hours to Go Broke


Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Coming Soon – Comedians Throwing Cash At Kids In The Congo


24 Hours to Go Broke could easily have been retitled Ha! Poor People and executive produced by the Bullingdon Club. One of the infrequent forays into original programming by Dave, home to the EU
Top Gear repeat stockpile, the premise is two comedians are sent to a foreign country to blow a pile of loot. The joke? That living costs in the locale are so low that they struggle to get shot of the £10k before the deadline and a poorly-defined forfeit.

Episode one saw David Baddiel and Richard Herring dropped in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The country sits uncomfortably at 116th in the world wealth index. Baddiel rationalised the tasteless premise by concluding that any travel show is just as bad: “Really, all TV shows that send anyone anywhere are doing exactly the same thing.” Still, he looked very uncomfortable throughout, particularly under the disapproving gaze of the room service waiter dispatched to bring champagne to the hotel’s presidential suite.

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Posted: 14th, May 2014 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment

Vintage Adverts : Feminine Hygiene-A-Go Go!

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FEMININE hygiene adverts prior to the late 1960s basically depicted menstruation as a shameful curse, a sickening burden upon womankind.  By the time the Baby Boomers started needing these products en masse, a revolution in feminine hygiene was underway.  There was still a sense of shame in these adverts, but now it was all about offering new features (i.e. “It’s flushable!).  While this may not be the most appealing topic you’ve ever read about, the advertising is still rather interesting and even a little humorous.  Take a look at a few examples.



“Gotta Get This Tampon Out Of Sight!” – Pursettes


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This tale of woe recounts the abominable shame experienced by a cheerleader when her purse hits the ground spilling out (gasp!) tampons.  What should she do?  Transferring to another school is such a hassle.  Luckily, her friend has Pursettes which keep her shameful secret hidden under wraps.  “Just call them the tote tampons.”



“That’s why so many women just like you are switching to it.” – Playtex Self-Adjusting Tampons


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I love how this is supposed to be an empowering advertisement, yet it totally undermines itself by its list of stereotypically feminine careers.    It’s attempting to illustrate that the Modern Woman has modern needs, and Playtex is just the product to keep up with the changing times.  Yet, the various groups of women they list are downright hilarious:  “Secretaries, Nurses, Stewardess, The Lady Next Door (WTF?), College Girls, Models, Housewives”.  They left out waitresses and strippers.



“Dear Mother Nature: Drop Dead!” – Kotex


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The last line reads: “At least you have to worry about your voice changing.”  This is a consolation of the sorriest sort.  Nearly a lifetime of menstruation versus a month or two of crackly vocal cords…. Hmmmm – which is worse?   On a side note: the lens diameter-to-face ratio of those glasses is the largest I have ever seen.  Simply breathtaking.



“It stayed in place, even when I was jumping streams.” – Stayfree Maxi Pads


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That’s a bold woman – her first day with Stayfree Maxi Pads and she’s sticking her ass directly in his face? Just a thought: maybe he goes up the hill first.  The ad ends with “Too bad he forgot to pack the lunch”.  Maybe he didn’t forget – he just lost his appetite.



“If you’re old enough to pick your clothes, you’re old enough to pick your sanitary napkin.” – Modess


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Advertisers aren’t stupid.  They knew the Baby Boomers represented the largest population bubble in the history of the United States.  Subsequently, ad agencies were scrambling to produce advertising geared toward this gargantuan money pot. The Modess advert above heavily features the new hippie chic whilst highlighting how grossly antiquated the older generation is.  Do you want to buy your sanitary napkins based on the opinion of your crusty archaic mother who seems so hopelessly out of place amongst counter-culture swag?  I didn’t think so.



“Whee! They’re Flushable, Too!” – New Freedom Kotex


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Yet another advert marketed directly to Boomer youth.  Truth be told, there actually was a lot to be excited about.  If you’re familiar with the previous generations’ feminine hygiene equipment, you’ll know there was cause for celebration.  That stuff was a bulky mess; it had barely improved from the Paleolithic days of using rolled grass and roots.  It consisted of various rigging using straps and belts in conjunction with giant swaths of absorbent linens.  You can see why a flushable inconspicuous napkin would be a godsend.



“It’s perfect for beginners like us!”Petal Soft Tampax

Petal Soft Tampax


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This ad comes from a 1986 issue of 16 Magazine, about a year after Tampax broke the ultimate taboo on American television: It used the word “period”.  Specifically the TV ad said, “It will change the way you feel about your period.”

When questioned about their startling expletive, the Tampax ad agency responded beautifully:

It’s a natural evolution.  Over the past five years everyone has gotten more straightforward.  It just doesn’t make sense any longer to show a woman in a long white dress, drifting through a field of wildflowers, saying something like, ‘It makes me feel fresh.’

Well said.


Posted: 14th, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

May the Force Be With Them: The 5 Best Star Wars Knock-Offs of the Seventies and Eighties



WHEN George Lucas’s space fantasy Star Wars premiered in the summer of 1977 – and promptly became the highest grossing film in history – it was only a matter of time before intrepid filmmakers sought to imitate and thus re-capture the movie’s magic in a slew of lookalike films.

Importantly, the Star Wars film craze not only brought a barrage of new science fiction-themed films to the international box office, it also changed the very way that movie-makers approached the difficult-to-visualize genre.

Before Star Wars, the 1970s SF cinema obsessed, largely, on matters of environmental disaster and future dystopias  like Soylent Green (1973) and Logan’s Run (1976).

After Star Wars, however, science fiction films usually featured more action, colorful laser blasts, cute robotic sidekicks, and a concentration on fantasy aspects.

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Posted: 14th, May 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2)

Charlie Chaplin’s Visit to A Starstruck London in 1921

Charlie Chaplin poses with fifty boys and girls from Hoxton School. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Charlie Chaplin poses with fifty boys and girls from Hoxton School, September 1921. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images


CHARLIE Chaplin was woken on the morning 17 September 1921 while in his bed at the Ritz Hotel in London. “Visitors from Hoxton” he was told. From outside the window he could hear children singing the same song over and over again:


When the moon shines bright on Charlie Chaplin
His boots are cracking, for want of blacking
And his little baggy trousers need mending
Before we send him to the Dardanelles


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Posted: 13th, May 2014 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment

Attack Of The A-Frame: The Design Virus That Spanned Decades

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THERE’S only a finite number of ways you can arrange a canvas.  Naturally, there’s going to be some patterns that emerge, and certain motifs will be copied and repeated to oblivion within the pop art landscape.  An artful conception will suddenly be mimicked on comic book covers to movie posters to paperbacks to album covers, and it will continue for decades.

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Posted: 13th, May 2014 | In: Books, Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment (1)

The 16 Greatest School Dance Scenes In Film

AH, yes. The school dance. Awkward and often soul shattering, it was a necessary rite of passage. It’s no surprise that such a dramatic collective memory would make for some great moments on film. Here’s a list (in no particular order) of the 16 greatest school dance scenes in movies. Feel free to add your own – I’d love to hear them.


It’s a Wonderful Life


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The gym floor opening up into a pool is a beloved movie moment. It highlights perfectly George Bailey’s wild and promising youth before his big fall.







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Perhaps the most memorable of all high school dance scenes. DePalma’s split screen technique in combination with Spacek’s ghastly visage is one that’s hard to shake.  Last year’s remake game an honorable effort, but you just can’t recreate this sort of horror magic.







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Scott Bao’s powers are taken to their limit, and we get to see Heather Thomas zapped and disrobed (well, actually her body double, but a high point in teen sex romps nonetheless).





Pretty in Pink


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Andi (Molly Ringwald) ended up with Duckie in the original version of the film, but test audiences were appalled. John Hughes subsequently changed to the script to have Andi end up with Blaine (Andrew McCarthy). I strongly agree with that decision; in fact, I would have preferred Duckie die a horrible death instead.







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Who cares that every kid at Rydell looks like they’re over 30. This dance scene with Travolta in his prime doing the Hand Jive is solid gold.





Can’t Buy Me Love


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Somehow Patrick Dempsey’s African Anteater Ritual dance catches on, and soon the entire student body is joining in. What a bunch of sheep.





Sixteen Candles


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The dance scene has so much to love: “True” by Spandau Ballet, a painfully awkward dance by Farmer Ted, a brief appearance by John Cusack, Dong and his buxom soul mate, the scoliosis girl, and a $1 cover charge to see Sam’s underwear.





Napoleon Dynamite


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“My old girlfriend from Oklahoma was gonna fly out for the dance but she couldn’t cause she’s doing some modeling right now.”

Perfectly captures the awkwardness of being on the outer fringes of the popularity caste system – all to the sounds of Alphaville and Cindy Lauper.







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Ren and Ariel release some seriously pent up sexual energy on the dance floor. Lithgow was not amused.





Better Off Dead


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Ricky (the fat dude from Head of the Class) dances like an effing maniac to impress Monique. I laughed till I ran out of air and blacked out, woke up and laughed some more.





Prom Night


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A prolonged dance sequence set to disco music (featuring Jamie Lee Curtis) is unusual for a slasher film, but a beautiful thing nonetheless. It’s like Xanadu meets Friday the 13th. Even better, we get to see Leslie Neilsen putting on his boogie shoes!





Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion


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The prom flashback is a brief but wonderfully effective reminder that high school dances feel monumentally important at the time, but really has no consequence for the life that awaits. The reunion dance to “Time After Time” is a nice touch as well.





American Graffiti




There’s a very touching scene with Cindy Williams interspersed with plenty of mid-century tomfoolery. My personal favorite moment: Ron Howard telling the principal to go kiss a duck.





Just One of the Guys


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Joyce Hyser shows her friend that she’s really a girl in disguise by exposing her breasts. An odd but historic moment in the annals of gratuitous nudity. (And, no, it’s not in the video below)





Valley Girl 




The curtain opens revealing a brawl between Randy (Nicholas Cage) and Tommy the Prom King. Hilarity ensues when the titular Valley Girl shoves guacamole in Tommy’s face and the crowd erupts into a food fight.





Back to the Future


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McFly on the guitar playing “Johnny Be Good” to an eager crowd at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance is an amazing moment…. but then his digression into heavy metal guitar noodling leaves the audience saying “huh?”. Classic.





Honorable Mention: The pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks


It’s a TV show, but it still deserves a mention. Sam Weir finally gets to slow dance with his crush, but the opening to Styx’s “Come Sail Away” quickly turns loud and fast. He decides to go with the flow, stop being so damn self-conscious and just have fun. The feeling is contagious and his sister Lindsey, operating the punch bowls, who had a little something to do with the mentally challenged boy’s broken arm ventures over to see if he has forgiven her by asking him to dance. Perhaps the greatest school dance scene of them all.



Posted: 12th, May 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment

Boozvertising: The Art of Selling Alcohol With Sex And A Stuffed Penguin

THE beautiful thing about hard liquor advertising is that it is rarely nuanced or boring. It opts for the ham fisted approach, beating consumers over the head with brazen sexual tactics.  After all, they’re not selling sofa pillows here, folks.  They’re selling booze, and that means things may get interesting…



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The “Two Fingers is all it takes” campaign begs the question – all it takes to do what?  Considering we’re talking about tequila, I assume it isn’t “improve your golf swing”.

It would have been interesting if the adverts finished their tagline with a bit of truthfulness, such as “Two Fingers is all it takes…. to impair your judgment and make terrible, life-changing mistakes.”



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“I never even thought of burning my bra until I discovered Smirnoff.”

I don’t even get this.  Is she saying she didn’t believe in Women’s Lib until she starting drinking cheap vodka?  I guess I can relate.  I didn’t believe in Global Warming until I started huffing gasoline. (That was a joke, for those whose feathers are ruffled.)


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Was this advert inspired by the abusive relationship of Ike & Tina?  This just makes me uncomfortable.  If only this was a Pam Grier film, she’d knock that glass to the floor saying, “You didn’t say ‘please’, bitch!”



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They don’t have a sense of humor at airport security like they once did.  You do this nowadays and, instead of a laugh, you’ll get tasered and pepper sprayed.  If they’re feeling particularly jovial, they may even throw in a thorough cavity search and a trip to exotic Guantanamo for free.



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The “sex sells” approach has always been a key marketing strategy for alcohol.  A clever tag line is great, but nothing beats a pair of boobs in a booze advert.


Although, sometimes some thinly veiled sexual innuendo does the trick even better…



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There’s definitely something phallic going on here.  It’s as if Sigmund Freud himself was in charge of the Smirnoff account.



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Translated literally:  “Your secretary will have sex with you, if you have lots of Cossack Vodka on hand.”


Presenting hard liquor as a gateway to otherwise impossible sexual relations was a common marketing strategy.  A perfect example is the following advert featuring a young Ali McGraw.


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The text is spectacular:

“Never go to a bachelor’s pad alone… Especially if she has roommates.  Bachelor gals get nervous when an available male walks in, empty handed.  But come up with a bottle of White Horse and – thank – you’re welcome, Good Guy!  It’s the Scotch with the taste even roommates can’t argue about: either they like it or they love it.  So you end up with a roomful of purring girls, Good Guys all.  Works in a pad.  Works in a pub.  Because – the Good Guys are always on the White Horse.”

Quite literally, this bottle of Scotch will act as a pheromone, luring hordes of “purring” babes to your bachelor pad so you can have sex with them- all of them.



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Lest you imagine the “sex sells booze” approach was strictly a Western thing, this advert clears up any misconception.  Asian advertisers were wise to the selling power of a chick in a silver bikini living in an empty gin bottle.  You might say Japanese were the greatest experts of them all.



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Then again, the Japanese also made insanely stupid ads like this one, completely undermining my previous statement.  Of course, when it comes to booze adverts, the Japanese by no means have a monopoly on stupidity….



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What the-? This is how I image the Madison Avenue brainstorming session went for this one:

 Ad Exec: “Okay, boys.  We need to sell some vodka.  Let’s hear the ideas.”

Jim:“I think we should go with a smoking hot babe wearing a tiny bikini, holding a bottle of vodka while splayed out on a bearskin rug.”

Fred:”I think we should go with a homely couple inexplicably taping a plastic bag to a stuffed penguin.”

Ad Exec: “Genius, Fred! Genius!”

Jim: (appears hopelessly confused then mumbles incoherently walking away)



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Her shirt reads “It’s Real”.  I suppose it’s better than “They’re Fake”, but still not the greatest thing to emblazon across a female’s breasts.  She already looks a little tipsy, so she probably doesn’t care.


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These Boodle ads from 1982 used the “always proper” British Gin as a slang for sex.  I wish they had gone a bit further with it.  For example, “Is it proper to boodle a complete stranger?”  Or even better, “Is it proper to boodle a circus clown while tripping on bath salts?”

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“Have you these features? [A] Eyes deep set in soft flesh… characteristic of an appreciative type. [B] Ears lying close to the head… characteristic of a type with good taste.”

I guess we can deduce that those of you with protruding eyes and big ears have terrible taste.  You can’t argue with genetics.

Posted: 9th, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

The 5 Most Underrated Brian De Palma Thrillers



SINCE the early seventies director Brian De Palma has crafted many intense and highly cerebral thrillers.

Alas, such efforts are often dismissed by critics as being overly imitative of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and style rather than praised for their own finely-developed sense of inter-textuality and intellectual gamesmanship.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 8th, May 2014 | In: Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (4)

Star Tracks: 6 Weird Songs About Famous People

WHEN Joe DiMaggio heard his name in Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”, he reportedly went into a rage and wanted to sue. To him, it sounded like an insult and insinuated that he was dead (“Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away.”) In truth, it was a homage – Paul Simon had worshiped DiMaggio growing up. The fact was explained to the baseball legend, but it’s likely he never really understood.

Similarly, when David Bowie played his tribute “Andy Warhol” in front of the artist himself, it was greeted with indifference. After the song was finished, there was an awkward silence and Warhol changed the subject inquiring about Bowie’s shoes.

Even though musicians are unlikely to get a pat on the back from the subject of their songs, that hasn’t stopped artists from making music about famous people either dead or living. From Ozzy’s ode to Alistair Crowley to Bananarama’s shout-out to Robert DeNiro, popular music is littered with songs namedropping famous people in the title. Here are six for your listening pleasure.


“Andy Warhol” by Dana Gillespie


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Obviously, this was originally a Bowie song about one his biggest inspirations (found on his Hunky Dory LP). It was later covered by his sometime lover, sometime backing vocalist Dana Gillespie. Dana actually released a couple good albums under Bowie’s production company, but neither sold well, and she never was able to translate any form of success in the States. She moved on to concentrate on being an actress, then a bluesy singer a decade later. Despite her extremely varied career, one things always remained constant with Dana – massive cleavage.




“Rasputin” by Boney M


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“Ra-Ra-Rasputin, Russia’s greatest love machine.”

Among his many crimes, Rasputin held control over the royal family, keeping them isolated and under his dark influence at the expense of the nation. But perhaps his most shameful legacy is this song; a disco travesty committed 62 years after his death.




“(My Name Is) Michael Caine” by Madness


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Using Caine’s Ipcress File (1965) as a basis for a song about the IRA was unusually weighty stuff for the band. Caine initially refused to add his voice to the song, but was convinced by his daughter (a Madness fan)… which is slightly ironic considering Caine isn’t exactly known for turning things down (Jaws: The Revenge, anyone?). But as he once pointed out: “You get paid the same for a bad film as you do for a good one.” It’s hard to argue with that.




“Black Superman (Muhammad Ali)” by Johnny Wakelin


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Under the direction of the same record producer responsible for “Kung Fu Fighting”, Wakelin wrote this homage to Ali after watching the epic fight against George Foreman forever known as the Rumble in the Jungle.

Even worse than Bowie’s Warhol tribute, Muhammad Ali was nonplussed by Johnny Wakelin’s “Black Superman (Muhammad Ali)” and basically disowned it.




“Abraham, Martin And John” by Moms Mabley


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This song earned a spot on our list of 13 Worst Songs of the 1960s. It is better remembered via renditions by Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Dion…. but Moms Mabley is what we’re dishing up today as proof that no matter how beautiful something is, it can always be ruined. As sad as the deaths of Lincoln, MLK and JFK are, at least they were spared having to hear Moms sing this song.




“Lord Grenville” by Al Stewart


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Lord Grenville was a 16th Century Admiral immortalized in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Revenge – A Ballad of the Fleet. This may be the most intellectual song ever written – with historical storytelling, literary references, and philosophical questions of purpose and time, all wrapped in a transcendental melody circling upwards like cannabis vapors to the Heavens. Glorious.


Posted: 7th, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Music | Comment (1)