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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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Somehow Patrick Dempsey’s African Anteater Ritual dance catches on, and soon the entire student body is joining in. What a bunch of sheep.
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.
“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.
Ren and Ariel release some seriously pent up sexual energy on the dance floor. Lithgow was not amused.
Better Off Dead
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.
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
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.
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
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)
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
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.
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…
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.”
“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.)
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!”
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.
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…
There’s definitely something phallic going on here. It’s as if Sigmund Freud himself was in charge of the Smirnoff account.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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)
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.
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?”
“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.
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.
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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.
SHE really is fun to have around, but Courtney Love isn’t exactly known for being right very often. While talking about Bruce Springsteen, she said she liked him, but didn’t really like his music and had a leave a show she’d been taken to.
Fair enough. Not everyone like Bruce Springsteen. And his shows go on for roughly 378 hours. And those cut-off shirts he wears need sorting out too.
However, while talking about The Boss, she said that “saxophones don’t belong in rock ‘n’ roll.”
ONE of the three white, middle-age men who present Top Gear on the BBC says he is not a racist.
Jeremy Clarkson, for it is he, says:
“I absolutely do not use that word. I use the C-word, the F-word but I don’t use the N-word. Never do.”
“I’m sitting here begging your forgiveness.”
JUST this week, Fox Television announced the cancellation of the high-profile series Almost Human (2013 – 2014), a science fiction endeavor starring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, and executive-produced by J.J. Abrams.
Fans of the short-lived series remain heartbroken that Fox showed so little faith in the promising venture.
But perhaps the saddest fact here is that the early axing of Almost Human conforms to Fox’s long-time pattern of murdering genre TV programs while they are still in the cradle.
COULD your Spotify and iTunes playlists use some sprucing up? Let these Post Punk and Synth Pop artists rejuvinate your tired lists with their fresh audio suggestions. Pulled from the pages of 1980 issues of Smash Hits magazine are ten “All Time Top Ten Lists” as chosen by selected New Wavers.
Steve Eagle of The Photos
1. “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Pink Fairies
2. “I Just Wanna Have Something to Do” by The Ramones
3. “Groover” by T. Rex
4. “You Got My Number” by The Undertones
5. “Always Crashing in the Same Car” by David Bowie
6. “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” by Dusty Springfield
7. “Song For Life” by Johnny Cash
8. “All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople
9. “New Rose” by The Damned
10. “D’yer Maker” by Led Zeppelin
Ranking Roger of The Beat
1. “Anarchy in the UK” by Sex Pistols
2. “Death Disco” by Public Image LTD
3. “White Riot” by The Clash
4. “Trans Europe Express” by Kraftwerk
5. “Nite Klub” by The Specials
6. “Majestic Dub” by Joe Gibbs and the Professionals
7. “O Level Dub” by Clint Eastwood
8. “Pistol Boy” by Militant Barry
9. “Armagideon Time” by The Clash
10. “Dread at the Controls” by Mikey Dread
1. “The Fat Man” by Fats Domino
2. “My Baby Left Me” by Elvis Presley
3. “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones
4. “That’s Alright Mama” by Snooks Eaglin
5. “I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles
6. “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles
7. “Beat on the Brat” by The Ramones
8. “Virginia Plain” by Roxy Music
9. “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders
10. “I’m a Lazy Sod” by Sex Pistols
Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen
1. “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen
2. “Try to Remember” by The Kingston Trio
3. “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges
4. “Mess of My” by The Fall
5. “Sister Ray” by Velvet Underground
6. “The Bewlay Brothers” by David Bowie
7. “Lady Stardust” by David Bowie
8. “Over the Wall” by Echo and the Bunnymen
9. “Anarchy in the UK” by Sex Pistols
10. “Mother” by John Lennon
Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
1. “Atmosphere” by Joy Division
2. “Cities” by Talking Heads
3. “Europe Endless” by Kraftwerk
4. “Morale” by Human League
5. “Before and After Science” by Eno
6. “Missing Fifteen Minutes” by Dalek I
7. “Isolation” by Joy Division
8. “My Way” by Sid Vicious
9. “Thrash” by Cowboys International
10. “Pennsylvania 65000” by Glen Miller
Julian Cope of Teardrop Explodes
1. “The Modern Dance” by Pere Ubu
2. “Jackie/Mathilde” by Scott Walker
3. “When the Music’s Over” by The Doors
4. “Stepping Out” by The Fall
5. “Sweet Surrender” by Tim Buckley
6. “King of the Streets” by Armand Schaubroeuk
7. “The Electrician” by The Walker Brothers
8. “Alone Again Or” by Love
9. “Walk on Gilded Splinters” by Dr. John
10. “My Head is My Only House until It Rains” by Captain Beefheart
Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers
1. “Whip It” by Devo
2. “I Got You” by Split Enz
3. “Rescue” by Echo and the Bunnymen
4. “Tri X Pan” by Tea Set
5. “Something Else” by Eddie Cochran
6. “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge
7. “Le Freak” by Chic
8. “Young at Heart” by Frank Sinatra
9. “Stay” by The Hollies
10. “My Little Red Book” by Love
“In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans
“Bewlay Brothers” by David Bowie
“Spaceball” by Marc Bolan
“The Modern Dance” by Pere Ubu
“Berlin” by Lou Reed
“Baby’s On Fire” by Brian Eno
“Back to Nature” by Fad Gadget
“Castles Made of Sand” by Jimi Hendrix
“Emmie” by Laura Nyro
“Starsailor” by Tim Buckley
Holly Vincent of Holly and the Italians
1. “Come On” by Cheap Trick
2. “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You” by The Ramones
3. “Trash” by The New York Dolls
4. “He’s a Whore” by Cheap Trick
5. “I Just Wanna Have Something to Do” by The Ramones
6. “Insanely Jealous” by The Soft Boys
7. “The Way of the World” by Cheap Trick
8. “Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette
9. “Slow Motion” by Ultravox
10. “Quiet Life” by Japan
Eddie Tenpole of Tenpole Tudor
1. “Get Off My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones
2. “Talk of the Town” by The Pretenders
3. “Golden Birdies” by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
4. “Borstal Breakout” by Sham 69
5. “Clarinet Concerto” by Mozart
6. “Can You Hear Me” by David Bowie
7. “Just another Dream” by The Professionals
8. “You Need Hands” by Malcolm MacLaren
9. “Hey Negrita” by The Rolling Stones
10. “Chiquitita” by ABBA
Eddie’s note to the #10 ABBA song: “The last twenty seconds is the best tune I’ve ever heard. The rest is rubbish.”
JOHN Carpenter’s film career has had its critical ups and downs, but time – the final arbiter of success, perhaps – has been almost universally kind to the vast majority of his cinematic work.
Reviled upon release in the summer of Spielberg’s E.T., John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) is now revered as a horror classic and a work of art superior to the Howard Hawks film of 1951.
Similarly, Carpenter’s anti-yuppie battle cry, They Live (1988) has been re-evaluated as an ahead-of-its time masterpiece about the imminent death of the middle class in America, and “vulture capitalists” picking at its bones.
Even In the Mouth of Madness (1994), dismissed on original release as lesser-Carpenter, is widely considered now to be the finest interpretation of the Lovecraft aesthetic yet committed to film.
IN the past couple of years, most of us have been surprised, shocked and nauseated by high profile racism. In football, we’ve seen players walking off the pitch in protest and eating bananas thrown at them. The NBA is currently feeling the fire after the Clippers’ owner said a bunch of appalling shit in a phone call to his girlfriend.
Of course, it you’re not in a bubble, you’ll know that, while work against racism has come a long way, there’s still a lot to be done.
One of the greatest conveyors of message is music, so with recent events, we’ve picked a bunch of records that should show you two things: People against racism ALWAYS make better music than racists and, secondly, some of these records are old, while some are new, which underlines how depressingly racism still looms in our society.
The most recent protest is from R&B god, The-Dream, who released ‘BLACK’ online, where he says: “Black isn’t just a colour; Black isn’t just a race anymore. It’s a feeling and a place from which one feels isolated by the world of the governing elite. Classism is the new racism. This is what black feels like.”
Have a listen to The-Dream’s new song, and a selection of other great anti-racist records. We’ve decided to pick a bunch that are off the beaten track, but feel free to share the famous and your favourites with us.
Brand new and powerful. Depressing that, in 2014, this record needed to be made.
The Impressions ‘Mighty Mighty’
IN 1968, the Funland theme park in Margate, Kent, introduced a new attraction.
Created by Keith Albarn, The Spectrum presented psychedelic rooms, each space presenting intrigued youth with an adventure and a challenge. Rooms features “Ekistikit” – a GRP modular building and furniture system.
This was not infertile ground for sensory experimentation. Margate is a seaside town had a reputation for artistic endeavour:
Pathe News was there to showcase Albarn’s mental adventure:
Albarn did not stop there. As he tells us, he got better. In Girvan, a seaside town in Carrick, South Ayrshire, he created the Fifth Dimension, another psychedelic, fibreglass fun house.
MOVIES adapted for television series aren’t necessarily terrible; in fact, the outcome is often quite good. The Odd Couple and M*A*S*H* both had great translations for the small screen. Even Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, a dark drama by Martin Scorsese found an interesting niche in the sitcom universe via Alice.
Unfortunately, for every success, there are a sizeable number of failures. This is where I come in and deliver up ten tragic examples of where a movie was adapted for television yielding regrettable results.
Animal House (1978)
1979 TV Adaptation: “Delta House”, 13 episodes
When you remove the bawdy humor from Animal House, you’re cutting out its heart. It’s like removing the dancing from Singin’ in the Rain. Crass jokes and irresponsible humor were the lifeblood of the original film; to clean things up for prime time TV was a mistake of epic proportions.
WHEN Villarreal fans taunted Barcelona’s Dani Alves by throwing him a banana, it was not entirely surprising.
Spain does, after all, have a history of this kind of racist goading, including such notable incidents as the monkey chanting directed at England players during the 2004 international in Madrid….
MAX Clifford has been found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault.
Ron Greenslade recalls his dealings with the great story fixer. He focuses on the story of Mandy Allwood. Britain’s own Octomum, gave birth to two girls and six boys in September 1996. They were premature.
Within hours of being born, all of the children had died.
Mandy and the babies - Kypros, Adam, Martyn, Cassius, Nelson, Donald, Kitali and Layne – were big news, as they had been ever since she had hired a publicist. He was, of course, Max Clifford.
FROM the women’s fashion section of the 1974 Fall-Winter Sears Catalog, here are 35 pages of earth-toned acrylics, skin-tight polyester, and knitted creations that should have never seen the light of day. Seventies fashions are fun to behold because they could be so frighteningly terrible; however, if you can resist the easy temptation to scoff at 70s styles and view them with an open mind, some are actually quite brilliant. Today’s everyday styles can be so tired and unremarkable – it’s refreshing to see something bold and unique. Come take a look….
A black and orange striped sweater-vest over a tight olive green turtleneck sweater…. can somebody explain how this happened? The simple answer is widespread recreational drug use, but I’m open to other theories.
CHUCKING banana skins and grunting like a monkey are things of history in British football. Over in Spain, racism is more prevalent. Last night, Barcelona’s Dani Alves fielded a banana tossed from the crowd at Villarreal’s Estadio El Madrigal and ate it.
He didn’t even pick off the black and stringy bits. He just peeled and ate it, in a move that mocked both the mentally negligible fool who’d tossed it and the threat of indigestion.
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THE sad truth is, nonfiction garbage is hard to come by. Libraries regularly cull their shelves, ridding the world of their outdated and tacky tomes. Plus, how many people are going to display any one of these books in their home library and endure the subsequent deep and abiding shame? Not many. So, they end up on the trash heap, gone forever…. That is, until someone like me resurrects them (at least their covers) for your viewing enjoyment. You’re welcome.
Your Horoscope for Today: With Venus moving into gentle Pisces this week, you will feel a distinct urge to dry hump human legs. You may even decide to accept a friend’s invitation to smell his/her anus. The afternoon and evening brings the possibility of lots of indoor pooping.
This book is fine, but I’m more interested in the companion volume: How To Live Selfishly, Enjoy Pornography, And Still Go To Heaven.
Finally, a guide to enduring those insufferable Polish people.
“Are you being sexually aroused by this picture?”
If your answer is “yes”, I think it owes more to your debilitating alcohol addiction than any advertising trickery. Is this orange rind supposed to remind me of a flaccid and dismembered sex organ? If so, then I am most definitely not aroused…. nor will I be for quite some time thanks to this.
In every life this woman was prone to staring blankly upward. Nutty theories like this were rampant in the 1970s, here’s another…
Among the many promises offered on the back:
How to use rituals and spells to attract money and prosperity!
How to use rituals and spells to attract and hold a lover!
How to ward off the Evil Eye and protect yourself against Secret Psychic Attack!
It says that the author was an accountant before he flaked out. Personally, it’s hard for me to take a witch or warlock seriously with those kinds of credentials.
“Morgan La Fey, Enchantress, Tax Professional and Financial Advisor” just doesn’t work. Neither does “Angmar the Witch King, C.P.A.”
In which we learn how to fire people via poetry or haiku. Especially interesting is the chapter on creating beautiful watercolor paintings of nature scenes… all signed “you’re fired”, of course.
Yeesh. This is just awkward. Let’s move on…
“Are the new sex therapists part of the legitimate medical community – or are they prostitutes?”
What in the ever lovin’ f**k? Was this really a question? I can understand if there was a healthy skepticism about this new profession; however, it seems a stretch to speculate that it entailed having sex for money. (But if it is true, I hope it’s not too late for me to make a drastic career change.)
“Is she the bearded lady, or is she part porcupine, or what? [see back cover]”
Ummm.… why in the name of all this holy would you ever think she is the bearded lady? For the curious, the back cover reads:
“What she has on her face are ordinary toothpicks broken in half; for some reason, a light touch makes them cling. Believe it… or Not!”
We know you’ve been faking it for a long time. Now, it’s time to learn how to really love that brat. And once you’ve figured that out, it’s on to that spouse of yours…
Well, it certainly makes things a lot easier if your wife happens to be a stone cold fox…
The back cover reads “The author and his (non-neurotic) wife.”
First of all, Stephen Baker obviously used Al Manning’s White Witchcraft to make this happen (there can be on other explanation). Second, I’m not thrilled with his cocky grin. We know you did well for yourself, Stephen. No need to gloat.
IF you’ve visited Richard Littler’s Scarfolk, you will have come away with a feeling of how life was in mid-20th Century Britain. Scarfolk is a dystopian town in the North-West of England gripped by fear of witches, children, babies and salad.
“If He Fires Me, I’ll Thank Him For It”: Five Great Character Moments in the Timothy Dalton James Bond Era
HORROR movies, like any other genre, are products of their time. So, naturally, their soundtracks are going to reflect the popular music of the day. This can be a good thing…. or a devastating handicap when the popular music of the day is disco and breakdancing. Yet, many horror flicks of the 1980s managed to get it right. The soundtrack to Halloween is expertly menacing, as were the soundtracks to Dario Argento’s films (thanks in no small part to Goblin). Perhaps one day we’ll look at the ones that did things right, but today we’re looking at the ones who did things oh so terribly wrong.
Graduation Day (1981)
“Everybody Wants to be the Winner”
I don’t know who sings this opening song, but I can only assume it’s a coked up Leo Sayer. Granted, I’m not a horror movie expert, but I think I’m correct in assuming the opening sequence of a horror film shouldn’t incite peals of mocking laughter. I could be wrong.
Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)
An excellent song to breakdance to, I’m sure; however, it seems utterly ridiculous as the opening theme to a slasher movie. The rather disturbing head on a table juxtaposed with a beat-box jam is downright laughable. This would have been right at home as the theme to Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, not a horror movie. I suppose you could make the argument that the Friday the 13th films weren’t exactly serious horror films. Whatever the case, this breakdancing opener is still a laugh.
The House on Sorority Row (1983)
Music by 4 Out Of 5 Doctors
The band in the following video clip is “4 Out of 5 Doctors”, who play several songs throughout the film. When you watch this clip, be sure to pay attention to the part where the 3 girls are checking out a “cute” guy who winks at them – this may very well be cinema’s finest moment.
This dude is sporting what was commonly referred to as the “butt cut”. This scene is just priceless – I want to give this dude a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
4 Out of 5 Doctors actually released a few albums, and were Billboard’s “best new band” one month. In an interview with PM Magazine, the band stated their debut record took five years to craft – each day methodically perfecting the ultimate album.
Hmmm…. not quite. They were also the house band in another horror flick, The Boogieman (1980).
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987)
“We Live To Rock” by Jon Mikl Thor
You’ve heard the phrase “so bad it’s good.” Well, this is “so bad it’s a blight upon all mankind.” Bodybuilder turned heavy-metal train-wreck, Thor, takes metal music to the absolute bottom of the barrel. Picture the worst songs by Quiet Riot, Ratt, and Twisted Sister all rolled into one. Oddly enough, Thor’s music ends up being the only thing remotely horrifying in the entire film.
The Pod People (1983)
“Burning Rubber Tires”
Repetitive, woefully generic, and best of all, the lyrics are incomprehensible. This would have been terrible on a record, but this embarrassing mess is being filmed, and the results are beyond cringeworthy. The moment at the end when the supposed rock star signals “It Stinks” has become something of an iconic moment among B-movie nerds. Most of the notoriety of “Hear the Engines Roll Now” is owed to Mystery Science Theatre 3000 who parodied it brilliantly.
For those wanting to read the lyrics (and I’m assuming that’s literally everyone reading this article), here they are in their entirety. You’re welcome.
With a fickle mind we kick the nickel beer
Steady as a goat, we’re flying over trout.
Ghetto down the highway at the speed of light;
All I want to feel now is the wind in my eyes.
Sack of monkeys in my pocket
My sister’s ready to go.
Hear the engine roar now
Idiot control now
Hideous control now
Ninny on the road now.
Minnie in control, wheel’s on fire, burning rubber tires.
Leer at jelly rolls now
Hiddy let’s it go now
Ninny inches po down
Pityin’ a po’ boy
Hear the engines roar, bees on pie, burning rubber tires.
ON 12 Dec 1966, Harry Roberts, John Witney and John Duddy were convicted of the murders of David Wombwell, Christopher Head and Geoffrey Fox.
The murders were known as the Shepherd’s Bush murders as well as the Massacre of Braybrook Street.
On 12 August 1966:
Harry Roberts, John Witney and John Duddy were sitting in a Standard Vanguard estate preparing for a robbery when 3 unarmed policemen in plain clothes – David Wombwell, Christopher Head and Geoffrey Fox – pulled up near them in a Triumph 2000 Q-car, and started asking questions about their insurance and MOT.
Because they were carrying guns and thought were would be arrested they shot the policemen dead and drove off. A local resident made a note of the van number plate and they were later caught.
The hunt for the killers was on:
The Independent recalled the murders:
As two of the officers started to search the van, Roberts drew a 9mm Luger pistol and shot DC Wombwell through the left eye, and then shot DS Head in the back as he tried to flee. As the dying officer staggered away Roberts tried to shoot him in the head, but his gun jammed twice.
PC Fox had remained in the police car. Duddy fired a revolver at the officer twice from close range through the passenger window. Both bullets missed, but a third shot hit him in the left temple. The shot caused the policeman’s foot to push down on the accelerator and the car jumped forward, running over the body of DS Head and getting stuck there, with smoke pouring from its rear wheels. All three Metropolitan Police officers died from the gunshot wounds.
Roberts went on the run, hiding on Epping Forest.
It took 96 days before he was caught after one of the biggest manhunts the British police had mounted.
Roberts knew how to hide. He would later say:
“I was a sergeant and we used to go out on ambushes in the jungle. I would fire the first shot and then everyone would blast away… When I returned to Britain, I took up my old life as a criminal. I teamed up with Witney and we did dozens of armed robberies together – on betting shops, post offices. The most I earned was £1,000 from a single job. Witney was the eldest, the boss: he knew the best places to rob. Duddy joined us later…
“I was only caught because I was stupid. I had been trying to break open a safe at a * * factory and was late getting back to my camp. I had to cross a main road and had a blue holdall with me – no one in the country had a bag like that.”
All three were sentenced to life in prison.
John Duddy died in Parkhurst prison on 8 February 1981.
John Witney was released in 1991.
Roberts lives. In 2004, he spoke to the media. He had served 30 years and wanted parole:
“I don’t want to be Harry Roberts the cop killer. The media talk as if the shootings were yesterday: this keeps alive this image of me as a 30-year-old cop killer. I’m not that person any more. The Home Secretary is just responding to the media hype about me. When does punishment becomes vengeance? I feel my treatment has turned into institutionalised vengeance.”
His time in prison had not been uneventful:
In 2009, The Mail alleged that Roberts was no victim:
In April, The Mail on Sunday exclusively revealed how from his cell Roberts orchestrated a five-year campaign of intimidation against Joan Cartwright, 65, and her son, including horrific attacks on her animals. Mrs Cartwright works at an animal sanctuary in the Midlands, where Roberts worked on day release from Sudbury open prison.
When she secretly complained about his behaviour, he was moved from an open prison to a closed one.
But he then initiated his hate campaign in a bid to stop Mrs Cartwright and her son giving evidence against him at a parole hearing. The triple murderer rang Mrs Cartwright up to five times a week for nearly four years from Channings Wood prison in Devon.
The calls included terrifying veiled threats that coincided with the attacks on her animals. In the worst incident, a horse’s head was hacked at with an axe the night before Mrs Cartwright and her son were due to give evidence.
Another of Mrs Cartwright’s horses had to be put down days after her husband Peter had resisted giving Roberts a character reference. Other assaults between 2002 and 2006 led to a horse losing an eye; a donkey dying after its pelvis was shattered, probably with a baseball bat; the family’s pet cat being electrocuted, and a peacock being strangled.
Roberts also coerced Mrs Cartwright to visit him in jail, so he could repeat his threats to her face.
Not nice. But Roberts’ is a folk hero to some, well at least to those who want to cock a snook at the cops. His name continues to be evoked in song:
“Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend / Harry Roberts is our friend, he kills coppers.”
The band Chumbawamba replaced Hare Krishna with a tribute to Harry Roberts:
You can buy a Harry Roberts T-shirt:
And you can watch the TV show of the novel:
The Times reviews:
He Kills Coppers, confidently adapted by Ed Whitmore from the Jake Arnott novel, is based on the story of Roberts, a small time, semi-deranged crook who knew how to use guns because he had handled them in the Army.
The Times again:
He Kills Coppers is superior, feel-the-lining-on-this stuff – bafflingly good for ITV1. Spall is a low, sure, hypnotic note – a cocksure, slightly bent rookie detective in 1966; all fags, Brylcreem and tarts. The great casting continues with the mesmeric Kelly Reilly as a prostitute who is both fragile and brassily capable: a certain kind of working-class girl you got in “the olden days”, who was a feminist before feminism was invented
After the deaths come the myth and the glamour…
READING old romance comic books is like slipping into the subconscious mind of the mid-century female. It was a time when their entire well-being and happiness revolved around dumb men; when every single action and decision was predicated on pleasing oblivious males. Thus, in comic after comic, with rarely an exception, you have the requisite scene of the beautiful female lying in bed pining desperately over some clueless oaf.
No doubt, it’s still pretty common for females to fantasize over men. Women’s Lib made great strides towards creating a more level playing field, but it didn’t do away with human nature. To a certain extent, the cliché is a timeless truth: girls will be girls, and boys will be boys.
JOSIE Cunningham is the victim of a Twitter hunt. Righteous of Twitter is in favour of killing the mum-of-two who said she would abort her child to appear on Big Brother. These clear thinkers would leave Josie’s children motherless and possibly orphaned. The “bitch”, “c*nt” and “slag” had it coming. We’ve compiled a selection of the more robust tweets. They all seem sincere and devoid of humour. And, remember, that what you say on Twitter can earn you a prison sentence two and a police raid.
But there is a caveat, if the Twitter police don’t like you (see Emma West should be raped and “Let’s hunt him down”) you really can say what you like. Free Speech, it turns out out, is only free on Twitter if the illiberal mob agree that their target is fair game and won’t snitch on you.
Let’s kick off with a call for the children to be taken away from their mother, whose been jailed for having an abortion: