Thursday, November 15, 2007

Going through some assorted DVD-Rs the other day, I found the collection of clips that I prepared to illustrate a talk that I gave at Glasgow School of Art in June. The theme was something to do with networked societies and the creative persona. No, I haven't a clue either - a friend is a lecturer there and I think he booked me as the equivalent of bringing board games in at the end of term. Certainly some of the other sessions seemed pretty hardcore in cultural theory terms. Taking a wild stab in the dark, I presented a celebration of the awkward buggers in entertainment history who took the greatest risks, played with the possibilities of the media in which they worked and played havoc with their paymasters' blood pressure in the process (cue long section about Milligan). Roger Ordish's story about the night when Sammy Davis Junior turned up midway through a live Dee Time, & took the house band through an unrehearsed, but utterly magical performance of 'This Guy's In Love With You', went down particularly well - If you don't mind, I'll save that one for now, as it's one of the best bits of my forthcoming book.

As a continuity nerd, it was with great glee that I knitted together a montage of spoof continuity announcements, programme menus and station idents from, respectively, Look Around You, End of Part One, Rutland Weekend Television, Inside Victor Lewis-Smith, a Jerry Sadowitz Without Walls special on swearing, Alexei Sayle's Stuff, the Kenny Everett Video Show and the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show of 1983. I left Python out because time was limited and I thought it would be more fun to dig out some relatively obscure items. In particular, End of Part One strikes me as one of the great unsung TV comedy series - composed almost entirely of deadly send-ups of late 1970s television and a very early peak for Andrew Marshall (of Lowestoft) and David Renwick. Almost nobody watched it. Certainly it was scheduled badly, in a Sunday teatime slot usually reserved for undemanding children's shows, but maybe it was just years ahead of its time, TV not being quite as ready to eat itself then as it is now. They carried on messing about with the language of the medium a decade later in Stuff, but there's a special magic to seeing Play School's Fred Harris impersonate Nationwide's Michael Barratt. Anyway, here it is:



Incidentally, I shared the lecture slot with Anne Ward, the thoroughly good egg who runs I Like, and a rake of other rather wonderful sites. If you've never visited any of them, go now. No dawdling.

4 comments:

Phil Norman said...

That was fantastic. Wish I'd had such riches as those available when I was at college. Did EoP1 survive through Fred's personal Betamaxes?

LF Barfe said...

If we'd had technology like this when I was a teenager, I'd never have left the house. The Chatham House rules of trading prevent me identifying the source of my copies of EoP1, and indeed the format they survived on, but I can safely rule out both Betamax and Fred Harris.

Phil Norman said...

I understand. Tony Aitken's secret spools of 16mm telecine it is, than.

LF Barfe said...

Shhhhhh. Partially that, but David Simeon's Shibaden tapes were helpful too.