Saturday, December 19, 2009

A double-yolker for day 19, as a result of YouTube's 10-minute limit. From the 23 December 1986 edition of Des O'Connor Tonight, here's a bit of Burly Chassis. Clip 1 is her opening song. Clip 2 is a brief interview segment, then her second song. The interview takes place at a bar, from behind which pops fellow guest...well, just watch it. The plan was obviously to create one of those unpredictable moments that people talk about years later (doubtless this bit would feature in the trailers if the programme were being made now), but you can't create unpredictability. Nonetheless, Des doubles up and pisses himself gamely. I can only assume that it's genuine amusement or an act of kindness rather than des-peration. You are permitted to chortle at the cocktail, but that's all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 18: at some point over the festivities, Two Way Stretch will be watched, as recorded at some point during Christmas 1994. Never mind your Carry Ons or your Ealing comedies, this is the apex of the British comedy film, and it was a favourite of mine and my mate Stephen Evens during our shared drab suburban adolescence. Even if the plot and script weren't absolutely first-rate, which they are, the presence of Bernard Cribbins, Beryl Reid, Liz Fraser, Irene "You're obviously mistaking me for an actress who gives a fuck*" Handl, David "I'm Dave Lodge, I was in Cockleshell Heroes" Lodge, Thorley Walters, George Woodbridge, Mario Fabrizi, Maurice Denham and just about all the greats would see you through. Lionel Jeffries is the man of the match, though. It takes a true great to outshine Peter Sellers on peak form, and he did it. Yes, he was superb as the Marquess of Queensberry, but Prison Officer Sidney 'Sour' Crout is his finest moment in a career of distinction. Oh, and it has the best theme/opening titles combo of any British comedy film ever. Ken Jones, we salute you.

* Apologies for mangling the quote. The full story is explained in the accompanying comments, and it's a corker.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And on day 17, Paul Daniels made a studio camera disappear.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now, I'm a massive Vic and Bob fan and, for day 16, we visit Hull's premier nightspot for a date with Mandate. The series this came from, Bang Bang It's Reeves and Mortimer, seems to get overlooked when Vic and Bob's career is being considered, but elements of it are, for me, the best work they've ever done. Not least the spoof docu-soap, The Club. All of The Club was great, but I think this might be the peak of the run, at least in terms of quotability. The presents from the staff sergeant ("many of them gold"), the romantic links with celebrities ("I am shortly to be married to DCI Jane Tennison of Primal Scream"), Kinky John Fowler extolling the virtues of his boyband proteges ("I swear on my neck...and lips..."), and the revelation that Paul Baron, the Tesco Value Stringfellow, was never really in the SAS, but was really a slipshod "wepairman for Wediffusion - he use shoddy cables...". Unlike Paul Baron's jewellery, gold-plated at Timpson's ("and I have to say the tolerances are absolutely minimal"), this is real comedy gold.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 15 and we find ourselves rushing back to the Jazz 625 cupboard. This clip never fails to live up to the title of the tune they're playing. Benny Golson's still above the ground and active, but Alan Branscombe (on piano here, but equally at home on just about any instrument you cared to thrust into his hands), guitarist Dave Goldberg and the wonderful Tubby Hayes all went long before their time was due. Superb support on drums from Allan Ganley, another much-missed figure. I was too young to ever meet Branscombe, Goldberg or Hayes, but I met Allan on a couple of occasions, the last being at a jazz festival in Guernsey where I sat about 6 feet from him and watched his playing like a percussion-mad hawk.

Monday, December 14, 2009

For day 14, it's a south-western puppet rabbit, with music by Ed Welch.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the 13th day, Erroll Garner made his bassist & drummer play a guessing game about when the tune was going to start. He did this a lot. It was one of the things that made him fab. This clip comes from the second of Garner's appearances on Jazz 625, repeated on BBC2 in 1985, and recorded by me on a JVC E-180, which I treasured until I found a DVD of both shows on sale in New York a few years back. Enough of my yakkin'...