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Dire Straits

Following on from the hilarious Alexei Sayle clip about Knopfler and Co. I thought I'd better redress the balance. I'll probably get howls of derision from Helpless Dancer and Tomahawk Kid here but here goes!

I had a job driving taxis in 1978 at the grand age of 18. The car in question was an 8 year old Morris Oxford, one of the last of its kind. The radio in this thing was I think a valve effort!

 

I got a hire from Helensburgh to the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, Loch Long and was coming back via Ardpeaton when John Peel played a track from a new band he was raving about. The track in question was Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits. This was the first time I'd heard the record and despite the medium wave sound quality, it made an instant impact on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peel played the track another twice that week and I went in to John Menzies in Helensburgh to be looked at blankly when I asked for firstly the single and then the album with no success. A trip to Glasgow where the staff at Listen (10 Cambridge Street Cheap and Nasty) and Bloggs in St. Vincent St. had at least heard of the record but didn't in fact have it in stock. Knowing I wasn't going to be back in the city any time soon I returned to Helensburgh and oredered the single from John Menzies. I think I can safely say I was the first person in town with this record. I got the album a few weeks later and every track was as good as the single.

 

Borrowing a little bit from Cale,Clapton and Dylan their eponymous first album remains one of the finest debuts in rock history IMHO.

For me they never matched that first album although their biggest commercial success was to come in 1986 with the multi gazzillion selling Brothers in Arms. By that time the critics, (and Alexei Sayle) had made up their minds about them. They were nice. They were played by housewives and trendy types in white Suzuki soft tops. Footballers would list them as favourites, a sure sign of critical nadir. Knopfler had also taken to looking like some guy out at Haloween dressed as a fashion victim.

And yet, despite some overblown production and trite lyrics, B.I.A. was an album which shone like a beacon amidst some very poor music which had come along in punk's slipstream.

  

 

 

 

I rarely skip a track when they appear on random play on my MP3. Dire Straits. Loved by musicians, hated by critics. I notice Alexei Sayle still placed a copy of Brothers in Arms under his jacket on the way out the shop mind you!

 

 

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Alexei Sayle again

 

Two more clips from one of the funniest bulgars on telly!

This was the opening sequence for Alexei's show I think in the late 80's/ early 90's where he takes the Disney/Mickey Mouse theme and makes it his own.

 

 

 

This one is great too. "Anyone who uses the word 'workshop' who isn't connected with light enginerering is a TWAT!"

 

 

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Rory McLeod

Rory Mcleod – ex-circus clown and fire eater. A one man soulband, poet and storyteller, singing his own unique upbeat dance stories. A modern travelling troubadour using tap shoes, acappella, harmonica, guitar, trombone, spoons, finger cymbals, bandorea, djembe and various percussion instruments!

Rory has travelled the globe for different reasons at different times, from Asia to the middle East from Gambia to Cuba, Central America, Australia, North America, Canada, Europe and other nooks and crannies of the earth.

"You don't listen to McLeod you travel with him"
City Hub, Sydney (Australia)

"I've travelled to look for work, to mend a broken heart, to be with someone I longed for. I'd travel to visit friends and on the way I'd make new ones, I'd roam because I was curious to see what was around the next corner, sometimes I travelled to follow the warmer weather and migrate… like the birds and the big whales and fishes do".
Rory McLeod

 

 

Unfortunately I can't embed any of Rory's videos, but do yourself a favour and follow this link. It's the only time today you'll see a man singing and playing harmonica and spoons – oh! and tap dancing at the same time. All on the roof of a high rise!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO_xCvYGtxY

 

 

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The Mull of Kintyre Pornography Test

The Mull of Kintyre test was an unofficial guideline said to have been used by the British Board of Film Classification in the United Kingdom to decide whether an image of a man's penis could be shown.
The BBFC would not permit the general release of a film or video if it depicted a phallus erect to the point that the angle it made from the vertical (the "angle of the dangle" as it was often known) was larger than that of the Mull of Kintyre, Argyll and Bute, on maps of Scotland.

 

 

According to Professor John Hoyles of the University of Hull, the guideline was adopted by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in 1992. Hoyles presented it as "the male performer's penis must never appear more than slightly tumescent". The Scottish lawyer Richard Findlay had previously alluded to it in a 1999 interview with Annette McCann. This test was subsequently adopted by UK television broadcasters and by some print publishers.
According to writer Emily Dubberley, the rule hampered the 1990s trend toward feminist pornography; since "you couldn't show a man in a state of arousal", the allowed depiction was "hardly a turn-on", and she criticized it as a double standard that was permitted due to the perception that women did not respond erotically to visual stimuli
In 2000, a BBFC spokeswoman commenting upon the criteria that the BBFC uses for classification denied that this test existed.
By 2002 the BBFC had largely abandoned its restrictions on the depiction of tumescent penes. The rule is thought to have first been broken on UK television by a 2003 Channel 4 series entitled Under the Knife with Miss Evans.

Thank you to Wikipedia

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Alexei in Full Flow!

A Word From Our Sponsor – Alexei Sayle

The above is a commercial Alexei Sayle did for Friends of the Earth. I must post some of Alexei's classic sketches but here he is in serious mode. The commercial uses Tesco's tag line "Every Little Helps" in an ironic way. Tesco have sattelite systems which analyze shopping patterns worldwide. In the UK they are doing everything from estate agency to dry cleaning, I believe they are doing in store funerals and weddings in places in England (Presumably they have a separate room!). Supermarket shopping is convenient and is very price competitive. Those of us who are involved at the 'coal face' of retailing must somehow try to compete. It remains to be seen just how much of the retail cake that Tesco, Asda etc. will capture but it seems they wont rest in trying to always capture a bigger share. This is all bad news for small family run businesses trying to survive in such a competitive market. In my business case we try to focus on personal service. We are also launching a web site soon (having dabbled on Ebay in the past).

 

 

The poem below from Robert Service written in the early part of the 20th century points out that running a small shop has perhaps always involved an element of risk!

 

The Wee Shop

She risked her all, they told me, bravely sinking
The pinched economies of thirty years;
And there the little shop was, meek and shrinking,
The sum of all her dreams and hopes and fears.
Ere it was opened I would see them in it,
The gray-haired dame, the daughter with her crutch;
So fond, so happy, hoarding every minute,
Like artists, for the final tender touch.

The opening day! I'm sure that to their seeming
Was never shop so wonderful as theirs;
With pyramids of jam-jars rubbed to gleaming;
Such vivid cans of peaches, prunes and pears;
And chocolate, and biscuits in glass cases,
And bon-bon bottles, many-hued and bright;
Yet nothing half so radiant as their faces,
Their eyes of hope, excitement and delight.

I entered: how they waited all a-flutter!
How awkwardly they weighed my acid-drops!
And then with all the thanks a tongue could utter
They bowed me from the kindliest of shops.
I'm sure that night their customers they numbered;
Discussed them all in happy, breathless speech;
And though quite worn and weary, ere they slumbered,
Sent heavenward a little prayer for each.

And so I watched with interest redoubled
That little shop, spent in it all I had;
And when I saw it empty I was troubled,
And when I saw them busy I was glad.
And when I dared to ask how things were going,
They told me, with a fine and gallant smile:
"Not badly . . . slow at first . . . There's never knowing . . .
'Twill surely pick up in a little while."

I'd often see them through the winter weather,
Behind the shutters by a light's faint speck,
Poring o'er books, their faces close together,
The lame girl's arm around her mother's neck.
They dressed their windows not one time but twenty,
Each change more pinched, more desperately neat;
Alas! I wondered if behind that plenty
The two who owned it had enough to eat.

Ah, who would dare to sing of tea and coffee?
The sadness of a stock unsold and dead;
The petty tragedy of melting toffee,
The sordid pathos of stale gingerbread.
Ignoble themes! And yet — those haggard faces!
Within that little shop. . . . Oh, here I say
One does not need to look in lofty places
For tragic themes, they're round us every day.

And so I saw their agony, their fighting,
Their eyes of fear, their heartbreak, their despair;
And there the little shop is, black and blighting,
And all the world goes by and does not care.
They say she sought her old employer's pity,
Content to take the pittance he would give.
The lame girl? yes, she's working in the city;
She coughs a lot — she hasn't long to live.

 

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