Browsed by
Month: December 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.

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.

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’…

For day 12, we return to the stage of the BBC Television Theatre at the height of Beatlemania (10 May 1964, to be precise). In charge, at centre stage, Billy Cotton. Enter stage left, Terence Alan Milligan with a jam jar of She Loves You and a deluxe Merseybeat wig. Comedy ensues, as does jazz, with Spike showing what a handy trumpeter he was, while making a prize nana out of poor old Bill Herbert on the banjo.

Meanwhile for day 11, it’s the door to my study.

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Separated by the Burston School Strike commemorative tea towel (my great-great aunt was one of the children who went on strike in that historic dispute) are two TV-related thingies. The ‘/B/B/C/ /tv/ colour’ replica camera plate is obvious, the other less so. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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I know what it is and where it came from. Do you?

Day 7. Back when I was a student at Lancaster, a freak of geography meant that from the university campus, the Moel-y-Parc (BBC Wales/HTV/S4C) transmitter was line of sight while Winter Hill and its Lancaster relay (From the North – Granada, etc) were obscured by hills. So, if we wanted to watch TV illegally in our rooms, it was Welsh telly. In its earliest days, before the advent of TWW and Teledu Cymru, Granada made programmes for a Welsh language audience, reflecting the fact that most of north Wales is technically a Liverpool suburb. This is the ident they used.

The story of how a now-prominent sports lobbyist and I plotted to liberate the giant Granada G-arrow sign from outside the White Cross building will have to wait for another day…