Monday, 19 April 2021

The Memory… Kinda Lingers

G Neil Martin celebrates one of TV comedy’s finest double albums

It ended, in a way that didn’t really befit it at all, in a dusky power station, full of sinuous pipes, and shadows and angry gas and steam. As if HR Giger had been brought in to design satire. Four people - three men, one woman - and one monumental double entendre.

Series four of Not The Nine O’Clock News is the apogee of the series’ run. Broadcast in 1982, it led to the final of the NOT albums - this time, a double album (“Not The Double Album”, proper gatefold and all) which included a compilation of the best sketches and songs from series four on one disc and the group’s live Drury Lane show on the other. The CDs, which came later, were designed as two little 33 1/3 LPs. It is probably the greatest comedy double LP based on a sketch show ever produced.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Dogfood Dan and the Carmarthen Cowboy

Infidelity is a dangerous art to practice and one that comes pre-loaded with a weapons-grade risk. Nonetheless, it’s a perennial indulgence that mankind has been keen to nourish. A common joke, in the British Isles, is for an individual to jest that they will never stray from their partner within their post code. The rather feeble humour of this remark is that there’s less chance of being caught. Admittedly, there’s a logic what with the increase in distance reducing any visibility to the unknowing partner. Extend this to several postcodes and a national border and it should be ridiculously easy. But even with this on their side it’s far from easy for Dogfood Dan and the Carmarthen Cowboy.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

How the Internet Gave Us Access to Obscure Television

Up until the late-1990s, if you missed something on television then it was unlikely you were going to see it again any time soon. Even if you had - and I understand younger readers' horror at this proposition - managed to position yourself in front of your television at a set time, you would need a hardy memory to remember it over the years. Naturally, you could have recorded it onto a video tape, but this wasn't a luxury many of us took advantage of regularly. And, of course, there was always the likelihood that you would record over it with something else - most commonly an entry from the James Bond franchise.

But what does this mean? Well, aside from a plethora of home recordings of Live and Let Die haunting many an attic, it means that many television programmes became ephemera as soon as the end credits rolled. At least, it did until the dawn of the internet. The opportunities of the information superhighway weren't entirely clear at its outset, but everyone and their dog knew it would be an amazing adventure. And, once the initial dalliances in online porn and bizarre, early memes had quickly been exhausted, it was revealed that nearly everything else could be found online. Obscure, forgotten and hard to get hold of television was also there.