Saturday, 30 April 2011

Beached Boy or My Life in Movies


It may not have been Ken Campbell. Well, no, it was Ken Campbell, obviously, but it may not have been Ken Campbell, is what I'm saying. Originally.

So my hailing him, in his soft black felt hat, as he was about to get into, or was possibly getting out of, a car in Parliament Hill Fields was, or may have been, on balance, a mistake.

But I wasn't to know that at the time - indeed, had no possible means of knowing that, what with my friend and his wife - the ones who don't read the blog, so it won't much matter what I say, even though I do strive for accuracy, what with the the hand of history a-tickling of my shoulder - with them, as I say, the only ones who had ever laid claim to witnessing the event - which was, or had been, a non-starter, chartwise, on two separate occasions (nothing to do with me, I hope), hence the - well, the obscurity of this promo video, and so the doubt on an early evening in the 1990s, as I crossed the road in search of answers from the soft felt-hatted one.

I can see that I've started too quickly. So let's leave my late nineties self frozen in the act of making some kind of hailing gesture, and let's have - well, let's have some kind of doubt or fear creeping over the features of Ken Campbell as, turning to another TV screen, we rapidly rewind ....

Views of a lost London


Having referred to The Yellow Balloon in the previous, entirely frivolous, post, perhaps now would be a good time to restore a modicum of sanity with the following review of a recentish DVD box set of London-based films. Anthony Newley stars in one, and although Sparrows Can't Sing is not a musical (despite a title song by Lionel Bart) it is, like What a Crazy World, a film adaptation of a Theatre Workshop production.

If you are thinking of buying this box set because, like me, you know one of the films, then I'd say it's worth taking a punt. I bought this primarily for Pool of London, an Ealing Classic which doesn't seem to be on any of the Ealing box sets, but all of the films here are worth seeing (though I haven't yet seen Les Bicyclettes de Belsize). And several appear to be released on DVD for the first time.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Donalert Part Two: A Sign


Remember that Alan Yentyob documentary about Bowie? That's right, in the long-ago when Yentob didn't feel the need to interpose his physical self quite so much between the viewer and the subject, yeah?

Well, remember all that cut-up writing he was doing, like Mr Burroughs in The Newcomers. What? No, you remember Mr Burroughs, surely?
He looked a lot like Norman Bi -ird,
Drove a Morris Minor van

Campbell Singer - that was it. Anyway, you know that cutting-up thing, and Bowie saying proudly, "Yes, that's how I came up with the Laughing Gnome, whereas Marc actually thinks he's a poet," and then subsiding into sniggering and complaining there was a fly in his soup, yeah? All coming back to you now?

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Donalert aka Belated For-Albert-Hall Plea


Suppose I ought to let readers know that Donovan will be performing the whole of the Sunshine Superman album at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday June 3rd. I had known about this already, but reading the new edition of Mojo magazine I see that John Cameron, responsible for the arrangments on Donovan's classic 60s recordings, will be part of this and there is an orchestra to back him - in other words, this is not just yet another night with guitar. I had a look at the Royal Albert Hall website, and saw that the cheapest tickets are £20 but couldn't actually see any available: £30 looks more likely.

And I suppose the question is do I now care enough, or am I willing to take the risk of disappointment, to schlep out there and back? The answer is probably not - and if you have read my earlier post about Donovan performing at the Festival Hall you will understand why.

But I am tempted - if only to have my disappointment confirmed in a masochistic sort of way. Or maybe I should accept that my experience of Donovan live has already been bookended by the Green's Playhouse and Festival Hall gigs.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Arena: Produced by George Martin (BBC documentary)


One of the better sketches in the variable BBC comedy series Big Train - in fact, the only one which has stayed with me - imagines a heavily bearded George Martin as a Terry Waite-style hostage, speaking at a press conference after his release. Whatever question Martin is asked, he immediately responds with one or other of the well-worn anecdotes about the Beatles: not realising John was high when he sent him to the roof  for a breath of air, etc.

I don't know what the average viewer made of it, but for someone who thinks about the Beatles maybe a little too much (and hey, there's a dullblog for that), it was screamingly funny - on a first viewing, anyway. If you do fall into the latter category, try it if you haven't seen it: