Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas Quiz- Answers

As I'm going to be out later I am posting the answers to the Christmas Quiz now, but entries will still be accepted up to 10pm GMT today (Boxing Day). So go to the entry here if you still want to take part and don't click below to read the answers until you have submitted your entry via the Comments box in the Questions post. Good luck, everyone, and thanks for taking part - hands across the water, indeed. 

I have tricked out the answers with a few pics and youtube links, so even if you didn't outperform the others at least you will get a bit of diversion. I now feel slightly bad that I didn't contribute a prize - maybe next year. Okay, prepare yourself. And the blogger's decision is final, unless you can provide proof positive to the contrary (and no, self-adjusted wikipedia entries don't count):


"1 Who is better out of the Trems and Herman's Hermits?"

This has various answers, all equally acceptable. So in no particular order:

a Brian Poole and Peter Noone are probably both better off out of their respective groups. Noone is still performing and seems in good shape. According to wikipedia, Poole is touring too, and you could argue that he missed the opprobrium when the post-Poole Trems told the press they were going "heavy" and basically rubbished the taste of all their teenybop fans.

b But of course the real answer is the Trems for consistency, though no one can deny the success of HH during the British Invasion ... ah, so actually this is not as straightforward as I thought. Let's give everyone a point, provided they attempted the question.

"2 Roger Taylor out of Queen claims that when the group first saw David Bowie perform live 'we were literally blown away.' Strictly speaking, is he correct?"

No, of course not. But Queen were never about linguistic precision, were they? Don't imagine there are too many MA theses about the meaning of Bohemian Rhapsody.

"3 Who composed the theme for the BBC arts documentary series Arena?"

It was Brian Eno, the title track of his first solo album Here Come the Warm Jets. As far as I know it was lifted from the album, not composed especially.

"4 ' "Oh why don't we play cards for her?" he sneeringly replied.' Name the song in which this line features. Alright, Smartypants, now find a likely link to George Layton."

It was, of course, Ernie, written and performed by Benny Hill, who had worked as a milkman in earlier days. As I've written elsewhere, it forms a consistent narrative and stands out from his other songs, which are mostly an excuse to bundle together a lot of old jokes. And if you can't remember it, Two Ton Ted's riposte concludes:

"... And just to make it interesting, we'll have a shilling on the side."

 George Layton was hairdresser Ernie, masquerading as Mario, in The Suitor, an episode of The Likely Lads (before the 1970s revival). He was Terry's sister's boyfriend and the joke was that with a little prompting from Terry he revealed himself in his true laddish colours.

Audrey (Sheila Fearne) married him nevertheless, but he was an off-screen presence in the Whatever Happened to ... sequel. Perhaps it was just as well, as Layton's success in the interim might have affected that willing suspension of disbelief. And it allowed for many jokes about Ernie's marathon displays of laziness. Sheila Fearne later played the next door neighbour in George and Mildred (a spin-off from Man About the House, which featured Layton's nemesis in the Doctor series, Richard O'Sullivan, but that way madness lies. Let's leave it there.)

"5 What is the link between the Temptations' Ball of Confusion and Kenneth Alford?"

It was indeed balls - or rather one ball. It was Hubert Gregg, of all people, who composed the doggerel forever attached to Alford's Colonel Bogey march. This is confirmed in his autobiography.

"6 'Levitation's as easy as pie / Come on and hold hands with me in the sky.' What links these lines to Michael McIntyre and The Female Eunuch? (No half points available.)"

This is a quote from the theme to the Granada TV kids' show Nice Time, which featured Kenny Everett (who sang the theme, a gentle sendup of Lucy in the Sky-type lyrics) and - yes - Germaine Greer. I have dim memories of it: at one point a dreadful pun was unveiled when Everett said "Remember: with Granada you grin 'arder" and film clips, such as one of Eddie Cantor singing Keep Young and Beautiful, were featured. There was a photo shoot (not for Nice Time) which featured Viv Stanshall and Germaine Greer, which may have misled some competitors.

As for the hyperactive McIntyre, he is the son of Ray Cameron (above, right), who cowrote Everett's later, more successful, series with Barry Cryer.

"7 If you visit Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Noddy Holder's will be the voice you hear in the lift. (Not a question, just a bit of advice.)"

I endorse those who have praised the cafeteria at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. And Flame, shown on BBC TV over the Christmas period, is a film which gets better with every viewing. But actually Nod's voice emanates from the lift at Walsall Art Museum.

"8 True or false: at the height of the British Invasion, Freddie Garrity's group played in Canada, and the band was introduced by the elderly Groucho Marx who, upon seeing the endless sea of faces in front of him, was momentarily intoxicated (in the manner of Neil Kinnock at Sheffield in 1992) and suddenly smote his breast, declaring to the vast crowd: 'I'm a Dreamer, Montreal!' "

This is indeed false, although that mishearing of a popular lyric "I'm a dreamer - aren't we all?" does occur in a Marx Brothers film (Animal Crackers). 

To the best of my recollection Groucho alluded to it on the album An Evening with Groucho, on which he reminisced and sang occasional songs, but on scrolling through a transcript of the performance I could find no mention.

"9 Who perpetrated these song lyrics?

a: 'Are you blind to the winds of change?'

Bernie Taupin's lyrics for Have Mercy on the Criminal from the Don't Shoot Me .. album. No comment is needed: this, after all, is the man responsible for Rocket Man and "She aimed to please me, / Cooked black-eyed-peas me." I maintain he needs to answer for his crimes against songwriting in a court of law.

 b: 'We were at the discotheque, / Dancing to the Sex-o-lettes ...'

I was tickled that so many got this wrong. According to Humphrey Lyttleton or possibly George Melly, Jimmy Rushing would listen to his own records endlessly, with every evidence of relish, but as far as I know Disco Tex /Sir Monty Rock III was less solipsistic. This  lyric actually comes from a song called A Little Bit of Loving by the teenage group Flintlock, who had brief fame on the programme Pauline's Quirkes, presented by - well, you can guess who. This show attracted a polarised critical response: Alan Coren described the show as "poisonous gunk" but a female reviewer whose name I can't recall said: "Pauline is the real thing - a mate." It's now available on DVD, so you can judge for yourself, if you wish. Or via youtube. I seem to recall the programme included a segment with Julian (not Andrew) Lloyd Webber, during which the Flintlock lads would do their best to evince interest in some piece of classical music - though I suspect this would not have been enough to assuage Alan Coren.

 c: 'Now that I know you socially / Obvi-ously I'll fall heavily' "

A mischievous inclusion, this: the extract does suggest some kind of Austenite social snobbery, but actually this is from the 1979 Some Girls by Racey (of Lay Your Love On Me fame), composed by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman.

 "10 Here are extracts from genuine cabaret medleys as heard in Northern clubs. Can you identify the original song components and the original artists?"

a: "I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair, you were in a car crash and you lost that lovin' feelings, nothing more than feelings."

Don't Pass Me By, composed and sung by Ringo on the Beatles' White Album. There is a radio interview in which John Lennon, tongue in cheek, claimed this was Ringo's best song to date - not that there were many from which to choose. I note, incidentally, that one competitor remembered a line from What Goes On, a track on Rubber Soul for which Ringo receives a cowriting credit, attributed the song to Buck Owens, whose Act Naturally Ringo covered on an earlier album. The remaining songs are, of course, by the Righteous Brothers and Morris Albert.

b: "He rattled his maracas close to me, in no time I was trembling at the need somebody to lean on the road again."

This is Y Viva Espana, sung (and perhaps translated by?) Sylvia. There is a seaside postcard feel about the innuendo, so those misdirected to Benny Hill need need feel unduly ashamed. That is followed by Bill Withers, of course, and the "on the road again" of which I was thinking was the Canned Heat hit with that hugely appealing lead vocal by Al Wison.

c: "Suddenly you love me and my eyes are open why did you do it, why did you do that thing to meet on the ledge, we're gonna meet on the ledge, when my time is up I'm gonna see all my friends - playin' cross the river."

The first is by our old friends the Tremeloes (actually post-Poole, but I like the above photograph: from their Heavy Goods Vehicle phase). This was not written by Cat Stevens, as some thought: that was Here Comes My Baby, the previous year. Suddenly You Love Me had an English lyric by Peter Callander (of Murray and Callander fame) but it was originally an Italian song called Uno Tranquillo, written by Lorenzo Pilat, Mario Panzeri and Daniele Pace, and has also been reworked by other hands for other countries.

The second song is by Stretch, the group notoriously hired by Fleetwood Mac manager Clifford Davis to pose as the group for a US tour. According to their current entry on wikipedia, the song attacks Mick Fleetwood rather than (as I had always assumed) Davis himself.

Meet on the Ledge is by Fairport Convention, of course. Incidentally, I always thought the Barron Knights missed a trick there:

"Meat and two veg - I saw your meat and two veg ..."

But although the Fairport song was released as a single and has since acquired anthemic status, I don't suppose it ever was a strong enough presence on the popular radar to swim into the ken of those cabaret stalwarts, though do feel free to scan ebay for a possible sighting of the above, near-mythical Barron Knights EP ... 

... which leads me to admit that yes, as one of you noticed, these medleys only exist in my imagination. But if any club acts want to try them, go right ahead; I ask for nothing in return. Well, a badge'd be nice. And a final nod to Ray Davies and See My Friends. The songfacts website, here, says that Davies was inspired by the sound of fishermen chanting while he was in India.

So there it is. It's very hard to award points as so often I can see evidence of what we used to call "working out" when doing sums at school. Many have ended up in blind alleys simply because of one error in a series of otherwise punctiliously correct mental satnav instructions, and it seems wrong not to acknowledge that.

I will be contacting individuals, where possible, with details of  how they fared, but to everyone I say: thanks so much for participating. If you have enjoyed writing your answers half as much as I enjoyed unpicking your thought processes then it's all been worth while - as Dame Janet Baker used to say.


Yes, I know. I know, alright?

Happy Christmas, Twist-mas or Festivus, everyone. And for a big finish, that Flintlock single:

No, only messing with your mind. It has to be ... all the way from Regency England ... ladies, gentlemen (and such servants as are permitted to be present) will you please loosen that cravat or high-waisted gown, rattle your jewellery and generally proceed to cast off dull care for .. RACEY!

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