Wall #8

I find myself in the mood to compile another of these wall thingies from my Youtube viewings. Unfortunately, the barrel is almost drained of the better content and I could be rightly accused of scraping its bottom noisily, and for that I apologise. Nevertheless, my mood hadn’t diminished enough after some consolidation so here’s a wall,

Following hot and spicy on the heels of my last post on the dangers of Alabama Yoga turning schoolchildren onto Hinduism, this olde worlde cinema advert showed up. For the love of a good curry… washed down with the traditional pint of Indian draught brown ale (say, what?)

It will be nostalgically familiar to any Brit who remembers the flicks before the multiplexes took over. The ad seemed to be a stock film shown regardless in which town’s cinema it featured; only the address card at the end was bespoke and matched the location – “less than 100 yards from this cinema!

A young Bob Mortimer stars in this old telly ad for the new thing that was telephone banking. I remember the long queues in banks: I was paid weekly by cheque as a freelancer and had to traipse to the bank to deposit it, every Thursday lunchtime, along with the rest of hoi polloi.

Since opting for online banking, I’ve rarely set foot in a bank. The last time I did, I had to step aside for the tumbleweed. How times change…

But the thing which caught my attention in the ad was the tune playing in the background. It took me a while but I eventually recognised it as The Theme from Gurney Slade.

So I discovered this ditty was by Max Harris & His Group (I wonder if this was ironic or that they simply couldn’t come up with a name for the combo and thought The Max Harris Band was too cliché).

I wholeheartedly recommend The Strange World of Gurney Slade and would have liked to include a link to the series here. I caught the whole show on Youtube some years back but, disappointingly, it seems to have been taken down. Bad luck!

It was a 60s comedy show made for Anthony Newley and, arguably, as comedy was ahead of its time. Being ahead of its time probably did for it: it comprised only six episodes and in the latter ones, it turns in on itself debating its own existence. Philosophical surrealist comedy. Who else was doing this in the early 60s?

I watched the 60 minute documentary on the history of Slade, the black country glam-rock band. They tried to gain popularity in the States but the Americans found them too exuberant; the country was suffering from an epidemic of pessimism and problems of pathological introspection. Apparently. Unfortunately, it was too early in pop history to send them Radiohead.

You can see the doc on Youtube if you hurry, but here I’ve just included a clip from BBC’s Top of the Pops, 1973, were the guys entertain us with one of their no. 1 six hit singles, Cum On Feel The Noize.

It’s surprisingly well covered this song; even Oasis had a go, but no one sings it like Noddy did.

I’ve noticed a lot of these telly parodies coming up on the recommendation page at Youtube. It seems to be the work of one channel and the target audience is the one who’ll appreciate the Taste of India cinema ad. Millennials will be bemused. Gen Z..well, er, no… Still, anyone can appreciate the made-up names in the phoney chart rundown.

Where did they find those clips of those totally uncool bands? Is “uncool” uncool now? What will we parody in another generation’s time? Does anyone care?

Who doesn’t like Popeye can see me after class

Folks, it’s time for a little light visual entertainment, I think, and by way of my new follow, Hobo Moon Cartoons, this blog is proud to show Popeye the Sailor (featuring Betty Boop) in the first ever feature of Popeye.

Any who knows me, or wants to for that matter, will know this kind of thing is milk to my tea, and a biscuit to dunk with it. I’m not swayed so much by awesome visuals, just give me ingenious sight gags every time. And this toon is full to the brim with them. (I love the way the seaman lowers the gang plank before Olive Oyl arrives.)

And please check out Hobo Moon Cartoons, just two minutes from this theatre!

image: “Countdown #1” by Bladud Fleas

The GIF was made many years ago when I did a bit of photography and was given some photo editing software, gratis, which included a GIF maker (when GIFs were a new thing). I found these GIFs recently while sorting through an old memory stick.

Despite enjoying movies a lot, I have not set foot in a cinema for about two decades – I simply didn’t like the experience – and as technology has come an astonishingly long way in that time, I probably never need to ever go again. Now it occurs to me that also I haven’t kept up with how cinemas work today and the “hair in the gate” problem might be a complete obsolescence. No matter, consider it a lesson in cultural history.

The (Not) Big Screen

A tutor once asked in a lesson, why are some paintings extremely large?

I said so they can be seen further away, which got a laugh but I wasn’t being entirely funny. The question went unanswered I remember. I think it was looking at the thing the wrong way. It should have been, Why are paintings the size they are?

A watercolour tends to be smallish as the medium is hard to handle on larger areas, it dries quickly. Charcoal and pastels rely somewhat heavily on impressionistic marks; they don’t do details well, so a larger format is better than a very small one. Of course, these aren’t hard and fast rules, simply making things easier. Some artists like a challenge and will paint large because they wish to or, conversely, choose to paint a portrait on the head of a pin.

What about cinema? My love of film came late to me thanks entirely to a film buff I engaged with on the internet for a while. He made me think about discernment which is something I’m always up for, not in film but in most things. The trouble is, I hate cinemas. This may be discernment in occupying public places rather than anything to do with film. More than twenty years have gone by since I last set foot inside a cinema and I have no regrets. It’s not my cup of tea: the uncomfortable seating, the lack of decent refreshments, the intrusive racket of surrounding strangers, the time wasted watching the damn advertisements and trailers, the eardrum splitting volume of the soundtrack when the main picture comes on. Not for me.

Watching a film, like listening to music or reading a book, is best an intimate experience, one on one. I get absorbed in the thing without distractions. I have come to love watching films on an iPad, with earphones. What I gain well compensates for anything I might be missing from the “big screen”. But what am I missing?

It seems that the old trick of perspective gives rise to the illusion of the screen’s bigness. Holding the tablet up, ignoring the distance between, the screen easily eclipses that of our wide screen telly. I wonder how much of the cinema screen it can obscure at a reasonable seated distance. I was once shown to a seat in the third row of the stalls. The picture was overbearing and I had a crick in my neck.

Come on, isn’t it best to snuggle down on your sofa, in your private space, with a beer at your side, and a tablet on your lap?

Popcorn – a (growing) list of films enjoyed on an iPad

B-tube – a growing collection of films enjoyed on the Youtube app