Sunday, July 16, 2006


I think I have a very "exclusive" readership of about a dozen readers if I sift through all the visitors looking for pictures of Sara Beeny's jugs, Heather Mills jokes, mature women in suspenders or Claire Nazir spelt wrong. Therefore it would be foolish of me to put off that small readership by doing a post on a subject in which they don't have any interest, a subject which I keep going back to because I have nothing else to discuss.

So here's another music related post, (one comment, probably from Richard).

BBC4 had a short season on the Birmingham music scene from days of yore. Well, very short: an Electric Light Orchestra Wembley Arena concert from 1978 and a repeat of the Birmingham Rock Family Trees show from around ten years ago.

Whenever I hear a West Midlands accent - even a Brummie accent, for f*ck's sake, I start to yearn for the homeland, so I had to watch the latter programme through a veil of tears.

Reading Mike's post where he referred to ELO inspired me to drag out the Light Years compilation that I had to get so that I could finally accept that I was in denial for several years and that I actually really like Evil Woman ("Ooo, such an evil woman!"), Twilight, Strange Magic and 10538 Overture ... at the very least.

The Wembley concert opened with an introduction by Tony Curtis, resplendent in a black velvet suit, slightly thinning hair and the usual disconcerting amount of face paint. He acknowledged the ladies, the gentlemen, the children and the "disabled" children, which led me to believe that this was a charidee concert.

The band emerged from what I think was described at the time as a giant space age hamburger. I told the husband that drummer Bev Bevan was going to rise up out of the top of it at his kit, spinning around slowly like the clown that appears from the music box at the beginning of the children's programme Camberwick Green.

Disappointingly, I was lying.

All of the lasers and the light show were designed to detract from the fact that ELO were a pretty uncharismatic bunch of thirtysomething permed session musicians in satin threads. Fair enough. Remember, these were the days of wild, unhinged, exciting new wave frontmen like Richard "Barely Comprehensible" Jobson or "Bob" Geldorrff (before he became Sir Lord Bob Geldorrff OBE, honorary Englishman).

Bev Bevan climbed down from his drumkit to thank the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester for something or other. I was quite drunk by then, and wasn't concentrating. Sorry.

There was some pretty ropy camerawork.

I wouldn't mind a scaled down version of the neon ELO logo behind the band to put up in the bedroom. Hmm, might have a look on eBay ...

Does Jeff Lynne still look exactly the same as he was in 1973, with those graduated tinted Foster Grant-style shades? I do hope so.

The Brum Rock Family Trees programme I'd seen before, but it was still quite entertaining.

A few guffaws were raised by Denny Laine in all seriousness claiming that he felt that he should have been acknowledged as being in a more even partnership with Wings' frontman (Paul McCartney).

... and by the progressive rock band formed by Trevor Burton getting it together in the country.

The band was called Balls.

John Peel noted that "Balls decamped to the New Forest".

I only wrote this long and sprawling review so that I could get to the line "Balls decamped to the New Forest".

Hey, I'm one of the dozen AND interested! (Mind you, I'm quite interested in mature women in suspenders too...) Didja see the Doctor Who episode where every person in the Who-watcher society was into ELO?

I did make me fleetingly yearn for a bit of the low y'know.

Also, they were using those voice morpher thingamebobs long before posh and JLO

What a shame you're not one of those trendy wendy Mp3 blogs with a yousendit account.....
I always fought against liking ELO for years but age has forced me to confront how awful my taste in music is, and it gets more and more shameful with every passing week.

Gawd elp us if this was one of those trendy wendy Mp3 blogs with a yousendit account. No one would really want to know what music I'm listening to, believe me.
Betty, I'm probably not in the top twelve loyal readers and I don't know much about music, but boy am I glad I read to the end of that post if only for the Peel's immortal line.
Still very ambivalent towards them. I could never decide whether Jeff Lynne was taking himself seriously or not. Otherwise my only connection to the west-Midlands music scene was that one of my neighbours in Belvedere was a chap who wanted to open a sandwich bar or a club (?) with me, called Brian Ali, who originally came from Brum and used to walk Percy Plant's dogs.

When I think back on it, I've known some odd people.
I was slightly disconcerted to find that a young French chum of mine was word-perfect on The Diary of Horace Wimp, even down to the backing vocals, and would march round the flat singing "Monday, Tuesday" etc. Apparently, it was the first album he ever bought. What are the odds? The legend lives on. Jeff Lynne is a genius (and that's even taking into account "Xanadu")
I was at one of those 1978 (was it?) Wembley Arena gigs. I was 15. All my schoolfriends were into punk/new wave at the time. I had to keep my ELO visit a dirty secret, as if I'd been to see Val Doonican.

Strangely, my affection for ELO didn't last. I still like the headliners like Mr Blue Sky and Sweet Talkin' Woman, but most of the other stuff I don't like.

Jeff Lynne produced Roy Orbison, The Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, and George Harrison - and made them all sound like ELO. He does terrible things to acoustic guitars.

My first blog gets lot of hits for searches on Sara B e a n y ' s b r e a s t s, too.
Tom, I was probably being a bit arrogant to think I have even a dozen loyal readers, judging by my recent stats.

The phrase "Balls decamped to the New Forest" was my main reason for writing the post.

Richard - er, I was on a college course with someone who went to school with Noddy Holder, who she claimed was "always a right laugh, he used to open a bag of crisps and scatter them all over the music teacher's piano keys".

Rhino - blimey, The Diary Of Horace Wimp is still fairly ghastly, as is a lot of their later stuff. Xanadu ... *shudders*

Rob - hmm, I bought Sweet Talkin' Woman on purple vinyl the week it came out when I should probably have been listening to Metal Urbain or Prag Vec. That's my guilty secret.

Ah, the Travelin' Pilsbury Doughboys as Geoff calls them ... what a good idea THAT was.
"mature women in suspenders..."

*doesn't make it to the end of the post*
i fucking love elo, me.

the marketing director where i work nearly managed slade just before they had a hit. he turned them down because he thought they wouldn't get anywhere.

no wonder the company's in the state it's in.
TC - there seems to be a lot of interest in mature women in suspenders judging by the searches I get. Perhaps there are men who find cellulite, varicose veins and those flabby bits that hang over your knees appealing ...

*crosses fingers*

Surly Girl - if he had managed Slade he would probably be a big cheese with a Noo Yoik office now and you wouldn't be working for him. Is that a good or bad thing though?
oooh, I'm "exclusive".

(Don't know owt about ELO though, sorry. Get them confused with Sparks.)
Spinsterella - oh, to be young and not know the difference between ELO and Sparks ...

The main difference is that Ron Mael wouldn't have looked right in ELO.
Did you ever hear Randy Newman's little tribute. "I love that ELO".

I was very caught up in the band during their heyday. The carefully calculated blend of pop, classical, rock and disco on the later work was not as dreamy as the original stuff. I still listen to Horace and Mr Blue Sky but it is probably because they are so 10ccish.
Oh what the hell, its the strings isn't it?
I love that ELO.

Love the travelling Pillsbury doughboys title. ELO certainly could have used a Keith Moon during live performances.
I remember the Randy Newman song but it's years and years since I actually heard it. I'll have to Google the lyrics at least ...

I think they lost their way a bit when they became hugely successful in America (surprise surprise). The early stuff with Roy Wood is pretty interesting and quite dark sounding.

Jeff Lynne's sunglasses still terrify me though. Are his eyes a bottomless void that he dare not show to the world?
Aardy response -apologies, I too had trrouble reading past the bit about suspenders & c. A great evening all-round when they showed the ELO concert a few Fridays ago, preceded by 10cc in concert. The latter could be execrable, but some of their music still sounds great. "The Old Wild Men" and "Wall Street Shuffle" from Sheet Music, are them at their best, I'd say. "Rubber Bullets does a nice splice of Good Vibrations/Jailhouse Rock And if you could only edit the "big boys don't cwy" overdub off "I'm not in love", you could make a strong case for it being the single of the decade - Music for Airports meets Peter Skellern. Fantastic stuff.

Also nice to be able to bask in an era when a rogue eyes and a stammer were no impediment to a career as a pop subversive. Now, where did I leave that gizmo?
Yes, you're right about I'm Not In Love, to the extent that I also like songs that rip it off and aren't anywhere near as good. It all went pearshaped when Godley and Creme left and especially when Eric Stewart had a Liverpool FC wash 'n' scrunch-dry demiwave perm.

I'm not too keen on that line "that's the way the croissant crumbles" from A Night In Paris, Volumes 1-27. There was no need for that.

If having rogue eyes and a stammer are no impediment to success, how do you account for the huge sales of, ahem, Gareth Gates (stammer) and Razorlight (featuring that crosseyed bloke)?
Yes, One Night in Paris is, quide liderally like a year in any other song - Boho Rhapsody apart. Still, at least we got a few good tunes and the gizmo out of them. Cry was nice too - Godly deploying a novel facial morph in the vid. - another of his increasingly desperate attemptsat disguising said rogue eye. I thought that was him in Razorlight....

p.s. are you lot Viller or The Blues, btw?
The husband finds that Godley and Creme morphing video dead frightening. Then the idea was nicked for a Michael Jackson video to disguise Michael Jackson's rogue face ...

Viller. Ooop thur Viller! I wonder how many Viller fans are plotting to assasinate Doug Ellis at the moment? Is there any other way of disposing of the evil old c*nt?
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