1980s Children’s TV Programmes
Jul30

1980s Children’s TV Programmes

During the 1980s television channels in the UK would alter their programming during the summer months to accommodate children staying home. They probably still do but the toil of modern life and the necessity to work for a living means I’ve no idea if that’s true. Anyway, there are plenty of YouTube channels devoted to saving some of the shows themselves and even idents and trails of my youth so it was nice to discover this preview of kids TV programming in the summer of 1983 from what was my local ITV channel at the time, TVS. I remember all the shows in the follow clip quite fondly. The Dead Zone Animated Series Based on the Stephen King novel and tying in with the film release in the same year The Dead Zone Animated Series was an attempt to saturate the market, tackling the adults in the cinema and the kids at home with the intriguing tales of a man who develops the power of precognition but is haunted by the horrors he sees unfolding. Nine episodes of the cartoon were produced but only six were ever broadcast as the storylines were considered too dark for children which was a shame as the penultimate episode accurately predicted Milli Vanilli. The Missing Link Gang An imported series from Canada about a gang of kids who refuse to evolve but try to fit in with society by solving crimes and helping journalists investigate stories. They are constantly tormented by scientific and religious communities and individuals who find their existence to be in violation of biological and theological positions and are slowly killed off by rational and irrational people from all walks of life. Harrowing and with a deep message, nine episodes of the series were filmed but only six were ever broadcast as the storylines were considered too dark for children which was a shame as the penultimate episode warned of the dangers of internet stalkers long before the World Wide Web was even considered. German New Wave Music Hour Music and the new fad of music videos was considered an easy choice to occupy children’s attentions in 1983 but access to the pop charts was prohibited outside the BBC at that time so ITV imported a hastily-made series of hour-long music shows from Europe with each weekly episode featuring a different country and style. Nine episodes of Music Hour were imported but only six were ever broadcast as the pro-Nazi themes in German New Wave and incessant smoking in French Shouting Poems were considered too influential for children which was a shame as the penultimate episode featured Italian Pouting Dance...

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Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film
Jul09

Say No To Toddlers – 1970s Public Information Film

Graham Weevilface is not a name that’s particularly well-known these days but in the mid 1970s he was one of the leading producers of public information films on behalf of the British government. He was a recipient of numerous awards for films such as Danger! Slow Worm! and Chalk Cliffs: White Trauma but it’s his 1976 classic Say No To Toddlers that arguably had the most impact on a British public on the cusp of emerging from the darkness of high unemployment and unending energy crises into a brave new world of European integration and booming prosperity. A massive sense of relief following World War II, the rise of promiscuity in the 1960s, and long, dark nights with nothing better to do in the early 1970s led to a state of what was described in government documentation at the time as “too many blasted babies” and so a number of programmes were accelerated in order to reduce the birth rate in the British Isles. Alongside adding bromide to the water supply and inventing a new craze called “aerobics” that was designed to tire people out making sex less likely the services of Weevilface were sought out and in very short order he was able to produce the following classic film clip. Shown in cinemas and on television – particularly before and after schools and colleges programmes as children were most open to the message within – Say No To Toddlers was initially received with the kind of stupefying horror associated with all British public information films; the creepy music and stark voiceover messages were requirements of government-sanctioned movies but Weevilface excelled in the craft. However, in follow-up interviews with childless men and women during the 1980s and early 1990s it’s this specific film warning the dangers that toddlers and children possess that most often came out with a sense of warmth; many interviewees claimed that had it not been for the consideration of the British government they might have inadvertently unleashed swarms of adult-killing, car-stealing babies into the general...

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Great Team Leaders: The Borg Queen
Jul08

Great Team Leaders: The Borg Queen

We’re undertaking a mandatory course of team leadership at work which has included all the things you’d expect from one of those courses – anger, recriminations, making towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows, bitter comments, dropping oranges on spaghetti bridges, open mockery – and the latest session has required each of us to select a great leader, alive or dead, real or fictional, and to list the attributes we admire in their leadership roles. Examples of people selected by other poor souls forced to participate in these lessons have included Alexander the Great, Bill Gates, and Alex Ferguson. All very typical. As you can probably already tell, I went with someone a little different. When it comes to great leaders with all the leadership qualities you could ever possibly want in one of these team building courses you just can’t beat the Borg Queen. Just what were those skills and attributes that made the Borg Queen a great leader in my opinion? I’m glad you wanted to know. Seeks to improve her team by embracing everyone’s distinctiveness into the whole. Good at assimilating knowledge; encourages her team to assimilate knowledge too. Gives her team the right tools to get the job done. Excellent communicator; listens to everyone and gets her message to everyone too. Adapts quickly to problems. Great determination; considers resistance to the project’s success to be...

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1980s Movie Music Triple
Jun26

1980s Movie Music Triple

Three bits of music from 1980s movies for your listening pleasure. 1980s movie master Kenny Loggins produces a song that is only surpassed by the gopher’s dancing skills in Caddyshack, skills I’ve mastered to the detriment of any other dancing style. Used in a ridiculous number or movies and TV scenes (see: Wikipedia: Oh Yeah) but probably most famously in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Weird Science, just one of those 80s movies that can be a little uncomfortable viewing in later years if you question some of the attitudes to sex and age. But still...

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South America Cruise Videos
May09

South America Cruise Videos

A companion post to the two articles that I recently posted outlining our recent cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile on board the Princess Cruises ship Star Princess, containg the videos that I’ve subsequently uploaded to YouTube along with some brief notes. To read a review of the cruise see: Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1) Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2) A quick pan around the admittedly not terribly photogenic dockside area in Buenos Aires from our mini-suite stateroom balcony. We boarded a steam train in order to get to the winery at Juanico in Uruguay. This is a few minutes of the countryside and small towns rolling past which sadly doesn’t capture many of the happy, waving, or just plain gobsmacked locals who stopped to stare at our mode of travel. A zumba session taking place out on deck. People who know me will not be surprised to learn that not only did I not partake I also didn’t even consider partaking. The Star Princess outside the influence of the River Plate and on the South Atlantic, as seen from our balcony once again. A Magellanic penguin wandering past us as we strolled through its rookery at Punta Tombo reserve in Argentina. Two dancers showing off some Argentina Tango moves in the piazza to the enjoyment of three decks of viewers. The dancers were very good but they weren’t as good as the Uruguayans who danced for us as the winery and with whom I “danced” in front of everyone. And nobody was as good as the dancers who put on the tango show in Buenos Aires. But still good, as you can see. You’re probably looking at this and thinking “nice filters” or “nice processing” or something along those lines. Well, stop that. The sunset that you see here was exactly as it appeared as the ship made its way southwards from Argentina towards the Falkland Islands. We’d been sitting down in one of the bars (shock) when we noticed the sudden colour of the sky outside so, along with a great many other passengers, headed out onto the promenade deck to stare at it and take some photos and video. A quick pan around on our Falklands War Battlefields tour that we took on the Falkland Islands. As you probably could have guessed. Fascinating tour that you can read more about on the first article I wrote about the cruise. The next three videos are from our cruising around Cape Horn. The theme of these videos is “grey”. Now for three videos shot on a catamaran trip out onto the Beagle...

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Lillian F. Schwartz Movies
May08

Lillian F. Schwartz Movies

Some extraordinary videos, mostly from the 1970s, showcasing innovative computer animations or filming techniques in artworks produced by Lillian F. Schwartz. From Lillian.com: Lillian Schwartz, resident artist and consultant at Bell Laboratories (New Jersey), 1969-2002. During the 70s and 80s Schwartz developed a catalogue of visionary techniques for the use of the computer system by artists. Her formal explorations in abstract animation involved the marriage of film, computers and music in collaboration with such luminaries as computer musicians Jean-Claude Risset, Max Mathews, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Milton Babbit, and Richard Moore. Many more of Lillian’s films can be found...

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