Often (well, as often as I remember to update this site) when I’m trying to think of a subject for the very nearly regular music video triple posting I’ll think of one thing which makes me think of something else leading to something else, something else, something else, something barely related, and so on.
Today, I thought to myself: “I wonder what subject for the music triple I can come up with on this fine-looking Sunday.”
Seven years ago (holy heck! Seven? Holy. Heck.) I wrote about Girls Aloud in what turned out to be quite a popular post. Since then much has happened (well, it would as that was seven years ago (seven!)) in the lives of Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley, Sarah, and Nicola, although you’d be hard pressed to remember any of it other than the Cheryl stuff. I certainly can’t. What I do know, though, is that Girls Aloud are reforming for one of those album releases and mini tours that a lot of bands do when they’re a bit down on their luck after splitting to go their own way. No blame is attached to that statement. It’s what bands do. If I were a girl in Girls Aloud (probably Nicola because she’s pale and strange and I can respect that) it’s what I’d do.
I’m not going to write about Girls Aloud now though because I don’t tend to write much on the site these days. However, I do try to keep the site ticking over with content occasionally and one of the ways I do this is through the power of crappy, formulaic updates such as three music videos on a theme. Girls Aloud? Three music videos on a theme? What could possibly be coming next?
You’ll never guess.
Seven years! Seven!
Girls Aloud – Something New
Their latest track, with hints of that LMFAO/PSY that’s popular with the kids these days.
Girls Aloud – Long Hot Summer
I grudgingly admit that this is my favourite Girls Aloud track. Yes, that’s right: I have a favourite Girls Aloud track. I never thought that happen. Or that I’d tell anyone.
Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Ooooh
It’s the video with the sexy hopping dance in it. Okay, it’s got a hopping dance in it.
My sister-in-law has popped over from the states for a week and bit to visit (we’re returning the favour next month) and decided to bring an early anniversary present with her: candle holders in the form of a skeleton groom and bride. We are Tim Burton fans but that’s not the reason for the present; our wedding anniversary is actually Halloween. Anyway, that got me thinking about spooky things and that led to this theme for this weekend’s trio of music videos; the macabre, the scary, the decidedly witchy.
The Rattles – The Witch
I only discovered this track a couple of months ago; I can’t stop playing it. Wonderful production and pschedelic overtones.
The Cult – The Witch
I bought a CD of the Cult’s greatest hits many years ago from a second hand music store. I know it’s not a fascinating anecdote but I thought I’d share anyway.
Kate Bush – Waking The Witch
Fan-created video for a song not released (well, it was from the Ninth Wave, the second side of the Hounds of Love album (this is back when music had sides you crazy kids these days with your NB3s and your iTracks), so didn’t have much of a chance); it took me a while to get into the Ninth Wave but I love its concept and this is my second favourite track from it.
And everyone likes coming up with a simple way to update the site without putting massive effort into it! Me!
So… some television themes that I find scary, eerie, unsettling, or any of the other words that Mr Roget saw fit to lump together in his best-selling novel. This isn’t to say that these particular bits of intro (or outro (is that even a word?)) music belong to programmes that are actually scary, but rather that they send a little tingle up my spine. Perhaps it’s the mix of deep bass and high-pitched notes, or perhaps it’s because it stirs a memory of childhood when everything was so much more terrifying than it is today. Except spiders. Those things have got worse as I’ve got older. It’s all the radiation from the satellites, I’m sure (*).
I’ve dithered. I do that. Let’s take a look at what makes me uneasy.
(*) Note to future historians of the early intarwebs: it’s probably not the radiation from the satellites at all; more likely it’s the radiation from the fusion-powered drones that patrol the skies monitoring us.
The Tomorrow People
Not a terrifying theme exactly – especially now that I’ve listened to it again – but the programme itself was not the most warm and cuddly. But then again, it was a kids’ programme from the seventies shown on ITV; they were all pretty much horrific for some reason. This show featured children developing weird powers and, well, I’m not really sure what else. The thing about British families in the seventies was that you tended to be either a BBC child or an ITV child when it came to watching TV after school. I was the former. Occasionally you’d switch to the other side but then you’d just end up watching a bit of a frightening science fiction show and you’d have to return to the safe embrace of Blue Peter and John Craven’s Newsround.
The Box Of Delights
Now this was a BBC programme and it still gives me a small sense of dread hearing it now. This one ticks all the right boxes starting with the title imagery: scary doll face, tramp, priest, wolf, that Victorian gothic/creeping terror. And the music too: high notes (on a harpsichord perhaps?) against a slow, violin backdrop leading into a Christmas tune that brings with it the sudden feeling of the cold and early, dark evenings. Shiver time!
Another BBC programme and a short and sweet intro that has decided to hold the sweet and then slide it into the bin when nobody’s looking. Early synthesiser music is scary no matter what anyone tells you and this particular theme has taken those old stalwarts of scary music production – the deep bass (well, as deep as this particular synth goes) and the high notes of whatever the hell type of instrument that’s supposed to be – to tickle both ends of the auditory canals at once. The show itself was a big favourite of mine seeing as I’ve always been a fan of science fiction and I’m now known as the Human Tripod on account of the size of my huge organ. And I’m not talking synthesiser here. Church organ baby! That’s where it’s at! Oh, and not penis either; there’s nothing remarkable in that department worthy of a nickname.
The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Mysteries
I don’t really remember watching this show although I seem to recall it being on TV, possibly BBC One on a Saturday evening. Subsequently, I also didn’t really remember the theme song either – certainly not enough to immediately want to add it to a list of scary themes – until I heard it played on a Retrospace podcast (now radio show) (plug: and if you grew up in the seventies and have fond or awful memories of the period then you really need to be subscribing to Retrospace in your RSS reader of choice if you aren’t already). Lovely orchestral arrangement that tells you something dark and mysterious is going on without even seeing a clip. The show itself might have been one long, gag-filled, slapstick adventure… but somehow I doubt it.
Hey! It’s a sci-fi programme! What are the odds? Anyone would think that I spent my entire childhood watching scary, negative science fiction and that’s why I have such a pessimistic view of the world at large now. Anyway, I loved this show. You knew you were in for a scare as soon as those immortal words were uttered: “A Quinn Martin production!” Aieeee! Fortunately, no Karl Malden or William Conrad to make you cower in fear this time; that role belongs to the title characters and their dispassionate way of blending in with humans (except for their fingers). The theme music gets those high-pitched notes mixing with a sombre, deeper tone once again; it’s the winning formula as far as my memory is concerned.
Tales Of The Unexpected
No list of scary TV theme music would be complete without Doctor Who so I’m going to leave this list incomplete by sticking Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected as my final choice. The programme itself would have been more accurately entitled Tales of the Bleeding Obvious but that didn’t stop it being quite frightening to me; late seventies/early eighties production values on British television were a terror in their own right. As for the theme music: that’s pure funfair horror. Remember: you can’t spell “funfair” without “scary man with stubble is going to abduct me and perform unspeakable horrors on my innocent body in full view of a toothless teen selling candy floss”. Nasty stuff.
A weekend without a trio of music videos would be, well, pretty typical for most weekends. But occasionally I remember. And today I also remembered first starting to appreciate dance music. Appreciate may be too big a word. Tolerate is better. I’d always been one of those “agh, that’s not real music” sorts of people but things started to change when I got my first NoiseTracker program for the Amiga and realised that I too could produce music that was repetitive and not very good. That’s the sort of thing that makes you start to defend the tripe that appeared on TV in and charts. And copy it when possible. Copy, and improve. Only replace “improve” with that word that means the opposite of “improve”. I’m waffling when I could be putting up three music videos from that golden age of dance music: the early 1990s.
Nightcrawlers – Push The Feeling On
I had a bit of a thing for the redhead. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.
Just recently there was a thread on FriendFeed (I won’t link to it because everyone knows that FriendFeed is dead and all the people on it therefore must be ghosts who couldn’t possibly benefit from such an action) that asked people to describe their sex lives in the form of movie titles; it probably came from somewhere else as these things roam the internet and crop up hither and thither when boredom takes a stand.
I tried to think of a few titles that could apply – not to me, because I’m indescribable – and realised quite quickly that I didn’t want to share any of them on a social network where anyone could simply see them as all the ones I was coming up with were a little inappropriate. I’d hate for people to think I’m a weirdo. Far better to post them here where they’re guaranteed a little privacy.
Describe Your Sex Life Inappropriately With A Movie Title
If you come out of a glitter ball, I want disco!... not holiday action song that all the reps try to get you to join in with when all you want to do is drink to forget the horror unfolding before you. - Heleninstitches
I really don't get how Romania and Iceland got chosen. - Anika
It's irritating. The 50% jury vote in the semis is supposed to offset bloc voting but all it's done is weight the balance in favour of bland entries. Romania were last, which helps, and weird, which helps. Iceland wasn't thrilling, but it was okay; I can see how it got through. - Mark H
10 minutes until the first semi final. As usual, I've not checked out the performers in advance; it's far more fun to be surprised and horrified in equal measure as it's performed live on television and the web. - Mark H
Hostess for the evening apparently wearing a dress fashioned from aluminium foil. - Mark H
Austria first. Very 1980s look. Song is pretty unmemorable which is some achievement as it's still going. - Mark H
Birgit from Estonia now and a singer five months pregnant just to be different. Wearing a shower curtain just to be super different. Good to see it not being sung in English. White outfit and wind machine already looks to be the theme of tonight's performances. - Mark H
Hannah representing Slovenia now. I like the futuristic, quasi-military, quasi-avian uniform she's gone for. Quote from wife: "she's winning the shoe contest." Song's typically European disco. Not sure if I like it or not. - Mark H
Croatia. Men! Traditional dress! A song that translates as "misery!" Could be awesome. - Mark H
Not bad. Good harmonies. Pleasant sound, cracking-looking coats. - Mark H
A favourite to win now with Denmark's Emily de Forest. - Mark H
Hey! It's a white outfit and the wind machine's blowing! - Mark H
Oh, it started already? I've been catching the videos on the site, but I'm not dazzled by anyone this year. - Anika
First semi tonight; second on Thursday; final on Saturday. I've avoided all the videos this year as I don't think they tend to do the live performances much justice. - Mark H
"The three astronauts on board the International Space Station are getting a sneak peak of the latest Star Trek film just before people around the world get a chance to see it in theaters themselves." - Mark H
"Anyone else" and "people around the world" being phrases that mean "Americans". Just got back from watching it; very enjoyable and Benedict Cumberbatch is twice as excellent as you imagine he might be. - Mark H
"A new grammar and spelling test arrives in primary schools in England this week. It is the first time in a while that such emphasis has been put on grammar. Some of the questions will seem straightforward for many adults, such as where to place a comma or a colon in a sentence. But other aspects - identifying different types of adverbs or distinguishing between subordinating and co-ordinating connectives - might raise eyebrows." - Mark H
"So where do you draw the line between pedantry and slovenliness? Mount says the split infinitive is perfectly acceptable. "To boldly go, sounds better than to go boldly," he argues. The word "whom" sounds archaic so there's no need to worry about who and whom, he says. But anything that damages meaning and clarity should be avoided. For instance, the apostrophe should be defended at all costs, he says." - Mark H
"They may not be around any longer but their posters remain in perpetuity for us all to admire. TWA, once the glamour-pusses of the airline world, were flying here, there and everywhere and their ad campaigns weren’t afraid to show it either. Even the posters advertising their cargo routes rocked." - Mark H
"Perfect as a wine accessory for home or travel, the elegant wand, made with Swarovski crystals, uses natural frequencies to aerate wine in minutes rather than hours. Tested and appreciated by Sommeliers, this breakthrough collection creates the ultimate experience for wine aficionado and connoisseur alike." - Mark H
And via http://shop.philipstein.co.uk/Wine-Wands-How-it-works - "The elegant wand with encapsulated glass jewels uses natural frequencies to perfectly aerate wine. [...] Philip Stein® is the leader in mind-body wellness using natural frequency-based technologies in luxury products. The Wine Wand has been created to accelerate the aerating process of wine by replicating the natural frequencies of air and oxygen, and infusing them into the wine. [...] All Philip Stein® luxury products are permanently embedded with the natural frequency-based technologies and the Philip Stein® Wine Wand is a beautiful and indispensable part of any oenophile's collection." - Mark H