Phil Oakey’s Ego

In the adverts during the Budweiser UK Open darts on Sunday (yes, I am that rock ‘n’ roll and then some!!!!) – so close Rocky, so close – I kept flicking over to VH-1 and their Top 100 Something I Can’t Quite Remember To Do With Icons programme. And it set me thinking …

Television producers and schedulers are a bunch of lazy gits most of the time; the rest of the time they’re passed out drunk in a pool of someone else’s blood-riddled vomit. It’s not a generalisation: it’s a job requirement.

This laziness and drunken behaviour explains the sheer volume of programmes with titles like "Top 100 Handsome Boy Band Members" and "Top Moustachioed Female Divas Of The 1980s." Programmes of lists. The television equivalent of many blogs.

In order to have a list programme you need a list – and it doesn’t matter if it’s been done before so long as it’s got a new title – and some "celebrities" to endorse choices on the list. For instance, if you were about to fill in a four hour slot with "Top 100 Fashion Disaster Pop Singers Of The 1990s" then you’ll need to have people from the world of pop (Alvin Stardust, for instance), the world of fashion (Vivienne Westwood, for example), and the world of pretentious art reviews (I haven’t got a clue I’m happy to say.) As you watch more and more of these programmes you begin to notice something: some people crop up on almost every programme, they say pretty much the same things every time, and often they don’t appear to be connected in any way to the subject matter at hand (hmmm, why is John Major explaining why Christina Aguilera deserves her top 10 position on Top 100 Gusset Shots In Videos?)

Unmodified cover of Human League's Greatest Hits albumOne person who crops up again and again is Phil Oakey. You may remember him from such bands as The Human League and from his collaboration with Georgio Moroder on the soundtrack to the movie about love with powered inanimate objects, Electric Dreams. He had odd hair. There’s a picture of him on this page.

Phil Oakey will talk about anyone or anything, anywhere and anytime. That’s not to say that he’s a sell-out in any way; oh no, his integrity is as solid as a rock with a coating of RockBeHard™, the rock solidifier, as evidenced by the fact that at no time ever has he ever had a nice thing to say about anyone ever. Ever.

To prove it I’ve gathered up some Oakey quotes. All of these quotes are 100% genuine article reproductions from my head. My head, however, may be a forgery.

From: "Most Influential Popstars."
Regarding: The Beatles.
Quote: "When they came on the music scene there hadn’t been anyone like them before which helped a lot with their record sales. Except for me. I was there before and I did music just like them. They all copied me and they did a poor job in comparison."

From: "Top Iconic Icons Of The Century."
Regarding: Nelson Mandela.
Quote: "He’s given a lot more credit than he deserves really. During most of the time he was in his cell there were other more worthy people doing things outside. We released ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby?’ which was a massive hit."

From: "Top 100 Videos That Rocked The World!"
Regarding: Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’
Quote: "Zombies at night really wasn’t all that inventive and there are a great many parallels with the video to our far better hit of the same year, ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby?’ which was also set at night, included a film set, and featured excessive make-up."

From: "Top 50 Sex-Related Shocks Ever."
Regarding: George Michael getting caught with his trousers down.
Quote: "I remember all the fuss about this at the time and I remember thinking that the fascination that everyone had for George’s private life was just like the fascination in our 1981 hit ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination.’ If you check the lyrics out to our song you’ll see that I accurately predicted exactly this event decades in advance."

From: "Greatest Stuntman-Related Movies Of All Time"
Regarding: Hooper
Quote: "I know that women are supposed to find Burt Reynolds sexy but many women I know find me more sexy. It’s probably my intelligence and great dress sense. I’ve also got a much more infectious laugh than he has when I find something funny but I have a far superior sense of humour and very little amuses me."

From: "100 Worst Straight-To-Video Releases In The UK Since 1980."
Regarding: Weekend At Bernies 2.
Quote: "I don’t know why people found the opening sixty minute zombie-that-dances-when-the-music-is-switched-on scene one of the most horrendous examples of wasting celluloid in existence. I did worse in the video to my hit song ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby?’ and was obviously an influence on the film directors. It really should be me receiving this accolade."

From: "Most Amazing Human League Songs In The Universe"
Regarding: Don’t You Wan’t Me Baby?
Quote: "Tripe."

Author: Mark

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  1. Now I’m a little young to remember the Human League but I do know what you mean about the programmes. The sad thing is that I always watch them. Beginning to end. And then listen to what people say…and possibly use in my own conversation when talking about said film/music video/book/animal/citrus fruit.

    Yes, I am that sad!

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  2. The really sad thing is that the programmes are fairly sad but invariably are up against programmes that are far worse so you almost have to watch them by default.

    I think in some way the programmes are confrontational so they draw me in as all I seem to do is sit there saying things like "They put Scary Spice higher up than Christopher Walken! Who the hell are they polling? Walken’s got much better legs!"

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  3. you know.. its uncanny. I was just talking to creepy lesbo in yahoo yesterday about ‘dont you want me baby’ and i even downloaded it.
    Er maybe i shouldnt admit to that last bit!

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  4. I think I love you, you know, Mark… you are just so consistently funny.

    The other one who is always on is Stuart Maconie. There is a conspiracy theory that he just sits in a room in his house in front of a video camera and just spews out inanities about the 70s-80s 24 hours a day and a courier comes every 4 hours to change the tape and bike the recorded one to some random production company who may or may not get a list programme commission in the next year or two….

    I love you, did I say that?

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  5. Declarations Of Love From Television Presenters: 1

    In your face everyone else!

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  6. I hate that smarmy 80’s twunt ‘King’ off VH1. Talking about music like it’s something only he understands. Prick.

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  7. Hey! I like Paul King. He made green suits and red DMs look good! I think I’ve still got the 7" lying around somewhere for Love and Pride. Fantastic song.

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  8. My heart’s going all a-flutter at the mention of lurvve god Fred Dinenage. I think I’ll have to go and have a lie down in a dark room.

    As for the post (brilliant), I don’t think I’ve ever heard Oakey speak (does anyone else want to put an ‘l’ in there?) but I do like Stuart Maconie on the radio. I think this means I’ve never seen any of these listy programme things. I lead a sheltered life.

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