Archive for the Pointless Nostalgia Category

Working class heroes?

Posted in Food & Drink, Music, Pointless Nostalgia, TV on January 31, 2012 by Johnnie

A wafer, God’s sake.  For some obscure reason, the shockingly awful song “Blue Riband Blues” is stuck in my head today.  This song, sung by Mike Berry in the 1980s’ commercial, advertised Blue Riband biscuits – lightweight chocolate-covered wafers that were “the very thing”, as my late Granny used to say, to have with a wee cuppa tea.  I remember a few arguments between family members as to how to pronounce it: Rib-and or Rib-and.  I still don’t know where to put the stress – answers to the usual address.

Actually, I hated the advert back in the day but I was a big fan of the biscuits.  Continue reading

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Memories of Bob Holness, 1928 – 2012

Posted in Dearly Departed, Pointless Nostalgia, TV on January 9, 2012 by Johnnie

Like anyone of an age, I’m very sorry to hear of the passing of former Blockbusters host, Bob Holness.  His show was essential tea-time viewing for me in the mid 1980s, being a quiz with questions I had a reasonable chance of answering correctly. Not that I was ever brave enough to apply to take part, mind you, but I did think the prizes were rather excellent. Bob was as gentlemanly and respectable a host as you could have, and in his banter with contestants and ability to cut out any nonsense showed he was a savvy choice for both the concept of the show and its time slot.   Blockbusters was always a slightly odd quiz, in that it tested the theory that two heads were better than one. So, with two contestants up against a solo one, it was always nice to see the solo ones doing well and reaching one or more Gold Runs, where all the prizes were to be won.

Bob was perhaps a little like a doddery uncle at times, but his often awkward smalltalk with contestants was all part of his charm.  It also led to some great comic moments, over and above the ubiquitous “I’ll have a ‘p’ please, Bob”.  Continue reading

Jeremys #4: Healy

Posted in Conspicuous Consumers, Jeremy..., Music, Pointless Nostalgia, Shopping, Star "Style" on January 3, 2012 by Johnnie

Fourth in a “series” of short tributes to well-known people called Jeremy

There was a short period of time when Jeremy Healy was a hero of mine.  Back in 1982, before I really knew what clothes were for, I was smitten by a pair of musical designer tramps called Haysi Fantayzee, featuring Jeremy ‘Jeremiah’ Healy and the lovely Kate Garner. I’d never seen donkey jackets look cool on anyone, even Michael Foot, so it was rather a surprise to see these two leaping around on Top of the Pops, strutting a ‘style’ that looked, for about thirty seconds, like it might catch on.  Apart from hits like John Wayne Is Big Leggy and Shiny Shiny, they were famed for this scruffy appearance, their saucy utterings and their penchant for drawing designs on their clothes and footwear using silver and gold felt tip pens.  Heroic! Continue reading

Those albums I’ll always go back to…

Posted in Music, Pointless Nostalgia on September 13, 2010 by Johnnie

This started life as another one of those silly Facebook distractions but then turned out to be a far more pleasant excursion that I’d first imagine.  The basic rule was to write down 15 albums that always stick with you and share them with 15 friends whose 15 albums you’d like to see too.  I automatically picked from what I call my “comfort” albums, ones that I turn to almost unconsciously in times of joy or pain.  With most of these albums, I almost don’t notice them playing because they’re so ingrained in my soul.  There are some, though, that I play entirely because they rock – and when I say ‘rock’, I mean in terms of me being a fey 80s’ indie kid.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re my favourite albums (another stipulation of the game was that you spent no more than 15 minutes thinking of your list) but they are all LPs which are almost always on my iPod and absolutely always in my heart.  It was originally 15 albums too, but there were another five I simply couldn’t leave out.  So, in no particular order… Continue reading

Judging the book by its cover

Posted in Books, Pointless Nostalgia, Unwanted Comebacks on August 16, 2010 by Johnnie

My eldest is making her way through her first Secret Seven book.  So far, very little has happened; three chapters in and they still haven’t come across the “spooky old house in the snow” the jacket blurb promised.  We get the impression she’s not enjoying it much but upwards and onwards.  She might be a Barbie and Disney princess addict (which is more about the dressing up clothes anyway) but she’s not a fan of genteel stories involving copious buns and homemade jam, she’s more thrilled by dark, stormy, uncanny adventure stories.  She watches Doctor Who on repeat, chooses to watch Indiana Jones films and is now obsessed with BBC’s Sherlock – and has been asking about Sherlock Holmes books.  She’s a modern child, fluff, the quaint and the genteel just won’t cut it.  So, are Enid Blyton’s books now outdated to her generation? Continue reading

Plastic not-so-fantastic, then

Posted in Disasters, Music, Pointless Nostalgia, Star "Style" on July 30, 2010 by Johnnie

Another childhood illusion shattered, another comfort zone wrecked.  Belgian punk “sensation” Plastic Bertrand has admitted he wasn’t the singer of  his one and only UK hit ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’.  Is there nothing left we can believe in?

This is far more devastating than the Milli Vanilli ‘scandal’ of 20 years ago.  Poor Plastic (real name Roger Jouret, but why would he use that again?) is distraught at having to admit this now.  I must admit, I feel for him. 

Admitting that the voice on the record was actually that of the record’s producer, the wonderfully named Lou Deprijck,  Plastic said: “I’m the victim. I wanted to sing but he wouldn’t let me into the studio. This is going to dog me till my dying days. I’m really fed up.” Continue reading

Heart failure and time warp

Posted in Pointless Nostalgia, TV, Unwanted Comebacks on July 14, 2010 by Johnnie

Good riddance to Ashfordly – where it’s been the 1960s for 18 years

The end of an error is upon us.  One of Britain’s cosiest Sunday night habits has, as they say, been “axed”.  This coming Sunday sees the beginning of the final series of Heartbeat, a programme described variously as a ‘1960s rural police drama’, a ‘nostalgic drama’ and, most damning of all, a ‘cosy drama’.  Of course, it traditionally contained very little drama, being more of a whimsical period soap opera, but that didn’t stop millions of saps tuning in of a Sunday evening to have their brains turned to sloppy meringue at cocoa time, just in time for the working week to begin.  At last, Britain’s woolliest police force have gone into cardiac arrest after nearly two decades in a coma.

Officially, ITV has cancelled it because it wants to concentrate on “new and varied drama commissions”, a laudable enough aspiration, and good luck to them, especially if they’ve realised that chasing an intelligent, discerning audience can be profitable too.  But, really, Heartbeat‘s continued, mirthless existence exposed two decades of ITV’s gutless commissioning and scheduling.   It had to go, it’s been hobbling on its useless, nostalgic limbs for a staggering 18 years, as dull and starchy as old, zombified offerings like Peak Practice and London’s Burning. Continue reading