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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Radio Gaga

I trust you guys; you can tell me.  Am I weird or strange? Am I the only person who gets the Miliband ( Ed and David) brothers mixed up with the Kemps ( of Spandau Ballet for those born after 1980)?

The similarities are too close to ignore. The Kemps supported a good looking front man (Tony Hadley), the Milibands played drum and bass to Tony Blair's falsetto. Tony Hadley is extremely plausible: just the sort of fellow with whom you'd have a pint  and share a few "off message" jokes. Just like TB. The Kemp brothers played the Krays in the 1990 film of the same name. You wouldn't turn your backs on the  Krays. Can you imagine being alone with a Miliband? Exactly.

The Milibands remind me of the Righteous Brothers. Spooky but fascinating - without the voices. In 1965 there were two versions of the song "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'. One was by the aforementioned RBs, the other by Cilla Black. I bought Cilla's version - because I was backing Britain.

The beginning of the Blair years were very much like the early Harold Wilson years.

The defunct, decrepit, depleted Tories were swept away by a dynamic new vision of Britain in the form of a revitalised social democracy. That was the 1960's. Kennedy had been assassinated; the Russians were everywhere and we were on the edge of a social revolution. The working classes were losing their deference: people up North had inner lives and Coronation Street and "Z" Cars was bringing the North south.

In fact for a while the South didn't know what had hit it. The theatre was full of northern grit, the poets were speaking with un received accents ( Larkin, Hughes, Mitchell)and the music was American Blues via the Northern ports. In the south, we had Mandy  Rice Davis, Harold MacMillian and the Krays.

The Blair apotheosis was a false dawn. It didn't take Blur long to cotton on to the fallacy behind the Blair chumminess. Oasis were suckered for a while longer. The Blairs were heralded in with a "rebirth" of  British pop; except it was The Spice Girls not the Animals. "I'll tell you what I want, what I really,really want" replaced "We gotta get out of this place." And the north/south divide came  down to whether Blur or Oasis would get to Number 1 in the charts. It made us all "Billy Liar"s.

In between the 1960's and 1990's was Thatcher. A rather hard filling between  sliced soft white bread. When the rugged reality of closed industries and  lost communities erupted into Culture Club, Wham and Ultra Vox. As the miners fatally miscalculated we  were all enthralled by Freddy Mercury at Live Aid and turning to Ethiopia.

The Kemps were at Live Aid. The Milibands were not, as far as I know, at Wembley. And the Krays? They were banged up.


The Sagittarian said...

Great post. I adored Spandau Ballet (Muscle Bound...sigh..unless I've mixed them up with another group??)

Anonymous said...

You ever watch any Adam Curtis documentaries? They are insightful and beautiful. 'The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?' goes into the 'false dawn' of New Labour, among other related things. I pasted it all at the end of this post here:

Seriously, it's worth watching: it's exceptionally well made even for a BBC doc and it's far from the usual turgid play-it-safe whistle-stop history. It's an auteur vision; art as much as factual storytelling.

Barry Coidan said...


SB and Musclebound - simpatico - 1981: when life was all furs and hair. Where has it gone.

tDG. thanks I'll visit. I like your blog.