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Revolver

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Peter Cook Revolver

So far this year, I’ve featured a couple of performances from The Rich Kids and Rezillos from 1978’s new music show Revolver. And today’s post features two more.

I’m not sure about regional variations but on STV, Revolver aired on Saturday nights at eleven o’clock. 45 minutes later it was followed by a quick religious spot called Late Call, which usually consisted of some Church of Scotland Minister telling you about his friend Jesus. Then the channel would shut down for the night.

Many including myself have very fond memories of the show; even back then the idea of Peter Cook playing the part of an old school ballroom manager fallen on hard times and forced to book new bands that he despised like The Jam and X–Ray Spex was infinitely preferable to the unfunny, narcissistic (and worse) DJs on Top Of The Pops or the earnestness of Bob Harris on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The audience certainly seemed to enjoy themselves as you can see here. This is I Don’t Need to Tell Her by The Lurkers:

 
Revolver is sometimes remembered as a punk and new wave show but there was also a smattering of just about every genre of music that was popular in the late 70s at some point during its eight episodes: reggae, disco, power/pop, rock’n’roll and heavy rock. Nick Lowe made an appearance the same night that The Rezillos were on. As did Elvis Costello, The Motors, Matumbi and an act called Brent Ford (geddit?) and the Nylons that I have very little recollection of – some of the band wore nylons over their faces like robbers and they played high octane cover versions of sixties classics.

Kate Bush turned up on the pilot of Revolver to sing Them Heavy People. XTC appeared on that show too and in later weeks there were Siouxsie and The Banshees, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Buzzcocks, Boomtown Rats, The Jam, Rich Kids and Eddie and The Hotrods and more but some folk still hated the show and ratings were never that high.

‘I enjoy pop shows as well as the next person, but I can honestly say this is the biggest load of garbage seen in years,’ one Evening Times reader complained. ‘Top of the Pops has nothing to fear from this awful show.’

Revolver only lasted for a single series which is a pity. From the final show this is The Only Ones with Another Girl Another Planet, one of the greatest songs ever recorded and featuring former Beatstalker Alan Mair on bass, a man who will be releasing a debut solo album this year which I’m looking forward to hearing.

 
The Lurkers play live tonight at The Wunderbar in Midsomer Norton. Here’s their official site.

And here’s the Facebook page of The Only Ones. Alan Mair can be found on Facebook too.

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A Former Dreamboy & A Former Dancing Pig Discuss Punk, Doctor Who & Independence

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Ian Rankin - Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

Good to see What Presence! The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos being discussed this week by former Dancing Pig, Ian Rankin and former Dreamboy, Craig Ferguson, on prime time American chat show, The Late Late Show.

 
If you missed my review of the book and exhibition of the same name, click here.

And for more on Harry Papadopoulos and the music of the punk/new wave and post-punk era, here’s a series of discussions organised by Glasgow’s Street Level Gallery during the first staging of the show:

27th Jan 2012: Introduced and hosted by David Belcher.

10th Feb 2012: Introduced by Ken McCluskey and hosted by Billy Sloan.

24th Feb 2012: Introduced by Malcolm Dickson and hosted by John Cavanagh.

Doctor Who and The Dreamboys

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The idea of writing about Doctor Who in my first blog isn’t something I would ever have imagined doing until last week when Peter Capaldi, who unlike me, is a lifelong fan of the show, was confirmed to be replacing Matt Smith in the lead role. 

I first became aware of the new Doctor back in the late 70s and early 80s when he sang and played guitar in a Glasgow new wave outfit called The Dreamboys, who for a while could also count in their ranks as drummer Craig Ferguson, currently one of America’s most popular chat show hosts.

Nowadays Peter tends to downplay the idea of him ever having any chance of making a success of his musical career when he discusses his days as a Dreamboy and jokes about them being the only Glasgow band of the era not to be invited to do a John Peel session but back then I’d guess he took the band idea very seriously; they certainly gigged across Glasgow on a very regular basis and several fanzine writers tipped them for big things including a guy called Daniel Easson, who edited a very fine fanzine that he ran from the south side of the city called Fumes.

Unfortunately my copy of #4 from April 1980 doesn’t score too highly in the legibility stakes, especially the photos, but I’ve reproduced a page anyway, with a review of a show The Dreamboys played in March 1980 in a Glasgow venue called the Doune Castle, a hastily arranged gig where the lads replaced another local act Newspeak – who I was actually hoping to see that night – after they were forced into cancelling owing to their drummer catching glandular fever.

Obviously the situation wasn’t ideal and some of those there to see Newspeak left before or during The Dreamboy’s set (but not me, honestly!) which must have pissed off the future Malcolm Tucker, who didn’t, though, explode into a potty mouthed tirade at those joining in the exodus.

Gradually many of the audience were won over and the cheering increased as the set progressed, or at least I seem to remember that being the case but it was a long time ago.

If only I had a Tardis style time machine to take me back to that night.

‘If you have not seen them yet get to the next gig,’ the Fumes reviewer concludes, ‘and in particular look out for ‘cowboys’ ‘peggie sue’ and iggy pops ‘passenger’… you should not be disappointed…….’

As for Newspeak, if anybody’s wondering what happened to them, I’ll have to inform you that like Capaldi’s group, they also failed to make any kind of significant breakthrough. Come to think of it Peelie never invited them in for a session either.

I’m told, however, that a combo that the guitarist later joined are still proving pretty popular and that the former bassist is currently putting together a new music label which is currently gaining more than a little media attention.

So well done to Andrew Innes for his part in Primal Scream’s recent More Light album and good luck to Alan McGee with his new 359 Music label.