small-circle-of-friends (small_circle) wrote,

  • Music:

Mad House

When I tell people where I work & what I do for a living, they generally respond either with, "ooh, I have a friend who works at the BBC, they're in News Online perhaps you know them?", or "why on Earth did you erase all those Pete & Dud shows/Syd Barrett on Top Of The Pops/Madhouse On Castle Street...?" To which I respond with:
"Well, tv fulfilled a very different purpose in the 50s and 60s: it was ephemeral. It was never intended to be archived and mulled over 40 years hence. Yet it was also progressive. Why bother keeping something when next week's edition was going to be even better? Film recording & videotape were expensive and bulky back then (a 60-minute 2" tape is about the size of a small suitcase), there's no point in wasting money and space on something which people may or may not care about in the future." Which may sound like I'm toeing the party line, but isn't that far from how I actually feel (no matter how much I'd like to see "See Emily Play" on TOTP). And at least it's a good ice-breaker. Even so, the Beeb had a chance to partially redeem itself last night by showing a programme about the making of "Madhouse On Castle Street" (some background).
It was a big disappointment. Endless interminable stock shots of snow, snow and more frickin' snow (I don't know if this was a metaphor -snow is the name sometimes given to the picture produced by blank or erased videotape- or whether the winter of 1962 really was that cold) with occasional interruptions given over to directionless, non-chronological pieces to camera from "those who were there". The one huge revelation in the show, the discovery of a high-quality recording of the four songs Bob sang in the play, was tacked onto the end, together with a 30-second snippet from one song. Thirty seconds!!!???!!! People have been searching for this for years!! the BBC admit themselves that it's "the holy grail of missing Bob archive" (actually they call him "Dylan", but I can't, I just can't....). The least that could be done is to broadcast the whole frickin' recording.

And I don't even like Bob Dylan. Though having watched No Direction Home earlier in the week, I'm warming to the idea. I can't really argue with those live songs in Newcastle, can I? They truly are the most powerful, most ferocious, most purposeful performances I've ever seen.

In other news, here's a song to cheer you up from the forthcoming Fugu LP (thanks to Mehdi for allowing me to put these up):
fugu: you pick me up
and something a little more reflective:
fugu: a bigger splash
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