Category Archives: Odds and sods

New evidence on the De Lorean scandal


The Troubles in Northern Ireland – years of terrorist attacks by Irish Republicans and Loyalists – left the province economically knackered. There was a huge reliance on state funded jobs, compared to the rest of the UK, and high levels of unemployment. So when American entrepreneur and General Motors executive John DeLorean showed up promising to build a new car industry in Ulster, politicians fell over themselves to make it happen.

The DeLorean Motor Company, that he set up in 1973, had developed a very distinctive looking car with gullwing doors and stainless steel finish. One of his cars featured in the movie Back To The Future. I remember these cars well and hilariously a mate of mine driving one opened the door to wave as he drove past and the door flew off – fortunately not injuring anybody!

As we all know now – after setting up a production facility in Northern Ireland in 1978 to great cheers and goodwill, things started to go wrong. The cars didn’t sell and the company finances revealed a black hole. A new book on the ensuing scandal claims that Thatcher was informed about the discrepancies in the DeLorean accounts and refused further funding resulting in the loss of 1,500 jobs. You can read more about that new book by clicking HERE.

Here’s a crash test for a DeLorean back in 1980.

Richard Jobson – from singer to presenter


I remember being in Our Price on Oxford Street and seeing a huge poster of a rather Teutonic figure in athletic pose advertising a Skids album.  Lest we forget – here’s their most famous number.

As we all know, Stuart Adamson is no longer with us – very sad – I loved Big Country in the 80s but clearly he wasn’t a happy man.  Jobson though went on to present this London arts show which I’d nearly forgotten called 01 for London.  That’s when the dialling code was 01 before going through umpteen changes in the 90s.

Jobson had a presenting career at Sky when I was working at Sky News in the mid-90s.  Saw him in the canteen a few times along with Terry Christian who from memory was presenting the Pepsi charts at the time.

July, 1981 – when Britain went a bit mad


It was a month to remember…

John McEnroe lost the plot at Wimbledon……cricket fans threw cushions at the pitch because play was stopped early….Reverend Paisley shot at in Belfast…..inner city riots in Toxteth, Moss Side and Brixton…..Home Secretary authorises use of plastic bullets against rioters…..Basement 5 split….a teenager gets in to the House of Commons with a very big knife screaming that he wants to murder Thatcher….fighting breaks out between SAS operatives and mourners at an IRA funeral…Ghost Town goes to number one in the charts…..fatal stabbing at Black Uhuru gig….South African mixed race couple ask permission to leave Britain due to ‘racial hatred’…..Sounds magazine sues NME magazine….a thousand Mods do battle with the police in the Lake District…..Lady Di has one of her first on camera tearful tantrums at a polo match….a twelve year old girl is on trial at the Old Bailey for stealing a donut…Michael Heseltine suggests a big garden festival will help Liverpool forget recent riots….builder David Young was fined £50 for shouting abuse at the king of Saudi Arabia during a state visit…..’Britain in Turmoil’ thunders the Daily Express on its front page….

Jangles – ITV drama in a rock club


ITV decided it needed to get down with the kids in early 1982 and launched a drama series called ‘Jangles’ set in a fictional night club.  The main actor was an eighteen year old Jesse Birdsall – good looking cockney geezer who would go to play Marcus Tandy in Eldorado and Ron Gregory in The Bill.  Thirty years ago, he was the force behind Jangles.

The resident act at the club was none other than Hazel O’Connor but each episode – I think seven went out in the end – had a guest band that included Fun Boy Three and Haircut 100.  The ethos behind Jangles was to show that under-employed youth of the time could have fun while having no money.  Well, that was the idea anyway.

 

NME at its most pretentious – 1981


NME

We read it – but did we understand it?

We’d all taken to the streets and rioted in 1981 – or so you might have believed reading the NME.  In fact most of us were in the boozer saying ‘you heard where there’s a riot this weekend then?’ with no intention of actually going and observing.

Truth is, we’d all gone a bit narcissistic and poncy by the end of 1981 – eye liner, big fringes (Human League or Spandau) and even though the economy was shot to pieces, people pretended to be decadently rich….on the cheap.  Or as Ian Penman of the NME put it…

“This was a year when our narcissism was indiscreet; it moved out from beyond our keyholes and openly solicited us with its gaze.”

Yeah, just like I was saying.  Ah, the NME was going through a bit of a wordy, pseudo-philosophical, deliberate purple prose phase.  And none of us could be spared the ramblings of their scribblers.  In the normal three page article on some cultural aspect, it would take at least five or six paragraphs before you had the faintest clue what was being written about.  Almost as if the subject of the article was a total drag.

So Penman continues with this…writing at the end of 1981 in his wrap of the year:

“Nineteen hundred and eighty one divided into two clearly separated but separately ill-defined worlds, both lost in narcissism. The only dangerous intimacies took place in the scenery between these two worlds – but we shall take stock of these later.  For the time being – two views.  Or, if they are indeed narcissistic in nature – two sets of views.”

OK – anybody understand what that actually means!!!   And he then went on to analyse the Adam Ant video of Stand and Deliver.

“Adam stops brandishing his highwayman’s pistol in favour of a hand mirror; this is the point at which we cease to be unmentionable scared.  From anyone else it would be sexually hilarious, this switch from gun to gaze, but with Adam the threat is nothing more than a double entendre with no real punchline.”

Etc…

Happy Days – political divisions between the actors


Happy-days

Happy Days – for some

Here’s a piece of complete trivia about those involved in the TV series Happy Days.  In case you’re too young to remember, Happy Days was a sitcom set in 1950s America. It was shamelessly nostalgic, bubblegum entertainment.

Since then, the cast have led very different lives and held markedly different political views. And the moral is: Being a liberal/Democrat in California ensures you a happy and productive media career whereas being a red in tooth and claw registered Republican, may not work out so well.

Scott Baio is definitely the latter.  He has posted some pretty horrible stuff on his Twitter including a misogynist cheap shot at Michelle Obama that even our very own Daily Mail picked up on last year.  Click here to read the story.  Baio’s anti-Obama comment led to him claiming that he was receiving death threats and needed FBI protection.

This wasn’t the only Twitter meltdown that Baio inflicted on himself in 2010 – he then penned this anti-tax tweet that was picked up and led to an online feud between him and a website called Jezebel dot com.

In complete contrast, Henry Winkler and Ron Howard took up their old roles as the Fonz and Richie Cunningham to encourage people to vote for Obama during the last presidential election.  Whereas Baio’s career can hardly be described as stellar since he stopped playing Chachi, Ron Howard has become a globally renowned director.  Winkler hasn’t done too badly either.

« Older Entries