Maybe not one of the “greats” but someone who had a big impact on British pop culture and on every man in the country of a certain age. Even though the routines were sometimes a bit silly, Flick and the girls only had the time between the Tuesday when the new chart came out and the Thursday when TOTP was filmed to pick a song and work out a dance routine so they did a pretty great job considering. She probably didn’t need to work so hard though, most of us would have been happy to have watched them standing there opening tins of baked beans as long as they wiggled a little bit while they were doing it.
Before she went behind the scenes Flick was also a member of Pan’s People herself, she’s the blond wearing the orange hot pants in this routine (I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed typing the words “orange hot pants.”)
I had tickets to see him at the Town & Country Club back in the 80s but the concert was canceled at the last minute because of “illness.” At the time I had no idea that the man who wrote songs like “The Bottle” and “Angel Dust” had addiction problems of his own and shows often didn’t happen as a result. His death is doubly sad because it seemed like he had put his troubles behind him and was making a comeback.
A lot of obits have been referring to him as the “Godfather of Rap” which seems very reductive and not true to the real depth of his talent, to me he was a brilliant songwriter and a really wonderful soul singer with a gorgeous, smoky voice. And judging by this track he was storming live too, pity I’ll never get the chance to see for myself now.
Despite being inspired by a rather kitsch advertising campaign I think “I’m Mandy, Fly Me” is the greatest thing 10cc ever did, better even than the sublime magnificence of “I’m Not In Love.” Those of us old enough to remember will know that the title comes from the National Airlines campaign of the early 70s (though I could have sworn it was it was Pan Am) featuring pretty air hostesses like Cheryl and Jo urging you to “Fly Me” which wasn’t in the slightest bit suggestive, no sir.
The song shouldn’t work so well at all given those origins but somehow they turn this unlikely source into a beautiful Pop Art mini-movie packed with great moments: the swooning, pillowy-soft beginning, the scorching guitar solo, and then the line “I felt Mandy pull me up, Give me the kiss of life, Just like the girl in Dr. No, no, no” which makes no sense if you’ve actually seen or read Dr. No but still sounds quite beautiful and evocative. The only thing that spoils it for me is the silly “you’ll never get me up in one of these again” bit at the start which undercuts the mood of the song somewhat (though this explanation for it makes me dislike it less) as if 10cc just can’t help being clever dicks and packing in the jokes.
I don’t really like flying that much myself anymore. It’s not the thought that the plane will suddenly plunge into the sea (to the sound of a guitar solo), or the security checks and the cramped seats, but it’s the white-knuckle anxiety I now feel when the plane is taking off and you feel the scary power of the roaring engines, and as it climbs into the sky you can really sense that this monster vehicle is just hanging in the air, in those moments the slightest bump or shake will give me kittens and make my heart skip a beat. I never used to have the willies about flying and actively enjoyed it, but now that spoils the whole experience for me. I’d much rather take the train these days, pity those don’t go to England from here though. Maybe I just need a Mandy to soothe my anxiety with hot towels and peanuts