It’s Pretty Oop North


I’ve heard it can be anyway. Being one of those Londoners who got a nosebleed (and cultural panic) if he ventured north of Watford I couldn’t tell you myself. Short trips to Manchester and Newcastle are my only experience of that part of the country.

This is a really gorgeous track by British folky Catherine Howe from her “lost” 1971 album What A Beautiful Place. Apparently it’s about her hometown of Halifax which I’ve never been to either, but I doubt if it’s as pretty as this song.

Download: Up North – Catherine Howe (mp3)

Not a lot of people know that


I was watching Get Carter the other night and got to wondering what happened to the actress Geraldine Moffat (her in the knickers above) who played the gangster’s floozy Glenda. When I was a kid my mum had a paperback of the novel it was based on which had a film still of a naked Moffat on the back that really, er, grabbed my attention as that sort of thing does at a tender age, so my memory had a bit of previous with her.

She only made a handful of films and did some telly like Coronation Street and The Sweeney, then got married and had two boys who grew up to found the videogame company that created Grand Theft Auto (and apparently she appears in version 5 of the game) — which all seems very appropriate considering her character in the film takes Michael Caine for a wild drive in a Sunbeam Alpine and comes to a watery end in its boot.

Get Carter is a great film of course and it also has a great soundtrack: Classic 70s crime-film music, all funky bongos, bass, and organ, with a cold-as-ice harpsichord.

Download: Get Carter – Roy Budd (mp3)

Thursday Night Fever



This clip goes so far beyond so-bad-it’s-good territory it enters new dimensions of kitsch that are beyond human comprehension.

Soul Power UK



This is a terrific short documentary with great archival footage about the British soul scene from the 60s to the 80s, part of a series of films about British youth culture directed by Don Letts for Fred Perry.

The differences between the scenes in the North (thumping beats, practical clothes) and the South (slick Jazz-Funk, fashionable gear) seem like cultural cliches of Hard Northerners vs Soft Southern Pooftahs but are actually mostly true in this instance.

The soul scene in the South hasn’t been written about nearly as much as the one oop North — a reversal of the usual media prejudice — but it was just as vital and more modern in outlook so it’s nice to see it given some proper respect in this movie. My earliest clubbing experiences were at the Lyceum in London in the late 70s with soul-scene legends Steve Walsh and Greg Edwards DJ-ing. The place was packed with Soul Boys (and girls) wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the name of their local posses like Streatham Funk Patrol and blowing the whistles that hung around their necks. While the clothes were important — this was the era of Pringle jumpers and Lois jeans — there was no posing going on, everyone was too busy dancing.

Here’s a Brit-Funk classic from those days featuring the amazing bass-slapping fingers of Mr. Mark King.

Download: Love Games – Level 42 (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



There’s a fine line between looking like a folk singer and looking like a crazy homeless person, and I think one or two of the Lindisfarne boys may have crossed it here. Or it could just be that they’re Geordies.

What’s yours?


Download: Milk and Alcohol – Dr. Feelgood (mp3)

It’s Glam Oop North



There’s an exhibition on at the Tate Liverpool at the moment called Glam! The Performance of Style which looks interesting. Part of the show is a 1977 documentary called Roxette about young Roxy Music fans in Manchester getting dressed up to go see the band live. The whole movie is 30 minutes long and looks utterly fab judging by this short clip which makes me really want to see the entire thing (wish they’d used a different song though, don’t they know I posted “Beauty Queen” just last week!) I’d love to make it to Liverpool to see the show too but doubt if that’s on the cards.

Some pics from the exhibition here.

Ah know what ah like


We soft Southern pooftahs liked to joke that Woodbines were only smoked by gruff blokes from oop North who wore flat caps, raced pigeons, and liked to proudly declare their narrow-minded prejudices by saying “I know what I like and I like what I know” — especially when it came to things they considered fancy, modern, or foreign.

Well, I used to think it was a joke but, according this ad, it was true!

By ‘eck.

Download: Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape – Be Bop Deluxe (mp3)

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The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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