Midnight Moroder


When I worked in the record department of WH Smith in the late 70s there were a few records which we were guaranteed to sell a copy of if we played them. Giorgio Moroder’s soundtrack to Midnight Express was one, it’s haunting electronics inevitably bringing an entranced customer to the counter to ask what it was. I’m reminded of it now because it’s just been reissued on vinyl after many years out of print.

Director Alan Parker hired Moroder after hearing “I Feel Love” and asked him to do something similar, so while the album is mostly slow mood pieces he fully answered that brief with the pulsing opening track “Chase” which turned out to be just as influential as the Donna Summer record. The version on the album is over 8 minutes long but it was also issued as a 12″ single that clocked in at a whopping 13 minutes, and that’s the version I’m giving you here. At this length it moves beyond electronic disco into more trancey territory, sounding at times like a proto-Rave tune.

Warning: Even at 128kbps this is a 12MB file.

Download: Chase (12″ version) – Giorgio Moroder (mp3)

Commercial Break


Looks like she enjoyed Last Tango In Paris. I think this is outside the Prince Charles Cinema in Soho.

Download: Good Girls – Merry Clayton (mp3)

You don’t need me to tell you that Merry Clayton was the wailing backing voice on The Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” or that her own version of the song is fabulously funky. “Good Girls” was the b-side of that and is also on her 1970 debut album.

And God Created Bardot


When I posted the video on Friday I had no idea it was Brigitte Bardot’s 80th birthday on Sunday. Though she’s mad as a box of frogs these days, she’s still the iconic queen of all the pouty, gap-toothed, French-movie sirens that have reduced so many of us to helpless blobs of jelly over the years.

Serge Gainsbourg’s most famously naughty song was originally written for Bardot, but stories of apparent heavy petting between the two of them while recording it caused a scandal before it had even come out. Brigitte was married to another man at the time — those French! — who was, not surprisingly, none too thrilled by this so she asked Serge not to release their version. It didn’t come out until the 1980s and I think is sexier than the version he did with Jane Birkin.

Download: Je t’aime… Moi Non Plus – Brigitte Bardot & Serge Gainsbourg (mp3)

Look Back In Kindness


Watching Get Carter also reminded me that I have this: A note playwright/actor John Osborne wrote to my Dad and put inside the copy of his autobiography he gave him (and I now have).


If you can’t read his writing this is what it says:

Dear John,
You said you’d read the article — here’s the book. Many thanks for all your kindness and help when I went ‘tramp’ in July 1980.

Cantos [?] Christi,
Yours,
John

I have no idea what “when I went ‘tramp’” means but knowing about Osborne — violent temper, five marriages, heavy drinker — I imagine he was on his arse for some reason.

Though Osborne is excellent in his small part as the crime boss Cyril Kinnear in Get Carter he is, of course, better known as a playwright, particularly for Look Back In Anger and The Entertainer, and is credited with revolutionizing British theatre in the 1950s. Regular readers of this blog will know that my Dad worked in the theatre which is how he would have met him.

I studied Look Back In Anger for my English A-Level which, funnily enough, I took in 1980 around the time he was going “tramp” — if I’d known my old man knew Osborne that well then and that he owed him a favour I’d have asked to get him to help me with the exam.

Download: Look Back In Anger – David Bowie (mp3)

UPDATE: Thanks to keen handwriting analysis by Martin in the comments he make have written “twang” and not “tramp” which makes even less sense to me.

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)

Lucky Dip


I don’t think this song has anything to do with the film beyond the title, but it’s one of Nick’s best choons and this is a lovely version of it.

Download: Whistle Down The Wind (acoustic version) – Nick Heyward (mp3)

The Lion in Winter

“We both are old now, more sedate, more responsible, we sleep in beds and sometimes we are sober; our bones are brittle, our sinews want elastic, the optician is kept busy and the dentist’s in despair, the barber gives us shorter shrift while the tailor makes thick overcoats, but should a shining occasion present itself, why, we will run jump fight fuck wheel a barrow drive a truck and generally present ourselves, singly or in tandem, to whatever merry mayhem takes our fancy”

Peter O’Toole, Loitering With Intent

RIP the very, very great Peter O’Toole. I highly recommend the two volumes of his autobiography, and of course, the movies.

Download: Overture From Lawrence of Arabia – Maurice Jarre (mp3)

Feeling a bit peaky?


In Brief Encounter the emotionally-crushed Laura is told by her gossipy friend that she looks “a bit peaked” which struck me as being the posh version of “a bit peaky” which is how I’ve always said it coz I’m common.

For my American friends it means to look pale, wan, or sick. The internets seem a little unsure of the origin of the phrase but I assume it has something to do with having hit some sort of peak and crashed.

Anyway, get this down you. It’ll do you good.

Download: I Feel Much Better – Small Faces (mp3)

What’s it all about?

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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