Saturday, 16 December 2006

Night of Nights

One year ago (plus one day) we debuted the then as yet untitled Top 30 for the year. And now it’s that time of the year to once again hand out the most prestigious trophy in world music - the David Lee Roth Award for TSP’s song of the year.

I’m so lost as to the state of modern music that I was lucky to find 30 new tracks from the year that I’d actually liked. In fact that full list ran to just 32. Last year there was at least ten or so that I had to cut out. The other difference between this year and last is that there were no standouts for #1. Last year it was Kaiser Chiefs and Maximo Park then a million miles of daylight to third but this time any of the top five could have won. There are also two songs from Eurovision included - because a) they were tops and b) I’m the last person alive who considers that it can produce cracking songs occasionally.

So if DLR himself is ready the envelope please,

Thanks to our major sponsor You Tube, we present a copyright infringing look at the videos (or next best available equivalent) of the top 30.

30 - Razorlight - America

29 - Chris Cornell - You Know My Name

28 - The Killers - When You Were Young

27 - Mark Ronson - Just

26 - Jarvis Cocker - Black Magic

25 - !Forward Russia! - Thirteen

24 - The Young Knives - The Decision

23 - Texas Lightning - No No Never

22 - Peaches - You Love It

21 - Cats On Fire - Higher Grounds

20 - Lily Allen - Smile

19 - The Young Knives - Loughborough Suicide

18 - Morrissey - You Have Killed Me

17 - The Long Blondes - Lust In The Movies

16 - Peaches - Do Ya

15 - Jarvis Cocker - Running The World

14 - Luke Haines - Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop

13 - The Young Knives - Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)

12 - The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes

11 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion

10 - Hard-Fi - Cash Machine

9 - Lily Allen - Nan You’re A Window Shopper

8 - Giant Drag - You Fuck Like My Dad

7 - Dirty Pretty Things - Bang Bang You’re Dead

6 - Boy Kill Boy - Suzie

5 - Joey Negro - Make A Move On Me

4 - Lily Allen - LDN

3 - Silvia Night - Congratulations

2 - Giant Drag - This Isn’t It

1 - The Young Knives - Here Comes The Rumor Mill

Congratulations to the Knives on their victory. And if you need any further proof on how tripped out my influences are the nationality scoreboard of the 30 reads as follows,

England - 16
USA - 5
Finland, Germany, Iceland, Canada - 1

Insert your “ZOMG WHAT ABOUT WOLFMOTHER?!?!?!” bollocks in the space provided below

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Are you over it now? I’m sure there’s something crucial that I’ve left out but I’m sure it wasn’t from an Australian artist.

P.S: Be Your Own Pet - Adventure. Definately the track I left out. Pencil it in for somewhere in the mid 20’s

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

TSP Video Classix: Snooker Loopy

Stay tuned for the majesty of rock and the pageantry of roll (both musical and green-felt related) as we present to you Chas and Dave’s 80’s masterpiece of British musical theatre “Snooker Loopy”. VH1 ranked it the 5th worst video in history. The four in front of it must have been absolute crackers.

Regardless of quality control issues you know something is going to be memorable when it opens with a shot like this,

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There’s a chance from the available evidence that this video will pay careful and respectful homage to the proud traditions of the West End, Broadway and the people who gave their blood, sweat and tears to make the entertainment and sporting industries what they are today.

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Or it might just be a bunch of out of shape middle aged men bunting red balls around a table to music for a quick payday.

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And there they are now. The sporting world’s equivalent of the Crazy Old Man dancers from The Simpsons. Now I don’t think there’s anyone under 90 in this country who has ever played snooker, and it’s fair to say that the game’s televised funeral came when Mick Molloy made Eddie Charlton run around the table with his pants down on The Late Show, but I’m telling you this video would have spoken to the kids if they’d played it here. One appearance on Countdown and the VFL would never have been able to go national in the face of competition from the Australian Snooker League. If there’s anyone you want promoting your sport in this country it’s a couple of dads in jumpers and a guy who looks suspiciously like Paul Keating.

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Now the best thing about this video is that not only do you get three and a half minutes of propaganda about the game but you also learn about the competitors themselves. Which is a nice personal touch I think. First up is “
Milo” who despite his appearance is a snooker player and not the 24th Prime Minister of Australia. We’re reliably informed that not only is he well dressed (in possibly the only use of the word “dapper” in chart history) but he also has Italian roots. Or “Eyetalian” if you speak Cockney. You’ll note that to really get the point across he’s hoeing into a big bowl of spaghetti. Do you see what they did there? The suggestion that he “keeps his head” despite his Italian background seems to indicate a stereotype that people from that country often lose the plot. You’d never get away with that in a song these days.

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Next up is Dad #1 who we are reliably informed was a gun player who couldn’t hit long shots to save his life. Luckily for us all he rectified the problem and in what probably ranks as THE most off-key singing moment in history explains that “NOW I WEAR THESE GOGGGGGGGGGLES”. This man, who we are reliably informed is called “Den” now holds the record for the most ludicrous appearance in a music video AND the off-key singing world record. Personally I say well done to him. Glorious amateurism is exactly what we need more of in the music industry. Enough with Australian Idol contestants who use their talents on production line tosh that nobody over thirteen could possibly like, and IN with the mid 40’s “sportsmen” who are just there for the dollars.

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Next up is “Terry the Taff”, who as a Welshman gets to wear a miners hat. Because everyone from Wales is a sweaty miner of course. Well they were when this was released anyway. Until they were sacked en masse and the whole industry was moved overseas. Boo Thatcher and all that. Where was the follow-up single where he was wearing a “Maggie Is A Tart” t-shirt? Missed opportunites for comic hijinks with a message.

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But the good news for now is that Tezza is swimming in the cash and even has time to buy another 8 “hairbrushes” for his “barnet”. There is no possible way that this song could be any less Cockney unless it were called “Knees Up Mother Brown” and had been recorded by the Kray Brothers.

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Next up is Willie Thorne who apparently is mocked endlessly for having no hair. See, for instance, the proto-Coneheads scene taking place in the above shot. The good news is that despite being slaughtered by his colleagues for having no “barnet” (as Terry The Taff would no doubt describe it) Willie is still going strong now. Go to his website and hire him for after-dinner speaking, conferences or as an auctioneer. Or, like the rest of the world, don’t.

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And his revenge for all that pulling of the piss regarding hair matters? Blinding the other players with the light shining off his bonce. His half arsed solution is to offer, “perhaps I ought to chalk it”. Perhaps? Ought? You realise that this could be the greatest song ever released don’t you? Where else have you ever heard the butchery of the English language performed with such style?

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Next up is Steve Davis, the only snooker player that I’d ever actually heard of before this song who wasn’t Australian or didn’t have the word Hurricane in his name. I love sports where you can look like some complete bum off the street and still be a world champion. Alas the year in question saw Steve lose the title when the black ball wouldn’t go down. This leads to completely non-sensical lyrics which feature his manager yelling at him before he says “He don’t care who wins this year ‘cos he’s got the rest of us signed up”. Now how can he be saying the “rest of us” including himself when he was already signed up? This is the only thing that could possibly cause this to lose the election for greatest song ever. That and the fact that it’s a big knees up singalong sung by middle-aged school teacher lookalikes and a couple of cockney wideboys.

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One final shot of the chorus. With proof undeniable that Willie Thorne was having the time of his life. He’s got the hand on the headphone and is just belting it out like he’s in a cheap karaoke bar singing sea shanty songs. No wonder “Mr. Maximum” (as the kids called him) is the enduring face of snooker punditry in Great Britain to this day. None of the others seem to be getting into it, and Terry The Taff clearly doesn’t give a rats anymore, but in the spirit of drunken nights out across the world Den is having a red hot go fully knowing that he’s got no idea.
And before we go today it’s over to our hosts Chas ‘n Dave for a final indication of what you’d have to be to hand over good money and buy this song in the shops.

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Absolutely mental. Right you are lads. Back next week with more.

Fond memories of Carmen Sandiego

Our generation (i.e people born 1980-1984) have a truckload of shared experiences that draw us together. We all remember shonky television shows like Mulligrubs (with that freaky floating face thing that talked in a crazy helium voice and terrified the children), our first memory of chart music involved either MC Hammer, Milli Vanilli or Vanilla Ice, and our first crack at a computer invariable involved driving that LOGO turtle around the screen on a rubbish Apple IIE somewhere in a dingy school computer lab. 

I still don’t know what that turtle was supposed to represent. The endless, and useless, struggle that is human life? Were you trying to draw pictures or were they covertly explaining that the boundaries of the screen represented the world and that you, as the turtle, were destined to float around aimlessly forever achieving something that looked decent but ultimately marking time until you inevitably “closed the program” and died? Whatever the meaning was they were certainly hiding it well because I spent two years trying to work it out and never came up with anything.

But there’s one thing that, above all others, stands out as the cultural touchstone of an entire generation. One thing that every child in Australia who went near a computer was exposed to at one point or another and we all have fond memories of. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…


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What a game. Almost certainly the only way to get geography over to “the kids”. Even the ones who’d realise two years later that computers were only useful to decide which person should be belted, and a few years later that you could view naked people on them were into Carmen at the time. You’d never get away with this sort of thing at the time, but in the mid 80’s it had all the kiddies discussing whether or not a red and white flag meant Canada or Poland. Now it’s all sexual favours in the yard and heroin injection in the school longjump pit. I merged cultural highlights and played Carmen on an Apple IIE in the Hawthorn Library circa 1988/89 (whenever I was in Grades 1 and 2). 

I spent a ridiculous amount of time in that place because I had nowhere else to go after school so I just showed up there and dominated all the games on that computer. Is it sad to have so few fond memories of childhood that the day you finally held every single world record on Summer AND Winter Olympics on a public library’s computer is amongst the great days of your life? I think it is, but it was a significant and dominant achievement nonetheless. When I wasn’t tonking virtual cross-country skiing it was all Carmen. I credit the game with the ridiculously over the top knowledge of geography that I had, with no cause to EVER use, in school. Of course I hit year seven and most of it was forgotten, but it was nice while it lasted. And when you’re at a trivia night and they start asking you which national capital is the highest in the world above sea level I’ll be the voice in your head shouting “IT’S LA PAZ, BOLIVIA YOU FOOL!”

The point of the game, for those of you who were living under a rock/not born/had something better to do at the time, is that you’re a detective employed by the creatively titled “ACME Detective Agency” who is sent around the world to track down important historical items pinched by the evil members of the “VILE” crime gang. The historical items were always something ridiculous like a viking monument, or the chandelier from the Sydney Opera House but occasionally they completely lost the plot and claim that you had to recover the Staten Island Ferry or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And how exactly were they pinched? Did somebody stuff the ceiling down their shirt? Did nobody notice it mysteriously disappearing? Farcical, but not so much that it destroyed the mystique of the chase. The evil criminals that you were against were as follows,

Carmen Sandiego
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Leader of VILE and, let’s be frank, a stone cold digital fox. Carmen is the “big boss” who you eventually have to round up after you’ve gone through the rest of the stooges twenty times each. She used to be a spy for the Monaco intelligence service, loves tacos, is never seen in public without her ruby necklace (probably nicked, though they never elaborate), enjoys playing tennis and drives a 1939 Convertable. Stylish lady. What’s never explained is what she’s got to do with San Diego, and why given that ACME HQ was in Los Angeles they couldn’t just drive down the road and nick her at home. Talk about a bureaucracy.

Merey LeRoc

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Listed as a “freestyle aerobic dancer”, which I presume is a kid friendly 80’s metaphor for chronic alcoholic and kleptomaniac. Despite the tennis racquet in her photo her hobby is listed as mountain climbing, and she’s said to have a love of spicy foods. She has an “absolute mania” for fancy jewellry and drives a fancy limousine. And she’s a complete pushover. Get ready to spend most of your time pinching her in various locations around the world. How does she keep getting released? What’s the point of nicking Carmen if everyone else in her gang just walks out the door ten minutes after they’re arrested? Not surprisingly as children we never took time out of our busy schedules to ponder these questions.

Dazzle Annie Nonker

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The world’s most evil yoghurt bar owner. Enjoys tennis - which seems to be a theme throughout the game - and also drives a limo. Has an “incredible” appetite for seafood and is “said” to have a tattoo, which seems to indicate she’s got it somewhere that video game audiences weren’t destined to see until the internet became popular.

Lady Agatha Wayland

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There’s no explanation of just how this Angela Lansbury-esque character got into a violent international crime syndicate. Especially given that her occupation is “reading upper-class English mystery stories”. Must have decided that she needed more entertainment in her life. Also enjoys tennis (I think they’re suggesting that anyone who wields a racquet is a criminal) and has a diamond ring “the size of a grapefruit”. Is said to drive her Denby Roadster through the countryside looking for Mexican restaurants. Which is going to be a long search in England. Take no crap from Lady Agatha.

Len Bulk

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If the black eye and wad of cash doesn’t give it away he’s a crooked ex-hockey player. I believe the story is that he threw a game for cash, got busted and had to go on the run and became a super-criminal instead. For reasons unknown he’s got a tattoo of a mermaid on his thumb and enjoys mountain climbing. Len is the first person in the game to have absolutely no connection to tennis whatsoever. He does, however, love seafood. Nicknamed Red.

Scar Graynolt

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The world’s deadliest folk guitarist. Scar is into croquet, drives a limousine with tinted windows and has a five carat pinky ring. He can eat his own wait in tacos and has a 7 foot manservant called “The Asp”. Not that The Asp is ever seen, heard from or mentioned again - but it’s a nice touch nonetheless. There must be a lot of money in folk guitar.

Nick Brunch

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Ex-private eye who still wears his crimefighter's ring, despite being a villain. Rides a motorbike, goes wild for Mexican food, prefers “soiled trenchcoats” (!!!!?!?!) and “snap-brimmed fedoras”. Has a world class porno moustache and a gun. Which makes him instantly more scary than the tennis racquet wielding Merey LeRoc or the old woman with her books.

Fast Eddie B
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Other than being a world class Charlie Chaplin lookalike Fast Eddie is famous for being an “impeccably dressed jet-setter” and a champion croquet player. He always leaves a diamond stickpin at the scene of his crimes (which seems like a very good way to get caught if you ask me) and drives a convertible. Much like everyone else in this game he’s hot for Mexican food – but unlike everyone else he has no interest in the fine art of tennis.

Ihor Ihorovich
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My personal favourite. The original Ukranian Nightmare has a strange tattoo on his arm, lists his occupation as “pretender to the Czarist throne” and is said to be fascinated by large marsupials. He’s a huge croquet fan, drives a limo and enjoys eating lobsters whilst watching cartoons. Ihor is not a man to be taken lightly. He’s quite fearsome.

Katherine Drib

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Speaking of fearsome, “Boom Boom” Drib is the scariest one of them all. A world class motorbike racer, on her 1250cc Honcho bike, she is big on mountain climbing and has a tattoo of an eagle on her left bicep. When not motorbike racing or kicking your mf’ing teeth in she’s a gourmet seafood cook (which must come in handy when catering for VILE AGM comes up) and is “fascinated” with health and fitness. I have every reason to believe that this character was largely based on Rita Connors of Prisoner.

The game itself is fairly simple. You start off in the city where the item was stolen, predictably nobody saw the roof of the chapel being lifted but everyone’s got some sort of shonky “hint” to follow,

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Aha! Black hair! I’m one step closer. Buggered if I know where to go to make perfume though, time to visit another top Cairo destination,

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Eventually you’ll get enough evidence to put into the “crime computer” and get a warrant to arrest your suspect. You then track them to a city where they try to scare you off by dropping an anvil before getting nicked.
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Never fear. In three or four cases Nick Brunch will be wandering the streets pinching stuff again. How do they keep getting out? It’s a mystery to me.

Do this about 3000 times and you’ll end up going against Carmen herself. Take the mother down and you’ve rolled the game. The catch was that after every case you’d get asked a general knowledge geography question that you’d have to answer by looking up information in the world atlas and encyclopedia that came with the game. If your school had just knocked off a few copies and handed them out to the classes it necessitated a lightning bolt to the library to get the book and find the right clue. Then some other kid was trying to study something in it and it often turned ugly. Then you’d be asked to leave the library because of the all the yelling and would return to the class empty handed and be forced to have a wild stab at the answer. So if you didn’t know off-hand that Antwerp had hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics you were finished. Cue instant shame.


The game has been spun off into three hundred different versions over the years, all with new characters and scenarios. Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego, Where in Space, the USA, time, the Universe, America’s Past etc.. etc.. How did she get time to do so much crime? How come she could still travel to the planet Neptune even after you’d arrested her? The good people at Broaderbund Software never told us. Perhaps they were a front for VILE all along? I guess we’ll never know now.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Monday, 17 April 2006

Monday, 10 April 2006

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Saturday, 4 March 2006

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Monday, 20 February 2006

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Entrance

(Originally posted at MSPaint Classics)

Hoorah for the "Your Mum" Cartoon Contest. Here's one we made earlier. Check out that ass.

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Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Monday, 6 February 2006