Tuesday 2nd June 2009

Your local independent radio station is on the air *now*

TV Cream Towers is shutting its doors for good. Yup, this blog is embarking on its second move in just over six months, which will no doubt result in even more blogrolls and favourites’ lists becoming out-of-date.

From everyone here in the presentation suite...

It’s not quite the same as the last move, though. This time it’s less an eviction, more an amalgamation. TV Cream Towers is finally moving into its spiritual home: the TV Cream website itself. More precisely, the brand new TV Cream website, which is looking perilously like nearing completion.

You’ll find this blog, replete with its entire archive (from both Blogger and WordPress incarnations) sitting at the top of the front page. Hope to see you over there. Meanwhile there’s just time to look at tomorrow night’s programmes, were this 19 and a half years and a fair few less ugly confrontations with the demands of growing up and the real world ago:

At 9pm, a brand new sketch comedy show...

For now, at least, goodbye.

...and thanks, as ever, for your company.


Think of a number (between 82 and 100 (not 99))

Monday 25th May 2009

It’s another bank holiday, and the enterprise TV Cream Towers launched on the bank holiday before last still isn’t finished.

Unlike present-day Blue Peter, the meeting of self-imposed empirical targets is still valued at TV Cream. If anyone can help nudge up our sequential song-based count from 1 to wherever (preferably 100), feel free to add suggestions to the Spotify playlist.

There’s a piece of cardboard – cut out of a cereal packet with the word RESERVED written on the plain side – sitting on number 99, but everything else between 82 and 100 is more than available.

TV Cream counts from 1 to…?: slight return

Monday 20th April 2009

Nominations for our musical stepladder have dried up, understandably, so in a shameless attempt to revitalise interest, there is now a Spotify playlist in existence of songs from 1 up to 40.

It’s somewhat different from the original list, partly because some songs aren’t on Spotify, partly because some of those nominated, such as 26 Years by Menswear, are awful (as the nominator of that song himself implied). The need to compile a playlist that people might actually want to listen to, rather than one derived solely on an empirical basis, makes obvious sense.

Anyway, this new list contains some delights. There’s a nicely apt prologue courtesy of They Might Be Giants; Cab Calloway’s band pleading for a Fifteen Minutes Intermission and their boss graciously conceding it would be good for their “palpitating embochure”; Leroy Carr pledging to turn over a brand new leaf in the Nineteen Thirty One Blues; and Brigitte Fontaine pompously intoning  J’ai 26 ans. Fuck knows what it’s about, but it sounds lovely.

The list gets sequentially more obscure, though hopefully no less appealing. There are a couple of harmless acoustic noodlings for numbers 14 and 28; a bit of George Fenton film soundtrackage for number 34; and a washboard for number 38.

Best of all, perhaps, is the version of #9 Dream by A-ha. Here’s a textbook example of how to take a dreary bag of wank and turn it into something fresh and quite charming (not least by ditching that wretched “John! John!” bit). It somehow fittingly segues into Loudon Wainwright III’s achingly sad 4 x 10.

Feel free to add your suggestions to the playlist on where to go from here, specifically how to get to Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover.

It’s a bank holiday, so TV Cream is making a list

Monday 13th April 2009

About 14 or 15 years ago, Kevin Greening did a thing while standing in for Danny Baker on Saturday morning Radio 1. He spent the entire three-hour show trying to compile an inventory of songs whose titles counted upwards in numerical order from 1 to 100. A bell was sounded every time a listener successfully advanced the list one step towards its goal.

Whether 100 was actually reached by the time the show ended is a matter of addled memory. But it seems an empirically whimsical task for the TV Cream community to tuck into on a bank holiday. To get things started, here’s 1 to 20:

Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On), Spandau Ballet
It Takes Two, Liz Kershaw and Bruno Brookes
Three, Massive Attack
Work Is A Four Letter Word, Cilla Black
Five Get Over Excited, The Housemartins
6 Underground, Sneaker Pimps
Seven Tears, Goombay Dance Band
Eight Miles High, The Byrds
Number 9 Dream, John Lennon
10 Years Asleep, Kingmaker
11 O’clock Tick Tock, U2
Rainy Day Women 12 and 35, Bob Dylan
13 Steps Lead Down, Elvis Costello
14 Years, Guns and Roses
Fifteen Minutes, Kirsty MacColl
Sweet Little Sixteen, Jerry Lee Lewis
Seventeen, Let Loose
18 Carat Love Affair, The Associates
Nineteen, Paul Hardcastle
Twenty Flight Rock, Eddie Cochran

Suggestions, please, on how to get up to, ooh, shall we say 50?

On the Spotify

Monday 6th April 2009

Hello, I’m Norris McWhirter, and I’ve just popped out from a meeting of the Freedom Association to tell you that TV Cream has relaxed its rules about its Spotify playlist.

From now on, certain artists will be allowed more than one song. I’m calling these artists Norris’s Notables. They are people like Paul McCartney, Elton John and David Bowie, who have distinguished themselves in the field of songwriting, and who, like me, have been around a bit and have dubious political affiliations.

You’re welcome to submit others for inclusion in this category.

And if you ever want to know in which country you can find the world’s fastest land mammal – look it up in a fucking book.


The sounds of TV Cream

Friday 3rd April 2009

Commercially manufactured noises have already been dealt with. What about those non-musical, non-vocal sounds that should be recognised for somehow forever embodying an aural dose of Creamage?

For starters:

The sticky crackle of a coloured page being prised apart from a black-and-white page in a copy of Radio Times.

The clunk-thunk of the lock when pulling shut an external door from the inside of Inter-City 125.

Early morning birdsong combined with the purr of the electric battery in a milkfloat.

The low, warm hum of an overhead projector.

The indeterminate murmur of a radio station lightly clouded in a fog of static on the Medium Wave.

A guiro being scraped in a primary school assembly hall.

The ping of a bell attached to the front door of a corner shop.

Repeated strikes of the ignition inside a Calor Gas heater.

A bean bag being sat upon.

The click of a trundle wheel being pushed around a playground.

Any more?


Sounds incorporated

Saturday 21st March 2009

Thanks to everyone who has added to the TV Cream Towers Spotify playlist.

Seeing as it how it’s all done under the cloak of anonymity, it’s not clear how many ‘everyone’ means. It could just be one person. But thanks all the same.

Like with most things to do with TV Cream, there are a couple of rules governing the playlist that perhaps should have been specified earlier, rules softly spoken but ruthlessly enforced. So, in case you’re wondering why your choice/s may have been deleted:

a) Only one track per artist is allowed.
b) No crap choices or ‘ironic’ selections are permitted. This is an uber-sincere playlist. Instant Sunshine aren’t on there for a joke.

Meanwhile, like they used to do in music magazines back when they were good, here is a list of 10 tracks from the playlist that, if there was a TV Cream Towers office, would be in heavy rotation on the cassette player by the overhead projector:

As with Norway and the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, the man should be able to bequeath an album to the nation every 12 months.
Never ‘his’ singers. Ever the gentleman.
Like having a bubble bath that lasts from 1980 to 1989.
4) Amnesia (Theme from The Roxy) BANANARAMA
Like walking down the best street you ever walked down when you were growing up.
5) The Pink Panther Theme, BOBBY MCFERRIN
Better than Mancini’s disco version.
6) Golden Brown, THE KING’S SINGERS
Better than the Stranglers version.
7) Wednesday Jones, STEPHEN DUFFY
Proving that in the hands of a master, even something like Chelmsford shopping centre can sound glorious.
8) Ordinary Angel, HUE AND CRY
Never let it be said they know Foucault about writing a good tune.
9) Merrily We Roll Along, MASSIMO FARAO
The wig-out begins 45 seconds in.
The second best Bond theme ever, now minus added Lani Hall.