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An article added to rants on lockdown, 100 Days Plus & Counting.The title should be self-evident. What we’ve been doing and not doing. The inertia of lockdown …

The 60s Retrospective series stays with pop exploitation for the other huge non-Beatles one, Cliff Richard and The Shadows in SUMMER HOLIDAY (1963). Linked. Like The Young Ones it didn’t make a mark in the USA but dominated the coldest British winter on record in 1963. The burst of colour and sunshine throughout was a tonic. A significant snippet – the LP topped the British charts for fourteen weeks. It was replaced by Please Please Me. That marks a watershed point in British popular culture.  So a look at pre-watershed pop.

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The superb Bridge Theatre 2019 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on YouTube. Link to my original review from last year. Look for National Theatre Live. It’s definitely on for five more days. It’s great. You lose the action of stages going up and down all over the auditorium, but in compensation you get the facial close ups you don’t see in the theatre so well- and we saw it twice in the theatre. This is the end where they’re choosing who will do the entertainment for the nuptials. The Rude Mechanicals at the bottom. With Bottom.

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One of my most thorough 60s reviews, laden with pictures. THE YOUNG ONES from 1962, starring Cliff Richard & The Shadows. This film did nothing in the USA, but in the UK, the rivals in popularity on release would be A Hard Day’s Night and Help! (And the sequel, Summer Holiday). This film was massive. It has some discomfort in mixing genres … pastiche MGM musical with 60s pop exploitation. In spite of that we enjoyed revisiting it. It’s a great snapshot of the era … filmed in mid-1961, General Release was January 1962.

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Review of the 1964 film THE CHALK GARDEN. Starring Hayley Mills, Deborah Kerr, Edith Evans, John Mills, Felix Aymler, Elizabeth Sellars. This was a film version of the popular stage play from 8 years earlier which was described as the last and best of the drawing room comedy-thriller genre. The film loses most of the comedy. The stage play has been revived and as well as an overview of the film, there is a comparison between stage play (at Chichester in 2018) and the film, and on acting styles in general.

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Review of the BBC TV mini-series THE SALISBURY POISONINGS added. It received very good reviews for its focus on the individual human angle, and there are clear parallels with Coronavirus – parts of Salisbury were shut down for many months. For me, it dodged the main issue and avoided any attention on the guilty perpetrators. Most reviews would disagree with me and liked its focus.

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Review added in the 60s Retrospective series, LIVE IT UP! (linked) from late 1963. I’m getting addicted to these pop exploitation films and this is another full plot review with many pictures so you won’t need to watch it. This focusses on a lad starting a group, David Hemmings. The lead singer is Heinz and the drummer is a young Steve Marriott. Most of the soundtrack is Joe Meek, and featuresThe Outlaws, Sounds Incorporated, Jennifer Moss, Patsy ann Noble, Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen and a sweet Gene Vincent. The Outlaws included Ritchie Blackmore and Chas Hodges.

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A rant added on Fawlty Towers and Tall Poppies which discusses the current argument over withdrawing allegedly offensive comedies, and adds in Little Britain, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Benny Hill and Mike Yarwood. And me.

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Review added of JUST FOR YOU (1964) (linked) The film that explains the exploitation in budget pop exploitation film. Cheap sets. Dreadful DJ links from Sam Costa (Thank goodness they didn’t engage Jimmy Saville). All mimed stuff. Not an actual performance on there. Its main virtue is to demonstrate just how good A Hard Day’s Night was at the same time. I thought it would be an exercise in early pop video, but it’s woefully unimaginative. The two biggest stars to emerge, Jon Anderson and Mike d’Abo, manage to conceal any sign whatsoever of their future abilities and talent. The best performances were a surprise, Al Saxon and Louise Cordet for me. I’ve done a cynical review with lots of pictures.

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Statues …

I’ve updated my rant on CIVIL WARS & STATUES to include the latest controversy over Colston’s statue in Bristol and also added a section on “Bomber” Harris. Then another bit on Baden-Powell and Poole.

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