Obscure songs: JC001: Never Again

20 odd years ago, when I was into music videos (and television in general), I used to regularly record (yes, on VHS) a few hours of Rage on a Friday and/or Saturday night, and watch it the next day.

I’d categorise each song as a 1, 2 or 3. 1s I would copy onto another tape for keeping — a kind of Rage mix-tape. 2s I would watch once. 3s I would spin through.

One much-loved but long-forgotten song that I’ve just encountered is JC001′s “Never Again”.

(Once again WordPress is playing up. If it decides again to remove the embedded clip, it’s here.)

Apart from the good anti-racism, pro-mixed-race message (something I can relate to), the fast-paced lyrics made it ripe for parody in our family: “I intend to defend my blender ’til the end!”

The song has been hailed in some circles as “One of the best, most underrated uk hip hop singles ever.”

And it also apparently samples The Specials, so you’ve gotta like that.

JC001′s real name is Jonathan Pandy, and he’s still around apparently, for instance on Twitter. I wonder if he still has the crazy eyes.

Not live, from studio 13 at Gordon Street

A little while ago I bought myself the Collected Shaun Micallef — a box set of numerous shows of his, including The Micallef P(r)ogram(me). The kids and I have been watching our way through it.

I remembered that I had gone to a recording of the show, but had no idea which episode it was. The other night it became very obvious that it had been the final episode of season 2 — in a sketch parodying The Price Is Right, there I was, in the audience.

In the audience at The Micallef Programme, 1999

Coincidentally last night we went to a recording of one of Shaun’s current series — Mad As Hell. We arrived about 5pm, and around half-an-hour later were let into a waiting area, then into the studio itself, with recording starting at about 6pm. With stops and starts and gaffs aplenty, it took until about 8pm to record the half-hour show.

It’ll air tonight.

Mad As Hell studio recording

Most unintentionally amusing moment: after numerous warnings to go to the toilet before recording started, the warm-up guy asked if there were any final questions before beginning, only to be faced with one gentleman piping up: “Is there time to urinate?” — he was whisked off to do so.

Best moment you won’t see on-screen: an audience member who is a musician from Morocco (who has just emigrated) being invited onto stage to play a guitar they’d found. He played a North African song which (if I got this right) is about a bloke who pays a dowry for a wife but is dudded by the father (who has dudded many suitors) and ends up alone.

I don’t think there were any shots of the audience filmed for the show, but the warm-up guy took a photo of part of the audience. I’m up the back, a blurry blob in the dark, waving.

Mad As Hell audience

Lots of fun… apparently they still need audiences for later in the season.

Meteor & asteroid on the news – it’s like Doctor Who when they have the fake news bulletins

Over the past 24 hours, seeing the stories of the asteroid close-call and the meteor falling in Russia, it’s been a bit like those scenes in Doctor Who where they have a news bulletin about the latest alien invasion.

Channel 10: Asteroid story

Russian TV (via SBS): Asteroid story

ABC News: asteroid/meteor story

Is Big W deliberately trying to discourage people buying TVs from them?

Spotted in Big W:
TVs in Big W

Spotted in JB Hifi:
TVs in JB Hifi

The key difference seems to be that the JB Hifi people know how to set up their TVs.

The Big W people don’t know, or don’t care, that on almost all of the TVs they have on display, the colour is completely distorted.

If you can’t see a display product working properly, why would you buy it there?

Every bomb you make / Every job you take

I’d forgotten this. A version of The Police’s stalker song Every Breath You Take — with new lyrics written by the Spitting Image team and sung by Sting. (Don’t be put off by Youtube’s preview frame — it’s not just a credits roll.)

There is some good stuff loosely in this genre these days, but I’m not sure we’ve got the level of no-holds-barred satire that Spitting Image and even our own Gillies Report provided.

Here’s a thought: even if Apartheid were still around, would they be able to broadcast Never Met A Nice South African now?

Given the price differential, it’s hard to see that GST on imports would make any difference

AU cash and JB cardAmong the presents I got for my birthday was a JB Hifi gift card. This always presents a challenge: what bargains can I pick up?

Browsing around the store one day, I found the two Harry Potter movies we don’t already have — the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 — on Blu-ray, for $14.98, and on a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. Sold.

But what to spend the remaining $14.02 on?

Here are the prices of some movies and other discs that are on my To Buy list… with a comparison between Amazon UK, JB Hifi and Ezydvd.

Title JB Hifi EzyDVD Amazon UK
Firefly (TV series) Blu-ray [1] $36.98 $42.97 £15.00 ($21.93)
Doctor Who (series 5) Blu-ray $133.99 $139.97 £17.00 ($24.65)
Doctor Who (series 6) Blu-ray [2] NA $119.97 £18.25 ($26.35)
Tintin(movie) Blu-ray 2D [3] $49.99 $52.97 £8.25 ($12.72)
The Slap DVD[4] $55.99 $57.97 £6.77 ($10.71)
  • [1] Firefly was recently about double this price in Australia for the Blu-ray. It seems they’ve now brought it down to a reasonable price at last.
  • [2] JBHifi online only lists the part 1 and part 2 Blu-rays of Doctor Who series 6, which excludes extras.
  • [3] The Tintin movie in Australia appears to be only available on Blu-ray with bundled (but in my case, unwanted) DVD and digital copy. Amazon has this edition as well, at 10 pounds more than just the Blu-ray. In Australia, the 3D Blu-ray is another $10, making it around $60.
  • [4] I’m not really in the market for this, but I thought I’d throw it in as an example of an Australian production. In Australia the price of the DVD or Blu-ray seems to be equally high. Amazon UK only lists the DVD; no Blu-ray.

The dollar prices for Amazon UK above are with the VAT deducted, and the £1.49 per item delivery cost added. There is an additional £2.09 ($3.27) cost per delivery, which is why most people try and buy multiple things at once, rather than ordering items one-by-one.

But even with delivery costs, some of these items are ludicrously more expensive buying in Australia. It’s not hard to see why people are importing — and also not hard to see that while some retailers want 10% GST added to imports, it would make hardly any difference at all — not when in some of these cases Amazon will deliver it to you for a fifth of the Australian price.

The rise of the Aussie dollar has obviously played a part here, but this isn’t new… it’s been over 60 UK pence for about two years.

And I’m not saying the retailers are necessarily to blame here, but something somewhere in the supply chain for these products is obviously very fishy indeed.

PS lunchtime. Obviously the price differential is quite different for various products and types of product. I think I actually got a pretty good deal on the Harry Potter Blu-rays, and I doubt they are cheaper via Amazon… this of course makes it all the more puzzling. Ultimately someone in the supply chain believes that Australians shopping locally are prepared to pay higher prices than our UK friends… that, after all, is how the free market operates.

By the way, unlike for DVDs, the UK and Europe is the same region for Blu-ray discs as Australia (region B).

PS 18/11/2012: I did eventually buy a couple of these yesterday during a JB Hifi “20% off DVDs and Blu-ray” sale. Firefly (still at around $37) went down to about $30, which is close to the US price (though still a bit above the UK one), and Tintin now has a new Blu-ray only edition retailing for $19.95. At 20% off that took it down to about $16. I also noticed The Slap has dropped to about $40.

Current earworm: The Professionals theme

Who remembers The Professionals? I for one was hooked on this as a teenager, despite it being, as Martin Shaw described it, a one-dimensional show.

It was a major inspiration for the amateur action video series “STRIKE” which I helped on in high school.

It’s amusing to look back on the original Professionals title sequence now — perhaps the frame rate or other artefacts in Youtube make it look particularly cartoon-like, but it’s not hard to see why they changed it:

From season two it was re-done to this more well-known (and I think markedly better) title sequence — and I suspect re-edited into most season one episodes as well:

The music is very 70s, isn’t it. Now I have it as an earworm.

For Profesionals fans, check this different version, which include Gordon Jackson/George Cowley introducing the premise of the show… perhaps this was the export version, a bit like non-UK versions of recent Doctor Who episodes have included an introduction from Amy.

Pre-Professionals, there’s also this scene from the New Avengers, which featured Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins working together before they appeared as Bodie and Doyle.