Best ever spring singles No.2 – The Boo Radleys ‘Wake Up Boo!’ (1995)

I went through a break up with a girl in the spring of 1995. The day after it happened, I heard this track for the first time, and things were (almost) better again. As uplifting as the best Soul music can be, this stomper got into the charts in March 1995, and eventually got as high as number 9. It was the Boo Radleys finest hour, and as close as any British white indie band from Cheshire (or anywhere else) ever got to perfecting that beating rhythm that propelled the best Northern Soul and Motown tracks. The lyrics merely re-emphasise the beauty in the stirring music, shouting at you ‘isn’t it great to be alive???’;

Wake up it’s a beautiful morning
Feel the sun shining for your eyes
Wake up it’s so beautiful
For what could be the very last time

The Boo Radleys very own Northern Soul anthem still sounds fresh because it is a classic pop song, its exuberance and infectious rhythm never outstaying its welcome.

The Boo Radleys at Wikipedia

BBC Interview with Martin Carr of the Boo Radleys

Review of ‘Wake Up!’, the album from whence the single came

The lyrics for ‘Wake Up Boo!’

Post Apocalypse V – Exterminators of the Year 3000

‘A Fututristic Film of Survival’.

As the title suggests, this film is set in the year 3000, where the world, post-nuclear apocalypse, is all desert and it has not rained for years. As in Mad Max 2, a film it slavishly copies, there is a precious resource that the survivors covet. In this film that resource is not gasoline – it’s clean water. I don’t understand why they set it in the year 3000, when other Italian post-apocalypse movies of the time had more realistic ‘futuristic’ settings (‘2019: After The Fall of New York’ is the first example that comes to mind). The film was produced in 1983, and has all the standard features of these types of movies;

a) heavily customised vehiicles (usually involving grills and spikes),
b) everyone wearing leather or looking like they were in the Olivia Newton-John ‘Physical’ video and then didnt wash for 5 years,
c) the ‘hero’ being of dubious morality
d) car and truck chases
e) a fantastic video cover!! (see top of the page for proof)

It may sound like I don’t like this movie. That would be wrong. I just dont think its a great ‘Mad Max 2’ rip-off, but even poor versions of the George Miller original have their qualities. Its engaging enough at times, with some great vehicular action scenes and cheesy dialogue to get through its 100 minute runtime. You can spot all the Mad Max 2 influences throughout the film. That should keep you busy as well. It has the look of a low budget cash-in, and that is all it is, but if you are willing to give your brain a rest, you could do far worse.

It does not appear to be available on DVD yet, though it is available on ebay from time to time on VHS PAL or NTSC formats. Is it worth it? Depends if you are a completist on this sort of stuff. I watched it in the mid eighties and thought it was okay, and then found it at a boot sale in Yorkshire in the late nineties on VHS and watched it and thought it was pretty poor. I have recently watched it a thrid time and thought it was a good laugh. I’d give it a ‘positive’ 5 out of 10. However, if you are just starting on this stuff, and haven’t watched Mad Max 2 before, then watch that, not this! That film is definitive, and spawned the likes of this film.


IMDB entry for the film

Great post-apocalypse film site with review of this film

Another great post-apocalypse film site deals with this film

A site dedicated to Mad Max movies discusses the films imitators

Indie Hits of the Eighties – from Spizzenergi to Electronic, and Bob!!

The May edition of Mojo has arrived. I dont get the same excitement from receiving it that I did a couple of years ago, but that is probably more to do with me than the quality of Mojo, which is generally very good. It’s just that now I get more of a buzz from holding the latest issues of ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘Infinite Horizon’ in my hands.

Anyway, Mojo can still produce fantastic issues full of articles that I want to read and this month is one of them – there is a big article on The Specials and The Black Keys, both well written, informative and great photos. In the ‘Ask Fred’ section, where there is a regular section on music resources on the internet, a short piece can send you into Indie raptures. That is, if you were an Indie fan between 1980 and 1989, then you really should check this out;

it is the online version of a book that Cherry Red publishes. Compiled by the late Barry Lazell, this is an exhaustive but thoroughly enjoyable resource cataloguing the Indie hits between 1980 and 1989. To clarify, this was at a time when the Indie charts were a seperate entity, detailing the burgeoning ‘DIY’ scene that incoporated such disparate talents as The Smiths, Dead Kennedys, Toyah & Half Man Half Biscuit (and so many more). For example, here is the first and last Indie number ones of the 1980s;

Where’s Captain Kirk? – Spizzenergi

Getting Away With It – Electronic

There’s an A-Z section covering all the bands whoever had an entry in the charts, and various stats lists (artists with most weeks at no.1, longest chart runs by albums).

As a child I would read Smash Hits (my first issue had David Sylvian on the cover, posing in a raincoat with a brolly). In Smash Hits they had the Indie top 10, and the summer of 1981 had such exotic entries as ‘Neu Smell’ by Flux Of Pink Indians. I would try to impress my primary school companions with this knowledge, but they were not impressed. Maybe I can try the same trick with my work colleagues now I have this resource available online? If nothing else, it will probably jog my memory on some of the stuff I have forgtten about after I embraced Indie (from about 1986 onwards). For example, Bands like Bob;

London-based guitar-pop quartet noted for their sharp songwriting, jointly fronted by vocalist/guitarists Richard Blackborow and Simon Armstrong, along with Jem Morris (bass) and Dean Leggett (drums).
KIRSTY (Sombrero OMBRER 2) (12″ only) 17 2 11/6/88
ESMERELDA BROOKLYN (House Of Teeth HOT 003) 12 2 28/10/89


You see, I have learned something already – the only single I have by Bob is called ‘Convenience’, and it obviously never made the charts. That is an injustice that I doubt we can fix with an online petition.


Cherry Red Records

Mojo Magazine

You might also be interested in indie-mp3 keeping the faith and preserving Indie & obscure peel sessions!

The best spring singles ever – No.1 – The Avalanches ‘Since I Left You’ (2001)

Released in the early spring of 2001, ‘Since I left you’, by the Melbourne collective The Avalanches is simply the most glorious, uplifting song you could possibly want to hear as you emerge from the gloom of winter. Its *ahem* like the sun bursting out from grey skies. The video is as glorious as the song;

The single even managed to get into the UK top 20, reaching a respectable no.16 in April 2001. (Source –

The album it came from, also called ‘Since I left you’, was a work of great invention, created from over 3500 samples – and pretty much nothing else. The album is a great party album, and there is a lovely segue from the opener (‘Since i left you’) to the bassline from Madonnas’ ‘Holiday’ that introduces the second track, ‘Stay another season’. The Avalanches were the first artists to get permission to sample the work of Madonna, and they use that sample to great effect. There are reviews of the album in the links section below.

The Avalanches Official Site (they used to run a great t-shirt club there, but not any more – shame).

The Avalanches on Wikipedia

Metacritic reviews of the album, ‘Since I Left You’

A review of the album on the BBC site

BBC article on press reviews of The Avalanches debut album

The Walking Dead #48 – Cover update

A few months back I posted the cover art for The Walking Dead #47, 48 & 49. I talked about the frenzied anticipation that the ‘No-one is safe’ story arc generated, and applauded the raw emotion displayed on each cover. They (the covers, drawn by Charlie Adlard) really do justice to this fantastic series. You can find that post here. Now we know the final issue of ‘No-one is safe’ is with us next week, and the cover has been amended slightly, but significantly;

What significance is there in posing Rick on the cover? Does this mean that Rick isn’t a zombie after all (as suggested by the cover of #49)? Could it be that the covers from #49 onward are red herrings and Rick is the only survivor from the prison siege??? We know this has happened before, with the Image solicitations for September 2007 showing this cover for Walking Dead #43 (see here);

when all they wanted to do was keep the return of The Governer a secret – and here he is, on the real issue 43 cover;

It’s another week of anxious waiting………..

SWAT (TV series) intro – 1976

Dont know a lot about the show – it was a short-lived Aaron Spelling series from the 70’s. Not even sure if we got to see it in the U.K. The main reason I am posting this is becasue of the FANTASTIC theme music. A version of this, by the group Rhythm Heritage, got to No.1 on the US billboard chart in 1976. Its an uptempo funky classic with a real urgency about it. It got sampled by Lauren Hill on ‘Sweetest Thing’ and The Prodigy on ‘Funky Shit’. For more information, check out the links here and here

More about Rhythm Heritage

You can get ‘Theme From SWAT’ by Rhythm Heritage on this fine album and find out a bit more info on DJ Pogo here

SWAT the TV series at Wikipedia (not much information on there to be honest)

Someone called SuperFuzz has put together a good mix of early hip hop classics including ‘Schools Out’ by Mekon feat. Schooly D, which samples ‘Theme from SWAT’. Well worth listening too, he also gives a tracklisting and some observations. Here’s the link;

The Walking Dead – more cover art glory. Issues 50, 51 & 52

Oh my gosh. As the Kirkman/Adlard Zombie epic ‘The Walking Dead’ rushes breathlessly to the closing stages of its latest story arc, we have 3 future issues to speculate over. At least we know one thing with these future covers – Image are still going to be publishing The Walking Dead beyond the ‘No-one is safe’ arc (as if it was in doubt). Currently at issue 47, with 48 due in the next couple of weeks, we have seen deaths of major characters in a way that is probably unprecedented for a major comic book series. Kirkman is unafraid to challenge readers perceptions of what a comic book delivers. The cliffhanger from issue 47 suggests a shocking denouement to ‘No-one is safe’ that will radically alter the relationship dynamics between the surviving characters, and thrust some of the cast onto the centre stage. It is all very exciting, and I can honestly say that it is the best comic book on the market right now, even better than 100 Bullets or The Exterminators or The Goon.

I care about this book, its a monthly(ish) highlight, and when you have spent the 15 minutes or so reading it, you immediately want more. Those readers who just get the trades really miss an important element of the series – the fantastic cliffhangers, followed by the next issue cover printed on the inside back cover, which gives way to the longing for the next issue/fix (can last 3 weeks, can be 2 months, but is always painful in the best possible way).

Anyway, as I did in a post a few months back, let us look at the great work Charlie Adlard does with the cover art;

Issue 50

Brilliant – a gatefold cover that really hammers home the peril that Carl is in. As in the previous issues cover, Kirkman & Adlard are strongly suggesting that Rick Grimes’ young son is going to be the focus of the next few issues at least. He appears to be surrounded and alone, but his posture suggests strength and maturity. He has certainly learned well from his dad on how to hold a pistol correctly, as a wave of the undead bear down on him. Who else would think to put a kid with a pistol on the cover of a ‘mature readers’ comicbook – and get away with it?

Issue 51

Zombie attack from the P.O.V. of the soon-to-be-victim. What we can assume from issues 50 & 51 is that the zombies are BACK. Away from the ‘safety behind bars’, we are being assured that regardless of the end of the last story arc, no-one is safe. Whoever belongs to those hands is certainly not safe. The perspective here, seeing the attack from the point of view of the victim, is in marked contrast to the top down view of issue 50, where we have a full view of Carl and can see his determined posture. The perspective shown in issue 51 is another recurring motif of the series – the ‘tease’ cover. In issue 49, Rick is shown in a shambling Zombie type pose, his face obscured by shadow, the suggestion being he is infected. We are ‘teased’ with the suggestion that the hero is with us, but in a radically altered way. With issue 51 we know that someone is about to be devoured by the undead, but who is it? The fact there are two hands outstretched in a defensive pose certainly rules out Rick…….

Issue 52

Probably the most intriguing and thrilling of all three of the covers. We can now assume that Carl survives the onslaught from issue 50…. Apart from that, what I love about this cover is the tease – it looks like the Katana that belongs to Michonne, and whoever is holding it looks to be threatening Carl (the tightly clenched fist around the Katanas handle, the way the blade seems to be raised towards the young boy). Who could it be? The Governer? Michonne? If it’s Michonne, why would she be threatening Carl? You can see Rick Grimes son put his hand over his gun, but the facial expression, though one of surprise, is not one of fear….

So many questions. These covers, superbly rendered by Ardlard, pose as many questions as the clues they give us to what could be happening in the future. With Kirkman seemingly on top of things with publishing deadlines on this series, we should find the answers to all these things and more in the next few months.

Walking Dead covers 1 to 30

The Walking Dead at Wikipedia

Robert Kirkmans site

Best ever Game Intros No.3 – Resident Evil: Code Veronica (2000)

The Return of Resi

Released in 2000 as an exclusive for the Sega Dreamcast, Resident Evil: Code Veronica was the fourth entry in Capcoms Resident Evil series. The game is set three months after the events that occured during Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 – Nemesis. The plot takes the player from the besieged Raccoon City and into a whole new environment – Rockfort Island, an Island owned by the Umbrella Corporation. As the game progresses the latter sections of the game take place in a transport terminal in Antarctica owned by Umbrella.

The game begins with heroine Claire Redfield raiding an Umbrella Corporation facility in Paris after having left Leon and Sherry in search of her lost brother. This is the scenario of the intro film, which makes for one hell of an action scene;