Tag Archives: Radio 2

Rocks In The Attic #771: Scissor Sisters – ‘Scissor Sisters’ (2004)

RITA#771I’d heard a few of this band’s singles – most probably Laura, Comfortably Numb and Take Your Mama – on BBC Radio 2 (where else?) before I dragged my friend Denise to see them play the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday morning at Glastonbury 2004. I was so glad I did; it was a performance that has really stuck with me, regardless of the direction the band went in after this first album.

The band started playing the opening bars of Take Your Mama, to a huge cheer, before their vocalists hit the stage. The huge screens either side of the stage caught Jake Shears and Ana Matronic walking backstage as they spotted the size of the crowd. They almost fell over each other in shock, which just made the crowd roar even louder. Unfortunately, although the performance is available on YouTube, that particularly joyous moment isn’t captured.

RITA#771aOne of the things I’ve always loved about Glastonbury is that bands don’t always turn up, play their set and leave straightaway. Occasionally, they’ll stay for the whole weekend – particularly if it’s a fresh up-and-coming band enamoured with the festival itself – and you may even catch a glimpse of them walking past you. At some point the next day, I ran into the Scissor Sisters as we both queued up to buy some potato wedges and sour cream from one of the food trucks. Rock and roll!

I lost touch with the band after this record. Their brand of music – half Elton John, half Talking Heads – is perfect radio-friendly single material, and their brilliant collaboration with Elton on I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ from their follow-up album is a prime example of this. They seemed to head towards the pop charts and away from the indie-rock charts, and so I didn’t hear as much from them.

I also lost my job around this time, and so I stopped spending as much time in the car listening to the radio. Maybe I lost touch with the Scissor Sisters because I stopped listening to Radio 2.

Hit: Take Your Mama

Hidden Gem: Mary

Rocks In The Attic #544: Fawlty Towers – ‘Second Sitting (O.S.T.)’ (1981)

rita544Andrew Sachs, the actor who played long-suffering Fawlty Towers waiter Manuel, died last week. He was such an iconic character, and possibly my favourite when I was growing up in the early ‘80s, that I can’t imagine the show without him. He’s all over this record, providing a well needed in-character narration, that was missing on the show’s first LP.

I wonder if a character like Manuel – which could be read as a racist stereotype – would be accepted on today’s television sets. The comedy comes not from Sachs’ portrayal as a Spaniard, but from his poor grasp of English, something that might have struck a chord in the late ‘70s as package holidays to the Mediterranean started to become popular for British holidaymakers.

In later years, Sachs became infamous for his stoush with the BBC after a prank call on Radio 2’s  Russell Brand Radio Show went slightly wrong. Brand and his guest, Jonathan Ross, left messages on Sachs’ voicemail indicating that Brand had had sex with Sachs’ granddaughter Georgina Baillie, a burlesque dancer.  After an Ofcom inquiry, Russell Brand and the controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, both resigned, and golden boy of the BBC, Jonathan Ross was suspended for just twelve weeks.

Sachs had suffered from dementia and was living in a nursing home in the years preceding his death. Fittingly, the day after his funeral, the BBC aired the Fawlty Towers episode Communication Problems in his memory.

“Manual, there is too much butter on those trays…”

Hit: The Rat

Hidden Gem: The Builders