Letter To Neil Watson, NewsRevue, 28 September 1995

Fellow writer Neil Watson directed in the autumn of 1995. Unusually no record of the submissions I made to him; perhaps we’d had a very specific conversation at the writers’ meeting.

Neil Watson                                       28 September 1995

(Hammersmith W6 address redacted)

Dear Neil

THAT STUFF I PROMISED YOU

I finally got round to printing out an up to date pack of songs for you. Obviously there are many others which could either be updated, revised or simply ignored. This pack represents the most likely lot.

Look forward to seeing you soon.

Cheers.

Yours sincerely

Ian Harris

Encs.

Letter To Ben Murphy, Explaining The Internet 1995 Style, 28 September 1995

The Internet was a relatively new and/or mysterious thing to most people in 1995; heck I was still quite new to it.

Trying to explain it to Ben Murphy…

…I think “Tony Parse of the New Musical Netspress” must have been one of my noms de plume – if so, that piece should turn up on Ogblog soon enough.

Ben Murphy 28 September 1995

(Wells address redacted)
Dear Ben

DOSH / STUFF / STORMIN’ THE WORLD

Thanks for the dosh. I can start eating again so long as the distended stomach and rickets don’t prevent me from taking down the food.

I’m surprised to learn that you are feeling dry on parodies – try these for size. Hope you like them. You were going to send me an educational tape to bring my music knowledge up to date. Is that still a happening possibility?

I enclose the Info Highway Roadkill tape which I think is pretty good considering. I also include a rave review of the tape by Tony Parse of the New Musical Netspress. He is obviously one of our biggest fans and this review is whizzing all over the world electronically (via Usenet, part of the Internet) as we speak. It will soon also be on the World-Wide-Web (another part of the Internet).

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cheers.

Yours sincerely

Ian Harris (Z/Ian)

Encs.

Information Superfreebie, Promotional Material For Freebie Tape, 26 September 1995

Yes, the mysterious net journalist “Tony Parse” mentioned in one of my letters to Ben Murphy – click here – was of course one of my pseudonyms.

This is what he wrote, folks.

This very early attempt at e-commerce did generate a bit of “business” – I recall. Tom Rockwell shipped me a sort-of master tape, I would occasionally get an order and I’d fulfil it by spooling off a copy and posting it.

I did digitise that master tape, so in the fulness of time I’ll up the tracks. In the meantime, if anything plugged below really appeals to you, dear reader, comment or e-mail me a request and I’ll upload that particular track pronto.

INFORMATION SUPER FREEBIE

(Info Highway Roadkill – Unsigned bands from the rec.music.dementia newsgroup)

The Net is rarely a good source of new material. Most recordings of the “it’s free!! Just send a tape and the postage and it’s yours” variety are not worth the postage, let alone the tape, the snail mail and the hassle. And that’s if the recording shows up. So this freebie tape makes a refreshing change – a fun packed hour of comedy music and skits. Even more rarely, the tape even contains material from here in Blighty, but more of that later.

The album is the brainchild of a demented rapper, Tom Rockwell aka Devo Spice aka Sudden Death. Tom gathered his miscellany of mad music makers through the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.dementia which is the Dr Demento Show newsgroup and thus the Mecca for novelty and comedy recording fanatics.

All the least pleasant aspects of the human condition are here. Sudden Death’s own recordings are named “Masturbate”, “Everybody Dies” and “Do You Piss In The Shower?” respectively. The latter is the most satisfying, an astonishingly well rhymed and rhythmed rap. Their material is not for the faint hearted. Both of Li’l Hank’s pieces, “I Met Santa On The Internet” and “Freeloading” are outstanding. The “Santa” number is truly a Christmas number for the nineties. Santa makes the twelve year old singer/surfer’s wishes come true, but only for the one Christmas, as the kid feels obliged to shop Santa to the FBI once Santa propositions him. Cyberpop meets cyberporn. “Freeloading” is about someone we all know and wish we didn’t; the friend [sic] who comes to stay and turns into the sponger from hell.

Some items relate to American television and will be somewhat mysterious to the British audience, such as None Of The Above’s “Barney’s On Fire” and “Dr Grumpus”. However, “Little Bits O’ Blue” by the same band is an incitement to hatred and violence against Smurfs; this should ensure a solid and loyal following in Britain from now on. The minimalist acts, Headhunter Country (“I Really Like Potatoes”, “Crash Airlines”, “Grants Rant”) and Mr Zipp (“McDiver”, “Quantum Steep”, “McDiver Background Sound Effects”) also require some perseverance from the uninitiated, but that persistence is rewarded. In particular, “I Really Like Potatoes” by Headhunter Country and “McDiver” by Mr Zipp make you snigger second and third time round, such that you look forward to hearing them again. Only high grade comedy has that effect.

All three Neverley Brothers works are superb, entertaining folk/rock pastiche and parody, especially “Reactor” and “Stealin’ Dylan’s Door”. Do not play “Talkin’ Little Debbie Pie Blues” to your grandparents, and I mean it. “Born To Shop” by Guns ‘N’ Charoses is a well- crafted Springsteen parody; Allan Sherman meets Weird Al Yankovic in the shopping mall.

Which leaves our very own Ben Murphy. Ben’s performances and the work of arch-parodist Ian Harris need no introduction here in the UK, but are probably new to American audiences. This tape contains two of their classics; the venomous Michael Jackson send-up, “Better Face” and the widely performed generic romantic parody “The Ultimate Love Song”. These recordings alone must be worth the price of a tape and postage. E-mail tjr0868@rit.edu for further details and enjoy the most entertaining freebie of the year.

Tony Parse The New Musical Netspress, London, England.

Handing Over Hong Kong, Probably Unused NewsRevue Lyric, 25 September 1995

I don’t think this was used but I quite like it.

HANDING OVER HONG KONG
(To the Tune of “Rama Lama Ding Dong”)

INTRO

Britain ran Hong Kong, Britain ran from Hong Kong;
Britain ran and then abandoned poor old Hong Kong,
Britain’s handing it to Deng Xiao Ping;
Britain ran and then abandoned poor old Hong Kong,
Britain’s handing it to Deng Xiao Ping;
(Repeat with) Ooo-ooohhh, ooo-ooohhh, ooo-ooo-o-o-o-o, ooo-ooo-o-o-o-o,
Ooo-ooo-o-o-o, oh oh oh oh

VERSE 1

Our oriental port’s, offa China and its kinda known as Hong Kong;
They aren’t so good at sports, ‘sept at checkers and at Ma Jong and at Ping Pong;
We’ll never set them free until we choose our time.
Oh oh oh oh
In the year of the bull, off to China cos we’re handing over Hong Kong;
But Britain’s sorta full, stick with China cos you gotta stay in Hong Kong;
There’s no democracy, we’ve sold it down the line.
Bom bom bom bom bom bom

MIDDLE EIGHT

We love oh how we love Kowloon,
But we’re going to sell the lease back soon;
One thing’s for certain, lets make it clear,
Its just the rich who will be coming here.

VERSE 2

China has a leader named,
Ga-ga ga-ga ga-ga ga-ga ga-Deng Xiao Ping;
Senile and round the bend
Ga-ga ga-ga ga-ga ga-ga ga-Deng Xiao Ping;
He’ll never set them free, cos he’s out of his mind.
oh oh oh oh
China has a five year plan,
For a cult’ral revolution down in Hong Kong;
A great leap forward, man,
Soon Hong Kong will be a poorer part of Guangdong;
Major and Blair agree, the people’s fate’s been signed.
Ooo-ooohhh, ooo-ooohhh, ooo-ooo-oo-oo, ooo-ooo-oo-oo,
Immorally.

If you don’t know what Rama Lama Ding Dong sounds like (or what the lyrics look like, click on:

 

Curriculum Nursery Rhyme, NewsRevue Lyric, 19 September 1995

I don’t remember this one being used but I rather like it. Short and sweet.

CURRICULUM NURSERY RHYME
(To the Tune of “Alphabet Song/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”)
INTRO

Come now children sing with me,
I must teach the ABC.

VERSE 1

ABCDEFG,
HIJKLMNOP;
QRS,
TUV,
W and XY Zee (Zed).

OUTRO

CHILDREN: Now you’ve taught the ABC,
You can run a state nursery;
TEACHER: And if you learn your 1 2 3,
You can go to Eton just like Prince Willie.

Here is the Alphabet Song with lyrics:

Star Spangled School Tie, NewsRevue Lyric, 19 September 1995

My “Old Boys” Lyric, which will be Ogblogged in the fullness of time, ran and ran and ran.

This one was an attempt to write something else on the subject. Didn’t work, I ended up tweaking “Old Boys” and it ran some more.

STAR SPANGLED OLD SCHOOL TIE
(To the Tune of “Star Spangled Banner”)

VERSE

I say, can you see by the club’s faded light,
What so proudly we wear since the day we ceased schooling?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the commercial plight,
Copped us all the top jobs even if young and foolish.

MIDDLE EIGHT

The school tie got us there,
Even young Tony Blaire,
Isn’t so much hot air,
So he sends his kids there.

OUTRO

I say, does that spangled old school tie hold sway,
O’er the land of the free if they can afford to pay.

Here is the Star Spangled Banner, with lyrics:

Lottaria, NewsRevue Song, 1 September 1995

What this lyric lacks in subtlety it makes up for with…perhaps it doesn’t.

Pretty sure it was never used, although I like the sentiment and it is a good lyric, I feel.

LOTTARIA
(To the Tune of “Rockaria”)

INTRO 1 – THE DIVA

I’m imploring the lottery,
The opera house needs all your cash.

VERSES

Just got back from the Covent Garden,
Where the Opera House won pots,
And the staff’s already startin’,
To spend it;
Yeh yeh yeh they can spend it,
Eighty million they’ll spend it,
And a bunch of toffs get plusher seats.

Big chubby lady sings like a songbird,
So she’ll milk the Opera House for all it is worth,
Cos she’s greedy,
Yeh yeh yeh she is greedy,
Loadsamoney she’s greedy,
So fat that she takes up three seats.

MIDDLE EIGHT

She’d cheat on Wagner,
I think she’d lie for Beethoven,
She loves the way Pucchini is compromised,
And Verdi’s always bleeding subsidised.

INTRO 2 – DIVA AGAIN

I need ten thousand instantly,
Won’t leave my bed for any less.

OUTRO

And so we’re forking out for opera instead of other things,
And this subsidy ain’t over after the fat lady sings,
And the orchestra can fiddle their expenses if they choose,
And the weak and sick and homeless are again the ones to lose,
And as the stars get richer Diva’s also put on weight,
And its only hooray henries think that opera grants are great,
Cos she’s an opera singer taking home a load of dosh,
And the lottery priorities are such a load of tosh,
Cos the third world’s starving.

Here is Rockaria by ELO, with its lyrics on the screen:

Submission To Zoe Klinger, NewsRevue, 1 September 1995

A big submission at the end of the summer, with some strong indication of what had and hadn’t been used.

Usual blah blah about Amipro tables – this was a neat one page letter in its day, but you can see what it said, that’s the main thing.

Zoe Klinger
News Revue

LIST OF SONGS SUBMITTED AND TAPE TRACK LISTING
SEPTEMBER to OCTOBER 1995 RUN

Dear Zoe

Welcome!! It was good to meet you last night. This starter pack consists of some songs currently in the show, some previously unperformed ones and revamps of one or two which have come back into fashion as it were. If you want me to work on a rewrite of an old chestnut of mine that you might have uncovered in the archive, just let me know.

Call me and let me know if you are short of any subjects or styles and I shall try to oblige. Also, if any of these need a bit of rewrite then I am happy to change them on request.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Song Title / Original Title/Artist on Tape

Aprox. No. of weeks performed 7+ 4-6 1-3 New

side 1

ebola / maria/west side story – 4-6

we’re in the mood for grafting / i’m in the mood for dancing/nolans – 1-3

i’m not in power / i’m not in love / 10cc – 1-3

i can sing a rainbow warrior NO RECORDING – SORRY – 1-3

news revue tonight / comedy tonight/a funny thing happened – 4-6

lottaria / rockaria/electric light orchestra – New

three steps to records / three steps to heaven/eddie cochran – New

dats di / dats love (habanera) / carmen jones – 4-6

rip it off / roll with it / oasis – New

surf the internet surfin usa / beach boys – 1-3

special relationship medley NO RECORDING – SORRY – New