Some bonkers choreography with Heather Parisi, from the 80s Italian variety show Fantastico. Firstly, Frankie Goes to Hollywood never seemed so… confusing? It looks a bit like a toned down, bowdlerised high school production of Cruising. Still molto gay, though. If Heather’s dance partner is thinking about relaxing, doing it or coming, I very much doubt it involves her. Put some trousers on Heather, love. You’ll catch your death of cold.
Even better, here’s Heather again doing some way-ahead-of-their-time Gangnam Style ridiculous dressage pony moves and gurning to Tullio De Piscopo’s nail in Italo Disco’s coffin, Stop Bajon (Primavera). The smoke in these bubbles must be what the choreographer was inhaling when they came up with this number.
Watch out for a random, drunken, camp fellow enjoying his big acting break at 11:48, a bit of very irresponsible chiropraxy at 12.49, some very unsexy from 13.35, and– saints preserve us!– pierrots throughout.
Brace yourselves, nerds. This week it’s an onslaught of vintage computer images from Computers: An Illustrated History by Christian Wurster, published by Taschen. Honestly it’s so interesting and visually arresting (and virtually wordless, as the title suggests) that I could scan almost every page of it, but I’m not going to. I strongly recommend that you buy this splendid book if you like the images I’m posting, just as I suggest you do for the work of any other authors, artists, musicians, or film makers whose efforts I feature here or that you see on other blogs, and just as I also gently suggest that you support me in a small way by buying one of my books if you enjoy this blog.
Anyway, commercial message over, here’s an inexplicable image from a 1984 German ad for the Atari 800 XL.
Caption: “Wow! I just said ‘Man in the Mirror’ and it replied ‘F-3, Passport, page 2, title 4’.”
The text on the screen describes what I initially assumed must be a fictional album, since the details seemed so daft: it says the genre is “jazzrock” and the songs have stupid titles like Mango Tango. Passport was, however, a real German prog rock and (shudder) jazz rock band who did indeed release an LP called Man in the Mirror in 1983. This confirms that the gentleman pictured here really is DJing at one of the shittiest discos ever. Probably best not to even try working out what narrative we’re meant to glean from this photo. Miss Average in Pink getting short shrift and a lecture on Hawkwind when she complains that nobody wants to hear prog and jazzrock at a disco?
Interesting with hindsight that actually playing a whole song as a file directly from a digitised playlist was still far beyond the capabilities of a home computer.
… like a startled moose, about to be hit by a truck, in which there is a considerably more startled driver? … like a disco Nefertiti luchador? …. like somebody’s making a transgender blacksploitation biopic of Aleister Crowley? … like I really need to stop taking so much coke and agreeing to these completely mental photo shoots?
This ridiculous picture comes to you courtesy of the fact that I am still researching my disco show for next year. I will bus stop, hustle, YMCA, roller disco, etc. and so will you. Be afraid.
Semi-related note/semi-related eulogy
When Donna Summer died earlier this year, (Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch) Chaka Khan (… Chaka Khan… Chaka Khan) offered this non sequitur tribute to her late friend:
Tausend dank, Chaka! You should get yourself over to Germany, love. There’s loads of women who speak German over there, even with the weird stipulation that they have to be black. What about Boney M, why don’t you give them a call?
Semi-related Afrofuturist error of judgement made by the production team working on Doctor Who in 1979
Doctor What the Fuck?
I believe we were meant to take this look seriously. See also “Grandad, why was there a disco backlash?” In this story the Daleks take the “disco sucks” mentality to the Nth degree, devoting considerable effort to exterminating these Egyptian disco androids. Although the Movellans were armed only with spandex catsuits, a selection of dayglo sex toys and a limited repertoire of stilted dialogue, apparently they beat the Daleks in the end. Henceforth the Daleks grudgingly admitted that they’d been listening in secret to the Bee Gees, Sylvester and Gloria Gaynor all along and actually quite fancied having their head turrets refurbished to resemble disco balls.
Staying Alive: Travolta bears some responsibility but I suspect he could go for the Nuremberg defence here, because a large number of people must have made numerous unforgivable decisions in order for this image to come into being.
Answer: Because no matter how bad disco cash-ins got (Staying Alive, disco version of the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind,Xana-fucking-du), somebody always somehow managed to find a way to make something even worse. I have a certain fondness for disco music and style, including some of the stuff that’s entertaining but nonetheless still was and is undeniably not very credible. Both the camp, silly futuristicness and the genuine sense of homo, hetero and bisexual freedom had a massive and in many ways a very positive effect on Western culture and the whole world’s culture. Disco was an enormous influence on Bollywood musicals in the late 70s and early 80s, for example. The same goes for disco’s unjudgemental and/or indiscriminate fusion of black and white musical or cultural influences, and its parallel mixture of black, white and other participants or fans… but if disco had stayed alive (see what I did there?), sooner or later I think it would have escalated into some kind of cataclysmic cultural singularity of awfulness, powerful enough to negate and annihilate the very concept of culture.
And frankly, The Apple is pretty close to being exactly that kind of Strangelovian disco doomsday device.
1. Startlingly prescient vision of 1994, an unthinkably remote epoch from when this film was made in… er… 1980. And you shall know you are in the future by the squads of disco nuns, and all the real cops and bikers shall be as camp as the pretend ones from The Village People. The perpetrators of this film weren’t wrong about one aspect of the future, though: “the world is controlled by one power: THE APPLE.” True. WHOOOOOAAA PRAISE THE APPLE and their full range of devices, apps and accessories including Mac, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, Final Cut, Safari and iPad.
Let’s shower off the stench of nerve gas and madness from that last post about Aum Shinrikyo by spending thirty seconds with the benign form of Japanese insanity known as “advertising”. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Princess Leia is a ballerina with a face like a blow-up sex doll, and she is totally cockblocking Luke and Han’s attempt to hook up with each other. Han is in panto as Peter Pan this Christmas. In this quadrant of the galaxy, tinned mandarin slices and pallid pineapple halves go great with Sea Chicken. Darth Vader wears all of his bicycle reflectors at once because he’s totally sick of near misses, then drivers have the audacity to shout at him for riding in the dark in a black cloak: luckily Stormtroopers never really hit anything, not even a seven foot tall man with a bucket on his head and riding a wobbly bicycle. C-3PO got the gender re-assigment he always wanted (swapped his legs and then he was a she, to paraphrase Lou Reed): now she’s rocking the gold sweatpants and disco heels. Next week she’s doing a bit of modelling for American Apparel. Meanwhile it’s Bears & Uniforms night at the local gay bar and She-3PO is celebrating her sex change by serving the boys Sea Chicken snacks that look like tits.
“Sea Chicken” is canned tuna, in case you still can’t tell what the hell this is advertising. I hereby dub chicken “Land Tuna”.
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