‘Hey, Mister Eurovision Song Contest Man’: Won’t you take a listen to these songs?

Across the world tonight, millions of people are tuning-in to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. There will be the usual twinkly, pant-suited, satin-draped performers, with an excess of dry ice, singing about love, broken hearts, world peace and the weather.

While I like the idea of Eurovision, I doubt I’ll be watching, as I’ve always thought this fun competition tends to overlook better songs by greater artists, who know how to write an unforgettable tune.

The first that comes instantly to mind is “Mr Eurovision” by that great musical genius, Neil Innes.

Is there any other tune that gives the best of what Europe has to offer (in assorted cliches) with such a ludicrously catchy tune?  I am still flummoxed as to explain how the UK never took up this work of unparalleled brilliance. 

“Mr. Eurovision” originally appeared on The Innes Book of Records, which was one of the great high points in TV history, and now deserves to be repeated.

Indeed, there’s a petition to Get ‘Innes Book of Records’ back on TV!, which you can sign here.

More catchy Euro numbers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Hear Victor & Barry…and Faint’: Musical comedy from Alan Cumming & Forbes Masson

You see, the eighties wasn’t all about big hair, lip gloss, Boy George and Miami Vice. No. It was also the heyday of that redoubtable cabaret duo, Victor and Barry.

Victor Ignatius MacIlvaney and Barry Primrose McLeish, and their theatrical organ, the Kelvinside Young People’s Amateur Dramatic Art Society (KYPADAS), were the masterly comic creations of drama students Alan Cumming (Barry) and Forbes Masson (Victor). Together they traveled across the world (and Glasgow) entertaining audiences with their witty repartee and hand-carved selection of songs.

These ditties included such memorable sweetmeats as “Kelvinside Man” (Kelvinside is a small enclave in the West End of Glasgow, a sort of twee Greenwich Village, where your fruit is a yam, and you buy fish from a van); “Marks & Spencers” - V & B’s favorite department store; and the painful rivalries of showbiz, “We Knew Her So Well”.

This tartan twosome were a musical Julian and Sandy, whose unstoppable success led to the release of their best selling (well, in Kelvinside, and parts of Bearsden and Milngavie, anyway) debut recording cassette, Hear Victor and Barry and Faint. By way of introduction to this fabulous twin-set of talents, here is Victor and Barry singing “Kelvinside Man”.

Bonus clips, plus ‘Hear Victor and Barry…and faint’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Alan Cumming: First TV performance (as a dead soldier) for BBC director’s course

A 19-year-old Alan Cumming makes his first television appearance in a BBC TV Director’s training course in 1984.

Never intended for broadcast, this is probably Alan’s first performance in front of a camera, though he did have a very fleeting appearance in episode 6 of Traveling Man the same year. However, he is billed here, along with his fellow performers, Forbes Masson and David Lee Michael, as final year students at Glasgow’s Royal Academy of Music and Drama.

Cumming would team-up with Masson to become the double-act Victor and Barry, making a memorable impact at the Tron Theater’s Gong Nights in 1985, where Craig Ferguson and Jerry Sadowitz also made their names.

Here Cumming is cast as one of 3 dead (or possibly war-weary) soldiers, where he lip-synchs pop songs and recites a poem by Wilfred Owen. This was Justin C Adams’ Final Project for his director’s course. Adams went onto a career as a director of quiz shows at BBC Scotland, before establishing his own highly successful production company.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment