Saturday, 28 August 2010

Retro Blast - August 1995

Aah, August 1995. My mindset is probably still stuck around here. Most of my generation yearn for the 1980s, but I was always more suited to the 90s. Though you might not be able to tell from my YouTube choices below.I couldn't pick some because I follow the classic TOTP rule of not including fallers, so no Connells, Take That, TLC, or Black Grape all of which were faves of mine.

Anyhow, while much more serious conflict raged in Bosnia that summer, a battle that made it to the TV bulletins and newspaper front pages here was the Blur v Oasis spat that ensued when both had released singles on the same day and both expected to be No1. By this point, Blur had won that battle (no-one can agree who won the war) and "Country House" was stable at the top.

I'm using the performance featured in the Christmas Day edition of "Top of the Pops", four months later, as it is a rather spirited turn by Damon. Introducing are Jack Dee and Bjork.

The classic promo video, featuring Keith Allen and Matt Lucas alongside the band, was directed by Damien Hirst, by way of Benny Hill and The Avengers.

The Gallagher brothers had to be content with a No2 - above they premiere the track on "Top of the Pops". Their new pal Robbie Williams was co-hosting.

Michael Jackson's second single from the "HIStory" album was a new entry at no3, but would depose Blur the following week. This is the bizarre video featuring his then-wife Lisa-Marie Presley.

Frankly, I have no recollection of this artist, who had a new entry at no5. Typical of contemporary mainstream dance records I recall. This mix seems as inspired by "I Feel Love" as "Sunshine After the Rain".

I'm including this one purely as it is so of the time - I never watched "Friends" and frankly hated the song, more so because it's one you get lodged in your brain. It's The Rembrandts' new entry at no6 - "I'll Be There For You".

Lastly, in at no26, where it characteristically peaked, is Morrissey with "Dagenham Dave"

Otherwise going on there was the much hyped launch of Windows 95 on the 24th of August - I was unaffected as I'd already had my Mac for more than 2 years at this point.

"The Usual Suspects" was released in the UK on the 25th, only 9 days after the US release. Others on release were "Babe", "Virtuosity", "Mortal Kombat", "Desperado" and "Dangerous Minds".

On telly, at the end of the summer drought, some new season programmes began to emerge. On the 31st came the short-lived return of Maureen Lipman as Jane Lucas in "Agony Again", the sequel to "Agony". Jane had fictionally moved from magazine to TV counselling, and in reality had transferred from ITV/LWT to BBC One. Maria Charles and Simon Williams followed too as her mother and ex-husband respectively, though Jane now had a black boyfriend and a gay son to spice things up. Shame it didn't get a second series, though it wasn't as good as the original. I always love Maureen Lipman's work but it's been doubly interesting in recent years as my boss is her niece (she's actually Jack Rosenthal's niece, but you get my point).

In an era when "Doctor Who" was officially dead, it might be thought there's nothing to report on that front (even the TVM announcement was months away), but not so. We had 2 new Virgin novels a month, Doctor Who Magazine and August 1995 had two VHS releases ("Frontier in Space" and "K9 & Company", since you ask).

Here are that month's novel covers for Gareth Roberts' "Zamper" (Seventh Doctor, Bernice, Roz and Chris) and Gary Russell's somewhat fanciful "Invasion of the Cat People" (Second Doctor, Ben and Polly). And yes, there does appear to an unfortunate anthropomorphic tendency going on.

In what was the first Frisky Summer for Bel Ami, as they celebrated their initial dose of success, I present their second big star, Johan Paulik as the designated 'Retro Totty' for August 1995:

Johan is now 35 and retired from 'performing' in 2007, though directs for the company and has held a Bel Ami managerial position (ahem) since 2002.

Next weekend: September 1976

NB: this is an unfinished post, as I will be adding some personal colour later

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