Monday, 28 February 2011

Careline, No: this week in words, nonsense and a list.

I was travelling home on the Tube the other night when I noticed a headline in the Evening Standard that featured the name of a company called Helphire. This caused me some confusion as I read on, since the article concerned a hire company. Admittedly I didn’t know what else the article could be about but it took a good few seconds for me to register that the word was meant to be pronounced as ‘help hire‘ and not, as I’d read it, ‘hellfire.’ As I type it now it continues to insist upon sounding as ‘hellfire’ in my head. Did you read it like this just now? Just me?

I suspect my lifelong association with the PH in ‘Murphy’ is the primary reason my brain was wired to read this the way I did, along with words like ‘sapphire’ and ‘samphire.’ Maybe if the company resolved to render the second ‘h’ as an uppercase (HelpHire) — in the manner that seems to be adopted on a tiresome increase wherever portmanteau words are coined — the confusion would lift for me. I blame EastEnders myself. They started it.

Anyway, I pointed out this amusing detail in the Standard to Mrs M, who immediately reminded me of another example of this phonetic syllogism that we see nearly every working day. There’s a coffee stand on the platform of one of the stations on our way into work, that proudly boasts their trade as ‘coffeemongers’. Unfortunately the chalkboard did not permit room to print the whole word, but as two separate words on top of one another: ‘coffee mongers’. Oh dear.

If you require an explanation why this is unfortunate, then that’s the measure of the difference in maturity between you and me, I fear. I am quite a fan of schoolboy humour and enjoy even the most tediously puerile double-entendres, not to mention the seemingly endless and creative euphemisms for men and women’s naughty bits and habits. Put another way, no one appreciates a good willy inserted into daily intercourse more than me, arf arf, oo-er don’t-you-start missus etc.

You may find this sort of thing — and I don’t blame you if you do — barely above the level of unintended hilarity upon discovering that there’s a Lithuanian toilet paper called BUM, a Swedish chocolate snack called Plop-Plop, a Spanish bleach called Clit, Chinese Cock Oil for stir-frying and so on. OK, I made those up. Well, some of them. There’s bound to be a website devoted to real ones out there somewhere and you know the kind of thing I mean. Some of you may recall That’s Life!, a ‘light-hearted’ consumer information programme of mystifyingly immense popularity on BBC-tv in the Seventies and Eighties that used to revel, with disproportionate glee, over these phonetic synchronicities. Poor you. Other countries can claim, albeit however disingenuously, that these words may have other, more honourable, innocent associations in their own languages. They probably do, too — however much I want to think they’re playing a game with tourists.

The thing is, once I’d noticed Helphire and Mrs M reminded me of ‘coffee mongers’, I began to experience what I like to call ‘Emerson, Lake & Palmer Syndrome.’ I’m fairly certain no one else calls it thus. You will no doubt have your own name for this phenomenon. In short, how it works is this: you went your whole life never hearing of — for example — Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Then, over a short span of time, you hear their name mentioned on several distinct and separate occasions. Your curiosity now suitably fired, you investigate Emerson, Lake & Palmer. ELP, as you are now calling them, become a familiar thing to you. Now you know about them, you find that their name crops up with surprisingly frequent regularity in things you read, in conversations, and so on. I only call it ELP Syndrome because that’s how it happened between me and ELP. How wonderful for me.

So, I’m having this conversation a day or two later at work and one of my colleagues reminded me instantly of the company who make the office staplers: Rapesco. I’m sure it’s pronounced ‘rap-esco’, but when the word is blazoned along the side of the device in capital letters — rapesco — it does rather raise an eyebrow.  I am reminded of the fictional, but sadly rather too-near-real publication featured in the Channel 4 comedy series Nathan BarleySugar Ape: the funky typeface rendering the ‘suga‘ in tiny lowercase while the rest of it is spread in alarming colour and size across the cover page. 

Several food products — particularly ones made by large food magnates such as Kraft, Nestlé and the like — offer a consumer phone line that one can ring should you either be deliriously ecstatic or seethingly venomous about said product. A Careline, they call it, written in a homely, pseudo-handwritten font on the sides of these products to convey the promise that there may be a real human on the other end of the line. Between that and the way my brain is wired, I find this word sings in my head as ‘Caroline.’

There’s an episode of South Park titled ‘Wacky Molestation Adventure.’ I’ll take it as a sign of a well-adjusted, innocent upbringing that my mind is irresistibly drawn to thinking of a charming, wee train platform populated by a staff of tiny, bespectacled hairy burrowing rodents.

In the world beyond my own slanted vision, I find that Led Zeppelin, whose name is well documented as a magniloquent play on the phrase ‘went down like a lead balloon’, had to spell it ‘led’ as too many people read it as ‘leed’. It’s, ahem, led me to wonder why people never read the words ‘lead guitar’ with the implied heaviness that would come of thinking of that element on the periodic table known as Pb. Perhaps people don’t want to equate guitar solos with soft metal. I know I don’t.

Here’s a smooth conversational transition for you, coming right up.

Speaking of rock music — you see what I did there? — I posted up a list of five brilliant keyboard players a while ago. Now it’s time for the bassists. My selection criteria, then as now, still stands. If you recall from last time, this is not just a list of people who clearly possess absolute technical instrumental accomplishment and are often famous for being so — that’d be too easy. My choices are largely modified by how much I like the kind of music they play — which is why Mark King of Level 42, as skilful as his playing is, will not be making his way onto this list. Ever.

So — here we are again, in no apparent order:

• Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (Jethro Tull) — he illustrates my selection process point entirely: a confessed non-bassist when he joined Tull at his old schoolmate Ian Anderson’s request. His arrival was clearly not based on technical merit, but simply to be amenable to the group dynamic (their previous bassist, Glenn Cornick, had proved to be a bit of a handful on the road). Good old Jeffrey soon proved to be adept at learning the instrument, and while it’s possible his lines were suggested to him by Anderson — at least at the very beginning of his five-album stint in Tull — there’s no doubting the certain special something he brings to the tracks he’s on. Proving equal to the task on stand-up double bass as much as electric, there’s definitely plenty of character, especially humour, in his playing — as well as no little amount of skill belying his frequent claims to the contrary.

Sample: Baker Street Muse (Minstrel In The Gallery, 1975). Take time out to enjoy the almost-entirely instrumental passage leading up to and encompassing the song section called ‘Pig-Me And The Whore’ (between 3:36 and 6:30), constituting what I believe is the finest three minutes in Tull’s entire recorded output. Hammond’s bass part throughout is sparse, but not without complexity, demanding precision and timing in its execution. Elsewhere, check out the playing on The Third Hoorah (War Child, 1974), again with busy, bouncing bass, good wit and a tasteful sense of when not to play for added dynamics.

Geddy Lee (Rush) — still a relative rarity in rock music: the total bassist frontman. Geddy Lee has a little more work cut out for himself than most in the position too, being one-third of his band. His vocal style is undoubtedly distinctive, divides opinion and certainly an acquired taste, but there’s no questioning the quality of his bass technique. First off, Lee employs a wonderfully fat, clanking string sound that really drives the bottom end of the songs along and needs must be played with supreme confidence. Second, he mostly plays with his fingers, as opposed to a plectrum, which requires immense physical stamina, but gives the lines a very fluid, supple feel. Lee’s most onerous duty, though, has to be as one half of Rush’s rhythm section, the melodic counterpart to Neil Peart’s extraordinary drumming. With Peart frequently cited in All-Time Great Rock Drummer lists (and I daresay he’ll pop up on my one when I get round to it), one can only imagine the pressure Lee must be under.

Sample: Cygnus X-1 Book 1: The Voyage (A Farewell To Kings, 1977). After a bizarre, spoken introduction over an ambient swathe of synthesiser tones, Lee brings in a creepy, half-heard bass ‘fanfare’ out of nowhere at (1:24), before developing the figure recurrently, inexorably, into a cohesive melody line that gains an effective sense of momentum. Look no further than La Villa Strangiato (Hemispheres, 1978) for just one example, out of many, of Lee’s speed and technical bass prowess, between (6:10-6:48). Finally, an example from latter-day Rush and the wondrously capable ascending line that provides virtually its own countermelody on Far Cry (Snakes & Arrows, 2007), starting from (0:43) and on throughout the song.

Chris Squire (Yes) — I’ll confess that while this list is strictly in no order of merit or favouritism, Chris Squire is the bassist on this list whose work seems to provoke the most reaction and response from me whenever I hear it. He’s awesome! Here again we have a highly individual bassist; fat, chunky and with more middle range than would seem necessary. His bass sound is a bit like that too, wa-heeeeey! Sound aside, his playing is what’s truly astonishing. Such dominating presence and sheer musicality. Squire’s bass insists on being taken on equal consideration with such mighty musical companionship as Steve Howe’s versatile, edgy guitar or Rick Wakeman’s whizz-bang keyboard flourishes. Crucially, like Geddy Lee, Squire seems to have brilliant empathy with his drumming oppo and in Yes he has had two; Bill Bruford at the start and latterly Alan White. Whether it be Bruford’s funky, jazzy stylings or White’s more straight-ahead, no-nonsense approach, it’s a moot point whether Squire is following his drummer or lashing him on.

Sample: Close To The Edge (Close To The Edge, 1972). Compare the delirious, octave-swooping bass line of the first verse (starting at 3:54) with the sparse, almost sarcastically taciturn bassline that underpins the second verse (from 6:04) and almost seems to be in a different time signature to the rest of the music — yet holds it down effectively. In Machine Messiah (Drama, 1980), a stunning piece of instrumental ensemble playing starting from (3:57). Note how Squire holds down a reliable, thumping, almost one-note bass while Geoff Downes‘ keyboard plays a complex, spidery line on top. Eventually, at (4:14) Squire takes Downes up on this challenge and shows he can peel it off just as equally on his fretboard with amazing skill. Attempts to play along with Squire’s lines don’t always leave one feeling inadequate and banana-fingered, though: occasional parts of ostensible complexity can yield up their secrets delightfully upon attempt — final example: Squire’s driving, relentless, terrifically fun climbing bassline (0:52) that upholsters the verses of No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (Time And A Word, 1969) and is essentially played by running up the fretboard like it’s a swanee whistle at a rate of knots.

• Paul McCartney (oh, you know) — obviously a consummate musician and composer, true, but it seems only recently that his bass-playing skill and style has been assessed and brought into focus: the man who almost single-handedly created the basis for rock bass playing by absorbing elements of Motown, blues, rock’n’roll and Beat music into a cohesive, often busy, but always tasteful and witty technique. To cap it all, his insistence into how his bass should sound on Beatles records, aided and abetted by George Martin’s continuously questing approach to the art of recording, not only defined the Fab sound for several albums in of itself, but continues to influence whole generations of players whether they even realise it or not.

Sample: Paperback Writer (1965 single. Also Past Masters, 1988). The entire bass part on this song is simply so innovative from start to finish, not least of all for its sheer volume and presence in the mix — unprecedented in the Sixties by any white, English rock band of the same era. As a performance, it’s a complete antidote to the less-is-more school of bass playing, with bubbling octave leaps and joyous flourishes in virtually every other bar — yet McCartney never overplays, keeping it interesting and rhythmic above all other considerations. Elsewhere, McCartney proves to be more than willing to add skill and personality to his colleagues’ compositions: the light-fingered runs (eg. at 1:04) all over George Harrison’s Old Brown Shoe (1969 single. Also Past Masters, 1988) are a prime example. Macca displays considerable technical mastery of his instrument from the get-go: consider the fast-flowing quaver run that comprises the verses on I Saw Her Standing There (Please Please Me, 1963) — a quintessential Sixties bass riff that seems somewhat overlooked in most musical studies of the Fabs.

• Jim Smith (Cardiacs) — “Jim’s too fat and he’s going to die, probably!” So was the lot of the portly Mr Smith, with brother Tim encouraging the audience at Cardiacs gigs to heckle and harangue him. Pity him not: I like to think that Jim, by way of taciturn riposte, contented himself simply to turning out HUGE, roiling, tricky and fleet-fingered bass lines, safe in the knowledge that no-one else in the universe who could begin to match his brother for sheer invention in their music together. He was a past master of the sarcastic, John Entwistlesque stance too — barely moving, almost as if bored to be there, infrequently breaking the pose to salute the crowd. Brilliant.

Sample: The chorus of Dog-Like Sparky (Sing To God, 1996) finds Jim playing a weird part, by turns walking and sharply sliding upwards, (0:25) that would appear to make no sense at all when played in isolation, yet meshes with absolute certitude under the rest of the arrangement. Later in the same song (at 2:53) he develops this idea into a kind of ‘tic’ in the bass part that has it leaping like a salmon, still yet on to greater heights, as the middle eight ascends triumphantly through its chord progressions. While it may sound like a faint sort of praise to comment on a bassist’s essential ability to hold down the line, it’s a feat indeed for Jim Smith when he has music as frenetically, kinetically changeable as Cardiacs make it. Appreciate his sure-fingered, dogged pursuit of the melody during the instrumental break in There’s Good Cud (Guns, 1999), starting at (1:10) and featuring a gunslinging, signature Smith flourish at (1:30), followed shortly after by an insane, psychobilly-tinged chasing passage (1:40-1:44) that slams back to hard-hitting regular Cardiacs business with neck-snapping, dynamic intensity from (1:44) to the end of the song.

Thank you all, gentlemen.

Throbbing under: Carol Kaye and James Jamerson, to name but two immense session giants; Stanley Clarke, Primus’s Les Claypool, Jaco Pastorius, the mighty John Entwistle — finger-popping thunder gods all; Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads for tasteful understatement; Ray Shulman of Gentle Giant for staggering, Baroque complexity; two singing bassist-frontmen in Greg Lake and Phil Lynott; sterling, understated, rocking support from Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Purple’s Roger Glover, Kim Deal of The Pixies, founding Tullian Glenn Cornick, later Tull Dave Pegg…and many others, all of whom could have made the list on another day…and may yet do so!


Currently listening to:
Hat Trick: The Collection (Michael Flanders & Donald Swann, 2007 — a compilation of albums released during F&S’s career and unreleased material)

Currently reading:
Apathy For The Devil: A 1970s Memoir (Nick Kent, 2010)

Currently watching:
Still yet more Doctor Who: Revenge Of The Cybermen, Planet Of Evil, The Seeds Of Doom, The Masque Of Mandragora, The Hand Of Fear, The Deadly Assassin, The Invisible Enemy, Image Of The Fendahl  (BBC, variously between 1975 and 1977)

Monday, 21 February 2011

This week in film, food, Floyd, affection and infection: La Vallée, l’amour, lasagne, etc

When I first set out on this blogging caper I promised myself that I’d post with frequency: if not weekly regularity, then at least every ten days or so. Unfortunately, lately, I have a cold. It’s a big one. I came close to phoning in sick to work. Alright, I’m not going to overplay this fact too much. If anything I try my very best not to let these things slow me down. I have a special disdain for terms such as ‘man-flu’ and the commonly held assumption that men — for all their macho posturing when it comes to physical competition and combat ability — become complete wusses when germs come their way. I believe that a positive mental attitude goes a long way to speedy recovery. Furthermore — unlike many people it seems — I know the difference between the common cold in all its miserable, tiring but eminently bearable forms, and proper influenza, and so should you if you’ve ever had the misfortune to catch the dreaded ‘flu.

Nevertheless, I can’t deny that the aching limbs, loss of balance and endless torrents of mucus that currently seem to fill my head like a goldfish bowl full of rotten aspic wear away my patience, to say nothing of the general good humour for which I’d love to say I am so rightly famous. I find myself dispensing with certain niceties for the duration: the five minutes I set aside to insert my contact lenses in the morning, the need to shave every other day, not shouting at people — these things tend to go by the board. This alone has slowed down my rate of writing, blog fans — for which I can only apologise. Sorry about that. I’m here now, at least.

Many of you will not be remotely surprised to know that I have several friends who share my love of late Sixties/early Seventies rock music. Most of us can agree on what constitutes ‘the classics’ of this world and may stack them, the one against the other, like so many Top Trumps cards: Deep Purple in colour competition with the blues of Black Sabbath. The freshness of Cream set against Jimi Hendrix’s Experience. Hell, even that mouldiest of old chestnuts: Beatles versus Stones. I’m not going to debate the merits of one against the other. I have my preferences of course, but the Church of Rock is a broad one of many denominations and my tastes run to the catholic. All the boys hang out happily on my CD shelf in harmony and each gets their turn. There is, however, one scion of this musical tree that tends to provoke a hostile attitude among even some of my most otherwise musically hardened chums: that notorious subdivision of the genre we call Progressive Rock, or ‘Prog’ for short.


Oh, going so soon?

I know I’m losing some of you already. Some of you may be reaching for the revolver to effect my silence. Others may well have fled the room by the nearest point of egress. The window, possibly. The airlock on the International Space Station, even?

Now, now, come, come — no need to be like that. Come back, put down that pistol, replace the latch, tell that naughty HAL to close the pod-bay doors and fear not: this isn’t a blog on Prog. That will come in time, though, I warn ya. Oh, yes indeedy.

My friend M is one of the few people of around my age, height and criminal record to be as into Prog as I am. His love for and knowledge of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis outweighs my own. If phrases such as “Gabriel-era Genesis” either fill you with dread, or at best leave you nonplussed, be assured I will labour you with no more of them from here on in. Crucially, we can also agree on the overall magnificence of Pink Floyd — a band I’d argue are not as Prog as all that, but who certainly offer a different proposition to the bluesy riffage that constitutes the sonic vocabulary of the Zeps, Purps and Sabs of this world, great as they are.

Anyway, the most excellent M had managed to secure two tickets for a rare screening at the BFI in London of La Vallée, a French film from 1972 directed, most Frenchily, by a gentleman named Barbet Schroeder. Pink Floyd had provided the soundtrack for it, as they had done for a previous film of Schroeder’s, More. Furthermore, Barbet Schroeder himself would be present at the screening and taking questions afterwards. YAYER — let’s do this!

I don’t think you need to have more than a passing acquaintance with the early Seventies, certain films thereof and the music of ‘The Floyd’ to assume that a French flick consisting of these pungent cultural ingredients is highly likely to be a) freewheeling; b) trippy; c) morally flexible; d) too long; e) all of the above, plus f) nudity. You’d be right, up to a point, too — but La Vallée was almost disappointing inasmuch as it was surprisingly coherent and cohesive.

The lead role was played by Bulle Ogier, who found wit and subtlety in her performance as well as perfectly adequate loveliness. She’s Viviane, a bored young woman who finds herself alone in New Guinea with time on her hands and her husband abroad on diplomatic business. She develops a fascination with Birds of Paradise and, sensing an opportunity to add to her exotic feather collection, falls in with a bunch of hippie explorers. They in turn are searching for a valley on a map that places it at the centre of a blank space. Everyone it seems stands to get something out of the venture. Before too long our heroine has shacked up with one of the chaps, Olivier, who possesses the subtle blend of hunky, blond smugness that seems to drive the chicks crazy. It amused me to note that Olivier was played by Michael Gothard, who I’d previously seen playing an impressive inquisitor in Ken Russell’s deliriously barmy, yet oddly quite principled The Devils, complete with funky, anachronistic Ray Manzarek specs.

I shan’t give too much more away other than it plays out like a straightforward road movie, or off-road movie as the case may be. There’s a fair amount of al fresco bonking, there’s much talk of discovering oneself — as is inevitable with these affairs — and there’s a fascinating, extended scene where our heroes ‘go native’, don elaborate face paint and join in with a local tribe’s sacrificial ritual (look away: a real hog was slaughtered on camera for the occasion). The Pink Floyd sound drifts pleasingly in and out of the proceedings at regular intervals. It was extremely well photographed, and as the strikingly glabrous, but jovial monsieur le directeur Schroeder pointed out later, had latterly been digitally remastered to within an inch of its life for maximum visual impact — and it sure showed.

The other thing worth mentioning — and trust me, this is hardly spoiler territory — is that the ending of the film is ambiguous. It amused me that barely had the end credits rolled before M. Schroeder, with no prompting, gave us his thoughts on how he viewed the climactic last moments. With that, the one question I may have had to ask him was done away with in seconds, leaving M and me to leave the auditorium with all speed and rejoin our better, but less Prog-tolerant halves in a few rip-roaring pints of quality Belgian beer in the BFI bar. In this fashion, a good evening was had by all.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to discuss the film quite as much as I have done so already, as it really was a slight piece, but the single biggest thing I got out of seeing La Vallée was that it reacquainted me with the Floyd’s soundtrack album, retitled Obscured By Clouds — a line mentioned in the film. I was first introduced to this album in the late Eighties by my good friend June, who ran me off a tape copy. Compact cassettes! Happy days. We were all in our late teens, in Sixth Form at secondary school — a time when I covered acres of musical ground — but I shall not trouble you with the details this time around. I may yet do so.

In any event, I wasn’t too impressed with Obscured By Clouds at the time, being more the kind of chap to have his vessel aquatically displaced by somewhat heavier, harder-hitting sounds. The Who’s Tommy and the soundtrack of Ken Russell’s (him again) 1975 film version were both preferred sonic experiences in my bedroom at this time, for example. Hawkwind’s Quark, Strangeness & Charm offered another regular  excursion into headphone space for me too, and I think this was also the time I started to ‘get’ Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd’s stoned-yet-mannered mid-tempo grooves and occasional laid-back pastoral feyness on both Obscured By Clouds and its ‘sister’ album, the More soundtrack, were not quite yet offering me what I wanted at 18 years of age. So there it laid, unheard and unconsidered in my life for years, obscured by doubts, until the prospect of seeing the film led me to dig the album out again and give it another go.

Bugger. What a great little album I have been missing out on all these years. I mean no condescension when I say ‘great little album‘ — but the keyword to describe the pieces on it is ‘miniature’: it comes at a time when Floyd had their first, legitimate ‘classic’ album since Syd Barrett’s departure in 1968 — 1971’s Meddle, with its sidelong opus, ‘Echoes’ and the luxuriant sprawl of ‘One Of These Days‘ — and their next album, needing no introduction, The Dark Side Of The Moon, with its seamlessly segueing suite of songs. By comparison, Obscured By Clouds finds Pink Floyd making concise musical statements; only two of the songs — 10 in all, clocking up 40 minutes in total — last over five minutes, and the average running time of any given song is between three to four minutes.

That’s not to say that OBC is suddenly a snappy, sharp listen. This is still a stoner’s delight, a trip of an album with a supinely cool hat-trick of opening songs in ‘Obscured By Clouds’, ‘When You’re In’ and ‘Burning Bridges‘ — the latter being the first one with lyrics.

One song that I find specially remarkable is Roger Waters’ ‘Free Four’, where old Rog’s lyric effectively outlines his entire game-plan for the rest of his tenure in Floyd. Lines like ‘shuffle in the gloom of the sick room/and talk to yourself as you die‘ anticipate Dark Side’s prevailing mood of passing time and wasted opportunity, while a sardonic verse about touring America prefigures ‘Have A Cigar’, ‘Welcome To The Machine’, most of Wish You Were Here and The Wall in its entirety. Other verses, with allusions to fox hunting, courtrooms and most significantly, Waters’ assertion that he is ‘the dead man’s son’ effectively cover the preoccupations of his latter albums in Pink Floyd. All in just over four minutes.

It’s not a deep, complex listen by any stretch, though. There’s plenty of funky, mid-tempo rocking out to be found on ‘The Gold It’s In The…’, ‘Childhood’s End’ and elsewhere that anticipate some of the moments on The Dark Side Of The Moon that endear that album to millions, me included. It’s good fun. It makes me wonder why I didn’t get into it sooner. Don’t you just love it when that happens? In fact, typing this right now is encouraging me to give the More soundtrack another go very soon, so watch this space. Just don’t expect me to review that film while I’m at it.

Oh, one last thing I really should mention about Obscured By Clouds: it’s a great album for those special I-didn’t-invite-you-back-here-just-for-coffee-you-know moments; check out ‘Mudmen’ and ‘Stay’ for the laid-back languor and longing that should let the lad or lady in your life know what’s goin’ on, as they say.

Speaking of seduction, the other thing I feel obliged to discuss when looking back on the week’s events is of course Valentine’s Day. I dislike Valentine’s Day. There you go. I suspect that I would like it a whole lot more if I have ever received a card from an anonymous admirer, but it pains me to admit that I never have. Not one. Not ever. Niente. As a dreadful, inarticulate teenager I recall getting a card in the post with the suitably enigmatic sign-off u no me from school! set in careful, generic but decidedly girly handwriting. My sister cross-questioned me eagerly about any girls at school I suspected with designs. Slightly too eagerly, as I guessed within minutes; she’d sent it herself just to wind me up and try to extract blackmailable information from me. So, bloody great: net result, I got a Valentine’s card from my own sister. I think it’s safe to say that one didn’t count.

Another time, a normally tactful and delightful friend gave me a Valentine’s card up front, handing it over with the explanation that she thought it would cheer me up to get one. Damned with faint praise on the path to hell that’s paved with good intentions. Arrgh! Can you even see the effect it has on my metaphors? How I hated myself for being in thrall to such emotion.

Lest I sound like a cold fish of the first and worst water, I should add that I have gamely done my part to perpetuate this impetuous heartache over the years. The trail of girls who remained at best understanding-but-uninterested and downright hostile at worst, is depressingly long. Ingrates, all! Did I not sign off my cards with witty riddles relating to things I knew they’d associate with only the two of us? Was there not the time I tried to impress a shapely Classics scholar with my declaration that she was a clever, sexy and beautiful woman — in Latin? Latin! Handmade, some of these cards and all. Dammit, I’d fume, they deserve a passionate and creative soul like me, admittedly in the microscopic mental interstices when I wasn’t simply thinking about boobs.

Now, don’t get me wrong; since those dark days, I have been married for nearly seven years, and spent most of the previous decade in a committed relationship, but I still want to believe that I am interesting enough — certainly vain enough at any rate — for someone to hold a secret, trembling passion. Even as I type this I realise this is a specious desire: there are plenty of people in the world who view V-Day as the absolute worst one to betray one’s ardent, amorous side, and besides I should really be happy with my lot. See how this one day of the year throws up such conflicting emotions of anticipation, disappointment, guilt and nauseating double standards. A pox on it and its proponents!

That said, as any man in a relationship will tell you, it doesn’t do to ignore the day entirely if you value your ball-sack. Mrs M outdid herself this year and stunned me into humble, shamed blobs of widdly-diddly, pookie-wookie-baby-love putty by giving me a card she made patiently — and with great skill — from embroidery. Fortunately, I had set aside one of my culinary signature Big Guns in readiness: a magnificent veggie lasagne. It pays to be prepared.

I may post up my recipe for this seduction in pasta, but not today. Such a tease.

Those of you who celebrate Valentine’s Day in loving partnership, or in pursuit of one, remember: it’s only one day.

Those of you who can’t stand the bloody nonsense of it, the hyped commercialism, the dull rejection and crushing unrequitedness, remember: it’s only one day.

All of you, keep it together and take care.


Currently listening to:
Obscured By Clouds (Pink Floyd, 1972)
Spirit (Spirit, 1968)
Clear (Spirit, 1968)
The Family That Plays Together (Spirit, 1969)
Twelve Dreams Of Doctor Sardonicus (Spirit, 1970)
Feedback (Spirit, 1973)
Birds (North Sea Radio Orchestra, 2008)

Currently reading:
Nothing in the last week!

Currently watching:
Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)
Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004)
La Vallée (Barbet Schroeder, 1972)
lots of Doctor Who:  The Ark, The War Machines, The Mind Robber, The Claws Of Axos, The Curse Of Peladon, The Time Monster, Frontier In Space, Planet Of The Daleks, The Green Death, The Monster Of Peladon, Robot, The Robots Of Death (BBC, variously between 1966 and 1977)

Monday, 7 February 2011

This week in art: Karlheinz Schlögl (b.1961) - a retrospective.

I remember feeling rather angry about it at the time, but if anything I’m becoming ambivalent about the entire episode now. So before I change my mind, let’s get this down, starting at the beginning — as ever quite the best place to do so.

I’m sure you will agree with me that there’s nothing like a good freebie. I got an email at work from my excellent friend Cat. She writes for various magazines elsewhere and always gets invitations to press launches, book launches, screenings, that sort of thing. This time, she’d received an invite, good for four people, to the Karlheinz Schlögl retrospective exhibition at the Echt Gallery, Chancery Lane. Problem was, it was that very evening, she’d made other plans, but she didn’t want the ticket to go to waste. Ticket only entry, starting 7.30pm, wine and nibbles. Oh, and apparently KS himself will be there. So, did I fancy it?

Bless Cat - she does this quite often. Coincidentally, I’d only read the interview online that Karlheinz Schlögl had done for the Guardian about two days earlier. The Swiss-born artist turned 50 early in January. I’m not really into Schlögl — he’s generally a bit too Eighties for my taste — but I guess retrospectives of 1980s art are becoming an unavoidable inevitability. I have to admit that his recent collaborations with various world charities — raising awareness for food wastage — appeals to the thrifty cook in me.

Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m never one to turn down a free bit of booze and canapés. I had no plans that evening anyway, so I accepted Cat’s kind offer and forwarded the email to the three mates of mine I reckoned would be most interested: Anton, George and Jason.

Anton’s an absolute art/fashion ponce — he’ll admit it — always buying new items of trendy clothing and making out that he’d owned it for ages. He’s a very dry, funny guy, though. I knew he’d dig it. Inviting Anton meant I’d also invite our mate George, as the two of them are well-known for being practically inseparable. They’ve long since weathered the inevitable questions about when they’re going to get a place together/get married/get it on, but they’re still ‘the bargain pair’ among my friends. Anyway George is a good bloke, very outgoing and comfortable compared to Anton’s diffidence and slightly edgy, laconic style. Oh, George’s real name, by the way, is John but I won’t bother to explain why here. One of those ‘you had to be there’ in-jokes. I may explain some other time. Finally, Jason: he doesn’t know the other two that well, but he works in London, he’s easygoing and crucially, he’s usually up for free booze at short notice.

As good luck would have it, I got back three emails in swift succession, all in the affirmative. Excellent! But first, a drink. So, we all met up in the Sam Smith’s boozer just off Chancery Lane and got ourselves outside of a couple of wheat beers. Chancery Lane is not an area known for art galleries, and those of you who have been to the Echt Gallery there will confirm that it’s not an easy place to find, even with a map. So after tooling aimlessly up and down that rather marvellous strip of 16th Century buildings along the lane — some of the oldest of their kind in the capital —it seemed as if the narrow alleyway that led down to the entrance to the gallery almost opened up by a magic straight out of Harry Potter at the precise moment we ran out of patience.

There was certainly nothing magical about the location of the Echt itself. A narrow alleyway opened out into a slightly wider area with a couple of Biffa bins along one side. Oh, very glamorous. On the opposite side, a front of shaded glass and matching door marks the almost anonymous entrance to the gallery. A few lights within pick out the vague interior space beyond. Very uninspiring. You have to buzz to get in too. George did so.

This is, in retrospect, where it started to get a little weird for me. The door opened and a very smartly dressed young woman, with a bob haircut of impressive severity, emerged. George explained that he was here for the exhibition. The lady looked round at us all and smiled rather stiffly, as if we were keeping her from something more fun elsewhere.

“Do come in, sir,” she said to George alone, and held the door open enough to let him through.

We all moved to follow George inside, but the lady stepped back in and deftly shut the door on us. Through the smoked glass outside we could discern George being told something and then shown the stairs down to the exhibition space. The door opened again and out stepped our hostess once more.

“Do come in, sir,” she said in identical manner to Jason and motioned him in the half-open door. Again, Anton and I watched as the glass was closed in our faces. How odd. From inside, Jason turned to us and mouthed “I’m in!” triumphantly before being shown the stairs.

Again, this deliberate, measured, laboured procedure for Anton. Yours truly momentarily outside on his own. Finally, my turn. I was shown in, the woman took my map and printed invitation crisply out of my hand.

“Just follow the others down the stairs, sir,” she continued, introducing an edge of charm into her tone for the first time I’d heard, “you’ll find drinks and something to eat too, there on the left. Enjoy the exhibition!”

I descended the steel stairway into a vast rectangular white-walled space lit with spotlights. To the right of the stairwell as you went down, the main part of the exhibition: some low daïses with some of Schlögl’s three-dimensional art pieces, including those thin sail-like structures that feature in that Audi commercial playing in UK cinemas at the time I write this. You know, the one with Dusty Springfield crooning ‘The Look Of Love’ and that guy with the unintentionally comedic Italian accent: “whad’eva ya-want-a, mah darlin’!” Several people who had arrived before us wove between the exhibits. The far right hand end of the room was not wall, but a sheet of toughened, slightly smoked glass, not dissimilar to the entrance portal of the Echt. Beyond it was an empty room in relative darkness.

To the left of the stairs, as I went, more people were milling about by a very long black box-like table with stacks of the exhibition brochure, large bowls of fruit and smaller ones containing peanuts and other savouries. Further down the table length were glasses of wine and bottles of lager. Stood behind them, handing out wine to my colleagues, was a short, dark-haired girl in the black blouse and grey skirt worn by catering staff of a thousand press events, book launches and the like. The opposite corner contained a string quartet playing through Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen, pleasingly enough. No sign of Schlögl himself so far, though.

“The wine’s a bit rough,” said Anton. The others sipped theirs and their collective grimace told me all I needed to know. I asked the girl for a bottled beer, which she opened for me. It was a bit warm, but lager is lager.

On the largest expanse of wall, opposite the staircase, hung two dozen or so photographs, all sizes, taken from various points in the artist’s life. This was easily my favourite part of the exhibition up to this point. The largest picture was — of course — Schlögl’s most famous one: a youthful, pre-fame Karlheinz in the mid-80s in that horribly patterned shirt with Jean-Michel Basquiat: the one with Basquiat holding an unlit cigarette. Both men wear the exact expression people have when their conversation has been interrupted by someone calling "this way!" and taking the snap. There again was a colour print of a slightly older-looking Schlögl, sombrely dressed in black blazer and matching roll-neck, standing slightly out of focus to one side behind the ever-immaculate Gilbert & George. It was hard to say exactly when it was taken. Beside it, the GQ spread to mark the artist’s 40th birthday, standing back-to-back with Madonna and staring upwards, during his thankfully short-lived, ill-advised spell of calling himself ‘KhZ’. Yet another was a candid shot of a more recent-vintage Schlögl looking very chummy with Damien Hirst and a surprisingly off-duty Tony Blair. Schlögl’s primary school portrait, and so on. Most of them were of people I didn’t recognise; I’ve mentioned the most well-known at any rate.

Beneath the photos were random words printed directly onto the white wall in a black, slightly compressed, sans-serif typeface: freedom was one; control was another. Some were in French, others in German. All rather pretentious if you ask me. Also, Schlögl’s two best-known quotes in English: the once-amusing:

Situo-expressionist? I’m what you might call an espresso situationist!

— from the New York Times interview in 1989. Give me strength. It seems that every subsequent journalist has a pathological inability to write anything on Schlögl without working this now-wearisome line into their copy.

The other one I didn’t recognise, but came, so a helpful caption informed me, from a Montreal edition of Le Monde; Schlögl speaking in 1998 about his sudden move, tired of NYC, to Canada:

Here, I am an unknown quantity. I like the way they speak French also.

It amused me to see George reading these things out to Anton, like a mother reading out signs in the zoo to her child. Anton nodded gravely with each statement. I knew he’d dig it.

I took a moment to look at the brochure. It was a large format programme with a pleasing light cream, matt finish cover and the words


spot-varnished in the bottom right corner in a plain sans-serif font. These details please me immensely and I hope they do you too. Inside was a little bit of blurb outlining the exhibition’s mission statement. I can’t remember the precise wording but essentially it said that Schlögl’s intent was to make people aware of how much food we wasted. To this end, the caterers had provided food and drink sourced from supermarkets that had thrown stocks away for being out of code, past the ‘Use By’ date. Well, that explained the harshness of the wine. The bananas in the fruit bowl certainly had a little more blackened skin than you’d see on a store shelf, but as Jason found out, were still intact inside and perfectly tasty. I’m not that into bananas, and I am fussy where fruit is concerned, so I refrained, sticking to my lukewarm beer.

One thing I do remember vividly was the itinerary printed on the back of the brochure and I’ll reproduce it for you here:


enter gallery



the exhibition


it will be time for you all to depart

we wish you well

Inside the brochure were various photos laid out in Schlögl’s signature bold fashion. They seemed mainly to relate to the very building we were in: stylish black and white shots of the catering staff pouring peanuts into bowls and setting them out; overexposed colour shots of the latterly silver-haired Schlögl overseeing the installation of his pieces and hanging the photos himself; a young lady, possibly one of the girls on duty this evening, pouring wine into glasses while a boy dressed in black placed fruit in the large bowls. Elsewhere could be found disturbingly grainy shots of spiders on banana trees, starving African children and lush colour prints of Mediterranean vineyard workers carrying large baskets of grapes, smiling unabashedly at the camera. All very nice and emotive, but a bit slight, I thought.

As I said before, Schlögl’s not really my cuppa, but at this point I have to say we’d all have dug it a little more were it not for several, shall we say, random elements in the room. Perennial hazards at gatherings like these, I’m afraid: overloud men in equally loud, primary-coloured Hoxton threads that contrive to be the exact shades of wrong, speaking in exaggeratedly posh voices, embarrassing white rudeboy patois or blatant Mockney, depending on whom they’re with. Idiotic women dressed like a slutty Flashdance revival, necking white wine like it’s lemonade and shouting across the room. Naturally, they think that anyone dressed any way other than as ludicrous as they are must be pointed out and sniggered at. Hm. Both sexes laughing too loudly all the time. Braying morons, all.

That’s not to say it was all bad. I appeared to be making a good impression on one of the young ladies carrying a tray of nibbles round. It was becoming a bit of a running joke between us that I refused everything on her tray, but I kind of enjoyed her optimistic smile as she approached me each time. It’s an automatic thing when I meet girls considerably shorter than me — especially pretty ones — to become overly polite and softly spoken: I don’t wish to come across as a clumsy great oaf and I think I get a bit protective as well. Anyway, I think she found my exaggerated, dainty manner amusing and indulged me.

I’d just got myself a second bottle of beer when suddenly the lights dimmed considerably — almost, but not quite, to darkness. The string quartet halted scratchily and for a second there was silence, before a tiresomely inevitable “ooh!” came from the drunken female faction of the room. Everyone immediately stopped chatting and turned about in their respective directions, instinctively looking to where the lights had been. I placed my beer on the table by my side.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming along this evening!”

Karlheinz Schlögl’s voice emanated clearly from all around the room with a distinct metallic timbre that resonated with each crisp, clipped, confident syllable.

A single spotlight faded up swiftly in the centre of the glass room beyond. Within its circle…is that? Yes! Amazing! Wearing a dark purple suit with an emerald green paisley satin shirt, stood the still form of Karlheinz Schlögl himself! Arms folded, his eye sockets darkened by the shadow of his brow, but with light reflected in his eyes. He was in trim shape. His grey mane of hair took on a silvery corona in the glare of the spot and his smile curled at one edge with elfin triumph.

I hope you are enjoying the exhibition so far,” the voice ventured further in Schlögl’s cultured, Teutonic, even tenor, “I can assure you the pleasure is all mine.”

Schlögl himself did not speak. The voice was prerecorded and played out through speakers in each corner of the room. A few of the onlookers, instantly taken by the theatricality, murmured their appreciation and a couple went to raise their glass to him. In the half-light, I could see Anton in particular was transfixed and slightly amused. Schlögl straightened slightly, and smiled on.

But I am afraid I have not been entirely honest with you,” the voice continued playfully, “and I fear I have lured you here under, ah, false pretenses…”

He raised a wry eyebrow and there was enough of an engaging chuckle in his tone to induce a smattering of good-natured smirking from several people. However, the room was starting to feel rather warm all of a sudden.

“ see, in many ways you are the exhibits on display here today. And I have come today to observe you in this gallery.”

I looked over at Anton, who shot back a look with narrowed eyes set deep with increasing suspicion. He swapped this glance with George and me. Jason was staring fixedly on at Schlögl, concern starting to line his brow. Distinct beads of perspiration irrigated the furrows.

“And...just as my recent work has been with food organisations,” Schlögl’s voice dropped conspiratorially, “so the food you eat here today and the wine you drink has been…organised.”

At this point I noted that I still had the exhibition brochure tucked under my right arm. I removed it and turned it over. Something odd had happened. The itinerary on the back had more writing on it than it had earlier. Between the lines previously visible on the cover appeared some new words. The text ran thus:

the sheep will
enter gallery
and proceed to
the contaminated

the exhibition
and the experiment

it will be time for you all to depart
this life
we wish you well
in the next

I was feeling terribly warm now. Several people in the room moved closer to the glass room. Schlögl remained passive in the spot beam, almost waxwork-like, with only a tilt of the head or a slight shift in weight from one foot to another to betray life; face fixed as ever in an impish smile.

“Poisoned, I might say.”

A gasp swirled round the room. Someone went over to the glass separating the artist from the rest of us and banged hard on the shaded door. It didn’t yield, but Schlögl half-flinched, half-turned away. He brought this head back and smiled indulgently.

“Ah! You can tell already.” the voice ventured, almost anticipating this reaction, “Can you feel the fever coursing through your veins already? Do you feel the fear?”

Jason was clearly feeling it. He sank down on the edge of a nearby daïs, partly pushing aside the sculpture upon it. A hand came up to his temple and he shook his head. My head was clear, but I was feeling uncomfortably hot. I loosened a button on my shirt, but it didn’t seem to help. Other people started to mutter and shift restlessly around me. I looked around for that young lady I’d seen earlier. She wasn’t visible. In fact, where had all the catering staff gone?

“I hope it is fear you are feeling. We live in a world of exploitation, my dear sheep, my dear lambs. For too long have we exploited those too vulnerable to resist.”

It was getting harder to see Schlögl through the smoke glass. I realised the light in our room was getting brighter as the spotlight in the room beyond diminished. Several other people joined in banging impotently on the glass wall behind which Schlögl stood, now resting his hand on his chin in fascinated study. Someone shouted “OPEN THIS NOW, YOU BASTARD!”

“The famine-ridden countries of the Third World,” continued the voice,“war-torn, morale broken, hope decayed.”

The pictures inside the brochure took on a new light: before they depicted the preparation involved in staging an exhibition. Now they appeared to me to be as like a stark catalogue of evidence outlining Schlögl’s evil plan.

“It is entirely fitting to me that your understanding of exploitation should arise from being exploited yourselves,”

I leaned over to a rapidly wilting Jason, said, “Hold on, Jase,” ran up the staircase and tried the exit door. The air was considerably cooler up at the entrance, but the door was locked. I was feeling distinctly confused by now and shook the door with some vigor. No use. The view from the top of the stairwell seemed considerably brighter. I could see George and Anton in frantic exchange. Picking his not-often raised voice out from the panicking others, I heard Anton say distinctly, “but I didn’t eat the bananas — did you?!”

“The poison will soon be gripping your heart, my sad little lambs,” Schlögl went on, “it will no doubt be a great sadness to some of your relatives to learn of your pointless, useless, sordid deaths."

The dim light in the room had definitely brightened in the past few minutes. Its rise must have been very slow, very subtle. About a dozen people were attempting to break down the glass room containing Schlögl. The spotlight in his room was dimming visibly. The mob moved almost as one in panicked frenzy. Then I got it.

“The quintessence of exploitation, my sheep. Exploitation.”

Nothing had added up while all this was going on. I hadn’t drunk any wine. I hadn’t eaten anything since I arrived. The beer I drank was clearly bottled, and despite being lukewarm tasted perfectly fresh. And why did I not feel so warm here upstairs?


I looked at the brochure again. The mysterious, terrible writing that had appeared earlier was fading. It was heat sensitive. The temperature was lower upstairs.

Damn it! It’s not real! It’s not real! None of it is!

I said it in my head first. Then I ran down the staircase and shouted it out loud to George and Anton, who regarded me worriedly. I hunched down and grabbed Jason by his shoulders.

“Get up Jason, it’s not real, it isn’t! He’s just raised the heating in the room!”

George nodded in agreement at this. Then his face hardened and he walked purposefully over to the glass room and started to bang on it at the height of Schlögl’s face. It was hard to tell if he was in there. The light inside the glass room had faded entirely.

I was aware I had been shouting at the top of my lungs, which was the precise moment I made another discovery.

“There’s a loud humming noise in the room!” I shouted out at the room to no one in particular. “It’s just a sound! It’s meant to make you feel uneasy! It’s only a sound!”

Finally, Jason stood up, sweating profusely, but livening up.

“He’s only trying to scare us!” I shouted again and as I said scare us! the by-now distinct basso-thrumming rumble in the room ceased instantly, leaving my cry very naked and overtly loud in the room. The lights rose to full, normal indoor brightness. A clear thunk could be heard from both glass doors upstairs and down beyond. From all around us, we first heard — and then felt — the air conditioning come on in the room, filling it with a cool, lightly moving air.

The people leaning on the door to Schlögl’s room fell forward as it yielded suddenly. A bewildered hubbub filled the air. As I suspected, Schlögl was not in the room, but had disappeared like a magician’s assistant in a box. The effect was ruined on discovering that there was a door out of the glass room on the back wall, but nonetheless, we were not going to get the answers we sought: Karlheinz Schlögl, the manipulator, was gone.

I seem to remember that we all just filed up the staircase in silence and out the main door. Up the alley, away from the Echt and out onto Chancery Lane. I’m not even sure I said goodnight to the other chaps. I didn’t know what to say. I’m not sure they said goodnight to each other for that matter.

It was a very cold, crisp January night and I was glad of the chill biting into my nose and cheeks. I pulled my mobile out of my pocket out of habit and consulted the time. It was only 8.35pm. For now, I wanted just to walk for a bit. Didn’t matter where. I chose my direction, tucked the brochure under my arm and stomped the pavement in a blinkered, complicated mood. Before too long I reached Holborn, and decided to curl round and join the road where it met the Strand. As I was negotiating the traffic at a junction I noticed up ahead one of the other onlookers at the gallery: a fine-featured woman in her early fifties, in a dark green velvet coat, brochure tucked under one arm and black boots stomping in familiar, similar fashion. I drew alongside her and she turned slightly.

“Hello,” I smiled, while not feeling it, “I’m sorry, but I noticed you were at the Echt too?”

“Yes?” she replied in querulous tone.

“What did you think?” was possibly the stupidest question I could have asked, but it was also the only one I had in my head.

Her eyes narrowed in a frown as she evaluated her answer, but a smile started to spread across her lips.

“It was really rather clever, wasn’t it? I mean, ok, it was annoying, but…” she shrugged theatrically and left the sentence hanging.

“I’m not sure… I’m not sure if I liked it.” I replied, and I meant it. She moved off down the road. I decided I wanted to stand alone for a while.

I looked down at the brochure. The terrible print on the back was invisible again, except where the heat of my elbow and armpit had revealed smears of text. But the front was very different. The cold night air had brought another, opposite, layer of heat sensitive ink to be revealed. Across the clear creamy-coloured cover could be read the following words:

we hope you enjoyed our little game

The pictures inside hadn’t changed, but they didn’t look like people preparing an exhibition any more. Nor did they look like they were preparing a nefarious mass-poisoning. No, just a group of people staging a nasty hoax. There was a fenced-off ditch of roadworks a few yards up the street from where I stood. Without hesitation I pulled a bit of the fence back and first threw the brochure into an open trench dug out from the pavement. Then I tried to kick some of the peripheral earth on top of it — a bit halfheartedly. Finally, I found somewhere to have a drink.

Later, after some more walking, I made my way to the station and went home to my wife, who asked me how I got on at the gallery. I sort of told her, too — but I downplayed most of it and made it sound a whole lot stagier than it seemed at the time. I’ve seen Anton, George and Jason since, twice in fact, but they haven’t discussed the incident with me. I suspect they’re all deeply pissed-off about it — to say the least — and would rather get on with other things. Maybe we’ll all chat soon over a drink. I’m only posting up my account of it because it might be useful. It’s the only record I have of everything that happened. When I told Cat about the entire experience in precise detail, she was shocked and concerned for me. She certainly had no inkling of what would ensue. I’m quite glad she didn’t go, frankly. I’m not going back any time soon.

I have no idea where Schlögl went, and at the time of posting this up, the broadsheets, collectively, have deemed not to cover the story either as news or as Arts review. So he’s gone to ground.

Karlheinz Schlögl, the complex art spoofer? Schlögl the simple madman? Both, somehow? We’ll simply have to wait and see.

I now wish I’d kept the brochure, though. Anyone out there with one?


Currently listening to:
The Navy Lark, volume 14 (BBC, 1960)
Doctor Who: The Lost Episodes (BBC Radio 4 documentary, 2009)
Growers Of Mushroom (Leaf Hound, 1971)
StationToStation (David Bowie, 1976)

Currently reading:
Apathy For The Devil: A 70s Memoir (Nick Kent, 2010)
Director’s Choice: The National Gallery, London (Nicholas Penny, 2011)
Complete Fabrication (Karlheinz Schlögl trans. Thorne, 2003)

Currently watching:
Doctor Who: Mawdryn Undead (BBC, 1983)
Doctor Who: The Time Warrior (BBC, 1973)