Wheel in the Daleks, Doctor — whatever it takes to exterminate the BBC’s bias

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times

My daughter doesn’t watch Doctor Who any more. Normally this would be one of those wry and sweetly painful moments all parents go through: adolescence has suddenly arrived and gentle juvenilia is being jettisoned.

From now on it will all be sullen glares, generational loathing, pierced eyebrows. Class A drugs and pregnancy followed by gender dysphoria and membership of Momentum.

But we are not quite on that track yet, because my daughter continues to watch past series of Doctor Who — in fact, she watches them when the current series is on.

She wants a Dalek fix, much as we all do from time to time. What she doesn’t want, she says, is to be struck over the head each week by the monkey wrench of fatuous BBC liberal propaganda, with a few crap aliens thrown in here or there as a sop.

A perfectly balanced, all-boxes-ticked, ethnic and gender-balanced team trying to help Rosa Parks sit where she wants on that bus (episode three), or partition in India, the consequence of British wickedness, in which Muslims show how absolutely bloody marvellous they are (episode six), or the misogyny of witch trials and so on and so on.

My kid isn’t alone. The audience for the current series has dropped by more than a third. The kids don’t like it — they get all that tendentious rubbish at school “enrichment” class, when they should be learning how to add up. Me, I’m down with the kids. They’re right.

The liberal bias within the BBC increases, almost exponentially, with each week that passes. It managed to behave itself , just about, during the Brexit referendum, but now the gloves are off — as the “editorial director” of BBC News (what’s that?) Kamal Ahmed revealed in a leaked email: ram it home to those thick-as-mince leaver losers just how hellish their lives are going to be if we get out (I have paraphrased his email to staff).

Every piece of good economic news prefaced with “In spite of Brexit . . .” and given caveats, every bad piece of news leading the bulletins.

Seventy MPs wrote to the BBC to complain about its bias on this issue; the Beeb told them to get stuffed. But then, the bias is just as bad on every other issue within the news, especially immigration, which is something to be incontestably welcomed and people who are a bit wary about it are knuckle-browed racists who require re-education. Not to mention foreign affairs, which consists of a perpetual sneer at Donald Trump and a good kicking for Israel whenever it dares to respond to a violent attack from Hamas (which will have gone unmentioned).

This kind of relentless, institutionalised bias in the news is dismally, but brilliantly, adumbrated in a new book by a chap called Robin Aitken, a BBC staffer for more than 25 years. Aitken, sick to the back teeth of the partisan nature of the corporation’s news coverage, concludes that the BBC has “whether through carelessness or hubris” given up any pretence of impartiality, preferring instead to promulgate its philosophically asinine world view.

And with an unrelenting authoritarianism which, as he puts it, demands: “You will tolerate what I say must be tolerated and condemn what I say must be condemned, and if you do not you will be branded racist or misogynist or Islamophobe and be shamed off the public stage.”

The worrying thing is that Aitken is actually being kind to the BBC. His book, The Noble Liar, concentrates on its news programmes, which are at least compelled by statute to pay some sort of vague obeisance to impartiality.

It’s in the rest of the stuff that the BBC propaganda really goes to town, as we saw with Doctor Who. The comedy panel shows where every single joke is from the left; discussion forums on Radio 4 and BBC2, where only liberals are allowed to take part; dramas constructed simply to promulgate a liberal point of view; the cringing tokenism of panel programmes where there must be a black or ethnic minority person no matter how thick or unfunny they are and despite the fact that we are still an 87% white country; even its food programmes, which are relentlessly anti-big business; its soaps; its light entertainment.

I beg to differ from Aitken — carelessness does not come into it. The BBC promulgates this idiotic world view because it thinks it is the only one that is true. And those of us who think different are simply, objectively, wrong.

By Rod Liddle for the Sunday Times.

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Range Rover TDV8 2010 Top Radiator Hose 4 Way Coupling – How To Fix.

The Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 is known for this water leak fault.

I was out this evening and a radiator hose four way branch coupling on top of the engine inexplicably broke and water was everywhere.

The dashboard lit up like a Christmas Tree, not charging, restricted performance, coolant low, etc.

On opening the bonnet the culprit was easily visible right on top.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 Rad Hose

It took frequent stops and 9 litres of water to get the 10 miles home.

Of course you can’t buy the coupling on its own. It comes with the surrounding hoses only and costs about £80 (part number LR029140 seems to be it).

I’m not liking the idea of £80 to replace a tiny bit of snapped plastic. I think I’ll repair it. here’s how I did that.

As I have a couple of stents I reckon a stent would work. The joint doesn’t seem under a great deal of pressure, so I’m hopeful it will last.

Here’s the broken bit:

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 water leak

I cleaned it out a tad by hand with a drill bit to get the bits of smeg out and key inside the holes.

Here is a small piece of brake pipe which is the perfect size as a stent. Clean it up with a file or a bit of sandpaper so it will key and chamfer the ends a tad.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 hose leak repair

Clean the insides of the pipes and the break area up with meths or similar and a cotton bud. Dry it off with a hairdryer so its bone dry and also the plastic will expand a tad.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 cracked water hose

Araldite one half of your stent up and twist it in with long nose pliers. Araldite the other side of your stent up now.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 water leak fix

Hold it in place with the long nose pliers while you offer the pipe up to it so you know the stent is about 50/50 in each side, then slide it nicely home as you remove the long noses.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 leak repairLooks alright to me and no £80 going on. Takes less than ten minutes. 

Feel free to comment below if you have a better way or like this DIY repair guide.

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More American Aggression: The War Against the Turkish Lira

Why is the war raging against the Turkish lira?

More accurately what is going on can be described as a battle against the Turkish lira as part of a war to protect the position of the U.S. dollar.

With a huge proportion of external debt denominated in dollars; some $300 billion in private as opposed to government debt amounting to about 50% of Turkish GDP, Turkey is an easy target. That the U.S. has a political beef with Turkey is merely a bonus.

Remembering that, for the United States, maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency is key to the survival of the country, this war is very important.

What we are seeing at the moment is an inevitable response to the ongoing process of de-dollarisation.

There will be responses and counter-responses but the biggest single risk, in my opinion, is that the actions currently being taken by the United States tend, whether successful or not, to lead to the outcome that is least desired by the U.S.

That’s because sanctions, currency manipulations, and other economic attacks tend to stimulate those under attack to find ways to defend against them. The victims are forced to isolate themselves from the U.S. dollar and that tends to reduce the effectiveness of the dollar as a reserve currency. Thus the strategy must be a relatively short-term one with a view to getting the major stakeholders under attack to capitulate quickly.

The weakness of the U.S. strategy suggests that we will see a rapid increase in the value of the dollar relative to other currencies but then a rapid fall and a rapid increase in the inflation rate in the U.S. some years from now.

Actually, weak/strong currency is a misnomer. More accurately one should think of the price of a currency and its relation to others. You almost get there by understanding that a high priced currency and a low priced currency both have advantages and disadvantages. Just the same as any other market good.

What is happening right now is an on-going effort by the United States to manipulate its currency price higher relative to certain other currencies to attain political outcomes.

There’s advantages and disadvantages to that. However, one can not just set aside debt from that understanding on the basis that it is too complicated to think about. Debt is integral to the price of a currency and integral to what the United States is up to.

What many casual observers do not understand is the effect of debt upon the price of the dollar, relative to other currencies and why debt has enabled the U.S. to act as it does.

You see, the actions now being taken are reducing the ability of the U.S. to sell its debt to other countries and thus export dollars. The FED is now engaged in a process of tightening money supply (and therefore debt) which reduces the ability of the U.S. to export currency without increasing the domestic money supply and thus inflation.

By the way, while it is clear that the U.S. is acting against specific targets, the attack is actually upon all currencies that are not the U.S. dollar due to the interrelated nature of currencies. All currencies will tend to move together in order that arbitrage opportunities are removed. Market pricing tends to work to remove arbitrage opportunities. The U.S. has identified some targets that it thinks are weak enough to be influenced at low cost, Turkey was an obvious choice given the structure of Turkish economy and debt.

Oh, yeah, most folks don’t understand that the money supply is at the core of inflation.


The Leading Russian Women Information Forum
The Leading Russian Women Information Forum

There are some good books about the topic, it is complex, there are many interdependent mechanisms, but that’s why I said that the current campaign of the U.S government against the rest of the world can only be a short-term one and depends upon rapid capitulation of the other economies of the world.

The actions of the U.S. were inevitable (even if not sensible) and come at just about the last possible period of time when such actions have a hope of working.

Andrew Wilson

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Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, Donald Trump and Meghan Markle.

Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, Donald Trump and Meghan Markle and not three obvious names you might think are likely to come together in one article.

What about I throw some Brexit in?

In an internet forum discussion (ostensibly on Donald Trump but frequently on other things) recently, a bloke said this to me:

Read up on Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and his views: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_von_Coudenhove-Kalergi#Views_on_race_and_religion

Well, I’d never heard of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi. But from the link I found an interesting quote:

“The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today’s races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice. The Eurasian-Negroid race of the future, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals.”

I’ve often thought this was someone’s “grand plan” for humanity. If you go back through popular culture, you’ll find it everywhere for decades as a gentle sort of propaganda.

Look at the girls in most modern music videos, attractive as many of them are, you’ll struggle to pin an ethnicity on them.

White girls fake tan so they are brown/orange, and then pump up their lips with injections. Black girls straighten their hair and apply makeup to look more like white girls and before you know it everyone looks like an approximation of Meghan Markle.

As the song in the video above says, “coffee coloured people”.

“Pale and interesting” doesn’t seem to be a thing any more. Except, bizarrely, in China. Chinese girls try *very hard* to be as pale as possible.

Of more concern in Europe is the destruction of class by the importing of third world migrants masquerading as refugees. This destruction of culture is something I think Trump actually gets.

Not that he has very much culture himself, and the mixed ethnic and resultant culture/class makeup of the US differs to Europe, but I think he can see the gradual destruction of EU Europe as we know it via Islamification and sees it will noticeably infect the US too in time. And as in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the UK, it will change the country beyond recognition in his lifetime.

What we are seeing in some of Trump’s comments is him seeing this and articulating it and the frustrations he likely feels as best he can. And that manifests also in his comments on Brexit, etc.

Much of leftist/establishment Europe has not yet worked out how to take Trump or his often factual and frank comments, the political classes are still in shock. Indicative I think is some of our media output.

An ex-cabinet minister today tweeted this. The article she linked is here. The article has no stated author but it isn’t a usual junior staffer “no name” piece. It’s a mood-feeling piece.

Many publications take copy from “controversial” writers and publish it with no name attached. I think she who tweeted it penned it. She is no lover of Trump and was a Remain campaigner. But even Edwina has admitted Trump is right, even though she thinks it “gruesome”.

I was off the Trump train when he rained bombs on Syria for no particular reason shortly after getting into power. But, boorish and uncouth as he is, I must admit to warming to him again.

The man is saying things that need to be said. And it is having an effect.

He has met Kim, he is building bridges with Putin, he has bitch slapped the EU on trade; he may yet do some good. He is meeting people and talking, he isn’t starting more wars like Hillary would have done by now.

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Range Rover Sport L494 Versus Full Fat Range Rover 4.4TDV8 L322

I was contemplating selling my 2006 L320 Range Rover Sport and getting a new shape L494 Range Rover Sport.

Then the topic cropped up about the dodgy 3 litre crankshafts and I thought better of that idea. Especially after an exchange on Twitter with Land Rover.

Dropping £35k+ on a car that might rack up a £20k bill any moment held little appeal.

I wondered what else I might buy (and a bonus if it spent less time in the garage than a Land Rover vehicle) and investigated the Audi Q7, various big Jeepy things of numerous brands and Bentleys. None held the appeal of a Range Rover .

I decided what I really wanted was a full fat Range Rover  L405, but the £45k used entry level seems a lotta wonga.

So I wondered what a late model Range Rover L322 Full Fat (FF) might be like since they are about half the money of a Range Rover L405. But it would need to be proper spec, black and probably the best model I could find.

Then a chap posted one for sale that looked a likely candidate. As is often the way, I expected him to be at the other end of the country, but no, he was about four miles away. Thumbs Up

So to cut a long story short, after much friendly haggling and poker faces, I acquired an unabused Range Rover 4.4TDV8 Autobiography Black with 50 odd k miles. Spec is off the scale and it is a lovely example.

It had some large Range Rover Overfinch wheels on that were not to my taste, so I quickly rectified that with some nice Range Rover L405 wheels.

A chap from Gumtree drove off tonight smiling with the old wheels, so the cost of the wheel upgrade cost me about £300 net.

It lacked sidesteps so I got some deployable ones that are going on in a week or so. So here we are up to now.

Range Rover Autobiography Black Edition

I must say, what a nice thing the Full Fat is.

Similar to a Range Rover Sport the untrained eye perhaps, but a totally different animal to the Sport.

At over £10k less than a new shape Sport, they represent pretty decent value. And with the 4.4 V8 it goes like a rocket! Thumbs Up

So after parting with a large bundle of hard-earned notes, I thought I’ll perhaps pass the Range Rover Sport along and get a few quid back in the coffers. But my wife then decided that she rather likes our Range Rover Sport, and in the absence of the white three door Evoke she would really like, she’ll hang on to the Range Rover Sport, thanks very much. Rolling with laughter

(Real reason: slim long blonde milfy women still look pretty hot on the school run in an aged Range Rover Sport.)

So I now get to flog her Chrysler 300C which we bought new in 05, which last time I looked had gone down in value from almost £30k it cost in 05 down to about 87p.

On the upside, we are now a two Range Rover family, so we now have the joy of our small fleet spending twice as long in the local garages (since 05 our Chrysler has only needed MOT, tyres, some bushes, brake pads and an alternator)Shocked

I have an old Mercedes Sprinter van if both end up in dock together.

But behold, I’ll be that smiling bloke in the V8 Range Rover whose kids are watching telly with their new bluetooth headphones in the back. I pray we dont spend too much time on the hard shoulder.

Handy to have a telly while you are waiting for the AA when you break down though…… Cash in the Attic anyone?

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Taste of success at High Peak Business Club’s latest meeting

The latest meeting of High Peak Business Club took place on the morning of Friday, October 6.

The guest speaker was Raymond Reynolds, property and business development director of Greggs and his theme was Baking Up A Business. The club’s Edwina Currie reported: “Raymond Reynolds is Scottish and very tall. And slim – if he’s eating a lot of his firm’s pasties, he doesn’t show it.

“Changing roles after ten years as retail director, he now has “a wide portfolio of responsibilities.” He’s been with Greggs since the 1980s, so he’s seen it grow and adapt as the traditional High Street has come under pressure. How does a bread shop business become the darling of the stock market?

“At High Peak Business Club as we scoffed sausage rolls from Greggs in Buxton, we realised that the firm is, in Raymond’s words, “a success story in staying relevant; you can never rest on your laurels.” That’s a pertinent lesson for everyone in business (and, dare I suggest, in politics too).

High Peak Business Club

“The key was old Mr Gregg realising that when the trays came out of the bakery at the back of his shops, the food flew off them: customers wanted something absolutely fresh. Back in the 70s, the main product was bread and cakes, and Greggs did not sell sandwiches.

“But gradually – mirroring closely the increasing proportion of women entering the jobs market – the focus has shifted to Food On The Go, with freshly made sandwiches as a primary product. We ladies don’t slice bread any more: we’re too busy.

“It isn’t as easy as you’d think. Tesco, Boots and Marks & Spencer all offer sandwiches, factory wrapped and (these days) of high quality. But odds are, they were made three days ago. At Greggs, a baguette is filled within an hour after being shop baked (how French!) so it’s a sophisticated operation, with labour costs at the point of delivery a significant factor.

“But to keep prices competitive, behind the scenes Greggs’ own supply chain is being improved by a £100m bakery investment programme. When complete Greggs will have fewer bakeries but each will specialise in being a centre of excellence for key products. “Doesn’t this add to your carbon footprint?” asked one member, but overall the answer is no, for high-tech factories use far less energy, and central ordering produces less waste.

“Raymond himself has been at the centre of much of this invisible revolution. By 2000, his charts showed that while turnover was growing strongly, profits were only creeping up; the supermarkets got in on the act with in-store bakeries, and by 2012, Greggs was being written about as another High Street name in trouble. New CEO Roger Whiteside, appointed in 2013, was clear: “Keep it simple, concentrate on what you do well” – another great lesson.

“They simplified ranges and improved availability. They examined sacred cows – assumptions that were not justified – and slaughtered them wholesale. Today you can get healthy nosh from Greggs, while they still offer a £2 breakfast with real coffee and wifi. You’ll find them now in airports and garages, on motorways and railway stations. The focus on what customers want is ferocious. “Our people and our communities are at the heart of the business,” said Raymond, but it’s clear that vital commercial intelligence comes from those on the ground.

“So we tucked in, and the verdict was highly favourable, apart from one member who has recently lost five stone and wasn’t touching the pastry! But when a business is churning out around three million sausage rolls a week, (more in the winter) you’d expect them to be good at what they do.”

The next meeting of the club takes place on Friday, November 10, from 7.30am, at Chapel Golf Club. The title of the meeting is Keep On Truckin’! and it features Angelina Miley, HR director of Warrington-based Eddie Stobart.

The December meeting takes place on Friday, December 8, from 7.30am, at Chapel Golf Club. The speaker’s theme is The Budget, with Ian Bingham FCA of BDO Manchester. For more on the club, go to www.highpeakbusinessclub.co.uk

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Is War Between the USA and North Korea Likely?

The media is foaming at the mouth at the prospect of a war between North Korea and the USA.

Is a nuclear war likely between North Korea and the USA? Are Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un likely to go to war?

We say no.

It’s all theatre. Or at least, it’s all theatre now North Korea’s powerful neighbour China have clarified their position thus:

China’s state-run Global Times said: “If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

Be under no doubt whatsoever, despite the US being the most warmongering, terroristic, aggressive state on the planet, since it got its arse kicked in Vietnam, it chooses its battles carefully. It only fights wars it thinks it can win.

The US would love nothing more than to invade North Korea, kill Kim Jong-Un and destroy the country as it did with everywhere else it brought “democracy” to.

The prospect of filling North Korea with American missiles pointed at Russia and China makes the warmongers in DC drool down their flabby faces.

However, American aggression knows it’s limits. Its limits are North Korea’s neighbours: The largest economy on the planet and the largest country on the planet.

It will not fight China. It will not fight Russia. Both countries have an interest in what is going on in their backyard.

Look at the recent history of the US regime change roadshow, those places they “spread democracy to”. They are usually weak, poor states. Often sandy places where blokes travel on camels. And those crusades all take a decade each or more, and result in no defined victory.

That isn’t North Korea. North Korea is a nuclear enabled state with a six million strong army. North Korea is now protected from American invasion by China. North Korea is safe as long as it does not strike first.

Which it won’t. because Kim Jong-Un may be many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Ignore how our fake news media caricatures him.

Trump is a mouth on a stick. He isnt the man making the decisions in the US as his soon-quashed “muslim ban” demonstrated. He is the mouthpiece that fat men with many guns in pickup trucks vote for because he says vulgar things they like while wearing a baseball cap.

The power in the US is the Neocon war machine in the background. They now know that China, by guaranteeing North Korea’s security, has in one swoop rendered them impotent.

I do not think that the Trump regime really wants war with North Korea but they are engaged in a dance.

Lets make a very short analysis of what the DPRK desired outcomes are and those for the USA.

The DPRK wants the US to return to the treaties negotiated between North Korea and the US but abrogated by the US.

Those treaties enabled North Korea and the US to communicate, they gave some guarantees for the security of the DPRK and enabled the DPRK to engage in trade with the rest of the world.

The US would provide assistance in building two nuclear power plants in North Korea. In return the DPRK would not start developing a nuclear weapons program and given the US built power plants would not have the means to do so.

The US wants to have the ability to point weapons at China and Russia, wants to maintain a strong military presence in South Korea that threatens China and very much wants to maintain a destabilising influence in this part of Asia.

When one looks at these ‘needs’ and prefered outcomes the US and North Korea are actually on the same page of the hymn book! Quite literally the only thing that needs to happen is that the US carries out its treaty obligations toward North Korea.

Spooklily, that’s exactly what the DPRK has been asking for for many years.

On the side, neither China or Russia want the DPRK to have nuclear weapons but neither has the power to stop them from having them – nor does the USA.

Those weapons will only go away when North Korea feels that it is safe for them to go away. DPRK is NOT the puppet of the Chinese. The Juche concept makes sure of it. However, North Korea understands and recognises the position of China in the North Korean economy and culture.

EVERYTHING that is happening now, from all stakeholders, is designed to enable just one thing: direct negotiations between the DPRK and USA and, ultimately, that the US recognises and carries out its treaty obligations toward the DPRK.

For China and Russia that outcome is not ideal because it leaves the US with weapons in South Korea pointed toward both Russia and China but it is MUCH better than having the US bouncing around trying to impose yet more ‘democracy’ on the Chinese and Russian borders.

I think that Trump is well aware of the dance and the steps but is dancing with the weight of congress on his back. No matter how good a dancer he is, his feet will fall heavily.

I think that his counterparts in Pyongyang, Beijing and Moscow are aware of the handicaps faced by the Leader Of The Free World [sic] and their rhetoric and actions are designed to compensate for Trump’s limited dancing ability.

The United States has reneged on its treaty obligations. These are choices made the United States specifically to cause harm to the people of North Korea.

There will be no war. The US isn’t capable of taking on China and Kim Jong-Un wont put himself in the position by striking first of having China be neutral.

It looks like a stalemate. But in fact, it’s game set and match to China. They want to see the influence of the US minimised, especially in Asia.

This episode teaches the Americans they won’t be invading China’s neighbours any time soon.

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Small Business Fed Up of Queuing at The Post Office?

Small business wondering if there is more to life than queuing at the Post Office counter?

Wondering which courier to use?

Been there – done that. Here are some pointers.

The post office or couriers are the two options.

Remember: For Highlands and UK islands always use the Post Office, they will always be cheaper. You’ll find the postcodes couriers surcharge online, IM, PO33, BT and some K Scottish ones. Couriers don’t want to go there so they charge more. PO is always cheaper on small boxes.

jess1

Parcel2go

We used to use parcel2go.com a lot and simply use whoever was cheapest courier from that platform. They have tools so you can bulk upload from Amazon/eBay/most shopping cart software so you are not booking one by one. If you open an account and top up £100 at a time with a debit card you get another 5% off. Cheaper than the Post Office and they collect.

Cons:

  • With parcel2go (or parcelmonkey or any of the aggregators) there is almost zero customer support when a wheel falls off. You get what you pay for. You are consigned to days of delay and repeated contact via “live chat” – which is usually anything but “live” and seldom English.
  • Usually Hermes are the cheapest on there and they can be pretty dire. See below.
  • If they damage or lose something you will have to jump through so many hoops to get any compensation it simply isn’t worth the time. You’ll write it off.

>>Read about Parcel2Go and the Hermes scam here<<

Hermes direct:

Eventually we started using Hermes directly. Same bulk upload tools as P2G but a few pence cheaper.

Cons:

  • Hermes are great for low value items you can afford to give some away of – because you will be doing.
  • The drivers routinely lose/steal stuff or deliver it to random neighbours, sometimes other addresses entirely, leave it in their car for a week if they have flu, drop it in puddles or simply toss stuff over walls in the rain.
  • Because of the above, tracking will sometimes say delivered but customer says it isn’t.
  • We found Hermes to be more trouble than they were worth eventually and preferred to pay more to get a better service.
  • Put Collect+ and Yodel into the same category.

>>Read about Hermes/MyHermes here<<

My preferred options:

We use a mix of Post Office PPI and DPD courier.

Royal Mail Business.

You get in touch with Royal Mail business section and tell them you want an OBA (online business account) and want to use PPI.

This allows you to book your own boxes online, select Recorded etc, and drop them off at the post office in bulk done already and walk out. You pay every month by DD. You are sat at home with a glass of wine rather than standing in the PO.

Now they will make you buy a £250 printer to do this now (we use the old label system still) and the software is a bit of a learning curve, but once you are doing it, it is easy peasy and a bit cheaper than the PO counter.

Cons:

Your local post office might sulk at taking them in pre-paid this way – ask them. They are contractually obliged to take them but many still refuse citing lack of space. You may need to remind them they still get paid if they scan recorded mail (which they do from your book 10 at a time using the bulkscan tool on their screen).

>>Read about Dane Bank Post Office here – this is what to expect at some Post Offices<<

jess

RM will collect from you but you need to be projected to spend £15k+ a year before they will.

DPD.

If you have ever had a DPD delivery, you will know it is world class. SMS alerts, reschedule option emails, knowing the time of delivery within an hour, etc. Customers LOVE it.

Get hold of DPD, have the rep call down to see you. Show him the size and weight of the boxes you do and they will cut you a deal. We pay I think £4.99 + VAT but that is up to 20kg and 1m long. Yours are smaller and lighter so they will do a better deal for you maybe depending on volume. The minimum to have an account with them is I think 50 parcels a week.

Cons:

  • They are useless outside of the EU (inside EU is great), forget them for that.
  • Expensive for Highlands and islands – Use the PO.
  • If you have no parcels on a day, they charge you for a failed collection @ £14.50 so always have at least one.

Pros:

  • Awesome tracking – I mean awesome!
  • Proper customer service. Pick up a phone and someone answers it.
  • Everything arrives, almost no damages or headaches.

I will add I am not on commission from DPD, just having tried everything else, if you can afford to use them you will be sorry you didn’t earlier when you finally land at their door in 5 years. That’s what happened to me.

But standing at the Post Office every day with 40 boxes sucks. It won’t be doable when there are 100 boxes so better do it while you can than flap later without a plan as you grow.

UPS are OK too, but not as good as DPD. But they will come and make you an offer too if you ask them, but they don’t rush arranging that.

In short: Royal Mail PPI or courier. From courier, try parcel2go or similar if not so big (watch for the “overweight scam”), if you can do 50 a week talk to UPS or DPD direct.

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Comments welcome in the box below.  

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Teddy Boys and the Rock’n’Roll Revival

During a period of about ten years between the tail end of the 1960s and that of the 1970s, youth culture had been hit by a wave of nostalgia.

From the Beatles with their faux Victorian bandleader costumes on the cover of the Sgt Pepper LP, to the 1930s stylings of groups like Fox and Sailor, to the fifties pastichery and revival, which can be seen in rock groups as diverse as Roxy Music and Mud.

The revival of interest in the 1950s was particularly interesting, as not only was it the only one that revived a period of youth culture, but it also ushered in a (mostly brief) revival in the careers of many fifties stars.

This period also brought about the return of the Teddy Boys in the UK, who had been a peculiarly British cult, although other countries had similarly rebellious youth cults, such as Les Blousons Noirs in France.

The cult of the Teddy Boy had actually preceded Rock’n’Roll in Britain by several years, and had started when a Savile Row tailor had decided to do a line in ‘Edwardian’ style suits for young, well-heeled gentlemen.

The style was, however, hijacked by young working class men instead, which, like many cults since, had the blame for many of society’s ills laid squarely at its feet. The cult of the Teddy boy had all but died out at the turn of the sixties, being replaced by the Rocker, ostensibly a less image conscious version, but with the same hoodlum qualities, perceived or otherwise.

By this time, Rock’n’Roll music was in decline, with many of its artists unable or unwilling to produce material due to all sorts of factors-from the religious conversion of Little Richard and the blackballing of Jerry Lee Lewis due to 2 his child bride (who was also his cousin), to the tragic deaths of many of the leading figures, principally Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran among other lesser names.

By 1960, rock and roll was a pale shadow of itself, with such lightweight idols such as Fabian and Pat Boone hitting it big. And by 1963, the Beatles and their antecedents were seen as confirmation that the old wave of Rock’n’roll was all but dead, despite the fact that many of these acts were heavily influenced by the fifties groups.

By the end of the 1960s, however, there was a split in the world of rock which, crudely put, lay between ‘singles’ (or pop) artists and ‘albums’ (or rock) groups, the latter of whom tended to see their product as intellectual and artistic, as opposed to the more commercial, manufactured teenybop aesthetic of singles groups. Much of the original, more simplistic spirit of rock had been eroded in the 1960s, and towards the end of the decade, in both the UK and the States, there was a renewed interest in ‘traditional’ rock’n’roll both in its artists, its music and its style.

The pivotal point for this was perhaps the televised 1968 comeback of Elvis. Elvis’ career had declined both commercially and artistically after he left the army in 1960, and he spent most of this decade mired in unlikely throwaway films (knocked out at an average of two a year), featuring lightweight soundtrack LPs which all in all provided a very flimsy ‘product’ for the market.

The comeback special though, was regarded as a real return to form by rock aficionados, with Elvis rocking out in a way not seen since the fifties. And it wasn’t just Elvis. In the States, there were a series of concerts put together by the promoter Richard Nader, at prestigious venues such as at the Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Nader seemed to be able to get a show from any of the surviving rockers, from Bill Haley to Little Richard, although the end product varied considerably. Jerry Lee Lewis enraged audiences by playing sets of country music instead of his hits, while Rick (formerly Ricky) Nelson used the experience of being expected to play nothing but his ‘oldies’ to write the song ‘Garden Party,’ which ended up being his first hit record in over a decade.

Of course, this renaissance was not to last, but by the following year, old-time rock had begun to come to people’s attention again, And it was not just down to the original artists either. A case in point were the American group Sha Na Na, who were catapulted to fame after an appearance (only their seventh live performance) at the 1969 Woodstock festival, of all places.

The group, with their choreographed routines, DA hairstyles and affectionate parodying of the music of the fifties were strikingly different to the rest of the bill of fare, although the music was secondary to the theatre of their act.

In the publication the Story of Pop, in a section considering the rock’n’roll revival , the writer identifies the trend for nostalgia that had peaked around the time of publication, stating that “It celebrated an inability to cope not only with changes in the sphere of music, but also with constantly insecure social and economic realities.”1 There certainly was plenty of that in the world at the time, with the Vietnam war polarising the American public, while the UK, grinding to a halt with strikes in just about every industry, was going through an entirely different set of difficulties.

In either country though, this yearning for an escape back to a period of optimism, where the music was both “authentic” and not laden with intellectual pretension was perhaps understandable. During the late sixties and early seventies, a number of old rockers had considerable hit records, with both new numbers (Chuck Berry’s My Ding-a-ling, which hit No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1972) and re-releases (Bill Haley and the Comets’ Rock around the clock reached the British top 20 in both 1968 and 1974), although any lasting success tended to be with new groups and their appropriation of rock’n’roll.

In particular, many of the glam rock groups from the UK during this period, from Marc Bolan’s Chuck Berryisms to Alvin Stardust’s robot Gene Vincent act were deeply rooted in the ‘heritage’ of rock’n’roll. But such acts were not generally appreciated by fans of ‘proper’ rock’n’roll; Writing in Pop Today, Rosie Horide expresses surprise that the group Mud, debuting their soon-to-be No. 1 record Tiger Feet went down so well with the predominantly rocker audience. Although some proper revival groups came about, the most prominent of whom were the Wild Angels, none of them scored any significant success on the pop charts, although gigs proved to be more popular.

Although fifties-styled clothing was not readily available in High Street stores, revivalists were catered for by small shops, who frequently sold goods through small adverts in music papers. Perhaps one of the best known is Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop at 430 King’s Road, Chelsea, which opened in 1971 as ‘Let it Rock.’

The shop initially sold original fifties clothes, but Westwood soon started to produce new copies to sell.

These were not exact copies; colours tended to be brighter than the fifties originals, and featured camp detailing like fake fur or lurex trim.

As a youth tribe, the new Teds in Britain were not far removed from the skinheads. Both movements were almost exclusively working class, and they were both known for racist behaviour and general aggression.

But the teddy boys were far more flamboyant, from their gaudy suits to their authentically charged style of dancing. Even their choice of car was crucial-in the mid 1980s, a car magazine, commenting on the very American looking Ford Consul Capri of 1962, noted that many of the surviving vehicles had tears in the cushion of the driver’s seat-attributed by the magazine as being caused by metal combs sticking out of the seat pockets of the driver’s trousers.

Teddy boys were still around at the dawn of the punk age; indeed, contemporary pictures show than some punks adopted a certain amount of punk gear, with drainpipe jeans or trousers being notably popular (no flares!).

Not that the two factions were united-Poly Styrene, the leader of the punk rock group X-Ray Spex had her market stall of kitsch trashed by a gang of teds. But by the end of the seventies, only the most dedicated of teds remained.

The fifties had by then featured in several high-profile films and television shows, most notably Grease and Happy Days. Although these were American products, they both had a considerable impact in Britain too.

By the 1980s, nostalgic perception of the 1950s was quite different to what it was in the previous decade. In the 80s, cod-1950s style was far more archetypally American, typified by the leather jacket/blue jeans/white 6 t-shirt look. Although the yearning for the past survived, any historical accuracy had been obliterated.

Simon Moses

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The Phenomenon that was The Shangri-las

Although rock and pop music has always been a phenomenon that has attracted fans of both sexes, the role of female artists in its development has frequently been marginalised by critics, unless the artiste under consideration has been deemed ‘authentic’ enough to pass muster.

This is especially true in the case of the artists who started to emerge at the end of the 1950s, after the commercial demise of the first generation of rock’n’rollers.

These second-generation artists are frequently dismissed as an anachronism, something that simply filled the gap between the demise of their predecessors and the rise of artists who were considered important in intellectual terms from very early on, most notably the Beatles and Bob Dylan.

There is some truth in this dismissal if, for example one looks at artists such as Pat Boone, Paul Anka and most notoriously of all, Fabian, who was notable in that he had been chosen for a recording deal on account of his good looks rather than his ability to sing, which even he confessed was somewhat non-existent.

This however, is not the full picture. It fails to take into account the role of female artistes on the pop music scene. It is 2 interesting to note that the first generation of Rock’n’roll, from 1955 to ’58 was almost completely devoid of female artists – a situation quite different to that of Blues music from which rock had been derived from.

Although male performers dominated the blues, there were certainly notable female artists, such as Big Mama Thornton, who recorded and performed Hound Dog, later recorded with great commercial success by Elvis Presley. Of course, the rock format was one of the first places in the mass media where sexuality was explicit, which, although tame by the standards of today, nevertheless provoked outrage with ‘decent’ people at the time.

And if a male singer mouthing suggestive lyrics whilst pulling lewd body movements had the capacity to draw protest, a female doing the same could well have caused blood vessels to burst in the craniums of the righteous.

It is suggested in The Story of Pop that the only two female singers in this era that were close to being female rock were Connie Francis and Brenda Lee1 . Although both came out with records that were very close to the rock’n’roll genre (for example: Francis’ Stupid Cupid and Lee’s Sweet Nuthin’s), their images were however the opposite of rock’n’roll, with both marketed as essentially wholesome acts, all permed hair and stiffly starched petticoats.

Indeed, throughout the 1960s the female rock artist was frequently presented as a far more mannered proposition than her male rivals were. The initial flowering of women in rock comprised of girl groups such as the Shirelles or the Crystals, black vocal groups who were notable for the almost complete anonymity of their line-up.

This was taken to its most notorious conclusion when the Maverick producer Phil Spector released records under the name of his (then) flagship vocal group, the Crystals, such as the classic He’s a Rebel, when the song had actually been recorded using a session group called the Blossoms.

The Crystals had been performing a concert at another town on the day of recording, so were simply stood in for.

The music produced in this period was frequently of a high standard, but artist identity was far from being a strong point. If a girl group released an LP, it would usually contain little other than their own hits and a bunch of covers of other girl group staples, which confused matters further.

Performing upbeat ditties extolling a boy that they had met, for example, the Ronettes’ Da Do Ron Ron, or wistful numbers about their heartbreak, such as the Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, There was rarely any element of darkness in this type of record.

The notable exception to this was He Hit Me (and It Felt Like A Kiss) by Phil Spector’s Crystals, which was hurriedly withdrawn from the market in 1963. One of the most distinctive girl groups of this period were the Shangri-las. Although the group did not release a record until 1964, when the Beatles were on the cusp of breaking the American market, they were still able to produce several hit records worldwide, including three top ten singles in the U.S.

Despite this, the group have not been well documented in rock history – they barely scrape a couple of pages in Lucy O’Brien’s She Bop II, or Gillian C. Gaar’s She’s A Rebel. Indeed, in Tony Palmer’s All You Need Is Love – the story of Popular music (written after the groundbreaking television documentary of 1968) they are not even listed in the index. 4 This lack of recognition and dismissal is commented on in the publication The Story of Pop as this: “The Shangri-las are often dismissed as rubbish.

Those who do that though, miss the point, these songs reflected an era, and represented the secret thoughts and dreams of those very girls who went to scream and weep at groups like the Beatles2 .” The Shangri-las comprised of two sets of sisters – the twins Mary-Ann and Margie Ganser, and Mary and Betty Weiss, who all lived in the Queens area of New York, although the only constant member was Mary Weiss, and the group invariably toured as a three-piece.

The two sets of sisters befriended each other once they had started to attend the Andrew Jackson High School, which is where they started singing together, initially on an informal basis, before progressing to performing cover versions at local dances.

This led to then being signed to Artie Ripp’s Karma Sutra Production company, and a record, Wishing Well, was released at the start of 1964 on the Spokane record label (Karma Sutra would not release its own records until later in the 1960s). From the start of their recording career, lead vocals on the group’s records were handled by Mary Weiss, and her nasal, New York accent is probably the most distinctive part of this record. The use of a spoken into on this track later became a staple of the Shangri-las’ oeuvre, although this device had been prominent on other girl-group records. However, the record lacked any sense of drama, something the group’s records would develop once they had been teamed up with a previously unproven songwriter by the name of George ‘Shadow’ Morton.

Morton had been an acquaintance of the songwriter Ellie Greenwich some years previous, and had gotten in touch with her again after discovering that she had co-written a number of hit singles since they had last met. In a meeting with her and her husband Jeff Barry, Morton informed them that he wrote songs also, at which point Barry called his bluff, and asked him to compose a song with a view to releasing it on the record label he worked for, Red Bird, which was owned by the writers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Morton used the Shangri-las for the demo recording session, after having been made aware of them on the Queens dancehall circuit, and apparently composed the song for this session whilst travelling to the studio.

The song in question was titled Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand), and when it was played at the Red Bird offices it was judged good enough to sign both Morton (as a writer) and the group to the label. In Lucy O’Brien’s “definitive history of women in rock pop and soul” She Bop II, she refers to the finished record as bringing “a whole new dimension to the girl group sound, the concept of girl-talk as pop opera”.

Although the narrative in this song was more of an inner dialogue than the virtual discussions in later Shangri-la numbers, Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand) still succeeds in being high drama, and bears more of a resemblance to a Lichtenstein-esque cartoon strip than a pop song.

The song opens with a doom – laden three-note descending piano and cello sequence, repeated throughout the verses, before the melodramatic lead vocal kicks in. This is not so much sung as wailed, and respite only comes with the choruses, which are more uptempo, in music if not in mood.

The song concerns the reaction of the protagonist, who has received a ‘dear john’ type letter from her boyfriend. In Charlotte Greig’s book on girl groups Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, the song is described as “idiosyncratic to a point of absurdity”, due no doubt to Morton’s lack of musical training (he did not know how to play any musical instruments), and yet at the same time Greig acknowledges that “it also had a strong teenage emotional credibility ”.

This credibility lay in the way that the song accurately reflected the teenage mindset in the narrative. The song shows little restraint; as the sobbed verses draw to a close, the protagonist seems to pull together (“Let me think, let me think, what can I do?”) before collapsing back into self-pity again (“Oh no, oh no, oh no, no, no, no, no.”). The chorus has the singer gaining composure as she recollects being with her boy, but come the final line, her pitch rises and her voice becomes a strangulated sob once more – “Softly, Softly, we’d MEET WITH OUR LIPS!” before the song launches back into the verse melody.

The emotional response depicted in this situation is distinctly juvenile, but came as a blast of raw emotion in comparison to its predecessors. A prime example is Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit It’s My Party. This reflected a similar emotional reflex, but in a much more upbeat manner.

The Shangri-las’ song struck a chord with record buyers, and duly reached the top ten in the U.S. in the summer of 1964. 4 Greig, Charlotte. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? London; Virago Press, 1989. P. 78 7 The follow–up was jointly composed by Morton with Barry and Greenwich, as were several of the follow-up records, and proved a much more sophisticated record, in terms of structure, use of sound effects and empathy to a teenage mindset.

While Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand) encapsulated the fairly everyday situation of a jilted young girl, Leader of the Pack was perhaps the ultimate in macabre adolescent wish fulfilment. Banned in the U.K, this song owed a direct lineage to Jody Reynolds’ 1958 hit Endless Sleep, which was covered in the U.K. by Marty Wilde, or perhaps Ray Peterson’s histrionic 1960 hit Tell Laura I Love Her – at least there were no fatalities in Endless Sleep.

Although this kind of record was decried as morbid and tasteless at the time, a reappraisal of this so-called ‘Death Disc’ formula published in the early 1970s points out, that while this is not untrue, “(in comparing a song of this genre to Romeo and Juliet) death discs plunder universal mythology. The props may be up to date (stock cars, trains, motorcycles), but the tragedy is timeless5 ”. The plot to Leader of the Pack goes something like this: Girl is asked by her friends if she is going out with the boy the song is about, and if she is seeing him that day, to which she replies in the negative.

She then recounts how her parents disapproved of him, and that her father had issued an ultimatum to end their relationship. She does so against her wishes, and the boy is so upset that when he sets off on his motorbike (“on that rainy night”) he loses control of it, crashes and is killed. The various stylistic devices used 5 The Story of Pop. P. 438 8 throughout the song accentuate this highly dramatic plotline. This is how it occurs in the song: 00:00 – 00:16 – Start of first verse. Spoken intro between three girls (“is she really going out with him?”), with a background of sparse piano chords and a girl softly humming the melody. 00:16 – 00:30 – Upped tempo. Rest of verse sung, ending (as all of the verses do) with the song’s title and the revving of a motorcycle engine. 00:30 – 01:00 – Second verse.

More strident instrumentation. Revelation of parental disapproval of the boy. “My folks were always putting him down.” 01:00 – 01:30 – Third verse. Girl finishes with boy at parent’s behest. 01:30 – 01:53 – Middle eight. This is the most dramatic part of the song.

Monologue where the girl recounts the boy setting off “on that fateful night”, and how she “begged him to go slow”, although she is unaware if he heard this. At 01:44, we hear the motorcycle revving again, followed by the sound of screeching tyres at 01:46 and the narrator yelling one second later “look out, look out, look out, look out!” as the deadpan backing vocals turn into a chant of the word “no”. Two seconds after this, we hear the sound of the motorbike crashing. 9 01:53 – 02:24 – Verse four. The aftermath.

Instrumentation pared down again to piano chords with bass and snare drums. “I can’t hide the tears, but I don’t care”. 02:24 – 02:54 – Outro. Girl sings “Leader of the pack, now he’s gone” while the backing chorus chants the word “gone”. Reprise of sound effects of bike crashing to fade. Unlike many of the earlier death discs however, Leader of the Pack tapped into more than just a morbid interest on the buyer’s part.

The Story of Pop quotes vocalist Mary Weiss in saying that “We try to stay real close to our audience. Most kids have a hangup with their parents and a lot of girls want to be the centre of attention, the way the girl in Leader of the Pack is6 .” As Mary was barely sixteen years old herself at the time the record was released, this gives her view of the song some credence. Greig agrees with this, referring to it as an “if I die, you’ll all be sorry” style of fantasy that has been known to occupy the teenage psyche7 . Although the Shangri La’s image had started off as being little different to other girl groups, when this record took off they found themselves dressed in a far ‘tougher’ looking style, defined on the website Out in the Streets: The story of the Shangri-las as “skin-tight slacks, spike-heeled leather boots, and puffy white blouses and vests.”

Greig comments that the group by this time “exuded an air of tough independence that spoke to a whole new generation of hip, white working class city girls… But it was also clear, to teenagers at least, that the Shangri-las were at heart, nice ordinary girls .”

This undercurrent was reflected in their records – although the narrator of Leader of the Pack is dating a ‘bad boy’ from “the wrong side of town,” she obeys her parents when they instruct her to call it a day with him.

Despite the popularity of this record, Red Bird decided that the follow up was to be a much less controversial, and more conventional, upbeat love song entitled Give Him a Great Big Kiss. Although this song concerned another dark horse boy (“he’s good – bad, but he’s not evil”), the delivery was far more jocular, and nobody died at the end. As with Leader of the Pack, this song features a spoken (and memorable) intro – “When I say I’m in love, you’d best believe I’m in love, L.U.V.”, which was subject to an homage nine years later by another group from the Shangri-las’ hometown, the New York Dolls.

In fact, it was stolen wholesale and used by singer David Johansen to precede a song called Looking for a Kiss on their debut album. This act was topped the following year, when the Dolls were able to persuade ‘Shadow’ Morton to produce their second (and final) album, although the results were distinctly underwhelming. Indeed, although they came in for much critical contempt at the time, the New York Dolls were later acknowledged as being one of the first groups to recognise and exploit trash culture as an art form.

Give Him a Great Big Kiss proved to be a relative flop however, charting at number eighteen in the U.S, and the following single, Out in the Streets returned to the hysterical tone of Leader of the Pack, but with the situation shifted into a parallel universe; this time, 9 Greig, P. 80. 11 the ‘bad boy’ does not meet a gristly end, he settles down with the girl.

Nevertheless, something has still died – “his heart is (still) out in the streets.” “He grew up on the sidewalk, he grew up running free, he grew up… and then he met me” sings the narrator, agonising over whether or not to set him free, back where he belongs.

Out in the Streets was a far more subtle number than Leader of the Pack, with a particularly beautiful arrangement of plucked strings, which are especially notable after the middle eight. On the website Out in the Streets: The story of the Shangri-las the atmosphere on the record is likened to that of a church10, which is particularly evident in the unaccompanied harmony that occupies the first ten seconds of the record. Incidentally, some sources report that another single by the group, a cover of the Isley Brothers’ Shout was released at the same time, but this record, dubbed with audience noise to simulate a live concert seems to have been unsuccessful.

But despite the quality of Out in the Streets, it failed to make the top fifty in the U.S, and the record that was to follow it up resorted once more to the adolescent-spite-revenge formula of their biggest hit. Give Us Your Blessings in fact topped Leader of the Pack in that both partners were killed. This time, the young couple, Mary and Jimmy elope after their respective parents had the temerity to Laugh at them when they were told of their wedding plans.

Opening to an ominous clap of thunder and a vocal refrain of “Run! Run! Run, Mary. Run! Run! Run, Jimmy,” and tells the story of their escape and tragic end, the latter of which proving to be one of the campest couplings in the group’s repertoire: “Well, as they drove off, they were crying, 10 http://www.redbirdent.com/slas3 12 and nobody knows for sure, if that is why they didn’t see the sign that read ‘detour.’” One needs a heart of stone to not burst out laughing at this point. The “you’ll be sorry” factor in this song is further heightened by the middle eight section, when the parents arrive at the crash site: “The next day when they found them, Mary and Jimmy… Dead, And as their folks knelt beside them in the rain, They couldn’t help but hear The last words Mary had said… (Chorus) Give us your blessings!

Please don’t make us run away, Give us your blessings, Say you’ll be there, On our wedding day.” This record brought the group back into the American top thirty, and an outside writing team, Bob Bateman and Ron Moseley, who had previously worked with Motown. The resultant single, Right Now and Not Later bore more than a passing resemblance to 13 material from that stable, which had the unfortunate effect of making the record sound comparatively anonymous. This would appear to be borne out by its lack of success despite an appearance on the American television show Shindig to promote it.

The last record released by the group that could be attributed to the death disc genre was also the group’s final stateside top thirty hit. I Can Never go Home Anymore reached number six in the American charts, and whilst being instantly recognisable as the work of the Shangri-las, it twisted the revenge fantasies of the group’s other hits right round. The song opens dramatically with a churning instrumental backing and another spoken word intro – “I’m gonna hide, if she don’t leave me alone, I’m gonna run away,” only for the whole thing to stop dead when another young female voice interjects anxiously: “Don’t.”

Throughout the song, the verses are performed as a spoken word piece, with the narrator warning her subject against running away from their mother. It transpires that she had done so (naturally, the argument that provoked this was over a boy), but found that she missed her mother and returned home.

By this time, however, her mother has died of a broken heart – “She got so lonely in the end, the angels picked her for a friend… And I can never go home anymore.” Their label, Red Bird, was in serious financial trouble by this point, a situation which had been becoming increasingly serious for some time, and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich had left the label before the release of the above single. Indeed, Red Bird shut up shop in 1966, and the group and Morton transferred over to Mercury records for a further two singles before disbanding. 14 Between I Can Never Go Home Anymore and the demise of the group, a further five singles were released.

He Cried was a cover of She Cried, by Jay & the Americans, and was produced in a typically melodramatic style. Past, Present and Future, the last single for Red Bird featured oblique lyrics to the tune of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and Sweet Sounds of Summer, a lightweight pop number, featuring an incongruously psychedelic middle eight that sounds like it was lifted from the Pink Floyd’s debut album. More interesting were the final single on Mercury, Take the Time, and the penultimate but-one single for Red Bird, Long Live Our Love. By the release of these two singles, the US had already embarked on the Vietnam War, and the drafting of young men to fight in the war zone had started.

Although no one was aware at the time of the outcome of these hostilities, the decision was taken by Morton to record not one, but two songs that were in marked contrast to popular music’s later reactions to the situation. Long Live Our Love opens with a half-spoken monologue (“When Johnny comes marching home again, hurrah, hurrah”) before we hear a drum roll, and the song bursts into life The second verse gives a flavour of the song: “Something’s come between us, And it’s not another girl, But a lot of people need you There is trouble in the world.” And apart from a brief soliloquy towards the end of the song (“Please Lord, don’t let anything happen to him… Please.”), there is little suggestion that the boy will come to any harm.

After all, the earlier songs of the Shangri-las were morbid fantasies that in reality represented highly unlikely scenarios; the Vietnam War on the other hand held a very tangible risk of real death, not the comic-book kind. Take the Time was even more remarkable, although it must have seemed hugely out of step in 1967. “This Country that we’re living in knows only that we’ve got to win, no matter what the cost may be, our loss is keeping you and me free” go the lyrics patriotically, to the complete apathy of the record buying public.

By 1967 though, girl groups were no longer selling, with the exception of the Supremes, who had the backing of the powerful Motown empire behind them.

The music of the Shangri-las was considered particularly anachronistic – rock and pop’s newly discovered intellectuality had no time for silly teenage angst about boys and parents. But despite this snobbery, the Shangri-las racked up two further hits in the U.K, both times with reissues of Leader of the Pack, which reached the British top ten in both 1972 and 1976 (a better chart placing than the original release had managed here). Lucy O’Brien recounts the appeal of this record to a pre-teen audience in 1970s Britain in She Bop II – “This was our pre-teen drama, the one we learned the words to – right 16 down to every tear and every rev of that deadly motorbike.”

This success testifies to the magic of this silly little pop song. The Shangri-las are unlikely to ever be categorised as high art, but this is unnecessary anyway, as the combination of the quaint lyrical thrust of the songs along with their distinctive structures makes them unique.

No matter how old fashioned their music sounds now, the Shangri-las also brought a darker edge to pure pop , turning self-righteous and immature teenage angst and rebellion into unique pieces of music.

Simon Moses

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