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Hammer House Of Mystery And Suspense (’84-86) didn’t receive the same plaudits, but included one Wyngarde episode, screened when I was discovering the aesthetically similar David Byron (hence another “strange fascination”…) and ‘Black Carrion’, the tale of two missing Brit rockers who “disappeared” in the village of Briars Frome, tracked down by roving journo Leigh Lawson (star, alongside Marianne Faithfull, of Ghost Story, also soon to be released by Nucleus, as well as the Duncan Browne- scored Travelling Man) and his duplicitous sidekick Season Hubley.


Mike Raven at Radio 1 in 1968


colder, spikier stylings of Devo, Kraftwerk, Eno and Bowie. Yes, him again. You can’t escape from Dave (be honest, would you want to?), he’s everywhere. He was there taking notes in ’68 as Anthony Newley attempted to “forget Mercy Humppe and find true happiness”, and lo and behold, in ’79, there he was again, except by then everyone was taking notes from him. It seems only befitting.


A new generation emerged, for whom Rambo, Jason and the Karate Kid were heroes of the day. I loved them too, but I hankered after the steely-eyed Cush, who was still alive then, and Susan “Sneaky” Penhaligon in her summer frock. Luckily, TV gave Hammer two last throws of the dice in the age of the shoulder pad.


Hammer House Of Horror (’80) which EVERYBODY my age remembers, may lack actual rock connections, but has the greatest theme ever, a gargantuan prog behemoth somewhere ‘twixt ‘Journey Of The Sorcerer’ and ‘Saga Om Ringen’, which I defy anyone not to yell wordlessly (easy, as it doesn’t have any) out of a car window whilst driving through Buckinghamshire.


More “name that film” requests have been placed on horror sites in reference to this than anything else: a friend of mine even named his band, also featuring recent Leaf Hound drummer Jimmy Rowland, after it – leading us back to “horror rock” again. But although its fictitious Verne Brothers played ’50s rock ’n’ roll, half the people who remembered the show between its last transmission in ’88 and its DVD release in 2005 believed them to be a psychedelic act – myself included!


The memory cheats leer their inquisitive head once more. Or more than likely we were seeing what we wanted to see. Either way, it’s great television, the sort they “just don’t make anymore”. They do still make Dr Who, but opinions of its modern incarnation are divided. It’s a far cry from the days when we hid behind the sofa from that theme tune by a woman called Delia, who teamed up with a chap called Peter (responsible for three great acid-folk bands) and some mad American called Dave, and formed the seminal White Noise, whose music was “dug” by the kids in Dracula AD 1972…


Isn’t this where we came in? And, to paraphrase Ronnie Barker, what does it all mean? Why do we devote our lives to this stuff, and what is floating in the air now, in bleak, conformist nanny state 2009, that makes it seem possible again?


This March, I attended a Trunk Records night in London Bridge that aired psych,


soundtracks and vintage electronica in one room to backdrops of scary ’70s public information films, whilst episodes of Ghost Stories For Christmas, The Mind Beyond (though sadly, not the episode with the autistic girl repeatedly listening to ‘Sgt Pepper’) and Sky were screened in another. As recently as 10 years ago, such a club would not only have not been inconceivable, but impossible. And even if it was 50 percent full of hipster types who clearly neither knew anything about, nor cared for, such things, the fact that it happened at all must be symptomatic of something. Mustn’t it?


Maybe we’re all suffering from something that doesn’t have a name yet. You’ve heard of SAD (Season Affected Disorder): how about Decade Affected Disorder (er, Dad?....) After all, we were promised jetpacks, and what we actually got was Thatcher’s Britain. Some of us never recovered from the shock.


Should we despair, or should we rejoice in the fact that because of our fascinations, we have been able to touch base with likeminded people, and discover we’re not alone after all? That though the time itself may have passed, its creations remain for


Fairfield Parlour (above) and Pentangle (right), who both cut film and movie scores in the early ’70s. 48


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