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West Heath Yard 
9th-Aug-2012 10:00 pm
bloody horrible early testcard
OK, I'm cribbing this entry entirely from a forum post I've made elsewhere, but there's no harm whatsoever in spreading the love...

It's a generally forgotten fact that in the late nineties, Edwyn Collins was partly responsible for a late-night comedy on Channel Four called "West Heath Yard".  It quite viciously parodied the music industry of the time - the two main characters in it are ex-prog/ psychedelic pop stars with more money than sense who plough their resources into music production and management via their West Heath Yard studio development.  

Somebody's uploaded the series on to YouTube, and I'm finding these fantastic to rewatch.  Edwyn Collins always undersold the series at the time, self-deprecatingly calling it "bad television", but in reality it's far better than most parodies - obviously Collins had a huge advantage over the likes of Peter Kay by actually having spent an entire career dealing with music industry bullshit, so his take on what was going on at the time seems much more convincing as a result.  More to the point, his own albums often slipped when they became immersed in irony or parody, feeling cold and slightly savage as a result - in the series itself, these skills are put to much more effective use.  

If you don't mind starting halfway through (and it doesn't make much difference, in truth) Episode Four is a top notch parody of a late-night talent show which takes two hopeless unknowns and tries to make them stars. Even though this programme was made at least thirteen years ago, not much seems to have changed in the production values it's taking on:

http://youtu.be/iLqAon0gPV0 (Part One)

http://youtu.be/rlA-R-br_SU (Part Two)

Elsewhere, there's the hopeless Britpop band Expo 70 who the producers want to become "the next Gay Dad", endless references to dud Prog Rock, awful ironic attempts at awful nineties ironic pop songs such as "Lasagne For One", and... actually, this has aged staggeringly well.  At the time it was obviously taking a swipe at the music industry which existed around it, but I think it's matured if anything.  With the benefit of hindsight, it's much easier to laugh at appalling manufactured Britpop bands with their songs like "White Trash Holiday" - and the fact that it existed at the arse-end of the British music industry's nineties prime makes it more effective, in much the same way that Spinal Tap seems funnier for watching the band at the tail end of their careers. 

It's not comedy gold, but it's certainly a good way of passing an evening.  I'm enjoying these much more than I thought I would.   

Comments 
15th-Aug-2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Wow! I remember that. Vaguely. Maybe I should watch it all and I'll understand it this time.
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