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Saturday, March 25, 1995

Looking back in desperation - 80s revival in the 90s

?Nostalgia isn?t what it used to be. Like a crew of rowers, artists have always looked backwards to earlier times in an attempt to move forwards. At the moment, however, they?re not looking back very far: there?s a 1980s revival going on.

Last year, there was a 1970s revival, and we were awash with flares and platforms, disco and Starsky and Hutch. This year, however, it?s The Human League and the Rubik?s cube. We?re running out of decades to be nostalgic about.

We have classic Eastenders and Grange Hill episodes on the BBC, and a Tube retrospective series on Channel 4. Radio stations play the classic hits of the ‘60s 70s and 80s’, and students have started having 80s parties, where dressing up as Adam Ant or a kid from Fame is compulsory.

Abba have scarcely been so popular, and the ?Strictly Handbag? night at The Kitchen specialises in kitsch tunes from the period. Record companies are releasing 80s compilations hand over fist, and even Kajagoogoo must be preparing for a comeback.


Posted in • Irish TimesTelevisionMusicFilm
Tuesday, February 21, 1995

Have you seen the film of the ad? - movies and commercials

You know the tv commercial where two men in an office washroom are discussing the imminent sacking of a colleague, when the doomed workmate emerges from a cubicle and starts singing? What?s it all about?

It?s hard enough to remember what it?s for (Allied Dunbar pensions and life assurance), without trying to work out why it says anything about the product aside from the most basic, ?he?s not fussed, he?s got a pension?. However, the advert is a fine example of a recent trend in commercials to stop talking about the product.

Instead, the desire is to make 90 seconds of entertainment for an intelligent tv-literate audience. Make us like the ad as a piece of art first, and then maybe we?ll think about a pension.

The way many advertisers are doing this is by borrowing creatively from movies, to the extent that commercials are now often much more inventive and visually stimulating than the ?real? programmes they interrupt.


Posted in • Irish TimesIrelandFilmTelevision
Saturday, January 14, 1995

Wait ‘Til the Midnight Hour

‘Not bad for a table and two bits of wall’

In the beginning was The Word, and the word was loud; next was Fantasy Football, and loud became lad; and now comes The End, and the word turns languid.

Making weekend tv programmes for people watching after 11pm is more difficult than it sounds. Half your audience have just returned from the pub and intellectual stimulation is the last thing on their minds. Mildly diverting entertainment to get them ready for bed is more appropriate, and several stations have risen to the challenge of post-pub programming with differing results.


Posted in • Irish TimesTelevisionIreland
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