EXORCIST-UNDERPINNING ‘symphonic rock’ side-length shenanigans courtesy of a one-man-free-festival assortment of instruments, as dryly detailed by narrator Viv Stanshall, to the undoubted consternation of many a ‘head’ who had lulled themselves into a mellowed-out sense of false security before the spoken interlude commenced. Chart-topping knocking-himself-off-the-top-spot feat of endurance, assisted by a John Peel-instigated round of panic-buying, established Virgin Records as a viable financial concern, meaning that all of that studio tomfoolery with slightly varispeeded guitars was in a roundabout way responsible for The Sex Pistols, elusive cola drinks, globetrotting hot air balloon ridiculousness and that bloke who was harrassed by British Airways for being a ‘Virgin stooge’. Reviled for many years as the ultimate totem of hippy self-indulgence, not helped by its near-inescapability in the charity shop racks, but the inclusion of flashes of humour and dangerous hints of melody, not to mention Oldfield’s publicity-suspicious DIY-ethic proto-punk credentials, have more recently assured its elevation to the status of The Prog Rock It’s OK To Like. Not least if you’re listening to Radcliffe and Maconie on any random day.
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Last week of these, which has at least illustrated that before Tel started phoning it in a bit he was a genuinely good interviewer and Wogan as a show could often come up with the goods, albeit not every night. Sadly it doesn’t look as if his chat with the cast of Pobol Y Cwm is going to make it into this series, but Wednesday’s episode looks the most interesting this week as we’re promised Rik Mayall and Ronnie Barker, the latter perhaps smashing up his Sun award in protest at a crappy story they ran about him.
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