A Pulled Cracker

I’ve finished my Cracker run. It’s an odd thing - it depicts a Manchester that just about is reminiscent of my experience of the city (though not quite; that transition period of “post-bomb, but pre-‘rebuild’, and every week you walk past one of the largest bomb craters to grace Britain” is somewhat missing from the British Archive. I’ll take the shots of the Oxford Road Odeon, BBC North, and the elevated walkway across the Kilburn Building, though. And the Maths Tower. And when UMIST was UMIST). And unlike, say the hilarious Rave Morse incident, Cracker gets the pervasiveness of rave and acid house just right. It’s there in the background, it’s clear that Mark spends his weekends at The Paradise Factory or elsewhere on Princess Street, but it’s not remarked on at all. You could just imagine this song playing over some of the scenes, reminding me of all the Sunday mornings I never had during my three years at university at Owens. England Made Me, after all.

(I still don’t understand the Hong Kong special, though. Did everybody just fancy a jolly before the handover? It’s not quite as bad as the Ruth Rendell episode that suddenly turns into a trip to America for almost no reason about an hour in, but it’s pretty bizarre considering just how much Cracker was a Manchester show)

What I didn’t say last week: while I was recovering from Moderna Part 2, we watched Everybody in the Place: an Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992. It was not the straight retelling of the rave years that I expected, but it was definitely an interesting take on those years, and watching the Sixth Formers of 2019 playing around with a 303 was golden, even if I was too young to be part of the rave generation and far too old for the new kids. But it did make me think that both Summers of Love, the first and Second, at least in the UK, contained the seeds of, if not their own downfall, but the Unexpected of What Was To Come. In the 60s, you had the pirate radio ships making a blow against the Man. But pirate radio was backed by the Institute of Economic Affairs, and a thousand Dr. Ruth Leas bloomed in the 70s. And in the Second Summer of Love, there’s all the footage of Paul Staines, fresh from being Hart’s bagman in the Miners’ Strike, and who would, two decades later, become a poison at the heart of Westminster. Adam Curtis would make a lot with those connections. But they’d all come to one conclusion: you can never trust a hippie.

(some time later: Actually, I forgot that Curtis did write about Smedley and the IEA on his blog a while back.)

This upcoming week: I might go to somebody else’s house. With no mask. 😱😱😱