90s Style — Episode 09 (Themes, Prince of Thieves, HSC English, Road Trip Regret)

After listening to the coda of last week’s carry over champ, Dr Jones by Aqua, Patrick began Episode 09 by discussing his idea to have loose themes for each episode with a 9 in the number:

Because I hadn’t conceived of this before closing last week with Dr Jones I have to fit that song into a theme. I was thinking Danish or Scandinavian bands; bands with 1:3 female:male ratios; you might remember that Aqua’s videos were shot in the style of a short film, with title cards and a loose narrative — that was a trend in the 90s — and I thought that might be fodder for a theme. But eventually I settled on something that was distinctive enough to group everything together but with enough room for it not to become overwhelming. I don’t want the theme element to overtake the whole show and I certainly will be continuing with the format you know and love, but with a thread weaving through all the songs.

Anyone who thinks they know what the theme is — it’s not explicitly revealed in the episode — is encouraged to leave a comment below opining their thoughts.

Patrick played the trailer for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which proved to be disappointing online radio because it features dialogue from the film, just that very authoritative voice explaining loose parts of the plot. Patrick riffed at some length about this film, of which he has fond childhood memories: 

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the second highest grossing film of 1991, raking in $165m and change and coming second only to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I have very fond memories of seeing Prince of Thieves at Greater Union Mosman when I was 10 years old. It was one of only a handful of films — and I’ve seen plenty — that I have had to leave to go to the bathroom. It was during the scene when Robin and the Merry Men are plotting to storm Nottingham Castle to save their friends from the noose and stop Maid Marian from marrying the wicked Sheriff. When I returned to my seat my Mum had to fill me in on what I’d missed. I thought this movie was universally acclaimed as one of the greatest ever but actually no. Some of the reviews were quite scathing. The LA Times called Costner the “doofiest” Robin Hood ever — obviously this was written before Russell Crowe starting fletching — while the Chicago Tribune had this caustic opening gambit:

“The overwhelming impression left by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is one of unpleasant bodily fluids flowing freely. When the characters aren’t bleeding, they’re spitting,” and continues to label it “a strangely bitter, claustrophobic and glumly violent film”.

At the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, there was a very common criticism of this film:

“With a strange mix of varying English and American accents and the weight of a film with too many subplots, Robin Hood strains credibility. It also feels long. Costner deserved better. So did audiences who were looking forward to what might have been an epic worth remembering.”

Kevin Costner’s unusual accent for this film certainly drew derision amongst a lot of filmgoers and it seems fitting that Bryan Adams, a man who I’ve always thought of as Kevin Costner with a guitar would sing the themesong.

After playing a lost classic from 1998 (featuring guest vocals from the lead singer of a 90s megaband) Patrick then riffed on how to meld his diary diving into the inchoate theme idea:

So I’m doing themes now for episodes with a 9 in the number and then I remember that I like to dip into my Year 12 diary to see what I was listening to this week in 1999. I thought maybe I’d have to either skip the diary this week or skip the theme, but no, there was not one but two songs on the list that fit perfectly! Huzzah I say! So this week in 1999 I was not just listening to an awesome set of songs on my Sony Discman I was also starting my High School Certificate. I had my 2-unit English exams on the Wednesday and Thursday, covering “Resources/Uses of English, and Shakespeare” and “Poetry, Fiction, Drama”. Some of my texts included Othello, the poetry of Robert Browning, Wuthering Heights and The Crucible. I did okay in English, it was my second best subject after History. After the second exam I went and saw Teaching Mrs Tingle at Hoyts Chatswood.

Patrick noted that he has already played Summer Girls by Lyte Funky Ones back in Episode 03.
Patrick noted that he has already played Summer Girls by Lyte Funky Ones back in Episode 03.

Then followed some cross-promotion for Patrick’s silly season Year in Review-cum-countdown (or is that vice-versa?):

Do I only like 90s music? Of course not! I also have an Asperger’s Syndrome-esque appreciation of modern music and that will be manifested in the Hashtag PEA 1 Hundred, starting Boxing Day. This is essentially me counting down the Top 100 songs of 2015 across the week between Christmas and New Years Eve. It will be spliced with reviews of film, TV, people, food and lots of other stuff from 2015.

P100 winners

After briefly dumping on Bono’s mid-90s megapretensions, Patrick then settled in for a chat about a film and song he really likes from 2000, which is definitely a year of the 1990s:

In 2000, I went and saw Road Trip at the cinemas on George Street with some friends from the market research job I discussed at length in Episode 06. One of the greatest fillums ever made, I laughed heartily throughout. I was also moved by the themesong to this teen sex romp across middle America. It was by a band called Eels and I thought it the perfect accompaniment to Road Trip, totally fitting the tone and subject matter, and with a subtle morality that I tend to like in my alt-pop-folk crossover hits. I found out much later that Mark Everett, the man behind Eels, was forced into agreeing to let Road Trip use the song by his record company. If he didn’t agree to release the song and star in the Road Trip themed music video, the record company was going to shelve his latest album Daisies of the Galaxy, which had already been on the backburner for half a year.

He said: “That is kind of a sore subject with me. I have never seen that movie and I don’t want to, it doesn’t look like something I’d like. I was sort of forced into it at gun point by the record company and I regret it all. I regret the whole thing.”

Well, Mark, I think you’re a fucking idiot because Road Trip is absolutely brilliant, as is Daisies of the Galaxy and this next track, the theme song from Road Trip, #26 in the Hottest 100 of 2000, it’s Mr E’s Beautiful Blues…

Finally, Patrick retold the story of how he came to own the CD single for Something For Kate’s minor radio hit Captain (Millions Miles an Hour)…

Homeback, December 1998 at the Domain: they had a karaoke tent and as a 17-year old in need of refresher breaks I found myself in there during the afternoon on a blistering hot day, sometime between Jebediah and Custard. The karaoke was free and it was a bit of a novelty for me because most karaoke is either in a pub or a opium den in the city, ie over 18s only venues. If you got up and belted out a track, you got to choose a CD single from a cardboard rack to take home with you as a prize for participation. So we’re now going to listen to the song I sang that day and the single that I picked up as the prize — they both fit the theme — and although that CD single had to live in my pocket through a night of moshing to TISM, the Living End and Rat Cat, it still survives to this very day…

Note the broken jewel case, the only damage from a evening spent in a rugged ocker moshpit.
Note the broken jewel case, the only damage from a evening spent in a rugged ocker moshpit.

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