1980 July to September

6th July – THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

On the screen – for thirteen days (Not Sun 13th) – THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – is a 1980 alternate history science fiction war film from United Artists, about a modern nuclear-powered super – aircraft carrier that travels through time to the day before the infamous December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Produced by Peter Vincent Douglas with director, producer, actor and Troma Entertainment founder Lloyd Kaufman and directed by Don Taylor the film contains an ensemble cast with Kirk Douglas as naval warship / aircraft carrier commander, Martin Sheen as a visiting U.S. Defense Department consultant / evaluating efficiency expert as a supporting role, and James Farentino as a naval air squadron chief, Katharine Ross as secretary/aide to a passing U.S. Senator on vacation offshore from Hawaii in 1941, and Charles Durning as the passing by U.S. Senator (1941) in roles of secondary importance.

This was the final film by the director Don Taylor, and one of the last action roles by Kirk Douglas (before suffering a debilitating stroke that impaired his speaking abilities.Kaufman himself served also as an associate producer and also minor acting role. Produced with the full cooperation of the United States Navy with naval aviation and U S. Defense Department. Set in the central Pacific Ocean, off the Hawaiian Islands and the pivotal huge massive Pearl Harbor naval base, focusing on the famous events of “the date which will live in infamy” – Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 about the sudden sneak Attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan that led to American entry into World War II (1939/1941-1945}. Set and filmed on board seeing the actual workings / operations of the real-life USS Nimitz (CVN-68) super sized aircraft carrier, nuclear-powered warship, launched in the late 1970s era by the United States Navy.

The trailer

There was a full supporting programme.

13th July – THE STRANGLERS

Live – one night only – STRANGLERS – The tour was set up to promote the band‘s new album ‘The Raven‘. The band formed between 1974–75 and was originally called the Guildford Stranglers. Aside from Jet Black, other original personnel were bass player/vocalist Jean-Jacques Burnel, guitarist/vocalist Hugh Cornwell and keyboardist/guitarist Hans Wärmling, who was replaced by keyboardist Dave Greenfield within a year. None of the band came from Guildford (apart from Burnel who was from Godalming) : Black is from Ilford, Burnel from Notting Hill, Cornwell from Kentish Town and Greenfield from Brighton, while Wärmling came from Gothenburg and returned there after leaving the band.

Cornwell was a blues musician before forming the band and had briefly been a bandmate of Richard Thompson. Burnel had been a classical guitarist who had performed with symphony orchestras, Black’s musical background was as a jazz drummer and Dave Greenfield had played at military bases in Germany. Their early influences included pre-punk psychedelic rock bands such as the Doors and the Music Machine. From 1976 the Stranglers became associated with the burgeoning punk rock movement, due in part to their opening for the first British tours of American punks the Ramones and Patti Smith. Notwithstanding this association, some of the movement’s champions in the British musical press viewed the band with suspicion on account of their age and musical virtuosity and the intellectual bent of some of their lyrics. However, Burnel was quoted saying, “I thought of myself as part of punk at the time because we were inhabiting the same flora and fauna … I would like to think the Stranglers were more punk plus and then some.”

The band’s early albums, Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White, all released within a period of 13 months, were highly successful with the record-buying public and singles such as “Peaches”, “Something Better Change” and “No More Heroes” became instant punk classics. Meanwhile, the band received a mixed reception from some critics because of their apparent sexist and racist innuendo. However, critic Dave Thompson argued that such criticism was oblivious to the satire and irony in the band’s music, writing: “the Stranglers themselves revelled in an almost Monty Python-esque grasp of absurdity (and, in particular, the absurdities of modern ‘men’s talk’).” These albums went on to build a strong fan-following, but the group’s confrontational attitude towards the press was increasingly problematic and triggered a severe backlash when Burnel, a martial arts enthusiast, punched music journalist Jon Savage during a promotional event.

In February 1978 the Stranglers began a mini-tour, playing three secret pub gigs as a thank-you to those venues and their landlords for their support during the band’s rise to success. The first was at The Duke of Lancaster in New Barnet on Valentine’s Day, with further performances at The Red Cow, Hammersmith, and The Nashville Rooms, West Kensington, in early September. During their appearance at the University of Surrey on the BBC TV programme Rock Goes to College on the 19th of October 1978, the group walked off stage because an agreement to make tickets available to non-university students had not been honoured.

In the later half of the 1970s, The Stranglers toured Japan twice, joining the alternative music scene of Tokyo, which was evolving from the punk sound of Kyoto-based band 村八分 (Ostracism), whose music influence spread to Tokyo in 1971. The Stranglers were the only foreign band to take part in a landmark scene focussed around S-KEN Studio in Roppongi, and The Loft venues in Shinjuku and Shimokitazawa from 1977 to 1979. The scene included bands such as Friction, and they became friends with the band, Red Lizard, who they invited back to London, where the band became known as Lizard. In 1979, while still in Japan, Burnel also became close friends with Keith, co-founder and drummer for ARB. In 1979, one of the Stranglers’ two managers advised them to break up as he felt that the band had lost direction, but this idea was dismissed and they parted company with their management team. Meanwhile, Burnel released an experimental solo album Euroman Cometh backed by a small UK tour and Cornwell recorded the album Nosferatu in collaboration with Robert Williams. Later that year the Stranglers released The Raven, which heralded a transition towards a more melodic and complex sound which appealed more to the album than the singles market. The songs on The Raven are multi-layered and musically complicated, and deal with such subjects as a Viking’s lonely voyage, heroin addiction, genetic engineering, contemporary political events in Iran and Australia and extraterrestrial visitors, “The Meninblack”. The Raven saw a definite transition in the band’s sound. The Hohner Cembalet – so prominent on the previous three albums – was dropped and Oberheim synthesizers were deployed on most tracks. A Korg Vocoder was used on the track “The Meninblack” whilst acoustic piano was used on “Don’t Bring Harry”. The Raven was not released in the US; instead a compilation album The Stranglers IV was released in 1980, containing a selection of tracks from The Raven and a mix of earlier and later non-album tracks. The Raven sold well, reaching No.4 in the UK Albums Chart – it spawned one top 20 single, “Duchess”, with “Nuclear Device” reaching No.36 and the EP “Don’t Bring Harry” reaching No.41.

An excerpt from a concert on this tour

20th July – THE LOVE BUG

On the screen – ?for 12 days? – THE LOVE BUG – A summer revival of The Love Bug (sometimes referred to as Herbie the Love Bug) is a 1968 American comedy film directed by Robert Stevenson and the first in a series of films made by Walt Disney Productions that starred an anthropomorphic pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie. It was based on the 1961 book Car, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford. The movie follows the adventures of Herbie, Herbie’s driver, Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), and Jim’s love interest, Carole Bennett (Michele Lee). It also features Buddy Hackett as Jim’s enlightened, kind-hearted friend, Tennessee Steinmetz, a character who creates “art” from used car parts. English actor David Tomlinson portrays the villainous Peter Thorndyke, (familiar from his role as Mr. George Banks in Mary Poppins) the owner of an auto showroom and an SCCA national champion who sells Herbie to Jim and eventually becomes his racing rival.

The trailer

There was a Full Supporting Programme of shorts and cartoons

2nd August –

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