In Praise of Superman: A Cheesy Tunes Special

The understated genius of Black Lace’s party anthem

Once upon a time forty years ago, the son of Enrico and a mate of his wrote a cheesy tune called Gioca Jouer. The songwriters, Claudio Simonetti and Claudio Cecchetto (the former being Enrico’s son) did pretty well with their tune. It was used as the opening theme for that year’s Sanremo Music Festival and a smash in their home country, Italy.

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The A to Z of the ZX Spectrum

Remembering Sir Clive Sinclair and his wonder machine

The 1980s was a very grim time for many people. There was high unemployment and high inflation. The Labour Party – who should have been hitting the right notes in attacking the Thatcher-led government – was split between its left and right wing factions of the party. If you substituted Thatcher for Johnson, you could be forgiven for thinking ‘deja vu’.

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The Duffers’ Guide to 8-Bit Computing #2: Cartridge Games

The second part of a new Duffers’ Guide, celebrating the joys of 8-bit computing

Back in the 1980s, there was two main storage media for software and documents: cassette tape or floppy disc. At the start of the decade, our floppies were 8″ and 5.25″ in width. By the end of the decade, 3″, 3.5″ and 5.25″ discs. For many people, floppy discs were too expensive – especially in the UK when floppy disc drives costed almost as much as the computer itself. (Unless you had an Amstrad CPC 664 or 6128 which also came with a monitor).

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Forgotten Fast Food Joints of the Last Half Century Extra #1: Huckleberry’s

Feast of the M60 looks at some more obscurities in the world of hamburger hawking

Several years ago, we did a Feast of the M60 Not So Perfect Ten on forgotten fast food joints. We included King John’s Restaurant in the now-missed Kings Hall shopping arcade in Oldham, and the Big Bite burger bar that was in the corner of Co-op’s Shopping Giant superstore.

Since 2012, the Great British Burger Market® has become a lot more competitive. Whereas McDonalds is top dog in the mainstream market, Five Guys and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have carved a niche at the premium end. In the middle ground, J.D Wetherspoon enjoys that position, once enjoyed by Wimpy. Where it trumps many of the burger giants is the fact it sells cask conditioned ales.

Alongside McDonalds and Wimpy, the close of the 1970s saw the rise of a third force in fast food in the South of England. It was Burger Queen’s first foray into the UK market. Enter Huckleberry’s.

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Record Player Stand

S.V.’s Formative Years Festive 50 (1983 – 1984)

The Fifty Tracks of My Years from September 1983 to August 1984

Popular music can take us to a particular point in our lives. It is the soundtrack of our youth, birth, marriage, Bar Mitzvah, schooldays or not-so-happier times. Throughout my life, music has played a massive part. You can either see this on East of the M60 in written form, or in my professional capacity with Future Directions CIC on Fun Time Friday.

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Leyland Titan, Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally, 2013.

Bus Boarding Beats: A Brief Look at Sounds In Motion

Do you remember when background music on buses was a thing?

In the last 40 years, bus operators across the UK have tried to find creative ways of making local bus routes pay. Route branding with dedicated liveries is one answer, positioning everyday bus routes as product lines in their own right. Another answer is advertising. Initially done by local contractors, most of today’s on-bus advertising space is managed by Global. Yes, the owners of countless commercial radio stations like LBC, as well as outdoor poster sites.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

Twice the Pleasure: Our Top 1980s 12″ Tunes: The Not So Perfect Ten

Our semi-definitive guide to the greatest 12″ singles of the 1980s

Sometimes, the radio edit of a chart single may lack that extra something which the 12″ version has. At the other end, some singles are better suited to the traditional two to four minutes of a seven inch 45.

The long single (in excess of five minutes) can fulfil a few other functions. It could either be a floor filler, as part of a series of different mixes to maintain its lofty chart position, or a convenient addition to the playlist. In other words, it is a suitable length to accommodate the DJ’s toilet break, or anything else s/he may do (which is best left to one’s imagination).

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Class 142, Newton Heath depot

Back By Unpopular Demand: Northern’s Pacer Units

Nodding Donkeys ‘home’ till Christmas

Today, East of the M60 has learned that a small number of the universally derided Class 142 Pacer units will be making a comeback on Northern rail services. Thirteen of the units will be reinstated to provide extra capacity, and to ensure that social distancing practices will be maintained.

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Roughtown view (towards St. John's Church)

This Time 40 Years Ago… Mossley Goes to Wembley

A look back at Mossley AFC’s Wembley trail

With the lack of real football in our television schedules due to that pandemic, our broadcasters have had to fill the airtime with some of our greatest footballing moments. It has meant ITV rerunning Euro ’96; also trending topics that would have been relevant if Twitter existed in 2001.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

The Other UK Singles Chart: 2. The New Musical Express Singles Charts

A beginners’ guide to the NME Charts, the UK’s original Hit Parade

The UK’s first singles chart, like its American pioneer owes its existence to an iconic music magazine. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, it is the Billboard Singles Chart that was (and remains to this day) compiled by Billboard Magazine. In the United Kingdom, the New Musical Express magazine led the charge.

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