Disqualified For Doping

More random musings from Fat Roland. On his mind this month (as far as we can tell) is ‘Doctor Who’

image: mark hall

Have you ever watched a programme called ‘Doctor Who’? It’s all about this spaceman who goes on holiday in a phone box with a pretend dog and a confusing screwdriver. The phone box is bigger on the inside, which sounds impressive, but I have a mirror above my bed which pretty much achieves the same effect. Doctor Space always looks the same, apart from the times they don’t look the same. They keep regenerating into new actors, like Miss Marple or the purple Teletubby.

Sometimes Doctor Space fights evil wheelie bins called Daleks, which shout, “Evacuate, evacuate!” and have toilet plungers for arms. But the best thing about Thingy ‘Who’ is the theme music. This was made using Sellotape and string because Brian Eno hadn’t invented synthesisers yet. The music sounds like a friendly car alarm and was made by the BBC Radiophobic Sweetshop, which was secretly an unpaid woman hiding in a back room.

Joe Meek, who sounds like the worst superhero, had a backing band called The Tornados. Their single ‘Telstar’ swept across the charts like a, erm, violent weather system comprising largely of rotational wind. They named their hit after a satellite that looked suspiciously like a Cyberman’s testicle. The satellite still orbits Earth to this day, although it no longer functions and therefore can’t be charged a subscription for reading copies of Electronic Sound with its cosmic telescope.

With the Meek cyberball and the phone box guy, the olden times really were halcyon days for electronic music. Wendy Carlos kidnapped Johann Sebastian Bach and turned him into a synthesiser. Gershon Kingsley replaced his studio gear with popcorn for some reason. Modular synths were embraced by The Doors, who are named after doors you get on spaceships and also other doors. And composer Karlheinz Stockhausen formed the hit-factory Stockhausen Aitkenhausen Watermanhausen.

The simplicity of the 1960s seems quaint now, like remembering an old pair of underpants. In those days, pants were made from traditional materials you could trust, like hessian and barbed wire. Modern new-fangled underpants have breathable fabric and laser beams and Wi-fFi. Where was I going with this? Oh yes. 

Today’s more sophisticated ‘Doctor Who’ theme uses all sorts of instruments such as computers, kazoos and, erm, I’ve run out of instruments, but you get my meaning. Murray Gold was asked to write the modern theme because he was better than Murray Silver and Murray Bronze But Later Disqualified for Doping.

Because my brain is a famous musical genius, I have written lyrics to the theme tune. Have a listen. “Who-oooo / Doctor Whoooo / Underpants and uuuunderpaaaants.” Give me a call, Murray. Best use a normal phone, though. The big blue one’s being attacked by a wheelie bin.

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