Sunday, January 13, 2019

Siouxsie and the Banshees: Hong Kong Garden

As Robert Webb once explained in the Independent:
Suzanne Vega ate at Tom's Diner. Arlo Guthrie sang about Alice's Restaurant. Siouxsie and the Banshees' inspirational eaterie was a Chislehurst takeaway, the Hong Kong Garden. 
"I used to go along with my friend and just be really upset by the local skinheads that hung out there," said Siouxsie after witnessing racist taunts against the staff. She turned her anger into song.
Hong Kong Garden reached number 7 in the UK singles chart in 1978.

And what is Peter Cook doing here? Wikipedia explains:
Revolver was a British music TV series on ITV that ran for one series only, of eight episodes, in 1978. 
It was produced by ATV. The series producer was Mickie Most, who was inspired to make the programme after he saw an interview with Top of the Pops' producer Robin Nash, in which he (Nash) boasted that TOTP was a music programme that the whole family could enjoy together. 
Most set out to make a show which was the antithesis of that, and which featured live music performances most closely related to the then emergent punk rock and new wave music scenes - though it also included other more mainstream artists such as Dire Straits and Lindisfarne as well as more original artists such as Kate Bush. 
The official host of the programme was Chris Hill, but it is remembered more for the contributions of Peter Cook. Cook played the manager of the fictional ballroom where the show was supposedly taking place, and frequently made disparaging remarks about the acts appearing. Revolver was recorded in front of a live audience in Birmingham.

1 comment:

Phil Beesley said...

Hong Kong Garden was the most accessible song from Siouxsie and the Banshees at the time. Later stuff was even more poppy.

As a birthday present, I went to an HMV shop to buy a record of my choice. I picked _The Scream_, the Banshees' first album. I had heard a few tracks on Peel which I didn't fully "get", but it was the coolest record for a 15 year old to own. It took me a while to "get it".

_The Scream_ is a challenging album but one that I really enjoy today. The original copy is a lovely object -- thick vinyl with the joy of chocolate, and a cover sleeve which must have been a right pain to print. Post-punk or pre-Goth? Or just great music?