Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Rock Box" Track of the Day: Spandau Ballet, "Gold"

A scene from The Real Housewives of Bloomsbury.
Song: "Gold" by Spandau Ballet
Released: 1983
Why's it part of the "Rock Box" playlist?: It's featured in the 2000 Black Books episode "He's Leaving Home." The "He" is Manny (Bill Bailey), the bumbling assistant of misanthropic second-hand bookshop owner and boozehound Bernard Black (Dylan Moran). Tired of his verbally abusive boss/flatmate, Manny moves out and ends up breaking the lump of coal that stands in place of Bernard's heart.
Which moment in "He's Leaving Home" does it appear?: Spandau Ballet's '80s empowerment anthem accompanies the montage of Manny's rise as the star model of a sleazy photographer (Omid Djalili) with a fetish for beard hair like Manny's. (The Djalili character would go apeshit like an "Oprah's Favorite Things" audience member if he visited present-day Williamsburg.) The "Gold" montage is one of the funniest sequences in the surreal Britcom's oddly arranged three-season history. During her DVD commentary with Moran and Bailey, co-star Tamsin Greig (who's currently testing the patience of reviewers as the uptight wife/writing partner on Showtime's Episodes) does nothing but laugh all through the montage when the commentary reaches that point of the episode. The sequence is one of several moments in which Black Books turns Bailey's balding and long hair into an amusing visual gag, whether it's trimming his hair to show how ridiculous Manny would look as a prim chain bookstore employee or coiffing it to hilarious effect like in the montage, which can be seen here.

I always thought "Gold" would have been a great opening title theme for a Roger Moore-era 007 flick. Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp probably thought so too. In fact, he originally wrote "Gold" as a spoof of 007 themes. (That early incarnation of the song lives on in the Goldfinger-style imagery in the "Gold" video, which is nicely covered here by Images of Heaven, a blog about '80s MTV videos. I didn't know the gold-painted chick in the video is a young, pre-Bram Stoker's Dracula Sadie Frost.)

Tomorrow's "Rock Box" Track of the Day is a much more timely and desperate-sounding song that's also about trying to keep ya head up.

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