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Saturday, 23 October 2010

1991 Flashback: The Ghosts of Oxford Street

This is a little forgotten gem that I came across whilst looking at old YouTube videos. This was part of Channel 4's Christmas Day 1991 line-up, got very mixed reviews, and was never seen again.

Enter the internet - in particular the 4OD online on-demand service, and Ghosts Of Oxford Street gets a new lease of life.

It was a Malcolm McLaren vehicle in which he is let loose to tell some of the tales of London's Oxford Street in the days and years before it became the hustling, bustling centre of shopping and commerce that it is today. If you believe McLaren, a hundred years ago it was dangerous, seedy, and full of poverty and crime. He presents a series of tales and stories from that time in his rather unique way - not sure how to describe it beyond saying he presents it in a similar way to a fully camped up Johnny Rotten.

The stories have little musical numbers from big names of the time dotted through it. There's the Happy Mondays singing their own version of the BeeGee's "Stayin' Alive" around a gallows before being hung, which is... different... Tom Jones plays the flamboyant founder of Selfridges, and gives a belting performance of "Money (That's What I Want)". "Fairytale Of New York" gets a look in, and Sinead O'Connor pops out of nowhere to sing "Silent Night".

Go to 4OD and give it a go - it lasts for just under an hour, and it draws you in slowly.

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