Hero Culte wishes you a very glam Christmas

I’ve not managed to do much posting this year – lots of reasons, but my two-days-a-week book writing project plus having various small press book ideas to work on too is a major factor (why do one project when you can have several on the go at once?!).  Anyway, I just wanted to say happy holidays and to thank everybody who has visited the blog this year – and especially those who send kind words of support from time to time, which helps to keep up the morale.  I’ll try and do more blogging next year but the plan is to try and finish my book (well, the first draft…) for next summer so we shall have to see how I get on.

In the meantime, here is a little Christmas treat for one and all – a great photo I found in an old Generation Game / TV magazine from, I think, 1975 (there’s no date on it!).  My favourite thing about it, of course, Sparks – and it’s got all of ’em in the photo, not just Ron and Russell!  Hope you like this one as much as I do.  All the best for a good year in 2017!!!


Sparks live at the O2 Academy Bristol November 2013

I am such a bad fan.  There was a notice at the O2 Academy in Bristol saying that Sparks did not want the audience to take any photographs during the Revenge of Two Hands One Mouth concert on 27 November 2013, and yet I felt compelled to sneak some photographs anyway.  Nothing is sacred…  Apologies to the Mael brothers, but I just had to!

Bear in mind that I had an Olympus Trip camera, no flash (didn’t want to draw attention to myself, did I?), and I was shooting on daylight slide film, these photos are not amazing but I have to say I am pretty pleased with them nonetheless.


I was not very prepared so did not write down the set-list but from memory Sparks did the following songs and probably more besides, but don’t quote me on it as my memory is terrible these days!

  • This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us
  • Falling In Love With Myself Again
  • B.C.
  • How Are You Getting Home?
  • Big Boy
  • The Number One Song in Heaven
  • Nicotina
  • How Do I Get To Carnegie Hall?
  • Your Call’s Very Important To Us. Please Hold.
  • Suburban Homeboy
  • Good Morning
  • Excerpts from The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman
  • Two Hands One Mouth
  • When Do I Get to Sing My Way?


Sparks are still amazingly good, even as a two-piece (I don’t know how it works, it just does), so you should definitely go and see them if you get the chance.  The good news is that the Ingmar Bergman film is definitely going ahead – Ron and Russell mentioned it during the concert and confirmed that work starts next year.  If it goes ahead with Guy Maddin it will be a must-see – they are a perfect match for each other.   So we might finally get to see a great Sparks film, although I have to admit that with them playing Big Boy during the set all I could think of was Rollercoaster!

I only had a few shots left on the end of my film, so that’s all I could get on film.  And, guess what?  The film ran out when Ron decided to do his dance, dammit!  I knew I was going to get myself into trouble getting the old mobile ‘phone out for a shot or two but I got it out anyway and, ahem!, got myself into trouble, obviously.  The results are amazingly bad in a good way, I think.  The first one looks a bit Elephant Man – sorry, Ron, but you look like you have a growth on your head!


And the shot of the Ron dance is so blurry it looks arty – at this point I was caught in the act by security and just clicked whilst being chastised.  Bad girl!


After telling us we can’t take photographs of them, Sparks went and took photographs of us!  On their official Sparks Facebook page they posted this photograph in which I can be seen on the front row looking like an idiot with my big gob open.  Ron Mael took the photograph and, really, I was very happy to be in it even if I look like an idiot (I’m not going to tell you where I am though!):

Sparks concert

What a souvenir of a fabulous concert! And I think I do understand why the Mael brothers say “no photos” as I think that in general people have a tendency to watch concerts through their cameras and ‘phones these days rather than just enjoying the moment, but when I think back to concerts I went to and how I wish I’d taken photographs then I just can’t help it now.  So, sorry, Ron and Russell but I had to do it and I’ll probably do it again when I come to see you next time as well.  I never learn, do I?

Sparks audience photograph, taken by Ron Mael, from Sparks Official Facebook page.  All other photographs by me, thank you very much!

My Favourite Stuff: Halfnelson Sparks promo photo

A couple of years ago I found a promo photo of Halfnelson – the pre-Sparks band – in a Berlin flea market for a couple of euros or so.  It was kept somewhere “safe”, which meant that basically I haven’t been able to find it for the past couple of years.  It finally surfaced today and here it is:


I only recognised Russell – Ron looks very different, but pretty cool nonetheless.  A great photo and I even like the font on the Halfnelson stamp on the back of the image.  No doubt there will be more on Sparks on here at some point.

August 2013:  As a postscript to this original post, I should say that I was in Amsterdam recently and realised that I got this photograph of Halfnelson in Amsterdam and not Berlin as I previously though, because at one of the Amsterdam flea markets I found some other music photographs.  No more Halfnelson stuff unfortunately.  But this little Sparks treasure – below, a Muziek Parade photo postcard – was picked up in an Amsterdam film poster shop, of all places:

Sparks postcard