08 March, 2007

Six Degrees of Desmond Leslie.

That's enough about me... tell me something about yourself.

Nah, only joking.

So - more downloading of music. Thanks to a certain honestly-legal source (yeah, really!), I now have every single album by the Electric Light Orchestra. No, don't tut like that - they're the nearest thing to an officially-sanctioned Beatles tribute act who writes their own material. And thanks to Russell T Davies having his finger on the knob of the zeitgeist (or whatever), loads of people seem rather willing to admit that ELO were quite good actually.

Thanks to someone I've been chatting to / up recently, I've also discovered Sigur Ros, which is doubly strange because I was chatting to my pal Sam today about having only just discovered them, and he asked me if I'd noticed he'd been wearing a Sigur Ros sweatshirt all week, which he'd been given by muso friends of is who'd played with the band.

Sam does this a lot - becomes another degree of connection to whatever I'm obsessing about. Last year, I'd decided to try to collect as many of the stock music tracks used in early Doctor Who as I could. One piece of Musique concrete, which is just a pile of springs being played at different speeds, came from an album called Music of the Future' by Desmond Leslie. Now, as I began to read up on Desmond Leslie, I learned loads of fun facts about him, and proceeded to explain this to Sam one afternoon, just after he'd finished a quick phone call in the office. Apparently, the TV show The Sky at Night came out of a one-off show in which Patrick Moore and Desmond Leslie squared off in a debate about aliens and space. One of them got their own TV show, the other started writing for Fortean Times.

DesLes next wrote the soundtrack for a film called First Man Into Space . which starred Roger Delgado - the man who later played the first Master in Doctor Who, and it's his soundtrack that provided that track used in the Doctor Who episode 'Edge of Destruction' and also pops up in 'The Moonbase' and a few other places, including an episode of Out of the Unknown called 'Counterfeit Man'. Phew!

Anyway, for most TV buffs, DesLes is also famous for being the bloke who tried to punch Bernard Levin during a live edition of That Was the Week That Was:

Isn't he just lovely? So polite and erudite. None of this Jerry Springer nonsense. Just decent, gentlemanly and - ooof! There ya go! All this was over a review Levin had written about an unfavourable play his then wife Agnes Bernelle had starred in. Agnes Bernelle later collaborated with, among others, Marc Almond (on his Stars We Are album).

So... I'm telling Sam about this rambling list of connections that I'm slowly becoming obsessed with. Sam listens patiently, then blinks and says 'Desmond leslie? Did he live in Castle Leslie, in Ireland?' 'I dunno,' I says. 'Why?' 'Oh, I've stayed at his house. I'm a friend of his daughter, Camilla.'


Camilla is his daughter from DesLes's second marriage.

'In fact... that was Camilla I was on the phone to just before.'

Such a spooky coincidence deserves a plug. Sam's website can be found at www.samsemple.com. He's a singer-songwriter and even though he's a mate, I genuinely rate his music. There are downloads for you to listen to yourself.

So, of course he knew someone who'd played with the band I'd only heard of a week before. Cos he's Sam, and he's brilliant.

And thanks to Sam, I'm only two degrees of separation from Desmond Leslie.

DesLes's soundtrack to that film, by the way, is hideous if you don't like Musique Concrete. Really unlistenable. But dig those springs!

1 comment:

Jimster said...


My pal from work, Nora, went to a work conference at Castle Leslie, I didn't realise that Desmond Leslie's brother was the man who blurted top the world about Paul McCartney holding his wedding reception to Heather Mills at the Castle until Nora told me about it.

Connections.. connections...