Do you remember when a group of knitted pink miniature aardvarks to rocked your world? More action-packed than Bagpuss, cooler than Chorlton and the Wheelies, more psychedelic than Jamie and The Magic Torch and less mainstream than The Wombles, when it came to kids TV in my early youth, only the incomparable Danger Mouse rocked harder than The Clangers.
The Clangers lived on a planet with little atmosphere, not much in the way of gravity, hung out with an Iron Chicken and a Soup Dragon, spoke in the dulcet tones of a swanee whistle and were constantly soundtracked by Vernon Elliott’s eerie oboe and bassoon score, which found its way on to CD for the first time about fifteen years ago. Put simply, The Clangers could boast a cool cache that the likes of Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine simply lacked. Hell, they were even the favourites of perennial early 70s Dr Who super-villain The Master, played expertly by Roger Delgado. They were 3D, they were pink, they were flammable, and guys with Machiavellian plans tried to imitate them. What more could you possibly want as a pre-school kid?
The recent resurrection of The Clangers has stood by the old-school techniques and added a sweet Michael Palin narration, so by todays high-production, low-entertainment kids TV standards, even the modern ittiration of The Clangers looks quaint and charming. As good as the recent episodes have been, it’s the original series which I grew up with, so is the one that my generation holds dear, and this soundtrack to that original series can’t fail to move kids of all ages. It’s timeless organic and hollow sounds echo through the infinite void of space in a way that synthesisers just wouldn’t (of course any sound in the inky blackness of space would be impossible, but as a child without much of a grasp of physics and unaware that sound cannot travel in a vacuum, I was convinced that the entirety of the infinite cosmos sounded like one of Elliott’s florid oboe solos), it is stirring and often emotional music that can speak to the inner child in all of us.
Granted, this is not an album you put on to rock out at a party and to be honest your chances of seducing a lover with it are limited, however, for a bit of chill out music post pub / club though, it really is something out of this world.