Brian Rix And Charlton Heston

Two songs named after famous people from the late 80s indie world for Friday, tributes of kinds to Brian Rix and Charlton Heston.

The Brilliant Corners came from Bristol and were one of the quintessential jangle- pop, C86 bands. Their 1987 single Brian Rix became a millstone for them in many ways but is a classic of its kind and full of self- deprecating humour. Jingle jangle guitars, sweetly sung, four four snare, and this verse…

‘Don’t be so worried, we won’t get caught
They won’t be back until eleven o’ clock
We fumbled around in front of the budgie
She started to laugh, ‘Well what’s so funny?’
It’s just you remind me of Brian Rix
When you pull your trousers down
It sends me in fits’

Brian Rix was an actor and manager, a man famous for West End farces. He became a campaigner for disability rights following the birth of his daughter, born with Down Syndrome. Later on in his life, as Lord Rix, he campaigned for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. He died in 2016.

Brian Rix

In 1988 Stump released a single called Charlton Heston. Stump, with former members of Microdisney in their ranks, were a little more experimental than The Brilliant Corners. They were the archetypal touring indie group of 1988, always on the road, often in either the NME, the Melody Maker or both and appearing on The Tube more than once. Charlton Heston reached the dizzy heights of number 72 in the real charts, novelty indie almost- frog chorus, twangy guitar and the line ‘Charlton Heston/put his vest on’. The lyrics are based on Heston’s performance as Moses in The Ten Commandments. Until recently I hadn’t heard this song for roughly three decades. Singer and lyricist Mick Lynch sadly died of cancer in 2015.

Charlton Heston was a Hollywood legend and an influential right wing activist. He abandoned the Democrats in the 60s to become a Republican and then an avid supporter of Ronald Reagan. He was elected five times as President of the NRA. Heston famously made a speech to fellow gun owners at the NRA national conference, waving a rifle above his head on stage, and challenging Al Gore by shouting ‘I’ll give up my gun when you prise it from my cold, dead hands’. This was one year after the Columbine High School massacre. he repated the line at the end of his annual speech for several years afterwards.

Better to remember Charlton Heston in Planet Of The Apes, a film packed with genuinely great moments, not least the final scene. ‘You maniacs! You blew it up! Dam you! Dam you all to hell!’