Sunday, 9 August 2009

1987 The Firm: Star Trekkin'

Comedy records are by and large a curious breed. Whereas a comedy film or a funny book can make you laugh over and over again, how many comedy singles can that be said about? With only around four minutes to play with, too often they home in on a specific target that you need to be familiar with to 'get' the humour, and the humour itself usually comes with a sell by date.

Billy Howard's 'King Of The Cops' still manages to make me laugh, but who under thirty will even recognise half the cop shows it references? Generally, it's the songs that are time and place neutral that endure, which is why Alan Sherman's 'Hello Muddah Hello Faddah' still cracks a smile after forty five years.

Which brings us to 'Star Trekkin'. The clue is in the title - it's a send up of Star Trek, and in sending it up it manages to tick both of the above boxes. Specific it may be, but the pop culture references are so deeply ingrained in modern life that anyone can pick up on them (who hasn't heard of Captain Kirk and the Klingons?) whilst the catchphrases of 1970's American detectives have faded into obscurity. At the same time there are subtle parodies in there ('It's worse than that, he's dead Jim') that the more seasoned fan will appreciate and they help give the song a longer half life than most of its ilk.

So can't lose then? Well, it's certainly a more interesting and lasting proposition than something like 'The Chicken Song', and it's a swift custard pie in the po faces of the four number ones that preceded it. Ultimately, how much you like 'Star Trekkin' will depend on how willing you are to get carried along by the rollicking 'I Am The Music Man' tune, and how often you listen to it will largely depend on your views of Star Trek; if you loathe the show, then chances are you'll take a rain check on this too. But whatever, I listened to it again today for the first time in over ten years and it still managed to make me laugh so that's good enough for me.

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