We’re Number Two: 1993 – “What’s Up?”, 4 Non Blondes

What’s Up (with that terrible artwork)?

Well it’s one-hit wonder time here at We’re Number 2, but one-hit wonders aren’t simply, erm, one thing. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and there’s little to define or connect them. They can be novelty hits, one-and-done albums that briefly find public favour (as is very much the case here), groups will long careers that briefly intersect with the public before fading back to their previous status, they can be inspired by a specific events (sports covering a lot of ground here), and so on. The magnificently-named 4 Non Blondes fall into the second category, releasing just one album in their brief career, a lone single from which managed to garner chart success.

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Star Trek V – The Final Frontier

Does the movie with the worst reputation in the Star Trek canon deserve it’s fate? Surprisingly, no.

In some ways, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a perfect conclusion for the TOS crew. The story arc that’s run for three movies’ reached its conclusion, there’s some character growth, and a promise of the future with a new ship. But it wasn’t the conclusion – so can Star Trek V: The Final Frontier add anything to the saga?

Pre-Existing Prejudices: “What does God need with a starship?” It’s that one!  Yes, arguably the most notorious movie in the whole of Star Trek, this has its fair share of critics. It’s co-written and directed by William Shatner, which means he’s bringing everything to the table, for both good and ill. Because I’m a nerdy fan, I’m aware that this is the first of several Star Trek appearances by the joyfully brilliant David Warner, if not perhaps his most noted. Marshmellons, El Captian, Spock’s half-brother… it’s a heady mix. Let’s find out if this movie deserves it’s dreadful reputation!

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Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home

Is there any point in putting anything here other than “it’s the one with the whales!”?

Spock’s alive again! Well he was at the end of the last movie at any rate. After the surprisingly strong third entry into the series can The Voyage Home keep up the momentum?

Pre-Existing Prejudices: The One With The Whales. Come on, it’s the one with the whales! Everyone knows the one with the whales! I am, of course, aware of the pro-environmental message – though not how well it’s aged since the mid-80’s – and of course it’s “the funny one”. You know, “nuclear wessels”, “Computer!”, “double dumb ass on you!”, “I think he did a little too much LDS” and so on. As with the last entry though its been simply ages since I saw anything but the usual clip reel, so I’m looking forward to revisiting it.

What’s It All About, JG?

After three months on Vulcan, apparently unmolested by a Starfleet who might be rather cross at the destruction of one of their ships, Kirk and the crew head back to Earth in their euphemistically-acquired Klingon Bird Of Prey to finally face the music. Meanwhile, however, a mysterious probe (nothing like the mysterious probe from a couple of movies ago) knocks out ships and starbases on its way to Earth as it broadcasts a signal.

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Dear Boy, Emily Berry

What’s The Book? Dear Boy, by Emily Berry

What’s It All About, JG? It’s a debut collection of poetry, first published in 2013, by Emily Berry, a short series of poems which vary greatly in style and tone, capturing the moods and passing moments of a variety of lives lived across all of the pieces. It’s also a deeply beguiling piece, at times almost painfully intimate and revealing, which dives into the emotions, motivations and lives lived of its characters, sometimes straightforwardly but usually fractured through the lens of the world, straying into a number of different, subjective worlds – emotional, personal and deeply felt. Throughout it all, Berry’s distinctive, skilled voice remains our guide as we weave in and out of the rich, complex and, yes, sometimes funny conditions of life.

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We’re Number Two: 1992 – “Justified And Ancient”, The KLF & Tammy Wynette

The cream of the crop

They’re a confounding band, The KLF, and that’s what makes them so profoundly interesting during a moment in time when a lot of music was anything but. Because although there’s a lot of good music bubbling under in 1992, precious little is making much of an impression at the top end of the charts, singles or albums. In fact the singles charts in the UK are in the absolute doldrums, with sales levels plummeting to near-record lows and just twelve Number 1 singles over the course of a whole year.

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We’re Number Two: 1991 – “Sit Down”, James

Could it, like, be any more 90’s?

James are one of those bands that get lumped in with a style that they’re not quite a perfect fit for. Emerging from Manchester in the first half of the 80’s they knocked about all the familiar Manchester-in-the-80’s clichés – you know, playing at the Hacienda, supporting The Smiths, a brush with Factory Records, that sort of thing. It takes the remainder of that decade, and a bit of a shift in the line-up, before they finally manage to get some career momentum going, though James are notable for being an act whose live performances are where they built the core of their audience, not through records sales or chart performance.

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Leaves On The Cultural Line – A Doctor Stands Down

A Time Lord exits – but does it matter, and if so, why?

Jodie Whittaker has decided to stand down as the Doctor.

Rather than debating the merits or otherwise of her era, it’s been interesting to see the press reaction to the news that the first female Doctor has decided to leave on a schedule pretty much in line with the previous two Doctors. Sure, there will be fewer episodes in her third season, but there’s a pandemic on – there’s not a lot you can do about that really. Otherwise, though, she’s done her shift and it will be time for a new Doctor (cue much rampant speculation and little-to-no accuracy) and a new showrunner. Still. The news made a few front pages. The Guardian went with the relatively staid and accurate “Jodie Whittaker Quits Doctor Who”. OK. “Time’s Up Already: Jodie Whittaker To Leave Doctor Who” says The Independent. So far, so accurate. “Woke Doctor Who Quits The TARDIS”, says the Daily Telegraph. Hmm. One of these things is not like the other.

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