When Gillan joined Sabbath

I grew up in a time when references to popular culture on TV were rare. You might get a very broad Frank Spencer impersonation, but even that would have no specifics or attention to detail. Even in the nineties, the teenagers on Neighbours and Home & Away would refer to “that band” and “that CD”, seemingly terrified to name actual artists, which was weird because Frente! would pop up every other week (“Music supplied by Mushroom Records”).

Round about the same time The Mary Whitehouse Experience were self consciously spoofing Suede and Reservoir Dogs, which seemed fairly exciting at the time, if only because the squares didn’t get it. After The Mary Whitehouse Experience came Lee & Herring’s Fist of Fun, which eventually morphed into This Morning With Richard Not Judy. This featured a character called The Curious Orange, who was named after The Fall’s I Am Kurious Oranj. Now that’s an obscure reference.

It gave me untold joy to hear Stewart Lee, on his Comedy Vehicle show, compare DFS’ merger with Allied Carpets to the time “when Gillan joined Sabbath”, with not a word of explanation. I would wager that even most metal fans, let alone the majority of the mainstream TV audience, don’t remember that particular misbegotten branch of the Black Sabbath and Deep Purple family tree.


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