94 and Not Dead Yet: And I’ll Bet They Get No Kick From Champagne Either

by Reg Green (September 2023)

, Benjamin Levy, circa 1975


It’s a truism that pop music has become vulgarized since readers of New English Review first sang and danced to songs that rhymed Colosseum with Louvre Museum and Mahatma Gandhi with Napoleon brandy.

But by how much? Well, here’s a clue.

When P.G. Wodehouse wanted to mock pop music in the 1930s (ah, yes, I remember it well, I hear you say) he brought out of his overflowing imagination an ever-so-slightly distorted reflection of how big bands styled themselves at the time. His version was ‘Ben Bloom and his Sixteen Baltimore Buddies.’

Faced with the same need to find a name for a guitar-playing quartet to reflect the post-Ben era, {Private Eye, the British satirical magazine, gave birth to … ‘Spiggy Topes and the Turds.’



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Reg Green is an economics journalist who was born in England and worked for the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Times of London. He emigrated to the US in 1970. His books include The Nicholas Effect and his website is nicholasgreen.org.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast