End of the week. Let’s go out on a high. The biggest, the best, the ultimate cinematic joy ride. Raiders Of The Lost Ark is considered by many (myself included) to be the greatest film of all time. If you’re looking for rugged heroes and ballsy heroines, Nazi punching, magic boxes, horse riding, creepy crawlies, gun slinging, man over board, globe trotting, more Nazi punching, exploding planes, boats, trucks and bars, buried treasure and good hats you can’t go wrong with Steven Spielberg making a love letter to his own childhood cinematic adventures.
Indiana Jones is the cooler than cool hero with the greatest theme tune and the best stories. I was 5 years old when I first saw Harrison Ford running from that huge boulder. I was 14 by the time he rode off into the sunset with Sean Connery, John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot.
Thank you John Williams. You were the composer who soundtracked pretty much every childhood in the western world for more than a generation. Even if a kid doesn’t know if they like music or not they know the themes for The Raiders March, Star Wars, Superman, Jurassic Park, E.T, Close Encounters, Jaws, Hook, Harry Potter and err Schindler’s List? There aren’t many composers who get to do all the franchises and have moments in all of them the whole world can recognise. The love themes, The Dual Of The Fates, The Imperial March, Hymn To The Fallen, Hedwigs Theme. All instantly recognisable anywhere.
This is not Indy’s first appearance on SFTD either. I chose an image of him punching a Nazi back when tikki torch wielding micro-penised incels were prancing around Charlottesville missing the point of the freedoms won for them by diverse and superior men and women who fought this idiocy and won three generations previously. I posted Dead Kennedy’s Nazi Punks Fuck Off! and couldn’t think of a more fitting image than the man in the hat dispensing scholarly wisdom with his fists.
The first time it was on British TV it was Christmas. 1984. Same year again. Seminal stuff. I’d been to see Indy already. And The Temple Of Doom (Southend’s ABC this time not the Grays State). But here I was presented with an opportunity. That Christmas Day I was gifted with perhaps the greatest gift a ten year old SteveForTheDeaf could receive. A radio tape player. Almost a whole BoomBox, but a mono version. It was grey and silver. There was a smoked plastic cassette deck and in the center of it’s one massive (Well about 4 inches) speaker was a tiny rectangular hole with the word “mic” stenciled next to it. I could play my own tapes! AND I could record off the radio. I could get to work Home Taping and Killing Music right away.
That night after Christmas dinner and board games we were allowed to watch Raiders Of The Lost Ark on TV. I sat in front of the telly with a newly unwrapped cassette in the deck ready to capture John Williams majestic score at the start of my very first ever mixtape. The first of thousands as it turned out. Admittedly it was a wild track recording. The board-mix really capturing the atmosphere of the venue, including my Nan asking what I was doing and cutlery clanking on the dining table as Mum laid out the evening buffet (Christmas Tea was always cold cuts, salad and shooters role (basically a massive sausage roll) with real Coke for us kids and beer, wine or whiskey for the grown ups).
From the moment Indy was making the girls blink “I Love You” at him and packing his bags to get on the red line flight to Nepal I was poised to capture the recording. Big Bro pointed out the best bet would be to wait until the crate turned the corner in that massive warehouse at the end and the theme played in full over the credits somewhere around the Nazi’s discovering Tannis.
*SFTD Movie factoid* I’d always heard that line as “The Nazi’s have discovered Tennis” and had a strange mental image of an attempt to play a doubles match with Himmler and Adolf vs Indy and Marion.
By the time I’d played it back to check that Nana ForTheDeaf wasn’t louder than the opening brass (it was OK she was more a backing vocalist) something else was on and we were being told to take our Matey* upstairs and get ready for bed.
The hours spent riding around on a bike with that cassette blaring from the one speaker behind the bungee chord holding it to the handlebars were happy ones. Little did I know that was the last Christmas Nana ForTheDeaf would be with us. The tape is long gone, I can still hear the faint “What’s he doing?” in my head whenever Mrs ForTheDeaf and I settle down to watch an Indy on a rainy day… Like today (post written in the past not the day of publishing disclaimer).
I’ve used this tune as my outro music when DJing in clubs and bars. It really sends people off with a bounce in their step and a grin on their faces. Even if one Dude every single night declares it to be Star Wars or Superman due to their run in with the recreationals. It never fails to lift my mood. It puts me back in mum and dad’s front room, sat too close to the TV. Big brother showing me how to hit play and record at the same time and the whole family watching .
Fortune and Glory
*if you understand that reference you are old and grew up in the UK during the 80’s. Hiya!