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Music

Remembering Noel Fielding's surreal depiction of Joey Ramone

Joey Ramone is one of the most iconic rockers of all time. The larger than life frontman of Ramones had a character that matched his imposing stature, and it was this that gave the New York heroes the essence that we all know as love today. 

Through his direction, they married punk fury with sharp wit, garnished with the accessible pop melodies that make their music so instantly recognisable. Notably, he was a hard man to impress, but what would you expect from someone so dedicated to their craft? 

Like Joey, Ramones were different from their peers. They did things their way, and compromise wasn’t a word that existed in their lexicon. Joey was the spearhead of the band, which made sense due to his authentic nature. There was no acting with Joey, and the cool that he espoused was his own. A true punk in every sense of the word, he had no time for fakes. 

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This dedication to their art is what allowed Ramones to continue throughout the 1980s and ’90s and remain relevant. It also says a lot about their characters that their music retained a freshness without forfeiting their original sound, as 1989’s classic anthem ‘Pet Sematary’ reflects. Ramones were Ramones, zeitgeist permitting or not.

Unsurprisingly, Ramone wasn’t punk in the traditional faux-nihilistic sense; it was his thinking and need to set the world right that really placed him in the category, with his constant appreciation for true art one of the clearest indicators of this. 

“Everything is so pretentious nowadays, we just hit the stage and blow you away without any pretension, or crap like half these bands that exist,” He proclaimed in an interview in 1991. “I feel like the Ramones and Motorhead are the only two bands that matter, y’know?” 

“I mean, there’s some more good bands out there, there’s probably more bands now than ever before that are worth it like Faith No More and Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom,” Ramone added.

Given that he was such an icon, many people have paid tribute to Joey Ramone. One of the best, and most surreal came by way of British comedian Noel Fielding‘s short-lived TV show, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, which ran for two series between 2012 and 2014. In the show, there was a running segment called ‘The Adventures of Joey Ramone’, and it is genius. 

In the sketch, Ramone is presented as a plasticine, stop-motion figure with comically long legs, blue hair and no arms. The sketches featuring Ramone are a parody of the children’s television programmes of the 1960s and ’70s, with their use of stop-motion characters in front of an illustrated background. Adding to this sense of nostalgia is the fact that Fielding’s narrator, as an anonymous mild-mannered Scotsman, comments on everything Ramone does passively, having primary school teacher-like interactions with this bizarre version of the punk icon. 

The segment features Ramone getting himself in all kinds of ridiculous situations, such as going to the beach but accidentally donning his mother’s swimming costume, and she, in turn, wears his swimming trunks with her breasts out. It’s absolutely crackers, and across the show, we see him interact with everyone from Dee Dee Ramone to golfer Colin Montgomery, a brilliant way to remember the late Ramones frontman. 

Watch a clip of ‘The Adventures of Joey Ramone’ below.

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