focus on the house of the king

flautist, thijs van leer in london, 1974.

Enough. This will be the last of my Prog based nostalgic musings for a while, I promise.

Remember \’Don\’t Ask Me\’, the slightly smug popular science-based British TV show from 1974 that made \”household names of Dr. Magnus Pyke and Professor David Bellamy\” ? You don\’t ? Well let me jog your memory. The horrendously catchy theme tune was performed by a Dutch group called Focus, with a prominently featured flute solo so baroque it would make even Jethro Tull\’s Ian Anderson blush crimson.

Comprising keyboardist and flautist Thijs van Leer; guitarist Jan Akkerman; bass guitarist Martin Dresden; and drummer Hans Cleuver, this was from their debut LP. Focus went on to redeem themselves briefly in my eyes with the release of a collaborative effort in 1978 with the great P.J. Proby, \”Focus On Proby\”, but will forever be associated with leather-elbowed tweed wearing Geography teachers as the result of \”House Of The King\”. And more v-necked striped sweaters than you can shake a pointy stick at. Sod it, though, the last minute – give or take – contains some seriously good guitar courtesy of Akkerman. Believe me.

The tune was recently resurrected as the title music for Steve Coogan\’s BBC2 sitcom \”Saxondale\”. Be warned. It\’s a godsend, too, to hear a Prog Rock track that comes in at way under 23 fucking minutes.

Written by Jan Akkerman. Actually, I rather love this tune. I\’m relieved to have finally gotten it off my chest.

FOCUS: HOUSE OF THE KING from \”In And Out Of Focus\” LP (Polydor) 1970 (NL / UK)



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