The LWS “Animal Hop” Page
“ANIMAL HOP” was the opening track on the first Listen With Sarah demo CD sent to John Peel, just two months before he died. He played it on his radio show the day it arrived (August 2004).
It later reached number 27 in the Festive Fifty 2004 (BBC Radio One).
In Dec 2004, I included it on a 14-track, self-released digipack CD:
“Animal Hop” proved popular with listeners of all ages and received generous airplay from radio shows around the globe, including WFMU’s “Greasy Kid Stuff” (8 times), Another Nice Mess (5 times), The Rachael Neiman Show and Andy Kershaw.
In 2005, Listen With Sarah was invited to contribute “Animal Hop” to Rough Trade’s Counter Culture CD. At this point, I attempted to gain clearance for the samples of the Ivor The Engine theme, which I had used in “Animal Hop”. Sadly, this resulted in legal threats from Oliver Postgate (creator of Bagpuss) and the eventual withdrawal from sale of the ‘AYSC’ CD in November 2005, leaving me with 800 unsold copies. Needless to say, “Animal Hop” was not included on the Rough Trade release.
Ivor The Engine was a much-loved British children’s TV animation, which began in 1959 and ran for 30 years. The theme tune was originally written and performed by Vernon Elliott as a commission for Smallfilms (aka Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin) who, allegedly, own the mechanical rights to its recording. The recording in question, incidentally, is 12 seconds long.
“…Your letter admits that you used a recording of Vernon Elliott's work, one which Smallfilms had commissioned, paid for and now owns, without even asking, and that you have included it in a compilation as if it were your own work, a compilation which you have published as being your own work.
That is, simply, illegal, as well as dishonest.
I appreciate that you may feel that the work is lovely (I do not share that feeling) but this is not germaine to the offence, which is that you took something that didn't belong to you and used it for your purposes...”
Mr Postgate proved unwilling to negotiate and refused all of my offers of payment, royalties and donations to charity.
His final words were:
“Smallfilms did not, do not and will not give you permission to take Vernon Elliott's music and recording and use it in your work: Animal Hop. We have therefore asked you to cease offering the said work for sale. If you will do this we shall not proceed with legal action against you. If you do not we reserve the right to do so.” (Oliver Postgate 2005)
Sarah Nelson 2007
(aka Listen With Sarah)