The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Why didn’t NASA do something for the old ‘uns?
It’s the mid-point of our Critics Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and this time Our Taylor has taken us back – way back – to the spring of 1969, when two-thirds of Team ATVland weren’t even thought of and the third was imprisoned in a cage made out of pallets, with all nails sticking out.
Musicwise, well: we are 301 days from the end of this decade – the greatest decade in history, mark you – and Top Of The Pops has failed to paint it black. Many things happen in this year, but mainly in America, and this episode is rammeth with Beat groups on their last legs, all expertly dealt with by the voice of Brentford Nylons. Dave Dee, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub celebrate ritual animal abuse. Love Affair awkwardly wink at the camera as the sand runs out on their career. Lulu swings an imaginary beer stein frothing with Schlager as she makes her bid for Eurovision glory. The Tymes do something really impressive at the end of their song. The Bee Gees stop bitching at each other long enough to curl off another dud single. Stevie Wonder drops one of the all-time great TOTP performances. And Jesus in a jumpsuit, the state of the Number One.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham on the barren, grey surface of Top Of The Pops in the Sixventies, pausing from their exploration to discuss Jon Pertwee’s conversion to Rock, the G-Clamp Tree, Geoff Sex, Right-Wing Swingers, ridiculously blunt LP reviews, and Dick Emery getting preferential treatment over Moby Grape. The swearing is heavy, and progressive.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: What’s more important, the Taint or the Love?
Part Two of our Critics’ Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and Our Neil has dragged us back to the idyllic summer of 1981, where the panel were a) replaying the 1970 World Cup with Subbuteo, b) wearing burgundy and c) playing The Omen in our bedroom respectively. And good Lord, what an episode he’s picked!
Musicwise, it’s a ridiculous mix of soaring highs and plunging lows, where the new era of synthiness forces the old guard to shed their facial hair, pare back on the widdliness and learn to rollerskate. Marc Almond throws the sunglasses to one side and delivers one of the landmark TOTP performances. Some Dads pretend to be the Bee Gees. Midge Ure comes on all Peaky Blinders. The Rolling Stones have a glorious piss-about. Cliff gets wanged across a shopping centre in Milton Keynes for some Danger Skating. Legs & Co are shackled to ELO again. And the Number One is, er, a Futurist pan-Asian classic.
Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price examine the potato bag of ’81 for signs of blight with Al Needham, veering off on such tangents as playing football with Action Men, the star power of Stan Stennett, The Rumour, The Oriental Riff, The Pickwick Top Of The Pops compilations, Specials cover versions at Butlins, and Manslaughter On 45. There’s swearing. But you knew that anyway.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: can you remember a wazz you had 43 years ago?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the beginning of a five-part mini-series where members of Team Chart Music run a finger along our TOTP collection and select one of their favourites – and Our David has kicked it off by pulling out an absolute plum from the very end of the Drought. Your panel were killing time during the summer holidays sitting in hot cars, playing Shove Matchbox, or trying to be the Lord Killinan of the ladybirds, but over in the BBC TV Centre, Noel Edmonds has graciously taken time out from getting ready for Swap Shop (and presumably counting the excrement passing through the piping system) to deluge us all with another massive dollop of brightly-coloured Pop gunge.
Musicwise, it’s a mainly above-par serving of the usual mid-70s melange: Manfred Mann turn up the knob on their synth. The Bee Gees lob a glitterball through the window of the charts. Robin Sarstedt – the Lothario of the Tea Dance – pitches up one more time. The Stylistics stand in a park on Dress-Down Friday. Gallagher and Lyle do something. The Chi-Lites are accompanied by a non-racist cartoon. OH MY GOD IS THAT CAN. And most importantly, we finally get round to Ruby Flipper, the dance troupe that actually featured men and – gasp! non-white people.
David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a lick of the Lolly Gobble Choc Bomb of ’76, veering off on such tangents as belt shops in East London, mid-70s sexual health clinic procedures, Ian Hitler, the Brum Burger, Godzilla and Social Exclusion, and one of Chart Music being a retired male stripper. NOW WITH ADDED SEXUAL SWEAR WORDS WARNING!
Finally, Neil Kulkarni and Sarah Bee end concealing, try revealing, and open their hearts to YOU, the Pop-Crazed Youngsters. Our lovely Patreon subscribers asked the questions – we answered them in detail for a couple of hours and a bit of exclusive content.
If you want to know about our fave music films, the great TOTP performances of all time, a ton music journo shop-talk, and in-depth analysis on the biggest nob-ends in Pop, what its like to conduct an interview in a German ambulance with someone who has just ripped their stomach open on stage, what it’s like to be a music journo in a bra, and a frank discussion about drugs and the state of the British crisp industry, some money needs to be trusted down our g-strings – but it’s available to all our Patreon tiers, meaning you can have all this goodness in your tabs for a mere dollar…
The 40th episode of the podcast which asks: so how do you get your pills out of a Kinder Surprise egg with opera gloves on?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, takes us nearly ten years away from the glory of the last one and plunges us deep into the turquoise shell-suited heart of the Neighnties – and oh dear, our beloved programme is right up Arsehole Street. The ratings are dropping like a Shed Seven release in its second week, newer and savvier shows are undercutting it, and the BBC have pissed about with the scheduling to such an extent that middle-aged spods with a craving for Judith Hann are sitting there shouting; “Oh, what’s this bollocks? WHERE’S TOMORROW’S WORLD?”
Musicwise, hmm: Gary Davies, in a boxy denim jacked beloved of the era, just about manages to not look like he’s too old for this shit (despite dropping a few clunky Dad-phrases). Inspiral Carpets – the Freddie and the Dreamers of Madchester – pitch up, demonstrating the bad haircuts that were available to youths at the time. Saffron-not-yet-of-Republica dresses up like a magician’s assistant. The Mock Turtles do a mobile phone advert. The mid-Eighties refuses to piss off, in the shape of Feargal Sharkey, The Waterboys and Mike and the Mechanics. Still, there’s a welcome opportunity for people who haven’t got Sky yet to have a proper goz at The Simpsons, Black Box remind us that they did more than one record, and there’s some dead good angel wings on your woman in C&C Music Factory. Chesney Hawkes – ‘the iconic legend of the 80s and 90s’, according to his website, which is roughly 1.96666 decades too many – punches the air.
Sarah Bee and Simon Price link up with Al Needham at the car boot sale of 1991, veering off on such tangents as being refused entry to gay clubs by National Front activists, why you should never install a plastic tank in your wardrobe for pissing-into purposes, bragging at school that you’ve seen Sky at Centre Parcs, the phenomenon of Some Rap, and the misery of having to share a crappy Student Union with people who have been on Top Of The Pops more than you have. And there’s swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: did Phil Oakey ever have it out with the Undertones for coating him down on My Perfect Cousin?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the longest EVER, but don’t blame us – because there is so much going on in this episode of The Pops, and we take a concentrated blast of 1981 full in the face. No lie, it’s wave after wave of late-Eighventies pop brilliance, broken up by assorted bits of rubbish, and Dave Lee Travis in an elongated hat. We’ve coated down the Living Gnasher Badge enough times, but in this episode, we step back and contemplate Dave Lee Travis: motorsport expert. Dave Lee Travis: Lennie Bennett-foil. Dave Lee Travis: Photographer. Dave Lee Travis: Renaissance Man.
Musicwise, fucking HELL: The Undertones readjust for the Eighties. Teardrop Explodes – possibly off their tits – show the youth that there’s more to life than chicken pancetta. Kim Wilde vandalises a dead nice public toilet. The Beat (again). Chicken Steven (again). Smokey Robinson invents Airbnb. Legs & Co cause DLT to blast a jet of steam from out of his hairy earhole. The Human League steal the entire show, before Adam Ant jumps through a window and nicks it back. It’s a glorious romp through quite possibly the greatest year in pop music history. And – finally – TOYAH IS IN RECEPTION.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a hijack of the Alpine van of 1981, loaded with the fizziest and most colourful pop imaginable, and gleefully veer off on such tangents as the many different things you can do with a wall and a dog ball, the Kidderminster UB40 Club, Shaky dropping the strap at a Viz wrestling battle royal, obscene graffiti we have known and loved, the hell of being spotted in a cat cafe on your own, and a flick through Travis’ photography book, where he asks attractive female celebrities what they’re scared of, and brings their nightmares to life. You KNOW there’s gonna be swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Rod Stewart – a grower or a shower?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, involves one of the grimmer aspects of Top Of The Pops, as it comes in the wake of one of the regular audience members comitting suicide, the subsequent tabloid coverage when it was revealed that she’d left a diary behind, and the fallout from it – which continued right the way up to this decade. And it’s something we can’t not talk about.
Musicwise, it’s a glorious mish-mash of fare from ’71, the International Year of the Banjo. The beardiness is ramped up by McGuinness Flint. A man pretending to be R. Dean Taylor runs about in a quarry. Jonathan King lurks about. Pans People get busy to the Jackson 5, before showing up Lulu. The Mixtures give us an opportunity to have a good laugh at automobile fatalities. Ringo requires some Norwegian wood to stop his piano sinking into the snow. The Faces get the chance to plug their LP for eight whole minutes, but Dave and Ansil Collins steam in to drop one of the best Number Ones ever.
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes – the gentle people of Chart Music – get really mellow with Al Needham, breaking off to reason on such subjects as how to make it look as if you’ve been sweating at junior school end-of-term discos, Leaving Neverland, hot pants, and performative farting. As always, swearing.