The ninth episode of the podcast which asks: were England’s international failures of the 1970s caused by an insistence on playing football on beaches in massive flares and stack heels while pretending to be Marvin Gaye?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us making another Sam Tyler-like voyage to Spangleland in an attempt to see if 1974 could keep up the quality levels of the year before, or if it was already lurching into the hell of 1975. What we discover is a Bizarro-world in which Noel Edmonds stands out as a bouffanted, proto-Medallion Man object of genuine teenage lust amongst the sullen, lank-haired youth.
Musicwise, we see ‘new’ bands taking wing (Mud, in their Glam-Ted Vishnu phase), older bands calming themselves down (Slade, doing a ballad) or on their way out (Mungo Jerry, we’re looking at you), and people absolutely losing their shit over The Wombles. Pans People cause your Dad’s tea to slide right off his lap as they don the flounciest, bounciest nighties ever, Bill Haley is unearthed and put on display, the Terry Jacks Deathwatch drags on for another week, and history is made as Abba yomp all the way from Brighton to Shepherds Bush to begin their glacial reign over the Seventies.
Al Needham is joined by Simon Price and David Stubbs to discuss all of this, as well as rubbish funeral songs, supporting a football team that looks like your favourite mug, BBC Families v ITV Families, believing that pop songs are actually news bulletins, and the Celtic ritual of Crisp Sacrifice. And all the swearing you could possibly want.
The eighth edition of the podcast which asks: a new version of Top Of The Pops with sketches? FUCK OFF!
This episode sees the controls of the Time Sofa hijacked by our own Simon Price, who force-lands it smack in the middle of 1981. He’s been saying for ages that ’81 is the greatest Pop year ever, forcing us to throw down the frilly, fingerless gauntlet.
Things start weirdly with Simon Bates looking like a supply teacher and the return of Slade and Alvin, but then it’s wave after wave of ‘bands’ that don’t even have proper drums and make records by just pressing a button, don’t you know, interspersed with black men slinking about and even getting skinheads to wave their hands in the air.
Any Brexiteers who can stomach Leee John being all sexually threatening and David Sylvian looking like Lady Di will be trapping a creased-up England flag in their bedroom windows in unrestrained joy to see a practically all-British line-up, and Madness have dropped another video, but it’s not all good news: Barbara Gaskin comes on like a glammed-up Candice-Marie in Nuts In May, and a soon-to-be-on-the-dole Legs & Co look on as Lulu scabs out and dances with someone called Jeremy.
Al Needham, Taylor Parkes and Simon Price pick through the dress-up box that is 1981, veering off to discuss dog auto-fellatio, throwing Molotov cocktails into Welsh churches, whether people in Birmingham are proud of Crossroads (or not), cousins who get pissed up at your auntie’s do and accuse you of being gay, and why it’s a bad idea to do an Ant Stripe with Tipp-Ex. The usual swearing, and edited dead fast in order to get it out before the end of the month, so if it’s shonkier than usual, soz.
The seventh episode of the podcast which asks: if Les Dennis and Dustin Gee were Torvill and Dean, who would be who?
This episode sees us firmly on the wrong half of the Eighties, with Live Aid a mere five-and-a-bit weeks behind us, and the Greatest Pop Programme Ever is not coping very well with it. At all. For starters, it’s been shunted up to 7.55pm to make way for Eastenders, The Kids are burdened with pom-poms and manky pastels and pushed right to the back of the studio and danced at by Pineapple Studio Wankers, there’s a compulsion to lob in as many videos as possible, Garry Davies is wearing an appalling jacardigan, and there’s Steve Wright.
As for the actual music, Lisa Lisa is with Cult Jam (but without Full Force), Drive by The Cars is trotted out for the second year running, Kate Bush rises about it all as usual, Stock Aitken and Waterman make a record that actually manages not to get on your wick. and oh look, there’s Madonna with her pits over the hand dryer. And there’s a woman cupping a right handful of a gorilla’s breasts.
Al Needham is joined by Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni for an unflinching gaze into the open wound of post-Live Aid Pop, breaking off to discuss failed Marxist dictatorships in Ethiopia, failed attempts at breakdancing, Psychobilly caravan holidays in Skegness, persistently homosexual Mexicans, the Curse of Arsewasher’s Back, and white boys from villages going to black hair salons in order to look like a wrestler. And swearing.
This sixth episode of the podcast which asks: a Lego submarine full of maggots? Really?
This episode sees us throwing ourselves between two stools marked ‘GLAM/FUNK’ and ‘PUNK/DISCO’ and sprawling awkwardly in the space marked ‘1975’, in order to check whether it really was one of the tawdrier years for Pop. Spoiler alert: yes, it rather is, actually.
Emperor Rosko (looking for all the world like a Transatlantic Stu Francis) empties out a massive lucky bag of Pop-rammel, which includes people in silhouette pretending to have oral sex with Telly Savalas, someone who wasn’t brave enough to be Alvin Stardust hiding behind a dog, Chicken-In-A-Basket (but really decent chicken, not Findus) soul, And Pan’s People aredressed like sexy, sexy Vileda SuperMops.
It’s not all bad, however: The Sweet come back hard on their tottery platform heels one last time, the Goodies wear matching dungarees with a ‘G’ on them, like radical-feminist Crips, Susan Cadogan drops one of the greatest reggae tunes of the decade, and it’s 1975 and Bohemian Rhapsody hasn’t come out yet, so you already know what’s No.1.
Al Needham is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price for a proper snuffle around the bell-bottomed, tartan-fringed crotch of April ’75, veering off to sing disgusting variations of Bay City Roller songs, discuss why pirate radio was a bit crap, actually, the thrill of Snuff Delivery Day in old peoples homes in Coventry, and being bequeathed platform shoes by your father. The longest episode yet, full to the brim with swearing.
The fifth episode of the podcast which asks: why is Richard Stilgoe going on about acne?
This episode finds Top Of The Pops smack in the middle of the Eighventies in a state of flux, after being off air for nine weeks due to a Musicians Union strike. The Kids are sat on the floor, the set is even more sparse than usual, and they’re experimenting with guest co-hosts – a process which would start with Elton John and end with, er, Russ Abbot. This week, it’s Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey – The McVicar Himself – who takes crumpet-leering to heights that not even DLT would think possible, moans about The Clash not being on (when everyone else knows they don’t do TOTP), and casts that aspersion upon the Village People.
Musicwise, we carom from Ultravox awkwardly dancing behind synths to Legs & Co channelling the spirit of the International Day episode of Peppa Pig to the Dad in Worzel Gummidge performing an old song which isn’t a patch on I Got Those Can’t Get Enough Of Those Blue Riband Blues to Grace Jones with a fag on to David Bowie’s dead expensive new video to Abba putting a right downer on everything at the end with their adult relationship break-up palaver. And the drummer of Slade sits there with a shaker for no real reason at all.
Al Needham is joined by Taylor Parkes and David Stubbs for a through evisceration of 1980, veering off to talk about how Roger Daltrey put them off meat for life, what it’s like to stop the night at Benny Out Of Abba’s hotel, and how being dressed as a Pierrot on an orange beach and reacting to having your picture taken by a paparazzo as if you’ve been shot is a bit rubbish, really. And loads of swearing.
The fourth episode of the podcast which asks: what the fuck is a ‘Baby’s Treat’?
This episode takes us back to the absolute cusp of the Eighties, a mere three weeks away before Margaret Thatcher starts wiping her arse on the country delivers strong and stable leadership. No synthy palaver or 2-Tonery in the charts just yet ? it’s a lucky bag of randomness consisting of Punk bands at the end of their tether, Disco behemoths, and Ted revivalists clinging on for dear life. And Peter Powell is ridiculously excited by all of it, but especially the brass in Supertramp’s The Logical Song.
Highlights of this episode include Kate Bush having her arse removed by the BBC, Legs & Co channelling the spirit of Punk by sticking their tongues out, Racey having a Gail Tilsley lookalike as their lead singer, Jimmy Pursey skidding on his arse and influencing Indian wedding videos of the 1980s, and Art Garfunkel’s Kurt Cobain Gun Fingers.
Al Needham is joined by Melody Maker scribes Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni for a severe going-over of the Sound of ’79, breaking off to reminisce about listening to the new Top 40 in the bushes of a private school, being tormented by older sisters who can do Kate Bush’s eye-bulge trick, and keeping away from local youths in double-denim trying to smash park benches in time to the drum bits in Hey Rock n’ Roll.
(Warning: we were severely bum-rushed by the Skype goblins during the recording of this one, so the edit might be a bit shonky and heavy-manners)
The third edition of the podcast which asks: is that an apple or a strawberry on Pans Peoples’ arses?
In this episode – the chunkiest yet – we set the controls of the Time Sofa smack into the heart of the Glam era and get down to ’73. The charts are caked with the bland mung of Osmond, but it’s also rammed out with mid-Sixties chancers suddenly finding themselves in the Big Time in strange trousers, and milking their opportunity dry. And Tony Blackburn is on hand to vibrate with excitement, suggest that records about failed relationships make great Christmas presents, and abuse a Womble.
Highlights of this episode include Alvin Stardust debuting the Satanic sound of the Mansfield Delta, Mott The Hoople demonstrating that if you’re on a three-day week, have a four-day weekend, Paul McCartney wallowing in his Style Council period, Kiki Dee flinging disgusting filth at our Pop Kids, and the Bacofoiled Elephant In The Room crashing straight in at No.1.
Al Needham is joined by Melody Maker veterans Taylor Parkes and Simon Price for a good old hack at the face of the Velvet Tinmine, breaking off every now and then to discuss who we fancied at the age of 5, the difference between cheesecloth and gingham, and what happens when you mention Gary Glitter at a pub quiz.
(Warning: lots of swearing, occasional seagull interference, and a long conversation about Gary Glitter which goes beyond fist-shaking and arguing over which one of us would pull the lever first)