The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why didn’t Top Of The Pops do a Bonfire Night special instead, the traitorous, British-way-of-life-hating bastards?
Yeah yeah, we know: another early Eighties one. But if you thought we were going to wait another year before we got stuck into this particular episode, you don’t know Chart Music. The Pops is entombed in its rah-rah-rah flags-and-balloons Zoo-wanker phase and has pulled out all the stops (i.e., gone through the BBC props cupboard) decided to do a Halloween special, even though Halloween means next to arse all in the UK in pre-ET 1982. And who else to guide us through this realm of piss-poor joke-shop terror than the Dark Lord Simon Bates?
Musicwise, it’s a ‘treat’ bag of razor blade-tainted apples and cat shit in shiny wrappers, with a diamond or two lurking at the bottom. The tang of Pebble Mill is strong in this one: Dionne Warwick glares at us in a Margo Leadbetter rig-out. Barry Manilow is DTF. The Beatles arise from the grave. Blue Zoo demonstrate why they’re not going to be the next Duran Duran. Raw Silk pointedly ignore that they’re performing to a room full of simpletons with net curtains over their heads and waving a cat on a stick. Eddy Grant gets round his horrible missus. Boy George has balloons thrown at him in an aggressive manner. Simon Bates rides a broomstick dressed as Ali Bongo. The Zoo Wankerage is jacked up to the absolute maximum. Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the crew of The Tube are rubbing their hands together with glee.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham to suckle upon the throat early-Eighties Pop Mankiness, veering off on such tangents as the rubbishness of a British Halloween, being barred out of pubs in Nottingham for looking like Jimmy Savile, the truth about George Martin and the Mopfabs, Rambo Pumpkins, Cilla Back ramming chocolate into people’s gobs, BBC4 butchering the only programme they run that anyone’s interested in, having 40 Romantic Moments in one week, why we people never talk about Post-Disco, and an astonishing appearance on 3-2-1 by two Chart Music favourites. Penny for the Guy!
The latest edition of the podcast which asks: that thing with the earlobes – the entire country didn’t just imagine it, did they?
It’s the summer of ’83, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and your avuncular host is battling a series of crises: not only is he still recovering from a de-bagging on the school field and sulking over the re-election of the foul hag Thatcherax, he’s fending off rumours about his sexuality before he’s even had the chance to do anything with the bastard. Luckily, all that’s about to change, as his spiritual guide Paul Weller has got a new record out. And there’s a video. Oh dear.
Musicwise, it’s a proper pic’n’mix of early-Eighties confections, bagged up by elderly shop-lads Skinner and Vance, with a shocking lack of Dadisfaction. David Grant has a massive mid-life crisis and goes all Shakin’ Shalamar. Mark King gives it some thumb. Toney Adleh Aaht Ter Spandaah Balleh ponces about in Spain. Siouxie goes all Jazzy, and wonders why she’s the only woman on this episode. Robert Plant does some most unsavoury frog-kicking in some Dad trunks. The No.1 is a bit rubbish. And bleddy Depeche Mode AGAIN.
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes join Al ‘The Cuppateano Kid’ Needham for an awkward homoerotic roll-around upon the riverbank of mid-1983, breaking off to discuss such matters as being confused about Gus Honeybun, the boom in early-Eighties jumper technology, the fallacy of digging over a vegetable patch in calf-length white spats, being told off by the Mayor of Douglas, what leonine Rock gods have on their cheese cobs, and a very special episode of your favourite cartoon. Come for the incisive pop chat, stay for the swearing, and ram some money in our g-string.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if Bummerdog was a band, what would they sound like?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is one of the absolute landmark moments of the long and storied history of The Pops – the week where all the rubbish of the Laties is finally driven into the sea by streetwise lairy youths with a malevolent shuffle and a drug-induced attitude. And as well as Big Fun, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays are on too.
Those of you who remember this episode as a full-on Madchester takeover – with 808 State on as well, and Vera Duckworth gurning away in the audience in a Joe Bloggs top – are going to be sorely disappointed, however, as the supporting cast is the usual Neighnties rubbish. Jakki Brambles and Jenny Powell come off like the Philadelphia Cheese Advert women. Bobby Brown thrusts his groin at a shockingly young girl who’s probably wondering when Tiffany is going to come on. Aaron Neville comes dressed up as a character in a Sega beat-’em-up. The Fine Young Cannibals get bum-rushed by the cast of Dance Energy. The Martians pitch up to blare some Housey rubbish at us. The #1 is cat shit. And Holy Horrible Soundtrack LPs, Batman, it’s Prince.
Al Needham is joined by Sorted Simon Price and Top Lad Taylor Parkes for a trawl through the car boot sale of 1989, breaking off to discuss such important matters as Top Hatting, raiding your Dad’s wardrobe to look suitably ‘Double Good’, Ian Brown shutting down a bar, sniffing silage, and the introduction of the Chart Music Top Ten. Get on some swearing, matey!
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: if Midge Ure had become lead singer of the Sex Pistols, would we all still be wearing flares?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, was foraged from the very dustbin of History, being one from early 1976 which missed out on the BBC4 treatment. And, as we very quickly discover, huge chunks of it should have stayed there. Diddy Fucking David Hamilton wears a nasty Christmas-present jumper. Barbara Dickson warms up for her season on the Two Ronnies. Smokie – again! – dispatch another throat full of phlegm upon The Kids. Slik – AGAIN! – deliver the stalkiest wedding song ever. And Sailor encourage the youth to bang on the side of their Dad’s drinks cabinet.
As we all know, however, there is no such thing as a rubbish Top Of The Pops. Osibisa get properly togged up. Pans People pull one of their greatest performances out of their Quality Street Wrapper-panted arses, and the Number One has been there for so long it’s practically the national anthem by now.
Al Needham is joined by Sarah Bee and David Stubbs for a furtle amongst the jumble sale of early ’76, veering off to browse through the Music Star Annual of that year, whether calling someone a ‘Lady’ is acceptable these days, hitting your brother with a golf club for a tin of peaches, a giveaway of David’s new book Mars By 1980, infant school bus trips to Africa, being discovered buying Sven Hassel paperbacks at the age of seven by your Mam, and the importance of not having a Cheepy. WE SWEAR LIKE BOGGERS.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: is there such a thing as a trendy wank?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, drags us back to the dark Civil War of the mid-90s, when brother fought against brother over whether Roll With It was slightly less rubbish than Country House, and Oasis-loving loving wives imposed a ‘nookie strike’ upon their Blur-supporting husbands. Yes, it’s the aftermath of the Battle of Britpop, and we fly over the rubble, dropping crates of analysis and sniping at assorted wrongness along the way.
If you’re expecting non-stop Sons and Daughters of Albion adopting Mockney accents and walking about about monkeys, however, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, as there are a lot of – gasp! – Americans on it, and even some Irish people. Dale Winton reaches the pinnacle of the journey he started when he was playing records in a biscuit factory. Berri and De’lacy provide an interesting – sort of – compare-and-contrast of Anglo and American House. Michael Jackson lolls about in a CGI Greek temple with Elvis’ daughter. The theme tune from Friends pops up. Fucking Boyzone show up for no reason whatsoever. Montell Jordan arses about in a theme park. Echobelly break up from school forever. Michael Bolton, looking like a giant Womble, asks if he can fondle us. Blur show off.
Sarah Bee and Simon Price help Al Needham to walk through the minefield of Britpop like Lady Di, breaking off to discuss the early days of Television X, our shameful careers in pornography, watching Friends whilst ripped to the tits on Leytonstone speed, all the awards we’ve won and what we do with them, and – finally – Simon gets to talk about Romo. And along with the usual swearing, there’s a deep discussion of Michael Jackson’s accusation-related mither. And then more swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: has there ever been a Good Bates?
The year is 1982, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and the world is waiting for England. Actually, no – what the world is waiting for is for Tomorrow’s World to piss off, because this episode of The Pops is a bit special. No less than three football teams have been hitting the BBC bar all afternoon and rubbing a manky-jumpered shoulder with the Pop Elite and partake in an unforgettable half-hour-and-a-bit of flag-waving, scarf-brandishing, dirge-chanting palaver.
It’s not all footybollocks, though: Junior and Patrice Rushen get danced at by Zoo wankers. Original Junglists Tight Fit pretend to be Abba. Angry-yet-penitent Jim Diamond enters the fray. Bananarama get a leg-up by their mates Fun Boy Three. And Paul McCartney delivers a message to Racism: You Can Do One Right Now Please. And there’s an actual war on. And fucking hell, it’s Ken Baily!
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a snuffle at the gusset of the Union Jack shorts of 1982, breaking off on such tangents as time travel-assisted infanticide, using members of the 1982 Brazil squad to insult girls you don’t like, the incredible England 1982 LP, seeing Him Out Of Tight Fit in a Welsh nightclub, and how to make your own bra out of the contents of your pants drawer. This time – more than any other time – the swearing is outstandingly prolific.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: that scrap between Reagan and Chernenko – whose coat would you be holding?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us refraining from fretting about Armageddon for a bit and getting blasted full in the face by non-stop Rah-Rah-Rah American Olympic nonsense instead, revelling in the thrill of being able to watch BBC1 at four in the morning and indulging in golf ball-assisted masturbation while pretending to be Daley Thompson. But if the IOC think that Top Of The Pops is going to be moved from its rightful slot on a Thursday evening, Baron de Coubertain can fuck right off. And there’s just been an episode of Monkey on BBC2. Skill.
Musicwise, it’s full-on Eighties, but not in a necessarily bad way. John Peel and Dickie Skinner pull on some horrific shirts, Tracey Ullman does the Mashed Potato with the ghosts of the Atomic Age, overshadowed by a massive deckchair. Windjammer dance right out of the sportswear section of the Littlewoods catalogue. Hazel Dean pretends to forget about some bloke. Jeffrey Osbourne sweats his tits off in some awful 80s knitwear. Blancmange deliver the aural equivalent of a Vesta packet curry, without the grittiness. And because it’s 1984, you know what’s No.1.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni construct a shelter out of back issues of Smash Hits while Al Needham prepares a bin for toilet waste and observe the mushroom cloud of 1984, picking through the fallout and veering off to discuss erotic art in chip shops, the decline of the V-sign, going to the same place every Saturday for six weeks without realising it was a gay bar, Great Crisps of the Eighties, and East Germany’s most popular wank mag. We stare, we contrast and compare, and we swear, swear, swear.