Chart Music #34: December 18th 1980 – You Can Hear Them Shagging In Japanese

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks; who is more important – a dead Beatle, or your Nana?

It’s cold and dark, pop-crazed youngsters, so it’s time once again to binge upon one of our favourite eras of Top Of The Pops. Your hosts are simultaneously deciding which 50 badges to wear for the school Xmas disco, still in hiding from the fake accusation that they had a good cry about someone dying, and going about their business unaware that Santa is going to let them down big style in a week’s time. But for a glorious half-hour, we’re all distracted by the sight of Pig-Wanker General himself, perched on a gantry, giving us our weekly shot of Pop randomness.

Musicwise, the highs are high and the lows are lower than low. The Beat and The Specials remind us who the daddies were in the Eighventies, but we also get the sickening one-two punch of the second most annoying singer with a lisp of 1980 and a festive celebration of drink-driving, sexual harrassment and homophobia. The Nolans have finally managed to get them dead tight satin trews off, but have replaced them for even tighter designer jeans. Chas and Dave lob out terrifying animal masks. Jona Lewie sets himself up for life. Legs & Co are attacked by ferrets as they pay tribute to Ghandi John. There’s the most un-arsed xylophone solo ever. And Little and Large are asked what they think about Pop at the moment. It’s brilliant.

Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham a pass-around of the UHU-filled crisp bag of late 1980, veering off on tangents such as gerontophiliac porn line adverts, Terry Hall turning your back on you, why having ‘OMD’ printed on the back of your Harrington is just plain wrong, the Summer of Chinese Death Stars, the wrongness of Gideon, and being sexually initiated by Yoko Ono in a Nottingham council house while eating a 10p mix. The swearing is up to its usual standard, you’ll be pleased to hear.

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Chart Music #33: February 8th 1996 – It’s Tarp Of The Parps!

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks; if God were one of us, who would he hate more out of M People and the Lighthouse Family?

The longest episode of Chart Music EVER sees us pitched into the second half of the Nineties for the first time – and oh dear, our favourite Pop show is beginning to enter its slow decline and being pissed about with big style. The guest presenters are still in effect – but luckily for us, this week’s frontperson is Julian Cope, who has brought a giant It’s A Knockout-style builder to help him stage a prime-time protest against the Newbury Bypass. There’s not one but two of those live satellite broadcasts, which demonstrate that California’s weather fluctuates like an absolute bastard. Everything’s piling into the charts right near the top and then dropping down again. And where’s the Britpop?

Musicwise, this is an absolute lucky bag of randomness, minus the chunky ring you wanted. Some Bedouin tribesmen sit around on a Trancey ‘tip’. Joan Osbourne bangs on about God. Billy Corgan arses about in a car with The Teens. East 17 phone it in. Etta James is forced outside in the wind in order to make giant ships disappear and have a good lech at some sailors. Michael Jackson’s nephews emote by some driftwood. Terrorvision jump about a bit. Alien Mr Benn gets everyone excited with the opening bars for this week’s No.1, and then turns the dial right down to 16 rpm. And OH NO THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY GODDD.

Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham on an euphoric extended chill-out Archers and Lemonade House tip for a long, hard stare at the bulging packet of 1996, veering off to discuss the comedy value of jacket potatoes, self-grooming tips from the stars, how to mix a Pina Kulkarni, full-on problem page questions in Nineties gay magazines, Star Trek Bhangra, and having homoerotic fever dreams about acts in the Chart Music Top Ten. Very long, very strong, very sweary.

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Chart Music #32: October 28th 1982 – Come To The Sabbat, Simon’s There

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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!

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Chart Music #31: August 11th 1983 – For No Bums Will Ever Tempt Me From She

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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.

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Chart Music #30: November 23rd 1989 – Hulk Get Jheri Curl!

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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!

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Chart Music #29: January 22nd 1976 – This Is A Song About A Naughty Lady

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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.

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Chart Music #28: August 31st 1995 – Find A Girl, Settle Down, Kill Salman Rushdie

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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.

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