The latest episode of the podcast which asks: why didn’t they let Simon Bates do Top Of The Pops USA, just for a laugh?
We’re out of the Critics’ Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, so it’s time to grasp the fly-encrusted and whiffy end of the Eighties Stick. It’s a Thursday evening one week before Xmas in 1987, and your panel are a) in a Soho pub, chucking their musical-journalistic weight about, b) trapped in a bingo hall in Nottingham being handled like a piece of meat by randy octogenarians, and c) sprawled out on a rug in Yorkshire, with a garter snake wrapped around their glasses, waiting to be dazzled by the life-affirming beauty of Pop. Two of these people made the right choice that night.
Musicwise, this is a heavily adulterated, gelled-up, suity, unwiped arse of an episode, with only a couple of standouts. Mike Read and Gary Davies pretend to be mates. Wet Wet Wet attempt to do True and fail. Mel Smith’s attempt to encourage kids to hide in fridges is denied by the BBC. Mick Hucknall – leader of the Kennyist band in Pop – reminds us he can sing a bit. Nat King Cole cock-blocks Rick Astley. We finally get to see a bit of Top Of The Pops USA. And Kirsty and Shane and Neil and Chris ride in to save the day. None of these people are The Young Gods.
David Stubbs and Sarah Bee join Al Needham for a rummage through the Quality Street tin of Xmas 1987, and – as always – the detours and tangents are manifold, including what it was like to work at Melody Maker in the Laties, how to buy a shark in Yorkshire, the lack of a decent wine cellar at Dingwalls, the pointlessness of CD Walkmans, the annual F-word debate, how Marti Pellow ruined Stars In Their Eyes, and an open apology to the Pogues for a 33 year-old LP review. Now available in Fun-sized portions, and full of rich, chunky swearing.
Part 1: Preamble
Part 2: Wet Wet Wet, Mel (Smith) & Kim (Wilde), Simply Red
Part 3: The Pogues & Kirsty McColl, Level 42, Nat King Cole
Part 4: Belinda Carlisle, Pet Shop Boys, Madonna