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.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: how did we manage to go on about 7 Days for 20 minutes without once adding the word ‘Jankers’ to it?
Jesus in a jumpsuit, Pop-Crazed Youngsters – it’s a Top Of Pops from THIS ACTUAL CENTURY, and your three contributors, who are by now frantially sucking at the bone-dry and chapped teats of traditional media, are still upset that there are no Massive Glam Robots on, and it’s not available in pill form. Be warned: this episode contains a lengthy and unflinching dissection of the last days of Melody Maker, and it is not pretty.
Musicwise, it’s not quite as grim as we were expecting, because this is the Garage version of the Madchester episode. Craig David pops up in a Statement Wooly to tell you who he is and how he got his end away – EVEN THOUGH HE’S NOT NUMBER ONE ANYMORE. Wookie and Lain and MJ Cole complete the hat-trick. But fear not, the Alternative Nation fights back with, er, the last knockings of Reef and Mansun. There’s some properly good fire-breathing over some dogshit techno. Ronan fucking Keating pops up for no good reason whatsoever to pretend to be Deco out of the Commitments. And Robbie fucking Williams pulls his trousers down.
Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni GO THE FUCK OFF on the bell-ends who ruined their magazine while Al Needham looks on with concern, veering off on such tangents as refusing to let bands into their own hospitality areas because their last album was shit, Mad Phil, why tweeting ‘Fuck Off’ in the early hours of the morning is never a good idea, having pop stars getting on their hands and knees and wiping tea off your shoes, scissor masturbation, and a thorough examination of the ‘Craig David Having A Shit’ cover. LONGEST EPISODE EVER. And quite possibly the sweariest.
(the actual Top Of The Pops bit begins at 1:31:48. See what we mean?)
The latest episode of the podcast which asks; how would Mike Read get on in the WWF? And how long would it take before someone took his guitar off him and stoved his head in with it?
It’s been too long, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but we’re back from our spell of R&R at Pontins Camber Sands and are going armpit-deep into the cavity of one of the landmark episodes of Top Of The Pops – the one with the biggest TV audience ever. ITV are on strike, and the only other thing on the telly is carriage driving, of all things, leaving the field clear for Andy Peebles to make his TOTP debut in his ill-fitting suit.
Musicwise, it looks as if the BBC have ramped up the fun-for-all-the-family aspect in a desperate grab for as many eyeballs as possible, meaning we get a load of acts who are nowhere near the Top 40 mixed in with the usual fare. The Headboys get lumped into the New Wave thing and are not pleased about it. Jacko and Chic provide a devastating one-two punch. Scabby cowboys – in the shape of Dr Hook and Charlie Daniels – fill the air with the tang of unwashed denim. There’s a fearsome soundclash between Errol Dunkley and The Dooleys. Cats UK get ignored by The Kids. Sue of Legs & Co slaps a warning sign on her knee. It’s a glorious slab of the Eighventies, and it’s picked over with the care and attention you’ve come to expect from us.
David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a huddle around the candle of late ’79, veering off on tangents such as our favourite industrial disputes of the 70s, pestering your Dad to start wearing an eyepatch, the shocking antics of Gary’s Mam in Leeds, being confused by questionnaires in Shoot!, getting pissed up with a dog that looked like Marilyn Monroe on Central Weekend, and why the Daily Express are a bunch of thick twats. Get ready for some proper swearing.
A special-ish episode of the podcast which asks: why do we always leave the Xmas episodes to the last minute?
Another MASSIVE examination of Pop-telly nirvarna sees us tucking in to the annual Xmas day selection box – this time from the year of Nineteen and Seventy-Six. And lucky us: we’ve been invited to the head table of Radio One, dominated by the bearded gorgons of The Happy Sound themselves – DLT and Noel Edmonds – as they give the nation an opportunity to watch them pretend to like each other, have one massive trifle EACH, fuck about with bread and grip a fork with a Yorkshire pudding on the end of it with sheer uncontained LUST at Legs & Co.
Like all Xmas Day episodes, it’s a look back at the flare-swingin’ Sound of ’76 – and as is its wont, the highs are stratospheric and the lows are subterranean. Abba remind us who the Dons of the era were with not one but two hits. Tina Charles cowers up in the lighting rig and wonders about her bloke. The Wurzels keep it rural. JJ Barrie angers every child across the nation once more. Demis Roussos – Fat Jesus himself – puts a tingle in the loins of Bev and Ange. The most unmemorable month-long No.1 in recorded history wafts in and out. Legs & Co slink about in bra and pants, with those ferrets on the last episode. Tony Blackburn is boiled alive, while being danced at by an alligator with tits.
Taylor Parkes and Simon Price join Al Needham to sneakily rip open a corner of the wrapping on the presents of 1976 to see what they are, veering off on such vital tangents as Hughie Green’s Hard Right talking ballardry, Christmas cracker jokes about the Threat of Punk, the wrongness of England being in World Cup Subbuteo sets of the Seventies, and a heartwarming tale of getting pissed up and bothering Freddie Mercury. Apologies if the edit is rough as arseholes – we had considerable mither putting it together – but may it sustain you until we meet again in 2019.