Chart Music #14: September 24th 1987 – A Grey and Pink-Flecked Gelled-Up Nightmare

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: how bad would your war have to get before you start thinking of calling up Johnny Hates Jazz?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees the Chart Music gang trapped on the wrong side of Eightiestown, surrounded by a faceless herd of blandos in shitty suits with the sleeves rolled up, goaded into action by a wizened Don mincing about on top of a balcony. Bottom line: this episode of TOTP is absolute cat shit.

Because it’s co-presented by Mike Smith, who refused to have anything to do with Top Of The Pops after he left the show, you can rest assured that The BBC Won’t Show This when they get round to 1987 on their repeat run. And you’re not missing much, to be honest. Fucking Madonna Again gets all butch on a moving walkway in Turin, ABC turn into one of those bands of the era who want to be ABC in 1982, Jan Hammer looks extremely pleased with his brand new keytar, Mick Jagger holds children to ransom in an attempt to get his rubbish new single into the Top 40, and what the fuck is Gary Numan doing here?

Al Needham is joined by Taylor Parkes and Sarah Bee for a wince-inducing gaze into the open wound of the late Eighties, veering off on tangents including the CM verdict on Sounds Like Friday Night, how the hair gel of the era made it feel that you had a crusty tissue on your head, being forced to listen to Shakin’ Stevens on the school bus every day, discovering your def new high-tops are actually Bay City Rollers trainers, and more information on selling dirty knickers than anyone really needs. A colossal amount of swearing in this episode. Obviously.

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Chart Music #7: August 22nd 1985 – Nobody Ever Said; “Oh No, Jaws Is Coming”

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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.

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Chart Music #2: February 9th 1984 – When You Want To Suck And Chew It

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The second edition of the podcast which asks: who would win in a massive cage fight amongst Radio 1 DJs of the 70s and 80s?

This episode, we enter the late winter of George Orwell’s visionary magnum opus – but not even in his worst nightmares would he have imagined the Ministry of Pop Telly trying (and failing) to throw the No.1 single down the memory hole. And a Top 40 with two Thompson Twins entries.

Thankfully, we’re spared both of them, but what we actually get is cow-heavy and laden with the musk of the lower reaches of the charts, heavily influenced by the Channel Fourification of pop music, and overseen by Dave Lee Travis and his YTS lad Gary Davies. The Smiths make their second appearance, Nik Kershaw models the 2048 Little Chef uniform, Madness give up doing the Bummer Conga and go all serious, and we’re shocked to learn that Madonna isn’t black. And Marillion see fit to bring eight synths into the studio when there’s really no need.

Al Needham is joined by David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes for a serious pick amongst the brightly-coloured rags of the mid-Eighties, checking for stains along the way. Sorry for the delay on this: there’s been technical mither we need not go into.

(loads of swearing and explicit descriptions of what eleven year-olds think Paul McCartney does)

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