Chart Music #16: December 22nd 1983 – Hold On, Here Comes Jism

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The latest edition of the podcast which asks: if the Thompson Twins made you a sandwich, would you want to eat it?

It’s Christmas Time, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but there’s no need to be afraid – because we’re a full year away from any Band Aid rubbishness. It’s the last episode of The Pops before Xmas of 1983, and the studio is festooned with balloons and party hats, making it just like every other episode that year. And what a line-up (sneered at by John Peel and jollied along by Kid Jensen) it isn’t!

Musicwise, this is the mankiest Selection Box of teeth-loosening dessicated cat shit we’ve come across in a long while. Out go the Synth-mentalists of a few years ago, and in come in bare-footed, frizz-haired Serious Musicians. Terry and Arfur pop up to flog one of the crappiest Christmas songs ever, a Breakfast TV puppet with johnnies for ears defiles hip-hop, and Paul McCartney has a war with himself. On the plus side, Billy Joel goes back 20 years to leer at some girls having a pyjama party, Slade go back ten years and ignore a couple of Zoo Wankers, and Culture Club put a full orchestra in serious danger.  And the No.1 is properly right-on.

Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price join Al Needham for this one, and have a good stare through the window of late 1983 like Dickensian urchins, breaking off to discuss such important matters as sex education videos of the 80s, running into Mrs McCluskey in a charity shop, asking lead singers how to get to Wales while they’re nobbing someone up against a tour bus, and the curse of Sta-Prest Fanny. With all the swearing you could ever want.

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Chart Music #9: April 11th 1974 – She’s A WILF

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The ninth episode of the podcast which asks: were England’s international failures of the 1970s caused by an insistence on playing football on beaches in massive flares and stack heels while pretending to be Marvin Gaye?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us making another Sam Tyler-like voyage to Spangleland in an attempt to see if 1974 could keep up the quality levels of the year before, or if it was already lurching into the hell of 1975. What we discover is a Bizarro-world in which Noel Edmonds stands out as a bouffanted, proto-Medallion Man object of genuine teenage lust amongst the sullen, lank-haired youth.

Musicwise, we see ‘new’ bands taking wing (Mud, in their Glam-Ted Vishnu phase), older bands calming themselves down (Slade, doing a ballad) or on their way out (Mungo Jerry, we’re looking at you), and people absolutely losing their shit over The Wombles. Pans People cause your Dad’s tea to slide right off his lap as they don the flounciest, bounciest nighties ever, Bill Haley is unearthed and put on display, the Terry Jacks Deathwatch drags on for another week, and history is made as Abba yomp all the way from Brighton to Shepherds Bush to begin their glacial reign over the Seventies.

Al Needham is joined by Simon Price and David Stubbs to discuss all of this, as well as rubbish funeral songs, supporting a football team that looks like your favourite mug, BBC Families v ITV Families, believing that pop songs are actually news bulletins, and the Celtic ritual of Crisp Sacrifice. And all the swearing you could possibly want.

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Chart Music #8: September 24th 1981 – Two Pound Of Tripe In A One Pound Bag

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The eighth edition of the podcast which asks: a new version of Top Of The Pops with sketches? FUCK OFF!

This episode sees the controls of the Time Sofa hijacked by our own Simon Price, who force-lands it smack in the middle of 1981. He’s been saying for ages that ’81 is the greatest Pop year ever, forcing us to throw down the frilly, fingerless gauntlet.

Things start weirdly with Simon Bates looking like a supply teacher and the return of Slade and Alvin, but then it’s wave after wave of ‘bands’ that don’t even have proper drums and make records by just pressing a button, don’t you know, interspersed with black men slinking about and even getting skinheads to wave their hands in the air.

Any Brexiteers who can stomach Leee John being all sexually threatening and David Sylvian looking like Lady Di will be trapping a creased-up England flag in their bedroom windows in unrestrained joy to see a practically all-British line-up, and Madness have dropped another video, but it’s not all good news: Barbara Gaskin comes on like a glammed-up Candice-Marie in Nuts In May, and a soon-to-be-on-the-dole Legs & Co look on as Lulu scabs out and dances with someone called Jeremy.

Al Needham, Taylor Parkes and Simon Price pick through the dress-up box that is 1981, veering off to discuss dog auto-fellatio, throwing Molotov cocktails into Welsh churches, whether people in Birmingham are proud of Crossroads (or not), cousins who get pissed up at your auntie’s do and accuse you of being gay, and why it’s a bad idea to do an Ant Stripe with Tipp-Ex. The usual swearing, and edited dead fast in order to get it out before the end of the month, so if it’s shonkier than usual, soz.

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