15/10/2018

Top of the Pops 13 Oct 1983


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "It's Thursday evening welcome to Top of the Pops!" Richard Skinner: "What a show we've got for you tonight. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Tracey Ullman, Lydia Murdock and much more!" Peter Powell: "And to start with here's Roman Holiday with Motor! Mania!"

[47] Roman Holliday: Motormania. In September John wrote an enthusiastic article about Roman Holliday (John- Check to your right..) and it would take a better man than me to come in and micturate all over his deep-fried potato batons. (John – You’ve made up that word haven’t you?) I'm not familiar with Roman Holliday. Apparently they appeared on Top of the Pops earlier in 1983 performing Don't Try To Stop It but I don't remember the song. In fact looking at the running order of the 07/07/1983 edition (John Peel and David Jensen dressed as gangsters) the whole show has left an indelible blank on my memory; The Mary Jane Girls?; Jimmy The Hoover? You'd think I'd remember someone called Jimmy The Hoover. This was during This Way Up's summer interregnum but I did keep watching Top of the Pops (honest). Anyway, Motormania. It's good. (John- it’s great!) It feels like a logical extension of the Rockabilly revival which produced up groups like The Stray Cats and The Polecats; and probably some other bands which didn't feature the word cat in their name.


10/10/2018

Regenerated Doctor Who is a Hit!


A lot of fans had a preconceived notion of what the new regenerated Doctor Who would be like based on about 18 months of speculation, gossip and very slim pre publicity. While you can never make too many assumptions based on a new Doctor’s opener, it is fair to say that there have been a lot of changes though in other ways the programme has moved closer to how it was back in the 70s. It is the potential that the episode suggests which is the most exciting thing of all and it seems the viewing public agree with the overnight ratings alone topping 8 million and when consolidated figures are calculated that figure could easily top  10 million. It is looking like a palpable hit.
Spoilers after this point
Read Matthew Kilburn’s excellent review of this episode on www.spacetimetelegraph.blogspot.com


05/10/2018

Is Kate Bush retiring?


The news that Kate Bush is to re-release all her albums on vinyl and cd comes in a year in which the enigmatic singer has turned sixty and is also to publish a book of her lyrics. Given that she’s released no new music in the four years since the Before The Dawn shows could it be that these performances were actually a farewell? It is certainly hard to imagine she would ever repeat the experience and equally easy to think the idea of public retirement appeals to a singer who has rarely seemed comfortable in the spotlight. 

30/09/2018

Top of the Pops 6 Oct 1983


Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. John Peel: "Hail Reptilicus. Come you from our legions in Gaul?" David Jensen:"Get off! It's Top of the Pops. And here's Freeez to kick off with Pop Goes My Love. Let's get down."
[33] Freeez: Pop Goes My Love. October? Already? The autumn nights draw in so quickly. John Peel and David Jensen have raided the BBC dressing up box for Roman gear; they've also been cowboys and gangsters in1983. If the pair can sneak into the Doctor Who costume box they can dress up as Sea Devils, or the big snake from Kinda. Freeez are rubbish. They've annoyed me by having a name that's difficult to type; variations I've managed in the last ten minutes include Freeze (obviously), Freez, and Frezee. I refuse to do any research on Frieze. It's more charitable to assume that they're a stray Euroband dragged across the Channel in the wake of Ryan Paris. The lyrics of Pop Goes My Love show all the signs of hasty translation from Estonian. It's like taking a romp through the big book of pop clichés. "After living with you for years and years/Through loving and hating, through laughter and tears/A change in the weather, a calm before storms/Without any warning, the dark before dawn." And that's just the first verse. The chorus starts "one, two, three," and a nation waits with bated breath to hear what comes next. "Four, five, six." Bah! I dismiss thee Frrzze. Back to San Marino with you.
No they weren't. Fake facts ahoy! They were probably about the 22nd band to do so.

26/09/2018

Ad Break#7 Nationwide – Friends, Family and Heritage


It’s been around for a while now but one of my favourite adverts is not some hilarious joke fest or epic filmic production but a simple spoken word scene in a photo booth. And I was surprised to discover what is at the heart of a campaign that is far from conventional in its approach. I’m not totally sure it works from the point of view of promoting the company it’s supposed to but I’m glad they’re making them! I’m talking about Nationwide and their series of ads featuring poetry and spoken word narratives. These have elicited a mixed response from some people who find them irritating but they have been running for a while now and I always pay attention to them which says something. The best known one is last year’s Mother’s Day advert, more on which later. This one called `Pals` features a couple in the booth listing the things about the other owns or does. And at the end they pull silly faces when the reassuringly crunchy sounding camera flash goes off. It makes you instantly think you’d like to know these people. Whether it makes you hot foot it to your nearest Nationwide branch is another matter! Here it is…

24/09/2018

Ad Break #6 Confused? Why the Bear? Who is Kate?


Confused.com- “Don’t get confused”
Over the years adverts for confused.com have evolved becoming gradually less chirpy and artier. The last set of ads featuring James Corden and the slogan “that’s a driver win” seemed like an attempt to combine the two but now that has gone and is replaced by something altogether more brooding. A driver navigates the confused.com Mercedes through what could be a post- apocalyptic cityscape as the voiceover complains about having too much choice. We see such modern signatures as fake news, “experts with no expertise” and a supermarket with rows of identical products while dust blows around the vehicle.  His slow journey is accompanied by the “Forever Dolphin Love” by Connan Mockasin. Eventually our driver steers the car out onto the open road and towards the Sun heralding the slogan “Don’t be confused. Be confused.com” over the opening notes of Link Wray’s `Rumble`.

23/09/2018

Putting the X back in The X Factor


It is often interesting to check in on long running programmes that are considered past their prime. While not always the case it can turn out to be that a rejuvenation of sorts has occurred away from the white heat of over expectation and though it is early days yet I can sense this year’s series of The X Factor is headed that way. The format is solid gold yet the process has been tinkered with every time in recent years and the impression is desperate ratings chasing decisions have been made mostly to try and keep up with Strictly Come Dancing which when you think about it a wholly different show with celebrity contestants. The strength of The X Factor is that these are members of the public competing and in recent years that strength has not been used to its best advantage. 


19/09/2018

Bus Business!


It’s the least cool method of travelling yet millions use it every day. If you don’t then these are some of the things you’re missing out on…

# Bus stops are located in places where anyone waiting will have to put up with maximum rain, wind or Sun.  Tellingly they stopped calling them bus `shelters` some years ago.
# Bus timetables are merely there to reassure passengers. They bear no relation to the actual time a bus might show up. When they do show up they are in pairs meaning double the wait for the next one.
# A bus will go past the stop if you don’t make some attempt to flag it down. It will also go past if there is another bus there even if it’s a different route. There is no point whatsoever trying to run after a bus to get it to stop though people do try and sometimes flap so much they might take off and therefore end up overtaking the bus!
# Each generation of people is slightly taller. Each new set of buses has smaller seats. Should both these trends continue there will eventually be a pivotal moment when some people are too tall to fit onto the bus at all.