24/04/2016

Top of the Pops 2 April 1981



Shown on BBC4. Reviewed by Chris Arnsby
Simon Bates: "Hello and welcome to this week's Top of the Pops with no less than nine new numbers. Kicking off with the first from Stiff Little Fingers, over here."
Stiff Little Fingers: Just Fade Away [47]. My one Pop Fact about Stiff Little Fingers was that they named the band after the physical characteristic of the aliens in The Invaders. Now www.snopes.com tells me that isn't true. In the absence of anything else let's talk about captions. They've received another upgrade over the last few months. The Stiff Little Fingers one that ends the performance is very fancy featuring an embossed 3-D effect with the words overlaid and trailing down the screen. Oh, and look out for the bloke dancing to the left of the stage. He is wearing a ludicrous gold top with what can only be described as peaked bat-wing shoulders.
Stiff Little Fingers: The singer is alarmed by his bandmate's giant barm cake

Dave Stewart & Colin Blunstone: What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? [17]. Repeated from the 19/03/1981 edition.
Light Of The World: Time [45]. And if you thought the Stiff Little Fingers caption was fancy then check out the one for Light Of The World. It looks like Geoff Thonger on Video Effects has worked out how to apply the magic of the Quantel box to captions. 
Liquid Gold: Don't Panic [44]. Over in the audience pit it's those "loonies" (©Simon Bates 1981) Liquid Gold. The words "Don't Panic" flash repeatedly on the Eidophor screen as if the Top of the Pops studio is about to hit peak infinite improbability.  Peaked bat-wing shoulders man (the world's most cumbersomely titled superhero) dances away at the side of the stage. He's been joined by a sidekick dressed like the Gorgon from the Star Trek episode And The Children Shall Lead with a frilly shirt. The pair really dig that Liquid Gold sound. Meanwhile, oh God, the drummer is pretending to play with a pair of feather dusters. How come when Madness do this kind of thing I think it's great, but when Liquid Gold pull the same zany pranks it all turns to ashes?
Liquid Gold's singer really, really wants that barm cake
Stevie Wonder: Lately [4]. The video for this Stevie Wonder song is too orange. Far, far, too much orange.
The Jacksons: Can You Feel It [23]. Legs & Co are all dressed as Dandy Highwaymen. In comparison to some of the dirges they've had to dance to recently this is a decent track and they acquit themselves well with lots of jumping and pointed knees to match the strong beat of the song. Heather Gilder, Vison Mixer, and  Geoff Thonger team up with a clever effect that involves grabbing a freeze frame and slowly fading it out from the picture.
Children Of Tansley School: Mum My Is One In A Million [27]. "Now last Sunday was Mothering Sunday, as you know," and with this one sentence Simon Bates tells you everything you need to know about this cynical attempt to grab some of that sweet, sweet No-One Quite Like Grandma cash.
Sugar Minott: Good Thing Going (We’ve Got A Good Thing Going) [31]. The real star of this performance is the drummer who gets his own camera angle for the occasional rim shot. 
Lena Zavaroni: Roses & Rainbows [not in chart]. Speaking of cynicism. Lena Zavoroni's song isn't in the charts but by a weird coincidence her new series starts on BBC1 on  Wednesday 8th April. Fancy that. With special guests Lulu and Rod Hull and Emu. Thanks BBC Genome.
Spandau Ballet: Musclebound [53]. Spandau Ballet are going for a well coiffured post-apocalypse look; Road Warrior meets the tribe of the fey. There's a nice reverse camera angle of the stage which gives us a good look at the workings of the standard BBC issue smoke machine.
Bucks Fizz: Making Your Mind Up [5]. Repeated from 19/03/1981.
Top Ten: A return to the boring right to left scrolling caption to indicate the chart position. A real disappointment considering the good caption work which has been going on elsewhere in this edition.
Number One: Shakin' Stevens, The Ole House. Not as I keep accidentally typing, This Ole Horse. Which is an entirely different song.
Closing Titles: The Nolans, Attention To Me [21]. The show plays out with the audiece dancing to at the Top of the Pops disco. Peaked bat-wing shoulders man is at the front of the stage, but he's not wearing his jacket. Did he have it confiscated? Has one of his peak bat-wing shoulders taken out someone's eye?
The Nolans fail to spell the word barm
Performance of the week:  Sugar Minott: Good Thing Going (We’ve Got A Good Thing Going)

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