18/09/2017

The future of coffee shops



A recent report reckoned that the UK is near saturation point when it comes to coffee shops. Short of opening one on every corner and despite the fact that they always seem to be crowded, the theory is we won’t need any more within three years. However this means that the sector will have to evolve. They could get bigger- how long before they start calling them Coffee Hubs? Just as some fast food outlets have hundreds of seats, perhaps some coffee shops will grow in a similar way.


17/09/2017

Top of the Pops 12 August 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby: John Peel: "Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops. Who's sold out then? To start the programme yet another one of those ensembles that has a funny foreign name."
[34] Toto Coelo: I Eat Cannibals. Toto Coelo -or, if you are more cynical, someone in Toto Coelo's record company- has done a lot of thinking about how to look good on Top of the Pops. The group is distinctively dressed in multi-coloured bin bags, and they've worked out a dance routine which works well on camera. There's a lot of hip-swaying and stamping on the spot but not too much moving around which allows for shots to be well framed, and makes life much easier for Vision Mixer Carol Abbot when she wants to cut between cameras. Toto Coelo's second and last Top of the Pops appearance is available on YouTube (it's embargoed on BBC4,  D*v* L** Tr*v*s), along with the official video, and it turns out Toto Coelo only have one dance routine for this song. This reminds me of The Brotherhood of Man who also used to devise one cringy routine per song and then plod through it on multiple Top of the Pops (sample example: Angelo, where the band assumed Flamenco-like positions while singing the ANGELO! bit of their cheery song about teen suicide). It should be noted that I Eat Cannibals is infinitely more fun than anything by The Brotherhood of Man. Toto Coelo won't be seen again. Their follow-up single Dracula's Tango (Sucker For Your Love) reached 54 in the chart. This is something of a relief for me as I'm finding their name very hard to type. My fingers keep rendering it as Toto Coleo. Oddly enough The Brotherhood of Man gives me the same problem; it keeps coming out as The Brotherhood of Mann.
Toto Coelo fail to spell their name

15/09/2017

What is Futsal?



We’ve all heard of football but what is futsal? I was thinking that it was just a word for football in another language but it turns out to be a different sport altogether. By no means new it seems to be increasing in popularity yet there are a lot of people who’ve never heard of it. The word roughly translates from Spanish as “mini football” and is played mostly indoors on a hard pitch or court that is smaller than a football pitch.  It has been growing in popularity since many top name footballers credit futsal with helping them develop playing skills.
Futsal in full effect

08/09/2017

Online shopping predicted in 1971



You might think online shopping is newish but in fact it was predicted 46 years ago by Peter Fairley who was the science editor for ITV’s version of `Radio Times` which was called `TV Times`. He didn’t call it online shopping of course but he did pen the article when many were lamenting the demise of small family shops as supermarkets started to take over. What he describes may sound a bit odd but essentially he is talking- in 1971- about what a lot of us do now which is order shopping in a device from the comfort of our homes. 
"Now what's trending on Twitter?"

06/09/2017

Top of the Pops 5 August 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. David "Kid" Jensen: "Live from the Television Centre in London welcome to another Top of the Pops and we have a tremendous line-up of live acts for you tonight kicking off with Madness at number four with Driving In My Car."
[4] Madness: Driving In My Car. If you asked someone to describe an idealised Madness performance it would resemble this one. There's staccato dancing, loads of mucking around with props -a ventriloquist dummy, a skeleton used for percussion, a Policeman with a blue light on his hat, playing two saxophones at once- and a general sense that the song is considerably less important than having fun. There's also a dirty great car parked in the middle of the main studio performance area. How are Cecila Brereton and her army of scene shifters going to cope with that in a live programme? The answer is disappointingly simple, you can spot the moment Suggs releases the handbrake and then the boys push the Maddiemobile out of the studio. Only one question remains, what happens to the hat with the blue light on it? It disappears without a trace during a change of camera.

01/09/2017

How posh was my school? (and did it have a Resident Swan?)




There’s a survey for me to find out how posh my school was posted a couple of years ago somewhere and still zooming around online like a speedster. My alma mater scored a mere 28 out of 50 which is sort of half posh. Of course poshness does have different connotations depending on whereabouts in the UK you live. In Liverpool being posh is using a knife and a fork (ha- just kidding scousers) whereas in Surrey it involves someone specifically employed to cut up your carrots with gold plated knives. Anyhow I thought I’d examine some of the criteria this survey associates with posh schools and see how it fits in with my experiences.You have to tick off the things your school had and there’s a nice picture for those people who don’t know what they are because you can be posh and simple of course. Here we go then-

27/08/2017

Top of the Pops 29 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Mike Read: "Hello gang. Welcome to Top of the Pops. Terrific show lined up for you tonight, lots and lots of fab artists starting off with Dexy's Midnight Runners and Come On Eileen."
[2] Dexy's Midnight Runners: Come On Eileen. Where's Mike Read been? He last presented Top of the Pops in February. Why is Kevin Rowland the only person allowed to wear a shirt under his denim dungarees? How repulsed are the audience that Dexy's Midnight Runners are performing with no shoes and the raised stage places their stinking feet at face level? So many questions with no answer.
[3] Yazoo: Don't Go. An endearingly bonkers video in which Vince Clarke (and his stupid hair) makes a Frankenstein, and then dresses up as Dracula to menace Alison Moyet. The relevance of all this to song is tenuous but it looks like everyone is having a great time raiding the dressing-up box.

21/08/2017

Triangled



When is a Toblerone not a Toblerone? That is the question currently being asked as the makers of the world’s most impractical but apparently "legendary" chocolate bar launch court action against budget store Poundland’s proposed if rather inaccurately named Twin Peaks (I counted twenty peaks on it). Will David Lynch also sue them for using the name of his soporific tv series? 

20/08/2017

Top of the Pops 22 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Simon Bates: "Hello and welcome to the party. It's studio eight at Television Centre with a live Top of the Pops. A great 35 minutes. And to kick us off, The Belle Stars and the Clapping Song."

[36] The Belle Stars: The Clapping Song. Simon Bates? Presenting a live Top of the Pops? I might doubt his ability but BBC Genome proves me wrong. It turns out he's quietly become Top of the Pops' backup live TV guy. The first eighties edition broadcast live (or at least the first one flagged in the Radio Times) was the 900th edition of Top of the Pops shown on 09/07/1981. Peter Powell had a go next in September, before David "Kid" Jensen arrived back from CNN and handled the Christmas Eve edition and the first of the next cycle of live editions on 04/03/1982. Simon Bates follows with one on 11/03/1982. The pair then alternate as presenters and live shows settle into a pattern of one each month. Away from the dizzy whirl of Top of the Pops Simon Bates also shares presenting duties with Gloria Hunniford on a late night BBC1 show called Saturday Live (that's original) which ran for six weeks across the summer of 1982. Thanks for that BBC Genome. That's really helpful. I only have one last question; why did you also flag episode one of Fanny By Gaslight (24/09/1981 Fanny fans) in my list of Simon Bates search results? Meanwhile, on stage The Belle Stars do a really good job of getting this edition of Top of the Pops started.
BBC dressing rooms were not large.

18/08/2017

Bruce Forsyth



I never laughed at television as a kid as much as I did when Bruce Forsyth was doing The Generation Game, at least that’s what my mum tells me. She could hear me and my brother laughing away each Saturday evening and I remember that programme too. A basically silly idea of getting adults to do awkward though not impossible tasks would have been amusing enough on its own but with Brucie hosting it was brilliant. What you can see now as an adult is his ability to communicate with members of the public, a rarer gift than you might think- how many politicians would love to have that at their command? Brucie did it by never mocking or belittling contestants, rather he laughed with them, commented on what they were doing and pulled an expression that made you smile. What I never knew then was the extraordinary career he’d already had before the show, a career that lasted for seven decades.
Its funny how things come round. Back in the Seventies of course Mum looked after us. Now in the past five years I’ve been increasingly looking after her and Brucie was back in our lives again on Saturday nights. Now I don’t know much about ballroom dancing but do you know what, Brucie made Strictly Come Dancing a great show, still in command, still showing his skills. Sometimes he’d even tap dance, in his mid 80s. 
He seems to have been with many generations, going right back to his early successes in the Fifties and then post Generation Game, those shows like Play Your Cards Right which I’ve never seen but know the catchphrases for anyway. Brucie was always a bonus whatever show he was on, the last of the great all rounders. Nice to see him? It was brilliant to see him!

14/08/2017

The Sidemen versus KSI- real or fake?



It’s all been kicking off on YouTube since KSI left The Sidemen. Or is it really? OK some of you will be wondering what I’m talking about so here’s a short 101 on The Sidemen. They are football and gaming vloggers with a following of some 35 million subscribers. Though each have their own individual channels they also combine their efforts like the Power Rangers (but without powers) as The Sidemen. Since forming in 2013 they have become a global brand with a range of clothing, a best -selling book and enough popularity to fill a football stadium as they did for a charity match back in May. However where there were seven of them there are now six. KSI, the most popular and controversial of the group quit earlier this month after distancing himself from the others for some time. Since then- and it’s only a couple of weeks- so called diss track videos have been flying back and forth with the ferocity of a Game of Thrones battle sequence. I’d love to include one of these in this post but frankly they are just too near the knuckle (blogging is still a safer environment than vlogging). Whether or not you care about the falling out of people you’ve never heard of, what this is really about is the difference between what is real and what isn’t and whether the obvious fun both sides are having with this `split` is sending the wrong messages to their followers.


11/08/2017

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

How you respond to a film like Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger depends on how you approach it. If you’re looking for flaws and things that just don’t match the sleek effects of today you’ll find plenty. If you’re willing to indulge the entertainment of another age then you may find yourself enjoying the ride. Forty years old this year, the movie comes alongside the other two big screen Sinbad outings (reviewed last month) in a well presented box set including both DVD and Blu-ray versions.

09/08/2017

Top of the Pops 15 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: " Hi! Welcome to the party! Another edition of Top of the Pops! On the show tonight we've got David Essex, Cliff Richard, we've got Visage, Japan, Dexy's and many others but for starters Hot Chocolate with ..! 
[12] Hot Chocolate: It Started With A Kiss. A slightly slower tempo song than is normally used for the first performance, but it's great so who cares. 
[30] Paul McCartney: Take It Away. Ooh look Ringo's in this slightly self-aggrandising Paul McCartney video. And John Hurt. On this occasion an alien doesn't burst out of John Hurt's chest. 
[35] Cliff Richard: The Only Way Out. Ugh, it's Cliff and he's wearing nasty leather trousers. Apparently this song is about God, which explains why Cliff Richard keeps pointing up on the line "and it's yooooo." 
[24] Yazoo: Don't Go. I am turning into my nan. I find myself annoyed by Vince Clarke's fringe. Could the real reason why he left Depeche Mode be because Dave Gahan wouldn't let him grow stupid, floppy hair at the front of his head?

06/08/2017

Handsome Devil



For a film whose theme is about being yourself and not hiding things, the title is somewhat misleading but this is a subtle coming of age drama that travels familiar roads but has a refreshing tendency to veer off when you least expect it to. What you think is going to happen doesn’t and by the end you may well find yourself getting excited over the result of a rugby match and, you know, that’s not something that normally happens. Writer / director John Butler gleefully plays with tropes that anyone whose watched any American high school film will recognise but imbues each with something more.

04/08/2017

Binge watching diminishes episodic drama



It has been reported this week that more than half of those who watch ongoing series catch multiple episodes in what is being  called `bingewatching` or `box set Britain`. Many even miss out on sleep in order to just watch one more episode before bedtime. This isn’t a new thing as such- ever since videos people have been able to watch episodes of series whenever they liked but it seems to have grown now the likes of Netflix and Amazon have started dropping whole seasons at a time. Whereas with videos, dvds and blu rays you’d probably already watched weekly episodes first, now you don’t have to. You can watch all the episodes in one day if you want but if you do are you missing out on an important aspect of episodic drama?

28/07/2017

Dunkirk



The relentless thrum of war is never out of earshot in Christopher Nolan’s terrifically absorbing take on one of the Second World War’s most celebrated incidents. It’s there not just in the bullets and bombs flying about but in Hans Zimmer’s disturbing drone-like incidental music. Combined with Nolan’s trademark in your face filming techniques the results are outstanding and intense. It’s as close to the real thing as you can get or would want to get. It is the best film I’ve seen so far this year.


21/07/2017

War for the Planet of the Apes



You know how seamless the motion capture process has become when you don’t even spend time marvelling at it as people used to and instead focus straight into the film. It’s probable that this story could not have been done till now due to those advances because it is seen almost entirely from the apes point of view while the scattering of human characters enjoy relatively short focus compared to their simian rivals.  This can, at times, make the results seem slightly drawn out but this is a tense, slow burning war film that succeeds by trying new twists on a familiar tale.

17/07/2017

Top of the Pops 8 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. David "Kid" Jensen: "And a warm welcome to another forty minutes of hit sounds in vision. And we begin this week's music and lights with this from Imagination."

[5] Imagination: Music And Lights. Leee John and Ashley Ingram are having a contest to see who can wear the most stupid clothes. Under normal circumstances Ashley Ingram would win; he's wearing a top modelled on American Football shoulder pads and gold lame trousers. However, Leeee John has pulled off an ensemble in white lace and padded cloth which makes him look like the one of the alien delegates from the Doctor Who story Mission to the Unknown. The drummer barely gets a look in. Which is probably just as well. He's wearing a long coat that covers his shorts so he appears to be trouserless. This is a standard Imagination performance which means it features lots of groin thrusts and kissy faces but Leeeee John goes too far and punctures the erotic atmosphere with a move that involves opening his coat and fanning his chest as if his nipple is too hot. And where does Ashley Ingram's guitar go? It disappears while he's off camera. Does he toss it into the audience like Elvis used to do with towels? (John- Yes, in all 8 people were injured over the years)
Imagination: Yes, it was his turn to wear the triangle this week

12/07/2017

Spiderman- Homecoming



From the moment the introduction includes that familiar Spiderman cartoon series theme you know this is going to be a more playful take on the web slinger than recent attempts and indeed that is the case. Spiderman Homecoming pivots on two excellent performances from Tom Holland and Michael Keaton and a likeable sense of irreverence that stops short of parody. Plus suitably enough considering the main character, it is essentially a coming of age movie.
Alert! Spidey spoilers past this point!

08/07/2017

Pineapples are in my head...



How did pineapples become so popular? If you look they are everywhere even in areas you might not associate with such an item. It’s a strange thing the pineapple- for example the Wimbledon winner’s trophy has a pineapple on top of it because we all associate tennis with pineapples don’t we? Well, no, but the reason it’s there is because it was once a symbol of wealth, a highly sought after commodity back in the day; the crowning glory of a feast if you like. And that apparently is why it is there rather than the strawberry or tennis ball you might expect. Hang on, there’s also a pineapple on top of the Rugby World Cup as well for more or less the same reason. Wouldn’t it be great if the football World Cup was just one big giant gold pineapple?

05/07/2017

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad



About 15 years after his seventh voyage Sinbad was back for this 1973 film in which he is on the trail of an amulet part of which is serendipitously dropped onto his ship by a gargoyle like bat creature presumably the sort of occurrence that often happened. This odd bit of plotting aside, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a tighter more nuanced film than its brash predecessor. Interestingly it holds back on its monsters; whereas Seventh Voyage wheeled out the Cyclops within its first ten minutes, the small winged demon aside, there is not a big beast in sight for over half an hour. This gives the movie a better momentum and more opportunity to establish characters in particular Tom Baker’s mercurial Koura.

02/07/2017

Top of the Pops 1 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. A bad day for television, unless you really like sport. At 19.10 Top of the Pops is a ray of sunshine against the gloomy backdrop of a day where only Chock-a-Block and Playschool break up the monotony of a BBC1 schedule composed of alternating news and Wimbledon coverage. But wait... what's on when Top of the Pops finishes at 19.40? Oh it's World Cup Grandstand until the News at 21.55. Time for bed.
John Peel: "Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops. Getting to be a pretty regular gig for this... for me this and I always think it's very important when you're on television that you don't look stupid, you know what I mean. Rather a short programme because we've got football on later and I hope you'll stay for that. We've got some good things for you though; Queen, The Jam. We're going to start with Visage.  
[34] Visage: Night Train. Ron Bristow is on Lighting duties again and he uses a flickering light effect to subtly imply motion. It takes two people to produce this effect. The first is on the right of the stage spinning a square mirrored box by hand. The second is over to stage left and he's standing by a light making sure it's pointing at the box. Meanwhile Steve Strange dances around on stage. It's probably Visage's first time performing in the Top of the Pops studio, or something.
Steve was not impressed by the enormous microphone

30/06/2017

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad



Released this week is a limited edition box set with both DVD and blu-ray formats are three Ray Harryhausen Sinbad films together with lots of extras. The trio are undeniably popcorn classics with pioneering effects for the time they were made. I certainly remember seeing the second and third of these back in the day when we had a local cinema. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is the earliest and least familiar though it’s been on TV many times. By today’s standards this 1958 movie is rather creaky though its not the legendary special effects that have dated half as much as the acting and plot. Nonetheless it has the sort of thrills and spills that would have entertained audiences in a time when most comparable films tried things like superimposing ordinary sized lizards over the picture to make them look huge. Trouble was they just sort of sat there. By contrast Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation- known as Dynamation- makes the creatures much more entwined with the action and it is this aspect that ultimately makes the movie watchable.

28/06/2017

Inventor vs Inventor feat. Reg Varney



It was fifty years ago today that Sgt Pepper first used a cash machine. 1967 is proving to be quite the year as we have yet another fiftieth anniversary and this time it’s the cash machine, officially known as the ATM though often referred to as `the hole in the wall`. Fifty years yesterday, on 27 June 1967 in North London’s Enfield branch of Barclay’s Bank, Reg Varney (looking like he was on the way to the golf course) became the first person ever to properly use an ATM. Did he withdraw his own money? Why was he wearing a cap? Who even was Reg Varney? More pertinently who actually invented the thing? 
"Is there really a tiny bloke in there luv?" "Yes, Reg, there really is"

21/06/2017

Top of the Pops 17 June 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby
Simon Bates: "Looks like being a good Thursday night on Top of the Pops.  We've got Queen and Roxy Music and Duran Duran and so many more. Kicking off though with this lady down here a new version of an old song called Iko Iko. The lady in the blonde hairdo and not much else is Natasha.
[24] Natasha: Iko Iko. Simon Bates' comment about Natasha not wearing much seems unreasonable. At first. She's obviously wearing a perfectly acceptable little black number. Then Natasha bends her knees slightly and it's clear that she's only one low-angle camera away from an outraging public decency charge. But enough of this sexist nonsense. What you all really want to know is, what are the video effects like? Very nice is the answer. There's a mix between shots which involves the picture breaking up into tiles. And a round of applause for the old Quantel standby of dividing the screen in four with each quarter showing a different picture. (Fact John- Natasha’s full name is Natasha England but she’s Scottish. She was in a group called The Flirts. She is now 64 and probably doesn’t dress like this any more…)

16/06/2017

The mobile phone nobody liked



Xelibri - Great advert….shame about the phone. 
In 2003 it was easy to impress people with something new. Or so Siemens thought. In the race to develop the burgeoning mobile phone range Siemens Mobile came up with a fashion orientated model called Xelibri. In all there were four models, each of them designed in a manner that seemed to pay little mind to functionality. It is said that Star Trek was an influence on the design which was small enough to cup in your hand, smaller than smartphones are now. The first models dubbed `Space on Earth` were designed by Siemens in house and a second, called `Fashion Extravaganza` were created by IDEO Design, a separate company. 

09/06/2017

General Election result is a foundation for Labour to build on



The last six years have been fairly dispiriting for Labour who had probably resigned themselves to as similarly a lengthy period in opposition as the Conservatives had before 2010. Instead what this unexpected General Election has provided is a foundation upon which to build. Instead of waiting another three years for glimmers of something like that they have it now- and in quite a big way.  While all eyes are on Brexit, Labour has a chance to secure the support they have won this time- especially with younger voters- and develop the ideas in their manifesto further. 

07/06/2017

Wonder Woman



Go Gal! DC films lift off at last!
Thanks to Gal Gadot’s personal charisma Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman was about the only good thing in the otherwise clunky Batman Vs Superman so expectations for her own film were high and pleasingly the result exceeds those hopes. This is a terrific movie perfectly handled by director Patty Jenkins to kick start the DC movie universe properly. It is the equal of most of the Marvel films with which it shares a storytelling and action dynamic that keeps the audience involved from beginning to end.
Spoilers past this point…


02/06/2017

Jeremy Corbyn’s second half victory!



It’s been an odd General Election so far here in the UK. Called unexpectedly the process meant hastily assembled manifestos and a feeling that whatever any of the parties said, Brexit was the real elephant in the room. If not a room actually in the elephant. At times its been difficult to decide who is the least capable- the party leaders or the people interviewing them. The rest of the media in its usual manner is either excessively pro one side or the other or else determined to reduce the entire thing to humourous memes and gimmicky records. Which is really going to put the serious issues across don’t you think? Anyone who thinks this election in particular is about having a laugh needs to wake up quick. Having winced at the Andrew Neill interviews and noting that only Jeremy Paxman got a word in during the Jeremy Paxman interviews, tonight we arrived at what last time was the best live interview scenario Question Time. Instead of journalists with bigger agendas than the politicians, we had the general public asking Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn things. Not together though. And finally it proved to be Jeremy Corbyn’s moment. If Ed Miliband’s stumble from the giant question mark platform was the symbolic moment you knew he’d lost, Corbyn’s eloquent, at times impassioned performance tonight is the sort of thing that sways floating voters. In the current weird political climate would you bet against a victory?

24/05/2017

Top of the Pops 3 June 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. David "Kid" Jensen: "Live from the television centre in London it's Top of the Pops and we have a great assortment of hits for you this week, from Echo and the Bunnymen to Charlene, from Madness to Junior, but we kick off with hit sound number five. It's ABC."
[5] ABC: The Look Of Love. Live programmes are a relatively new development for Top of the Pops. The 24/12/1981 edition was the first one where the host made a big deal about the live status, and that was presented by David "Kid" Jensen. As were the live editions in March and April 1982, and now this one. Does Michael Hurll see David "Kid" Jensen as the official live host? Was his experience working for the fledgling CNN an asset in a live environment, or is the whole thing a coincidence? We'll have to wait until 22/07/1982 to find out when the Popscene database notes a live show presented by -ulp- Simon Bates. Meanwhile, ABC go through the same polished routine from their previous appearance on the 20/05/1982 edition and it's a great way to start the show. Fans of the studio ceiling will delight in several low angle shots of ABC which allow us a chance to study the lighting grid; highlights include the studio clock, and the red TRANSMISSION sign.

19/05/2017

A Monster Calls



Patrick Ness adapts his own novel exploring the rarely discussed side effects of an ill relative in a film that somehow manages to be understated despite the presence of a thirty foot tall moving tree! Conor O’Malley is a young boy who endures the usual travails of the reserved pupil at school but at home he faces a more difficult task. His youthful mum is terminally ill and though continuing to seek ever more drastic cures, we and she know they will not work. The narrative leaves open to interpretation whether or not she is enduring this to offer hope to her son (which seems possible) but focuses instead on how he reacts.

17/05/2017

Alien Covenant



There will be blood- but not a huge amount of anything else. Alien- Covenant offers very few surprises in what often seems like an Alien movie for people who’ve never seen an Alien movie. Those that have will either be satisfied or disappointed depending on their expectations. Those who found Prometheus somewhat lacking in those familiar xenomorphs will certainly find much to please them here in the neomorphs which are similar and just as lethal. In what at times seems like a `greatest hits` package there is evisceration and gut busting aplenty as this slightly different but still recognisable breed of creature fillets a selection of largely anonymous crew in a variety of different ways.

14/05/2017

Top of the Pops 20 May 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. Peter Powell: "Hello! Welcome to Top of the Pops! We've got a great show lined up! We've got Madness, we've got Adam Ant and we've also got ABC! For starters it's Rocky Sharpe and the Replays! Shout Shout! [bonks himself on the head with a microphone] Knock Yourself Out!"
[19] Rocky Sharpe & The Replays: Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out). His purpleness Fred Wright is back on lighting duties and the studio is painted with lurid tones. Check out Peter Powell during his opening introduction. He has the healthy glow of a Windscale worker. But never mind the eye strain, watch Peter Powell once Rocky Sharpe & The Replays get started. Top of the Pops hosts have always had the amazing ability to disappear from the studio like the Blue Peter cats but Peter Powell excels himself. Initially he looks like he's going to stay behind the band for the whole song -as he very creditably did at the start of 1982 when Zoo danced to Yellow Pearl. He's behind Rocky Sharpe & The Replays as the camera pulls back across the studio, and he's still there in the background when the picture cuts to a low angled shot of the group. Next we cut to a left profile of the backing singers and Peter Powell is off camera for the first time. This is normally when the host nips off but when the camera cuts back to the lead singer Peter Powell can still be seen, just, in the background. Then the magic happens. The camera moves slightly and Peter Powell is off the edge of the picture for all of two seconds before the shot pans back to reveal an empty podium. It's so quick I was looking for Road Runner style dust clouds and possibly a faux-Latin caption; speedius enthusiasticus.
Rocky Sharpe and the Replays about to realise someone had moved their chairs