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.


[2] Adam Ant: Goody Two Shoes. On video. Adam Ant has a giant pound note (ahh, nostalgia. How long will it be before the sight of the old pound coin also sends me into raptures?). He keeps giving this obviously fake currency to people who seem delighted rather than cross at this fakery. "Subtle innuendos follow. There must be something inside." There is. It's called forgery. Dandy Nichols, who played Alf Garnet's TV wife, is Adam Ant's cleaner.
[27] Echo & The Bunneymen:  The Back Of Love. The Back Of Love? We're they hoping for some purchases from confused Grans trying to buy The Look Of Love? Right at the start of the song an odd figure dashes down the studio as the camera zooms in on Echo (and the Bunnymen). The odd figure is on screen so briefly it's hard to work out what's wrong, but something isn't right. The mystery is solved when a shot of the audience reveals a man on stilts wearing a Japanese flag shirt. To be honest he's a bit of a pain. He draws the eye every time he appears on screen because he towers above the audience and he needs to keep waving his arms to avoid falling over. He really takes the edge of Echo & The Bunnymen's performance. No wonder Mr Echo looks so miserable.
[22] Siouxsie & The Banshees: Fireworks. There are no glimpses of the studio ceiling or distracting stilt men. A perfectly competent and enjoyable performance. What's that all about?
[21] Fun Boy Three: The Telephone Always Rings. Fun Boy Three perform on a stage decorated with giant coils. Like a telephone cable!  A couple of the coils bounce up and down in time to the music because two members of BBC staff have been assigned to spring duty. That's your licence fee at work. Neville Staple and Lynval Golding dance around the stage having fun while professional miserablist Terry Hall walks over and gently has a go at bouncing one of the springs himself. Terry... Terrry, for heaven's sake don't try and move the scenery. That's demarcation that is. You could start a strike. Towards the end of the song two extra people appear on stage. There's a wide shot of the stage showing six band members, and then following a close-up of Terry Hall the next wide shows eight. Apparently they just get pulled out of the audience like Courtney Cox in the Dancing In The Dark video.
[15] Charlene: I've Never Been To Me. "Let's go back to Charlene with her five year old record." Describing the song as a five year old record is factually accurate but seems an  unnecessarily bitchy way of passing on that information. And where's the "I've drunk champagne from a shoe" lyric which is the only line from this song I remember? Am I trapped in a parallel universe again.
[1] Madness: House Of Fun. It's Madness, live via satellite from Japan where it's about 4.35am. The introduction to House of Fun is playing scratchily in the background and there's a moment when it looks as if Madness might be about to mime live on a damp Tokyo street corner. It's a crushing disappointment when the music cuts out and Suggs launches into a brief round of hellos and thanks. The other members of Madness amuse themselves with the kind of nutty stuff which normally results in Michael Hurll threatening to ban the group from the Top of the Pops studio.
[7] Junior: Mama Used To Say. Junior's been relegated to the obscured-by-the-closing-credits slot. Ronnie Hazlehurst is still being credited as Muscial Director. When this credit first appeared -on a show featuring a couple of Eurovision songs- I thought it was a courtesy reflecting his work on the 1982 Eurovision broadcast from Harrogate but it looks like he's become an official part of the show. What does he do to earn the title?


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