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

[3] Yazoo: Don't Go. There's a terrific crane shot at the start of Yazoo's performance. It starts behind the stage, looking through the scenery, and then gradually pans round to take in Yazoo. It gives a brilliant view of the Top of the Pops studio and the audience, and really gives the show a sense of scale and place.
[21] Boystown Gang:  Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Courtesy of Dutch TV channel AVRO, a clip from Toppop; as we are informed by the large caption which appears at the start. The caption erroneously refers to the programme as Top Pop. Tsk tsk. It's only 1982 and BBC research standards are already falling. The song is fine but presentation is so staid and boring. Cross-fade from mid shot to long shot, then cross-fade to mid shot from the left hand side, then cross-fade to mid shot from the front. Zzzzz. Wikipedia tells me this song is Hi-NRG but the lack of energy is making me slump into a coma. 4/10 Toppop. Go back and watch the presentation of Kelly Marie on Top of the Pops in 1980 for some idea of how this should be done.
[25] The Associates: 18 Carat Love Affair. Bloody hell this is a cacophony. The lead singer, keyboard, and drums all appear to be performing different songs. The drums are too loud, the singer's voice is slathered in echo, and the keyboard sounds like it's coming in at random. To be fair the single doesn't sound this bad so something must have gone wrong with the sound mixing in the studio. Halfway through the song there's some business involving a guitar breaking. The guitarist hands the top bit (stop me if I'm getting too technical) to the lead singer, and the keyboard player (who used to be the second Martha in Martha and the Muffins) finds this hilarious. This japery seems to be pre-planned because the guitarist then goes and fetches another guitar but it's redundant as it mostly happens off camera and can't be seen properly. This is why you attend camera rehearsals diligently like Toto Coelo.
[38] Sheena Easton: Machinery. Sheena Easton is performing on a set decorated with giant cogs. Machinery. Cogs. Geddit?
[22] Haysi Fantayzee:  John Wayne Is Big Leggy. Of course when attending camera rehearsals you shouldn't include anything which might raise objections from the production team. I suspect Haysi Fantayzee were careful not to perform the dance move which makes it look like Jeremy Healy is performing an ungentlemanly act on Kate Garner; twice. Haysi Fantayzee were invited back onto Top of the Pops (on the same D*v* L** Tr*v*s presented edition as Toto Coelo) despite their attempt to inflame the nation's morals between Medical Express (19.05) and Fame (20.10) but second time around the lewd dance move is omitted. I suspect someone had a word.
[27] Wavelength: Hurry Home. Five clots and a piano.
[23] Kool & The Gang: Big Fun. Danced to by Zoo and the Hassani Troupe (Morrocan Tumblers. "I never drink from anything else," quips John Peel). Bunty, Jennie, Julie, and Marcia contort their lycra-clad bodies but all eyes are on the Hassani Troupe who must have been preparing for the start of filming on Octopussy. They will also turn up on Crackerjack in October along with Keith Harris and Orville, Chas and Dave, and Dollar.
[26] Fun Boy Three: Summertime. Neville Staple starts out wearing a bowler hat but evidentially it interferes with his bouncing about so it disappears some time during the instrumental.
[16] The Firm: Arthur Daley (‘E’s Alright). A repeat from the 29/07/1982 edition.
[1] Dexy's Midnight Runners: Come On Eileen. The show closes with a second repeat from the Mike Read presented 29/07/1982 Top of the Pops. The song picks up from the pan across the studio after Mike Read's introduction, but to avoid the cut seeming too abrupt the introduction to Come On Eileen is faded in behind John Peel's link. You could almost believe the band were in the studio. The end of the performance, and programme, is a freeze frame while the sound of audience applause continues. Top of the Pops normally ends with a fade to black, maybe someone just liked the way this looked. Captionwatch: In addition to the big credit for Toppop the charts have been given a new flashing light effect. Oh, and as Come On Eileen starts there's a new caption which says "No. 1 -Dexy's Midnight Runners- " will they still be using that next week? Who knows. Well obviously they'll be using a different caption if the number one song is different. Let's not get bogged down in minutiae.

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