Worse than finding Novochok on your door handle, here's an agent that'll
get on your nerves...
The Countdown Capers
15th August 1985 (Poptastic Pete & Peachy Dix)
Wearing the 80's fashion of a suit jacket that looks like the coathanger's been left in whilst also wearing an expression that looks like he left an upwardly pointing coathanger in his trousers, one of our purveyors of pop for this Pops experience is Dixie Peach.
Riding shotgun is a rather chirpier Poptastic Pete, who looks a lot more relaxed with this Peachy pairing, no doubt relieved to have shaken off the annoying presence of the smugtastic 'bloke who fixed our boiler' (for the uninitiated, Mike Smith).
The high presentation standards previously seen in earlier Pops' Years seem by 1985 to have dramatically diminished, despite the obvious technological advances taking place. All the 'bells & whistles' seem to still be there, including the pulsing strobe lights which were rumoured (but only by me
) to be the product of Herr Hurll forcing a coach load of pensioners to flash high intensity torches on & off behind a screen in rapid succession.
But there just seems to be
missing in the latest incarnation.
I don't think it helped Pops matters with the '85 advent of EastEnders & the format of the show being reduced to half an hour. It seems such a laborious process wading through a truncated set of the Top 10 videos, together with some of the music being quite forgettable, especially during these Summer Months.
Mainly though, there seems to be
too much music being attempted to be crammed in to half an hour for the show to be effective, in marked contrast to previous Years where the programme displayed songs more fully and was a better reflection of the charts as a shop window for the music industry.
In this Pops Year so far, the format of the programme seems like the Pops shop window's been put through to make way for some soapy Saaaarf Laaaanderners.
It's strange how your mind plays tricks with you, as I also find myself (like the Teameister above) being disappointed with the standard of both the music & the shows, and asking myself....
The whole show looked like it needed a shot in the arm (or a kick up the arse-take your pick!).
Hurll's recent flight of fancy (the infamous public 'vote' at the start of the Year for 'more hits', with the vote probably overseen by Robert Mugabe's returning officer) has been an epic fail & at this point the Pops seemed to just be treading water & dining out on past glories.
Anyway, I don't like to moan (!), so without further ado let's see what awaits us in our Weekly pick 'n' mix but let's hope we don't get many green fruit pastilles, as we begin with...
#40- Juan King Prawn- Subtitlers RSI
Poptastic gives the diner a resume of tonight's menu, and by the sounds of the fayre on offer it's going to be a gristly platter, full of processed junk you wouldn't feed to a stray cat for risk of being reported to the RSPCA, but I digress.
Anyway, "for starters", it's King Prawn (with plenty of Mullet) but by the looks of the routine, this King Prawn's already past it's sell-by date.
On occasion, the quality of a song can be determined by how many crowd-pleasing distractions can be shoehorned into it to try & make it better than it actually is. For me, this is one such example which on first impression sounds like a reasonable track, setting it's stall out early with a good ol'
'Na na na na na, na na na na na na na'
. I like a good
'na na na'
, but I also like a
'yeah yeah yeah'
A 'scooby doo be do' must be my all-time favourite though, especially at the end where they unmask the villainous caretaker.
"Zoiks! It's the King Prawn!"
It's a decent guitar intro into the first verse & chorus which also promises much, but then you realise
"Alone Without You"
fills 4 minutes with a repeat of what went directly before, with an incessant reliance on the '
Na na na's
' to drive the song down a repetitive cul-de-sac, like trying to find a particular address in Milton Keynes.
Paul King's exaggerated expression avec amateur dramatics, leaping about like Timothy Claypole with itching powder round his 'nether regions' doesn't help the credibility of the King Prawn either, causing this pop picker to wish he'd Nadia Popov & take his mullet with him.
But apart from all that, musically it's not unlikeable & I'd give it a semi-reluctant thumbs aloft.
"Gadzooks! Jazz hands!"
#3 - P45 with Crusty Behind - Piles Got You, Babe
Some cover versions add to the original, or are so different in structure they immediately grab the listener for the duration & make you wonder why such an idea wasn't thought of before.
The Pet Shop Boys "Always on My Mind" being one example.
Unfortunately, when it comes to
version of the Sonny & Cher favourite, for me all the feeling and nuance which made the original so charming is like many cover version cash-in's, stripped of any emotion, sanitised and re-heated for mass consumption, a bit like Boyzone & Westlife for the 1980's.
After watching the video, it did initially seem UB40 had managed to succeed in frightening off all the paying stadium punters by performing this live, reflected in what looks like the sweeper-upper doing a jig but as it 'appens it seems it was just a sound check being filmed and the crowd were admitted later (unless they were airbrushed in!). The unfortunate effect, however, of this live version is it only succeeds in making the track sound even limper and more leaden than the final single mix.
I wouldn't say UB40 & Chrissie's version is necessarily
it's just workmanlike and so obviously 'radio friendly' to be aural magnolia, therefore inevitably in the safe World of radio (both then and now),
overplayed, and to be honest it's a bit of a relief when we reach
in the hope something more exciting will follow.
On the plus side, the video is a nice opportunity for all 748 members of UB40 to get a cameo at the end during the
"I Got You Babe"
refrain, extending the track by a further 28 hours....
#28- Phil Colons - Send Him Home
Obviously not heeding his own statement on the "
No Jacket Required
" dress code (which oddly is still yet to be ratified under the terms of the Geneva convention), Phil Collins takes a journey home via TV Centre to perform this rumbling (and some would say rambling) track, pleading with a Pops audience to be taken home but without passing go or collecting £200.
He didn't mention
home as you'd think he's be absolutely minted by now, but by the looks of him on this Pops performance he could do with a bob or two to spend on some new clobber, as the stuff he's been wearing appears to have been residing in a landfill site for the past few Months, such is the state of the ironing.
Just as well he won't be appearing live on TV in front of millions then isn't it?
Poor Phil looks like he's been kipping on a park bench & hasn't got a
pot to piss in, & rumours the photoshoot for "No Jacket Required" were mugshots taken under a heat lamp in a West London nick following a wrongful arrest for vagrancy were always strenuously denied.
"Got 10p for a cuppa tea, guv?...."
An expectant and respectful audience try their best to get 'Into the Groove' of Phil's track, despite not figuring out quite where the groove was located even if they
to get into it. Phil seems to know
where the groove is which is the main thing, even though in sharp contrast to King Prawn the 'dancing' seems to be borne out of a bout of the cramp, as his propensity for wiggling his hands about like a limbering boxer must mean he's hopeful the premeditated movements will help him relieve himself.
Of the cramp.
Can't someone at the Beeb give him a Nurofen, and so far on the calibre of tonight's turns give me one while you're at it!
I jest, as I think "Take Me Home" is one highlight from a pretty solid album, which despite the rather sanitised 80s Padgham production & obvious mainstream appeal still has much to recommend it (sans the stuttering opener).
track for example, which rocks...
The story goes "No Jacket Required" was so named after an incident at a Chicago restaurant where Phil was denied admittance (with Robert Plant no less), as he didn't meet the restaurant's dress code of "jacket required" for dinner while Plant was allowed in. Apparently an argument ensued as Collins
wearing a jacket, but the maître d' insisted the jacket was not "proper".
I don't blame the hapless authoritarian either.
If Phil had turned up in the "Worzel Gummidge at C&A" number he wore on the Pops I'd be worried he'd start attracting flies. Not good for a restaurant's reputation is that.
It's unknown if during the argument Phil uttered the
"Do you know who I am?"
phrase at the door, but apparently after the incident the restaurant management were named & shamed by Phil so much on TV (like a cross between Watchdog & early Trip Advisor), they later sent Phil a complimentary jacket (his 2nd!) and an apology letter, stating that he could come to the restaurant wearing whatever he wanted.
I'd go for
natty number myself & hope it didn't start pissing down...
To be continued....
Last edited by Dai Jestive on 8 April 2018 4:59pm - 30 times in total
"Greetings pop pickers...here's the one that's called "Cast Your Wind to the Fates" - Alan "Fluff" Freeman