The latest episode of the podcast which asks: who would win in a stage-show spaceship fight between Earth Wind and Fire, ELO and Funkadelic?
It's the final furlong of the Critics' Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and Our Simon has dragged us back to the dawn of the Eighventies and pulled out a ridiculously bountiful episode with so much to talk about, making this our BIGGEST EPISODE EVER. It's the middle of the Summer Holiday Of Our Extreme Content, your panel have spent their downtime crying tears of laughter at the sight of nudists in supermarkets on telly, avoiding the Punk House, and having a break from the draconian private school system respectively, but are all clustered around the telly to see what Peter Powell has up his sleeve this Thursday eve, only to discover that he's not wearing any.
But so what? Because musicwise, this could well be the greatest episode of TOTP we've come across so far, and a solid case for '79 being even better than '81. The Dooleys are gotten out of the way early doors. Sham 69 have their end-of-term party. Olympic Runners get mithered by Some Bird. The weediest-looking lead singer in Pop history sings with his teeth. There's an actual naked woman playing a cello in a massive pram. Abba slap it about in a disco. Ron Mael stares at us. Legs & Co have a sultry mornge on some sand. And we see the debut performances of The Specials and BA Cunterson.
Simon Price and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham as they just switch off their television set and go and do something less boring instead, veering off on such tangents as pulling your trackie bottoms up around your neck and running at girls, integrity-free reviewing jobs, your chance to have your achievements in the Welsh music scene recognised at last, wearing the wrong-coloured laces in your Docs, having a wazz on a Pop star's back door, and Exciting News For All Listeners. Swearing!
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: is Simon Bates negging or cock-blocking?
Into the penultimate stretch of the Critics' Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and Our Sarah has taken us all the way back to the time when her keen Pop sensibilities were hauling itself upright from the ooze. And she. Has. Chosen. Well.
We're weeks away from Band Aid and the Eighties are already starting to ming of unwashed cock, but this episode - presented LIVE IN THE STUDIO by Geoffrey and Pigwanker General - is nowhere near as horrific as it could have been, even though there's some right catshit strewn about. Limahl has the last laugh, and is never heard of again. Status Quo are taken to the tip by the Council. Billy Ocean and Eugene Wilde give us a remake of Billie Jean and Sexual Shakin'. Gary Numan's weave makes its TOTP debut. But we get to see Depeche Mode's career turn on a sixpence while they bang on some hunks of concrete, and we get the best Number One of the year that doesn't involve Frankie.
Sarah Bee and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a critical piss that streams out the bottom of the trouser leg of 1984, veering off on such tangents as the uselessness of Godzooky, Eighties Video Cliche Watch, Numanoid laundry problems, Gary Davies Sex Music, and Heads-Down, No-Nonsense Masturbation. Oh, the swearing!
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Why didn't NASA do something for the old 'uns?
It's the mid-point of our Critics Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and this time Our Taylor has taken us back - way back - to the spring of 1969, when two-thirds of Team ATVland weren't even thought of and the third was imprisoned in a cage made out of pallets, with all nails sticking out.
Musicwise, well: we are 301 days from the end of this decade - the greatest decade in history, mark you - and Top Of The Pops has failed to paint it black. Many things happen in this year, but mainly in America, and this episode is rammeth with Beat groups on their last legs, all expertly dealt with by the voice of Brentford Nylons. Dave Dee, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub celebrate ritual animal abuse. Love Affair awkwardly wink at the camera as the sand runs out on their career. Lulu swings an imaginary beer stein frothing with Schlager as she makes her bid for Eurovision glory. The Tymes do something really impressive at the end of their song. The Bee Gees stop bitching at each other long enough to curl off another dud single. Stevie Wonder drops one of the all-time great TOTP performances. And Jesus in a jumpsuit, the state of the Number One.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham on the barren, grey surface of Top Of The Pops in the Sixventies, pausing from their exploration to discuss Jon Pertwee's conversion to Rock, the G-Clamp Tree, Geoff Sex, Right-Wing Swingers, ridiculously blunt LP reviews, and Dick Emery getting preferential treatment over Moby Grape. The swearing is heavy, and progressive.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: What's more important, the Taint or the Love?
Part Two of our Critics' Choice series, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, and Our Neil has dragged us back to the idyllic summer of 1981, where the panel were a) replaying the 1970 World Cup with Subbuteo, b) wearing burgundy and c) playing The Omen in our bedroom respectively. And good Lord, what an episode he's picked!
Musicwise, it's a ridiculous mix of soaring highs and plunging lows, where the new era of synthiness forces the old guard to shed their facial hair, pare back on the widdliness and learn to rollerskate. Marc Almond throws the sunglasses to one side and delivers one of the landmark TOTP performances. Some Dads pretend to be the Bee Gees. Midge Ure comes on all Peaky Blinders. The Rolling Stones have a glorious piss-about. Cliff gets wanged across a shopping centre in Milton Keynes for some Danger Skating. Legs & Co are shackled to ELO again. And the Number One is, er, a Futurist pan-Asian classic.
Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price examine the potato bag of '81 for signs of blight with Al Needham, veering off on such tangents as playing football with Action Men, the star power of Stan Stennett, The Rumour, The Oriental Riff, The Pickwick Top Of The Pops compilations, Specials cover versions at Butlins, and Manslaughter On 45. There's swearing. But you knew that anyway.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: can you remember a wazz you had 43 years ago?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the beginning of a five-part mini-series where members of Team Chart Music run a finger along our TOTP collection and select one of their favourites - and Our David has kicked it off by pulling out an absolute plum from the very end of the Drought. Your panel were killing time during the summer holidays sitting in hot cars, playing Shove Matchbox, or trying to be the Lord Killinan of the ladybirds, but over in the BBC TV Centre, Noel Edmonds has graciously taken time out from getting ready for Swap Shop (and presumably counting the excrement passing through the piping system) to deluge us all with another massive dollop of brightly-coloured Pop gunge.
Musicwise, it's a mainly above-par serving of the usual mid-70s melange: Manfred Mann turn up the knob on their synth. The Bee Gees lob a glitterball through the window of the charts. Robin Sarstedt - the Lothario of the Tea Dance - pitches up one more time. The Stylistics stand in a park on Dress-Down Friday. Gallagher and Lyle do something. The Chi-Lites are accompanied by a non-racist cartoon. OH MY GOD IS THAT CAN. And most importantly, we finally get round to Ruby Flipper, the dance troupe that actually featured men and - gasp! non-white people.
David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a lick of the Lolly Gobble Choc Bomb of '76, veering off on such tangents as belt shops in East London, mid-70s sexual health clinic procedures, Ian Hitler, the Brum Burger, Godzilla and Social Exclusion, and one of Chart Music being a retired male stripper. NOW WITH ADDED SEXUAL SWEAR WORDS WARNING!
The 40th episode of the podcast which asks: so how do you get your pills out of a Kinder Surprise egg while wearing long opera gloves?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, takes us nearly ten years away from the glory of the last one and plunges us deep into the turquoise shell-suited heart of the Neighnties - and oh dear, our beloved programme is right up Arsehole Street. The ratings are dropping like a Shed Seven release in its second week, newer and savvier shows are undercutting it, and the BBC have pissed about with the scheduling to such an extent that middle-aged spods with a craving for Judith Hann are sitting there shouting; "Oh, what's this bollocks? WHERE'S TOMORROW'S WORLD?"
Musicwise, hmm: Gary Davies, in a boxy denim jacked beloved of the era, just about manages to not look like he's too old for this shit (despite dropping a few clunky Dad-phrases). Inspiral Carpets - the Freddie and the Dreamers of Madchester - pitch up, demonstrating the bad haircuts that were available to youths at the time. Saffron-not-yet-of-Republica dresses up like a magician's assistant. The Mock Turtles do a mobile phone advert. The mid-Eighties refuses to piss off, in the shape of Feargal Sharkey, The Waterboys and Mike and the Mechanics. Still, there's a welcome opportunity for people who haven't got Sky yet to have a proper goz at The Simpsons, Black Box remind us that they did more than one record, and there's some dead good angel wings on your woman in C&C Music Factory. Chesney Hawkes - 'the iconic legend of the 80s and 90s', according to his website, which is roughly 1.96666 decades too many - punches the air.
Sarah Bee and Simon Price link up with Al Needham at the car boot sale of 1991, veering off on such tangents as being refused entry to gay clubs by National Front activists, why you should never install a plastic tank into your wardrobe to piss into, bragging at school that you've seen Sky at Centre Parcs, the phenomenon of Some Rap, and the misery of having to share a crappy Student Union with people who have been on Top Of The Pops more than you have. And there's swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: did Phil Oakey ever have it out with the Undertones for coating him down on My Perfect Cousin?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is the longest EVER, but don't blame us - because there is so much going on in this episode of The Pops, and we take a concentrated blast of 1981 full in the face. No lie, it's wave after wave of late-Eighventies pop brilliance, broken up by assorted bits of rubbish, and Dave Lee Travis in an elongated hat. We've coated down the Living Gnasher Badge enough times, but in this episode, we step back and contemplate Dave Lee Travis: motorsport expert. Dave Lee Travis: Lennie Bennett-foil. Dave Lee Travis: Photographer. Dave Lee Travis: Renaissance Man.
Musicwise, fucking HELL: The Undertones readjust for the Eighties. Teardrop Explodes - possibly off their tits - show the youth that there's more to life than chicken pancetta. Kim Wilde vandalises a dead nice public toilet. The Beat (again). Chicken Steven (again). Smokey Robinson invents Airbnb. Legs & Co cause DLT to blast a jet of steam from out of his hairy earhole. The Human League steal the entire show, before Adam Ant jumps through a window and nicks it back. It's a glorious romp through quite possibly the greatest year in pop music history. And - finally - TOYAH IS IN RECEPTION.
Taylor Parkes and Neil Kulkarni join Al Needham for a hijack of the Alpine van of 1981, loaded with the fizziest and most colourful pop imaginable, and gleefully veer off on such tangents as the many different things you can do with a wall and a dog ball, the Kidderminster UB40 Club, Shaky dropping the strap at a Viz wrestling battle royal, obscene graffiti we have known and loved, the hell of being spotted in a cat cafe on your own, and a flick through Travis' photography book, where he asks attractive female celebrities what they're scared of, and brings their nightmares to life. You KNOW there's gonna be swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: Rod Stewart - a grower or a shower?
This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, involves one of the grimmer aspects of Top Of The Pops, as it comes in the wake of one of the regular audience members comitting suicide, the subsequent tabloid coverage when it was revealed that she'd left a diary behind, and the fallout from it - which continued right the way up to this decade. And it's something we can't not talk about.
Musicwise, it's a glorious mish-mash of fare from '71, the International Year of the Banjo. The beardiness is ramped up by McGuinness Flint. A man pretending to be R. Dean Taylor runs about in a quarry. Jonathan King lurks about. Pans People get busy to the Jackson 5, before showing up Lulu. The Mixtures give us an opportunity to have a good laugh at automobile fatalities. Ringo requires some Norwegian wood to stop his piano sinking into the snow. The Faces get the chance to plug their LP for eight whole minutes, but Dave and Ansil Collins steam in to drop one of the best Number Ones ever.
Simon Price and Taylor Parkes - the gentle people of Chart Music - get really mellow with Al Needham, breaking off to reason on such subjects as how to make it look as if you've been sweating at junior school end-of-term discos, Leaving Neverland, hot pants, and performative farting. As always, swearing.
The latest episode of the podcast which asks: how did we manage to go on about 7 Days for 20 minutes without once adding the word 'Jankers' to it?
Jesus in a jumpsuit, Pop-Crazed Youngsters - it's a Top Of Pops from THIS ACTUAL CENTURY, and your three contributors, who are by now frantially sucking at the bone-dry and chapped teats of traditional media, are still upset that there are no Massive Glam Robots on, and it's not available in pill form. Be warned: this episode contains a lengthy and unflinching dissection of the last days of Melody Maker, and it is not pretty.
Musicwise, it's not quite as grim as we were expecting, because this is the Garage version of the Madchester episode. Craig David pops up in a Statement Wooly to tell you who he is and how he got his end away - EVEN THOUGH HE'S NOT NUMBER ONE ANYMORE. Wookie and Lain and MJ Cole complete the hat-trick. But fear not, the Alternative Nation fights back with, er, the last knockings of Reef and Mansun. There's some properly good fire-breathing over some dogshit techno. Ronan fucking Keating pops up for no good reason whatsoever to pretend to be Deco out of the Commitments. And Robbie fucking Williams pulls his trousers down.
Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni GO THE FUCK OFF on the bell-ends who ruined their magazine while Al Needham looks on with concern, veering off on such tangents as refusing to let bands into their own hospitality areas because their last album was shit, Mad Phil, why tweeting 'Fuck Off' in the early hours of the morning is never a good idea, having pop stars getting on their hands and knees and wiping tea off your shoes, scissor masturbation, and a thorough examination of the 'Craig David Having A Shit' cover. LONGEST EPISODE EVER. And quite possibly the sweariest.
(the actual Top Of The Pops bit begins at 1:31:48. See what we mean?)
The latest episode of the podcast which asks; how would Mike Read get on in the WWF? and how long would it take before someone took his guitar off him and stoved his head in with it?
It's been too long, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, but we're back from our spell of R&R at Pontins Camber Sands and are going armpit-deep into the cavity of one of the landmark episodes of Top Of The Pops - the one with the biggest TV audience ever. ITV are on strike, and the only other thing on the telly is carriage driving, of all things, leaving the field clear for Andy Peebles to make his TOTP debut in his ill-fitting suit.
Musicwise, it looks as if the BBC have ramped up the fun-for-all-the-family aspect in a desperate grab for as many eyeballs as possible, meaning we get a load of acts who are nowhere near the Top 40 mixed in with the usual fare. The Headboys get lumped into the New Wave thing and are not pleased about it. Jacko and Chic provide a devastating one-two punch. Scabby cowboys - in the shape of Dr Hook and Charlie Daniels - fill the air with the tang of unwashed denim. There's a fearsome soundclash between Errol Dunkley and The Dooleys. Cats UK get ignored by The Kids. Sue of Legs & Co slaps a warning sign on her knee. It's a glorious slab of the Eighventies, and it's picked over with the care and attention you've come to expect from us.
David Stubbs and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham for a huddle around the candle of late '79, veering off on tangents such as our favourite industrial disputes of the 70s, pestering your Dad to start wearing an eyepatch, the shocking antics of Gary's Mam in Leeds, being confused by questionnaires in Shoot!, getting pissed up with a dog that looked like Marilyn Monroe on Central Weekend, and why the Daily Express are a bunch of thick twats. Get ready for some proper swearing.