Thursday, 29 November 2012

Top of the Pops: 10th November, 1977.

Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, 1973
Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.
By AVRO (Beeld En Geluid Wiki - Gallerie: Toppop 1973)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This week, to avoid the reception difficulties that so plague me whenever I do this, I'm leaping into the 21st Century in a way that only 1977 can make you do, and watching online.

Needless to say, almost the moment the show starts, I lose my connection.

When I get it back, we've already missed the intro and I'm confronted by what I assume to be the Jacksons over the chart countdown.

If it is them, it's a song I've never heard before - unless it's the song they did the other week, that I'd also not heard before.

A song I mostly definitely have heard before is on next, as Tom Robinson's back.

And there's still something about it that doesn't quite work for me. I love the record but this performance feels too pub for my liking. It's 1977. I'm going through an awkward phase. I'm having strange feelings I've never had before. Mostly involving my internet connection going down. I need some proper punk rebellion.

Meanwhile, the camera man's hanging from the ceiling.

I suppose that might count as punk rebellion.

That guitarist's got very untidy strings. I shouldn't be annoyed by that but, somehow, I am.

But now Tom's gone, and Noel claims that both Donna Summer and Ruby Winters used to be in the Four Seasons. I suspect that may not be true

What is true is that Ruby's on next, doing I Will.

Didn't the White Guardian have a chair like that in Dr Who? If he didn't, he should have.

She seems a bit confused in her movements, like she doesn't know where to look.

But who can blame her? Adrift in a sea of whiteness, it's much she's not got snow-blindness.

She needs to watch out. I once knew someone who insisted that, when a polar bear attacks, it puts one paw over its black nose and thus becomes invisible against the polar ice, meaning there could be one stood right in front of you and you'd never know it.

Something for Ruby to think about there as she rambles around the set.

Roxy Music are on with their brand new hit; Virginia Plain.

I wonder if Bryan Ferry was ever young? No matter how old the footage, he always looks middle-aged.

I've just realised, after all these years, I don't have the slightest clue what Bryan Ferry's singing about.

Oops, connection's gone again.

It turns out I've not missed much, as we're back with Boney M still solving all of Northern Ireland's problems by wearing silly costumes and dancing around a bit.

Elvis Costello's back with Watching The Detectives, the song that first brought him to my eagle-eyed attention when he appeared on the Mavis Nicholson show.

Now it's Legs and Company dancing to How Deep is Your Love? by the Bee Gees. A lot deeper than your voices, that's for sure.

For some reason, "Company" seem to be recreating Dick Van Dyke's legendary turn in Mary Poppins.

I don't have the slightest clue why.

But now it's one from left field because we're given Kenny Everett and Captain Kremmen.

I have no memory of this at all.

Obviously I remember Captain Kremmen and I remember Kenny Everett. So elephantine is my memory that I can even remember both of them at the same time but the record itself means nothing to me.

I have to say, it isn't the most thrilling song I've ever heard.

Or the most interesting video.

Now Noel's with two baffling looking women.

And now it's Santana in a video that seems to have been filmed on a mobile phone, which is quite an achievement in 1977.

Then again there's that infamous footage that seems to show a woman using a mobile phone in the 1920s, or whenever it was, so all things are possible.

I still don't have a clue who the singer is. My Steve Senses tell me it's probably not Colin Blunstone, despite what I thought last week.

Have we actually seen Santana yet?

But yes! Hooray! At last we get to see him, fuzzily, just in time for him to be faded out. Poor old Santana. Not even allowed to star in his own videos.

Not needing a video - because she's here in person - it's Tina Charles who, according to Noel, has a Love Bug. What an unfortunate link that is.

Darts are back.

And Daddy Cool's still playing his piano machine. I wonder what exactly a piano machine actually does?

Den's still looking far too inhibited.

ABBA are still Number 1.

And we go out with Rod.

When I say, "Go out," I of course don't mean that in the Rod Stewart sense of the phrase. Despite rumours to the contrary, I'm not, after all, a statuesque Scandinavian blonde.

I have to say this week's show wasn't really up there with last week's blockbuster epic but it did at least give us Darts, Roxy Music and the Bee Gees - and what I'll always regard as Elvis Costello's first Top of the Pops appearance even though it wasn't.

In some ways, tonight's edition was ahead of its time, with mobile phone recorded videos, and in some ways it was behind its time, with a revived classic from 1972. But I suppose that sums up this time of year for you, when we look both forward at what's to come and backwards at what's already been. In that sense, perhaps it captured the quintessence of the pre-festive season. Then again, maybe I'm just desperately trying to think up some philosophical point with which to end this post.

Blimey! Look at that! I've managed it!

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