Thursday, October 19, 2006


The Eighties

This is not my favorite decade in musical terms as my age dictates that this is the seventies and I must confess to having a soft spot for the nineties. The reason for this might be that it was a decade where I lived very much a nomadic existence, at the beginning of this period I was in London, followed by two years living in Northern Italy after which I returned to by hometown before living out the last years of the decade in Toulouse, France. Since then I have been resident in France moving from the Pink City, Toulouse is known as this because of the colour of the local bricks historically used for it's construction, to Montpellier and then to Nimes where I have been for the last 8 years. I can remember that I was in London in 1982 and had the privilege of watching a new music TV program that was to break the cast that had been used for all that went before it and was to set the standards for youth TV ever since. The program in question was the Tube and had two main presenters in Jools Holland, Squeeze's ivory tinkler and Paula Yates, who was then the wife of Bob Geldof. For those of you that have never seen the show, it was a 90 minute (?) live broadcast featuring a number of bands playing live in the studios that went out early Friday evening on channel 4. It was obvious that things were not to go smoothly, the two presenters were not the most stable of people, who can remember Jools Holland's live plug for the show during the kids cartoons when he invited the Groovie fuckers to join him later, this caused an outrage in much the same way as the notorious Sex Pistols TV adventure had done years earlier. The show could be very much a hit and miss affair successfully managing to mix different styles of music the same evening. They treated us to live appearances from aging punks: The Jam (their last ever TV appearance), The Stranglers, The Undertones, from up and coming synth pop bands: Soft Cell, Simple Minds, Heaven 17, from mainstream chart acts: Imagination, Gap Band, Paul Young and from genuine crossover stars: Eurythmics, Cutture Club and Madness. What these acts all had in common was that they made their way up to Newcastle to play a maximum set of 20 minutes before a live studio audience as the show was beamed out to the millions of us that watched in our living rooms before hurrying off to the pub or a Friday evening gig.
Late last year a DVD of highlights from the first series was released but before I could do my Amazon two click to place my order it was withdrawn, I can only guess that there were copyright problems. I was therefore more than happy to see that the 2 DVD set has recently resurfaced, this time round my fingers were quick off the mark. Since receiving it a few weeks back I have been working my way through it and I must say that it has certainly opened the floodgates to my memories from this period. Highlights include Twisted Sister covering the Stones 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll' with Lemmy helping out on bass, Grandmaster Flash playing with their captive audience and enjoying every minute of it. A surprise was to re visit Paul Young, who by this stage had become very much a large star, though those vocal chords of his were still magic, also check out his backing singers they looked great! Before going solo Paul Young had been around for years and his previous band were a kind of sixties soul revival troupe that earned a good living on the college circuit, anyone that saw them with a few beers inside them were guaranteed a good evening! The band were called the Q Tips, and as far as I know they were never bothered by lawyers representing the product of the same name. They released one album at the end of the seventies, which was the period that I found my self working in a record shop and this platter was one of our favorites for Saturday's, when we couldn't play anything too risky unless it was a customer request, true looking back it is nothing exceptional though certainly pleasant enough on the ears as can be heard on 'Some Kind Of Wonderful' and 'SYSLJFM'. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

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