Sunday, 22 April 2012

22nd April

1976: "Our next star sings shoeless and with a bicycle bell on his walking stick!" Obviously we then don't see Harpo's feet and he hasn't brought his stick out with him but too late for Diddy to change his cue cards. What he does have is a tartan cap, neckerchief, David Soul cardigan, tremendous amounts of hair, full range of interpretative hand signals, curious Swedish-cockney accent which isn't on the recording and far too extreme a close-up.

1982: For once Peter Powell's promise of "a great big party" initially holds true with the mighty free jazz groove of Pigbag. The brass section are unsure whether to go the spy or spiv suit look but they're having a hell of a miming time... unlike original member Roger Freeman, who not only refused to go on the show but left the band that day. Powell's exhortation we "look at Elton John!" sees him back on his usual form, though with the size of Elton's hat we can hardly miss him. Who else? Imperious Kim Wilde, Shakin' Stevens walking round the mike stand on his tiptoes and a Zoo routine to David Bowie's Cat People that owes quite a bit to what Hot Gossip were doing over on the other side, a little to the set design budget and quite a bit more to the song's basic undanceability.

1993: Man cannot stay on Baywatch beach forever, so New Order eventually came in from the warm. Unusually Barney singing live goes relatively well. Though Pops at this time valued live performance there were clearly limits for bands like Sub Sub, hence Andy Williams attempting to play keytar and drum pad at the same time without being that bothered about either. Steve Wright definitely says 1983 at the start, doesn't he? Here's stagecraft - Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue picks up a light, and then puts it down again. Then he picks it up again, holds it to his chin and puts it down again. At least conduct audience waving with it above your head if you're doing anything, Ricky, especially as you've brought a specially designed mike stand with you to hold otherwise unused props. What are you trying to prove? Janet Jackson never needs that sort of thing, backing dancers and large backdrop graphic notwithstanding.

2005: Tony Christie, introduced by Chris Moyles and his gang, with walking on the spot demonstration just to remind you how he got there. At the time this felt like several levels of hell. Now it's merely an old stager pro in a suit an uncomfortable shade of brown, which is some sort of progress.

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