Sunday, 26 August 2012

26th August

1976: A show looking backwards and forwards: backwards at a surprise return for easy listening's Acker Bilk, forwards at Can inventing post-punk before punk had been invented. The whole three and a bit minutes are extraordinary, from Noel's "absolute wow" intro to the absense of guitarist Michael Karoli - on a safari holiday and couldn't be contacted, apparently - and replacement by a showy Lou Reedagram, not to mention the utter bafflement of the audience, especially what seems to be Richard Beckinsale at 3:08. Very much rooted in 1976, despite the desire of the audience Ruby Flipper are drafted in to dance to Elton John & Kiki Dee. And what a magnificent shambles it is. Ignore the troupe (even the ones miming along), as the cameraman who bumps into Philip at one point does, and, if you can, the array of fashions from the uncooperative audience, and instead watch Noel try to chat up some girls in the crowd.

1982: Perhaps fearing the anti-fashion fashion competition from Toto Coelo and their repurposed dusters, or possibly backing down from forcedness having seen DLT looking like that, Haysi Fantayzee aren't quite as bluntly suggestive this week but they both still dance like they're trying to stamp out a small fire. Still the third man lurks seated at the back. From John Wayne to Saddle Up, jaunty bassist David Christie has Zoo, not for the first or last time, confusing title for content and running a Western motif.

1993: As usual Sisters Of Mercy approach the stage like nobody else. There is a band, they're just miles in the darkened background, as are Mariah Carey's backing vocalists. Know your place, 'others'. Culture Beat at number one are basically all dancers and a man in a hat who barely qualifies as a rapper.

1999: As some form of inclusivity TOTP uselessly went on tour for a few weeks at this point. For week one the chart charabanc turned up in Edinburgh, meaning not only local representation from Texas (who were from Glasgow, but keep that quiet) but giving them carte blanche to do an acoustic album track. Maybe the show needed something to slow it down after the quick directorial cut frenzy of Binary Finary, the reaction to which demonstrates the difference between a club PA and a TV recording. What Hepburn demonstrate is why putting audience behind a band is so offputting. Remaining at a great distance, TLC's Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes seems to be simultaneously providing a sign language service.

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