Monday, 30 April 2012

30th April

Slightly different look from now on - instead of attempting to cram everything into a fluid paragraph of text it'll just be year, name, link, comment, onto the next one. Cleaner, clearer and most importantly less work for me. OK?

- The Human League debut the girls, prepare for the hits
- An unfortunately straightforward The Teardrop Explodes
- A pleasingly non-straightforward Tenpole Tudor with the audience catching on eventually
- The Beat finally getting all those people at the back to move in their own times
- Legs & Co's callback to the infamous "most expensive Pan's People outfit ever" for Quincy Jones

- The Jesus & Mary Chain, Jim Reid off in his own world
- Level 42's Mark King keeps forgetting he's got a bass on that requires thrumming

- Launching "Britain's favourite musical mission", Marc Almond, a string quartet and mass clapping completely off the beat
- Sisters Of Mercy, Ofra Haza and heavy laser strobing

- Chicane rope in Tom Jones to add inappropriate big-lunged vocals and dad dancing
- Jamie Cullum and his impromptu jazz percussion falling victim to a lack of miking
- Red Hot Chili Peppers outside TV Centre in the rain. Those people weren't all supposed to be there, one thinks.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

29th April

1971: One of the earliest regular shows to be retained in full, and one of the most interesting too in all sorts of ways. For one thing, The Faces got to do two songs, the first three minutes of slide guitar and Ronnie Lane comments of approval, the second showcasing Ronnie Wood's novelty guitar and Rod's pink jacket. It's a wonder McGuinness Flint and their banjo/accordion led rock'n'roll hoedown and Open University beard didn't quit on the spot. Elsewhere Lulu gets backing from Pan's People and a few hundred backing singers, two of whom spend part of the song dancing together (plus her then husband Maurice Gibb is one of the shadowy guitarists); The Mixtures vow to have a quiet but urgent word with their manager; and at number one in the chart countdown, the intro to the big hit by Dave & Ansil Collins get the director's camera change console pressing fingers working in a precedent to Daley Thompson's Decathlon levels of button mashing.

1976: Twelve year old Midge Ure in Slik has a certain cherubic quality to it even though he's trying to seem more like a man of class, borrowing Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains and feigning an interest in baseball style like that. The girl at the end has gone above and beyond the call of duty with her headgear, and if you watch behind the band from 2:45 you'll see the moment Tony spots her. What is there to say about Laurie Lingo & the Dipsticks? Nothing. That's what, nothing. Apart from that that's what the Ladybirds looked like.

1982: Yazoo set up as simplicity itself - singer, keyboard player, no flashing lights, no extraneous interruptions. Then Vince Clarke decides the Flock Of Seagulls hair look is the way forward. Someone should tell Alison her beret has slipped. Compare to Monsoon's fussy introduction of Indian influence to the mainstream, Sheila Chandra running the gamut of exotic poses. They've put the sitar player on a carpet raised just above the ground. It's a wonder the show didn't give the audience takeaway boxes to wave. At the other end of the indigenous spectrum another recent Eurovision winner pops by, so "let's hear it for Nicole!" But not for that turquoise jumpsuit.

1993: A show retained in two thirds of its length, and you're not missing much without the third. The first part kicks off with D:Ream, and yes, that is who you think it is, followed by a chart rundown including the Dave Clark Five and SWV in their work overalls. As for part two there's a track called Power Of American Natives which isn't as ill conceived as you may have feared, Inner Circle from the summer of synth-reggae and Robert Plant being a leonine Robert Plant.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

28th April

1977: Representing about five different band looks in one, Contempt represented the kind of arch theatrical prog-pop that a seachange was about to see off. If that was just behind the time Rags, and well done on that thematic link to start with, were ahead of the synthpop curve, no wonder given the two girls went on to become Bucks Fizz' writing engine room. Much place swapping and, of course, spinning from The Detroit Spinners, their backing singers notable by their completely different stagecraft tack. Barry Biggs didn't need a stage, not when he had a staircase to struggle up.

1983: Here's a fairly comprehensive look at the 999th show, led by some prime Rhythm Pals featuring "the south-east Asian chart" (not included here) and Peel making his own additions to the top 10 rundown, plus in extended form Kissing The Pink. Two wacky men up front! Overexuberant percussionists and auxiliary members were very much a thing in 1983. From the same show Galaxy demonstrate the various forms of white jacket available before Phil Fearon does a somersault entirely for the hell of it, while the markedly less energetic The Creatures make an entire work out of vibes and Siouxsie's presence. No whooping during this one, understandably.

1994: Clubhouse had a dance hit with what wasn't even a cover of Light My Fire, just a song with the same title. Someone should have told them. In an emergency looking for a way to make something out of this it was down to the local travelling circus a runner went. True artists don't need men on stilts, just a ledge and a floral display, as in the case of Barbra Streisand "via satellite from Wembley Arena", thus making the idea of a performance via satellite suddenly less amazing. Imagine the hospital pass that climactic note must have delivered to Ride waiting to follow it in the studio.

Friday, 27 April 2012

27th April

1972: A lot of occasions where single clips survive from otherwise wiped early shows are due to pre-records and, as in this case, special inserts. This applies quite a bit to early 70s Pan's People, unless that's just engineers making tapes for their own later amusement. One such case is this remarkable routine wherein the heart of ruined darkness and the burnt out death of the libertarian dream that is Sly & The Family Stone's There's A Riot Goin' On is reflected in the overaccesorised girls prancing round a department store. See if you can spot the horrible continuity error around 1:24.

1978: Well, there's plenty of oddity here, and not just how wrong having Patti Smith danced to by Legs & Co seems for all sorts of reasons.. For starters, two years on Twiggy is still plugging away at a serious musical career, moving with the times from country to disco with Spanish guitar solo, but just to make sure she doesn't forget where she comes from the BBC have thoughtfully provided a catwalk. If they wanted to do disco properly they should have looked towards Boney M. That is, were it not for the tremendously offputting addition to the song's intro. Had the orchestra's xylophone player threatened to lead a walkout? Leading the fight for rock was 1950s rockabilly, which suggests where disco thrived. Steve Gibbons Band, some in flasher macs, are the representatives. Following them from somewhere else entirely, and about as awkward a presence in such company as can be imagined, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Note the audience's pregnant pause at the end.

1995: The only time Chris Evans hosted the show, which is somewhat surprising. For his troubles he got to introduce Oasis.

2001: Says here Missy Elliott did Get Ur Freak On in the studio but I can't find that online. Instead, Ronan Keating with delusions of Vegas set stardom. That shot at 1:00 is quite worrying.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

26th April

1979: Well, now you know what the title of Arte's TOTP clip shows looked like. A little ostentatious if you ask me. Similarly, Eruption, who with the use of uniform dreadlocks attempt to avert the thought they're essentially how Frank Farian would have envisaged Labelle. Meanwhile as former punks Generation X see Billy Idol attempt to develop his command of body language - see the second verse - before a Costcutter Bowie/Ronson moment, former Strawbs became faux-punks The Monks, new wave as performed by someone who's only ever read about it.

1984: A fairly notorious moment, Sandie Shaw returning to Pops at the Smiths' behest and ending up laying on the floor as early as the start of the first verse. Not exactly the demure, almost stationary singer of her prime, but at least it's a fine song and not, say, this. Maybe that was what Morrissey had in mind when he said 'reggae is vile'. He doubtless wasn't too keen on Duran Duran, or Janice Long's singing. For a band formed out of New Romanticism and famed for their stylish touch those jackets do seem quite two for ten quid down the market. Note Simon's game miming along to the Fairlight sampling of his voice. Belle & The Devotions were our openly Supremes-lite representatives at Eurovision, beating Hazell Dean and Sinitta in the heats before getting booed on the night in reaction to football hooliganism in hosts Luxembourg the previous year, and not to such awful styling. The captain's hat really sets off the full set. Would such lowbrow glamour have aided or hindered The Flying Pickets? You can't really argue it was a priority.

1990: Alright, who let Pat & Mick happen? A combination of Capital Radio, Stock Aitken & Waterman and charity, but I'd be surprised if that was Pat Sharp's actual voice in the, cough, harmonies. Can't help thinking Mick Brown has kind of dressed badly for the occasion too. Unique 3 were house hip-hop from Bradford and were clearly susceptible to the "what do we do with the extra over bloke?" issue that often afflicted such bands on Pops.

2002: Is this the least dignified intro Pulp have ever had? It doesn't really make sense. Any Jarvis on Pops gets in, and to an extent so does any New Order, either if Barney's on live vocals (not here) or it's late on and they're into self-parody (here). See Hooky scrape the floor with his bass, here added to by some exuberant drum pad bashing! Cringe at every mid-line Barney airpunch! Holly Valance spent most of 2002 with her bra showing and goes all out for the domination dollar on her Pops debut. Having her name on her dancers' backs is a neat if utterly futile touch.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

25th April

1991: Just before Blur's TOTP debut their manager suggested Damon drop an E. Not that he appears erratic at all, as you'll see. Maybe some sort of otherworldly mental experience was necessary when you find you're sharing a studio with Gloria Estefan deciding why not be everything - soul diva, AOR rock chick, gospel leader - at once. Listen to the roar the widdly guitar solo gets. It's like punk never happened. Or maybe Albarn's excursion was a natural extension of being on a show with EMF, who featured two shirtless members and some impromptu keyboard playing in a hurricane. Right, who remembers Vic Reeves' first single? You can't imagine this isn't a lifetime dream fulfilled, plus he gets to get his nature drawings out. And at number one a record breaking, kind of, Chesney Hawkes. They only scream when he gets the guitar out.

1996: Hmm, presented by Chris Eubank. I wonder if... oh god. It's that one, isn't it? The one with that song at that chart position. Oh alright, here's Never Mind The Buzzcocks introducing it. Back on the show proper he tries his best to put Manic Street Preachers in context, followed by his other go at it. Very 90s blow-wave hair James is sporting there.

1997: The David Bowie jungle phase wasn't quite as offputting as it could have been, given in his big patriotic coat he still looks whatever part he was playing here.

2003: Curiously low-glamour turnout for Goldfrapp on their debut, a couple of moose heads and a closing theremin solo - ended abruptly by a horrible cut, if you look at where Alison is on stage - not quite reflecting the anthropromorphic burlesque image of the time. To end as the day began, it can take quite a while for everyone to back down when you achieve a certain level - listen for those screams for Blur when Damon starts singing. He's not the most accomplished of acoustic guitar pluckers either.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

24th April

1980: This was an unstable mix of a show, perhaps best demonstrated in the fact that in the face of new wave and so forth Smokie came back to open the show with Chris Norman in leather jacket and skinny tie. He wasn't fooling anyone. The staircase at the front of the stage was surely asking for someone to invade and stop the madness. Two bands who in their own ways would place their mark on the show for the following years made their debut, The Cure full of foreboding and Robert just giving up on the guitar part in the intro before VT throw every effect they can find on the console at him, Bad Manners full of lager and with the cowbell part comfortably taken care of. That intro is going to need clarifying immediately, I can tell - it's the unnatural ending to Legs & Co's Bobby Thurston routine on the catwalk. Johnny Logan was fresh from Eurovision victory, packing a dramatically lit saxophonist as all the backing he needs and a jacket that seems to have accidentally fallen onto his shoulders. Because TOTP is a show of contrasts, we subsequently get The Cockney Rejects. Suddenly the audience don't seem so sure.

1986: Just how dominant American soul was in these days is commonly ignored these days, but Pops wasn't Pops without at least two flat-topped singers and Emulator-toting hangers on. The SOS Band were a perfect example, incorporating two backing singers. Aurra had meanwhile "just flown in" as if we were trying to be impressed by this duo nobody knew of refusing to sing a duet while looking at each other.

1998: Twelve years later dance culture held comfortable sway, as did ever more dubiously desperate ways to get it across on screen when the producers were reducing themselves to the sidelines. Dancers, obviously, but 187 Lockdown - sort your tracking out! - slung some appropriate costumes on some people and instructed the bloke to look all mystical. The director is so pleased with getting his overhead shot of a record he misses the dancers literally disrobing. The audience seem very pleased to hear face of The Tamperer Maya start singing, but those instruments - tubular bells! Like it's 1977! - aren't convincing anyone. That's why Tzant seem so successful, as despite the set designer's best 'urban' effort and a half-hearted street dance trouple all it actually requires is platitudes and a live mike and an audience is yours. Fighting the corner for instrumentation were The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, whose place at the forefront of some sort of ska revival was surely derailed by an apparent bout of laryngitis.

Monday, 23 April 2012

23rd April

1981: Welcome to the TOTP canon Mark King's dextrous thumb and Level 42, who rather sneakily have redubbed the studio recording over the footage and presented it as the track's official video. Swines. Still, at least we can still admire the synth player's own branded top and the general Le Coq Sportif air of their attire. Matchbox were proper rockabilly teds, no stylistic bandwagon jumpers, that's why they've taken up matching uniforms like, oh, Showaddywaddy would have had. Nobody's spun a double bass for years. Roger Taylor set out on his own as a kind of own brand John Foxx with quasi-reggae licks and Sting's hair. Legs & Co can't just wear small bikinis for a routine any more, there has to be something extra, so Barry Manilow's Bermuda Triangle, being named after an area of water, has four of them splashing about in the sort of pool you're usually expected to disinfect in before returning to the changing room. The studio cleaners can't have been happy.

1987: The famous studio evening dress-clad squad performance of Back Home was on this day in 1970 but it doesn't seem to be online. What is available is an even more notorious marriage of music and football, Glenn & Chris with a song that at no point acknowledges that it's being sung by two famous footballers. No metaphors, no distant crowd cheers, nothing. Someone attempted to sell Hoddle and Waddle as actual pop stars without reference to their proper jobs. The result is two men realising just after starting that this might have been a bad job all along, their having little aptitude to be here as frontmen. (Not that that stopped them recording a follow-up, mind you. Or Waddle from later teaming up with Basile Boli, a team-mate from his days playing in Marseille) One can only imagine what pros like Kim Wilde & Junior in their matching shirts and very un-Wilde-like dance moves would have made of it, let alone the Smiths.

1992: Carter USM got their retaliation in first, organising a party stage invasion. You can do that when there's only two of you, but perhaps a few too many balloons.

2004: Celebrated wastrel and celebrated wastrel's mate who didn't turn up when his own song got on TOTP? That'll be Wolfman featuring Pete Doherty, who to fill the gaps has brought both a good book and a useless extra singer. A proper international star like JC Chasez can afford to bring the world's weediest drum tattoo and a girl who does nothing but prance. Either have them on throughout or not at all, I say.

2006: Pet Shop Boys are one of the few bands guaranteed a pass for pretty much everything they do on the show because being so aware of their surroundings they know the purpose of TOTP. For their comment on the Bush/Blair relationship, something Fearne couldn't do more to gloss over, they intended to have dancers wear masks of the two, but as it fell during a local elections campaign they had to draft in masks of Clinton, Putin, Cameron and Menzies Campbell. Where would you ever get a novelty Menzies Campbell facemask from?

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.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

21st April

1977: Eddie & The Hot Rods' Barrie Masters puts in a lot of effort, up to and including the splits, for little comeback. Not his fault, though, even when pressed into hastily erected grandstands the better to see Legs & Co's Stevie Wonder routine there's a complete lack of animation except for one notable, hosting exception. That much space used up, Deniece Williams ended up being put on some spare stairs.

1983: Not often you get a band who can synchronise guitar and bass neck waving *and* drum alternating, but Culture Club always thought a little outside the box. Roy Hay's dressing up box this time brings out an attention-all-shipping hat. An archetype of early synthpop was two static men behind Roland synths, a smartly dressed man and a female backing singer in night out finery. See: Heaven 17. Another archetype is visible at the front, that of someone in fingerless gloves.

1988: Once sampling-heavy club hits started happening something had to represent all those instruments. S-Express already have enough friends of friends not really making themselves useful for it to matter much, but the man who's got dressed up to mime a single trumpet note has gone above and beyond some form of call of duty.

1994: Another show available in full. "My name is Prince. I just said my name." Yes, he did - he'd just changed it to The Artist Formerly etc. but this was still promoted under his proper monicker. In fact he didn't even perform on the show, just stand around trying to look inconspicuous just before Tony di Bart, unlike among others CJ Lewis sending the kids mad, The Pretenders in front of some projected gothic windows, Crystal Waters dressed as Tasmin Archer and Deacon Blue's 'exclusive performance' of a seven year old song. So... had he just popped in on the offchance?

2000: According to Luke Haines, after Black Box Recorder had recorded this performance a youth came up to him to ask "aren't you a bit old for all this?" Rarely will you see the concept of a rose between two thorns be better expressed. The intra-band "we've just performed on Top Of The Pops! grins at the end tell their own tale. Someone really didn't think about the staging for Fragma's number one - instead of letting the people have a climactic dance, they've put singer Coco well out on a mini-stage out the back of everywhere so everyone has to spend three minutes looking at her back.

Friday, 20 April 2012

20th April

1978: The errant joys of picture-in-picture! Squeeze's second visit sees, as well as an elevated Chris Difford and far too many rack toms, endless layered shots of keyboards and Glenn Tilbrook over other instrument close-ups, all to little effect other than the director having something new to play with. There's a version with Dan Hill where it's combined with the tried and tested kaleidoscope of lenses, which only foregrounds the fact Hill looks rather too like a vagrant. Bob Geldof, who usually manages that as a matter of course, by this stage had a vocal style so much his own that even Peter Powell takes the piss introducing the Boomtown Rats. Look at him, not even Jimmy Pursey ever carried on like that, and he'd never pick a jumper that makes him look like Orville The Duck taking up parks rugby either. Meanwhile Legs & Co end up in their nighties for the Bee Gees, another triumph of the literal reading will, and then because that was far too sensible greet The Michael Zager Band with pom-poms, except they were supposed to wave them, not wear them.

1989: After Sybil Ruscoe shouts in a very mannered way Transvision Vamp kick off, Wendy turning out in her bra as she was always likely, odds on at times, to do. Is it my imagination or 1:22 into The Cure does someone observing Robert Smith's eyeliner, lippy and topiary shout "come on girl!"?

1995: Bjork would occasionally turn to TOTP with a new idea of how to represent the song everyone had bought, and with the not entirely borrowing itself to live performance Army Of Me she brought Skunk Anansie with her for an industrial reworking that carries until Skin takes over vocals, at which the song's importantly subtle force is set upon by a chainsaw.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

19th April

1979: What has DLT got midway down his top? One of Dusty Springfield's habitual comebacks saw her in largely piano-backed chanteuse mode, Johnny Pearson behind her, admiring youth semi-circling around the stage. She's right to raise that mike cable above her head in celebration.

1984: A less reverential reaction to The Special AKA then the show was clearly expecting from that cold opening, but it's just the start of a conscious-ska party all the way. Listen to the chant that starts around 2:45 on the beat and continues regardless of vocal. The balloons are still flying en masse by the time Blancmange come on, the keyboard player having to fend one off almost straight away. The rest of the show is retained here and here with the Bluebells (not that one), a misspelt Jonathan King's US round-up from California introducing us to a misspelt Weird Al Yankovic, Nik Kershaw bringing his own stylish, distracting dancers and Andy McCluskey presumably wondering why he didn't have the same idea.

1990: Here's a new approach - one hit wonder leather rocker Alannah Myles takes it while sitting on her own front of stage plinth. Her demeanour doesn't really suggest she's putting her all into it, unfortunately.

2002: Talking Heads never made it to the studio but David Byrne eventually did with X-Press 2. Like a part extended tribute to early Chris Lowe, the collective's act involves looking at computer monitors or, in a triumph of literalism, laying in a bunk bed stage right. Such folderol would never wash with The Vines, occasionally decipherable representatives of the New Rock Revolution.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

18th April

1968: The Kinks in a semicircle give Ray at its head a chance to have a sit down. They seem to have mislaid a pianist, mind.

1985: Dead Or Alive always seemed to open shows, surely a case of setting the bar too high. Actually it's the crowd that are overactive here rather than Pete, still trying to make something cultural out of an eyepatch. Their drummer had his syndrums out and so does Howard Jones', along with a low-slung keytar and someone on gated handclaps. China Crisis couldn't look more different with the big white electric piano and the Confederates tie, but they've ended up brothers in mullet.

1996: Not that you'll see her quite yet, but please welcome for the first of five hosting jobs, all in 1996, the semi-legendary Bear Van Beers! The wildcard of the Pops presentational roster, a 23 year old who got the job after bombarding Ric Blaxhill with showreels and letters and Lisa I'Anson being double booked for this show. Actually Beertje was her proper first name, and after Pops and some local work for Granada covering ice hockey and for a Sky News entertainment show she moved back to Holland to become a presenter and fashion writer. Fashion? Maybe she'd now advise Alanis Morissette that that shirt is the colour of a Quality Street wrapper and is too big for her.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17th April

1974: Not a Pops, but the fruits of one - Pan's People In Concert.

1980: The first fruits of a shortlived Philip Lynott solo career that reached its apex by the time we were living in a situation Where that self same situation depended on the yellow pearl saw him performing chugging sub-new wave with a Lizzy dual guitar solo seemingly in a verandah. Meanwhile, what would you mentally put on Legs & Co on learning they were dancing to Blondie's Call Me? If you said "gangster suits and hats for some reason", well done! Also, are you cheating?

1986: Thanks to label blocking wee've got the first nine and a half minutes and last nine and a half minutes of this one, and all you're missing in the middle is a Janet Jackson video and the breakers (including Just Say No, mind you). So that's Big Country and their big coats, A-Ha, George Michael with a heavily fringed jacket and, with a bit missing (whole thing here), It's Immaterial, their big old fashioned BBC mike and, really, a decidedly odd song.

Monday, 16 April 2012

16th April

1981: What a brilliant letdown this intro is from the mustard coloured trousered Peter Powell. A special Spandau Ballet film (the video to Musclebound, as it happened)! People flying in fron Tokyo! Surprises! But first, Bad Manners! Not just grabbing whatever the costume department had to hand any more, Buster's in full city gent gear which presumably would have had to be specially fitted. Imagine. We've mentioned before about how unreliable Powell could be - oh, you wait until 1977 hits his debut come November - but really, introducing the bowler hatted, shoulder shaking, could have requested the bigger stage if they really wanted Sugar Minott as "a little bit of disco" is so wrong it's unimaginable. Was Paul Nicholas' work in vain? Presumably Powell thinks Department S, featuring Vaughan Toulouse as a slightly disturbing Alvin Stardust, is hip hop. There really is almost too much to mention on this show: "one of the very best cuts of vinyl you can get in the shops" The Beat; a big rock/punk element from Girlschool, straight off their hit Motorhead collaboration, and the already superannuated in every sense UK Subs; a hint of the future from a skeletal The Cure with what seem to be dual basses; and a reminder what 1981 was actually like in the charts. That is to say nuts, with The Nolans outdone by the theme music from The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George, which reached number two and saw Legs & Co dancing to its Ennio Morricone theme, a kind of "you'll know it when you hear it" deal but still thoroughly unsuitable for anyone expecting usual Legs & Co business. The back projections show solidarity with the working man.

1992: Perhaps fortunately after that onslaught there's not a lot else online from that date - nothing at all from 1987, for instance. To fill the space here's some Kylie.

2006: Strange to think there was a time not so long ago that Rihanna's stage show was a DJ and a couple of independent, late arriving dancers. She's stadium ready though, judging by the keenness to traverse the front of the stage clapping as she goes. More notably, though, this was the week of probably TOTP's last genuinely noteworthy live performance, the slowed down, flight crew themed version of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. The audience aren't sure what to do and Danger Mouse's hat doesn't really fit his huge hair, but otherwise it briefly proved the show still had talking points left to give up. For a bit.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

15th April

1965: Here's something momentous and in a way extraordinary. The Beatles, clearly at ease with being put on pedestals, appeared on TOTP six times, all but one pre-recorded without an audience, and all six shows were wiped because the 1960s BBC was callous like that. However, 25 seconds of their performance from this day's show of Ticket To Ride was used in the Doctor Who episode The Chase two months later as illustration of how in the future they would be seen as "classical music" (oh, how little they knew). In fact the band were asked to appear as themselves under aging make-up to represent their future selves but Brian Epstein put a stop to it.

1971: You know what's strange? Whether it's coincidence or not I don't know, but from the mass wiping years there's a lot of Rolling Stones that's been retained. This seems to be either a pre-record or full-on rehearsal footage, even when as in this case you'd imagine Mick would want all video evidence of his all-pink outfit and jockey's cap burying as landfill ASAP.

1976: A mystery that has pervaded this past year - what's with the one seated member of the Stylistics? With their full routine otherwise intact it looks ever more out of place. Meanwhile Fox returned with even more come-hither looks and flagrant talkbox, and note DLT offering a very static type of appreciation in the background.

1982: Time for another part of the 80s to arrive, Simple Minds' debut, Jim Kerr borrowing his hair from Gary Numan and ending up crouched on the floor like a synth-mystic twice. I wouldn't like to suggest David Van Day takes anything less than full pride in his appearance, but with Dollar on the up is a string vest really appropriate? The close-up on both pretty faces at the false ending is loaded with meaning. Shakatak didn't go for that whole frontperson business, meaning lots of shots of musos with beards and a desperate cutaway after a couple of minutes of some of Zoo ballroom dancing in near darkness.

1993: At home with East 17! You can't quite imagine them having a log fire, not even really a hearth, but three TV monitors is believable. Tony can't afford a keyboard stand, but at least he has something to do, one of the two at the back spending the whole time sitting, adding the odd backing vocal and watching. At the back. Eurovision time again, Sonia almost comically British-Eurovision-entry like - its Wiki entry describes it as "50s like", which means someone has no idea what 1950s music sounds like.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

14th April

1977: Like the fifth Beatle, but not, the seventh Legs & Co member was as important to the make-up as the originals. Possibly. Floyd, formerly of Ruby Flipper, made a handful of extra man appearances in the couple of years after L&C's introduction but none more vital than on Andrew Gold's Lonely Boy, where he gets to essentially mock-beat up Patti.

1983: Nine days before coasting into sixth place at Eurovision Sweet Dreams attempted what seems to be the Dollar Plus One demographic with the crucial stylistic aid of gym wear - tracksuit tops, jogging bottoms, sweat bands - and some stools to work a routine around. What was it all supposed to mean, this jumble of unconnected ideas? If you're wondering, Carrie Grant's the dark haired one. The dark haired one in Bauhaus... oh. Peter Murphy's put on a nice suit jacket and stopped messing about so much and look, they've bought themselves a new melodica.

1988: Bananarama are very much into their SAW phase, but being their ragged selves they've not decided on a coherent look - the leather jacket and second hand jeans, the polka dotted dress or the vamp with handy dishcloth? Jellybean also has a choice of singers but only one of them is credited on the single and both appear to be singing everything regardless. Obviously it's the one standing in front of more of the pretend instrument players, but the director's not entirely sure at times.

1994: You don't get commmeorative disc handovers on telly any more, maybe because you barely get pop stars on telly any more. Toni Braxton has got her silver disc and she doesn't seem all that impressed but best put a brave face on it. After that she gets to sing in an area of an LA studio that's clearly too big for single person in tight shot purpose. Meatloaf hosts as Meat Loaf would, forgetting that we really know where Take That are from. Robbie does his hair, then we get to see the others launch into their exact dancing cue. Even Gary has to do the heavy hoofing lifting on this one in his usual galumphing style. And then Meat Loaf sings at length, because that's what he does.

Friday, 13 April 2012

13th April

1978: Here's one of those awkward performances where the singer is so anonymous the show has to get Legs & Co to surround him, in this case the Travolta suited Gene Farrow. Oddly enough, it turns out being all in white isn't enough by itself. Similarly just being foreign and using funny English doesn't make Raffaella Carra the new... er... Baccara or Sylvia.

1989: And you think rap possees are too numerous for necessity these days: two of Cookie Crew, their DJ, three dancers and Edwin Starr hidden away down one corner having to stand around unused for ages at a time and not doing a lot when required. By comparison the usually quite bendy legged Fine Young Cannibals are still, bar Roland's impromptu decision to make the piano solo a two-hander.

1995: More UK Eurovision business with the infamous Love City Groove, an attempt to take good vibe rap to the international audience, beating Londonbeat, Deuce and a band featuring Samantha Fox in the heat. Unfortunately they now look more like a spoof of UK rap. Fair to file Sinead O'Connor & Shane McGowan under 'raggedly emotional', everyone in telling shades, and who's that on howling at the moon vocal ad libs towards the end? If you look behind Phill Jupitus as he then introduces Take That - distant string quartet, Jason Orange on acoustic! - Sinead adds her own voice to the screaming masses.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

12th April

1979: Have we discussed how The Story Of 1977 flagrantly lied to us, the credulous viewer? It overlaid the Something Else Legs & Co routine (linked through here) with Pretty Vacant and made out that that was how it had originally gone out. About par for that documentary's "watch our repeat series all year, it's shit" attitude, but surely there's a limit. That Zandra Rhodes-inspired routine gets dragged out to demonstrate how the show somehow demeaned punk despite showing loads of it til after the well had run dry, but there was another Sex Pistols dance routine, this to the post-Rotten single Silly Thing, the emphasis on the former word. Fair enough, as by April 1979 punk pretty much had been reduced to jumping about in rainbow coloured jackets while the airwaves were clear for Racey to invoke the spirit of Mud. Actually that's unfair, Sham 69 were still fighting the good fight, though like the Pistols they had essentially regressed to beleathered rock and roll cliche. Once spotted you can't watch Pursey go arse over tit with audible thump at 1:45 enough, I find.

1984: Yellow posing pouch, monumental swept-over hair, overballsy disco cover... no, nobody ever accused Dead Or Alive's Pete Burns of being a shrinking violet, and in return the branded balloons cascade. To go from that to Robert Smith artlessly scraping a violin must be some journey, The Cure sitting down and apparently causing some controversy in doing so. Robert seems quite laid back about it, indeed.

1990: But of course The Cure were standing up again soon enough, with overelaborate sleeves.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

11th April

1974: Another packed week, kicking off with Mud's formation start and choreographed routines, none of which impress the bloke right at the front in the lumberjack shirt who takes every opportunity to turn round and look straight down the camera. Whatever the drummer is trying in the first chorus, it doesn't work. Noel then tells a joke which gets one laugh, before power balladry Slade shows who won the glam-off this time. Still "247 music makers in the finest tradition", luckily, as Noel mentions before Mungo Jerry, Ray Dorset more monkey than man, has his collar up and his dander on. And to think, none of the above get the audience as excited as some men in suits. The Wombles. The bridge lends itself to some Mud-style antics, but it's not as easy in those costumes. And after all that a notorious Pan's People routine (Louise's last) to the Chi-Lites. Those tumbling locks, that plunging neckline, that winning smile... and once Noel's link finishes it's ugly duckling-to-swan dungarees to baby doll dresses all round. Cracker of a move at 1:20. One can only wonder what Bill Haley & The Comets made of it all on one of Rock Around The Clock's many reissues. "Twenty years day old - doesn't sound a day over fifty" Noel comments. Is that meant to be approving? From the past to the future, and days after their Eurovision victory Abba give us a reprise, launching, oh, all sorts. "The Magic Roundabout starring Diana Dors"? Is that a joke of its time? Note the clumsy edit straight after it finishes.

1985: You can't properly hear Peel's intro but his claim the show is in 3D seems to be unfounded. What's definitely there is Tears For Fears in leisurewear. Lemon jumper, Curt? Nice. The big group of people all in white at the back of the stage seems to be a curious coincidence. Later on in TOTP77 we'll see the remarkable debut of The Rah Band with a song that's very different to this one, though "Jeremy who's watching us in hospital" likes them like this, with its art nouveau phone receiver and glitter wigs, meant to indicate the space age future but actually looking like two years out of date already. Look, there's even a robotic dancer. What was that Peel and Long said about the future?

1991: Anthea makes sure to say hello to Radio 1 FM listeners during that station's experiment in simulcasting before launching us into The Wonder Stuff, Miles Hunt in his tartan finery somehow ending up off the front of the stage. Dannii Minogue's entire pop career felt like an extended riff on the idea of trying too hard, as with the spray-on trousers and minimalist halterneck for what is basically last ditch SAW. The dancer miming to the rap barely knows where he is.

1997: Watching these programmes, you really get a feel for what floor managers do to a show. The party atmosphere of the 80s was fun and arguably necessary but in the 90s and 00s you start to see seeping in a level of sometimes artificial seeming audience excitement well beyond that. Look at Supergrass here for instance, not only is everyone jumping about in a way you only normally see in a mobile phone advert but there's people screaming. There's people cheering the guitar solo.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

10th April

1975: Ladies and gentlemen, Emperor Rosko. He's really on it this week. More Eurovision fallout with the victor from two weeks previously Teach-In turning up with their enthusiastic xylophonist, so much so he plain ignores his flourish at 2:01, and bassist in a leopardskin all-in-one. What an odd thing pop was that week, making space for a returning Peter Shelley and friend getting stroked from all over and his spiritual cousin Peter Skellern. What are they all dancing at? It takes 10cc to get things moving a bit, even as the director attempts to hide them through acute camera angles. We know Pan's People routines had to be changed at the last minute quite a bit, but there are parts of the choreography for Jim Gilstrap where Flick seems to have retained the original routine regardless, the shredding of dresses and blinds having proven too much effort to be abandoned. All of which leaves Bay City Rollers atop, showing off Les' inadequate jacket.

1980: Why is Simon Bates lit and talking like Vincent Price at the start of this? It's only Buggles from when computer arcade games were still signifiers of a future and Trevor Horn took to dressing like Elvis Costello. This was the prime of 2-Tone, The Bodysnatchers adhering to all the movement's main signifiers - lots of movement, lots of sax and at least one member in shades indoors. You'd think from those two that we were moving forward into the bravest new world of pop. Sky, John Williams' classical fusion epic, would suggest otherwise. Is that Hank Marvin on drums?

1986: "Romford, hello!" Five Star had their monogrammed jackets sorted out by now, not dissimilar to what Janet Jackson would take up a couple of years later. Steve Wright may be excited about Bryan Ferry, but if he agreed it was such a big occasion he wouldn't have worn that colour jacket.

1998: This however is properly uncommon, though Jayne Middlemiss' it's-not-for-kids intro doesn't suggest so. Page & Plant seem at 3:11 to have a particularly taken fan front of stage right.

Monday, 9 April 2012

9th April

1981: Five days before Bucks Fizz had won Eurovision, making their victory lap something of a triumph of the polyester will. And that iconic moment? They, er, don't do it, which means even Saxon come with more showbiz flourishes, what with Biff Byford's New York Dolls-cribbed stance and the guitar swing on its axis while the bassist spends the whole thing hopping from foot to foot in an attempt to dissuade attention from his balding with tache look. Public Image Ltd always brought something offbeam to their performances, this time an impromptu avant-garde mini-string section and what looks like parts and costumes borrowed from a mad scientist's lair. The attempt to put some visual effects in only cheapen it.

1987: For a record produced to the most exacting standards of AOR The Rainmakers' frontman Bob Walkenhorst seemed to see himself as a loose cannon in his patchwork jacket, midway continuity-buggering adoption of a top hat and whooping ad libs. Because it was the mid-80s one of the band is wearing a headband. And then there's Blow Monkeys' Dr Robert, going for the classic combination of crimson jacket and heavily feathered choker like he's Prince or something. That stool is comically high too, doubtless for effect but he must have needed a stepladder. Terence Trent D'Arby's dancing has been noted before, but by this time at 1:10 he completely neglects the miming angle.

2004: Eminem made his Pops studio debut on this day in 1999 with My Name Is but I can't find that online. Five years later he came back mob-handed with D12, and note the absolute audience silence whenever anyone else is rapping.

2006: After a horribly stilted attempt at proxy praise by Rufus Hound, The Crimea fly the flag for slightly baffling booking (not like the show needed to fill a guitar band gap either, Belle & Sebastian were also on that week). Davey McManus will take them all on if necessary.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

8th April

1976: Running tings proper, the Rastaman vibrations of Paul Nicholas meeting the orchestra and Ladybirds uptown, incorporating hat, cane and Noel clearly forgetting his name in introduction. "This man" indeed. Back in sensibleness it doesn't look much like a Pops studio but it is, and one when the director was still in the throes of fish-eye frenzy. The penultimate of Abba's eight studio appearances, for which Bjorn has dug out his best purple velour suit. Meanwhile Flick was in her literal element, The Beatles' Paperback Writer lending itself to Pan's People in their death throes pretending to read paperbacks. Cherry particularly appears to be immersed in her first tome, while simultaneously gyrating too.

1982: Rarely missed a Maundy Thursday opportunity, that show. Bates and his bunny girl throw "over there!" to Haircut 100, whose bassist had come direct from his cheap fast food chain job to be presented with a novelty huge acoustic bass. Hope the percussionist claimed full union rates.

1993: A performance via satellite that everyone remembers but nobody recalls was for TOTP, New Order on the Santa Monica beach overseen by Hasselhoff and surrounded by... do you think they're paid extras or just people encouraged to get up the beach a bit and act as decoration? Note girl having conversation on the telephone. How is it plugged in?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

7th April

1977: A notorious Legs & Co example of literalism, given Maxine Nightingale's Love Hit Me and deciding the second word of the title is the important one. Their adoption of comedy expressions is fine improvisational work but like us all, Kid Jensen immediately attempts to disassociate himself from goings-on. Look at the end, nobody's watching.

1983: "We start off for starters, right?" Peter Powell, as comfortable with the language as ever. Dexys Midnight Runners in their vagrant finery, Kevin Rowland proving himself one of the worst mimers of all, and presumably he sacked the drummer on a whim at 7.20pm. Sadly the record does not show how Powell introduced Twisted Sister, though you'd assume he'd start pulling down bits of the set in excitement at Dee Snider as demure as expected and that one really excited bloke at the front. Metal = smoke bombs. You should know this by now.

1988: Song For Europe time again, this year's UK entry written by Julie Forsyth (who had been in Guys 'n' Dolls) and sung by Scott Fitzgerald, using Kid Jensen's 1977 hair. This ran Celine Dion's winning song down to the last voter on the night. Glen Goldsmith's look was leather jacket, gloves and tracksuit bottoms, which feels wrong in all sorts of ways. Pet Shop Boys at number one encouraged Chris to put his best sailor's hat on and run an MS-DOS program to remind himself what his band are called.

1994: More Pet Shop Boys, having moved on just a touch in costume, stage design and delivery. Those computer graphics were cutting edge 3D, because that's what PSBs did in those days. It took the rest of us so long to catch up if you think about it, though the most interesting visual moment is in proper 2D is at 3:03. That looks a lot like the rock journalist Phil Alexander in the red T-shirt, but clearly it's not him, it's the man in the foreground having something of a messiah-impels-thee moment, both somewhat undignified and glorious. Especially as it's David Walliams. No, look again, it actually is. And if you need further proof, look to his left at the man in the flat cap and check shirt. Take That were at number one, indisposed in Europe but not so busy they can't go to a Portakabin and send a bored message back partly to welcome aboard debutant presenter Andi Peters. If only we knew then what we know now where that would lead. Stop chewing that straw thing, Williams.

Friday, 6 April 2012

6th April

1978: More British institutions debuting here with Squeeze. Glenn and Chris' T-shirts make clear their mission, Harry Kakoulli's lack of T-shirt quite something else, and did he not get time to wash his voluminous hair given how often he runs his fingers through it? Jools meanwhile is as deathly serious as he always would be. Representing the UK in Eurovision that year was Co-Co's job, Cheryl Baker among those for whom 'Brotherhood Of Man with a load of annoying gimmicks' proved to be largely unsuccessful. They beat Labi Siffre to get there too. I don't think that's an actual working megaphone.

1989: Holly Johnson demonstrates the showbiz version of his Two Tribes suit, but for a solo artist who already has a perfectly decent backing singer the guitarist fancies her lot. Speaking of which, Wendy James. Transvision Vamp are playing it up as it is, but with her halterneck, beret and massive crucifix she's already making a play for Vogue.

1995: As so many people did around 1995, Terence Trent d'Arby had a crop and dyed it blonde. He also thought an aquamarine shiny shirt and some power chords would help things, so clearly he wasn't hoping for much. Take That were number one, where in a moment of impudence they made Gary stand up to sing like in prep school.

2001: When the vexed question of BBC expenditure next comes up, remember once LE was so flush they could build this set just for Destiny's Child, replete with strange trees, alcoves and threatening fires. Were Twilight's set designers tuned in?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

5th April

1979: Didn't everyone want their own M name tag in those days? Robin Scott's postmodernism seems to have extended as far as his singing stance, bent forward with swaying shoulders. The bassist just wanted to stand out. Also looking awkward by design, Squeeze and their dancing girls, demonstrating times come and times go but lurid red onesies never look good. It's not really Michelle Collins on the right, by the way. Also note that in those days Jools knew his place. With those girls taking the glamour for the week Legs & Co are left content with charity shop purchases for the hugely unpromising to dance to Sultans Of Swing - and if you'll forgive my stepping off topic for a moment, their TV debut with this on Revolver is worth a look just for all the punk kids doing anticipatory pogoing before they've even appeared, Knopfler understandably amused by the sight. Speaking of unlikeliness and punk, The Members go reggae, Rico and all. Nicky Tesco still thinks he's in the Roxy. That year's Eurovision winners were Milk & Honey, notable for a) their singing the title in the same way Leonard Cohen does and b) proving that there's a place in Israel that will forever be betrothed to the New Seekers.

1990: This sounds like a self-defeating statement but Bez didn't do a lot, did he? With the Happy Mondays on Pops it's always, always the running on the spot sometimes bent over a bit routine, hidden as he is down the back a bit. As for Shaun, clearly with the brief flares revival over the way forward was cream slacks.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

4th April

1964: The oldest surviving TOTP studio footage, The Hollies, when frontmen could still sit down as a matter of course. A look at that original 'hit parade' set too.

1974: Never ones to do things by halves, Mott The Hoople get a fish eye lens to themselves to deliver their message to the kids. That little pose at 1:46, the close-up on the drummer's medallion at 2:06, Ian Hunter's shades - it all says "we're here, and we're NINETEEN SEVENTIES ROCK". Eventually it all gets too much and the cameraman has to find some reflective polystyrene to hide behind.

1985: It does seem nobody had talked through plans with Glenn Frey before he turned up, as he doesn't look immensely comfortable on his own but still with his guitar and a saxophonist eventually turning up. Surrounded by strutters and balloons he looks a touch like his band have abandoned him. Meanwhile David Grant & Jaki Graham demonstrate textbook mid-80s styling. There's even another sax solo just to make sure. Those top 40 graphics were cutting edge then.

1996: Once Dale Winton has said his hosting piece, a slightly strange and forced set from Kadoc, basically three half-arsed dancers, someone miming to a James Brown sample and someone slapping the far end of a keyboard. We're all set against authenticity, but really, put some effort in. Pulp of course get TOTP intimately, but they could have made more of an effort with the petals cascade from Nick Banks' cymbals. Doesn't cover anything.

1997: Mark and Lard in charge! For full effect, after The Charlatans they get so ungainfully shout about someone nobody ever heard of again. You can only wonder what they thought when N-Trance turned up on the running order with the song they were surely always going to get Ricardo da Force to rap over and do little else other than the deadening beat different to. It was a song from the seventies, you know.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

3rd April

1980: The whole thing. Of note is Kid's name in lights, first off, and see his little kick before the Lambrettas. Madness performances get a free pass anyway, here exploring the twin concepts of boats and Cairo with the headgear, plus Suggs' pith helmet, which doesn't stop them cutting it off at the false ending. It must have been a crush in the green room with them, the Selecter (so many of them a prepatory head count was required) and Dexys. Prima Donna were the Eurovision entry, including Kate Robbins, Sally-Ann Triplet later of Bardo and the following year's co-star Jay's brother Lance Aston (indeed Cheryl Baker was in one of the beaten UK finalists, as was Bruno Tonioli). Confetti and an adaptation of the New Seekers (who, inevitably, one of the six had been in) was never going to topple the Johnny Logan express, really.

1986: The first show featuring The Wizard as the theme. A member of the Clash on Top Of The Pops! Punk is dead! Mick Jones and Big Audio Dynamite, of course, enlivened by Don Letts' arms length relationship with his keyboard. Some people who definitely knew what they were doing were A-Ha, Morten sporting his Warner Brothers jacket and now in the belief that leaning forward over the mike stand constitutes method emoting. So what do you reckon Falco of Rock Me Amadeus fame would dress like for the occasion? Sadly, merely aviator shades and a bomber jacket. Well, he is mid-European.

Monday, 2 April 2012

2nd April

1981: Be careful what you wish for. Liquid Gold returned with a candidate for the UK's Song For Europe, and so confident were the BBC with its chances that they invited the band onto Pops more than a week before the vote. Unfortunately the velcro skirts comfortably beat the confetti-in-hair look, not to mention the intensely annoying drummer antics, into second. This came on one broad church of a show, finding room for the jazz funk with warning chant and *three* bongos of Light Of The World, Legs & Co on the verge of breaking out their stash of doubloons along with the Jackson Five and, well, Children Of Tansley School's My Mum Is One In A Million. A poor man's St Winifred's School Choir. Can you imagine? Same songwriter too.

1987: Imagine how frightening this visual might have been for the uninitiated. The Dubliners & The Pogues, millions of people just going for it. How comparatively slickly unsoulful Fine Young Cannibals seem, though credit Roland Gift for that sideways train thing dance move.

1992: Imagine the discussions that must have gone on when W.A.S.P. were briefed on who would be introducing them and how. Just the one explosion, BBC? You're slipping. Meanwhile Roxette are live and direct from Sweden's equivalent of Pebble Mill.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

1st April

1971: The turn of the 70s, a time of great sea changes in the constitution of popular music... and then there's Georgie Fame & Alan Price and their duelling keyboards. The fashionable girls behind them are right off the King's Road, the clothes of the performers from the Littlewoods Catalogue.

1976: Which of course is where we joined this whole BBC4 shebang. Watch here, here and here, and read along here when the house style was in its infancy (though I'll stand by "Ben Goldacre, kind of an Alan Maryon-Davis for the Tens") Despite the claims of Fox and some people you've never heard of in any other context the highlight is of course the staggering Jungle Rock Pan's People routine with the animal costumes from the back of the spare cupboard.

1982: Were it not for the pan across from the neon logo and the audience's evident joy at a good smoke bomb this could just as well have been an actual Motorhead gig, what with all the dry ice and the uncompromising stance, even a foot on the monitor at one point. It seems quite the jarring juxtaposition to go to Roxy Music under yards of floaty material, but at the show's peak that's what it was all about. Nice leather jacket and bow tie combination, Bryan. The start of April is usually when we find out the UK's Song For Europe, and defending the ground made by Bucks Fizz it was Bardo, not quite sure whether to go the boy-meets-girl whole hog in their modernist choreography. And that ending! Even in the Rihanna age you don't get a lot of female singers in miniskirts ending their routines by lifting a leg in the air.