Thursday, 9 February 2012
TOTP 3/2/77 (tx 9/2/12): ITMA
Oh, hang on, that's from the wrong show, sorry about that. (No idea who made that, by the way - Charlie Brooker was first to make its presence public but it has a ring of Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper about it, especially as one of the band names is similar to something they've used)
"Another half hour of super sound and view for you" promises a bouffant Kid Jensen, which is a lie right off the bat as the proper version is nearly 40 minutes long and would have been even then. Just about scans, too. New pictures abound this week, as Leo Sayer meaningfully observes himself back at us in a mirror and Gary Glitter looks like he's pinned against a wall by an unseen firing squad. Please, say nothing. More importantly, though, we have a second, head on shot of the Rose Royce Cortina, this time with the roller up. Can't say it's affected the looks much.
Thin Lizzy – Don’t Believe A Word
You again. As if this isn't the third time we've seen it we get the screen/dancing effect, which we must come up with a catch-all title for before next week. Of chief interest this time is a man in a brown sheepskin jacket, tie and tache who appears to be trying to bust out some proper moves irrespective of whether he actually can, whether that be to the music or just generally in life. A very quick cutaway to some shifting youngsters disguises the Noel-in-background moment. In a neat shot, and as if to save on the costs of operating the crane camera, Kid backannounces "their latest 45" - hardly latest any more, Kid, more 'current' - as off to the right a figure in silver appears on the performance stage making for a neat segue to... hang on, it's not...
Gary Glitter – It Takes All Night Long
Who says you don't get surprises on television any more? Even Calvin Harris tweeted his surprise, which at least means another covert celebrity viewer flushed out. In case you missed it there's a sort of backstory here, which is that when Jonathan King got cut out last July he complained to the papers (the Mail, bravely for him), about a month later as it happened, and the DG issued an apology ("his performance will not be edited out of any future repeat" - starting again, are they?) Even so, you'd kind of think they'd have played safe and left this year's three Glitter appearances on the unedited versions, especially as the Mirror caught on to the first one claiming he'd "be seen singing a 1977 number, believed to be I’m The Leader Of The Gang". Which was a 1973 number. Good work there. Anyway, Kid's enthused, stomping along to the intro even if he does leave the last word off the title. Gary's well past the point of pop reward here so seems to be morphing into some sort of creepy glam crooner affair, dressed in a suit possibly made of Bacofoil. He actually looks nervous at the start, such is the magnifying power of the close-up. Then he starts singing come-ons in the creepiest voice he can muster and making Carry On-randy faces directly at us. At one point, having spent much of the time between vocals with an arched back and a haughty provenance, he mock-airs his collar before staring straight down the lens and stage whipsering "what a night!" before prancing up some stairs and, frankly, shaking his arse. Also bear in mind he was only 32 at the time but looks deep into middle age, and you don't have to consider anything else about him to feel the black ice forming where warm blood used to be.
Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes – Don't Leave Me This Way
Knowing we need someone to stir the loins back into order, here come Legs & Co. "There's a whole lot of directives in the chart this week" comments Kid, possibly the most deathless thing he's ever said. Elegance is the watchword following last week's Victoriana, moving on a decade or three as the budget really gets pushed out once more. Evening gowns, opera gloves, drapes, even a big old chandelier. That does mean not much space to work in, meaning a fairly vanilla for their standards number involving lots of circling the external parts of the set, striding around in pairs and limbular expressiveness in a line.
Boz Scaggs – What Can I Say
Kid promises "a very special guest", so he'd better deliver. In the meantime a video of Boz and his huge band, including two drummers and one of the three backing singers having a tambourine to hand
The Real Thing – You'll Never Know What You're Missing
The camera stays on Kid for a long time after he's introduced the song as he looks progressively more concerned. As it's a slow smootchy one, with more than a nod to Homely Girl, and maybe having seen the Pips the other week they've dressed up in their wedding suits for the occasion, flowers in the lapel holes and everything. Chris Amoo, who always has to be different, has augmented his outfit with a huge explorers' hat that any church goer would insist he remove before the service. It seems to be a perfectly reasonable live vocal, Amoo giving it plenty of huge soulful exhortation throughout the last third to remind us of his frontman status.
Silver Convention – Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout Love
Repeat from two weeks ago of the bra'd up German Three Degrees.
The Rubettes – Baby I Know
And they say pop acts grow up too fast these days. Just three years after Sugar Baby Love, the Rubettes had reverted to their archetype as session men and gone ersatz country rock. They even look the part, Alan Williams sporting a receding side parting and Les Gray-by-way-of-Parker glasses. The Rubettes, unsurprisingly, are no Eagles. In terms of studio manufactured bands going their own way, they're some distance from the Monkees. This did however lead to the wondrous spectacle of the Rubettes UK trending on Twitter and people becoming confused. You would have to ask, wouldn't you.
David Soul – Don't Give Up On Us
Last time (until Christmas), thank goodness. Even crowd dance cutaways can't really save it. It's after this that Kid reveals his special guest, and "I didn't disappoint you"... Thelma Houston. Good, except she was pretty much unknown here at the time, promoting her first single as she was, her own Don't Leave Me This Way, presumably why she wasn't on to perform, unless that was due to her work permit or something. As with all guests she doesn't get to do much, merely name her single and announce the credits song, but like Terry Kath she adds an element of impromptu dance too. Unlike Kath it's a song you actually can dance to, Heatwave's Boogie Nights, and it actually looks like dancing rather than an acid flashback. Kid again wishes us "good love" to close. If that was his attempt at a catchphrase it really wasn't working out.
EDIT NEWS: Boney M and Leo Sayer, both of whom we've seen before and will see again. That's how editing these shows should work.