Monday, 11 April 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #1: Sparks - Get In The Swing

Whenever the subject comes up, the same few clips from the Pops archive get brought up - Bowie and Ronson, Morrissey's flowers, Cobain's baritone, Jocky Wilson Said, Peel and the Faces, Mud and the roadies, All About Eve, Pan's People wagging their fingers at dogs etc. Enough. If we're taking a wider view of the show's history, let's use the time between repeats to create an alternate list of great moments from its history (apart from 1976 because the blog'll get round to them). All suggestions are, as per, welcome.

(NB. We reserve the right to show other clips by some of these artists at some point should we run short of ideas. There's a couple of tremendous Smiths instance, for example.)

With that in mind, here's our first inductee. The Sparks TOTP moment for the ages is the first sight of Ron Mael's moustache and countenance when they did This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us - a USP the band clearly hadn't thought through before, by the way, if you ever see that song's video which is virtually all gauzily lit close-ups of Russell. Move on four singles, though, and we find Ron in white coat and sideways development, Russell marching in tiny shorts, a big brassy/piccolo-y outing for the BBC big band and a young audience who the more the song goes on the more keen they are to look away from the stage they flank. Look at them around the chorus at about 2:25, it can only be assumed a proto-Fathers 4 Justice type was climbing the lighting rig behind the camera run.


georgethe23rd said...

The Orb playing chess?

georgethe23rd said...

Kandy Pop - Bis (with added bonus of Ceefax subtitles)?

RobJ said...

I'm enjoying the blog, looking forward to reading more over the weeks.

Rupert Holmes doing the Pina Colada song to the most uninterested audience seen on TOTP

Same kind of applies to Eurovision winners Milk and Honey. I like how the audience closes in on them at the end

Chris Brown said...

Sadly, S*M*A*S*H doing their Citizen Smith act (and a song that never charted) isn't on YouTube, although the complete episode is on Vimeo. It also include Eliza Doolittle's mum trying to show off her pants.

So, here's Ian Brown and unusual percussion instrument:
Gee, I would never egg a monkey.

And the second version of 'Rip It Up' by Orange Juice, complete with David McClymont beating up the pretend saxophonist and imaginative post-Pan's-People choreograpy:

Simon said...

Edwyn Collins: "We were on Top of the Pops with ‘Rip It Up’. The dance troupe was called Ruby Flipper and they did this routine where they mimed ripping up a piece of paper. Afterwards our manager was crying. He said, ‘The big moments are never as good as you think they’re going to be.’" And the saxophonist in that clip is JG Thirlwell, AKA industrial kingpin Foetus.

Chris Brown said...

I did remember that bit (although I hadn't realised Ruby Flipper lasted that long). I think it says in Grace Maxwell's book that McClymont was made to apologise to the producer or something.

Oh, and the mother of all unenthusiastic audience clips is surely Eric B & Rakim doing 'Paid In Full' because the act themselves look even less keen. If you look closely you can even see Rakin walking off set before the end of the song.

Arthur Nibble said...

Have you got Dick Emery from 1973doing his top 43 smash "You Are Awful" (aka "Do The Conga")? Worth a punt.