Monday, 29 August 2011

The disappeared: 12/8/76

The second of eight missing shows from this run would have gone here, and as well as depriving Tony Blackburn of his repeat fee this is what we're missing out on.

The Equals – Funky Like A Train
But a train isn't funky. (Though this is a title that has left me spending the last five minutes going "there is nothing you can name that isn't funky like a traaaaaaaain..." to myself. Yeah, I know.) It does include a train impression, though. Like the New Seekers in a way, the Equals were very much yesterday's band by this point, Baby Come Back ten years past. I don't even know if that's Eddy Grant leading - he's credited withn production and writing but every other source says he left the group in 1976. No, it didn't chart, but it's great rare groove funk and it would have been great to see how this was presented.

Dr Hook – A Little Bit More
Woodland, multilayered beard, affectionate chest stroking, you know the drill.

Starland Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight
"And here's some people that are certainly an afternoon delight, Ruby Flipper!" Really can't imagine what sort of routine they could all have got out of this soft rock, even if it did come with none too subtle allusions that must have got Flick sweating profusely.

Status Quo – Mystery Song
Rick's chest, Francis' blow-wave, Alan Lancaster's posing, you know the drill.

Guys'n'Dolls – If Only For The Good Times
You know how I said this episode had been wiped?

Maybe it's from one of the band's private collection, there's certainly enough of them. David Van Day and Thereza Bazar, the future Dollar, are in there, as is Bruce Forsyth's daughter. For such an auspicious occasion that wedding cake tier stage has been built right up to almost vertigo inducing levels. Maybe someone gets thrown off it after the edit point.

The Chi-Lites – You Don’t Have To Go
Oddly, that link is to a near future TOTP where a video of 1940s cartoon clips, as was de rigeur around that time, was presented as this song's video, but in this week they were in the studio, it says here.

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds – Now Is The Time
Eye-popping from Jimmy, wide collared red shirts and grey blazers for the Vagabonds, anti-revolutionist zeal, you know the drill.

Tavares – Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel
The video, though you sort of know what the video of a 1970s dancing soul collective would look like by now.

The Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing
This one exists as well, as it's a Ruby Flipper performance that was repeated two weeks later. Spoiler alert: no TOCG! (A NOCG, perhaps) But loads of Floyd!

James & Bobby Purify – Morning Glory
Ver Flipper do this one too in two weeks' time, TOTP having shown the video this week. Lots of videos this week. As I say, the music industry was on holiday.

Cliff Richard – I Can’t Ask For Anything More Than You
But Cliff never takes a holiday! Having been buoyed by Devil Woman's success he somewhat ill advisedly decides to sing half of this one in falsetto, maybe because his producer suggested it was the way to make him into a new disco star and/or maybe because he's really easily led.

Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Pink overalls, smug expressions, awkward dancing together, you know the drill. Credits spotlight on Lou Rawls, y'all, and You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

TOTP 5/8/76 (tx 25/8/11): it's like punk happened

Let's get this out of the way first, because it'll be keenly felt in the comments box, I can tell. Yes, unfolding drama in the Ruby Flipper camp as it turns out TOCG isn't so O after all - not only was she not present this week, she'd been excised from the troupe's end credit! Did she get time off? Surely not, dancers can't go on extended breaks from the show, they just record in advance, surely. Unless... she does come back, but given she's not long for the show anyway maybe she went on strike like that time Noel Edmonds had creative differences and refused to do House Party one week.

Unless she was ill.

Shall we ask her?

She'll probably have forgotten. It's not worth it. Also, I wouldn't know how to ask her.

Jimmy's back in charge for one of what aren't that many appearances in 1976, at least in the sector of it we're covering. He's dressed up for the occasion this week, none of his glitter patterned speciality T-shirts, it's a jacket a bit like a police constable's, dignified if polka-dotted tie... oh, the pull-back reveals he's wearing a kilt. Always has to spoil things.

The charts reveal a new Wings single and a new Wings picture, all five holding gold discs to emphasise their big shot status. Linda looks most unsure.

Slik – The Kid's A Punk
Now, hold on youngsters, while there may have been prescience in choosing to release a song with that word in the title in July 1976, the month of the Ramones' celebrated catalystic London Roundhouse gig and six months after it was first coined in America to refer to that form of rock (we caught on in February within the Sex Pistols' NME debut - see, it's not just sneering at bad mainstream music fashion here, you learn stuff too), but what eleven year old Midge and baseball-attired friends are clearly meaning here, unless they were hugely prescient on writing it, is the (namechecked in the second line) youth gone wild delinquency/cool-as dropout use of the word. Midge backs that up with his opening stance, clicking his fingers contemptuously like someone who was just too damned good for Guys & Dolls round a pretend lamp-post. His acting masterclass isn't over once he gets into the song, though, staring down the camera on the chorus, challenging us to disagree with his assessment of the fictional subject. As if we didn't know from the dress sense Slik are by this stage definitely the sort of people who wish they were American or at least second hand aspire to its culture but aren't quite sure how to go about co-opting it, rolling out barrelhouse piano, FM soft rock choruses and the idea Glasgow is well across the idea of a "hip shaking, heartbreaking hobo". As a crazed sax player holds the middle eight hostage Ure, just to set the seal on this being someone else's dream, draws out a flick-comb and draws it across the sides of his hair like he thinks he once saw James Dean do. America was a long way away in those days, congenitally as well as figuratively. "Of course they're from Scotland, of course" Jimmy repetitively states afterwards, just to rub it in. It wasn't a hit. By this point in 1977 Ure was an actual punk in PVC2 (who were Slik with a new name, clothes and guitar tuning anyway) and then the Rich Kids.

David Dundas – Jeans On
And this week providing something to fill the stage gaps, the temporarily reduced Ruby Flipper! The message is clear. BACK OFF, HOT GOSSIP, THIS IS OUR PATCH. As if to show they can do the suggestive stuff as well as any Arlene Phillips choreography, their collective stance at outset will come in familiar to anyone who's seen Rita, Sue And Bob Too. For some reason all but Lulu are wearing hats too - huge peaked cap for Floyd, workman's cap for Sue, blue Liam Gallagher bucket hat for Philip, golf visor for Patti. Maybe Lulu's hair was too high maintenance to be messed with. Also worth noting "when I wake up" is literally rubbing of eyes. Dundas has at least remembered not to wear slacks this week, but he still looks a little friendless there all on his tod.

Billie Jo Spears – What I've Got In Mind
Jimmy must have completely mistimed a simple introduction as having introduced this video he chooses to improvise: "Also we have all sorts of other great sounds as well, on account of tonight is a good night for music. How about this one? Yes siree." Not exactly a flashy COMING SOON graphic, is it? Billie Jo is on whatever show it was that all the country clips come from and looks most unsure of her surroundings, and rather like a lost early 80s Coronation Street character.

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Here Comes The Sun
It's a video and a half, this one.

Oh, no, that's not the right one, hang on a moment. Ah, now, this is it. Never quite tops its opening thirty seconds, really.

I want the percussionist's job. He's still not as threatening as Harley, despite wielding a mallet for his job. Harley himself has before long been comfortably covered from every angle.

KC & The Sunshine Band – (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty
Or The KC Sunshine Band, as Jimmy calls them. Of course Ruby Flipper were always destined for this one. Surrounded by an expectant audience and with TOCG having been kidnapped by errant gypsies Patti steps up and takes the jointly significant mantles of most gawping at camera and most minimalist top, although all three will catch their death if they go out like that. Obviously there's shakeage when required, and occasionally when not, but Flick must have been caught off guard by the reduction in numbers as the rest is mere leaning, arm waving and sidestepping filler. What's more, most of the shaking is done from the shoulders and on at least a couple of occasions the lower legs, which defeats the purpose of choosing this song. Dancer of the day goes to Floyd, who gets to illustrate the words "very well" in closeup by pretending to lick his finger and then making that circle with the thumb and forefinger gesture that people did in the 1970s to express goodness.

Dorothy Moore – Misty Blue
"Everybody take a breather!" Surrounded by pretty much the entire audience, which he creeps into surely accidentally while on camera in the background about thirty seconds before Ruby Flipper have finished, Jimmy cues up the same video clip as last time.

Billy Ocean – L.O.D. (Love On Delivery)
And will sir be favouring the mustard coloured waistcoat with matching trousers a size too small over the shirt with the green and white striped mint-like design tonight? Decently strident and professional performance, but this is where the cameraman gets his excuse to indulge in his weekly hit-and-run audience rampage, his target primed and set this week for a girl getting into Ocean somewhat, joyously bouncing around in her cool Wolfie Smith-turns-fisherman cap until being stopped in her tracks and then, judging by her expression, having her foot run over by the machinery.

Twiggy – Here I Go Again
One thing we haven't discussed in the two or three weeks since it was erected is the new stage backdrop, designed in a V shape without the point, with hundreds of small Noddy Holder's hat-style mirrors attached which at times move about as if being shaken by some black-clad stagehand. If it's meant to resonate the glitter of glitzy pop it only works in stages - Dundas' backing was a spectacular prism of random flashing, yet here they don't seem to reflect any light much as Twiggy doesn't seem to exude much charisma or singing ability. Of course this is the same Twiggy who stands now in her big eyelashes as shorthand for 60s Mary Quant fashion, going on to spend the 70s and much of the 80s in stage musicals and the early 00s being the worst This Morning host ever, but with a shot at pop in the middle. Fair to say that by this time she's less the waifish Vogue androgyne and more the lost Charlie's Angel in her all white trouser and waistcoat outfit and poor make-up. Just to make sure it's caught the trend of the day it's a country number (originally by Country Joe & The Fish), one that, reinterpreted in-house, loses Ms Lawson's voice somewhere in the mix. All the pleading eyes she makes at the mixed-in close-up camera shots won't save her now.

Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart
Yeah, I know. What can you do? This time it's enlivened by Jimmy's original and wayward way with the language. "And now, what should we have now?" is the link's opening gambit and again it runs slightly too long for comfort, leading him to freestyle: "We have just time to say how are all of you at home? Very good we are? Here we go!" Rather too late in the show to be asking after us, your loyal viewership, but it's appreciated nonetheless. "We've assembled the troops!" Jimmy announces afterwards, though they aren't actually troops, they're women in nurses' uniforms whose presence is never explained, and he spends most of the link standing in front of them anyway, but is presumably something to do with Jim's famously tireless charity work. That's how he earned that OBE he proudly has displayed by his name in the credits. Hopefully. "Yes siree!" he concludes for the fourth time in the show. Someone called Jesse Green's something called Nice And Slow, which seems to be an instrumental only because in the actual version (he's on an upcoming show, you'll see) he doesn't start singing for more than a minute, soundtracks those controversial cast lists.

EDIT NEWS: So evidently BBC4 don't trust a pre-watershed audience with Sheer Elegance's 'challenging' subject matter, as It's Temptation misses out for the second of two appearances. Unique Sheer Elegance sense of fashion watch: red dungarees over blue shirts with sleeve ruffs. When at one point all three try twirls, all completely out of sync and one in a different direction to his colleagues, you begin to understand why they never had another hit. 5000 Volts turn up with just Linda, the guitarist (who doesn't even bother pretending when it comes to the talkbox bit) and bassist, so there must have been rows there. Lastly was Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band, which has to be posted for all sorts of reasons, from Jimmy's manner of disappearing out of shot to the shaker maker's manly chest, but mainly the bassist having some gloriously undignified issues with his headgear at 1:38.

Oh, and Jimmy was wearing a kilt to promote his role as Chieftain of the Lochaber Highland Games, a role he still holds after forty years albeit only in an honorary position now. That's not an excuse.

Friday, 19 August 2011

TOTP 29/7/76 (tx 18/8/11): anything can happen in the next half hour (but it's doubtful)

We're getting well into the summer slowdown on the show now, best exemplified next week where in an original programme featuring twelve songs only four haven't been on the show before, and those are portrayed by a video, a Ruby Flipper routine and two exclusives, one of which didn't chart. Then it's a wiped show, then one with 11 performances of which five songs are new to the show, two of those being videos and one a Flipper. By the time we get to 26th August 1976 there's a complete clearout and it's all newly minted, and a really quite fascinating selection too. We'll get to that, I reckon, on 15th September 2011, but in the meantime there's some songs we're getting to know very well. Just the half hour in its original form this week, but even then more than half the records aren't new to the show.

David Hamilton's back in charge this week, in a T-shirt that shares a red hooped design with a cartoon swimming costume - white jeans too - and against quite some background noise. He has his own obsession to work through too, the Olympics giving him the opportunity to claim "some racing certainties", himself "for the high jump" and "plenty of discus". Except that doesn't work unless he's lapsed into pig latin. Is 'discus' meant to sound like 'discs'?

Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
Ah! Now this is a way to break a show in, even if like so many it ended up falling short of the top 30. Such is their profile they've managed to get a backcloth of their logo up, while Lynott can get away with entirely mirrored shades that reflect the lot. Meanwhile the rest of the band get to amuse themselves, one cutaway showing Brian Robertson grinning manaically at Scott Gorham as they share a backing vocal mike. The audience react to rock by awkwardly moving very slightly quicker than usual. During the instrumental break the director decides he hasn't done much yet and as the camera pans from one side of the stage to the other he brings in a solar flare effect fading in and out to no great effect. Still, it's a day's work. Right at the end a man with similarly long hair walks to the side of the stage with arms folded. Why did they need a roadie? It's mimed on a single use TV soundstage!

Dr Hook – A Little Bit More
"A man who is a member of the medical profession but he is not a psychiatrist and it's not your mind he's interested in, it's your body". Such is Diddy's convoluted introduction to the hirsute and homoerotic video, as previously discussed. Really he's not a member of the medical profession at all, is he, he's just a carnival huckster. And it's not a 'he' either. "What a naughty man!" Diddy concludes afterwards, having only just been given prime evidence that it's several people.

The Chanter Sisters – Sideshow
Rum girl groups seem to be an occasionally recurring feature of these shows, and to prop up a week of songs we know all too well here's a pair for whom sophisticated style is other people. We've come across the song before, it was playout a couple of weeks ago, but actually seeing the none more rock'n'roll named Irene and Doreen brought home the fashion low comedy that has always hovered just under the surface of this repeat run. Irene sports a large curly perm and a dress seemingly made from some huge, unliked Christmas novelty curtains tied to a ribbon round her neck. Doreen has taken to the crimpers and has donned an all-in-one. She also favours the full-on hair flick during her solo dance, where she sways gallantly from the hips with feet planted to the floor while Irene is on vocal. She's clearly the more confident performer, giving it some enormous held notes, and certainly the more confident dancer given Irene seems to be mimicking the audience's own uncertainty. As if to compensate for unexpected vocal volume, after the instrumental break the soundman has clearly turned her mike down, only for her to come in at normal pitch for once and sound strangely distant. "Great! Fabulous!" Diddy says with no conviction before making a "flown over from Nashville/very hard on the arms" joke. They're British, by the way, why they'd need to fly over specially is unrecorded. The Sisters, should you wish to know, went on to sing backing vocals for everyone from Elton John to John Cale to Justin Hayward to the Undertones before Doreen split off to work with Bryan Ferry, sing in a chorus at The Secret Policeman's Ball and back Roger Waters, Meat Loaf and Van Morrison. She also wrote Kiki Dee's Star. And that's more than you ever hoped to know about Doreen Chanter.

Walter Murphy – A Fifth Of Beethoven
One of the issues always raised with Ruby Flipper is that Flick really had no idea what to do with the male members. By this stage, neither did the male members. This is one of those routines that has to be seen as words are not enough (it's on YouTube too, but with the soundtrack replaced at WMG's insistence) Basically it's intended as a Flipper leg show in tiny hotpants, crop tops and some sort of headwear with a feather on. What that means is we must look at it as anything but a sop to the dads, for instance to the air traffic control arm movements and the fact the whole thing is performed seated, which makes it look more like a music and movement class in overcoming collective limitations. Note how TOCG and Patti can hardly take their eyes off the camera (and the first closeup is of TOCG, despite her being the shortarse of the team, and she gets to work in some of her prime 'yeah, I know which one you're watching' faces) Of course the secondary routine, assuming we don't count the overuse of CSO completely different while parallel to the live action, is the switches between Philip and Floyd in the conductor's umpire hat, Einstein wig and big overcoat (overexcitable men in overcoats getting worked into a frenzy by underdressed young women? Did Mary Whitehouse know about this?), only for it to turn out they're both behind their own music stands. Philip, if you watch closely, does appear to be giving Floyd some in-character dagger looks, it's just we don't get to properly see them except in profile. The ending between the two is a welcome reminder that these were the days of high farce comedy.

Jimmy James & the Vagabonds – Now Is The Time
A new performance, and some people in the audience have brought scarves! Or toilet roll. Seems to be a similar density of material, in any case, and long enough to require three people holding them aloft. Such was the evident popularity of James and his far too high waisted mustard coloured trousers. If anything, his eye-popping routine in the breakdown is even more full-on.

Status Quo – Mystery Song
The video again. See Rick's open shirt in a very unmanly pattern! Watch Francis' hair in the indoor breeze, revealing a pair of mighty sideburns! This, of course, is the superior Mystery Song.

Liverpool Express – You Are My Love
Not the same as the previous two showings, as there were tight regulations on solarisation overuse. Instead our visual effect comes from the shape of the keyboard player's hat, pretty much Puritan in dimension. The guitarist has swapped his twelve string for something proper and some leather jackets have been broken in, but instead of being in a big open space they're hemmed in at the front and the comparative lack of comfort shows a little.

Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Oh, you know by now. Diddy revels in the detail they've "done the double - they're in the top ten in the States, they're number one across the nation in this country". In what way is that a) a quantifiable double and b) proper syntax at the end? Once the awkwardness has subsided, having referred to their being top "across the nation" for the third time in three sentences Diddy bades us farewell, in the style of a kids' presenter, with the Bee Gees' You Should Be Dancing and the news "we'll see you on Radio 1 tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock", which isn't accurate in either time or visual sense.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #32: M - Pop Muzik

Robin Scott's self-descriptive, self-reactive art-new wave critique ("I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarize the last 25 years of pop music... whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale") was always going to lend itself to set-piece prime time performances. Not so much the regular charting appearance, which is just some people standing around with identity tags on, but that from the Christmas show. No, not Peter Powell's odd intro, but the abandonment of suits and formal wear for camouflage trousers, a uniform logo in shocking lipstick pink, deliberate standing around for the band and, up on the balcony, Scott commanding his patch like a communist dictator with moves and his backing singer friend with a strict manner and the sort of headgear Dexys would be commandeering in 1980. Then out comes the walkie-talkie and it's conceptual game over.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #31: Symposium - Fairweather Friend

Slightly differently to the rest of the week's entries, this wasn't a surprise big hit or novelty appeal, just a young indie rock band in the right place (the mid-level touring circuit) at the right time (1997). Known for their catastrophic energy at the time, it's really a matter of whether Ross Cummins goes to the crowd first or whether the crowd comes to him, in the end deciding on what must have been a show first. Nirvana's may be more famous, The Real Thing from the other week more awkward, but I don't think TOTP has seen a more populated stage invasion. See how Jayne Middlemiss sticks resolutely to the script afterwards. Great big edit to cover a VHS cockup too. DIY to the last.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #30: Terry Wogan - The Floral Dance

Again not exactly unknown, largely because it's Terry Wogan and nothing he could ever do would pass by unchecked, but it's classic Tel, pretending he's not entirely sure what he's doing here but he'll give it a go anyway. Camera cues missed, audience members reacted to for imagined slights, corpsing... you've rarely seen anyone less ready, odd for his stature even back then, but that's what makes it fun. Incidentally this was so rushed out that the Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band version was still nine places higher in this week, and the week after this a record that had been steadily climbing suddenly fell fifteen places.

Seventeen years later, he self-effacedly made jungle substantially less massive.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #29: Jilted John - Jilted John

TOTP may have been slow and wary towards punk but when the dam broke they just had everyone on - the Lurkers, the Angelic Upstarts, you name it. That's probably how this got on when just at 37 (and perhaps EMI payola too) because beyond the junior Buzzcocks guitars it's not an obvious crowd pleaser, but there's a man balancing a naive joy of being on TOTP with the knowledge he can't break character. Producer Martin Hannett (Joy Division, Magazine, Psychedelic Furs, Happy Mondays)'s studio band and Vini Reilly, later of the hugely influential Durutti Column, are backing him.

You more than likely know who Graham Fellowes became, but for the 2008 Big Chill, for no apparent reason...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #28: Fiddler's Dram - Day Trip To Bangor

Made up of moonlighting members of the Oyster Ceilidh Band (now just Oysterband, very much still going in trad folk circles, usually those called out between songs) and written by a future EastEnders scriptwriter, the answer to the conundrum of how to draw attention to an extraordinarily mumsy piece of surprise hit English folk seems to be to just crowd out the stage. There's definitely a bassoon that's being proffered for decoration only. Good to see Aslan on guitar. SHUT UP, WRIGHT.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Alternative TOTP Canon #27: John Otway and Wild Willy Barratt - Really Free

Ah, this was overdue proper canonisation. The loose theme behind this third special gap-filling week of Canons is awkwardly stranded between the novelty theme and the let's-do-the-show-right-here thematic that lies behind this entire series. Basically, it's people who may never have expected to appear on Top Of The Pops and now they're there were going to make something of it for themselves. The omega of this is surely Otway's first of three appearances, one in which the audience are the very definition of not being able to turn away.

The second appearance involved Elton John confusing himself, more Otway perambulation and a not unreasonably swelling audience. Twenty five years later he got to confuse Richard Blackwood, which is never a bad (or difficult) thing.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

TOTP 22/7/76 (tx 3/8/11): states of independence

Parish notices first, in the wake of last week's by far the largest number of comments for one show. Pan's People and TOTP Dance Troupes are interviewing those who strutted for the greater Pops good, one per month, starting with three Gojos but for our timeline purposes getting round to Lulu in October and Sue in December. We suppose you can drop questions off via that site.

Hey ho, it's DLT! He too seems to be riffing on the long hot summer by wearing big shades, but is the rest of his face burnt or has something been chromakeyed over his eyes or... oh, no, they've wrongfooted us all again by superimposing his finishing the opening sentence onto one of the lenses, pointlessly. Billy Connolly's in the top 30, unfortunately not appearing on the show any time soon with his ultra-quick parody No Chance as it doesn't seem to be the most family friendly of songs. At least they've found a picture of him looking his most affable.

Here's a question with no set answer - why was Queen's You're My Best Friend, already on its way down but still in the top ten, never represented on the show when labelmates Sunfighter were?

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Here Comes The Sun
Oh, sweet meterological irony. The graphics team do their best with what we must presume to be a rain shower effect but actually seems to be strips of foil overlaid as a far too hairy man prods at far too many keyboards. The second Beatles version we've had in this run (and the first is imprinted on all our brains forever) is one of no fixed pace, rattling away in rhythm and keyboard run even as Harley refuses to budge from its normal speed. The bass player is wearing a Cockney Rebel T-shirt, Harley at one point sings towards a camera at the back of the stage which is quite some queueing and it becomes noticeable that someone has the dual job of bongos, which remain largely untouched, and tuned percussion, the fake playing of which is exemplary. Then there's some varispeeded outro vocals, which Steve makes a valiant attempt of looking cool while miming. Oh, and this actually was a hit for once of an opening song.

David Dundas - Jeans On
DLT, in his Florida World Football League top - how glamorous that must have seemed at the time, the idea Radio 1 disc jockeys got to go right across the Atlantic as a matter of course and then show off about it - claims it's about "something that we do first thing in the morning - well, for me personally it's second thing". There's no wink or little eyebrows to suggest double entrende, so that could mean anything. It could just be he's being scrupulously accurate about how he gets up first thing. It could. Advertising jingle writer made good Dundas is wearing pink trainers and slacks, the big liar, and is playing a keyboard that looks like a typewriter from the side angle, but the attention is instead drawn to a woman right at the front who seems to be enacting St Vitus' Dance, all pointy elbows and physical upper body jerks. Soon enough a wider angle reveals the truth, that there are three women dancing in front of the stage in, well, jeans but also tight white T-shirts bearing the legend 'HOT GOSSIP'. Now, Arlene Phillips' gusset-gyrating Everett sidelings did exist at the time but as far as I can find they had no direct connection with Dundas, and what are they doing on Flick's patch anyway? Had they heard on the interpretative shimmying grapevine that Ruby Flipper were in trouble and decided to cheekily stake an early claim? Surely, with all now six of the residents about to take their marks, any interlopers could be chased out. If they wanted a peaceful resolution, could the unions not have been brought in? Whoever these invaders are they require some work, all three never managing to simultaneously choreograph anything, one just off on a turning round and arms high in the air freestyle. There's a lot of spinning on the spot too, as well as some pushing out of chests to get word in for any viewing competing producers. Whatever, there's a couple of typically uncommittally frugging girls at the front getting increasingly annoyed by it all. Meanwhile Dundas plays on affecting nonchalance.

The Isley Brothers - Harvest For The World
Eventually Ruby Flipper get their oats. "All expense spared on the costume" DLT... jokes or knows? Because at first there's three different routines. Stage right Patti and Floyd are slow dancing, her in evening wear, him in something that seems to be made out of second hand tartan. In the centre Philip lives it up as a silver trousered ringmaster with two flappers, while stage left it's TOCG in some sort of two-tone get-up. Around them an audience clap, more in hope than expectation that this might lead anywhere. Patti gets to mug a kiss to camera. What does it all have to do with the song? Nothing, but it has a rhythm that brings forward awkward body shifting, though Lulu is rather splendidly caught singing along. Philip then gets a solo spot and goes for it with some vigour as the non-Patti girls get together to form an impressive circle of spinning and outreaching. Before long all six are off into the crowd, and in one of those moments of directorial indecisiveness we see the floor manager rush into a shot back from the stage towards the retreating dancers to push some people out of the way. They knew how to handle a crowd then, with force and not caring whether it was seen by the nation or not. Even then the camera has to keep zooming in and eventually just cuts outlying Flipperers out altogether. For a closing piece de resistance, everyone grabs a partner out of the crowd in the hope they'll match their exultations. As Lulu's partner can't even get the moving from side to side in time right that seems a vain hope but the seemingly spontaneous nature is somewhat dulled when you find someone on Pan's People etc has spotted that Floyd's partner is Pan's Person and Flipper co-manager Ruth Pearson. TOCG gets DLT. Of course she does.

Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band – In Zaire
In another triumph of the editor's art we cut from DLT being frankly flung about, and not before time, to DLT in a different part of the studio looking across and feigning weariness. It's at this point he tries to affect a black American accent, possibly in tribute to Ali ahead of Wakelin's Rumble In The Jungle tribute. It doesn't suit... anyone. And it's a drum circle! Or at least two drummers plus a self-consciously I'm-mad-me bloke in the middle in a pilot jacket and polka dotted trousers wielding a massive maraca in one hand and two tambourines in the other. Meanwhile the guitarist has on voluminous flares and Wakelin has gone for the pimp Sly Stone camouflaged in a carpet warehouse look. Pink fedora, outgrown pencil tache, ageing supper club comedian shades, jacket-cum-waistcoat with card suit symbols sewn in ("an explosion in a paint factory" DLT says when Wakelin's safely out of earshot, which can't be right given it has definite patterns), the lot. Bearing in mind he was a club singer in his late thirties from pre-hip Brighton it feels wrong to hear him emote about Elijah Mohammed while having to write in two seperate goes at pronouncing the titular country, but that's Love Thy Neighbour-era Britain for you. Only to add that on Spotify there's a whole album of Wakelin songs about boxers, proving there's a man who knows his market as much as he knows his wardrobe.

5000 Volts – Dr Kiss Kiss
It's her again! It's a new performance but Linda Kelly still moves like it's a works night out and is now sporting something that can't decide whether it's dress, robe or curtain. Her bandmates just look even sleazier, guitarist and bassist alike favouring the plunging neckline, the latter with a silk shirt and more top lip hair, the former in a red playsuit. The whole charade crashes down, though, as we get to the talkbox bit and the guitarist - let's dignify him with a name, Martin Jay, who was later involved with Tight Fit somehow - realises they didn't bring it. His solution is to make a "ooh" face, grin and look to his right, where the bassist is trying not to look at him for fear of giggling too much. The bass drum and panels around the back of the stage start flashing via the magic of CSO but it's far too late to distract from the moment. Quite a few people start wandering towards the stage right at the end of the song, perhaps in wanton hope. This is on twice more, by the way. It's the new Shake It Down.

Johnny Cash – One Piece At A Time
While going through his full range of expressions DLT extends an arm as if showing us the other stage. Cash is, of course, on tape on a much grander stage. Because he's Johnny Cash and he's singing about essentially stealing a car he can get away with abandoning his guitar halfway through with no change in the sound. Because it's US TV they feel no shame in adding canned laughter that doesn't match the crowd size or imagined ambience at all. DLT claims his engine fell out in Amersham last Sunday. He may or may not mean his car.

1776 – Oh Susannah
Well, this is a mess. First off, it's a grandstanding arrangement of a California Gold Rush song traditionally performed by blackface minstrel troupes by a French band named after the year of American independence. Secondly, singer Jacques Mercier (who in his previous band Dynastie Crisis had invented rap) is rum indeed, bald and with an extravagant moustache he's either the prototype for cartoons of dumb-bell lifting strongmen or the violent prisoner Charles Bronson, were the latter ever to favour purple trousers of a width you could hold Summertime Special in. There's some staging going on here as we begin on a close up of him before slowly panning out and a lighting change revealing bloody loads of people, four extra musicians and eight gospel singers. Mercier certainly has an expressive way of singing, lots of muso looking into the lights and the occasional Eric Clapton feint. It's hard to know what to make of all this. That's probably why nobody bought it and 1776 didn't make a second single.

Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Again with Kiki's pink dungarees for its first week of six (sorry) at number one. If this video ever looks rushed that's because it was, being shot in one take with three cameras and no rehearsal at a tiny dressed up soundstage round the back of a Rod Stewart TV special taping. DLT introduces the closing KC & the Sunshine Band and says goodbye "on behalf of Phil, Brian and the rest of the maniacs who work here". Don't drag them all into your private hell!

EDIT NEWS: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band again - no idea at time of writing which of the two performances, though it does mean two very differing songs about the American War of Independence in one show - and the grand return of Sheer Elegance, who by now are well beyond the reasoning of mortals. Check the evidence of It's Temptation - the outfits of a boxing Santa Claus with their trademark wing collars, some sort of early business with beads, a Hitler moustache and the half-hidden confession that the object of their love is under 16.

Next show Thursday 18th. Alternative Canon Week next week.