"The following few are feeling fine, cos they're this week's Top Of The Pops! *air punch*" Even more than Noel and Tony you can tell which presenter that is just from the style written down, can't you?
Last time we'll hear Whole Lotta Love for a while, this - every Christmas, like a confused uncle, then not until a slight return in 1979. Bob Marley has a chair in his photo. The Wailers are either standing up or uncomfortably crouched down. That's the perk of getting your name at the front.
The Real Thing – Love's Such A Wonderful Thing
Even by his own standards Eddie Amoo has one-upped the fashion stakes right out of the block. Not for him the sensible waistcoats of the two in the middle, albeit one pairing them with shiny light blue trousers. No, there are times when only a gold off-one-shoulder singlet and trousers that aren't so much tight as vaccuum packed, given that extra bit of pizzazz by what seems to be a choker made out of china. Chris, guitar returned, is no slouch either in an all-gold affair presumably made from the same bit of material fashioned into a barely workable workman's overalls effect, if you knew any workmen with braided hair. The one not specifically mentioned above knows his place, like Ronnie Corbett, except his place when not harmonising is to clap and click half-heartedly and generally look like nobody told him he'd be joint third banana when the day came. At the back of the audience, and thus front of shot, a couple slow dance arm in arm to a slower tempo than provided. In the spirit of the song, but maybe not the occasion. Then they realise they're on telly and, perhaps thinking of how he looks in his bow tie, the bloke begins bobbing around and says something to his partner, who by then is watching the band anyway. What a complex relationship that may turn into.
Rita Coolidge – We're All Alone
"Here's a girl who knows a lot about love". And a lot about cactus welfare, judging by the massive size of the plant on the windowsill where she sits in her top embroidered with an outline of a moth. Moths and cacti aren't usually signifiers of true love, but each to their own. The video continues with her wandering through the garden outside and resting contentedly in a hammock, seemingly perfectly content on her own for now. You wait until she drops the window key behind the plant pot, though.
The Saints – This Perfect Day
A bit of that sort of rock, part one. Kid's exclaiming, he likes this one. There's a school of thought that says this might be the first proper punk band on TOTP, taking the Jam as mods and the Stranglers as pub rockers on the chance. They almost certainly aren't the sort of punk band TOTP expected either, playing it straight faced and deadpan, never once acknowledging a camera. Guitarist Ed Kuepper spends a good part of the song staring into the monitors. One kid right at the front kind of jumps about a bit but for the most part this is a nonplussed audience. Perhaps even more so when Chris Bailey rests his wrist on the mic holder, watches it come off in his hand and examines the cord, miming regardless all the while. Before they're off camera Bailey is already wandering off grinning. Still, can't imagine there'll be anything more ABOTSOR-like on this week...
The Commodores – Easy
Oh, the lights have gone funny on Legs & Co again. It's another trip back from the fabric shredder for the costumier, both top (with glittery tube top underneath), skirts, bit in the middle and what looks like an extra bit up the back full-on fringed. The routine is nothing to write home about, just lots of sashaying on a stage with people on three sides in mood lighting. It's just unfortunate the first two audience members picked out by the crane camera are looking away from the stage. Just as the whole team begin faux-headbanging to the guitar solo it's time to leave.
Dave Edmunds – I Knew The Bride
"Something for everyone" says Kid. Rockpile in all but credited artist name, and Nick Lowe in his shaggy dog pudding bowl haircut and sporting what seems to be a picture of Graham Parker on a badge is clearly hogging it for all it's worth, standing further forward than the credited artist this week, so much so the camerman can't keep Edmunds in focus over Lowe's headstock. A number of audience members literally hop from foot to foot.
Jigsaw – If I Have To Go Away
"If you've been wondering what happened to Jigsaw..." No, Kid, nobody thought that, much as Sky High was popular. "...they've been putting it all together again." Oh, I see, it's an elaborate comedy intro. So everyone's in blue satin shirts apart from the frontman in dazzling white and GOOD GOD that's a level of falsetto from Dave Beech we haven't heard even this year. He's already dressed like a Bee Gee, why not copy their vocal style indeed. There doesn't appear to be a drummer. That's presumably why they disappeared.
Supertramp – Give A Little Bit
That Kid introduces this video standing in front of a man with a Union Jack top hat and shit-eating grin is more interesting than the clip. It's nearly longer too, cut to ninety seconds in the early edit and I'm not sure it's much longer in the full length version.
Cilla Black – I Wanted To Call It Off
A girl on each arm like a Canadian love god with a regulation shaggy 'do, and neither of them seems any more sure than you might about how this is going to fit in. Good keeping up appearances, though, as even after his part of the stage has had the lights faded on it the three remain in that tableau until comfortably off screen. Our Cilla hadn't (and hasn't) had a top 50 hit in nearly three and a half years and her BBC and ITV vehicles had ground to a halt, a career flatlining that remained until a Wogan appearance in 1983 was spotted by Alan Boyd, in the process of creating Blind Date at the time. As for now that bloke still has that grin and that hat, and now we see his polo shirt has a cross of St George emblem on, while Cilla stands like a waxwork in front of some of the orchestra, wraps her pink scarf securely around her neck and oversings directly to us. By halfway some people are having a chat, watching the monitors, not entirely taking in the stately pace and showstopper ambition of Cilla's routine. As we pull away at the end Hat Bloke is dancing to something much faster in his own head.
The Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant
"By way of contrast..." Yeah, you could say that. And now imagine Tony or DLT introducing it. So, a bit of that sort of rock, part two. And indeed ground zero, surely many people's introduction to what this band they've read about actually look, act and sound like, for good or ill. So much of this video, directed by Mike Mansfield only three months after his production/direction/link man job for LWT's Supersonic ended, is part of punk iconography - Johnny's ginger hair, practised sneer and ribbon mike stances, Sid's gormless expression and rock'n'roll textbook stance, Steve Jones' knotted hanky. Then there's all the period stuff, like the overzealous red lighting, the feather cut Paul Cook throwing something to the floor immediately before starting and the hugeness of Rotten/Lydon's sleeve cuffs. And now you can stop waiting for punk to happen. In a further development on the joy of juxtapostion, having already gone from Cilla to Pistols we now jump to Kenny Rogers, subject of this week's Awkward Pre-Number One Stilted Chat. We learn Kenny is on holiday after two weeks' work in Saudi Arabia - we can only speculate what - and announces a UK tour in November.
Hot Chocolate – So You Win Again
One of two songs out of ten we've seen already and three artists who's been on this repeat run before. Talk about new brooms. (Er, ignore the next show in that working) Kid gets Kenny to introduce it, perhaps mindful of what happened last time. A repeat from last week, Kid wishes us good love and we're out to horrible green font credits, a camera lens wrapped in tin foil and Fanfare For The Common Man, just to demonstrate the punks don't quite have it all their own way yet.