Pick of the Pops 8 (13.2.82)

The J Geils Band - Centrefold: there was a Peter Wolf (also the name of TJGB's lead singer) living in our street when I was growing up. His ma was the scariest human being on the planet, and the weirdest person in the Townsend Lane/L6 vicinity. No mean feat, I can tell you. She threatened to kill me with her shotgun for stealing her binoculars. Some fifty years later, I'm still trying to piece together the cause of events that led to her assumption. Ma Wolf was in her seventies and looked like a giant sloppy whelk on top of a pencil. She also wore the same filthy pink 'housecoat' on the rare days she emerged from her hovel to track down binocular thieves with her trusty shotgun, Get Carter style.

"You're a small boy, but you're out of shape," I'll probably dream one day.
Anyway, 'Centrefold' - joyfully rubbish, and the "Take 'em off - private!" doesn't receive anywhere near the opprobrium it deserves in the 'terrible lyrics' stakes. 3/10

Alton Edwards - I Just Wanna Spend Some Time With You: I don't think I've heard this in forty years. I was pleasantly surprised. A good record. 7/10

Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye: the homophobic abuse Marc Almond received from the media was horrific - from Rowan Atkinson's unfunny sketch to that talentless, omnipresent sack of shit Steve Wright doing his 'gay voice' on his desperately awful Radio One show. A great song from a great pop star. 9/10

Foreigner - I've Been Waiting For A Girl Like You: isn't it amazing how many rock stars share names with that early 1970s Leeds team? Alan Clarke (The Hollies); Billy Bremner (The Pretenders) ; Trevor Cherry (sounds a bit like Neneh Cherry); Mick Jones (The Clash/Foreigner); the J. Giles Band; the Sensational David Harvey Band; Reaney and Renato... and many more!
A horrible record, and another example of Jeremy Clarkson* 'in-the-mood-for-love music'. 0/10

*I met him at the end of 2019 - he was nowhere near as horrible as Humphrys. (Not difficult.)

Tight Fit - The Lion Sleeps Tonight: the obsession of my two year old grandchild. When he's much older, I'm going to sit him down and say: "I know I'm very old, George, and this society doesn't value the wisdom of its senior citizens, but you know that Tight Fit record you like? Well, pardon your old grandad's language, but it's f***ing shite." 0/10

Haircut 100 - Love Plus One: a tremendous pop single, and used for no apparent reason in the disgustingly brilliant 'Se7en'. 9/10

Shakatak - Easier Said Than Done: these were always in the charts (or always seemed to be) in the eighties. Used to annoy me - doesn't now. And the rubbish but great 'Clouds Across the Moon'* reminds me of driving back to Cambridge after the Toffees had won the League. 3/10

*Just realised - this was the Rah Band. 1/10

Hall and Oates - I Can't Go For That: they look like the two biggest wools on the planet. A great record. 9/10

Christopher Cross - Arthur's Theme: I can remember every film I've seen on the cinema, which cinema it was playing and the year I attended (which is very difficult with both Robocop and Monty Python and the Holy Grail) . I can also remember (or work out) my reason for attending every film I've seen, but for the life of me, I can't imagine what on Earth would have possessed me to go and see 'Arthur'. Terrible film, terrible record. 1/10

OMD - Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) : I'm not a huge fan of them, but OMD at both Eric's and Mountford Hall (79 and 80) are amongst my favourite gigs of my youth. This single has a splendid, very long, almost experimental intro; Gambaccini spoke over its entirety. What a tit. 8/10

Meat Loaf - Dead Ringer for Love: hideous beyond belief. 0/10

Kraftwerk - The Model: I don't know how many times I played this between its first appearance on 'The Man Machine' and it re-emerging as the b-side of the equally beautiful 'Computer Love'. Hundreds of times, perhaps. Gambaccini spoke over the intro. What a tit. 10/10

Shakin' Stevens - Oh Julie: it would be as pointless as getting angry over 'Terry and June'... 1/10

The Stranglers - Golden Brown: hard not to think of Gordon Brown (and by association that Brexity pensioner who cost Labour the 2010 election) when I hear this song. There's some quite lovely lyrical poetry (about heroin, I presume) and it has the best harpsichord solo in the history of rock and roll. I've seen them twice - two of the most unpleasant gigs of my life. 8/10

The Jam - A Town Called Malice: hard not to think of the ace, similarly-titled Neville Shute novel or the Peter Finch/Virginia McKenna film (or the much better Bryan Brown TV version) when I hear this, and to tell the truth, it was never my favourite 'Jam' single (too misanthropic - see also 'Saturday's Kids'). However, it now reminds me of how wrong I'd been by avoiding the wonderful 'Billy Elliott' for twenty years. And for those of you who say 'I much prefer 'Precious' (the other 'A' side), stop telling lies. 8/10

Gambaccini: 0/10
Worst Record - Bun Loaf
Best Record: Kraftwerk (click on the link to hear the song) 

And remember, kids... it's only pop music - so don't take it personally!