My Top 10 Fave Sitcoms

10. AMERICAN DAD (2005-2019)

Another Seth McFarlane animated Fox show – albeit dropped in 2014 and picked up by TBS – starring McFarlane as a redneck CIA agent Stan Smith with a typecast homebody housewife (at least she seems to be at first, but Fran’s as mad as Stan is). The nerd son Steve hangs about with his nerd friends, one of them voiced by Moonlighting’s Curtis Armstrong, while Steve is voiced by Scott Grimes, currently starring alongside Seth in the fab The Orville. Last family members are left-wing protestor hippie Hailey (Rachel McFarlane, Seth keeping it in the family) and Roger the alien (also Seth), a moral-free gender-fluid selfish alien taken in by the Smiths, and who has a million disguises. Lastly there’s Klaus the German fish – or rather a former spy in the body of a goldfish, still hoping to be a man again and as mad as the rest of the clan.

The mix is pretty fine for plots, social commentary, sci-fi, political, parodies, surreal (even the apocalypse end of days!) and sometimes very dark humour, and also features oodles of famous guest stars, notably the recurring role of Stan’s CIA boss – Patrick “Captain Picard” Stewart sending himself up beautifully. As with other Seth shows Walter Murphy is on hand to score the show fabulously – for oldies like me he’s the bloke who had a 1976 hit with A Fifth Of Beethoven, a disco classical bit of fun. Some of my fave guest stars: Alyson Hanigan, Andy Samberg, Bryan Cranston, Burt reynolds, Chris Isaak, David Boreanaz, Eartha Kitt, Ed Asner, George takei – and that’s just a selection of A to G on the full list! For cult TV fans like me (and clearly the show’s stars and creators) it’s a paradise of riches. Some of the episodes don’t always work, some of the stuff the characters do can make you feel a bit icky – but it’s not real! It’s got a talking walking goldfish and an alien! Still great.

 

9. CHEERS (1982-1993)

Great theme tune, heartwarming song and concept, that you can get a “family”, friends & romance by going out and drinking alcohol regularly – not sure about the last bit, but it certainly can help joining a club! Anyway, classy show which took time to become a huge hit, great writing, great cast (Shelley Long, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Kirstie Alley, and many more who have appeared in things Star Trek, Star Wars, Pixar). Frasier was the spin-off success which is making a comeback soon, and while individual episodes were variable in belly-laughs, they tended to revolve around the Sam/Diane verbal sparring – he a former baseball star now running a bar, she a pretentious intellectual having to work as a barmaid – and their ongoing love/hate relationship. When Shelley Long left the show, Kirstie Alley brought in a new dynamic as hot-desperate-loser and corporate ownership of the bar as an extra. Still very watchable and the first of 2 American 80’s shows in the top 10.

8. BLACKADDER (1983-89)

Covering all 4 series & specials of the decade, this show falls only behind the over-rated Only Fools & Horses in polls to find the best comedy series of all-time in the UK, I would place it either 2nd or first in terms of UK series – today it’s second, but a year from now it might be top again, depends on how I’m feeling on the day. Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson & Ben Elton staked a unique premise – the same characters in different time-periods and different roles, which gave great opportunity to comment on themselves, the time-period, and contemporary society – this is currently being used again in Ben Elton’s great Upstart Crow series, a show that would definitely be included in my list of faves if I were to start from scratch today. The dialogue is sharp & witty & biting, the acting (or rather the cartoon over-acting) is fab, and the cast top-notch, the best of the 80’s pop up along the way, not least Rowan Atkinson & Tony Robinson as the conniving Blackadder & his put-upon dumb servant Baldrick, the core of each show. My fave series was Blackadder II in the Elizabethan period with Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry & a host of memorable guest spots from the likes of Rik Mayall & Tom Baker. The final scene of the final World War 1 episode (let’s just forget that Millennium Dome special) was as heart-breaking a moment as you can get in cartoon whimsy. Unlike most short-run series (just 24 episodes) I’ve never got bored with these 24 (plus specials).

 

7. THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN (1996-2001)

Manic, slapstick, quirky, this endearingly mad sitcom was broad in it’s humour, but followed the tradition of The Addams Family & Mork & Mindy in having central other-worldly characters able to shine a light on the quirks of the society they find themselves in – in this case 4 aliens are assigned a mission to observe culture from the point of view humans, and they masquerade as a family (The Solomons) led by the brilliant John Lithgow, a great actor who is in overdrive here, as Dick, the father, future movie-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the son Tommy (the oldest, wisest of the 4 aliens), Kristen Johnson as Sally, her militaristic alien having to cope with changing sex to a leggy female hot blonde, and Harry (French Stewart) as the sender of their messages to home through his seemingly-quite-damaged brain. The fab Jane Curtin (of sitcom Kate ‘n’ Allie, and Saturday Night Live 70’s fame) plays Dick’s co-Professor love interest, and Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight (also of Jurassic Park) plays a loveable tubby Police Officer with a crush on blunt Sally.

The humour comes from the antics of the aliens misunderstanding social niceties, having a ball let loose with all the nicer things in life, and yet still having anxieties about the bosses coming (William Shatner doing OTT fabulously, as The Big Giant Head, & John Cleese, trying to steal Mary away from Dick, being an extreme version of John Cleese). The cast were regulalrly rewarded with performance nominations, but the writing and show were never that highly-regarded, probably because it appeals to kids with it’s slapstick, manic broadness. I love it though, sometimes character, plot and acting is more than enough to be funny.

 

6. M*A*S*H (1972-83)

One of the most unlikely premises for a sitcom ever, never mind one that hit high ratings for a decade, the show was essentially a spin-off of the 1970 movie of the same title which was a dark comedy cult success. Set in the early 50’s Korean War, the show ran 3 times longer than the war did, but what it really was a political and socially liberal criticism of the Viet-Nam war, which had been running for 7 years by this time as the US plunged into the Watergate crisis along with the realisation that they can actually lose wars. So how did it work? There was a Marx Brothers disrespectfulness of stupid authority (later borrowed by Blackadder), lead Alan Alda (who had been in the Phil Silvers Show back in the 50’s) was even showed as a Groucho Marx fan, but this was tempered with the realisation that these 2 surgeons (drafted into military service to work in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) were entirely brilliant at their job – saving lives of young injured men. Co-star Wayne Rogers was a good foil for lead Hawkeye Pierce, as they weaved amongst a great cast of characters and actors (Loretta Swit, Head Nurse Hotlips Houlihan, who played it by the military book but wasnt above dalliances with prestigious military officers, or her weasel regular Frank Burns, a not-great surgeon with right-wing selfish views, and the butt of many a prank and caustic comment – played comically by Larry Linville).

One of the strengths of the show was the coming and going of cast members and characters: clumsy well-meaning Commnder Henry Blake was actually memorably and tearfully killed off when actor McLean Stevenson left, and was replaced by the great Dragnet-actor, and sitcom veteran Harry Morgan. A one-off character, Cpl KIlnger (Jamie Farr), dressed in drag to get a discharge from the army on mental grounds, became a huge fave and cast regular as his outfits got ever-more extravagant (no-one explained where he got the cash!) and his antics ever-more extreme to get that never-acquired discharged. The madness of living with war & death was the theme, and the show swung from black humour, farce to stark reality, commenting on the inhumanity of man to others. The show ran with the then-traditional laugh-track (against the producers, cast & writers wishes) in the States, except during the surgery scenes, but in the UK from day one there was no laugh track. This was a major plus in the critical acclaim of the show, leaving you to decide what was funny. I used to watch re-runs in the USA with the laugh track and it cheapens the impact quite considerably, the themes were too important for tackiness. Eventually some of the cast moved on to a spin-off, after Alda decided he’d had enough – by that time his power and influence over the show had moved it too much into maudlin self-righteousness at the expense of the darker edge that the early years had in spades – and the War ended in the most-watched final TV episode of all-time in the States. With 106 million, and viewing figures now split amongst online media, that will easily remain the biggest none-sporting or event moment of all-time. Biggest Ever TV episode of any show.

 

5. FATHER TED (1995-1998)

Gentle, amiable, loveable comedy set amongst witless priests in Ireland, this is the top-rated UK (Channel 4) sitcom on the list. It was irreverent, silly, had running character gags, cartoon-styled surreal plots and visuals, taking the piss out of the format, pop culture and people. Some of the great moments include “I don’t believe it” with Victor Meldrew actor Richard Wilson on location going apeshit at hearing his tired catch-phrase, Father Ted trying to explain to simple Father Dougal about cows in the distance not being the same as toy cows just because they looked the same size, a milk-float with a bomb on it a la Speed, and A Song For Europe’s My Lovely Horse.

Writer’s Arthur Matthews & Graham Linehan were men on a mission, inspired by Seinfeld, and Fawlty Towers, and the cast and characters were great OTT extremes: Dermot Morgan’s conniving Father (“the money was just resting in my account!”) Ted, Ardal O’Hanlan’s simple Father (“That’s mad Ted”) Dougal on hearing something religious, Frank Kelly’s angry alcoholic woman-chasing Father (“GIRLS! BOOZE! FECK!”) Jack, Pauline McLynn’s tea-obssessed Mrs (“tea father? Ah go on go on go on go on, GO ON!”) Doyle and a host of great supporting characters, not least Graham Norton as a hyperactive priest riverdancing with some students in a small unstable caravan.

The wistful irish theme tune and original songs were composed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy. Fans of the show were many and famous, Maurice Gibb being buried with a DVD box set of the show, and it just runs and runs to this day in the UK & Ireland. Sadly, 3 series was all there is, following actor Dermot Morgan’s sudden death shortly after the wrap-up of 3rd series filming and the decision to leave it there was made.

 

 

4. GREEN ACRES (1965-71)

The oldest sitcom in the top 20, the highest-placed non-animation show, and one of the most inventive and surreal shows, well ahead of it’s time. I watched it as a boy and loved it, watched it as a teen in Singapore and loved it, watched it as an adult and still loved it, and bought the book of the series with a foreword by Matt Groening who was inspired and influenced by it. Is it dated? Well yes, but also no: it exists in it’s own version of reality – in the first series it starts off traditional sitcom: an affluent New York City attorney (Eddie Albert) gets fed-up with the soul-less rat-race and moves to the country, buying a farm deep, deep in rural from an engaging conman Mr Haney (Pat Buttram) and drags his Hungarian socialite wife (Eva Gabor, the younger more talented sister of Zsa Zsa) kicking & screaming to a ramshackle farm in Hooterville, location of sister show Petticoat Junction, and including some of the cast as supporting occasional characters. Executive Producer Paul Henning had already had major success with The Beverley Hillbillies – Hick hillbillies strike oil and move to affluent Beverley Hills – and Petticoat Junction, and offered the show to writer/producer Jay Sommers, which was a stroke of genius.

From the first second the bouncy memorable theme tune burst into action the show hit the ground running, (the Vic Mizzy theme later popped up in many a hit record, notably Groove Is In The Heart (Deee-Lite) and Just Buggin’ (Whistle), Mizzy already having struck TV theme immortality with The Addams Family, and reportedly Green Acres was being planned to become a musical, starting with the theme song, but has yet to appear) parodying the famous 1930 painting American Gothic. Plotwise, the local community citizens seem to be a bit eccentric and out-of-time, treating anything more recent than the 20’s or 30’s and newly fandangles, or naive, or bizarre (not least Arnold The Pig, the most-famous TV pig ever, who appropriately loved watching TV and getting involved in people’s lives, with dreams of becoming a Hollywood star). Yes, this is 1965, and yes it’s a real pig.

The cast is brilliant, the characters live in their own universe with their own logic – at first Lisa Douglas (Gabor) seems utterly out of place and hates it, while the community views husband Oliver as a sad city dweller with no clue (but they are all supportive and utterly loveable and free from malice) – he drives a tractor dressed in his best NYC lawyers suit – but by the second season it’s Lisa who joins their mad world and lives by their inverted logic. The show isn’t really in the countryside, it’s painted backdrops, the credit sequences are aware that they are TV credits and pop up anywhere, on chicken eggs (even square ones laid by the square-egg chicken), side of buildings, and the cast (usually Eva Gabor) muse on them and what is happening this week with them, pure breaking-the-fourth-wall years before any other show did. They pioneered a return to nature a decade ahead of The Good Life. The Douglas’ farmhouse never got improved (The Monroe Brothers worked on it for 6 years and never managed to improve anything, Alf & Ralf quarrelled, Ralf always looked forlornly for a man – she was a girl, breaking stereotype barriers years ahead of other shows where women were housewives, even the fantasy shows, not manual labourers/”skilled” workers), Hank Kimball was the local agricultural advisor – who turned up, rambled in a chain of thought that he interrupted himself on, lost the plot quickly, and had to be prompted to get back to the point (sound familiar? Ronnie Corbett, The Two Ronnies?) and as played by Alvy Moore I never tire of the wordplay. All episodes were written by Jay Sommers, which gave the show continuity, running gags, and increasing playfulness with the format as it went on. Kids loved the slapstick and wacky characters, adults appreciate the wordplay and knowing winks.

Sadly, healthy ratings couldn’t save any of the rural shows surviving a massive purge of any rural-based or themed shows in 1971 when CBS decided they weren’t pulling in enough ad revenue. They opted instead for more urban-based shows missing the point that these were parodies of modern America, not dumb hick shows appealing to “dumb hicks” with no spending money.

Happily, TV Guide listed 2 of the episodes amongst the Top 100 Greatest Episodes Of All-Time, and it lives on in spirit in The Simpsons. Not bad for a 55-year-old daft show that no-one has heard of these days….

 

3. FAMILY GUY (1999-2019)

I didn’t take to this Fox show immediately – coming after The Simpsons it seemed harsher, brasher, less loveable, and walked a thin line between edgy humour and bad taste, something it has retained throughout the 20 years of production. Fox seemed to think so too, as it was cancelled in the early years, but always sprung back following strong performances on DVD and reruns. Creator & star Seth McFarlane (of which I’m a huge fan, still, with latest sci-fi show The Orville, movies like A Million Ways To Die In The West & Ted, & spin-off animated shows like American Dad & The Cleveland Show) based Family Guy on The Simpsons & the US 70’s sitcom All In The Family (itself a rewrite of UK Till Death Us Do Part) – which is why irreverence, politics, society, pop culture, relationships, get the same unsentimental, critical treatment. Being animated (taking the piss is protected under US law) allows them to go places other shows can’t, but also allows affection parody, most notably the trio of episodes based around the original Star Wars movies, which are brilliantly accurate and amusing without losing the love.

The Griffin family is led by Peter, a loud-mouthed buffoon with no social skills or boundaries (in one episode he is turned gay) is clearly modelled on Archie Bunker, and his wife Lois (Alex Borstein) on Edith Bunker, right down the parody of All In The Family’s TV theme song, while dumb Chris (voiced by Buffy’s Seth Green), plain, unpopular Meg, the butt of everyone’s bullying (voiced by movie star Mila Kunis), Stewie (a matricidal, genius-inventor talking baby) make up the kids, and talking , walking conceited racist dog Brian (voiced by MacFarlane, along with Peter & Stewie) completes the family. Back-up characters include Mayor West (Batman’s Adam West playing a scatty version of himself), ancient wanna-be paedophile Herbert, sex-obssessed borderline-abuser Quagmire, dull Cleveland, and disabled angry cop Joe, among many many more.

So….not surprising it’s not to everyone’s taste! There is no subject they won’t tackle or ridicule, sometimes go too far (for me it was the ridiculing of Amy Winehouse’s behaviour before she died, or the AID’s song) more often they hit the right note, showing a wide range of viewpoints but generally taking the “right” stance from my point of view, and the cult shows they reference are a joy to me. The violence? It’s the same as Tom & Jerry where Tom gets sliced into pieces, only to come back to life immediately, just bloodier. Usually. Sometimes the point is to lampoon, say, the media’s response to a tragedy, rather than laugh at the tragedy (it’s a cartoon, it’s not real!) and that point might get missed by some.

Anyway, still running, still on TV every night…

here’s some good bits from season 11, quality is pretty much consistent throughout.

2. FUTURAMA (1999-2013)

A Simpsons Matt Groening spin-off, stylistically, and probably my fave sitcom by virtue of the futuristic, sci-fi nerd worshipping setting and cast, and in-references to all things sci-fi/fantasy (long before Big Bang Theory). Problem was, it was never as big as The Simpsons, due to it’s more niche appeal, and kept getting cancelled, first time in 2003, from thereafter living on through DVD issues, one-off DVD’s, re-commissioning, and ultimately going for a good 140 episodes and 7 seasons. More compact than The Simpsons, the plots obviously have a wider remit, as they can take place anywhere, anytime (though The Simpsons did this, it wasn’t every episode) and they had brilliant writers, including key mover David X Cohen, who’d written many of the best Simpsons episodes. It’s no shock that the dip in quality of The Simpsons was directly attributable to the instant quality of Futurama, appealing to people you might not expect it to – such as Private Eye editor Ian Hislop. It didn’t hurt that they had talking heads in jars of 20th century politicians to keep commentaries contemporary, if less obvious. It also didn;t hurt that the writers were by far the most “over-educated” PHD-galore cast of sci-fi nerds in TV history (probably), packing as much into a show as they could, honing it constantly.

The cast was set around 20th century delivery-boy loser Fry getting frozen, awoken in the far future to become…a spaceship-based delivery boy (Played by Billy West, a regular voice-over in animation, and playing multiple characters like Zapp Branigan & Jewish crustacean Dr Zoidberg, and Professor Farnsworth, Fry’s distant and ancient mad-scientist nephew). He yearns for one-eyed assertive Leela, a mutant from the sewers of New New York (played by the fab Katey Sagal of Married: With Children fame), and his best mate moral-free loudmouth robot Bender, more into floozy female robots, beer and money than actual bending and working deliveries.

Amazingly, even after years away, the cast & crew all came back renewed with the same high quality as if they’d never been away, still dragging in guest stars (like the one with most of the Star Trek: Next Gen cast as their characters as if they were real and set in the future, or the one where Leonard Nimoy is the guest head in the water-filled bottle nibbling on fish food, or the one with Vice President Al Gore doing his Global Warming stuff – but funny). Overall the show has more consistency than Groening’s other show….but that other show at it’s best was as good as Futurama, AND was influential, so for that it’s getting top spot (even though I’d rather rewatch Futurama).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjvdnzCkBGQ

 

1. THE SIMPSONS (1989-19 so far)

From primitive Matt Groening shorts featured in The Tracey Ullman Show to the longest-running sitcom in US TV history. Sitcoms elsewhere may have lasted longer than 30 years (Last Of The Summer Wine ran from 1973 to 2010) but that involved complete cast changes and comparatively fewer episodes – 295 over 31 series (it regularly missed years during it’s run – while The Simpsons is still going, 656 episodes, 30 series, and commissioned for more, so apart from chronologically it will overhaul Wine shortly. Sadly, the quality hasn;t kept up with the decades. The first series was quirky and charming, but slow compared to it’s prime run (series 2 through 10 or 11) after which it became increasingly patchy. At it’s best though, oh my goodness it was a cultural phenomenon and completely changed the sitcom format in terms of what became possible: lampooning, satire, media references, a vast cast of recurring characters, a Tom & Jerry attitude to violence (Itchy & Scratchy were a pisstake of what it really look like), an awesome cast of famous guest voices, either as themselves, or as characters, and a whole mini-universe of musings on human beings and their quirks with elements of truth to them. More, it often went off at tangents and experimented with the animated format – computer-graphics, annual halloween gore-fests set outside the regular family Simpson “reality”, future-world guessing (in one famous instance they predict President Trump), but always good-natured – even when faced with actual monsters like Mr. Burns.

Bart Simpson, the son, was geared around being the centrepiece of the show initially, with his rascally catchphrases and conscience-lite “Just do it” attitude – he even got Michael Jackson on board with a chart-topping single Do The Bartman, and guesting too as an inmate who thinks he’s Michael Jackson. Don;t expect to see that one in future, though. Elsewhere, comics, games, a fab movie spin-off very late in the run, the fun Simpsons 3D ride at Universal Studios, and lucrative salaries for it’s ongoing stable of voice-over actors: Dan Castellenata as Homer, the actual star of the show once it found it’s feet, was also in the Tracey ullman Show along with Marge Simpson (and her sisters) actor Julie Kavner. Julie was long-familiar to me as beloved sister of Rhoda (The Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off which was widely-screened in the UK in the mid-70’s), while Hank Azaria (A NIght At The Museum’s Boris Karloff-a-like, Friends) and Harry Shearer (Spinal tap and much more) made up the bulk of the voices of most of the subsidiary characters. liberal hippie daughter Lisa (Yeardley Smith) & brash Bart (Nancy Cartwright, who also does a lot of the other kid voices) make up the main cast. One regular famous guest voice was Marcia Wallace (Mrs Krabappel – “Hah!” – Bart’s teacher, who’d been a fave of mine from 70’s sitcoms like The Bob Newhart Show, and guest spots in Bewitched, Taxi and many more. She became a fixture on US gameshows (being as she was funny) and I got to see her in 1979, guesting in The Match Game aka Blankety Blank, while in LA (they were giving out free audience tickets on Sunset Boulevard).

Name dropper.

Fave characters? Comic Book Guy. Chief Wiggum. Ned Flanders. Krusty The Clown. Kelsey Grammar as Sideshow Bob. The wacky style of characters can be traced back to Green Acres, one of Groening’s TV show inspirations. Fave running gag? Bart phoning Mo for made-up people: “Phone call for Amanda. Last name Huggenkiss”. Mo (to the Bar): I’m looking for Amanda. Anyone seen Amanda. I’m after AmandaHuggenkiss”. Well, aren’t we all….

Greatest TV comedy show ever? Very probably. There isn’t a great compilation overview though, so here’s a Halloween cartoon within a cartoon clip cos you’ve all seen The Simpsons, and if you haven’t where have you been for 30 years!?

My 1980 Charts – June

The College Library Bishop Grot, Lincoln

The College Library
Bishop Grot, Lincoln


1980 videos here…


3rd June 1980

Don McLean gets his first number one 8 years after he grabbed his first USA and UK number ones, with American Pie and Vincent respectively, both top 10’s here. The Roy Orbison cover left me Crying though, just so great I even preferred it to the Big O’s version, and Roy is virtually impossible to improve on. The Mash-up at 2 is a peak for them – I’ll be honest though, I prefer the TV instrumental version of the theme song. Air Supply rise to 4, Lost In Love and gorgeous melody it is too, as Mystic Merlin magic into the top 10, Manhattan Transfer get their final top 10 4 years on from Tuxedo Junction, from 40’s to dance and various other styles along the way. OMD get their debut top 10, up 29 places with the blissful Messages.

Lipps Inc, ELO, Elton John, Average White Band all join new entry Theme From Midnight Cowboy inside the 20. The John Barry instrumental movie theme from 1969 is only slightly older than the theme from MASH, but MUCH better. One of the most hauntingly pathos-inducing beautiful movie themes of all time. Love it love that harmonica. These are all testament to the power of Noel Edmunds on Radio One, he seemed able to generate enthusiasm for all sorts of oddities. Rocketing into the 40, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway get their biggest hit together since Where Is The Love went top 3 in 1972, and the Korgis get a second gorgeous top 40 track. The Hollies get their first top 40 track in 6 years and a sweet 12 year span of them, and B.A.Robertson makes it 4 in a row.

In at 29, Paul McCartney is back with his 3rd solo record of the year, and it’s a sparse and synthy ballad, the lovely Waterfalls giving Macca some consistency in quality releases missing for at least 4 years. At 38, The Lambrettas get a swift return, d-a-a-ancing, as do The Detroit Spinners, If I’m reading the Body Language right at 45, while none-hit-wonder Robbie Dupree has the fab Steal Away at 47, another one of those American radio hits that really should have charted in the UK – if the UK wasn’t so busy with various hot new music movements. Others: Sister Sledge, Thin Lizzy, Liquid Gold and Genesis all pop in with lesser tracks.

1 ( 2 ) CRYING Don McLean
2 ( 9 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
3 ( 1 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
4 ( 11 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
5 ( 10 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
6 ( 6 ) YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ME IN THE KITSCH TON AT PARTIES Jona Lewie
7 ( 8 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
8 ( 13 ) JUST CAN’T GIVE YOU UP Mystic Merlin
9 ( 38 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoevres In The Dark
10 ( 18 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer

11 ( 4 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson
12 ( 34 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
13 ( 3 ) MIRROR IN THE BATHROOM The Beat
14 ( 14 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
15 ( 7 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
16 ( 31 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
17 ( 33 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John
18 ( 22 ) LET’S GO ROUND AGAIN Average White Band
19 ( 5 ) BREATHING Kate Bush
20 ( NEW ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)

21 ( 52 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
22 ( 28 ) RAT RACE The Specials
23 ( 15 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness
24 ( 17 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
25 ( 12 ) COMING UP Paul McCartney
26 ( 16 ) CALL ME Blondie
27 ( 48 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
28 ( 35 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
29 ( NEW ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
30 ( 30 ) MIDNITE DYNAMOS Matchbox

31 ( 19 ) SILVER DREAM MACHINE David Essex
32 ( 39 ) NO SELF CONTROL Peter Gabriel
33 ( 20 ) I SHOULDA LOVED YA Narada Michael Walden
34 ( 23 ) POLICE AND THIEVES Junior Murvin
35 ( 27 ) THE EYES HAVE IT Karel Fialka
36 ( 43 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
37 ( 25 ) HOLD ON TO MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
38 ( NEW ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas
39 ( 21 ) THIS WORLD OF WATER New Musik
40 ( 53 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson

41 ( 49 ) PLATINUM BLONDE Prelude
42 ( 26 ) FOOD FOR THOUGHT/ KING UB40
43 ( 37 ) GOING UNDERGROUND The Jam
44 ( 29 ) DON’T MAKE WAVES The Nolans
45 ( NEW ) BODY LANGUAGE The Detroit Spinners
46 ( 32 ) FOOL FOR YOUR LOVING Whitesnake
47 ( NEW ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
48 ( 44 ) ATOMIC Blondie
49 ( 40 ) TOCCATA Sky
50 ( 42 ) WHAT’S ANOTHER YEAR Johnny Logan

51 ( 36 ) A FOREST The Cure
52 ( 24 ) BUCKET OF WATER SONG The Four Bucketeers
53 ( 50 ) WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU The Detroit Spinners
54 ( 54 ) BONANZASKA Carlos Malcolm
55 ( 45 ) KOOL IN THE KAFTAN B.A. Robertson
56 ( 46 ) TURN IT ON AGAIN Genesis
57 ( 57 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
58 ( 56 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
59 ( 62 ) THE ROYAL MILE Gerry Rafferty
60 ( NEW ) SUBSTITUTE Liquid Gold

61 ( 47 ) MISSING WORDS The Selecter
62 ( 58 ) LONGER Dan Fogelberg
63 ( 60 ) CONFUSION/ LAST TRAIN TO LONDON E.L.O.
64 ( 73 ) DREAMS Grace Slick
65 ( NEW ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy
66 ( 41 ) MY PERFECT COUSIN The Undertones
67 ( 65 ) WALKING ON THE MOON The Police
68 ( 66 ) I HAVE A DREAM Abba
69 ( 71 ) PULLING MUSSELS FROM A SHELL Squeeze
70 ( 69 ) NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN The Moody Blues

71 ( 59 ) NE-NE-NA-NA-NA-NA-NU-NU Bad Manners
72 ( 51 ) THE GROOVE Rodney Franklin
73 ( 55 ) TALK OF THE TOWN The Pretenders
74 ( NEW ) DUCHESS Genesis
75 ( NEW ) REACH YOUR PEAK Sister Sledge


TV 24th-30th May

1 Little Big Man: film
2 Top Of The Pops
3 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
4 The Producers: film
5 The Outer Limits
6 The Phil Silvers Show
7 Mork And Mindy
8 Oliver: film
9 Dallas
10 Taxi


On TV lots of 50’s and 60’s black & white classics, Phil Silvers and The Outer Limits, and movies, like the good (but long-forgotten) Little Big Man, an ambitious dark western vehicle for Dustin Hoffman, on the side of the Native Americans, Mel Brooks classic comedy The Producers, and musical Oliver, songs very much a part of my childhood as we had an EP of 4 of them. A great edition of Top Of The Pops, and top new show is Mork And Mindy, the late Robin Williams astounding as an alien.

Back at College, I finished off 3 screen prints to lots of compliments from some 2nd year girls sharing the art room with me – “Sad! It might be my last screen print for a helluva long time” I commented to myself after finishing the last one. Too right, tragically, it’s been 35 years so far and counting, and I’d still like to do some more.Had dinner with Paul and Jane, and David, the young Audio-Visual department College employee, chatting about holidays. I liked him, regretted not talking more to him over the 3 years. Julie helped me pick the best 3 of the screen prints in the evening. Ian and Paul came round for chats.

Tutor Max helped me decide which works to use for my exhibition, revision for exams, and my prints were quite the hit with everyone (it was based on a Close Encounters scene which appealed to all the soon-to-be teachers). I din’t feel I could sell it as the base photo was Spielberg not me. I loved it too, though. Close Encounters of The Third Kind was an obsession of mine, visually stunning. First exam up: American Studies. Snooker for light relief afterwards. Kid Jensen’s final Top Of The Pops show was brill, I opined, lots of old 70’s fave acts on it just for me. Friday, went to the Usher Art Gallery with Max, and Emma, Anne & Maureen to look at the walls, and back again later with the works ready to display in the rather posh Art Gallery on a hillside overlooking much of Lincoln. Max then got me to weed out some of my work, which rather upset me, and just use one wall for what was left. Less is more, is the theory.

Kid Jensen was also doing his last Rosko’s Roundtable new singles review show, with Elton John and Frankie Valli. Quite the line-up! Arthur C. Clarke, another hero of mine, was interviewed on a Time Out Of Mind TV special Sunday.


10th June 1980

2 weeks for Crying on top as OMD hit 3, and Lipps Inc go top 10 with the infuriatingly catchy Funkytown. Joining them the sublime John Barry movie theme, and Roxy Music’s pleasantly laid-back Over You, their 8th, or Bryan Ferry’s 13th, depending on how you look at it. The highest new entry at 36 is Joan Armatrading, telling us all about Me Myself I almost a decade ahead of De La Soul adding an “and” and a different song to the title. Joan’s first bonafide hit since Love And Affection in 1976, it’s almost got a Pilot feel to it (as in Magic or January), rather appropriately as her next and last hit would be Drop The Pilot in 1983.

Into the 40, Robbie Dupree, Liquid Gold and The Detroit Spinners, as Bernadette Peters exclaims 1950’s stylee Gee Whiz! I miss that lost phrase, and this cover of a 16-years-of-age Carla (daughter of Rufus) Thomas song from 1960 has so much doo-wop charm, I still play it, though the original is just as good, if not better. Bernadette is a big star of musical theatre, one of the biggest award-winning Broadway stars, but I knew her from TV and films, parts in Ray Bradbury’s TV miniseries The Martian Chronicles, The Muppet Show, Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie, Steve Martin’s The Jerk, and other quirky roles.

At 46, Siouxsie And The Banshees return with their 5th chart entry, the fabulous Christine, a dark uptempo fave of mine, and their best record to date. At 47 Darts are also back looking for the bullseye with another UK chart hit with the latest in a long run of bands releasing Four Seasons covers – this time Let’s Hang On. It’s not bad, but not as good as Frankie & the lads. Elkie Brooks returns for 3 years of largely minor hits, bar a couple of goodies, with Why Don’t You Say It, rock band Journey debut with Anyway You Want It at 62, as I remain oblivious to their future status as best-selling 80’s track in the UK in the 21st century, the million-selling Don’t Stop Believing, future anthem and obscure minor 80’s hit in the UK.

Pete Townsend is back with another solo entry, and still doesn’t challenge Roger Daltrey’s solo career with Let My Love Open The Door at 65, Bad Manners get a 2nd fun-time ska entry with Lip Up Fatty at 73, and two great dance tracks (or disco if you will), as Odyssey finally get a big follow-up to the fantastic Native New Yorker, Use It Up And Wear It Out entering at 70, and Teena Marie’s very good Behind The Groove drops in at 68. The big news though is Olivia Newton-John’s duet with ELO on the movie theme Xanadu. The movie bombed, despite Gene Kelly co-starring, but the theme was huge, being very frantic-orchestral ELO-sounding, and which very-much suited Livvie’s luvverly tones, a terrific pop record with a fantastic tune.

1 ( 1 ) CRYING Don McLean
2 ( 2 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
3 ( 9 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoevres In The Dark
4 ( 3 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
5 ( 7 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
6 ( 12 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
7 ( 10 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer
8 ( 14 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
9 ( 20 ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)
10 ( 5 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair

11 ( 6 ) YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ME IN THE iamspamspamamiAT PARTIES Jona Lewie
12 ( 16 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
13 ( 4 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
14 ( 21 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
15 ( 17 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John
16 ( 11 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson
17 ( 8 ) JUST CAN’T GIVE YOU UP Mystic Merlin
18 ( 28 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
19 ( 13 ) MIRROR IN THE BATHROOM The Beat
20 ( 18 ) LET’S GO ROUND AGAIN Average White Band

21 ( 15 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
22 ( 22 ) RAT RACE The Specials
23 ( 27 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
24 ( 30 ) MIDNITE DYNAMOS Matchbox
25 ( 38 ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas
26 ( 32 ) NO SELF CONTROL Peter Gabriel
27 ( 24 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
28 ( 29 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
29 ( 23 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness
30 ( 47 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree

31 ( 60 ) SUBSTITUTE Liquid Gold
32 ( 25 ) COMING UP Paul McCartney
33 ( 36 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
34 ( 26 ) CALL ME Blondie
35 ( NEW ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
36 ( 34 ) POLICE AND THIEVES Junior Murvin
37 ( 19 ) BREATHING Kate Bush
38 ( 45 ) BODY LANGUAGE The Detroit Spinners
39 ( NEW ) GEE WHIZ Bernadette Peters
40 ( 40 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson

41 ( 33 ) I SHOULDA LOVED YA Narada Michael Walden
42 ( 65 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy
43 ( 31 ) SILVER DREAM MACHINE David Essex
44 ( 37 ) HOLD ON TO MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
45 ( 35 ) THE EYES HAVE IT Karel Fialka
46 ( NEW ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
47 ( NEW ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
48 ( 42 ) FOOD FOR THOUGHT/ KING UB40
49 ( 43 ) GOING UNDERGROUND The Jam
50 ( 59 ) THE ROYAL MILE Gerry Rafferty

51 ( 39 ) THIS WORLD OF WATER New Musik
52 ( 48 ) ATOMIC Blondie
53 ( NEW ) WHY DON’T YOU SAY IT Elkie Brooks
54 ( NEW ) BIGGEST PART OF ME Ambrosia
55 ( 75 ) REACH YOUR PEAK Sister Sledge
56 ( NEW ) THE SCRATCH Surface Noise
57 ( 58 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
58 ( 57 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
59 ( 53 ) WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU The Detroit Spinners
60 ( NEW ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra

61 ( 46 ) FOOL FOR YOUR LOVING Whitesnake
62 ( NEW ) ANYWAY YOU WANT IT Journey
63 ( 62 ) LONGER Dan Fogelberg
64 ( 63 ) CONFUSION/ LAST TRAIN TO LONDON E.L.O.
65 ( NEW ) LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR Pete Townsend
66 ( 56 ) TURN IT ON AGAIN Genesis
67 ( 55 ) KOOL IN THE KAFTAN B.A. Robertson
68 ( NEW ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
69 ( 50 ) WHAT’S ANOTHER YEAR Johnny Logan
70 ( NEW ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey

71 ( 67 ) WALKING ON THE MOON The Police
72 ( 68 ) I HAVE A DREAM Abba
73 ( NEW ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
74 ( 70 ) NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN The Moody Blues
75 ( NEW ) BREAKING THE LAW Judas Priest


31st May-6th Jun

1 The Outer Limits
2 Reputations
3 Barney Miller
4 Broken Lance
5 Time Out Of Mind
6 Legend Of The Golden Gun
7 Hawaii 5-0
8 Barney Miller
9 Mork And Mindy
10 The Waltons


At College I was carrying two heavy glass and chip-board mounted large-sized screen-prints of mine to the Usher Art Gallery, a la all those comedy movies of two men carrying a plate of glass across a busy road, only on my own. My arms and hands suffered for my Art. Got my poetry exam question essay back: “Fine”. Pete slagged off my Don McLean obsession in fun, as I played the 45, so I slagged off his Eagles and Bob Seger which he played loudly in the evening to get me back (our rooms were adjacent). Hah! Snooker in the evening with the gang. Tennis, revision, chatting, hot weather, and a TV profile on Robert Kennedy, Reputations.

My final American Studies lecture ever was a combined 3-tutors mock exams results extravaganza. I got an A for geography, and mused I will miss their lectures (and I do). I got told one of my art pieces had fallen off the wall in the Usher Art Gallery overnight and set off the alarms! I rushed down in the heat of the day to find it wasn’t my work at all! I stuck more nails in mine anyway to be sure. Paul popped in with the fab news we were going to Knebworth Festival with Ian too, if he could get the tickets (he did!), yay! Mum & dad popped in on their way to Skeggy, Roundtable had Bev Bevan, DLT, Trevor Horn and Paul Gambaccini, then I left for the Usher open evening, chatting to some mature students, my Close Encounters piece really was the hit all round really. Pity it wasn’t mine in my eyes….


17th June 1980

OMD, as they became known, get their first chart-topper as the fabulous Messages becomes the first EDM chart-topper since Donna Summer’s 1977 I Feel Love, and 8 years since Hot Butter’s Popcorn was the first. From here-on, though, they came thick and fast. John Barry outdoes his previous Top 5 theme tune from The Persuaders, though as writer/producer The Theme From Midnight Cowboy remains just behind another Donna Summer hit, the theme to The Deep, Down Deep Inside which peaked at 2, also in 1977. The highest new entry is also the highest old entry, as The Police, who were sizzling hot, decide to release an album track as a single, Bed’s Too Big Without You, revamped, more uptempo and extremely annoyingly only available by buying 5 Police singles I already had bought. As this was extortion by any other name, I started my policy of not buying any product I had already bought, and which these days applies to “deluxe” editions of albums designed to make you buy it twice. The record industry remains myopic when looking at the bigger picture of artist longevity, preferring always a quick buck. Hey ho, the single could have been a big hit instead of middling, but as the only track I charted it’s in at 7.

Roberta & Donny get a second top 10 single 8 years after the first, and Roberta rather shockingly only her 3rd in total, while The Korgis doggedly get their 2nd top 20, and The ratty Specials their 4th. Siouxsie & Co leap Christine into the 40, and Rod Stewart enters at 40 with a very long statement that didn’t quite catch on as much his previously long-titled double A Side cover in 1977. Hey ho, it’s a 1972 Luther Ingram song, and as usual I don’t go a bundle on his cover versions, though amiable enough. At 44, Queen are playing the game, or as I reflected at the time, safely hedging their bets with a fairly standard single. New at 59, New Zealander Shona Laing gets an entry with obscure decent track Don’t Tell Me, shortly before getting on the road with Manfred Mann’s Earthband, as Elvis Costello continues his run of chart entries (now at 3 years) with one of his most melodic, New Amsterdam being rather unappreciated – I’m guessing a bit more venom was expected, and the gorgeousness of the tune passed most fans by. At 71, Denny Laine gets a solo entry with Japanese Tears – a decade after I first noticed him as a solo act, with the lovely Say You Don’t Mind, later covered as a 1972 classy chart-topper for me in 1972 by Colin Blunstone, another 60’s band veteran. Denny, of course, had hit the top several times with Macca in Wings. At 73, and lastly, UB40 get that follow-up entry, My Way Of Thinking.

1 ( 3 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoevres In The Dark
2 ( 1 ) CRYING Don McLean
3 ( 9 ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)
4 ( 2 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
5 ( 5 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
6 ( 4 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
7 ( NEW ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
8 ( 6 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
9 ( 14 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
10 ( 7 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer

11 ( 8 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
12 ( 12 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
13 ( 10 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
14 ( 15 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John
15 ( 18 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
16 ( 11 ) YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ME IN THE iamspamspamamiAT PARTIES Jona Lewie
17 ( 23 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
18 ( 13 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
19 ( 22 ) RAT RACE The Specials
20 ( 16 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson

21 ( 28 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
22 ( 25 ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas
23 ( 17 ) JUST CAN’T GIVE YOU UP Mystic Merlin
24 ( 24 ) MIDNITE DYNAMOS Matchbox
25 ( 46 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
26 ( 30 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
27 ( 21 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
28 ( 35 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
29 ( 31 ) SUBSTITUTE Liquid Gold
30 ( 19 ) MIRROR IN THE BATHROOM The Beat

31 ( 20 ) LET’S GO ROUND AGAIN Average White Band
32 ( 33 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
33 ( 27 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
34 ( 29 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness
35 ( 40 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson
36 ( 26 ) NO SELF CONTROL Peter Gabriel
37 ( 42 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy
38 ( 68 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
39 ( 39 ) GEE WHIZ Bernadette Peters
40 ( NEW ) IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG (I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT) Rod Stewart

41 ( 34 ) CALL ME Blondie
42 ( 54 ) BIGGEST PART OF ME Ambrosia
43 ( 32 ) COMING UP Paul McCartney
44 ( NEW ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
45 ( 65 ) LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR Pete Townsend
46 ( 37 ) BREATHING Kate Bush
47 ( 62 ) ANYWAY YOU WANT IT Journey
48 ( 56 ) THE SCRATCH Surface Noise
49 ( 38 ) BODY LANGUAGE The Detroit Spinners
50 ( 36 ) POLICE AND THIEVES Junior Murvin

51 ( 43 ) SILVER DREAM MACHINE David Essex
52 ( 60 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
53 ( 53 ) WHY DON’T YOU SAY IT Elkie Brooks
54 ( 49 ) GOING UNDERGROUND The Jam
55 ( 55 ) REACH YOUR PEAK Sister Sledge
56 ( 52 ) ATOMIC Blondie
57 ( 48 ) FOOD FOR THOUGHT/ KING UB40
58 ( 47 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
59 ( NEW ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing
60 ( 41 ) I SHOULDA LOVED YA Narada Michael Walden

61 ( 57 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 58 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 75 ) BREAKING THE LAW Judas Priest
64 ( 73 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
65 ( 64 ) CONFUSION/ LAST TRAIN TO LONDON E.L.O.
66 ( 63 ) LONGER Dan Fogelberg
67 ( 50 ) THE ROYAL MILE Gerry Rafferty
68 ( NEW ) NEW AMSTERDAM Elvis Costello
69 ( 51 ) THIS WORLD OF WATER New Musik
70 ( 44 ) HOLD ON TO MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin

71 ( NEW ) JAPANESE TEARS Denny Laine
72 ( 59 ) WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU The Detroit Spinners
73 ( NEW ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
74 ( 74 ) NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN The Moody Blues
75 ( 72 ) I HAVE A DREAM Abba


TV 7th -13th June

1 The Outer Limits
2 It’ll Be Alright On The Night 2
3 The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean: film
4 The Phil Silvers Show
5 The Likely Lads
6 Barney Miller
7 ChiPs
8 At The Mill
9 Tomorrow’s World
10 The Banana Splits


In between revising for exams I watched a film from 1972 I’d gone to see at the cinema with then-mate Andrew, The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean, a Paul Newman western Directed by John Huston, and with a dozen movie and TV stars in it. It was OK, but I don’t think I’ve seen it since, sadly, as I’d be curious to see young Victoria Principal, long-gone Roddy McDowell (always great) and a host of others again. Tuesday was exam day, cruelly cut-off mid-flow in the middle of an answer 2 minutes earlier than expected. Pah! I played table tennis with Bev and Pete afterwards as stress relief. Thursday another exam, one of the papers a swine, and got out to find mum and dad waiting with a new T shirt for me, on their way back home from Skeggy. Rest of the day I confidently avoided revising, fed up with it, and sure I already knew what I needed to know. The one area I didn’t prepare for much was the Art examiners, assuming it was just a formal discussion.

My last exam (for a few years at any rate) was on friday, and I found it hard to concentrate, annoyingly. Then in the afternoon was my interview with the external Nottingham University examiners at the Usher Art gallery. I went in smiling friendly-like. “What are you smiling for?” the younger “Art” turd demanded. That was the highlight of the grilling, it pretty much went downhill after that as I got crucified by the 2 examiners as they aggressively attacked all my work which left me stuttering and breathless, unable to defend myself of any of my work. I consoled myself outside with art student Anne who had also had a grilling, then moaned to my tutors about their attitude. My various friends helped to try and cheer me up in the evening. In fairness to them, some of my artwork (which I still have) wasn’t great, but in fairness to me Art “Experts” are conceited arrogant pretentious pricks trying to justify an opinion as if it’s an absolute. I should have got angry about it and ignored everything they said. The reality was I was so devastated by it I gave up totally anything to do with art, creativity, photography, screen printing, drawing for decades, not wanting to have anything to do with people like that and the bullying Art mafia, as I saw them. Pity, as I could do with meeting up with them now, I’m more than capable of saying what I think to anyone I see holding those sorts of attitudes towards other people and sod the consequences. At the weekend mum and dad came to see my artwork at the gallery, as I bumped in to Anne on her way in to officially complain about the external examiners. I should have done that….


24th June 1980

2 weeks at 1 for OMD, as Roberta and Donny hit 3 equalling Where Is The Love in 1972. The Police get a 6th top 5 with the Bed’s Too Big, or 6-pack all in one go, whatever. ELO get 2 big leaps into the top 10 from Xanadu, I’m Alive at 6 and the infinitely better title track at 9. At this stage I was such an ELO fan that they could fart into a spaceship and I would like it – not that I’m Alive is that bad, but it’s their weakest single since, well, the last time they failed to make my top 10 in 1974: Daybreaker, and in retrospect the least-good single they did in their career up to this point. Xanadu was one of their best. Banging up to 7, Christine gives The Banshees their second top 10, and first in 2 years since debut Hong Kong Garden, Paul McCartney makes it two out 2 as he gets his 16th top 10 hit since the Fabs split-up, not to mention as many again and more inside The Beatles. Elton John also takes Little Jeannie into the 10 for a pleasantly sweet 14th top tenner.

Highest new entry at 23 is the funny and punkily odd Two Packets Of Lager, which definitely rang a bell – Time gentleman please! – with anyone waiting in vain to get served in a busy pub before it closed at 11. Yes in those days it was unheard of to stay open late! Splodgenessabounds is one of the great band names, to boot. The Stranglers pose a philosophical question at 26 – to which the answer seems to be “every ruthless twat on the planet” – as Elvis Costello rockets up to New Amsterdam inside the 40, as Darts fly up to 34 and UB40 think about it at 38. young Stacey Lattisaw proves that disco is not only not dead, it’s still pretty good, and Jumps To The Beat new in at 32.

The Beach Boys are Trying To Keep The Summer Alive, with a new album and tour headlining Knebworth – which was any day now for me. In at 39, flattered a bit as a consequence, as The Sex Pistols fizzle out with a reasonable cover of a Monkees B Side (Itself a cover of their main early songwriters Boyce & Hart’s song as recorded by Paul Revere And The Raiders). The Monkees version is pure 60‘s garage rock and spits venom and passion. For all the critical rubbish written about both bands, The Monkees is the perfect punk version and the The Sex Pistols version was merely a kitsch cash-in. So I’m posting the classic version….

Elsewhere, US band Spider pop in with the good New Romance, Odyssey re-enter with the future UK chart-topper Use It Up Wear It Out, still sounds good, let’s be honest, Donna Summer’s more laid-back Sunset People glides in at 66, and 2 nu-metal bands are back, one I don’t rate at all (it is Iron Maiden after all), and the other is pretty damn good (Saxon’s 747). I know metal fans seem to be under the delusion it’s the other way round, but hey Saxon rocks at 71. Phil Lynnot is back solo again for the 3rd time, and he doesn’t even have the decency to wait for Thin Lizzy to drop out of the 40 as his tribute to Elvis Presley pops in at 75, and finally it’s an oddly low new entry for a Bob Marley classic, as he notches up the reggae beats to Could You Be Loved, one of his best records, in at 73. Within months he’d be dead from cancer, refusing early treatment, and all I can wonder is how many great records we’ve lost from his far-too-early death.

1 ( 1 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
2 ( 2 ) CRYING Don McLean
3 ( 9 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
4 ( 7 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
5 ( 4 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
6 ( 12 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
7 ( 25 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
8 ( 21 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
9 ( 52 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
10 ( 14 ) LITTLE JEANNIE Elton John

11 ( 5 ) WE ARE GLASS Gary Numan
12 ( 6 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
13 ( 15 ) LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
14 ( 17 ) EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME The Korgis
15 ( 3 ) THEME FROM MIDNIGHT COWBOY Original Soundtrack (John Barry)
16 ( 13 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
17 ( 22 ) DA-A-ANCE The Lambrettas
18 ( 10 ) TWILIGHT ZONE/TWILIGHT TONE Manhattan Transfer
19 ( 26 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
20 ( 28 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading

21 ( 38 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
22 ( 44 ) PLAY THE GAME Queen
23 ( NEW ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
24 ( 8 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
25 ( 11 ) OVER YOU Roxy Music
26 ( NEW ) WHO WANTS THE WORLD The Stranglers
27 ( 68 ) NEW AMSTERDAM Elvis Costello
28 ( 24 ) MIDNITE DYNAMOS Matchbox
29 ( 35 ) TO BE OR NOT TO BE B.A. Robertson
30 ( 32 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies

31 ( 20 ) SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson
32 ( NEW ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
33 ( 16 ) YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ME IN THE iamspamspamamiAT PARTIES Jona Lewie
34 ( 58 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
35 ( 37 ) CHINATOWN Thin Lizzy
36 ( 45 ) LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR Pete Townsend
37 ( 27 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
38 ( 73 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
39 ( NEW ) TRYING TO KEEP THE SUMMER ALIVE The Beach Boys
40 ( 42 ) BIGGEST PART OF ME Ambrosia

41 ( 48 ) THE SCRATCH Surface Noise
42 ( 33 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
43 ( 23 ) JUST CAN’T GIVE YOU UP Mystic Merlin
44 ( 18 ) LOST IN LOVE Air Supply
45 ( 19 ) RAT RACE The Specials
46 ( 34 ) NIGHT BOAT TO CAIRO (WORK REST & PLAY EP) Madness
47 ( NEW ) I’M NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE The Sex Pistols
48 ( 40 ) IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG (I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT) Rod Stewart
49 ( 30 ) MIRROR IN THE BATHROOM The Beat
50 ( 53 ) WHY DON’T YOU SAY IT Elkie Brooks

51 ( 43 ) COMING UP Paul McCartney
52 ( 29 ) SUBSTITUTE Liquid Gold
53 ( 41 ) CALL ME Blondie
54 ( 59 ) DON’T TELL ME Shona Laing
55 ( NEW ) NEW ROMANCE (IT’S A MYSTERY) Spider
56 ( 64 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
57 ( 31 ) LET’S GO ROUND AGAIN Average White Band
58 ( 54 ) GOING UNDERGROUND The Jam
59 ( 63 ) BREAKING THE LAW Judas Priest
60 ( 36 ) NO SELF CONTROL Peter Gabriel

61 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 47 ) ANYWAY YOU WANT IT Journey
64 ( RE ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
65 ( 56 ) ATOMIC Blondie
66 ( NEW ) SUNSET PEOPLE Donna Summer
67 ( 67 ) THE ROYAL MILE Gerry Rafferty
68 ( 39 ) GEE WHIZ Bernadette Peters
69 ( NEW ) WRITTEN ON YOUR BODY Ronnie Bond
70 ( 51 ) SILVER DREAM MACHINE David Essex

71 ( NEW ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
72 ( 65 ) CONFUSION/ LAST TRAIN TO LONDON E.L.O.
73 ( NEW ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
74 ( NEW ) SANCTUARY Iron Maiden
75 ( NEW ) THE KING’S CALL Phil Lynott


TV 14th-20th June

1 Planet Of The Apes: film
2 Wonder Woman
3 The Outer Limits
4 The Phil Silvers Show
5 Taxi
6 Q9
7 The Banana Splits
8 The Waltons
9 Happy days
10 Knotts Landing


On TV, 60’s classic movie Planet Of The Apes and a Wonder Woman TV movie with alien bodysnatchers (fab cheese!). I psycho-analysed why whenever I see mum and dad (they popped in again) I got depressed – it was talk of the future and my total lack of preparedness for the onrushing end of College life. Tickets for Knebworth arrived, hooray! College Hustings meant voting for student body reps for the next year, so we listened and voted, and a fun evening with friends as Jane prepared a lesson on Islam for the kids, based on her artwork after we’d been to Tunisia.

I met up with tutor Max for an indication of my degree results. I was not surprised to hear it was going to be a division 2 (average) as my best work in Art was graded 2:2 but a lot was rated less than that. As I’d never been what you call a hard-worker I couldn’t really complain. One of our friends borrowed Sue’s bike (unbeknownst to Sue) to go to the Lincolnshire Show, they shall remain nameless but I did say “it’ll get nicked!”, and bumped into her later bursting into tears cos it had been nicked. Confession is good for the soul fortunately, and it was forthcoming to Sue who took the news rather well I thought.

My 1984 Charts – December

the front drive before the TPO tree became a monster

the front drive before the TPO tree became a monster


4th December 1984

2 weeks on top for Frankie, as Band Aid debut from out of nowhere really, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure organising the world-famous charity christmas record, about to become the UK’s biggest-selling single, pretty much overnight, convincing the biggest stars to turn up on the day. Still the best charity record, still the best version, and the money raised through this and Live Aid really did save lives in famine-stricken Ethiopa. Cynics whinge about pop stars doing stuff like this. Cynics of course doing f*ck-all themselves to help needy people, just slagging-off anyone with good intentions. The only ones in a position to criticise are those who DO actually work for charity organisations, or spend their voluntary time to do what they can, the rest are just mealy-mouthed hypocrites who can just go f*ck themselves. 30 years on and the record still makes the UK charts every year. So there!

In at 5, overshadowed, but it’s The Beatles and a record I bought in 1976 and was mad on: I Feel Fine was the single where The Beatles really started to experiment with sounds, and the songs started to become more sophisticated – still melodic, still love songs, but sounding more adult. 20 years old at the time, it’s breath-taking to me (cos I remember seeing them on TV at the time) to realise this is now 50 years old. Gulp! It also nicely keeps Paul McCartney’s frog chorus out of the top 5, is that irony or just me being realistic? Alvin Stardust gets his 6th top 10, Nik Kershaw his 3rd, and Madonna ponts on up to 12 from 66, cavorting most unlike a virgin. 30 years on as I write, and she’s topping my charts for the 20th time with Ghosttown. Not bad for a disposable dancepopstar, as she appeared to be at the time.

Big climbs for Kool And The Gang, Shaky (!), Dead Or Alive, The Cars and Strawberry Switchblade, with a high new entry for 1982 single The Voice, from The Moody Blues – saw them do it live 2013, and still fab. 14 years of hits. At 59, Ave Maria gets the Indian treatment, an unusual crossing of genres for an extended dance track, while at 66 Tears For Fears are back with a Shout! A fantastic record, and the video is SO appropriate to my life as it was filmed in and around scenic Lulworth Cove in Dorset, where I was working surveying roads, including the one running down to the cove. There be fossils in them thar cliffs, they be, as a local might (or might not) say. At 68 it’s a quick 3 out of 3 for Alison Moyet with the excellent Invisible, as other pop stars enter with more forgettable tracks.

1 ( 1 ) THE POWER OF LOVE Frankie Goes To Hollywood
2 ( NEW ) DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS Band Aid
3 ( 3 ) ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK Murray Head
4 ( 2 ) SEX CRIME (1984) Eurythmics
5 ( NEW ) I FEEL FINE The Beatles
6 ( 16 ) WE ALL STAND TOGETHER Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus
7 ( 7 ) LOUISE Human League
8 ( 12 ) I WON’T RUN AWAY Alvin Stardust
9 ( 5 ) ALL JOIN HANDS Slade
10 ( 11 ) THE RIDDLE Nik Kershaw

11 ( 4 ) I FEEL FOR YOU Chaka Khan
12 ( 66 ) LIKE A VIRGIN Madonna
13 ( 9 ) LET IT ALL BLOW The Dazz Band
14 ( 6 ) THE WILD BOYS Duran Duran
15 ( 10 ) HARD HABIT TO BREAK Chicago
16 ( 25 ) HALF A MINUTE Matt Bianco
17 ( 23 ) TREAT HER LIKE A LADY The Temptations
18 ( 18 ) WARNING SIGN Nick Heyward
19 ( 8 ) BLASPHEMOUS RUMOURS Depeche Mode
20 ( 24 ) THE MEDAL SONG Culture Club

21 ( 17 ) NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS Paul McCartney
22 ( 75 ) FRESH Kool And The Gang
23 ( 13 ) ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT Cyndi Lauper
24 ( 15 ) DRIVE The Cars
25 ( 21 ) CARIBBEAN QUEEN (NO MORE LOVE ON THE RUN) Billy Ocean
26 ( NEW ) THE VOICE The Moody Blues
27 ( 27 ) DAVE The Boomtown Rats
28 ( 22 ) THE NEVER ENDING STORY Limahl
29 ( 35 ) STRUT Sheena Easton
30 ( 38 ) PRIVATE DANCER Tina Turner

31 ( 14 ) HOW TO BE A MILLIONAIRE ABC
32 ( 57 ) TEARDROPS Shakin’ Stevens
33 ( 19 ) FREEDOM Wham!
34 ( 20 ) WE ARE FAMILY Sister Sledge
35 ( 46 ) CLOSE (TO THE EDIT) Art Of Noise
36 ( 54 ) YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD) Dead Or Alive
37 ( 64 ) YOU MIGHT THINK The Cars
38 ( 26 ) THIS IS MINE Heaven 17
39 ( 32 ) I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER Jim Diamond
40 ( 31 ) TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder

41 ( 28 ) TOO LATE FOR GOODBYES Julian Lennon
42 ( 29 ) DESERT MOON Dennis De Young
43 ( 30 ) GIMME ALL YOUR LOVING Z.Z. TOP
44 ( 44 ) RATTLESNAKES Lloyd Cole And The Commotions
45 ( 33 ) THE WAR SONG Culture Club
46 ( 73 ) SINCE YESTERDAY Strawberry Switchblade
47 ( 41 ) I’M SO EXCITED The Pointer Sisters
48 ( 48 ) RESPECT YOURSELF The Kane Gang
49 ( 37 ) LOVE’S GREAT ADVENTURE Ultravox
50 ( 45 ) LOST IN MUSIC Sister Sledge

51 ( 34 ) ALL CRIED OUT Alison Moyet
52 ( 42 ) OUT OF TOUCH Daryl Hall and John Oates
53 ( 59 ) HOTLINE TO HEAVEN Bananarama
54 ( NEW ) TROUBLE Rod Stewart
55 ( 40 ) THE WANDERER Status Quo
56 ( 51 ) MADAME BUTTERFLY Malcolm McLaren
57 ( NEW ) STRANGER IN TOWN Toto
58 ( 36 ) GOTTA GET YOU HOME TONIGHT Eugene Wilde
59 ( NEW ) AVE MARIA West India Company
60 ( 53 ) CARELESS WHISPER George Michael

61 ( NEW ) RIDDLE ME UB40
62 ( 63 ) BODY The Jacksons
63 ( 52 ) I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU Stevie Wonder
64 ( 39 ) IF THIS IS IT Huey Lewis and The News
65 ( 60 ) TWO TRIBES Frankie Goes To Hollywood
66 ( NEW ) SHOUT Tears For Fears
67 ( 58 ) THE GAY CABALLEROS Steve Wright
68 ( NEW ) INVISIBLE Alison Moyet
69 ( 67 ) THE DAY BEFORE YOU CAME Abba
70 ( 65 ) RELAX Frankie Goes To Hollywood

71 ( NEW ) THANK YOU MY LOVE Imagination
72 ( 70 ) BILLIE-JEAN Michael Jackson
73 ( 47 ) THE SECOND TIME Kim Wilde
74 ( NEW ) DO THE CONGA Black Lace
75 ( NEW ) EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE Paul Young

TV:
1. Star Trek: Errand Of Mercy
2. Hill Street Blues
3. Logan’s Run: film
4. Tenko
5. The Phil Silvers
6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
7. MASH
8. Top Of The Pops
9. Carry On Camping: film
10. Soap
11. The Rockford Files
12. The Avengers
13. The Addams Family
14. Dungeons And Dragons
15. Hardcastle and McKormick


At work, had an argument with Boss-man about flying saucers (!) – maybe it was that sparking a setback for me, but I fell into a depression of sorts again in the evening for the whole week. Bob helped, as we bantered quite a bit at work. On TV the Band Aid video debuted, Friday lunch was the pub at Anstey (The Fox) where Boss-man tried to convince me Bob had spiked my coke. Arse. Bob assured me he wouldn’t (and he wouldn’t I can say now with some confidence after 30 years of friendship) it was just an attempt to stop us getting on so well by the boss cos he was an arse. I ended the week still very down, mood-wise.


11th December 1984

Band Aid get to number one with their christmas perennial, and guess what? The record it famously held at 2, the biggest-selling record never to top the UK charts, Last Christmas is new at 9, Wham!’s 6th top 10, and George’s 7th, and clearly his best record to date, it just punched all the right christmas buttons, had a fab tune, and George and Andrew donated profits to the Band Aid charity too.

The Beatles hit 3, not bad for a 20-year-old track, and I Feel Fine about it! Madonna gets her second top 10, after Holiday, it’s Like A Virgin. Touched for the very first time, indeed. Bob Marley’s 4-year-old Top 10 hit bounces back at 17, the great Could You Be Loved, as Alison Moyet makes it 3 in a row inside the 20, Invisible up 49 places to 19. Spandau are Round And Round, inoffensively at 39, and a host of christmas songs (yes actual NEW ones, no oldies!) drop in, one of them once upon a time a perennial xmas regular, and now banished forever: yes it must be Gary Glitter and the jolly Another Rock And Roll Christmas at 72, overshadowed for the moment by Queen’s middling try at a christmas song, and forgotten ones from Alvin Stardust and Captain Sensible.

The Stranglers are back, so is Ian McCulloch for the moment ex-of the Bunnymen, with September Song, Kurt Weil’s 1930’s standard. At 46, The Thompson Twins Lay Your Hands On Me is one of their not bad hits, while Prince’s brilliant Purple Rain track, I Would Die For U is in at 48, the 4th track to chart despite only 2 singles being released to date (and of course no youtube video for anything Prince-related). Bowie and Lennon (Julian) return with lesser follow-ups, and ditto Big Country and Stevie Wonder.

1 ( 2 ) DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS Band Aid
2 ( 1 ) THE POWER OF LOVE Frankie Goes To Hollywood
3 ( 5 ) I FEEL FINE The Beatles
4 ( 3 ) ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK Murray Head
5 ( 6 ) WE ALL STAND TOGETHER Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus
6 ( 12 ) LIKE A VIRGIN Madonna
7 ( 4 ) SEX CRIME (1984) Eurythmics
8 ( 10 ) THE RIDDLE Nik Kershaw
9 ( NEW ) LAST CHRISTMAS Wham!
10 ( 11 ) I FEEL FOR YOU Chaka Khan

11 ( 7 ) LOUISE Human League
12 ( 8 ) I WON’T RUN AWAY Alvin Stardust
13 ( 22 ) FRESH Kool And The Gang
14 ( 9 ) ALL JOIN HANDS Slade
15 ( 17 ) TREAT HER LIKE A LADY The Temptations
16 ( 14 ) THE WILD BOYS Duran Duran
17 ( NEW ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
18 ( 20 ) THE MEDAL SONG Culture Club
19 ( 68 ) INVISIBLE Alison Moyet
20 ( 15 ) HARD HABIT TO BREAK Chicago

21 ( 13 ) LET IT ALL BLOW The Dazz Band
22 ( 29 ) STRUT Sheena Easton
23 ( 26 ) THE VOICE The Moody Blues
24 ( 18 ) WARNING SIGN Nick Heyward
25 ( 25 ) CARIBBEAN QUEEN (NO MORE LOVE ON THE RUN) Billy Ocean
26 ( 21 ) NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS Paul McCartney
27 ( 16 ) HALF A MINUTE Matt Bianco
28 ( 32 ) TEARDROPS Shakin’ Stevens
29 ( 19 ) BLASPHEMOUS RUMOURS Depeche Mode
30 ( 37 ) YOU MIGHT THINK The Cars

31 ( 24 ) DRIVE The Cars
32 ( 35 ) CLOSE (TO THE EDIT) Art Of Noise
33 ( 28 ) THE NEVER ENDING STORY Limahl
34 ( 30 ) PRIVATE DANCER Tina Turner
35 ( 23 ) ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT Cyndi Lauper
36 ( 36 ) YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD) Dead Or Alive
37 ( 66 ) SHOUT Tears For Fears
38 ( 27 ) DAVE The Boomtown Rats
39 ( NEW ) ROUND AND ROUND Spandau Ballet
40 ( 39 ) I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER Jim Diamond

41 ( 34 ) WE ARE FAMILY Sister Sledge
42 ( 46 ) SINCE YESTERDAY Strawberry Switchblade
43 ( 33 ) FREEDOM Wham!
44 ( 52 ) OUT OF TOUCH Daryl Hall and John Oates
45 ( 48 ) RESPECT YOURSELF The Kane Gang
46 ( NEW ) LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME The Thompson Twins
47 ( 40 ) TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder
48 ( NEW ) I WOULD DIE 4 U Prince
49 ( 75 ) EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE Paul Young
50 ( 50 ) LOST IN MUSIC Sister Sledge

51 ( 45 ) THE WAR SONG Culture Club
52 ( 31 ) HOW TO BE A MILLIONAIRE ABC
53 ( 38 ) THIS IS MINE Heaven 17
54 ( 57 ) STRANGER IN TOWN Toto
55 ( NEW ) NO MERCY The Stranglers
56 ( NEW ) SO NEAR TO CHRISTMAS Alvin Stardust
57 ( NEW ) ONE CHRISTMAS CATALOGUE Captain Sensible
58 ( 56 ) MADAME BUTTERFLY Malcolm McLaren
59 ( 59 ) AVE MARIA West India Company
60 ( 71 ) THANK YOU MY LOVE Imagination

61 ( 54 ) TROUBLE Rod Stewart
62 ( NEW ) TONIGHT David Bowie
63 ( 41 ) TOO LATE FOR GOODBYES Julian Lennon
64 ( NEW ) VALOTTE Julian Lennon
65 ( 60 ) CARELESS WHISPER George Michael
66 ( NEW ) THANK GOD IT’S CHRISTMAS Queen
67 ( 74 ) DO THE CONGA Black Lace
68 ( 43 ) GIMME ALL YOUR LOVING Z.Z. TOP
69 ( NEW ) THE ROSE IS SOWN Big Country
70 ( 69 ) THE DAY BEFORE YOU CAME Abba

71 ( 65 ) TWO TRIBES Frankie Goes To Hollywood
72 ( NEW ) ANOTHER ROCK AND ROLL CHRISTMAS Gary Glitter
73 ( NEW ) LOVE LIGHT IN FLIGHT Stevie Wonder
74 ( 61 ) RIDDLE ME UB40
75 ( NEW ) SEPTEMBER SONG Ian McCulloch

1. Tenko
2. Star Trek: The Alternative Factor
3. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Monday)
4. Fame: film
5. MASH
6. Hill Street Blues
7. The Phil Silvers Show
8. Rising Damp
9. The Addams Family
10. The Betty White Show
11. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (wed)
12. Top Of The Pops
13. Soap
14. The Rockford Files
15. Entertainment USA


At work, my young car share driver was back following her dad’s suicide, and tried to help her talking about her terrible year: as bad as 1984 was for me, it was worse for her. Surveying the lovely hilly countryside at Bulbarro again, and a little more optimistic than the previous week moodwise. The boss took one of my light-hearted banter lunchtimes with Bob the wrong way and got nasty. Mum and dad were suffering from overwork and illness, looking tired. I had a dream about meeting Paul and Linda McCartney and getting an autograph! Well I hardly ever dream about celebrities, but if you gonna do it, may as well go for the top…! This weekend , went to Southampton, looking for music computers with ambitions to have a go at making demos. Optimist!


Thursday 6th December: Nik Kershaw at The BIC (Bournemouth International Centre), live in concert.

Went with Bob, and we marvelled at all the wacky haircuts in the audience, we felt well out of place and old, being over 21 as we were (but not by much) – but these days I’m glad we didn’t go the Flock Of Seagulls hair-gel route for the sake of old 80’s photos. The support band were Scary Thieves (impressive but lacked songs), but Nik got the girls screaming as he strode on, affable always, themed around the “excellent” (I noted) current hit The Riddle. Also good were Wouldn’t It Be Good, I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, and album track Bogart, which should have been a single. Some lesser tracks were a bit samey, or else it may have the back-ache developing from standing in the same position for so long – one of those “standing-concert” things you put up with, though happily less of a problem (very oddly) as I got older. Rating: “a nice change but not a classic gig” . Nik was in Christchurch the other month (2014) doing great low-key gigs by accounts I’ve heard from a friend who went. I saw Nik again in 1989, supporting Elton John.


18th December 1984

Wham! get their first number one, the christmas classic Last Christmas knocking off Band Aid, and being chased by an 11-years-old 4th-time-round christmas classic I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday from Wizzard new in at 2, having previously topped my chart in 1973, 1974, and 1981. You can’t have Wizzard without Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody, of course, in at 15 and charting for the 5th time, and yet to top the chart, Slade of course on a roll in 1984 with two top 10’s already. Wham! it should be remembered, was new, and George had already had a solo number one, and the other side of the double A side was hardly getting any airplay at all – Everything She Wants was completely overshadowed by Last Christmas.

Alison Moyet gets a 2nd solo top 10, and her 5th including Yazoo, Tears For Fears shout up into the 20 for the 4th time, Gary Glitter joins the xmas festivities rock and rolling for the 2nd-time in 1984, and umpteenth since his first hit the brilliant Rock And Roll Part 2 (on which he doesn’t actually sing) in 1972. The fab Strawberry Switchblade go top 40, as Dead Or Alive shock drop out of the 40 (it’ll be back!), and new entries come from Z.Z. Top’s Sharp Dressed Man, back after sneaking briefly in a year earlier, at a much more assertive 28, and just ahead of a bonafide rock ballad classic from Foreigner, 6 years after a decent run of 70’s rock singles, the gospel-tinged I Want To Know What Love Is.

Bronski Beat cover Gershwin, very bizarrely for a pop hit, but nicely, cos It Ain’t Necessarily So at 36. Bobby G, of Bucks Fizz, sings a TV show theme into 46th slot. Kim Wilde is touched at 60, hey, so is Madonna up to 5 for the very first time. Sal Solo, ex-Classix Nouveau singer is back with the good San Damiano, and Pat Benatar is back with We Belong, another decent single from her.

1 ( 9 ) LAST CHRISTMAS Wham!
2 ( NEW ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard
3 ( 1 ) DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS Band Aid
4 ( 5 ) WE ALL STAND TOGETHER Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus
5 ( 6 ) LIKE A VIRGIN Madonna
6 ( 2 ) THE POWER OF LOVE Frankie Goes To Hollywood
7 ( 4 ) ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK Murray Head
8 ( 8 ) THE RIDDLE Nik Kershaw
9 ( 7 ) SEX CRIME (1984) Eurythmics
10 ( 19 ) INVISIBLE Alison Moyet

11 ( 3 ) I FEEL FINE The Beatles
12 ( 13 ) FRESH Kool And The Gang
13 ( 17 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
14 ( 37 ) SHOUT Tears For Fears
15 ( NEW ) MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY Slade
16 ( 11 ) LOUISE Human League
17 ( 10 ) I FEEL FOR YOU Chaka Khan
18 ( 12 ) I WON’T RUN AWAY Alvin Stardust
19 ( 14 ) ALL JOIN HANDS Slade
20 ( 72 ) ANOTHER ROCK AND ROLL CHRISTMAS Gary Glitter

21 ( 15 ) TREAT HER LIKE A LADY The Temptations
22 ( 16 ) THE WILD BOYS Duran Duran
23 ( 42 ) SINCE YESTERDAY Strawberry Switchblade
24 ( 18 ) THE MEDAL SONG Culture Club
25 ( 20 ) HARD HABIT TO BREAK Chicago
26 ( 28 ) TEARDROPS Shakin’ Stevens
27 ( 21 ) LET IT ALL BLOW The Dazz Band
28 ( NEW ) SHARP DRESSED MAN Z.Z. TOP
29 ( NEW ) I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS Foreigner
30 ( 30 ) YOU MIGHT THINK The Cars

31 ( 46 ) LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME The Thompson Twins
32 ( 25 ) CARIBBEAN QUEEN (NO MORE LOVE ON THE RUN) Billy Ocean
33 ( 39 ) ROUND AND ROUND Spandau Ballet
34 ( 34 ) PRIVATE DANCER Tina Turner
35 ( 26 ) NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS Paul McCartney
36 ( NEW ) IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO Bronski Beat
37 ( 22 ) STRUT Sheena Easton
38 ( 45 ) RESPECT YOURSELF The Kane Gang
39 ( 49 ) EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE Paul Young
40 ( 33 ) THE NEVER ENDING STORY Limahl

41 ( 23 ) THE VOICE The Moody Blues
42 ( 57 ) ONE CHRISTMAS CATALOGUE Captain Sensible
43 ( 31 ) DRIVE The Cars
44 ( 66 ) THANK GOD IT’S CHRISTMAS Queen
45 ( 24 ) WARNING SIGN Nick Heyward
46 ( NEW ) BIG DEAL (THEME) Bobby G
47 ( 27 ) HALF A MINUTE Matt Bianco
48 ( 48 ) I WOULD DIE 4 U Prince
49 ( 29 ) BLASPHEMOUS RUMOURS Depeche Mode
50 ( 62 ) TONIGHT David Bowie

51 ( 32 ) CLOSE (TO THE EDIT) Art Of Noise
52 ( 56 ) SO NEAR TO CHRISTMAS Alvin Stardust
53 ( 40 ) I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER Jim Diamond
54 ( 35 ) ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT Cyndi Lauper
55 ( 55 ) NO MERCY The Stranglers
56 ( 64 ) VALOTTE Julian Lennon
57 ( 44 ) OUT OF TOUCH Daryl Hall and John Oates
58 ( 69 ) THE ROSE IS SOWN Big Country
59 ( 50 ) LOST IN MUSIC Sister Sledge
60 ( NEW ) THE TOUCH Kim Wilde

61 ( 38 ) DAVE The Boomtown Rats
62 ( 47 ) TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder
63 ( 36 ) YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD) Dead Or Alive
64 ( NEW ) NELLIE THE ELEPHANT The Toy Dolls
65 ( 67 ) DO THE CONGA Black Lace
66 ( 73 ) LOVE LIGHT IN FLIGHT Stevie Wonder
67 ( NEW ) SAN DAMIANO (HEART AND SOUL) Sal Solo
68 ( 58 ) MADAME BUTTERFLY Malcolm McLaren
69 ( 51 ) THE WAR SONG Culture Club
70 ( RE ) GHOSTBUSTERS Ray Parker Junior

71 ( 70 ) THE DAY BEFORE YOU CAME Abba
72 ( NEW ) SEE THAT GLOW This Island Earth
73 ( 75 ) SEPTEMBER SONG Ian McCulloch
74 ( NEW ) WE BELONG Pat Benatar
75 ( 41 ) WE ARE FAMILY Sister Sledge

1. Star Trek: City On The Edge Of Forever
2. Tenko
3. MASH
4. Hill Street Blues
5. The Phil Silvers Show
6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
7. Carry On…Don’t Lose Your Head
8. Murder By Death: film
9. The Addams Family
10. Top Of The Pops
11. Rising Damp
12. Terrahawks
13. Soap
14. Entertainment USA
15. The Rockford Files

On TV Star Trek still topping my weeklies lists, but this is THE Star Trek, the greatest episode, and the one that regularly featured in Cult TV Greatest Episodes of TV Shows lists, City On The Edge Of Forever, written by Harlan Ellison, a time-travel tragic love story starring Joan Collins, who was never better, and rather young-looking! Certainly a candidate still for my most-favoritist-episode-ever..
Also, the award-winning Chuckles The Clown hilarious episode of Mary Tyler Moore Show was on, Mary finds the unusual death of TV show work colleague Chuckles The Clown dressed as a peanut, killed by an elephant trying to shell him, not funny – till the funeral. Watch it! Also the final episode of the generally great Tenko, as the survivors leave the prison camp for home.

At work, I got exasperated at the torturously slow speed colleagues worked at (I just took to computers right away and have a good memory) but especially He Who Be In Charge. To brighten up my day, the van broke down which oddly cheered me up and tickled my funny bone to the annoyance of the other 2 – I was nominated to stay stuck on cold country roads with the van while they walked to Sturminster Newton. An hour later, nothing. So I got the van jerkily jumping sort-of working and rolled down the road till I found them and parked it in a pub car park. Much more civil place to wait for the garage man to arrive at 7.15, home by 8pm. The next day, my car-share driver nearly hit a car on a roundabout, still driving fast, and now on anti-depressants. I was not comfortable with the situation at all. At work, Paul downloaded our data to Dorchester via phone line and commented “I’m still waiting for my print-outs to arrive”. “Never mind,” I quipped “some day your prints will come.” Snow White? No? Please yourself, I thought it was funny!

On the news, the shock news of a coach crash which had left Mike Nolan of Bucks Fizz in critical condition with head injuries, when he hadn’t seemed that seriously injured earlier (along with Jay Aston, he’d gone through the windscreen). Touch and go for a few days, he recovered but was left with problems from hereon, and Bucks Fizz were never quite the unit they were again. Xmas shopping, and then new movie Dune at the cinema – visually stunning, good cast, characters lacking. I was not a fan of the actor (hero) Kyle MachLachlan, rather ironically given his future era-defining (and also David Lynch creation) TV series Twin Peaks. I saw it as a flawed film, as you don’t develop any love of the thinly defined characters. Next up, straight into the Ghostbusters film! The kids in the audience really got into it, I enjoyed it, some good gags and special effects, engaging cast,: rating: “good, well-made fun” but “maybe not classic stuff” but preferred it to Dune.

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25th December 1984

Wizzard take everyday Christmas wishing to the top for the 3rd time, and just to make the top 10 look like it’s Christmas 1973 again even more, Slade are at 10, Gary Glitter leaps to 7, and Paul McCartney is at 3 (both of them on the friday pub lunch jukebox at work in Anstey). To keep it all very festive, a bunch of christmas songs make the top 40 (none of them that great to be honest, at best OK), while forgotten naughty oddity I’m A Little Christmas Cracker whimsically bounces in for some alleged Czecks – it’s a pun. It’s actually quite sweet if you ignore the double-entendres, or amusing if you don’t.

Tears For Fears hit the 10, and Ashford and Simpson return with a solid record a few weeks after a short run, and hit a new height at 29. Seeing the movie obviously boosts Ghostbusters as it returns to the top 40 after dropping out my charts entirely, and Toto are also back again with Stranger In Town. The highest actual new record is The Adventures, as always still the bridesmaids of the UK charts, never the brides, with the good Send My Heart. Sal Solo brings some Latin christian cheer to the top 40, as The Toy Dolls update an early childhood toon: Nellie The Elephant was fondly remembered by those of who were first aware of music in the 60’s, so this stomping version was a bit of a larf. At least for the first few plays.

The Council Collective do some electioneering at 50, courtesy largely of Paul Weller and mates like Jimmy Ruffin, Junior, and missus Dee C. Lee. The Labour Party political party broadcast was OK, but it’s hard to see any current pop or rock stars doing a star-studded mini-gathering for, errr, ANY current political parties, except perhaps the SNP. This Island Earth go up a few places, a forgotten decent pop song that never really made it, sadly, and very very 1984-sounding.

On TV it’s a christmas bonanza of classic fave movies, recent and old, dotted about with some pop music shows (TOTP of course) and the final-ever episode of MASH, double-length and one of the biggest-ever non-sporting viewer ratings of all-time in the USA. It was a sad day when MASH ended, and the final episode was more disturbing than celebrating, but it had lasted 9 years longer than the actual Korean War did!

1 ( 2 ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard
2 ( 1 ) LAST CHRISTMAS Wham!
3 ( 4 ) WE ALL STAND TOGETHER Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus
4 ( 3 ) DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS Band Aid
5 ( 7 ) ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK Murray Head
6 ( 6 ) THE POWER OF LOVE Frankie Goes To Hollywood
7 ( 20 ) ANOTHER ROCK AND ROLL CHRISTMAS Gary Glitter
8 ( 5 ) LIKE A VIRGIN Madonna
9 ( 14 ) SHOUT Tears For Fears
10 ( 15 ) MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY Slade

11 ( 10 ) INVISIBLE Alison Moyet
12 ( 23 ) SINCE YESTERDAY Strawberry Switchblade
13 ( 13 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
14 ( 9 ) SEX CRIME (1984) Eurythmics
15 ( 8 ) THE RIDDLE Nik Kershaw
16 ( 12 ) FRESH Kool And The Gang
17 ( 17 ) I FEEL FOR YOU Chaka Khan
18 ( 31 ) LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME The Thompson Twins
19 ( 11 ) I FEEL FINE The Beatles
20 ( 29 ) I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS Foreigner

21 ( 16 ) LOUISE Human League
22 ( 18 ) I WON’T RUN AWAY Alvin Stardust
23 ( 19 ) ALL JOIN HANDS Slade
24 ( 26 ) TEARDROPS Shakin’ Stevens
25 ( 28 ) SHARP DRESSED MAN Z.Z. TOP
26 ( 39 ) EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE Paul Young
27 ( 33 ) ROUND AND ROUND Spandau Ballet
28 ( 25 ) HARD HABIT TO BREAK Chicago
29 ( RE ) SOLID Ashford and Simpson
30 ( 22 ) THE WILD BOYS Duran Duran

31 ( 70 ) GHOSTBUSTERS Ray Parker Junior
32 ( 36 ) IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO Bronski Beat
33 ( 67 ) SAN DAMIANO (HEART AND SOUL) Sal Solo
34 ( 21 ) TREAT HER LIKE A LADY The Temptations
35 ( RE ) STRANGER IN TOWN Toto
36 ( 64 ) NELLIE THE ELEPHANT The Toy Dolls
37 ( 44 ) THANK GOD IT’S CHRISTMAS Queen
38 ( NEW ) SEND MY HEART The Adventures
39 ( 42 ) ONE CHRISTMAS CATALOGUE Captain Sensible
40 ( 52 ) SO NEAR TO CHRISTMAS Alvin Stardust

41 ( 27 ) LET IT ALL BLOW The Dazz Band
42 ( 24 ) THE MEDAL SONG Culture Club
43 ( 46 ) BIG DEAL (THEME) Bobby G
44 ( 32 ) CARIBBEAN QUEEN (NO MORE LOVE ON THE RUN) Billy Ocean
45 ( 66 ) LOVE LIGHT IN FLIGHT Stevie Wonder
46 ( 35 ) NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS Paul McCartney
47 ( 60 ) THE TOUCH Kim Wilde
48 ( 38 ) RESPECT YOURSELF The Kane Gang
49 ( 30 ) YOU MIGHT THINK The Cars
50 ( NEW ) SOUL DEEP The Council Collective

51 ( 41 ) THE VOICE The Moody Blues
52 ( 34 ) PRIVATE DANCER Tina Turner
53 ( 65 ) DO THE CONGA Black Lace
54 ( 43 ) DRIVE The Cars
55 ( 56 ) VALOTTE Julian Lennon
56 ( 40 ) THE NEVER ENDING STORY Limahl
57 ( 58 ) THE ROSE IS SOWN Big Country
58 ( 37 ) STRUT Sheena Easton
59 ( 53 ) I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER Jim Diamond
60 ( 48 ) I WOULD DIE 4 U Prince

61 ( 47 ) HALF A MINUTE Matt Bianco
62 ( 45 ) WARNING SIGN Nick Heyward
63 ( 59 ) LOST IN MUSIC Sister Sledge
64 ( 72 ) SEE THAT GLOW This Island Earth
65 ( NEW ) I’M A LITTLE CHRISTMAS CRACKER The Bouncing Czecks
66 ( 55 ) NO MERCY The Stranglers
67 ( 50 ) TONIGHT David Bowie
68 ( 57 ) OUT OF TOUCH Daryl Hall and John Oates
69 ( 74 ) WE BELONG Pat Benatar
70 ( 68 ) MADAME BUTTERFLY Malcolm McLaren

71 ( 71 ) THE DAY BEFORE YOU CAME Abba
72 ( 62 ) TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder
73 ( 73 ) SEPTEMBER SONG Ian McCulloch
74 ( NEW ) NEVER LET HER SLIP AWAY Trevor Walters
75 ( 49 ) BLASPHEMOUS RUMOURS Depeche Mode

TV

1. Raiders Of The Lost Ark: film
2. Airplane: film
3. MASH – Goodbye Farewell and Amen
4. The Man With The Golden Gun: film
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
6. Some LIke It Hot: film
7. Top Of The Pops
8. Wogan
9. The Best/ Worst of Entertainment USA
10. Star Wars to Jedi
11. Mary Poppins: film
12. Porridge
13. Pop Quiz
14. Dallas
15. Hi De Hi


At work had an argument with Him over the north/south divide (these things are still facts in the UK, and not really a matter of opinion – the South does much better, always has!), while my car share almost had a second accident driving far too fast. “Watch out!” I cried, and she carried on speeding. “I’ll be a nervous wreck if I don’t get my own transport” I noted. Next morning, talk about prophetic: she finally hit another vehicle, 70mph hitting a tractor moving into the fast lane of the dual carriageway. She just didn’t see it. I was breathless gasping with disbelief and couldn’t get a word out in warning, how on Earth anyone could NOT see two tractors indicating to pull out (granted they shouldn’t have till it was clear, but she assumed they were going past a bike!) and still keep on going before slamming the break on violently at the last minute so my side of the car was gouged by a tractor and the front wheel crushed! I tell you it was my first lesson (but not my last, sadly) on just how many people there are on the roads determined to do me (and others) in. I also learnt to trust my own instincts when it comes to people…

She cried a lot, the tractor driver actually knew her and changed her car wheel, she didn’t exchange details, I suggested she go home rather than drive to work in her current state, where she was very upset on the phone to work. I made her a cup of tea to try and calm her down, I was oddly calm throughout, and arranged to get picked up in the works van on it’s way on site, on my walk home I finally got a bit shaky about it all, but was also rather relieved that it wasn’t serious: “she had to have an accident sooner or later…” I decided I needed a moped/motorbike soonish. Bob and boss were sympathetic, and next morning she drove more like a normal driver, hooray! The other surveying team team had disappeared, though, with no info on whereabouts when asked by the Big Boss in Dorchester. This caused a major team blow-out in the afternoon, acrimony much! Seems they felt they didn’t need to keep colleagues up to date on whereabouts, bit of a health and safety issue at the least, hey ho, I was a bit more blase about stuff given the events of the previous day, though saw the Boss’ viewpoint as the right one, which he appreciated and was quite nice for a few days.

Saturday, off to Mansfield with mum, dad and the cat for christmas with my brother’s family, and seeing everybody after our 10 months away, both dad’s family, and sister-in-law’s family, before settling down in coal-mining Blidworth where they lived, coal fire, cold and damp house like going back “to the Dark Ages of Liverpool in the 60’s. No wonder they like to stay in Poole.” Niece, I noted, was very active, quick on her feet and clever (15 months old). She, of course, interrupted sleep later on – it became a bit of a habit for oooh the next 5 or 6 years! Christmas Eve? Christmas Day? Shopping madness in jampacked town, sat about smelling watching TV (no hot water bathroom facilities), off to grandparents again, and Aunty’s. Christmas prezzies with toddler Vicki all excited next morning, dinner, and then big movies on TV after christmas Top Of The Pops. And relax….