Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Acceptable in the Eighties - but not now


I'm moved to post by ISBW's very entertaining missive about that awful Now That's What I Call 1983 TV programme that was on last Friday. I'm sure this was meant for an early Saturday night slot, but with it being so execrable, ITV sensibly buried it late-night. From this, and other Eighties-skewed disaster like Reborn In the USA and Hit Me Baby One More Time (which I went to, and which also featured Howard Jones), they have surely learned a lesson that revivals of this nature do not make good TV. They just make one want to die of shame and despair.

It has made me embarrassed to be a part of the Eighties, for that is what I am. I love Eighties music, but I think - the marvellous OMD aside, who are far too good to appear on any nostalgia tours or TV shows - I like to remember it all as it was. I learnt my own lesson going to see Fairport Convention a few years back, who disappointed me by not looking like they did in 1969.

I've been asked a million times to go to one of those package tours with Altered Images, ABC, Human League, etc., and, much as I like the music of all those bands, I realise I do not want to see them as they are now. Looking at Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw on the NTWIC83 show has really put the tin lid on it. As ISBW rightly pointed out, Nik Kershaw appears to be modelling himself on Gary Glitter '08, and Howard Jones looked like he now runs an ailing natural shoe company near Glastonbury. Both looked bored and bitter and like they needed the cash. But isn't this the case with any of the bands of this ilk who put themselves through this Hell?

Kim Wilde did herself no favours on those Holland & Barrett ads. Where there was once grace and beauty, pouting in a Breton top to Kids In America was a tubby dullard in ill-fitting mum-wear. No one wants to see her on stage like this.

I'm not keen on the way the Eighties are being remembered. It's all been lumped into one moment in time, whereas those of us who lived through it know better, as do a lot of the better bands of yesteryear. What must younger generations think? It's mortifying.

Enough already, before I burn my boiler suit.

13 comments:

Bright Ambassador said...

I thought that about Kershaw too (styling himself on Glitter that is).
I couldn't agree more about the Eighties is remembered too. It's always the same old faces. Simple Minds were on the original NTWICM, so where were they on the ITV show? They're currently active, I'm going to see them myself on Monday. It was that album that got me into SM in the first place. Bah!

Chris Hughes said...

I think you should tell us again about that other ITV '80s revival shows you attended, F-C, where you were the only one in "period dress".

Five-Centres said...

I like Simple Minds too, PM. They're far too good to lower themselves by appearing on this kind of old tosh.

Thanks Chris - are you thinking of the time I went to 80smania, starring Midge Ure. Hearsay and the All-Stars (who did Is There Something I Should Know)? I was 'man in Frankie T-shirt' and was made to dance. It's now lost in the mists of time. Forever.

Clair said...

I've always been fascinated by acts who just can't let go of their fame and need to perform. As you said, Howard Jones in particular is a righ arse - I once saw him at a charity function for disabled kiddies, and he was very insistent that he got to play his marvellous new material that nobody gave a tinkers' cuss about.

Out at lunchtime today, I met a fab guy who was the singer/songwriter in a band who were tipped as a Next Big Thing in the Nineties, and I have a *close friend* who was the same. Both rather bruised by the experience of not having the success they were so widely tipped for, they got Real Jobs Instead, and whilst both perform still, they don't sit around raging about the music business. I guess the difference is that my chums never got inflated egos after top ten hits.

Crapsack said...

In a moment of unusual exuberance last week I bought a ticket to go see Ultravox next year. My reasoning was, back in 1982 I was due to go and see them but fell ill that day and the chance was lost forever, now I have a second chance and I'm taking it...

Of course, both myself and the members of Ultravox were somewhat younger in 1982. I had a life/career/marriage/family etc ahead of me and they surely had unlimited success and fortune to come...

Seeing as neither lifestyles turned into anything like the promise suggested, I suspect that one night next April I'll be sitting in a large room full of similarly disillusioned folk watching four bitter old men try to make us feel good about the wasted, empty years...

Sorry, I'm going for a lie-down now.

Five-Centres said...

You speak for us all, Crapsack. Nice name, too.

Sky Clearbrook said...

And the version of Waterfront on the original NTWICM is the rarely-played, proper, bona fide 7" version with the "1, 2, 1-2-3..." count in rather than the now ubiquitous, piano-intro album version!

Sparkle In The Rain isn't at all bad; it was Once Upon A Time which really did the damage.

Sky Clearbrook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Rudd said...

Howard Jones is my hero, and you're all a bunch of bastards for being so beastly about him...

I'm surprised Nik Kershaw was on the show, given that his first hit was in 1984.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I meant to add, F-C, that I felt glad to not have kids that I might have felt obliged to justify that lot from the programme to ("No, they were REALLY GOOD back then..").

But of course I'd always have the get-out clause that I was only listening to achingly hip stuff like Cabaret Voltaire and Deutsche Americanische Freundshaft in 1983. Which I was. *cough*.

office pest said...

The tirade of abuse that spewed forth from my mouth as soon as Howard Jones ponced into sight reassured Mrs OP that music still has the power to move me.
Thank the lord that the Thompson Twins weren't on, with her in that ridiculous hat - it could have made me spill my Lambrini & Vodka.

Five-Centres said...

Re: Kershaw. They did put a coda on saying I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me was FIRST released in 83 and wasn't a hit until re-released in 84, which is annoyingly true.

Planet Mondo said...

I've always felt there's definite pre and post Live Aid divide to the eighties - pre was edgy, angular new wave flavoured pop. Post was mainly concerned Simon Climie sound-a-likes. Half of my 80s listening was discovering music from the 60s and 70s Bowie, Bolan, Beatles, Stones Led Zep' which made mainstream pop seem pap and lightweight...

Most of the turns on these shows I thought were hopeless at the time , and the bands I was into are unlikely to appear on these shows anyway Soft Cell, Adam Ant, Bauhaus, The Damned, XTC,

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