Top of the Pops 1964-2006

There was a time when TOTP was pretty cheesy and something you wouldn’t really be seen dead watching.   That was about 2 months after it was really cool to watch it and you’d never miss a show.  Fact is we all went through that phase at some time growing up.  The actual years vary for us all and are not relevant.

Highlights for me where Wham!, with Young Guns, Blondie’s first appearance singing Rip Her to Shreds and the somewhat awkward times when either the Sex Pistols, or Frankie Goes to Hollywood were No.1 and they couldn’t play them……

Sadly now it seems that with the advent of so many other avenues to access music and music video, viewing figures have tumbled to just over 1 million from a peak of 15 million in it’s heyday.

The first programme opened with the Rolling Stones, who mimed I Wanna Be Your Man, then Number 13 in the “hit parade”. The final show, to be screened on BBC2 on Sunday, will feature black-and-white footage of the same band performing their 1965 hit This Could Be The Last Time.

I think it is all rather well summed up by The Rezillos with their biggest hit, Top of the Pops.

“Does it matter what is shown
Just as long as everyone knows
What is selling what to buy
The stock market for your hi fi
Take the money – leave the box
Everybody’s on Top Of The Pops”

Irony indeed.

Back to reality

Back to reality with a bump this morning as I returned to work in London after a week in Cork.

We were there en famille competing in the Cork week regatta while the kids attended the Oysterhaven watersports centre.

We’d chartered a boat and entered a Hong Kong team and more on this later, but suffice to say we had one of the best holidays ever.

Here’s a taster of the sailing:

I’ll post a bit more about the sailing in a day or so….

Wymsey Village

Welcome to Wymsey.   Wymsey is a real village.  Well, real enough in someone’s imagination… and what an imagination.

Wymsey village, as you find it today, is much the same as it was yesterday and, we hope, as you will find it tomorrow. Explore the village at your leisure – why not spend the day with us, take lunch at The Crown and Thorns where you will find fine ales and a menu of traditional pub fare (loads of chips) prepared freshly (from the freezer) by the wife of mine host Sam Toogood. Take afternoon tea at the Bus Stop Cafe (if it’s a Wednesday) where everything is home baked by Brenda Starling and her team of girl guides. And, if you are looking for a Victorian pine pew pop into Gordon’s Chapel Emporium and why not pick up some of his fine organic onions while you are there.

Want to visit?   Click here      Have a good trip.

Camera Shy

A survey carried out for, an online insurance compancy has concluded that speed cameras are the least effective way of improving road safety.   The cameras, which last year reaped revenue of more than £114m in speeding fines, were ranked at the bottom of a list of initiatives aimed at reducing accidents.

More than half of drivers questioned (54%) thought cameras encouraged people to drive more erratically and almost three quarters (71%) thought they made motorists less aware of hazards on the road, therefore increasing the risk of accidents.

Swiftcover questioned 2,000 motorists, asking them to rate various road safety initiatives. The most popular was speed-activated flashing warning signs telling drivers they have exceeded the limit, followed by variable speed limits, speed bumps and “keep your distance” chevrons. Cameras were 10th in the list.

But top for revenue.    Coincidence?    Nope.   Just proof that road safety is not the real priority.

Goodbye you Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett, the eccentric guitarist who, with Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright founded Pink Floyd, died earlier this week at his home in Cambridge.

Setting a standards early on as one of Rock fame’s greatest casualties, he left the band towards the end of an early US tour, after one album and only 3 years after they had begun.

Unable to cope with drink, drugs and fame he became almost catatonic on stage and increasingly reclusive, quitting to live a quite life in anonymity with his mother.

Syd was replaced by David Gilmour who ensured he continued to receive royalties, reputed to amount to over four million pounds a year.   The last time the band saw him was when he turned up unannouced at a studio while they were recording the album, Wish You Were Here.   Track 1, Shine On You Crazy Diamond was a tribute to Syd.

When Pink Floyd reformed last year for Live8, Dave Gilmour dedicated Wish You Were Here to people no longer with us and, in particular to Syd.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

A statement from Pink Floyd said: “The band are naturally very upset and sad to learn of Syd’s death. He was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire.”

Pink Floyd are one of the most recognisable names in modern music and for the last 32 years have had at least one album in the US charts.

The big aussie advert

The incidence of internet only adverts – those short avi or mpeg files of commercials – has provided companies with a wonderful marketing opportunity.   They can be much longer, more creative and, of course, un-broadcastable.   Once made they are circulated freely, providing fabulous widespread and almost immediate global publicity.

The most well known are surely the one for Ford Ka’s, where the pigeon gets whacked by the bonnet, or the ‘mouse trap’ advert for the Honda, ending with a wheel rolling away.

Here’s a cracker from Australia, called the Big Aussie Ad.  Its for Carlton Beer

Enjoy….. and have one for me, as it’s my birthday today.

The Head of God

Now the irony of this is not lost on me.   I did watch the last few minutes of full time and then the 30 minutes of extra time and then the penalties.   For all but the penalty shoot out, it was a boring game.

But the gossip around the coffee machine this morning has nothing to do with actually playing football, rather it is all to do with a really good head butt by French captain, Zinedine Zidane, playing has last game as captain.

It was always scheduled to be his last game; the utopian Gallic script was that he would lead his team to a glorious victory (they were, of course, in white) – and in fairness, pundits did feel they played the better game – but it was not to be.

Ten minutes before the end, in a ‘moment of madness’, or perhaps ‘hand of God’ (or should that be ‘head of God’), ZZ sent oponent Marco Materazzi flying flat on his back.   As head butts go, it was a cracker.  Cleanly taken, with good concentration, a swift and precise move right in the centre of the sternum, with a neat finish.

Queue one red card, an early bath and time for bed for Zebedee.

This further confirmed all my views about football.   This was a dreary game (according to folks that know, not just me, I was just bored) and, with no resolution after 30 minutes of extra time the final of the 2006 Football World Cup was decided by 5 penalty shots each.

Now this rule is fair to all: it’s applied evenly and it cost more than one team victory in this competition (no sour grapes here dear reader, we were crap at the footy, but we did win the shopping – not that that is any consolation whatsoever.. but don’t start me on the WAG’s).   It makes televising the games easy, but there cannot be a more unsatisfactory way to end a match, never mind a World Championship.

Of course it adds tension, creates drama and ensures no-one leaves the stadium before the end, but surely the fans, teams and players deserve a solution that involves one team beating another, in open play?

Maybe ZZ, confronted with a stalemate at 1:1 and the prospect of another penalty shoot out, was just bored too?

The end of the cup

Walking through St. Helier High St. in Jersey on Tuesday, you should have seen the amount of discounted ‘Ingerrrlaaand’ logo’d kit on sale ….  Cheap T shirts by the gross.  I bet all those plonkers with flags on their cars feel.. well, like plonkers now.

So, thank heaven it is all over.   Two Shags and the usual political blood letting dominate the news again, even pushing the demise of Enron’s Ken Lay to the depths of page 5.   Proof, if we ever needed it, that in the battle for the front page, a good political scandal has no equal.

I will end my cup comments by appending a joke, which is in effect a rehash of a fairly poor taste one set in South Africa, during apartheid.  I’ll say no more..

Out on her royal yacht the queen was enjoying the sea air when she spied a man in the water off the port bow – clearly being menaced by a very large shark.

Through her binoculars she could see it was Christian Ronaldo, struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 20 foot shark! The queen ordered the captain to change course to try and save the poor man, but she knew the yachts top speed would never get them there in time.

At that exact moment a speedboat containing three men wearing white tops sped into view. One of the men took aim at the shark and fired a harpoon into its ribs, immobilising it instantly. The other two reached out and pulled Ronaldo from the water and, using long clubs, beat the shark to death.

They bundled the bleeding, semi-conscious Ronaldo into the speedboat along with the dead shark and prepared for a hasty retreat, when they heard frantic calling …… It was the Queen calling them to the yacht.

On reaching yacht the Queen went into raptures about the rescue and said, “I’ll give you a knighthood for your brave actions. I thought the England team would hate Ronaldo after the world cup. But I see that the England team are true heroes and should serve as a model for sportsmanship to other countries.” She knighted them and sailed away. As she departed Rooney asked the others, “Who was that?!

“That,” Beckham answered, “was our Queen. She rules the Commonwealth and knows everything about our country.”

“Well,” Rooney replied, “she knows F all about shark fishing. How’s the bait holding up?”

Thanks to Stuart for that one.