Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TV times two

In my haste to finish in time to see the Paul Morley programme the other night (and very good it was too, especially the hilarious interview with Noddy Holder, and Ian Anderson describing the joys of wearing a codpiece; it was a lot better than it looks written here, honest!) I completely forgot to mention 'Something Else'. Notable for including the last TV footage of Joy Division it also featured The Clash, The Jam, The Specials and Dexy's Midnight Runners among others, all playing live. How on Earth could I have forgotten that one?!? The Joy Division footage gets shown here and there from time to time; ever second of it reinforces the almost-mythical status of the band in general and of doomed singer Ian Curtis in particular. The Jam played 'The Eton Rifles' before it was released and their then-current single 'When You're Young', and The Clash gave blistering performances of 'Clash City Rockers' and 'Tommy Gun'. Like I say, how could I have forgotten that one?

And then there's 'The South Bank Show' which has featured the likes of Pete Townshend, The Smiths and John Lee Hooker among it's lofty subjects. Yes it all gets a bit over-serious sometimes (it's art dah-ling!) but it often gets unparalleled access to it's subjects and normally does a pretty good job of getting under the surface of things- the programme on Rockpile featured the a band argument that any self-respecting record company publicist wouldn't allow to be broadcast these days and the Elvis Costello show made for rather uncomfortable viewing as the band and 'Almost Blue' album producer Billy Sherrill clearly didn't always see eye to eye over things.

There are of course many other music programmes but I think I've just about covered all the ones from my formative years now; I did do a few other things as well as watch TV in those days (honest!) but I realise now how, as a cash-strapped teenager unable to attend as many gigs as I would have liked, many of the performances on the shows I've recalled here directly inspired me as a guitarist. And many of them still do...

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