Friday, 3 February 2017

599 Switch

First  viewed  : 25  March  1983

The  London-based  summer  replacement  for The  Tube   has  been  largely  forgotten  now, partly  down  to  the  fact  that  neither  of  its  presenters,  Yvonne  French  and  Graham  Fletcher-Cook , went  on  to become  household  names  although  the  latter  is  still  a  working  actor.

Switch  was  very  similar  to  Whistle  Test   with  short  sets  played  to  an  audience  of  technicians  in  an  empty  studio,  interspersed  with  the  odd  video. I  remember  Fletcher-Cook  was  very  partisan  in  his  tastes, pulling  a  face  when  having  to  cue  in  the  video  for  Depeche  Mode's  Everything  Counts  and   then  saying  "That  was  Depressed  Toad"  after  it  had  finished.

It's  to  be  hoped   Fletcher-Cook was  a  fan  of  Paul  Weller  because  he  and  the  acts  on  his  Respond  label  seemed  to  get  more  than  their  fair  share  of  exposure. The  first  episode  closed  with  a  continuous  set  from  The  Questions, then  Tracie  ( with  Weller  having  a  rare  outing  as  a  bass  player  on  her  hit  The  House  That  Jack  Built ) then  The  Style  Council. To  be  fair , Weller's  operation  was  based  in  the  capital  so  they  would  be  an  easy  booking.

Respond  were  always  a  shaky  proposition. The  Questions  had  some  potential  but  they  were  a  former  Jam  support  act  and  never  escaped  from  Weller's  shadow. I  think  the  association  probably  did  them  more  harm  than  good. Tracie   ( Young )  was  a  slight  talent  who  just  about  deserved  her  handful  of  hits. Why  on  earth  he  signed  The  Main  T  Possee  ( aka  New  Romantic  loser  Vaughan  Toulouse ) though , I  can't  imagine. I  remember  my  mum  watching  him  do  his  dire  single  Fickle  Public  Speaking  and  saying  "This   is  horrible"  and  she  was  dead  right. Within  a  couple  of  years  it  was  all  over.

By  that  time,  Switch  was  history.  It  finished  in  September  1983  and  never  returned.

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading a Weller biog and sure one of the Questions echoed your sentiments re being signed to Respond. I'm sure Depeche Mode were able to take the kind of media jibes shown here in good humour when they were packing stadiums in the States in a manner Weller never came even close to!