Saturday, 18 March 2017

634 Eight Days A Week

First  viewed : 14  September  1983

This  was  one  of  my  favourite  TV  programmes  of  the  eighties   and  it's  a  real  shame  it  only  lasted  for  a  couple  of  seasons  in  1983-84. It  was  basically  Did  You  See  about  pop  music  with  The  Guardian's  Robin  Denselow  chairing  the  discussion  and  slipping  in  his  own  acerbic  observations  ( "his  guitar  playing  didn't  look  live  to  me " ) in  the  arch  style  that  Angus  Deayton  would  soon  make  his  own. The  studio  panel  were  usually  from  different  worlds  to  engender  a  lively  discussion  and  they'd  cover  three  or  four  albums, books, gigs  etc  a  show  with  short  clips  relating  to  each one. The  first  series  was  produced  by  ZTT  eminence  gris  Jill  Sinclair , the  second  by  future  Radio  One  assassin  Trevor  Dann. The  theme  music  was  Way  of  the  West's  1981  hit  "Don't  Say  That's  Just  For  White  Boys".

It  was  always  entertaining  but  the  most  memorable  e[isode  was  on  25th  May  1984  when  George  Michael, Morrissey  and  Tony  Blackburn  gathered  to  discuss  Everything  But  The  Girl.  Break  Dance, some  Atlantic  reissues  and  the  book  about  Joy  Division An  Ideal  for  Living.  I  was  watching  it  in  the  common  room  at  my  hall  of  residence  sitting  next  to  a  Welsh  guy  called  Mike  Hughes. He  liked  whatever  the  NME  told  him  to  like  and  was  instantly  hostile  to  Michael  saying  "you  haven't  got  a  thought  in  your  head "  before  he'd  even  opened  his  mouth. It  was  ever  so  slightly  unfair,  although  George's  appearance., coiffed  hair, vest  top  and  sun  tan,  could  have  been  said  to  invite  it

He  went  a  bit  quiet  when  Michael  revealed  a  liking  for  the  second  side  of  Closer.  Yes,  this  is  the  show  that  Marcello  Carlin's  bangs  on  about  whenever  George  Michael  crops  up  on  Popular  as  if  all  the   often  vapid  and   shallow  stuff  Michael  has  produced  since  is  validated  by  this  random  listening  choice. Michael  also  said  their  image  was  "pretentious  and  contrived  and  it  did  have  very  fascist  elements  to  it"  but  Mr  Carlin  doesn't  usually  quote  that  bit. Incidentally,  when  I  first   came  to  Popular  I  thought  "DJ  Punctum"  might  actually  be  Mike  Hughes, so  similar  were  their  opinions,  but  I  know  better  now.

Denselow  handled  some  pretty  large  egos  very  deftly  and  could  have  played  for  a  chat  show  gig  but  instead  stuck  with  serious  journalism  on  Newsnight . He  still  writes  on  music  for  The  Guardian.


  1. I never quite understood the criticism that JD's image was "contrived", when they just looked like dour Northern lads. The Fascist imagery charge is a bit harder to defend, though most of it seemed to come from Bernard Sumner (he designed the An Ideal for Living) cover...

    I have watched the episode you mention and what stuck out most for me was Blackburn saying he didn't like albums.

    1. Blackburn's a strange guy all round. I've come to grudgingly respect him after previously regarding him as the very worst of the Smashy and Nicey DJs. Beneath the smarm , the toupe and the bad jokes, there is an intelligent guy but he absolutely refuses to engage with music on an intellectual level. It's there for dancing or smooching to, nothing else and if it doesn't serve for that it has no value . You almost feel sorry for him.

      I think George was probably meaning the wider presentation manufactured by Wilson, Saville, Morley et al because as you say JD themselves always looked utterly normal, on or off stage.