Sunday, 13 August 2017

762 The Way They Were

First  viewed :  4 August  1986

Neatly  timed  to  follow  Tony  Wilson's  Festival  of  The  Tenth  Summer  in  Manchester  which  had  climaxed  a  fortnight  earlier  , Channel  4  broadcast  this  compilation  of  clips  from  his  groundbreaking  So  It  Goes  and  What's  On  on  Granada  in  the  late  seventies,  programmes  that  completely  passed  me  by  at  the  time. It  was  fantastic  of  course  with  almost  every  performance  worthy  of  comment. Some  of  the  tapes  had  perished  a  bit  over  the  intervening  decade  and  were  broadcast  with  an  apology. Included  were :

  • The  Sex  Pistols  with  Glen  Matlock  doing  Anarchy  in  the  UK
  • A  damaged  recording  of  Elvis  Costello's  Alison 
  • Pete  Shelley 's  hopeless  plea  of  "Don't  gob  on  me"  before  What  Do  I  Get  
  • Iggy  Pop  doing  The  Passenger with  that  horse's  tail  protruding  from  his  arse
  • XTC  ( Neon  Shuffle  )  and  The  Tom  Robinson  Band  ( Glad  To  Be  Gay ) , two  acts  normally  excised  from  this sort  of  thing
  • The  early  Fall  line  up  doing  Industrial  Estate  with  keyboard  player  Una  Baines  looking  like  she;s  dropped  by  from  the  local  library
  • Joy  Division,  saved  to  the  end  with  Shadowplay . Ian  Curtis  was  in  restrained  form  compared  to  their   performance  on   Something  Else   a  year  later  ( their  only  other TV  appearance ) and  the  director  decided  to  compensate for  their  lack  of  stage  presence  with  primitive  graphical  overlays  which  the  band  hated

By  what  I  assume  was  a  fantastic  coincidence, the  first  ad  break  featured  that   Roger  Daltrey  ad  for  American  Express , you  know  the  one  where  he  boasts  about  his  trout  farm  that  has  dogged  him  ever  since. The  irony  was  exquisite.


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  2. Some of this footage was recently repeated on Sky, and I remember Wilson wearing a "TRB" badge while introducing "Glad to be Gay", which I imagine was fairly brave for the time.