Monday, 8 December 2014

Simon Says

"Right, you two grab me round the arms & try not to look too queasy while I introduce Walking On The Moon as Walking."

An historic night for BBC Four last Thursday as the channel had the not inconsiderable honour of repeating the very first edition of Top of the Pops to be hosted by Simon "Batesy" Bates, first broadcast in December 1979. So, how did the young 33-year-old get on during his TOTP bow? Time for a spot of tactical analysis, I reckon.

He kicks off by introducing Darts' version of the Jackie Wilson classic as "Little Richard's Reet Petite", which I suppose you could put down to first-night nerves. But I dunno - he does look and sound extremely relaxed and full of confidence. Anyway, it seems to me that if you're hosting a TV music show watched by MILLIONS - and indeed if your full-time job is playing music on the nation's airwaves - a few seconds' research on the songs you're introducing is the very least you could do. Assuming he made the same basic error in rehearsal, you would have thought someone - anyone - on the production staff would have been able to put him straight? But no. Did no one on that show like him pop music?

No problems with his next link to camera - a still of which you can see above. Although, I dunno, for some reason those two girls don't seem to be enjoying the experience all that much. Why it's almost as if they don't enjoy being playfully grabbed round the neck by a complete stranger. Get a grip, girls! Simon has!

Two songs later and there's another unforced error when Simon introduces My Simple Heart as My Simple Hut, before swiftly correcting himself. After the video clip Simon says, laughing: "My Simple Heart, and that's the Three Degrees." Then, gesturing towards the girls flanking him in this picture:

"...And three very jealous boyfriends. I like this job!" Zinger! (Remember: Simon is irresistible to women.)

And how about this: "That's Michael Jackson and Legs and Company. It gets hot in here, but even hotter now. Here's Sugarhill Gang and one of the fastest climbers of the week. It's The Rapper". Oh Simon, you've done it again! You meant Rapper's Delight! Never mind, at least you can correct yourself after the clip has played:

"That was The Rapper. I mean when does he breathe? That's the most important thing to know!"


"Now then, you lot. Do you like sloppy songs? Yeah, you've got one here... I think Marianne Faithfull is gonna have The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan in the charts." Ah yes, that sloppy song about a mentally ill woman being committed to an institution. Off the schmaltzy scale!

Anyway, apart from all that, and the Police incident (no, not a police incident! The Walking one!) he was great, and it's no wonder he went on to present the show on a regular basis for the next nine years. I'd like to think he even learnt the names of some of the songs at some point.

1 comment:

lowservicesuk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.