WHY I LOVE TOTP.
I can't remember when it was that I first started watching Top Of The Pops. Until now, I have always thought that one of my earliest memories was watching Adam Ant perform "Goody Two Shoes" on the show. Although I've just looked up when that was so I could write about it and have realised that it has to be a false memory, because I was only two when it happened in 1981. I can, however, definitely remember when I realised Top Of The Pops was the programme for me. It was at school in the early nineties
I hate sport. Especially football. I always have. As a boy growing up though, especially at school, you're expected to like it. People insist you have to have a favourite team and ask you how your team is doing, what hopes you have for your team, whether you are disappointed in your team's performance etc. I never actually managed to choose a team or was even polite enough to pretend that I had, but I always envied the way people supported their teams. I think a little of that envy transferred itself into my obsession with Top Of The Pops.
While my school friends were all supporting Manchester United, reading the football results and watching Match Of The Day, I was studying the charts in quite an unhealthy, almost autistic way and watching Top Of The Pops. I couldn't have chosen a better time to develop a full blown obsession with the program than in the early nineties. There were loads of classic moments: Nirvana refusing to mime and choosing to "sing like Morrissey" instead, The Eels playing children's instruments and smashing them up at the end of Novocaine For The Soul, Jarvis wearing an "I Hate Wet Wet Wet" t-shirt because they had been at number one for so long. It wasnt just bands mucking about with the zeitgeist I enjoyed either - it felt like a real victory for me at the time to see bands like Suede, Pulp, Belle and Sebastian, Black Box Recorder and even Bis getting on the programme. In football terms, I had followed these bands from the bottom of division three and was now watching them win all their matches and enter the premiership. It didn't last very long, but it was a brilliant time.
I don't just love Top Of The Pops for the indie bands that got on it, though. I love pop music. Top of The Pops really was important to me growing up, definitely as important as sport is to some people. So it's brilliant to see that it may be brought back as a public service. It certainly deserves to be. I just hope that it will stick to its previous rules: the number one record is always featured as well as the highest climbing single and the highest new entry, and that no record besides the number one can be featured on consecutive episodes. Otherwise, it will change the rules of the game, making it a different programme. I'm also a purist, so I hope they still put it on at 7 on thursday evenings.
My love of Top Of The Pops and my inclusion of it in a lot of Art Brut's lyrics has led it to be a sort of catchphrase for my band. People have chanted Top Of The Pops at us all over the world. We even got to appear on it in Germany (I was so happy to be on it, in contrast with popstars that are usually forced to go on it, that the German staff mistook my enthusiasm as sarcasm. I had to explain to them that I really meant it, I still don't think they believed me though). When Top Of The Pops was cancelled in the UK, nearly 5000 people signed a petition to get us on the last show.
That association of Top Of The Pops with the band means that whenever there is a news story about it I get a lot of emails. I've had a lot emails recently about the Ting Tings bringing it back, asking me if I'm angry at them for stealing my thunder. Of course I'm not, it's not my personal programme and I want to see it brought back as much as them. The only thing I do regret is making my Glam Chops Christmas single a free download because of the credit crunch. If I had known there was going to be a Christmas TOTP I would have fought for the number one spot, credit crunch or not.
One of my most prized possesions is a printout of an email from the Top Of The Pops staff telling Art Brut that we are the best band in the world. I have it framed on my wall. If the charts were premiership football though, Art Brut would still be struggling to get into the first division. Perhaps one day, the world will decide to get into shouty spoken pop music and we'll make it. Until then, I wish the Ting Tings the best of luck bringing it back. It will be nice to have that long-held but probably impossible ambition to aim for again.
by Eddie Argos (29 1/4)