Wednesday, 3 December 2008

TOP OF THE POPS

I wrote this for the NME. It is in this weeks issue. Their version is a little bit different.It mentions a weird Email I got asking me if I was behind The Ting Tings. Like Art Brut the Ting Tings asked fans at a gig to hand paint 7'' singles for them and they have "We Formed A Band" in huge letters on the inner sleeve of their album which is very similar to a lyric of ours. I am not the svengali behind the Ting Tings unfortunately. Although that is quite a good conspiracy theory.

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)

10 comments:

aliontheair said...

I am going to have to create an American Top Of The Pops and you will be the very first guest on my show...I wont book the Ting Tings, just for biting your steeze. xo, Ali

vonpip said...

Bring it back! Im sad that my wo nippers are growing up without it being part of weekly family viewing

jamie said...

you mean i bought a copy of the nme and you go and put it on the internet! I should ask ipc for my money back or something.
Have a good America. BYEEEEEE

Malcolm said...

Yes, seeing the back of TOTP was much like, well, a part of feeling sold down the river by the right 'orrible Tory Blah; Prime Sinister some how.
Your comment about likening those bands to being like peaking ex-third divisioners now winning all their matches, reminds me of being a West Ham fan at the end. "It didn't last very long, but what a brilliant time." (I used to think I hated footie, until I realised I was just bitter about being rubbish at it!)
Some beautifully strange glue of society came undone with the passing of our favourite pop chart show. Mr. von Pip summed it up about the family viewing aspect; how just a little more erosion of cohesiveness between age groups occurred.
Good on The Ting Tings if that's what they're doing. Let's hope the nation votes with it's feet, or rather keyboards, pens, mobies whatever; to rectify this sad state of affairs! Start nagging Auntie Beeb!

Colin said...

You're always my first thought when I see Top of the Pops mentioned.

Boosh said...

eddie, you can be top of the pops any day you want.
top of the pops is not a programme, its a material realisation of a state of mind.
I love art brut almost if not equal to the amount that you love top of the pops and i would do anything to see our two loves combined one day...

Brut the art block. (jasper might know what i'm on about if nobody else does)
pop of the Top of the pops.

pulpaddiction said...

Im still doing the whole "school thing" atm, and all my friends love football, where as I... don't. The football teachers with the mini geezers wrapped around their legs once asked me who I supported and when I said that I didnt support anyone it was as if I had just announced I had cancer - pats on the backs and 'never mind's.

Still Eddie, it's not too hard to get TOTP going is it? Set-up a you tube channel or something.

Anonymous said...

Bring back TOTP immediately!
there is no music show on TV to monitor the charts and it is sorely missed.

You could present it Eddie,and Jules and Katie Ting Ting could present it on alternate weeks.

alis said...

Awesome I totally agree! I am too young to remember the things you are talking about as I was only born in 88 but I do remember I loved it sooo much!!! I remember when Evenescence performed bring me to life on it ( unless I was dreaming that) in like 2003 or 2002. i got really annoyed when they changed the beging bit to it!!
sorry I have to put this in too,

I suppose this is a chain letter but it is for a good reason and no, your gran will not be eaten by a zombie dog or in the middle of the night if you don’t send this to everyone you know in 4secs or whatever the normal stuff says. This is serious.
Yes I know its long but please try to bear with me (also sorry for the spelling)
Baby P.
Baby P was a 17 month old baby boy who died after suffering 50 injuries at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend, and their lodger.

On the 3rd of August 2007 at 11:35 a.m an ambulance was called. Baby P was found dead in his cot by the ambulance crew.

This page is in memory of Baby P, not a hate page for his abusers.
What they did was sick, disgusting, horrible but please think of Baby P. Its about Baby P not them. And the many other children things like this happen to each year.

I know there is nothing we can do for him now however there is something we can do for other children that things like this happen too! This is but one example of the horrifying things that some children have to go through. And they suffer in silence and fear. We can make a difference, do all you can to stop this even something as small as having this sent to your friends maybe, you don't think you can do anything but other people do and will. And even by sending it to your friends you have done a world of good by letting other people know and try and help the many abused and tortured children around the world, being angry at the people who do this wont help. I admit that you can't help everyone but can do a damn good job trying! If we don't try to do our best to stop this (or at least lessen it) we are just as bad as the abusers! We may as well go around doing it; standing by knowing is just as bad as if you were doing it, so please, anything!
The least we can do is open people’s eyes to the world. It is not all love and joy, far from it.
These things should not happen to children! Or anyone for that matter.
And we can all do our best to stop it.

Thanks
Alis
(Alice)

jrd said...

Why read? Post some of your favorite TOTP moments from youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=top+of+the+pops&search_type=&aq=f