If my Dad had a thing about dire eighties TV, then my mum (above) must have cornered the market in rubbish 80's pop.
Don't get me wrong, she did not follow Wham or Duran Duran (who in my mind were the anti-Christ) but the-then Radio
One Breakfast Show DJ Mike Read had a massive influence on her.
Read earned notoriety in 1984 by refusing to play "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood because it was "utter
filth". It is a pity he was not as sanctimonious about some of the other garbage that was floating around the Top 40
back in the day!
However my Mum relied on Read for his accurate timechecks, so she could catch the bus to work in good time. A side
effect was, she would pick up some of the horrendous tunes he played and insist they were "good records".
If my Dad had a thing for Anneka Rice, then I suppose my Mum's own fantasy celebrity tryst would involve scruffy Cockney
Geezer and spokesperson for "Travellers" David Essex. That I could live with. Unfortunately in the early 1980's he enjoyed
a bit of a revival with godawful tracks such as "Me and my guurlll (sic)(niteclubbing)" and the morose "Winters
Other horrendous tunes she tried to inflict on me included Opus "Live is Life", an Austrian band I quickly renamed
"Opeless" who are (to quote "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" - "still performing" but they managed to assault the British
charts with their unique brand of Eurocrap pop in the summer of 1985!
If that was not bad enough, can you remember "La Dolce Vita" by Ryan Paris? Yes, yet more crap Euro Pop and
another of my Mum's favourites from 1983! Peter Kay paid homage to it in his "That Peter Kay Thing" and
I assumed Ryan Paris hailed from somewhere like Wigan or Burnley even. In fact he was a genuine Rome-born musician
who bizarrely changed his name from the acceptable Fabio Roscoli to frigging Ryan! What was he thinking of?
Dexy's Midnight Runners were okay I suppose. They had two serious "comings" in my opinion, the "Young Soul Rebels"
stuff at the turn of the 1980's which gave them "Geno" as a number one. Two years later, they returned as a scruffy,
denim-clad Irish-influenced outfit with "C'Mon Eileen" great song! However "Lets get this straight from the start"
was perhaps not one of their finest tunes, but Ma rushed out and bought it and I endured it.
I think it was Splodge Hodges who hit the nail on my head. One day he came round to our house in Paterson Place and we
put Now 5 on the cassette player. Every song, I was saying "Nah! Crap! Skip it!" - eventually pissed-off, he said
to me "You don't like much at all do you!" and he was right, I hated popular music.
They were all "poofs" as far as I was concerned. Obviously this may come across as being a bit homophobic, but in my
defence I was 13 at he time and I will use that old get out eg "some of my best friends are gay/black/both"
- these days I am very liberal with regards to diversity. Back then though, they were poncey, crap eighties, peroxide nancy
boys. Duran Duran, Wham, Kajagoogoo - what a pile of shite! So what did I like? The Smiths (of course), The Specials, Madness
and erm....(whisper it) Status Quo!!!
One wet playtime, we were confined to class and the girls had congregated around a table where one of them had brought
in a cassette player. Whilst us lads were squabbling about football, they were pampering themselves to the sound of Wham (probably
taped off the Top 40 show on Radio One. I could not resist! I ran over to their table shouting "George Michael is a big fat
puff!". Linda Hanlon (as she was then! She now serves me at Spencers Bakery) lept up and struck me with a hairbrush and I
also got a stilletto where the sun don't shine for good measure!
The girls did not appreciate it, but I was right wasn't I? I was a prophet from the future telling them that no matter
how much they preened themselves, if frigging Georgios frigging Kyriacos frigging Panayiotou had stumbled
into class 4E on that wet playtime then the likelihood is that he would have been more interested in us lads than the girls!
And on the subject of George's, don't get me started on how I felt about "Boy George"!!! He was another untouchable guarded
vigorously by the hairbrush yielding female section of class 4E!