The Snow In The Summer or So-So

Week of 24 August 2020


The mouthcap is also part of a tragicomic safety theatre. The healthy is forbidden, the unhealthy is mandatory: the logic is absurd.

The weeknotes
Vintage Top of the Pops + 35 Years Minus 6 Weeks

3 October 1985 Gary Davies and Paul Jordan this week. Paul's another dark-haired young man, had a great potential ahead of him, didn't quite gel at Radio 1 - he'd eventually find a home at Radio City in Liverpool.

Another great potential: Colonel Abrams singing Trapped. He's on the solo stage, in his army-esque dress uniform with tassels on the epaulettes. He gives an energetic dance routine, looking straight ahead at the camera there, and ignoring the other cameras around the room. One at the feet picks out his head against a spotlight, but not before giving us some wonderful lens flare first. It's a compelling performance, great opener, and will have won new fans.

Not so Running free (live) from Iron Maiden, the video is of the band performing live in front of their existing fans.

Cameo have flown over specially to perform Single life, and we're glad they did. Larry and his three backing blokes have a crunchy, dirty funk rhythm, and the song is full of hooks. The title refrain, the shouts of "Eyes right!", a whistling motif, and plenty of clapalong action. We can understand why radio didn't play this song - it's best heard in a club, or experienced as a performance.

Top 40 charts. Debut for A-ha; last week on chart for The Cars. No space for Who needs love like that?, the debut single for Vince Clarke's new project. The ex-Yazoo chap has teamed up with a bloke called Andy in a band they've named Erasure. Looks like their first single will be erased itself. Hounds of Love gives Kate Bush a second week as the number one album, but big new releases from Kiss (Asylum, 12) and Marc Almond (Stories of Johnny, 22) might have under-performed.

Top 40 breakers. John Parr with clips from St Elmo's Fire in the video for St Elmo's fire (man in motion)... The Smiths have The boy with the thorn in his side... Robert Smith's trapped in a wardrobe with The Cure for Close to me. What a personal disaster.

Rene and Angela were hitting with I'll be good, another wonderful dirty funk number, with a splendid bass line. Angela wears a shiny silver jacket, Rene looks a bit Princey in his spangly blue suit. Angela's clearly the star of the duo, can dance, gets the better vocal lines, and looks like she owns the stage. The duo's only hit, sadly, could have heard a lot more of them but their personal difficulties got in the way.

Gary's tan is quite remarkable: has he been mainlining woodstain again? Top ten time: Colonel Abrams recreates his studio performance on video... Fish wears the same jacket with Marillion... Billy Idol's Rebel yell cracks the top ten... Bonnie Tyler's down... as is Madonna... and the top-selling twelve-inch single from Stevie Wonder... Red Box climb to 4 with Lean on me, the video uses the same caption font as TOTP... Bowie and Jagger are down... but Jennifer Rush climbs with The power of love.

Midge Ure is the new number one, with If I was. Another week, another long coat, another mike stand he'll dance on stage with. Not sure what they've done with the columns on stage, metal frames with other twisted bits of metal in the middle. And when we're more interested in the stage decor than the song, we know it's a weak song. But we share in the crowd's whoop of joy during the final pre-chorus.

Five Star dance us out with Love take over, written by The Limit who we saw about nine months ago. Performance of the night: Colonel Abrams. Of note: Midge Ure is the token white performer in the studio.

A couple of weeks ago, we wondered what School Aid was. It's a fundraiser through schools: pupils were asked to fill grain bags with clothes or aluminium cans, which could then be sold for recycling and the money go to the Band Aid trust.

Back in June, we noted how the top 10 was full of dreary ballads. Radio programmers like to assign a "tempo" score, 1 is a sloppy ballad like Phyllis Nelson, 3 is average, 5 is Bonnie Tyler. We reckon the top ten has shifted from 1.6 tempo points in June to 3.8 tempo points now. Tonight's show as a whole is about 3.7, the five main performances surely average to 4.0 - an unsustainably fast level.

World news

Riots in Brixton, prompted by the police shooting of Cherry Groce. She was shot when police raided her house, hoping to arrest her son Michael. The damage was confined to a small area around the shopping streets.

Labour's conference rejected Black sections, reserved places for women, warned the police to stay within community norms, rejected blanket nationalisation, and called for maximum school classes of 25 pupils. Leader Neil Kinnock accused Liverpool council (nominally Labour) of playing politics with people's jobs. Here's the text of the speech, which will doubtless be repeated by Joe Biden in coming weeks. Labour will hold an inquiry into Liverpool's actions.

PW Botha rejected votes for all in his South Africa fiefdom. Pierre-Marc Johnson was elected leader of the Parti Québéçois, now a mildly-reformist federalish party. Israel bombed the PLO headquarters in Tunis; two western hostages in Beiruit were reported to be killed.

Productive meetings in Geneva between Soviet and Yankee foreign ministers. Ulster Unionist politicians threatened to resign from Westminster if there's any agreement giving Dublin a role in the northern counties.

A conservation group in Norway said it would kidnap the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, in protest against acid rain. Natur og Ungdom asked Oslo council not to send the spruce, and promised to take action if it was sent. Robert Maxwell sought to reduce Mirror Group's contributions to the company pensions scheme.

A train covered the 268½ miles from Newcastle to London in 2 hours 19½ minutes, at 115.5mph the fastest long journey ever taken by a diesel train. Chaos in Leeds after the Yorkshire Evening Post bingo game produces thousands of claims, all hoping to win the £250 prize. New research showed that £550 million was spent on crisps in 1984.

Roland Rat confirmed that he was joining the BBC, on a six-figure talent fee. Mr. Rat's introduction to the Beeb was on Terry Wogan's chat show, and he'll quickly form a comedy double-act with Peter Duncan in the Blue Peter kitchen.

Sportsball: Gary Kasparov took advantage of an error by Karpov to win his second game. The score's now 2-2 with 13 games to play.

Celtic left Europe, defeated in the Cup-Winners' Cup (EC2) by Atletico Madrid. Bangor progressed in the same contest over Fredrikstad; seeding, at this early date, had not yet been invented. This bites in the European Cup (EC1), where Ajax fall out to Porto, two potential finalists meeting in the first round. Aberdeen did for Akranes, Linfield folded to Servette, and Shamrock were rocked by Honved. In the UEFA Cup (EC3), Dundee Utd beat Bohemians, St Mirren over Slavia Prague, but Rangers fall out to Osasuna. Sporting Lisbon accounted for Feyenoord, Torino dispatched Panathanaikos, and Werder Bremen lost on away goals to Chernomorets Odessa.

Ten wins in a row for Manchester United, after beating Southampton. Ten in a row for Reading, after beating Chesterfield. The leaders of Divisions I and III will attempt to equal Tottenham Hotspur's record of 11 wins to start a league season.

Dead: Simone Signoret, husky-voice star of francophone films... Charles Richter, seismologist... Terry Duffy, union leader... Rock Hudson, film star and unwitting AIDS activist... E B White author of Charlotte's Web.
Born: Emerald Fennell of Killing Eve... Greyston Holt from Bitten... rapper T-Pain.

Fog cleared to leave dry and warm weather, truly a glorious September. It lasted into October: Tuesday was blissfully warm, 27°C in East Anglia. A front was stalled in the Irish Sea for almost three days, bringing wind to all parts and rain by Thursday, and showers for all on Friday.

Other television

A new series of Saturday Superstore begins, at the earlier hour of 9am: it's Cliff Richard, The Krankies, and The Alarm, plus the start of Crow's Road. World of Sport comes to an end, with a 40-minute highlights reel - important enough to displace the wrestling at 4pm. No Late Late Breakfast Show, they're showing boxing with Barry McGuigan and Des Lynam. That's except for viewers in Northern Ireland, because cinemas have bought the rights.

Another Aussie potboiler on Channel 4, The Flying Doctors is a three-episode drama, which later spawned the teatime show. BBC2 has Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, and ITV concludes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Young people's debate show Open to Question returned (BBC2), and anti-sex crusader Victoria Gillick came a cropper.

Changes on Radio 1, as Adrian Juste shifts back to Saturday lunchtime - he'd been on Sunday afternoons for about 18 months. Annemarie Grey gets the trial DJ slot on Saturday evening, Paul Jordan the Sunday slot. The station turns 18 on Monday, and Gary Davies celebrates with listener Rachel Miller from her home in Cumbria. They also re-broadcast the whole Knebworth rock festival on Friday night until 4am.

On children's television, Galloping Galaxies! is a new sci-fi sitcom, from the "Rentaghost" stable. Talking Animal on ITV has Andrea Arnold and David Taylor discuss camels. Blue Peter shows Simon on the Radio 2 early show, a haircut for Peter, and Janet tells of when Darwin was hit by a cyclone on Christmas Eve. Friday film club is The Battle of Billy's Pond (1976), a tale of pollution with a young Linda Robson.

28 NRL grand final St George play Canterbury...
29 This week's top 40... and a reconstruction of the Network Chart with Kid Jensen...
30 Whay-hey! A complete Blue Peter episode...
01 The launch of GWR in Swindon... Play ball: the entire New Amsterdam Metropolitans at St Louis Catholics match...
02 Highlights of Metz vs Hadjuk Split...
03 Some TROS tv... Eastenders closing titles... A Day in the Life of Hawthorne School...
04 Raisa Gorbachev arrives in Paris.

Permanent link


Harry Hill's TV Burp World of TV (BBC2, Sun). Not convinced. Not convinced at all. Harry is at his best when he's whimsical, and this week's investigation into soap operas tried to cover one base too many. For all the nonsense about cheese transitions and two teas, it felt like a documentary around the subject with a few witty lines, not the out-and-out comedy we hoped for. Archive clips were treated well - 4:3 was in proper 4:3 - and mostly sourced legitimately rather than rely on interweb rips. But we can lose the klaxons, and in a show about soap operas, where was Knitted Character?

Next week


The number one singles this week:

18aug 22h JOEL CORRY - Head and heart        [32d01h]
21aug 10h BTS - Dynamite                     [04d06h]
25aug 18h VERA LYNN - Land of hope and glory [03d20h]
29aug 14h JOEL CORRY - Head and heart        [32d10h]
29aug 23h CLEAN BANDIT - Tick tock

Singles We're not big fans of BTS, but we appreciate the music the group makes, and we know the fans are buying their singles and albums out of a deep affection for the music. We can't say the same about The Rotting Corpse of Vera Lynn, invoked as a particularly Tossy Chart Campaign.

Anyway, the Tossy Chart Campaigners started too late to beat the BTS Massive, Dynamite is this week's number 1, Land of pope and snorey number 2, Head and heart slips to 3. Queen and Adam Lambert's version of You are the champions re-enters at number 7 after being made available as a 7-inch. Clean Bandit, Mabel, and 24 K Goldn come in at 8 with Tick tock.

Rule, Britannia enters the top ten at 10 for Della Jones, another "beneficiary" of the tossers. Headie One comes in at 11 with Ain't it different. There are big climbs for London Grammar and Dermot Kennedy, but a duet between Mariah Carey and Lauryn Hill only makes 38.

Albums New entries into the top four this week. Imploding the Mirage from The Killers comes in at 1. Erasure enter at 2 with The Neon, and Jamie Webster puts We Get By to 3. The Waterboys come in at 4 with Good Luck Seeker. Taylor Swift's back up a place to 5, and last week's number one from Biffy Clyro is this week's number 6.

Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was enters at 7 for Bright Eyes, and Nubya Garcia's Source joins us at number 8. There are top 20 entries for The Lottery Winners, Troye Sivan, Nazareth, Blues Pills, and a re-release from PJ Harvey.

Box Office and DVD Unhinged climbs one place to top the box office chart, with Onward still doing big business at 2, and Inception falling to 3. Takings are still low, about 10% of the comparable week last year, and 6% of the 2018-19 average.

On disk, Trolls World Tour holds off a challenge from 19 17 for the top spot. Downton Abbey The Movie moves back up to number 3. Highest new entry at 9 for Batwoman The Complete First Series, sounds like someone liked it. Deathstroke Knights and Dragons enters the top ten at 10.

Permanent link

News this week

Poisoned! Really?! A shocking development from Berlin, where Alexai Navalny is being treated. Apparently, according to medical experts, he was poisoned! Who could have thought this might happen to an opponent of Vladimir Poutine, a man whose every touch is venomous.

Phil Hogan Stands Down The European Commissioner said pish and pshawar to restrictions on his movements, saying that as he'd had a negative test, he didn't have to quarantine. The government didn't see it that way, and put as much pressure as they could on Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to require his resignation. Hogan did the decent thing, and resigned. Anything else would have undermined everyone's efforts to contain the infection, and risk Hogan becoming as much of a pariah as Nicky Cummings. Instead, he's done the right thing for his community, the administration he represents, and the European Community as a whole.

Lack of sports ball Players declined to take the field in a number of sports. Teams withdrew from play in the Basketball Association of the Americas, Major League Bay's Ball, and Major League — Sochere. The players' decision followed another attempted murder by police, when they shot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin province. It's likely that this strike will bring more attention to the cause than any other action, just as no-one took the novel virus seriously until the BAA shut down in March.

A bye bye Abe bye Shinzo Abe will step down as prime minister in Tokyo. Plagued by ulcerative colitis for many years, Abe's condition has worsened and he now needs more treatment than is compatible with his office. He will remain in office until the Liberal Democrats pick a replacement prime minister, either Ed Davey or Layla Moran.

Dead: David Mercer, tennis umpire and journalist... Chadwick Boseman, actor (Black Panther)

Sportsball The Southern Kings and Cheetahs have both withdrawn from the Celtic League. The two teams, based in southern Africa, have been members since 2017. It's not immediately clear if the Celtic League will continue to play in two "conferences", or will adopt a home-and-away format for next season.

MCC (583/8d) drew with PCB (273 and 187/4). Zac Crawley struck a career-best 267, and shared a record partnership of 359 with Rory Burns (156) for the MCC. Five wickets for Jimmy Anderson kept the visitors down, though an inspired 141 from Azhar Ali and some sloppy catching from the hosts didn't help. The MCC's push for the win was frustrated by the weather, accounting for almost a full day's play in this test. Anderson's second wicket was his 600th in Tests, only the fourth bowler to achieve that feat.

MCC 15 PCB 5, so the total for the series is MCC 40 PCB 20, the MCC overachieve by 4.3 points, and overtake Cricket New Zealand for third place on the Test ladder; the PCB remain 6th.

Two 20-20 internationals between these sides. First one was washed out by rain, second was an MCC win with Eoin Morgan hitting the bulk of the runs. It's 3-1 at the moment, expected results from the 20-20 series: MCC 4.28 PCB 1.72.

Permanent link


Storm Francis blew through Ireland on Monday night, and dumped about ten hours of rain here on Tuesday morning, with gusty winds in its wake. The low became slow moving to the north of Scotland, and a trailing front came to rest over us on Thursday afternoon. Friday and the weekend started sunny, but with the threat of showers later in the day.

Winds dropped as Saturday progressed, leaving some relatively calm conditions for the bank holiday. In a northerly airflow, it'll be cold by night. Things will change around Wednesday, when the remnants of hurricane Laura move to our north-west, with some vigorous rain expected. It's not clear what will happen afterwards, so expect sunshine and showers and some slightly warmer nights. Do avoid fascists.

24 Mo sunny spells       13/20
25 Tu rain am, wind      15/19,28.0
26 We sun-cloud mix      15/20
27 Th rain pm            11/15,17.0
28 Fr showers pm         12/15, 3.5
29 Sa sunny intervals     9/16, 0.5
30 Su sunny intervals     8/15

Rainfall in August: 124mm; monthly average: 72mm

Permanent link