Friday, September 02, 2005

"Friday night is The Tube night"

For those who don’t live in the UK, or those who are too young to remember the 80s (or even those who were too old to care at the time), then The Tube perhaps doesn’t mean anything more to you than the thing that you’re left with at the end of your toilet roll. But for those of us who don’t fit into any of the above categories then The Tube was the greatest music television programme in the world, in the history of television!

Now for those of you who don’t believe me, then I have proof… they’ve just released a 2-disc DVD set of the first series. It opens with the first episode of The Tube on Friday November 5th 1982 & the first band to ever appear on the programme are Sunderland’s Toy Dolls playing ‘She Goes To Fino’s’… Now try & tell me the music was shit in the 80s! It’s like everything else when people reminisce about the 80s. People think it was a wealthy period of our history, but we didn’t have “loads-a-money”. For fuck’s sake, there were 4 million people unemployed here in the UK, & 32,000 miners lost their jobs overnight. If you think George Bush is a Nazi then you should have lived under Margaret Thatcher’s regime. She was like George Bush but with the brain to put her evil plan into effect! She should be hung NOW for her crimes to humanity! I know I’m getting sidetracked here but it’s just so difficult to talk about the misconceptions of the 80s without mentioning politics, because music & politics were so closely entwined back then… The Specials - ‘Ghost town’; The Jam - ‘Going Underground'; The Beat - ‘Stand Down Margaret’. I guess it was a more socially aware time.

But hey, back to The Tube. For the benefit of those who have never heard of the programme, it was broadcast live from Newcastle every Friday night from 5:15pm until 7:00pm. They had three stages in a large television studio, & a live audience. It was presented by Jools Holland (ex Squeeze), Paula Yates & Muriel Gray. Bands would perform 2 or 3 songs live & often continue playing long after the show had finished being broadcast! It was the programme you watched as you got ready to go out on Friday night with hair straighteners in one hand & a can of beer in the other. You’d have one eye in the mirror & the other on the TV, & it was what you talked about to your friends all night when you got down the pub! The hippies may have had The Old Grey Whistle Test in the 70s, but The Tube was for the new generation, the new order. This wasn’t boring old farts swapping tedious dope-induced anecdotes with one another. It was what Rock’n’Roll was all about, amphetamine propelled, messed up, wild & anarchic, but beautifully presented.

And back to the notion that the music was shit in the 80s… If that’s what you think, then it’s your own fault for watching Top Of The Pops! This first DVD anthology of series 1 of The Tube proves my point entirely, boasting such bands as the aforementioned Toy Dolls, The Jam (in their last ever live appearance!), The Go Gos, X, Iggy Pop, Twisted Sister, Bad News, Southern Death Cult, Thin Lizzy, Stiff Little Fingers, Madness, The Undertones & U2

& the greatest thing is that the show ran for 4 years. So there’s still so much to look forward to in the future… Remember PIL’s amazing performance of 'Anarchy In The UK' in November 1983, or the Toy Dolls’ triumphant return in 1985 when they almost topped the charts with 'Nellie The Elephant'? The Jesus & Mary Chain at the time when all their shows were ending in a riot, Hanoi Rocks, The Cult, The Cherry Bombz, The Cramps… the list goes on & on. I think every band except the Ramones played The Tube!

The Tube Anthology - Best of Series 1 is available from www.amazon.co.uk for £25.49 but if you check out 'Used & New' you can get it brand new for just £14.89 from 'market plus'. That's what I did & their service & price was great!

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