Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Monday, July 31, 2006

Final Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And it turns out that the last proper Top of the Pops was actually last week's show, with last night's episode being little more than an episode of TOTP2 with added live - well, half dead in some cases - presenters. Of course, given that looking forward is a bit tricky when you don't have any future to speak of, their backward looking stance probably isn't that much of a surprise. Anyway join us as we look, for the final time, at what we learnt from last night's Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Ghosts of ToTP Present(ers) 

And so, just as tonight, after 41 years, Top of the Pops grinds to a halt, so our look back at every single Top of the Pops presenter ever grinds to an equally ignomious conclusion. Let's have a look at our final batch, all the way from Mark Radcliffe to Reggie Yates:-

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Ghosts of TotP Present(ers) 

Our somewhat misguided attempt to cover every single person who's ever hosted Top of the Pops continues on in our usual haphazard and shambolic fashion. The third and final part will follow at some point during the weekend, but until then here's our guide from Lisa I'Anson, all the way down - or, indeed up - to Steve Punt:-

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Our week of Top of the Pops special features continues on apace and, given the general lack of originality displayed when it comes to picking subjects for this column, it should come as no surprise to learn that this week's 10 Things... is all about that very show. So, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the soon to be defunct music show:-
  1. The BBC received a record number of complaints when the Manic Street Preachers performed Faster with James Dean Bradfield wearing a terrorist style balaclava. Most of these complaints came from Manics fans, angry that they couldn't gaze upon James' dishy visage.
  2. The longest ever performance on the show was Green Day's live version of Jesus of Suburbia. It only last 9 minutes and 10 seconds, but for those watching it felt like an eternity.
  3. Being an audience member on Top of the Pops is your key to fame and fortune. Presuming you've always seen your fame and fortune being based around a complete inability to dance and not really being too sure what to do when someone plays a slow song.
  4. Cliff Richard has performed on the most shows, clocking up over 150 appearances. It's not yet known exactly what dirt he has on the BBC Executives to have achieved this impressive figure, but it must be pretty juicy.
  5. Appearing on Top of the Pops is normally one of the highlights of a band's career. Indeed, for many acts it's the only highlight in their career, and a story which mesmerises everyone in the factory canteen as the recount the tale for the umpteenth time that week.
  6. The first edition was hosted by Jimmy Savile,
  7. Many people are aware of the time Dexy's Midnight Runners appeared performing Jackie Wilson Says under a gigantic picture of darty type Jocky Wilson, but less remember the time that Pet Shop Boys found themselves performing Go West beneath a gigantic picture of notorious serial killer Fred West.
  8. The program holds all rights to the phrase "It's still number one...", meaning that with the shows demise, no act will now be able to hold onto the top spot for more than one week.
  9. Video footage of Pans People, the TotP dance troupe who your dad may remember fondly, proves conclusively that there were no attractive women in the seventies.
  10. Sob!

The Ghosts of TotP Present(ers) 

We're so going to regret doing this. Since Top of the Pops started they've had nearly 240 different people hosting the show, but who on earth were they all? Let's have a look, shall we, in the first installment of our three part look at this somewhat monumental list:-

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And, as you're no doubt aware, this Sunday will see the broadcast of the last ever edition of Top of the Pops. Sob, etc. To commemorate this somewhat unfortunate and depressing event, this week is going to be something of a Top of the Pops special here at TiaPL, with all sorts of related articles and whatnots - i.e. two - culminating in our last ever Thoughts of the Pops piece next Monday. But that's ages away, yet! We have more pressing business to attend to so here, without further ado, is what we learnt from the penultimate Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Frank Words 

This is Frank.

The blonde one appears to have been at a different stylist meeting than the others, doesn't she?

Anyway, if you're the sort of person who's both awake and in a fit state to watch television on a Sunday morning, then you may well have seen them in Totally Frank on T4, which followed a series of ficitional highs and lows for the girls. It was basically a cross between No Sweat and Hollyoaks, only we imagine that Frank would like to sell a few more records than North and South, i.e. they would actually like to sell some records.

This whole having-a-career-outside-of-being-slightly-ropey-actresses plan is now moving on apace and Frank will be releasing their debut single I'm Not Shy on the 31st of July. When we saw the girls supporting Girls Aloud we weren't, it has to be said, hugely impressed by them but, having since had time to listen to their music a bit more and not been of the sort of mindset where even the second coming of Jesus happening live on stage, culminating with him throwing diamonds and rubies out into the crowd, would still have seemed somewhat disappointing compared to the main event, we've grudgingly come to the conclusion that we were wrong and they are, officially, 'quite good'. Even if we'd still prefer to see Mania doing the songs.

I'm Not Shy is a summery slice of laid back pop, the sort of thing Texas probably imagine they do, only good. In it Lauren, the singer girl, tells us that she's not shy on Mondays, that Tuesday's always good for her, that you can try on Wednesday, that on Thursdays she doesn't care about you and on Friday, she's in love. Or something. Songs based around organinising your diary shouldn't really be this enjoyable, but this works, thanks mainly to the talky bit which kicks in after the chorus. But if you've not yet had the pleasure then why take our frank-ly (arf!) incompetent attempt at summing up its charms when you can click here and find out for yourself. Apparently this should stream the video, but given the embarrassingly archaic set-up we have here at TiaPL Towers, we've only been able to get the audio to work, but we reckon that those of you with computers made in the 21st century will be able to see the whole thing. You can also grab a free download of Complicated, which isn't as good as I'm Not Shy, but is still none to shabby at all, by clicking here.

Now all we need is for Kute to release something and we can die, if not happy, then at least slightly less miserable.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fashion, Don't You Know? 

We all want to look good, even if any publicity shot of Rooster might lead you to believe otherwise. Unlike popstars, most us aren't followed around by an entourage of stylists, hairdressers and make-up artist whose only reason to exist is to make us look good, which is a bit of a problem in the looking good stakes. In short, you all don't half look a state.

It's fortunate, then, that Talent in a Previous Life is welcoming a brand new member to our team, our top notch Fashion Correspondent, Laura. She'll be getting in touch with various pop stars and, with a little help from herself, they'll be telling you their tips for looking just that bit less ugly than you actually do. First up, those laugh-a-minute funsters, Muse:-

Matt Bellamy's Guide to Making Your Band Mates Even More of a Laughing Stock Than They Already Are


Hello you CRAZY kids! It's everyone's favourite loonbag, Matt Bellamy, here to entertain the masses, though you may know me more fondly as the girl who fronts Muse. My doctor tells me puberty will kick in any day now, but we'll see.

I'm here today to explain to you all the importance of the role of fashion when trying to demean your co-workers in a HILARIOUS and CRAZY manner. This is valuable information for Nadine from that Girls Are Loud band. I understand she shares many of my sentiments. Good on you Nadine, you CRAZY girl!

Now, I've no doubt at all that you will have no idea what my band mates are called, and to be honest here, I don't either, really. Band Mate #1 and Band Mate #2 I call them. It's worked fine for 10 years, why change now?! I am, after all, the CRAZY and insane frontman for the band, and I am all that matters as far as you're concerned. I've written all the songs on our albums, you see the other two tried to help, but I told them that I was far too unique and CRAZY to let them interfere with what I was doing. Band Mate #2 said that I probably shouldn't obsess about conspiracy theories so much, or be so miserable all the time, but I had a word with my mate David Icke, and he told me they were just jealous, and David knows his Stuff. Trust me.

Anyway, as a result of my refusal to co-write songs, I ended up with pretty much all the royalties. Ha ha! Brilliant! So I have invested this money further into making myself into the cool, but CRAZY!, guy of the band and helping the others fade into obscurity further. This is very evident from much of the promotional pictures for our new album which I will not plug here* at all. Band Mates #1 and #2 came to me and said "Look Matt, you CRAZY guy, we're releasing an album soon, and lots of people are going to want to take our photo, so could you please buy us some new clothes as we have spent the whole £1.30 that we made from Absolution each, and its not funny being mistaken for tramps anymore.". So what with me being the CRAZY guy I am, I agreed, on the condition that I got to buy their clothes for them. They agreed. Eventually. Not at all reluctantly.

First off, I went to buy my outfit. I decided that as summer will soon be over, the time is right to buy a new overcoat. That and the fact that my mate David Icke reckons that the world is gonna freeze over on August 3rd. I also decided that as it's still somewhat cool to be emo, some drainpipe jeans wouldn't go amiss. And as I'm doing the whole emo thing, I decided to lose some weight too and become a skinny fucker. I lost a bit too much though, then my jeans wouldn't fit me any more and so we had to use a belt but they still kept falling down, so we got some braces too. But they look suave or CRAZY or something, so I didn't mind too much. This is when we started running out of money :( I wanted a nice tie to go with my lovely new shirt (N.B. Kids, don't do the top button up. You all want the world to think you're CRAZY and KOOKY, right?) but we couldn't find one for less than a tenner, so I had a root around in my wardrobe and found an old black scarf which may or may not have been knitted by my Nan. As it's gonna freeze in a few days anyway, I thought WHAT THE HELL! and wore it in place of a tie. CRAZY!

Now, the other two. I'm quite partial to Band Mate #2, and he has kids and stuff - which I'm sure you know because the guy wont shut up about them for five minutes - so I decided to buy him a nice warm coat, too. We managed to get it cheap from some woman in Romford market. Apparently they forgot to make it so you can take it off like a coat, and when he wants to put it on, he has to pull it over his head. Its fun watching him do it though. Last time, because I am a CRAZY guy, I decided to trip him up when the coat was over his head, and he fell over and was out cold for 4 hours. HILARIOUS! I bought him some fantastic stiletto heels as well, but the ungrateful bastard refused to wear them! So I said, "Band Mate #2, you can find your own shoes then", and he did. But still, with his pretty somber ensemble, those trainer shoe things look ridiculous. My mate David Icke reckons that trainers will be ruling the world in 20 years from now. CRAZY stuff!

By this time, it was half past 5, and I really wanted to go home and play with my jetpack, so I thought to myself "Matt, you CRAZY guy, we need to embarrass that other guy. HOW are we going to do that?" and then I realised what I had to do. I went to my local bowling alley, and nicked a jacket off of one of the attendants. I've refused to buy him anything since, so you'll be able to see this jacket in photoshoots for years to come. I thought it was great! But Band Mates #1 and #2 were a bit fucked off.

I don't know why they're complaining about it so much. As the creative director for everything to do with Muse, I was allowed to pick the outfits for the guys on the album cover. I picked them from a fancy dress shop as a joke (because I'm a CRAZY guy like that!), and then we ran out of money before we could get them some proper clothes. Don't be fooled with the symbolism crap our record label is trying to fob you off with.

Anyway, my mate David Icke's on the phone again. He's got a new conspiracy idea for me that I'm going to base our next album around. Apparently it involves Rachel Stevens and a Number 1 album. Ha ha! CRAZY, isn't it?

Matt x

(*Blackholes and Revelations is available in all good record shops now. And a few crappy ones. Buy it! Buy it!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

See, told you we'd do this. Lily Allen is still at number one with Smile, so here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about Happiness. Sorry.
  1. Cutting edge, alternative, and highly relevant to our average reader comedian Ken Dodd reckons that happiness is the greatest gift that he possesses. He must have had some shit Christmasses
  2. Thom Yorke is told on at least 17 occasions every day to "cheer up", on the basis that "It might never happen".
  3. The Supernaturals, whose Smile could recently be heard soundtracking the adverts for the bank of the same name, were so irritatingly cheery that it would take them being locked in a room for over 14 hours during which they'd be constantly subjected to a variety of painful torture techniques, beatings and general unpleasantness before they'd even begin to look miserable. Uh, apparently.
  4. Ace of Base's Happy Nation was written about Belgium.
  5. In 1999 Gay Dad were looking for some Joy!. Nowadays they'll settle for someone who vaguely remembers who they were. Or 10p for a cup of tea.
  6. The Happy Mondays achieved all their start of the week based euphoria via a mix of positive thinking, breathing exercises and tai chi and not through the use in any way of mind bending narcotics.
  7. David Bowie is happy. He hopes you're happy too.
  8. Chico, apparently the happiest man in the world of pop, goes home every night and cries himself to sleep, exactly mirroring the actions of those who hear his records.
  9. Smile and the world smiles with you, but sing along to a Rooster record and you sing along alone.
  10. It uses more muscles to frown than to smile. The Sugababes have the most highly developed mouths in pop.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

W(edding C)ake Me Up 

Cheryl Tweedy got married this weekend and, despite it not being, even in showbiz circles, the world's most important event ever, it was still shrouded in the sort of secrecy that would make the sort of world leader who can't even be discrete when his microphone is switched on blush. The reason for all this cloak and dagger nonsense was to protect the exclusivity of her deal with OK Magazine, but for those of you who just can't wait - and we find it hard to believe that there's anyone in the world who finds the prospect of a new issue of OK Magazine to be that exciting - we've heard back from our spies on the ground and here's the inside gossip:-

Monday, July 17, 2006

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And, thanks to spending Friday afternoon relaxing in sunshine down by the beach, we're now a shade of red which matches Molly Faders McQueen's hair. It is not a good look. Still, having learnt of the importance of suntan lotion - a lesson we always forget by the time next year rolls around - here's the slightly more relevant things we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pip, Pip, Hooray! 

So, last week we told you that the single greatest pop record of the year was now available in the shops and then, with our usual dedication to duty, promptly said nothing more about it, despite having made some promises in that general direction. Well! We can now reveal, as even a cursory glance at the release schedule should have told you, said top quality track is none other than Pull Shapes by The Pipettes, our, and surely the world's, favourite polka-dot clad princesses. Pull Shapes is a euphoric rush of sugary sweet sass-pop, all retro-modern girl-band aceness with more hook lines than an overstocked tackle shop. It soars gloriously to the sort of pop heights which cause problems with air traffic control and generally makes the whole affair seem so effortless that you have to wonder why more singles aren't this good. In short, it's nothing less than Girls Aloud without the budget.

But they don't just stun your senses into submission in recorded format. Oh, no, live they're roughly as amazing as watching a magician make Paul Daniels disappear, then forgetting to bring him back again afterwards. We know this to be true as we went to see them perform for our - and, admittedly, quite a few other people's - pleasure on Wednesday night. Support came from Young Pretty Things, who seemed to be a bit rubbish, but we only caught the end of their set as we had to trawl the streets of Glasgow trying to find our mate's ticket which she had promptly lost within seconds of us handing it to her and 'hilariously' saying "Now be careful and don't lose this", and The 1990s who are ace, but where seriously hampered by crap sound at the start of their set.

There was nothing to hamper the main event, though. Looking for all the world like three girls who've been practicing their moves in nothing more fancy than their own bedrooms - a good thing, by the way - their ramshackle yet enthusiastic performance showed far more pizazz and originality than the vast majority of pop bands who spend hour after hour rehearsing in professional spaces until even the merest hint of joy gets sucked out of them. Their moves may not always be entirely in synch, their harmonies occasionally a touch off, but the sheer, unadulterated genius at the heart of the band comes shining through like the shaft of light which beams up from atop the Luxor casino in Las Vegas. They have the look, they have the attitude and, more than that, they have the songs to match. Few bands could get away with declaring that they like a boy in uniform (school uniform) - and we would certainly suggest that Michael Jackson thinks twice before attempting to cover it - but The Pipettes manage it, always staying on just the right side of the good pop/novelty trash divide.

They are the Pipettes, and they're not done with us yet. And, frankly, neither are we with them.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

So, Syd Barrett died on Tuesday and, while we realise that Pink Floyd aren't exactly within the remit of a poptimistic music site, it's either this or we do something about 'happiness' because Lily Allen's Smile is at number one, which we inevitably will do next week when nothing else proves to be inspirational for us. Anyway, here's ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite bunch of miserable old gits with far too much time on their hands, time which is generally spent playing guitar solos:-
  1. Fluctuating sales of Dark Side of the Moon are used to monitor both the aging nature of the population and the amount of moody teenagers who need to get more sunlight.
  2. Roger Waters, who left the band in an argument over whose turn it was to buy the digestives, now makes a living working the kids party circuit as Cheery Chuck, The Chortlesome Clown.
  3. The children's choir used for Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) took the anti-education message of the song to heart and attempted to stage a revolution, chanting "We don't need no education" as they stormed the headteacher's office. It was swiftly brought under control, however, once the head of English was brought in, who pointed out that "We don't need no education" contains a double negative and, as such, they did need to be educated. Subdued, the kids returned to their classrooms.
  4. The Piper at The Gates of Dawn was a title of a recent Doctor Who episode. It was about horseradishes.
  5. After going a tad looney tunes due to his ever so slightly excessive consumption of drugs, Syd Barrett supplemented his income from the few Pink Floyd releases he played upon by claiming Job Seekers allowance. Sign on, you crazy diamond.
  6. There's a theory that Dark Side of the Moon synchs up perfectly with the visuals for The Wizard of Oz, a theory which makes perfect sense until you consider the fact that the running time for Wizard of Oz is twice that of Dark Side of the Moon. However! If you play Pink's Missundaztood followed by the audio book version of Keith Floyd's Mediterranean Recipes everything makes perfect sense. Except for why you even own the audio book version of Keith Floyd's Mediterranean Recipes.
  7. If you ever go to a Pink Floyd concert, it's quite possible to leave the arena, go to the toilet, have a pint, look at the merchandise stall, get involved in a long, protracted conversation about bugling with a man from Dusseldorf, take a jet-ski lesson and watch the sunrise over Stonehenge and, by the time you get back, they'll still be playing the same song, only now it's in a slightly different key.
  8. Depending on how you see it, The Wall is either Roger Water's harrowing account of the mental pressures that success and fame brings, the self-pitying whining of an overprivileged twat with all the self-awareness of a pebble, a godawful movie starring Bob Geldof, or the thing that stops the roof from falling down.
  9. Pink Floyd are celebrated for their over the top light shows, which dazzle and amaze in equal measure. Most of this celebration comes from the offices of the local electricity board.
  10. See Emily Play is really rather good, you know.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Tuesday! But, hey, for a change that's the BBC's fault, as they decided that some sort of sporting nonsense was of a higher priority than the nation's longest running music show. Mind you, given the way it's been treated as it careers towards its undignified end, they'd probably consider a previously unseen episode of My Family to be worth postponing it for. Anyway, here's what we eventually learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-