Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Uncool for cats

I didn't snog Chris Difford, nor take my top off in front of the cameras, but for years – decades, in fact – you could be forgiven for thinking I had. Those festive pop video shows filled me with a disproportionate sense of dread. I could take any amount of the perennial Slade, Mud and Wizzard clips as long as they never, ever showed 'Christmas Day' by Squeeze.

It's December 1979 and I'm sixteen, self-consciously punky and down in London skiving with three of my male college mates. We spend most of the day in the Kings Road. It's a really damp, foggy day and the once vertical spikes of my peroxide-white hair have gone all floppy. That's the kind of thing that really mattered then, as I'm sure you understand.

We end up at Seditionaries admiring the Two Cowboys T-shirts (you know the one I mean) and Viv's behind the counter; we're a little in awe of her. I seem to remember she treated us rather condescendingly and I don't blame her one bit.  But she tells us that some video people are looking for extras to appear in a shoot they're doing at the Molinare Studios in Soho. It'll be good, take a trip down there, she suggests. She's very persuasive, and we're a little drunk. And my hair is all floppy, grrr.

That's how I end up doing the fucking conga in a room full of strangers while free drink in paper cups is handed out along with party hats and Squeeze mime to their terrible Christmas single over and over again. All I remember is knocking back the warm lager and thinking it was really, really uncool to be dancing the conga.  And seeing a woman there with massive tits.

Oh... and that my hair had gone all floppy.  I hated it when my hair went all floppy.

Once sober the sheer horror of it all kicked in. I hoped the single would fail miserably and the video would never be shown on Top Of The Pops. I carried this weight around with me for years. Having told Mr SDS about it he could never work out quite why I was so reticent, so embarrassed - why I cringed at the merest thought that one day it might get aired. I think he was convinced that I had snogged Chris Difford or taken my top off in front of the cameras. I started to think I had done so myself, perhaps even both at the same time.

All these years on, YouTube has entered our lives and everything is out there. I might as well get this over with once and for all.  Deep breaths.

The single and the video are absolute shit; no wonder it never charted. But of course I have to watch the whole dire thing through, in case. Self-conscious teenagers, so obviously pulled in off the streets, dance around like idiots; I see a glimpse of white-blonde hair.... nah that's not me. Oh, there's that woman with the tits! Then the conga... oh, the conga... and, you know, I reckon it fades out at the exact moment I was about to come into view.


12 comments:

  1. Blimey! (Goes straight to YouTube...)

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  2. Wait for me Singing Bear......!

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  3. SB, TS - I'd love to say you won't be disappointed, but that might be a lie! In all fairness to Squeeze, though, I must say I can see it now as the piss-take it was really meant to be.

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  4. I'm not totally convinced she's not in there....the investigation continues.

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    1. No, really I'm not! Must've been a cutting room floor job. If only I'd known at the time.

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  5. Terrible record but nostalgia pangs on the rise due to period video. Can you be seen at all? Just a bit? Knowing you were there is enough.

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    1. She's saying no...so we'll stop looking. She put us on the case...only to take us off. Tease!

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    2. Life would be no fun without a little teasing... but I'm the mug here! 35 years of paranoia about nothing.

      It is a very period video, isn't it? Must've been so low budget too considering Squeeze had already had quite a bit of chart success but I suppose the video side of it was just so much less important then.

      I honestly do think that conga line fades out just at the right moment...

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  6. Just caught up with this post and thread. Very entertaining.
    Swiss Adam

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  7. Well, as someone who never even made it to the cutting room floor of a chart bands video shoot, I am impressed. I have never heard that song before though!

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    Replies
    1. Haha - the story sounds better in retrospect, I have to say!
      I gather that the song,which failed miserably at the time, has been getting a bit of radio airplay this Christmas, funny how that happens. And it's nice for me just not to be filled with dread about it any more....

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