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
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
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
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.