I found myself feeling all unexpectedly soppy and fondly reminiscent about something on telly the other day. I was watching one of those repeats of old Top of the Pops episodes being aired by BBC Four, this particular one being from 7th February 1980. The line-up encapsulated the period perfectly - an eclectic mixture including The Selecter and The Specials alongside Queen and Cliff Richard, *AC/DC, The Chords and The Tourists. What a delightful pot-pourri of pop, with a couple of exposed hairy chests, some pork pie hats and a peculiar horsetail (?) head-dress thrown in for good measure (I leave you to work out who wore what), but the act that really did it for me - and I was surprised at the effect they had all these years later - was The Regents, performing '7 Teen'.
Ah... what a time. It was the year I was going to turn 7teen too, so there was that connection, and I really did like the song - just not quite enough to buy it. But the thing that really got me on seeing it now was the reminder that it was a time when you could be the lead vocalist in a band and go on-stage on a TV show wearing a non-descript red sweatshirt type top and tape a couple of home-made 'pad' things onto your shoulders. Like epaulettes. But stuck on with white gaffer tape. And your two backing vocalists were fresh-looking and un-self conscious, having the time of their lives, ramping up the silliness with their unpretentious charm, as if they were just playing around in front of a bedroom mirror. I could imagine going to college with them - I love the thought that we could've been mates and found myself envisioning them rehearsing in the lunch-hour; the naive, swaying back-and-forth, side-to-side dancing that we all did - getting the giggles. Oh! I want to be in The Regents!
You also have to love a song which includes the words "she's a beautiful mutation" (so new wave!) and if they could only have got away with it I wish they could have performed it with its original mention of "a permanent erection". That was how it was first released in 1979 but (of course) an alternative censored version needed to be issued to ensure its radio play (and subsequent hit status) so we lost the erection to a permanent reaction... All good, though.
Anyway, I do like it when you've forgotten or pretty much dismissed something from the past and then it sneaks up and surprises you in the sweetest of ways. When it takes you back and makes you smile and reminisce affectionately, even though it also reminds you that that particular time is never to return. And when it makes you just want to watch it and hear it again...
*Special mention must also go to a particular line in AC/DC's 'Touch Too Much' which was shown in this episode:
"She had the face of an angel, smiling with sin, the body of Venus with arms" With arms.