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 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. Have I mentioned that before?
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 awful; 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.