Evidence that childhood dreams are not always best fulfilled

Oh my word.  I just watched a re-run episode of Top of the Pops from 1976 and was transported back in time.  (For any non-UKers, it was the pop music show we watched religiously on Thursday nights from 1793 when it started until a few years back when it stopped.  When they ditched it, I couldn't have been more shocked had someone shot the Queen between the eyes with a crossbow during Morning Service at St Paul's Cathedral.  It wasn't just a national institution; it was WHAT YOU DID then, like lovebites and Arctic Roll.)

The link below is a taster of what Top of the Pops was like when I was fourteen and driving all my teachers bonkers by being a pain in their pedagogical arses and leading them to write things in my reports such as 'Fran's efforts are dangerously selective ..' and (quoting my Physics teacher) 'E for effort, E for attainment ... She's just hopeless'.

Warning: only watch this if you have had your Tony Blackburn immunisation jab

One of my teenage dreams in 1974, usually played out while I laid my spotty cheek against a wall poster of David Cassidy pretending we were lovers, was to get into a recording of TOTP so that I could be on the telly like all the other girls who were there.  I, too, wanted to  ...

a) wear so much blue eyeshadow that I looked like I had the Atlantic Ocean on my eyelids

b) stand there looking awkward while the slow songs were on, as though I'd lost my way in the studio and just wandered on set by mistake

c) show the world that I too could use powdered shampoo and have sticky, dull, flyaway hair as a result

d) wear my Bay City Roller tartan trousers with a cheesecloth shirt and a poncho in an attempt to win the Least Attractive Teenager on Telly 1976 competition

e) pretend I wasn't there to try and make Donny Osmond realise that I would be the perfect wife for him and what a fool he was never to have seen it before

f) wear blusher on my cheeks that made me look as though I had a fever and needed immediate hospitalisation

g) stand right up close to the stage so that Freddie Mercury's saliva would land on my head when he sang Killer Queen

I never fulfilled these dreams.  Oh yes, I wore the Least Attractive Teenager outfit, and the Atlantic Ocean eyeshadow, and the tubercular blusher, but I only had my friends and family to laugh at me and not the whole UK nation.

Oh well.  I guess I could always apply for X Factor and give myself another opportunity.

'Stop, stop, please - I can't bear any more!'' cried the audience member, but she continued nevertheless,
determined not to be done out of her moment of humiliation


  1. OMG, yes you HAD to watch it, every week. That chart took me down memory lane. David Cassidy, Donny Osmond and the Bay City Rollers, I was never allowed tartan trousers though :-)

  2. David! Blusher! "Pssst" shampoo! And my magical accessory-a skinny silver glitter belt! We were fabulous.

  3. Lovely memories. My sister went to a recording of Top of the Pops once and I was insanely jealous, but then I got to see the Bay City Rollers live at the Cats Whiskers in Streatham...
    Only one thing wrong - you couldn't possibly love both Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. When I was at school you HAD to be in love with one of them, but then you had to hate the other!

  4. TOTP really was a national institution. I was an avid viewer for years. Then came the long hair, scruffy beard and a ticket to a musical world beyond. I became one of those lads, hooked on blues and desperately trying not to tap my feet to popular top 10 numbers. But water finds its own level. Now I have an extensive collection of 60s and 70s hits...most of which, got an airing on TOTP.

  5. It's funny. I watched it for years but never had a yearning to appear on the show or even wondered how the bright young things already on it had got there.

    I think all in all I preferred The Goodies.

  6. Did you know that the Arctic Roll is back? Funny, I never thought of the bright eyeshadowed young things as being real - they were just tv. They must have been the go-getting sort who are now big in the high tower-blocks of London.

  7. Eliza - never allowed tartan trousers? Honestly, that kind of child neglect deserves big punishments!

    I'm Crayon - WERE fabulous? WERE?

    Sharon - no, I definitely loved both. And David Essex. And Queen. And 10CC. And Mud. And Showaddywaddy. I loved them all.

    Martin - On vinyl? We got rid of our record players and all our records years ago, but it's now coming back into fashion. Damn.

    Steve - I loved the Goodies too! And I'm so pleased they're still around, if doing different things. Not that keen on Bill Oddie's birdy stuff, but I love Graeme Garden and ... er ... who's the other one? Name escapes me. I hear them on Radio 4 loads.

    mise - Arctic Roll is back? Where, where, where? Think I might take a stroll round to the supermarket ....

  8. You just catapulted me back into my teens! Bay City Rollers (I love you Les! Well, that is, I loved the younger, thinner not-falling-apart version of you) and powdered shampoo and makeup-- WHY did we ever think that made us look better?!

    I can't wait to see you on XFactor! Maybe Britain's Got Talent as well? Give us a shout when you're on :-)


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