Insomnia occasionally strikes and, like most right-thinking types, the first thing I tend to do is lean over for my iPhone and look up the latest The Word magazine podcast. Listening to this normally gets me in trouble for rocking the forest with suppressed laughter.
Anyway, at 3am I started the latest episode to find David Hepworth and Mark Ellen missing in action, replaced by imposters Janice Long, Andrew Harrison and Jude Rogers. Naturally, I was wary, because everyone knows that change is bad, but I stuck with it only to find myself fully and maddeningly entertained until about 3:47:59am.
I obviously liked the opening musings about the Apple Chapel, but the best bit was when they rambled on to discuss the repeats of Top Of The Pops episodes being broadcast on BBC4 on Thursdays at 7.30pm in the same order that they were originally shown in 1976. Y'know, 'the year punk broke' (take note Sonic Youth).
After listening to the podcast, now wide awake, I couldn't resist nipping over to BBC iPlayer to watch the episode they'd been talking about.
Well, Brotherhood of Man, Paul Nicholas, Linda Lewis, the Beatles reissues and Sheer Elegance caught their ire, but oddly no mention of a woeful Pan's People appearance and a bizarre double-header of Frankie Valli surgically-separated from The Four Seasons. No reference either to Noel Edmonds' slammingly insulting interviewette with a bewildered and somewhat Syd Barrattesque Eric Carmen. Anyway, don't let me spoil it... go and watch it. Do.
I have to say that I was fairly nonplussed by the prospect of the 1976 reruns of TOTP until being nocturnally nudged in their direction, but I have to say they are absolutely addictive. It will be fascinating to see just how punk makes its presence felt (or not) through the remaining episodes from that year.
As for me, I leapt straight to the next episode on iPlayer which opens with Fox, who I'd forgotten, but now remember. I strongly urge you to take a look at this performance, which opens another bizarre show (also check out Sailor later on).
Now back to Fox... well in Noosha Fox, we have a singer who absolutely dances to her own beat. She is so in the wrong band. She is as great as the rest of them are not. Oh please watch it. She exudes a sort of post-Roxy, pre-The Passions vibe whilst also managing to channel altered images of Clare Grogan, Alison Goldfrapp, Lene Lovich and Elizabeth Fraser from far and not so far into her own future.
She is let down spectacularly by her becardiganed band is so many ways, but check out the vocoder solo. It brings to mind the opening scene from a quirky mid-season-filler episode of House MD, where an off-duty postman has to be intubated whilst delivering a bad harmony.
I am now proper addicted to the TOTP reruns and am about to head over to Sky+ to series-link it.
According to Janice Long, they've got enough weekly shows to keep it running in order until 2040.