July 13th 1972

“Staff v School cricket match. V hot day. Watched Goodies and Top of the Pops next door”

The first part of this entry appears to be self-explanatory. A cricket match – doubtless a boring cricket match (because all cricket matches are) – between some of the school staff and a handful of cricket-playing pupils.

On a hot day.

Why did I not add “it was utterly hellish”? Because that’s what it sounds like to me now!

I went next door  to watch The Goodies and Top of the Pops undoubtedly because our neighbours had a colour television. Yes I know this sounds odd, but my folks didn’t succumb to a colour set until I bought them one as a Christmas gift in 1977. No, I am not making that up.

I have already spoken of the Goodies, but I feel as if I should spend a little while explaining the phenomenon that was Top of the Pops.

Top of the Pops was something of a Thursday evening “institution” for anyone even vaguely interested in music in the seventies. An incredibly simple format, it has been copied, parodied, maligned and mourned over the years. One or two cheesy presenters forward/back-announcing the performing acts, a (in those days) rare piece of video footage (usually by an American group/artist), a run down of the Top 40, one song choreographed by a dance troupe… all culminating in that week’s number one “Top-Of-The-Pops” best-selling/hit single.

Only acts/artists whose singles were new entries or went up in the chart (or were Number One) were featured, those going down willfully ignored. For most people watching – myself included – this was about the ONLY opportunity we could see the acts whose records we were buying. Unlike today where a band’s video is played in heavy rotation on the likes of MTV or VH1 for days, in 1972 we got one half-hour chance a week to maybe, possibly, if we were lucky, see our favourites.

Most acts mimed back then. We seriously couldn’t care less because there was ‘our’ group, or there was that singer whose song we’d been whistling all month.

I’m sure – positive in fact – that I will spend time in future posts discussing Top of the Pops, but for now I will comment that there was most definitely another ‘viewing bonus’ for boys of ‘my age’ in 1972 – and for most fathers who happened to be sat on the sofa suffering this (according to them) “noisy pop music racket

This bonus was the weekly performance of Pan’s People, a collection of attractive young female dancers, usually skimpily-attired, often gyrating somewhat seductively to a chart hit. Let me say now that not every Pan’s People performance was entirely trouser-tightening, but once in a while they would come up with something like the one below…. remember, if you will, as you watch this *ahem* interpretation of Buddy Miles’ surprise 1974 hit “Freedom Special“, this was broadcast at 7pm (“teatime”) on a Thursday evening…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just need to go and take a cold shower.

(Further examples of Pan’s People teenage allure can be discovered here, here, and here …. oh, and a kind of compilation ‘overview’ here.  Needless to say, it was a very tough job researching these videos on You Tube, but someone had to do it)


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