A tip for all aspiring actors. If you’re asked to be in a sitcom that airing at 8.30pm on Friday nights on BBC One, just turn it down. It has more chance of sprouting a cult religion than actually being funny. It’s not that the BBC doesn’t have good sitcoms or good ideas – look at The Thick of It – it’s just that the 8.30-on-Friday slot is filled with turgid, safe and deeply morose comedy that we have surely moved on from and certainly don’t deserve. First it was Jasper Carrot with a dysfunctional family. Then it was fucking Boycie from Only Fools and Horses with a dysfunctional family. And now it’s Nicholas Lyndhurst (in Only Fools and Horses but playing a different character) with a dysfunctional family. Ironically, the only show of this slot that is fairly decent is called My Family.
For those of you who don’t look at my Twitter or my Blip – I am currently in a phase of loving music from the 1980s. I have found through youtube research that the decade got worse as it went on (a very general statement I know, but when you think that it went from Call Me by Blondie to Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison, one that could well be true) and that the very best of the best came with a huge dollop of synth, preferably played by someone with glasses that could be seen from space.
My favourite band that ticks all of the boxes for this cheesy 80s madness are Toto, a band that formed in the late 70s and comprised of session musicians with big hair and bigger beards. The singer of the band didn’t seem to do much else than sing (curious for a session man, one gets the impression that he must have appeared on tracks by Earth, Wind and Fire when they needed a male soprano) but did have the beady eyes and moustache of someone on the sex offender’s register. In fact, it would be a surprise to me if he got any kind of sexual action during the heyday of the band. Looking like a cross between your dad and the local kebab shop owner who you’ve heard steals the rings from girls fingers when he takes their money just doesn’t say “fanny magnet” to me. I should think that he gets more now on the basis that he’s not the one in the band who died of a gardening accident.
The first video is called Africa, which is demonstrated by the word AFRICA on the giant book on which the band are playing and the appearance of a black woman in the video. I’m not sure how the video relates to the song, but chubby bloke with a beard seems to be some kind of explorer and the band seem to be there for the free lunch. Note some natty percussion by aforementioned singer-dude.
This video is for the song Rosanna, which is probably the band’s most famous song. It features a more moody setting, amplified by fencing, leather jackets and sunglasses. There also appears to be some kind of West Side Story thing going on, with what looks like bands getting together for a rumble and endless finger clicking. A good song because it comes in three distinct parts, like a Shakespeare play or a Tracker bar (with its layers of crunch, goo and chew).
No more Toto, but a rather good song by Robert Palmer. Honestly, forget that it’s Robert Palmer and you’ll see it for the good piece of elecropop that it is. If it sounds familiar it’s because it was flounced up and used on adverts for Renault in the 80s and 90s or because you’ve heard it before.