Times Of Our Lives: 1998 The New Face Of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Why don’t you? Those of a certain age will remember the yoof TV programme of the same name – or as it was properly called, “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?”.

It was the BBC’s idea of getting the 1970s kids out and interested in things. Except, like Swap Shop, it was too sanitised, too clean, too nice. Fronted by a crew of Tamara’s and Tarquin’s, they implored you to do something creative or to do with nature.

There was always an unspoken element to their skits, “So that’s how you raise the endangered Upper Amazonian newt”, the piece might end but you knew off-camera, the ‘presenters’ were saying, “Well, you might if you’re an oik but we’ve got servants to do the grubby work for us”.

And they always had ‘normal’ kids who collected stones and mud, always riding their bikes because that’s how kids behaved in their Enid Blighton world.

Anyway, that thought came about on reading that dear old Fred Davis died in 1998. Fred became familiar to millions as a staple contestant in Pot Black. 1970s television could be good for ‘minority’ sports; snooker with Pot Black and darts – of sorts – with Bullseye. Mixing them with popular shows meant the real thing became popular with viewers as well.

Dennis Taylor’s title win in the snooker springs as readily to mind as Alex Higgins tears, Bill Werbeniuk’s beers, and Steve Davis, well, being Steve Davis. Terry Higgins was a ‘big thing’ in snooker but you felt that was almost only because he was Welsh and carried himself like a hairdresser while Ray Reardon had something of the night about him.

You don’t get that now or if you do, I’ve lost interest. Darts was the same, Sid Waddell’s passing kind of killed it for me. That and the first thing which springs to mind is the Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch featuring Dai Beerbelly.

It was a 1970s thing and the certain amount of innocence for the time regarding TV. We didn’t have a million channels and until the 1980s, the remote control was the youngest child in the room getting up and changing channels.

The music by 1998 was fairly drab. The usual suspects went to number one: The Spice Girls, All Saints, Usher, Aqua, Celine Dion; the list isn’t endless but when Cher spent two months at the top of the charts with the awful “Believe”, all hope is almost lost. Almost because rare modicums of good taste surfaced with Cornershop, Manic Street Preachers and I quite liked young Williams “Millenium”, most likely because of the Bond theme sampling.

Baddiel and Skinner re-released “Three Lions” for the World Cup in 1998 and made them a few quid, while David Beckham was pilloried for a stupid sending off but the referee got a free pass for wrongly disallowing Sol Campbell’s goal.

I looked at the list of the great and good born this year, and unsurprisingly, didn’t recognise any of them. We said goodbye to:

  • Judge Dread;
  • Henry Youngman, who obviously wasn’t at the age of 92;
  • Cozy Powell;
  • Linda McCartney;
  • Karl Denver, who wasn’t related to John I’ve just found out;
  • Frank Muir;
  • Enoch Powell;
  • Fred Davis;
  • Justin Fashanu;
  • Kevin Lloyd to his mum, but Tosh Lines to me and you;
  • Catherine Cookson;
  • Roddy McDowell;
  • Ted Hughes;
  • Lew Grade;
  • Alas Smith and Jones;
  • Come Dancing;
  • World In Action;
  • Sale of the Century;
  • Dermot Morgan and consequently, Father Ted;
  • Johnny Speight;
  • Patricia Hayes;
  • Miss Marple, or Joan Hickson as she was christened;
  • Sonny Bono;
  • Phyllis Nelson;
  • Junior Wells;
  • Jack Lord, although he was creepily reconstituted by CGI for a recent Hawaii Five-O;
  • Carl Wilson;
  • Lloyd Bridges
  • Wendy O. Williams and Tammy Wynette died on the same day;
  • Frank Sinatra;
  • Roy Rogers;
  • Alan Shepard; and,
  • Flo-Jo.

All of which leads to this week’s playlist:

Intergalactic Beastie Boys
Hooligans Rancid
Corpses In Their Mouths Ian Brown
I Am The Mob Catatonia
Erase / Rewind The Cardigans
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next Manic Street Preachers
Sing It Back Moloko
Generation Sex The Divine Comedy
Maniac Cinerama
Toledo Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
The Boy With the Arab Strap Belle & Sebastian
Going To Hell The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Diamond Bollocks Beck
Street Fighting Man Oasis
A Perfect Day Elise PJ Harvey
Corazon De Oro Rancid
Naxalite Asian Dub Foundation
Goddess On A Hiway Mercury Rev
My Star Ian Brown
Millennium Robbie Williams
Kerry Kerry Cinerama
Smokin’ Super Furry Animals
Drinking in L.A. Bran Van 3000
At My Most Beautiful R.E.M.
Ease Your Feet in the Sea Belle & Sebastian
My Favourite Game The Cardigans
The River PJ Harvey
You Stole the Sun from My Heart Manic Street Preachers
Life Won’t Wait Rancid
Buzzin’ – Full Length Asian Dub Foundation
Such Unlikely Lovers Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
Got My Eye On You The Brian Jonestown Massacre
National Express The Divine Comedy
Love Unlimited Fun Lovin’ Criminals
Storm The Palace Catatonia

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