As I wrote yesterday, Steven has been a barely contained ball of expectation all week in anticipation of BBC4 showing the 1995 Christmas Day episode of Top of The Pops. We had it on VHS tape for many years and he would watch it at least once a month until it eventually wore out about five years ago.
The big moment came and we settled down with a bowl of cheesy bollocks and wine for me and the support worker and a strawberry milkshake for Steven. Whoever booked Jack Dee and Bjork as co-hosts was a genius: they were wonderful.
Steven was off from the opening number (N Trance singing Set you Free). All the jokes and commentary he had constructed over repeated viewings were recalled in an instant. Coupled with his present tense joy of the reunion:
“Hello Scatman John. Haven’t seen you for a long time. Bee bop bopp babba bo.”
Francis, who was still in Nigeria back in 1995, but has a great pop knowledge, dueted with Annie Lennox and queried the musical talent of Robson and Jerome.
And so it went on. Steven admonished Damon from Blur for eating a christmas cake whilst singing Country House. He joked about Meat Loaf’s massive belly. He said all of Jack Dee’s lines before Jack got them out – “Crikey. It’s Pulp.”
I must admit, I shed a little tear, but I’m game for a bit of Gangsta’s Paradise and was on my feet for Common People.
It could have all gone terribly pear shaped at the end. In the original broadcast, and in the official charts of 1995, Michael Jackson was Christmas Number One with Earth Song. On the old VHS tape, Jack Dee introduced him as being “stuck in a mistral.” I have had to explain many times to Steven what a mistral is and why we don’t tend to get them in Cowley. But last night, they dropped Michael and announced that Mike Flowers Pops was number one with his version of Wonderwall. He wasn’t. Why would they rewrite history after 25 years? It can’t be anything about Jackson because they had already showed two of his other hits. Was there something about that over the top video that is too sensitive to 2020 eyes and ears? I looked across nervously at Steven.
“Jack Dee’s got his silly head on. Mike Flowers doesn’t get stuck in a mistral.”
He takes things in his stride much better in 2020 than he did in 1995.