...I'm developing a bit of a thing about Dale Winton. No, not like that - although if he were to tone down the orange face a little and stop trying to look as if he still qualifies for an 18-30 holiday, who knows...? Anyway, it's got nothing to do with his *looks*. I'm talking about his Saturday afternoon radio show. Dale has been given the invidious task of attempting to fill the comfy slippers of all-time radio-jock hero Alan Freeman on Radio 2's relaunched Pick of the Pops series. Obviously, it could just be the inherent strength of the old Fluff favourite's formula - play a judicious selection of whatever was in the charts on two given weeks from yesteryear - or perhaps it's just the theme tune (I can hear you all humming it surreptitiously at the back there), but I think it's an inspired rejuvenation and is fast eclipsing Brian Matthews' Sounds of the Sixties as the week's mustn't-miss radiophonic fix.
You're probably getting the mistaken idea from all this that I'm some Luddite, stick-in-the-mud nostalgia freak who's one squirt of Blue Stratos away from being atrophied in the pre-digital age. Nonsense! I'm as with it as the next person and I have my brand new Ramones t-shirt and metrosexual faux-hawk hairdo to prove it. I just think that things were so much better in, say, 1975. I mean, fine as things are now - global recession, imminent tory revival and Lily Allen not withstanding - what could beat sitting there on your 10th birthday in your brand new Admiral England replica kit watching Malcolm MacDonald hammer 5 past the hapless Cypriots at Wembley with Van McCoy's 'Do the Hustle' rampaging around your skull like a global pandemic in a tabloid editor's imagination whilst wondering if you'll get to catch another glimpse of the Concorde prototype from the playground or ever make an honest woman of Patricia Larrigan.
And it's 1975 Dale takes us back to. Remember Linda Lewis's version of 'It's in his Kiss (The Shoop Shoop song)'? No, neither did I. Nor the wonderful 'Highwire' by another Linda - this time the lovely Ms. Carr, ably assisted by her very own Love Squad (see, I'm even starting to *sound* like Dale...) Then there's the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's preposterously Brechtian reworking of Tom Jones' 'Delilah' and, of course, some of the ubiquitous slick Philadelphia-style soul that for me will always remain the dominant sound of the era. Ray Stevens - remember him? - chips in with a lovely C&W version of Errol Garner's 'Misty' (although, I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing it had been 'The Streak'..." he went by wearing nothin' but a smile...") The Bee Gees singing 'Jive Talking' reminded me of my Dad, who had an uncanny ability to pick a monster hit within its first 10 seconds - he'd been confidently predicting resurgence of the Brothers Gibb within a nano second of this wonderful single starting up, just as he'd previously done with Harry Nilsson's 'Without You' and would go on to do with Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire' (which must have cheered the Bee Gees up enormously, having their careers boosted by other people's hits, that is...) He had to be physically restrained after the 1 millionth play of the cassette copy of 'Storm Front' my sister foolishly bought him for his birthday.
Heck, even that week's number one, The Bay City Rollers singing 'Give a Little Love', sounds rather good now, in a knowing sort of post-Glasvegas clever clever kind of way. (Sorry, I'll try not to get too technical in future...) Still, it's not all bad, living in the 21st Century. At least you can download this week's show* if you missed it. (Although we're probably stuck with the recession, the imminent tory revival and Lily Allen, I'm afraid.)
So, give it a whirl, pop pickers...
* it's up there for the next six days, so get in quick...
You trendy and with-it lot probably knew this already, but if you need any further reason to listen to yesterday's PotP, check out the BBC i-Player.....the volume goes up to *ELEVEN*!!! How, as the contemporary vernacular has it, cool is that???