Friday, March 9, 2007

Just what is Number One?

The other night the Missus went to sleep, leaning against me, on our settee. (Ahhhh.) Anyway, the TV programme that had sent her off finally ground its way to some sort of conclusion, and I was left with the remote to hand, but unable to move without disturbing her.

So, I started flicking channels like you do. And like you do these days with the remarkable number of channels to choose from, I found nothing whatsoever of interest. And, just to give an indication of how desperate the choices were, I ended up on Ceefax.

Now I know that Ceefax is a sort of free lunch, in that it's a miracle you can get data to flow alongside your TV picture... but it really is awful, isn't it? In these broadband days, it's just beyond the pale. Anyway.
Looking through the menu options I picked out Music. And then the Charts. And it struck me, not for the first time, that I had absolutely no idea whatsoever of what was in the charts. And that I haven't known what the number one song is for... well... months... in fact, to be precise, since they stopped showing Top of the Pops.

Now, the day they cancelled that show there was much rejoicing from the other members of my household. Because, for them, it signalled the end of a sustained period of great grumpiness on my part.
No longer would they have to sit through half an hour of moaning every week as I gave my (almost always) caustic comments on the quality of the acts they paraded before us on the show. Bloody awful, 99% of it. You know I'm right.

But, blimey I miss it. Not because it was any good. No. But because it's part of life. Since I was a nipper, I've always watched it. When I was at school I'd record the charts in my diary. I'd know what the top five songs were, every week. When I was a teenager, Pan's People were just about the best thing on TV. You look back now and wonder why, but back then they were, and that's that.

And over the years (okay, increasingly rarely) there have been great TOTP moments. I've bought loads of CDs on the strength of a performance seen on the show. But key to the whole thing was that countdown. Just what was the most popular song of that day? It didn't matter that complete garbage managed the feat... bloody irritating frogs, talentless boy bands, Cliff Richard... the thing was you did know. Like the weather. You watch the weather forecast, it's not always nice weather, but you knew what to expect.

And now... I'm not prepared to go hunting around trying to find out who is number one... I just want someone to tell me at the end of half an hour of dross. I don't know why, I just do. Is it too much to ask?

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