The Tube: live TV Demo 1985
Ok... So back in 1985 when I was 23 (I still look the same) I was invited to demo the Rhythm Stick on The Tube which was broadcast live from the TV studio in Quayside in Newcastle. The Tube was a seminal anarchic British youth music TV show. It opened with The Jam and went of feature Madonna, REM, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, U2 and on and on… There’s a great BBC article about it's huge effect on British TV.
In the clip here of me demoing the Rhythm Stick, they’ve removed a really fun part! Not many people know this (well, apart from the millions who saw it live, decades ago!), Jools and I had had a very hasty (a few minutes) off-camera rehearsal while the show was being broadcast live… No pressure then.
Next thing we’re being broadcast live to millions of people and Jools turns around to me and says “Right, well this is Pete and his new invention” and bashes the Rhythm Stick with his hand - which then lets off a huge BANG across the entire studio, it was *really* loud. Me and most of the audience jumped, and Jools involuntarily exclaimed... “Fuk”.
A split second later, realising we were live I said... “Oh Fuk” - as we both realised the implications. We were both completely thrown, I was trying not to wet myself and trying to remember what the hell I was supposed to say and do! You can see me stifling my laughter at the beginning of the video.
The Tube was closed down in 1987 after Jools swore during a kid-time TV live trailer… As the Wikipedia correctly states: “[Jools] Holland was reprimanded by Channel 4, as this was not the first time he had accidentally sworn on the live show”.
Yep, it was me and Jools that set the path to the demise of The Tube! Next day in The Sun ‘newspaper’, they actually told the truth about something as they lambasted the show for *SWEARING LIVE ON TV*. Outrageous!
They were heady and crazy days, my whole future was ahead of me. After the show we all piled down to the Rose and Crown pub opposite the studios and got seriously pissed. I remember lending Stiv Bators (lead singer of The Lords of the New Church) a fiver so he could get some drinks at the pub… I’ve just seen while writing this, that he died in 1990.
That's sobering. I always kinda liked the thought of bumping into Stiv one day and saying, “oi mate, you owe me that fiver!”. Just seems to highlight that those days are gone.
The Tube appearance was the beginning of a new future for me, and the beginning of the end of my band. The beginning of my first experience of shit loads of money, the beginning of understanding how you can let dear friends slip through your fingers - without even seeing it. I had no idea what would unfold...