Thursday, May 28, 2009

Let's do the show right here, yeah!

Mention of C'mon in last post really dates me huh. I thought I'd backtrack my experiences with music TV this time out, having previously done music weekly newspapers and monthly magazines.

I remember C'mon dimly. It was, from my fractured memory, a show in the strange land of New Zealand 1960s where NZ artists like Mr Lee Grant, the Chicks, Ray Columbus and the Invaders, Shane, Larry Morris and Fourmyula (the featured artist of my last post) did their versions of overseas hits and their own material in grimy black n white for half an hour. It was compered by Pete Sinclair. Having seen the UK's 'Ready Steady Go' it was kind of our version of that. This somehow morphed into the 1970s Happen Inn show which I remember much more. From memory it was on a weekend (Sundays?) and when we got colour TV in NZ in the mid seventies Happen Inn was great. Again Pete Sinclair was the omnipresent compere. At the time his slick, smarmy delivery didn't really register/bother me. Looking back at old clips - he hasn't aged well. Here's a taste of what we had in the early days - remember we didn't actually have any kind of television here until the early 1960s and that was one channel, black and white, and only broadcast a few hours every evening. here's a sample - don't watch all 9 minutes of this - your brain will actually start shredding cells.

Grunt Machine was next. The names alone trace the way the shows developed don't they. Grunt Machine was our equivalent of the UK's 'Old Grey Whistle Test' - a serious music programme, it was hosted by the gravelly voiced Dr Rock (Barry Jenkins). Ready to Roll was a top 40 style show during this time as well but it was pretty much just the same music clips that cropped up every week. The Grunt Machine was late on a Friday night (I think) and featured more John Peel style eclectic acts. It was great. Radio With Pictures lasted for some time after this and continued the great work of GM. A lot of New Zealand band video clips featured as Karyn Hay was the host - she of the strong Nu Zild accent. RWP went through a number of style changes along the way and lost its alternative edge as it went but while it lasted it was ace (and I loved the distinctive Karyn Hay! She was a breath of fresh air).

Sadly all of these great idiosyncratic strongly NZ flavoured shows were killed off by MTV/ Juice 24 hour video-a-thons. Now we have three channels supplying music. My fav is 63 - suits my demographic I guess but I do miss the weekly treat that was the one off music show. Less is more!

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