Someone sent me this old ’80s clip the other day – I think they’d seen it on David Walliams’ ‘Awfully Good – and it struck me as as one of the most mind-bendingly surreal and awkward bits of music TV I’d ever seen.
It’s from Jim’ll Fix It, the show where kids wrote in hoping to have their wishes granted. Admittedly, only a certain kind of clean-cut letter ever made it to transmission. Jimmy Savile never fixed it for a tormented 11-year-old to have his new step-Dad punched in the guts by Geoff Capes, for example.
Anyway, in this case, the kid in question had seen Gary Numan in concert and wanted a go in the “little car that he rides around in onstage” – basically a Sinclair C5 for goths. This Jim duly fixed for him. Strange, then, that the child looks so sullen and non-plussed as he pootles round, to the visible discomfort of Numan himself, who’s clearly regretting having signed up for this humiliation.
Wait until the bass line kicks in at 1.18 (Alan Partridge fans will appreciate this especially).
Anyway, it sparked an office email flurry about memorably uncomfortable moments in music TV. Here’s what we came up with.
1. The Smiths (featuring singer “Paul Morressey”) interviewed by a gang of schoolchildren. Moz and Marr come out of it quite well actually.
2. The Stone Roses’ Late Show power cut. “Amateurs! Amateurs!”
3. Dizzee Rascal on Newsnight. “Political parties in Britain? Yeah. They… exist.” Cue tumbleweed.
4. Five Star’s Going Live phone-in. This is why the BBC screen calls nowadays.
5. Nirvana on Top Of The Pops. If a water buffalo tried to sing ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, it’d sound like this.
6. Nicky Wire discusses crisps and hoovers while slicing chicken breasts with Tim Lovejoy? And you thought Manic’ appearance on Strictly was weird. Watch from 10 minutes in.
7. Panic At The Disco on Popworld. A fist-chewingly awkward encounter, especially when Alexa Chung owns up to have hurled a piss-bomb at Reading 2000…
8. …though not as awkward as Luke Pritchard being quizzed by Simon Amstell about not being able to get it up for Katie Melua.
9. James Brown quizzed on live TV while high. We’ll have none of what he’s on, thanks.
10. Snoop Dogg gets pecked by Emu on The Word. What would be the modern equivalent – Lil Wayne on the Chatty Man sofa with Spongebob Squarepants?