Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Television Personalities-Mummy You're Not Watching Me



We were listening to records last night at the place and for some reason I played this for Seth for the first time. If Seth really likes a record you can be pretty sure there's something there worth listening to. If he isn't that into it, you can bet that you won't remember it in a month.

Well, Seth really likes this record, and I do as well.

There's something really queer about the TVPs that I can't quite place. It's this sort of strange attention to detail on songs that sound like they were recorded in five minutes. Polishing a turd, if you will. Somehow, against all odds, it works for them and the shimmering mess that emerges by the end of the record produces five of you "favorite songs of all time". This album is no exception to that, although it may seem hard to digest all the reverb at first. The real reward with this band comes through repeated listens (I know that is said about everything), but every time I listen to this I hear a terrifying lyric that swept past me previously. Treacy's power comes from what he alludes to and not what he says. Check out 'A Day In Heaven' for a little taste of that. Also, this version of 'David Hockney's Diaries' (the first and slower version) as opposed to the 'They Could Have Been Better Than The Beatles' version isolates instead of embracing.

The TVPs are one of the best, and this record is recommended, like whoa.

1. Adventure Playground
2. A Day In Heaven
3. Scream Quietly
4. Mummy You're Not Watching Me
5. Brian's Magic Car
6. Where The Rainbow Ends
7. David Hockney's Diaries
8. Painting By Numbers
9. Lichtenstein Painting
10. Magnificent Dreams
11. If I Could Write Poetry

Mummy, You're Not Watching Me

2 comments:

Cyndi said...

wow. i was blind, now i can see. (undereducated on TVP)

thanks kevin.

Johann Kloos said...

The TVPs were great. I saw them a few times around the time of "The Painted Word." Even hung out for a bit with Dan and the band after a gig in Covent Garden, at the time when I was trying to get my own demos heard. I remember the TVPs party at the Ambulance Station, Elephant and Castle in 1985, gorging on homemade cookies and drinking really bad beer. The Reid Brothers (Jesus and Mary Chain) were posing at the back of the hall...it was so dark, and the only light seemed to come from a TV set up on stage.

I still have the three Whaam! LPs and the Times "Pop Goes Art" which for me was the best record to document London and the "psychedelic revival" in the early 80s as typified by bands that appeared on the "Splash of Colour" compilation e.g. The Miles Over Matter, Mood Six, Marble Staircase and the Earwigs. Much nostalgia for a time when I spent Monday nights at the Groovy Cellar on Dean Street in Soho. Not so much for having to wait for the train to take me back home to Bishops Stortford in the morning, sleep it all off, then go back to my job as a hospital porter the next day...probably wearing the same psychedelic gear! (bought from The Regal and Sweet Charity at Kensington Market)

Mummy You're Not Watching Me is a much darker, moodier affair than their first LP...the reverb used gives it an eerie basement quality.

The chorused bass sound used on "Lichtenstein Painting" is another characteristic TVPs sound. The Make Up reprised that sound on their "In Mass Mind" LP. The track itself puts me in mind of watching the Sooty Show, and hearing the Sooty Braden Showband covering "Anyway Anyhow, Anywhere."

Thankfully there are many upbeat moments and jokes to counter the sadness of tracks like "Scream Quietly" (one of my favourites here) and the title track, which sounds like a Velvet Underground nursery rhyme. Dan's John Lydon/Public Image impersonation on "David Hockney's Diary" cracks me up...and the Jam/Weller dig: "Bruce gets all the girls." Ho ho! More cultural references than you can shake a stick at...

I am sure that Dan's quote of "Ha Ha Said The Clown" on "Happy All Of The Time" from The Painted Word album is a nod to the demo of my song "Mr Fowler" I gave to him in 1984, under the name Ha Ha Said The Car, which subsequently appeared in the Sounds "psychedelic" chart on October 27 1984, second place next to the TVPs "The Lives of Millionaires." Thanks Dan.