Friday, April 29, 2011

90's Hit Parade #69

A description of what happened immediately after the above performance, from Sara Marcus' book Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Movement:

At the end of the song, the show launched into its next segment, an videotaped interview with a pair of Playboy models called the Barbi Twins. As the tape played, Jo and some of her friends regrouped, fuming. They'd been under no illusions about the nature of The Word, but it was disturbing how the show could absorb their provocations without so much as a blink, and then move on to a couple of self-described bimbos.

They edged up to the fake living room set where the boyish blond host, Terry Christian, was preparing to move things along. When the Barbi Twins segment was finished, Jo shouted--loud enough to be heard by over a million viewers across Britain--"So, Terry, you think all fucking women are shit, do you?"

"Ooh," Christian said, as if a three-year-old had just stepped on his foot.

"Crap!" the girls hollered. "Crap! Crap! Crap!"

The host's smile held fast to his face. "So did you like those young ladies?"

The girls booed boisterously. Others in the audience cheered or woofed, Arsenio-style. Cut to aerial view of the studio: the place was in an uproar. Militant fists beat against the air.

"I think somebody's out to make a name for themselves," Christian simpered, barely audible above the crowd. He said it again, but this time the screams from the audience jumped an octave. No cameras panned the studio now. Nobody in Brighton or Birmingham saw bouncers pounce on the girls and drag them from the studio.

Chris Rowley, left behind, shouted something inaudible that, whatever it was, pulled Christian off message. "Come up here, mate," the host challenged the musician, the violence beneath his grin peaking through like wallpaper glue. A beat. Christian rubbed his hands together as if washing them clean. Showed a dozen teeth, his lips rolling tensely.

"We'll be back after the break," he said, smooth again. And wasn't that just the problem? They always were back after the break. No matter how great the tupture, the regularly scheduled programming always prevailed.

But the programming also served as a vehicle for the rupture, and the kids who saw it were electrified. "My God!!!" one Melody Maker reader wrote in from Derby. "I've just seen Huggy Bear on "The Word" and they were WAY more exciting than Nirvana...I just can't help worshipping them!" Another reader, from Devon, gushed that the show "made me feel proud to be a babe with attitude--they were THERE, saying what I would have liked to."


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