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Television Personalities - And Dont The Kids Just Love It

  by Scott Miller

published: 13 / 1 / 2002

Television Personalities - And Dont The Kids Just Love It
Label: Select Label
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All I remember about the first time I heard the Television Personalities is the vague sense of irritation I felt about the silliness of the song. It was 'Part Time Punks' from the 'Wanna Buy A Bridge'

All I remember about the first time I heard the Television Personalities is the vague sense of irritation I felt about the silliness of the song. It was 'Part Time Punks' from the 'Wanna Buy A Bridge' comp & I was far more swept up by the anger of the Stiff Little Fingers & the artistic intrigue of the Swell Maps & Raincoats. I filed the TVP's away somewhere in the back of my brain in a little box that said 'AVOID'. ( Now we fast forward a few years.) All I remember about the second time I heard the Television Personalities is the sinking feeling I felt when it seemed that I just didn't GET something that everyone whose musical taste I respected loved. This time it was 'Closer To God', which was bought after a friend (who'd turned me on to some great bands) swore up & down that I HAD to give them a second chance. Needless to say, I hated the record & promptly sold it. I copped some angle that, sure, maybe they were pioneers but the bands they influnced were way better. Of course I must not have BELIEVED that because a year or so later, I found myself inexplicably purchasing "..And Don't The Kids Just Love It" - gearing up for round three. I balked at first - listening to it once & shelving it with the notion that I would listen to it when I was in the mood. I think everyone has those records that they're intrigued by but aren't sure that they like; the ones that inevitably snag (not catch, snag) your eye when you're looking for something to listen to. You're tired of everything else but for some reason, you just can't commit to this frustrating record. You can't bring yourself to sell it either because it knows something that you don't. It smiles when you consider putting it in the 'sell' pile because it can already hear the future conversation of "I can't believe I sold that!". Then it happened. I wish I could take the credit but, this time, it all goes to my old roommate. He's one of those frustrating types who can somehow hear that a record is great on first listen - even if it's an early Go Betweens album or something like that that always takes me a couple listens before I start to understand. He'd pulled out '..And Don't The Kids Just Love It" while I was at work & by the time I got home, he was a total TVPs devotee. Soon, it became one of "the front room records". See, I lived in a house with three other music fanatics, which means that half the time, everyone's hiding in their room, doors shut, test-driving a new stack of records, and the rest of the time is spent in the front room raving about the best ones. These generally become "front room records" which can be thrown on in all common areas & be received with at least a little curiosity & without too much fear of the dreaded, non-plussed "What's THIS?!". Aaaanyway, you've probably read or seen High Fidelity & don't need any more sad-but-true tales of music obsession, so I'll get on with it. I think 'Jackanory Stories' hit me first. It's the type of song that makes me want to start a band just so we can cover it. 'Just like life, there's a good beginning but there is no middle so you may as well skip to the end'. Well put, catchy as hell & all sung in that slightly bored, thick-as-hell English accent. The sound of a punk bored with punk. Like the cover art, the songs we're all simple yet brilliant, scrappy yet stylish. Each song took it's turn as favorite as I discovered moment upon classic moment. The end of "The World of Pauline Lewis" where the chorus goes from singing to SINGING gets my vote as one of the most sublime slices of pop history ever. I was completely swallowed up by the carefree but cool attitude of Dan Treacy's world. A world where you could love mod but still take the piss out of it, where you could wear your influences on your sleeve & still be original, where "Sit amongst the bowler hats & make a crossword last" sounds like the best possible way to spend your afternoon. All Dan Treacy's inspiration, depression, excitement, irreverence, urgency, boredom, humor, LIFE for christ's sake, are bound up in this record. Silly as it sounds, you feel like you know him - which is what differentiates him/the TVPs (same thing, really) from the groups that are most often cited as his influences. For instance, Paul Weller (clearly a Treacy influence) can create characters like Liza Radley & Billy Hunt and charge them with enough dimension & life that you feel that you somehow know them, but all told, Weller is still behind the scenes, an observer out of view. Not so with Treacy, who not only succeeds in creating memorable (andoften hilarious) characters/situations, but also manages to inject his personality & feelings in to the proceedings. ' Geoffrey Ingram' isn't just a song about a perfect hipster who always gets the girls & on the guest list. It's also about the feeling of inadequacy at being friends with this type of person. It's not about jealousy or spite (easy topics), but a type of insecurity among friends that everyone has felt. It's painfully honest - a quality that, for better or for worse, pervades all the TVP's music right up until the end. This honesty often adds a darkness to the humor that makes my first impression of silliness way off the mark. There's a lot of melancholy going on in Treacy's happening. Still, '..And Don't The Kids Just Love It' comes off more hopeful & inspiring than sad - perhaps because it has more to do with "I was wrong...I admit" than "poor me". It's the sound of screwing up & accepting that you're probably going to screw up again - but you're still not giving in. To me, that's what pop music is all about, so I'm (rather long-windedly) raising a pint to this brilliant, timeless record, probably the TVPs best, & the perfect gateway to their beautiful, pop-art world of 3-chord velvet hipsters on motorbikes crashing Salvador Dali's perfumed garden parties in Chelsea. PS I still say Part Time Punks is a bit silly, but that drum roll, that melody, that sound, those vocals.......I'll be right back..

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Television Personalities - And Dont The Kids Just Love It

Television Personalities - And Dont The Kids Just Love It

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