Television Personalities

Early singles Don't the kids just love it Mummy your not watching me They could have been bigger than the Beatles The painted word
Early Singles Kids Mummy Beatles Painted
How I learned to love the bomb Privilege Closer to god I was a mod Don't cry baby
Bomb Privilege Closer Mod Baby

First page: Early singles - Mummy Your Not Watching Me
Prev page: They Could Have Been Bigger Than the Beatles - How I Learned to Love the Bomb
This page: Privilege - The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming


Paradise Is For The Blessed
Paradise is for the blessed not for the sex-obsessed A quote from the film If...

A Good and Faithful Servant
Although a biblical quote (Matthew 25:21), 'The Good And Faithful Servant' is the title of a Joe Orton play, premiered on television by Redifusion on 6 April 1967. For more information on Joe Orton, see the entry for 'God Snaps His Fingers'.
To serve you all my days 'To Serve Them All My Days' is novel by R.F. Delderfield, published in 1972. It tells the story of a young man, invalided out of World War I, who joins an English public school as a teacher and works his way up to the post of headmaster. It was adapted for television in 1980.

Conscience Tells Me No
Possibly aimed at the then Prime Minster of the UK, Margaret Thatcher. See 'The Grocer's Daughter'.
We'll build a wicker man and watch you burn inside A reference to the cult 1973 gothic horror film The Wicker Man, in which a religious policeman (Edward Woodward) is dispatched to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The islanders, under the leadership of Christopher Lee, are pagan worshippers. The climax of the film reveals that they have a plan to make a human sacrifice. The film was the subject of a risible Hollywood remake in 2006.

All My Dreams Are Dead
John Lennon Ex-Beatle, murdered on December 8th 1980.
Andy Warhol Pop art pioneer. See entry in the people section.

Salvador Dali's Garden Party
Spanish artist. See entry in the people section.
This must have been quite a happening. Click here for the guestlist.
Chelsea boots A type of ankle boot without laces, with elasticated insets at the side instead.
Kensington Market Located on Kensington High Street in London's West End, the market is famous for its range of stalls selling retro clothing.
"and I love tremendously money and gold" A sample of Dali himself, taken from the BBC's 'Arena' documentary special on the artist, broadcast in 1986.
Jack Nicholson Hollywood actor, born 1937. Shot to fame for his role in Easy Rider (1969), then cemented his arrival in Five Easy Pieces (1970). Amongst his best-known works are One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) and A Few Good Men (1992). Nicholson has been awarded three Oscars over the years for his performances.
Mia Farrow American actress, born in 1945. Following early child roles, Farrow achieved stardom for her role in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968). During the Seventies, she took lead roles in several films, including The Great Gatsby (1974), but her career took off when she began a relationship with Woody Allen, with whom she made eleven films. Beginning with A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982), these include The Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Radio Days (1987) and Husbands and Wives (1992), completed prior to the acrimonious and very public split with Allen.
Woody Allen American actor and director, born in 1935. See entry in the people section.
Dennis Hopper Hollywood actor, born 1936. Hopper made early appearances in two of James Dean's films, Rebel Without A Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). In 1969 he directed, co-wrote, and starred in Easy Rider. He also had a role in Apocalypse Now (1979). After a run of unsuccessful films, he bounced back playing Frank Booth in David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986). This did seem, however, to typecast him into playing psychopaths.
Peter Fonda Hollywood actor, son of Henry, sister of Jane and father of Bridget. A star of Easy Rider (1970).
Debbie Harry Lead singer with the American New Wave band Blondie.

The Man Who Paints The Rainbows
The Singing Ringing Tree In the Sixties, the BBC imported a number of childrens programmes from Eastern Europe in an attempt to provide some balance to the increasing numbers of American programmes which were beginning to dominate the nation's TV screens. Often poorly dubbed, examples of these shows include 'Robinson Crusoe', 'The Flashing Blade', 'White Horses', 'Belle and Sebastian', 'Heidi' - and 'The Singing Ringing Tree'. A truly terrifying East German folk tale film allegedly based on a work by the Brothers Grimm, it was filmed in 1958 and first shown on the BBC in 1964, but repeated often over the next twenty years. It tells the tale of an arrogant princess who spurns the devotion of a handsome prince; a wicked spell sees her transformed into an ugly hag, forced to live in a cave guarded by a horrible dwarf, until acts of kindness she performs on the local wild animals restores her beauty. Memorable for the eerie, otherworldly atmosphere (accentuated by the original screening being black and white), the pure screaming terror of this film left a whole generation of children emotionally scarred.

Sad Mona Lisa
Kensington Market 49-53 Kensington High Street, to be precise...
Morten Harket Lead singer and teenage pin-up in Eighties Norwegian band A-Ha.
Magazines like 'Honey' Honey was an Eighties style and fashion magazine.
the Council slums Public housing, often run-down. See 'Paradise Estate'.

The Engine Driver Song
Liverpool Street One of the main railway stations in London, serving routes to the east of England.
Cathy's come home The lyrics allude to the 1965 TV play Cathy Come Home. See the entry in the films section and also the people section for information on Carol White.

There are echoes of the film If... here, but see also the entry in the films section from the 1967 film of the same name.
Privilege is also the term given to the practise in some English Public (ie fee-paying) schools - Eton being the prime example, where the pupils are granted certain rights, freedoms and status according to age.
my Masters A posh school teacher.
you shake my hand, we both say thank you As happens in the film If....

Room At The Top Of The Stairs
Obvious echoes of John Braine's novel Room At The Top (1957), about a young man determined to break through the class barriers and get to the top by marrying the boss's daughter. It was filmed in 1958 with Laurence Harvey in the lead role.
The Room At The Top was also the name of a club / gig venue in London promoted by Dan with his friend Emily in the mid-80s. It was held in a small room above The Enterprise pub in Chalk Farm, north London.

Part One: Fulfilling The Contractual Obligations
Lucozade A soft drink, originally marketed as a tonic for those convalescing from illness. The manufacturers changed tack in the late Eighties and it's now sold as an energy drink for sporty people.
The grand old Queen of York A pun on the nursery rhyme, 'The Grand Old Duke of York'.

Strangely Beautiful EP
The men in bowler hats seen on the sleeve of this EP, and also on the 'Top Gear' and 'Made in Japan' albums, are famous figures from the world of advertising in the UK. In 1965, 'Fred' the flour grader first appeared on the packaging for 'Homepride' flour. The character featured on television advertisement from the late Sixties onwards, along with his friends, promoting 'Homepride' flour, home baking products and cooking sauces. Visit the official Homepride site here.

Not Even A Maybe
A bullet in the right place could change the world A quote from If...
I told you paradise is for the blessed A quote from If...
Towards the end of the song are the following sound clips from If... : 'A man can change the world with a bullet in the right place', 'Paradise is for the blessed', 'Violence and revolution', 'War is the last possible creative act'.

She's Never Read My Poems
Byron English Romantic poet, 1788 - 1824. Noted also for his passionate and disastrous love affairs. His major works include 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' (1812 - 18) and 'Don Juan' (1819 - 24). He died while fighting for Greek independence.
Keats English poet, 1795 - 1821. His finest poetry is contained in 'Lamia and other Poems' (1820), which includes 'The Eve of St Agnes' and the odes 'On a Grecian Urn' and 'To a Nightingale'.
Shelley English Romantic poet, 1792 - 1822. His major works include 'Queen Mab' (1813), 'The Revolt of Islam' (1817) and the verse drama 'Prometheus Unbound' (1820). He wrote an elegy on the death of Keats, 'Adonais' (1821), and shorter lyrics including the ode 'To a Skylark' (1820). He was drowned in the Ligurian Sea while sailing from Leghorn to La Spezia.

An Exhibition by Joan Miró
Catalan artist, a leading practitioner of the Surrealist movement. See entry in the people section.
She sells seashells on the sea shore A traditional tongue-twister.
Better than Picasso Spanish artist. See entry in the people section.
Picasso was an asshole A lyrical nod towards 'Pablo Picasso' by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, which claimed that the artist 'never was called the asshole'. A Television Personalities version can be heard on the 'Don't Cry Baby' LP.

closer to god

Hard Luck Story Number 39
This older, wiser companion piece to 'Anxiety Blocks' features the phrase, 'the glittering prizes'.

Me And My Big Ideas
Butlins Camp British chain of holiday camps, founded by Billy Butlin. The first of these opened in Skegness in 1936, followed by others at Clacton and Filey. They offered accommodation, food and entertainment for an all-inclusive fee. They are famous for their entertainment reps, known as Redcoats.
St Tropez Resort in Southern France.
Hope I die before I get a suntan A pun on The Who's wish to die before reaching old age, from 1965's 'My Generation'.
Charles and Di Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his ex-wife the late Princess Diana.
...and don't you forget that Geoffrey Ingram... A sample of dialogue from the film A Taste of Honey.
Lovely! A sound sample from Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972), spoken by the necktie murderer, played by Barry Foster. The word also appears in the studio cover of 'Bike'.

Honey For The Bears
The title of a satirical novel by Anthony Burgess, the author of 'A Clockwork Orange'. First published in 1963, it tells the story of an antiques dealer who travels to Russia to do a deal on the black market, with unexpected consequences.

I See Myself In You
Joseph Losey film American film director. See entry for Losey in the people section.
Timothy Leary 1920 - 1996. American psychologist and Harvard lecturer, who became a Sixties drug-culture guru through his promotion of the use of LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. His phrase 'turn on, tune in, drop out' became one of the slogans of the counterculture movement. Leary was imprisoned in the '70s for drug possession, but became a popular figure on the lecture circuit in the '80s and '90s.

Goodnight Mr Spaceman
Spoken by actress Clare Grogan (later of the group Altered Images) at the end of Bill Forsyth's charming film Gregory's Girl (1981).
Album Version
Amytriptiline Amytriptiline is used to elevate the mood of patients with depression. It is also a sedative and is useful in the treatment of depressed patients with insomnia, restlessness, and nervousness. It has also been found to be helpful for treating fibromyalgia and symptoms related to chronic pain.
Signed to Creation Alan McGee's late lamented Creation Records.
Florence A character in the childrens' TV puppet programme, 'The Magic Roundabout'.
Edvard Munch Norwegian Symbolist/Expressionist Painter, 1863-1944. Creator of the famous 'Scream' painting.
trousers halfway down An amusing variation on the optimist / pessimist view of the glass half empty / half full.
Bobby Gillespie Played the drums with the Jesus and Mary Chain before leaving to form his own band, Primal Scream.
Single Version
St Etienne British pop band fronted by girly singer Sarah Cracknell. Bob Stanley of the band is a TVP fan. He released TVPs 'I Still Believe In Magic' on his own record label, the Caff Corporation, in 1989. St Etienne also covered 'How I Learned To Love The Bomb'.
Denim Band formed in the early Nineties by Laurence, after disbanding Creation stalwarts Felt.
Suede British Nineties indie rock band, fronted by Brett Anderson.
Rave The name given to often illegal Acid House dance meetings.
Wizzard Glam Rock band formed by Roy Wood, formerly of The Move and ELO. Responsible for several big-sounding, Phil Spector-influenced singles in the early Seventies, including the evergreen festive hit 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday', originally released in 1973 and regularly reissued ever since.
Slade One of the most popular British bands of the Glam Rock era of the early Seventies. Led by the affable Noddy Holder, their song titles were marked by eccentric spelling. Captured the Christmas number one single in 1973 with 'Merry Xmas Everybody'.

My Very First Nervous Breakdown
Mother Hubbard In the childrens' nursery rhyme, Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to get a bone for her dog. But the cupboard was empty, so the dog went without.

We Will Be Your Gurus
We want you, we want you, we want you as a new guru Mimics the Village People's massive 1979 disco hit 'In The Navy'.

You Are Special And You Always Will Be
Leonard Cohen Canadian singer-songwriter, noted for his baritone voice and deadpan delivery. Very popular in the late Sixties and early Seventies, with the likes of the albums 'Songs from a Room' (1969), 'Songs of Love and Hate' (1971) and 'New Skin for the Old Ceremony' (1974).

Not For The Likes Of Us
How do you sleep? The title of a bitter John Lennon song from the 1971 album 'Imagine', aimed at Paul McCartney.
Lambretta A make of scooter, favourite of the Mods in the Sixties.

You're Younger Than You Know
No-one came when I was sectioned Under the English mental health laws, a person can be detained in a hospital for treatment against their will, if an approved expert is of the opinion that they are a danger to themselves. This is known as 'sectioning'.

I Hope You Have A Nice Day
Doctor Jekyll In the gothic horror novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886, Doctor Jekyll had a murderous alter ego in Mr Hyde. The phrase has become a metaphor for a person with a split personality. Many people confuse the good Jekyll with the evil Hyde, as Dan appears to do here.

Closer To God
Grammar School A selective school which accepts pupils according to ability.

You, Me and Lou Reed
Lou Reed Founder member, vocalist and songwriter in the Velvet Underground, alongside John Cale, Sterling Morrison and drummer Mo Tucker. Reed embarked on a solo career in 1970. This song has a deliberate feel of the Velvets about it.
Roger McGuinn Founder member and leader of The Byrds.
The Grateful Dead West Coast Acid Rock band, fronted by the late Jerry Garcia.
One million light years from home '2000 Light Years from Home' is a song on the Rolling Stones' 1967 album 'Their Satanic Majesties Request', their patchy 'psychedelic' rival to the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper'.
Brian Jones Guitarist in the Rolling Stones, 1962 - 69. Found dead in his swimming pool on 3 July 1969 a month after being sacked from the band. The song 'Godstar' by Psychic TV's (and covered by Television Personalities) is dedicated to him.
Monterey The Monterey International Pop Festival was the first of the great Sixties rock festivals. Held over the weekend of Friday 16 - Sunday 18 June 1967 in Monterey, California, it heralded the Summer of Love, and featured performances by Eric Burdon & The Animals, Simon & Garfunkel, Canned Heat, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Otis Redding, The Mamas and the Papas - and career-launching performances by The Who, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
Jimi Hendrix Influential guitar hero, famous for his improvisational skills and flamboyant showmanship. Hendrix gained success in Britain in 1966 before returning to the US for a breakthrough appearance at Monterey. His recording career was short-lived, as he died of a drugs overdose on September 18, 1970, in London aged just 28.
Marvin Gaye American soul singer-songwriter-producer and Motown recording artist. His most famous hit for the label is probably 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine' (1968). The singer scored a commercial and critical success with the 1971 album 'What's Going On', which addressed political and social issues. Gaye was shot dead by his father during a family argument on April 1, 1984.

I Remember Bridget Riley
British artist. See entry in the people section.

i was a mod before you was a mod

As John Belushi Said
American comedian and actor 1949 - 82. Established his reputation playing manic characters on America's 'Saturday Night Live' (1974 - 79) before leaving to star in films, including Animal House (1978) and The Blues Brothers (1980). Died of a drugs overdose on March 5 1982.
An instrumental version of this song was released on the 'Do You Think If You Were Beautiful You'd Be Happy' single, entitled 'Who Will Be Your Prince?'.
The medication always fed my head Echoes of Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit'.
Michael Stipes [sic] Lead singer in the American band REM.

I Was A Mod Before You Was A Mod
During live performances in the Summer of 1993 (eg St Johns Tavern, London, 8/7/93), Dan read out a poem called 'Boy About Town' which ends with the title of this song. Click here for the words.
Substitute A hit single by The Who in 1966.
Drop some blues Short for French Blues or Dexedrine, an amphetamine.
Taking a trip down to the coast An Away Day to Brighton is a likely choice.
Ben Sherman Fashion designer whose clothes were popular with the Mod crowd in the Sixties. He opened his first shop in Brighton in 1963.
Grooving the night with Mr Bloe The harmonica-led instrumental 'Grooving With Mr Bloe' by Mr Bloe was a big UK hit in the Summer of 1970, and became a dance floor favourite on the Northern Soul scene.

Little Woody Allen
Woody Allen American actor and director, born in 1935. See entry in the people section.
Mia Farrow American actress, who enjoyed a ten-year relationship with Allen and was cast in many of her partner's films.

Evan Doesn't Ring Me Anymore
Evan Dando is the singer and songwriter in the Lemonheads. During the mammoth New Year's Eve gig in Berlin in 1989, Evan joined Television Personalities on stage and busked through a couple of covers. Click here for the full setlist.

I Can See My Whole World Crashing Down
Oh mother tell me more A lyric borrowed from Pink Floyd's 'Matilda Mother', from debut album 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' (1967).

Meanwhile In A Luxury Dockland Home
A reworking of the earlier song 'Me And My Desire'.

I Don't Want To Live This Life (live)
The version from the live 'Made In Japan' album is dedicated to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

Top Gear
Top Gear was the name of John Peel's late-night program on Radio One in 1967.

A cover of the closing track on Pink Floyd's debut album, 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn'. This was a live favourite long before the studio recording was issued. Dan often played this immediately following 'I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives'.
Lovely! This slightly disturbing word, from Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972), earlier appeared in 'Me And My Big Ideas'.

don't cry's only a movie

Pablo Picasso
A cover of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers' tribute to the Spanish artist. This was often played live during 1983 and 84, then revived in the mid-90s and recorded for 'Don't Cry Baby, It's Only A Movie'. See the entry in the people section for more information on Picasso himself.

Don't Cry Baby, It's Only A Movie
Audrey Hepburn Actress, born in Belgium in 1929. Hepburn moved to the US in the early Fifties, and found immediate success in 1953 with the film Roman Holiday, for which she won an Oscar. Her youthful looks meant that she was often given the roles of girls; the pinnacle of her career came in 1961, playing Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffanys. Critical acclaim followed for her role as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964), and for Wait Until Dark (1967) in which she played a blind person. At the end of the Sixties she retired from Hollywood, making only occasional big screen appearances. In 1988 she accepted the post of a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Childrens Fund, a post she retained until her death in 1993.
Cary Grant British-born actor 1904 - 86, originally named Archibald Leach. After beginning his career with an acrobatic troupe in England, he emigrated to the US in 1920 and remained there. After making his film debut in 1932, he established himself in a string of sophisticated slapstick comedies, including Bringing Up Baby (1938) and The Philadelphia Story (1940). Alfred Hitchcock provided him with four of his finest roles - Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch A Thief (1955) and North By Northwest (1959). His witty, sophisticated screen persona and handsome looks led to him being offered the role of James Bond (which he famously turned down), which eventually went to Sean Connery. Grant retired from making films in 1966.
Cleopatra Queen of Egypt and mistress of Mark Antony in Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra'. Played by Elizabeth Taylor in the hugely expensive film flop of the same name in 1963, alongside Richard Burton, with whom she fell in love.
Katharine Hepburn Hollywood actress, born in 1907. Enjoyed success early in her career with Morning Glory (for which she won an Oscar), closely followed by Little Women (both 1933). Her performance in the comedy The Philadelphia Story (1940) alongside Cary Grant and James Stewart earned her an Oscar nomination. Hepburn enjoyed a long off-screen romance with Spencer Tracy, after working together on the comedy Woman of the Year (1942). She was later to win a second Oscar for Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967) alongside Tracy in his last film role. She won her third Oscar for The Lion in Winter (1968) and the fourth for On Golden Pond (1981). Other notable roles include her appearance alongside Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's The African Queen (1951), the adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) and her performance as the dysfunctional mother in Sidney Lumet's Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962). She holds the record of being the actress with the most Oscar nominations (12) and most Oscar wins (4).

Jennifer, Julie And Josephine
Goldsmith's College Part of the University of London. Situated in New Cross, SE London. Official site here.

Originally released by Psychic TV in 1986, the song is a tribute to Brian Jones, the former Rolling Stones guitarist. He was found dead in his swimming pool on 3 July 1969.

When I Grow Up I Want To Be...
Chelsea Embankment Runs alongside the north bank of the Thames in London, opposite Battersea Power Station and just around the corner from Westminster.

<<< Page 1 | <<< Page 2 | Home