99. Filth

Tapehead no 99 

Don’t you worry sometimes about the amount of gratuitous filth on our screens ? About the effects on our children and what it says about us as a society ?

No, neither does Tapehead. But if he did he would surely be in uproar about the license paying public’s money being wasted on programmes about punk (Dancing In the Street) and the absurd notion that shit-eating pseuds like David Byrne and Richard Hell should get any of the credit.

Punk, as Paul Simenon once again so ably demonstrates, had nothing to do with being an intellectual – or even intelligent.

The Ramones, whose every song began with the shout “Wah-tuh-free-fuh”, understood this.

“Dee Dee would always do the counting – don’t know why. It just came natural to him. He could count to four very well.”

They deny they only played short mindless thrashes, regarding them instead as “long songs played quickly.”

Compared to The Glorious Slits or The Mighty Buzzcocks, Richard Hell (the Kevin Costner of punk) was the sort of one-hit wonder who made Plastic Bertrand look prolific. 

Patti Smith was a rock singer. And as for Talking Heads, they had a keyboard player for Gods’ sake.

The Pistols, of course, were punk, as the programme eventually realizes when it gets to Steve Jones and John Lydon – two English epitomes of how not to give a fuck.

You can tell McLaren still loves them. Just watch his affection and admiration for the riot they inspired at Randy’s Rodeo in Texas when the beer cans start flying and Jones just stands there, as Malcolm puts it, “nutting them back like a footballer.”

The programme closes with Talking Head Tina Weymouth’s attempt to sum punk up – quoting “Never Mind the Bullocks.” 


Ten years ago, if you’d told “Mad” Frankie Fraser that when he got out Channel 4 would ask him to made a programme called ‘If I Were Prime Minister’ he’d have nutted you for taking the piss.

Now 72, Fraser spent a total of 56 years inside, a result of his irritating habits of taking people’s teeth out when there was nothing wrong with them, and torturing their testicles with home-made electrocution devices.

Now, thanks to Channel 4, he gets to go on TV pontificating about sex offenders (“people tampering with women and children”), pensioners (“they should be allowed everything for free – everything”), and immigration (“no more carte blonk. The time has come to say No”).

“Thick” Frankie Fraser would be more appropriate.

One Algerian political refugee gets into a furious slanging match with him.

Presumably, Channel 4 neglected to mention to the poor bloke what Frankie was famous for and that he was risking having his goolies barbecued.

That a fine organization like the BBC is now stooping so low as to compete with the depraved Channel 4 saddens Tapehead. 

It was bad enough when Bing got all frisky in Brookside. Now in Coming Of Age: Grey Sex, our screens are sullied with dozens of perverted OAPS regaling us with the sordid details of their disgusting grey sex lives.

“I only have to look at you and you have an erection,” giggles Pearl (70) to Frank (69).

Ex-army officer Donald (74) boasts: “My God, I can go on for ages !”

And after 50 years of marriage, Ian and Joan are experimenting with vacuum pumps to sustain Ian’s “nice healthy erection” – which in Tapehead’s book is one step away from plastic bags and satsumas. 

They are all (obviously) completely deluded – virtually senile – but still…The BBC shouldn’t encourage them.

Tapehead, as you know, campaigned for as much sex on our screens as possible but you have to draw the line somewhere. 

Keep this (old) filth off our screens.


Dancing In The Street: Sat, 9.15pm-10.15pm, BBC2

Coming Of Age – Grey Sex: Mon, 9pm-10pm, BBC2

If I Were Prime Minister: Mon, 8pm-8.30pm, C4