Tuesday, 19 September 2006

TSP Video Classix: Snooker Loopy

Stay tuned for the majesty of rock and the pageantry of roll (both musical and green-felt related) as we present to you Chas and Dave’s 80’s masterpiece of British musical theatre “Snooker Loopy”. VH1 ranked it the 5th worst video in history. The four in front of it must have been absolute crackers.

Regardless of quality control issues you know something is going to be memorable when it opens with a shot like this,

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There’s a chance from the available evidence that this video will pay careful and respectful homage to the proud traditions of the West End, Broadway and the people who gave their blood, sweat and tears to make the entertainment and sporting industries what they are today.

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Or it might just be a bunch of out of shape middle aged men bunting red balls around a table to music for a quick payday.

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And there they are now. The sporting world’s equivalent of the Crazy Old Man dancers from The Simpsons. Now I don’t think there’s anyone under 90 in this country who has ever played snooker, and it’s fair to say that the game’s televised funeral came when Mick Molloy made Eddie Charlton run around the table with his pants down on The Late Show, but I’m telling you this video would have spoken to the kids if they’d played it here. One appearance on Countdown and the VFL would never have been able to go national in the face of competition from the Australian Snooker League. If there’s anyone you want promoting your sport in this country it’s a couple of dads in jumpers and a guy who looks suspiciously like Paul Keating.

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Now the best thing about this video is that not only do you get three and a half minutes of propaganda about the game but you also learn about the competitors themselves. Which is a nice personal touch I think. First up is “
Milo” who despite his appearance is a snooker player and not the 24th Prime Minister of Australia. We’re reliably informed that not only is he well dressed (in possibly the only use of the word “dapper” in chart history) but he also has Italian roots. Or “Eyetalian” if you speak Cockney. You’ll note that to really get the point across he’s hoeing into a big bowl of spaghetti. Do you see what they did there? The suggestion that he “keeps his head” despite his Italian background seems to indicate a stereotype that people from that country often lose the plot. You’d never get away with that in a song these days.

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Next up is Dad #1 who we are reliably informed was a gun player who couldn’t hit long shots to save his life. Luckily for us all he rectified the problem and in what probably ranks as THE most off-key singing moment in history explains that “NOW I WEAR THESE GOGGGGGGGGGLES”. This man, who we are reliably informed is called “Den” now holds the record for the most ludicrous appearance in a music video AND the off-key singing world record. Personally I say well done to him. Glorious amateurism is exactly what we need more of in the music industry. Enough with Australian Idol contestants who use their talents on production line tosh that nobody over thirteen could possibly like, and IN with the mid 40’s “sportsmen” who are just there for the dollars.

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Next up is “Terry the Taff”, who as a Welshman gets to wear a miners hat. Because everyone from Wales is a sweaty miner of course. Well they were when this was released anyway. Until they were sacked en masse and the whole industry was moved overseas. Boo Thatcher and all that. Where was the follow-up single where he was wearing a “Maggie Is A Tart” t-shirt? Missed opportunites for comic hijinks with a message.

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But the good news for now is that Tezza is swimming in the cash and even has time to buy another 8 “hairbrushes” for his “barnet”. There is no possible way that this song could be any less Cockney unless it were called “Knees Up Mother Brown” and had been recorded by the Kray Brothers.

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Next up is Willie Thorne who apparently is mocked endlessly for having no hair. See, for instance, the proto-Coneheads scene taking place in the above shot. The good news is that despite being slaughtered by his colleagues for having no “barnet” (as Terry The Taff would no doubt describe it) Willie is still going strong now. Go to his website and hire him for after-dinner speaking, conferences or as an auctioneer. Or, like the rest of the world, don’t.

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And his revenge for all that pulling of the piss regarding hair matters? Blinding the other players with the light shining off his bonce. His half arsed solution is to offer, “perhaps I ought to chalk it”. Perhaps? Ought? You realise that this could be the greatest song ever released don’t you? Where else have you ever heard the butchery of the English language performed with such style?

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Next up is Steve Davis, the only snooker player that I’d ever actually heard of before this song who wasn’t Australian or didn’t have the word Hurricane in his name. I love sports where you can look like some complete bum off the street and still be a world champion. Alas the year in question saw Steve lose the title when the black ball wouldn’t go down. This leads to completely non-sensical lyrics which feature his manager yelling at him before he says “He don’t care who wins this year ‘cos he’s got the rest of us signed up”. Now how can he be saying the “rest of us” including himself when he was already signed up? This is the only thing that could possibly cause this to lose the election for greatest song ever. That and the fact that it’s a big knees up singalong sung by middle-aged school teacher lookalikes and a couple of cockney wideboys.

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One final shot of the chorus. With proof undeniable that Willie Thorne was having the time of his life. He’s got the hand on the headphone and is just belting it out like he’s in a cheap karaoke bar singing sea shanty songs. No wonder “Mr. Maximum” (as the kids called him) is the enduring face of snooker punditry in Great Britain to this day. None of the others seem to be getting into it, and Terry The Taff clearly doesn’t give a rats anymore, but in the spirit of drunken nights out across the world Den is having a red hot go fully knowing that he’s got no idea.
And before we go today it’s over to our hosts Chas ‘n Dave for a final indication of what you’d have to be to hand over good money and buy this song in the shops.

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Absolutely mental. Right you are lads. Back next week with more.

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