#2 Television Personalities – Part-time Punks (1978)

The “TVPs” – the indie band’s indie band. It’s incredible how such an influential group, who were formed in 1977, and whose first release was in 1978, are nonetheless, relatively, so obscure to this day. Name-checked by virtually everyone who had anything to do with the evolution of indie music in the UK as a post-punk genre in its own right, and worshipped by the likes of Stephen Pastel and Bobby Gillespie because of the integrity of their DIY ethic and superb song-craft, the band, led by singer-songwriter Dan Treacy, remain curiously and stubbornly inconspicuous, even within indie circles. It’s puzzling, but entirely appropriate, I suppose, that a band who are the very essence of what it should mean to be a successful indie band remain, relatively, unsuccessful in commercial terms. They have been described as “quite possibly the finest cult band in the UK”[1], and perhaps their lack of front page space could be down to their erratic back catalogue. Since forming in 1977, they have released only 11 studio albums, involving numerous changes in band personnel, centred on the constant figure of Treacy. (For example, their 1998 album, Don’t Cry Baby…It’s Only a Movie, was eventually followed up by 2006’s My Dark Places).

Tragically, it was reported in October 2011 that Treacy was seriously ill after an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain, and although he has subsequently regained consciousness, he has remained hospitalised. Despite this, he allegedly intends to make a return to music some day.

tvps

This song, on the band’s second release, the Where’s Bill Grundy Now? EP from 1978, is an indie anthem, and a feel-good dance floor-filler. It is, at the same time nonetheless, a seriously scathing attack on middle-class souls who viewed the punk phenomenon as a kind of opt-in/opt-out fashion choice, where image and the aesthetic, and not the music itself or the politics of it, were all-consumingly important. It’s a cracker.

[1][1] http://www.televisionpersonalities.co.uk/

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