The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

The Spotify Playlist

A Television Personalities-Themed Spotify Playlist Of Teenage Lust
Mimi Haddon , May 1st, 2009 04:54

Peter Pan and the School Band Shambles: the attraction of dreamy boyhood fey

What with the the Horrors' recent resurgence pegged with the C86 tag, some of us are already looking for even more slouchy postures, non-committal lyrics and lo-fi clamour in the months to come. Well it just so happens that a waft of very boyish hedonism is ringing in our North London, corduroy ears. Due for release on Elefant Records at the end of April is a new limited edition 7" from the Television Personalities. With Dan Treacy still at the centre, though lacking one Ed Ball, this latest re-enactment promises yet more 'nerd spirit' and 'freethinking'.

Spawned in late 70s London, the TVPs harnessed a geeky aesthetic with more than a peppering of 60s psychedelics. Their early work wavered confusingly between childish glee and a real sense of being boned on hallucinogens, with haunting references to the Who and Pink Floyd. 'I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives' sighs like 'Golden Hair' floating through 60s escapism.

The TVPs seduce with their evocation of a teenage boy world, Peter Pan syndrome and the warmth of a clearly defined role as 'the sensitive one'. Their earlier lyrical themes of weirdness, poets, dreams, pop art, a 'sausages and beans' longing for childhood appeal to those undeveloped emotions scribbled into the back of a homework diary. Dipping into M and D's dressing up box, all beads and caftans, invites us to relive the glorious fantasy days when touching women was no more than a thought preserved for an afterschool pastime.

Yearning for the days when the odd-one-out was a simple formula is, on the surface, charming and naïf. Proto- and post-punk acts like Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers captured the same boyish gawk, Richman's desire for more than a "girl to fool around with" reveals the adolescent joy of wanting more than having. With more Smithsy flange, harmonic drive and structure, Orange Juice and the Pastels are also hailed for the same wistful twee.

Yet the TVPs foster a brutish and pervy underbelly. The simple riffs, guitar squall and clanging drones recalled the Velvets or perhaps inspired the pelvic force of Beat Happening. The repeated chords or the piano ostinato in their cover of 'Pablo Picasso' is full of relentless sexual energy. The sounds alone tell us that "sipping lemon tea" also tacitly involves lusting after a girl in a vest, no bra and only a semblance of boobs... and certainly not having the gall to call her back.

"Oh my God, what did I do before email? I wrote letters", hollers Treacy in their newest output, staying true to that romantic and fantastical lost art of pen-to-paper correspondence. Sigh. And it's still hysterical and Brit-accented with a hint of John Lydon exhibiting their long-standing debt to punk. 'People Think That We Are Strange' stays firmly within the safety of school nerdiness, and may take us into a warm motherly spring without the dull, bitter reality of adult life.

Listen to The Television Personalities Spotift playlist


Television Personalities - 'The Dream Inspires'
Television Personalities - 'A Picture Of Dorian Gray'
The Pastels - 'Crawl Babies'
Vivian Girls - 'Where Do You Run To'
Beat Happening - 'TV Girl'
Belle and Sebastian - 'Seymour Stein'
The Velvet Undergroud - 'Pale Blue Eyes'
New Order - 'Love Less'
Syd Barrett - 'Golden Hair'
Orange Juice - 'Louise Louise'
The Jesus & Mary Chain - 'Cut Dead'
The Wedding Present - 'Thanks'
The Who - 'Girl's Eyes'
My Bloody Valentine - 'Lose My Breath'
Television Personalities - 'Pablo Picasso'