We go back to early 1988, when American teen star Tiffany is the cover star of Smash Hits, having just had a massive hit with I Think We’re Alone Now.

As you open the magazine, there is a poster of Eddie Kidd, famous as a Stuntman but is also launching a singing career.

In news, Pet Shop Boys have recorded a song with Patsy Kensit, and Roger Taylor has launched a career as a singer with a band called The Cross, and is interviewed.

Cher gets a full page dedicated to her, looking at her fashion over the previous twenty years.

A-Ha announced they were going on a UK tour, beginning at Shepton Mallet Showering Pavillion and George Michael is doing a tour which includes two nights in Belfast.

Hugh Cornwell from The Stranglers is interviewed, while Smash Hits reports than a Soap actress called Kylie Minogue has recorded a song called I Should Be So Lucky which was described as “Quite good”, to their surprise.

The Housemartins also announced their split this week.

Bros get interviewed, with Craig revealing his first concert was AC/DC.

Michael Hutchence gets a double page profile, billed as “The most fanciable creation in the history of the universe?”

Also being interviewed is Dollar, with David and Thereza being asked questions about each other.

Tiffany gets a three page interview where she reveals he prefers Sindy over Barbie, and that boys at school called her “Whiffany”

In singles reviews, The Bangles cover of Hazy Shade Of Winter was the best single of the fortnight.

As the magazine ends, there is a double page interview with Bananarama where they, like Dollar, were asked questions about each other.


The H and Claire of The Beautiful South, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott returned to Belfast after two successful (The Limelight in June and Ulster Hall in October) gigs in 2014 as part of their latest tour.

Nearly ten years after The Beautiful South split up, Singer/Songwriter Heaton is now recording as part of a duo with Abbott, vocalist during their commercial peak during the late 1990s, who replaced original vocalist Brianna Corrigan, from Portstewart.

The story goes that Heaton heard Abbott singing at a party and asked her to join the band. It sounds like the rejected draft of Don’t You Want Me by Human League. It sounds like Don’t You Want Me by Human League if it was written by Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray.

Reunited by social media of all things, they released an album and toured in 2014, and enjoyed it so much, they released another one and decided to tour it.

The crowd cheered when Heaton asked if they’d bought their new album. He said he’d be checking if they could back it up by singing along to their new songs.

The highlight of those new songs was the lead single from their new album, The Austerity Of Love.

They entered the stage, and the crowd were treated to some spectacular dad dancing from Paul Heaton, attempting The Robot during the opening song.

I’d previously seen them at The Limelight in 2014. I gave the gig at Ulster Hall a miss as it was only four months between gigs. I wish I had now.

I’m not usually a fan of Ulster Hall as a venue, but it was perfect for Heaton and Abbott.

As with their Limelight gig in 2014, the setlist through Heaton’s career with The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, and as a duo with Jacqui Abbott.

Despite focusing on his career, the songs that didn’t feature Abbott as a recording artist were easily reworked to include her as a live performer.

It is almost 30 years since Heaton first gigged in Belfast, with The Housemartins in 1986. It is a gig which Heaton commented was his favourite gig he has ever done, playing the opening song from that night, Anxious.

Not all of the retrospective was glorious, as he stated “what a miserable twat I used to be” when introducing Have Fun, a song not performed live for 18 years prior to this tour.

Heaton’s pre-gig routine is very different now from The Beautiful South’s heyday. Back then it was, in his words, getting pissed. Nowadays, it is watching Pointless in his hotel room, having a sleep, and watching Emmerdale while eating a packet of crisps, and feeling inadequate in comparision to some of the men who roam Emmerdale, but that performing live gives him a confidence boost.

Naturally, there were plenty of Beautiful South hits on the setlist, a Reggae version of A Little Time (Curiously, a song neither of them sang on. Abbott wasn’t in The Beautiful South when it was released in 1990, and Dave Hemingway sang the male lead), Prettiest Eyes (which Heaton says he wrote at the age of 32 about people in their early 50s, the age bracket he is in now), Don’t Marry Her, Old Red Eyes Is Back, Good As Gold and an uptempo version of Rotterdam

There was even a bluesy insturmental song, looking like it was going to sound like Livin On A Prayer by Bon Jovi, only to be a dancey uptempo version of Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten would be in my Top Ten Beautiful South songs. If the version played live was the version that was released, it might well have been

My main memory of the song was buying the CD single when I was out for lunch during my work experience.

There was not one, but two encores, with Jacqui Abbott getting her now obligatory crowd photo for Twitter.

The show ended with You Keep It All In. Nothing at all was kept in during this performance.

Photo Album

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Live At The Limelight June 2014

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Live At The Limelight June 2014 Photo Album


We start this week with a treat for you. Mick Jagger turned 71 this week. We’ve pretty much exhausted all the Rolling Stones appearances, so here’s Mick trying a solo career in 1987.

Another week, another Royal Birthday. Roger Taylor from Queen, who narrowly beats Roger Taylor from Duran Duran as the most famous Roger Taylor in pop, turns 65.

No clip yet, but there’s a treat at the end (Not really a treat, but a tenuous Queen linked video)

Also celebrating a birthday this week is John Craven’s wife Beverley.

And Taka Hirose from Feeder.

This blog has accidentally taken on a theme of the 2000 US Presidential Election. Last week we had Gore (Martin, of Depeche Mode) and this week, we have Bush (Kate, much loved popular solo artist. Not the band fronted by Gavin Rossdale)

Some more birthdays, some drummers attempting to blow out candles this week, include, Sean Moore from Manic Street Preachers, who turned 46 this week.

And another drummer birthday this week, Bill Berry, formerly of REM.

Also celebrating this week, former Housemartin Norman Cook. And of a few other acts as well.

And finally, remember that Queen treat for Roger Taylor’s birthday? Prepare to be underwhelmed.

McFly were set to have the last Number 1 on the last weekly edition of TOTP with a cover of “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Until Shakira and Wyclef knocked them off.

You may be interested to know that epsiode was broadcast 8 years ago yesterday.

This was broadcast a few weeks earlier. I warned you it was underwhelming.


Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, formerly of The Beautiful South, were in Belfast last night promoting their new duets album What Have We Become, with a concert at The Limelight.

I never got to see The Beautiful South, who split up in 2007 due to “Musical similarites”, during their heyday, so this was the next best thing.

However, there are enough options for those wanting to relive The Beautiful South, with a Dave Hemingway led group, The South, also touring. All we need is Brianna Corrigan and Dave Rotheray to form their own group.

It was billed as “Performing material from their new album, and songs by The Beautiful South and The Housemartins”, and that’s what it was, an anthology of Paul Heaton’s career.

One of the first hits they played was “Old Red Eyes Is Back”, introduced as “A song about drinking”. Not sure if the lighting guys meant it, or it happened by fluke, but the stage lights went red as the opening notes were played.

To keep up with the anthology theme of the night, Heaton told stories between songs, reminiscing about past visits to Belfast, listing all the bars he’d drank in, and how the first thing he did upon flying into Belfast to go to a vending machine for a packet of Tayto crisps.

He then continued to talk about his love of Tayto, trying to do a deal with the audience that “I’ll buy your Tayto if you buy our albums”

On the stage was a series of paintings, painted by Paul, Jacqui and their keyboardist, of famous Northern Ireland folk. Like a gameshow host, Heaton invited the audience to guess who they were, with whoever guesses right taking it home.

Only one person won, correctly guessing that Jacqui Abbott had painted a portrait of Mary Peters holidaying in the Algarve.

The hits continued, including the Jacqui Abbott led hits such as “Rotterdam” and “Don’t Marry Her”, as well as Housemartins hits such as “Happy Hour” and “Me And The Farmer”

When introducing one of those Housemartins hits, he recalled how they won a battle of the bands, with the prize being to support Gary Glitter at Hull City Hall, which they withdrew from when they discovered they were having to pay for the, um, honour.

They came back for not one, but two, encores. The second of which, featured an a capella performance of Caravan Of Love.

Most of the big hits were performed. There was no “Perfect Ten” on the playlist. This gig, came quite close to a Perfect Ten.

(I’d go eight or nine, since you ask)

In other gig related news, I saw Suggs : My Life In Words And Music. It was part music, part stand-up, but totally enjoyable, as Suggs relived anecdotes from Madness through to their early days, heyday, split, and various comebacks.

It was a show that debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012, the week after i’d left. I’d been waiting for almost two years to see that show, and it was worth the wait.

Talking of Suggs, i’ll be going to see him doing his day job in December. That’s as lead singer of Madness, not host of Night Fever.

Looking forward to this. Hope it’s as good as the time I saw Madness in August 2012.

Two weeks today, i’ll be seeing Wonder Villains doing a rooftop gig at the Oh Yeah Centre to celebrate the release of their debut album. Really looking forward to this, a fantastic band.

The week after that, i’m off to HMV in Donegall Arcade for an instore gig by Runaway Go, who I had previously seen at Belsonic last year.

The week after (yes, I know) i’m off the see Bray to see James for the 4th time, having also seen them at Belsonic last year.

At that concert, they’ll be supporting Paloma Faith, who I saw at Ulster Hall last year.

After that, it’s a bit of a break until August when I head to see The Killers at Tennent’s Vital. Guess what? I’ve already seen them. February 2013.

What i’m looking forward to at that gig, is seeing Bastille. I’ve never seen them before, so looking forward to that.

In terms of possible gigs, i’m thinking about going to Tom Odell/Kodaline at Belsonic. Undecided as yet. I like Tom Odell but I don’t know much about Kodaline.

Meanwhile, i’m on the lookout for a ticket to Erasure at Ulster Hall in November. They’d sold out within minutes before i’d a chance to purchase one.

Incidentally, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott have announced a new tour for the winter. No Belfast date as yet. If they do announce one, i’d recommend you go.

Photo Album


Welcome to this week’s look through the Pop Tardis, beginning with a Happy Birthday to the lead singer of Fast Fashion. However, if you’re not a French speaker, it’s Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode. You just can’t get enough of him.

Sharing a birthday is Hull’s finest export, even though, whisper it, he’s a Scouser by birth.

Another Paul born this week is Paul McGuigan, best known as Guigsy from Oasis. Yes, there are members of Oasis not called Gallagher. Bassist on the first three albums since you ask.

And another (Greater) Manchester popstar celebrating this week, Graham Gouldman, with the greatest Reggae song from a bunch of guys from Stockport ever.

DISCLAIMER : If you are ever robbed at gunpoint, it’s not advisable to try and start small talk about Cricket.

Also blowing out candles, possibly from a 30 foot Lemon Cake, is Bono.

Now, a Steve Winwood double of sorts. Here he is being covered …….

…… and sampled.

Talking of 80s rockers and Dance music, this is the only David Byrne TOTP appearance on Youtube.

Ian Astbury of The Cult is 52 this week. No surprises what video will accompany that fact.

Natalie Appleton from All Saints celebrates a birthday this week. Does anyone remember the All Saints spin-off Appleton?

And finally, Olly Murs hits the big 30. If TOTP was still on, he’d be on it every week, either performing or presenting. Just think about that.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 11.5.2012

1. Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
2. Saint Etienne – You’re In A Bad Way
3. Keane – Silenced By The Night
4. Fun ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
5. Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna

Paul Heaton celebrated his 50th birthday this week, and this milestone deserves a Top Five, a song of his for every decade he has been alive.


1. The Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes Is Back
2. The Beautiful South – The Table
3. The Beautiful South – This Could Be Our Year
4. The Housemartins – Shelter
5. The Housemartins – Caravan Of Love