Thursday, May 23, 2019


One of the things I didn’t actually discuss in the book but was in an early draft, was how Top of the Pops had certain visual special effects – I think one of them was called howlround - things that probably now look really cheap but at the time looked mind-blowing. For instance, the whole screen would go this metallic purple, and Marc Bolan would become this sort of purple haze figure. They would use these effects a lot, specifically on glam groups. They seemed to know it wouldn’t really work on the Brotherhood of Man or Tony Orlando – the MOR groups would be filmed flat, but T-Rex and The Sweet would get all these plastic-fantastic effects on them where suddenly the screen would go all trippy. That had a pretty big impression on me as a child. It seemed like a really suitable effect to use on these bands, with it being very psychedelic but also plastic and artificial-looking, with a cheap sci-fi feel. They would also use it on people like Gary Glitter to fit their sort of trashy, bubblegum sound. That’s really the main thing I remember from that era, seeing these bands swathed with those special effects on Top of the Pops.

from an interview with David Lichfield 

unusual (at least as far as i recall) post-glamglitter use of the howlround or whatever it's called effect - on X-Ray Spex "The Day World Turned Dayglo"

perhaps strengthening my contention that there is a glam aspect (inverted-subverted) to X-Ray Spex as contended in the aftershocks section of S+A

Well! - and here's another use of the effect, and this time as as late as 1981 - and again, on a glam influenced group

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