Back in the old days, before TV, before intellectual clarity, many would slope off to church to speak to God and have a general chit chat with friends. The day was filled with duty and dressing smartly, none of this sleeping in until midday and nursing a hangover malarkey. One can chart the rise of the latter, and the death of the former, squarely at the feet of MTV (and their numerous copyists).
Musick, for example, has spent the majority of the day watching – I say watching, it was more staring blankly at the screen looking at the colours and shapes move and merge – 4Music’s rundown of the top 50 biggest selling boyband singles of the nineties. I know, I know, pretty much the worse musical prospect since The Cheeky Girls, but it had a certain nostalgic charm (unlike the robotic Transylvanian twins). Way too much Boyzone though.
The band that really stood out amongst all the pec shaking, baggy clothes and vocal harmonies, were the oft-forgotten 911. Here were three lads whose choreography and all-round stage presence were such that it made East 17 look like a troupe of Beyoncés. This is their seminal ‘Bodyshakin’:
Best bit? 19 seconds in, when they first unleash the ‘in and out knees’ dance, whilst wearing their joggers. Image be damned, let’s just throw on a Reebok jumper and some cargo pants and pretend we’re Take That. Not that those five (as it was then, obviously) lads got through the nineties disaster free. There was that ill-advised dalliance with naked jelly wrestling, a rumoured dalliance with Lulu, and this, their attempt at street cred, ‘Sure’:
Full on string jumpers? Nice look Barlow, nice look. Of course, it’s easy to look at these with our hindsight glasses on, but really, the whole boyband phenomenon must surely go down as a nadir of our lifetime. Pop may be a better place for the return of Take That, but them apart, it’s possibly better with the girls in charge.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t find out who was number 1…