FUN FACTORY WAS Granada's last-gasp attempt at Saturday morning kids TV. One of the ITV network’s many cheeseparing summer schedule replacements for TISWAS, it was presented by a clean-shaven Jeremy Beadle and "his metallic friend Kurt Knobbler" alongside a not-in-the-mood skeleton crew that comprised crackpot Vision On inventor Wilf Lunn, stalwart Liverpool DJ Billy Butler and Gary Crowley. Fun Factory ran for just one summer, a rag-bag of thin jokes and cheap cartoons which no-one seems to have a nice word for. But, the other day, Twitter music head Badger Meinhof alerted MOJO to this remarkable clip of Buzzcocks performing Are Everything on Fun Factory.
“Buzzcocks are deep in the muddy tunnel of super-strength LSD.”
Released in August 1980, Are Everything was the sound of a fractious band in their final throes. A queasily insistent parallel-universe ’60s pop hook echoing repeatedly in the thin acoustic corridor of a let's-try-this Martin Hannett production, it at least had a happy afterlife incorporated into Prince's Raspberry Beret.
Speaking to Jon Savage in 1989, Hannett described those final Buzzcocks sessions as “totally chaotic. They were wired... it was fraught [and] I’d gone a bit self-absorbed by then”. Other accounts tell specifically of a band and producer drenched in LSD, Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle working apart, dividing up vocals and A & B sides and fracturing the band.
Well, here's the evidence, and Lord is it weird.
Pete Shelley sports a thin spiv moustache and enunciates into camera with a conspiratorial glare that announces to wild-eyed breakfasting kids at home that the game is clearly up with this pop lark. The camera, it should be noted, is held by a man sporting a blue-and-white-striped bunny-rabbit costume. This is important as, yes, by all accounts, Buzzcocks also performed Are Everything on Fun Factory deep in the muddy tunnel of super-strength LSD.
Steve Diggle doesn’t hide it too well, locked in a vexatious teasing stomp that seems specifically designed to push the already irked Shelley (and bunny camera man) over the edge. Bassist Steve Garvey doesn't seem entirely sure of where he is, or what's happening to his instrument (watch those hand movements), but at least he seems to be happy. You can only imagine how strange John Maher feels, playing those drums with many-handed help from a large audience of tiny clowns.
The other lovely thing about this clip is how genuinely informative the YouTube comments underneath are. A rare, truly historical pop performance with helpful information added by online users. How often do you see that?
We can only speculate that these comments come from Fun Factory viewers at the time, who learned about the art of deep music research from the young Gary Crowley. Take it away, Gaz.