Television Personalities – Beautiful Despair

Unexpectedly, 2018 brings us the wide release of a new Television Personalities album. Something I never expected to happen. TVP’s leader Dan Treacy suffered severe health issues a few years ago that left him debilitated, possibly sidelining any new music permanently. It was a tragic turn of events – the music Mr. Treacy had released since his comeback in the mid 00’s was some of the strongest material in the TVP’s oeuvre. Beautiful Despair features tracks recorded with Jowe Head in the late 80’s. Most of these songs would turn up on other releases, while a few are just seeing the light of day on this album. Not quite a demo tape, but not quite an official album feel to this release. What it does is bring the listener into the creative process, giving you and idea of what works and what doesn’t work. And to be clear – this isn’t a masterpiece. What it is, is an unexpected glimpse into the working relationship Jowe Head and Dan Treacy had. Results will vary for the listener depending on how much of a Television Personalities fan you are, but for me the album is a welcome release.

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Television Personalities – Part Time Punks

part time punks

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Any scene or movement naturally opens itself up to the mockery of outsiders. In the late 70’s Daniel Treacy & Edward Ball led a few acts that were associated with the punk scene, though the music was simultaneously more melodic AND shambolic. O-Level (Ed on vocals) made fun of fake punks by way of the song Pseudo Punk. Television Personalities (Dan on vocals) tackled the topic from a slightly different angle on their 2nd release of 1978, Part Time Punks. The music feels like it will all fall apart at any minute, sounding like teenagers practicing music at home (in fact, that is exactly what it was). It feels more in line with what was labeled “twee” or the C-86 scene of the mid 80’s and not punk. The chorus is a joyous sing-a-long “Here they come / la la la la la / the part-time punks”. The Clash and Swell Maps get a shout out (among others). This is probably the most famous song by the TVP’s and showcases a lighter side of the band before they explored a darker path (sans Ed Ball). This is a must have track for any fan of the late 70’s punk, DIY, and post-punk scenes. I love these lyrics:

They play their records very loud
And pogo in the bedroom
In front of the mirror
But only when their mums gone out
They pay 5 pence fares on the buses
And they never use toothpaste
But they got two fifty to go and see The Clash.

Here they come
la la la la la la
la la la la la la
The part time punks!