WHAT THE CENSOR SAW
At the end of November, I was drowning my porridge with lashings of honey when I heard it. Radio One and the morning’s relaxation —
but this seven inch ‘Relax’ was brutal. Boldly, it slapped orgasms into my breakfast bowl. Hadn’t they noticed at the BBC? Or, was this some kind of progress?Rose Rouse, Frankie Goes To Hollywood feature, Sounds Jan 18.
The issue containing Rose’s quote slapped its way onto the doorsteps on January 10th. The following day, wonderful Radio One DJ Mike Read suddenly announced that Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’, then up from 22 to number six in the charts, was obscene, unsuitable for airplay on his bland breakfast time slot and highly immoral. Rose was right in the first instance. They really hadn’t noticed at the Beeb. Progress? Some hope.
After Read’s sanctimonious intervention came a total daytime ban on the Beeb, and all basically because of two little words; SUCK and COME, which Radio One controller Derek Chinnery seems to thing “refers to fellatio and ejaculation”. It took him 90 airplays and about six weeks to figure it out. Or rather, it took the press to point out any suggestiveness for him.
And subsequently a Top Of The Pops ban too, embarrassingly for them coinciding with the group’s rise to number one in the charts. Which raises all those old hypocritical accusations yet again not least over the sexism exploited by their scantily dressed wimmin that gyrate across the TOTP studio. Gang Of Four where are you now?
The (not so new) conservatism and pathetic censorship comes at a time when it’s feared that all the Beeb’s “alternative” DJ’s look to be teetering on the brink of enforced obscurity. Radio One are unhappy about the large amount of airplay time devoted to “scruffy revolutionary bands”, particularly in the late evening slow occupied by Peel, which was traditionally the heavy rock/contemporary spot, and rumours from more than one source point to him being edged into the weekend spot recently vacated by deceased Alexis Korner.
This could leave Radio One in the land of complete blandness, with Peelle replaced by the likes of Peter Powall, so that you and I can sit down all day with uninterrupted chart music, pre-digested and regurgitated, and heavily (and stupidly) censored. Which is of course, what we want (after all, they known best) and what’s good for us.
It looks like Frankie Goes To Hollywood have just touched the tip of a very bleak iceberg.