Because isn’t it a fact our memories are editing machines? We recall the good times, forget the bad.
Take Top Of The Pops for example.
A few weeks ago, when the Beeb announced it was set to repeat every programme from 1976 onwards in exactly the same format as it was beamed out at the time, I was genuinely excited.
On the night of the first show from April of that year, I Sky Plussed the half hour recording and the documentary that preceded it.
The documentary was informative, fascinating and hugely enjoyable as it discussed TOTP’s glory days when Glam rock ruled the airwaves and its inevitable decline to a point when it became such an irrelevance, they couldn’t even find a slot for it on BBC 2
That featured episode was not exactly vintage entertainment with The Brotherhood of Man at No. 1, Pans’ People dancing to a song called Jungle Rock and here-today-gone-tomorrow bands such as Sailor with Girls Girls Girls and Fox performing Single Bed among the live acts in the studio.
My wife and I watched it, wallowing in the memories and the fashions if not the music. But nostalgia has its drawbacks when it gradually dawns on you that this specific week’s offering wasn’t a particularly bad example of TOTP 35 years ago. It was the bloody norm.
Seven days later when we watched the next episode on playback, we spent most of the time pressing the fast forward button and it was the same for week three.
Now 1976 will never go down as one of music’s vintage years and, as the aforementioned documentary pointed out, punk rock became an inevitability not just because of the excesses of prog rock but due to the bilge being churned out for the singles market.
The fact is that turning in to Top Of The Pops always was a bit like following your favourite run-of-the-mill football team.
You watched not just out of a sense of duty but in the wild hope that once, just once, it would meet expectations. It never did and the re-running of those far-off programmes has coldly reminded me of the fact.
Now there’s talk of The Tube being brought back in the near future and I hope these re-runs don’t tarnish fond memories in the way TOTP repeats have.
The Tube was cool in a way it’s Beeb rival could never hope to be, cutting edge as opposed to mainstream, forward-thinking rather than safe.
If Top of the Pops was a pair of slippers, the Tyne Tees production screamed stiletto heels.
Jools Holland pontificating or Dave Lee Travis posing? Paula Yates flirting or Anthea Turner fawning? Really, it was no contest.
Even its timing – 6pm on a Friday ahead of nights out in the pubs and clubs – suggested it had tapped in to a youth culture Top of the Pops had alienated around the time the glitz and glamour of T Rex, Sweet, Slade and David Bowie was losing its sheen.
Please tell me it was as good as I remember it to be or is my memory playing tricks on me once again?