Step aboard my time machine. The comfy seats are at the back and please don’t stick your chewie under the seats. Our schedule tonight involves two hops, one of 30 years, then a smidge forward five before bringing you back home to the present day? Are we all sorted? Everyone been? Good. Let’s go.
It’s about 1988. We’re in a fictional North London school, right after sports day. A slightly bewildered headmistress is addressing the assembled crowds, preparing them for the entertainment to come. Her name is Bridget McCluskey. The school is Grange Hill. The act she’s about to welcome the stage performs something called ‘rap’ music and they go by the name of Fresh & Fly. They’re truly awful and I promise you will only suffer them for mere minutes before onward we scoot, geographically and chronologically.
It’s about 1993. We’re in a youth centre in the North East of England. A kindly gentleman with a beard is calming some excited youngsters down before the evening’s fun can commence. There is a band on stage, they too will be performing ‘rap’ music, joined by a seeming interloper who’s only there to bounce about. The rappers are PJ & Duncan, they’re saying something about looking through a window and the whole experience is truly painful – worse, if possible, than Fresh & Fly’s offering.
Fellow travellers, I have subjected you to so much this evening. Homewards we must fly, turning left at the sign for Byker and back into the time-space continuum. I’ll have you home for Emmerdale, don’t worry.
And while those offerings of ‘rap’ music from British children’s TV of the ’80s and ’90s are fresh (& fly) in our minds, let’s turn our thoughts to this year’s San Marinese Eurovision entry – whose contribution to the ‘rap’ music canon is surely on equal, if lesser, par.
To be frank, it’s dreadful. When hip Jenny B turns up next up her mate Jessica with a limberjack shirt wrapped round her waist, it feels like the most unwelcome Contest-related stage invasion since Jimmy Jump. Performing ‘rap’ music that can only have been written by her nan, this is what it must have been like when Rod, Jane and Freddie were asked to stand in for Run DMC on her night they took their mums to bingo. Has rap, real rap, ever sounded like this?
Anyway, let’s leave Jen for a bit and focus on Jess. This is, at least, competent. If they’d just let her carry on with her workmanlike pop song for the full three minutes, they could have dressed it up with all the bangs and whistles going. But no, Jen has to turn up like the unwelcome bucket in Carrie just when the prom was going OK.
We’re now in rehearsal week in Lisbon. We’ll see exactly what these two have in store for us in a couple of days. Presumably more than those two robots from Argos. But a stage show rivalling Charlton Heston’s ability to get two halves of the Red Sea in a huff with each other is required if this is to make any sort of progress.
And no, you can’t borrow my time machine to find out what happens next. I saw you stick that chewie under the seat as we left Grange Hill.