Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 35.

A while ago I looked back at the career of Pookiesnackenburger, who were a comedy musical sextet. They released the single “Just One Cornetto” in the early-80s, but this wasn’t a success, and they appeared on a few TV shows, including No. 73. By the mid-80s they had their own show on Channel 4, where they showed off their unusual combination of comedy and music.

But not long after this though, they went their separate ways, although two of them, Luke and Steve, remained together, and a launched a new group. They were now called The Yes/No People, and in November 1987 they had another attempt at achieving a hit single when “Mr Johnson” was released. There was a video made for this, plus some TV appearances, and there must’ve been hope that this would put them into the chart at last.

This was in a slightly different style, following on from their comedy songs. One critic said that “Mr Johnson” was “a funky, dense, no-escape-possible pop tune, ready for the dance floor”. But this wasn’t a huge success however, and reached only an unofficial no. 99. Having just scraped into the Top 100, also in the late-80s, they performed the theme to the short-lived Channel 4 music show Wired. This had an impressive for the time computer-generated opening sequence, which even surpassed anything that even The Chart Show could offer.

It was at about this point that The Yes/No People came to an end as well. But they had become known for making music without using conventional instruments, such as banging dustbin lids together, tapping milk bottles, and so on, all whilst performing dance routines. By the early-90s, Luke and Steve realised that there was a chance that this could be a successful idea, and they launched another new group, this one was called Stomp.

This was then turned into a stage show which has played theatres around the world, with various people taking part, although they have remained at the core, so fame did eventually come their way. They even performed the theme to CBBC’s Blue Peter, which was used for about five years, but was something of a racket compared to their earlier work.

And rather curiously, there was a recent episode of the animated sitcom American Dad, where the family buy the rights to a stage musical, which turns out to be Stomp, and we even see them perform this, with all of the dustbins and the like. So I suppose if you ever want to see a revival of this show, you should contact the fictional character Stan Smith.

The YouTube Files – Pookiesnackenburger In…

Pookiesnackenburger In… (Channel 4, 1985)

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the importance of Channel 4, and its future. People where sharing memories of some of the shows from the past four decades, and wondering why they don’t commission as many quirky and bizarre shows as they did in the 80s and 90s, because, well that is really why this channel exists (and you won’t believe how many people remember cartoon Murun Buchstansangur and consider this to be the standard that is expected).

But I saw someone talk about another Channel 4 show from the 80s, that I don’t remember, but sounded interesting. So I wondered if any of this was on YouTube, and I did manage to track down all five episodes, now I can judge this for myself. The rather oddly-named Pookiesnackenburger were a musical comedy sextet that formed in Brighton in the early-80s. While they were busking in London they were discovered.

In January 1982 they released the single “Just One Cornetto” on the Stiff label. They performed this on the Dutch music show TopPop (they were clearly eager to crack that all-important Netherlands market). This was even reviewed in Smash Hits, where this was described as “so ridiculously good-humoured”. This wasn’t a hit, and neither was their debut album “Pookie Beach Party” that was released around the same time.

But this led to further TV appearances, including CITV’s No. 73, BBC1’s David Essex’ Showcase, and CBBC’s The Krankies Klub, plus several tours. They were also fond of making music not using traditional instruments, but more of that later… In April 1985, they were given their own comedy show on Channel 4. Pookiesnackenburger In… featured a different story in every episode, and some of these were rather creative, the cast playing a wide variety of characters as well as performing their songs.

It probably wasn’t a coincidence that all of these songs also featured on their second album that was released around this time. Some of these were rather enjoyable, and got stuck right in my head, this looked and sounded like little else around. Also making appearances were the cast of similarly strange Channel 4 sitcom They Came From Somewhere Else, and Andy Cunningham of Bodger And Badger fame.

I’m not sure if this could be classed as a lost gem as such, but yes, Channel 4 should be commissioning more shows like this. There has been no DVD release though, or any deluxe boxsets of their albums. Pookiesnackenburger split shortly after this, and two of them went into the group The Yes/No People, who in November 1987 released their first and only single “Mr Johnson”, which reached no. 99. They also provided the theme to Channel 4 music show Wired.

They then went on to form Stomp, the group best-known for making music by banging dustbin lids together, tapping glass bottles, and the like, whilst dancing, and there have been several successful stage tours featuring their performances around the country and beyond. They also performed the theme to Blue Peter that was used for almost five years in the mid-90s. What a racket.