The Tube and Liverpool music’s class of ’87 – forgotten treasures from the Mersey

It's Immaterial

It’s Immaterial

Stumbling upon a gem from Channel 4’s flagship music show The Tube, Getintothis’ Janaya Pickett explores Liverpool’s forgotten bands of the late 80s. 

If aliens ever visited earth and fancied a deeper understanding of humanity they could just watch YouTube. They’d get a pretty decent insight into our history and what makes us tick (and probably react like Leeloo from The Fifth Element when she researches war). Yes, YouTube is a treasure trove of mindful and mindless information. Anything your heart desires can be found among the billions of uploads and unless something drastic changes, these videos will forever float in cyberspace.

On one of our regular YouTube benders we came across an episode of The Tube, a Channel 4 music show which ran from 1982 – 1987. It showcased up and coming artists and was instrumental in the launch of many a band, as well as the television careers of its young presenters Jools Holland, Paula Yates and Muriel Gray. During it’s final season in 1987 an episode aired dedicated solely to the Liverpool music scene.

Hosted by Gray, the episode was filmed on location in and around the city centre and included a variety of acts such as It’s ImmaterialBrenda and the Beach Balls, Perfectly Frank and The Descendants.

Segments of the episode are shot outside St George’s Hall, in the Walker Art Gallery and Cafe Berlin on Bold Street. There is even a conversation with barmaid Nelly who worked at Yates’s Wine Lodge next to rehearsal rooms The MinistryNelly discusses the names that have walked through the pub doors and “those poor boys that didn’t make it, we get a lot of those“.

From The Beastie Boys’ riot to forgotten festivals and beyond, check out Getintothis‘ look at the Mersey’s bygone times in Lost Liverpool. 

As well as music, the episode focuses on Liverpool’s arts scene with discussions from Alan Bleasdale and winners of the first Playhouse young playwrights competition, Will Beddow, Jonathon Harvey, Mark Scott and Phillip Dewhurst.

There is also an interview with Letter to Brezhnev director Chris Bernard. In it Bernard discusses the plight of directing a motion picture in Liverpool and goes some way to explain the scouse mentality of the mid-late 80s. He compares it to that of the miner’s during the industrial action of 84-85 and their fight against Thatcherism: “We let people shit on us and we let them rub it in, but we won’t stand back and let them watch it dry“.

For whatever reason uploader sunsetz777 felt that this forgotten facet of television history deserved to be saved. It makes you wonder – who are these valiant online personas uploading the past, making all sorts of shit accessible to the rest of us? How would you go about transferring a VHS on to YouTube? And could you be arsed?

Well, we’re glad someone is because as Confucius said you must ‘study the past, if you would define the future’. And the past is the past, from ancient royal houses to 1980s music scenes, it’s immaterial (get it?). So, why not take a brew break, cherish these treasures from the Mersey and in the spirit of YouTube, feel free to comment.

Artists featured, in the order they appear:

The Descendants
Thomas Lang

Alan Bleasdale
Perfectly Frank
Brenda and The Beach Balls

It’s Immaterial
Chris Bernard
Balcony Dog




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