VARIOUS: Touchdown (LP, Fontana TOUCH 1, 1982)

Various - Touchdown

Funny old compilation album, this one – record labels used to do quite a lot of ‘themed’ albums in the 1980s, although often more musically similar in theme, rather than having an out-and-out thread that tied together a disparate collection of bands. Touchdown isn’t a collection that’s built around the idea of the Moon landing; or somehow related to American football – it isn’t really even bands that all have the instrumentation pictured on the front cover’s rather fetching illustration. The theme here seems to be ‘bands from the early 1980s that were all doing, to varying degrees, a kind of spiky, energetic post-punk-pop music’. It features…

  • The Higsons
  • Farmers Boys
  • Animal Magic
  • Popular Voice
  • Maximum Joy
  • Vital Excursions
  • Dislocation Dance
  • Design For Living
  • Pinski Zoo

…and each band gets a track. A few of those names are familiar from some dusty old editions of Record Collector, perhaps, but it’s The Higsons that’s most likely to be oddly familiar. They featured Charlie Higson, who would of course later go on to forge a very successful career in comedy, becoming a key part of the team behind The Fast Show as well as having a hand in many other shows. You can even see him, as a cheeky youngster, in a photograph on the back of the sleeve. He looks very ‘of the time’ – short, messy hair, a rough-looking shirt/denim combination that reminds of the days before all non-mainstream band members wore t-shirts and jeans 95% of the time, and instead had to make do with what was then available in shops. That looks remind me, very specifically, of seeing bands appearing in the middle of episodes of The Young Ones.

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