The Old Grey Whistle Test


Christmas is the time I traditionally have a go at sorting out my video material. With a few days holiday stretching ahead into an apparent infinite corridor of spare time, I attempt to locate everything I have, make sure it’s backed up somewhere, and tidy up anything that’s been hanging around waiting for some restoration work.

The problem with video is it takes a lot more storage than audio, and it’s very fiddly to work with, so it’s never quite as tidy as you’d like. I do a lot of mixing and matching to get complete versions of things in the best quality I can, and I’m forever forgetting when I’ve done things and what I’d planned to do.

Anyway some of the results will end up here, and here’s the first. It’s not on youtube in this form although I did distribute the restored first half around via dimeadozen and some other places. It’s the full Old Grey Whistle Test performance from December 10th 1985. The second half – “When Love Breaks Down” is commercially available on a BBC compilation, so please do go and buy it if you enjoy it here. But the first half isn’t so easy to find. There are some shaky VHS copies, but this one came from a good quality Betamax tape and isn’t bad at all. However there were loads of dropouts which I laboriously fixed using frame by frame repair work and some bits and pieces from other copies. The audio came off a reasonably close to first generation off air VHS tape. It’s not perfect, but until the BBC opens up its archives it’s as good as you’ll get.

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