Penny Smith, GMTV – 1997

gmtv“When Andromeda Heights was released, McAloon agreed to come out of exile and do some promotion, Which is, maybe, not really a game for anyone over the age of 15 with an interest however slight in their own dignity and the dignity of others. But McAloon steeled himself, shaved and set off for London.

“And in the space of one short, magical summer, Prefab Sprout appeared on “The National Lottery Show”, presented by Bob Monkhouse (a major fan of the Sprouts, apparently “Protest Songs” is never off his car hi fi) and, still more fantastically, on “Breakfast Time.

“They played “Electric Guitars”. Afterwards. the presenter looked across at the band from her sofa and, with the gift for lateral thinking for which breakfast TV presenters are cherished, wondered if they knew why people notch those crosses into the bottoms of sprouts.

“The split second which followed was, potentially, a pivotal moment in the life of Prefab Sprout. An open microphone; a national audience running to millions; and, in the air, the topic of crosses and vegetables. Never in the history of live television has anyone been served such a golden opportunity for a career-changing blasphemy. Here lay what historians of The Beatles will recognise as a possibly gigantic “Bigger than Jesus” moment. With one incautiously-weighed remark of shire-scalding, vicar-sickening, switchboard jamming tastelessness, either one of the McAloon brothers could have ignited a gunpowder trail of notoriety which would have fizzed around the world in minutes. In the public squares of Moosejaw, Ohio, bonfires formed exclusively from Prefab Sprout albums would be smouldering blackly even now.

“There was a silence in which Paddy McAloon seemed to gather his breath as if to speak – global notoriety spread out and shimmering  before him – and then to think botter of it.

“The programme moved on, Prefab Sprout left for the airport and flew back up north.”

Giles Smith, Sleeve Notes for “38 Carat Collection”, August 1999


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