Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Embed and breakfast man: St Vincent

Back in 1977, Saturday Night Live had a contest to allow a viewer to become a host for the night. It was won by Miskel Spillman, an 80 year-old, who found herself hosting the Christmas show for that season. Her record as the oldest person to present the collection of overlong sketches and overused characters would stand until the beatification of Betty White; her record as the only non-showbiz presenter stands.

Her programme also holds a footnote in musical history.

Originally, the musical guests were supposed to be the Sex Pistols. Their criminal records made getting them to the studios something of a challenge, and instead Elvis Costello was parachuted into the show. He was under orders to play Less Than Zero - already well-known in America - but a short way in, Costello stopped the song and with the words "I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there's no reason to do this song here", the band launched into Radio Radio.

I know, you're yelling "I know all this - what has this to do with now?" at your internet-connected device. But the backstory makes St Vincent's appearance on Conan last night all the more enjoyable: