June Buchan talks about working on the programme ‘So It Goes’

Well then it got quite interesting because I went onto So It Goes which was a music programme with Tony Wilson and it was very, very demanding. It was very high tech, the first series. I don’t know what happened with the second series but I remember we had something like, I don’t know, two banks of monitors in the studio I think and I was constantly having to feed in clips of telecine, clips of VTR, get the timings exactly right, swap them over, merge them in, it was just a nightmare but once I’d got it, I’d got it and it was very, very exciting to do. And it was very exciting in terms of the kind of artists that we were getting on the programme. You know, because this was when Tony had finally decided that he’d given up on Neil Young and all that and he was well into punk. I actually named the programme which now looking back I’m quite proud of because I was very, very into Kurt Vonnegut at the time and we were talking about what we could call this programme and I just said ‘So It Goes’ and they went ‘Yes, yes, that’s brilliant’. So that’s how it came to be called ‘So It Goes’. And we had some extraordinary filming events on that programme like I remember going, one memory I’ve got is going down to a very small club in London to film Van Morrison and I’m sitting at the front taking my notes and I knew that he had a reputation for never smiling at anyone and I just thought ‘I’m going to make you smile, you bugger, if it takes me all day’. So I just sat there grinning at him all the time and eventually he cracked, he just laughed. I felt like ‘I’ve done it, I’ve actually made Van Morrison smile’ so that was a highlight.

I remember going to film oh Siouxsie and the Banshees at Belle Vue and we were on the stage and I got absolutely covered in spit which was just revolting but that was the sort of thing that was going on then. I remember someone actually spat on the camera lens and they kept it in the programme because it was so disgusting. We filmed Ballet Rambert in London, we filmed Iggy Pop, John Otway, that’s a name I remember, and of course the Sex Pistols. And who else in London? The Clash. So yeah it was vibrant time.

Do you remember anything in particular about the Sex Pistols and the Clash?

I remember thinking, my problem was I didn’t really like the music. I was still stuck in Neil Young and West Coast, the Eagles and that sort of stuff. But I do remember thinking ‘The Clash are actually quite intelligent’ just listening to them talking in between takes, thinking ‘Mm they don’t seem as rough as some of the ones we’ve done’. I don’t remember much about the Sex Pistols to be honest except I didn’t really like them very much. You know everyone those days was so abrasive, you couldn’t get a nice word out of them really, they were just unpleasant, deliberately. It makes me laugh now seeing them, seeing Johnny Rotten on butter commercials. I’m just trying to think of who else we did. Oh, I know, John Cooper Clarke, he was just in his early days then and oh, wonderful bunch called Jonathan Richman from the States, he was very, very funny – I’ve still got his records. It was a complete new experience for me in terms of television. I’d not done anything like that at all and Peter Walker was directing that series. But it was good because it was one of the kind of top shows that they were doing at the time and there was some sense of prestige of belonging to it, it was like ‘I’m the So It Goes PA, aren’t I lucky?

And who was producing?

Tony, oh producing erm sorry, now was it Steve Hawes or was he researcher? Steve Hawes was certainly on it and also erm crikey let me think. You know I can’t think who was producing it.

Not Johnny Hamp?

No, no it wasn’t him. Geoff Moore produced the second series, I cannot remember who produced the first series but I am sure that can be discovered.

Tony presented?

Yes, Tony presented.

How big an influence was Tony on the show?

Huge, absolutely huge, yes. Tony got pretty much what he wanted in those days. I think probably most of the ideas came from him. He’d find the people he wanted and put them forward to the researchers and then they’d agree or not but generally they did agree. It was all quite anarchic actually. We had a, we had an office for a while I think on the second but then for some bizarre reason we ended up in a Portakabin in the car park and it was like, it was our only little realm. We just got on with what we wanted to do and nobody interfered with us, I remember that.

Was it a network programme or regional?

No, it was network, it was network and it was very successful. People still refer to it. They tend to say when talk about Tony, Tony Wilson before Hacienda, and Factory, of So It Goes because I think there hadn’t been a music programme like that on television at all. It was breaking new ground, it was breaking presentation format and the kind of people that were being given air time that most other programmes were shunning really because they didn’t have big audiences. It was avant-garde I guess at the time.

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