A bored Robert Smith barely miming on TV with The Cure in 1980 is goth gold

    The Cure scored their first ever UK Top 40 hit with A Forest, the lead-off single from their beautifully bleak second album, Seventeen Seconds, with the song peaking at number 31 in April 1980.

    In Holland, the single performed even better, reaching number 26 on the Dutch Top 100 chart, which led to an invitation being extended to Robert Smith’s band to promote the song on the Dutch equivalent of Top Of The Pops, AVRO’s weekly chart music programme TopPop, on July 3, 1980.

    If bandleader Smith, was excited about his band’s breakthrough into the European ‘hit parade’, the 21-year-old musician did an excellent job of suppressing his glee.

    The first indication that the West Sussex band are not entirely thrilled to be miming their hit single for Dutch pop fans is apparent in the archive footage when you spot that Smith and bassist Simon Gallup have swapped instruments, with Smith taking on bass duties and Gallup playing guitar.

    To his credit, Gallup embraces the change with some enthusiasm: Smith decidedly less so. That said, Smith comes across like CBeebies hype man Mr Tumble compared to drummer Lol Tolhurst, whose perfunctory whacks on his snare drum are the very definition of ‘not arsed mate.’

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