On New Years’ Eve 1989, I didn’t go to a party. I didn’t wish anyone a happy new decade. I don’t think I drank any champagne. I stayed at home and watched TV instead, and it was wonderful.

What I stayed home to watch was a special highlights show on the music of the 80s, put together (so Alan tells me) by the Late Review team and shown on BBC2 across midnight. (A Big Ben graphic pops up during a Dead Or Alive performance, discreetly welcoming in 1990). The show had no presenters – it was simply a patchwork of clips, a minute or so long each, vaguely themed (sometimes VERY vaguely) in sections. It started with Hayzi Fantayzee, at the top of a one-hit wonders bit, and ended with the artist of the decade: Prince. In between was almost anybody I remembered and a lot more I didn’t. Here’s the section called “Barking” – essentially, acts who were a bit ‘eccentric’.

You could argue, of course, that this is shabby treatment of some fantastic artists – a minute or so each in a faintly sneery category. In the context of today’s TV, where clip shows are the saturated fats of programming and there are whole channels for musical nostalgia, you’d be quite right. But this was 1989. There was no TOTP2. There was no internet. There was satellite, but in the pre-Premier League days hardly anyone had it. The only music videos I could see were the ones on the Indie Top Video cassette I’d just got for Christmas. Nostalgia radio hadn’t reached the 80s yet and even when it did it hardly seemed likely to spotlight Grace Jones and Tenpole Tudor. These archives were essentially lost except for special events like this.

So I would have been happy to sit through any editorialising to see most of this stuff – and as it was there wasn’t much commentary. Most importantly, I hadn’t been there or fully aware for a lot of it – watching TOTP when I could, not allowed to stay up for the Whistle Test, completely ignorant of anything else… so much of this stuff was new to me, and I gulped it down, my vague awareness that I’d lived through a remarkable decade for pop turned into solid delight in its variety. In this segment alone I remember the thrill of Eddie Tudor-Pole’s livewire energy, the wonder of finding out what the Radio 4 “Week Ending” theme actually was, and the disturbing stillness of Grace Jones and her full-face horned mask. Oh, and Julian Cope in a donkey jacket – “Kilimanjaro” was the first, but not the last, record I went out and bought on the strength of this show. So a minute each was more than enough when you had viewers as greedy as I was.

It seemed a good way to end the decade – certainly I had nothing better going on. In the heart of my Morrissey phase but emboldened by a successful first gig, I’d ventured out to a disco the week before. I went, I stood on my own, I left on my own, I went home and I… well, I felt OK about it to be honest. I put on the new Wedding Present album when I got home and read the Christmas NME. If it was a choice between feeling smugly indie and feeling miserably lonely I’d take the former every time. But the New Years Eve show was a precious reminder that there was more to music than dreamed of in Danny Kelly’s philosophy – a bit more, anyway. As the parade of 80s stars went by I tried to imagine how music was going to be in the 90s – the first decade where I’d be listening not as a kid but as a committed, opinionated fan.