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

The Cure 1980
(Image credit: AVROTROS Broadcasting)

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.'

Watch the grumpy goths at their moody best below:

As lethargic as The Cure's performance here is, clearly their relationship with the producers of TopPop survived the strop, for the English band returned to the Dutch show several times, to perform singles Primary, Why Can't I Be You, Catch and more. And no doubt a fabulous time was had by all.

Bringing their story up to date, The Cure will play shows in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and London as part of a 44-date, 22-country, European tour lined up for autumn.

Smith’s band have also teased the fact that they have recorded 20 new songs, at least some of which seem destined for release on a new, as-yet-untitled, 67-minute Cure album.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.