The poor bastard from Bell Cablemedia never knew what hit him.
There he was, wandering around London in 1996, quietly canvassing my neighbourhood to see who'd be interested in signing up for cable TV once all the infrastructure had been laid. And he knocks on my door. By that time, I'd been living there for six years, and getting more and more frustrated with the lousy quality of the terrestrial television signal I'd been getting. I pounced on the cable guy like a bored housewife on a hot milkman, and within half an hour I'd signed all the paperwork.
In the subsequent 13 years, my cable service has been taken over by Cable and Wireless, then NTL, then Virgin Media, and it's now something I take for granted. But back then, the extra few dozen channels were a revelation, particularly the music ones. (Even things like CMT or The Landscape Channel, neither of which lasted very long on Bell.) So alongside the Mark Radcliffe show on Radio 1, music television - though not, surprisingly, Music Television - became my other way of discovering what was new on the scene. Which may explain why the selections on my 1996 compilation look a little more interesting, compared with the rather predictable Britpop glut of 1995. See what you think, anyway.