Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Flotsam and Jetsam of Pop

In recent weeks I've crossed the paths of several pop stars. In their heyday three of them were Number One Top of the Pops, the other, a trier, an also ran. Of the four, only one disappointed, and that was, for me, a grave moment, I expected more, which probably says more about me than them. 

Gary Numan was booked to record a down the line interview for the radio show I produce. I had asked the lad who brokered the deal if he would forward an email, asking if Gary would tell me about a significant song for the Singles Club. The email was never forwarded, but come the day, I jumped in on the interview and explained myself . Not a problem, in fact he was concerned that the song he had chosen contained swearing and wouldn't be suitable. He was affable, honest and very warm, several million miles away from the image touted around at the height of his fame. Once that went he lived in a bedsit with a knackered old settee watching a black and white telly that belonged to his grandad. The woman who would become his wife kept him afloat. He's now an electro pop pioneer. Good on yer Gary I say, I'd buy you a pint or some batteries for your electric friend.

I'm not one for comebacks or reunion tours. I'm firmly of the opinion that the hertiage rock acts should stay exactly where they came from. I don't want to see an over weight former teen star dragging their sorry ass around an O2 singing the hits in the wrong key. New Order without Peter Hook? Like Joy Division without Ian Curtis, The Undertones without Fergal Sharkey? The Sugababes without Mutya....oh, fuck...well you know what I mean. 
I am however prepared to get off my pop high horse when it comes to Dexy's Midnight Runners. Never a band to compromise, it's been a chequered career and one that has required patience. Seeing Dexys recently was one of the greatest moments in my pop life. It was the third meeting we've had, and although I've never met him, I feel as though I know alot about Kevin Rowland. Part music hall, part soul revue, part pop explosion, nothing is watered down with Dexys. Those who don't know can deride until the earth stops spinning. They'll always be wrong. Always.

My sister Louise was a David Cassidy fan. I'd had the glad eye for Susan Dey in The Partridge Family, so Dave got into my pop blood . Daydreamer is one of my all time favourite singles. We had an interview scheduled with Dave, my presenter was late, so I jumped in. I asked him if he'd say Happy Birthday to my sister, what with her once being a fan. He began talking, taking the piss, mumbling, repeating the questions he must have been asked a million times. During this I got up, swapped seats with the interviewer Simon and went off to do my business. On editing the interview I discovered he hadn't even noticed the swap. I don't know if he was suffering from some pop star jet lag or if he just has a different reality, but I have to say that I came away thinking he was a bit of a tool. Shame, but there you go. 
Little Jimmy Osmond had more humility.

Lawrence from Felt/Denim and Go-Kart Mozart won't even be a footnote in most people's book of pop. He's more indie now than when indie was cool. He's released tons of songs, he plugs away at being a pop star, waiting for the fickle finger of fame to touch his shoulder. He's been homeless, addicted, lost and found. His guitar is in hock. There's a rather groovy film about him, Lawrence of Belgravia. He came along to a screening at the Tyneside Cinema. Afterwards he was gently honest, I bought his single "New World In The Morning", a Roger Whitaker song. It's lovely. He signed it and we shook hands. I went home on the bus with a single, like I did when I was a kid. Lawrence was gentle and self effacing, I wouldn't want to get in an arguement with him though.

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