Advantages He's not as dangerous as Phil Spector (allegedly)
Disadvantages He's nowhere near as good. Definitely.
Permit me a 50th review indulgence.I did have something else prepared, but on reflection 'prepared' wasn't really the word. A simple album review (Belle & Sebastian's 'The Boy With The Arab Strap', for what it's worth) spiralled horrifically out of control, and so I've chopped it up and have attempted to salvage the wreckage.
One section in particular, where I considered the hilarious 1999 Brit Awards incident when B&S infuriated the subject of this piece by beating his underlings Steps to the Best New Act prize…well, my attempt to contextualise said gent's qualifications for judging popular culture took on a life of its own, and now it lives here, in the café...like dry rot creeping up from the skirting board. This is what happens when I get a head of ranting steam up.I'd love to say that this was a serious attempt to illustrate how memory plays tricks on you: you might think the charts are full of crap now, but even when you thought they were great, they were still full of crap…but that's fooling no-one, is it?
In other words, a veritable legion of people who'd end up sleeping with Simon Cowell. Of course, the artists would change but the songs never would, and there was nothing aside from the (heavily processed in some cases) voices to tell them apart. What a pity they never gave 'Touch Me (I Want Your Body)' to Cliff: that would have been a laugh and a half.And lest we forget…
Kylie Minogue - Well, everybody loves Kylie, don't they? Actually, I'm not mad keen: seeing as I don't fancy her, I am free to notice her rather weedy and characterless singing voice, her daytime soap acting ability and 'hi, I'm Kylie, here's my arse' approach to promotion. Still, she can wear a frock, so good luck to her. Good businesswoman. And she seems genuine enough...but an icon? How the hell did that happen? What has she actually DONE? And it largely sprang from a Pete Waterman song which features the word 'lucky' at least 34 times.Bananarama - A girl group with a revolutionary approach...an approach that can largely be summed up as 'Harmony? What's that?'. The tedium of three voices singing interlocking yet separate parts was totally passe by the 80s, so Siobhan, the Other One Who Married The Other One Out Of Wham! and the Other Other One simply all sang the same thing at the same time. It sounded like three angry tomcats tied up in a sack, and it sold millions.
Sonia - One of Waterman's most visionary and daring experiments. Late one night in 1976, he broke into Kevin Keegan's house and cut all Keggy's hair off while he slept. The hair remained cryogenically frozen until 1989 when he defrosted it, dyed it ginger, stuck it in front of a microphone and put words of strong female empowerment in its mouth that would have made the Suffragette Movement proud. To quoth:When I know that you're alone
and of course...But you'll never stop me from loving you
In doing so, of course they missed those wild 'n' crazy nights that THMAH painstakingly recorded. Having briefly nipped home after a hard day's Really Wild Show, hostess Michaela Strachan single-handedly destroyed the ozone layer with her Sigue Sigue Sputnik hair while displaying a level of enthusiasm for such glamorous venues as 'Mr Smiths, Warrington' that left you suspecting that she really did have NO idea what was being slipped into her drinks. And obviously it was all presided over in 'Grandad's Gone To The Disco' style by 'The Hitman' Waterman, probably marinated in Denim aftershave and looking for all the world like he's just emerged from the gents having contorted himself beneath the hand-dryer in order to dry out the sweat patches under his armpits.Don't believe me? Watch, and marvel. The staggering professionalism of Pete 'n' Michaela's links, the awful realisation that nobody had mirrors in the 80s…and Nigel's dancing around the 8:15 mark. 'Be inspired…we're in Warrington!'
The Waterman juggernaut idled a bit in the mid nineties, until he unleashed another musical WMD upon an unsuspecting public in 1997...and having spent over 1000 words giving the uninitiated a thorough grounding in what a superb judge of artistic worth Waterman is...this is where I drag myself kicking and screaming back onto the topic of my original discarded review. Designed to be a 'high energy modern version of ABBA' but ending up as a high energy modern version of The Brotherhood Of Man, they were called...Steps. Displaying a laudable sense of self-reference (covering 'Tragedy' and doing a song called 'Better Best Forgotten'), H, Faye, The One Who Appears On All The Reality Shows and The Other Two, What Were They Called Again? were worryingly successful for a while, successful enough to be nominated for Best Newcomer at the Brit Awards in 1999. They'd sold more records than the rest of the nominees put together (probably)...the award had been voted for by the notoriously discerning Radio One listenership...surely Steps only had to turn up?They did turn up...and I'd love to have seen a reaction shot on Waterman's face when the words 'Belle And Sebastian' rang out, considering some of the bleating he came out with afterwards. Steps had sold squillions of records! 'I was told last week that Steps had won!' Belle & Sebastian aren't even a new act! (On that one, he had a point: 'Arab Strap' was their third album, and while your Radio One listener might have been blissfully unaware up till then the NME readership had been largely smitten for years). But it doesn't matter how valid your complaints are: if you inflicted The Reynolds Girls' 'I'd Rather Jack' on the world, that whole Karma thing will get you in the end. And the allegation than most of the B&S votes came from two computers on the Glasgow University campus just makes it even funnier: who'd have thought that Steps fans wouldn't have an equal level of technical savvy? Justice via subterfuge.
Anyway, how would the Laughing Policeman have put it? 'Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, ahh...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!'
But lest we forget: the SAW Greatest Hits compilation was called 'A Ton Of Hits'. That's one of the easiest anagrams in the history of the world: don't miss him...he might come back.
Allow me to start the ball rolling, by making a hilarious joke involving Amy69 marrying David Tennant, and Seresecros being trapped in Jenny Lewis's bedroom until next Christmas.
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