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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:54 pm
by Rob Hall
Gordon, you've excelled yourself.

what’s your second all time favourite record?
I would say that it is the Chant of the Aka Pygmies.
Is it a short track?

Genius, well done.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:45 am
by Gordon Neill
Thanks Rob. Yes I did think that 'Is it a short track?' was the best line. It just came to me on the spur of the moment. But I don't thing David Harrington got it.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:33 am
by Gordon Neill
The new French singing sensation, Camille was good enough to agree to meet me in a desperate attempt to keep her name in the forefront of SOTW readers’ minds. The ones with minds, obviously. Being a bit of a prankster, she arranged to hold the interview in the joke shop, just at the end of the old Grassmarket area of Edinburgh. A haunt of historic figures such as Adam Smith and Burke and Hare (I mean the Grassmarket, of course, not the joke shop, although I'd like to think that they enjoyed a laugh as much as the next person) I feel that, in the eerie surroundings of these ancient plastic jobbies and fake vomit, she was able to relax and share her innermost bodily functions…

Oh, sorry. Let me know when you’ve finished meditating.
Eh, you know. Le meditating. Or is it ‘la meditating’? I can never remember what things are supposed to be male or female? I mean, they’re just things. You’d think the EC could get it sorted out, now they’ve straightened out the banana problem. Anyway. Le or la meditating. You know? Le or la brain ne avec pas a clue. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….Pardon?
Eh….. Jimapple Gordon.
Um…. well…..Jim….. if you like. But it’s actually Gordon. ‘Le Gordon’. Definitely not a ‘La Gordon’. Although, you can’t be sure, I suppose. I mean, who would have guessed that it was ‘La Rock Hudson’? French can be so unpredictable.
Eh… yeah……. right….. anyway…….. eh…..You….. no, I mean ‘tu’……oh no, sorry, perhaps it should be ‘vous’? I’m not really sure. Logically… let me see…’s ‘la vous’…… which probably means that its ‘le vous’…….. Crikey.
I can speak in English, if you want. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Really. Oh that would be good. I just thought that you French lot were a bit touchy about speaking in English.
Oh no, not at all. I grew up listening to all those great English groups like the Shadows, and Abba, and A-Ha…. And my mother was an English teacher, you know. Mmmmmmmmmm.
Well good for her. What did she try and teach them?
Pardon? Mmmmmmmmmmm.
Eh… never mind…… Let’s crack on. Eh… what are you doing?
Yes, that humming thing. It’s very annoying. People are starting to look.
I can hardly hear myself think. Ah, actually, you know, it’s probably a silent ‘m’ in English.
Oh……. OK………... Can you hear your thinking now?
Ah... that's better.... um…….. to be honest…….. I can’t hear a thing……. Ummm…… nope…. there’s no signs of life……. No, I’m sorry, I’ve completely forgotten what I was going to ask you.
Well, did you like my last album?
That? No. It was awful.
Well, when I say ‘awful’, you know, I didn’t listen to the whole thing. I mean, I’ve got piles of stuff to listen to, you know, so I……. you know……. just listened to the first few seconds of each track, you know.
You are a very lazy man, are you not?
Um… well… I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy. It’s just that I’m economical with the effort. But, you know, it all just sounded the same to me. And, to be fair, I even listened to the whole of the last 30 minutes. But it just sounded like the one note. It just went on forever.
But I don’t think that you fully understood…….
Mind you, Leonard Cohen built an entire career out of just doing the one note. It must be a French thing, I suppose. Just going on and on and on about the same…..
No, no. You don’t understand. There are lots of different songs on the album, but threaded together by the single B-note.
What? You mean, you deliberately stuck the same bum note on the entire album? Droning on behind proper songs? Ones with other notes in them?
Oui. Yes.
All of them? From A to Z?
Eh.. oui...yes, in a way. Yes. You see the B-note is like a tuning fork, a spiritual force, a link between you and me, you and God. It is very symbolic…….
Symbolic of being stupid, if you ask me.
Well, it has sold very well in France and in your YouKay. So far, it has sold over a million.
Yeah, but it must just be the same copy.
Well, it stands to reason. You know. Kevin buys this CD, hears this droning noise, takes it back to HMV as it’s obviously broken, HMV just shove it back in the rack jack and sell it to Wayne, who comes back in tears because it’s got this horrible surface noise…… You see what I’m getting at? It’s sold a million because the one copy has been sold a million times.
Vraiment. You’re not suggesting that every single person has returned my CD? That is not possible.
Well, fair enough. I’m exaggerating a bit. There’s bound to have been the odd Charlie that was too embarrassed to take it back. You know, put on a brave face and pretended to like it. Sent a ‘thank-you’ letter to his auntie, or whatever.
Well, I think that if you managed to listen past the first two seconds of each track, you’d realise that my songs are done in a very unique ‘beatbox’ style.
What’s that?
Well it is largely acappella, but supplemented with body noises? You know, slapping and coughing……
Were you very naughty as a child?
….. farting…….
You’re just blowing your own trumpet, aren’t you?
….coughing, and belching…...
Did you have to go on a special diet for the record?
…. and it has been compared to the haunting polyphonies of the Baka pygmies of Cameroon.
Oh. Right, sorry, I didn’t know that. Um… well… fair enough. I’ll give it another go. I’m a bit of a mug for haunting polyphonies. Umm…..
Is there anything else you want to ask?
Hmmmmm. Let’s see……. I jotted down a few things while I was at the bus stop……. Oh yes, are you related to Camille Paglia? Hmm?
Camille Paglia. Umm, you know, the famous…. umm …..I’m not sure….. I think she’s famous for moaning about how awful blokes are. I don’t know how these people get these jobs. I could do that. But you never see them advertised. I’d love to fill in an application form for that sort of thing…..
Why do you think that I’m related to Camille Paglia?
Well, you know, you share the same name……
Yes, but not the same surname, just the first name. I mean, is you mother called Gordon? Is your father a Gordon? What about your brothers and sisters? Are they all called Gordon? Are all your cousins called Gordon? And what about your great, great grandmother? Hmmm?
Eh… well, actually, they are. It’s …. um…… it’s a bit embarrassing really. It’s a Fife thing. Even Gordon Brown’s called Gordon. Hmm.

(continues for another 35 minutes and 21.7 seconds, until the joke shop closes for the day..….).

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:16 am
by Des
I'm a sucker for fart jokes. If you get my drift.

Bassekou Kouyate

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:19 pm
by Gordon Neill
Unusually I bumped into Bassekou Kouyate in – of all places – Darbucka in London. I was down there to sell some goats to nice Mr Darbucka and I knew that Bassekou was going to be there to play some of his hits. The place is ideal for interviewing pop stars. They do short sets there, which helps save a bit of research time for interviewers. Even better, it has lots of little nooks and crannies, which helps to corner them and get them to spill.

For Bassekou, I had decided to change my approach. A lot of these interviews can quickly get a bit out of hand as these creative types babble on about whatever. So I thought that the multiple choice format would add a bit of structure to the proceedings. Actually, it was my mum’s idea. She let me borrow her copy of ‘Women’s Own’ and I simply used their approach and scoring system, but with my own questions obviously. Most of the interview dealt with the ngoni, the traditional instrument featured on the ‘Segu Blue’ album by Bassekou and his band Ngoni Bad. He is recognised as something of a world authority on the instrument, as well as being able to get a tune out of it. Along with Moriba Koita, Bassekou is one of the main keepers of the ngoni flame, although it is very rare for a ngoni to actually be set on fire.

Why on earth did you start playing the ngoni?
Well it was…
….was it (a) it’s a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for generations (b) the shop had sold out of electric guitars, (c) a big boy made you do it, or (d) not sure?
Well actually, there was this girl, Sandra, who was in my geography class and I thought it would really impress her if I…..
Sorry, you have to go for one of the options. You can’t just go off on some flight of fancy. You have to stick to the question. (a), (b), (c) or (d)?
Well, you know the ngoni has been handed down from father to son for many generations…
And you felt that it was about time that someone actually learned to play the thing?
….but there’s a lot of truth in (b) and (c) as well.
OK, fair enough. It’s only a bit of fun. I’ll just put you down as ‘not sure’ for that one. Right. Question two. Why is the ngoni so important to your traditional culture? Is it (a) It’s used by the Grots to fight the Jeliyas, (b) it originated from a 10th Century water spirit, sort of like Excalibur, (c) it is used for the key life cycle ceremonies of weddings and funerals, (d) not sure?
Well, you know, it could be any of the first three options. They’re all true, sort of. You’ve obviously done your research very well.
Tell me about it. I had to read the whole article.
Although (c) isn’t quite right. The ngoni is also used for other life events such as births and circumcisions…
So it’s sort of like a Swiss army knife?
I don’t know. It’s very difficult to choose just one……
Well look, why don’t I just put ‘not sure’. It doesn’t really matter.
OK, I suppose…
Question three. How many strings does a ngoni have? (a) none, you blow into it (b) three, (c) too many to count accurately, or (d) not sure?
Well actually, it’s not so simple. You see, they can have anything from three to five strings…..
I’ll just put that down as ‘not sure’ then.
Right, question four. On a first date, would you (a) just hold hands and talk about stuff like flowers, (b) ask for references and a medical certificate, (c) go all the way, or (d) not sure?
Eh… Are you sure you haven’t made a mistake?
Oh crikey! Sorry about that. My mum’s left that one in from ‘Women’s Own’. Sorry. Um… look, that’ll mess up the scoring system if I miss it out. Couldn’t you just…?
No way!
OK, OK. I’ll just put you down as (d). That’s the easiest thing.
Right, question five. Your latest album ‘Segu Blue’ has been a huge success and has sold hundreds worldwide. Was this success (a) a pleasant surprise that was simply a reflection of years of hard-won experience working with some of the best bands in the business, (b) about time. (c) just a stepping stone towards playing one of the characters in ‘Ugly Betty’ (d)not sure?
Eh.. well… to be honest, it’s (c). But you can’t print that. My public just isn’t ready for that sort of thing yet. It took years before Kylie dared move from pop to soap. Should I just go for (a)? I suppose that would be better.
Yes it is awkward. Look, you don’t want to be caught out lying about this sort of thing. I’ll just put you down as a (d). That’s safe enough.
Look, I’m a bit worried that the bar might close soon. Couldn’t we just….
It’s OK. We’ll soon be done. Question six. Lucy Duran was the producer on ‘Segu Blue’. How would you sum up her contribution? (a) a valuable sounding board, bringing an outsider’s perspective and making valuable suggestions (b) a whip-cracker who stopped you doing your favourite 20-minute ngoni solos, (c) you’d need to phone her and check what the correct answer is, (d) not sure?
Um… to be honest, I’d rather not say.
You’re not scared are you?
Well, you know…
I’ll just put you down as ‘not sure’. That’ll be fine.
You won’t print that, will you? That I was a bit scared?
No, no. Of course not.
I mean, if she even suspected….
Relax man. I guarantee that won’t be printed. Anyway, just say it was taken out of context. No worries. Right, that’s us done…..
Great. I’m really thirsty, I could really…..
Hang on. Just let me add up your scores. Let me see…. six (d)s… that’s …. that’s 24 points…. Which means…….
Well, according to this, you’re a girl who’s just happy to flirt and is scared of commitment. Does that strike a chord with you? Eh…. Bassekou?...... Honestly! You just turn your back for a minute…. Oh yeah, he’s at the bar getting the drinks in. One of those must be for me, I mean he couldn’t drink all of those…

The return of Radio Ping Pong

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:32 pm
by Gordon Neill
I’m taking some time out from this interviewing business. I thought I was doing quite well but it’s become clear that I’ve become something of a joke. So, for the next week or so, I’m going to take myself out of the non-stop hurly burly of interviewing international pop stars. This time I‘m going to get it right. I’m keen on setting up a meeting with LaXula, but, this time, I‘m going really going to knuckle down and do some thorough research. You lot will see what I’m capable of and you’ll be laughing on the other side of your face when I’m done.

However, in my absence, I’m delighted to announce the temporary return of radio ping pong. Many of you will remember this as one of the defining highlights of Charlie’s BBC London show. It’s been much missed, bringing a quite unique mix of conversation and an insight into the musical tastes and influences of his guests. Some feared that radio ping pong would never again grace the airwaves or, indeed, this website. But you just can’t keep a veteran DJ away from the turntable. So here we are, showing all his experience and skills that have helped to make him something of an institution, we have radio ping pong presented by none other than……. Jimmy Young.

* * *
…..and that was the siken tones of Emmanuel Jal singing about war, famine, disease and death. Lovely! Now, a very warm welcome if you’ve just joined the Prog! This is, of course, JY on your numero uno internetio. So what are we doing now Jimbo, I hear you ask. A very good question, if I may say so. And we have an even better answer. For we are doing nothing less than a spot of radio ping pong. And this week our very special guest is none other than……. Radovan Karadzic. Now there’s a name to conjure with!

Now Radovan, welcome to the prog. We’ve a lot to cram in this week, so oft we jolly well go! What’s your first record to serve up and whack across the old net?
Well Jim. I thought I start with Amy Winehouse. She very popular in Serbia at the moment and have great voice and nice legs.
Well, there we are. I expected you to be selecting records from the past. But you’ve surprised us all with that up-to-date choice. Excellent! So, to take us up to the news, We’ll leave you to the tender mercies of…… Miss Amy Winehouse!

* * *

Amy Winehouse and her problems kicking her drug habit in…’Rehab’. Lovely. Have you ever suffered from drug problems, Radovan?
No, apart from power, which can be quite addictive, ha ha.
And of course love can be a drug as well as, was it Brian Ferry or Roxy Music, once pointed out?
Roxy Music. Absolutely.
Now, we all felt that it would be a great privilege having someone from Serbia’s top brass on the prog. So… I’ve gone for Boban Markovic with ‘Balkan Fest’!
Ha ha. Nice one, Jim. Really got me there!

* * *

Boban Markovic having a ‘Balkan Fest’ there. That was certainly one to blow away the old cob-webs! Now Radovan, we have a question from one of listeners. A Mrs Betty Harris from the Gorbals – lovely part of the country – says: ‘I think it’s very unfair how Mr Karadzic has been portrayed as a mean man. After all, he might have just had some trouble with his lover, for all we know. But what I don’t get is why he insisted on slaughtering so many people?’. Over to you Radovan.
Well Jim, is power struggle. All fair in love and war. Is war.
Well, you can’t argue with that! And, on that note, here’s Miss Tina Turner asking the question ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ Take it away… Tina!

* * *

So, is Tina Turner well known in your parts?
Absolutely, Jim. ‘Simply My Vest’, ‘Steamy Windows’….. And, of course, all those great records with Ike.
And a very lovely lady, to boot, I believe. It just occurs to me, Radovan, was Tina an influence on your distinctive hairstyle?
Is hard to say, Jim. I’ve had it for many year. Is practical but stylish. Why fix when not bust, is what I say.
Fascinating! Now, you’ve been maintaining a pretty low profile over recent years. We used to see you all the time on the old T of V. Have you hung up your mass-murderer boots for good now, or have you some new projects in the old pipeline?
Well Jim, I never been found guilty by a court of any mass-murdering. So, technical, your question quite wrong. As soldier, I was simply issuing orders, which I was obliged to do. But I never strangling any peoples with my own bare hands or shooting them in the heads or anything like that. I too important a figure to be doing that.
Well I’m glad that you were able to clear that up for us. But what I was really trying to get at is do you have any plans for future TV appearances or becoming a celebrity again?
No, I lying quietly nowadays. Living low, you know. Spending time with friends and family. Camping out in the woods, living in basements, and being feted by secret militia.
Lovely! Well, who knows, perhaps those nice people at Big Brother or Get Me Out Of Here I’m a Celebrity could be listening! Come on folks, let’s rally round Radovan. That’s what I say. So what is the next tune that you’d like to share with us, Radovan?
Is song I first heard from UN peacekeeping forces.
Really? Now that is a surprise. I would never have thought that the old U of N would be a big influence on your tastes.
No, not at all. Am open to new sounds, and identify with the West. Is U2 with ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’.

* * *

Lovely. That was messrs Bonio and the boys…… who are still looking for that special something. Best of luck lads, I say! Well, Radovan, the old sands of time are very much against us. It’s been a pleasure having your company but it’s time for your last record. So what are you going to play for us
I thought I’d leave you with the Teddy Bears’ picnic by the Ted Heath Orchestra.
Well! I’ve not heard that in many a year!
Yes. I’ve long been a fan of Ted Heath. I really liked the way that he was able to combine high political office with being a bandleader, organ player and yatchsman, and all the time maintaining a steely determination for revenge. He inspirational.
Excellent! So, to take us up to the travel news and then Raymondo with today’s recipe….. Are you a big food fan….?
Absolutely. I just couldn’t live without it.
Lovely. Well, it’s time to bid farewell to our special guest this week. TTFN Radovan Karadzic. But, in the meantime, here’s Ted Heath and his Teddy Bears’ Picnic......

* * *


PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:07 am
by Gordon Neill
There is a woman in London making waves in the music scene. Not just little ripples where tiny tots can happily paddle or play with their flimsy sand castles. No, I mean giant waves, the sort that have surfers on them and that pick these surfers up and smash them into the sand. Not that LaXula has any truck with Surf music. Hers is a sound that comes from the very depths of the human spirit. A sound that brings tears to the eyes and a heavy sweat to the forehead. But it is not wet. It has a dryness that catches the throat and makes one gasp with the reality of it all. LaXula is a star in the making. Not a supernova, they’re the ones that are at the end of their life and just blow up (like, say, Liza Minnelli or Elizabeth Taylor). Maybe a black hole. I’m not sure. Anyway, a star of some sort.

So I was determined to make a go of this one. With a bit of luck, I would be able to strike up a relationship with this young diva, on the cusp of her long and successful career. Who knows? In future years, as she tired of the toadies fawning over her great beauty and wealth, it would be me that she would turn to. The man she had known right from the start, the man who had shown faith in her when everybody else said she was rubbish, the man who really understood her. As her drug-raddled body rallied once more to perform for the grasping audiences, she would come to regret those missed opportunities. All those unasked questions which remained unanswered. She would resolve to spend her remaining years dedicating her exclusive interviews to the man simply known in the business as ‘Who?’ The man who scorned the safety net of research and simply sauntered across the tightrope of celebrity chat.

Or maybe not. You make your own luck in this game. As Gary Player said, when a competitor whined about him hitting all those aces, ‘the more I practice, the luckier I get’. So I really knuckled down on this one. Normally, for these interviews, I live on my wits, sensing where to go in much the same way as a jazz musician, like Dexter Gordon but using my keyboard instead of a flute. This time it was going to be different. I was no longer content just to skim the CD sleeve notes and trust to luck. I read fRoots, I looked at the pictures in Songlines, I even spent a whole week in the library trying to find something about LaXula. Anything that would give me that valuable insider’s perspective which can bring things out into the open and get inside the surface of the public image. I found nothing. But even that told me a lot. An awful lot. Here was an outsider who was ringing the doorbell of reality.

There were clearly some fascinating issues to cover with her. The album sleeve suggested that this was a woman who was seriously colour blind. Could she get a guide dog? But aren’t dogs colour blind as well? Did she know she had a flower on top of her head? Who had put it there? What sort of mother would call her child LaXula? Or had the childhood taunts helped to shape a tough cookie, with a cherry on top, ready to take on the world. A girl called LaXula, in response to Johnny Cash’s ‘A Boy Named Sue’? And the capital X right in the middle? What was that all about? Had all these pressures brought her to the point of nervous exhaustion and tearful indiscretions? As I approached the interview, I was quietly optimistic.

We agreed to meet in a swanky bar, next to Broadcasting House. An incongruous place to meet someone who has not yet been exposed as an alcoholic, you might think. But it is a haven for pop stars to escape the daily pressures of fame and simply relax in the company of pop star interviewers. I say ‘agreed’, but I just got the nod from the head of LaXula’s record company. At least, I think that’s who he was. ‘Whatever’ he had said, as he cleared my breakfast dishes, ’just go for it, she can only say no. But I think it’s actually Monty Palafox that you should be asking for’. Who was this mysterious Monty? Clearly some sort of shady businessman, the puppet master quietly pulling the strings behind the scenes. I was determined to speak to the puppet herself. But I could see the benefits of dealing with someone who have both feet firmly on the ground. Pop stars can be a bit tetchy, especially if they happen to be busy making up a catchy tune

I sat there for a while, scanning the customers for Monty. Would he have a military bearing? Would he look like Elvis Presley’s Colonel Sanders? Suddenly, I saw LaXula herself. Radiant, as she waited for the barman to fetch the correct flavour of crisps. Although I realised that she was waiting to be briefed by Monty before our interview, I decided to seize the moment. This was my opportunity to get to know the real LaXula, before Monty had the chance to present the sanitised version. I am proud to present the full unedited version of our encounter.

Hi. Is LaXula your first name or your surname?
F*** off! Just f*** off will you???

Well, there you have it, dear reader. It is possible to do too much research for these things. There are some, no doubt, who might say that it would have been better to wait for Monty Palafox to come and smooth my path. But the direct approach had produced results, like no other pop interview so far. I felt quietly proud. After all, how many people can claim to have been shoved by a pop star? Not as many as you might think. LaXula had said so little, and yet so much. Unflinchingly honest, and uncompromising, she spoke more in those eight words than in any record by the Shadows or Booker T and the MGs. Like an iceberg, with only the tip showing, those eight tiny words simply indicated hidden, dangerous, and violent depths. Experience is a wonderful tutor as we navigate through this strange journey that we call life, and I left a wiser man. I comforted myself with the knowledge that all the effort on research had not gone to waste. I would be able to use the questions on someone else.

While things hadn’t quite gone to plan, I left with a quiet respect – perhaps even fear - for the enigma which is LaXula. Feisty, direct, hard-hitting, and with the common touch, she is a woman with a strong determination to overcome all obstacles who get in her way. And, judging by the way she sprinted away from me, she’s woman who has a clear sense of direction and will go far.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:07 am
by NormanD
Oh Gordon, you really blew it this time, I'm sorry to read.

My advice would have been to confront the heterosexual within yourself, and to have asked her about her splendid frocks. The beautiful black velvets, coloured embroidery and piping, crinolines and even bustles. A detailed conversation about charity shop bargains might have followed and then - the way one thing often leads to another - discussions about both lunar and menstrual cycles, and - who knows? - songwriting secrets might have been revealed.

Instead, we had the rear-view of a flouncy exit rather than bustle. I am disappointed. I really wanted to know if she would ever consider wearing Mariza's cast-offs.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:25 am
by Gordon Neill
Thanks Norman. I'm not too proud to accept advice. I had actually identified the question about charity shops, as part of my research, but just didn't get the time to raise it with her. I had thought of the Mariza cast-offs as a possible angle, but I quickly dismissed that due to the marked differences in height. Perhaps I was too hasty. My mum has subsequently pointed out that it is quite straightforward to adjust the hems of frocks.

I must say that I never thought of quizzing her on lunar and mrenstrual cycles. I feel such an idiot. But I'll know the next time.

By the way, there is no way that LaXula made a 'flouncy exit'. It was pretty fierce. About as flouncy as Mike Tyson.

Re: LaXula

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:03 pm
by Jamie Renton
Gordon Neill wrote: We agreed to meet in a swanky bar, next to Broadcasting House. An incongruous place to meet

Gordon ... you ripoff artist ... you plagiarist ... you foul cur ... you indolent swine ... that line is directly lifted from my Bassekou Kouyate article for fRoots.

Fancy stealing someone elses words & not giving them due credit. Why I'd horse whip you if I had a horse.


that's torn it

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:07 pm
by Gordon Neill
Sorry. It was a left-over after I ripped off the rest of your Bassekou Kouyate article in fRoots. But, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of theft.

Re: LaXula

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:50 pm
by NormanD
Jamie Renton wrote:Fancy stealing someone elses words & not giving them due credit. Why I'd horse whip you if I had a horse.
Now where have I heard that one before, Jamie?


PS If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:09 pm
by Rob Hall
I hear that Jamie has a way with women; it's just that he ain't got away with many just lately...

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:39 pm
by Jamie Renton
Ah, all these great quotes. It's a gala day; n a gal a day's enough for anyone

Elvis, part 1

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:23 pm
by Gordon Neill
Fifty Million Elvis’s Cant Be Wrong

It’s clear that my last break from pop star interviewing was a big success. Not only did it give Jimmy Young a much needed boost to his comeback, but it allowed me time to carry out unvaluable research and be fully prepared for my next interview. As a result, I was able to reach new levels in my meeting with LaXula, gaining a deep understanding of her hopes and fears for the future (or, as Charlie generously put it in a PM, ‘plumbing new depths’). I was also touched by the many messages of support from readers urging me to take another break. So, while I rest up and eat lots of fish in preparation for my next interview, I am pleased to be able to pass on to you an exclusive from Clint Reno, an old friend of mine who is a private detective based in Memphis. He doesn’t actually have any experience in interviewing pop stars, but he was able to bring his investigative abilities to help solve one of pop music’s long-standing mysteries.

Please note: no pop stars were harmed in the making of this interview.

I get some strange jobs. The stuff the cops won’t touch, or can’t be trusted with. But this one was the king of strange.

Earlier that day. I got a call from a Mr Costello. He told me he was Chief Executive of, what sounded like, the World of Elves, and that he had an urgent job for me. He didn’t want to say much over the ‘phone, but he did say that it wasn’t the usual missing person stuff. ‘Possibly, the exact opposite’, he said, before arranging to see me at his office that afternoon.

I pondered about his odd parting shot as I approached his office building. What did he mean by the opposite of a missing person’s enquiry? And the ‘World of Elves’ seemed pretty bizarre. But I wasn’t hired yet and there was little point giving myself a sore head in my own time.

As I approached the entrance, I was surprised to see Elvis Presley having a quick fag outside. My first thought was that he was a non-smoker. But, given that he had been dead for 30 years, I figured he could afford to take a more relaxed view about government health warnings. Most people would have reacted in some predictable fashion, asking for an autograph or pleading for him not to bring out any more records. But I have this thing whenever I meet famous people. I just behave as if they’re completely normal and part of the crowd. I don’t make a fuss. I don’t ask if they really are them. I just stay cool. I treat them as any other human being. I feel that they need to have a break from being a public figure all the time. They need just to be themselves and relax. Best of all, it annoys the hell out of them.

So I played it low key, just stopping to ask if this was Mr Costello’s office. Disappointingly, he didn’t do an ‘uh huh huh’. Just a casual nod, and pointed to the door marked WOE.

The receptionist behind the desk was wearing her go-to-hell face. She looked me over like a bored estate agent surveying her 12th condo of the day. ‘Yes?’ she asked. It’s amazing just how negative that word can become.

‘I’m here to see Mr Costello’.

‘Is he expecting you?’

‘I think so, but I’ll ask him if you like’, I said as I handed over my business card. The one with the machine gun on it.

After a short spell of frost, she pressed the intercom. ‘Mr Costello, there’s a comedian to see you. He has a piece of cardboard with the name … uh….. Clint Reno …written on it’.

Almost immediately, a door opened and I found myself looking down on a rather short, balding man, with heavy rimmed spectacles. ‘Hi’, he said breezily, ‘I’m Eddie, Eddie Costello. Glad you could make it Mr Reno. Do come his way’. As the closed his door behind us, his voice dropped. ‘This is a very delicate matter. We need your absolute discretion.’

‘You didn’t say much over the phone, Mr Costello. Something about the opposite of a missing person. Do you want me to lose someone?’

‘No, no’, he squealed just a little too quickly, sitting down behind his desk but remaining at the same height. ‘Not unless it was absolutely necessary. But let me get to the point. I’m the head of WOE, perhaps you’ve heard of us?’

I shook my head to indicate there was no knowledge of WOE rattling inside.

‘WOE, World Of Elvis’s? We run a worldwide franchise for Elvis Impersonators’.

‘Ah’, I said, feeling that I would have been more comfortable dealing with some elf who wasn’t missing. ‘Is there much money in this racket, Mr Costello?’

‘We do alright. We started out with just the one Elvis in 1977. Nowadays we manage fifty million impersonators in 143 different countries. In exchange for training them in the art of Elvising, marketing, and general office back-up, we get 10% of all takings. We do alright.’

I had to admit, it was an impressive rate of growth. At that rate, everyone on the planet would be an Elvis impersonator by 2034. Then they’d have to start culling them humanely with baseball bats. ‘How did you get involved in this Elvis peddling, Mr Costello?’

His eyes flamed slightly, as if I had patted him on the head. ‘I started off as one of the first Elvis impersonators, back in the 70s.’

I looked at him. He wasn’t a naturally Elvis-looking kind of a guy. I couldn’t see him turning a girl’s head, just her stomach. Short, with the remains of dark hair clinging to the sides of a bald head which was clearly too big for his body. And those dark rimmed glasses not quite shielding the world from his face. He looked more like an elderly office junior than a King of rock and roll. Even Snow White would have found it hard to be pals.

He caught my look. ‘Yeah, well, there was an administrative error. I trained to be a Buddy Holly impersonator. Got my diploma and everything, but ended up being booked by mistake for an Elvis Presey gig. Accidents will happen, but I found there was more money to be made in the Elvis game. I was pretty good, as well. I even had a few hit records back then.

He paused, wanting me to ask. I asked.

‘Oh I had quite a few, you know. “Everyday I Read A Bookâ€