Melody Maker – March 26th, 1988


OH, it’s just magnificent, man. Sid The Sexist is superb. He’s looking well dapper these days, isn’t he? A bit like me.


PLAYS on the new album. He just came in for 45 minutes did his stuff and then went away again. Which was astounding because that song, “Nightingales”, well, I won’t bore you with details about chord changes but it’s a bugger to play and he just rattled it out.

You know he has no real concept of day and night, as you can imagine, don’t you? He just starts work as and when he feels like it, and this huge entourage of musicians and whoever of his just has to drop anything. One time, it was after a tour, they’d been partying all night, and by eight in the morning, when they were just a bunch of corpses, Stevie rings up and says it’s time to start recording. And they had to go. And if ever an entourage cursed pretty freely as they ran through another take of some song or other about the brotherhood of man, Stevie’s entourage was that entourage.


I’VE got to be honest, I want to sell records by the bagful. And I’ve never understood that mentality that dictates this cut-off level, after which you’re not allowed to sell any more.


ALL the time. I’ve been writing for a thousand years, which is why I hate all that stuff about the nance bit, the introversion, because I went through all that when l was 12, doing stuff that no one will ever get to know about, touch wood. When I started, I looked at Marc Bolan’s lyrics, all these words strung together in a humorous, ironic way and I tried to copy that, but all I achieved was a sort of irony without the irony. So I soon had a change of direction.


I TELL you, anybody that likes “Steve McQueen”, the credit has to go to Thomas. He made that album. He knows exactly about colour and the moment. It was very much a co-effort.


YOU know, I’m desperately trying to mention anybody else at all, because when you open a paper, the first thing you home in on is some little bitchy thing or other that some star says about some other star and it’s… Well, actually, I quite like it, it’s a lot more interesting than staying neutral.

I remember one thing Boy George said about George Michael that really made me crack up – “He has a wonderful sense of humus”. Very droll, I thought. So, anyway, I’d be grateful if you didn’t mention anything I have to say about Sting. Do you know one of his first songs was called “Don’t Give Up Your Day Job”? I sometimes wish that boy would practise what he preached.


STEVE Sutherland hates us? But he likes Duran Duran!


WE nearly got Isaac Hayes to arrange the strings on “Hey Manhattan” off the new album, which would have been tremendous. l’d love to have seen what he’d have done with this song about this kid arriving in the big city for the first time and all those butterfly feelings gradually turning sour. First he was going to do it, then he got a wire saying he couldn’t, then another one saying it was back on again, and then it wasn’t and then it was and then it wasn’t . . . and so on.


I’D best come clean at the outset here. I’ve never read a thing by Henry James. Clive James yes. Henry James no. There, wasn’t that honest of me?


YOU know, this is the best time there’s ever been for the old farts, the best since the Sixties. Did you see that Hall Of Fame thing recently? It’s like a giant Dynasty… with Paul snubbing George and Ringo in that mooted Beatles reunion because he’s going to court against them. Mike Love rebuking Paul in his speech for rebuking George and Ringo. then Yoko Ono weighing in and saying that if John had been alive, John would have played, and Mark Knopfler’s bigger than ever and Phil Collins is bigger than ever and. . . it’s the best time ever for them.

Now there’s two sides to this. On the one hand. I’ll be glad if when l’m 40 I’ve still got that sort of licence to entertain. and my own future’s assured. On the other hand…. sheesh!


IT’S the video mentality that is the difference between “Absolute Beginners“ and “West Side Story”. If you look at any musicals, or classic music for that matter, you’ll see that it’s organic, it grows from tiny cells, tiny fragments of music. Which is a good deal better than those vague, modern attempts at nostalgia where you just whack a lot of things, a lot of images together that never really belonged together in the first place.