What is it with labels? Why do they steady us and make us feel we can take no wrong turn. Are they Hansel and Gretal pebbles that will help us find our way home in the dark?
Of course.. you may gather from my tone as I say ‘us’, I don’t truly mean ‘us’ at all. I mean them. Everyone else is ‘them’ aren’t they. My labels are pertinent, theirs are misguided. Ha.
I have always been labelled. What else is there to do with something as odd as I have always seemed to be. In fairness, I see the differences. I see true oddness in others.
Can you tell, for example, that I have never aspired to a weekly manicure and a brazilian. That it was never about not being able to afford it. That shoes and handbags are not objects of desire for me. That I saw nothing shocking when Julia Roberts raised her arm to wave. That men who shudder at such thoughts appear neutered and sexless to me. That high maintanance women make me feel uneasy and pitying. Thats funny isn’t it.. the very thing that makes them glad they are not me is the thing that in turn, makes me see them as slightly… revolting. Ironic these labels.
Music, and here we go again.
My pet hates for the labels that have been applied to me since I became a recorded singer have been many.
Soul was my first. Hmmm.
Why did I ‘belt’ them out to start with? I shall tell you why. Previous to hooking up with Vince, I had no real studio experience.
I was a live singer, coming from the Basildon Punk scene, and then I ran the same pub curcuit as Doctor Feelgood, Lew Lewis, Wilco Johnson.
The PA was always shit. The Stages small. The drummer set up in your pants. Monitors were for trust fund bands. We had to shout to hear.
That was usually why I made it to the front. Big lungs, me!
UK R&B Shouting, (an entirely different meaning than it holds today) later muted - as I saved my ears in the studio and did battle with the headphones.
Then I tried my ungainly hand on a Billy Holiday song. A little musical discovery I had made tracing a tree that sprouted out from Sonny Boy Williamson and Billy Boy Arnold and Willie B Huff and Ray Charles.
I made a less than astonishing job at it and the bastard was a big hit.
Jazz singer was the next label to plague me. I assisted this by foolishly taking up an offer to sing on tour with a big band, material I had no affection for.
I fancied the crack and they asked me on a wreckless day.
What next?…. they were confusing..it always depended on who was opining.
’80′s Singer Ah yeah.. that’s a git, that one.
Sometimes it’s ‘Has Been, ’80′s singer’…
Sometimes it’s ‘Legendary ’80′s singer…
And everytime it winds me up ( note to self…you are arming them…note back to self…let ‘em).
I went on stage the other day, where someone indroduced me to the audience as ’80′s Singer…’ and I wanted to change my opening shpeel to ”this decade I shall mostly be doing Applique…right now I’d like to show you a lovely little back stitch”…
My mate Nick didn’t think it would go down well…
What is that! Is there any other job where you are defined in such a way?.
I had my tonsils removed by ’50′s Doctor, Adrian Slice.
’70′s journalist Paul Morely, tore me to pieces in a 1850′s newspaper after my disastrous set in front of a predominantly ’50′s audience (that was played in a 00′s venue, which was built in an altogether different century entirely).
’60′s cyclist Lance Armstrong…well thats when he first learned not to fall over on one wasn’t it?
And now…what can it be… some peeps thinks I’m singing show tunes!
AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Preserve us
I wrote some songs for a play that wasn’t a musical. Only some people know it was music that went in a play – which means it had to be a musical, and so…they are show songs, aren’t they?
I don’t know about them. maybe they have been to loads of musicals.
I haven’t, so I don’t get the reference. Are there loads of funeral Hymns on Broadway? Tits and Teeth and a dead mother?
She’s dead and I’m a grieving… my heavy chest is heaving…my lord her soul is leaving and I’m a dancing to that beat….la la la
No!…this is not my song but it may as well have been.
Alison did a show once didn’t she? she wrote some songs and they were in a play…she’s gotta be a musical theatre Turn now…surely!….label, label…whats the sodding label!!!
For those of you drowning in a sea of modern R&B. Asinine pop for the naked generation. For those of you not still desperate to run with the yoof. I will give you a label.
The Turn is an album of fine songs, well sung and intelligently produced, written in collaboration with a ’70′s Doctor of medicine, by someone of the generation that remembers Roy Orbison and …… other people.. whose names I have not collected in my memory, but whose musical legacy throbs yet in my veins.
If you are content that I know I am not beautiful – by all the standards that are given us today, and are satisfied that I can own up to that…then delight for me in the fact that I absolutely know these songs float like hope….. If you can’t…..why then you’re just plain ugly.