After last week’s scheduled interruption…
A gift from Bob & Sandy, in which stunning clay figures mash the Day Of The Dead with celebrity icons
Name all six, Win A Prize!
Prince’s plectrum from his first visit to London, 1981
As Prince plays small gigs in the capital, from front rooms in Leyton to the offices of The Guardian, a look back… I knew of Prince because my friend Mick had given me Prince, the album. I was working in my first job at the Radio Times and went to the Lyceum show with two friends from work, Sue and Ruby. I remember it being virtually empty as there hadn’t been much publicity. It was the Dirty Mind band of Andre Cymone on bass, Lisa Coleman and Matt Fink on keyboards, Bobby Z on drums and Dez Dickerson on guitar. The keyboardists were disguised (Matt Fink had some kind of radiation suit on) and the frontline wore underwear and trenchcoats. Quite mad. It was a spectacular show, with Prince’s guitar playing outstanding, and they went down a storm with the few hundred people there (mostly music-biz types, I think). I was right at the front (well, the whole audience were, actually) and close enough to catch Prince’s plectrum.
I have a memory of Prince being bad-tempered, not with the audience, but at the empty hall. He stomped off at the end throwing his pick rather petulantly… and cancelled the rest of the tour. I recently read the brilliant Ian Penman on this gig. He hated it. Really, really hated it. See for yourself in this cut-down excerpt (I know I shouldn’t but it is pretty long: “For a wolverine habituee of the sharper clubs and bars of our capital such as myself, this tawdry ‘gig’ was something like a step into the horrors of Hieronymous Bosch from the accustomed gilt-edged decadent sumptuousness of Klimt! The dry ice and fright lights – whose calculated effect is undermined and rendered pretty pathetic by way of the Lyceum’s half-emptiness – turn out to be a good index of the Prince live repertoire’s ancient grasp of sub-cultural subtlety: the plot doesn’t thicken, it keeps its consistency. Heavy, stodgy, overdone, tasteless, lacking in spice or space – you get the picture? ‘Outfront’, Prince prances in unison with his two guitar cohorts – they walk it like they talk it, as the saying goes, every song split down the middle or battered to bed with the tedious exaggeration of third-rate Heavy Metal. Someone remarked to me the next day that oh, you know what these young chaps are like with their Hendrix fixations. Hendrix? It never began to shimmer with a hint of the historical avant-shapelessness or spirited slipstreams or sexual harangues of a Hendrix! This was calculated – Madison Square Garden here we come! – coldly choreographed strut rut muzak, in which context Prince’s thigh flashes and camp come-hither persona is stretched pretty thin. My two fellow funkateers and I unanimously elected to wander away from the endlessly guitar wrenching spectacle after about half an hour – we didn’t really even ‘walk out’; it was more of an embarrassed shuffle.”
I, on the other hand, was obviously taken in by the dry ice and the third-rate Heavy Metal. I still am – see the music player on the right…
Annie Clark review, from our French Correspondent, Steve Way
“St Vincent was awesome at Le Cigalle – small theatre venue, great fun – she has the arty moves, channeling a deranged Barbie rock android. Did the whole gig, including climbing steps, on high heel strappy black pixie boots. Fiona most impressed.”
Tip Jar in Attendant, a Victorian Men’s urinal turned cafe in Foley Street. Highly recommended for Ironwork, and coffee
Oh, and I thought I might write about the soul-sapping Brits…
but every record tells a story does it better. Except he fails to mention the strange absence of any discernible talent in Ellie Goulding, Kate Moss’s voice (don’t speak, don’t break the illusion), the pitiful MasterCard plinth, Pharell’s Club Tropicana trousers (I said he’d look back in six months and rue the day, but Miche pointed out that six hours might be more accurate), and the absurd bigging-up of host James Corden by most of the bands (why? He was so poor). OK, that’s it.