Friday, August 26, 2011

1991: Can only lead to no good

I'd been in my 'proper' job coming up for a year and I really loathed it. It wasn't the company's fault per se, though the lack of training didn't help. It was boring and I was no good at it. I didn't have the patience to sift through law texts looking for literals and putting things into style. It just wasn't me.

But at least I'd made some good friends. Some people seemed to have very exciting lives though, like my colleague and friend whose boyfriend was co-manager of some new singer called Seal. I'd never heard of him but I was told he was going to be huge. And then came his collaboration with Adamski which suddenly set the world on fire and there we were, right in the middle of a big pop moment, with Killer soundtracking the summer of 1990.

While my friend was good at her job and very reliable she, like me, wasn't that bothered about it, so as she had a car and lived nearby she'd pick me up in the morning. But as we worked in the fledgling Docklands (Canary Wharf was under construction) and lived in south west London, it took forever to get there in her battered 2CV and it had to stop. My boss was running out of patience. But that summer was a scorcher, and each morning in the car this would come on.

As the months went by Seal became big news, and we were invited to the Wogan show at the Shepherd's Bush Theatre early the following year to see him perform his new single Future Love Paradise. We met him and the manger in the Bush pub next door first, and he was unusual looking, slightly intimidating, but charm itself. The music biz coterie around him were a different matter, a scary dark denim everything-raddled corner huddle with menacing Ian Dury overtones.

I don't remember who else was on that edition of Wogan except some woman who'd walked the Pennine way on stilts in order to publicise schizophrenia or something. What I remember most is that Terry came out to talk to the appreciative audience which was made up of coach parties of pensioners pre-show, then they all cracked their Tupperwares open during the show. It was flasks a go-go. It was like they'd make the journey just to eat sandwiches in a different setting.

Not long after, my friend's boyfriend was ousted by the management just as Seal went stratospheric and he had to find another interest on the borders of the music industry. I can't be sure, but I think that's what did for him in the end.


  1. Yes, two years ago, and he wasn't even 50. He married my friend in the end and cleaned himself up, they had two kids and moved to the middle of nowhere. He came home after running oned day and dropped dead in the bathroom.

  2. The Joe Strummer death. Quick and easy for him (one assumes), and an appalling shock for his family. Sad story.

  3. We had a similar thing with a school friend's older bass playing brother. How we laughed when we heard their name Talk Talk. More so when we saw the first single Mirror Man in *all* the bargain bins..

    But it all went sky high after I'd lost contact with him..oh well!

    Kiss From a Rose is one of the few songs to have me sprinting for the off button when it pops into radio play

  4. I'm not totally averse to Kiss From A Rose, but I know exactly what you mean. My heart does sink.

    Talk Talk - well it did take a while for them to take off, so fair play to you!

  5. It says here that Oliver Stone and Kyle MacLachlan were on that edition of Wogan (22/04/91). I love that you don't remember seeing Oliver Stone but do remember seeing a charity lady on stilts.

    I saw Seal live at an, erm, charity gig I went to a few years back. I had absolutely no preconceptions about him, but he turned out to be the star of the show. Obviously he did a version of Killer that went on for eight minutes and involved a lot of running about.

  6. I remember Oliver Stone on film, having been recorded a few days before, but I don't recall Kyle McLachlan at all. Clearly made a huge imperssion.

    I'm sure there was someone else - perhaps Jodie Foster?