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Saturday, 14 June 2008

Bedroom Burlesque...

Well, that's it - another one in the can. That's right, the long-awaited (trust me, five months is a *long* time in pop!) follow up to 'Madcap in the Attic' should be hitting the shelves in around 6-8 weeks time, so I thought I'd give you all a sneak preview of the album artwork and the track listing and so on. Obviously, this won't be the last you'll hear of it, but I wanted to let those very kind people who've expressed an interest in my new material know that the wait to hear the new stuff won't be *too* long. For the rest of you who aren't *remotely* interested, don't worry; it just means I'll have *even* more time to post up pictures of myself looking scantily clad and cutely vulnerable, so you'll have plenty to gawp at over the next few weeks as the Swipe promo machine grinds into overdrive ahead of the album's release!

So, what's it like? Well, obviously, I'm quite chuffed with it. I think the sound is a lot fuller than the last one and I think the overall effect is of a writer and performer getting into his (or even her) stride, but I'll let you be the judges of all that. Obviously, it was great being reunited with my old wrecking crew - that wonderful rhythm section of George Murray on bass, Dennis Davis thumping the drums and the inimitable Carlos Alomar on guitars. They really are the best band in the whole of glam, aren't they? And over their taut and sinewy grooves I had none other than ex-Utopia star Roger Powell on Keyboards and Powell Probe (I L.U.V. the sound he gets out of that thing! You'd never believe it was just an old hoover powered by a stylophone when you hear it, would you?) On lead guitar was the ever wonderful Robert Fripp, who kept Eno, Visconti and myself in tucks with his outrageous Brian Blessed impersonations (it really is uncanny, believe me) and comedy balloon farmyard implements act (the combine harvester is a modern masterpiece - I don't know where he gets the air from! Or the blade shaped balloons, for that matter...)

I L.U.V. working with old Fripp, but I might have to scale down for the next album and get my trusty old plank spanker Stray Photon on board again. Much as I L.U.V. Bob's playing, he does go on bit and I wonder if there's maybe a bit too much virtuosity and not enough ....I his playing for the slightly raunchier sound I envisage for the next project. Of course, he doesn't make matters any easier by charging by the note... So, if you're listening Stray, the amp's turned up to eleven and there's a nice mug of cocoa on the hob if you fancy it....just keep it nice and simple, eh?? Don't use 15 notes when one will do, that's the ticket...

OK, so here's a quick whistle stop tour of the LP:

First up is Joining the Cyber Circus which is, I guess a re-write of She's leaving home for the Myspace generation. Lovely Beatles for Sale style semi-acoustic work from Carlos on that one. Next up is Granny Vision Vamp, sort of PJ Harvey on a zimmer frame trying to sound like Buddy Holly. Tramp Smash is next - probably my personal fave; the best recording I've done to date, lovely rich, profound bass on it. She's Falling in Love With Me has just been posted up on the Myspace page, so you can have a listen yourselves to that one right now, as is the case with the next track, Veil & Jimmy Choos. Champagne Shag takes the tempo down a bit; John Cale and Nico having a barney over a bottle of cheap champers in the Chelsea Hotel.

What would be side two if it was a proper record kicks off with What I do - Lee Hazlewood coming out of the closet after listening to The Queen is Dead. Cathy Moriarty is Paul Simon backstage at the wrap party for 'Raging Bull'. Jailbirds is Jailhouse Rock on a ukulele. Calendar Girl was a late bonus that just popped out - Jake Thackeray sings Leonard Cohen. Boytron is *very*, *very* long! The Circus is Leaving Town is Divine singing Noboby Loves you When You're Down and Out as if it was Rock n Roll Suicide...

So, that's that! Hope you all like it. Finally, just a quick thank you to Chas Ferry for his invaluable advise and support. If, as I think it does, this album sounds like a quantum leap from the first one, that's almost entirely down to him...


L.U.V. on y'all,





Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Kids Are Alright...

As I've probably mentioned in these pages before, there's more to being a Glam Icon than having a knack for a tune you can tap your toe to and mincing around looking utterly fabulous in a razored Ben Sherman shirt and a pair of 70 denier body shapers. Picture, if you will, a swan. At first glance, it glides effortless and serene over the water, a vision of poise and grace; the aloof and elegant prima donna of the riverbank (unless of course there's a Canada goose within a 1/4 mile radius of one of its cygnets in which case they can turn bloody nasty and would peck your goolies off as soon as look at you...) But take a closer look beneath the surface and you'll see those little legs paddling away like the clappers, as frantic and deranged as a dwarf on a 10 foot high unicycle being hunted down by a division of Panzer tanks. And so it is with glamness. It doesn't just magic there - it takes a whole lot of grit, detetrmination, hard work and a frig of a lot of foundation and Kohl pencils.

But despite the huge amount of dedication, effort and time involved in presenting this gorgeous vision of voluptuous loveliness to the world each morning, I pride myself on always making time wherever possible to help those less fortunate than myself - and I don't just mean my recent collaboration with Frank Ferdinand either! But seriously, I like to put a little back into the society that made me such a wonderful, scintilating, sumptuously delectable creature, so it was with huge pride and no little eagerness that I agreed to take part in a fantastic new initiative aimed at helping some of the country's most underprivileged kids.

Obviously, it's a pretty grim time to be growing up for many youngsters. Urban decay blights our inner cities and we've left a hideous legacy of rundown, often non-existent social services and ameneties in the worse off areas of the UK. This means that many kids have fewer and fewer opportunities to escape the confines of their bedrooms, leave their wi-fi enabled laptops and expensive PS2 video game consoles behind and escape into the great outdoors where they can spend a few precious hours vandalising the local handicapped kid and texting their mates stood three or four feet away on their all-singing-all dancing WAP mobile phone/MP3/video players. It really is grim out there, especially as they'll likely as not be moved on by the police for being binge drunk and off their mashes on bath crystals cut with Omo before they've had a chance to knife one another into intensive care.

So, when Sir Ian Blair asked me to front an extensive new advertising campaign to warn kids of the perils of attempting to cross the road without first looking left, then right, then left again, I hardly need to tell you that I jumped at the chance - at least I did once I'd established that there'd be a fairly hefty appearance fee and subsequent merchandise tie-in option, obviously.

It's a fairly light shooting schedule, thankfully - well, I've just come out of a gruelling period of rehab and solvent de-tox that's involved me having several litres of fresh blood transfused at high altitude and a punishing daily thinner and turpentine colonic regime, so the nerves are a little delicate to say the least. The costume leaves a lot to be desired - flourescent lime green does somewhat tend to emphasise my facial cellulite and really doesn't go with my eyes at all. But it's free publicity *and* I get to keep the silver-sprayed biker gloves and spangly cummerband! There are hardly any lines to learn, so if you'll excuse me I'll just be off to perfect the inflection of the campaign's catchy three word slogan:

"Ready, Steady, Cook...."

Erm, no that's not it...

"Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am...?"

Hang on, the script's here somewhere...

"Stand and deliver??"

"Knees up Mother Brown???"


L.U.V. on y'all,





Saturday, 7 June 2008

Bob's Indespensible Guide to Euro '96...

That's right, as well as being a red letter day in the domestic sport's calendar (the regional heats for 'I'm a Cerebrally Challenged Z-list Dwarf - GET ME OUT OF HERE!!" *and* 'Strictly Come Celebrity Ballroom Blitz Good Game Good Game, Nice to see you, to see you nice' both kick off today), on the continent it's that time again. The long wait for a high quality festival of silky flowing football is almost over - only another *two* years, and it'll be The World Cup again! But until then, you could do worse than watch a few Johnny Foreigner, Carlos Kickaballs falling over and writhing around in feigned agony in an outrageous attempt to cheat a penalty out of the dubious looking Polish referee, I suppose.

Sadly, the Home Nations all failed to qualitfy this time 'round - as did England, so we're in the unenviable position of having to cheer on those plucky part-timers from the Isle of Man. Do the minnows from the Irish Sea have a hope in hell of Euro glory? Hard to say, Brian - on the one hand, that extra leg may come in handy in the event of extra time, but at the end of the day Gary, it's more likely that it'll just give those cynical Italian defenders one more extremity to aim at when they hack you down on the edge of their box as part of their safety first cattenaccio gameplan.

But regardless of the lack of home interest, it promises to be a mouth-watering tournament awash with quality and filled with world class superstars from our domestic league. Brilliant players such as Ronaldo, Peter Cech, Fernando Torres and Michael Ballack *will* be there and any of them might be injured and forced out of the game to give some of the other teams a chance. So, you see, there's plenty of reason to get involved, even if David Beckham's latest hairstyle won't be playing.

A lot of people are surprised, given my appearance, that I take such a hearty interest in 'the beautiful' game, but I've been standing on the terraces since the early seventies. OK, so Skelmersdale aren't the footballing force they once were, but that's the nature of the game, Brian - once it gets it's claws into you're hooked. I may have traded my rattle and scarf and half time pie for an all in one catsuit in the club colours and a Marco Pierre White inspired-prawn cocktail, but underneath the spangly tops and high quality lingerie, I'm still the same wayward terrace tyke of yesteryear once the referee blows the whistle and the punch-ups start

I may be a purist, I suppose, but for me Gary, the game's lost a little of it's romance now that the corporate bigwigs have moved in and want to get the DAF Freightrovers Autowindshield semi-final playoffs moved to Beijing for the television revenues. It used to be an honour to wear those Three Lions on your blouse - now being in the England squad is just a cheap and easy way of getting your face onto one of those collectible silver coins they sell at garages in the unlikely event that England qualify for anything. Besides, long gone are the days when you could stand on a cold, damp piece of rotting concrete and chew on a mug of Bovril then become embroiled in a massive bundle with a gang of testosterone charged skinheads chasing you through the shopping precinct shouting "Ooh, 'ark at her" and "flamin' pooves, they want to chop it off , that'd slow you down you nonce-breathed prevert!" all the way home.

So, I'll be filing regular match reports on all the big matches over the next fourteen and a half weeks in my own inimitable style. "Come on you Manxmen! Let's be 'avin' yer!! Get in there my son, on me 'ead Brian!! Oooh - nice shorts!!


L.U.V. on y'all,





Thursday, 5 June 2008

The 70s...

Younger readers will, I trust, indulge another mincing sashay down Memory Lane, but my thoughts are ineluctably tugged back to those halcyon days when life was young and everything and anything seemed possible. It was a simpler time back then: men were men, women were an amorphous, sexually ambivalent ball of gender confusion and you wouldn't have put *anything* past Jeremy Thorpe.

It was into that world of three-day weeks, 7 pint tins of Watney's red barrel, burning bras and freshly minted decimal currency that I emerged onto the previously dank and denim-clad pop scene; a luminous lepidoptera, a bright beacon of glamour to light our way through the bleak, power-cut stalked evenings and inspiring the youth of the nation to 1001 new uses for a roll of baco foil, some copydex and a set of crocheted place mats.

Of course, the technology was so different in those days. We had none of your wi-fi enabled blue teethed solar powered wiki-waki-woo-woo nano-nanu-technology in those days! The closest we got to Googling something was watching Googie Withers in 'Within these Walls' - and even she was liable to shut down abruptly at 5.30 if it was a weekend. That and the mechanical bird on 'Going for a song'with Arthur Negro, was about as high tech as it got in those days. Nowadays you couldn't even *say* Arthur Negro on the telly, let alone watch him - so I suppose the changes haven't all been for the worse...although that mechanical bird must be getting on a bit. By crackee she was a goer...The height of technology back then was a pen with a digital watch built into it. Oh, we can laugh about it now, but don't forget that the Soviets got within an ace of landing just such a craft on the moon. They'd have done it too, those Ruskies, if only they'd been able to develop a cosmonaut two millimetres high with a massive tolerance to Quink navy blue ink...

Elsewhere we had OPEC, BOAC, BEA, Spacelab, Stagflation - you name it, we'd find an acronym for it or conflate two completely separate words into a new one. Britain's long awaited entry into the Common Market got us all excited. Enoch Powell stopped moaning about immigrants from the Commonwealth for long enough to start having a go at our continental neighbours across the English Channel. But sadly his warnings about 'Rivers of Ouzo' went unheeded, even though the portents were there for all to see. Take the commemorative football match at Wembley between England and a specially selected European All-Stars XI that was arranged to mark the occasion and which was marred by ill-feeling, mistrust and cynical gamesmanship; although, to be fair, team spirit wasn't much better in the European All-Stars XI changing room either... In a bad tempered and spiteful game, three players were sent off before a Norwegian trawlerman escasped his marker to nod home at the far post. Despite his having clearly been several miles inside British territorial waters, the goal was allowed to stand, sparking an unecessary bout of net-snipping that culminated in an ugly brawl in the centre circle over fishing quotas.

But it wasn't all Fray Bentos steak & kidney pies, Stork SB and 'Runaround' with Mike Reid, oh no... We had Steve Austen in The Six Million Dollar Man too - although with all that stagflation, you'd probably have had to shell out nearer £400,000 for him by the end of the first series, only to find his left arm only worked every other day and he could only do the bibbibibibibib noise whilst running in slow motion between the hours of daylight on Saturday and Sunday. John Arlott's voice booming out of the transistor radio could still reassure that God was an Englishman and all was well with the world, and there, just visible above the sun-dappled rooftops was the sleek silhouette of the prototype Concorde on a test flight, nosing through the blue into an impossibly exciting future where anything - soda streams, Breville's toasted sandwich makers, etch-a-sketch, you name it - seemed entirely possible.

Of course, it couldn't last. The signs were there, if only we'd been able to tear ourselves away from sticking in our Green Shield Stamps for long enough to see. Thatcher the Milk Snatcher was lurking in the shadows. Not content with depriving the nation's poor and needy young folk of their unhygienically sun-addled miniature bottles of state subsidised silver top milk, she'd soon be back to close down all the mines, sink the Belgrano and sell off the family siver. Then, in one final act of betrayal, she brought down the curtain on that glorious, sunny era once and for all. A man can stand for many things, but it was a dark and treacherous day when they changed the name of the Post Office Tower....

L.U.V. on y'all,





Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Hard though this will be for my legion of adoring worshippers to believe, it's a lonely old life being a Glam Icon. Oh sure, there's an almost endless stream of private parties, premieres, weekend retreats to discuss global climate warming with the great and the good. And George W. Bush. An yes, there are the legions of groupies and the hordes of playgirls and the endless lines of well-wishers and under-age teeny boppers offering hand relief on a casual, no strings attached basis now, or guilt-free intercourse the next time in Guildford....but away from the crack of the flash bulb, once the last adoring minion has been patted on the head and despatched to the guest room for a menage a quatorze with the other thirteen stunningly accomodating concubines, the bed feels rather big and empty when you're on your own...

That's how it is though, at the top. You can't have it both ways - and believe me, I've tried. Marriage just didn't suit though - as I'm sure Tony Bastable would concur. We tried, but in the end, neither of us was really cut out for a monogamous relationship based on loyalty and trust in which we only shagged one another and nobody else. Shame, he was *spectacularly* well hung...and very good with filo pastry, it might surprise you to learn. And sadly, the same has proved true of even medium to long-term relationships. Oh, I've given it my best shot with some wonderful ladies who would have made someone a terrific husband (or even a wife), but there's always been that sharp tug at the loins to distract me from my chosen one. How does the song go? "I've had relations with girls from many nations...sexuality, tum-ti-tum-ti-tum-ti tee..." Or something like that...

Yes, the old Swipe little red book could tell a tale or two. Obviously, there's such tremendous interest in my privates that I'd be foolish to give too many of the juicy details here for gratis ahead of the publication of *SHAGGED*!: The lives and loves of a Glam Icon, my salacious kiss and tell autobiography (available from all good bookshops from September. And WH Smiths...) So for now, I'm afraid you'll just have to make do with this little taster; a heavily edited, potted history of my sexual conquests. For the sake of conciseness, I've limited this exctract to those of my former lovers who might reasonably be described as being 'in the public eye'. Oh, and Lily Allen...

One Night Stands:

Twiggy: neurotic toenail clipper. Hates Onions. And Arabs.

Miranda Richardson: bellicose after alcohol. Bi-weekly menstrual cycle (?!)

Caroline Quentin: Flexible. Plymouth Argyle season ticket holder.

Farah Fawcett Majors: feint smell of plywood. Otherwise engaging.

Demis Roussos: Pre - Flippant, post - crying jags.

Angela Rippon: fidgety.

Glenn Close: Hung like a pit pony!

Claire Danes: deceptively vulgar; can burp the word Torremelinos unaided...

Daley Thompson: surprisingly vulnerable. Vegan.

Gloria Hunniford: A dab hand with a ratchet screwdriver. No idea in the sack.

Belinda Carlisle: obsessed with walnuts...

Imelda Marcos: squidgy...

Michael Crawford: haunted.

Kate Winslett: borderline diabetic. Lives on salt & shake....

Gary Rhodes: A connoisseur of the garter belt.

Sherilyn Fenn: card carrying Republican. Disturbing views on eugenics...

Isla St. Clair: vicious and indiscreet purveyor of love bites.

Maddhur Jaffrey: waspish. Has own clamps.

Tanya Beckett: Miss Bossyboots (but not in a good way...)

Paul Nicholas: kleptomaniac.

Paula Abdul: Paula Ab*DULL*

Martha Kearney: pert and wise.

Edna O'Brian: Motormouth. Also talks too much.

Nicholas Soames: Surprisingly naiive for a former rent boy.

Amanda Donohoe: alarming stubble. Legs could do with a shave too...

Sian Williams: only puts out in public libraries...

Disputed paternity suits:

Peaches Geldof

Fearne Cotton ( I would have had to have been 12...)

Mika (has my chin, according to his legal team...)

Jules Wilson (also has my chin, but her mothers thighs and bazoombas...)

Objectum sexual:

The A25
Hole punches
Hilligdon Hospital
Tote bags
Magpie Annual, 1975
Coffee & walnut cakes.
Daniel Corbett
A 2 week old Toblerone

L.U.V. on y'all,