Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Hideaway.

Hidden away in an unlikely spot at the back of a row of shops on Streatham High Road, is a jazz club called The Hideaway. It's not Ronnie Scott's, but it's not bad. I went to a party there once and I know people who go there for Sunday lunch and jazz. So when a friend suggests we go to the Wall to Wall Prince night at The Hideaway I think it might be fun, even though I don't actually like Prince all that much. Sure, he was the pretty boy of the party scene back in the day, with pretty pop songs too, but I like clever lyrics and "Even doves have pride," and "I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain" is nothing to write home about in my view, although there is that nice one he penned for Sinead O'Connor, which she went on to make a bit of a meal of.

So, Thursday night we're at the Hideaway for a bit of a meal and a spot of Prince and our friend Tom is sitting across the table, and he says he came to the Bowie night here and it was great. Turns out it's the same guy doing Prince. "He's good," whispers Tom, as the lights dim and faux Prince opens his mouth to sing, "but he does do a lot of inane chatter between songs, which gets a bit..."

"I never meant to cause you any sorrow,
I never meant to cause you any pain,

I only wanted one time to see you laughing," sings faux Prince.

"What?" I whisper back.

"I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain," sings faux Prince.

"Irritating," says Tom.

He is good, this Prince pretender, there's even a moment when I think the punters might jump up from their seats and boogie on down with the band at the front and then I'll be able to boogie on down with them, but sadly the moment passes and this doesn't happen. It's a sign of the times, I think, or maybe it's because it's a Thursday night, in Streatham, or maybe it's because everyone in the audience is over fifty and urgently needs to see an osteopath.

In between sets there's some inane chatter, between Tom and me, mostly about that time he was Johnny Cash for the primary school Star's in Their Eyes evening and sang I Walk the Line, brilliantly, and then, just as the lights dim for the second half, Tom adds, "I take your point about the lyrics. I'm not sure Prince was all that bright, to be honest, but then it's hard to think of a pop star who is."

"Dig if you will the picture
Of you and I engaged in a kiss," sings faux Prince.

"Bob Dylan," I whisper.

"The sweat of your body covers me
Can you my darling, 
Can you picture this?" sings faux Prince.

"Have you heard Bob Dylan interviewed?" Tom whispers. "I heard him on the radio the other day and the man's an idiot."

"Dream if you can a courtyard
An ocean of violets in bloom, 
Animals strike curious poses," sings faux Prince.

"David Bowie," I whisper.

"They feel the heat
The heat between me and you," sings faux Prince.

"Ahead of his time, innovative, creative genius, great outfits," whispers Tom. "Really clever? Not so sure."

"How can you leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold? (So cold)," sings faux Prince.

"The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Beach Boys," I whisper.

"Maybe I'm just too demanding
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold," sings faux Prince.

"Bright, I'll grant you," Tom whispers. "Grammar school boys most of them, but I wouldn't call any of them really clever."

"SHHH!" hiss all the old people sitting around us, so Tom and I have to shut up and I spend the rest of the second set thinking about what he said about pop stars not being really clever.

Bryan Ferry? (Okay, so I take Tom's point there.) 

Blonde? (Yeah, well).

Sting? (Again, point taken.)

Bruce Springsteen? (Mmm.)

"Are you including jazz?" I whisper, and Tom raises his eyebrows. "What about Abba?"

"You've got the butterflies all tied up, Don't make me chase you, Even doves have pride," sings faux Prince.

"Ha ha ha ha." Laughs Tom. "Yeah, right."

In the taxi on the way home, I tell my friend Jack what my friend Tom said. "Turns out all pop stars are thick," I tell Jack. "Name me a clever pop star."

"Brian Cox was in D:Ream," he says, "and he's an astrophysicist."

"Good point," I say, but apart from Brian Cox." 

"Chris Martin has a first-class honours degree in something or other."

"Yeah," I say, "but he married Gwyneth Paltrow and named his baby after a fruit, so apart from Brian Cox." Jack can't think of anyone, apart from Brian Cox.

Next day, I'm driving with Middle One next to me and I tell him about the conversation I had with Tom, and Jack.

"Brian May," he says, straight off the bat. 

"Yeah, okay," I say. "I'll give you Brian May, and there's Brian Cox, but apart from them."

"David Bowie was a bright guy," he says. "He founded an internet service provider in the 90's. Mick Jagger is clever, he went to the LSE, and..."

"Yeah, yeah," I butt in, "whatevs, but apart from Brian Cox (and Chris Martin) and Brian May and David Bowie and Mick Jagger, all pop stars are thick, right."

Love E x


P.S. "Why do we 
scream at each other,
This is what it sounds like

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