A bloke writes: Velvel underground

AS I WRITE I am starkly conscious of two facts: one, I am thirty- five. Two, I have not bought a pop record all year.

Now this is disturbing. I have a big record collection, I've always loved pop music and, like most blokes, I've spent a lot of my time wishing I was Keith Richards. For a couple of years during the mid-Eighties, moreover, I was actually in a pop group. We were called Velvel, so that, when I became famous, I could say: "Velvel is a character in a Saul Bellow novel." Which is true.

We played a couple of gigs on the York wine bar circuit, after one of which I overheard a seasoned muso say that we were "about as tight as a circus net." Then we made and sent out a demo tape, which led to my being summoned to see Dave Dee, who was formerly part of Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Titch, and had gone on to become head of A&R at RAK Records.

Still reeling from my discovery that Dave Dee was one entity and not two (Dave and Dee), and after a nerve calming pint of Guinness, I entered the black marbled lobby of RAK in St John's Wood. There, standing by the reception desk, was a rock star-ish face. "Dave Dee?" I said, extending my hand, "Andrew Martin. You liked my demo tape." But no sooner were the words out of my mouth than I realised that this was, in fact, Micky Most, brilliant record producer, multi-millionaire owner of RAK, and terminator (as cold-eyed panelist on New Faces) of many a showbiz career.

A bad start. Dave Dee himself, however, was charming, although he did keep making and receiving phone calls as he re-acquainted himself with our tape. But then he played the tape again, and this time he really concentrated on it, by which I mean that he made and received significantly fewer phone calls this time around. "It's very commercial," he eventually pronounced. "Come back to me with a couple more songs."

Shortly after that, of course, the band broke up. Basically, the success of having someone suggest that we might eventually be a success had gone to our heads. I embarked on a series of solo projects, continuing to make demo tapes and thinking of myself as a potential pop star despite passing thirty, getting married, and having children. But what really brought home to me the fact that I would never be Keith Richards was the moment, last year, when I found myself applying to join the National Trust.

I still enjoy records, although, as I've gradually stopped listening to Radio One, my first exposure to new songs tends to be accidental - over pub juke boxes mainly, which can be embarrassing. "This is a good record," I'll say, down the boozer with my still-hip mate, Dave. "It's Michael Bolton," he'll sneer. "From his tribute album to the great operas of the world."

Part of my problem is that, being better off than my twentysomething self, I don't need to do all that research (reading reviews, watching Top Of The Pops) which ensures that my record money is not wasted. So there's no thrill in buying a record anymore; it's not the result of hard labour.

Above all, though, what's gone for me from pop music is the sex connection. I accept that I will never be a pop star-sex symbol; I no longer look at pop stars and think, yeah, with a bit of tweaking I could look sexy in that way; I have no immediate plans to pick up sexy women by dancing sexily in nightclubs. And without the sex, what are you left with here? Just tunes and words.

Not enough.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

    £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

    Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

    £23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...