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.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
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

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick