Dear Robin, Barry and Maurice

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Could this be the biggest thing in pop? Tonight the nation's favourite castrati have a gig with a planning committee.

I've gotta get a message to you. I have been a fan of the Bee Gees - those trousers, that dentistry, those close harmonies delivered at a pitch that has frightened dogs throughout the world - ever since I heard Jive Talkin' as a schoolboy and wondered why you were singing a love song to someone called Jack Donkey. Now, just about to enter your 30th year in showbiz, you are an institution, a national treasure, those 100 million album sales over your career indicate how deep is our love.

So I wanted to send a note of encouragement, boys, for the big gig tonight. You have played some places in your time as Britain's favourite trio of castrati, from Wembley to Wichita, but your appearance in front of Wandsworth Borough Council's planning committee this evening might prove the most important. Just like Rachel Whiteread with her House, you lads have discovered that council officials, jobsworths to a man, seem incapable of getting their heads round great art. In Bow they wanted to haul Ms Whiteread's concrete piece down the moment it appeared; now planners in Wandsworth may not let your enormous masterwork appear at all.

It all started because a grateful nation - well, a grateful record company at least - wanted to mark this anniversary with something monumental. The idea was to decorate the derelict Battersea Power Station with appropriately vast pictures of the three of you.

The original scheme was for giant perspex cut-outs, complete with 30ft teeth, to be strapped to three of the chimneys; on the fourth would be a message promoting your new album, Size Isn't Everything. A pounds 250,000 budget was set aside for this fortnight-long artistic extravaganza. Imagine the scene for us fans, driving along the Embankment, suddenly confronted with Brobdingnagian images of the giants of pop brooding over the river: too much heaven, as you might have put it yourselves.

The owners of the building seemed rather pleased to rent the space, but pointed out that you needed permission from the council. They also reasoned that the strap-on devices might damage the crumbling fabric of the chimneys. So a plan was mooted to pop sympathetic lightweight vinyl sheaths over the structures, decorated with your portraits.

And that is where the problems started. The philistine objectors of Wandsworth planning department sneered that this was just a publicity stunt, one which could set an alarming precedent: imagine Benetton, they worried, getting its hands on the chimneys. And anyway, they added, your sheaths would look like coloured, 150ft condoms.

But what metaphor could be more appropriate for Bee Gees music - simple, efficient, enjoyed by millions every day, and easily disposable?

Tonight the councillors meet to decide whether to kick out your scheme. Half the nation holds its breath. And the other half wishes you would.

Yours in the beat,

(Photograph omitted)

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