Lines written upon hearing the new Dexys single for the 4th time

They've spelt the name wrong on the promo CD.

No apostrophe. Shouldn't matter. It does.

I'm hungover: four pints of Guinness at the Careless Talk Albert disco party last night: The Shend turned up, star of The Very Things/Cravats and the small screen, and I got excited. An ex-MTV DJ helped out, spinning only female-led music on the turntables. Nice chap: enthusiastic, not like you'd think. Fairy Traders played - four sweet girls with three-part pop harmonies, a keyboard and a lead vocal borrowed from the Sleater-Kinney school of expression. Not necessarily what you'd expect. They thanked everyone several times for being so attentive, and then I ripped it up with X-Osettes' storming Saints guitars-style take on 'River Deep, Mountain High', and Nina Simone's 'Trouble In Mind'. Couldn't sleep. Too busy arguing with section editors. Didn't know this CD was turning up. Could've guessed.

Promo CDs come personally encrypted nowadays: my one is marked '9: Everett True'. Should be complimented that I'm so high up the list. I am. Don't know what to think about the music, the Dexys reunion idea... the forthcoming tour. Feel the old familiar trembling sensation nestling round my shoulders, especially the fifth time I play 'Manhood', the second song here: cannibalised from an old Dexys tune and seemingly a straightforward apology, an admittance of fear of failure, a facing up to, and revealing of, motives for the first song here, 'My Life In England'. It lifts. It cajoles. It sobs. It dips. It bursts forth with pride. It pulls all the old familiar tricks, like an old flame coquettishly batting her eyelids at you, despite the fact you're missing more teeth than ever - and I simultaneously love and hate it for that. It's wonderful. I drink more coffee. Nothing's linear.

I start trembling again and start the CD all up over again (7th time, now). Those old familiar strings start to soar, that bass thumps and flutters, the voice... The Voice... THE VOICE strains for the top notes (still precious, still pure) and I know there's no way I can resist this. I can't imagine it'll be a Number One when it's released later this year, but then. There's plenty I still don't understand. It deserves to, inasmuch as it's as inspirational as old school Dexys ever were.

Two conflicting images:
    1) A fellow journalist emailed me a couple of days ago, made me aware of this single's proximity - 'classic Rowland,' he wrote (or thereabouts), 'barking mad, Stax strings, horns, piano, unfathomable sentiments, far too long, vowels repeated and stuttered over...' I was mad green with jealousy. How dare he tell ME!

    2) I attended one of those Eighties revival nights at the Brighton Centre round last Christmas - awful line-up, only Altered Images held any interest for me, although it was lovely standing next to Marty Wilde watching his daughter emphatically cheer the freed-from-the-baby-for-a-night crowd. (It was a free ticket.) Bumped into Kevin Rowland, skulking round forlorn on the sidelines, looking lonely. Not right.
I know how tormented Kevin's been for years now, sick-scared to get back on stage, ill for weeks after a performance, ill for weeks before. EMI are putting out another Best Of around this single. There's a tour planned. Kevin Archer isn't involved, and he almost certainly should be. Billy and Helen and Big Jimmy aren't involved, and they almost certainly should be. I don't want to like this. Throw it out the fucking window and pretend the past never existed. I can't help but like this. Put it on solid repeat and dance on through till the dawn. This isn't Dexys. They can't even spell the name right. Rip up the whole stinking idea of commerciality and freewheel cartwheels across the dancefloor. This is Dexys.

I was Number 9 on the list.

© 2003 Everett True