Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 28/02/12

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Bognor was fine. One hour, as per contract, generally the hit singles, plus some more esoteric yet stirring stuff, too - just what the crowd expected and wanted really. Everyone’s a winner. There were around 3,000 people in the vast hall and we touched a good percentage, though not all, I think.

Some were there to bop to “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”, re-enacted by four old pros (no idea if any of the originals were in the line-up) who each held a radio mic and sang and moved to a backing track on a machine. I didn’t stay to watch, but that’s the story. My old mate Rick Driscoll popped down a day early to see us. His modern take on Kenny were on Sunday’s bill. That’s Kenny made up of Rick on vocals and guitar and a bass player, working to backing tracks on a laptop, as described by Rick himself. But we Headlined, on between 8 and 9pm, and I was home just after midnight.

Swear I spotted Mike J late in proceedings, in a snazzy black satin shirt and huge, golden medallion. What a sight! And a couple of photos of me and Marc Bolan were brought back to my dressing-room – one from Mike, I understand, and the other, framed, from Dave (?) – sorry, my man wasn’t entirely sure or clear. But thanks, guys. I do actually have the originals of those photos, since you were probably wondering. But they were an Agency shoot, at a party, so will be out there in Cyberland, I guess. Thanks for the gifts, though.

Obviously, these Holiday Camp acts don’t work in the same way we do. Obviously, they are not moving in the same areas of the music world as us, except for last Saturday! But I had nothing to lose, or nothing I cared about. The biggest acts on the planet (trust me on this) play for the craic or for the money. Bank raids, they are known as. The richest people in the world can invite the biggest names to their private functions in Dubai, Qatar or Tokyo, or weddings in New York or Sydney – the contract will demand everything, and more. The 25-strong team will probably be flown in a private charter airliner, and treated to a few days holiday, just to play one show of one hour and home next day. And the fee…well! I’m not sharing what I know with you, but it will be great enough, mouth-wateringly so, that even multi-millionaires can’t say no! And that’s a fee! Why wouldn’t they, and why shouldn’t they, and how is any of my business?

I won’t be joining the 70s revival circuit, have no fear, but where I play, and who I play to is my choice, and mine alone. Nobody dictates to me, not my agent, not my consultants, not my dad, not my fans, not anybody. We discuss, among professionals, and we make a decision.  We took 500 flyers for Birmingham and over the weekend almost 50 tickets were sold – maybe that had some impact. Ran an ad in the Birmingham Mail on Friday – first pennies spent on advertising the show. How good it feels, knowing it’s close to sold-out solely through ticket-sales to fans who come into the website and via word-of-mouth.  I’ve said before, it will be very cool if we can hold back until the early summer, and run National ads with Sold-Out across them. But, truth is, it might need that extra boost to move the few hundred left in the Grand Tier. We monitor sales on a daily basis (well, someone does) and we will make that decision when the time comes. We know of 12 people coming from the United States (including Cheri and Ana); four from Canada; two separate individuals from Australia (including Judy), and many dozens from across Europe. How many have booked at Jury’s to party on with the hard-core, we don’t know, apparently. I hope most have. They will be among friends.

Received a swathe of birthday cards from around the world. Several dozen have arrived. I thank all who sent. Got several Valentine cards, too. How strange is that? But how flattering! Girls, really… made an old man very happy.

Festival offers have started to arrive on my agent’s desk (or more likely on his email In-Box).

Noticed in the Daily Mail piece, My Haven, that my kids’ ages were inverted. They understand how the Press works, and how the standard of editing has deteriorated since their dad was in that world. It’s inexplicable, really, and yet when you question it, someone will always have a plausible answer/explanation. You shrug, walk away, get over it. But it is a pity. And, to clarify, just so you understand I am not a vain egotist, I do not keep a Cockney Rebel poster from 1974 on my living room wall. It was placed there for the piece. As was the Lester Piggott bust which has pride of place, centre-stage, on my study mantelpiece normally. And I don’t keep an oil painting of myself beside the piano – same story. The Zemaitis guitar doesn’t even live at the house. But, hey, while I don’t enjoy doing these slight pieces, it seems it’s the only way I can get into the Nationals, and there are tickets to sell. Not many, but there are some.  And while the accuracy of it all isn’t all it could be, they say no publicity is bad publicity. But I’m not so sure. However, onward and upward. Meeting Andrew Powell to discuss his involvement in Symnphony  Hall. He tells me he has found an arrangement he composed for Mirror Freak, during the Psychomodo sessions, but which Alan Parsons and/or I rejected. Will hear it and maybe add it to the track on the night. See, who knows what surprises might lie in store?

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