CHAPTER 10 – INSPIRATIONAL LUNACY
Signing a record deal was a huge wake up call for the boys. Suddenly they needed more than two tracks if they were going to release an album. So far, all they had written was What’s the Deal with Europe? and Sweet Spanish Hunchback and therefore the majority of their sets had been made up of cover versions.
The most important thing about this album was to make it theirs. They had to write all the songs themselves. Remember, Eurovision is first and foremost a song-writing competition. Yes, the performance is important. It’s very important in fact. Jemini are the case in point. However, you’re meant to vote for the best song, not the best dressed group, or your neighbouring country, or whatever else takes your fancy. Robert and Ashley in particular wanted to carry that ethos through the entire album. They had no idea if this was going to be their only shot at recording a professional studio album and they wanted to do it right.
Project Y had pushed for the album to be put together quickly. At first they tried to lump cover versions on them, and when that didn’t cut it, new songs by other writers. But Ashley and Rob were having none of it. They’d started so they’d finish.
But where did this leave Patrick? Feeling left out of Robert and Ashley’s song writing circle he decided to have a go at writing his own track and he called it Lunacy. He was insistent that it be included on the album’s final track listing. More than anything, he just wanted to ensure himself a bigger chunk of the royalties than he was already up for. Robert and Michael were especially dubious but eventually relented, if only to avoid some of the possible tension that could rear its ugly head by refusing. It would also give them a bit more time to work on some better quality tracks, as Patrick’s was dodgy at best. Lunacy indeed!
It was based completely around one simplistic two-chord hook and relied heavily on rhyming with the song’s title:
You are driving me mad,
You are driving me cra-a-zy,
This is lunacy, this is lunacy,
I walk round in a circle
And laugh hysterically,
This is lunacy, this is lunacy,
Please please tell me your name,
Cos your gorgeousness is driving me insane,
Is gorgeousness a word?
Does it matter anyway?
That doesn’t rhyme with lunar C,
But it does with lunar A!
I want you to have my family,
I want you to have my ba-a-by,
I am going so quickly mad,
that I know that this is not a fad,
This is not your average love song,
But I’m not an average guy,
That didn’t rhyme with lunar C,
But it does with lunar Y!
Patrick had to describe to Robert how he imagined the arrangement of the song would go, not having the musical ability to arrange it himself. He envisioned some kind of psychedelic wig-out at the end, with lots of reverb and chanting. He’d hoped it would be the final track on the album with an extended version of the ending. Rob and Ashley diverted attention from this request by asking what exactly the chanting at the end should be.
“Well it should just carry on, much of the same,” said Patrick.
“But nothing else rhymes with lunacy,” said Robert.
“Except lunar B and lunar D,” Ashley chipped in, “and lunar G!”
“And lunar P and lunar T,” said Robert, picking up the facetious thread.
“And lunar U.”
“And lunar me.”
“And lunar you and lunar me, and lunar you…”
“Alright dickheads, you can stop now!” Patrick wasn’t exactly happy with them for ridiculing his song. If anything, it made him more determined for it to go on the album. One thing was for certain, if this album was going to be any good at all the boys needed inspiration. And they needed it quickly.
And who should provide that inspiration? Only Jemini again. Yes you read that correctly. Jemini as in Eurovision losers Jemini. Jemini as in
shame about the bloke in Jemini.
The summer break from university had provided us all with an opportunity to really push the Eurovision dream. Ok, so I wasn’t so much pushing, as merely being pulled along with it all. But there I was along for the ride. I was supportive of the dream. The Taurus dream. And it was their dream, it wasn’t so much mine. If it had been mine, I would have opted to join the band in the first place. But I hadn’t, however here I was, ‘living the dream’ with my university housemates.
But what was this ‘dream’ anyway? It’s easy to lose sight when you’re writing songs ready to record an album, playing crappy gigs here and there. Let’s take a minute to remind ourselves exactly what the guys set out to achieve in the first place.
To win the Eurovision Song Contest.
That was the dream. To reclaim glory for the United Kingdom. To hear all those European juries say “Royaume-Uni douze point.”
That was certainly Ashley’s dream at the very least. So ok, Robert was mainly in it for the laugh and Patrick was mainly in it to bed some very attractive European ladies (hopefully) in the process, but originally, it was all about musical vision; a Euro-vision.
I think we could all have been accused of losing sight of this over the summer months. There had been some crazy things happen recently. I mean, let’s get some bloody perspective – a record deal for God’s sake! That was beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Even Ashley’s. None of them expected to get a record deal before they’d actually been picked as the UK’s entry for 2004. Why would they? They were just a bunch of guys with nothing better to do, and an overactive imagination.
But dream they did and dreams had led them here. So where to go now?
Eurovision was a long way off, so they had to park that thought for a while and focus on raising their profile. And what would help them with that? Finishing writing their album for one. And where would they find that inspiration? Right back at the start of the thing that had got them here. Jemini.
It was Jemini that had kick started this journey. Back on that fateful day in May, Jemini had failed to score one single point, leaving a giant gap for someone to pick up where they had left off. It was an opportunity that could not be missed and a reputation of a great nation that needed salvaging. Ashley believed that he and his band of brothers (not literal brothers – and don’t even fucking compare them to Brother Beyond for a minute) were the men (boys?) for the job. It was time to crack some Eurovision nuts so to speak.
If it was Jemini that had started this crazy life, it was Jemini that would keep them going. And how? They turned up to York nightclub Icon and Diva for the University Fresher’s Week bash! Talk about the right time and the right place to keep the boys on their toes.
We had to go. We just had to.
Yes, we were all third years now. And yes, we were only borderline students nowadays, but at least we were students like everyone else who would be there. Just. We had a right to go and a reason to go. Two reasons in fact. So to Icon and Diva we went.
What we were hoping to achieve by this I’m not sure. First year students are volatile things at best. First year first week students – ooh this could get messy. Add into the mix a Eurovision act and Pat ‘Fun House’ Sharp DJing and this October evening was going to be interesting.
Rick, a friend of ours on the Student Events Committee had managed to get us VIP tickets. Sounds promising doesn’t it? Taurus, no album recorded yet, no single out, no TV appearances, but VIPs all the same. There’s never been a more appropriate time to wheel out the ‘not what you know, it’s who you know’ cliche. So here it is in all its glory:
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
There. I’ve said it. Taurus – no proper VIPs by this stage. Just wannabes and me the hanger on.
The VIP ticket didn’t really mean much as it turned out. All it meant was that we were able to get access to the quieter, less populated bar upstairs, and get drinks without queuing for long. We got to peer over the balcony at the Fresher meat market. And I mean that in the nicest possible way of course.
Loads of newly independent hormones flying about, networking like there’s no tomorrow, making fifty-seven new best mates, just so five weeks down the line you can blank them because you can’t remember their name or they turned out to be a twat or a twat stalker. Surely this was every boyband’s dream? Well it took us a bit longer than any usual occasion to get oiled that night. There was an odd feeling about the evening and personally I was a bit apprehensive about the whole Jemini thing.
Was this the moment where one or all of the guys went “what the fuck are we doing?” Could this be the night where Taurus unexpectedly combusted? Well before I could give it too much more thought, here was the warm-up DJ:
“It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Eurovision legends Jemini!”
Legends?! Legends?! Well I suppose they were record breaking in one way or another. And out they came.
At this point we were all tempted to run down and join the cattle downstairs, but after a moment’s hesitation we stayed put. We were going to have to view them from our comfortable, yet not very Rock and Roll, position in the gantry area of the VIP lounge. The temporary stage that they’d set up for Jemini was small and happened to be just about as far away from where we were sat as they possibly could be. Oh, to see Gemma and all her redeeming features in close-up. I wish I’d brought my opera glasses with me!
They proceeded to perform Cry Baby, their Eurovision song as well as a couple of others off of their forthcoming album. That one must have passed me by!
Inspiring? As Matthew Kelly or latterly Darren Day once said: “You bet!”
The crowd went crazy. The students were loving it.
Yes, they’d probably had too many Blue WKDs. Yes, they were high on independence, hormones and the prospect of TV’s Pat Sharp still to come, but boy did they enjoy Jemini!
I dare say this was the high point of Jemini’s career. Not Eurovision, or the Great British Song Contest, or even Top of the Pops, but performing at a student night in a now defunct nightclub in the outskirts of York. The boys from Taurus had suddenly perked up and they were inspired by the thrill of this performance. I’m fairly sure that I was the only one of the group that appreciated the significance of this. But they didn’t need to understand it. All they needed to do was get off their arse and write a bloody good album. (Preferably not letting Patrick write any Lunacy-esque tunes again in the process. Sorry Pat!) And get off of their arse they did, and down to the dancefloor it was. And to pull a Fresher – sorry groupie – oh fuck off who am I kidding – Fresher – in the process.
We’d given up on any hope of Jemini making their way up to the VIP lounge after their performance. What would you say to them anyway? “Well done. That was much better than your performance in Latvia!” It’s not much of a chat-up line is it? “Hello, we’re Taurus. See what we’ve done with the name there? We’re hoping, no going, to do better than you in next year’s Eurovision.”
So there we were boogieing to the tunes that Pat Sharp was churning out on his wheels of steel. And that’s about as much as I can remember about the rest of the night. Apart from when Robert thought he’d pulled.
His eyes met a pretty brunette’s across the dancefloor, and he began to shimmy towards her in front of the DJ booth, only for her to break into a beaming smile. Beaming, because the disco lights were reflecting off of her brace!
Oh how old we felt. I tried to tell Robert later that he should get used to it. This is the status quo when it comes to groupies. You’ll be pleased to know that I considered some kind of Rick Parfitt based pun there for a minute but thought better of it.