Sunday, December 07, 2008

About Face

Any remaining regular readers will have noticed the paucity of blog posts in the past month or so. One reason for not putting finger to keyboard in recent weeks has been my discovery of the fantastic website of Ms Fiona Russell Powell. Those of you with long memories may remember Fiona as one of the best reasons to read The Face in its Neville Brody-designed heyday. The site (maintained, seemingly, by La Powell herself) is an archive of her best columns and interviews from The Face, Arena, Loaded, and answers quite a few questions about the seeming disappearing act she performed in the 90s. It doesn't answer every question, in particular the one I'd like to ask about what she's up to these days (I bet she's worn better than Julie Burchill, heroin addiction or no), but it's a damn good read nonethless. Especially if you can ignore the shortcomings of her OCR reader.

If you do remember Fiona's journalistic zenith, you may also remember her brief stint as one quarter of ABC, under the psuedonym Eden. Along with the mysterious David Yarritu, she was recruited by Martin Fry and Mark White for visual reasons rather than musical ability during the group's How To Be A Zillionaire period (their best album, just edging out Lexicon Of Love, IMHO)- Fry has since said he wanted the group to resemble a Fellini film. It's funny how ABC are (sometimes) tarred with the same brush as, say, Howard Jones or Kajagoogoo. I mean, just look at the videos for Be Near Me (below), or How To Be A Millionaire. You can see that Dee-Lite based their entire career on ABC, can't you...

Sadly, I couldn't find a clip of the group performing on The Tube; Fiona Russell Powell was playing keyboards wearing a bullet belt filled with vibrators, if I remember correctly. Instead, you can download A to Z below, in which you can hear Fiona saying a rude word, and you can marvel at Keith LeBlanc's drum programming.

Download A to Z by ABC (mp3) (deleted Aug 2009)

Read Fiona's 1997 take on her time in the band


Fiona Russell Powell said...

Hello, this is Fiona Russell Powell here. Just thought I'd thank you for your kind comments and answer a few of your questions/suppositions about me. No, I don't maintain my own website. A friend of mine did it for me after nagging me for well over a decade that this Interweb thingy was going to take off and that people did remember me and really were interested in reading my old pieces. Adam Atkinson, my friend, knows me so well that the introductions to each section are just how I would have written them if I had put the website together myself.
Not all my journalism is on there but I have decided not to add any more until I pull my finger out of my lazy arse and correct the many many typos. Indeed, the typos cause confusion in that some of the interviews, particularly the Q&As, make it look like my questions are the interviewees answers and vice versa. It is especially noticeable in the Warhol interview.
Yes, it was a dildo belt I wore on The Tube. I bought the smallest ones I could find at Anne Summers and thenlaboriously stuck them to a leather belt so that it looked like a gunslinger's belt but with the dildoes for the bullets. The only way I got away with it, because The Tube was broadcast live, was by wearing a totally different outfit at the afternoon rehearsal and wearing a parka during the live performance, which I removed at a strategic point. I shall never forget the look of shock on the kids faces in the front and the crew scurrying about looking panic-stricken!
Re the heroin. Thanks for your remark that you bet I still look better than Burchill. Or is it a compliment? After all, almost anybody can look better than Burchill. I can't remember if the two pieces I wrote about smack for The Idler are on my website, one was pro, one was a chastened anti (written just after one of my many trips to rehab) but in the pro article, I point out that heroin is well-known for having anti-ageing properties. That, combined with the fact that I am an adoptee who traced both my birth parents and discovered them to look at least ten years younger than they are, may supply you with the answer to your imaginings about my current appearance.
So, thank you again my darlings for your interest in my life. I shall soon be writing about my time in ABC because I am tired of Martin's convenient re-writing of history. By the way, I have a lovely singing voice but was not allowed to contribute musically to ABC because Mr Fry was determined not to pay me or the midget a penny more than he could get away with. Keep your eyes peeled for my next opus!!
PS. I noticed the name Jude Calvert-Toulmain in your margins. I knew her when I was a 15 year old runaway in my home town of Sheffield. How do I get in touch with her?

Irk The Purists said...

I won't lie to you, readers. Maintaining a blog is hard work. As a lone blogger, you sometimes get the impression you're howling into the void. You contemplate giving up. You wonder if anyone would miss you if you did. Sometimes you think "what's the point?"

And then you get a message fom Fiona Russell frickin' Powell and everything falls into place. Fan-frickin'-tastic.

Irk The Purists said...

BTW, I believe you have now re-acquainted tourself with the dynamic Ms. Calvert-Toulmin... just think of me as the Friends Reunited of the blogosphere... and thanks for stopping by.

Jude Calvert-Toulmin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jude Calvert-Toulmin said...

Hi Irk,

Yes we are now reaquainted and happily emailing after all these years, many thanks to you! I just popped in here to give this link to Ralph Razor, the DJ and music promoter (Razor Stiletto) from Sheffield and Berlin, who DJed the coolest Abigail's Partyesque set at my book launch on Saturday and looked like a young Brian Ferry dream in cream suit and black Fedora. In fact he would be a good person for you to get in touch with because his knowledge of music is extremely broad and he's a man of exquisite taste like your dear self.

Thanks again for putting me and me and Fi in touch again XXX

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