In recent posts I’ve been doing rather a lot of navel-gazing (just a boring un-pierced innie if you’re interested) so it’s about time I contemplated someone else’s. How about Brett Anderson’s (in a flimsy black lacy blouse, open to the waist…)?
Regular readers may have picked up on my better-late-than-never appreciation of Suede. I was so pleased to see them on BBC’s Red Button with Lauren Laverne the other night*, performing a perfect mix of songs old and new. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve still got it as a band. And, even though he has (perhaps wisely) straightened out a little with age, Brett has certainly still got it in bucket-loads. I don’t know quite how to define ‘it’ but I’m sure you know what I mean: that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that says he was always meant to be… someone.
I wish I’d paid more attention to them in the early days. I remember stumbling across a small piece on them in the NME when they first came into the music papers’ consciousness and, if my memory serves me right, Bernard and Brett were wearing these awful shirts. I mean, really awful. Big jumbo 1970s collars and horrible patterns, maybe Bernard even had a tank-top over his (or I could just be imagining that). Along with the floppy long hair and arrogant pose, I found it hard to tell from the picture what they’d be like musically. They did stand out, though, and the way I remember my reaction to that first picture proves they had an effect.
However, whilst I quite liked them, I never considered myself a Suede fan; I appreciated some of that Bowie-esque glam quality and Brett’s striking androgyny, but otherwise I took little notice. I even missed out on their memorable performance of Animal Nitrate at The Brits at the time. It has so much attitude - I was really hoping I could find it on youtube to post here but no such luck (I managed to see it recently, as we kept a recording of the BBC's 'The Seven Ages Of Rock' which included quite a bit about it.) Anyway at least I can post a picture from it, navel and all.
To put it into context, this is Brett’s recollection of that night in a later interview:
The girls fancy him and the boys want to be him - or is it the other way round?
“We crashed the party, that was the thing. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more out of place than that time we performed on The Brits. It was so ridiculously corporate. It was kinda like, you know, these snotty little kids getting up there and ripping it up, singing a song about sex in council houses and stuff. I think that the audience didn’t really know what to make of us. I just remember finishing the song and just looking at this sort of sea of tuxedoed people…”
Those opening bars to Animal Nitrate have taken their rightful place in my Fave Intros Of All Time, I just love the way it starts...
And as you probably know, they’ve got a new album out in March; from what I've heard so far I'm going to like it too.