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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Secrets and lies

The Take That reunion was one of the cruellest occurences in pop music history. Because it worked so spectacularly it had the unfortunate side effect of making every other boy band think they too might have a second shot. 5ive got back together, even though there were only 4our of them, but then had to announce "with deep regret that their comeback is no more", which was something of a pop first. Last night Channel 4 showed their film of the no less abortive reunion of East 17.
This had the makings of quite a good Mike Leigh film. They all still lived in Walthamstow. One of them worked as a roofer to support his young family. Tony Mortimer, who had written their hits, lived in a half timbered executive home and had money in the bank. He's been through depression, anorexia and spirituality. My old colleague Alex Kadis popped up to vouch for what a difficult time he'd been through. Brian Harvey, who had hogged the limelight in their glory days, lived with his gran and bounced off the walls like a man who would never be able to settle into normal life again.
There was a reunion show, which went quite well. There was a skin-crawling meeting at the record company to listen to "the new songs" (though Warners were clearly only interested in putting some topping on a Greatest Hits). There was a new manager making optimistic noises intercut with an old manager warning it would never work. The final expression of musical and personal differences came in the form of a punch-up which took place off-camera. And at the end the three members who needed the money were playing discos in Essex with their backing tracks on an iPod while the one who fancied himself as the Brian Wilson of the group was sitting in his gazebo staring into the space where the ocean ought to be.


  1. I was sat next to Peter Robinson as he spoke to Tony on the phone a month or so before the come-back show. All was going swimmingly until Tony revealed they planned to go "acoustic". Then the temperature in the room dropped by about fifteen degrees

  2. I didn't see all of it, but what I did see was almost too embarrassing to watch.

    They must be in their 30s now, but they don't seem to have developped in any way. There was no maturity, it was almost as if they have been living in a bubble for the last 10 years and gained nothing but lost their hair...

  3. Anonymous1:16 pm

    Poor Tony Mortimer. He knew that with no Brian Harvey there could be no E17 revival. I actually found myself feeling sorry for the three Musketeers as they were waiting to face the Colchester nightclub crowd...

  4. Wasn't East17's manager on Grand designs recently building an even bigger house next to his already large beach side retreat?
    Also you did check Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer's names weren't in the titles.