Sunday, 26 January 2014

On Vacation with Dana Barron - An interview

I have been working in this roadside cafe for many years now, have seen people come and go... A pit-stop on the way to work, the last chance for a wee before they hit the long stretch of highway, the holiday makers lost and begging for directions, screaming at each other, hungry, angry and tired, the thrill of their holiday long since dissolved into frustration, I'd seen it all...

I was wiping a table when she walked in... the daughter of one the most famous Hollywood fictional families, in walked my favourite hapless holiday maker... Dana Barron...

Dana Barron (born April 22, 1966) is an American actress who has starred in film and on television. Barron is best known for her role as the original Audrey Griswold in the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation which she reprised in 2003'sChristmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure for NBC television.

I couldn't believe it, how many times had I fondly reminisced about Dana and her Vacation family, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and the lovely Anthony Michael Hall and all their holiday mishaps...I thought of them all squashed in that green Truckster, travelling across America to visit Walley World... How many people can relate to that one? I know I can! Maybe not some of the spectacular incidents... The dead aunt, the car flying through the air, the questionable in-laws... But there is something for everyone in that movie, as well as a cameo list as long as your arm.... You know, I had always wondered what Chevy Chase was really like and I also wondered if she'd have any Randy Quaid gossip...   

I took her a herbal tea and plucked up the courage to ask her some questions. 

So, Dana, Audrey... Dana...You started pretty young, how exactly did you break into show biz?

“Well I was lucky enough that my father [Robert Barron] owned the first commercial and Soap Opera acting school in the world: Weist-Barron School of Television which is still in business in NYC today. He was fourth generation actor in our family, my grandmother was a Brodway performer in Vaudeville, and did the Zeigfield follies...
Wow! So how did you get involved?
My older sister had started doing commercials, because she was the blonde haired, green eyed beauty and I said "Can I try it to?" to my dad, he said sure and by 12 I was on Broadway, by 13 I was in Tom Hank's first film called ‘He knows you're alone’ (1980) which was a horror film... and then years later I did Vacation, so it all started there, as a child actor.... but that being said, in most of my parts I looked like a child, but I was actually way into adulthood, which is kinda' funny because people say oh, you were a child actor and I say no, I only played a child.”

So, how old were you in Vacation then?

“Well I'd rather not say, although people can figure that out, but I was definitely a teenager but I wasn't an adult, it was one of my only child roles that I did.”

One question that had preyed on my mind for a long time, why did they change the kids so much in all the sequels?

“I actually ended up doing a sequel a while ago for television [Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddies Island Adventure] and it was fun to reprise my role, but what happened was, Anthony Michael Hall was doing very, very well in different films at the time, he was about to film ‘Weird Science’ and because he was contracted to do that and was filming over the summer, when they wanted to do the next Vacation… Was it the summer? yes, I remember now, because it was European Vacation… so he said no, which made me so sad because I basically had my bags packed, waiting by the door and then the director at the time [Amy Heckerling] said 'Well, just get two new kids, we can't have an old kid and a new kid, it'll look strange'... So I was waiting and waiting and waiting by the phone and they went on and filmed without me...
... and I felt my family had left me because we were all very close and I never got a call from the producer, and so I actually took myself to Europe! I put my backpack on my back and went off had a nice summer vacation alone, back packing through Europe."
Good for you, I thought

Now people can't help but notice how the actor Anthony Michael Hall has changed over the past couple of decades... From the geeky brother Rusty in Vacation, to the geeky boy in Weird Science, to the nerd in The Breakfast Club... to this... 

“He's done so well I know, he's almost as tall as Chevy now. We're still close, he's less than half a mile down the street from me, here in California.”

He's certainly blossomed!
“Yes, he did a very big series and now he's doing another show and he working up steam again, he was a little bit on the quieter side for a while, but now he's doing well.”

So while we're going through the cast list, what is Beverly D'Angelo like? 

“She's very funny, she is very much like she was when we did the film, she hasn't changed much at all... Just fun, out there, high spirited, very, very talented singer, and actor. Now she has two young kids... actually I guess they're older now... 12, at least... with Al Pacino. She's working mom now... Oh! and she was in Entourage recently...
Suddenly she went quiet, and then her eyes opened wide she proclaimed... 
The Dead Zone, that was the series that Michael (Anthony Hall) was in! 
...Anyway back to Beverly, so my son has gone and played with her son over at her house and swam in her pool, and I was like ooh... Because with Michael, I still call him bro and it's like 'Hi sis, hi bro', and my first (film) mom was Beverly because we really were a very, very close family, That’s part of the reason I think the film worked, because we were on Vacation doing the movie Vacation. It was a wonderful special time and it felt very real, although we were acting. It's hard to explain the magic that we shared.”

Now, Chevy Chase has a certain reputation... and not the best, but honestly I couldn't believe
 a man that funny couldn't be that bad... Here was my chance to find out...
and I wasn't going to miss it... 
“It’s hard to get to know Chevy in a way, he's extremely, extremely bright, he's very quick and if you don't keep up with him he lets you know it... He's just someone that you have to keep on your toes when you're with him... But if you don't keep up you're in trouble, you're swimming! So it's a matter of 'do you say silly things?' He's a really kind-hearted man, he's just a man you have to get to know, and he has to get to know you and trust you and understand you. He and Beverly have an unbelievable relationship, as people and a love between them that makes they magic work on screen, if you ask Beverly she would never say one words against Chevy... All these people say things in the press about him over here, but he's just extremely smart and he sees things beyond other people it sometimes gets to him a little bit."

Any good Chevy anecdotes?

“Hmm... I know I had once talked about this, maybe on the DVD... Maybe it was a joke played on him...? I know that when we were driving alone in the family Truckster, [he had just finished Saturday night live and no one knows what we were doing] he would stick his head out the window and shout "Hi I'm Chevy and you're not!" and we thought it was just Chevy being kind of cheeky. 
He has now got three girls, all grown - and he was in a father mode, he wasn't the bachelor on the run or anything like that, he was, and still is, a devoted husband, great father and he was really happy doing what we were doing and it was such a special time for everyone... so I think the movie worked in a completely different way than your average film.”

How long did you spend in the car?

“Well it was basically a road movie, so we were in a and out of the car all summer! So it would have been three months and we loved it. Imogene Coca [Aunt Edna] had lost and eye years previously in a car accident and she was terrified of being in that car, so when we weren't filming (and the car was moving) she would put her hand on the roof of the car to secure herself, but she was a trooper and although she was so scared her acting came through and she was going to do it no matter what... and she was brilliant.”

Now this film has so many cool cameos... The late great John Candy for one... 

“Yes, it was peppered with loads of cameos of really fun people, I remember when John Candy came onto the set [for the new ending]...
She suddenly diverts the conversation, reminiscing about Anthony Michael Hall
...and actually I always talk about how Michael was so much taller, he'd had a growth spurt, he started off basically my height and I’m very little, and then he was towering over Beverly by the end of the movie - because we shot the ending months later and he was completely different. You see us at the beginning playing Pacman, space invaders... whatever we were doing and then you see him at the end of the movie, he looks like a completely different kid....
... But he was so floored that John Candy was on set, playing this character of this security guard... But I wasn't as up on comedic talent as he was, but he [AMH] was over the moon and so excited. So there was an excitement on set for John, but he wasn't known in a big way at that time, mainly for his television.”

Now you had some memorable scenes with Randy Quaid as Uncle Eddie, what was he like?

“OOOH... Well now obviously he has a reputation, he is a bizarre character and has got
into some things that are unmentionable...  His wife, I believe sent him off on an interesting track, so he's been in trouble in the United states, he apparently what they call 'on the lamb' I think the term is...”
“Yeah... He had destroyed some hotels and rooms or something and now he's hiding out in Canada, I don't really know the details, maybe he destroyed some things in the United States and is hiding out in Canada... I think that's the rumour...
That was a couple of years ago, but every time I worked with him - including Cousin Eddies Island adventure - he was very funny and warm, nice and kind, and I am just so lucky to have worked with some of the greatest American comedians ever  -Eddie Bracken and obviously Imogen Coca. Beverly was pretty much was a serious actor but then she did this huge comedy, that I don't think anyone really expected what kind of iconic mark it would make... It's the 5th highest grossing comedy of all time and it made Lampoon, with Animal House and it still holds up. Harold and Chevy worked on the script together and there was a lot of improvising...”

Was it hard to improvise with such a comedic genius as Chevy Chase?
"Um, well it wasn't like we were trying to upstage each other, it was like everything fell into place, you know... Like when he fell asleep in the car and the car jumped and landed in the canyon? Then Chevy said something, and then Michael would come up with something and I would come up with something, so everyone was very open, it wasn't 'I'm the star and you're not' kinda' thing... and with Chevy it's never like that. It was more a real working family (laughs) in it's own dysfunctional way - You know we love going on vacation with our family, and we can't stand going on vacation with our family - and with that we get some of the greatest stories we've had in our lives... and that's through not only in our family of actors, but in the movie itself.

The filming must have been a blast, how did you keep a straight face?
I know that there were a lot of times where the crew was laughing so hard it was hard not to laugh, but we were... I don't know it was more like... if you look at the film there's so much horror... I mean when Jane Krackowski says  her lines, when we're on the see-saw...."

Oh yes, I remember that line! 
...""My father says I'm the best at French kissing" and I just stare at her and there was nothing to laugh about because you just... Well we were both kids and I didn't fully understand it and the implications of that whole scene..."

Did you actually understand the line though?
"Not fully, I think as children you understand what it means, but you don't fully understand what it means, she can brag about it, but not really understand it and I can look at her going huh?! And I remember the time she says "I'm a pig farmer" and I say "I don't know Viki, that's not too cool" and she says "How cool is this?" and she shows me a whole shoebox full of marijuana! And I look at it and even too this day I don't know if it was real or not, because the prop master was giggling and someone else was giggling, I asked what is this and they said it was just grass from the side of the road and I was like ok! To this day I'm not into drugs or drinking and probably still wouldn't know, but I have this inkling feeling, the way they were giggling that that was really a huge box of pot, it was the early 80s..."

What was it like working for Harold Ramis? He seems like such a nice man. 
"Wonderful, wonderful... Chevy just adores him and knows he's brilliant and he's kind, he's smart and always smiling, soft spoken but yet you'd listen and just... he's a genius... a pure wonderful, big hearted, loveable genius. always kind. A pleasure to work with as a director... an actors dream." 

The wonderful John Hughes wrote the script, did he ever come on set?
"No he never came on set, I only met him once, You know I've only talked about this once... I auditioned for Ferris Bueller's day off and at the time I had just finished Vacation, [a year or two prior] and he said "Oh you can play the sister" and I started improvising and getting lines and worked on it a little bit to act with Matthew Broderick... and once again waited by the phone and never got the call, then it came out and Jennifer... what was her last name...? Jennifer...? 
Jennifer.......? Oh I remember...? Umm...
Anyway, she played his sister and she said some of the lines I improvised at the audition!
Yes! It wasn't even like an audition, it was at his house, so it's one of those Hollywood stories... Terrible, but it's the business, you just have to keep going and move on."

Was Vacation where Anthony Michael Hall met John Hughes and got involved in the Brat Pack? 
"I believe he did, a definite staple to American movies..."

So what happened when you got to Walley World? How did you handle those roller coasters... I'm guessing that it wasn't just one take! 
"Oh my god! I had to go on it so many times that I had to take Dramamine! I also had to sit down on a bench and they had to film without me. Sometimes I say 11 times, but I think it could have been 17 times... And to this day they don't affect me at all! If you have any fear, after doing it so many times, it's just like OK... I wasn't afraid any more, I had had so much Dramamine I couldn't get up off the bench!"

And have you met all the Audrey's? Have you had a big Audrey get together? 
"I had the privileged to meet, at a party with Ricky Lake, who's a friend of mine, Dana Hill [European Vacation] and it was so much fun to meet, because she and I had grown up in the business where we were also was auditioning against each other... and then Beverly said "Hey come down to the set we're filming Christmas Vacation so I came down and met Juliet - I didn't know Juliette Lewis until we did the 'Old Navy' commercial together in 2012.  I didn't meet Marisol Nichols [Vegas Vacation], and the next was me... again!" Ha!

"This is trivia that I've never talked about...

I drew close...

 ...To this day I never seen any of the other Vacation movies... Because it just breaks my heart that I wasn't part of my family, so I kinda rebelled and said I wasn't going to watch them."

Wow, I thought... Should I tell her how good they are...? Naa... I'll just ask...

What was your favourite scene?
"No one probably likes it as much as I do and I don't know why, but it's the scene where we're travelling and Rusty's feet are up with the dirty socks next to Chevy's face... and he's like 'what's that smell?'... I don't know why?! I'm very visual and it's something that is just so real, and every time I had my child in the car, I'd smell his feet and go pew!... and then it all comes back to the whole foot joke, I take photo's of his feet in the car and think 'I'm living Vacation now!'"

What do you think the Griswolds would be doing now?
"I think about that all the time because I think 'What would Rusty and Audrey be doing now?', That's a wonderful question but you've caught me off guard because I don't know... I was thinking if there was ever a part two?... I know that Newline have bought the rights from Warner Brothers to do another Vacation movie, they came up with the script and then they never filmed it, Chevy and Beverly were up to do cameos, and they were going to have Rusty take his family on vacation like he had when he was a kid... But I don't know why the film stopped production, they were looking for cast and then all of a sudden just 'poof!' They have it on hold, so it would have been fun to see what would have happened, It's always fun to see Beverly and Chevy Chase around our kids, and to be grandparents - to me that would be great fun."

Do you know any Griswolds?
"Actually I don't but there this guy whose name is Griswold and he takes his family on Vacation and gets teased all the time. So, it is kind of funny to have fans tell me their story, even to this day people come up to me all the time saying 'Oh you were in that film' and they quote me over and over again, because apparently its one of the biggest quoted films, comedic films.

So there are actually people out there called Griswold... I always wondered where John Hughes got the name... 
"I don't know, but here's trivia, Harold Ramis, about a year later, called me and said do you mind if I use your name in the Ghostbusters film? I'll make it close to your name, so I'll call her Dana Barret and not Dana Barron and I went woo! no problem and Sigourney Weavers characters name is Dana Barret..."


"So she was name after me... And there's something that's not really published."

"Ohh... Jennifer's name from Ferris Bueller is driving me nuts..." 

"No... No I know her..."

Cool, So do you know Al Pacino?
"I've met him when at the kids parties, times like that... Oh I actually worked with him on a radio play when I was really young but I can't say that I'm friends with him, I've just worked with him and met him through Beverly..."

Then like a flash of  lightning, it came to me... The girl in Ferris Bueller and Dirty Dancing... It's Jennifer Grey! 

"There we are yay!" 

She drowned her tea (which was on the house) and got up to leave, but there was just one more important question I had to ask... What did she think was the appeal of the Vacation movies?
"I think it's the appeal of going on vacation with our family and everything goes wrong, and your family drives you crazy, but you love them and you try to make the best out of a crumby situation... Everyone can relate to that, going on vacation with their family and being miserable, but being happy too.... So I think it's just family... People get family... They understand family and you stick together no matter what.... Beverly even told me that she devoted her character to loving Chevy no mater what, not getting mad and being the perfect wife, standing by her man. As children we used to roll our eyes, but at the end of the day we all are a loving family and people always want to have that iconic feeling... and I think that's why people love it because they can relate to the miserableness and the happy and joy at the same time."
And with that and the bell of the diner door tinging as she left, she was gone... I hope she has a happy holiday... Sorry... Vacation.... 

For more information and to purchase your own "Walley World" T-shirt, or even a copy of the original script with interviews with the cast by Dana herself go 

Also selling a copy of MY PERSONAL shooting VACATION script -- WITH THE ORIGINAL ENDING.  NOT VIEWED BY THE PUBLIC." - I'm clicking now!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A very Vintage Life indeed - An interview with the creator of Vintage Life Magazine Rachel Egglestone-Evans

This week we have something a bit different for you... Ever fancied yourself as a bit of  media mogul? Ever watched Citizen Kane and thought "Hey, I could do that"? Well this week Retro LadyLand visits the office of a woman who did, the woman behind the magazine that has become a phenomenon among the British vintage community and is, with its worldwide release, about to take over the vintage world! 

When did you first have the idea for the magazine?
"When I was in the 4th year at school, I had an English project to create. Instead of writing an essay, I wrote a magazine! I called it Sweet 16 (I know, right). I designed it too and handed it in. My teacher was so shocked, she gave me a fabulous grade… but believe it or not, I forgot all about magazines! It wasn't until I was doing an MA in Military History, that I had an opportunity to work for another magazine and I later took it on. Although I loved it, it was heavy military history, and while at a re-enactment show, I turned to my cousin Lisa (my Deputy Editor) and said, "That's  it - I need a magazine to fulfil my vintage obsession."  I did my homework, and ta–da!"

And who helped you get started?
"My fabulous team! I work with my family; we are a family run business. It keeps our feet on the ground and ensures we work hard. They are my backbone and we have been through thick and thin… just don't mention deadlines to anyone! The team also extends to my team of writers… many of which still write for us today. They believed in me and I in them! Of course the readers – they jumped on board from issue one!"
So, we know that these things don't happen over night, how long did it take you to start Vintage Life?
"Already being set up as a publisher, and with a good few years of experience under my belt, I was in a good position. Starting a magazine from scratch is not easy. I would say it took 6 months to get things rolling."

And how did you finance the project?
"Hard work! I was publishing other magazines at the time too, so they provided some income, but we had to make the project stand on its own two feet. Long hours, lots of hard work and persistence… We're talking 7 day weeks, starting at 7 finishing… well when you finish! It's not a 9 to 5 ;)"

Where you ever scared that it would fail?
"No, never. That's not meant to sound over confident or cocky, but what's the point in starting a project, if you don't mean to make it work?"

Did you realise that there was going to be such a boom in the vintage market when you started the magazine?
"I hoped there would be, and my instincts said there would be, but no amount of market research could have prepared us for such a boom. It makes me very happy!"
Why do you think there has been?
"Easy – simple classics rock. In times of social and economic depressions – people become nostalgic!"

Now you've had so many great people in your mag, but who’s your favourite person that you’ve ever featured?
"Ooooh, that's a hard one. I loved meeting Caro Emerald, she is a beautiful and friendly lady. As a fitness freak, I loved having Diana Moran (the Green Godess), but I think interviewing Henry Winkler was a highlight… I mean, who wouldn't want to talk with The Fonz?!"

OK, but who would you most like to interview, dead or alive?
"Napoleon – but I guess that's not the answer you're looking for right? All of the Veterans from Easy Company (Band of Brothers) – I met a few of them, luckily. Those guys, have stories to tell. I think I would have most liked to interview Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland. "

What are your aspirations for the magazine?
"I keep coming up with new ones, which is great, as it means I met the previous ones. I think to include even more pages and to reach every one who feels they are cut off from the scene – and make them feel part of a great movement!"

You have recently brought out Vintage Life for boys, how is that going?
"It was going great. But to be completely honest, we couldn't manage both, as Her Vintage Life had a huge spike in popularity and we had to concentrate on one and make it stronger. I didn't want to water them down, by spreading the team too thinly. It was fabulous while it lasted, but I'm a business woman – I have to make sensible decisions."

You’ve obviously had loads of letters and tweets, have you had any that stand out? 
"Gosh, there have been a lot! I think a few stand out…Dita Von Teese, Paloma Faith, The British Bake Off, Downton Abbey  – but I think my favourite was from a lady who said she was previously a man, and we had given her the style confidence to go out and be herself. That's life changing! "

So, what about you, How long have you been into vintage?
"I've been a re-enactor all my life. That set me up to appreciate history. I can honestly and proudly say, I have always been into it – my parents and grandparents are to thank for that. "

And who is your style inspiration?
"I get asked this a lot. There isn't really one answer. As a designer, I like to take ideas from here, there and everywhere. But if I had to pick one – my mum. " 

And can I  finally, I love Vintage life, it is my personal magazine of choice, but what is yours? 
"I guess I can't say Vintage Life? Ha! I love Coast Magazine."

So, do you still fancy starting a magazine... I'm thinking about it too...

For more info on the fabulous magazine go to or pick one up at WHSmiths or any vintage shop worth their salt... You may like some of the features writers... espcially one who goes by the name Charlotte Cooper..

Saturday, 4 January 2014

A Delightful Encounter with the Correspondents - an interview

The night was cool, and there was a chill in the air, but not of cold as one would expect, no this chill came from the excitement I felt as I sat in the station waiting for the next train pull in. 

I heard the whistle from the station master and started reapplying my rouge in anticipation. I straightened my blouse, sipped my tea and checked my hair in the mirror from my handbag. But as I was reapplying  my lipstick I caught sight of something in the reflection and it wasn't just my face... As the steam from the train cleared, they came perfectly into view, I wasn't sure at first but then I was certain... it was them... They entered the cafe, took the corner table and started perusing the menus.

Goodness, my heart fluttered in a way it hadn't for many a month... It was Mr Bruce and his MC DJ Chucks, also know as the The Correspondents. I took a big bite out of my jam rolly polly, a large sip of tea, took a deep breath and walked over to the pair and smiled.

I  was so terribly, terribly nervous, but I introduced myself and sat down, they seemed very friendly if a little surprised at my welcome, and so terribly, terribly handsome. I enquired as to if I might ask them a few questions... They shrugged and said it was fine... Gosh I thought, this was to be my lucky day.

I started with an easy one to lighten the mood... So, how did you fellows get together? 

Mr Bruce: It started by complete accident really, both of us were at separate universities, we came back to London, We’d both done bits and bobs of music but then um… we started making beats in his [Chucks] bedroom.

Chucks:  At Uni I used to make kinda Jazzy hip hop and then started with something with a bit of swing and then made it faster, a bit more double time with a swing beat. Then we both came back from Uni and Mr Bruce was doing some MC-ing – general dance music and then we started doing sets at friends parties, things like that, recording a few tracks and then it all just kinda went from there… we didn’t really do much we just …

Mr B: We didn’t really have an aspiration to be in a band, that’s for sure…
C: Yeah, it was just a happy accident!
Mr B: Then we suddenly found that we were in a full time job doing it.

So who discovered you? Who picked you up as it were…?

Mr B: Well we were very lucky, one of our very first gigs as the Correspondents was with a theatre company called Punch drunk… We just sent in a CD of our stuff and a few other things that we would play in a set and they said “oh this is great, we’ve got these after parties going on” and we became a residesident act and I think the second gig we played with them was with Basement Jaxx! So we sort of peeked to soon really! Then they invited us to do one of their nights and then off the back of doing these gigs, as a lot of promoters came along, we ended up with a lot of festival gigs…

And how do you describe your music?...  Can you describe your music?

Mr B: Uh… This has actually been a bit of a problem, we don’t actually have a tight little PR-able title… Because the album is [turns to Chucks] Well you describe it as ‘genre blending’…
C: Yes, it’s multi genre, alternative dance music. It’s got everything from Blues rock to 60s organ soul, from drum and bass to hip hop…
Mr B: Via electro…
C: So yes… It’s whatever tickles our fancy…

And how do you develop a song?

C: Production is a bit trial and error, just what happens to be working… You just keep on going down that train of thought, so that can take you were ever and then when I’ve got something I’m vaguely happy with I’ll send it to Mr Bruce who’ll write …
Mr B: The lyrics on top…

So do you work in a studio then? 

C: Yes, a very small studio… A domestic studio…
Mr B: We’ve spent a bit of time in a bigger studio, a proper one with the big recording desks and everything but actually we often found that we didn’t get the sound we wanted… We understood our little space with the two mattresses at the back…

So do you think technology has changed that as well?

Both: Yeah Yeah Yeah…
Mr. B: because it’s so simple, because we’re just recording vocals, we don’t need all those drums, that’s also I think part of the reason why are so multi genre… I mean, if we were a four piece band we’d have to have four people playing those instruments…
C: yeah
Mr B: Where as it is Chucks will just make a little funk track, or something that is slightly disco or house and it doesn’t need to involve 4 people.
C: You don’t have to have Jimmy on the xylophone on every single tune…

So who are your influences? Because the scope must be wiiiide….

Mr B: It’s really difficult… I think we could both say who we listen to at the moment and who we have listened to, but I don’t think there are any direct influences… I think it’s more that we both listen to a lot of music and it filters in in a lot of weird ways… I mean there are certain tracks that sound a bit like 'Justice', but there are others that sound…
C: More straight hip hop… It’s really whatever isn’t boring us… ‘Cos we’re on the road so much we listen to new music and different stuff and old music… So we enjoy it all really… I would say one of our large influences are our clubbing experiences when we were teenagers, because we would always go drum and base clubbing and I would go to those all male hip hop clubs where all those white students would stand there in hoodies pretending to be alpha males…

We all laughed at this one, myself not so loud as I wasn't quite sure what a 'hoodie' was, maybe something to do with monks I thought, but didn't think it polite to ask and I didn't want to seem stupid. 

And from having a jazz background…
So has your music evolved since you met?
C: When we started it was fully swing remixed with hippy hoppy drum and bass stuff and now there are still elements of swing, but very little… Just on a couple of tracks.
Mr B: And the album has none…
C: I would say there’s always a element of jazz which is run through the whole thing…
Mr B: We were at customs once in NewZealand and someone asked what we did and we said… “Ahh it’s really complicated… It’s kinda multi genre, jazzy sort of thing…” and she went “Oh so it’s dance music, but with jazz chords” And we thought “That’s perfect!” because it’s not jazz necessarily, but it’s jazz chords…
C: But I would say it’s continually evolving.

So where will it go from here?

Mr B: Well I’m somewhat reliant on what Chucks makes and passes on to me…

Over to you then Chucks, I said with a coquettish grin, So how do you make it?

C: Well it starts with a blank canvas, then I lay down some drum beats and add some chords and see where it goes from there… Or maybe start with a sample, but I don’t think we really use samples anymore…

And does the music always come first… and then the lyrics?

Mr B: Pretty much, there’s been once or twice when it’s been the other way round, but on the whole it’s what Chucks comes up with and then me… But once we had a body of work together and we thought ‘right we’re going to be making an album now that’s when we started shifting things around and maybe changing a track either lyrically or in terms of the instrumentation.

My favourite track of theirs had to be Fear and Delight, I always find myself humming it while
cleaning the silver... What do you consider your best track?

Mr B: Probably the tracks that we haven’t performed yet and that are on the album are the ones that  we prefer because they are fresh in our mind… so… and lyrically some of the stuff that’s on the album is a little more introspective and a little more personal..
C: The mid, final third self-indulgent album tracks are our favourite ones which the bands always like but they’re never the kind of radio ones…

And how long do they take to make?

C: Fear and Delight has been through so many revisions, I mean that track has been on the go for two years, trying to mix it in different ways and get it, we originally wanted it to sound a bit like ‘Love cats’ [The Cure] That’s the sound we wer going for.
Mr B: The bass line
C: But then it kind of failed so it turned into a rolling 60s thing, but um… my favourite tracks tend to be the ones that happened quite quickly…
Mr B: There’s a fine line, we’ll start making something and then think this is sort of over taken the track and so we’ll have that as something to either react with or align ourselves with…

Now I had to talk to Mr Bruce about his look, it was so dapper and stylish... So what came first, I
asked... the music or the look? 

Mr B: I ‘m a very aesthetic person, I studied fine art at art college, so ive always been very aesthetically inclined but the decision to wear round glasses wasn’t conscious one, it was kinds going into a shop and going “Oooh, they look nice!” … I think very carefully about what I’m going to wear on stage  and then a great costume designer called Carly Hague makes all the outfits.

The black and white one, very David Bowie…

Mr B: You’ve said exactly the right thing to me there! But I used to be far more peacocky in day to day life…

Do you have a style icon?

Mr B: I don’t think I have one… erm… I went to the recent Bowie exhibition, which I thought was amazing and to see the construction of some of those pieces was incredible... But there were some pieces that were really awful… So I don’t think you can pinpoint someone and say ooh yeah, everything they wear is amazing. There are certain artists that I love, I mean I love the way the school of London used to dress, David Hockney, people like that.

OK, I've asked influences, but who do you guys like, musically? Who would be in your dream band?

C: Urrm…. I’d probably have Cut Chemist, a guy from Jurassic 5 on the decks… This rapper called Edan, He’s my favourite rapper… and singer? Who do you pick singer wise?
Mr B: David Burn would have to be up there I think.

Interesting mix I thought, a pharmacist, paper and what appears to be some kind of dinosaur on a boat? I do hope these clean cut boys weren't on drugs....

C: We are talking about separate bands here…
Mr B: Yes, David Burn and Edan…?

I dunno… I said laughing... But I really didn't...

Mr B: Lyrically I think the Arctic monkeys are great and Jarvis Cocker is incredible…
C: I love the bassist from Jamiriqui
Mr B: But only the bassisit…
C: Yeah… [laughter] Erm… Bernard Perdy on drums [James Browns drummer]
Mr B: Theres a guy who’s not really up chucks’ alley… Is it ok to say that? Is a guy called Gerod Bishoff who I really like. He’s a Seattle based composer…
C: We both loved Janelle Monaes first album as well, that was actually slightly influential on our album. Certainly in its eclectic-ness and it’s movement through the album.
C:… And Steps….

Now I did get this one and we laughed like drains!

So where have you been, or going to?

Mr B: We’re going to Australia… actually we’re going to random places… Copenhagen, Slovenia then on to Australia…

Do you have a good fan set out there?

MR B: Well we went to Australia and New Zealand in march, playing with Womad, they organise it very well and they obviously did a fair bit of promotion on our behalf and we were expecting to play to 20 people in a field but I think our smallest crowd was about 3000, so it was really amazing and quite over whelming!
C: We play everywhere in the UK, we were just talking on the way here, the only place we haven’t been is Glasgow… they don’t like us in Glasgow for some reason…
MR B: We’ve played a lot in Eastern Europe weirdly enough. It’s not just like going travelling or going on holiday, you do get funny little insites into the places you’re going to because you’re with promoters…

Any good stories?

Mr B: I think our most rock and roll was in Guernsey…

C: Oh god yeah Guernsey…
Guernsey? This better be good…
Mr B: Yeah, that’s why it’s so funny… It was in this hotel and we had a really, really drunken evening with The Buzzcocks..
Mr B: They drunk us under the table, quite literally…
C: Yeah and into the flowerbed!They were really nice… Hammered the minute they got of the flight… how they’re still alive is very impressive!
Mr B: It’s amazing those people can still attain that punk life style. I don’t touch a drop before I go on.

So why after all this time is this your first album?

Mr B: Because we’ve never quite been happy enough with a large enough body of work to release an album, because the way the set works is that things get rotated all the time, so we’ll be into these three or four tracks and then think, no we’re getting a bit tired of them and those will disappear and we’ll bring in some more stuff… and think it’s only in the last two years that we’ve really been happy with a body of music that we could call an album.

Ok, good idea... and now, tell me about the video

 Mr B: now that’s down to a very talented fellow called Naren Wilks. The actual filming took about 5 nights, we had to do it at night time to get even light as it was in this studio with sky lights. It’s in this perfectly cylindrical green screen space and had eight cameras set along the top, all symmetrically pointing inwards and all the footage is overlade onto one piece…

So it’s not just repeated?

MR B: No, it’s not CGI… It’s completely manual, the whole thing. If you look at the second scene of the video, I’m being viewed from eight different perspectives, so you can’t do that in CGI. So every single scene is made up of eight pieces of footage. It’s just mind blowing what he did…

And was it all the film makers idea? Or did you have a say in it?

Mr B: I mean we talked about story boards, but our main interaction with him was saying remember this is a music video, not an arts piece.

It does have a wonderful George Méliès feeling…

MR B: We’re about to release a Making of video which will explain the whole thing.

You have a natural presence on screen, do you think this is part of your artistic background? Or do you have a theatrically background?

Mr B: Well as I always say, I like being centre of attention, especially on stage that is… and if there is a camera in front of you, you might as well play up to it.

I couldn't agree more, I so terribly terribly agreed... Then I noticed their expressions change and a awkward silence hung in the air like thick cigar smoke... What could it have been I thought to myself? I had been charming and polite, what could be wrong... 

I wiped my hands on my apron, picked up my ordering pad from the table, stood up and smiled at them... Maybe their train was due? Maybe they had missed it because we were talking? Maybe they had the wrong tickets?... Maybe.... Oooh....

Then it came to me, gosh what a ninny I had been, what a terribly, terribly inconsiderate ninny... I smiled at them, I knew what was wrong and why they were looking at me in that peculiar way...

"Hello" I started "My names Mabel, may I take your order?"

For more info go to     
And watch the Video at