Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bennett & the Golden Amex

Thinking about the myriad dumb things I've done, Gang of Four recording "Hard" in Miami with the useless Albert Brothers is right up there.

This potentially career murdering choice was bulldozed through by our machiavellian manager Bennett , because he thought Nile Rogers, our No 1 choice of co-producer ( when Chic was uncool & pre Let's Dance) cost too much and the Alberts were the nuts! And we gave in! Doh! Which meant Hard didn’t become what we dreamed of it being - a post post-modern post-disco confection ( which made Green's brilliant Wood Beez era work so irritating to hear when it came out 2 years later.) We should've been insomniac in a New York loft with Arthur Baker & an 808, not with 2 bearded fuckwits in Hawaiian shirts reminiscing about Dionne & Aretha .

Whatever, one night we're dining in a ritzy Miami restaurant after a hard day laying down tracks in Criteria sound, a marching powder addled BeeGee's studio . The band's joined by Bennett and his pneumatic Personal Assistant, H- . He's wearing, as always, tennis whites and his assistant has forced her impressive rack into a rib-breaking boob tube. We look like shit, as always.

The next table, a plaid clad salaryman and pant-suited partner, dressed like they spent a million dollars in Woolworth’s, are angry. We're ruining their evening . “It’s disgraceful they let anyone in here dressed like that” says the man to the woman, “ They should throw them out!” He won’t give it up.

We're professionals and ignore this, since Andy’s busy ordering the most expensive wine in the world because we think that someone else, like EMI, is paying! No! We're ripping off ourselves! Brilliant, not! But H- is wound up by the backchat from the dead zone and grabs Bennett’s wallet to leap over to the suit's table. “See this!” she says , waving it at the man in tartan as the credit cards concertina down in their little plastic pockets “See this!” she says “ This is a GOLD Amex! THIS IS A FUCKING GOLD AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD!”. It's getting out of hand, so Bennett says he’ll schmooze things out. He pulls H- off, jabs fatboy in the chest and says “I wore clothes like yours when I was poor! ” Good gag, but when the guy heads out of the restaurant, we’re told by the sommelier a few minutes later, he's seen in the parking lot with a handgun to maybe pop Bennett when we leave! It would've been a dream come true! But, sadly, cops are called . We've all had a drink. We've all got homes to go to.

But if you don’t have a dream how you gonna make a dream come true?


  1. Less guns before butter, more guns after dinner !

    This episode makes me think of the John Cooper Clarke poem, 'I Don't Wanna Be Nice', especially the line 'A friend in need is a friend in debt'. Here's a few verses:

    "Here he comes now....

    The fast fingers, the expert eyes
    And the same old 'how'd you do'
    Disgust is just his dumb disguise
    He wants a word with you

    His problems are the end
    His mouth needs exercise
    The last thing I need is another friend
    I don't want to be nice

    I don't want to be nice
    I think it's clever to swear
    Better seek some sound advice
    Better look elsewhere

    Your face is an obvious case
    You shouldn't put it about
    This is neither the time nor place
    To sort these matters out

    What you see is what you get
    You only live twice
    A friend in need is a friend in debt
    I don't want to be nice"

  2. "We should've been insomniac in a New York loft with Arthur Baker & an 808"