1987-05-06 - Smash Hits (UK) - fzss
[Taken from the now-defunct website www.sacreddm.net
[Smash Hits, 6th-19th May 1987. Words: Sylvia Patterson. Pictures: Paul Rider]
" Andy (who's returned from underneath the table and is looking absolutely delirious with happiness and is now pretending to be Lieutenant Sulu from Star Trek): "I cint hold it ciptin! It was the lythium crystils ciptin! Ha hahah!" "
Summary: In 1987 Depeche Mode decided to counter their "serious" image by throwing a party for the Smash Hits journalists. The result was carnage, and this is the record of a night turning increasingly fuzzy at the edges for Dave, Andy and Martin. Streamers get eaten, trousers come off, ears and teeth get measured, and barely a word of sense all night. Oh, and Alan was there too. [2375 words]
Hark! Depeche Mode are having a party – i.e. they’re having ‘a’ drink, scoffing streamers, pretending to be space-men, cavorting under tables, stealing ‘a’ drink and hauling people’s ‘breeks’ off. Er… except for Alan “Wild”er, that is…
Sylvia Patterson (words) and Paul Rider (pictures) join them for a beaker of Tizer (or something).
Geerks! Who’d have believed it? Depeche Mode – once the meanest, moodiest, most miserable bunch of synthified doomsters in the entire snooziverse – have decided to “throw” a party for Britain’s Brightest Pop Magazine. That’s us! Hurrah!! And the reason, pop whiffs, is this: they’re fed up with being “boring” in interviews. They’re swizzed by the prospect of grimbling their way through a “formal conversation” with some Smash Hits “journalist” – thus being labelled “boring” once again when they’re actually not very boring pop persons in the least. (Apart from Alan “Wild”er.) And, after all, they’ve just spend nine months in the pop wilderness (or something) and now they’re… back! With a tune called “Strangelove”! Which sounds just like one zwillion other Depeche Mode tunes but never mind because it’s quite good anyway! Celebration ahoy! And so it was…
Gulp. The Smash Hits “staff” finds itself hovering inside the doorway of the super-snoot “Edwardian Suite” of the mightily swankesque Kenilworth Hotel in central London – a “suite” that looks not in the least bit “Edwardian” but contains one very large Banqueting Table (hem hem) festooned with the paraphernalia of swankiness (i.e. 487 different kinds of fork etc), one wall-to-wall buffet table with all manner of suspicious-looking grub on (yum!?) and one corner table glistening with every bottle of alcoholic beverage known to mankind (burp! / speeyoo…). Depeche Mode, it seems, are a very generous group (i.e. not short of a few “bob”). And lo! Here they come! (blush). Our “hosts” for the evening!
“A’right!” bellows a beaming Dave Gahan, scrunching the hand of everyone in the process. “Have a drink! Ha haaa!”
Jings!? The “lads” flee straight for the super-super-snoot waiter who’s poised and somewhat bemused behind the drinks table before proceeding to jape, mingle and blether with whoever happens to be standing nearest. Ooer. Depeche Mode are the friendliest, happiest pop stars that ever existed. Er… except for Alan “Wild”er, who decides to seat himself entirely alone at the dining table with a glass of best “bitter” and a face like a melted wellie (i.e. completely smirk-free). Oh dear.
“Hellooooooo!” shrills a foxtress, bounding into the “suite” wielding a ghetto-blaster, followed by numerous other foxtresses and a completely mad “press” officer called Chris who “organised” this entire event. It’s the entourage from Mute Records, Depeche Mode’s record company, who are also our “hosts” for the evening. Within one second zurbillions of streamers are billowing from plastic bags – to be draped not-very-artistically all over the tables, floors, plants, coat-stands and various members of Ver “Mode”. The group then proceed to explode “streamer bomb” thingies all over the place and spray the walls and the not-very-cheap, wall-length velvet curtains with wiggly ‘n’ horrendous “liquid streamer” for that “stuck” effect – causing much nervous twitching from the super-super-snoot waiter’s direction. Martin commandeers the ghetto-blaster and begins “treating” the assembled “throng” to a selection of gaspingly varied and thoroughly obscure “tunes” from his very large record collection. Dave, meanwhile, has uncovered a gigantic, fluorescent orange megaphone with the word “BONG” printed on the inside and placed it right in the middle of the dining-table as a not-very-floral centrepiece.
“It’s what’s on the cover of the single!” he “explains”. “Bong is its name. Er… well, it’s kind of a joke really ha haah! (?) I think it’s just a normal megaphone specially painted that colour. Three times!”
“I’m starving!” pipes Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, the man with the biggest, most perpetual grin in pop. “Can we start yet? Please?” Chris, being “boss”, says “yes”. Yaroo!!
Round the table slinks super-super-snoot waiter number two, bringing us the delights of melon (which Martin and Alan have, being vegetarians) and unidentified pate ‘n’ salad (which is scoffed in a billi-second by Dave and Andy). Also disappearing in a “trice” are the mesmerisingly plentiful supplies of beer and wine thanks to all four of them, because, as Dave puts it, “we like a drink” (aherm). This fact has probably just a smidge of an effect on the general “tone” of their mid-dinner conversations and Smash Hits, the magazine with the biggest, most flapaway ears in the cosmos (or something) was listening in heh heh…
“What’s this then?” mumbles Dave through a stray lettuce leaf, enquiring after the spindly tune a-husking from the ghetto-blaster.
“It’s David!” (i.e. Dame David Bowie) retorts a most miffed Martin.
“Oh Daaaavid,” sneers Dave obviously filled with mirth at the thought, “ah boobeboobeboo! Ha haah! And this is one of his best! He’s terrible though. I heard an interview with him on the radio and he was really trying to do his cockney accent ha ha haaah! And I was going ‘shuuuuuurup!’ and he was going ‘yeah, roight, yeah’ – a really bad cockney accent. He went through his posh phase at one point, didn’t he? And then his camp phase and now he’s back to his cockney street-cred phase.”
Alan: “A’roight mate ha haaah! Pathetic.”
Andy? “‘Allo dohlin’! Ha haaah! He thinks he’s Tommy Steele (i.e. chirpy cockney “actor”)!”
Dave (who’s much amused by this suggestion): “Aaaaah HA! What a berk! What a berk! What a berk…”
Er… and swiftly on to Curiosity Killed The Cat…
“No, no – The Curies as we call them ha haaah!” corrects Dave. “They really do say ‘maaaan’ all the time, don’t they? That’s the in thing to do in interviews now, by the way, Andy – like The Curies, just say ‘maaaan! Grooooove! You know, like, with this single we really thought we’d get back to the groove feeling, like, maaaan. Ha haah! So people can really get daaaan! You know what I’m saying?”
Andy: “Er… I don’t understand!”
Dave: “You’re not supposed to!”
Martin: “Hah! Hah! Hah!”
Martin’s “laugh” is actually the loudest most infectious bellow ever boomed and he booms it all the time – especially when the topic steers its way to a debate as to whether Prince Edward is gay or not. (!?) This remains unresolved, however, and instead they pretend to be “patriotic” cockney persons having a debate about it, as in: “Cor blimey guvvner, he goes out wiv geezers! Not like his bruvver ‘im, not like ‘is bruvver – fought in the war ’e did, fought in the war!” and so on for a very long time.
Well! By this time Ver “Mode” are chomping their way through a main course of either vegetable curry or turkey curry (?) or prawns or a beef thing – all with one billion buffet salad-type concoctions. Now they decide they’ll tell us just where they’ve been for the past nine months. They’ve all “had a break – though none of us can remember having it” (?), they’ve been on various holidays and they’ve been in France inventing their next LP.
“The French fans are unbelievable,” rumbles Dave. “They sit outside the recording studio and if any of us come out they all barge up going ‘Was that eet? Was that the seengle ve just heard? Was eet the seengle?’ And there was one bloke, a complete weirdo who used to sit outside our hotel for literally days and nights and he never said anything, just took photos of us all the time. And he had on this combat jacket all the time and we thought he was going to blow us up or something, you know, and we’d be going, ‘Well, I’m not going out the door first!’ ‘Neither am I!’ ‘Well I’m not!’ and all that – he was well weird.”
“And we stayed in this place in Paris,” trundles Andy, “that was christened Turd City. Ha ha ha! ’Cos everyone there had a dog and there were turds all the way round it. (Blee…) Turd City was an understatement I’m telling you…”
“And,” interrupts Dave, “it was really bad if you had Doc Martens on ’cos it used to get in all the grooves on the soles… eeeuuurrr…”
And on and on they cavort and blether… about how useless Martin’s taste in music is (to which his reply is “Hah! Hah! Hah!”), about Taureans being the most boring people in the world except they’re not really because Dave’s a Taurean, about Martin being a bimbo because he’s just spend the last five minutes carefully cutting up what he thought was some delicious salad but it was, in fact, a lump of streamers on his plate – and all to the sound of champagne corks poppin’ ‘n’ fizzlin’ every three seconds, sparklers being lit and “Ooooooh!”d and “Aaaaah”d over, uncontrollable piercing shrieks from the record company foxtresses, the odd burst of “Happy Birthday To Yooo!” (?), more of Martin’s “laughter” as he reveals he’s been wearing the same coat of black nail-varnish for two whole months and the general giggling, tweetering, guffawing and rambling of a million different ridiculous conversations…
After a plateful of profiteroles (round mini chocolate éclair type thingies) and chocolate sauce, everyone throws up in the loo. Er… no they don’t – instead, everything goes a bit squibbly. Andy Fletcher is having a spook-conversation with a Smash Hits “journalist”, saying things like “It’s not all like this you know – sometimes doing this job is really boring. Because it is a job, you know – it’s a job and when we’re in the studio it’s a job and when we’re in that studio it’s the most boring thing in the world. Quite honestly I only do this for the money. For the money and the memories, the money and the memories…” before going all wistful for a minute and then disappearing under the table to chew people’s knee-caps (or something) where he’s eventually joined by some record company foxtresses and no one seems to know what’s going on anymore.
Alan “Wild”er, who has spent the entire evening staring bleakly into his glass of beer, has nipped to the loo and Dave and Martin are trying to convince the Smash Hits “photographer” that Alan is, in fact, enjoying himself.
Dave: “He is enjoying himself! He is actually…”
Martin: “He is! He’s going crazy!”
Dave: “I can tell – he’s gone to the loo! Ha haah! He got up! No, you can tell, you see, because it’s his eyebrows. When he’s really excited his left eyebrow goes like this (tweaks his left eyebrow). Have you noticed that? And when he’s depressed his right one goes like that (tweaks his right eyebrow) ha ha haaah! Is he just quiet? No, no, he’s the old man of the band isn’t he? I mean he’s 27, 28 – he’s probably gone for a kip actually! Does he know that we speak about him like that? Um… no! Haaah hah haaah!”
Meanwhile cries of “Gerremoff!” have begun a-swirling round the room as the record company foxtresses look more and more intent on having someone breekless before the evening’s end.
Oh dear. Dave, at least, doesn’t look too perplexed by this – he’s too busy answering the all-“important” question: why is it that in your photographs you look like you’ve got great big huge pointy ears and yet they’re not like that in real life (from the side, anyway)? (This is actually true.)
Alan (who’s returned from the loo and is looking almost contented): “That is illogical ha haah!”
Andy (who’s returned from underneath the table and is looking absolutely delirious with happiness and is now pretending to be Lieutenant Sulu from Star Trek): “I cint hold it ciptin! It was the lythium crystils ciptin! Ha hahaha!”
“More champagne!” screeches Dave – suddenly appearing armed with numerous bottles after a lightning raid on the drinks table in the absence of the super-super-snoot waiter. Triple oh dear…
The record company foxtresses have turned the bottom end of this “Edwardian Suite” into a bopaway disco, the super-super-snoot waiters have disappeared completely, Dave Gahan is comparing the size of his teeth to those of a Smash Hits “journalist” and Alan “Wild”er is explaining to the universe just what he feels about tonight’s “activities”.
“I think this is a complete farce,” he snorts above the melodic piplings of Baccara’s “Yes Sir I Can Boogie”. “A set up like this is nothing but a fiasco. I suppose you think that we all get on really well together and it’s like this all the time – well, it isn’t!” We argue constantly and that’s the real us, not… this. Yeah, I know I’m cynical but I’m also realistic.”
Yeeks. Still, he need not fret for much longer – all around him “things” are beginning to crumble. All manner of deadly “cocktails” are being quaffed and Martin and a number of foxtresses have pinned a Smash Hits “journalist” to the dining table and are trying not-very-successfully to tear the breeks from him. Forced to give in, Martin returns to his seat and tries to deny that he’s a perv-bloke.
“Perv-boke?” Hah! Hah! Hah! Haaaah! No no no no! The clothes? Aaaaw, that’s just because I like them. It’s true! I don’t think I’ve ever done anything pervy – that’s the honest truth. In fact the only thing I can think of is when we were at school we had these French books, and one of the characters was sort of illustrating the French way of life or whatever. He was called L’Oncle Martin and he was an explorer and I thought he was brilliant – I thought the sound of that name (exaggerated French accent) ‘Looooncle Martaaaan!’ was amazing. So I was going to call myself that for a while – on the credits on the records – ’cos I really fancied people wondering who this weird bloke was. Er… but even that’s not that pervy!”
Fair enough. Except it’s not really because 10 minutes later Martin Gore willingly removes his own breeks and the sight is not a pleasant one. What a bonkers bloke he is…
And so the first ever party that some pop persons had “thrown” for a Britain’s Brightest Pop Magazine ended. We sniffled, we blubbed, we bade our farewells – we sauntered our way, they stumbled theirs… Depeche Mode, eh? Pop toffs of the highest “order”.